CRU inquiry prompts sought after changes in UK law, citing failure of CRU’s FOIA officer

Breaking news from the UK: Inquiries by Jonathan Leake at The Sunday Times have revealed new developments in the Climategate affair.

I previously reported about the current predicament:

Loophole in UK FOIA law will apparently allow CRU to avoid prosecution

Now, news from ICO shows that they will seek a change in the law. This communications from the ICO shows what they plan to do.

The actions of scientists at the Climatic Research Unit to thwart Freedom of Information inquiries has prompted the UK Information Commissioner’s Office to seek a change in the law so that it could seek prosecutions against researchers who commit similar offences.

Graham Smith, Deputy Commissioner, said in an emailed press release:

“Norfolk Police are investigating how private emails have become public.
The Information Commissioner’s Office is assisting the police investigation with advice on data protection and freedom of information.

The emails which are now public reveal that Mr Holland’s requests under the Freedom of Information Act were not dealt with as they should have been under the legislation. Section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act makes it an offence for public authorities to act so as to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requested information. Mr Holland’s FOI requests were submitted in 2007/8, but it has only recently come to light that they were not dealt with in accordance with the Act.

The legislation requires action within six months of the offence taking place, so by the time the action taken came to light the opportunity to consider a prosecution was long gone. The ICO is gathering evidence from this and other time-barred cases to support the case for a change in the law. It is important to note that the ICO enforces the law as it stands – we do not make it.

It is for government and Parliament to consider whether this aspect of the legislation should be strengthened to deter this type of activity in future. We will be advising the University about the importance of effective records management and their legal obligations in respect of future requests for information. We will also be studying the investigation reports (by Lord Russell and Norfolk Police), and we will then consider what regulatory action, if any, should then be taken under the Data Protection Act.”

If you need anything further please contact us.

Kind regards,

Gemma

ICO Press Office
020 7025 7580
icopressoffice@xxxx.xxx
http://www.ico.gov.uk

==========================

But wait there’s more!

Here’s the release on the new Parliamentary inquiry.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE
Select Committee Announcement

22 January 2010

NEW INQUIRY

THE DISCLOSURE OF CLIMATE DATA FROM THE CLIMATIC RESEARCH UNIT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA

The Science and Technology Committee today announces an inquiry into the unauthorised publication of data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The Committee has agreed to examine and invite written submissions on three questions:

- What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
– Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate (see below)?
– How independent are the other two international data sets? (footnote 1)

The Committee intends to hold an oral evidence session in March 2010.

Background

On 1 December 2009 Phil Willis, Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, wrote to Professor Edward Acton, Vice-Chancellor of UEA following the considerable press coverage of the data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The coverage alleged that data may have been manipulated or deleted in order to produce evidence on global warming. On 3 December the UEA announced an Independent Review into the allegations to be headed by Sir Muir Russell.

The Independent Review will:

1. Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at CRU to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice and may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes.

2. Review CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.

3. Review CRU’s compliance or otherwise with the University’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (‘the FOIA’) and the Environmental Information Regulations (‘the EIR’) for the release of data.

4. Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds. (footnote 2)

Submissions

The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:

Each submission should:
a) be no more than 3,000 words in length
b) be in Word format (no later than 2003) with as little use of colour or logos as possible
c) have numbered paragraphs
d) include a declaration of interests.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to scitechcom@parliament.uk and marked “Climatic Research Unit”. An additional paper copy should be sent to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm

Please also note that:
– Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

- Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

- Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

- Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

Notes to Editors

Media Enquiries: Becky Jones: 020 7219 5693

Committee Website: http://www.parliament.uk/science

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151 Responses to CRU inquiry prompts sought after changes in UK law, citing failure of CRU’s FOIA officer

  1. Peter of Sydney says:

    I don’t understand this. If they broke the law by not responding to the FOI requests in time then why aren’t they being charged under the law as it stands? If they can get away with it then the law is so weak it’s totally useless and anyone can now ignore them. They can’t have it both ways. Something is not right. This is getting much worse than I thought.

  2. crosspatch says:

    I don’t understand why they continue calling them “the hacked email exchanges”. Has anyone produced any evidence of anyone from outside CRU “breaking in” and stealing this data? I have not heard of anything like that to date.

  3. KTWO says:

    Off topic, but not too far. This story looks worth a post here.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7003622.ece

  4. CodeTech says:

    Okay, this appears to me to be a tacit admission that CRU broke the law, but the law was so weakly worded that there is nothing that can be done… and the result will be a move to repair that law.

    I am definitely smiling for this one.

  5. Mike Jonas says:

    “Each submission should:

    b) be in Word format (no later than 2003)”

    That nicely eliminates just about everyone.

  6. Pete says:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7003622.ece

    The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser.
    ,,,
    He said that it was wrong for scientists to refuse to disclose their data to their critics: “I think, wherever possible, we should try to ensure there is openness and that source material is available for the whole scientific community.”

  7. brc says:

    Peter of Sydney : from what I gather, you have to complain within 6 months of the FOI request, or they can’t take action. Kind of a statute of limitations as it were. Happy to be told otherwise, I’m sure others know exactly what this is about.

  8. CodeTech says:

    Mike Jonas:

    Um… “Save As…” in either Word 2007 or OpenOffice Write…

    Unfortunately, the office I work at is also stuck in 2000, but we manage to communicate with the world (mine is the only PC in the place running Windows 7 and everything current).

  9. Mack says:

    It would seem that the law is silly as Peter of Sydney has pointed out and it will ,with luck be changed. But may I remind folks of the infamous Al Capone? Please,I am being serious. Al evaded the law on all sorts of technicalities until he was caught by the Taxman. Given the amounts of money involved in this scam ,perhaps this is the way to bring the crooks to justice? Pachauri’s slush fund TERI has not filed accounts for 6 years in the UK for example.

  10. Henry Galt says:

    The. Gone. Has. Stable. Horse. Bolted. Door. The. After.

    Rearrange at user’s discretion.

    The whole point of the FOIA was to hide the truly compromising stuff from the riff-raff dontcha know. Orwell would be proud.

  11. Chap inEngland says:

    Be reasonable, Mike – they’ve only just phased out quill pens and parchment.

  12. Edbhoy says:

    Mike Jonas
    You can save your Word documents in previous version formats.
    Ed

  13. vukcevic says:

    Climate change sceptics should not be dismissed, the Government’s chief scientific adviser has said, as he called for more openness in the global warming debate.
    Prof John Beddington admitted the impact of global warming had been exaggerated by some scientists and condemned climate researchers who refused to publish data which formed the basis of their reports into global warming.
    In an interview, Prof Beddington, called for a new era of honesty and responsibility from the environmental community and said scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7081039/John-Beddington-chief-scientist-says-climate-change-sceptics-should-not-be-dismissed.html

  14. HotRod says:

    Anthony the title of this blog is not really English as we know it?

    But a devastating press release. Someone has to lose their job, whether the FoI officer at the Uni, and Jones is clearly complicit from the emails.

  15. JohnH says:

    “Each submission should:

    b) be in Word format (no later than 2003)”

    That nicely eliminates just about everyone.

    No this means that anyone can submit, if you own a newer package they always have an option to save in the older format, Open Office has this option and is free so is even better than MS Word.

  16. Mailman says:

    Peter of Sydney,

    The problem is that the part of the law that covers judicial prosecutions (which isnt the FOI law) has, for one reason or another, a time limit of 6 months for complaints to be made. Have a look at the first thread on this matter as Ive linked both laws there (this was highlighted over at Bishop Hills blog by one of the clever dicks over there:).

    Mike,

    Christ…come on guys. Click on FILE – SAVE AS – and then select any word format your heart could desire, just as long as its 2003 or earlier!!

    Problem solved! Do I really have to do everything for you guys!

    Mailman

  17. O. Weinzierl says:

    @Mike Jonas (00:42:37) :

    “Each submission should: …
    b) be in Word format (no later than 2003)”

    Simply download Office2010beta from Microsoft for free and you can save your word-files in any format you like.

  18. Bob Tisdale says:

    Mike Jonas (00:42:37): As opposed to saving them in .docx format, don’t the later versions of Word allow the document to be saved as a .doc file, which is a Word 97-2003 document?

  19. dave ward says:

    The CRU will be heartened today by words of support from Prince Charles, who has just payed them a visit. He told the under-fire scientists not to get “down-heartened”, and pledged support for their work. He said that “Little Blips”, such as the stolen emails scandal come along, but that staff should push on with their vital work. He had private meetings with scientists, including Prof Phil Jones.

    I would include a link to the story in the local paper, but their website is temporarily down – I wonder why??? If it recovers I will post back.

  20. Oefinell says:

    Mike,
    any version of Word will save a document in Word 97-2003 format.
    File – Save As… – Save as type
    and select the appropriate format from the drop down list.

    Just in case you are thinking of submitting ;-)

  21. Veronica says:

    This morning on the BBC’s flagship Radio news programme “Today” I heard a brief snippet shortly after 6am, while half asleep. I’m trying to track it down via the Radio 4 “Listen Again” service. It was a one-liner saying that the Government’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr John Beddington, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Beddington
    has advised the government that there are some serious flaws in the arguments around climate change and that the government should take into account sceptical views in future.

    I was expecting this to lead to a more substantial item later in the programme but that didn’t seem to happen. Did anybody get the detail?

  22. Claude Harvey says:

    The deck was long ago stacked in favor of AGW. Welcome to the never-never world of laws that were written to placate certain interests while preserving the vested interests of others. Welcome to the real world which involves a constant battle between the way thing should be and the way things are. Politicians understand this world; decent folks never do. Fortunately for us all, “truth will out” over the longer term and that is the strength of democracy as defined by the United States Founding Fathers who knew more about human nature that anyone alive today.

    CH

  23. Mike McMillan says:

    Mike Jonas (00:42:37) :
    “Each submission should:…
    b) be in Word format (no later than 2003)”
    That nicely eliminates just about everyone.

    Since I use WordPerfect 2000, its Word file conversion couldn’t possibly be later than 2003. Too bad I don’t have anything relevant to submit.

    I don’t think the coppers are trying hard enough to nick the rascals, but I don’t doubt they’ll bring a case against the whistle-blower if they find her.

  24. Robinson says:

    Don’t expect any movement on this issue for, say, 10 years or so. It’s the kind of bill only an incoming Government could put through in it’s first year (after that, the loophole becomes kind-of convenient) and the next Government will have far too much on its plate to bother with something like this, unfortunately.

  25. AleaJactaEst says:

    “- What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
    – Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate (see below)?
    – How independent are the other two international data sets? (footnote 1)”

    These are the key points from the press release from the Science & Technology Committee (http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology.cfm)

    Not only is the committee going to be investigating these three points but, and here’s the killer, it has also requested “The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February:”

    I don’t care if the written submissions are on papyrus – they have effectively opened the floodgates to the sceptical amongst us, to question, through written argument, the whole premise of AGW.

    And so the AGW circus comes to the final act and to quote Monty Python (as several of us do these days)

    “ARTHUR:
    Look, I’ll have your leg.
    [kick]
    Right!
    [whop]
    [ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's right leg off]

    BLACK KNIGHT:
    Right. I’ll do you for that!
    ARTHUR:
    You’ll what?
    BLACK KNIGHT:
    Come here!
    ARTHUR:
    What are you going to do, bleed on me?
    BLACK KNIGHT:
    I’m invincible!
    ARTHUR:
    You’re a looney.
    BLACK KNIGHT:
    The Black Knight always triumphs! Have at you! Come on, then.
    [whop]
    [ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's last leg off]

    BLACK KNIGHT:
    Oh? All right, we’ll call it a draw.
    ARTHUR:
    Come, Patsy.
    BLACK KNIGHT:
    Oh. Oh, I see. Running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what’s coming to you. I’ll bite your legs off!”

  26. Alan the Brit says:

    Yes it is criminal that this law, like so many other allegedly well intentioned ones are fatally flawed (the immediate ban on legally held hand-guns in 1997 after the Dunblane massacre was one I recall – gun crime sored after its introduction using illegally held hang-guns instead). However, being a cynical 50+ I suspect that because this law essentially governs public servants, it was always intended that no one gets prosecuted, but is allowed the old revolver in the draw option, & takes early retirement (to spend more time with their family etc) on full taxpayer funded pension so that the status quo is maintained. It will be interesting what changes to the law (if any), actually come about!

    On a more positive note, let’s keep the pressure up, the cracks are widening into chasms, let them have both barrels! (Metaphorically speaking of course):-)

  27. Capn Jack says:

    CodeTech (00:38:32) :

    I agree the Catch 22 defence is to be removed. Also in old boy Law, actions have ramifications some people wont be teaching milk drinking in Kinder gartens.

  28. Gareth says:

    ICO said: “The legislation requires action within six months of the offence taking place…”

    This is not quite what the legislation says. It requires the matter to be put infront of a Magistrate “within 6 months from the time when the offence was committed, or the matter of complaint arose.” The latter means the clock started ticking with the CRU leak when it became clear Mr Holland’s FOI request had not been dealt with correctly. It is preposterous to think that successfully covering up an offence for six months or more would put someone in the clear.

  29. Don Keiller says:

    Chris Holland was not the only one to make a FOI request for the CRU data.
    I did as well.
    The ICO and the FOI Law is a shambles- only yesterday I was on the phone to them about to enquire about this 6 month expiry issue. I was passed from one person to another. No-one was apparently familiar with the FOI Act!

    I was eventually asked to put my question about the 6 months expiry issue in writing! (which I have done).

    I think I’m pretty sure what the answer will be!

  30. Roger Carr says:

    Mike Jonas (00:42:37) : b) be in Word format (no later than 2003)” That nicely eliminates just about everyone.

    It’s in the saving, Mike. Word docs can be “saved down” to by-pass any problem at the destination where an older version may be in use. Very useful. “Save as” = quite a number of options.

  31. Alan the Brit says:

    Wow, this is good! Over at Climaterealist I found this:-

    http://climaterealists.com/log_viewing.php?id=4975&type=download&url=%2Fattachments%2Fdatabase%2FVested+interests+scary+as+any+climate+change+scare.pdf

    It’s amasing how much we Brits are treated like mushrooms – you all know what I mean!

  32. Veronica says:

    I’d just like to say to the person who leaked the e-mails and files from CRU (I am sure he or she reads this). Be clear, are you a leaker or a whistleblower? Were you revelaing this information in the public interest? Have you taken advice e.g. from here: http://www.pcaw.co.uk/individuals_pdfs/helpline_questions.pdf
    Have you got a lawyer?

    I hope that climate sceptics and other citizens concerned with good government might help you defend yourself in court.

  33. John Wright says:

    Mike,
    They might settle for pdf.

    Anyway, as Alan the Brit says, we have to keep the pressure on. I wonder if the recent publications on the Climategate mails aren’t having some effect already.

    By the way, I wonder when and where Al will be giving his next lecture.

  34. D. King says:

    “Mr Holland’s FOI requests were submitted in 2007/8, but it has only recently come to light that they were not dealt with in accordance with the Act….
    The legislation requires action within six months of the offence taking place, so by the time the action taken came to light the opportunity to consider a prosecution was long gone.”

    I know muggsy, we’ll hide the data for six months…see, and when
    the coast is clear…. This is stupid. Mr. Holland’s FOI request has
    not been fulfilled and is therefore still valid, so any wrong doing
    is ongoing. The law was written to force prosecutors to take action
    in a timely manner, not to let criminals wait out some dubious
    statute of limitations. I can’t imagine a judge dismissing this and
    explaining in his written opinion, the criminal knew just how to get
    around the law; ignore it!

  35. P Gosselin says:

    Veronica,
    The whistleblower/leaker would have no trouble defending his/her case. This person did the world a favour by exposing these highly embarassing e-mails authored by a ring of fraudster ideologues. The whistleblower is a role model for honesty, civil courage and human rights. The person is a hero and would have the support of thousands, if not millions, of people. Only shameless liars, cheaters and political thugs would have an axe to grind w.r.t. this person’s behaviour.
    For those who want to hunt the whistleblower down, get a life and live with the fact that the science that’s been peddled is bogus and rubbiish. The scam is over.

  36. P Gosselin says:

    Veronica,
    The scam is over.
    Live with it!

  37. Peter of Syndey says:

    I see brc. So all one has to do is hide and ignore the FOI long enough and it’s easily circumvented. That’s stupid. The only way this is possible is if the government deliberated constructed the rules that way to avoid them being of any use. To me this stinks. I don’t really believe they will change the law as they won’t like it. I’ll believe it when I see it. Yes indeed George Orwell must be laughing his head off by now.

  38. cedarhill says:

    There interpretation could just as easily have reached the opposite conclusion.

    It could just as easily be interpreted as a continuous violation regardless of whether the information was obtained through other means. The court would then decide whether the violation is continuous and ongoing or not. This is just a typical way to circumvent an area they don’t wish to pursue.

  39. Peter of Sydney says:

    D. King after reading your post I’ll go back to my original thinking. There is no way the FOI requests can be circumvented so easily simply by ignoring them long enough. As you explained it they must comply or they are in breach of the law. What idiot would construct a law that has a simple 6 month expiry date? Simply not believable. It’s time for action. I suggest we all send reminders to Monckton to see if he can do something about this to get the ball rolling.

  40. Pete says:

    As this is about the Sunday Times can I just point out that the Guardian newspaper is using the following image quite a lot.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/dec/17/week-in-wildlife?picture=357062232

    For example here

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/25/climate-aid-uk-funding

    With the description “Tree roots in India exposed due to rising sea levels”.

    However if you investigate the source of the image you find this Times of India article

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata-/Vanishing-islands-Blame-on-KoPT/articleshow/4352474.cms

    Which strongly offers the view that global warming is not to blame, it was written by Achintyarup Ray with quotes from affected islanders.

    Achintyarup Ray also has a blog linked below with a lot more background information.
    http://sunderbanislands.blogspot.com/

  41. Dave B says:

    The FoI Commission can only do what it is empowered to do. Assessing how well it works within its remit is a different matter. I have had dealings with its Scottish equivalent and found it to be one of the few governmental bodies up here that takes its responsibilities seriously.

    Typically, an FoI Commission deals with folk who want information on this or that from a state institution but cannot get it. It rules either that, yes, they must get it or that, no, it does not have to be disclosed. If it’s yes, the paper are handed over, there are some red faces in government and life goes on. The question of prosecution does not arise.

    Bureaucrats always want more power. That’s politics. We do not know how common it is to break FoI laws and get caught retrospectively (as alleged here) or whether the issue of prosecution has come up before in a high-profile case. This may be the first opportunity the Commission has had to raise issues it was already aware of.

    What it seems effectively to have said is, “There may well have been a breach of the law but we cannot pursue it. “. Jones and colleagues are, rightly, innocent until proven guilty but they have not been cleared.

    Two results. First: the evidence that would have been lost for ever to the UEA’s behind-closed-doors “review” will now go into the public domain as a result of the Standing Committee probe. Second: the FoI Commission has declined to clear CRU staff of law-breaking.

    It’s not a triumph for CRU critics but it’s not a bad result either. The AGW agenda is becoming a laughing stock faster than anyone dared hope even a month ago. When Russell Muir gives (as he will) his “They’re a lovely bunch of fellows” ruling, no one outside of government and the CRU is going to believe a word of it. The UEA has been out-manoeuvred.

    BTW, the press release is confused. It’s not Lord Russell who is heading the “Review”, it’s Sir Russell Muir. You’d hope they’d know that.

    Note for non-UK readers: a knighthood (Sir this or that . . .) is a gong routinely awarded to senior civil servants who are not caught stealing the spoons. A peerage (Lord This of That) is a more highly-prized gong routinely awarded to businessmen who fund the party forming the current government.

  42. David says:

    In that ‘Telegraph’ article, John Beddington, the government’s chief scientific adviser, states:
    ‘It is unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth…’
    OH, REALLY..???
    I was under the impression that any heat-trapping was done by water vapour, in the form of clouds – and in any case, I thought it had also been proven that CO2 increase FOLLOWS increases in the global temperature – and does NOT cause it..!
    I may only be a mechanical engineer, Mr Beddington – but I love it when someone says something is ‘unchallengeable’….

  43. Patrick Davis says:

    I am always concerned when I read articles like this. The FoIA ALWAYS WAS about keeping the rulling/political elite where *they* are and keeping *us* (For those in the UK that is) where *we* are, with the police/forces given extra powers to enforce that.

    This will just be a “cleanup”, the law will be adjusted to suit the ruling/political agenda.

  44. Dave, UK says:

    @ KTWO:

    Thanks for your interesting link, but I find Professor Beddington to be dissingenuous. He is calling for more tranparancy and saying that the sceptics might have a point on some issues (namely the rate at which inevitable disaster will strike, and that exagerations deserve scepticism). He fails to acknowledge that the biggest issue with sceptics is actually the question over whether humans can be shown to be causing any measurable climate change at all. He seems to suggest that this is beyond debate, and that rising CO2 automatically equals rising temperature.
    So, like I said: disingenuous. But then, he is a Government – I’ll say that again – a *Government* – advisor.

  45. Oakwood says:

    Pete (03:19:30)

    Great link from you to story in Times of India, presenting case they exposed tree roots NOT due to rising sea level:
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata-/Vanishing-islands-Blame-on-KoPT/articleshow/4352474.cms

    The article ends with:
    “R K Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel-winning IPCC, said, “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on Lohachara without being fully apprised of the precise factual circumstances surrounding its disappearance.” ”

    A bit he wish he applied the same cautious response to Himilayan glaciers!

  46. rbateman says:

    Fine. Where and what are the historical records that these jokers supposedly have?

  47. Brian Johnson uk says:

    This Labour government has introduced some 3120 new Laws since gaining office. I guess 1 more won’t make much difference! We now have laws that allow criminals to seek compensation for being traumatised by angry householders. The CRU will wriggle out of any prosecution whatever happens.

  48. Ralph says:

    Hopefully this will begin to roll back the influence of Big Government – so typical of Socialist/Communist regimes like the UK Labour government.

    We have had:

    Politicized science. Politicized police. Politicized education. Politicized banking. Politicized agriculture. Politicized civil service. Politicized social services. Politicized military.

    Perhaps if we can end the politicization of science, we can unravel the politicization of all the other social and national departments.

    .

  49. Leon Brozyna says:

    Why was the law so poorly written? Who knows how stupidity and incompetence operate, but operate they do, but I doubt such an egregious abuse of the law was ever expected. Now that the consequences of a law with no teeth has been revealed, the politicians will correct the problem — and as they usually do, will overreact, thereby creating a new set of problems.

    In the meantime, sounds like this would be a good time to file any desired FOIA requests. Bet they would be acted on rather quickly.

  50. Peter of Sydney says:

    The evidence amassed thus far over the IPCC allegations of corrupted science is overwhelming. Yet we all expect more to follow. How far do we have to go before scientists all over the world openly shout out that the IPCC is not only not a scientific body but also totally discredited and nothing they say can be taken seriously ever again? Who in their right mind would believe a word of what they will say from now on?

  51. R.S.Brown says:

    No wonder some of the U.S. NOAA, NCAR, NASA and
    Lawrence Livermore researchers were annoyed that their
    agencies (not them directly, yet ) had to deal
    with FOIA requests. The U.S. law is a bit like a duck
    nibbling on your toes. It won’t take a bite out of you,
    but just knowing it’s there is disconcerting.

    The current British FOIA lets the duck see your toes,
    then leads it away with a few crumbs of bureaucratic
    bread.

    Parliament could just lengthen the statute of limitations
    for prosecutions to two years or more following an FOIA
    violation to encourage covered entities and their covered
    employees to rapidly respond to new or reissued FOIA
    requests.

    Refusal or failure to process FOIA requests could be tied
    to independent reviews of project funding… with a
    violation considered a strike against funding renewal.

  52. Ric Werme says:

    Peter of Sydney (03:11:21) :

    There is no way the FOI requests can be circumvented so easily simply by ignoring them long enough. As you explained it they must comply or they are in breach of the law. What idiot would construct a law that has a simple 6 month expiry date? Simply not believable.

    Hmm, I think you need to spend more time watching new law being developed. While I’m not close to British (or Oz) law, American write Mark Twain understood the process and several of his comments are as applicable now as they were then.

    It also seems to me that you can work the system by filing a FOI request identical to the one rejected. I think there’s a time limit for a response, and after that period or after receiving a rejection, immediately take prosecutorial action.

    From http://twainquotes.com/Congress.html :

    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

    All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.

    The lightning there is peculiar; it is so convincing, that when it strikes a thing it doesn’t leave enough of that thing behind for you to tell whether–Well, you’d think it was something valuable, and a Congressman had been there.

    (That last was about New England weather, where we recently lost the highest recorded surface wind gust record. Very sad, see http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=5789 I first heard about it here at Tips & Notes.)

  53. Veronica says:

    P Gosselin

    The scam is not over yet. The person who let those e-mails out is in danger and should position themselves as a whistleblower. That means considering whether or not they tried to raise their concerns, about the data and management decisions, through the “proper channels” before leaking the data.

  54. JMANON says:

    Now we all know about this statute of limitations, the answer is easy; however far you have progressed, file a complaint before the six months has elapsed.

  55. AdderW says:

    Pete (03:19:30) :

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/25/climate-aid-uk-funding

    With the description “Tree roots in India exposed due to rising sea levels”.

    Weird image caption indeed, especially “exposed due to rising sea levels”

    and even more so because the image was originally used in a completely different context http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/dec/17/week-in-wildlife?picture=357062232

    strange how the proponents use info to fit their needs – pushing an agenda

  56. Jeff Id says:

    You guys might like this. It turns out that it was the ICO who advised Phil Jones to ignore the FOI.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=7740&message=1

    Is it any wonder they don’t want to prosecute?

  57. Philip Franklin says:

    I don’t know about sending a Word doc – whichever release – I’d much prefer it to be a PDF. (Word 2007 allows you to save as such). Whilst I’m aware there is an edit audit trail in Word I’m not sure how much I’d trust these people not to edit anything I had submitted.

  58. Bud Moon says:

    Dave Ward (03:04:29)

    Thank you for the Prince Charles link.
    Did you notice the graph in the video? It looks remarkably like the hockey stick!
    Poor Prince Charles, I’m afraid he’s completely lost it!

  59. steveta_uk says:

    Veronica (01:48:44) :

    Did you hear a few weeks ago when the former chief scientist for the government, that idiot Professor King, has a tantrum when the presenter, Justin, had the nerve to even suggest that the science is not completely settled.

    One of the few occasions I’ve written to the Today program, asking why there was nobody present to counter his statements, but never heard back.

  60. Bob Tisdale says:

    Jones has placed the university in a no-win position. If they keep him or slap him on the hand, the university will be perceived as condoning this type of behaviour. If they fire him, they will appear overly harsh and draw attention to all of the other problems the emails illustrate.

    Regardless, either way, the CRU has been tainted. It has lost credibility. The emails will hang over them, ready to drop in a moment.

    Hmm. That actually sounds like a good thing.

  61. steveta_uk says:

    Oakwood (04:07:58) :

    I’ve just added a comment to the following article.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/the-sinking-sundarbans-1862267.html

    But since it was a few weeks ago, the comment may not get noticed, unless of course loads of WUWT readers head over there and add more!

  62. Pamela Gray says:

    To all AGW’ers. I will keep at it till we return to the original purpose of ground sensors. They tell you when to plant, when to harvest, when to bring your plants in off the porch, and what coat to wear over your Bibs. They were never intended, or placed, to tell the temperature 700 miles away or force taxes down your throat.

    Let’s return to the days of the reason for climate zone monitoring and agricultural weather predictions. That city dwellers benefited from that purpose was a non-intended but positive plus. And leave airport sensors out of the equation all together. Unless they grow wheat on the runways.

    Pass the jug.

  63. Alexander Harvey says:

    As of this moment there is no corresponding press release on the ICO site:
    http://www.ico.gov.uk/about_us/news_and_views/press_releases.aspx

    Which seems a little odd, perhaps someone who is local could phone the press office and ask/inform them about this press release. The number given is the correct one but does not necessarily correspond with “Gemma” who seems to work for a PR company (full email listed at the AirVent) but does not seem to be listed amongst their staff.

    Alex

  64. Mark Fawcett says:

    It may be interesting to see if the FOI debacle gets greater coverage in the media; it may well do as journalists use the FOI themselves and see it as a reasonably hefty tool in their armoury.

    If they believe that it has, firstly, been circumvented and, secondly, is potentially weaker than they realised then they may not be too happy and start making noises in its regard.

    Cheers

    Mark

  65. maz2 says:

    The rats, the AGW rats ……..
    …-

    “The Sound Of All Hell Breaking Loose

    It’s the end of the beginning;

    A catastrophic heat wave appears to be closing in on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. How hot is it getting in the scientific kitchen where they’ve been cooking the books and spicing up the stew pots? So hot, apparently, that Andrew Weaver, probably Canada’s leading climate scientist, is calling for replacement of IPCC leadership and institutional reform.

    If Andrew Weaver is heading for the exits, it’s a pretty sure sign that the United Nations agency is under monumental stress. Mr. Weaver, after all, has been a major IPCC science insider for years. He is Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria, mastermind of one of the most sophisticated climate modelling systems on the planet, and lead author on two recent landmark IPCC reports.

    For him to say, as he told Canwest News yesterday, that there has been some “dangerous crossing” of the line between climate advocacy and science at the IPCC is stunning in itself.

    Not only is Mr. Weaver an IPCC insider. He has also, over the years, generated his own volume of climate advocacy that often seemed to have crossed that dangerous line between hype and science.

    Climategate
    Glaciergate
    Pachaurigate
    Hurricanegate
    World Wildlifegate
    and now, Amazongate

    And those are just the least of their problems…”

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/013214.html#comments

  66. Henry chance says:

    Don’t make me send Ellie Light over there to get the files!!

  67. Indigo says:

    @Veronica (02:31:09) : “I’d just like to say to the person who leaked the e-mails and files from CRU … Have you taken advice e.g. from here: http://www.pcaw.co.uk/individuals_pdfs/helpline_questions.pdf

    Speaking from personal experience (at a university), I really really really would not bother with Public Concern At Work (PCAW). You can get the advice you need from other places. PCAW are too close to the bosses.

  68. RichieP says:

    @Veronica (02:31:09) :
    Were you revelaing this information in the public interest? Have you taken advice e.g. from here: http://www.pcaw.co.uk/individuals_pdfs/helpline_questions.pdf
    Have you got a lawyer?
    I hope that climate sceptics and other citizens concerned with good government might help you defend yourself in court.

    Is this the best you can offer us Veronica? Terrors for children. The most likely person at present to need a good lawyer is our revered railwayman, Pachauri.

  69. wws says:

    There’s a provision in some areas of US tort law that would greatly improve UK law if it were to be adopted. The idea is that the limitations time period is tolled (ie, does not begin) until the actual *Discovery* of the offending action by the injured party. This prevents a guilty party from being able to run out the clock by successfully hiding the evidence long enough.

    Of course people who want to leave lots of loopholes around that they can exploit (in other words, Parliament) don’t like provisions like this very much.

  70. robertol says:

    Es posible que SI SE PUEDE CASTIGAR. Porque el ocultamiento de datos es un DELITO PERMANENTE, como un SECUESTRO DE PERSONAS. La fecha que se debe considerar para iniciar el plazo de los seis meses, no puede ser cuando se inicia el delito, sino cuando finaliza. Y si nunca entregaron la informacion, ese plazo todavia no ha comenzado a contarse. Así se consideró en la justicia argentina para evitar la prescripción con los secuestros durante la dictadura militar.

    Spanish to English translation
    SI may be punished. Because the data hiding is an ongoing crime, as kidnappings. The date should be considered to start within six months can not be when you start the offense, but when it ends. And if you never gave the information, this period has not yet begun to run. So justice was felt in Argentina to avoid prescribing the kidnappings during the military dictatorship.

    ~ ctm

  71. ATD says:

    As Bob Tisdale points out, this puts the University of East Anglia in an interesting position. They now certainly can’t exonerate Jones and his team.

    I anticipate a tactical retirement, on health grounds…

  72. Alan Haile says:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7003622.ece

    I have not seen a link to this article on WUWT yet (apologies if there has already been one). This would seem to be pretty startling news, that Professor Beddington, The UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, has said that the impacts of GW have been exagerated by some scientists and that climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who question AGW. He also condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.

  73. Frederick James says:

    With apologies for any repetition (I did comb thru the thread but may have missed): please will someone who knows give chapter and verse for the 6-month limitation? It is not in s77 of the FOIA (or anywhere else in the Act) so far as I can see, but I am no lawyer!

  74. Peter Miller says:

    Please don’t get too excited; inquiries such as this in the UK are usually carefully controlled to ensure the ‘correct/sound’ conclusions are achieved.

    The inquiry will be bombarded with well-orchestrated submissions from government and UN funded scientists. The peers to the CRU gang around the world will fight fiercely to preserve their ‘snouts in the trough’ financial status.

    The sceptics using real science will probably be outnumbered by several tens to one and then subjected to a deliberate ridiculing process by the government funded alarmists. In other words, it is likely to be a complete whitewash – cover ups, that’s what we are good at in the UK.

    Our socialist leaders are obsessed with ‘climate change’ and the need to broadcast their supposedly green credentials – we have an election coming up in the next few months. Unfortunately, the opposition Conservatives are pathetically bleating from the same song sheet.

    I therefore urge your readers to make as many scientifically well argued and factually based submissions on CRU practices as possible. After all, there is always an outside chance that the inquiry will not be a typical British whitewash.

  75. A little OT, but the BBC is doing its usual jig to ignore the actual issue:

    http://blackswhitewash.com/2010/01/27/bbc-charting-unknown-climate-scandal-waters/

  76. JonesII says:

    However the involved people could invoke the Habeas Data principle:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habeas_Data
    As their “privacy”, no matter how punishable, was affected.

  77. Phillip Bratby says:

    Prince Charles is well known for talking to trees. No wonder he feels at home talking to the CRU “scientists”.

  78. Henry chance says:

    Cooking school. How about an award for culinary prowess to Jones?

    Listen up Pamela has a teaching moment!!

    Pamela Gray (06:20:14) :

    To all AGW’ers

    Actually a learning opportunity.

    The rats now flee from the ship.

  79. anon says:

    Regardless of the 6 month issue, it is no surprise nothing came of prosecutions from the FOI’s Commissioner’s Office given they were teaching Jones & Co. how to avoid the FOI in the first place:

    JONES ON 20.AUG.2009: “Keith/Tim still getting FOI requests as well as MOHC and Reading. All our FOI officers have been in discussions and are now using the same exceptions not to respond -advice they got from the Information Commissioner…. The FOI line we’re all using is this. IPCC is exempt from any countries FOI – the skeptics have been told this. Even though we (MOHC, CRU/UEA) possibly hold relevant info the IPCC is not part our remit (mission statement, aims etc) therefore we don’t have an obligation to pass it on.” [1219239172.txt]

  80. Henry chance says:

    Tell Andrew Weaver to kewl his jets. If he speaks out, he can forget obtaining “peer review” for EVAH!!!

  81. Veronica says:

    Richie P

    I am a supporter of the “whistleblower”. I am cautioning him / her to position themselves as a whistleblower rather than a leaker. I am advising them to get legal support from wherever he / she can in case his / her name comes out during the impending CRU investigation by the Science and Technology Select Committee. I’m not trying to scare anyone, just offer sensible advice. He / she will probably get revealed by the investigation and is likely to lose his or her job, unless he / she can show that all other avenues of appeal against CRU’s wacky behaviour were exhausted and he / she was forced to whistleblow against their potentially illegal and / or morally dubious practices.

    There was the case recently of a nurse who thought patients were being neglected in the hospital where she worked. She chose to whistleblow by taking a hidden camera on to the ward on behalf of a current affairs TV programme (Panorama) who exposed the neglect. Although she was right and working in the patients best interests, she lost her job. I am not clear whether she followed any official whistleblowing procedures and was ignored, or whether she just did what she did off the cuff as it were.

    It is important to show that concerns were raised through the proper channels but ignored, before resorting to sending a bunch of damning e-mails to public websites.

    CYA

  82. Richard Wakefield says:

    b) be in Word format (no later than 2003)”

    That nicely eliminates just about everyone.

    —–

    You can back save to previous versions.

  83. JonesII says:

    maz2 (06:42:18) :
    There is one item lacking in your list, and a very sensible one:
    AstroGate
    Which involves, among others, the harsh opposition to accept any “transgressions” to the “Holy Creed” of the Big Bang, Dark Matter, Black Holes, Anti-Matter, Curved Universe, Strings Universe, etc.
    As the one represented by the Plasma Universe, which means really a key to unravel all these phantasies and making possible a simple comprehension of reality.

  84. Roger Knights says:

    HotRod (01:22:23) :

    Anthony the title of this blog is not really English as we know it?

    The first two commas should be deleted and “sought after” should be hyphenated.

    Reply: I added the commas after the first comment in order to clarify. I had considered hyphenating as you suggest but I’ll leave it for Anthony to decide. ~ ctm

  85. J.Peden says:

    It is important to note that the ICO enforces the law as it stands – we do not make it.

    Continue to apply first rule: don’t believe the ICO re: “the law as it stands”.

  86. johnh says:

    Veronica, the leaker also has the ‘Public Interest’ defence to fall back on, the UK MP’s expense claim leakers were not even investigated let alone found or charged as it was thought there was no possibility of a conviction by a Jury as the subject matter was of real public interest.

    The leakers in this case were ex army guys bought in to black out personal details, address’s from receipts etc, they were thought to be more secure based on their military background. However their direct experience of Govt mismanagement of armed forces equipment availability based on cut budgets etc made their blood boil at the site of all the money being claimed and the rest is history. A Gordon blunder again.

  87. Paul Coppin says:

    Don Keiller (02:17:02) :

    Chris Holland was not the only one to make a FOI request for the CRU data.
    I did as well.
    The ICO and the FOI Law is a shambles- only yesterday I was on the phone to them about to enquire about this 6 month expiry issue. I was passed from one person to another. No-one was apparently familiar with the FOI Act!

    I was eventually asked to put my question about the 6 months expiry issue in writing! (which I have done).

    I think I’m pretty sure what the answer will be!

    There is nothing stopping you from seeking out a public attorney or a local constabulary and “swearing out an information”. Get the timeline clear and let the crown advocate determine whether or not the case can go forward.

  88. A C Osborn says:

    Sorry it is off topic, but please vote if you haven’t already.

    Bulldust (16:27:31) :

    PS> There is an opinion poll on The Australian ATM:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/polls

    The question:
    How much do you trust scientific projections concerning global warming?

    Options: Completely/Somewhat/A Little/Not at all

    Please feel free to join in :)

  89. Janice says:

    Veronica, any sysadmin who is worth anything knows how to cover their trail. That is probably why nobody has been accused of leaking this information. It has possibly been made to look as if the leaked files came from the computer of someone high up in the organization, and at a time when they were in their office. That would explain why we hear no details about the investigation. There is always a chance they could be found out, but the people who have the skills to do that are probably sympathetic to what has happened.

    As it is said: “Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins, for they are easy to annoy and have the root password.”

  90. Methow Ken says:

    Bit of a diversion from thread topic, but under general heading of ClimateGate news from western Europe:

    A good article from Germany in Spiegel Online today, titled:
    ”Can Climate Forecasts Still Be Trusted ?”
    Full piece at:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,674087,00.html

    The IPCC AGW scam threatens the economic livelihood of all nations, so it is IMO important that leading media outlets in countries where English is not the 1st language also do their part to expose the growing ”gate” list; to hopefully help prompt investigations similar to the UK ICO effort in other countries that also have a significant contingent of AGW co-conspirators in public office. . . .

  91. J.Peden says:

    From Ray’s (07:45:56) link :

    “Breaking Story: http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/uea-was-advised-by-ico-to-ignore-foi/

    Apparently from British Statute, However, by section 4 a conspiracy to commit a summary only offence can only be prosecuted by or with the consent of the director of public prosecutions.

    Who knows if the “director of public prosecutions” will correctly or incorrectly – I don’t know how everything fits the overall law structure – try to pursue a conspiracy charge, or not, but there is still fodder here for a large scandal involving UEA, CRU, the ICO, the British Gov’t, the British law, the practice of Science, and of course the IPCC and AGW. Fodder which I’m hoping the UK Press can feed on making all this a big Political issue.

    The Public, including the Press, has power which might fuel the overthrow of some of this anti-human, anti-rational nonsense we seem to be getting attacked by from various Totalitarian and Parasitic interests.

  92. steven mosher says:

    Everyone who wants to respond to the request for submissions needs to read the thread at CA.

    Dont go off half cocked.*

    *this message brought to you by the makers of the little blue pill.

  93. steven mosher says:

    Dang I want roger copy editing me.

  94. Veronica says:

    Janice

    That’s assuming the person was a sysadmin and not an academic.

  95. jmotivator says:

    In the end I really don’t care whether or not any of those involved go to jail. In the end science won… or will win. I’m not ready to hold a “mission accomplished!” press conference just yet.

    But at the moment it looks like the “IP concerns” are a thing of the past, and real and honest discussion about climate science can now move forward.

    I believe that the end result will be in the favor of the skeptics, but I have no problem if AGW is proven valid so long as it is done honestly and openly.

  96. P Wilson says:

    Interesting. Scientific procedure is based on finding loopholes in law.

    That’s like fraud. Officially.

  97. Herman L says:

    David (03:50:50) : In that ‘Telegraph’ article, John Beddington, the government’s chief scientific adviser, states:‘It is unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth…’ OH, REALLY..???

    The full quotation (via the Times Online) from Beddington is: ““It’s unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. But where you can get challenges is on the speed of change.” (emphasis added). That last statement is both very important and makes understanding the full science very complex.

    I was under the impression that any heat-trapping was done by water vapour, in the form of clouds

    All part of the complexity. Water Vapour is one of a number of greenhouse gasses present in the atmosphere. Along with CO2 and Methane, they are the most common in the Earth’s atmosphere. Lots of citations for this. Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

    and in any case, I thought it had also been proven that CO2 increase FOLLOWS increases in the global temperature – and does NOT cause it..!

    Both are true. At a basic level, CO2 causes an increase in temperature because it is a greenhouse gas. And at a basic level, CO2 increases occur after an increase in temperature because of the Milankovitch Cycle. Read here for a basic understanding of the Milankovitch Cycle: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Why-does-CO2-lag-temperature.html

  98. AnonyMoose says:

    They can’t be prosecuted for past failures which are too old. But any past failed requests can be made again, to see if the new request is processed correctly.

  99. AnonyMoose says:

    In the requirements for comments: “be in Word format (no later than 2003)”

    That is curious. I fear that I know why. I hope nothing good is lost due to not being in the properly undocumented file format.

  100. supercritical says:

    Herewith the body of an email submission made via a form on the UK ICO site.

    I’ll post any worthwhile response.

    Dear Sirs,

    I understand from the WUWT website* that you claim that an FOI prosecution of UEA’s CRU cannot be mounted because the offence was committed more than 6 months ago. As we are talking about information itself, surely the offence can only have been committed when the information about the deliberate withholding of information was made known only when the CRU FOI file was leaked in December 09.

    As this issue has become internationally important, the reputation of your own office itself is at stake ( apart from the reputation of the UK as a place within which to do business), and so I would be grateful if you could publish the legal advice on which your decision depends.

    * The link to the WUWT website is given below. (Please note that the site has an international readership in excess of 33 million)

  101. Charlie A says:

    In the instructions for submissions to the parliamentary inquiry. the last item is “d) include a declaration of interests.”

    Is this something along the lines of disclosure of conflicts of interest?

    Is there a WUWT reader familiar with this particular term in regards to parliamentary inquiries?

  102. Robert of Ottawa says:

    It looks like the investigators found what they were looking for – a loop-hole.

  103. Stacey says:

    What about conspiracy?

  104. KTWO says:

    Dave, UK.

    I thought the significant part of the Beddington story was political. As the chief science adviser his statements will be regarded as signals from the government. At the IPCC and CRU his words won’t cheer anyone up.

    I have no problem with his CO2 remark. I think it does warm the Earth. Whether CO2 from our activities is at all important when compared to other factors is what should concern us.

  105. Janice says:

    Veronica

    Being familiar with both sysadmins and academics, I am making the assumption that an academic would already have been caught and hung out to dry. You have caught me stereotyping both groups.

    However, if choosing between a sysadmin and an academic (who is not a computer academic), which would you choose as being more apt to get away with releasing such data? It has been long enough since the files went into the wild, that the person would have been discovered by now, if at all possible.

    And, though it would appear to be good advice to consult a lawyer (or whatever the person would be in the UK), that action alone could be construed as being an admission of guilt. I think it would be better to simply lay low, face any accusations with calmness, and wait for the storm to blow over. Perhaps get their resume updated. And maybe start working on that book about this (and I know they’ll be keeping the working copies of that on a fully encrypted drive).

  106. Charlie,

    The declaration of interests is used to see if you have “standing”. See the thread on CA it should help.

    It’s unlikely that you can assert “standing” by claiming “hey Im a citizen and your climate science will impact me”

    When “they” are looking out for your best interst and the best interest of your children, then you matter. When you are questioning the nanny state about how well they are looking out for your interest, then you do not matter.

    get it?

  107. dave ward says:

    Here’s another link to the Prince Charles visit:
    http://www.itv.com/anglia/royal-climate-research48555/

    It looks better in full screen – maybe readers will be able to identify some of the faces?

    The Hockey Stick graph is certainly present and correct, unfortunately if you pause this feed it gets partially blanked, so it’s difficult to read the accompanying text. I have not been able to “grab” the video stream – they have made it difficult to find.

  108. Brian Johnson uk says:

    The UK royals are rather inbred so for Charles to behave like a village idiot is not exactly unexpected and he has a plethora of sycophants to suggest ideas. Even ones to put his exact required amount of toothpaste on his toothbrush!

    In the past [and maybe now?] there was a position in the royal household that was called “The Keeper of the Stools”

    Now we have a live stool talking up the CRU!

  109. Paul Coppin says:

    Charlie A (10:05:24) :

    In the instructions for submissions to the parliamentary inquiry. the last item is “d) include a declaration of interests.”

    Is this something along the lines of disclosure of conflicts of interest?

    Is there a WUWT reader familiar with this particular term in regards to parliamentary inquiries?

    Mosher above doesn’t quite have it right. It isn’t about standing, as such, nor is it really about conflict, but might be. Its more about identifying bias in the submitted material. Its used to “assess” the neutrality of the submission, and in part to ascertain if there is a packing of responses favouring one outcome or another. Its a somewhat ad hoc means of measuring bias. Bureaucratese for “your opinion, their opinion, and finding the truth between”.

  110. J.Peden says:

    Brian Johnson uk (11:11:46) :

    The UK royals are rather inbred so for Charles to behave like a village idiot is not exactly unexpected and he has a plethora of sycophants to suggest ideas. Even ones to put his exact required amount of toothpaste on his toothbrush!

    Hopefully Charles’ sycophants are of better quality than Michael Jackson’s!

    Apparently the great body of AGW scyophants are not.

  111. mpaul says:

    Is Price Charles interferring with the investigation? Are there laws in the UK to prevent a Royal from attempting to influence an investigation?

  112. Royinsouthwest says:

    Mike Jonas (00:42:37) wrote :

    “I don’t think the coppers are trying hard enough to nick the rascals, but I don’t doubt they’ll bring a case against the whistle-blower if they find her.”

    What makes you think that the whistle-blower is a woman?

  113. Veronica (England) says:

    mpaul

    No there are no rules, he can say what he likes. But for every person persuaded of an argument because it’s Charlie boy who is making it, there will be half a dozen who are persuaded against, for the same reason. He’s a well known reactionary, wife-abusing, talker-to-plants and his credibility is limited. It’s clear to most of us that he doesn’t live in the real world so should probably not get any credit for making pronouncements about it.

  114. Veronica (England) says:

    Janice

    Tidying up the resume is indeed a good idea. Whoever it was will lose their job for sure, if identified, but will ultimately do ok for themselves if they can stick to the moral high ground. I’ve seen relatively little speculation as to who it was.

  115. Stephen Brown says:

    @Frederick James (07:32:23) and many others in this thread. The six-month limitation on the bringing a prosecution is not limited to the FOIA, it is common throughout English Law for cases which are to be heard before a Magistrate rather than a Judge. Traffic Law (speeding and careless driving for instance) have a legal ‘life’ of only six months from the time of the commission of the offence.
    The FOIA was not written with secret trapdoors built in to allow malefactors to wriggle out of prosecution. It adopted a long-standing legal quirk which, after over thirty years of invovement with the application of The Law, I still fail to understand!

  116. Stephen Brown says:

    Apologies. The parentheses in the above are an error on my part.

  117. RichieP says:

    @Veronica (07:51:32) :

    My apologies for my mistake. I am getting too twitchy.

  118. Paul Coppin (11:32:29) :

    I’m not so sure. Jim edwards, who has guided us before on such matters,
    has a slightly different take on the matter.

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/01/22/uk-parliamentary-inquiry-into-cru/#comment-217258

  119. Mr Green Genes says:

    Having used the ICO some time ago, I have to say that I found them very helpful to the case I was investigating so I am a little less cynical about them than many here.

    Having read the articles concerning the allegation that refusal was in some way sanctioned by the ICO, it struck me that I may have an answer. The CRU people will be very familiar with how civil servants operate and how they react to questions. I believe that I could, by phrasing a question in the right way, get the answer I wanted. Barristers do it all the time in court.

    Imagine the scene:-

    Jones to CRU lawyer “Get them off our backs please!”

    Lawyer to ICO “We’ve had a whole bunch of requests from a lot of politically motivated ignoramuses, constantly asking the same questions and never giving us a moment’s peace. It’s seriously interfering with the valuable work we’re doing, helping that nice Prime Minister save the world from frying. Could we regard these repeated requests as vexatious do you think?”

    ICO to lawyer “Well, under the circumstances you’ve outlined to me, on the face of it there may be a case for using Section 14 of the Act* and not complying with these repeated requests.”

    Lawyer to Jones “There you are, we can ignore the requests, the ICO confirm it.”

    *14 Vexatious or repeated requests

    (1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the request is vexatious.

    (2) Where a public authority has previously complied with a request for information which was made by any person, it is not obliged to comply with a subsequent identical or substantially similar request from that person unless a reasonable interval has elapsed between compliance with the previous request and the making of the current request.

    So, there you are – how to get the answer you wanted. In a criminal court it would be called leading the witness and disallowed. When speaking to a relatively junior civil servant, it is how to do it.

  120. Stephan says:

    This is a very strong statement for a major newspaper
    “Scientists in stolen email scandal hid climate data”
    Timesonline

  121. Bill Newstead says:

    The ICO finding that the University of East Anglia did not meet its legal obligations under FOIA was just reported on the BBC Radio 4 midnight news so bit by bit this story is getting into the mainstream.

    I was a civil servant when FOIA first came into force and we took it very seriously, as indeed we were obliged to do by the Civil Service Code. The university authorities will not be best pleased to be publicly criticised like this, even if they are not actually being prosecuted.

  122. Sam says:

    “d) include a declaration of interests.”
    <>

    I don’t think either Paul or Mosher have this quite right. In the UK, a ‘declaration of interest’ is usually taken to mean a financial interest or some other pecuniary advantage. So they want to know if for example your work is in the field of climate science.

    I wonder if everyone with shares or who runs companies in ‘cap and trade’ etc etc will disclose LOL

  123. Robert of Ottawa says:

    The Times’ aerticle still refers to “stolen” e-mails. They were published! They weren’t stolen.

    My evidence for that contention? The mega-police-investigation by Norfolk’s finest has not said anything; I reckon they will never be heard from hem again. It was an inside job, possibly by someone quite senior who had access to all the necessary.

  124. Norm in Calgary says:

    Barn door, horse, gone.

  125. B. Smith says:

    From The Times
    January 28, 2010

    Scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data

    Ben Webster, Environment Editor, and Jonathan Leake

    SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

    It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

    The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

    The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6936328.ece

  126. Mr Green Genes (15:27:54) :

    Your timeline is wrong. In that timeframe 2007-08 there were not repeated requests. Those happened in 2009.

    osborne in one mail ( After the Holland incident ) researched the vexacious excuse. Its in the mails. I dont have time to dig it up, but its in there.
    just read all of osbornes mails

    oh crap. here:

    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=907&filename=1214229243.txt

    June 23rd. Hollands request was denied june 3rd. his appeal denied june 23rd

  127. Patrick Davis says:

    “B. Smith (23:05:20) :

    From The Times
    January 28, 2010

    Scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data”

    If I just “threw” my source code away because I moved office I’d be out of a job PDQ.

    But I understand their situation. Sealed, secret political organisation, above (It appears) the law, agenda driven. Who needs the real and raw data when we have all this “value added” stuff, see? Look how much value add they get for all that research. Nice earner if you can fake it.

    I really do so wish this story is reported in Australian MSM it might make Aussies wake up and smell the “value add”.

  128. G. L. Lalique says:

    I’m a great supporter of The Prince Charles, But I think he is quite wrong to give his full support to the Climate Research Unit on his recent visit to the University of East Anglia when their work is under investigation by a number of authorities, and that the head of the unit, who he met on his visit and applauded has been temporarily relieved of his post while enquiries are proceeding. He was wrong to refer to the leaked emails as “the stolen email scandal” He should recognise that the alleged falsification of scientific data contained in the emails is an extremely serious matter, and is the reason why they were leaked in the first place. It is not a scandal if the leak proves that the science which he applauds is bogus and has been falsified by Prof. Phil Jones’s team and which in turn could lead to £billions being saved by goverments as a result. The Prince is not a scientist and in his position should not make public statements which imply that a vast and growing number of scientists across the world who are now speaking out against the global warming theory and who are far more qualified than he is to do so are not all idiots. He should also recognise that so much of the information which the GW lobby have put out to support their cause, such as melting ice caps and glaziers, polar bears and the potential destruction of the Amazon rain forests, has already been proven to be bogus. He might live to regret his public support for the team if the enquiries lead to the prosecution of some of those he has publicly supported.

  129. borderer says:

    Daily Mail – 28th January

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1246661/New-scandal-Climate-Gate-scientists-accused-hiding-data-global-warming-sceptics.html

    “The scientific unit at the heart of the climate change emails scandal broke the law by hiding data from sceptics.

    Researchers at the University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for the data.

    The decision by the Information Commissioner’s Office comes months after controversial emails from the university’s Climatic Research Unit, a global leader in its field, were released on to the internet.

    In one email the head of the unit, Professor Phil Jones, asked a colleague to delete emails relating to a report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    In another message, Professor Jones told how he had persuaded the university to ignore Freedom of Information requests from sceptics.

    Others showed how an eminent climatologist admitted it was a ‘travesty’ scientists could not explain a lack of global warming in recent years.

    The Information Commissioner’s Office yesterday revealed the university had failed in it duties under the Freedom of Information Act.

    But it is powerless to prosecute those involved because the complaint was not made within six months of the offence, as required under the Act. “

  130. Veronica says:

    So now it has been admitted that the CRU did wrong (even the BBC says so)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8484385.stm, it should be possible to submit a new FOI request to CRU and actually get an answer… presumably somebody is doing that already?

  131. Mr Green Genes says:

    Steven Mosher (23:33:15)

    I was trying to illustrate the thought processes involved, rather than to provide a specific explanation for what is alleged to have happened so apologies if it didn’t work very well.

    The point is simply that it is very easy, by asking leading questions, to get the answer you want. Then, by a bit of verbal sleight of hand (if you see what I mean!), you can twist what you’ve been told to make it seem watertight.

    I was, albeit briefly, a civil servant in the UK. I’ve seen it happen many times!

  132. Smokey says:

    G. L. Lalique (01:44:53),

    I had great hopes for Prince Charles when I was a young buck. I remember him training as a helicopter pilot in the military, and I was proud of him. I was in the military at the time, too.

    But the enviros got his ear, and he started preaching about “grey goo“, and other wacky ideas. Now he’s pretty much a lost cause.

    But when it comes to the globe, at least he knows one mountain range from another: click

    Veronica (02:49:07),

    You are so right. Now is the time to re-submit those FOI requests.

  133. Patrick Davis says:

    “Smokey (03:09:50) :

    G. L. Lalique (01:44:53),

    I had great hopes for Prince Charles when I was a young buck. I remember him training as a helicopter pilot in the military, and I was proud of him. I was in the military at the time, too.

    But the enviros got his ear, and he started preaching about “grey goo“, and other wacky ideas. Now he’s pretty much a lost cause. ”

    Are we surprised, catching his ear etc? And puhlease, the “Royal Family” are not British! They are German decendants.

  134. MartinGAtkins says:

    Mr Green Genes (15:27:54) :

    Imagine the scene:-

    Murderer to lawyer “They haven’t found the murder weapon yet. Can you get them off my back please!”

    Lawyer to Detective:- “You don’t appear to have the murder weapon. If you don’t find it then you won’t have a case will you?”

    Detective to lawyer:- “True, if we don’t find it we will have to let your client go”

    Lawyer to murderer:- “Keep the weapon hidden”

    A lawyer or barrister can’t advise the client to actively impede the law. He may however advise his client that he has the right to remain silent.

    Whether the requests were vexatious or not, it’s not for Jones to be the judge.

  135. Mr Green Genes says:

    @MartinGAtkins (04:19:05)

    I didn’t say it was for Jones to judge. I was merely hypothesizing about how CRU could claim to be acting with the agreement of the ICO, based on my knowledge of how to manipulate civil servants into saying roughly what you want them to say, which can then be finessed to complete the illusion.

    Don’t get carried away reading too much into what I said, I beg you.

  136. P Wilson says:

    their let off is that “too much time has passed since the laws were broken”

    IE, CRU breaks the law

  137. Eric Rasmusen says:

    Hi. Somebody needs to send a Word 2003 submission about the fact that it is perfectly possible in Britain to revise the law to punish actions that have already taken place. It’s not like in the US where the Constitutions prohibits ex post facto laws. From Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_post_facto_law#United_Kingdom

    In the United Kingdom, Ex Post Facto laws are strictly frowned upon, but are permitted by virtue of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. Historically, all acts of Parliament before 1793 were Ex Post Facto legislation, inasmuch as their date of effect was the first day of the session in which they were passed. This situation was rectified by the Acts of Parliament (Commencement) Act 1793.[citation needed]

    Ex Post Facto criminal laws are prohibited by Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the United Kingdom is a signatory, but parliamentary sovereignty, in theory, takes priority even over this.[citation needed]

    For more, see my blog at http://rasmusen.dreamhosters.com/b/2010/01/an-interesting-ex-post-facto-law-case/

  138. Layne Blanchard says:

    There is still the issue of misuse of DOE funds…..

  139. MartinGAtkins says:

    Mr Green Genes (04:53:38) :

    Don’t get carried away reading too much into what I said, I beg you.

    You made a valid point. I was just exploring the hypothetical process that would achieve the desired outcome.

    Considering every AGW freeloader dismisses skeptics as fringe dwellers from get go, it wouldn’t be difficult for the UEA or Phil Jones to verbal ICO.

    The ICO may have started the investigation with a preconceived notion that this was just some people harassing hard working earth saviours.

  140. Merrick says:

    So, OK, they can’t be charged with anything… but where the requested information? How about if THAT part of the FOIA is exercised? Ther eshould at least be a SEARCH for allegedly deleted files.

  141. Reed Coray says:

    OK. We don’t know if we have a “whistleblower” or a “hacker“. Why not call him/her a “whistlehacker“?

  142. Sam says:

    Cross-posting here but it;s important, vix my remarks last night on ‘declaration of interest’, I’ve found further and better particulars. It’s very important that only those with standing submit to the Committee.

    Anyone thinking of submitting to the PCS&T CRU enquiry, please do read the thread on CA dealing with what/how etc.

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/01/22/uk-parliamentary-inquiry-into-cru/#comment-217765

    See esp this post by Jim Edwards Jan 23, 2010 at 1:21 am:
    [Regarding what "interest' means, JE explains very clearly]

    “The requirements for submissions are remarkably similar to those for filing Amicus briefs ['friends of the court' briefs] in US Federal Appellate courts.
    The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties on the three questions set out above by noon on Wednesday 10 February
    [snip]

    Each “interested party’s” written evidence at the end of report begins with a “statement of interest.” As in US appellate practice, the statement of interest is not a statement that says “I think the subject is cool”, or “I believe there’s a conspiracy going on.”

    The statement of interest is a description that explains why the party submitting evidence has legal standing to be involved in the case.
    “Interested parties” will likely include:

    People who actually are involved in the controversy …..”

    [He goes on to list all likely such catregories]

    The whole thread is well worth readign for anyone who wishes to submit.

  143. Mr Green Genes says:

    MartinGAtkins (08:08:54)

    The ICO may have started the investigation with a preconceived notion that this was just some people harassing hard working earth saviours.

    Entirely possible, I grant you. My hypothesis however, rests on the likelihood that the £15,000 a year junior civil servant on the end of the phone was so overwhelmed with all the other work on his desk, put there as a result of the present government’s obsession with secrecy, that he would have grasped at any straw given to him which would have meant that yet another piece of work would disappear. That straw could well have been CRU introducing the notion to which you allude into the equation.

    The ICO is inundated at the moment and it’s getting worse. Maybe that’s the intention. Government passes an FOI law amid a great fanfare but then immediately sets about sabotaging its own legislation in secret. However, now I’m drifting off topic and into general conspiracy theory so I’ll stop!

  144. JustPassing says:

    Here’s a bit of info I found regarding the 6 months rule, apparantly it applies to a wide range of offences.

    Climate data: Why ministers refused to change the law

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/opensecrets/2010/01/climate_data_why_ministers_ref.html

    The former information commissioner Richard Thomas said.

    “Section 77 is a very difficult section to use. You’ve got to prove intent, which is difficult, and you’ve got the six-months limit.”

  145. Nik Marshall-Blank says:

    I don’t understand why Michael Mann has gone all squeaky clean now. He is as guilty as Phil Jones.
    After all, he did create the famous “Hockey Stick” which hid both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.

    He should go too.

  146. Frederick James says:

    Stephen Brown (27 Jan): thanks for the reply – I guessed that it must be some other statute that was in play but had no idea which. I see that this issue is now getting some exposure in the MSM, which is good as it’s a matter of serious concern – effectively making a nonsense of the FOIA.

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