Yes, Virginia, you do have to produce those ‘Global Warming’ documents

Washington Examiner
Published on Washington Examiner (http://washingtonexaminer.com)
By: Christopher C. Horner, David W. Schnare and Robert Marshall
Reprinted with permission from the authors. 


Yes, Virginia, you do have to produce those ‘Global Warming’ documents

Today, Virginia taxpayers, a state lawmaker and a public interest law firm are asking the University of Virginia to produce important “global warming” records under that state’s Freedom of Information Act. These are records the school no longer denies possessing but nonetheless refuses to release, even to Commonwealth Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. They address one of the most high-profile claims used to advance massive economic-intervention policies in the name of “global warming.”

In response to a previous FOIA request, U.Va. denied these records existed. However, during Cuccinelli’s pre-investigation under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (“FATA”), a 2007 law passed unanimously by Virginia’s legislature, which clearly covers the work of taxpayer-funded academics, U.Va. stunningly dropped this stance. For this reversal, the taxpayers of Virginia owe Cuccinelli a debt of gratitude.

Still, the school has spent upward of half a million dollars to date fighting Cuccinelli’s pursuit, now before the Virginia Supreme Court. However, Virginia’s transparency statute FOIA gives the school one week to produce the documents, and offers no exemption for claims U.Va. is using to block Cuccinelli’s inquiry.

These e-mails and other documents relate to claims made by Michael Mann to obtain, and claim payment under, certain taxpayer-funded grants. Mann worked at the university’s department of environmental sciences when he produced what was hailed at the time as the “smoking gun” affirming the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming.

Despite that lofty honorific, persistent controversy led promoters of this notorious “Hockey Stick” graph (principally, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC) to stop advancing it as serious work.

Leaked “ClimateGate” e-mails discussing these same controversies prompted Cuccinelli’s pre-investigation. Sadly, in order to keep the taxpayers’ advocate from examining the evidence, U.Va. has offered a series of twists on a novel defense of “academic freedom.”

Now we with the American Tradition Institute’s environmental law center have requested these documents under FOIA and will presumably put an end to these tactics of denial followed by delay.

Importantly, also under FOIA in late 2009, the pressure group Greenpeace sought, and was promised, e-mails and other materials of Patrick Michaels, who also formerly worked in the same university department.

While the university proceeded to compile the material for Greenpeace, one of us, Virginia Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William, thought to ask for records relating to Michaels’ former colleague, Mann. Oddly, the university informed Marshall that such records no longer existed because Mann had left the department.

Michaels has stated that the university, in explaining to him these disparate responses, asserted that some people’s records are treated differently than others. Mann’s were allegedly destroyed; Michaels’ were being packaged for delivery to Greenpeace.

One disparity possibly helping to explain the other was that Mann had been an active participant in the IPCC, obtaining many research grants for his work at U.Va. But Michaels had been a very politically incorrect, high-profile “skeptic” of catastrophist claims such as those represented by the IPCC, and particularly Mann’s Hockey Stick.

In court in August, U.Va. opted against robustly defending, as a legal argument, its academic-freedom rationale for refusing to produce the records. Yet even this week, it is asking the Virginia Supreme Court to deny Cuccinelli’s request for documents possibly showing whether the dense Hockey Stick smoke indeed indicates fire. This does Virginia taxpayers a disservice.

Other records obtained under FOIA reveal that U.Va. has been paying Washington lawyers several thousand dollars per day to deny the requested transparency. As such, in a separate request, we also seek information about this privately underwritten effort to avoid complying with Cuccinelli’s inquiry.

The university has previously demanded taxpayers pay thousands of dollars for a FOIA search for Mann’s records, on the grounds that it maintains a broadly dispersed record-keeping system. Therefore, we have specifically directed the school to only search the backup server it claimed to the attorney general’s office that it finally located as the likely home of the Mann records. As such, demands for huge search fees should not be an obstacle.

We hope for prompt university compliance with FOIA, although we are prepared to fully protect our appellate rights. As Virginia taxpayers, we also hope to see U.Va. rise to its reputation and reflect the highest fidelity toward its statutory and other obligations.

We can then, finally, determine what it is that so many have gone to such great lengths to keep the public from knowing about that for which the public has paid.

Christopher C. Horner is senior director of litigation for the American Tradition Institute’s law center and a Virginia resident; David W. Schnare, Ph.D is a Virginia resident and a federal attorney, Del. Bob Marshall is a Virginia Republican delegate representing Prince William County.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2011/01/yes-virginia-you-do-have-produce-those-global-warming-documents#ixzz1AEpTl1dZ

http://www.atinstitute.org/blog_post/show/58

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141 Responses to Yes, Virginia, you do have to produce those ‘Global Warming’ documents

  1. I never could get behind Cuccinelli’s action because it’s always seemed politically motivated.

    I can totally get behind a straight-forward FOI request, though. The public gets what the public wants, because the public owns it. Simple.

  2. Mike Haseler says:

    As I understand it, the University were more than willing to hand over similar information to Greenpeace against a global warming sceptic.

    I think the saying is “hoisted on their own petard”!

    They cannot simultaneous say they had to hand over sceptic information and then claim immunity for warmist propaganda …. but I’m forgetting …. this is the Alice in Wonderland world of “global warming” where snow is “yet further proof of warming”.

    I doubt there’s any chance that we’ll get to see this information till hell freezes over:

    (For a view of Hell Beck in Cumbria see: http://v-g.me.uk/Trips/T0730/T0730.htm)

  3. James Sexton says:

    You mean academia isn’t special and exempt from following the law like the rest of us mortals? Why, that’s an outrage! What’s the point of remaining in academics if we’re not privileged?

    Moses had to produce the evidence, only because he was conservative and wasn’t tenured.

  4. richard verney says:

    Good news. It will be interesting to review the material produced (assuming that it is produced).
    One can not help wonder why a quasi public institution such as U. Va should spend so much money in obscufating. Is this a reasonable use of public money?
    One cannot help but think that the reasons behind the motive lies in ‘follow the money’

  5. Steve says:

    This isn’t science. You don’t hide your methods and data.

  6. Robinson says:

    Here’s your dumb question of the day:

    What would stop them from manufacturing the documents, or redacting embarrassing bits? Without the originals, how will the lawyers know if they’ve got the real documents or something made up to satisfy the request?

  7. RockyRoad says:

    Those UVa officials who have spent more than half a million dollars fighting this FOIA request should be terminated and have to pay that expenditure out of their own pockets!

    These people forget who they work for–as indicated by their school’s name: “University of Virginia”. The gall of these academia midgets is appalling!

  8. Henry chance says:

    They are too important to be bothered. Like James hansen has time to march and picket coal mines but too busy to remit FOIA requests also.

    The school has sadded to it’s trouble by saying they don’t exist and they actually do.

    If they actually had been destroyed, that is also a problem.

  9. Jimbo says:

    Virginiagate? Let’s hope so. ;>)

  10. Henry chance says:

    The other items is Virginia is on Christmas break. Except for a Basketball game or two which does have its own coaches, they are not very busy. They have till Friday to turn in their homework assignment.

  11. Jimbo says:

    Why is the University of Virginia fighting this thing so hard? If Mann’s work was Kosher you’d think they would rush to release knowing there was nothing to hide. Perhaps the old saying does apply here: There’s no smoke without fire.

  12. Pull My Finger says:

    As a former employee of a university archive I call total B.S. that they destroyed Mann’s papers/emails… unless there was something to hide and he did it himself. The University would never destroy the records of a faculty member, especially one as high profile as Mann.
    ——–
    “Michaels has stated that the university, in explaining to him these disparate responses, asserted that some people’s records are treated differently than others. Mann’s were allegedly destroyed; Michaels’ were being packaged for delivery to Greenpeace.”

  13. Kev-in-UK says:

    given the obvious association with Mann – the best we can hope for is that they (the U.Va) do produce the goods and that they don’t do a good job of cleaning them up (via redactions) or deleting them – and then we might be able to finally nail the coffin lid down on some warmists claims.
    What is the penalty if they don’t deliver? Can the attorney general then ‘seize’ the server? or do they just get a fine? (if it’s the latter, maybe one can expect the likes of Gore to cough up to protect the warmists backs?)

  14. Robuk says:

    Robinson says:
    January 6, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Here’s your dumb question of the day:

    What would stop them from manufacturing the documents, or redacting embarrassing bits? Without the originals, how will the lawyers know if they’ve got the real documents or something made up to satisfy the request?

    Is there not a time stamp on computer files that will show when they were last altered, a UK doctor who murdered dozens of elderly patients was convicted by checking his computer files, he altered them after death but didn`t know of the time stamp.

  15. Olen says:

    If the University of Virginia is involved in a fraud in one department there may be concern that it is not isolated. And that is not good for enrollment.

    UV should clear this up now rather than have it grow.

    The state exercises oversight on universities and the delay in producing proof of their science will only magnify the consequences.

  16. Pete H says:

    Simon Hopkinson says:
    January 6, 2011 at 4:45 am
    “I never could get behind Cuccinelli’s action because it’s always seemed politically motivated. ”

    Sorry to object Simon but did not Greenpeace making a political move on Michael? I am no expert on U.S. politics but there really is a bad smell about all this and even though Cuccinelli is a politico..why has the University of Virginia wriggled like a fish? Lets get it all out in the open!

    To be honest, Mann is already proven to be a shaky scientist due to the emails and M and M. The real target should be Hansen!

  17. Alexander K says:

    This sounds like very good news to me. The U of V’s stance really annoys me as I find their use of the term ‘academic freedom’ to be more than a little perverted.

  18. Joe Lalonde says:

    The history of this planet has alway been a slow warming after an Ice Age.
    The trick is what happens after all the ice is melted. Pressure builds and a triggering effect takes place to cool again and start the process of warming again.

  19. Wade says:

    I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would think of the UVA today.

  20. NoAstronomer says:

    As Steve says, if you won’t let me see the data then it’s not science. Mann’s papers should be withdrawn, as should any papers that rely on his, and so on.

  21. John Eggert says:

    Robinson Asked:

    “What would stop them from manufacturing the documents, or redacting embarrassing bits?”

    This is actually more difficult than it sounds. One must make corresponding alterations to the headers of e-mails and assure that the meta-information in the file system reflects the date that the e-mail was received. Something that a competent computer nerd could easily accomplish. Of course in accomplishing it said nerd would now have committed a felony (obstruction). An easily discovered felony if someone somewhere were ‘cc’d’ on the e-mail and produced a duplicate that doesn’t duplicate. Also easy to get caught if one little step in a number of little steps is missed.

  22. Pamela Gray says:

    I need to sign up for that course in lying. I suck at it and could use a college level course in it.

  23. Mike Haseler says:

    Jimbo says:

    Virginiagate? Let’s hope so.

    Wasn’t the real damage done in watergate the cover-up rather than the original crime. Let’s be honest, Mann’s Hockey stick is a pretty abysmal bit of work and if they’d just come clean at the beginning the fall out would be one academic whose work didn’t really contribute much to the sum of human knowledge anyway.

    Instead, they have all dug themselves into a hole, because when dubious practices were exposed the science and academic community, far from publicly condemning the practices, they did all they could to protect those involved; backing them to the hilt with their own reputations.

    And now instead of Mann being a fall guy, whole institutions have their reputations at stake! Well serves them right! And the longer they try to hide the information, the bigger will be the scandal when it finally breaks … so let’s hope they do try to obfuscate as long as possible!

    As for Virginiagate …. I don’t like it … I think it should be called “Snowgate” …. which is a lot like Watergate … but a lot colder!

  24. Vince Causey says:

    Pull My Finger,

    “The University would never destroy the records of a faculty member, especially one as high profile as Mann.”

    I agree. A year ago, Mann was a celebrity. UVa would have been proud to have access to his emails. They probably saw themselves as the guardians of posterity, looking forward to greeting the Historians and Writers of the future.

    Nowdays, they probably aren’t so sure.

  25. grayman says:

    Taxpater funded grants = Taxpayer owned work!!!!! There is no acedemic freedom with taxpayer funded work!

  26. denishopkins says:

    Sorry for posting here … I got very confused trying to put it on tips and notes and I am not sure if it went on there… Spoof Climate sketch from BBC Armstrong and Miller show:
    getting a bit too close to being true!!

  27. Mac the Knife says:

    Go Get ‘Em, Commonwealth Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli!

    Regardless of any surmised ‘political motivations’ alleged by others, I wholeheartedly support every effort to re-establish open disclosure of tax payer funded research! If these sneaky little U. of VA rats fail to fully disclose the entire package of original documents, strip them of their funding, academic standings, and put their lying butts in jail!

  28. Is Thomas Jefferson spinning in his grave?

  29. mycroft says:

    Simon Hopkinson said.
    “I never could get behind Cuccinelli’s action because it’s always seemed politically motivated.”
    —————————————————————————–
    When dealing with pigs it sometime nesscesary to get a little dirty.
    Is not the whole AGW scam politically motivated now,we the tax payers are paying to be lied to.

  30. Roberto says:

    We don’t have to escalate this into a battle of good vs evil, with both sides claiming to be the good guys. It is quite enough to say that the University officials haven’t yet come to grips with their emerging responsibilities under FOIA in a world where the evidence has to be producible as well as reproducible. They are still hoping there is some easier way. And hoping …

    I don’t like a lot about Cucinelli’s crusade of potential criminal penalties. But producing evidence so we can discuss it isn’t really optional. And if it takes a suit and moderate penalties to get it, well there it is.

  31. KnR says:

    Actions like University of Virginia’s really do stink and show how little has really changed post the ‘reviews’ , that they were willing to release records to Greenpeace on another person makes they claims of ‘academic freedom’ ring rather hallow. That that change their mind on if the records even existed makes it look like a cover-up and does all the effort they clearly put into not allow these records to be seen in public. Ironical if they get out into the public realm, there may be nothing really in them. But who now would believe that the University of Virginia had actual honest in releasing these records given its past actions? And so conspiracy theories are born.

  32. kim says:

    I knew it was important that the University revealed possession of previously denied document, I just didn’t make the obvious next move to renewing the FOI request. Nice move tactically. Nice moot to Cooch.

    Sic semper Tyrannis. Yeah, that sort of virgin.
    ===========

  33. Alan Clark of Dirty Oil-berta says:

    It would be pretty foolhardy to try to fiddle with the content of e-mails and similar documents. The FOIA requester can simply follow the trail.

    For example if they turn over an e-mail to “Bill Smith” at another institution that reads: “The sky is blue”, you simply request Bill Smith’s e-mails and ensure that it reads the same as the U 0f V one. It can be a bit time-consuming for the requester but necessary and anyone caught making such blatant alterations would serve prison time.

  34. James Sexton says:

    Simon Hopkinson says:
    January 6, 2011 at 4:45 am

    I never could get behind Cuccinelli’s action because it’s always seemed politically motivated.
    ========================================================

    That’s funny, that’s the same reason I favor Cuccinelli’s actions, because the CAGW hoax is politically motivated, as was the hockey stick.

  35. Ken Hall says:

    “What would stop them from manufacturing the documents, or redacting embarrassing bits? Without the originals, how will the lawyers know if they’ve got the real documents or something made up to satisfy the request?”

    The FOIA request, (as I understand it), is for electronic records, which will have dated metadata which would allow people to know when any record was accessed or edited.

    Being academic data, it should also have edit history to show who altered what and when for full traceability.

    it would be highly suspicious if the data had been amended after the FOIA request was made.

  36. Douglas DC says:

    Pull my Finger- been there myself years ago. worked for a Dept. Head. as a student/workstudy/ drone. Filing many papers of a small mammal study-which undoubtedly are still available, I agree…

  37. North of 43 and south of 44 says:

    “What is the penalty if they don’t deliver? ”

    Well once the court finds them in contempt, an officer of the court can arrest and jail those found in contempt.

    I’d start with the President of the University, but that is just me ;-) .

  38. Magnus says:

    Steve says:
    January 6, 2011 at 5:03 am
    This isn’t science. You don’t hide your methods and data.
    _______________________________

    Yes it is. Wake up! It’s climate science!
    jk

    …but I do think it is horrible how climate science has become so politicized. It’s a discussion resembeling a fight between football supporters. I think “team AGW” brought this on when they had the bad idea to run the “Gore campaign” combined with the Bush tactic (you’re either with us or with the terrorist; i.e. natural disaster of biblical proportion). From that point on they created an atmosphere in which it was about winning the “war on climate change(skepticism)”. Just like the war on drugs it is doomed to fail. I sincerely hope this war ends soon, because I’m not joining any team. I’m not joining the “skeptics” or the “AGWers”, but I am sincerely curious about what is going on with climate and the environment. Unless we can take an open, humble and intelligent approach to the questions, we will never have any meaningful answers.

    I do find it disturbing that the debate here on WUWT is MORE civilized and open than on realclimate.org. They do claim to be the scientists, but they give me an uneasy feeling by over-censoring and by being extremely passive aggressive in their replies to q’s that are merely skeptical.

    Sorry for the OT rant.

  39. kim says:

    Ah, I get to recycle one that took off with great expectations, but landed kind of flat:

    The University of Virginia is hoist on its own retard.
    ====================

  40. Dr. Dave says:

    Irrespective of the substance of the Mann material, the actions of the UnV to prevent its release give the appearance if impropriety. This alone may be more damning in the eyes of the public than the actual material itself.

  41. APACHEWHOKNOWS says:

    Grain by grain the sugar sand base of the lies and fraud slip, slip slides away.

  42. MikeW says:

    They need to amend their FOIA request and find out how much UVA demanded of Greenpeace to fulfill thier request. I’d hazzard a guess that they just provided the info without any demand for ‘reasonable fee’ whatsoever.

    Seriously, with the fact that both Michaels and Mann worked in the same department and would have had their communications and other work stored on the very same computers, could you devise a more blatant example of obvious bias?

  43. Neil Craig says:

    If they claim, next week, that it was all accidentally destroyed in a freak accident I hope the court will have theballs to imprison everybody involved for decades for contempt of court.

  44. Power Grab says:

    Re the concerns about whether the documents are manufactured or not–I would think a state AG would have the power to “request” (subpoena?) any other documents from any other parties, once those parties’ names were revealed as correspondents, co-authors, etc. The other parties’ versions could be used to compare with those obtained from the U of VA.

    Also, I can well imagine the U of VA folks would squawk about having to produce the documents at a time when so many of their faculty/staff were absent for the holidays. Indeed, our local university does not resume regular classes until next Monday. Lots of people are still out of town until this weekend. It’s probably the same there.

  45. latitude says:

    We can’t give this to you, you’ll just find fault with it…………

  46. Jim Cole says:

    Cuccinelli’s pursuit off this investigation/case makes some people uneasy because it could be portrayed as “politically motivated”. Get over it. Anything that involves the collection or distribution of tax money is fundamentally political in nature.

    Of course, major media will portray it this way (if they mention it all). The fourth estate no longer functions as an independent watchdog guarding the people’s right to know what their government is doing. With this administration, they are willing hand-maidens.

    Cuccinelli’s motivations may be attacked, but the underlying facts of the case (and the facts of climate science) will not be altered. Because of the extremely high stakes, extraordinary courage is required to investigate the claim of “fraud” against powerful interests. I salute him.

    This will be fascinating to watch.

  47. Keith Battye says:

    It all sounds a bit third worldly.

    Yes to that data request because it helps our side, no to that one because it helps their side. That’s how our vote counting is done among other things.

    I rather thought America was better than that.

  48. ShrNfr says:

    What I would like to see is a persecution for obstruction of justice for saying that they did not have the documents.

  49. Sonicfrog says:

    I never could get behind Cuccinelli’s action because it’s always seemed politically motivated.

    I can totally get behind a straight-forward FOI request, though. The public gets what the public wants, because the public owns it. Simple.

    + 1. Part of me loathes the action taken by Cuccinelli, but releasing info under the FOIA does not strike me as unreasonable.

  50. HenryP says:

    I was waiting for the truth to come out
    I hope this is it
    if the university spends $500000 to suppress it
    it must tell us something
    but how would we know if they did not already start to “doctor” it before releasing it?
    If they spent that much money to suppress it, they might go further still…..
    I am hoping that Cuccinelli already knows more or less what is in it?

  51. chris b says:

    Perhaps by “Academic Freedom” they mean “Academic License”.

  52. CodeTech says:

    I keep hearing variations of this “I don’t like Cuccinelli’s actions because they’re political”. Quite frankly, it annoys the hell out of me.

    I suppose we all hated Ken Starr too, but the problem isn’t what HE did. The problem was that a sitting president lied under oath and forced the opposition to call him on it. And for the record, the compliant media failed to accurately report that clinton WAS IMPEACHED. He simply chose to ignore it. And don’t kid yourself, that was the recommended action by a team of legal advisors.

    There’s the problem, with both that situation and the FOI situations we’re seeing regarding AGW. Because the media has chosen sides, these people can continue to simply ignore things and they will magically disappear.

    A truly free society can not tolerate this crap. It HAS to be dragged into the light of publicity. I can assure you that more people know that Miley Cyrus’s wallet and credit cards were stolen this week than have ever heard Cuccinelli’s name.

  53. Brian H says:

    The reason Cuccinelli has had to go the criminal charges route:

    “The knowledge that one is to be hanged in a fortnight wonderfully concentrates the mind.”

    The lack of consequences for research and academic shenanigans has been responsible for all sorts of hanky-panky. Reminding FOIA-evaders and their ilk that words and actions have consequences, real, punitive consequences, seems called for.

  54. PhilJourdan says:

    I know Steve McIntyre and others have taken a dim view of Cuccinelli’s actions – arguing that this should not be dragged into the arena of a court of law.

    But I think this latest episode shows that the corruption of government money has no alternative. Were it private money, the funder would have a direct say in how it was spent and own the results. With government, there is no “private”. It is our money. And sadly, once you get addicted to the government money, there is no quick cure. The only solution is for tough love which is what Cuccinelli is doing.

    Until these charlatans calling themselves scientists understand that there are reprecussions to anything done for financial gain, the whole arena of science will continue to be tainted by shoddy work, and outright fraud. The solution is to put some accountability into the doling out of the money. And that is what Cuccinelli is doing. Instead of being an exception, he should be the rule for the rest of the AGs in every state.

  55. Robinson says:

    I’m guessing things like this are one of the reasons Tony Blair said FOI laws were one of his greatest regrets :p.

    “Freedom of Information. Three harmless words. I look at those words as I write them, and feel like shaking my head till it drops off my shoulders. You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop. There is really no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it.

    Once I appreciated the full enormity of the blunder, I used to say – more than a little unfairly – to any civil servant who would listen: Where was Sir Humphrey when I needed him? We had legislated in the first throes of power. How could you, knowing what you know have allowed us to do such a thing so utterly undermining of sensible government?”

    I find it hard to interpret these sentiments, other than to assume that FOI laws means each Government department has to implement some labyrinthine work-around to avoid it. At least Blair gave us a 6 month limitation; they can stall!

  56. Rod Everson says:

    Sorry, if a scientist takes government money (my money) and totally fabricates a study in order to suck in more government money (again, my money) to fight a fiction created by his study, then he’s at least as culpable as someone who holds me up in the street and demands money (my money.)

    Those of you who think science, and scientists, should be immune from prosecution, and incarceration, for stealing my money, would you also let the thief on the street go free?

    This is about intent. If the intent was to defraud, and I honestly believe that is exactly what the intent was, then this has left the realm of legitimate science and entered the realm of outright fraud. If the correspondence and written records don’t show that intent, fine. But if they don’t, why spend so much money (again, more of our money) to hide them, deny they exist, etc.

    The world is filled with fraudsters. They all belong in jail. And I don’t care how many honors, titles, and science awards they’ve acquired along the way. The way to stop fraudulent behavior is to prosecute it. Anyone who says otherwise just encourages fraudulent behavior, and frankly, we’ve had more than enough of it lately. If the university officials are guilty of a cover-up, toss them in jail for a time also. Enough nonsense. What ever happened to the rule of law in this country? (Yes, I know the answer to that one, but it’s way, way OT.)

  57. Judd says:

    Thomas Jefferson, on his tombstone did not want to be remembered as president of the United States. Instead he wanted it engraved that he was author of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia. I wonder what he might think about his creation stone-walling on FOIA requests. There’s no way to know what this man for whom ‘nature intended…the tranquil pursuits of science by rendering them my supreme delight’ would view AGW. But he also wrote that eternal vigilence is the price of liberty. The AGW scam is the antithesis to liberty: to low cost & easy travel, to absence of worries of want, to a betterment in our (brief) lives. And in his first inaurgaral Jefferson advocated a government that would, ‘not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned’. The AGW activists intend to do all that and more. I say, investigate their ‘science’.

  58. mpaul says:

    I suspect will try to brush this aside arguing that the records are the subject of a current legal dispute and that this dispute needs to be resolved first. They will most likely argue that § 2.2-3705.3. “Exclusions to application of chapter; records relating to administrative investigations” would apply if UVa were to lose its appeal.

  59. mrpkw says:

    Robinson says:
    January 6, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Here’s your dumb question of the day:

    ==============================
    Obstruction
    Perjury
    felony
    jail time

    plenty more

  60. Doug Proctor says:

    In previous WUWT postings, it has been argued that academic freedom of expression will be hampered by the use of law to investigate possible errors of understanding or judgement, as science and truth are advanced through a process of trial and error that require scientists to be unafraid of making mistakes. This makes good sense. Yet by West Virginia releasing information about Michaels under an FOI request, but not that of Mann, West Virginia has shown that the privacy around an individual’s work is a privelege, not a right, and one held by the University, not the individual. The “right” to academic freedom of opinion touted by the University as being under threat does not exist (at least at West Virginia) by its own actions.
    As for what is being hidden, the case reads like the “the lady doeth protest too much” story, especially on Mann’s side. If Mann had nothing embarassing, he might have said for the University to release whatever they wanted. He knows he his under review. But perhaps I read human nature wrong, perhaps at this stage of Us vs Them, both the University and Mann like their roles as David against the State Goliath.

  61. Steven Mosher says:

    I can support an FOIA request.

  62. Erik says:

    @Robuk says:

    “Is there not a time stamp on computer files that will show when they were last altered”
    ————————————————————————–
    Not a problem, anyone can alter the time stamp of a file

  63. don’t for one minute think that what UV is doing is not what every other university hooked up to the AGW funding tree wouldn’t do: increasingly academia has worried less about the substantive content of any published research than the fact that (a) it is published (b) promoted in the media as favourable PR for the institution and (c) perpetuates funding. Look at the UEA defense of CRU after Climategate. It is only when alumni (and their ongoing contributions to funding) are upset that university administrations begin to respond. As government funding for climate change collapses post Copenhagen, Cancun and Climategate, so inexorably will the support of academic institutions.

  64. Keith Battye says:

    Exactly . . he claims to be weary of his work being picked to pieces by the skeptics . . if there are no holes, no peel factor, so what?

    He needs to man up . . ( yes I know )

  65. Nick says:

    I sincerly hope that US population keeps up the fight.

    As far as I can detirmine, Germany and the UK are lost to the warmists. Germany has passed laws requiring energy company’s to monitor citizens energy use.

    The UK is blasting it’s budgets into oblivion with wind turbines and spending decisions based on dodgy Met Office info.

    Australia is inches away from introducing a carbon tax. We’ve had desal plants costing truckloads based on alarmists predictions of running out of water. (Dunno if you noticed, we’ve just had a lake form the size of France and Germany combined)

    It seems the USA is last bastion where reason can prevail (As usual), the EPA is a worry though, and you can’t, MUSTN’T let ‘em get a foothold or the planet will be in serious trouble, For Real though.

    It will be fascinating to see what eminates out of the FOI requests into Uni Va.

  66. James Sexton says:

    CodeTech says:
    January 6, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I keep hearing variations of this “I don’t like Cuccinelli’s actions because they’re political”. Quite frankly, it annoys the hell out of me.
    ========================================================

    I can only echo those sentiments. If demanding transparency and academic integrity, (especially when using public funds) is political, then count me as a political polemicist. Of course its political! This whole damned generation of catastrophic climate contrivances has been political. This isn’t some congenial open and honest discussion by well-meaning individuals with differences of opinion. These are genuinely dishonest, misleading, power usurpers.

    They place the desires of the collective over the needs of the individual. They seek to destroy representative democracy and replace it with a totalitarian bureaucracy. They have manipulated our market systems, openly attacked capitalism and admittedly and unabashedly stated they sought to redistribute the worlds wealth. They have sought to replace traditional religious beliefs with their own form of theology.

    Anyone who ever thought this wasn’t a political contest needs their own reality check. The above paragraph is all verifiable and true. LOOK UP THE WORDS THAT MEET THE DEFINITION!

    I posted these quotes on Goddard’s site yesterday. They are apt today. This is what the “father of our country” had to say about these people.

    “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
    and
    “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”
    and
    “Egalitarians(read modern day “progressives”) create the most dangerous inequality of all — inequality of power. Allowing politicians to determine what all other human beings will be allowed to earn is one of the most reckless gambles imaginable. Like the income tax, it may start off being applied only to the rich but it will inevitably reach us all.” — George Washington

    Here is what a more recent person of great intellect had to say.

    There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.
    —Part III, Chapter III, Nineteen Eighty-Four– G. Orwell

    Political? No, kidding. It always was.

  67. Erik says:

    @Robinson says:
    January 6, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I’m guessing things like this are one of the reasons Tony Blair said FOI laws were one of his greatest regrets :p.
    ———————————————————————–
    Another quote from the text and very OT imho:

    “As I said information is power and any government’s attitude about sharing information with the people actually says a great deal about how it views power itself and how it views the relationship between itself and the people who elected it.”
    http://www.cfoi.org.uk/blairawards.html

  68. Canadian Mike says:

    You can see the “dog ate my hard drive” defence coming a mile away on this one. I hope enrolment at this “institute of higher learning” drops by 50% as a result of this. I can assure I would never send one of my kids to a school with academic and moral standards this low.

  69. Brandon Caswell says:

    Opinion not facts follow:

    This no longer about money for universities. They have now painted themselves into a corner by so blindly supporting the global warming idea. If they produce the said data and it shows fraud or deceit, then they will lose standing in society. It would be “catastropohic” for the “academic elite” to have have to admit they completely fell for a scam and would knock them off their pedestal. A pedestal they spent decades building the illusion of. It would completely undermine their position of saying “I’m an expert, so you must listen to only me”.

    They are not stupid. They know full well, looking in hindsight, that they should have been tempering their support with statements of uncertainty to cover their A**. But they didn’t and they only dug the hole deeper by becoming even more defensive every time any questions came up about uncertainties. It is their own fault. This was just an idealogical opportunity that was just too good to pass up for them. Their arrogance made them unable to admit even for a second that they might be wrong. They insulted and called anyone who questioned them stupid.

    So what else can they do now? If they start to admit they might have jumped before they looked, then they lose their carefully crafted position of academic authority. So they will continue to use every single trick they can think of to try and head off discovery.

    I personally find it worse to knowingly perpetuate a lie or deceit, than to make a mistake. All they are doing is making sure they fall that much harder when it happens.

    This is a shame cause they are taking universities and science down with their egos. But given the egos shown by some statements, I would guess they feel that they are more important than the university or science anyway.

    People who have admitted they got ahead of their knowlege, have far more of my respect than people who just keep shouting “don’t you know who I am”.

  70. jtom says:

    “What is the penalty if they don’t deliver? ”
    ===========================

    The Democrats control the State Senate, but the Republicans control the State House. The Governor is a Republican, too.

    It would be extremely easy to strip certain research funds out of the state’s U of VA appropriations bill, and reduce the funding of the University’s administration budget as well.

  71. Keith Battye says:

    I agree with you 100% . . more if i could.

    Joking aside, if the university gets away with this there are 93 third world “governments ” who will point to this and say “see we aren’t so bad”.

    America owes itself to be better than that.

  72. latitude says:

    “I don’t like Cuccinelli’s actions because they’re political”.
    ================================================
    Complete total horse poop……………

    The university made it political….
    ….If there was any way they could spin it, they would have been shouting it from the roof tops.

    Is there anyone stupid enough to think that the university is not releasing the information because it proves their case…………………

  73. DRE says:

    What’s more important to the MET, proselytizing for AGW or public safety?

  74. ShrNfr says:

    @Nick, you would not be thinking of my good friend and compadre Barrie Harrop would you? He has suddenly gone awol from the comments sections of the wsj. I hope he didn’t overdo it in his much touted whine cellar. For those who are interested you can look up “Barrie Harrop” and “Harrop” in the urban dictionary.

  75. Robert A says:

    Let me see if I got this right:

    We are concerned that the UV might fabricate data and studies about the Hockey Stick, which – given the admission by all (including Mann) that the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warming Period indeed existed – could only have come from fabricated or wacky data and studies to begin with?

    They’re going to have to fabricate the fabricated data. This may become a new branch of science altogether.

    In the end, even if they correct time stamps and manufacture whatever, the science has to work and be reproducible.

    It can’t.

  76. Scott Brim says:

    Did Michael Mann fulfill the written requirements of the contracts he signed with the University of Virginia?

    That is the only question which has any possible relevance to the Attorney General’s investigation.

  77. Ken Harvey says:

    For anyone wanting to follow Ken Cuccinelli’s fascinating battles with Virginia University, this is a site worth a visit every week or two:
    http://vaquitamlaw.com/

  78. cedarhill says:

    What the VA AG is doing is a C-I-V-A-L investigation which could result in civil penalties such as returning grant monies. The FOIA penalties are civil as well and are mostly trivial – a few hundred dollar civil penalty for first timers, up to a few thousand for each one after that.

    If the VA AG was interested in criminal action, he’d just convene a Grand Jury. Actually, therein lies Mann’s main potential problem. Lying to get grants is one thing, lying under oath is another. Ask Scooter Libby.

    Regarding “political motivations”. Do you think laws are immaculately conceived? Go reread the “We the People” intro to our justice system. Maybe even the Declaration that Obama seems to not get right most of the time and, if really serious, the Federalist papers are good. And as if the global warming fraud and con folks aren’t. Gee.

  79. JPeden says:

    CodeTech says:
    January 6, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I keep hearing variations of this “I don’t like Cuccinelli’s actions because they’re political”. Quite frankly, it annoys the hell out of me.

    Me too. Contrary to the way this charge is often so stupidly presented, why can’t a “political” act also be the the right thing to do and also judged by this merit? If Cuccinelli’s act is the right thing to do, it makes the charge that Cuccinelli’s actions are “political” sound political itself and almost against doing the right thing – which I know people around here are not against, although some are probably still having a hard time understanding how and why the machinations of the CO2AGW “scientific” process have gotten us to this otherwise absurd point.

    Politics is also a proxy for War, which is effectively what we’re in as a result of the ipcc Climate Science Propaganda Op., enc., trying to control and parasitize us. So if we don’t wage war by proxy ourselves, potentially using all legal means available, then we’re either going to be enslaved without a fight or else in a real War again against the all-too-familiar Totalitarian dead-enders. To me it’s really just that simple.

  80. Bruce Cobb says:

    My, how the worm has turned. Grist Magazine’s staff writer David Roberts referred to Skeptics as the “climate denial industry”, and in the issue of on September 19, 2006 wrote : “When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.”
    Possible jail time for the would- be jailers? We can bask in that irony.

  81. kim says:

    Here’s an irony; with the private money springing to the Piltdown Mann’s defense, he never needed government money at all to do his manufactured research and deceitful science. This half a million bucks provided privately to the University of Virginia, and dirty money it is, pales in comparison to the $300,000,000 that Gore bragged he had available for his advertising campaign. Even Andy Revkin blanched at Gore’s excuse for hiding the donors’ identities by claiming the money came from ‘anonymous and internet donors’.

    Yeah, who wants to hide the fact that they are defending the earth? Out with these private backers of the University’s intransigence. And out with Gore’s craven backers, too, while we’re at it.

    Where’s the punishment for lying about their possession of the critical emails?
    ==================

  82. fuddy man says:

    ALL of the data and code in question available and easily obtained:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    You don’t need FOIA to get it, but there isn’t a single person commenting here who seems to know or care that it is available as that doesn’t fit with the delusional storyline here.

  83. MikeA says:

    This happened in May last year, has anyone got an update?

  84. danj says:

    The “academic freedom” defense is starting to sound a lot like the “executive privilege” and “national security” defenses Nixon used during Watergate. Wrongdoers shouldn’t be allowed to hid behind it.

    The UVA law school is one of the best in the nation. I wonder what the wise ones in it think about what the UVA administration is doing to evade the FOIA requests in some instances while bending over backward to expedite them in others…

  85. Doctor Gee says:

    One of the saddest parts of the whole process is the unknown number of students who have lost out on an opportunity to attend what has always been considered a highly respected, top-25 academic institution because $500,000 and counting have been piddled away on legal fees instead of scholarships. As a native Virginian myself, I am sure that Thomas Jefferson would be dismayed at the state of the university he founded.

  86. John Whitman says:

    Well, let me deduce what Dr. Terence Kealey would have to say about any of us who would be disturbed by the UVa and Mann’s lack of openness wrt to the State of Virginia inquiries. [ NOTE: remember the December 29, 2010 WUWT post by John A entitled "Terence Kealey: What Does Climategate Say About Science?"]

    I think Dr. Kealey would say we are all naive. That’s the problem, that people critical of the UVa and Mann are naive.

    I am sure the UVa and Mann appreciate that timely clever defensive strategy from Dr. Kealey.

    John

  87. Jeff says:

    so what if he is politically motivated ? If you are telling the truth and your science is clean you have nothing to worry about …

  88. Myrrh says:

    More theft, not releasing the information is this, to use tax payers money to stop them having access.

  89. So much for transparency of science. What do these people have to hide? What are they so afraid of? It can only be the truth!

  90. R.S.Brown says:

    Folks,

    Wake up.

    The University of Virginia will deflect this and any other FOI
    requests concerning Mike Mann’s work while at their insitution by
    simply claiming:

    “The status of the material and information in your request is part of a
    legal appeal now pending before the Supreme Court of Virginia. As such,
    we can not act on your request at this time.”

    Their appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court may actually qualify the
    material and information as an exception to the release of requested
    material under the Virginia and Federal information acts.

    … and it will take more trips through the courts to make any FOI
    request stick.

    The private group that’s funding the University of Virginia’s efforts
    to resist the letter and spirit of the law might be found to
    be co-conspiritors in the abrogation of the law… but that would take
    even more discovery hearings and trips to the courthouse to simply
    find out who “they” are.

    Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli’s efforts seem slow, but the
    results seem to be unavoidable.

  91. mpaul says:

    fuddy man says:
    “January 6, 2011 at 11:53 am
    ALL of the data and code in question available and easily obtained:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    fuddy man, it would be illogical for UVA to spend $500,000 resisting the production of materials that are already public. The AG and the subsequent FOIA are seeking records on how Mann spent grant money. There are indications that he might have used grant money to cover-up adverse data and to promote information that he knew to be false.

  92. stevenmosher says:

    fuddy man says:
    January 6, 2011 at 11:53 am

    ALL of the data and code in question available and easily obtained:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    You don’t need FOIA to get it, but there isn’t a single person commenting here who seems to know or care that it is available as that doesn’t fit with the delusional storyline here.

    ########
    huh, I would hazard that a large number of readers here are aware of the code and data that has been made available. What’s not clear is the following.
    1. All of the extant code, versus that made available
    2. all of the extant data, versus that made available.
    3. The actual documents requested by the FOIA. I would suspect this goes beyond the documents presently available. For example, correspondence. like mails and memos
    and things written that relate to various grants etc etc. drafts of documents, etc.

    Fuddy. You should take more care in thinking and writing. Just a suggestion

  93. Thorne says:

    I would also like to see a copy of the information that was handed to GreenPeace, just to make sure that nothing was hidden away. There again , I’ve never subscribed to any “conspiracy theory”, but I’m getting a mite bit suspicious of the conduct of UVa!

  94. David L says:

    Why would U of VA cover up for Mann? I know of very few academics that would be protected by a university like this. I’ve seen some very good scientists in my day treated like trash by the schools and departments in which they work; it’s a real shame. Mann must be something very special, have some real dirt on the university, or the university itself has some stake in all this. Mann doesn’t even work there anymore! What could U of VA possibly benefit from not complying?

  95. Mark W says:

    Can’t wait for Issa’s hearings on the EPA/CO2 – That will be very entertaining.

  96. Moliterno says:

    As a Virginia taxpayer, I paid good money for Mann’s useless hockey stick while my son attended UVA (or just “Virginia”, “Mr. Jefferson’s University”, or worst of all just “The University”). He got an engineering degree and had to suffer through “Science, Technology, and Society” requirements. If you go to the Engineering College website, you can read all about its view of the way they think science should interact with society. No facts please, this is political “science”.

    Note that Mann worked in Environmental “Science” which is a department within the College of Arts and Sciences (aka the College of Arts and Crafts to the engineers) and not in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. I’d like to backcharge UVA for that shoddy work. UVA also has a nice School of Education where students are indoctrinated with all the environmental soft science and “teaching”.

    UVA has been eager to break away from Commonwealth control (we are a Commonwealth) for a long time now and this is yet another example of how the Trustees are trying to steal the institution away from the people and insulate themselves from distasteful accountability.

    My second son is about to head off to Virginia Tech (no fancy nicknames for that engineer cow college). That is where the engineers who have to build stuff that works go to learn hard sciences like physics and thermodynamics.

    Tenure should be abolished, Environmental “Science” should be eliminated, and UVA’s appropriation from the Commonwealth General Fund should be cut accordingly. Tough love is the only way to correct entitled dependents. It is still one of the least corrupted “elite” Universities wrt political correctness, but the disease is virulent and is much easier to cure now than later.

  97. FTM says:

    OK, enough of the political fencing, when can we expect arrest warrants to be issued?

  98. latitude says:

    David L says:
    January 6, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Why would U of VA cover up for Mann?—-
    ——– What could U of VA possibly benefit from not complying?
    ===================================================
    David, it’s climate science. They have built an entire department around it and now have students paying them to teach climate science. It’s big business now.

    Obviously…….

    The release another teachers files, same department, no questions asked. He was anti-university-making-money.

    Yet, spend over a half million dollars (+$500,000) to try and not release Mann’s files, because Mann is university-making-money

    What are they going to say? “our reputation is based on the quality education we provide, and we’ve been teaching crap”

  99. BillD says:

    Why not just allow the federal, state and local government and the police to to get a hold of everybodies email? There must be a lot of evidence of illegal activities contained in the emails. Or we could take a more conservative approach and just study the emails and correspondance of professors, since most of them are trying to mislead our youth.

  100. Brian H says:

    This seems to ‘mind me of someone else who’s spending a million or two on lawyers to prevent release of info and public documents … Who is it now? I think the name begins with “O” …

  101. latitude says:

    fuddy man says:
    January 6, 2011 at 11:53 am

    ALL of the data and code in question available and easily obtained:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    You don’t need FOIA to get it, but there isn’t a single person commenting here who seems to know or care that it is available as that doesn’t fit with the delusional storyline here.
    =======================================================
    Hey fuddy, why did the UofVA spend over $1/2 million to keep it a secret then?

    If you don’t need a FOIA, if all of the data and code is on the internet, why did the UofVA spend over $1/2 million to keep it a secret?

  102. John M says:

    BillD,

    I await your letter of complaint to Greenpeace.

  103. mpaul says:

    BillD: “Why not just allow the federal, state and local government and the police to to get a hold of everybodies email? ”

    Becasue, under our system of government, law enforcement must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed before they can engage in any sort of search. There is ample reason to believe that Mann might have committed fraud under FATA. Cuccinelli spells it all out in his appeal. The AG has an obligation to investigate, in this case.

  104. savethesharks says:

    JPeden says:
    January 6, 2011 at 11:45 am
    CodeTech says:
    January 6, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I keep hearing variations of this “I don’t like Cuccinelli’s actions because they’re political”. Quite frankly, it annoys the hell out of me.

    Me too.

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

    Me three!

    This “witch hunt”… is completely justified because it involves PUBLIC money on quote unquote “research” that was used internationally to attempt to divert TRILLIONS of dollars into the coffers of special interests the likes of Al Gore were positioned to profit well off of a “calamity”…and it created mass psychological scare and fear and propagate the greatest (worst) scientific scam EVER perpetuated on the planet.

    Time to light the torches.

    Chris
    Norfolk, Virginia, USA

  105. savethesharks says:

    Dear mods – please check your spam for my last post.

    Thanks and regards,

    Chris

    [Rescued & posted. ~dbs]

  106. James Sexton says:

    “They place the desires of the collective over the needs of the individual. They seek to destroy representative democracy and replace it with a totalitarian bureaucracy. They have manipulated our market systems, openly attacked capitalism and admittedly and unabashedly stated they sought to redistribute the worlds wealth. They have sought to replace traditional religious beliefs with their own form of theology.”

    ((Crickets chirping.)) Is what I thought. Kinda sad.

  107. jorgekafkazar says:

    Kev-in-UK says: “What is the penalty if they don’t deliver? Can the attorney general then ‘seize’ the server? or do they just get a fine? (if it’s the latter, maybe one can expect the likes of Gore to cough up to protect the warmists backs?)”

    1) Shut down the entire university and have marshals seize all computers.
    2) Fine the university $1,000,000 per day until they turn over the missing materials.
    3) Arrest university officials and charge them jointly and severally with contempt of court and conspiracy.
    4) All of above.

  108. R.S.Brown says:

    BillD says:
    January 6, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Why not just allow the federal, state and local
    government and the police to [to] get a hold of
    everybodies email?

    In the instance at hand, this is the wrong question.

    Here we have an employee paid with state and federal public
    funds
    supported by University staff paid by public
    funds
    using equiment and buildings maintained by
    public funds and making applications for MORE
    public funding while purporting to accurately account for the
    public funds expended to date and how additional
    public funds might be spent.

    Your question conflates the average United States citizen’s
    constitutional right to protection from unwarrented
    searches and seizures and privacy in general with the duties,
    legal responsibilities and limited rights held by public employees
    and their employer/institutions.

    If Mike Mann sent a letter from home on his own stationary,
    using his own word processor, paying for the envelope and
    stamp out of pocket, telling his Aunt Tillie in some detail he
    was working on climate related studies… that letter would
    not be subject to FOI requests under
    Virginia or Federal law.

  109. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    Whatever happens with this U of V debacle, just know that having ALL OF YOU submit these comments of yours – some profound – some ‘borderline’ profane – some complete with anger or wit… just KNOW that you are showing THE WORLD what Real Scientists and REAL Scholars are ‘about’.

    I have suggested to over 50 folks (the potentially brainwashed) thus far – to surf through Watts Up, so they can sample the articles and ‘dig into’ these comments.
    There are too many excellent posts to ‘high five’ you all…but, each was ‘just enough’ to lift my spirits at the end of a long day in the paddocks.

    Oh, and CodeTech was right once again… I’d never heard of this guy – Cuccinelli –
    until I read this post. I suppose he’s yet another in the ‘unsung hero’ category. Can’t wait to see WHEN Justice truly will prevail…once in 50 years would indeed be ‘nice’.

    C.L. Thorpe

  110. kim says:

    cedarhill @ 11:04 AM yesterday.

    Libby didn’t lie. Russert did. Time to open FitzgeraldGate.

    The FBI on morning
    Lost its notes suborning
    Eckenrode,
    Where is that toad?
    He’s wanted at a harrowing.
    ==============

  111. Rob says:

    It is surprising that even though everyone here seems to have an opinion, neither in this post, nor anyone commenting here, shows the actual FOIA request.

    In a separate article, I found that this FOIA request was filed by Christopher C. Horner of the American Tradition Institute’s law center, David W. Schnare, a federal attorney and Bob Marshall (a Virginia Republican delegate).

    However, the exact request seems painfully absent….
    What is really requested under this FOIA ?
    And how does that differ from the Greenpeace request ?
    And where is that Greenpeace request any way ?
    And where is the answer that UVA gave to Greenpeace ?
    Wouldn’t anyone like to share that with us here at WUWT ?

  112. BillD says:

    Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:
    January 7, 2011 at 12:55 am
    Whatever happens with this U of V debacle, just know that having ALL OF YOU submit these comments of yours – some profound – some ‘borderline’ profane – some complete with anger or wit… just KNOW that you are showing THE WORLD what Real Scientists and REAL Scholars are ‘about’.

    Yes, Cynthia,

    Science is too important to be left to people with PhD’s who actually conduct experiments, analyze data and write articles that are accepted by scientific journals. The real scholars and scientists are the ones who write on blogs to critique the work of the so-called scholars and scientists. Science is best done by people with no formal university training in a field of study, as that clearly biases and clouds the point of view.

  113. Richard S Courtney says:

    Rob:

    At January 7, 2011 at 2:32 am you complain that the actual FOIA request is not puplished on WUWT.

    You can read it at
    http://cei.org/outreach-legal-briefs/university-virginia-freedom-information-act-request

    I found it in less than 60 seconds by googleing ‘Horner Virginia FOIA request’ which took much less time and effort than would be required to make your post. It was the first item returned by Google.

    If that was all you wanted and finding it was beyond you, then perhaps it would have been shorter, simpler and more polite to have posted:
    “Would somebody please provide a link to the actual FOIA request because it is not included in the above article? This seems to be an oversight.”

    Richard

    [And we who can now use that link thank you for providing it. 8<) Robt]

  114. David L says:

    BillD says;
    January 7, 2011 at 4:04 am

    “Science is too important to be left to people with PhD’s who actually conduct experiments, analyze data and write articles that are accepted by scientific journals. The real scholars and scientists are the ones who write on blogs to critique the work of the so-called scholars
    and scientists. Science is best done by people with no formal university training in a field of study, as that clearly biases and clouds the point of view.”

    ROTFLMAO!!!! (and I’m a published PhD in the physical sciences)

  115. Richard S Courtney says:

    BillD:

    Your post at January 7, 2011 at 4:04 am is silly.

    “He who pays the piper calls the tune”. The ‘piper’ is answerable to his paymaster and not the other way around.

    Scientists (including me) have no right to expect our work to be unaccountable to those who pay pay for it, and we should not have that right. But those who pay for our work have a right to examine what they have payed for so they can assess whether or not they have been swindled. The public payed for the science conducted the Virginia Uni., and they each have a right to determine that they have not been swindled. Honest and competent scientists have nothing to fear from this.

    Consider that you were talking about another purchase which was not ‘science’, for example, a car. A person lacks the ability to design and build a car but buys one. He agreed to purchase a Rolls Royce but he receives what looks suspiciously like a Honda. According to your assertion the purchaser should have no right to demand proof that he got a Rolls Royce unless the purchaser could manufacture a car himself.

    Silly? Your assertion is plain daft!

    Richard

  116. beng says:

    ******
    Moliterno says:
    January 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    My second son is about to head off to Virginia Tech (no fancy nicknames for that engineer cow college). That is where the engineers who have to build stuff that works go to learn hard sciences like physics and thermodynamics.
    ******

    That’s my mechanical-engineering alma mater! And, and least in the late 70′s, their engineering schools had kept out Political Correctness, tho PCism was already there in most other “schools”. Not sure I want to know what the situation is now, as PCism has infiltrated just about every university school/discipline in the country.

    PS. In the late 70′s, even tho I was an out-of-state student (more expensive), the total tuition was still less than $1500 a yr.

  117. David Schnare says:

    The link for the FOIA is not the one we submitted yesterday. You can read the press release here: http://www.atinstitute.org/blog_post/show/58

    At the bottom of the press release are links to the two FOIA’s we have sent UVA.

    David Schnare

  118. fuddy man says:

    dear latitude,
    Half a million dollars spent by UVA to keep people from getting data that you (and your pals) have no idea what to do with, while all of the data that is being used or has been used is readily available?

    This makes no sense whatsoever.

    Here’s a simpler explanation:
    Cuccinelli is showboating…wasting taxpayer and UVA money over politically motivated legal filings.

  119. fuddy man says:

    Note:
    “Mr. Cuccinelli’s legal case against Mr. Mann seems unrelated to any of the controversial research the attorney general spends so much time attacking. Mr. Cuccinelli is supposedly investigating whether Mr. Mann committed fraud when the scientist applied for and received a state-funded research grant — to study what Mr. Mann describes as “the interaction of the land, atmosphere and vegetation in the African savannah.” The topic “has nothing to do with climate change or paleoclimate,” Mann says. The attorney general appears to argue that, since Mr. Mann listed his controversial papers on his curriculum vitae when he and two other scientists applied for the savannah research grant, he may have committed some kind of fraud.”
    From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/05/AR2010100504908.html

    S –t–r–e–t–c–h–i–n–g to find no crime. What an utter waste of time and money.

  120. BillD says:

    Publishing in Nature is the highest goal of many scientists. I bet that Mann is surprised that his state government thinks that his publication in Nature is a crime (or evidence of fraud), as is listing such a publication in his list of publications on a grant application.

    I’ve had a number of grants from the National Science Foundation which resulted in scientific publications, although none in Nature. Should I now be concerned that a lawyer employed by the state or federal goverment might try to prosecute me for fraud if the lawyer doesn’t like the methods, analysis or conclusions of my research?

    Generally, accounting departments are responsible for insuring that grant funds are spent for their intended purposes. The validity of scientific results and conclusions are mainly judged by other scientists in peer review, not by lawyers who don’t know squat about science. The main quality control is that scientists who don’t translate grants into publications in good journals are likely to be rated poorly and declined on their next grant application. If if a scientific study is later show to be mistaken, this is not usually taken as evidence of a crime or fraud. There are many cases where a scientist’s more recent results show that the same scientists earlier conclusions were incorrect or insufficient. This is often called the “self correcting nature of science.”

    Does the Virginnia AG have evidence that Mann’s grant money was spent for something outside of research expenses? If that’s the case, he should look for evidence in the U of V’s accounting department, not in Mann’s email account. Frankly, I think that U of V faculty and admistration have the right to be concerned if politically motivated lawyers can use the power of their office to attack academics with whom they disagree. Fortunately, most AG’s, Republican or Democrat, realize that the State’s power should not be for political attacks.

  121. Richard S Courtney says:

    fuddy man:

    You make a silly suggestion when you say;
    “Here’s a simpler explanation:
    Cuccinelli is showboating…wasting taxpayer and UVA money over politically motivated legal filings.”

    When Cuccinelli first asked for the info. the Uni. said they did not have the data but when Cuccinelli subsequently pressed the matter the Uni. admitted to having it but has yet to provide it.

    I have a tip for you: when you know nothing about a subject it is best not to prove you know nothing by making a comment.

    Richard

  122. Richard Sharpe says:

    Mr fuddy troll man said:

    S –t–r–e–t–c–h–i–n–g to find no crime. What an utter waste of time and money.

    Rather like Mann, really.

    Go away troll.

  123. John M says:

    BillD,

    Frankly, I think that U of V faculty and admistration have the right to be concerned if politically motivated lawyers can use the power of their office to attack academics with whom they disagree.

    I still await your letter of complaint to Greenpeace.

  124. Richard S Courtney says:

    BillD:

    Not content with presenting nonsense at January 7, 2011 at 4:04 am
    that I refuted at January 7, 2011 at 5:11 am,
    you have presented the same twaddle again at January 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm.

    Clearly, you are not capable of understanding the practical and ethical explanations in my refutation of your nonsense, so I will be blunt. You need to understand the following.

    If you do not want to allow the public to assess your work then do not work for the public.

    If you work for industry then you will experience much more severe scrutiny of your work and be held to much greater account for it than if you work for the public.

    If you are afraid of scrutiny and accountability then work for yourself and pay the costs of doing your work yourself.

    And stop moaning that accountability to those who pay for your salary is somehow unfair. It is not.

    I hope that is clear.

    Richard

  125. James Sexton says:

    BillD says:
    January 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    “Frankly, I think that U of V faculty and admistration have the right to be concerned if politically motivated lawyers can use the power of their office to attack academics with whom they disagree. Fortunately, most AG’s, Republican or Democrat, realize that the State’s power should not be for political attacks.”
    ========================================================

    Frankly, I think the people of Virginia have the right to be concerned if politically motivated academics use the people’s money to further political causes under questionable circumstances. Sadly, most academics don’t realize their charge is should be only to educate in an apolitical manner. To use their position in a political manner is a misuse of the people’s money and breach of the public trust.

  126. James Sexton says:

    Richard S Courtney says:
    January 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    “……
    If you do not want to allow the public to assess your work then do not work for the public.

    If you work for industry then you will experience much more severe scrutiny of your work and be held to much greater account for it than if you work for the public.

    If you are afraid of scrutiny and accountability then work for yourself and pay the costs of doing your work yourself.

    And stop moaning that accountability to those who pay for your salary is somehow unfair. It is not.

    I hope that is clear.

    Richard
    ======================================================

    It was Richard, and well stated. It isn’t academic freedom people like BillD seek, rather it is license they seek.

    This brings to mind a wonderful quote that I believe is apt.

    “None can love freedom heartily but good men, the rest love not freedom, but license.”—–John Milton

  127. BillD says:

    I still maintain that the quality, realiability and significance of scientific studies should be evaluated by scientists from around the world, not by government lawyers who know squat about science or even government bureaucrats with some training in science. If scientists have to answer to politicians who disagree with our conclusions our credibility and the competitiveness of American science will go to zero. I also claim that scientific debates should occur in scientific journals, not in the court of law.

  128. BillD says:

    James Sexton says:
    January 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Frankly, I think the people of Virginia have the right to be concerned if politically motivated academics use the people’s money to further political causes under questionable circumstances. Sadly, most academics don’t realize their charge is should be only to educate in an apolitical manner. To use their position in a political manner is a misuse of the people’s money and breach of the public trust.

    James:

    Do you really think that articles in scientific journals are “political misue” while attacks on scientists by politicians are what(?) I do agree that some social scientists impinge on politics, but having spent most of the last 30 years reading, editing, reviewing and writing scientific studies (I’m a biologist), I never saw any political content and believe that political content would not be acceptable in scientific studies and publications. Why not quote a few sentences of a primary scientific study that even mentions politics? Did I miss something?

  129. Gary Pearse says:

    BillD says:
    January 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm
    “If scientists have to answer to politicians who disagree with our conclusions our credibility and the competitiveness of American science will go to zero. I also claim that scientific debates should occur in scientific journals, not in the court of law.”

    Bill, you know that it’s not about disagreeing with conclusions. The CG emails gave cause to suspect that there was egregious cooking of the science for activist or grant grabbing motivations, coercion of journals to prevent just the very debate you are suggesting as the forum for settling questions about conclusions. If this did not happen, then the emails will show this and the case is dismissed. Surely one should be suspicious with the withholding of data, and frustration of legitimate FOI requests by other scientists and by government officials who have a fiduciary duty to the electorate to ensure that the grants were legitimately applied for and the work was done in an honest manner. The conclusions of the scientific work can be controversial as long as the data and arguments are not deliberately tailored to give a foregone result. The conclusions can even be demonstrably wrong ones if the errors are honest errors. Please tell me that you are not a tad suspicious that the funds weren’t applied in a wholly acceptable way (whitewashes aside). I agree that honest scientists should be free to err without fear of the dragoons being sent in. But if there is sufficient smoke, it is the fire departments job to chop the door down if there is no other way.

  130. Smokey says:

    BillD,

    You are conflating “scientists answering to politicians” with misappropriation of public funds.

    Michael Mann and UoP are fighting the Attorney General’s investigation tooth and nail because they have plenty to hide — not because they have to answer to politicians. Every scientist feeding at the public trough has to answer to politicians.

    The line is being drawn at suspected fraud. Cuccinelli has the obligation as AG to gather evidence. That’s his job.

  131. savethesharks says:

    If scientists have to answer to politicians who disagree with our conclusions our credibility and the competitiveness of American science will go to zero. I also claim that scientific debates should occur in scientific journals, not in the court of law.

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

    Your arguments are essentially smoke and mirrors. Silly, really.

    And contrary to your last diversion, the scientific method should indeed ALWAYS be able to stand up in a court of law.

    Truth is truth.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  132. savethesharks says:

    Whoops posted too fast. Last post was addressed to BillD

  133. JP says:

    Mann et als have attempted to influence public policy with thier “studies”. As such, they cannot claim that they are disinterested scientists. They should be treated as partisans who live at the public trough.

  134. Rob says:

    David W. Schnare :
    Thank you for providing us with the link to the correct actual FOIA request(s).
    I have a few questions regarding this FOIA request :

    (1) You mention in your article that you are a “federal attorney”. In this FOIA request, are you representing the federal government ? If not, who exactly do you represent in this FOIA request ? If so, under whos authority does the federal government seek to obtain information (emails etc) from Michael Mann or any other employee at UVA ?

    (2) You already mention that you believe that “taxpayer-funded academics” fall under your wide interpretation of the Virginia FOIA, and that thus you have the right to obtain the emails they wrote since 1999. However, is there any ruling in the FOIA that specifically excludes legislature, military or other government personnel or even government paid contractors and companies ?

    For example : Can I file a FOIA with the state of Virginia and obtain all emails that Cuccinelli (as a state paid employee) has sent out since he obtained office ?

    If not, why do you think that state-paid legislature is somehow excluded from the Virginia FOIA, and why should academics be singled out for coughing up everything they ever wrote ?

  135. Mark T says:

    Rob, regarding your last point: it has nothing to do with academcis being singled out to cough up everything they ever wrote. This is part and parcel for all employees of publicly funded institutions. Standard operating procedure… when you work for the government or other public institution, the public owns your work.

    Mark

  136. Rob says:

    Mark said :
    “when you work for the government or other public institution, the public owns your work.”

    That’s not true.
    Under your definition, the recent (governmental and military) correspondence released by Wikileaks should have been available to the public under FOIA requests.

    If so, why was wikileaks taken down, leaders arrested and incarcerated without bail, and exact legal procecution being prepared as we speak ?

  137. Laws of Nature says:

    Hello Anthony,

    well I just wanted to check if you have an update on that story . .
    If I understood you correctly UVa was supposed to hand over the emails/data
    last Friday, did that happen? Or what are the next likely steps here?

    Thanks a lot,
    LoN

  138. Brian H says:

    Rob says:
    January 10, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Under your definition, the recent (governmental and military) correspondence released by Wikileaks should have been available to the public under FOIA requests.

    If so, why was wikileaks taken down, leaders arrested and incarcerated without bail, and exact legal procecution being prepared as we speak ?
    Uh, duh, does “classified documents” convey anything to you?

    I thought not.

  139. Mark T says:

    You are conflating “public institution” with military (and national security.)

    And, for the record, there have not been any formal charges related to the leaks, so your basic premise is flawed if that is your example.

    Mark

  140. Mark T says:

    I should point out that the reason those cables exist in the first place is the same reason UVA saves its communications: they are owned by the public. The only difference is security which means the former’s information gets held in limbo for some lenght of time.

    Of course, Bob, if you had ever worked for the public, government, or even a contractor to the same, you would know this. Instead you somehow feel justified talking nonsense about something you clearly have no experience with. Hardly a surprise from defenders of the faith. Pathetic.

    Mark

  141. Rob says:

    MarkT:
    Not sure what your agenda is and why you resort to ad hominem arguments and intimidation to make your point. Surely you know that these are fallacies in debate.

    I don’t think you actually understood what I was asking in my point (2).
    The question I had was regarding emails and to which and whom the VFOIA applies.

    First of all, I am not sure if emails between scientists fall under the Viginia FOIA. The definition of “public records” used therein :
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+2.2-3701
    seems to include only tangible recordings, and one could make an argument that emails between public state/federal employees (without a print-out, or without actually addressing “public business” would be excluded from the VFOIA.

    Second, if emails ARE considered part of VFOIA, my question was if that also applies to legislative employees (like Cuccinelli). If so, then you answered my question “can I obtain all email correspondence from Cuccinelli under VFOIA?” with a resounding YES.

    Third, (and this also applies to BrianH’s answer), what makes a document “classified”, and where in the VFOIA does it state which documents are explicitly excluded from releases under the FOIA ? Are military documents are by default “classified” ? How about Cuccinelli’s personal emails ? Are they “classified” as well ?

    Finally, I still did not get an answer from about David W. Schnare. Who does he represent in this FOIA request ? If he just represents himself, then the designation of “state lawmaker” would be considered misleading at best.

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