The controversy over ‘Satellitegate’ hots up as NOAA faces a court appearance for refusing to release evidence that would show whether one or more US satellites exagerrated global warming temperatures.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency focused on reporting the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. When the story first broke NOAA bizarrely announced it would withdraw satellite ‘images’ from its archives but failed to state whether reams of cooked data had also been withdrawn.
An official US Government statement last July confirmed that the NOAA-16 earth orbiting satellite used to measure surface temperatures suffered failure due to a “degraded” sensor system. But skeptics now fear that because government climate scientists won’t answer any more questions or reveal the discredited data archives they may be guilty of fraudulently cooking the books to show super boiling temperatures.
The story broke after an anonymous member of the public contacted a skeptic blog when he stumbled across thousands of alarming readings on a government website. The website showed thousands of surface temperatures of over 400 degrees fahrenheit. Dubbed Satellitegate the shocking revelations proved that all such bogus data had been fed automatically into data banks that the US Government then sold all over the world.
As proprietary temperature data products the junk numbers were used by domestic and international weather and climate researchers. Fears are growing that the junk data may have contaminated scores of climate models worldwide and artificially increased average global warming records by several degrees.
In the three months since the story hit the news NOAA still hasn’t come clean as to the true extent of the data contamination. Now it may be necessary for lawyers to file an official Freedom of Information request (FOIA) to compel the government, under federal legislation, to stop the cover up and reveal the truth.
US Government Has History of Breaking Law over Satellite Failures
This won’t the first time NOAA has cynically broken the law to hide embarrasing satellite problems. In 2008 desmogblog.com became embroiled in a similar FOIA confrontation- see ‘NOAA Stonewalls on DCSOVR Documents.’ It is believed that the DCSOVR satellite costing over $100 million may be cannabalised to destroy incriminating evidence that NOAA and NASA were conspiring to prevent the launch of that satellite because it would prove the numbers from other such sources were fake.
As desmogblog.com reports, “DSCOVR is designed to view the planet from the unique vantage point of one million miles distant, and according to leading researchers would immediately settle any remaining debate on the origins or seriousness of global warming.”
Degraded Climate Data Knowingly Sold for Over Five Years
Among the questions NOAA still hasn’t answered are: (1.) how long did NOAA knowingly sell to its network of international customers (mostly government weather and climate researchers) ‘degraded’ data and, (2.) why was no action taken until the story caused a public outcry five years after prominent climate researchers first made the faults known?
Sadly, some commentators on this issue omit to consider that it is common practice in corruption cases for conspirators to shroud their malevolence in the cloak of incompetence. To be fair to the commentator in question he has since publicly conceded, “But, I don’t know the full story.”
How the Law Addresses Corruption
Too often, those with little or no legal experience fail to address whether the alleged perpetrators have the means, motive and opportunity to engage in such conspiratorial acts. Willful ignorance of the facts and/or the law are recurrent themes in government corruption cases on which I’ve worked in both the UK and New York.
Courts must look for the mens rea (guilty mind) component of the wrongful act in conjunction with the actus reus (the rotten deed itself) otherwise, quite rightly, they will never convict.
Lawyers defending the indefensible will often resort to that hoary old chestnut of applying the “merely negligent” gambit to get government workers off serious charges. I have heard endlessly over the years from defense attorneys that we should “never presume malice where simple incompetence will do.” To the raw, untrained eye it often works.
Indeed, there is no prerequisite to doubt such an affirmative defense when there is the absence of any pattern of “error” because it is that pattern of repeated errors that leads to the guilty. What becomes apparent in good fraud cases is that the evidence always displays a pattern- a predictable sequence- of “errors” that go way beyond mere chance.
The Question that NOAA Still Won’t Answer
What makes the Satellitegate controversy so intriguing are three simple questions:
1. Why do the thousands of high temperature “errors” favor the alarmist (thus government) case?
2. Why were such “errors” only acknowledged by the US government when the story became big news?
3. Why won’t NOAA answer my follow on questions and release all the facts?
Invariably, apologists for science fraud often refer to systemic “errors” as nothing more serious than simple laboratory “selection bias” – and it sure is! Those involved only see what suits them. However, as we have seen in correspondingly substantial frauds (e.g. multi-billion dollar Madoff scandal and sub-prime mortgages) such “error” bias profits the individual or the organisation that crunched the numbers.
When that link between conscious act and subsequent gain becomes clear then it constitutes criminal fraud. Often when such cases are proved you’ll hear those same sanctimonious words uttered by apologists, “lessons will be learned” and they sure are – particularly lessons as to how best to mitigate being caught in the future!
How Self-preservation instinct leads to Conspiracy to Commit Fraud
As I have seen in courtrooms, many middle ranking officers, those loyal lieutenants, often rally behind the misdeeds of their superiors because they are clearly motivated by misplaced self-preservation in a process of ‘CYA.’ You “cover your ass” and concomitantly, by such a survival strategy you also cover the behinds of colleagues by wagon circling as a group. You know full well that your undoubted strength in numbers increases your own personal chances of avoiding censure/prosecution.
So how do anti-corruption specialists prove malfeasance/fraud under the civil burden of “the preponderance of the evidence?” Well, ultimately we need to demonstrate a good probability that X , Y or Z are unlikely to be merely incompetent time after time when their repeated errors favor only one outcome as opposed to a random one. When it becomes statistically improbable that such “errors” could be down to chance alone, that’s when a jury convicts.
What those without legal training also often fail to grasp are two key concepts that courts must address that may be fatal for those implicated parties:
(i) Omission-conscious failure to positively remedy a known error is malfeasance and may thus constitute conspiracy to commit fraud;
(ii) Loss or destruction of evidence by any party subject to an FOIA constitutes evidence abuse which is dealt with by the spoliation doctrine (i.e. the offending party is sanctioned under law because the law states that a party shall be punished when it ought to anticipate legal proceedings-thus securing conviction by default judgment).[1.]
The worst evidence of hyper-inflated global warming data that I found was on a web page entitled, ‘Michigan State University Remote Sensing & GIS Research and Outreach Services.’ When I contacted NOAA for further information I was denied by their lawyers. Is this necessary if we are talking about a non-problem over trivial errors of data no one uses? Does that smell of negligence or more of fraud? Taxpayers have a right to know what evidence has now become conveniently “lost” or destroyed.
NOAA and MSU have effectively blocked further access to all associated data preventing my associates and me from analyzing it to identify if there is any case to answer. We merely want NOAA to address the following:
- Since removing ‘images’ from their archives has NOAA or its Sea Watch partners taken steps to also remove infected ‘data’ from their archives?
- When did NOAA/Sea Watch Partners first know of this problem?
- Has NOAA and/or Sea Watch partners ascertained the scope and extent of this data error and what action (i) has been (ii) will be taken to avoid any further recurrence?
- Has NOAA/Sea Watch partners identified whether satellite data temperature anomalies impact other data sets and findings including global climate models?
- Why has NOAA sinisterly removed all entries for the NOAA-16 subsystem log about the satellite’s health and performance from 2005 onwards when such entries were cleared displayed online up to the date of my first ‘Satellitegate’ article?
- Were there errors also made in the NOAA-16 subsystem log that is a totally unconnected process to that of the degraded sensor.
- Will NOAA preserve/provide my investigators and me with the details of all the aforementioned data no longer displayed online, plus all associated data that may be relevant to investigations into the ‘Satellitegate’ controversy?
- Does NOAA continue to feed automated ‘degraded’ satellite data into its proprietary products that are bought by weather and climate researchers around the world?
- Why has NOAA not given any official notifications to (i) it’s paying customers and (ii) the public via its website/publications of the NOAA-16 faults despite Drs. Roy Spencer and John Curry making it known since 2005 that data was no longer reliable?
What Are the Public Left to Think Now?
As any competent government corruption attorney will tell you, repeated errors constitute malfeasance when a continuous and unrelenting omission to address a known sequence of data ‘degradations’ can be judged to be nothing short of a conscious and willful act.
Moreover, when there is also the intentional failure to divulge the evidence that would prove conscious intent not to correct a fault in your favor then that is also proof of fraud. Thus, a group of those who knew of the errors and collectively and consciously failed to act are as guilty of conspiracy to defraud as those who perpretrated the original wrong. Bankers have been jailed for less, why aren’t climate scientists?
[1.] Koesel, MM; Turnbull, TL; Gourash, DF; ’Spoliation of evidence: sanctions and remedies for destruction of evidence,’(2006), American Bar Association.