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« Las Investigaciones del Climategate | Main | UEA says it doesn't have Dennis emails »


Hilary Ostrov is still sleuthing away at some of the inconsistencies in the various versions of how the Climategate emails made their grand entrance.


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Thanks, Bish

So, uh ... does this mean that you might be coming around to the ... uh ... view from here regarding the alleged "upload"? ;-)

Ostrasleuth [although, considering that "sleuths" are getting such a bad name these days, I really prefer to think of myself as "Channelling Miss Marples"]

Aug 24, 2011 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

Hilary, nice work, but, in my experience of investigating things, which involve human involvement, "cocked-up coverup" is almost always the correct explanation for an illogical sequence of events, as opposed to blatant conspiracy.

The perpetrator of the cocked-up coverup, only confounds the problem, by refusing to admit their own fault.

It is like the plot of an episode of "Fawlty Towers", think what Basil would have done in Gavin's position.

He did!

Aug 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Inconsistencies in Gavin's story?

Maybe he's trying to cover up something?

I think maybe I've figured it out: Could it be? It was Gavin wot done it? Is he the mole?

Aug 24, 2011 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

Thanks, golf charley

But, I hope you didn't get the impression from the examples I provided that I was suggesting any kind of conspiracy! That was the furthest thing from my mind (although it may not have been too far from Gavin's mind; hence his ever-changing story and constant mischaracterization of those who do not share his view that all members of The Team are infallible, and of course, all flaws that might be found by an evil skeptic are "spurious" and/or "immaterial"!)

If one steps back and looks at the big picture, though, Gavin's behaviour is typical for The Team, is it not?!

On this issue, though, they would have been far better off choosing the road less travelled by. But then perhaps such a road is not on their map ;-)

Aug 25, 2011 at 1:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

Just read the piece at your site and must agree with you that the introduction of the idea of a conspiracy is drawing a rather long bow from what you have actually uncovered. What your investigation does reveal is just how many convolutions certain Team Members will engage in to spin their side of the story and to blacken those who challenge their worldview.

Long may you sleuth!

Aug 25, 2011 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered Commentertertius


I've just read your two articles on this matter. Very interesting.

I think I was perhaps one of the first people to download the file from tAV. Sadly my memory has faded somewhat as to exactly how I spotted the link on tAV. I also definitely recollect reading the 'A miracle just happened' text on CA but don't remember seeing the link behind the RC name. I'm a 'lifer' at CA and tAV and regular visitor to Lucia's Blackboard and vividly remember seeing the download link appear and then clicking it as soon as I'd read the comment that went with it. It was late evening in the UK when I started to unzip the file and read the email text files within it. I started with the oldest .txt email file and worked forward chronologically from there. I was only a few emails into the files when I got the distinct feeling 'OMG this stuff is real'. I then started to look at some of the documents by which point I was definitely convinced that this stuff was not a hoax and was real. I'm not sure what time I went to bed but it was well after 3pm UK time on the 20th. I then spent most of the following weekend clued to my PC/laptop reading pretty much all the other emails and following what was going on, on various blogs on the internet.

During the course of that weekend I stumbled upon a web site which contained an MS Access .mdb file of all of the emails. The file is called 'FOIA Mail Index.mdb' but sadly I lost the bookmark for where I downloaded it from after having to change computers after a hard drive failure. The file is dated 22/11/2009 13:01 but thats the date at which I last opened it and not its original creation date. One of the first things I did after finding the file was to create a web-based front end to the tables stored in the database using a program called ASPMaker and to put all the 'pages' it generated on to my private web server. I email out the link to this 'CRU emails' web application (along with the username/password to log into it) to a small number of my fellow skeptics and told them not to pass it on to anyone at this stage except to one or two key people.

About the same time someone else independently set up the eastangliaemails web site and the rest is history as the say. My CRU emails database still exists and is still used on a regular basis by some people. If anyone is interested in using it, it can be found at

The username is pjones and the password is themanbehindthecurtain.

As you'll hopefully agree it is far more user friendly to use than the eastangliaemails web site was, particularly if you click the 'Advanced search' link.

What I found most interesting about your two articles is the possibility that Gavin is trying to cover up for his own sloppiness i.e/ that perhaps the 'hacker' did nothing more than find that there was a file on the RC web site root folder called and found that it could be downloaded. Maybe he/she told three other people who then also downloaded it (which might explain Gavins' claim of four downloads). Gavin's whole story of an atempted hack into the RC web server just doesn't sound plausible to me. On the other hand I can envisage a situation in which a file was transferred legitimately to the RC web site from someone at CRU for 'save keeping' and Gavin the 'Man of Mystery' (first outted by me by the way on CA) failed to ensure the appropriate file permissions were set on the web server for it. There it lay just waiting for someone to discover it and the hacker did and posted up that RC link on CA. Maybe one of the other three downloaders then put it up on the Russian server? The rest is Gavin and the person who sent him the file from CRU just attempting to cover up for their own incompetence. Maybe this explains why the 'hacker' has never surfaced since, why no one has been sacked at UEA and why Norfolk Police still haven't reached any conclusions after examining the CRU backup server. I'd love to see the email gavin sent to CRU informing them of the breach of security. I t probably went something like


Aug 25, 2011 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevinUK

Whoops it truncated my last comment

The email form Gav to Phil probably went something like:


Oh f**k, llok like I've f**ked up again and forgot set the permissions on that file you transferred to me for safe keeping the other and I've just seen been reading our server log files and there shows have been four instances of four different people having downloaded the bloody file - S*it, s*it, s*it!!.

WTF are we going to do now Phil? That bloody file had all the embarrassing stuff in it. We're f**cked.

Hang on I've just had an idea. Why don't we claim that your servers have been hacked and have been getting hacked for a while now by some Russian hackers paid for by Putin to undermine Copenhagen?

Let Trevor D know and I'll pass on this cover story to Dave K and I'm sure we'll be able to rely on Dave K to leak it out to the media. It's going to get rough Phil, but I'm sure if we stick to this cover story and get Trevor D to help us with it and also the internal and external politics we'll get away with it. After all there's no way they can sack you Phil (nor I) as we know too much.



Aug 25, 2011 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevinUK

Kevin, thanks for this ... Incidentally,

Gavin's whole story of an atempted hack into the RC web server just doesn't sound plausible to me. On the other hand I can envisage a situation in which a file was transferred legitimately to the RC web site from someone at CRU for 'save keeping' and Gavin the 'Man of Mystery' (first outted by me by the way on CA) failed to ensure the appropriate file permissions were set on the web server for it.

Bingo! Over at CA, in the Wallis-Webster thread, on Aug. 19, when I first began "Channelling Miss Marples", this was along the lines of my initial hypothesis. See:

[As an aside, I must say that after I had posted that comment and saw that even as I had been typing The Saint had possibly reappeared, it felt really weird!!]

The key for me was always that the alleged "upload" to RC made absolutely no sense! And the more I thought about it, the less sense it made! Why would someone who wrote the message s/he did (and for which we do have lots of evidence from multiple sources!) have done anything that - if successful - would have handed The Team a PR victory with which to shame the evil skeptics forever and ever?!

And is it not just the slightestbit strange, that if events had transpired in any one of the many ways Gavin would like the world to believe, that they would not have taken advantage of this alleged "upload hack" and make it into the Greatest Anti-Skeptic Story Ever Told - with the added bonus that, unlike all their others, it would be true and 100% bullet-proof AND they'd have the data to prove it, wouldn't they?! Why weren't they SHOUTING it from the rooftops on the 17th, 18th or 19th?!

I mean really ... they could show the data from their logs (and surely a graph of this log data would show a hockey-stick - well, depending on their "cut-off" points!) So why is it that the ONLY "data" a "journalist" has ever reported seeing is the alleged "draft/mock" post (as per the Guardian on Feb. 4, 2010?!)

My guess is that the only log data they had (if any) would show the traffic going the other way - unless they decided to "fudge" - and even if they had fudged, they wouldn't have had the full file, would they?!


P.S. There are some other unasked questions that I posed last night to Clivere in The Hacker returns thread here (but haven't checked to see if anyone's answered, yet!)

P.P.S. My guess is that there was only one download ... and that the only clue given to Good Ol' Gav was that The Saint dropped the same comment at RC ... and he wouldn't have known what was in the file till he followed the link to the Russian server. Poor Phil had too much of a "deer in the headlights" tone when he was interviewed by Wishart on the morning of 20th to have been aware of much of anything ... except that something had gone very awry for The Team ;-)

Aug 25, 2011 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

Hilary/Miss Marple

I just think that Gavin's panic response was "Fawlty", and the more he tried to embellish/obfuscate, the more he came unstuck. How could any team member communicate with CRU knowing that the leak cold still be live?

Gavin was flying solo on this one!

Aug 25, 2011 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Right, golf charley ... a few more things I need to check, but I think that what we might end up with is a Comedy of (very serious) Errors (on the part of The Team's captain/coach or designate!). This just might turn out to be The Greatest Anti-Skeptic Story Never Told ;-)

Aug 25, 2011 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

Hilary/Miss Marple

I look forward to the next episode. Flawty Towser was only ever 12 half hour episodes of some of the best TV comedy of all time.

Climategate and Gavin keep delivering!

Aug 25, 2011 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

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