The Climate Wars and agent Deep Woolabra Wonga.

I think it’s about time I finally told you I’m running an asset deeply embedded inside Big Green. Running is probably the wrong word; it’s more a partnership by now. They operate under the codename I gave them of Deep Woolabra Wonga, not only because they’re submerged deep in the flock but also as a hat tip to their Welsh ancestry.

As a matter of convenience and as a protest about the occasional desecration of written English by politically correct barbarians, I’ll be referring to them throughout this article as he, although they could just as equally well be a she.

Given the curious gender demographics of the climate wars, they’re more likely to be a man than a woman though, since the usual role of women on the alarmist side is confined to small innocuous things like wiping the brows of their noble menfolk battling to save the planet or escorting David Suzuki to a podium. In the fundamentalist cult of climate alarmism, they have little or no influence. They are rarely in the loop. The skeptics have a more healthy fifty-fifty distribution of the sexes when it comes to movers and shakers.

It’d probably be more prudent to leave you to speculate on the cause or effects of such an abnormal difference in the gender demographics of the opposing sides, but I can’t resist floating my own pet theory. At the risk of attracting fire from both sides, as well as getting embroiled in the traditional war of the sexes, I’ve always thought that a bunch of men without the stabilising influence of women tend to go off the deep end, just as women without any men around do exactly the same. When you stop to think about it, that imbalance might just account for the madness of climate alarmism.

Deep Woolabra Wonga was a classic walk in, just boldly strolling through the front door of a viper’s nest of skeptics, otherwise known as chez Pointy, and offering their services for nothing. They were exactly my speciality, a conviction agent rather than a breadhead just doing it for the money, which is why they probably got in touch with me in the first place, since I’ve barely got a pit to hiss in.

Conviction or not, unless they’ve access to sensitive material, they’re useless but fortunately Wol, as I’ve come to call him, looked to have great access. As it turned out, God himself does not have better access. After an understandable how-do-scorpions-mate careful approach to each other, we’re now the best of pals. We’re Pointy and Wol nowadays and have become a bit like the dynamic duo with the only point of dispute being who’s Batman and who’s Robin.

Personally, I was always a Marvel man myself, rather than a DC comics kid, so it’s a moot point we’re not going to fall out over and anyway, everybody knows Marvel was always the best and DC was just for ladyboys.

We’ve both had to learn some new skills and update some old ones. Instead of a safe house tucked away in a leafy suburb, we meet in a very exclusive invitation-only chat room hidden away in a secluded corner of the darknet. Things like putting a chalk mark on a wall to request a meeting have given way to equally innocent looking comments scrawled on the web. One-time pads have been replaced with disposable one-time email services. The Minox camera and the photocopier have both been supplanted by the chipped smartphone. The dead letter box is now an open file server randomly located somewhere on the other side of the world, safely beyond the reach of any domestic search and seizure powers.

It’s all very information savvy stuff but I think I’d still prefer meeting up face to face and eating piping hot Piroshki, washed down with a bottle of ice-cold Stolichnaya that’s been in the freezer compartment for days.

It’s one of those relationships that has evolved over the years, though I have to say it’s mainly been on his part as a result of getting to know a free-range skeptic in the flesh, but not in the biblical sense I’d hasten to add. There’s only so much I’m prepared to do in the name of climate skepticism.

It was something like deprogramming a person who’s been rescued from a cult. The first big hurdle to get over was convincing him that I, like all the other skeptics, operate on a budget of precisely nothing. The second one, that we were all minions of some vast covert conspiracy, took a while longer. However, it sometimes proved useful when Wol delivered some information I couldn’t use – rather than disappoint him, I’d tell him I’d pass it up the line to the people at Skeptic Central.

I think Wol is getting wise to Skeptic Central though he hasn’t exactly said it. The last time he delivered a mote of information he’d high hopes for but which I couldn’t see any earthly use, I was about to pull the standard weasel out when he preempted me with an “I know, I know, Skeptic Central” but with a sly smile. An emergent benefit of Wol’s deprogramming has been the release of a latent sense of humour which is surprisingly dry. I’ve started nagging him about it because it’s a danger to his cover. It really worries me because the alarmists just don’t have any sense of humour.

As it happens, his deadpan sense of humour fits in perfectly with our strategy over the last few years but before explaining it, I’ll have to go over the history of how we arrived at it. Initially of course we used leaking, but in packets arranged like a sequence of command detonated mines. Explode one mine in their path and when it goes off, you’ve second guessed which direction they’ll all run in, which is of course where you’ve already planted the next mine.

In real terms, do a leak that strongly suggests they were up to no good, otherwise known as the bait, have the patience to let them deny it indignantly and run a whitewash inquiry or two, and then after they’ve been fully exonerated, do another leak showing them plotting to do exactly what they denied they were doing in the first place. Hey Presto, you’ve just demonstrated in public they’re liars so their next denial of anything is less credible, even of the occasional black propaganda stunt you’ve orchestrated that they were always innocent of anyway.

The downside of leaking is that if you do it too many times, some intrepid mole hunter will eventually narrow down the list of suspects with access and then your source is in danger. Fortunately, and I do hate relying on fortune in certain things, a new fashion in climate science meant we could move off the leaks strategy. Essentially leaks started coming from everywhere in climate science. You name an orifice, it was haemorrhaging insider information. Since we’d established the precedent, people started joining in with gusto and nowadays we all get to see large amounts of material even when it’s in draft form. Climate science now leaks like a colander that’s been used for shotgun practice.

The new strategy came to me after agreeing that some brickwork a friend had done for me was really a bloody good job. They were very proud of it and since he was a good mate of mine, I was suitably complimentary, especially as he was helping me out and did it for nothing more than fun and a few beers, because I was swamped with other things at the time. Unfortunately, the problem was that he got the mix for the mortar totally wrong, so the whole thing would never set. A good try but he’d fallen at the first fence.

I’d taken it apart a few days afterwards, scraped all the powdery mortar off the bricks and rebuilt the whole damn thing. So often, it’s well meaning friends helping you out who you’ve got to keep an eye on. What was interesting was he’d totally overestimated his skills as an amateur builder and didn’t even recognise the work he was innocently fishing for compliments about wasn’t even his own. I just didn’t have the heart to tell him.

That sort of overestimation of ones skills and failure to see concrete evidence in front of your eyes, reminded me of the unreal bunker mentality prevalent at the heart of climate alarmist circles. A delightful idea dropped into my head that perhaps that bunker mentality, combined with the humour bypass operation all the alarmists appear to have undergone, might be the basis of a new strategy.

It was so deliciously perverse, so irresistibly appealing to the pure badness in me, I had to try it out. No matter which way I looked at it, it was a blinder of an idea.

Thinking it through, it ticked every box, distancing Wol from the mole hunter danger, utilised the humour weapon they’ve no answer to, ruthlessly exploited the secrecy of the peer review process, required only a modicum of technical support which I could easily handle, and as an abso-bloody-lutely beaut of an added bonus, inserted a platoon of malicious skeptics into the climate science peer review loop.

We weren’t going to redefine the peer review process, we were going to rape it.

I knew the only problem would be convincing Wol. That took more than a few conversations, all of which ran along the following lines.

It’ll never work. Why not? There are too many safeguards in place. None that we can’t circumvent, trust me, I’m scummy enough to get around all of them. But they’re bound to spot something’s wrong. No they won’t just as long as it’s supportive of the cause and anyway, it’ll be their own papers. Do you seriously expect them to publish rubbish? Yes, it’s been done several times already. Who by? For one, Alan Sokal who got complete crap published. But that was just fuzzy sociology, not climate science. Wol, who’s kidding who here, climate science is fuzzier than aromatherapy these days.

But it’s totally dishonest. Remind me again Wol, but what exactly drove you to come knocking on my door in the first place? What if they trace it back to us? That’ll never happen, we’ll be safely hidden behind five layers of cut-outs. But what if they do? They’ll have to cover the whole thing up. Why would they do that? Because it’d totally undermine the it’s been peer reviewed therefore it’s true propaganda. What happens then? We’ve got them by the balls is what happens then.

Listen to me Pointy, it’ll never work. It can’t work. No way. Seriously, you do know that, don’t you?

Wol is a person I admire of the highest personal integrity combined with great moral fibre and a true believer in the essential wholesomeness of all people, which is why he’s totally vulnerable to the machinations and corrupting influence of a low, scheming and morally ambivalent creature like my good self. He never actually stood a chance, so I got my way in the end.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why over the last few years peer-reviewed papers about global warming by highly qualified and supposedly sane researchers, have predicted a bizarre and frankly ludicrous variety of things. To give you just a few examples of this tendency, it’s been variously suggested global warming might; make fish go deaf, cause more women to become prostitutes, make us more violent, cause oceans to lose their smell and even incite aliens to destroy us. All of those predictions are for real, except for the one I just made up. Your mission Mr Phelps, should you decide to accept it, is to spot which one that is.

Well, it’s hands up time. Wol and I are the proud facilitators of quite a number of papers of that ilk.

I call it the helping them over the cliff strategy and it’s unique to the climate wars. Probably unique anywhere. In essence it consists of simply doing introductions. We introduce lone and wandering eccentrics into the Grand Buffalo Lodge of Smug Prathood that establishment climate science has become. We want to swell their membership with liabilities. Bring me your mad, your incompetents, your deranged, your outright maniacs, your muddled masses of weird individuals shunned by normal science and we will give them a home.

Our job has come down to advancing the careers of people advocating various deranged and sometimes madly conflicting ideas. In the ordinary way they come to us but I prefer to go out hunting for them myself. Nothing tastier than free range climate scientists. I’ve become like a barnacle hunter wading far out at low tide onto the shores of the Great Sea of Insanity, to find the most passionately committed but off the wall alarmist lunatics we can lovingly attach to the hull of the good ship Global Warming.

All we have to do is get their papers through peer review to publication and that’s a sure thing. It all follows from there since it hijacks the whole green propaganda machine from then on. The journalists love their papers because there’s always a punchy bit that’ll make a great headline.

You might be wondering how we can guarantee an easy pass through peer review but that’s simply because of the other type of introductions we do. Wol, once and only once, pleading pressure of work to an editor of an obscure and since defunct journal he was being asked to review a paper for, gave him the name, wiki reference and email address of another academic, who was eminently qualified to review the paper in his place. A quick glance by the lazy editor at the wiki entry showed that to be very true.

That wasn’t really that surprising since Wol and I had written the fictitious professor’s entry between us and I’d already set up a slightly spoofed email and a telephone number that’s forever on voicemail. The editor bought it hook, line and sinker – we’d made that first precious breach and were in through the peer review firewall. We built from there.

The new reviewer proved to be an editor’s dream, a real diamond geezer, always hitting his comments in by date without requiring any chasing up. That being the case, the editor naturally loaded him up with work over the following months until the good professor himself started pleading pressure of work, but helpfully supplied the contact details of someone else who could do just as good a job. A recommendation from a trusted source is usually followed with minimal investigation.

If you can see where this is going, you can probably see that having slowly established our small stable of first class reviewers, our next problem was to extend their influence by traversing their peer reviewing activities to other journals.

That was solved by one of our stable of tame professors submitting a rather dry and impenetrable paper to another journal, recommending three of his stable mates as suitable reviewers. That paper of course never made it through peer review to the light of day and was quietly withdrawn and forgotten but the editor was nonetheless impressed enough with his new reviewers to add them to his list of trusted climate science contacts.

Our network of phoney reviewers has grown in its own modest but geometric way. We steer well clear of the major papers, preferring to do what we do on the minor ones. You’d be amazed at what people are prepared to do to their own work just to get published. All it needs is a reviewer comment like you really need to strengthen the link between global warming and the plunge in the sperm count of Snailbats, and they’ll happily restructure the whole thing.

When you run this variation of a radio game for a long time, it’s inevitable that an occasional emergency will arise but so far, we’ve been lucky. Wol, who’d got blindingly drunk celebrating the Gleick fiasco and by now a true and truly appalled believer in the power of subversion, was pushing the envelope to see just exactly how outrageous we could get. He made the mistake of doing an email under the influence to an editor recommending a new reviewer going under the handle of something which was the slang equivalent of Prof. Galah P. Drongo-Bogan. Fortunately, he’d BCC’ed me and after some frantic digital footwork, their email server had a terrible accident. I think the bugger just wanted to make me sweat.

You might be wondering why I’m revealing Wol’s existence and there are a range of possible answers. The simple one is that this is just a fun piece. There is no agent Deep Woolabra Wonga, no help them over the cliff strategy, no shadowy network of fictitious reviewers, no Skeptic Central. All is illusion, there is no spoon.

On the other hand, a slightly more complex answer could be that this is a pure disinformation exercise, meant to do nothing more than sow distrust and confusion in the enemy’s ranks.

If you’re an alarmist, the nightmare scenario is that some of it or perhaps quite a lot of it, might just be true, which would go some way towards explaining a number of strange things which have happened in the climate wars, but you’ll never know for sure. Perhaps, over time, one or two commissioning editors have come to suspect, but they don’t want to know for sure. Someone else can pull the pin on that grenade.

Welcome to the wilderness of mirrors.


Related articles by Pointman:

Why Climategate was not a computer hack.

We’re going to have to do something about peer review.

Click for a list of other articles.

38 Responses to “The Climate Wars and agent Deep Woolabra Wonga.”
  1. stan stendera says:

    Oh, dear. I spit my wine all over my keyboard laughing. Of course, I’m also hoping it’s all true.


  2. Wow, talk about a Friday Funny! I’ve been sorta down in the dumps this week (not because of anything or anyone in the circles of my “virtual” world), and this cheered me up immensely 🙂

    Thanks, Pointman!


  3. manonthemoor says:

    Absolute congrats Pointman, credible from start to almost finish, could even qualify for a film script.
    every day the pack of cards is collapsing, the idiot energy policy in the UK is now demonstrting the total farce of the climate alarmist playbook. Every day we get closer to the total defeat and collapse.



  4. PaleoSapiens says:

    Very hilarious; using their own ‘language,’ i.e. conflating “strategies” with “tactics,” to sow even greater confusion.

    Welcome to the hall of mirrors indeed…


    • Graeme No.3 says:

      Woolabrawonga being Australian for sheep dip (at least according to Paul Hogan in UK advertisements for Foster’s lager).


      • cyrus says:

        What’s Galah P. Drongo Bogan mean in English?


      • Juliette Curtis says:

        It’s all Australian slang. Galah is a type of parrot. It is means fool, similar to goose Drongo means stupid. Bogan is to similar white trash, but in the Australian sense it means lower class, loud, drunk, drives flashy trashy loud car, often gets very drunk and plays loud music that annoys the neighbours etc. Usually employed in a trade rather than a profession. Often they are decent, family-oriented people, though a little trying to have as neighbours. These days many people wear the label “bogan” with pride.


  5. Ed Moran says:

    I’ve just wasted a perfectly decent glass of port and been forced to
    spent fifteen minutes using “Vanish” carpet stain remover on my light coloured carpet.

    By the way, my nose is reacting badly to the same port being snorted through it!

    Thanks Pointman. I’m going to bed with a smile on my face.



  6. Brian H says:

    When does blackmail come into play?


  7. Fred Furkenburger says:

    Just magnificent!! Especially the end bit “You might be wondering why I’m revealing Wol’s existence …..”. That’s the bit which really does it for me. I can just imagine them chasing their tails in belief/non belief thoughts about the whole story.


  8. meltemian says:

    You are the real Stephan Lewandowski and I claim my £5!!
    (I know he can’t be for real)

    Nice one Pointy.


  9. Wol says:

    Sheep dip? You bastard.


  10. A.D. Everard says:

    I love this! So alarmists, already a paranoid bunch, will be looking over their collective shoulder even more. Not just over their shoulder, either – they’ll be searching for the skeptic amongst their workmates, the Trojan horse inside their computers and the denier under their bed. Thing is, there’s plenty of those things about because common sense is breaking out everywhere.

    “Where are they all coming from? Why are they all doing this?!”

    Will they ever sleep well again? Probably not.


  11. Blackswan says:

    G’day Pointy,

    As you so cannily reveal, wimmin of the GangGreen persuasion, when not “wiping the brows of their noble menfolk battling to save the planet or escorting David Suzuki to a podium”, are very easily persuaded to chain themselves to trees or isolate themselves high on arboreal platforms while the blokes all adjourn to a rainforest glen in pursuit of the Green Fairy*.

    As the viridian Fairy is prone to alter one’s perception of reality, I always suspected this little green nymph was wholly responsible for the more bizarre Alarmists’ claims but little did I realise the reach of your magnificent mangle-with-misinformation mission. Congratulations.

    Next you’ll be telling us that Wol is Eco Annie’s long lost beau. He obviously left poor Annie in dire straits; so much so that she was left to wander the Pilbara looking for endangered sharp rocks. She was last seen mopping the brow of an asylum seeking steroid pumped refugee from the Iranian prison system whose Indonesian fishing boat had washed up on our shores – after all, a girl likes to keep herself busy mopping, escorting, looking for ‘victims’ of cruel fate.



  12. John Robertson says:

    But I thought Michael the Mann, had to be your insider.
    Each word he speaks damages the “cause” deliciously.
    The cult will need to look closely at each other, for although you spoof them here, it is apparent that these types of people are running amuck inside their church.
    Let the heresy trials , the “cleansing begin.
    After mob hysteria witch trials must naturally follow.


  13. gnomish says:

    lies, deceit and treachery makes a fine potpie.
    this technique also goes by the name ‘walking him down the garden path’
    it’s also the third and darkest of the 3 chinese curses to give them what they wish for until they find out what it meant.
    great post, Pointman.
    if it were a novel, you’d be up there with Twain and the Royal Nonesuch.


  14. WJohn says:

    cf Garbo a.k.a. Joan Pujol Garcia.


  15. WJohn says:

    Also “The Wasp” by Eric Frank Russell. Excellent stuff. Ripper.


  16. M Simon says:

    Worthy of Peter Berg and any thing his gang of communists ever worked for. Only in reverse.

    You might like this

    The move to open review is an attack on the system from another angle.


  17. Michael Larkin says:

    I realised you were spoofing after a few paragraphs, Pointy, but then I haven’t had my funnybonectomy yet: let’s hope the greenies, who have, will be genuinely wondering if it might actually be true. Come to think of it, in a topologically twisted kind of way, it *is* actually true.


    • John Robertson says:

      A point of interest there Michael, I have noticed the average member of the cult does not read more than the first few paragraphs therefore Pointman’s humour will never reach them.


  18. orkneylad says:

    As a Grandmaster of tactics once said: “You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest, where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.”


    • Pointman says:

      There’s rarely a best move on the board. What’s always there is a potential plan. You just have to see it, because it wants to become.

      You okay OL?



      • Graeme No.3 says:

        I see Russia is talking of other charges that could be laid against their Greenpeace ‘guests”.

        Russia to Greenpeace, “we have not yet received your note of abject surrender”.


      • orkneylad says:

        Feeling good P, thank you for asking! Even bettor now the ‘climate wagon’ is falling apart.


  19. If the perpetrators of the hugely successful Piltdown Man hoax of 1912 had access to computers they’d have used that technology, too – as it is they have never been positively identified, and it took 40 years or so for people to wake up to the hoax, firmly anchored in issues of evolution, creation, the descent of man, the missing links and all that, and even I think some link to the suffragette movement of the times.


  20. Pointman says:

    “In 2013 the then Editor-in-Chief of JVC, Professor Ali H. Nayfeh,and SAGE became aware of a potential peer review ring involving assumed and fabricated identities used to manipulate the online submission system SAGE Track powered by ScholarOne Manuscripts™.”

    Life imitating art?



  21. ATheoK says:

    Wonderful! I love the idea Pointman.

    I’d ask if we can play too, but I don’t want green digital numbers imbedded in my forearm. 🙂


  22. Pointman says:

    “The editors concluded that Chen-Yuan Chen, a researcher in Taiwan, had created a “peer-review and citation ring.”

    OK, it’s not exactly a “Sopranos” plot. But it’s pretty shady for the world of higher education. Chen went to great lengths to make up fake email addresses and even assume the names of other scientists to write approvingly of his own research.”

    More life imitating art.



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  1. […] Pointman’s latest. It is a hoot. And devilish clever. […]


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