Guest Post by Steven Mosher
Not the funniest Monty Python sketch, but for me it illustrates what the climate wars have finally come down to: blackmail. The examples range from the benign–pressuring journalists not listen to skeptics– to the professional– pressuring colleagues to avoid working with skeptics, to the petty–Ammann refusing to do a paper with McIntyre because it would be bad for his career– to the bizarre, blowing up people who refuse to sign a pledge to cut their carbon emissions.
Aptly titled, “no pressure”, this video depicts the common fantasy people have about those with whom they disagree. “Why can’t we just blow them up? “ When reasoned words don’t work, there is an ineluctable progression through the following stages—naming calling, caricature, demonizing, dehumanizing, through fantasy attacks which culminate in action. Doing something about it. Showing them you mean business.
Wegman is the perfect target. Perfect because he is not central to the skeptical position. Perfect because he’s just doing a job. Perfect because it will send a message. Shooting the messenger always does.
And the message it sends is that they will come after you with every sort of pressure if you refuse to comply. To be sure there are weak forms of pressure from the skeptic side: the recent legal action taken against Mann is a useful example. For the most part, however, the skeptics have no power, and so they are left using the meager legal tools they have: the FOIA and the subpoena.
Skeptics cannot impanel committees to whitewash and they cannot go on witchhunts. This is most clear in the case of the NCDC misappropriating the work of Anthony Watts. As Watts details here when his work was misappropriated he really had no recourse except to write a strong letter. To their credit NCDC remedied the matter by fixing the attribution, something Wegman could do by climate science corollary.
What if Watts, however, had taken legal action against NCDC and had offered to withdraw that action if the NCDC retracted its work. Blackmailing the science because of a mistake made in the preparation of a document. What would be next, asking that papers be withdrawn because of grammatical infelicities, or typos?
And so Bradley now walks in Anthony’s shoes. How well does he fit them? Did he write to Wegman and ask for proper attribution? Or did he follow in the 10:10 path and try to blow Wegman up ?
In a comment at CA Donald Rapp tells us
“The issue is not whether Wegman committed plagiarism as a technicality, but rather, who cares? Obviously, Wegman had nothing whatever to gain from using words written by Bradley in reviewing Bradley’s work. Lost in all this is the question of whether Wegman was right – and I believe that he was. If Wegman was right, then the various hockey sticks prepared by Mann, Bradley and Hughes, Esper Cook and Schweingruber, Mann and Jones, and Mann et al. are all bogus. While dozens of people continue to file their comments on whether it was plagiarism or it was not, that is akin to fiddling while Rome burns. Meanwhile, the hockey stick continues to spread through our schools and textbooks like a plague, while Bradley desperately tries to protect his turf from the truth by discrediting Wegman personally. Proof of this is that Bradley has offered to stop his prosecution (persecution?) of Wegman if Wegman will remove his report from the Congressional Register. It is like a burning of the books. Farenheit 451 all over again.”
“I filed a complaint with George Mason University (where Wegman is a Professor) & they have set up a committee to investigate my complaint. I[A] recent letter from their Vice-Chancellor indicates that they expect the committee to report their findings by the end of September.
That’s the long & short of it. I have told the University that I am prepared to drop this matter if Wegman makes a request to have his report withdrawn from the Congressional Record. No response on that.
Maybe Bradley had a different game show in mind.
Jim-“I’m not a criminal lawyer” Edwards frames the issue nicely
“That would be amazing because, if so, it may be evidence of an honest-to-goodness crime [not the imagined crimes AGW-debaters are constantly crowing about].
It looks like Bradley is threatening to ruin Wegman’s career unless he alters his prior Congressional testimony.
That smacks of post-facto extortion or witness tampering. [both potential felonies]
I don’t practice criminal law, but it does not look good to me.”
Or we can be charitable and suggest that Bradley is a Burro for even contemplating bringing this pressure to bear on Wegman. Finally, Wegman’s University is in Virginia, my sense is that Cuccinelli might take notice of it, were it brought to his attention.