TwentyEightGate – the story so far

(translated from Italian following requests)

Brief summary on TwentyEightGate, my last…ahem…second journalistic “scoop” that has now traveled around the world as a nice, clean, legal cybertripping of the FOI bully called BBC.

It is a “scoop” important enough to bring almost 21 thousand visitors on this blog in a single day (November 13).

In a nutshell: the BBC has fought for five years against a pensioner (blogger Tony Newbery at Harmless Sky) to prevent him from getting a list of names of participants in a seminar on climate change, held on January 26, 2006. I found the list (in a perfectly legal way, as it was already on the internet) and facilitated its reading.

Maurizio 1 – BBC 0. In other words, Ordinary People 1 – FOI Bullies 0.

The fact that the list is important is not just an opinion. It has been made important by the BBC itself, and specifically by its decision to spend around £140,000 pounds (€175,000 or $225,000) in FOUR DAYS for SIX yes SIX lawyers to defend a “secret” that wasn’t, while on the other side Newbery was without a lawyer, accompanied by his wife on a trip of a few hundred miles to London.

In the face of such crass bullying, once the Court ruled in favor of the BBC (as if the verdict could have gone the other way!), I literally saw red enough to warrant spending some time looking for the list on the internet. My thought was, given the number of participants (sixty) someone could as well have “outed” the list for whatever reason.

In fact, I found a page of one of the seminar organizers (the IBT) where with a mixture of pride and publicity seeking somebody had decided to put online a list of all the participants in the workshops with the BBC from 2004 to 2007.

The PDF file was no longer on that site, but in plain view on the “Wayback Machine”, a site which keeps copies of many pages on the internet.

Here the original link to my blog where I showed the list to the world.

In English this has been mentioned in many places on the internet, in Canada, USA, Australia, United Kingdom (for example, Bishop Hill has a few links). There are also articles in France and in the Netherlands. Sooner or later I’ll make a list. I also participated as a guest to talk about “28Gate” in the recent online WUWT-TV marathon, organized by Anthony Watts of WUWT (the video will be placed here as soon as available).

The name “28Gate” was given by one of the commentators on WUWT, in consonance with the legendary Watergate and the number of “outsiders” at the seminar BBC, who were just twenty-eight (or so did the BBC say … now one can see thirty of them. Who knows.)

In the print media there is a James Delingpole article on the Spectator, entitled as usual very explicitly as “Here’s a BBC scandal that should really make you disgusted” (it should be kept in mind that, of late, the BBC moves from one scandal to another – notably, the four top executives who have recently resigned or stepped aside were all at the seminar of 2006). Also the Sunday Telegraph spoke about 28Gate in the Christopher Booker column for Nov 18.

This scandal has been mentioned also in Italian by Piero Vietti of Il Foglio (online and in print) and Guido Guidi of Climatemonitor (online). Plus in another blog where the obsession with me has no limits … but when I’m the topic of discussion, there is evidently no need to waste even a link.

Some clarifications:

  • I haven’t been interested in that list, first requested five years ago. I had not even bought the e-book from Bishop Hill.
  • The idea that the BBC really changed its editorial policy January 26, 2006, seems a hoax through-and-through, however a hoax told the BBC itself.
  • It is the BBC and not me which gave importance to that list. It is not my fault if the BBC has decided to throw away £40,000 per day for four days two weeks ago and against a pensioner.
  • The “scoop” is in the fact that I found posted online (by another of the organizers) what the BBC kept claiming it was a secret. Maybe they could have paid one fewer lawyer and get another person to search for the document.

We now know that:

  • The BBC may as well have lied when it said the list was a secret (we’re talking about a list of names, not what they actually said at the meeting)
  • The BBC may as well have lied when it said he was a high-level meeting
  • The BBC may as well have lied when it said that the meeting had changed everything about its climate reporting
  • Neither the BBC nor any of its overpaid lawyers are able to use the internet (as I said I found the list on Monday evening in half an hour).

There could be more serious things to talk about (the presence of a representative from the U.S. Embassy in the seminar would be a violation of the founding principles of the BBC) – but I do not have time for that, at least for the moment.

I also want to say the following:

  • I do not care if the BBC gets its editorial policies from magicians and fairies. I care that the BBC should be explicit, clear, clear and transparent on its editorial policies, and say so when they are inspired by magicians and fairies. It’s a matter of Trust, in every sense of the word.
  • I do not know how many have noticed, but there was no one at that meeting from the Met Office….
  • The BBC has all the rights in the world to use lawyers in court. But to me what matters is that the BBC, after having taken £145/year from me and millions like me, then should not spend that going around bullying FOI requestors – I am still waiting to find one-person-one who will justify the need to hire six lawyers against a pensioner. Not one lawyer (as would have been reasonable), two (if one can afford them), not three (already too many) – but six!