Daily Distortions no.14. Two critics chicken out. A coincidence?

We’ve written two articles for SeekingAlpha (you can find them here and here). The second one attracted some funny comments. We have explained why these comments were funny before (here), and one would be critic, a certain Alan von Altdorf of some energy consulting company has now chickened out of the “formal assessment” he promised. So a university lecturer falls short on arguments, and an energy consultant doesn’t even dare to try any more. Does the latter have something to say for himself? Well..

It’s funny. InterOil attracts criticism. We don’t have a problem with that at all (readers here will probably realize we like a good discussion), but as soon as people use arguments, much of that criticism doesn’t stand up to even perfunctory reading, as we have tried to show over and over again here. So far we have met with very little resistance.

A certain Alan von Altdorf, apparently from CWX consulting (we say apparently, as we couldn’t immediately locate his name on the website but he did state this as ‘his’ website when commenting on our second article) argued:

  • The last thing I wanted to do this weekend was look at another impenetrable scam spawned by Enron and Merrill. Rather than comment here, I’ll do a formal assessment. [Alan von Altdorf]

We had multiple issues with that comment (you can read these here), it was the kind of low blow we’re getting used to. Only one of these issues was our question what kind of formal assessment one could do “this weekend”. Apparently, Alan himself came to the conclusion that no formal assessment can be done in a weekend (It will take Netherland Sewell a couple of months).

But if it takes longer, we were curious who would pay them to do that, as his company is a consultancy, could he waste all that time on a “formal assessment” without getting paid. It doesn’t look like he (like us) is retired…

Well, to cut a long story short, he actually blew the whole assessment (formal or otherwise) off, and here is his reason. It’s quite stunning:

  • More good news: on advice of counsel, we won’t be covering OIC. [Alan von Altdorf]

With that short notice came a link that is supposed to provide the reason for this withdrawel, here it is:

It’s not a surprise to us that he chickened out, but the reason he provided is. So:

  1. He promises to do a formal assessment, and he chickens out because a lawyer advised him not to proceed?? Huh??
  2. We have seen the most grossly distorted nonsense on InterOil, only a fraction of which we have reported here. As far as we are aware, nobody has been sued. If anyone has any information as to the contrary, please come forward!
  3. Is it something that happens often, analyst getting sued because companies do not agree with their findings? We’re not aware of that.
  4. So the percentages of getting sued are probably very slim indeed. However, if you’re being sued it by no means guarantees that you will lose..
  5. If he said nothing factually incorrect, would he still have a chance of losing such a court case. We think those percentages are even a lot smaller…

So what are you afraid off, Alan? If you have something to say, say it. But please don’t do it in the Eric Sussman way, use sources and arguments instead..

Or perhaps all those good DST results lately have pulled the rug under his invisible arguments? We think the percentages for that are a lot higher than the risk of Alan being sued..

But hey, that’s only our opinion..

And then there is that Boston character, on which we reported a host of distortions (Daily Distortions no.1-10). We like fair play, so we offered him a page on our website where he could write a rebuttal. Not surprisingly, he declined, and didn’t stop there..

  • You basically lie about the company and about me through a 13 page screed. You do so by cutting and pasting parts of my old posts. [Bostonkenmore]

We pointed out that these pages provided sources to the whole original post, all of them. He’s not satisfied with that:

  • They don’t have links to the entire thread. Of course we are counting on that. [Bostonkenmore]

We then pointed out that “The original posts are within the thread if you click the post, you also get the entire threat.” Since he could not respond to that (obviously) he just said:

And went on:

  • I could probably fill more than 13 pages with distortions and lies that you have told about Interoil. I unfortunately don’t have several hours to research your posts, and analyze your lies. [Bostonkenmore]

We challenged him also to that, and this is what he came up with (ultimately):

  • I love it. STPIOC basically lied about IOC doing an extended test that would test the pressurization of the well. Now it has stalked me, written a 13 page personal screed, and called me a criminal. You should see his stance on seeking alpha where he bashes everyone who dares to even question the article. Its sad really. [Bostonkenmore]


  1. We challenge him to disprove of what we wrote about him, even provide him a page here, he declines, arguing he doesn’t have time (although he just posts all day on message boards and spends a great deal of time on the IOC board)
  2. Complains that I cut and paste, but I provide all sources to all original posts, which can be seen within their context
  3. Having no arguments left, and not willing to address ours, he then just states we lied, without any further argumentation or source. We’ve seen that before..

We have to admit that even us were not prepared for this extreme level of disingenuousness. A guy who distorts massively, refuses to defend the arguments that meticulously point that out, instead just calls it all lies, calls that we write lies about InterOil without being able to even point out a single one, it’s pretty strong stuff.

We went to some other message boards to warn people about him and that was perhaps not a good idea, as it gave him the opportunity to call us a stalker. But we think this person is the worst we’ve seen and should be stopped. The only way we know how is to carefully lay bare the gaping holes in his arguments (when he uses any). It’s not something we enjoy.