Yes, Virginia, there is an FOIA

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

A judge has ordered the University of Virginia to release Professor Michael Mann’s emails pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Mann is the climatologist who developed of the “Hockeystick” graph, which became the icon of the IPCC climate alarmism … until it was shown to be what Dr. Richard Muller of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature [BEST] project called “an artifact of bad mathematics”. Mann claimed that the ring widths of a few trees in the US Southwest somehow revealed the temperature history of the planet. Seems extremely doubtful. Mann also features in the Climategate scandal as (inter alia) the scientist who (at a minimum) forwarded a request to illegally destroy emails that showed Mann and other scientists conspiring to subvert the IPCC process.

Me, I’m opposed to going the legal route to solve scientific problems. I’d like to think that scientific disputes could be settled between scientists. I have a very deep aversion to what in my childhood was known as “calling the law on a man.” I grew up in the old tradition of the American West, which held (and for me still holds) that calling the law should be the last resort, when all other methods have failed.

However, in this case, all other methods have failed. Professor Mann is famous for saying that asking him to reveal his data is “intimidation”. Even a Congressional committee hardly dented him. And the climate science community is famous for never, ever, ever saying anything negative about another climate scientist. Bad form to speak ill of someone’s work or actions, don’cha know, they might return the favor. And given those two facts, I fear that the legal route is the only one open for those who want to find out what Mann did while on the Virginia taxpayers’ dime. However, taking this route immediately raised a veritable poolpah of claims that this is invading Mann’s privacy, or that it is treading on Mann’s intellectual rights, or inimical to his scientific freedom, or other claims along those lines.

For me, the issue in this case is very simple. It is generally spelled out in the Employee’s Manual of almost any large organization, institution, or business. It says that while you are working for your employer, your time is not your own. What you write is not your own. What you produce is not your own. What you patent is not your own. What you email is not your own. What you discover is not your own. None of what you produce on company time belongs to you.

It belongs to whoever is paying you. Period. It’s that way for the majority of employees of virtually every large concern, and has been for many years.

So all of the squawking about “privacy” and “intellectual rights” and “private emails” is nonsense. If Michael Mann wants his emails to be private, he should be self-employed. If he works for a business, those emails are the property of the business. And if he works for the taxpayer, if the taxpayer is funding his work, then nothing done on “company time”, none of his work and none of his emails and none of his data or his computer code, are “private” or “personal” or “his intellectual property”. They are, as the court ordered, subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Mann, however, has found a curious ally in this fight, as reported in the “Old Virginia Watchdog“, which says:

ATI [the organization that brought the suit] hailed the decision as a victory for transparency, but there are concerns in the academic world that such measures could threaten the scientific community.

The faculty at UVA issued a statement the day of the ruling to that effect. Mann also has found an unlikely ally in University of California Berkeley physicist Richard A. Muller, who famously denounced the hockey stick graph as “an artifact of poor mathematics.”

“We need some degree of privacy,” Muller said Thursday in an exclusive interview with Old Dominion Watchdog. “Scientists alone should decide how and what to publish in their results, looking at private files in a public setting is an unfair standard.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Dr. Muller. If this was Court TV, I’d expect the lawyer to say “Assumes facts not in evidence”.

Who said anything about whether or not scientists should “decide how and what to publish”? As far as I know, no one has told Mann, or threatened to tell him, what or when to publish. Dr. Muller is falsely casting the issue as one of “prior restraint on publication”. He is wrongly claiming that someone is trying to decide what Mann can publish, which is a very serious charge with First Amendment implications.

Where is the evidence for that, for prior restraint? The FOIA request is nothing of the sort. It is a request for emails from six years ago and older. How Dr. Muller got from a request for six-year-old emails, to his claim of prior restraint or conditions on publication, is difficult to understand without drawing perhaps unwarranted conclusions.

The article continues:

Muller said he believes that public oversight could interfere with the scientific process and sees the FOIA request as an “indirect attempt to shut down Mann’s scientific work.”

If Mann ever gets around to actually doing some scientific work, as opposed to churning out endless attempts to justify his “artifact of bad mathematics”, I suppose that someone might try to shut him down. But that’s just a fantasy about an improbable future.

More to the point, again Muller is spinning this as being about the future, when it is about the past. People want and have a right to know exactly what transpired between Mann and his partners in “crimate” (the intersection of climate and crime). It’s not about trying to shut down Mann’s future work. The Climategate emails pulled back the curtain on a host of very ugly, anti-scientific, and possibly criminal actions. Mann was shown to be up to his neck in them, and the taxpayers have a right to know just what he did and didn’t do while they were paying his salary. Has nothing to do with an “indirect attempt” to do anything. We want to know what he did.

“I may disagree with his scientific analysis, but I object to him coming under public inquiry,” [Muller] said, invoking Voltaire.

Voltaire is famous for saying (but it seems never actually said)

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Voltaire didn’t mention public scrutiny, however. Nor did Voltaire mention trying to evade responsibility. Mann’s work is one of the cornerstones of the AGW movement, which aims to restructure the economy of the entire planet … and Dr. Muller doesn’t think that every aspect of Mann’s work that was paid for by the taxpayer should receive the closest scrutiny possible? Why is that?

I do not know why Muller doesn’t want people to look into Mann’s past, but he’s definitely concerned about it. Perhaps he is concerned that people might look into his own past actions, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just paranoia, the university variant of the fear of the MIB coming to spy on them. Whatever it is, it is important enough for Muller to invent a claim that the issue is prior restraint, which is very odd regarding a request for old emails. In any case, the article continues:

Muller said he is glad the emails came to light, but feels the “ends — snooping in on private conversations — do not justify the means.”

What is it with these guys and their idea of “it’s mine, mine, mine, you can’t see it!”. Those are NOT PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS, Dr. Muller. They are part of the work product of Dr. Mann’s paid employment. They are the property of the University of Virginia, they were paid for by the Virginia taxpayer, and (as the Court has ruled) they are subject to inspection by private citizens. Why is that so hard to grasp? Heck, I can paraphrase Voltaire myself, try this:

“I may disagree with Mann’s scientific analysis, but I will defend to the death the public’s right to see what he has done.”

The article goes on to say:

ATI’s request is separate from the investigation launched last year by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who battled the university for similar documents in 2010 in the hopes of prosecuting Mann.

As I said above, I don’t like the legal route, particularly the Cuccinelli route. But the other so-called scientific safeguards have failed, leaving little option.

Muller stands by his rival even more stridently in that case.

“A public reprimand is unnecessary,” he said. “Their reputations in the science community have already suffered; that is the most appropriate punishment.”

That is patent nonsense. Mann is still feted and lauded, his papers are still accepted without the kind of suspicion appropriate to his past deceptions. Phil Jones is still churning along in his job. Trenberth is agitating to try to reverse the null hypothesis. The idea that the reputations of Mann and the other the Climategate conspirators have suffered is absolutely untrue.

But even if their reputations had suffered, Mann and the Climategaters are still leading the charge to impoverish the world and restructure the global economy, and Dr. Muller wants to make the claim that Mann should not face responsibility for his (perhaps criminal) actions because his reputation has supposedly suffered?

My goodness, a suffering reputation. Does it hurt a lot when that happens? Those university professors must be the real sensitive types. See, outside the ivy halls when someone does the things that Mann and the Climategate folks did, they can’t just whine “I’m an oppressed scientist and my reputation hurts already!” and expect to walk away scot free.

Beyond the ivory tower, people who deceive and subvert and collude end up hurting in more than their reputations. So I fear that Dr. Muller’s elitist claim, that the most appropriate punishment is to spank them across their academic reputations (and besides they’ve already been spanked enough), just reveals how truly distant the mainstream climate scientists are from the real world.

Mann and the other Climategate participants have never taken responsibility, much less apologized, for their actions. They have stage-managed the so-called “Investigations” so well that nothing at all was investigated. Yes, the investigation found nothing in Mann’s emails … because the investigators didn’t even look at the emails. In addition, not only did Mann never answer the important questions about the emails, he was never even asked about the emails. That’s not an investigation, that’s a joke.

And now Dr. Muller wants us to just forget about it and move on, because he thinks that the poor scientist babbies have suffered enough …

Suffered enough? They haven’t suffered at all, Dr. Muller. So far they have denied responsibility entirely. They have skated completely, to the applause of their co-conspirators and well-wishers, and go around proclaiming their innocence. And Dr. Muller, now you want to pat them on the head and say poor oppressed scientists, your reputations have suffered enough, go and sin no more?

I’m sorry, that’s not going to happen.

Given what we know, that Mann and others stand convicted by their own words for some actions spelled out in the Climategate emails, and that there is very strong circumstantial evidence of him and the others having done a variety of other unethical or perhaps illegal things, the reputations of Mann and the rest of the Climategate crowd have not suffered nearly enough. In this Climategate list I include any actual criminals, as well as the lesser malfeasants, corrupters, and data manipulators; those who looked the other way as others manipulated the IPCC results; those who aided and abetted them to do things like pack the peer review panels and intimidate editors; those who conducted sham “investigations” and covered up the egregious actions; and those who merely cheered them on in their dirty fight.

If this had happened in a business setting, where their loss in reputation would truly be commensurate with their actions, after the things that they have done few of the whole crew would be either employed or employable.

w.

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184 thoughts on “Yes, Virginia, there is an FOIA

  1. How long will it take, after the world finally realises it has been deceived, for Mann, Jones and the like to have to face up to the consequences of their actions? One day, climategate will come back to bite them, and I look forward to it.

  2. I believe that Dr. Mann and others like him have something they do not want the public to know. So they whip up absurd excuses on why we should not see the information.
    That is why they go to great lengths to fight disclosures of any kind. They are hiding something that would destroy something. Maybe it is the AGW hypothesis or maybe something far worse?
    They are not behaving like scientists. But like propagandists in employ with someone else.

  3. Sorry Willis I completely disagree this matter is very important it could cost Billions. They have to be taken to court, its the only way. Its a bit like the socialists (communism) who thought they were right for years it cost Russia Billions and they fortunately decided that it was not right… eventually. BTW I used to be a communist when I was young and I also believed in AGW five years ago. These people could destroy the planet with their crazy ideas. ie they want now to put underwater fans in the gulf stream to garner energy! What effect could that have on the gulf stream? Freezing Europe? They have to be stopped.

  4. Well said, Willis. Keep spelling it out like you have done. The obvious needs to be stated and re-stated, and please don’t tire of so doing.

  5. And let me add that this information is not rocket science. With due respect for all here, this information is of the most simplistic kind. It has no security ramifications nor any propriety. It is basic data. It is the type of info that I used in my 7th grade science exhibit.

  6. BTW we have not heard anything about Muller temp analysis. Probably because they have discovered hat it was all rigged.

  7. As always Willis a nail has been hit very accurately and firmly on the head – the economies of the world should be very grateful for the work of you, Anthony and the team…
    Stu

  8. Willis, a tour de force. I keep reminding myself of how my academic career would have been skewer’d soundly had I actually used some of the methods outlined here. Why is it that nowadays, it seems that the norm is to be clubbish and secretive? To where has debate, replication, and rigorous rechecking disappeared? This is the top suit ace in the deck of cards used to build the house. Give it another nudge, please!

  9. Dr. Mann’s obligations to the University of Virginia were only what his employment contract stipulated them to be.
    From a legal perspective, the only relevant question here is this — did he, or did he not, fulfill his obligations to the University per his written employment contract?

  10. and the crimatologists will pull out all the stops to keep that first domino from falling.
    having a precedent of a conviction is the clout they want denied to their opponents.
    in this respect, they can claim that despite all their enemies’ best efforts, not one has fallen.
    there is a canyon a mile wide between not one and the first one.
    thereafter it’s baby steps.
    get that first head on a post and life will begin to get easier.

  11. As much as you prefer the courts stay out of it, I’d prefer this blog stayed with science and factual accounting of these types of related stories (the FOIA request) as opposed to editorial ‘rants’. This is heavy on ‘rant’

  12. Well said, Willis. “It’s not power that corrupts, but immunity” (I’ve seen that quote attributed to John W. Campbell). Climate scientologists have been immune to public scrutiny for too long.

  13. Absolutely first rate, Willis!
    “Muller said he is glad the emails came to light, but feels the “ends — snooping in on private conversations — do not justify the means.””
    Who (even Meltdown Mann himself) could possibly imagine that “snooping in on private conversations” is an “end”?
    Even if the “conversations” were “private” (rather than paid for by the taxpayer), “snooping” in on them is obviously only the means.
    The end (which should even be obvious to Meltdown Mann, let alone Muller) is to see what light is thrown on Mann’s complicity with Jones and the others in their malfeasance in trying to foist their incompetent and malicious pseudo science on those same long suffering taxpayers.

  14. Real Science, in a recent report of a 1979 paper, as per this link:
    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/1979-before-the-hockey-team-destroyed-climate-science/
    informed us that the researchers derived their results from treering samples using 18O ratios to determine the temperatures relevant to particular samples. There has been no record of the Mann group doing so. On this ground alone their paper should have been rejected as shoddy and defective experimental design.
    Dr Libby’s paper even predicted warming until 2000 and then cooling, yet the establishment is blind to real evidence.

  15. The public has paid for the research and should have the right to see how their money has been spent.
    Honest scientists have nothing to fear from scrutiny!

  16. The very fact that the U of V released all of Patrick Michaels’ email and data without even blinking speaks volumes. If Mann has nothing to hide, then why even hesitate to release this info? Something stinks…and stinks badly. Although I didn’t really have to, I gave away programs and materials I developed on my own time to my former employer. This seemed reasonable to me at the time as I had developed them to facilitate my own practice while in their employ. I wasn’t provincial. If it could help the organization or someone else I was all in favor of sharing. But, as Willis indicated, we all had to sign a statement that we have no expectation of privacy with regards to email and any and all “intellectual property” developed on the job belonged to the employer. I learned a very important lesson. Whenever possible communicate information and opinions via the telephone. Email can come back to bite you whereas phone communications from the boss can readily be denied.

  17. Be interesting to see how the liberal press responds, after having descended on Sarah Palin’s emails like a pack of wild hyenas.

  18. Why do academics in general and self-declared ‘climate scientists’ in particular think that the rules of society do not apply to them?
    Is there some inherent virtue in studying a string of numbers that supposedly represent tree ring depths rather than stock market movements that gives the studier absolution from all laws and divine protection from the mildest of questioning?
    Is becoming a ‘Published Climate Scientist’ akin to being elected into the Order of Masters of the Universe?
    Or should we more usefully regard climate scientists as what many of them appear to be? Second or third rate geeks who arrived at climatology and accidentally and found a treasure trove of honour and status completely undeserved by their actual achievements. In earlier years they would ave harmlessly toiled away in a basement lab on something dull and uncontroversial outside their specialist field.
    Instead I think that this whole thing has an element of being a proxy rearguard by academe to protect their privileges. One by one, the powerful and influential cabals in Western society have been obliged to play by the rules….in UK, the parliamentary expenses scandal tamed the excesses of our ploiticians. Watergate gave limits to the US President. Trade unions (of all types) have been obliged to act more rigorously. Medical and pharma research is tightly regulated.
    But in all these things, academe has been untouched. Free to continue in its own sweet way. Needing only to utter the magic words ‘I am an academic’, and all opposition was supposedly quiesced. Happy to take our money by the shedload, but hysterical at the idea that we shoudl ask to see how their time and our money was spent.
    So it is no great surprise that fellow academics queue up to denounce anyone who wishes to peep behind the magic curtain. It is their freedom to act without regard to the norms of society that are also at stake. For if Mann has to reveal the grimier corners of his pitiful career, who next?
    Before I began reading and blogging about climate a few years back I had a fairly positive view of academics in general. Probably based on the high standards of integrity and science that I saw my teachers doing at university in the 1970s. The more I have learnt about academe, the lower my opinion of them has fallen,
    And for any pronouncement from climate scientists, I apply the Paxman principle (named after a much-feared UK TV interviewer)
    ‘What is this lying bastard lying to me about today. And why?’

  19. Is this the same Muller who was supposed to release the “BEST” temperature record earlier this year?
    What ever happened to that?

  20. Willis,
    Perhaps you really meant to add an ‘n’ at the front of the fourth word in last line of your post? (or has someone else mentioned it before?) ….it adds a hell of a punch! Brilliant use of the EnglishLanguage though. Eagely looking forward to your next ‘bombshell;.
    Regards RGF

  21. Too little, too late. I am sure Mann has already deleted all the incriminating emails.
    The fact that he falsified and misrepresented data alone should have been sufficient for his dismissal from the university.
    But this will never happen, because modern Academia is a frank-pledge clique where “scientific truth” is whatever the highest bidder pays for.

  22. Who’s to say the university has the emails or hasn’t put them through the wash? How would anyone know?

  23. “jorgekafkazar says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:46 pm
    I trust Dr. Muller as far as I can toss a live bull up the inside of a silo.”
    I am afraid that despite Anthony Watts’s faith in Dr Muller and the Berkeley project, I would now tend to agree with the above statement. I don’t expect a truly independent time record of global surface temperatures from Berkeley now.

  24. I teach at a community college in Florida and our email system automatically places the following disclosure on every single email. This is done because we have had requests from local news outlets which have resulted in uncovering illegal activity on campus. ALL of our emails are subject to public exposure.
    Please Note:
    Due to Florida’s very broad public records law, most written communications to or from College employees regarding College business are public records, available to the public and media upon request. Therefore, this e-mail communication may be subject to public disclosure.

  25. Well said Willis!
    This country (USA) could use someone like you for President!
    I sincerely hope that when the AGW climate scam is finally ‘closed out’, that a Nobel prize or something on that order will be bestowed on poeple like yourself that have worked so diligently to bring light to this nonsense. I realize that a Nobel prize is now a joke, but it was once a great honor. I hope that will change in the future to become the honor it once was.

  26. I hate to say, the more I hear some of the scientists Speak, I’m beginning to realize that when you get into simple intellectual issues in terms of integrity and conflicts of interest, these people are not that bright. It seems these people often have difficulty understanding basic philosophical ideas here that we simply asking for transparency.
    The idea that a request for data constitutes personal data is just beyond ridiculous. Can you imagine somebody working on Wall Street saying that they don’t have to divulge their trading Portfolio and not be upheld a conflict of interests in regards to insider trading? Gosh, it’s even standard fare in any city council that any vote that affects any of the alderman then that person must step down for that vote.
    In this case, it’s not even a conflict issue and we already know we paid for the data! It is a simple basic fact that we’re asking for things that the taxpayers have paid for!
    The hypocrisy of these people is astounding! So you mean it’s OK for Greenpeace to request funding details of researchers for their witch hunts of big bad oil funding? Yet we are not to have the same? No sharing anymore?
    Even more astounding from these liberal educated people is they always been the first to criticize the concept that some institution or group of people will hide in some secret library or book all this great information in an attempt to keep the public dumb and stupid.
    Apparently their criticism of this concept of withholding information and keeping the public dumb and stupid does not apply to themselves does it? In fact, the issue is about keeping us in the dark as long as possible since we on to these snake oil salesman pretending they are scientists.

  27. And the most creative strawman argument of the day goes to …

    Scott Brim [July 2, 2011 at 11:46 pm] says:
    “From a legal perspective, the only relevant question here is this — did he, or did he not, fulfill his obligations to the University per his written employment contract?”

    Certainly not. What you describe (in that quote) is the standard applied by a current employer contemplating termination with cause, and that barn door closed a long time ago (this university was Mann’s *previous* homebase until 2005). Why even bring this up?
    And besides being a strawman it is non-sensical. It’s like saying: “From a legal perspective, the only relevant question here is this — did he, or did he not, fulfill his obligations to …” about any random employee that might be a thief or jaywalker or (fill in the blank). Surely you realize it is possible to follow the terms of a “written employment contract” to the letter all the while violating subsequent grant applications or any variety of things not spelled out when you first get hired. I wonder if Spiro Agnew thought of that defense (‘but I fullfilled the explicit terms of the office of Vice-President.’), certainly Clinton did 🙂
    What angers me is that under this type of thinking, the real employer (the *taxpayers*), have no recourse to seek or even expect accountability of *their* money whatsoever. They will simply have to trust that some minimal expectation on an employment contract has been met and then shut up about it. I’m sure that’s the way professional bureaucrats and celebrity scientists would like the world to work, and perhaps it has for some (cough, Hansen), but we’re in a new age now. Looming fiscal collapse of all the liberal progressive ruined Western societies means scrutiny ahead. Someone like Mann that has taken millions in grants and spent it publishing doomsayer political propaganda while making himself a celebrity should expect scrutiny.
    If I were Mann and *if* I were innocent, I would be screaming it at the top of my lungs and releasing all the data ever collected, and (this is very telling) I would have drove right down to UVA and walked out with the emails and everything else immediately. What was he thinking? I mean we are hearing White House audio tapes with sensitive information from the JFK years, not to mention Nixon. Why would he think that UVA emails are special? Can someone answer that?

  28. @latimer
    “What is this lying bastard lying to me about today. And why?”
    Hadn’t heard that from Paxman – Ill be employing that at every opportunity.

  29. Scott Brim says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:46 pm
    Not exactly right. There are 2 contracts in force here, a bit like the EU. Each country in the EU has the right to make it’s own contract with it’s people but the EU contract with the country dominates. So it is with Virginia. Mann had a contract with the Uni and the Uni had a contract with the tax payers. The tawpayers’ contract dominates. Give us the emails please.

  30. Willis is assuming the wrong kind of institution. Universities do in fact have ‘work for hire’ as the default. I’ve done quite a bit of research and software under those conditions, and had no problem in letting the university or the granting agency own the results.
    Mann is working for a different kind of institution, where the relevant rule is not ‘work for hire’ but Omertà.

  31. dougsherman says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:56 pm
    As much as you prefer the courts stay out of it, I’d prefer this blog stayed with science and factual accounting of these types of related stories (the FOIA request) as opposed to editorial ‘rants’. This is heavy on ‘rant’
    Read the top line of this blog!! This is not specifically a science blog. Factual, it is and commentory , it is. I can’t speak for Ant but I feel that people on this blog have the right to rant having spent years fighting the corruption that is climate science, don’t you?. Yes I like the science/maths and Willis has done his fair share of that here but commentary or ranting as you have called it, is OK as well. I like Willis’ rants.

  32. The claims of privacy would sound more valid if it was not for the fact that the same place has been happy to pass other academics information to groups looking for it . How this is ‘different ‘ is a question none of concerned have yet answered .

  33. Elyseum says, on July 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm “BTW we have not heard anything about Muller temp analysis. Probably because they have discovered hat it was all rigged.”
    Weren’t we also going to get the data made available in an easy readable, standard format?
    Gary Hladik says, on July 2, 2011 at 11:59 pm “Well said, Willis. “It’s not power that corrupts, but immunity” (I’ve seen that quote attributed to John W. Campbell).”
    There is also: “Believe, Trust, then Verify.” (especially when other peoples’ money is concerned?)

  34. Me, I’m opposed to going the legal route to solve scientific problems.
    I agree, and I remember you saying something similar on previous occasions. But respectfully that’s not really the point Willis. Everyone knows that scientific problems are solved in the lab (and the enquiring brain) not in a the law courts. But the “problem” that we as sceptics have always faced has never been a scientific one. It has always been legal/political, and so this is where we are.
    Now, if Mann is guilty of fraudulent science which has contributed to world poverty and loss of life and freedom, then I might just agree (especially now before I’ve had my first coffee of the day) with your principle that “the law should be a last resort,” and simply hang the bastard from the nearest tree.

  35. Edit question:
    Wotsa “poolpah”? Neither I nor the Web ‘ave ‘eard of it.
    I have vague associations with some sf novel’s neologisms, but nothing is surfacing at the moment.
    _________
    The historic walk from protecting academics from arbitrary interference by politicians to blanket immunity from showing what they’ve done with and for the public moneys they spend and live on has gone much further than most of us imagined. The desire and need to protect research resources from external manipulation has degenerated into group and individual avarice.
    That it is being leveraged into a grab for control of the globe’s economy and finances is (paradoxically but fortunately) probably the bridge too far. Time and past time for a MAJOR pushback. Part of the problem is that the pols responsible for such pushing back are substantially pre-compromised, and share in the power grab.

  36. Meanwhile in the UK
    Jonathan Jones, physics professor at Oxford University and self-confessed “climate change agnostic”, used freedom of information law to demand the data that is the life’s work of the head of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, Phil Jones. UEA resisted the requests to disclose the data, but this week it was compelled to do so.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/01/climate-data-uea?intcmp=122

  37. If research by any scientist produces such far reaching effects as Mann’s then he/she must reveal all data and method.
    The IPCC and many governments have taken Mann’s conclusions on trust and proceeded to divert their peoples energies down vastly different routes at enormous cost. All to no effect, apart from impoverishment. Mann has to stand and justify his research, method and conclusions. He cannot hide from FOIA enquiries.

  38. @Willis
    “So all of the squawking about “privacy” and “intellectual rights” and “private emails” is nonsense. If Michael Mann wants his emails to be private, he should be self-employed.”
    You’re being extreme, Willis. If you take a crap on company time that doesn’t mean the company owns your ass. If you have a personal cell phone in your pocket the company doesn’t have a right to it or anything on it whether on or off “company time”. Speaking of company time, what exactly IS company time for salaried employees with no fixed hours?
    If Mann wanted the emails to be private he should have used some other email address like arsehat@hotmail.com instead of inmate@state_pen.edu blowhard@penn_state.edu which is owned by his employer.

  39. I think maybe Dr Muller might have been afraid that people will be able to access a scientist’s research before it is complete. After all, Mr Watts was unhappy that part of his Surface Stations paper appeared online before he had finished it, so I can understand the need for privacy. Once the paper has been published, however, all relevant data, including emails, should be available on request, especially when FOIA applies.
    Scott Brim 11:46:
    FOIA legislation precludes anyone making a contract which exempts someone from it.

  40. I still think it will take a legal challenge in a a court of law to pin down the worst of the Piltdown Manns legacy and reform Climatology back into the realms of science and the scientific method.
    Except judging from what is being churned out by Australian Academics it makes that hope, seem to be a far off dream. As far as mann’s emails they would all applaud if he was able to sanitize the lot to remove anything remotely incriminating, then demand the establishment climate elite will fall into line in protecting his rightful protest. Still we could hope that an insider might still get a pang of conscience and reveal all…one day.!

  41. I used to work for DoD and our IT man used to tell us not to put anything into an e-mail that we would want read out loud in court.
    Frankly, any arguments against releasing Mann’s e-mails were voided when the University gave GreenPeace the e-mails from that other scientist.

  42. What if Mann, Jones et al. were accountants working for a private oil company?
    If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. Yet the fear is obvious. ;O)

    “Mann claimed that the ring widths of a few trees in the US Southwest somehow revealed the temperature history of the planet. Seems extremely doubtful. “

    We are often reminded the the United States is just a small part of the world. We are often reminded that the Medieval Warm Perios was just a localised, NH event. You can’t win with these people, heads they win, tails you lose.

  43. sunsettommy says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:22 pm
    I believe that Dr. Mann and others like him have something they do not want the public to know. So they whip up absurd excuses on why we should not see the information.
    That is why they go to great lengths to fight disclosures of any kind.They are hiding something that would destroy something.Maybe it is the AGW hypothesis or maybe something far worse?
    They are not behaving like scientists.But like propagandist in employ with someone else.

    No? Gowsh, d’ya think?

  44. Elyseum says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm
    BTW we have not heard anything about Muller temp analysis. Probably because they have discovered hat it was all rigged.

    Isn’t it overdue? Or are they waiting until after COP Durban November 28 to December 9, 2011. ;O)

  45. AGW’s Burden: Heart of Greeness*.
    Neo-AGW Progress Report.
    The Red-Green Lexicon Words For Today: “dessicated” & “wind farm”.
    …-
    “Independent | Starvation returns to the Horn of Africa
    In the Horn of Africa, unseen as yet by the world’s television cameras, a pitiful trek of the hungry is taking place. Tens of thousands of children are walking for weeks across a desiccated landscape to reach refugee camps that are now overflowing. They are being driven there by one of the worst droughts in the region for 60 years which, combined with the war in Somalia and soaring food prices, is threatening a famine that could affect between eight and 10 million people.
    […]
    #10 — Telegraph | Farmers enouraged to cash in on the scramble for wind
    Wind farm developers are exploiting a green energy subsidy worth billions of pounds to persaude landowners to allow turbine developments to be built in their fields.”
    http://www.jacksnewswatch.com/
    *Apology to Joseph Conrad.

  46. Scott Brim says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:46 pm
    Dr. Mann’s obligations to the University of Virginia were only what his employment contract stipulated them to be.
    From a legal perspective, the only relevant question here is this — did he, or did he not, fulfill his obligations to the University per his written employment contract?

    As people have already pointed out this is incorrect.
    From a legal perspective, when a researcher is allocated to a government funded grant or contract it is made clear in the Research grant or contract that everything that the money is used for, be that the research data, results and any byproducts,written or computer processed records, computers, software desks chairs stationery ALL belong to or ‘are vested in’ the funding authority. There are very very explicit rules on ‘commingling of funds’ to avoid any confusion over what is ‘the university’s’ and what is public property.
    These vesting clauses cannot be superseded by decisions of a researcher, the department or the university to keep things confidential or private. I have known of research departments that have broken these rules and had their government funding completely withdrawn and blocks put on any further grant or research contract funding from Federal or State sources. The fact that University of Virginia is willing to risk this loss of government funding makes one wonder whether the emails provide evidence of something that if revealed would also result in loss of Federal and State funding.
    Methinks the university doth protest too much.

  47. “Me, I’m opposed to going the legal route to solve scientific problems.”
    Me, I’m opposed to the suspicion of fraud, fraud that if it is fraud, has had consequences for people all around the globe, being left to the tender mercy of the scientific community alone. What many of us have is the suspicion that it is ingenuous to believe that what we have here is simply a matter of scientific dispute.

  48. I thought, oh, ‘nother long wind-dead post by this ‘n that host. But it’s Willis.Yeah. Does he publish? He should a’build a boat ‘n cross an Atlantic. That would put him in a movie, and make him memorable amongst the living.
    O.K. I read half of it. Such verbiage.
    Blah blah blah.
    Influence meter = ZERO
    Text does not affect.
    Put it on camera.
    We want to see ya, not delve into each stinky footnote.

  49. Probably I’m just suffering nostalgia for the ‘good old days’, when research was done by old blokes who had tenure assisted by nerdy graduate students who couldn’t afford to wash their own clothes. No money, not much gear, but geez, science moved along smartly in the 50s and 60s. I suppose the Apollo program had something to do with the way science evolved; an enormous team backed by megabucks produced some immortal achievements. Going to the moon was billed as great science, but in truth it was great technology. Later NASA programs in the 70s and 80s produced fantastic science, but while it was still expensive, it wasn’t sexy. Universities and research institutions seem to have appropriated the NASA approach, though: megabuck investments in teams of researchers and ginormous computers are the norm. Such projects are way, way beyond the funding capacity University budgets. These days, you’d earn more attaboys from your Department Head for a fat three-year grant than would come your way for a paper describing a functional GUT. Yes, it’s teamwork, but the people you have to impress are the ones handing out the grants. And how likely are you to get the dosh if your theory is at odds with what one of the grant committee members has already done? Then your team has to decide how much of the collective results to publish, and how much to hold back for the next grant application. The old bloke with tenure lost all his grad students to the big lab with the big money anyhow, and one more paper incrementally advancing science isn’t going to save his little lab; Admin needs the space for the dozen new contact administrators they’ve hired. The worm will turn, of course. Michael Manne, Phil Jones and their fellow groupthinkers will make sure of it. Until then, we’ll just have to watch ’em burn our megabucks.

  50. Willis, I always read your articles with a view to finding something in them with which I might disagree. Once again, you have defeated me.
    I am not sure how you do it but you seem to be able to read my mind. Had I the vocabulary, the energy and the ability to think as clearly as you, this would have been my article.
    Professor Muller seems to have started to walk backwards down the road, away from damascas for some reason best known to him and it does seem a little suspicious to me.
    I am of the opinion that all the information necessary to prove malfeasance and conspiracy is in the E-Mails. Only political will is required to convict those involved.

  51. Scott Brim says:
    Dr. Mann’s obligations to the University of Virginia were only what his employment contract stipulated them to be.
    From a legal perspective, the only relevant question here is this — did he, or did he not, fulfill his obligations to the University per his written employment contract?
    ++++++
    Scott, this is how I understand it: there is a Federal stipulation (over-riding or sitting on top of all contracts) that research and knowledge paid for by public money belongs to the public and they have access to it as a Constitutional Right. This also used to apply to inventions discovered by public money. It was found, after analysis, that if something is not patented it has a poor chance of reaching the market and benefitting the public so about 1982 the rule was changed to ‘all things must be patented’ so there is an incentive to develop inventions into a practical products.
    A patent reveals how the thing works! The details are all there! So either the publicly funded information is freely available, or is it freely accessible even if permission to profit from it is temporarily (20 years) restricted.
    That is why there is so much input (above) from readers about public money and access, including the other work (emails) created on the public dime.
    I have supervised student projects which involved private inventions which remained secret (for pre-patenting purposes) but even then, they are subject FOIA if there is a good reason. NDA’s routinely have sections on appropriate warnings that something is going to be revealed by a judicial process even for the most secretive and private information.
    The core objection above is that investigations have not asked relevant questions yet proclaim all is above board or properly secreted in their various safe deposit boxes. This is a version of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.” They didn’t ask, and no one told.

  52. Hold on as moment there Willis – you say “Suffered enough? They haven’t suffered at all, Dr. Muller.” and so forth. So ok, I acknowledge your point of view (even if I don’t agree with it all), but when you start talking about suffering enough, who might I ask, determines that? You? Someone else? Who? What is “enough”? Being fired or being jailed or something worse? Who has the authority to determine punishment? The rule of the street (aka blogs!)? I’m sorry, but this type of discussion is the slippery slope to vigilantism.

  53. Donkeygod said what I may not have properly afforded.
    No longer was it about why X is interesting, but now all about X is good for.
    Ahead of time!

  54. To Dr.Dave and others,
    One small correction. UVa did not release Dr.Pat Michael’s mails to Greenpeace. They named a price for the release and were willing to release the data. If I remember correct the amount asked by them was USD 4000/- or something close to that amount. Greenpeace wanted the mails for free and did not pay the amount. So the mails were not released. But the fact is very well documented that they had no qualms about wanting to release Dr.Pat Michael’s e-mails to Greenpeace without one single protest of academic freedom or confidentiality or any other such dishonest excuses they are giving in the case of Mann. If Greenpeace had paid up those mails would have been sent to Greenpeace immediately as UVa had agreed to release them if they were paid. These are the exact facts.
    I’m stating this clearly so as to preclude the chance of the two prominent water carriers and apologists for Mann and the team who normally will pop down here and point out to that part of the story alone and act as if UVa were clean and everyone here was wrong. These shameless apologists are full time out to obfuscate, divert and find any egregious excuse to defend the behaviour of Mann, the Team and any institutions associated with them and their dishonest behaviour.

  55. Now that Dr. Muller is a star….
    …he feels compelled to speak out and give his opinion
    That is usually their undoing……….

  56. From the Old Virginia Watchdod: “ALEXANDRIA — A Prince William County judge says the University of Virginia must release emails sent by climate change scientist Michael Mann, drawing cheers from transparency advocates and protest from academics — including Mann’s chief rival.”
    I didn’t catch any mention of an appeal from U of V. If Mann’s emails are still fully intact, and if they reveal significant misconduct, I would expect an appeal of this lower court’s ruling.

  57. nick from NYC Said
    O.K. I read half of it. Such verbiage.
    Blah blah blah.
    That you feel compelled to pass a comment of such nonsense, of an article that you admit to only half reading,speakes volumes.I suggest you read ALL of the article and then pass comment
    maybe then you would not find yourself in the proverbial boat up the proverbial s*** creek without a paddle.
    verbiage.indeed!
    Well said Willis.

  58. Spot on as usual Willis, and Laitmer, you have exressed my own thoughts very neatly.
    As for Dr Muller, his vacillations are extreme and don’t seem rooted in any discernable conventional ethics: academics are not special people beyond the laws and morality of the wider society, no matter how often they plead that they are a special case.

  59. Unlike most other “advances” in science, climatology has built an enormous confederation of scientists, bureaucrats, politicians, journalists, rent seekers, bankers and builders all of whom make or want to make mega bucks. Throwing this boondoggle out the window will cause immense damage to these people so they will fight. On the other hand the boondoggle has already cost the remaining 99% of the worlds population a great deal and promises to cost them more. It’s the latter who should feel agrieved and will as soon as they find out how they have been swindled. The blogosphere is the only message board that can reach the multitude. I haven’t used Facebook but maybe that is the next step to get the message out. The MSM don’t know that temperatures are static or falling so their readers don’t either. One thing, as others have said, is that once the structure starts to crack it will collapse at light speed. God forgive any politician who doesn’t change sides before the event because the voters sure as hell won’t.

  60. Willis,
    Personally, I think you have pushed this one too hard. The aim of the exercise is really to audit those findings that cause concern about the contribution of mankind to climate change, if any. Would it not be better if there was a set of questions designed to fill in the uncertainties, questions that were required to be answered in a verfiable way, rather than to take to the scattergun? I’m in no way questioning the need for a clear outcome, just the path to get there. It’s an efficiency thing, no big deal.
    An inefficient method, with connotations of invasion of private space, is perhaps more likely to lead to a backlash like a change in the FOI laws. Gently, gently, catchee monkey.

  61. Willis said:
    “Given what we know, that Mann and others stand convicted by their own words for some actions spelled out in the Climategate emails, and that there is very strong circumstantial evidence of him and the others having done a variety of other unethical or perhaps illegal things, the reputations of Mann and the rest of the Climategate crowd have not suffered nearly enough.”
    ——
    Wow, now acting as Judge, jury, and prosecutor…all based on “circumstantial” evidence, which also is only even that in your estimation. This is exactly as the Kings of old behaved…so I suppose we should thank god for the Magna Carta and the legal system we have now.

  62. Yes, complying with FOIA is expensive and inconvenient. It’s even more expensive and inconvenient when the target organization resists complying with the request. So resisting organizations should not complain about expenses and inconveniences they have compounded by choosing to resist. For “scientists” to claim “special status” that would exempt them from so fundamental a law is the height of conceit.

  63. Latimer Alder says:
    July 3, 2011 at 12:27 am
    Why do academics in general and self-declared ‘climate scientists’ in particular think that the rules of society do not apply to them?

    I believe that is the standard thought process among those who are not adherring to said “rules of society”.

  64. I remember reading an interview with Phil Jones when he was trying to rehabilitate himself after climategate. He said something about ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’. I’ve had a quick look but can’t find it yet. (The interview, not the shoe!)
    I’ve always wondered what he meant. Something like this perhaps?

  65. R. Gates says:
    July 3, 2011 at 5:30 am
    Wow, now acting as Judge, jury, and prosecutor…all based on “circumstantial” evidence, which also is only even that in your estimation. This is exactly as the Kings of old behaved…so I suppose we should thank god for the Magna Carta and the legal system we have now.

    Geez Louise; you’re really reaching here. The day that posting in a blog resembles in any way unconstrained royal power is the day I go back to blogging. You feel quite free to criticize Willis in ridiculous ways of your own; why not let him feel free to criticize Mann et al?
    — Ed

  66. Thanks, Willis. an excellent Independence Weekend post. And does Anthony still believe that in order to be gentlemanly (in the scientific manner) he should cooperate with Muller on BEST from UCB? It’s (the UC system) a hornets nest of leftists, and some very radical leftists. There is no truth or scientific method from that crew and they keep bending it slowly, inexorably, whenever given the chance. Transparency and accountability without exception.

  67. tap tap ping ping ping pound pound strike strike pound pound pound POUND!
    That oughta do ya.

  68. CPA’s routinely audit gubment entities and all financial documents are made available. This case does include some suggestion of misapplications of funds. In sexual harrassment cases, all files and records are promptly furnished. In Medical malpractice all documents, files and communications are made available. Man is not a superior being operating at a holier level. Part of Enrons fiasco was the use and abuse of the shredder.
    Mann will have to man up. Of course the law is against the University and he is a mere “agent” and acting as an agent of the school, his deeds innure liability to the enterprise.

  69. Scott Brim says (11:46 pm): “Dr. Mann’s obligations to the University of Virginia were only what his employment contract stipulated them to be. From a legal perspective, the only relevant question here is this — did he, or did he not, fulfill his obligations to the University per his written employment contract?”
    Absolutely not Scott. The law is supreme.
    If your argument had any merit, you could seek to arrange a contract (whether or not in writing) to subcontract any illegality you care to mention. The very most you would have achieved would be a void contract to the extent of the illegality.
    Assuming your contractor had fulfilled his undertakings and thefore broken the law, your contractor would be open to prosecution and the tariffs specified in law. In most circumstances I can think of, you too would also be open to prosecution for your part.
    So hold on there tiger, and don’t you go writing any contracts to break the law.

  70. “It says that while you are working for your employer, your time is not your own.”
    In fairness, professors don’t typically use time cards. They often work far more than forty hours per week. As a professor, I sometimes find myself working early mornings, late at night, or on weekends. On the other hand, I sometimes do personal things in the middle of a weekday. Professional and private emails might be written at any time from the same account. I chair a committee on granting tenure and rank advancement in a physics department. We judge professors on outcomes rather than on how long or how hard they work. No one keeps track of or (for the most part) even cares how many hours someone puts in — just results matter in both research and teaching performance.

  71. Elyseum says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm
    “BTW we have not heard anything about Muller temp analysis. Probably because they have discovered hat it was all rigged.”
    With the passing of each day, this becomes a more interesting question. Muller is turning out to be the mouse who roared. I bet that some of the scientists involved have discovered that the data are such a mess that there is no way to justify a claim of warming.

  72. @Peat, if you wish to keep your private live and your public life separate, then it is incumbent on on you to use different email servers. Most ISPs offer a web based mail server. If you use the company mail server, the mail on it becomes the property of the company. If you use your private mail server, the mail on it is your mail. I seem to remember some of the same “progressives” cheering when one wall street firm was summoned to produce its emails. My wife works at a university. Yes, she does not go to the effort of parsing her private and public emails. But the emails here that are of concern are the emails that are involved with his work. Not the emails of the sort of “Honey, I found this neat Italian restaurant, can you come home early enough for us to do dinner?” variety.

  73. “Dr. Dave says:
    July 3, 2011 at 12:23 am
    The very fact that the U of V released all of Patrick Michaels’ email and data without even blinking speaks volumes.”
    I’m with you Dr.Dave. These double standards are sickening.

  74. stephen richards says:
    July 3, 2011 at 2:06 am
    “Yes I like the science/maths and Willis has done his fair share of that here but commentary or ranting as you have called it, is OK as well. I like Willis’ rants.”
    I find Willis a breath of fresh, cool air. He writes that he grew up averse to “calling the law on a man.” So did I.

  75. Nowhere have I said that FOIA laws shouldn’t apply to Mann’s work, to his emails, or to the material he produced for the University of Virginia.
    Nowhere have I said that he is automatically exempt from the stipulations and requirements of federal and state regulations.
    Nowhere have I said that he is automatically exempt from the stipulations and requirements of contracts the University of Virginia has with other government and private parties.
    But if one is of a mind to wield the threat of civil and/or criminal penalties against him personally, or against the University and/or its employees, then Mann’s employment contract sets the framework for their mutual relationship.
    It is hard to imagine that Mann’s employment contract would not describe his general obligations to follow the stipulations of UVa policies and procedures, including compliance with applicable federal and state regulations, and including compliance with applicable contractual stipulations among UVa and outside parties that are applicable to his work,
    Members of the public have a right to see everything Mann produced at UVa under applicable FOIA laws, and to pass their own judgements upon its scientific validity and its professional quality.
    But going down the road of threatening Mann and the UVa with civil or criminal penalties for doing bad or unprofessional science — work that borders on fraudulent in my humble opinion — is a dog that won’t hunt unless there are clear violations of his UVa employment contract.

  76. Shout Fire in a movie theater. After the deceived people are injured or killed the refrain from the alarmist is you don’t need to know why I shouted fire. Even worse the alarmist was employed by those same people that he is injuring or deceiving. His defense is suggesting that because he is of the cast professor he need not be held accountable for his actions. Incredible!

  77. Dave Springer says:
    July 3, 2011 at 2:23 am
    ‘If you have a personal cell phone in your pocket the company doesn’t have a right to it or anything on it whether on or off “company time”.’
    You want to be more careful. The prevailing thinking in the business and legal community is that all your communications belong to the company if you are on company property or on private property but using company communications equipment. The entire nine yards is worse, but I won’t bore you. Some executives with clout have exceptions written into their contracts.

  78. Folks:
    It’s probably important to let you all know the status of this matter. UVA is still going through the emails to determine which they wish to make public. Indeed, they asked us for more money to keep going on that. If we don’t pay, they will stop. (So if you want to help, you might go to ATInstitute.org and his the donation button.) We will pay them and they will complete their review. Come August 25th, they will provide those to us in electronic form. But, the fun begins 30 days later. That’s when Chris Horner and I will get to look at all the documents they refuse to produce to the public. We will identify which among those we want the Court to review and we will argue that these do not deserve protection and should be produced to the public.
    There are two big caveats to all this. Chris and I have agreed to not tell a soul what we see in the protected documents unless the court allows us to do so. We will honor that promise and I don’t want to hear anyone grousing about that. Second, I made a personal promise that if the protected documents exonerate Mann, I will say as much. I am going into this as an agnostic. I might add, that’s the best way to be a scientist too.
    David Schnare
    Director
    The Environmental Law Center
    The American Tradition Institute
    http://www.atinstitute.org

  79. Gotta Love this!
    Best sceptic rap ever! 🙂 The text is great and should be translated. (Via Gosselin)
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tul5bY12y0&w=640&h=390]

  80. Let’s be clear what the context of this discussion is fundamentally about: wielding the threat of civil and/or criminal penalties against Dr. Mann and/or the University of Virginia for knowingly producing fraudulent science, and then knowingly covering up the trail of evidence.
    Nowhere have I said that FOIA laws shouldn’t apply to Mann’s work, to his emails, or to the material he produced for the University of Virginia.
    Nowhere have I said that he is automatically exempt from the stipulations and requirements of federal and state regulations.
    Nowhere have I said that he is automatically exempt from the stipulations and requirements of contracts the University of Virginia has with other government and private parties.
    But if one is of a mind to wield the threat of civil and/or criminal penalties against him personally, or against the University and/or its employees, then Mann’s employment contract sets the framework for their mutual relationship, and also sets the standards for how other kinds of requirements and obligations will be applied to him.
    It is hard to imagine that Mann’s employment contract would not describe his general obligations to follow the stipulations of UVa policies and procedures, including compliance with the UVa’s own professional ethics standards, including compliance with applicable federal and state regulations, and including compliance with applicable contractual stipulations among UVa and outside parties that are applicable to his work,
    Members of the public have a right to see everything Mann produced at UVa under applicable FOIA laws, and to pass their own judgements upon its scientific validity and its professional quality.
    But going down the road of threatening Mann and the UVa with civil or criminal penalties for doing bad or unprofessional science — work that borders on fraudulent in my humble opinion — is a dog that won’t hunt, unless there are clear violations of Mann’s UVa employment contract with the University.

  81. Spot on Theo. Any communications sent on company equipment on company e-mail ID is company’s property. period. No exceptions, especially for public institutions.
    A company e-mail ID usage is like using company letter headed paper. It’s the company’s property and the mails sent from company’s property are not ” private “.
    This is not like taking a phone call from your wife on your own cell phone. To show that equivalence is not a valid argument.
    Writing about the company’s work to professionals in the same field from any e-mail ID is not ” private ” conversation.

  82. Peat, I am an educator. In this day and age of budget cuts, the public needs an accounting of time and money spent working on work we pay for, no matter when or where it is done, and regardless of the end product. It is no longer acceptable to just look at outcomes. Budget constraints demand we scrutinize how we got there. Top notch performing schools are facing budget cuts, outcome be damned.
    Word to the wise.

  83. As I recall, when I worked for the Federal Government all finished products were subject to FOIA but not necessarily internal working documents such as drafts leading up to that document. This situation may be different but I recall some FOIA requests being denied on that basis. All my emails were however archived and were not my personal property. They did belong to my employer.

  84. It’s not FOIA that threatens to interfere with the scientific process. It’s government funding that already does. Privatize science and the scientist can have rights to his own work without giving offense to the tax payer. Privatize science and you don’t have an entire field of research co-opted into the service of a global campaign to increase government power. These problems only exist because the money that funds the ivory tower research is forcibly taken from the productive class and allocated to its purpose by bureaucratic parasites. With the possible exception of defense, there is absolutely no reason why the government needs to be involved in funding scientific research at all.

  85. WUWT Readers:
    The WUWT web site is being flakey this morning and is not indicating to me that my comments have been transmitted and are in moderation.
    As a result, multiple versions of the same response are now appearing as I have reentered and retransmitted them.
    The latest version of a response is the one I like most.
    But regardless of my own preferences, pick any version you like ……

  86. Right on, Willis! I wonder — didn’t Mann have a personal computer in his home where he could send e-mails that would be private and not subject to release by his employer who was subject to revelations as required by the FOIA law? Or did Mann assume he could misuse his employer’s premises and facilities for his own personal ends without suffering the consequences?

  87. As a graduate in engineering from UVA, I have been appalled at the double standard applied to Mann vs. Michaels and the resources being applied to stonewall the FOIAs. And what is in those e-mails that would stifle academic freedom? Unless there is some smoking gun, I can’t think of what it would be. And Mr. Schnare of ATI is right on track with his approach to being “agnostic” about the results. We cannot afford to treat Mann in the same manner as he has treated us, we need to be above board and honest.

  88. Scott Brim says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Dr. Mann’s obligations to the University of Virginia were only what his employment contract stipulated them to be.
    From a legal perspective, the only relevant question here is this — did he, or did he not, fulfill his obligations to the University per his written employment contract?

    Why is that the “only relevant question”? Why are you claiming that a question like “Did you destroy emails” is out-of-bounds, because it has nothing to do with whether he “fulfilled his obligations to the university”? How does that make the question not relevant?
    There are lots of questions, very relevant questions, that Michael Mann needs to answer, and most of them don’t have to do with his “obligations to the university”. They have to do with the legality, morality, and scientific honesty of his actions.
    w.

  89. Regarding separation of work versus private e-mails…
    I sometimes get personal correspondence on my work e-mail, and I tell people when to send those e-mails instead to my personal e-mail account. And for websites that need an e-mail address, I always use my personal account. I very much try to keep my work e-mail 99% about the work I do, and would not have a problem if someone in an official capacity wanted to review my e-mails.

  90. dougsherman says:
    July 2, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    As much as you prefer the courts stay out of it, I’d prefer this blog stayed with science and factual accounting of these types of related stories (the FOIA request) as opposed to editorial ‘rants’. This is heavy on ‘rant’

    I guess it’s a good thing you’re not the blog owner, then.
    Yes, I much prefer to write about science. But as they say, for evil to succeed it is only necessary for good men to do nothing. And in the climate science field, the bad guys are counting on people like you, Doug, guys who advise doing nothing.
    Since there’s not a whole lot I can do on some subjects, I am reduced to writing passionately about them.
    But I’ll be damned if I’ll take your advice and sit quiet and say nothing when I see egregious attempts by people to falsely use science to further their own destructive ends … if you want to stay schtumm about that kind of action, that’s your choice.
    Me, I’ll continue to rage, rage against the passing of the light.
    w.

  91. J Storrs Hall says:
    July 3, 2011 at 4:03 am

    I prefer the phrase, “partners in clime.”

    Indeed, far superior, I yield to the master.
    w.

  92. fredb says:
    July 3, 2011 at 4:14 am

    Hold on as moment there Willis – you say “Suffered enough? They haven’t suffered at all, Dr. Muller.” and so forth. So ok, I acknowledge your point of view (even if I don’t agree with it all), but when you start talking about suffering enough, who might I ask, determines that? You? Someone else? Who? What is “enough”? Being fired or being jailed or something worse? Who has the authority to determine punishment? The rule of the street (aka blogs!)? I’m sorry, but this type of discussion is the slippery slope to vigilantism.

    You have put your finger on the problem, which is that the climate science community has totally abdicated its responsibility to clean up its own back yard.
    As a result, people like myself have had to pitch in to work on getting it cleaned up. This, of course, can be described as “vigilantism” … because it is vigilantism, that’s all that’s left when the authorities walk away from their duties.
    I don’t like it any better than you do, fred … but since the alternative to vigilatism at the moment seems to be chaos and total control by the AGW alarmists, I’m not sure what you are suggesting we do.
    w.

  93. scp says:
    July 3, 2011 at 8:21 am
    Well said and very correct government funded research is easily corruptible buy the fact that the agency granting the money decides all.
    Scott Brim says:
    July 3, 2011 at 7:58 am
    This has nothing to do with his employment with UVA it has to do with how he spent state and federal money his contract with his employer is meaningless. If he conspired to use federal or state funds inappropriately then that has nothing to do with where he works or any contract he signed with said employer.

  94. Willis, my response to your latest comments is contained in the post up above dated July 3, 2011 at 7:58 am. It’s the one just below Slabadang’s YouTube link. If you have further issues with what I’ve said in that response. I will be happy to address them.

  95. R. Gates says:
    July 3, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Willis said:

    “Given what we know, that Mann and others stand convicted by their own words for some actions spelled out in the Climategate emails, and that there is very strong circumstantial evidence of him and the others having done a variety of other unethical or perhaps illegal things, the reputations of Mann and the rest of the Climategate crowd have not suffered nearly enough.”

    ——
    Wow, now acting as Judge, jury, and prosecutor…all based on “circumstantial” evidence, which also is only even that in your estimation. This is exactly as the Kings of old behaved…so I suppose we should thank god for the Magna Carta and the legal system we have now.

    R. Gates, since charming folks like yourself have prevented Mann and the others from facing the actual prosecutor, I’m putting out my point of view about it.
    Don’t like it? So sue me. It’s all just part of your unending campaign to let the Climategate criminals and miscreants just walk out the door.
    And the idea that I, with no power but my words, am the same as a “King of old” who could order a fool like you executed “pour encourager les autres” is so ludicrous as to serve as a shining example of your lack of logic.
    R. Gates, do you realize how stupid that kind of thing makes you sound, claiming that I’m exactly like some ancient king with the power of life and death? That’s your argument? That’s the reason that UVA should hide Mann’s emails, because I’m “exactly” like some fantasized tyrant?
    And do you realize that trying to make a living by insisting that the Climategate folks are totally innocent and pure as the driven snow just makes it obvious that you’re not interested following the story, you’re just their bumboy carrying their water? Doesn’t that kind of grate on you sometimes?
    Go play somewhere else, your inanities were funny for a while but the King is getting bored …
    w.
    PS – I didn’t say I should be “judge, jury, and executioner”. Your reading abilities are as bad as your reasoning skills.
    I said that because of what we know he has done, along with what we have good reason to think he has done, that I think he has so far avoided justice for his actions. That is a very far cry from your specious and false interpretation of what I had said.

  96. peat says:
    July 3, 2011 at 7:00 am

    “It says that while you are working for your employer, your time is not your own.”
    In fairness, professors don’t typically use time cards. They often work far more than forty hours per week. As a professor, I sometimes find myself working early mornings, late at night, or on weekends. On the other hand, I sometimes do personal things in the middle of a weekday. Professional and private emails might be written at any time from the same account. I chair a committee on granting tenure and rank advancement in a physics department. We judge professors on outcomes rather than on how long or how hard they work. No one keeps track of or (for the most part) even cares how many hours someone puts in — just results matter in both research and teaching performance.

    Thanks, peat. I’m glad you judge professors on outcomes and results. Since Mann has produced neither, yet continues to enjoy his high position, I can only wish his superiors felt the same way.
    And if you write “professional and personal emails” from the same account, you might profitably take this incident as a hint …
    w.

  97. David Schnare says:
    July 3, 2011 at 7:42 am
    Thank you very much, Mr. Schnare. Seems to me that you are on the right track.

  98. Willis:

    “Me, I’m opposed to going the legal route to solve scientific problems. I’d like to think that scientific disputes could be settled between scientists…

    I would respectfully agree were these political animals you call “scientists” actually such, but they aren’t, Willis. They’re “climate scientists” (“climsci” for short) and most leave the ethical realm of true science in the dust and they do so without any qualms whatsoever. Many of their actions aren’t an abuse of science, but an abuse of lawful principles impacting taxpayers and defenseless citizens.
    When they overstep ethical behavior and legal boundaries and set themselves up a cozy “pseudocracy” to protect themselves in such egregious behavior, the law becomes their foe and in many cases the only remedy. I’m not saying every scientific avenue shouldn’t be pursued to their logical ends–I applaud it vigorously as a scientist myself. But these “climsci” people have no conscience and abuse every standard of civilized behavior they can think of. Maybe some jail time will fracture and reset their perception of reality and open their eyes to ethical behavior. If not, at least it might be a warning to their “climsci” comrades.

  99. David Schnare says:
    July 3, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Folks:
    It’s probably important to let you all know the status of this matter. UVA is still going through the emails to determine which they wish to make public. Indeed, they asked us for more money to keep going on that. If we don’t pay, they will stop. (So if you want to help, you might go to ATInstitute.org and his the donation button.) We will pay them and they will complete their review. Come August 25th, they will provide those to us in electronic form. But, the fun begins 30 days later. That’s when Chris Horner and I will get to look at all the documents they refuse to produce to the public. We will identify which among those we want the Court to review and we will argue that these do not deserve protection and should be produced to the public.
    There are two big caveats to all this. Chris and I have agreed to not tell a soul what we see in the protected documents unless the court allows us to do so. We will honor that promise and I don’t want to hear anyone grousing about that. Second, I made a personal promise that if the protected documents exonerate Mann, I will say as much. I am going into this as an agnostic. I might add, that’s the best way to be a scientist too.
    David Schnare
    Director
    The Environmental Law Center
    The American Tradition Institute
    http://www.atinstitute.org

    Many thanks for the update, David. Thanks also for your agnostic position in all of this, and the work you’ve done to bring the issue this far.
    Congratulations,
    w.

  100. Well said Willis! I find it amazing that a publicly paid employee’s work is being used to develop policy that has real effect on everyone’s lives. More so, that transparency on all the attending exchanges of fact and data seems to be such a bone of contention. Baffling…..

  101. As a state government employee I am constantly made aware of the transparency of my work products. There are some things that can be held such as personal information of inside and outside people as well as legal opinions I seek and review regarding work I do. Outside of these very limited exceptions everything I do at work is subject to public review.
    This sometimes creates a burden for staff, but it is, I believe, a necessary one to prevent government from becoming arbitrary and secretive in its deliberation and decision processes.
    What I find laughable about the UVA case is that FOI laws were trumpeted by the left and environmentalists when they were on the outside and now that they are the establishment, FOI laws have become an invasion of their privacy and an obstacle to (their) scientific free expression.
    Heck, they wrote these laws! Perhaps they never dreamed just how successful they would become. Otherwise I suspect they would have built in special exceptions just for them.
    It is nice to see them hoist by their own petard.

  102. peat wrote: We judge professors on outcomes rather than on how long or how hard they work. No one keeps track of or (for the most part) even cares how many hours someone puts in — just results matter in both research and teaching performance.
    peat, it might be time for you to review your university’s IT Policy and Intellectual Property Policy, especially if you have not reviewed them recently. Mostly likely, the IT policy contains warnings about non-privacy and prohibitions on misuse (misbehavior dishonor the university, among other stuff), and the IP policy requires a strong record detailing when you work independently of your university obligations in case you try to patent or copyright your work (as in the famous case of Caltech and Stephen Wolfram, which went to court.)
    Your comments are beside the point here.

  103. Willis Eschenbach says:
    July 3, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Willis, here’s something interesting that I discovered this morning. I post here as Doug S but my name is actually Doug Sherman. This post by dougsherman that you responded to is not mine and it’s the first time I’ve seen the handle dougsherman used here on WUWT. Perhaps this is coincidence but my suspicious nature leads me to believe otherwise. A few days ago I put up a couple of posts on Keith Kloor’s “Collide-a-scape”. My posts were critical of this scientific fraud we commonly refer to as “CAGW”. It crossed my mind at the time that providing my name and email address to their system as a requirement to post may not be a great idea. Sure enough and not to disappoint, this sham post by dougsherman pops up over here at WUWT. If there is actually another dougsherman out there then I’ll wipe the egg of my face, have a beer and go back to a great 4th of July weekend.
    Having said all that, it’s critically important for all of us to keep the heat on these misguided CAGW religious believers. I appreciate all the time and effort you, Anthony and all of the other contributors spend writing articles and posting data. A free and open exchange of data and analysis is the anecdote needed to counteract this religious movement. I support any and all efforts to get at the TRUTH and pursuing legal action is completely appropriate where taxpayer funds are involved. Keep up the good work Willis, our children and grand children depend on us to set science back on the right track. Have a good and relaxing 4th of July!

  104. Several quick points:
    a) Willis expounds masterfully on a point I’ve been making for a while – on principle I might prefer to oppose the Cuccinelli effort, but in the absence of (indeed, the strenuous avoidance of) any significant self-policing within the climate-science community it’s the only road available.
    b) Dr Muller is sullying his own reputation and that of the BEST effort by attempting to prop up Mann and his apologists. Participants in the climate-science industry need to consider that a growing majority of the population no longer regards them as scientists but as politicians and lobbyists.
    c) David Schnare notes “Second, I made a personal promise that if the protected documents exonerate Mann, I will say as much.” I’m sure we would all hope for no less.

  105. Scott Brim at 7:58 am wrote: But going down the road of threatening Mann and the UVa with civil or criminal penalties for doing bad or unprofessional science — work that borders on fraudulent in my humble opinion — is a dog that won’t hunt, unless there are clear violations of Mann’s UVa employment contract with the University.
    Mann forwarded without comment a request to delete emails that were protected under the FOIA. He also invented a “trick to hide the decline”, that was for a while adopted as an emblem by the IPCC (they later removed it from their web page.) Is that behavior a clear violation of Mann’s UVa employment contract? It seems to me that enough has been revealed, and the UVa and PSU investigations were so superficial, that the threshold for making a more prosecutorial investigation has been passed. If you disagree, how much more misbehavior would you require?

  106. Willis,
    This statement:
    “R. Gates, since charming folks like yourself have prevented Mann and the others from facing the actual prosecutor…”
    Is completely absurd. You know absolutely nothing about me, and so to make the statement that “charming folks like yourself have prevented Mann”…tells me you are truly way out of bounds on this one, which only further illustrates my point.
    And then of course you just can only lodge a series of ad hominems toward me and such lowbrow comebacks as “Don’t like it? So sue me,”
    Finally, the truth is, I am a rather charming fellow and could care less about the so-called “climategate” issue, or what happens to Michael Mann and his emails. This issue is really only one that hard-core skeptics keep holding on to as though it will change what thousands of research papers over decades and decades have shown. and nothing in those emails will change the facts behind the larger issue of anthropogenic climate change
    But my apologies to the King for upsetting his royal rant…eh, pronouncements.

  107. JEM says:
    July 3, 2011 at 10:40 am
    “Participants in the climate-science industry need to consider that a growing majority of the population no longer regards them as scientists but as politicians and lobbyists. ”
    Bingo! My opinion exactly. It is my observation that the majority of the scientists in the CAGW movement/cult/industry ceased being scientists a long time ago, and instead morphed into eco-political publicity hounds and enviro-“rock stars” hungry for fame. money, and attention.

  108. “…UVA is still going through the emails to determine which they wish to make public. Indeed, they asked us for more money to keep going on that…”
    Ahh yes, UVA milks it for every dime. If they or the parties in the E-mails had any integrity there would be no need to do an in-depth analysis to see what info you can safely hide.

  109. peat says:
    July 3, 2011 at 7:00 am
    “It says that while you are working for your employer, your time is not your own.”
    In fairness, professors don’t typically use time cards. They often work far more than forty hours per week. As a professor, I sometimes find myself working early mornings, late at night, or on weekends. On the other hand, I sometimes do personal things in the middle of a weekday. Professional and private emails might be written at any time from the same account. I chair a committee on granting tenure and rank advancement in a physics department. We judge professors on outcomes rather than on how long or how hard they work. No one keeps track of or (for the most part) even cares how many hours someone puts in — just results matter in both research and teaching performance.

    When a grant or research contract is agreed the University is required to define the number of hours that will be worked by each grade of staff and student on the project. The precise costings of these grades are detailed in terms of standard hours or course release and stipends. The staff are required to sign off that they will be available and will work those hours. The fact that in your experience the hours are not recorded nor are they checked shows that your establishments have not yet caught up with and not compliant with the quality control requirements of modern government and industry. For example a university that claims that 3 post-docs and 2 tenured professors with (declared resumes) will work on the project and then actually replaces these named staff with 2 grad students and some undergraduates, is committing fraud. A university that claims professorial capabilities and experience to get a grant or contract when that experience does not exist is similarly being fraudulent. I also know keen tenured professors whose work is their hobby and work countless hours to get things right. All this means in project management terms is those professors got their workload estimation wrong and the university will have to fund the overspend. Yes results and outcomes matter, but that does not mean that the Government can be defrauded into paying more taxpayers money than was needed, with the excess funding being used for ‘private research’, private travel or aggrandizement by the named professors.

  110. @Dave Springer “… Speaking of company time, what exactly IS company time for salaried employees with no fixed hours?” When I was in the Army, being on salary meant your day was 24 hrs, even when your services weren’t specifically required, you were still required to behave in a professional manner. The funny thing is I was actually starting to think this AGW thing was a little more than plausable, it was the little bit of interpersonal banter and trash-talk that drop the “closed-ranks” feeling that everybody is doing a more than merely toeing the company line. Then climate-gate broke and DAMN, they went way past a little banter between otherwise professional and reputable people.

  111. If I may paraphrase and create a fictional statement to make a point:

    “We need some degree of privacy,” Enron Spokespersons said Thursday in an exclusive interview with Old Duffers Watchdog. “Energy corporations alone should decide how and what to publish in their results, looking at private files in a public setting is an unfair standard.”

    Everyone wants to be exempted from doing the right thing – especially if doing the right thing is not what they’ve been doing.

  112. The whole idea of science itself is that you come up with theories and then test them. That means that all of your experiments and results have to be open to inspection by peers and the public. Trying to make yourself look good by publishing only those experiments that give the results you wanted, while making the rest disappear down the memory hole, is not science but fraud.
    Therefore, any science journal worthy of the name would have a policy that it will publish the results of a study or experiment *only* if the existence and parameters of that study were made known to the journal *before* the study began — so that if some so-called scientist is in the habit of making his adverse results disappear, we’ll all know about it.
    This is a bigger issue than whether the boss “owns” your communications at work. In effect, a scientist works for everybody.

  113. Regarding those who think Professor Michael Mann’s may have deleted some emails.
    For those who are unaware of how business and institution keep watch on all you internet activities I suggest you get informed regarding content management software of all flavors.
    The business I work for uses Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems. One property of this software is that every e-mail you send and every website you access, every attachment you send or open is recorded including https (secure sites) . Even if I were to send a google e-mail from inside the corporate network it would be recorded. All my intranet activities and intellectual property work on company time or similar business activities outside business hours are considered corporately owned.
    Here is a link to one provider of ECM software.
    http://www.opentext.com/2/global/products.htm
    Remember we are living in a post 1984 world only its Big Business and Big Brother Gov. who are watching.
    BTW you can’t delete an e-mail once it’s sent although you are given the illusion that you deleted it since your local computer has this property; your internet provider also uses ECM software.

  114. R. Gates says:
    July 3, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Willis,
    This statement:

    “R. Gates, since charming folks like yourself have prevented Mann and the others from facing the actual prosecutor…”

    Is completely absurd. You know absolutely nothing about me, and so to make the statement that “charming folks like yourself have prevented Mann”…tells me you are truly way out of bounds on this one, which only further illustrates my point.

    R. Gates, it is not true that we “know nothing about you”. You have posted in defense of the actions of Mann and others here on WUWT. You claim that you “could care less about the so-called climategate issue” (despite posting your opinions about it).
    And it is indeed folks like you, folks who think Mann did nothing wrong, folks who “could care less” about scientific malfeasance, who have prevented Mann and others from facing the music.

    And then of course you just can only lodge a series of ad hominems toward me and such lowbrow comebacks as “Don’t like it? So sue me,”

    You come in here and the first thing you do is to accuse me of being an absolute despot with bad intentions. Then you get upset when I point and laugh at your foolishness? Get real. Karma is like hitting a golf ball in a tiled bathroom … no use getting mad at the bystanders when your shot just bounces back and hits you.

    Finally, the truth is, I am a rather charming fellow and could care less about the so-called “climategate” issue, or what happens to Michael Mann and his emails. This issue is really only one that hard-core skeptics keep holding on to as though it will change what thousands of research papers over decades and decades have shown. and nothing in those emails will change the facts behind the larger issue of anthropogenic climate change

    So the issues of scientific malfeasance, and the subverting of the IPCC, and the stacking of the peer-review panels, and the “trick” to hide data that stubbornly refuses to knuckle under, and the collusion of leading AGW scientists to deny others a voice in the journals, those issues mean nothing to you … why am I not surprised? Since those issues are quite important to ethical, honest, responsible folks, both scientists and otherwise, I can only draw one conclusion from your statement.

    But my apologies to the King for upsetting his royal rant…eh, pronouncements.

    Well, at least you are consistent, your “apology” is just as honest, heartfelt, and accurate as the rest of your statements …
    w.

  115. Re …paulID says:
    July 3, 2011 at 9:20 am
    PaullD, can you clarify what you are saying above in the post dated July 3, 2011 at 9:20 am?
    Are you saying that Dr. Mann had received funding and contracts from state and federal sources that were, from a legalistic perspective, completely independent of his employment relationship with the University of Virginia; and that therefore anything he agreed to as part of his employment relationship with the UVa — and also nothing contained in his employment contract with the UVa — has any bearing whatsoever on whether he did or did not violate written stipulations and requirements of other independent contracts he might have had with state and federal agencies?
    If this is indeed so, then what responsibility does UVa have for any work Dr. Mann performed while he was pursuing these independent state and federal contracts, but while also in their employment? (Assuming these kinds of contracts existed.)
    It seems to me that it would be a very strange arrangement indeed if Dr. Mann was allowed to use UVa’s facilities in pursuit of independently funded state and federally sponsored research without some kind of agreement being in place between himself and the University, with the most likely repository for such an agreement being his employment contract with UVa, plus any amendments or attachments that might have been made to it subsequent to his initial employment there.
    In any case, regardless of where the written stipulations governing his professional behavior and the quality of his research products might reside, one cannot formally accuse Dr. Mann in a court of law of unprofessional behavior, and of producing fraudulent research materials in violation of written standards, without first citing the documented requirements which describe specifically what it was that was expected of him, and without demonstrating specifically how Dr. Mann failed to comply with any written requirements and stipulations which applied to him.

  116. @ShrNfr
    @Pamela Gray
    @Willis Eschenbach
    @Septic Matthew
    Thanks for your comments in response to mine. I don’t disagree with anything said. (And I suppose I will start using a different email account for anything non work.) I merely wanted to point out that in academics “employer time” and “personal time” are sometimes hard to delineate. On the other hand, I certainly agree that processes used to produce research output (an expected outcome of work) needs to be transparent and made available when requested, which is something Mann apparently failed to do.

  117. Sun Spot says:
    July 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm
    One property of this software is that every e-mail you send and every website you access, every attachment you send or open is recorded including https (secure sites) .

    It might be recorded, but good luck actually reading anything sent over https.

  118. We all have a right to privacy until there is reason to suspect that a fraud or crime has been committed. And, then, they come in and go through your life.
    As Mann’s hockeystick graph(s) is patently bad science and constitute fraud, it is totally reasonable to explore whether this fraud was perpetrated while being paid with taxpayer money, in which case there are other crimes being perpetrated. The only way to investigate this is to gather and examine everything related to the period of work in question. There is nothing untoward in requesting EVERYTHING.
    If you have ever been in a legal action, the opposition places demands for virtually everything except you dreams.

  119. Ken Harvey says:
    July 3, 2011 at 3:36 am
    What many of us have is the suspicion that it is ingenuous to believe that what we have here is simply a matter of scientific dispute.

    What we have here is failure to communicate.

  120. Willis, excellent post as always. Thank you, i have said it to people before but you put it on paper so well that i could not do it justice. Way to “MANN” up!!!

  121. Your response to R. Gates is entirely appropriate. Those who continue to support the outrageous and pervasive deceit and deception that have unfortunately become the hallmarks of climate science need to be called out on their arrogance, wrong headed thinking and complete lack of professional principles regarding how low climate fear proponents have sunk. Well done Willis!!

  122. Derek Sorenson – it depends on the nature of the system.
    Most institutions like UVA will run their own mail infrastructure, and will maintain their own archives and backups. In many industries (and perhaps in academia) it’s regarded as a business necessity to retain all communications sent or received for a period of years for legal reasons.
    If someone is using e.g. gmail for corporate/university business without appropriate approval and/or logging then you’ve got an administrative issue.

  123. Willis,
    The only time I’ve ever mentioned Mann and “hide the decline” was to clarify gross misrepresentations of this issue by some of the posters on this blog– specifically about the tree-ring data, but this hardly makes me his defender. I will speak up when I see inaccuracies presented, regardless of who might benefit or get hurt by the truth.
    Your certainty that Mann has done “unethical or perhaps illegal things” and that the “reputations of Mann and the rest of the Climategate crowd have not suffered nearly enough.” makes you hardly impartial or fair minded in this instance, and your willingness to see their reputations suffer without so much as a real trial (as if the world outside of skeptic-ville really cares) is what I find most worrisome about your post.

  124. The FOIA requests for University of Virginia regarding Dr. Michael Mann’s correspondence, data, and other records are not nearly as simple as it may seem. Below is, verbatim, a section of Virginia’s state law known as “Virginia Freedom of Information Act”. This section describes the numerous exclusions to application of this law – meaning that every single record must be compared to each exclusion, and if it matches that exclusion it will not be disclosed.
    source: Chapter 37, Code of Virginia, Title 2.2, beginning at Section 3705 and following, found at
    http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?000+cod+TOC02020000037000000000000
    § 2.2-3705.1. Exclusions to application of chapter; exclusions of general application to public bodies. … [Scads of legalese snipped. If people want to read it, you have the link. Please don’t post tons of text, folks. It weakens whatever argument you might be making. For example, in this case I have no idea what Roger’s point is, he lost me with the miles of text … – w.]

  125. higley7 says:
    July 3, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    We all have a right to privacy until there is reason to suspect that a fraud or crime has been committed.

    No, no, and no. While the rest of your post is correct, you’ve missed the point on that one. Mann has NO RIGHT TO PRIVACY when he is emailing from his employers computers on his employers business, nor does anyone else.
    w.

  126. “It is generally spelled out in the Employee’s Manual of almost any large organization, institution, or business. It says that while you are working for your employer, your time is not your own. What you write is not your own. What you produce is not your own. What you patent is not your own. What you email is not your own. What you discover is not your own. None of what you produce on company time belongs to you.”
    If you actually read some university employee handbooks or contracts you would see that many of your assumptions are false. Often written work is the property of the faculty member and some measure of privacy of phone and email is assured. Grants are more complicated and some mixed ownership may be negotiated.

  127. JEM says:
    July 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm
    Derek Sorenson – it depends on the nature of the system.

    No, it doesn’t. Although most non-technical people think that https is about verifying a website’s identity, that’s not really what it is for. It’s about encryption. You can record whatever you want, but if it was send via https – end-to-end encryption – then you need government-scale code-breaking to read what was transmitted.
    BTW it’s Sorensen, not Sorenson. But I’ll forgive you, because everyone makes that mistake 🙂

  128. Scott Grim wrote: In any case, regardless of where the written stipulations governing his professional behavior and the quality of his research products might reside, one cannot formally accuse Dr. Mann in a court of law of unprofessional behavior, and of producing fraudulent research materials in violation of written standards, without first citing the documented requirements which describe specifically what it was that was expected of him, and without demonstrating specifically how Dr. Mann failed to comply with any written requirements and stipulations which applied to him.
    That is of course true, so this is a good time to remind everyone that Mann has not in fact been formally accused of anything in a court of law. He (or rather UVA) is the subject of FOIA requests from public citizens, and subject to requests from VA AG Cuccinelli that loosely approximate a search warrant, or the sorts of requests that might be made by a Government Accountability Office or Congressional oversight committee, or a federal agency that investigates allegations of scientific misconduct. The question is whether there is sufficient justification for UVA to continue to stonewall, especially in light of the prompt response of George Mason U to a similar request, and the response to a Greenpeace FOIA request. This is a long way from a court of law. What Mann and defenders are calling “intimidation” looks to others like “oversight”, but we are a long way from a court of law.

  129. > Who said anything about whether or not scientists should “decide how and what to publish”? As
    > far as I know, no one has told Mann, or threatened to tell him, what or when to publish. Dr.
    > Muller is falsely casting the issue as one of “prior restraint on publication”. He is wrongly
    > claiming that someone is trying to decide what Mann can publish, which is a very serious
    > charge with First Amendment implications.
    Actually, I think you’re misinterpreting Dr. Muller here. He’s not talking about prior restraint on publishing; he’s talking about forced publication of things that the scientist doesn’t want to publish, which is what the FOIA would do. That’s pretty clear from the full sentence in the interview: “Scientists alone should decide how and what to publish in their results, looking at private files in a public setting is an unfair standard.” (Technically, that’s two sentences joined by a comma splice.)
    > How Dr. Muller got from a request for six-year-old emails, to his claim of prior restraint or
    > conditions on publication, is difficult to understand without drawing perhaps unwarranted
    > conclusions.
    I’m on your side — I think the FOIA requests are legitimate and Dr. Mann should be forced to comply. But Dr. Muller did not claim what you claim he did, and I think you probably owe him an apology on that.

  130. Willis,
    “If this had happened in a business setting, where their loss in reputation would truly be commensurate with their actions, after the things that they have done few of the whole crew would be either employed or employable.”
    You just are NOT GETTING IT!! Government officials, employees, lobbyists, business acquaintances, their friends, families, sexual toys, activities, posessions,,, are NOT to be questioned by the public. Do you understand???

  131. “We need some degree of privacy,” Muller said Thursday in an exclusive interview with Old Dominion Watchdog. “Scientists alone should decide how and what to publish in their results, looking at private files in a public setting is an unfair standard.”
    An unfair standard of…what, exactly? Truth? Value?
    This statement can only logically be understood as making any sense if the underlying assumption is that scientists are people of a higher morality and ethics than everyone else.
    I once, naively, felt that way, too. I was raised in an environment of great geniuses accomplishing difficult things, but I’ve come to understand that these were scientists whose experiments were given immediate feedback by physics. Ethics didn’t come into it; it worked, or it didn’t.
    I’ve since come to realize that scientists are just smart people. Intelligence doesn’t translate to ethics or philosophical truths, however, which is the primary reason why Plato isn’t our best-loved philosopher. Some scientists are vain, some are socialists, some are fascists, some are AGW, some are Skeptics, some are company shills, some are government shills, some are gamblers, alcoholics, or abusers, and some think the ends justify the means…scientists are people, with all their foibles and temptations and needs.
    Given that, Muller’s statement is simply scary. If scientists alone decide what to publish, then they can cherry-pick data, and even if someone else goes to the expense to gather similar data and make it through the group-think gauntlet to publish, it comes down to one study vs. another…where one of the studies is lying. Without the ability to see the original data, and ALL the data, science where physics isn’t an immediate arbitrator becomes just he-said she-said.
    We have heard of one case (could be apocryphal, since it hasn’t been FOI’d) where a researcher gathered a lot of data that turned out to have results that didn’t fit the meme…and chose not to write a paper, thus keeping the data under wraps. If this were true, is this ok with Dr. Muller? How would this contribute to our understanding of what nature is actually doing?
    Dr. Muller, at this time those that declare themselves to be Climate Scientists are reshaping our world and our economy, and they are no more innately ethical than the rest of us sorry souls. The FAIR standard is to treat them as the people they are, with all the pimples and flaws that that implies. I believe in treating people with respect until they show that they aren’t deserving, but with the gift of that initial faith comes this responsibility for me…trust, but VERIFY.

  132. Eric James Stone says:
    July 3, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Actually, I think you’re misinterpreting Dr. Muller here. He’s not talking about prior restraint on publishing; he’s talking about forced publication of things that the scientist doesn’t want to publish, which is what the FOIA would do. That’s pretty clear from the full sentence in the interview: “Scientists alone should decide how and what to publish in their results, looking at private files in a public setting is an unfair standard.” (Technically, that’s two sentences joined by a comma splice.)

    As I pointed out, the files are not “private files”. So his second half of the sentence is at best completely wrong and at worst deceptive.
    And as far as I know, there is already an exemption in the FOIA for things that are in preparation. So I’m unclear what threat you (and Dr. Muller) think is supposed to happen. He did not give examples of it ever happening, nor have you.
    Your claim desperately needs an example of someone, anyone, anywhere, whose unpublished work was made public as the result of an FOIA.

    I’m on your side — I think the FOIA requests are legitimate and Dr. Mann should be forced to comply. But Dr. Muller did not claim what you claim he did, and I think you probably owe him an apology on that.

    Muller quite clearly claimed that the issue was prior restraint. You are correct that he did not identify if he was speaking of prevention of publication, or forced premature publication.
    Since:
       1. The Mann issue is about SIX YEAR OLD EMAILS, and
       2. I know of no one whose unfinished work has been “outed” by a FOIA request, and
       3. Neither you nor Muller have provided such an example,
    all we have is inchoate fears. There’s no way on earth I’m going to apologize for what I said. Muller is claiming that the issue is his fears about publication of scientific results, when the commotion is all about Climategate and Mann’s actions in the past.
    So I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry for what I said to Muller. Muller owes us an apology for misrepresenting the situation, claiming that someone somewhere is trying to prevent Mann publishing or trying to force him to publish prematurely. That’s just a fairy tale. You might apologize to folks who tell fairy tales to try to convince you they’re right.
    Me, I just call them on their booshwa …
    w.
    PS – Looks like my hunch was correct. Further research finds this, which is a recognized exemption to the Virginia FOIA law. The following are not subject to FOIA:

    4.Data, records or information of a proprietary nature produced or collected by or for faculty or staff of public institutions of higher education, other than the institutions’ financial or administrative records, in the conduct of or as a result of study or research on medical, scientific, technical or scholarly issues, whether sponsored by the institution alone or in conjunction with a governmental body or a private concern, where such data, records or information has not been publicly released, published, copyrighted or patented.

    In other words, Muller’s fantasies of premature publication of scientific results are specifically dealt with in the Virginia law. That law specifically exempts the unpublished scientific studies that Muller claims to be worried about.
    His fears (and your restatement of them) are groundless, his claims are meaningless, and his picking Mann as a test case to comment on is … disappointing. In any case, Eric, Muller has paranoid fantasies that FOIA will force premature publication. He hasn’t read the Virginia FOIA statue. And no, I don’t think I misunderstood him. The issue is not what he says it is.

  133. Derek Sorensen – https is transport-layer security. It has nothing to do with how the mail is stored on the university’s mailservers.

  134. @Ian W
    “When a grant or research contract is agreed the University is required to define the number of hours that will be worked by each grade of staff and student on the project. The precise costings of these grades are detailed in terms of standard hours or course release and stipends.”
    While my NSF grant requires me to account for student and postdoc hours, it does not specify a certain number of hours of work for me (perhaps because I do not buy out teaching time). Rather, my compensation is written in terms of a 1-month salary at 100% effort. My university pays for 10 months per year, and I get an 11th month salary from the grant. During that time, I am considered to work full-time on the grant project. In reality, I work every month on the grant in at least a part-time capacity (compensated by my regular university salary since the activity is part of what my university expects/encourages me to be doing). But one month per year I focus full-time on the grant (without a teaching assignment) for which the grant pays me. I am required to have one month of vacation each year with no pay, although I typically take several smaller vacations throughout the year rather than at once. I think this is okay, but again no one really keeps track of how many hours I work or when I am present. But work doesn’t get done by itself. If I don’t have a good work ethic, it will soon be apparent from results. In that case, it will be hard to get grants in the future and the evaluations by my chair will be lower.

  135. Willis – now the question is how broadly the judge will permit the university to draw that exemption.
    If, for instance, Mann had other unpublished materials – drafts, etc – that contradicted the stuff for which he’s now (in)famous, would the university object to its release under that exemption?
    Further, would the university object to release of emails or other communication referencing that material or even hinting at its existence?
    Most importantly, if they did, would the judge permit them to get away with it?

  136. JEM says:
    July 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Willis – now the question is how broadly the judge will permit the university to draw that exemption.
    If, for instance, Mann had other unpublished materials – drafts, etc – that contradicted the stuff for which he’s now (in)famous, would the university object to its release under that exemption?
    Further, would the university object to release of emails or other communication referencing that material or even hinting at its existence?
    Most importantly, if they did, would the judge permit them to get away with it?

    Good questions, don’t know the answers.
    My guess is that, as has happened time after time, the University and/or Mann will now come forth with reason after reason why they should be exempt. Hopefully the judge is going to apply some kind of “reasonable man” standard.
    w.

  137. R. Gates says:
    July 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm (Edit)

    Your certainty that Mann has done “unethical or perhaps illegal things” …

    Mann himself has said that he forwarded a request to illegally destroy emails that were the subject of an FOIA inquiry.
    Yes, R. Gates, when a Mann says he did that, that gives me certainty that he has done unethical, and possibly illegal, things.
    If you’re not certain that Mann asked a co-conspirator to destroy damaging evidence, you’re deliberately not following the story. He admitted doing it. It’s not my claim or my fantasy. If you don’t have “certainty” after Mann admitted it your transmission needs adjusting.

    and that the “reputations of Mann and the rest of the Climategate crowd have not suffered nearly enough.” makes you hardly impartial or fair minded in this instance, …

    Why on earth should I be “impartial” when Mann has admitted he acted unethically? I’m partial to the idea that we know he has done some wrong, there’s good reason to suspect he’s done more, and I’d like to see the evidence.

    … and your willingness to see their reputations suffer without so much as a real trial (as if the world outside of skeptic-ville really cares) is what I find most worrisome about your post.

    I would love to see him undergo a real trial. Absent that, I am overjoyed that the judge has finally called Mann to show his cards. Not because I want to see him suffer without cause. Quite the opposite.
    See, I (and many others) WANT TO FIND OUT THE TRUTH about what Mann did. That’s why the six year old emails are what was asked for under the FOIA. So we can find out what happened.
    It is the opposite of your incorrect claim that I want to convict him without evidence or trial. I want the evidence to come out, I want to get to the actual facts, so we can see if he is guilty of further transgressions than the ones he has admitted to.
    You and Muller think Mann should walk. I say there is plenty of evidence to call him to account, and I’m glad it’s happening. Lets get to the truth.
    w.

  138. shows that these clowns in academia (as in politics) believe the laws do not apply to them. apparently laws are only for the little man.

  139. Theo Goodwin says:
    July 3, 2011 at 7:34 am
    “You want to be more careful. The prevailing thinking in the business and legal community is that all your communications belong to the company if you are on company property or on private property but using company communications equipment. The entire nine yards is worse, but I won’t bore you. Some executives with clout have exceptions written into their contracts.”
    A corporation does not acquire ownership of private property merely because it is located on their premises. They have no more right to go poking around inside your personal cell phone than they have to look inside your wallet or your jockstrap. They don’t own your car or its contents just because it is parked in their parking lot.

  140. Sun Spot says:
    July 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Regarding those who think Professor Michael Mann’s may have deleted some emails.
    For those who are unaware of how business and institution keep watch on all you internet activities I suggest you get informed regarding content management software of all flavors.
    The business I work for uses Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems. One property of this software is that every e-mail you send and every website you access, every attachment you send or open is recorded including https (secure sites) . Even if I were to send a google e-mail from inside the corporate network it would be recorded.

    It’s possible but unlikely unless every packet that flows through every digital communication channel is recorded. Even then it’s difficult to sort out what you sent or received through google mail from a zillion other data packets that have nothing to do with google mail. The primary difference here is that google mail post office is owned and operated by google and the browser inside your company firewall is a just that – a browser – and the corporate communications channels can’t distinguish the text in an email from any other data that flows to and from the browser. Pretty much only he who owns the POP server can easily archive the email that flows through it. Down at the router level a data packet containing email text is indistinguishable from all the other packets. At the transport level there’s nothing special about google email in other words.
    Of course if you’re using a corporate workstation where the software on it is set up and maintained by the corporation then all bets are off. They could be recording every keystroke and every website you visit and things of that nature. So if, for instance you used your corporate workstation to access your private bank account the corporation could record your account number and password and some enterprising IT flunky could rob you and many other employees blind, do wire transfers to an offshore bank account, then hastily get on a plane to some Carribean Island with no U.S. extradition rights and live happily ever after. The company whose policies allowed such theft to occur would probably get its lunch eaten in court when the harmed employees sued them. So it isn’t likely that such policies would be sanctioned.
    I guess the long and the short of it is that surveillance is always possible but any modest effort at privacy, such as using google mail for personal business instead of corporate email address, is very likely to remain private and won’t be routinely archived by the corporation who happens to own the workstation no more than it would routinely, as a matter of policy, record your private bank account number and password.
    A personal cell phone or tablet adds another layer of privacy. So long as you use a data link provided by the phone company and don’t connect to the corporate LAN then your privacy is as good as the phone company can provide which is pretty damn good but of course the determined and well outfitted spy can still eavesdrop even on that.

  141. @Dave Springer
    I was referring to corporate intranets. You sound a bit naive about the degree to which big brother Corp. is watching, I suspect you are in management !

  142. In my opinion, the AGW scam needs to have the “hockey-stick” in order to survive. Muller is a strong man-made global warming advocate. He is doing his best to keep the stick alive… including throwing Mann under the bus in order to save it. What Muller doesn’t want to happen is have more things revealed that further destroy the credibilty of the hockey stick, thus no more investigations of Mann and the emails. I think Muller definitely tipped his hand in this regard when he gave testimony to congress earlier this year concluding that the data the team used was excellent, even though the “BEST” project he was leading had just begun examining it.

  143. Dave Springer – three different layers:
    1) Hosted personal email e.g. gmail, yahoo mail, etc. – any institution that does not have policies preventing or restricting institutional use of personal email is asking for a legal bruising.
    2) Outsourced corporate email – contractually any email hosted on such a service is the property of the contracting entity (university, corporation, etc.) and not the individual.
    3) In-house mail infrastructure – once again the email is not the property of the individual.

  144. Dave Springer – oh, and if the university or corporation is paying for your phone, pad, laptop, whatever they absolutely do have the right to go poking around in it.
    And if you, personally, are using it for corporate or institutional business then you may have opened it up to their lawyers through your own actions.

  145. Muller: “Scientists alone should decide how and what to publish in their results, looking at private files in a public setting is an unfair standard.”
    “Private”? In making this overtly infantile ex post facto appeal solely to the concepts of “should” and “unfair”, Muller is already admitting that he has lost the argument as to what the FOIA very intentionally does in fact require by law – which is public transparency of most of what our publicly financed and constituted by “we the people” Governmental system does in that capacity, including its governmental scientists; and which is exactly why the FOIA came into existence in the first place as an explicit and necessary recourse available to “the people” within advanced societies necessarily based upon the primacy of actually functional individual rights, and as directly opposed to the operation of those systems based upon a dead-end Master-Slave ideology.
    The evolutionary contrast between the operation of this kind of truly enlightened Governmental system which is based upon the functioning inputs and actions stated as codified rights involving the free speech, vote, and liberty of individuals within that system – and that of an equally opposite regressive, evolutionary throw-back kind of Governmental system based upon the Totalitarian rule of the rest of its individuals on the part of an old style Dictator, Oligarchy, King, or Theocracy – could not be more stark, probably to both Totalitarians and Individuals alike.
    And the contrast is only demonstrated once again by the current onslaught against individuals by this very same anti-progressive elitism, controllism, and parasitism, but now merely repackaged and sold under the unhinged, delusional “perception is reality” verbiage of an allegedly “fair”, “caring”, “sustainable”, “correct”, “equalizing” or “socially just”, even “salvational”, etc., Communist or Socialist-Fascist Party.
    Nah, in listening to Muller’s desperate pleas, I only hear the same old grossly supremist claims and machinations of the ipcc’s Post Normal “Climate” Science style Masters, who at a very basic level just don’t like individualism and are apparently existentially threatened by a society whose Governmental System is based upon it.

  146. Remember Arthur Andersen’s collapse, based on ethical lapses? That’s what happens in the private sector, and there is no reason that same standard shouldn’t apply to ivory tower types.

  147. I emailed Dr. Muller and I found his thoughts interesting to say the least and seems to have no conception of what FOIA is. I said his emails were subject to FOIA but with the usual exemptions for personal and so on his response was “Some degree of privacy is good for research. If I have to be wary every time I give an opinion, it stifles communication. There are times when it is important to be candid, and “public employees” will stop being candid if they know that everything they say will be on the public record.
    He also said “Why? The “as a taxpayer” is a cliche. There are lots of things that taxpayers are not allowed to know, such as personnel records of employees, complaints they make about their bosses, etc.” I said we don’t want personal records what are you talking about and he had no answer.

  148. Rhoda Ramirez says:
    July 3, 2011 at 2:45 am
    I used to work for DoD and our IT man used to tell us not to put anything into an e-mail that we would want read out loud in court.

    You’re missing a “not”, I believe: “…that you would not want read out loud in court.”

  149. Alcheson says:
    July 4, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I think Muller definitely tipped his hand in this regard when he gave testimony to congress earlier this year concluding that the data the team used was excellent, even though the “BEST” project he was leading had just begun examining it.

    Speaking of which, it’s a tad or two overdue, no?
    Anthony: It’s my impression that there’s a lengthening list of purportedly latest-greatest most transparent data sets, from ARGO to BEST, which are mysteriously laggard in being opened up. Suspicious minds suspect desperate efforts to “fix” them behind the scenes (perhaps employing the very experienced “Harry”?).
    A listing with timelines might make a very provocative post. Should you be inclined to be provocative. 😉

  150. Scientists alone should decide how and what to publish in their results
    To me, this sums up everything that’s wrong in science (and not just climate science, but more generally) since about 1950. Cherry-picking data, running statistical test after test until you get a magic p-value less than 0.05, failing to consider alternative hypotheses (or even shouting down alternative hypotheses). None of this is science. How much of this is the direct result of the research grants system in use for getting money for research, I can’t say, but it’s all very disappointing. It’s also (indirectly) why we see headlines like “whole-wheat bread cures colon cancer!” and then hear nothing more about it – somebody runs a 200-variable observational studiy, finds some interesting correlation, and rushes to publish. (When you have 200 variables you’re bound to find a few interesting correlations, but are they real? Hmm, that’s what re-testing and reproducability is for, which nobody does. As for observational studies, it’s left as an exercise to the reader why they’re not particularly helpful. Hint: to quote Doctor House, “Everybody lies.”)

  151. Willis Eschenbach says:
    July 3, 2011 at 11:34 pm
    Good questions, don’t know the answers.
    My guess is that, as has happened time after time, the University and/or Mann will now come forth with reason after reason why they should be exempt. Hopefully the judge is going to apply some kind of “reasonable man” standard.

    Just like McKitrick did in response to FOIA requests, he has been the subject of FOIA requests but found a loophole so that he didn’t have to release his emails. Why don’t you get after him to release his emails after all they could shed light on misleading congress?

  152. JEM says:
    July 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm
    Derek Sorenson – it depends on the nature of the system.
    Most institutions like UVA will run their own mail infrastructure, and will maintain their own archives and backups. In many industries (and perhaps in academia) it’s regarded as a business necessity to retain all communications sent or received for a period of years for legal reasons.
    If someone is using e.g. gmail for corporate/university business without appropriate approval and/or logging then you’ve got an administrative issue.

    Which is what Wegman has been doing for a number of years (since 2005), he doesn’t use his university account, whether he has prior approval is another matter. It did cause difficulties in communicating with him about his report and publications.

  153. Phil. says:
    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    July 3, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Good questions, don’t know the answers.
    My guess is that, as has happened time after time, the University and/or Mann will now come forth with reason after reason why they should be exempt. Hopefully the judge is going to apply some kind of “reasonable man” standard.

    Just like McKitrick did in response to FOIA requests, he has been the subject of FOIA requests but found a loophole so that he didn’t have to release his emails. Why don’t you get after him to release his emails after all they could shed light on misleading congress?

    Y’know, Phil, these kinds of rants are much more intelligible when they are accompanied by actual facts and citations. I can’t find anything on the web (with a cursory search) about Ross getting FOIA requests for his emails.
    It may be there but I don’t see it, and now I’m just angry at you for wasting my time, whether you are right or wrong. Not a good start at all.
    In addition, your argument is called a “tu quoque” argument or an “appeal to hypocrisy” and is a recognized logical fallacy. It is one of the schoolyard favorites. An English example would be “Oh, yeah? Who cares if my grandma wears combat boots? Your grandma wears them too …
    As you can imagine, despite its wide use in the schoolyard, it is not much in favor among actual adults, because it doesn’t add anything to a discussion.
    However, I’m glad to discuss Ross’s actions … but only if you cite them and give us something to actually discuss. The same comment applies to your claims about Wegman, which again are both “tu quoque” and uncited.
    w.

  154. Bob says:
    July 4, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I emailed Dr. Muller and I found his thoughts interesting to say the least and seems to have no conception of what FOIA is. I said his emails were subject to FOIA but with the usual exemptions for personal and so on his response was “Some degree of privacy is good for research. If I have to be wary every time I give an opinion, it stifles communication. There are times when it is important to be candid, and “public employees” will stop being candid if they know that everything they say will be on the public record.

    That’s classic, Bob. The best part is where Muller says

    If I have to be wary every time I give an opinion, it stifles communication.

    Y’know, I’m just not that concerned about Dr. Muller being over-wary about opening his mouth in public. He’s not even “wary” about his opinions when he’s testifying to Congress, and he wants us to be concerned that he might be “stifled”?? … to date, at least, the problems have invariably been in the other direction.
    Please, Dr. Muller, please stifle your communication. Don’t let every vagrant thought escape your lips without considering if it is true, and if it is, oh, say, covered by a confidentiality agreement or something like that … you seem to think that your unguarded thoughts are necessary for communication, that if you can’t shoot your mouth off at will and reveal things told to you in confidence that your communication is “stifled”.
    Dr. Muller claiming he’s being “stifled” is as bad as Hansen claiming he was “muzzled” while giving a press conference every week.
    Grrrr …
    w.

  155. Is it time to skip the University and go straight to the funding agency?
    I don’t know what department funds Mann et al., but my funding mostly comes from the NIH. The NIH gives the University (not me) money that the University agrees to use in funding the research I proposed. As part of that whole process, a University rep & I both sign agreements with the NIH on who owns what. Essentially, the NIH, not the University, is the owner of my work product. On some things, like patents, there is often some degree of “sharing” that goes on, but generally speaking, the NIH owns everything. I have to follow not only the University rules regarding FOIA requests and data retention/availability, but also the NIH’s rules. If I don’t follow NIH rules, I’ve broken the agreement and the University loses the funding.
    At some point, it may be more useful to go to the funding agency and tell them their rules are being broken.

  156. Willis Eschenbach says:
    July 6, 2011 at 9:37 am
    Phil. says:
    July 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm
    Willis Eschenbach says:
    July 3, 2011 at 11:34 pm
    Good questions, don’t know the answers.
    My guess is that, as has happened time after time, the University and/or Mann will now come forth with reason after reason why they should be exempt. Hopefully the judge is going to apply some kind of “reasonable man” standard.
    Just like McKitrick did in response to FOIA requests, he has been the subject of FOIA requests but found a loophole so that he didn’t have to release his emails. Why don’t you get after him to release his emails after all they could shed light on misleading congress?
    Y’know, Phil, these kinds of rants are much more intelligible when they are accompanied by actual facts and citations. I can’t find anything on the web (with a cursory search) about Ross getting FOIA requests for his emails.

    You’re the one who’s been ranting, I just asked a question, your search was indeed cursory since ‘ross mckitrick foi denial canadian university’ would have found inter alia this:
    http://climscifoi.blogspot.com/2011/05/canadian-fippa-and-academic-freedom.html
    Regarding Wegman GMU has the following view about his work:
    “Mr. Vergano,
    November 3, 2010
    In accordance with the Virginia Freedom oflnformation Act (§2.2-3700, et seq.) and per your
    request on October 26, 2010 for “information and documentary materials, including electronic
    mail and other communication, made by George Mason University employees, in connection
    with I or related to discussions between Dr. Edward Wegman, Dr. Y asmin Said and their
    associates, in connection with explanations of their 2006 Congressional testimony made to
    university officials.”
    I must inform you that George Mason University respectfully declines your request as the nature
    of this work falls outside of the scope of employment for the aforementioned individuals.· Further
    as it relates to the communications made to university officials, this information is exempted as
    personnel records under §2.2-3705.1.
    http://www.atinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/ATI-GMU-Vergano-Wegman.pdf
    Would you accept such a denial regarding Mann’s work?
    The posters here are very good about railing against academics who are above the law but only apparently when they hold views that they don’t like.
    Further on Wegman this is from his response to the publishers regarding the retraction of his paper:
    “I would propose that rather than withdrawing our article, that we be allowed to provide an errata sheet for publication in which we will provide the appropriate citations that we innocently were unaware of when the article was first submitted. ❼ I look forward to hearing from you. By the way, I have not regularly used the ewegman@gmu.edu account since 2005. ❽ I did not receive your original email for this reason and it was Yasmin that forwarded your email to me.”
    Try a bit harder next time.

  157. Phil. says:
    July 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Y’know, Phil, these kinds of rants are much more intelligible when they are accompanied by actual facts and citations. I can’t find anything on the web (with a cursory search) about Ross getting FOIA requests for his emails.

    You’re the one who’s been ranting, I just asked a question, …

    No, Phil, that’s not true. You didn’t “just ask a question” about Ross. You said:

    Just like McKitrick did in response to FOIA requests, he has been the subject of FOIA requests but found a loophole so that he didn’t have to release his emails.

    That’s not a question, it is an accusation that McKitrick inappropriately used exemptions to the FOIA law. Now you’re free to make such an accusation, true or not (in this case, not) … but you’re not free to pretend that you “just asked a question.”

    … your search was indeed cursory since ‘ross mckitrick foi denial canadian university’ would have found inter alia this:
    http://climscifoi.blogspot.com/2011/05/canadian-fippa-and-academic-freedom.html

    My friend, I have cited all my claims. I called what you were doing “ranting” because you had not provided any citations. Now you want to abuse me because I didn’t realize I should google “ross mckitrick foi denial canadian university” to find the information you were too lazy to cite … and you wonder why you get so little traction here? I ask for a citation that you were too stupid or lazy to provide, and you accuse me of being too stupid or lazy to find it???
    In any case, now I’ve read the citation, and I still don’t understand your point. The people found that a certain FOI request was for work in progress, and that was exempt according to their local FOI laws.
    Phil, you seem to think that FOI requests are somehow “one size fits all”, or that all exemptions are justified, or something. I really don’t know what your point is. What does an FOI being turned down mean to you? You seem to think it has some huge meaning … but what?

    Regarding Wegman GMU has the following view about his work:

    “Mr. Vergano,
    November 3, 2010
    In accordance with the Virginia Freedom oflnformation Act (§2.2-3700, et seq.) and per your
    request on October 26, 2010 for “information and documentary materials, including electronic
    mail and other communication, made by George Mason University employees, in connection
    with I or related to discussions between Dr. Edward Wegman, Dr. Yasmin Said and their
    associates, in connection with explanations of their 2006 Congressional testimony made to
    university officials.”
    I must inform you that George Mason University respectfully declines your request as the nature of this work falls outside of the scope of employment for the aforementioned individuals.· Further as it relates to the communications made to university officials, this information is exempted as personnel records under §2.2-3705.1. http://www.atinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/ATI-GMU-Vergano-Wegman.pdf

    Would you accept such a denial regarding Mann’s work?

    I haven’t a clue, I don’t deal in hypotheticals like “is an exemption which is valid for someone at George Mason University valid for Michael Mann at Virginia University”? I haven’t a clue if such an exemption even exists under Virginia law … why should it apply, and how would I know? That’s like asking whether the Canadian FOI law applied to Ross McKitrick should be valid for Michael Mann. How can anyone answer your nonsensical question about whether laws from one jurisdiction should be “accepted” regarding another jurisdiction?
    Me, I look at individual cases and the rules that apply to them, to see if it is real or if they are just blowing smoke. In Phil Jones’ case (UK Law) when they denied my FOI request, their claims for exemptions were bogus, flat out lies. Are Mann’s excuses like that? I don’t know, we haven’t seen them yet, have we?

    The posters here are very good about railing against academics who are above the law but only apparently when they hold views that they don’t like.

    Huh? Where did I say that academics should be above the law if I agree with them? As I said regarding your Ross McKitrick claim, you really, really need to cite or otherwise document your claims. Otherwise, I’ll just point and laugh.

    Further on Wegman this is from his response to the publishers regarding the retraction of his paper:

    “I would propose that rather than withdrawing our article, that we be allowed to provide an errata sheet for publication in which we will provide the appropriate citations that we innocently were unaware of when the article was first submitted. ❼ I look forward to hearing from you. By the way, I have not regularly used the ewegman@gmu.edu account since 2005. ❽ I did not receive your original email for this reason and it was Yasmin that forwarded your email to me.”

    Since the plagiarism was a) inconsequential to the results, and b) done by a minor member of the team, and c) unknown by Wegman, that seems reasonable to me, not sure what your point is.

    Try a bit harder next time.

    I don’t understand that one at all. Try harder at what? Ignoring your foolishness? I’m trying as hard as I can, but you’re making it difficult. You need to spell your meaning out, here’s an example of how it works:
    “Try a bit harder next time to specify exactly what you are talking about.”
    w.

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