A strange situation at wuwt - just who can defame and who can sue

The blog controlled by Watts with an iron hand against any "warmist" commenters has got completely out of hand on this thread with respect to his normal acolytes.:

A Cool Question, Answered?

Guest essay by David Archibald

an example:
Monckton of Brenchley says:
However, I have been free to put the other side of the case and, in those circumstances, no action against the blog would be likely to succeed: nor, in those circumstances (nor in any foreseeable circumstances, for our kind host has been remarkably kind and generous to me) would I dream of suing the blog. 
One of the many features of this case that struck the lawyer was the persistence of the perpetrators of the libels when they had been warned off. The courts, he said, would start by taking particular umbrage at any allegation of criminality or dishonesty made against a scientist, whose reputation for honesty is part of his stock-in-trade. But they would be very angry indeed – and that anger would be reflected in the damages – on seeing the sullen determination of the perpetrators, even after it would have become blindingly obvious to the reasonable man that they had no basis for alleging dishonesty, to continue to allege it.
It may have come as something of a surprise to some here that the law applies just as much to widely-circulated blogs as it does to widely-circulated newspapers. But it does. If Dr Evans were minded to pursue this to court, and if he could spare the time from his research to do so, there is only one circumstance – a certain sensitivity in this affair which I came across on analyzing what the perpetrators had said about Dr Evans – in which a judge or jury might not award very substantial damages. And it is precisely to give the principal perpetrator the advantage of that circumstance, in the interest of justice, that I shall be writing to his university once the dust has settled.

(My bolding)

Brenchley has threatened Leif Svalgaard by writing to his university:

This matter now passes to the authorities at the university with which Mr Svalgaard is associated, whose policy on good conduct Mr Svalgaard has grievously breached. I am asking the university to intervene with Mr Svalgaard in the hope that he can persuade him to apologize to Dr Evans and to moderate his language in future.

He has threatened Leif and others with expensive defamation cases:
Monckton of Brenchley says:
July 2, 2014 at 2:02 am
The legal position is now clearer. A grave libel has been committed – not, as I had thought, by only one person here, but by several. It has been persisted in after warnings to desist. The libel is based on a failure to pay close attention to what has already been revealed of Dr Evans’ work, and on a failure to wait for the imminent full disclosure before making serious criminal allegations, which have already begun to be repeated by others.

and summarised by Leif:
lsvalgaard says:

Here is a collection of comments [unbecoming a gentleman] by Mr Evans’ sidekick:
Monckton of Brenchley says:
June 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm
He is a quack, not a scientist. This was not inadvertence on his part: it was plain wickedness. Nothing he ever says again on any scientific subject can or will be taken seriously. He is finished, dead by his own hand.
Monckton of Brenchley says:
June 28, 2014 at 6:16 pm
Mr Svalgaard can no longer be taken seriously as a scientist.
Monckton of Brenchley says:
June 29, 2014 at 12:47 pm
There are certain minimum standards in scientific discourse, and Mr Svalgaard, here as all too often before, has fallen well below them.
Monckton of Brenchley says:
June 29, 2014 at 2:24 pm
Mr Svalgaard is using incorrect data. Plainly he has an agenda.
Monckton of Brenchley says:
June 30, 2014 at 8:23 am
the rude, hate-filled comments of Mr Svalgaard.

the whole thread is a larf and well worth reading.!!!!!!!!!!! (before the post removal starts!)

Now all this seems so like the Mann defamation actions. Mann is simply defending his reputation as a scientist - his livelihood depends on this. Just how often has the watts blog called him a fraud?
So how can Watts accept the machinations of Brenchley but then write so many articles critical of Manns actions?


  1. Ford,

    It looks as if the wuwt post has already been deleted as of 4th July. I could find no trace of it.

    Most intriguing. In doing this Watts is lining up with Monckton against "our resident solar expert" as Watts described Svalgaard not long ago.

    This is weird even by Monckton standards. The Noble Viscount has decided to take it upon himself to threaten with litigation anybody who he deems to be insulting this David Evans character, who is, so he assures us, about to unveil a theory that climate change is all due to changes in the sun - nothing to do with the Greenhouse Effect. In other words he's a "dragon-slayer" - just the sort that Watts inveighed against a little while ago for giving"skepticism" a bad name. This is one strange volte-face by Watts.

  2. I find the attitude of watts to be despicable. His, and his acolytes, hounding of Mann for his defamation actions compared to his support for Monckton is just so 2 faced.!
    One moment Monkton says he is big enough to hold his own in a slanging match, and then he starts threatening any blogger who mentions his stupid graph with costly court cases.
    A few years back I too was accused of defamation (with about 30 other contributors to a blog). Demands of £16,000 for damages from me were made. A number paid up to £6000 to prevent court appearance. A few of us decided to go to court, and to keep costs down represented ourselves. We won despite the claimant hiring one of the best Queens councillors. The judge was particularly interested in over compensation, and if there was any damage to reputation actually done. I think Monkton will find it difficult winning as such cases have to show yhey are "worth the candle" of going through costly court trials (costly to the UK and to participants). Its a very scary business however!