Skeptic blogger raided by the police because he was sent a link to the Climategate 2 release.
Yesterday, the home of the climate skeptic blogger Tallbloke, was legally invaded by six detectives from the Norfolk constabulary and the Metropolitan police. When they left, they took two laptops with them, stating that they would be returned after having their hard drives cloned. The previous day, the WordPress host of his site and the sites of two other skeptic bloggers was served with a data preservation order by the US Department of Justice (DoJ). This essentially gives the DoJ access to all data on commenters and visitors to those sites for the last 90 days.
The what can only be called nominal reason for this raid, was that a comment was left by the Climategate leaker (FOIA) on Tallbloke’s blog giving the location of the latest Climategate archive of emails for download. Given that his site is hosted in the USA, there can be no forensically relevant data on Tallbloke’s computers in the UK, so why do the big gangbusters raid on his place?
A simple question with a simple answer – intimidation and not too subtle either. Why six detectives trampling all over your home rather than the more usual two? Intimidation again.
Why was he raided and the other two bloggers left alone? The simple but tragically true answer is that civil liberties in the UK have been so abraded in the last fifteen years by creeping and abusive legislation, that they barely exist any more. The ordinary UK citizen no longer has much in the way of legal protection from the forces of the state. The same is not true in other nations of the developed world; most notably America.
Why the intimidation of skeptic bloggers? Easy, we’re the only channel FOIA has to disseminate their material. As long as we’re in the game, so is FOIA. It’s as brutally simple as that.
What can Tallbloke do? Not a lot really. I’m sure the raid was all legal and you’ll get your computers back in due course. In the meantime, keep blogging from your mobile phone. Incidentally, when you get your laptops back, you’ll have to treat them as totally compromised. Never again plug them back into the internet or any home network you might have.
What can we as blog writers do? Well, we can rally around Tallbloke and blog even harder. Whatever you need from us Tallbloke, you’ve got it. We can also start preparing ourselves for possible similar visits by the police. Time for us to put ourselves on DefCon 3. I’ve spent most of this day setting up private blogs which are clones of this site. Each one is hosted in a different country and if needed, I can create and activate them a lot faster than they can legally be shut down. Thanks for the warning Big Green.
The police are piggy in the middle in this situation but I’ve got to ask the question. Are you guys trying to earn your pay or is somebody using the old cattle prod on your butts? Well, I’ve got news for you and whoever did the prodding; you can raid away to your heart’s content but we’ll keep on blogging and now we’ll blog even harder because we know we’re under attack. You can maybe take out Tallbloke’s gaff but guess what? He’ll get back online in a while, even if that’s on a smart phone on the back of a motorbike and in the meantime, we’ll create ten more blogs in its place.
What can you as a reader and contributor to the blogosphere do? Easy. First off, drop in on his blog and leave a message of support. Tallbloke seems to have handled what can only have been an unpleasant experience in this runup to Christmas with equanimity and humour but let’s send a big loud public message back to those people behind that little visit. Hands off our bloggers. Do it now. Secondly, if you live in the UK, write a letter of protest to your local Member of Parliament.
What can the climategate whistleblower do? Well, your only delivery channel is now under direct threat so now might just about be the perfect time for a mini release to defend it. Let’s call it Climategate 2.5 and it contains a little selection of those highly political emails which were sent upwards to senior figures in government by Jones et al. Think of it as communication; a message.
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