Mike Mann Defamation Update: The Unbearable Weirdness of Denial.

July 25, 2012

Normally, I try to stay out of the weeds of “inside baseball” conflicts between denialists and, well, sane people, but in this case, given Mike Mann’s recent call-out of the latest lunacy, I think it’s germane to get an update on a related situation that’s been simmering under the radar.

Big City Lib brings us this strange item:

It looks like Tim Ball’s legal defense in the defamation suit brought against him by climate scientist Michael Mann has gone entirely off the rails. Its a long story, and one that I must admit fell off the radar for me to the point where I didn’t realize how weird it was all getting.

It began back in March of 2011, when Ball accused Mann of scientific misconduct for his role in what has come to be known as “Climategate”.  Mann launched a defamation suit, and Ball turned for legal advice to one John O’Sullivan, co-author and driving force behind Slaying The Sky Dragona book purporting to “expose the climate fraud”.  You’ve heard it all before; the only thing distinguishing Sky Dragon from other similar titles was its sheer awfulness; not even the skeptic friendly Judith Curry could get behind its theories.

In any case, O’Sullivan went about his duties with great enthusiasm.  Here he is, for example, soliciting funds for Tim Ball’s defense at Anthony Watts blog.  Similar pleas for cash dating from the same time-frame can be found elsewhere.  More recently, O’Sullivan joined the chorus of people who have compared Mann to fellow Penn State luminary  Jerry Sandusky.

However, a couple of days ago, science journalist Andrew A. Skolnick left the following comment on Michael Mann’s facebook page:

It’s depressingly hilarious that one of the loudest-mouthed crackpots “linking” Prof. Mann to “pedophiles” is a former school teacher whose career ended in scandal almost a decade ago following his arrest and trial for sending dozens of obscene text messages to a 16-y-o school girl. Former high school art teacher John O’Sullivan was acquitted after his step-daughter testified she had sent the obscene messages — testimony that the judge said he did not find fully credible. O’Sullivan then published an autobiographical novel (titled “Vanilla Girl”) in which he defends what he called “kiddie fiddling” — I kid you not.*

Now, the thing with it is, he’s not kidding.  Every point in the above has been thoroughly documented, even the last bit.  For example, this series of emails traces the laborious process by which Mr. Skolnick confirmed that O’Sullivan purchased his law degree  from “Hill University”, an on-line diploma mill that sells any degree in any field with a “promised delivery in just 14 days!”  Here is a brief account of O’Sullivan’s trial, and if you are so inclined, Vanilla Girl can be found through Google.But wait!  There’s more!  And it gets even weirder!
Skolnick next took O’Sullivan to The Law Society of British Columbia for representing himself as a consultant with Pearlman Lindholm, Tim Ball’s real lawyers.  The society then opened an investigation into Michael Scherr of Pearlman Lindholm for allowing  an unauthorized person to practice law.  Here’s the result of that investigation;  the society accepted Scherr’s contention that O’Sullivan worked for Ball, not the firm and, well, Scherr just assumed the guy was a lawyer.  I’ll give Mr. Skolnick the last word: I should point out how funny I find Mr. Scherr’s explanation to the Law Society. He admits to having handed out money from Ball’s legal defense fund to O’Sullivan for his “consulting” services, but states that O’Sullivan was working for Ball, not for his law firm and that he “took no steps to investigate Mr. O’Sullivan’s professional status.” 
So here he was paying someone who didn’t know the name of the court that is hearing the case (in his published comments O’Sullivan kept calling it the “Vancouver Supreme Court”), someone who didn’t know where the law firm he was helping is located (he repeatedly claimed it’s in Vancouver, a two-hour drive from Victoria, where it’s actually located), and someone who didn’t seem to know that the name of the PLAINTIFF ALWAYS comes first in the title of a law suit (O’Sullivan called it “Tim Ball vs. Michael Mann). And Mr. Scherr never thought to inquire about Mr. O’Sullivan’s credentials? How very funny.
So what’s the take-away message?  I dunno.  That within denier circles they bullshit one another as thoroughly as they do the general public?  That anyone can practice this law thingy in B.C.?  We can definitely conclude that Tim Ball’s legal fees have been going up a bit recently.PS. A quick note. As several people have noted, you can’t actually drive from Vancouver to Victoria, as it is located on Vancouver Island.  The car ferry you take over does take about two hours to get there (1 hour 40 minutes to be more precise).  I’m not sure if that’s what Skolnick meant to say or not.

38 Responses to “Mike Mann Defamation Update: The Unbearable Weirdness of Denial.”

  1. agfosterjr Says:

    “Freak show.” “Utterly clueless arrogance.” And then, “curb the name calling — that’s my job.” Such is the intellect and hypocrisy of a believer. And this: “we await your publication refuting the observed rise.” Reading comprehension lacking? I said “there ARE plenty of places where sea level has NOT gone up in recent decades.” Countering the absurd claim of the JPL crackpot. Do you deny that sea level has gone down anywhere? Have you never seen a sea level map? Here’s a hint: usually the blue represents falling sea level and the red indicates rising. Of course you’ve never seen a sea level map, like Mr. JPL I guess; that’s why you’re both believers. Since you don’t know how to google here’s a little help:

    Click to access Becker_etal_GPC12.pdf

    See figure one. Good luck with kindergarten lesson #1. (“utterly clueless arrogance” –what a joke!) –AGF

    • greenman3610 Says:

      you totally justified my confidence. It’s great to have this on display, because I couldn’t make up something as blusteringly clueless as this.
      I hereby affirm that you and I do not know each other, and I did not put you up to this.
      Like I said, we await your publication.

  2. agfosterjr Says:

    Vacuous insults, devoid of content or any hint of understanding. The fact remains (for any intelligent observer) that for a large fraction of the coasts, sea level is dropping (no new paper needed, fool). On the average of course it is rising, but so slightly that in many areas geological processes cancel the miniscule rise. See, the Atlantic coasts are moving apart at about 20 times the measured rate of sea level rise (and they move up and down too), but the imbeciles make of the measured rate an impending disaster. Too bad the Japanese didn’t worry about tsunamis instead of sea volume. Like I say, there are no intelligent alarmists. –AGF

    • greenman3610 Says:

      thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify. — obviously you haven’t been watching this blog. this has been discussed.


      sea levels variation from place to place is well known.
      The average is clearly rising according to satellite data.

      while I appreciate your entertainment value, I would caution you again about abusive language, which reflects poorly on you, and by the way – on this blog – is my job.

      • agfosterjr Says:

        Do you have a dictionary of permissible language, or do you make it up as you go along? (“blusteringly clueless” permitted, ‘fool’ not permitted?)

        The sea level video is typical of the hype–there’s hardly a supportable claim in it. I refer you again to the graph at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Recent_Sea_Level_Rise.png

        If you think you have a better one feel free to link it. There simply are no current data from which may be extrapolated a future trend different from the present 3mm/year. The claim that it has accelerated at any time in the last 80 years requires an unwarranted conflation of data: comparing sea gauge to sat readings.

        Sea volume expansion is so slow at present that even absolute sea level is not uniformly increasing, much less relative sea level. As far as relative sea level concerns go sea volume ranks last, behind tides, hurricanes, tsunamis, fluid depletion (land or sea: gas, oil, water), sediment diversion, eustatic adjustment, etc.

        As for increasing disaster frequency, Haupt’s chart is extremely questionable. Inflation is controlled for and presumably population growth. Detection and definition are hardly controlled for–the chart is spurious. And if it weren’t we would still need some mechanism linking GHG’s and extreme atmospheric behavior. Until the science is treated like a science we are left with rhetoric and propaganda–none worth paying any attention to. Climate alarmism is the furthest thing from good science that the modern world has ever seen. –AGF

  3. agfosterjr Says:

    “20 times”? Make that double. The Atlantic drift rates are some of the lowest measured. –AGF

  4. Speaking of sea rates around the world.
    This may be of some use to some (Nice interactive map).


  5. livinginabox Says:


  6. Well known Comedy Performance Artist Christopher Monckton recently based a comedy theme on the premise that Climatologist Michael Mann has dropped his law suit against 8 year Geography Prof Tim Ball.

    When asked about that Roger McConchie, Mann’s lawyer in the case, wrote:

    “I conducted an examination for discovery (deposition) of Tim Ball under oath before a Court Reporter in Victoria on Friday, March 1, 2013. I will continue that deposition of Ball in late May, 2013. Michael Mann is scheduled to be examined for discovery in Vancouver by Ball’s lawyer on May 22, 2013. I anticipate conducting discoveries of Ball’s co-defendant Frontier Centre for Public Policy in the near future. Christopher Monckton’s statement about the litigation has no basis in reality.”

    Roger McConchie never got to depose Tim Ball when his law firm defended Environmental Science Prof Dr. Dan Johnson in a suit Tim Ball filed against Johnson and 3 Calgary Herald Editors. The response documents were so devastating to inflated claims of Ball’s expertise that Ball gave up, rather having it go to trial.

    Ball could have taken a lesson from that debacle. The fact that Ball failed to catch a clue is something to consider when evaluating what Ball writes and says.

    Roger McConchie (with David A. Potts) literally wrote the book on “Canadian Libel and Slander Actions”


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