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Cracked emails again deployed against climate researchers

Taking the whip to the dead Climategate horse

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More University of East Anglia emails from the “Climategate” era have been posted online ahead of the upcoming Durban climate talks.

The emails, wrapped up in a 170 MB zipfile hosted at this http://dump.kurthbemis.com/ site (having apparently been removed from the Russian site to which they were originally posted), represent either a new break-in or, perhaps more likely, messages that were downloaded in the original attack on UEA’s mail system but held back from the last release.

“Climate skeptic” blogger Jeff Id at The Air Vent posts what purports to be a subset of 5,000 messages, while complaining that most of the file is encrypted.

The original “Climategate” messages sparked an investigation into accusations that UEA scientists had massaged data, while resisting FOI requests and making snide remarks about skeptics. The scientists were ultimately cleared of dishonesty, although the 2010 report did criticize the researchers’ response to FOI requests.

Researchers featured in the new release include Professor Phil Jones of UEA’s Climate Research Unit, and Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University.

The university has said in a press release that the new set of e-mails looks like an attempt to derail the Durban talks.

“"While we have had only a limited opportunity to look at this latest post of 5,000 emails, we have no evidence of a recent breach of our systems,” its statement says.

"If genuine, (the sheer volume of material makes it impossible to confirm at present that they are all genuine) these emails have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and emails in 2009 to be released at a time designed to cause maximum disruption to the imminent international climate talks.

"This appears to be a carefully timed attempt to reignite controversy over the science behind climate change when that science has been vindicated by three separate independent inquiries and a number of studies - including, most recently, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group," UEA concluded.

Meanwhile, Norfolk Police have said the new release may be of value to its investigation into the original 2009 break-in of UEA’s systems. ®

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