This rebuttal comment to I’ll Trade You Cuccinelli For Splattergate With A Player To Be Named Later was so well written, and so extensive, I felt that it deserves the honor of a guest post status.
Guest Post by Thomas Fuller
But it didn’t rise to a criminal level (that was the UK deleting emails in advance of Freedom of Information requests, not Michael Mann). What Ken Cuccinelli is doing is going fishing for wrongdoing without an allegation of such wrongdoing–and that’s not how we should be doing things in this country.
I’ll get a lot of flack from you on this–and don’t be shy, I can take it. But remember as you write–District Attorneys are not always Republican, and controversial scientists can be skeptics at times, too. Don’t let your desire for a short term victory in the daily news cycle let you ignore what would be an erosion of all our civil liberties, I beg of you.
Let’s begin by examining the validity of your statement, “But it didn’t rise to a criminal level (that was the UK deleting emails in advance of Freedom of Information requests, not Michael Mann). What Ken Cuccinelli is doing is going fishing for wrongdoing without an allegation of such wrongdoing–and that’s not how we should be doing things in this country.” On the contrary, there are outstanding allegations of wrongdoing.
Michael Mann and the University of Virginia refused to comply with the law and a citizen’s lawful FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for e-mail held by the University, claiming the e-mail no longer existed. When Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli served a subpoena on the University to deliver the e-mail, the supposedly deleted and non-existent e-mail was recovered from the University computer servers. Consequently, it appears there is every reason to suspect a crime was committed when the citizen’s FOIA request was denied on the basis of a fraudulent claim of destruction of the e-mail. Unlike the case with the University of East Anglia, the statute of Limiitations is likely to remain in force in the Virginia case. It remains to be determined whether or not the evidentiary discovery will support misdemeanor and/or felony charges. That is the purpose and due process of law for which the CID is needed and proper.
Then there is the issue of the $466,000 (nearly a half million dollars) in grant monies Michael Mann solicited and received from the State of Virginia and its taxpayers, in addition to the huge sums of money he and the University of Virginia received from the U.S. Government. It has been argued by a group of scientists and others that Michael Mann and the University of Virginia should somehow be uniquely immune from a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) in a prima facie FOIA and/or fraud criminal case on the basis of some unwritten gentleman’s agreement to avoid interference with the intellectual freedom of scientists. Thusly, these same people see no cognitive dissonance, hypocrisy, or injustice when they punished, sanctioned, threatened, intimidated, and/or defrauded non-scientists and dissenting scientists by dismissing state climatologists, dissenting climate scientists, dissenting meteorologists, academics, students, political appointees, and others without any Civil Investigative Demand, administrative board hearing, arraignment and trial, or other due process of law thay are now claiming for Michael Mann and the University of Virginia without any statutory or constitutional right.
Rubbing salt into the wounds of the public they have wronged for many years, they are trying to carve out a privileged position of immunity for themselves just as the Members of Congress have done so before them. Discriminating against other classes of citizens, these so-called scientists want to enjoy an immunity from investigation and prosecution not enjoyed by other citizens in our society. Expressing outrage that anyone would seek to interfere with the privacy of their communications and right to publish their communications while remaining immune from due process of law, members of their class of citizens have been running rampant in innumerable criminal cases of defrauding governments, businesses, private citizens, and causing the deaths of private citizens.
For one example, Dr. Scott Reuben pled guilty to numerous charges of fraud in which he faked numerous medical studies published in medical journals as peer reviewed research for such companies as Pfizer. Despite the peer reviews, Dr. Reuben didn’t even have any patients enrolled in his faked patient studies. Physicians relied upon these faked perr reviewed papers to provide medical care to their patients. It was subsequently determined that Dr. Scott Reuben had been faking a number of medical studies for some thirteen years without being discovered and prosecuted.
Somewhere there is someone reading the forgoing and saying Dr. Reuben is just an isolated case, and his fraud is not representative of any widespread scientific fraud. Unfortunately, they are just plain wrong and ignorant of the facts.
Take for another example, the problem with widespread fraud due to ghostwritten peer reviewed science papers. Acta Crystallographica Section E was compelled to retract more than 70 peer reviewed papers ghostwritten by Chinese scientists as faked or fraudulent studies. Pharmaceutical companies have a reputation for ghostwriting peer reviewed studies in-house and then paying medical doctors and scientists to permit their name to b used for publication of the studies. This fraudulent practice has been reported to be widespread in the pharmaceutical industry and some academia for many years as an outgrowth of the academic practice of using graduate students to perform service for their superiors holding doctorates. The University of Alabama at Birmingham has been yet another academic institution which had to retract a number of fraudulent peer reviewed papers and remove eleven proteins registered in a database of such proteins used in science.
The fallout from the notoriously fraudulent stem cell research of Hwang Woo-suk and the investigation of his associate, Professor Gerald P. Schatten of University of Pittsburgh have been ongoing.
Closer to NASA there is the case of Samim Anghaie, his wife, and their business, NETECH, which fraudulently obtained 2.5 million dollars in contracts from NASA among the 13 U.S. government contracts totalling 3.4 million dollars.
Within climate science there has been a number of incidents of suspected fraud, one of which was reported by Dr. S. Fred Singer described the allegations of either fabrication of Chinese weather station data or plagiarism by Wei-Chyung Wang, University of Albany, from work by his colleague in China, Zhaomei Zeng.
Suffice it to observe, scientific fraud is not at all uncommon, and some commentators describe scientific fraud as being rampant. Looking at the known incidents of scientific fraud, it can be seen the perpetration of such fraud is highly rewarding with grants and contracts amounting in various examples as $70,000, $466,000, and $3,400,000. Whistleblowers are typically punished for their honesty, resulting in great reluctance to disclose such scientific fraud or enthusiastic cooperation with such fraud.
In your statement, “But remember as you write–District Attorneys are not always Republican, and controversial scientists can be skeptics at times, too,” you indulge in a fallacy seemingly common to many so-called Liberal-Left Democrats. You see opponents as necessarily being some kind of badly fundamental religious Right-wing extremist or at least some misguided minority Right-wing-nut Republican. Well, such ideas are extremist fantasies. There ae a great many people who describe themselves, as Republicans, yes, but also Democrats, Libertarians, independents, and others who insist upon honesty, integrity, and impartiality. A great many of these people cheerfully wish a pox on all politicians, activists, and Lamestream journalists who seek to frustrate the ability of ordinary citizens to govern their own lives free of interference by by people who think they know better what is best for other people besides themselves and seek to make themselves immune from the same rules and burdens they would impose on others. Whether it is the special immunities and privileges the MainStream Media (MSM) seek to deny ordinary citizen journalists or the climate data and information climate scientists attempt to deny ordinary citizen observers of climate science, you don’t have to be a Republican, a political conservative, or a right-wing-nut, to join with our political opponents in demanding non-discriminatory application of the due process of law to scientists the same as other citizens and professions.
At the very least, the University of Virginia and/or Michael Mann appear to be liable to investigation and prosecution for the violation of laws relating to the FOIA release of the e-mail evidencing Michael Mann’s involvement in the handling of $466,000 of state grant funds. There is more than ample evidence that scientific fraud is a common enough crime to warrant investigations, and convincing evidence of at least some violations of law with respect to FOIA disclosures. Scientists are not yet privileged with the immunity needed to commit FOIA violations and scientific fraud with complete immunity from investigation and prosecution. let the Attorney General represent the citizens of Virginia and safeguard their taxpayer monies and their right to the freedom of information guaranteed by written laws.