Who’s Mr. FOIA?

220,000 plus climate e-mails are about to be unloaded by the mysterious Mr. FOIA. Who could he or she be?

My feeling is that the authorities are going to find the identity of Mr. FOIA in lickety-split time. A manifesto is, after all, what revealed the Unabomber. These forensic language experts are really really effing good and they are going to see stuff in the little manifesto you could never imagine.

The message left behind by Mr FOIA, posted at WUWT, CA, and other places, is a gold mine for forensic language experts: Here are just a couple of my own observations:

1. The person is obviously skilled with information technology.

2. He is from mainland Europe because he writes 220,000 the way many mainland European countries do, i.e. with a point: 220.000.

3. He has the unique habit of double spacing after each sentence (at least that’s how it appears at WUWT). Strangely, there’s only one space after question marks.

4. He must have spent a lot of time in the USA, in academia; his English is impeccable, and he spells words in American English, e.g. organize and not organise. I’m guessing he’s from Holland or Scandinavia.

5. He likely has a full time job, as he writes: “…skimming through all 220.000 emails would have taken several more months of work in an increasingly unfavorable environment.” This could mean he’s got other things to mind to, like work and a family. On the other hand, perhaps with “unfavourable environment” he means that policymakers are getting ready to unleash something, and time is running out. He’s under pressure.

6. Not an insider at the CRU, but obviously someone close.

7. I use “he” because I just have the feeling it’s written by a man. I can’t tell you specifically why. Calling himself “Mr. FOIA” is an obvious clue.

Summary, after 30 minutes of analysis all alone, I’d say he’s northern European guy, in his early-mid 50s, having spent a long time in the US, and having held an important position in climate science, has good IT knowledge.

Should be possible to narrow it down to a group of a few dozen or so.

Hopefully Mr FOIA was clever enough to have built in linguistic features to throw authorities off the trail. Posting that little manifesto of his was courageous, but foolish if he wishes to remain unknown.

Interesting days are ahead. It’s easy to get spooked, if you let yourself. Remember that there are trillions at stake, and people and states kill for magnitudes less.


18 responses to “Who’s Mr. FOIA?”

  1. plazaeme

    He has some more characteristics.

    8. Pretty good knowledge of climate change scientist’s faults and the general discussion with “deniers”. He is pretty good on filtering the emails for interesting stuff.

    9. A good knowledge on world poverty numbers and economics.

    10. Has not a very common political stance. Not a conventional right-wing. He doesn’t care about freedom, or formalisms such as the scientific method. Apparently he is only caring about poverty. But not a conventional left-wing either. He wouldn’t care about Big Government.

    And, then there is always the possibility of a fake personality.

  2. The finn

    Missing definite articles would hint to someone who speaks Finnish, Sami, Estonian or slavic languages. Leaving those out is an extremely common mistake for me as a finnish speaker, since we don’t have anything like those.

    But finnish nationality can be ruled out since we don’t write numbers as 200.000 but 200 000.

    Btw, isn’t the crime already too old to prosecute?

    1. DennisA

      “Btw, isn’t the crime already too old to prosecute?”

      What is the crime?

  3. Edward.

    Dutch, or Scandinavian would make sense – their English skills as I know well are extremely good, almost – usually word perfect and so knowledgeable that they use and are able to imitate double entendre and ape, parody, skewer the British sense of humour – which is a difficult mastery to say the least.

    I deem most of your speculation to be pretty near the mark PG.

  4. John Silver

    It was the unabomber’s brother that recognised the manifesto, not the cops.

  5. spence

    This new text is different quality to his previous comments though the sentiments are the similar.

    To me this is a text that has been pieced together, extremely ‘blocky’, painstakingly, using some of the best combinations of verbs and nouns. The giveaway a jerky start to two sentences and a couple of carelessly errors. I’m not convinced he’s European, but he could be.

  6. Bernd Felsche

    Reading entrails is the business of “climate scientists”. 🙂

    American cf British/Commonwealth spelling can be due to the use of a spelling checker.

    Spacing of sentences is frequently done by “friendly” software… e.g. when I use the re-wrap function of “vim” (a free implementations of the vi text editor), it puts two spaces after a full stop.

    The thousands designation isn’t just used in Western Europe. FOIA could be Québécois, Swiss or Lithuanian. Or something else…

    Reading entrails only tells you what you want to see.

    Is there anything that we can do to throw them off the scent?

  7. Ike
    1. DirkH

      Der Spiegel lets Bojanowski write again. That means that Global Warming is no longer their main propaganda thrust; as the agitprop is produced by anonymous people who sign their articles with “Spiegel-Mitarbeiter”.

      1. DirkH

        Oh. Gratuitous unsubstantiated smear by either Bojanowski or von Storch and his sociologist goon: “Die Lobbyisten schrecken bekanntermaßen nicht vor der bewussten Falschinterpretation von Klimadaten zurück, um die Gefahren der Erderwärmung zu bagatellisieren.”

        “The [Industry] Lobbyists are, as is well known, not afraid of deliberately false interpretation of climate data […]”

        Bojanowski does not substantiate the “well known”; and what interpretation is false or not should be subject to debate, not for him , von Storch or his sociologist goon to judge.

        Drops 5 notches in my esteem. A Spiegel Mitarbeiter after all.

  8. ArndB

    Now so many words. FOIA’s first release of emails was accompanied with only few. At „Comment 10“ at http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/open-letter/#comment-11917, Climategate commenced with the text:

    “FOIA said November 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm
    We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps.
    We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents.
    Hopefully it will give some insight into the science and the people behind it.
    This is a limited time offer, download now: http…………cont“.

    The post at The AIR VENT on 13 Nov. 2009 was about an Open Letter concerning a Letter, which 18 leading scientific organisations had written to the US Senate in October 2009. The Open Letter asked the heads of the organisations:
    ___“How could it happen that more than a dozen of the most prestigious scientific associations signed and submitted this letter on ‘climate change’ without having ensured that the used terminology is sufficiently defined. Good science can and is required to work with reasonable terms and explanations. ……cont/.” Both letters here: http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/open-letter/

    1. Jimbo

      The 2009 letter referred to “WE”. The 2013 letter referred to “I”. Could it just be the 2009 Climategate was a leak from their IT department to an accomplice outside. Since the investigations the insider kept his hands off while the accomplice continued? Just speculation. 🙂

      1. Mindert Eiting

        FOIA also said ‘ Combination of several rather improbable prerequisites just wouldn’t occur again for anyone else in the foreseeable future’. My guess is a love affair.

  9. Jimbo

    What if he is Dutch, wrote the manifesto in English then translated it into French, then into English? 🙂 What if he deliberately placed red herrings? What if he copied and pasted phrases from the web then ran them through a translator?

    Just my muddle in the puddle.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. More information at our Data Privacy Policy