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« Beware trolls bearing gifts - Josh 112 | Main | Abraham on the MWP »
Thursday
Jul142011

News of the World and UEA

From the comments at Climate Audit:

Outside Organisation

““We don’t advertise a lot of the things we do,” says Edwards, who was called in by the University of East Anglia when Climategate blew up. “That was really interesting. It’s very high level, and you’re very much in the background on that sort of thing.”

The university’s Climatic Research Unit wanted Outside to fire back some shots on the scientists’ behalf after leaked emails from the unit gave climate change skeptics ammunition and led to an avalanche of negative press about whether global warming was a real possibility.

“They came to us and said, `We have a huge problem – we are being completely knocked apart in the press,’” says Sam Bowen. “They needed someone with heavyweight contacts who could come in…”

This morning the Managing Director of the Outside Organisation was Former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis (he’s not MD any longer), Neil Wallis was deputy to Andy Coulson at News of the World. Andy Coulson until recently worked for the Prime Minster David Cameron.

Andy Coulson was arrested a few days ago, Neil Wallis was arrested this morning.

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Reader Comments (83)

I wonder if I had my phone hacked?

Jul 14, 2011 at 7:38 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

What is that saying about being known by the friends that you keep?!!

Jul 14, 2011 at 7:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie

He also worked for the MET (the Police MET not the Weather MET)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/8638180/Arrested-former-News-of-the-World-exec-was-employed-by-Met-Police.html

Jul 14, 2011 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

The funny thing is of course that even bringing the 'heavyweights' in, they still ended up looking completely flat footed. I still giggle at the performance Acton put up at the Commons Committee.

Jul 14, 2011 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Where are the emails that were exchanged among Wallis, his staff, UEA employees, The Team, and the whitewash committees?

Is this kind of expenditure of public funds not frowned upon in the UK? It is in the US.

Jul 14, 2011 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

So -- he was fired for bungling the UEA "climategate" job? ;-)

Jul 14, 2011 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

How much did that cost?

FOI time?

Jul 14, 2011 at 8:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDead Dog Bounce

Theo Goodwin makes an extremely good point. To expand a bit

Is UEA acting within its own Articles of Association (or equivalent) to employ PR people on behalf of one of its offshoots? And if so, is it entitled to use public funds to pay for them?

Presumably these guys, being business types not innocent and naive ex-civil servants, worked to a contract with UEA which should be FoIable. It would be very interesting to see their Terms of Reference and who signed it for UEA

And finally, given the total failure of their attempts to get UEA a good name, now would seem to be a good time for UEA to demand a refund of all the fees paid on the grounds of non-performance :-)

Jul 14, 2011 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

I just put up a comment on "Sheer Heart Attack" thread about (amongst other things) the Hackergate Inquiry. Anyone interested will find it there. (at just after 9.00pm)

Jul 14, 2011 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

"tabloid expertise"

Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

Jul 14, 2011 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Wasn't Sir David King making allegations about mobile phone hackers attacking the CRU on Newsnight? Perhaps Sir David had been briefed on contemporary research techniques by the UEA's PR gurus.

Jul 14, 2011 at 9:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Presumably Bob Ward and Fiona Fox had no involvement with this appointment

Jul 14, 2011 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Latimer Alder

Nicely put

Jul 14, 2011 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

I'd love to know exactly what "shots" they "fired back".

Fascinating that they felt they needed the services of an outfit normally relied on the keep seedy "slebs" out of jail.

I'm amazed they didn't go the whole hog and call in Max Clifford.

Jul 14, 2011 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

To echo Theo Goodwin, Dead Dog Bounce and Latimer Alder, it is time for another FOIA and EIR request. For starters, contract including statement of work and any amendments, invoices, email between the parties, progress reports, final or summary report, any other reports, summaries of any oral briefings should provide some grist for our mills.

Jul 14, 2011 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRayG

Further to the idea of more FOI requests.....

What stories did they manage to plant to rebut the Daily Express Headline, and did it "cost" UEA, or was it included as part of the currently unknown fee paid to OUTSIDE?

UEA paid Luther Pendragon, did they realise they were not up to it, or did Luther Pendragon recommend OUTSIDE, which would seem to be very expensive advice

Jul 14, 2011 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

No possibility here that the expertise sought was not in public relations, but more in profound insights into the minds of hackers?

Jul 14, 2011 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Oh, drat! I should've come here first! When I saw the story at CA, I decided to read the Edwards profile in toto. And I came across the exact same paragraph as your update, Bish! Posted it there and then came over here!

Wallis on "first", so to speak, certainly puts a darker complexion on this Outside operation, doesn't it?!

Golf Charley - re Luther Pendragon; IIRC, they were "officially" the designated hitters on behalf of Muir Russell, rather than UEA (although UEA would have paid the bills).

Jul 14, 2011 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard lied about carbon taxes to get elected in Australia and is confronted by an angry constituent. Gillard and her aides then try to pacify the lady by being patronising and continuing to lie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F46oFPCCgJ0

Jul 14, 2011 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterukipwebmaster

Pure speculation, of course, but while exploring the Outside Organization site, I came across the following in one of their "Case Studies". As part of their "strategy":

"We started leaking out rumours to the press [...]

Which reminded me that not too long ago, some pro-AGW journalist or other made a claim to the effect that he had it on "good authority" that it had been determined that the CRU E-mail disclosures were the consequence of a "hack".

This little "leak" didn't turn into a flood; but I can't help wondering whether Wallis (or another Outsider!) was the "good authority"!

The following is a comment I've left on their site:

Hilary Ostrov says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

14 July 2011 at 11:19pm
These case studies are interesting. I wonder if you would be kind enough to share similar details on the “climategate job” headed by Neil Wallis.

Thanks.

But I'm not holding my breath in expectation of an honest answer ;-)

Jul 15, 2011 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

That pro-AGW journalist is David Adams.

Jul 15, 2011 at 12:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

bish -
this is the most fantastic thread imaginable. many thanx to chu who posted the info on CA. there has long been a meme, which plays perfectly to the CAGW crowd, that Murdoch has opposed CAGW, which i have tried to show is not true many, many times. to now have Wallis being the man who perhaps masterminded the post-Climategate spin, is truly sensational.
will the Beeb, Guardian et al report this extraordinary revelation in their NONSTOP campaign to bring down Murdoch, while they completely ignore the fact so many other media houses have been implicated in the hacking saga?

14 July: Australian (Murdoch-owned): Stephen Brook: Papers of every stripe resorted to black arts
The commissioner's report to parliament showed that News of the World and other News International titles were not Whittamore's only customers: 305 journalists on nearly 30 publications were. Associated Newspaper's moralising tabloid the Daily Mail bought 958 pieces of information from him; Trinity Mirror's left-wing tabloid the Daily Mirror 681; the biggest-selling broadsheet, News International's The Sunday Times 52; and The Observer, sister paper to the holier-than-thou Guardian, 103. Others were involved...
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/papers-of-every-stripe-resorted-to-black-arts/story-e6frg6zo-1226094170128

in case articles disappear, i have posted the following timeline on CA (it's in moderation right now) to simply illustrate the overlapping of Wallis' time with the Met, Chamy Media and Outside:

1 May 2009: Guardian: John Plunkett: Neil Wallis to leave News of the World
Executive editor Neil Wallis to leave News of the World in August, six years after joining as deputy…
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/may/01/neil-wallis-news-of-the-world

14 July 2011: PR Week: Alec Mattinson: Outside Organisation MD Neil Wallis arrested in hacking investigation
Wallis joined Alan Edwards’ Outside Organisation in October 2009 as a senior consultant…
UPDATE: Chamy Media, owned by Neil Wallis, was contracted to provide strategic communication advice and support to the Metropolitan Police after he left the News of the World, it has emerged.
http://www.prweek.com/news/1080238

14 July: Channel 4: Arrested NoW man worked for Met and dined with top police
Records show that his company, Chamy Media, was dissolved on 3 May of this year after less than two years in operation…
http://www.channel4.com/news/arrested-now-man-worked-for-met-and-dined-with-top-police

14 July: Channel 4: Arrested NoW man worked for Met and dined with top police
The Metropolitan Police issued a statement explaining Mr Wallis’s business relationship with the force…
“…The contract ran from October 2009 until September 2010, when it was terminated by mutual consent…
http://www.channel4.com/news/arrested-now-man-worked-for-met-and-dined-with-top-police

Jul 15, 2011 at 1:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

this is too precious not to post:

7 May 2010: UEA: International gathering of story-makers at UEA
A major festival bringing together award-winning writers, photographers and artists takes place at the University of East Anglia next month...
We are bringing together those who have contributed to stories that have become important to audiences and readerships around the world and celebrating the University of East Anglia as a place where such stories are welcomed, as well as invented.”...
Cosmopolis programme, June 5 2010:
How to Make Your Music Heard – Drama Studio, 12.20pm
Austin Wilde (creative director, EMI publishing) and PR guru Alan Edwards (CEO, The Outside Organisation) will discuss the ups and downs of a career in the music industry.
http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2010/may/storymakers

Jul 15, 2011 at 1:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

The shots fired were obviously to keep the press from actually digging in on the leaks and their implications, and to find a way to keep the inevitable third party reviews very friendly.
It was very successful.

Jul 15, 2011 at 2:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Have you guys considered the possibility that the apparent dunderheaded-ness and incompetence of the UEA and the CRU could be an objective of a public relations campaign?

Jul 15, 2011 at 2:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

In my dotage, I have taken to writing fiction (mostly Irish Fairy Tales) and publishing fiction ranging from adventure (Indiana Jones type things) to science fiction as well. While not on par with Scribners, I make enough to pay the pub tab, so I speak with some minor authority:

Simply put, this plot would be to fantastic to publish. Nobody would believe it. It makes Harry Potter look plausible.

I truly hope that UEA gets slammed with a dozen FOIA inquiries over this issue. They deserve to to be roasted like an ox on a spit on the main college quad.

Jul 15, 2011 at 2:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Well, this is wandering a bit off topic, but improbably connecting pat's 1:39 post about Murdoch with Don Pablo's mention above of Harry Potter, is this "news" item.

Jul 15, 2011 at 3:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

I wonder if OO suggested that Prince Chuckles visit UEA and buck them up (as he did). It seems like a no-brainer.

Jul 15, 2011 at 5:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Knights

Shub asks:

Have you guys considered the possibility that the apparent dunderheaded-ness and incompetence of the UEA and the CRU could be an objective of a public relations campaign?

Well, I'm not sure what Phil Jones's Mum might have to say about this, but I must say that when all the "poor Phil" stories came out post-climategate, while I kept it to myself, I could not willingly suspend my disbelief ... it all seemed so ... staged.

Certainly shines a somewhat different light on Trevor Davies' performance at the Guardian debate (of, ironically, exactly a year ago: 14/07/2010 ... many thanks to Geoff Chambers and Alex Cull for this oh-so-timely transcript):

George Monbiot: [...] I'm going to start off with Trevor, and as with everybody, I'm going to start him off with a harsh question, which is: why was CRU's response to this issue such a total car crash?

Trevor Davies: It's very difficult for a good employer to get reputation management right. It's even more difficult when crucial international decisions have to be made. Most of the media wanted to talk to Phil. A number of us gave many interviews..

George Monbiot: This is Phil Jones the director of the Unit?

Trevor Davies: ... Jones yes. A number of us gave many interviews, most of which were ignored because we weren’t Phil. I talked about what I was confident about at the time, which was the science and data availability. By and large, my broadcast interviews were not shown at all. Everyone wanted Phil. Phil at that time was hounded by the press, quite literally, and he was incapable of talking to the press, and so I think we suffered the disadvantage of perhaps not quite getting the right balance between duty of care to our employers [sic] and our obligations to the press.

[and then Davies diverted from the "harsh question"-hro]

But the general question was, what did the emails reveal?

Which Davies followed with a recitation of the familiar mantra:

Well, the revelations, as interpreted by some on the basis of a very small sample from a great number over a long period, were far from reality. I say this on the basis now of three independent investigations into UEA, the Penn State investigations, a recent very large report from the US National Academy of Sciences, and the Dutch report on the IPCC.

And he smarmed his way downhill from there.

P.S. Thanks, Shub, for identifying David Adams as the pro-AGW "leakee" ... I thought it was him, but was on my way out, and didn't have time to check :-)

Jul 15, 2011 at 6:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

Martin Brumby: I just put up a comment on "Sheer Heart Attack" in which he ends: How's that for a policy option?

Excellent... but isn't that exactly what is being avoided? I do not think there can be any rational dispute of that, Martin... therefore the Berlin-style Wall. Hold the fort!

Jul 15, 2011 at 6:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

@hr0001

So you think Trevor Davies was acting under orders?? I thought the was just a smarmy incompetent and thoroughly inadequate pole climber and yes man who brought my (already low) impression of climatologists down another few notches.

But now you raise the interesting possibility that we was in fact a a smarmy incompetent and thoroughly inadequate pole climber and yes man who brought my (already low) impression of climatologists down another few notches acting under orders.

Jul 15, 2011 at 6:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

There was no sign of any invoices to the Outside Organisation in the info released by UEA. I assume this means that OO were actually retained by Luther Pendragon.

Jul 15, 2011 at 7:46 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Oh, you are so unkind, Latimer! I would never suggest or dream that Davies was "under orders". My impression is that he was just so incompetent that he needed to be tutored and scripted in the art of plausible pomposity - in order to ensure that his windbaggerisms words were "on message" ;-)

Jul 15, 2011 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

Our venerable host wrote:

There was no sign of any invoices to the Outside Organisation in the info released by UEA. I assume this means that OO were actually retained by Luther Pendragon.

With all due respect, Your Grace, considering the "talents" of OO, if they had been engaged by LP rather than UEA, do you not think that both Edwards and Wallis would have been far more circumspect (if not circumlocuitous) in depicting their involvement with UEA?

OTOH (and I know this is a real stretch) was there not a questionable payment from UEA to one of the police establishments? In light of Wallis's .. uh ... connections, perhaps this might be an avenue worth exploring!

Not to mention the fact that (IIRC) since payments to OO were not specifically mentioned in the FOI - and given what we know about UEA's "interpretations" of such requests, is it not within the realm of possibility that that they might have simply found "cause" for omitting disclosure of record(s) of payments to OO?

Jul 15, 2011 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

Yet another piece of evidence showing how the foundations of CAGW are built more upon image projection and media manipulation than on science.

Jul 15, 2011 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

there might be more in OO's annual report or accounts:

http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/6fd4d1cfc9d81ae65143fd04ec639b11/compdetails

Jul 15, 2011 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJason F

It begs the question, was ACPO Ltd bribed to drag its feet by, The University of Est Anglia at the behest of Neil Wallis. Or did Neil Wallis act as the bag man in the money drop.

Funny how the police employed via ACPO are exempt from FoI

Don you just love 'common purpose'

Jul 15, 2011 at 8:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

The following link is worth a read:-
http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com/2011/07/sorry-but-trinity-mirror-group-are-most.html

Jul 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

This is an nteresting development. Something else to draw to the attention of my MP.

In the opening comment our hosts asks:
"I wonder if I had my phone hacked?"

My guess is almost certainly Yes.

If it turns out to be on the Mulcaire list, BH may well be the last of the 4000 or so on this list to be informed - I think they have advised just 170 so far according to the evidence supplied to the HoC Home Affairs Select Committee.

Alternatively, and just as likely, it could be an officially sanctioned tap by the security services. Action against climate change is embodied in the Climate Change Act and the Carbon Plan is supported by all the major parties. Anyone opposed to this government policy, and the ideas behind them, would be regarded as a trouble maker. It would not surprise me if they had hacked this web site as well, to discover the names and e-mail addresses. I say this because I have been in at least two commercially sensitive situations (pre-mobile) where I am sure my phone and others were tapped. In both instances "post office engineers" were observed at work outside the relevant houses and inside offices. The solution was either to install a really secure scrambler or talk on the assumption that your words were being recorded on an unprotected phone and to save important conversations for when you could have them face to face.

If they are willing to stitch up the UEA enquiries the way they so obviously and openly did, you can be reasonably sure they would scarcely hesitate to tap a few phones along the way.

Jul 15, 2011 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

So UEA hired a PR to direct a covert communications strategy to attack critics of CRU in order to deflect criticism of climate scientists and the science.


Services

Publicity

Our team consists of some of the most talented publicists working in the industry today. We know just what makes or breaks a story, we have a keen interest in every aspect of the media and we have an unrivalled contacts book - from national media proprietor level through to regional blogger. In our opinion, the industry has too many PRs and too few publicists – people who really know what it takes to deliver a story and a key message which over time, will create talkability, will build a brand to its full potential and will deliver the result a client is looking for. From brand-Beckham, Belstaff and Bowie to Naomi Campbell, Champneys and Alice Cooper, we’ve worked alongside many of the most famous names and brands of modern times. And delivered for them.


Events

We have vast experience in managing some of the biggest (and smallest) events across the UK. From a round table industry discussion or intimate media dinner to the MOBOS, Help For Heroes Charity Event, Q Awards, Led Zeppelin’s first live performance in 30 years and the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women of the Year Awards, we’ve been in the thick of it and come away having secured great events, big books of cuttings, happy journalists and contented clients. Film premiere or celebrity product launch, we know how to manage a red carpet and we know how to maximise opportunity on the night to ensure an impressive noise and a great reaction across the next day’s media.

Crisis Management

From the Beckhams alleged kidnap plot, to Jerry Hall’s incarceration in the Caribbean on trumped up drugs charges, the So Solid Crew gun charges to Naomi Campbell’s evidence at The Hague and Climategate – we’ve seen it all, and more importantly, we’ve dealt with them. We have enormous experience in the field of media and privacy issues and have managed some of the most delicate ‘crises’ imaginable. Outside has advised and represented rock stars, footballers and business moguls in how to handle potentially damaging situations in the most effective, speedy and discreet fashion. We have broad experience in the legal aspects of difficult crisis situations. And, we are equipped to give immediate advice and put into place action plans without the need to defer decisions to a whole chain of experts at the drop of a hat. Often Outside has had to think on its feet with deadlines looming and clients hard to contact. We do of course work with most of the entertainment legal firms on the finer points of the law but have the necessary background and experience to weigh up situations and give the client the crucial advice when they most need it.

Digital PR

The web has exploded, social media has erupted and the way a celebrity, band or brand is created and maintained has changed as a result. For us, digital is just another communications channel and with our experienced team, we are in prime position to help create and manage the right online buzz and reputation for our clients. We were there at the start of the digital PR revolution and have helped artists and brands over the years – from Sirens to Diddy – to make the right digital noise..

Jul 15, 2011 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Now that Phil Jones’s name has been linked to Naomi Campbell’s, Perhaps the media will start taking an interest in the missing hotspot in the tropical troposphere.

Jul 15, 2011 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

The nub of the hacking scandal (thus far) is that private communications have been intercepted illegally and used in the pretence of holding wrong doers to account. The climategate emails have been intercepted illegally and used in the pretence of holding wrong doers to account.

I think the Bishop has surpassed himself in making tenuous disingenuous connections here.

PS I LOL'd at the first comment :-)

Jul 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone

Hengist, are you really equating private phone messages with emails between publically-funded organisations discussing research intended for the public domain? Why, indeed, am I even bothering to write this..?

Jul 15, 2011 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

According to the Independent http://tiny.cc/o5ngc

Wallis "is also a former member of the Editors' Code of Practice committee and of the Press Complaints Commission, the British newspaper industry's self-regulating body which has been accused by politicians of being too weak to tackle serious journalistic malpractice."

Jul 15, 2011 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterChu

Hengist.... No, I am not going to lower myself to engage with you again. Attempting to engage with your mad Alice-in-Wonderland logic is a bit like wrestling pigs in mud - one gets covered in foul-smelling mud and the pigs love it!

Jul 15, 2011 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

CEO of OO, Alan Edwards, put in an appearance at the University of East Anglia in the middle of last year. He was one of the speakers at UEA's Think Something Different event.

Jul 15, 2011 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

@mac

Your extract re digital PR: "For us, digital is just another communications channel and with our experienced team, we are in prime position to help create and manage the right online buzz and reputation for our clients. "...could easily include fielding trolls to distract and confuse the argument.

Jul 15, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

BREAKING NEWS


Well Rebekah Brooks has finally caved into the relentless media pressure and as of about 10:30 BST today has resigned

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/15/rebekah-brooks-resigns-phone-hacking-scandal?intcmp=239

“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_by_the_sword,_die_by_the_sword

I wonder what kind of 'keep schtum' package she has agreed with her former employers? I wonder where her next job is likely to be as she must know the 'dirt' on a lot of influential people.

Jul 15, 2011 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevinUK

KevinUK
This means that Rebecca Brooks IS now available to take over from Rajendra Pachauri.

Jul 15, 2011 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

I wonder if the work claimed to have been done by OO would have been routed through the universities own Media and Communications Department rather than through CRU itself.

Jul 15, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

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