Mann fights against freedom of information

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Contact: Paul Chesser, paul.chesser@atinstitute.org

On September 2, lawyers for Dr. Michael Mann filed requests to allow them to intervene in American Tradition Institute’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against University of Virginia, citing Dr. Mann’s alleged personal interest in the disclosure of the records that he created or received as part of his employment there. Among the legal filings are a letter from Dr. Mann to UVA, as well as letters from four of his scientist colleagues to UVA president Teresa Sullivan, which urge the university not to provide the records sought by ATI.

Despite talking points designed to distract, ATI seeks no “personal” records or records that discuss private information such as students’ statuses, grades, etc.

Nevertheless, Dr. Mann and his fellow scientists — as part of his lawyers’ filing with the court — attempt to make the case that their research discussions should be withheld from the taxpaying public who funded them because their correspondence is “personal.” But in their letters to UVA, the scientists make statements that inarguably illustrate how the nature of their messages are of public interest.

The four scientists who wrote to Dr. Sullivan are: Rosanne D’Arrigo, senior research scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University; Dr. Benjamin Santer, climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Kevin Trenberth, climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Raymond Bradley, director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts.

Following are comments made by each scientist to Dr. Sullivan which highlight the public nature of their scientific work, implicated in discussions with then-UVA Professor Mann:

D’Arrigo: “My research over the past three decades includes the use of tree-ring reconstructions for the past millenium to infer past temperature trends and the magnitude of recent anthropogenic impacts on climate.”

Santer: “Professor Mann’s only ‘transgression’ is that he has performed cutting-edge research in the public and national interest. His research has given scientists and policymakers an invaluable long-term context for the late 20th-century changes in Earth’s surface temperature.”

Trenberth: “The moral is that even innocent emails can be taken out of context and distorted. This has also happened with Dr. Mann in an even more pronounced way—not because he did anything wrong but simply because he did high profile and important research, that has implications for political actions.”

Bradley: “This is part of a larger campaign to confuse the public about the important issues of climate change, and intimidate climate scientists who have been at the cutting edge of this research.”

Finally, Dr. Mann’s own letter to UVA shows why his work and correspondence while employed there are of national public interest, writing, ”Allowing the indiscriminate release of these materials will cause damage to reputations and harm principles of academic freedom.” But Dr. Mann is not challenging “indiscriminate release” of the records, but release under seal of a Protective Order  — one agreed to by University of Virginia more than three months ago, to no legal response by Mann until the records were due for production.

Considering how Dr. Mann’s colleagues clearly identify how their collaborative work fed into “cutting edge research in the public and national interest,” which “has implications for political actions,” it is vitally important that the public see and understand how the scientists collectively arrived at their conclusions — and as Dr. Mann curiously hints, why the revelation of those public records would “damage” their reputations.

“How far out on — or perhaps off — the ‘edge’ was Dr. Mann’s research?” wondered ATI executive director Paul Chesser. “That’s what we want to find out.”

For more information and perspective, read ATI executive director Paul Chesser’s column in today’s American Spectator: http://ow.ly/6u1Rh

See case documents, press releases, media coverage, commentary, broadcast interviews, etc. pertaining to ATI v. University of Virginia by clicking here: http://bit.ly/mLZLXC

For an interview with ATI executive director Paul Chesser, Environmental Law Center director Dr. David Schnare, or director of litigation Christopher Horner, email paul.chesser@atinstitute.org or call (202)670-2680.

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41 thoughts on “Mann fights against freedom of information

  1. Allowing the indiscriminate release of these materials will cause damage to reputations and harm principles of academic freedom.

    Now that’s chutzpah. Openness is bad for academic freedom. Just wow.

  2. Those so called scientists are over the edge, off the deep end, in the gutter. I do not believe a word any of them says at any time. Let real science proceed and get rid of the clowns promoting AGW! By the way, the peaches have finally ripened but it has been a small poor quality crop thanks to the cold spring and summer. Looks like we will get some decent early and mid season apples although I don’t know if the late apples will have time to ripen.

  3. I’m still not a big fan of all this – I would be equally uncomfortable if the “warmistas” went after Spencer’s and Christy’s mail for little more than a fishing expedition. That said, the reaction by the Team does make it harder not to change my opinion of this.

  4. Let me try and see it form his point of view … he’s got to have a good reason to do this which is perfectly legitimate … there’s got to be a legitimate reason for preventing scrutiny of his work.

    Were any of the trees minors? Nope? I give up!

  5. It is about as obvious as anybody can get that Mann is hiding something. There can be no other conclusion. Red flags should be going off everywhere.

    Unfortunately, this is no different than having a President who hides his birth certificate and academic records. If he is a natural born citizen and his grades were as brilliant as some think he is, then what’s the problem. I have to submit more documents than he did when I get a driver’s license. AND I have had to present by academic transcripts for every job I have ever applied to.

    However, both Mann and or Fearful Leader claim simply personal privacy, all the while holding posts that are effectively public and owned by the public.

  6. So, essentially, now we all can decide that we’re on the cutting edge of science research because it are we ourself who decides what’s what and all that.

    Pseudo-science is in, because it’s cutting edge. Just ask any pseudo-scientist, they just need more funding to actually prove it, like always, then repeat, again and again: next year we promise results, just send more money, after all we’re doing something new and cutting edge. :p()

  7. Mann was employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia through UVA, and the Commonwealth makes starkly clear in its official computer use policy that there is no such thing as “private” or “personal” correspondence on any workstation or server owned and operated by the state and used by a state employee (which Mann was at UVA). The University also makes this clear in its own local policies. I’m not sure that the press release above really hammers enough on that matter of law. Should there be a separate court-adjudicated computer use policy and law for academics at state universities?

  8. I didn’t think much of this at first, but all the recent reactions are starting to show signs of smoke, and where there’s smoke, there’s fire. What I don’t understand is really just the delay. If there’s nothing damaging, then a quick release would stop the bleeding caused by false accusations. If there is anything seriously damaging, then a quick release now would allow time between now and the next election for people to forget about it. There’s no way they can delay it beyond the next election, is there?

  9. Garry says: “Should there be a separate court-adjudicated computer use policy and law for academics at state universities?”

    Well the ivory tower elites thik so.

  10. Given the insults that Trenberth and Santer hurl in public, I can only imagine they might be embarrassed about what they say in their “private” correspondence with a state employee such as Mann.

  11. Trenberth? Isn’t this the guy who’s always missing something? First it was his heat, now it’s his morals; what’s next? His marbles?

    Let’s hope it’s his grant money.

  12. “Santer: “Professor Mann’s only ‘transgression’ is that he has performed cutting-edge research in the public and national interest. His research has given scientists and policymakers an invaluable long-term context for the late 20th-century changes in Earth’s surface temperature.”

    So you already have a complete copy of all the emails? How could you possibly back up that statement without them? How could anyone ever backup a statement like that given all the information even the thoughts in Mann’s head?

    You are so completely full of balogona you should make a dagwood sandwitch.

  13. higley7 says:
    September 14, 2011 at 10:12 am
    It is about as obvious as anybody can get that Mann is hiding something. There can be no other conclusion. Red flags should be going off everywhere.

    Unfortunately, this is no different than having a President who hides his birth certificate and academic records. If he is a natural born citizen and his grades were as brilliant as some think he is, then what’s the problem. I have to submit more documents than he did when I get a driver’s license. AND I have had to present by academic transcripts for every job I have ever applied to.

    However, both Mann and or Fearful Leader claim simply personal privacy, all the while holding posts that are effectively public and owned by the public.

    The key difference is Obama’s private records are not subject to FOIA.

  14. Unless you’re using a private email in the privacy of your own home or private office, EVERYTHING you do when employed by somebody else is theirs–your time, your publications, your communications, etc. etc.

    Get used to it Mann. You’re not going to weasel out of this, you carpet-bagger.

  15. The question will be if there are emails regarding investment opportunities related to the global warming issue. Are those private conversations about Mann’s personal wealth that do not need public scrutiny or are they potential conflicts of interest that need to be addressed by the University, the State of Virginia, and scientific community?

  16. Is it just me, or is Bradley admitting they’re part of a larger campaign to confuse the public about the important issues of climate change, and intimidate climate scientists who have been at the cutting edge of this research. The Team seemed to have tried that with Spencer recently.

  17. Hmmmm….

    Of the “thousands” of scientists I’ve been told support the AGW theory, I’m surprised only 4 wrote in to protest. I wonder what motivated those four particular scientists to write in… … …

  18. Nuke Nemesis says:
    September 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

    The key difference is Obama’s private records are not subject to FOIA.

    True expect much like applying for a driver’s license one is REQUIRED to prove they meet the requires not the government must disprove that your not 18…

    The reality is that much like global warming obama’s birth cert doesn’t meet the smell test when using the most basic of the scientific process.

    Do we know why he’s hiding the truth on it… no… could be one of thousands of reasons that are strictly personal to him to things that may not be so personal such as that he shouldn’t be president. Its impossible to know because he has done every legal trick and loophole to hide everything and the media has does everything to help… once again just like global warming.

    Believing obama isn’t purposely hiding his birth cert because it has something on it that could badly damage him is like believing Mann mail’s contain all flowers and love for the ppl who don’t believe in him. Reality says otherwise and most sane ppl should pick reality.

  19. “I would not give them *anything*. I would not respond or even acknowledge receipt of their emails. There is no reason to give them any data, in my opinion, and I think we do so at our own peril!”
    Michael E. Mann to Phil Jones
    E-mail 1076359809.txt

    Sounds innocent enough to me.
    /sarc

  20. We need the Inverted Santer/Trenberth Index.

    The degree to which they oppose something is almost always the degree to which that thing is in the public interest.

  21. temp says:
    September 14, 2011 at 11:27 am
    Nuke Nemesis says:
    September 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

    The key difference is Obama’s private records are not subject to FOIA.

    True expect much like applying for a driver’s license one is REQUIRED to prove they meet the requires not the government must disprove that your not 18…

    The reality is that much like global warming obama’s birth cert doesn’t meet the smell test when using the most basic of the scientific process.

    Do we know why he’s hiding the truth on it… no… could be one of thousands of reasons that are strictly personal to him to things that may not be so personal such as that he shouldn’t be president. Its impossible to know because he has done every legal trick and loophole to hide everything and the media has does everything to help… once again just like global warming.

    Believing obama isn’t purposely hiding his birth cert because it has something on it that could badly damage him is like believing Mann mail’s contain all flowers and love for the ppl who don’t believe in him. Reality says otherwise and most sane ppl should pick reality.

    I had to provide a birth certificate as well to get my driver’s license and my passport. But my birth certificate is still not a public document.

    As to why Obama would not show his birth certificate:

    1) He doesn’t have one
    2) He has one, but doesn’t want something on it to be made public
    3) He has one and he’s smarter than Machiavelli, By withholding it he hopes to paint anyone who questions him or his policies as a racist.

    It really bothers me that we know more about the former governor of Alaska or the contestants on American Idol than we know about our president. How did he travel to Pakistan when Americans weren’t allowed to travel there? How did he get into Harvard? Did he use student aid intended for foreign students when he attended Occidental University? Why has Obama kept his academic records hidden? What did he produce as president of Harvard Law Review?

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=342465

  22. ‘Pay no attention to the little mini mann cringing behind the Protective Order curtain….. We Are The Great And Powerful Mann Made Global Warming Climate Scientists!’

    Bloody Hell – Get on with it! Send in the FBI information technology forensics specialists and rip this fetid, infected, and festering appearance of fraud wide open!

  23. Mike and Ben,
    We’ll get your papers published even if we have to change the peer review process. Delete this email as recommended by Phil. Ray will do the same. FOIA? What, me worry?

    Kevin

  24. Sonicfrog and Bob B:

    Not just Michaels but Greenpeace demanded and received the records of Professor David Legates at the University of Delaware, Dr. Willie Soon and Dr. Sallie Baliunas at Harvard. As a result Greenpeace discovered that Soon had received funding from Koch and a number of oil companies including Exxon much like the Climategate e-mail showed that Jones and the CRU were getting money from Shell. …much like the Suzuki foundation gets money from ATCO Gas, EnCana and OPG (Oh yeah, those were supposedly from employee giving programs. Who set those programs up?)

  25. Michael Mann does a research that massively contradicts the existing research and Mainstream Media and Academia takes it as gold. Lots of people show how terrible Mann’s work is but Mainstream Media and Academia just simply ignore those “INCONVENIENT TRUTHS”.

    Mann’s “science” is used to “justify” more outrageous power, control, punishment power and $trillions for the political classes. How surprising!

    In the USA the government may take naked photos of you when boarding a plane. But you cannot see a some small amount of data that the political classes uses to “justify” immoral power, control, punishment power and $trillions for the arrogant political classes. It is shocking to see that on 21th century the world is still so. Go Internet! Go on debunking the Mainstream Media and Academia pseudoscience that the political classes uses to “justify” even more oppression! The well deserved discredit of Mainstream Academia is every day nearer

  26. What a timely coincidence:
    While Gore’s propaganda engine goes high gear, a nobel price scientist leaves APS, protesting against their dogmatic AGW position and a group of high-level AGW proponents tries to hide, not the decline, but their scientific communication.
    I am lovin’ it.

  27. Mann’s argument that “Allowing the indiscriminate release of these materials will cause damage to reputations…” has really got me wondering what the heck is in those emails. What kind of damage is he talking about? Which reputation – personal or professional would be damaged? It appears that by fighting the release of these emails , Mann is only throwing gasoline onto an already roaring fire.

  28. Dr Mann forgot to complete the sentence; …and harm principles of academic freedom to lie, cheat, dissemble and deceive.

  29. Jay Davis at 9/14 @ 6.23 pm. I absolutely agree, he has Tim Ball in court too for defamation.
    While the 24 hr climate reality show is on,
    http;//blip.tv/tba-productions/the-changing-climate-of-global-warming – 5367199

    You can download it for free for today.

    Much more interesting than why Tonga is eroding and blaming it on climate change.

  30. I sure hope Ben Santer isn’t a character reference for Mann anytime soon. If I were the judge in this case, my verdict would be simple for Prof. Mann, to paraphrase the immortal President Calvin Coolidge: you lose.

  31. Re: Mann being an employee of the great State of Virginia, I’ve always had the impression that UVA is a private school (it sure charges like a private school). Mind you, it wouldn’t change my position either way. As far as I’m concerned, any research done on the public dime is public property, per-i-od, including any correspondence even remotely related to said research, and no matter if your institution is public or private. But it would complicate ATI’s efforts – correspondence would have to be sorted, redacted, etc.

    “Allowing the indiscriminate release of these materials will cause damage to reputations . . . ”

    Say what you will about politicised science, but this guy, at least, is a complete naif. That has to be one of the best unguarded remarks of the last decade. Not as good as Phil’s “Why should I give you my data . . .”, or Schneider’s scary stories, but def. ridicule-worthy.

  32. The proposed intervention is so very puzzling. Mann and other academics have worked under the umbrella of FOI for YEARS.

    Surely they ought to have known that?

    The intervention and the pathetic statements in support simply show a world of academic disconnect with the real world and a complete lack of understanding or appreciation of their obligations as tax payer funded employees. They are really just saying – SHIT – we didn’t appreciate that FOI applied. When we found out about it we all thought we could just poo poo the whole thing and that it would go away.

    Unfortunately they now realise that the obgligation cannot be avoided and that subject to arguments about exceptions to discosure, the presumption is in favour of access and that this always applied to everything they have done. They now see that their arrogant attempts to dismiss it are unravelling and Mann’s intervention screams that there is stuff in there that he wouldn’t ever have written if he thought it would be released to the public. His reputation might well be damaged by disclosure, but that’s just tough.

    The wheels turn slowly, but they do turn.

  33. Mann’s severe “attitude” problem is probably related to the unholy speed with which his mediocre-to-poor PhD research was approved — once he had tapped into a motherlode of grant money for the department. And his swift ascension thereafter to heading said department. The internal and external sneering which he has lived with ever since would make anyone bitter …

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