Chris Horner of the American Tradition Institute writes in with this:
So the American Association for the Advancement of Science, thoroughly rattled by the American Tradition Institute’s FOIA requests of UVa and NASA — and even more so by the litigation forced by the institutions’ respective stonewalling — issued a board statement comparing FOIA requests of climate scientists with death threats. Really.
Naturally this caught the eye of the New York Times, which had a young lady contact us for comment. Right off the bat it was clear she, too, had been rattled by the horrors of our outrageous efforts to …see certain records the taxpayer has paid for and which are expressly covered by transparency laws.
Her stance was sympathetic to AAS’s to the point of temper.
She first reaffirmed a fancy for the apparently absolute truth that a FOIA request for climate scientists’ records is indeed no different than death threats allegedly made in Australia against scientists — sadly, if that’s true, they are now treated to what ‘skeptics’ have experienced for years, as I have detailed.
Well, actually, her disinterest in Greenpeace having created this little cottage practice indicated that this is true only for certain climate scientists’ records. Not the ones whose records Greenpeace is asking her for…that’s just transparency, good-government type stuff.
She continued by wondering, as such, do we condone death threats (really?) and, if not, why would we then also issue a FOIA?
Why that is particularly amusing, as opposed to sad, is that she was shocked by my assertion that Big Science/Big Academia’s objection to having laws that obviously cover their own actually applied to their own was of a part with Hollywood objecting to laws being applied to Roman Polanski. Apparently, by saying this, I was accusing Michael Mann of some heinous crime. Or something.
So see the below as I sent to her and, given the above, I expect you will not see in the story. Surely because it will be too busy explaining the tyranny of Greenpeace broadly filing similar requests. ATI’s statement is here.
Sent: Wed, Jun 29, 2011 1:14 pm
Subject: AAAS release citing ATI transparency effortsDear Joanna,I’m told you called ATI for comment. Below is my response per an earlier inquiry.Best,Christopher C. Horner Senior Fellow Competitive Enterprise Institute 1899 L St, NW 12th Floor Washington, DC, 20036 +1.202.331.2260 (O)…Several points:I noticed no relation between our initiative and the Board’s rhetoric until they mentioned us somewhat incongruously.The notion that application of laws expressly covering academics [is] an ‘attack’ on academics is substantively identical to Hollywood apologists calling application of other laws to Roman Polanski an attack on Polanski. They rather lost the plot somewhere along the way.The failure to mention the group that invented this series of requests, Greenpeace, informs a conclusion that this attempt at outrage is selective, and therefore either feigned or hypocritical. This is also new; their problem is quite plainly with the law(s), but it is a problem they have, over the decades of transparency and ethics laws applying to scientists subsisting on taxpayer revenue, heretofore forgotten to mention.Opposition to such laws applying to them is rather shocking. But then, maybe not so much when you also note their failure to comment on scientists being outed as advocating the flaunting of transparency laws.Finally, AAUP’s code of professional ethics indicates that efforts to manipulate the peer review process are impermissible. Given the overlap and for other reasons we assume this is something AAAS agrees with or at minimum accepts. But this, too, is insincere if such behavior is permissible — or at least, where just cause indicates further inquiry is warranted, it is to be ignored — if the party at issue is one who for various reasons the AAAS or AAUP et al. elevate or find sympathetic. In Mann’s case, if our review of his documents which belong to the taxpayer also happen to exonerate him from the suspicions that have arisen, we will be the first to do so.
Below is the ATI statement – Anthony
Statement from American Tradition Institute Environmental Law Center in Response to American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Misleading Accusations Against ATI Today
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Christopher Horner, director of litigation, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Chesser, executive director, email@example.com
Today the board of directors for the American Association for the Advancement of Science issued a statement and press release that denounced “personal attacks,” “harassment,” “death threats,” and “legal challenges” toward climate scientists. AAAS’s press release specifically cited actions taken by American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center in its efforts to obtain records of Climategate scientist Dr. Michael Mann from the University of Virginia, and its efforts to obtain outside employment records of climate activist Dr. James Hansen from the National Aeronautical and Space Administration(NASA).
AAAS wrote, in part,
“we are concerned that establishing a practice of aggressive inquiry into the professional histories of scientists whose findings may bear on policy in ways that some find unpalatable could well have a chilling effect on the willingness of scientists to conduct research that intersects with policy-relevant scientific questions.”
Response to AAAS from ATI Environmental Law Center director of litigation Christopher Horner:
“I noticed no relation between our initiative and the AAAS Board’s rhetoric until they mentioned us somewhat incongruously.
“The notion that application of laws that expressly cover academics is an ‘attack’ on them is substantively identical to Hollywood apologists who call application of other laws to Roman Polanski an attack on Polanski. They lost the plot somewhere along the way.
“AAAS’s failure to mention the group that invented this series of requests, Greenpeace, informs our conclusion that this outrage is selective, and is therefore either feigned or hypocritical. Their problem is plainly with the laws, but it is a problem they have had over the decades: That transparency and ethics laws also apply to scientists who subsist on taxpayer revenue. This they also forgot to mention.
“Finally, the American Association of University Professors’ code of professional ethics indicates that efforts to manipulate the peer review process are impermissible. Given the overlap, and for other reasons, we assume AAAS agrees with these principles or at a minimum accepts them. But this, too, is insincere if such behavior is permitted or ignored where just cause indicates further inquiry is warranted, as long as the parties at issue are those whose views the AAAS or AAUP sympathize with. In Mann’s case, if our review of his documents which belong to the taxpayer also happen to exonerate him from the suspicions that have arisen, we will be the first to do so.”
For an interview with Christopher Horner, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call (202)670-2680.
Reaction is now coming in. Alana Goodman of Commentray Magazine writes in a piece titled
Contentions – Climate Change Skepticism Now Considered ‘Harassment’?
Of course, what the AAAS calls “personal information” actually appears to be public data. The group’s statement comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed against NASA by the conservative American Traditional Institute earlier this month, which is trying to force the agency to release information about scientist James Hansen.
And after years of watching climate change advocates demonizing global warming skeptics, it’s hard to have any sympathy for the AAAS on this issue. Not to mention, previously leaked emails have shown climate change scientists behaving in ways abusive to the public trust. Skeptics should absolutely work to expose any potential corruption in the global warming advocacy community — and the fact AAAS is so terrified of legal challenges is good reason to believe these skeptics might be onto something.