Mann's old University gets another subpoena

via the SPPI Blog:

Cover page of the new subpoena

Cuccinelli reissues global warming subpoena to U-Va.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has sent a new civil subpoena to the University of Virginia, renewing a demand for documents related to a work of a former university climate scientist that was stymied when a judge blocked his previous request in August.

The new Civil Investigative Demand revives a contentious fight between Cuccinelli and the university over documents related to the work of Michael Mann, a prominent climate scientist whose research concluded that the earth has experienced a rapid, recent warming. Mann worked at U-Va. until 2005; he is now employed by Penn State University.

In the demand sent to the university last week, Cuccinelli once again asked that the school turn over all e-mails exchanged between former university professor Michael Mann and 39 other scientists as well as between Mann and his secretaries and research associates.

An Albemarle County judge had quashed a previous demand from Cuccinelli at the request of the university, ruling that Cuccinelli had not properly explained his rationale for believing fraud may have been committed. He also ruled that Cuccinelli had no right to documents about grants conducted using federal instead of state dollars.

“Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning that the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect,” the CID alleges.

Mann said with Cuccinelli’s narrowing of his request, he has now limited the request to documents related to a grant that funded research unrelated to climate change.

“I find it extremely disturbing that Mr. Cuccinelli has sought to continue to abuse his power as the attorney general of Virginia in this way, in the process smearing the University of Virginia and me and other climate scientists,” Mann said. “The people of Virginia need to be extremely disturbed that he is using their tax dollars to pursue this partisan witch hunt.”

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See the new civil subpoena (PDF)

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Capn Jack Walker

How come that freaker Hansen gets a walk?

Stacey

Mann said. “The people of Virginia need to be extremely disturbed that he is using their tax dollars to pursue this partisan witch hunt.”
Witches used to use tricks?

David, UK

“I find it extremely disturbing that Mr. Cuccinelli has sought to continue to abuse his power as the attorney general of Virginia in this way, in the process smearing the University of Virginia and me and other climate scientists,” Mann said. “The people of Virginia need to be extremely disturbed that he is using their tax dollars to pursue this partisan witch hunt.”
How typical. In just these two sentences we see Mann firstly playing the victim card, and then we see an astounding display of gall with regards to misuse of tax dollars.

Golf Charley

Last para ” ….using tax dollars to pursue this witch hunt”
Those words won’t come back to haunt him will they.
Rhetoric off.

Peter Miller

I don’t know why Cuccinelli is still bothering with this.
Any documents incriminating Mann will have long ago disappeared into the ether.
The lessons of Climategate will have been learned well by Mann and the rest of the team, namely that the purveyors of bad and flawed science must be prepared at very short notice to destroy all evidence of their wrong doings.

H.R.

I’m strongly concerned when the power of the state is used to harrass, intimidate or ruin an individual or a small group of individuals.
That said, as a taxpayer, I believe it’s wrong to feed at the public trough unless you give the taxpayer fair return for their money.
The CRU e-mails indicate that at some point, the taxpayers may have been ripped off. It’s worth having a look. The finding from this investigation will either be fraud, bad science, or inconclusive research that taxpayers may no longer wish to fund. Can anyone think of any other possible findings?

Andrew W

Given that no state dollars were used to fund the contentious research, it’s hard to see what defense Cuccinelli could have against Mann’s accusation that it’s become an ideologically motivated state funded witch hunt.
The Virginia Bar ethics guidelines state:
“A lawyer should use the law’s procedures only for legitimate purposes and not to harass or intimidate others.”
Cuccinelli has probably stepped over that line.

899

“I find it extremely disturbing that Mr. Cuccinelli has sought to continue to abuse his power as the attorney general of Virginia in this way, in the process smearing the University of Virginia and me and other climate scientists,” Mann said. “The people of Virginia need to be extremely disturbed that he is using their tax dollars to pursue this partisan witch hunt.”
Was not Mann involved in a ‘witch hunt’ when he and his cohorts resolved to stymie every effort to access records, and keep others from publishing research which ran counter to his received knowledge and that of his fellow witch hunters?
And was not Mann, et al, seen (via Climategate emails) to have conspired to both discredit and threaten skeptics with one or another form of career termination, i.e., being blacklisted?
If anyone is guilty of something, it is Mr. Mann, and he has much to answer for.
Perhaps it is that which so frightens him: The release of further damning communications.
At this juncture, it would not surprise me in the least that things begin to turn up missing …

joe

@peter miller, its a risk to delete emails and claim they dont exist because other organisations have copies.
so what paper is he on about, anyone know? i don’t think he can prosecute for a scientist producing a bad paper.

dahuang

Federal dollar versus state attorney, any problems? Who are familiar with this jurisdiction issue? please explain what is the normal way of doing?

Peter Miller says: “Any documents incriminating Mann will have long ago disappeared into the ether. The lessons of Climategate will have been learned”
The lessons of climategate were that the “scientists” are a dithering bunch of fools who are so incompetent that they cannot even keep track of their own data. They haven’t a clue what they are doing, and they certainly don’t know much about that new fangled technology called “computers”.
10:1 a decent IT person will track down all the emails they have “hidden” in a matter of minutes.

Flavio

If Cuccinelli does not believe that the science behind global warming is sound he should come up with the scientific proof of that, instead of resorting to slander and personal attacks on a highly respected scientist like Michael Mann. Mann has written over 100 peer reviewed articles. You don’t really believe that someone like that could get away with fraud?
If the science behind AGW is wrong it should be simple to prove that. Climate skeptics have tried to do that for the past 30 years; they have failed utterly and are now apparently having a go at the scientists in stead of the science.
It’s sad really…

cedarhill

Another deep breath. Looks as if the VA AG modified his subpoena to “fix” what amounted to mostly a matter of form. Even the judge in the first scuffle acknowledged the AG’s power to investigate UVA grants under the authority granted to the AG.
What will likely happen next is another round of motions and hearing(s) then, eventually, onto the actual data. Given the incestuous nature of popular climate “science” during the Mann made global warming period, there are likely footnotes cited which will allow the AG to pretty much investigate the entire cabal if he chooses.
If the investigation leads to testimony by Mann, then reality will finally confront junk science.

Regretably in the interval between the quashing of the last subpoena & now I assume it will have been perfectly legal for them to have deleted emails by the barrowload

greg

‘“Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning that the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect,” the CID alleges.’
So the VA AG is now being paid to determine the rigor with which statistical analysis is carried out in scientific papers and punish those who do not meet his specific expectations? I’m sure his degree in law and political aspirations make him extremely qualified for this feat. Does no one else find this utterly ridiculous and scary.
The smart, maybe just hopeful, money says this one gets thrown out too.

David Holliday

I don’t know if the data being requested by the AG’s subpoena is covered under Electronic Discovery rules but if it is and if UVA deleted any of that data, they are in serious trouble. The discovery rules are very clear, in that they not only require organizations to protect data that is subject or relevant to litigation but also data that the organization has reason to believe may be subject to civil litigation. If it comes to trial, and if it is determined that the party destroyed relevant data, the remedy is the judge can instruct the jury to assume the data would have shown worst case.
The other aspect of this is it’s really hard to delete anything these days. With backups and copies of things being saved and sent all over the place it’s likely if someone did try to delete something, there is another copy of what they deleted floating around somewhere. And if that was the case, and it was discovered, then it would get really ugly.

While Dr. Mann might not be the most ethical scientist of all time. This is obnoxious and it is the type of behavior that in general discredits the skeptics.
Speaking of Dr. Mann. I was involved in a rather contentious discussion on a warmist site that was focused on why CO2 should be classified as a pollutant. They chose to use the Taylor Dome ice core to show what the “natural” values of CO2 were in the atmosphere for the past 10,000 years.
So I pointed out that in general ice cores show cooling for the past 6,000 years. So I found the temperature data and compared it to the CO2. Sometimes the results can be breathtaking.
The Taylor Dome also clearly shows 4 major warming periods in the past 1,000 years. The current period is nowhere near as warm as the other periods in the past 1,000 years. It kinda blows the tree-ring proxies out the window. After pointing the flaw in a genuinely polite response, my comment was removed. I had been silenced….. on their website. 🙂
John Kehr
The Inconvenient Skeptic

Matt

At last someone is doing something about exposing this fraud. The beast of GW is staggering along, maintained only by inertia. One fraud prosecution of one of its perpetrators will see the rest runnning for cover. I thouhgt we had it with Jones. Did he ever change his tune! But the UK government didnt have the balls to take it to the wire. Lets hope the US can!

Ken Hall

Flavio, you have this backwards. It is not for sceptics to attempt to prove a negative. It is down to the alarmist scientists to prove their hypothesis is correct and substantiated by empirical evidence. This is what they have utterly failed to do.
The hypothesis states that for a doubling of CO2, the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere will increase by X.
A) Many climate scientists cannot agree, and there is great debate within the scientific community, what the value of X should be. Do projections of 1.5 degrees centigrade, 2 degrees, or up to 6 degrees of warming by 2100 ring any bells?
B) They have failed to prove that the temperature will increase by X beyond reasonable doubt.
A projection of X based upon a model simulation does NOT constitute proof, or even reliable evidence. It only clarifies what X should be in the hypothesis. It does not prove the hypothesis is valid.

Ken Hall

And in addition flavio..”they have failed utterly and are now apparently having a go at the scientists in stead of the science.”
Nope you are wrong again. This is a case of a State’s attorney general investigating a claim of fraudulent application for funds. This is not “them attacking a person instead of the science”.
I am NOT claiming the Mann has committed a fraudulent act. I will await the outcome of the investigation. IF at the end of that, the accusation is supported by evidence and it is shown beyond doubt that Mann committed a fraud, then I am happy to let the evidence speak for itself. IF Mann has NOT done anything wrong, then I will happily let the evidence speak for itself also and hope that the AG will offer a full and public apology to Mann for the inconvenience caused.
Are you worried that one of the heroes of the cAGW movement has got something to hide?

Dr. John M. Ware

Thanks to Mr. Cuccinelli, the issue of misuse of taxpayer dollars is at least being fought in the courts. Earlier AGs let it pass. Academic freedom became academic license so many years ago that most young people (say, under 40) have never known it any other way; it is time for a public-spirited person like Cuccinelli to remind us of the difference. If Mann was performing true science, then he and UVA have nothing to fear from the inquiry; but we all know better than that.

“I find it extremely disturbing that Mr. Cuccinelli has sought to continue to abuse his power as the attorney general of Virginia in this way, in the process smearing the University of Virginia and me and other climate scientists,” Mann said. “The people of Virginia need to be extremely disturbed that he is using their tax dollars to pursue this partisan witch hunt.”

But when Michael Mann uses tax dollars in smearing other scientists reputation who do not toe the line regarding climate change, that is not a witch hunt and people should welcome it with open arms. What a hypocrite.

Paul Coppin

Its important to read the entire subpeona, not just cherry pick the “lack of rigor” statement, which is really just a summary statement. The DA is of the opinion that Mann falsely misrepresented his science when he applied for the grants. Its an attempt to hold Mann accountable for his research and is a shot across the bows of institutions that when public funds are used, the research had better meet reasonable standards of care and due diligence. He’s basically pursuing the concept of wilful negligence in the conduction of the research. I personally believe this is an important fight, and long overdue.

AllenC

Flavio, you do have it backwards. Just to add to the words of Ken Hall at Oct 5, 4:07 a.m.. It is up to those who support the hypothesis of AGW via CO2 to prove the null hypothesis false AND their hypothesis true. They have failed on both counts.

Dave L

1) Do not overlook the fact that the visiting judge who made the first ruling had a conflict of interest — yet he proceeded anyway.
2) Cuccinelli is also suing the EPA over its CO2 endangerment ruling. He may just be on a fishing expedition to see if there is anything regarding intentional manipulation of data that could provide further ammunition in his suit against the EPA, or perhaps there could be more Climategate type e-mails that certainly could provide icing on the cake. Coal mining is big business in western Virginia, and Cucinelli is looking out for the best interests of the people of Virginia.
3) If you have never listened to Cuccinelli being interviewed live on TV, you are missing a treat. This is one sharp dude.

slp

Why would it matter the source of the research funds? As an employee of Virginia at a public university, any communications or work of his ought to be made available to anyone in the commonwealth who requests it.

Gunter

I have to agree with most of the commenters above. I think it is an absolute disgrace for a researcher to publish anything that contradicts the views of of such an eminent personage with such impeccable scientific credentials as Mr. Cuccinelli. Mann should clearly have checked his results with him first and then obtained his permission to publish. What sort of a society are we becoming!

Flavio

@Ken:
You claim that it is not up to the sceptics to attempt to prove a negative. I think that that is exactly what they should do. Scientists gather evidence to support a theory. If evidence is gathered in large amounts by independent researchers such a theory becomes accepted untill someone comes along and proves otherwise. That is what science is all about. There is hardly any scientific theory without uncertainties, but you only need one simple certainty to disprove any theory.
You may recall the controversies surrounding acid rain and the ozone hole. As with AGW there was much opposition by skeptics and there were many uncertainties in both issues. Nonetheless, governments throughout the world responded by cutting down sulfur emission and banning the use of CFC’s. In both instances we can now see a slow improvement in the situation. In both instances society did not pay a large price and companies did not suffer major losses; in fact these challenges led to innovation and new opportunities.
The AGW theory is not about proving that (quote) “… for a doubling of CO2, the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere will increase by X.” It has been proven a long time ago that we are warming our planet. Now we should accept the challenge to do something about it. In doing so we may find yet again many oppertunities to innovate, to improve the quality our lifes and in the end possibly even make a few bucks out of it!

Hey if it were all on the up and up, why wouldn’t they comply. I mean it’s not like they are asking for the plans to the nuke arsenal. I thought it was all public data anyway.

Richard A.

To all those who don’t want an AG harrassing a scientist, if you don’t want to deal with the government, don’t take tax payer money. If you take tax payer money, you are accountable to them and their representatives. It’s that simple. If you want to be a pig and feed at the trough, you have to be ready for the time when they may hang you by your back feet and slice you. If you don’t like that, don’t take the damn money. The attitude of Mann and others to those who dare question them or ask for access to information that they have in fact funded is the height of umitigated gaul and chutzpah.

RockyRoad

After reading all the comments above, it is obvious they fall into two camps:
1) The warmers, who don’t believe there should be any accountability in scientific research, the spending of tax or other research dollars, or adherance to guidelines and laws applicable to the same.
2) Everybody else, who DOES believe there should be accountability in all these areas.
Are you warmers thinking logically? Or does the cult of CAGW distort your world view to the point that honesty is no longer applicable?

Wondering Aloud

Flavio
I don’t think this legal case is worth the trouble, but, calling Mann a respected scientist is rediculous. Science is reproducible. That is part of the definition of science. Michael Mann is not a scientist by definition. His garbage is not reproducible, he knows it, that is why he hides data, hides his method, and his calculations, his results are not science they are anti science.
The fact that anyone takes his junk seriously is just proof that the person is scientifically illiterate.
Happy trolling, check out the “scientific method” it may be of use someday.

Nick

Attachment B is a nonsense of contentious material,ending in suggestions that Mann is practising some kind of ‘Post Normal’ voodoo. If this is Cuccinelli’s ‘ammunition’,I have to question his judgement,and motivation.
Scientific techniques,processes and methods aren’t nailed down like legal precedents,they evolve through growing insight,and the end result isn’t an immutable and/or legal finding.
How is Cuccinelli going to establish that Mann falsely represented his work in the process of obtaining a particular grant? Mann has authored/co-authored many,many papers. How many does he need to produce to apply for a grant,in particular the one involved here?

jeanparisot

1. The funds are fungible. Regardless of source: federal, corporate, or state they were disbursed and administered by the University of Virgina. That puts them under the purview of both the originator and the State of Virginia. The AG has the jurisdiction and responsibility to investigate.
2. He has the jurisdiction to investigate, but should he? Substantial public allegations of misconduct (ClimateGate) and the enormous intersecting regulatory issues are strong arguments for a public inquiry.

tarpon says:
October 5, 2010 at 5:41 am
Hey if it were all on the up and up, why wouldn’t they comply. I mean it’s not like they are asking for the plans to the nuke arsenal. I thought it was all public data anyway.

Then why are they going after Mann and his emails to numerous colleagues instead of the PI for the grant in question?

Michael Mann says everything is fine in what he did. So he should quickly turn over the emails, and anything else required, to prove it. Why would he resist over and over?

Pete H

If there is nothing to hide what would be the harm in releasing the information asked for?
A sure result of the CRU email “release” must have been a tightening up of server security in the establishments that have employed anyone in the “Gang”. Maybe Ken has had a tip off.

Gunter says:
October 5, 2010 at 5:08 am
You say no scientists have found the Hockey Stick has serious problems? You may be late to the game and have missed some things.

Vince Causey

Flavio,
“It has been proven a long time ago that we are warming our planet.”
Flavio, I don’t know where you got that notion from, but you have been ill informed. There is no proof that we are warming the planet. The AGW hypothesis rests on the following pillars: 1) Radiative transfers of green house gases as understood from quantum physics; 2) Increase in CO2; 3) Observed 20th century warming, and 4) the output of global climate models.
Although this sounds impressive, there are still many problems and apparant contradictions in the theory.
First problem – direct sensitivity of doubling CO2 based on radiative transfers is about 1c. It requires unsubstatiated positive feedbacks to generate the extreme warming.
Second problem – the radiative imbalance that must result from the forcing of CO2 should lead to an accumulation of heat in the ocean, the OHC. Despite deploying a network of 3,000 submersibles to measure OHC to ‘unprecedented levels of accuracy’ since 2003, this expected heat has not been discovered.
Third problem – one of the outputs of the GCM’s is a hotspot in the tropical mid troposphere, and this also has not been observed.
Fourth problem – it is claimed that the warming must be caused by CO2 because without it, the GCM’s cannot hindcast the 20th century warming. That this is an argument from ignorance should be obvious to anybody schooled in science. Moreover, the models can only account for the mid century cooling by introducing an arbitrary aerosol cooling. This aerosol effect is becoming more and more doubtful.
Fifth – as is becoming more evident, the global temperature records are in a real mess, and we can’t be sure what the actual temperature anomalies really are.
Sixth – models have been unable to account for the lack of warming since the late nineties.
I think I’ve covered enough here to demonstrate that nothing has been proved at all. In fact, science is begining to distance itself from the CAGW school, although you wouldn’t know it judging from media coverage.

Henry chance

I didn’t have a problem with my university research. I didn’t have a problem with questions on budgets and funding. If Mann is clean, he and the University will cooperate swiftly. If Mann loaded up all his stuff and hauled it to the next school as personal property, I can see why the school is fighting release of records.
Employees face crime charges when they haul off files and employer records.

John Whitman

I see no moral or legal issues with an empowered representative of a government legal body (Cuccinelli) acting openly within the framework of the legal system. The legal system will sort out what is due process and appropriate. The legal system grinds slowly and finely . . . . but it is tireless. Cuccinelli doesn’t appear to be the kind of man who tires at all.
I expect that Cuccinelli will eventually find his way into some of the documents at the UoV; once in then he will easily find cause for expansion of the search. I conclude that is what UoV (and indirectly Mann) are concerned about. I do not assess that they are standing up for the idea of academic freedom.
John

George Lawson

Flavio says:
October 5, 2010 at 3:25 am
“If Cuccinelli does not believe that the science behind global warming is sound he should come up with the scientific proof of that, instead of resorting to slander and personal attacks on a highly respected scientist like Michael Mann. Mann has written over 100 peer reviewed articles. You don’t really believe that someone like that could get away with fraud?”
“If the science behind AGW is wrong it should be simple to prove that. Climate skeptics have tried to do that for the past 30 years; they have failed utterly and are now apparently having a go at the scientists in stead of the science.”
I didn’t notice any slander in the simple request to find out how Dr. Mann came to his conclusions. Surely if there was nothing to worry about for Dr. Mann then he would happily release his papers to prove the accuracy of his case rather than slandering Mr. Cuccinelli. The science has already been proven to be wildly inaccurate on so many fronts. Ten years ago the AGW scientists were saying that we would not be seeing snow and ice in Britain ever again. The Arctic and Antarctic would be free of ice. Polar Bears would be wiped out. Glaziers would be gone. The seas would rise XXX cms. etc. etc. etc. Surely this is enough to at least justify some enquiry by sceptics without the AGW brigade jumping to each others defence. And in reply to the last sentence in the first paragraph, the answer is yes that’s why we want to see his papers, and why he does not want them released.

Mike Haseler says:
October 5, 2010 at 3:12 am
10:1 a decent IT person will track down all the emails they have “hidden” in a matter of minutes.
Some people think that when something is deleted it’s gone. Doh!

LearDog

Flavio –
I’m glad that you are engaged here; props for that to you, really! It sets you apart – civil debate, kudos. Well done ;-D
The way I see science is not so much of one side marshaling forces for ones argument – but also going one step further and telling others “if this were NOT true, this is what one would expect to see, this is how you would disprove it”. Say, for example – no change in the Tropical troposphere? The argument you posit is neccesary, but not sufficient.
As to the statement that “it has been proven a long time ago that we are warming our planet” – that’s what we call an “assertion” that actually needs to be proved. Most skeptics will agree that warming has taken place – but driven by natural cycles that haven’t been adequately accounted for in various modeling efforts.
And the Proprietor of THIS blog has long demonstrated the data quality issues associated with the Land-based temperature datasets.
So its not quite so clear to me ….

OK S.

From the subpoena:

Mann’s reference to “the community” when writing to Hulme in the first e-mail quoted above appears to be Post Normal jargon. As recently as September 16, 2009, Man posted this remark to he blog Real Climate: “More than anything else, the book attempts to show us what the community is doing wrong in our efforst to dcommunicate our science to the public.” (empahsis added). This is also probably Post Normal jargon.

Academics are free to follow any philosophy of science they wish. Nonetheless, Post Normal Science has produce jargon which might be misleading/fraudulent in the context of a grant application if its specialized meaning is not disclosed or otherwise known to the grant maker.

Pretty funny. I’m not familiar with the Virginia Attorney General’s office, but they don’t seem to be a fan of double-speak as a scientific philosophy.
OK S.

RC has weighed in on this issue.
I posted the following on their site, it will never see the light of day:
hal says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
5 October 2010 at 9:24 AM
….it needs to be highlighted to the widest audience possible.
If that is what you want you should ask for a guest post at WUWT.

Ron Cram

Cuccinelli and Russell seem to be well within the rights of the Commonwealth of Virginia. They feel Mann has defrauded the state and they want their money back. Good for them! Why should climate scientists get on pass on stealing from the government?

asdfsadf

“It has been proven a long time ago that we are warming our planet. ”
Care to elaborate, Flavio?

Ron Cram

So what happened after the first demand for documents? Did Mann and UVA just blow them off? That seems unlikely. I feel like I’m missing part of the story. Can anyone fill me in?

Ron Cram

Nevermind. I see the paragraph I missed now. I didn’t know a judge had quashed the earlier subpoena. Well, they wanted a fuller rationale for the subpoena and they got it! Nothing like being called a fraud by a prosecutor, eh Dr. Mann?