Climategate vs The Afghan "War Diary"

Hycposiry from The Grauniad

Richard North contrasts the media treatment of the Climategate “leak” with that of the War Diary files posted on Wikileaks relating to the conflict in Afghanistan. We all know, because the media told us, that the Climategate emails were “hacked” or “stolen”, despite the fact that the material was, by and large, well ordered and relevant, and has all the hallmarks of a leak. But what about the War Diary?

Big news of the day is how “a huge cache of secret US military files” provides a “devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan”. They have been obtained by the “whistleblowers’ website” Wikileaks in what is described as “one of the biggest leaks in US military history.”

The files have been made available to The GuardianThe New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, with The Guardian in particular, pushing the boat out, running multiple stories and linking to the files.

But do we see here, or in The Independent, or even in The Daily Telegraph – which also features the files – any suggestion that they are stolen?

Largely, is seems they have been “revealed” or “leaked” and the contents “disclosed”. But nowhere do I see the word “stolen” – so far. How so very different this is, then, from the treatment of the “Climategate” files, which had the media, and especially the left wing press, spluttering in its muesli.

We even had The Times report that: “UN officials have likened the theft of e-mails from university climate researchers to the Watergate scandal, ” and that was after them claiming that “computer hackers were probably paid by people intent on undermining the Copenhagen summit.”

Thus, whatever the merits or otherwise of “release” of the “war logs”, as The Guardian is calling them, the difference in treatment is quite remarkable. Some might even call it hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy? From The Guardian? Surely not…

Read it here.


  1. It’s becoming predictable.. Hadn’t seen Penny Wong since last November then, with the whitewash of Climategate and the hot northern summer…She’s back……… Q&A last night, Turnbull, Wong, Milne, Tony Jones…I couldn’t watch it…like I say, predictable. When the weather’s hot, it’s global warming, when it’s not it’s CC.

  2. Malcolm Miller says:

    We had ‘Watergate’ years ago. We had ‘Climategate’ more recently. Surely now we have ‘Afghangate’, courtesy of Wikipedia?

  3. a.n.ditchfield says:

    Post-Normal-Science claims to be the key to understanding complexity. It is invoked to support the need for a new world order with a different concept of progress.
    What is progress? To most minds it is the increasingly efficient use of energy and materials, capital and labour, that translates into lower costs, better income for all and ultimately to more means for proper care of the environment.
    Not all agree. The bitterness of Green extremists that swept with gale strength at the Copenhagen 2009 conference on climate pointed to the opposite direction: to limiting world economic activity even casting away the fruits of two centuries of the Industrial Revolution that they blame for a global warming that will render the planet uninhabitable. This is a controversial meaning of progress.
    Such scare-mongering is too puny to be compared to the 20th century menaces of Fascism and Communism. Although Green extremists have done some damage, it is still trifling when compared to the destruction brought about by two world wars and the waste of a long cold war.
    Totalitarians had weapons for their mischief while Green extremists can only brandish words that suggest they would have already capsized the planet, were it not for the ballast of common sense possessed by ordinary folk. They promote public policies too disastrous to be tolerated if implemented. The political reality is that the West refuses to be rolled back to an idealised Green agrarian past. Forget China and India.
    Again, the world is divided into two camps. One side of the climate issue is epitomised by MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen, who sees global warming as a political and journalistic phenomenon, not a physical one. He expects future generations to look back in wonder at the turn of the century hysteria about climate. On the other side stands Jerome Ravetz, theorist of the fashionable Post-Normal-Science, who contributed to the uncritical acceptance of anthropogenic global warming as settled science. It is not.
    Ravetz is no common-or-garden Leftist; he holds a Cambridge PhD degree in mathematics. Steeped in Marxism at the Philadelphia home of his Russian/Jewish parents, his US passport was withdrawn during the McCarthy era, although later restored. Disgusted, he adopted UK citizenship. A disgruntled Ravetz is the kind of articulate intellectual that Oxford likes to keep for a while to enliven debate, and certainly fits the role with his Post-Normal-Science. He admits that the scientific method cannot be surpassed in its realm of simple phenomena; he argues that there is another realm with different laws, to deal with complex matters, such as climate, in which the stakes are high and scientific certainties low. Enter the Precautionary Principle: if the cause is just and the science unsettled, uncertainties should not stand in the way of acts of government promoted by official propaganda. Enter the Ministry of Truth…
    The truth is that we don’t know – and may never know – how much of global climate change comes by hand of man or by hand of nature, to what degree and when. We do know that hiding uncertainties for the sake of expediency is at best misleading and at worst fraud, when it abets self-serving politics.
    The uncertainties of complexity are not new; they been around since the time of the philosophers of Ancient Greece. After them, Hegel and Marx believed they had the instruments to navigate on the uncharted waters of complexity in history, politics and economics. Others argue that questions concerning human nature will always remain in the domain of the intuition of statesmen, of the religious, of the mystics, poets and artists who have the feel, not the thought, to discern in matters beyond the reach of reason – and therefore of science. Their intuition cannot be generalised into a soulless ideological system.
    With Post-Normal-Science, Marxists try to bring back, as serious, their Alice in Wonderland thought. Their tactics have changed. They now follow the book of Antonio Gramsci, founder of the Italian Communist Party in the 1920s. As an exile in Moscow, Gramsci saw the brutal realities of Stalin’s regime and realised the futility of seizing power with revolution and holding onto power with armed force. It led to oppression, not liberty. It is so because Christian societies are entrenched behind a rampart of values upheld for two thousand years; a frontal assault on them is doomed to failure. Gramsci proposed an alternative approach: Marxism should spread in concentric circles until it grows into a consensus. First win over the opinion formers; then the university professors, the intellectuals they educate, the journalists, teachers, leaders of civic and religious organisations, political parties. Finally, with the leadership in the fold, the masses would follow. Marxism would rule with no compulsion, in the place of societies founded on religious values. Christianity is the main opponent of Marxism. Evolution, not revolution, is the way to the ideal classless society, in a long but sure process.
    After Communist regimes collapsed into universal discredit Gramsci’s suave approach gained favour, and in now under way. This was perceived by Alan Sokal, a professor of physics at New York University, who collected clippings of amusing things written by post-modern (Marxist) thinkers about hard science, especially those who use abstruse mathematical terms to make their text incomprehensible, so as to pass as profound. He grew weary of nonsense written about physics, held by social “scientists” to be white, male and euro-centric. He came to the conclusion that there is no such thing called a social science, because anything goes. He submitted his opinion to experimental proof.
    That a prestigious sociology journal would publish an essay full of absurd statements, provided it was:
    · Well written and of scholarly appearance;
    · Cloaked in the garb of incomprehensible physics;
    · Attuned with prejudices of the editor.
    Sokal’s essay announced his discovery of Quantum Gravity, the synthesis of relativity theory and quantum mechanics, on a superior plane that supersedes both. He suggests he had done it with the methods of social sciences, in a feat that did away with the outworn formal logic and systematic experiment, still in use and unduly so. The implications were so revolutionary that the essay had been rejected for publication in peer-reviewed journals of physics, and this was the reason for its publication in Social Text, known for a mind open to innovation.
    The essay contains nonsense galore immediately perceptible as a joke by an engineering student. The essay favoured mathematics freed from the shackles of the rules of arithmetic and stood against the teaching of the outworn geometry of Euclid, a tool for oppression of the working class. There was anti-feminist prejudice in fluid mechanics. Truth is relative. Constants such as the number pi (3.1416), the speed of light and the constant of gravitation have values attributed by the social context in the current epoch but the values of such constants will change in a future context with a different social setting.
    No absurdity was contrived by Sokal; all were extracted from what was stated by post-modern thinkers about hard science and he supports it with more than one hundred references to published articles.
    Sokal’s essay, Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity was indeed published as submitted, with no comment, although Sokal repeatedly asked whether there were any questions to be clarified.
    “Social Text” #46/47, pp. 217-252 (1996).
    In another journal, at the time of publication, Sokal explained what he had done at Social Text and regretted that a silent tide of irrationality threatened institutions of higher learning to dictate, from a blind and intolerant pulpit, what is right to do, say and think.
    An inquiring mind shuns Gospel according to St. Marx. Critical reviewers at Social Text could have asked: if a future society decrees that pi = 4 would circles become squares and heavenly bodies cubes? None did.
    With its pretence of a short cut in dealing with complexity, Post-Normal-Science amounts to sophistry of the kind lampooned by Sokal. Its previous failure was in economics and the new one in climate. It is a grab for power to ration use of energy and thus control the lives of every human being in the world. Its followers are not above deceit to exploit emotions of a guilt-ridden West.
    A confident West had worked wonders. The contributions of France to mathematics are expressed in the work of Descartes, Pascal, Fermat, D’Alembert, Delambre, Fourier, Lagrange, Monge, Poisson, Laplace, Cauchy, Galois, Poincaré, Benoit Mandelbrot. Then came French Post-modernists with the thought of Lewis Carroll characters: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less”. It leads to proficiency in: Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, Derision. A Post Post-Normal-Science is unneeded to dialectically supplant the Post-Normal-Science of Ravetz; a return to Science would do.
    Sokal’s essay is available on Internet at: .


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