To Anthony Watts,
Letter before action in accordance with the rules of common law jurisdictions in general and of the English Civil Courts1 in particular.
In the general context of this letter, my use of the term 'you' shall be taken to mean, include and imply any or all of the persons Anthony Watts, Steve Goddard, Christopher Monckton and any other person who may have, at the relevant time, been responsible for the provision of main content or the administrative oversight of articles and / or comments unless the context hereunder clearly indicates otherwise.
This letter constitutes a request for remedy of a tort, namely: several false claims made on your web site wattsupwiththat.com: false claims such as are detailed below and which constitute grounds for an action in tort against you.
it is my submission that, as a matter of civil law in common law jurisdictions, you have committed a tort against me both directly and indirectly in that:
you have published, presenting them as if factual, statements known to you as being counterfactual;
you have taken no steps to remedy said statements despite being advised of their counterfactual nature;
you have claimed for yourself a credit in status to which you have no legal, moral or ethical right;
as a result of the counterfactual statements complained of you have acquired revenues to which you have no legal, moral or ethical right
your gain in reputation and your gain in financial reward constitute a gain which rightfully belongs to me and to Hank Campbell, the owner of the scientific outreach site science20.com
the way in which you have - apparently with deliberate intent - manipulated the story of the Petermann Ice Island (2010) calving event in a manner damaging to the reputations of those who are engaged in alerting the world at large and politicians in particular to the warning signs of climate change;
in consequence of which I have, in my submission, locus standi in any court of common law jurisdiction which has jurisdiction to hear a civil claim against you.
Your liability in common law jurisdictions:
as lawful owner and / or custodian of the web site wattsupwiththat.com you, Anthony Watts, are responsible for all content. Where such content is or may be damaging to the good reputation and / or income of any person or persons it is your responsibility to ensure accuracy -
subject only to this condition -
that the published material is clearly intended as satire and is not intended to be taken as a statement of fact.
The matters complained of:
In my submission, your manipulations of fact clearly constitute, not just an inaccurate statement of scientific facts but an attempt to obtain credit for yourself which, quite apart from any question of ethics, is legally, morally and ethically due to myself and others.
My claims of your mendacity are listed and detailed herein.
I am reluctant to send you this complaint as a formal, printed and mailed letter before action, as you have a reputation - a reputation which I find credible - of publishing the personal addresses of people who complain about your mendacity.
I am also reluctant to post this complaint as a comment on your site, as you have a
reputation - a reputation which I find credible - of deleting comments which try to make clear to your many readers how you are using propagandist methods to deliberately delay climate change remedies by clouding the scientific issues.
Such is your reputation amongst credible sources for deleting or amending content without explanation that I have taken the precaution of saving screen shots, page source code and other evidence of the matters complained of. I have invited reputable persons to do the same.
You recently published an article in which you made a false claim, namely, that
"Readers will surely recall when WUWT was the first climate news outlet to publish this story:"
That false claim was published on August 13 2010:
Ice Capades – New Iceberg Not What It is “Cracked Up” To BeIn proof: a partial screen shot:
Posted on August 13, 2010 by Anthony Watts
By Steve Goddard
Readers will surely recall when WUWT was the first climate news outlet
to publish this story:
Oh no! Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan
In further proof: an excerpt from the cited web page source code:
You were challenged on that false claim by Günther Kirschbaum on August 14, 2010 at 8:40 am.
In response for a request for proof, Günther Kirschbaum posted, on August 14, 2010 at 9:34 am, an embedded link to my article on the Petermann Ice Island which I had posted on August 05 2010. The link was posted in the form of an embedded link:
In proof: a screen shot
Not only did you fail to address the issue of your false claim to priority of publication raised in comments: you failed to address follow-up comments which were unhelpful to the resolution of the question of priority of publication.
Günther Kirschbaum's statement that you were not the first to publish was endorsed by Phil. - August 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm in a subsequent comment:
From the link cited - a clear proof that the ice island, now known officially as Petermann Ice Island (2010), was first reported by me, here at science20.com and not by you as you falsely claim:
Günther, Goddard always feels the need to boost his self-importance, as you rightly point out WUWT was certainly not the first, Patrick Lockerby reported it first before UD, Neven followed it up before WUWT (Aug 5, 2010 5:55:37 PM | Animation, Glaciers, Satellite images) http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2010/08/animation-10-petermann-glacier-ice-tongue.html
And the catch of this melting season goes to Patrick Lockerby, having
spotted something very
spectacular indeed between the blanket of clouds. I take my
sombrero off to you, sir!
Despite being presented with further proof, you again failed to grasp an opportunity to correct the article in question by withdrawing your claim of priority of publication.
I submit that your false claim of priority of publication was made knowingly.
In evidence of this, I have several proofs in evidence of your inclination to use the methods of propaganda, such as:
The clever placement of the image - which is nothing whatsoever to do with the story - in close proximity to the words 'poster child' demonstrates that you, or whover so placed the image, is highly likely to be conversant with propaganda skills. The adjacency effect causes the uncritical mind to link the image with the term 'poster child' in your cleverly chosen words:
So far the media (and foot in mouth politicians) haven’t disappointed in their zeal to make this “business as usual” for a glacier into a poster child.The overall effect of your propaganda trick is to lead many uncritical readers to believe that it was climate scientists collectively who had created the image in order to appeal to the emotions of the general public in such a way as to boost public acceptance of the evidence for global warming and/or climate change.
You have most skillfully placed an image in proximity to emotion-arousing text - without proper credit to the owner of the copyright - in such a manner as to lead your readers to assume that climate scientists in general are propagandists.
The simple fact is that the photograph of the penguins, not native to the Arctic, on an ice floe in Antarctica was almost certainly produced by Simon Coggins, a notable photographer. It has no connection whatsoever with Petermann Ice Island (2010) in particular, or the Arctic in general.
Further, you assert without any explanation that the greatest single calving of an Arctic glacier floating ice tongue in recorded history is “business as usual” for a glacier. Unless you are able to furnish proof - to a standard high enough to be generally accepted by scientists - that this event is not unusual, it is a false statement.
Regarding your admonition: “Watch the media now as this story is only about an hour old.”
The unqualified suggestion: “Watch the media now as this story is only about an hour old.” may be interpreted as a claim that you published the story within 'about an hour' of the event. That would constitute another false claim.
The original article which you falsely claim to have posted on the web before any other science news outlet.
In your original article - Oh no! Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan -
to which the above refers - you make several false and/or misleading statements about the Petermann Ice Island (2010) calving event.
Oh no! Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan
Posted on August 6, 2010 by Anthony Watts
Greenland glacier calves island 4 times the size of Manhattan, UD scientist reports it last happened at this scale in 1962. Must have
been climate change back then too. Watch the media now as this story is only about an hour old. BTW it fractured, not melted, and in case some people forget: glaciers calve to the sea there, it is what they do. – Anthony
In the article complained of you state:
"UD scientist reports it last happened at this scale in 1962. Must have been climate change back then too."
It is clear from your many articles that you have a perfectly adequate grasp of the English language. You therefore have no excuse for your ambiguous use of the term 'it'. In the context in which the term is used, 'it' is clearly and unambiguously intended to deceive - to incline your readers to believe that Petermann Glacier ice tongue calved an ice island in 1962 of circa 250km2. This claim is patently mendacious.
From your many articles on climate science - purportedly - it appears to me that you are disinclined to agree with anybody who claims that climate change is, or might be, caused by human activities. So disinclined - I suggest - that you will use any propaganda trick within your knowledge to convince your readers - and through them, politicians - that climate change is most likely not caused by humans.
you appear to me to be employing propaganda techniques such as to try to convince your many readers that no climate or weather event - no matter how extreme - can ever be considered to be evidence of anthropogenic climate change: evidence has accumulated since at least the second half of the 19th century when the formal study of human-induced climate change first began. The rate of accumulation of such evidence has since accelerated.
I have saved copies of publicly available documents which you and your colleagues have produced which, in my submission, would constitute more than sufficient evidence of your mendacity if presented as evidence in any civil court of common law jurisdiction.
The strange weather and local climate events which have occurred this year in every land and clime add to the exceedingly great amount of evidence showing that the climate changes due to global warming are happening and are happening faster than predicted in IPCC reports and other such reports from reputable scientists.
you persist in supporting the absurd notion that almost every scientist on the planet is engaged in a conspiracy to promote an agenda for their financial gain, jointly and severally.
In my submission, using the principle known as Occam's Razor, given a choice between a conspiracy between every reputable climate scientist in every country or a conspiracy between a handful of lobbyists masquerading as concerned citizens, a court would have no difficulty in prefering the latter hypothesis.
And there are other complaints to address should this matter proceed to court.
The remedy sought:
A prominent withdrawal of the false claim complained of
A prominent apology to me for making the false claim - to be placed on your site ahead of the content in the two articles cited.
damages in an amount to be determined between myself, yourself and - should he wish it - Hank Campbell, owner of science20.com - such damages as I accept from you as a gesture of your goodwill or are awarded to me in a court of law to be paid to DEC - The Disasters Emergency Committee.
The calculation of damages:
You boast about how popular your site is: that it has had 50 million hits
There’s me, my volunteer team of people, guest posters, and gobs of readers. So yes, technically I haven’t done this by myself, it was done with the help of like minded people from all walks of life, from all over the world. It’s an international grass roots based operation. I suppose that some people who have never run a business, especially bootstrapping a business from next to nothing, would not understand how anyone could build a blog from zero into one that has become internationally recognized, at the top of its category, and challenging enough for it to cause the government agencies like NOAA, NCDC, and EPA to have to react to it. That’s the power of the collective readership here.and similar such boasts.
Your site is funded by advertising revenues and by sales of your various weather-related knick-knacks.
Accordingly, I would invite a court to assume that you have deprived science20.com in general, and my blog in particular, of substantial potential traffic and advertising revenues in an amount related to your own claims about the popularity of your own web site and the volume of traffic received.
No other climate related blog has a 50 million hit number. Some, like Joe Romm try to claim the numbers don’t matter, or try to claim that some other number matters more.Source: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/29/a-cool-50-million/
For the purpose of calculating the amount of damages to be paid - but for no other purpose express or implied - I am happy to concede that your site is the most popular climate related blog on the entire planet.
 - http://www.justice.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/menus/rules.htm
You may reply to me by email or in a comment below.
Anthony Watts is a U.S. resident.
Would any reader who happens to be an attorney care to take this up as a no-win no-fee or pro bono, in the event that there is no response - or no adequate response from Anthony Watts?