Multi-tentacled Mann o' war raging over UVA emails

ATI Responds to Union of Concerned Scientists’, et al, Efforts to Stop Agreement with UVA to Turn Over Michael Mann Records

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Contact: Paul Chesser, Executive Director, paul.chesser@atinstitute.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

This week four groups, whose boards represent a distinctly liberal worldview and who oppose scrutiny of taxpayer-funded science by academics, asked the University of Virginia to disregard its agreement before the court with American Tradition Institute to provide the records of former climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, which belong to the public. The groups, led by the far-left Union of Concerned Scientists, sent a letter to University president Teresa Sullivan on Tuesday complaining the agreement gives ATI’s in-house lawyers “needless access” to documents its Environmental Law Center requested, and the agreement “threatens the principles of academic freedom protecting scholarly research.”

Response to Union of Concerned Scientists, et al, from ATI Environmental Law Center director Dr. David Schnare:

“The groups seek to have the court find a non-existent ‘academic freedom’ exemption, and also claim there is a so-called ‘balance’ between academic freedom and public accountability, which is similarly imaginary. The court’s, and UVA’s, only fealty is to follow the law, which our agreement reflects.

“The groups appeal to lesser authorities such as a state advisory board and — amazingly — a Washington Post editorial, as opposed to what the FOIA law clearly says, as justification to toss aside our agreement with the university. Their objection to scrutiny is new-found and selective as well, since they seemed to have no problem when Greenpeace sought the records and emails of academics who do not accept the alarmist perspective on global warming.

“The groups also insult our professionalism with the insinuation that we would risk disbarment by violating a gag order that prevents us from disclosing possibly exempt records we review pursuant to the agreement. Such an accusation only reflects poorly on the integrity of UCS and their letter’s co-signers.”

Response to Union of Concerned Scientists, et al, from ATI executive director Paul Chesser:

“Once again these self-interested groups — who hope to protect their billions of dollars in government funding of dubious, unsupportable research — accuse ATI of ‘harassment and intimidation’ of scientists. It shows how blind they are to the fact that ATI has acted in the interest of sound, verifiable science and for the protection of the hard-earned money that taxpayers are forced to relinquish for such research.

“A Rasmussen Reports survey out earlier this week shows that that 69 percent of Americans say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists who study climate change have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40 percent who say this is ‘very likely.’ Only 22 percent believe it’s not likely that some scientists have falsified global warming data to fit their theories.

“Considering this is how the public sees them, UCS and their cohorts in academia need to look in the mirror and try to figure out where it all went wrong. Meanwhile, ATI will continue its pursuit to hold them accountable.”

For an interview with Dr. David Schnare or Paul Chesser, email paul.chesser@atinstitute.org or call (202)670-2680.

Source: http://www.atinstitute.org/ati-responds-to-union-of-concern-scientists-et-al-efforts-to-stop-agreement-with-uva-to-turn-over-michael-mann-records/

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101 thoughts on “Multi-tentacled Mann o' war raging over UVA emails

  1. In all honesty…..
    I’ve never seen anyone claim that something – anything – was so robust and certain…..
    ….and then not want to prove it

  2. Simply put-what are they afraid of ? Guaranteed if this was “denier” the rack and the Iron Maiden
    would be brought out….

  3. I’m not clear in what manner that publishing data endangers academic freedom. I think there is some confusion on the part of the UCS regarding the definition of academic freedom.

  4. Why does anyone need a FOIA request in the first place?
    Why can’t I just ask a publicly funded scientist for his data?

  5. In regard to UCS – I think they do protest too much ……. there’s no smoke without fire.

  6. Do these Union of Concerned Scientists, et al realise how dangerous they are? The precedants they are likely to set if successful?
    If the Union of Concerned Scientists, et al are successful it will only be a generation (or maybe sooner) before we, or some other group in the west, are fighting for very basic freedoms of expression, speech, association, movement, thought and enquiry.
    My GGgaaaawwdd, If they’re successful with the arguments they put forward it’s not a time to worry about the science, it’s too late for that, it’s time to load up and get ready for a fight.
    They just don’t understand what will happen when they start telling the mainstream population what to think and believe. WOW! they’re in for a shock!

  7. Douglas DC says:
    August 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm
    Simply put-what are they afraid of ? Guaranteed if this was “denier” the rack and the Iron Maiden
    would be brought out….
    ===========
    IMO, “they” want no publicity at all.
    Their scam is running, the scammers are making money, nobody is the wiser.
    The last thing they want is any kind of scrutiny.
    Not to mention “transparency”.

  8. UCS need to think of ATI as an up front Wikileaks with nothing to hide about its means of accessing sources of public information. After all do the UCS really want a Wikileaks/News Of the World approach to these sorts of fact finding missions in the public interest? Perish the thought eh guys?

  9. Really… did you expect anything less from the Union of Communist Scientologists?
    OK – That was an unfair statement, needlessly besmirching scientologists, by comparison to UCS! I apologize.
    “…there is a so-called ‘balance’ between academic freedom and public accountability,…”
    Indeed, there is. If your research is privately funded, you have all of the academic freedom your contract allows, to disclose, withhold, publish, or secure as ‘trade secrets’. If your research is taxpayer funded, you will disclose all data and documentations requested under FOIA auspices. You are free to refuse. You are free to have your funding stripped, your public offices and private residences searched, and all of your records and communications confiscated. Please feel free to consider and balance your options, before felony charges and imprisonment become your new reality. …….And Have a Rainbow Day!

  10. if I remember correctly:
    1. All of the public documents must be surrendered by Aug 22 2011.
    2. All of the documents must be surrendered by Sept 21 2011.
    It is obvious to the casual observer that the UoV and others desperately do not want these documents to fall into the hands of anyone not under the AGW team thumb.
    It is clear to me that the documents in question will never see the light of day. The only question is whether or not the UoV and the other perps in question will pay for whatever crimes they are trying to conceal, and if enouph information can be extracted from what the good guys get to slay the AGW dragon…

  11. From the UCS website:
    “Scientific Integrity”
    “Political interference in federal government science is weakening our nation’s ability to respond to the complex challenges we face. Because policy makers depend on impartial research to make informed decisions, we are mobilizing scientists and citizens alike to push for reforms that will enable our leaders to fully protect our health, safety, and environment.”

  12. Put yourself in Mann’s shoes.
    He has made a discovery that humankind are destroying the planet. He has data and algorithms to prove it. Let’s assume good intent: his natural course of action is to share his discovery with the world. When people are sceptical, as people often are, the most obvious thing to do is to show the working’s out: here is the data; here are the algorithms; here is the proof.
    Why would he not do that?

  13. Union of Concerned Liars?
    What’s that Texting abbreviation, WTF? (World Trade Federation) PLEASE, please…do NOT GIVE THESE YO-YO’s ANY credance what s0-ever. In the 1980’s a (now gone, alas) journal called “Opinion Magazine” sent out 3000 surveys on Nuclear Power to 3000 people listed in the Who’s Who’ in American Science and Engineering. They recieved an ASTOUNDING return of 1800 of the surveys. (Hand filled out in those days.) One of the questions they asked was: “Have you ever been, or are you now a member of the UCS.” They got ONE positive response. They said on that basis, of the 150,000 listed in the WW, statistically less than 300 of those people would be members of the UCS. The UCS is a RADICAL LEFTIST ANTI-NUCLEAR (and now morphed in to a general “enviromental” and “anti-hard industry” advocacy group. )
    And, let’s face it, Henry Kendall, their long time “Head”, (President, self apointed gardian of the left’s sacred duties), was given a Noble Prize in physics for his work in “Quarks” from 25 years before. The actual “discovery”, dubious at best. However, the LEFTIST Noble committee (alas, even the Science decisions have a political slant to them) knew that they wanted to give the UCS more “credibility”, so magically, Kendall’s work became Nobel Prize worthy.
    Sorry, old nuclear industry background coming out here. Names like Kendall, Amory Lovins, Ralph Nader, all in the same group. They never die..they just change their protest targets. (Remember Ralph? His first target was Government Motors. Then suddenly (maybe after seatbelts and airbags became standard) he’s “anti-Nuclear”.

  14. WaPo defends Mann:
    11 Aug: WaPo blog: Anita Kumar: Groups concerned U.Va. will turn over documents in global warming case
    Mann, who left the university in 2005 and now works at Pennsylvania State University, has been cleared of wrongdoing by several previous inquiries into his work. His research findings have also been upheld by other scientists…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-politics/post/groups-concerned-uva-will-turn-over-documents-in-global-warming-case/2011/08/11/gIQAUXeu8I_blog.html

  15. ‘Our History’ from UCS site:
    Our calling card has always been rigorous independent analysis that is relevant to current security and environmental challenges
    Uh huh.

  16. You can tell these are public-sector employees, used to running their own little fiefdoms, bristling at any thought of oversight or transparency, thinking that they “own” what they work on and that they should get special treatment because they’re in academia. People in the private sector usually have no such illusions (unless we’re bankrolling ourselves). We sign contracts that assign all IP rights to our employers, we’re told relentlessly that our e-mails, PCs, data, code, and everything else we do at work is not ours, and is not private. In 25+ years of product development, I’ve written exactly *zero* e-mails that I’d be embarrassed to have come to light in a public investigation, and not because I’m a saint – but because my employers have made sure I know who I answer to, and who will be responsible if my actions do damage to the company.

  17. Once a scientist on public funds produces a theory from data all the data and supporting information behind it should be public records. FOIA requests if held up politically are a sign someone in charge has been in their position too long.

  18. “Our calling card standard practice has always been rigorous independent pre-cooked analysis that is relevant prejudicial to current security and environmental challenges.”
    There, all fixed.

  19. Why is UVA putting its very good reputation through the meat grinder to protect Mann who no longer works there? My guess is that they are protecting someone who does work there. Anyone have a clue who that might be? That person or persons must be really important; otherwise, UVA would not threaten its good reputation.
    The statements offered in defense of UVA’s resistance to turning over the documents are just plain dumb and have nothing to do with academic freedom. UVA knows that it has not a leg to stand on.
    The potential for embarrassment to UVA must be huge.

  20. Who needs the Union anyway? If you are a member, please decide whether you are with them and Mann or whether you should resign.

  21. The Union of CS will find that academic freedom is more narrow and restricted than what they pretend here. Court rulings have shown it so. Generally it is used to defend inquiry or speech that is under attack or censorship, but here they are using it to make a case for some type of privacy right. Of course, courts find rights to privacy all over in the emanations and penumbras of the Constitution. WUWT readers at least know what those are.
    There may or may not be something incriminating in the e-mails. The hysteria of the academic left in this case might reflect that they see this as a camel’s nose under the tent sort of thing. No politically driven research will ever be safe.

  22. It has been asked before but it can not be asked too often.
    Why would Mann, or any of those who believe they have “robust” science showing a danger to all our futures, not want their data and methods widely published so that everyone else could see the truth in it?
    If they have truly found that there is an urgency to the situation then what quicker way to provoke action than a full revelation of the raw facts and the processes enacted upon them that led them to that conclusion?
    If the world is in peril as they claim, can they not see that they have a duty to make any and all supporting evidence for their claims as widely available as possible; a duty that goes far beyond the personal benefits of a perceived “academic freedom”?
    If they are right, if their data and algorithms show that they are right, then keeping it to themselves is nothing short of a crime against humanity.

  23. “Principles of Academic freedom and scholarly research”: Sounds positively noble doesn’t it? Then you read some of the documents inadvertently released and you find your tax dollars being spent on utterly unprincipled and ignoble activities under a cloak of “scholarly research”. It’s past time to open up the academic windows and doors in accordance with the laws of the land in order to distinguish “scholarly research” from something suspected to be a far different activity.

  24. As a defense about academic freedom, would it not be better to protest the intrusion of beligerents, reveal what was requested, insist on demonstrating what was requested was a) harmless, 2) irrelevant and 3) nothing buy a ploy to create a chill in non-skeptical science?
    Under protest let it all hang out and THEN demonstrate the lack of good faith that the FOIA represents. And shut it down.
    Unless, of course, what comes out is not harmless, irrelevant or “good” science in the public interest but frightening evidence of the manipulation of public, political policy for the reasons of financial, career and personal self-interest as well as socio-political beliefs.
    Maybe it is a difficult call.

  25. What’s it like in your neck of the woods? You know how it is, despite the best attempts of the great levellers to dumb down rigorous education and instilling the lessons of scientific giants, it still manages to throw up the odd rigorous questioner or natural skeptic. What would you do with such an undesirable aberration? Well wouldn’t a ‘Fifth Element’ be a good start-
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/embracing-the-fifth-element-of-study/story-e6frea6u-1226113364947
    “Today, marks are being handed out for the new subject that allows students a go at self-directed study of a topic of their choosing.
    The high pass rate of 94 per cent for Year 12’s fifth element has come as a welcome relief to most students who must pass the subject to complete their SACE and has been applauded by educators as proof students have embraced the new form of study.”
    Just read between their lines.

  26. Speaking of attempts to mislead……
    The Union of Concerned Scientists is a misleading name for that organization. It is NOT a union of scientists. But its name gives the impression it is. It is an activists organization, “an alliance of more than 250,000 citizens and scientists. UCS members are people from all walks of life: parents and businesspeople, biologists and physicists, teachers and students”. There has to be laws in the United States that protect people from being mislead in this manner.
    http://www.ucsusa.org/about/

  27. Quite funny really…. they can see that their previous projections were wrong, and the Arctic is not thawing as their old models showed, .. so suddenly their new models are projecting “we don’t know” for the next decade, then more thawing away in the future when it can’t be proven until we get there.
    So, they have covered their assets for another decade, then they will refresh their models again.
    Mills and Boone, anyone ?

  28. whoops.. mods, can you move the previous comment to the “From NCAR an – unexpected new result” thread, if possible. !
    [Reply: I can delete it, but you will have to move it. I can’t. ~dbs, mod.]

  29. Phil’s Dad
    Your comment here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/11/multi-tentacled-mann-o-war-raging-over-uva-emails/#comment-717258
    is something I also wanted to say.
    This striving to hide what they are doing shows that they are not telling the truth. Who in the world strives to hide truth! They demonstrate they are afraid for the real truth of what they are really doing to come out. I think they are not striving for scientific truth but are striving to protect the billions of dollars involved in their global warming farrago.

  30. John Brookes says:
    August 11, 2011 at 6:31 pm
    Union of Concerned Scientists?
    American Tradition Institute?
    Whats with the weird names?

    Indeed. What’s up with all those weird names.
    In my view, the weirdest name of all is People for the American Way.
    What is ‘American Way’?
    Is it a history of institutionalised racism, unbridled capitalism and god and gun worship?
    Or is it civil liberties, the New Deal and Apollo 11?

  31. I don’t understand. It seems the letter of concerned scientists is bogus. The only reason for the additional scrutiny is on account of UVA’s intransigence.
    Concerned scientists should be more concerned with scientific integrity, than trying to cover up activities of one of their own.

  32. Scientists’ unions? Next, is the discovery politically correct? Did the scientists pay his fees? If not, it’ll be scrapped. That’s the way of doing science…

  33. Nowadays, it is very clear that you do not hold unique control of your federally funded research. For NIH proposals, if the proposal is for $500,000 or more in a year, you need to submit a “data sharing plan;” this is the plan of how you intend to eventually make all results available to other researchers, once you have gotten first pass at it all. You can google “data sharing plan” to see that the precendent of public access to publicly-funded research is getting stronger.

  34. Direct from the Union of Concerned Scientiists’ website:
    What is the best way to ensure scientific integrity?
    The climate change research community has gone to great lengths to synthesize and communicate its findings to the public and policy makers, but climate scientists finds their credibility questioned as a result of a few minor errors and potential unprofessional acts by a few researchers. On the scientific side, solutions include full and transparent compliance with all FOIA laws and a renewed emphasis on public engagement and education. However, in this case, full-throated attacks from those unwilling to accept the scientific consensus on climate change dominated media coverage and confused the public. Scientists and their scientific societies and universities must also be better prepared to respond to these sorts of attacks in the future.
    http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/abuses_of_science/climate-change-researchers.html
    ——Having read that, now I’m really confused as to what their REAL agenda is.

  35. So lets get this right. The court enforces an order between UVA and ATI and these other groups are telling UVA not to abide by it. Who the hell do they think they are?

  36. Haven’t they seen what has happened to other unions this year? Or maybe that’s the reason for this hysterical attempt at stretching the law.

  37. I think you can read this as “they suspect it’s bad, some may know it’s bad, and they’re worried about the fallout”

  38. “WaPo blog: Anita Kumar: Groups concerned U.Va. will turn over documents in global warming case”
    I’m glad the Pat (at 6PM) posted a link to that noxious, tendentious, utterly shameful this agit prop here. Expose them to ridicule!

  39. MikeU @6.11pm – I can’t agree less. I’m a public sector employee and we know that everything that we do is open to scrutiny by the public and our political masters. We have it drilled in us that everything we do is FOI-able and/or may end up being questioned in Parliament.
    For me, that makes it even more inconceivable that these guys are trying to hide their data.

  40. If confirmation is needed that AGW is the crap that anyone with an ounce of common sense realises, then I think we now have it!

  41. If there is an agreement in court that the the University of Virginia hand over the documents etc to the American Tradition Institute, is not attempt by Union of Concerned Scientists for UoV to disregard its agreement not a case of contempt of the courts authority by the UofCS?

  42. By the time Mann started his research, it was clear to any competent scientist or engineer who cared to investigate that the climate models were based on junk science with imaginary ‘back radiation’ and imaginary ‘global dimming’ cancelling each other out, so no null hypothesis.
    Presumably to to delay the inevitable, a programme was set up to find if there was any evidence of ‘global dimming’ by man-made aerosols. I remember the propaganda: ‘if the Chinese install precipitators and desulphurisation, the World will fry’. Hansen et. al. are apparently trying the same trick again, a holding pattern until Gore’s 24 hours of climate action propaganda kicks in?
    The reality is that by 2004 NASA knew ‘back radiation’ was a mathematical mistake and there was no experimental evidence of ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling, the only justification for the high feedback hypothesis. So, it seems to me that the ‘Hockey stick’ was always a propaganda ploy to supplement the modelling in case that was outed. The evidence, if any, will be in the files. QED.

  43. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    August 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm
    Speaking of attempts to mislead……
    The Union of Concerned Scientists is a misleading name for that organization. It is NOT a union of scientists. But its name gives the impression it is. It is an activists organization, “an alliance of more than 250,000 citizens and scientists. UCS members are people from all walks of life: parents and businesspeople, biologists and physicists, teachers and students”…..

    Yup, and the really great news is – anyone can become a “concerned scientist” for only $25.
    https://secure3.convio.net/ucs/site/Donation2?df_id=1420&1420.donation=form1&s_src=tasknavJ
    So, if you’re struggling for Xmas present ideas for your slightly dotty hippie aunty or college drop-out nephew, give them something that’ll give them a brief, illusionary, moment of self importance – make ’em a “concerned scientist” for only $25!

  44. Someone at the Uni found out what Maan was doing with his research and instead of reporting him for mis-conduct just let it slide, now there trying to cover it up.
    Either that or they like wasting everyones time and money for a load of data that will reinforce what they have been saying all along, ‘move along nothing to see here.’

  45. WaPo defends Mann:
    ’11 Aug: WaPo blog: Anita Kumar: Groups concerned U.Va. will turn over documents in global warming case
    Mann, who left the university in 2005 and now works at Pennsylvania State University, has been cleared of wrongdoing by several previous inquiries into his work. His research findings have also been upheld by other scientists…’
    In which case he has nothing to wory about in disclosing the details for scrutiny.

  46. I thought that ATI had received the emails and that there was nothing to them and that this story had died. So now I’m reading that they haven’t gotten the emails yet? Is somebody kidding?
    This just makes me more suspicious of what is in Mann’s emails, and if I had the capability and knowhow, I’d hack into UVA’s server and download them for myself.

  47. It all just plane stupid by fighting this all the way they just makes things a lot worse , who now would believe that all the papers will be released even if they are actual all publicly available in practice. If there is nothing to see they could not have picked a better way to give the impression that there is and their hiding it .

  48. In Australia, Getup is the web organisation backed by George Soros and the unions that supports CAGW.
    Recently, they claimed they had 250,000 or 500,000 members. The truth was they had 18,000. The rest were people who had responded to some nonsense or other on their website.
    Very, very little these people say is true.

  49. Meanwhile in a parallel development in the UK, the Union of Concerned Rioters maintained its stance that its quite OK for UK rioters to continue as they started.
    Yes folks, you read that right. Its OK to carry on claiming jobseeker’s allowance and other benefits while running wild, smashing the place up and generally having everything your own way. What’s more, ‘Concerned Rioters’ can now entirely ignore what the police, magistrates and judges tell them to do.
    /sarc but is it really that much different?

  50. Am I Missing something Here?
    “American Tradition Institute to provide the records of [B]former[/B] climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann,
    What is he now?
    A Concerned Sceptic

  51. If anybody wants information on my perpetual motion experiments, they certainly cannot have it. I am entitled to absolute academic freedom. My freedom stems entirely from the fact that I pay for all of my ball bearings and paper clips myself.

  52. Jack Simmons says:
    August 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm
    Why does anyone need a FOIA request in the first place?
    Why can’t I just ask a publicly funded scientist for his data?
    ————-
    What if it’s not his data to give you though?

  53. This Michael Mann person looking from the outside in seems to me to behave like a little Napolion with his following of groupies. A little emperor sadly lacking in the niceties or good humour, what a sad and pathetic creature.
    If it hits the fan for him he will be of ill health too sick to face court, I have seen his ilk before, no pity from me.

  54. I notice that the UofCS website is littered with the word ‘activist’ and exhorts people to become ‘activists’.
    Since when did truly dispassionate and skeptical science become activism (unless you’re Hansen)?
    The UCS are no more scientists than my local post-man, and that is doing him a dis-service.
    BTW I notice they have charitable status. Surely they don’t qualify for such status as they’re a political advocacy group (just like Greenfleece recently having their charitable status removed by a judge in NZ)? Can someone report them for this in some way?

  55. Nick says:
    “it will only be a generation (or maybe sooner) before we … are fighting for very basic freedoms of expression, speech, association, movement, thought and enquiry.” … “They just don’t understand what will happen when they start telling the mainstream population what to think and believe.”
    ————————-
    I would respectfully suggest that we are already there. The warmers still have their point of view supported by most celebrities and the press, reinforcing their view of their ever-shrinking world. There was a recent report about how 10% of a population can drive societal belief. They desperately need to hold onto the 10% who grabbed the political and financial highground, because the unwashed crowd climbing the hill is getting bigger.

  56. BOW DOWN TO ME!
    I am now a proud member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
    I have proof, in the form of an email, after sending my verified credentials, which were in fact a valid credit card.
    Pretty high standards, this group!!!! Now, I can say something to them as a member. Sure, I’m out 25 bucks, but now I’m a Scientist! … with a credit card receipt to prove it.

  57. … and who provided the “grants” for this research ?
    The “Golden Rule” always prevails .. “He who has the gold makes the rules”

  58. The UCS continues to damage the waning respect that people have for scientists. Everyone else in our society is held accountable and often audited when no reason for doing so is evident. If you travel you are subjected to a search (audit) when you fly. We little people are audited on our taxes even though we may be the most honest people in the world. It is pure hubris for the UCS to expect to be exempt from scrutiny in a society where they are lucky to receive money from the public. I’m fine with scientists hiding information/communication when no public funds are involved but if public funding is involved your academic freedom is not the main concern anymore. Why don’t they get this? These scientists have the freedom to not accept public funds if they don’t like it. They need to become adults like the rest of us whom are subject to random audits in life and accept it rather than throw fits and act like crybabies about it. I’d love to be given public funds to use as I see fit without ever being held accountable. Who wouldn’t?
    It is the expectation that scientists should be treated better than everybody else in society, that is at the heart of this issue, and until the UCS figures out that being a scientist doesn’t elevate you to some privileged class that exempts you from being scrutinized when you receive public funds, they will continue to damage their credibility with the public.

  59. Those who have nothing to hide, do not fear exposure.
    As for ‘academic freedom’: why does that “protection” only apply to those trying to prove AGW?

  60. DJ says:
    August 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm
    What they are saying is that they agree that all data should be shared, but only to those who already agree with you. Anyone who disagrees with you gets nothing.

  61. They are our employees. Their work belongs to us. Any activity and or materials used in the completion of that work belongs to us. There is no expectation of privacy. None. These people have had it their way for so long that they forget that the law applies.
    “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”

  62. teddycat says:
    August 12, 2011 at 3:00 am
    Am I Missing something Here?
    “American Tradition Institute to provide the records of [B]former[/B] climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann,
    What is he now?
    A Concerned Sceptic
    ============================================
    I think the word “former”, in this case, refers to his prior place of employment…… UVA.
    So, you can read it as thus…”…..provide the records of former (employee) climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, ……”

  63. MikeU @6.11pm – I can’t agree less. I’m a public sector employee and we know that everything that we do is open to scrutiny by the public and our political masters. We have it drilled in us that everything we do is FOI-able and/or may end up being questioned in Parliament.
    For me, that makes it even more inconceivable that these guys are trying to hide their data.

    RobertL makes an excellent point. I find it hard to imagine exactly what the content of this stuff could be that’s so incriminating.

  64. Jack Simmons says:
    August 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm
    Why does anyone need a FOIA request in the first place?
    Why can’t I just ask a publicly funded scientist for his data?

    Maybe they could just publish it on the … I don’t know … maybe the Internet?
    All that data is already in computer files somewhere, isn’t it? I’ll bet there is some really good open source software that could be used. Some lowly grad students could be tasked with posting the data, notes and correspondence.

  65. Anthony
    Isn’t it time the noble word “liberal” was reclaimed from these leftists whose stance on so many issues is anything but liberal. They have taken positions against openness and in favour of massively increased state intervention and economic controls – in what way are these stances possibly liberal?
    It is a fine old word that always used to have connotations of tolerance and freedom but has been horribly hijacked by the left in recent years.

  66. I think the important question is not why this rather uninspiring individual scientist resists releasing his info from the time he was at the UoVa. The point of presumptive integrity has long since been passed.
    I think the important question is. Why is the UoVa acting like it is? That is the highest priority question to pursue. There appears to be deep lack of fundamental judgment by the UoVa leadership. For that to exist it means to me that there is insurmountable external pressure on the UoVa leadership. A fading scientist’s potential integrity problems are a minor point in the mix. The dominant point is whether the survival of the AR4 credibility and the future of the IPCC at stake?
    I am fortunate to witness the historical unfolding first hand in an open venue like WUWT!!
    John

  67. Ah, yes – but how concerned are you really?
    I don’t think 25 bucks get you very concerned.
    $100 probably qualifies as fairly concerned
    I think really, really, frothing-at-the-mouth-posting-at-Rea-lClimate concerned must cost at least $1000.

  68. John Whitman, reasonable people would expect there will be emails that are ‘more of the same’ compared to the climategate emails. Despite the brave face that the climate establishment put on the emails (move on, there’s nothing to see here), the emails were shocking and undermined public confidence in the practices of a small but influential group of climate scientists. UVa should take note of the disastrous effect that UEA’s *response* to the emails had on the reputation of that university. Through their actions, UEA established, in the minds of the public, that their administrators are part of the problem.
    The #1 job of the rectors of UVa is to protect the reputation of the institution — and not to simply ‘fire back shots’ on behalf of the scientists. I suspect that the UVa lawyers have reminded the rectors of their obligations and that is what led to them to settle with ATI rather than continue to spend outrageous amounts of money fighting FOIA. UVa also need to appear to be above politics. (And taking money from political advocacy groups to fight FOIA did them no favors on this front). If anything, the UVa lawyers have now had a chance to see the emails and (if the ‘more of the same’ theory holds) have likely become very concerned about liability that the university faces if they appear to be part of the problems rather than part of the solution.

  69. mpaul says:
    August 12, 2011 at 11:04 am
    “”””[ . . . ] I suspect that the UVa lawyers have reminded the rectors of their obligations and that is what led to them to settle with ATI rather than continue to spend outrageous amounts of money fighting FOIA. [ . . . ] If anything, the UVa lawyers have now had a chance to see the emails and (if the ‘more of the same’ theory holds) have likely become very concerned about liability that the university faces if they appear to be part of the problems rather than part of the solution.””””

    ————–
    mpaul,
    Thank you for your comment. I am almost completely persuaded by your legal perspective. Even though it dampens the once bright flame of my idea of “insurmountable external pressure on the UoVa leadership” to a flicker, I still have that little flicker of concern that the UoVa leadership remains incapable of withstanding external pressure, in spite of sound and strongly positioned legal counsel.
    Question => Given the current legal FOIA situation that the UoVa is in and given that it is a publically endowed university, would you consider that the recommendations of the legal department of UoVa to be binding on the UoVa leadership? Or is it the case like a privately held US corporation where their legal department’s recommendations are not binding?
    If the UoVa’s legal department recommendations were binding on UoVa leadership then that would extinguish the last flicker of my concern about “insurmountable external pressure on the UoVa leadership”.
    John

  70. John Whitman says:
    August 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm
    “Question => Given the current legal FOIA situation that the UoVa is in and given that it is a publically endowed university, would you consider that the recommendations of the legal department of UoVa to be binding on the UoVa leadership? Or is it the case like a privately held US corporation where their legal department’s recommendations are not binding?”
    What usually happens in our elite universities is that administrators do exactly what legal counsel advises. This is mainly because the usual run of administrators are just as unworldly as their critics claim they are.

  71. If I cobbled together two different graphs and presented them in a Middle School science class as proof of anything, I would have been ridiculed and given an “F”.
    If this same FrankenGraph procedure is done with public money, by PhDs who refuse to subject their theses to independent third-party scrutiny as true scientific inquiry requires, it is called a Hockey Stick and enshrined as “settled science”.
    This isn’t “consensus”. This is Strange Days and Orwell’s 1984.

  72. John Whitman says:
    August 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm
    “I still have that little flicker of concern that the UoVa leadership remains incapable of withstanding external pressure”
    We certainly saw a lot of evidence of this in their original response to the CID by Cuccinelli. But then their behavior seemed to change rather abruptly. So its hard to say how they will conduct themselves under mounting pressure from the pressure groups. But my bet is that if the emails are damning in some way, then the lawyers will get a larger say in things.
    There’s a point a which UVa risks being part of covering up wrong doing. At this point, they can’t get away from Cuccinelli. So if there are some ugly things in the emails, they are better off coming clean now rather than risking liability.
    The one wild cards here is Mann. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mann contest the consent order in the coming days. The consent order was between ATI and UVa. Mann can argue that he has standing to challenge the consent order. But Mann would risk looking guilty in the eyes of the public if he did that alone. This could explain the letter from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
    The strange thing about the letter is that UVa can’t back-out of a consent order just because a pressure group sent them a letter. So the letter had no teeth. What’s its purpose? One answer could be that its just a way of establishing a narrative in the press just prior to Mann disputing the consent order. The way they would structure this would be that the Union of Concerned Scientists would come to Mann’s defense for the ‘noble goal of academic freedom’. Mann would then ‘reluctantly’ agree to join the effort, ‘despite the personal sacrifice required in pursuit of goals that are larger than one’s self’. The press will fall for this hook, line and sinker.

  73. Theo Goodwin @August 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm
    Theo – Thanks for your response. If this were a Perry Mason episode then who at ATI would be Perry?
    John
    ******************
    mpaul says @August 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    “”””The one wild cards here is Mann. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mann contest the consent order in the coming days. The consent order was between ATI and UVa. Mann can argue that he has standing to challenge the consent order. [ . . . ]
    and
    [ . . . ] So the letter had no teeth. What’s its purpose? One answer could be that it’s just a way of establishing a narrative in the press just prior to Mann disputing the consent order. [ . . . ]

    mpaul,
    Intriguing.
    If Mann contests the consent order then I assume that would mean he needs to privately hire his own legal counsel? I assume him having a legal counsel provided to him by UoVa to contest the consent order would be a conflict of interest with the UoVa? Any other options for him to get counsel?
    Personal Note: The way I read Mann’s personality, he may finally opt for the scorched earth strategy and abandon the ongoing ‘poor Michael’ strategy.
    John

  74. I once worked in IT at a well-known government/academic institution (it’s been mentioned many times here on WUWT) and quickly discovered that the internal sensitivity to being “observed” was explicit, institutional, and bordering on paranoid. I was reminded more than once that “academic standards prevail,” meaning academic standards of freedom of expression and freedom *from* even one single iota of oversight by anyone, for any reason, whether incidental, unintended, or anything else. In many cases it was a “get of jail free” card.
    The apparent reasoning was “PhDs are smarter than engineers – and of course smarter than lawyers – and double PhDs are ten times smarter than both and we don’t want any of those inferior dummies interfering with our (seemingly) esteemed academic stuff.” This was the attitude and it was explicit, even written (in less inflammatory language).
    So I think this is the internal and heartfelt attitude and bearing of all academia toward these “Neanderthals” (ATI, Horner, Schnare, Chesser, Cuccinelli) and toward anyone who thwarts the solipsistic academic mission. IMO they truly do not get it that the law of the land (e.g., FOIA) supersedes all internal academic conventions.
    I think maybe UVA has finally “gotten it” that some of these academic conventions do not prevail over the law.

  75. I agree with the other posters: If these climate scientists really had solid proof that the world is in serious jeopardy, it would be criminal to do anything less than disclose every last piece of data; every last e-mail; etc.

  76. fortaleza84ril
    So the handwriting is on the wall. Global warming destructions are not real.

  77. Garry, that may have explained UVA’s initial reluctance to give up Mann’s e-mails, but remember they had already given up the e-mails of another scientist in that same department to an advocacy group. Wither the circled wagons then? It’s that dicotomy, freely giving up one man’s e-mails but getting sticking at the other Mann’s e-mails, that smells so bad.

  78. fortaleza84ril says:
    August 12, 2011 at 4:36 pm
    I agree with the other posters: If these climate scientists really had solid proof that the world is in serious jeopardy, it would be criminal to do anything less than disclose every last piece of data; every last e-mail; etc.

    Yes, that’s a most reasonable inference to draw.
    Indeed, when CRU emails were released, I expected to see in the emails fear and urgency among scientists as forcefully and frequently expressed as in the mainstream media.
    Instead, we got to see climate scientists taking their sweet time discussing how to suppress the skeptics and how to present a ‘nice tidy story’ of an unprecedented and impending climate catastrophe.

  79. The Virginia FOI laws have no provision or room for Mann,
    the ACLU, UCS, AAUP or Climate Science Watch to be anything more
    than spectators at the Prince County Court level. The FOI law
    doesn’t permit 3rd party interventions.
    See:
    http://www.opengovva.org/virginia-foia-the-law
    That’s why they’re tyring to sham/shame President Sullivan and the UofV
    into reneging on the court-ordered agreement.
    If either ATI or the University of Virginia appeals the Court’s
    decision(s), then Mann and the various alphabet troop of warmist science
    supporters can try to file a flock of amici curiae briefs, and then appeal
    to an even higher court if they’re not granted “standing”.
    Without the fig leaf of “standing” they can’t do squat.
    They don’t really give a good white Nowegian lab rat’s tail about
    academic freedom. They’re trying to bully the courts into making
    FOI laws not apply to public academic institutions all
    over the country.

  80. Rhoda Ramirez says August 12, 2011 at 10:21 pm: “Garry, that may have explained UVA’s initial reluctance to give up Mann’s e-mails.”
    Just to be clear, I think the “academic convention” of privacy and noninterference that I described above is simply juvenile at the institutional level, and especially when that institution and its members receive public tax monies to subsidize their research. And it never, ever, under any circumstances supersedes the law of the land. It’s not even a question, it’s just a preposterous conceit of academia. UVa and its administrators should be slapped and cuffed if this proceeds much further.

  81. R.S.Brown says:
    August 13, 2011 at 1:47 am
    The Virginia FOI laws have no provision or room for Mann,
    the ACLU, UCS, AAUP or Climate Science Watch to be anything more
    than spectators at the Prince County Court level. The FOI law
    doesn’t permit 3rd party interventions.
    That’s why they’re trying to sham/shame President Sullivan and the UofV
    into reneging on the court-ordered agreement.

    —————
    R.S.Brown,
    Thank you. Both mpaul and you give much to consider.
    Both your analysis and mpaul’s have the element of outside forces trying to manipulate either public opinion and/or UoVa’s position on the current legal process involving the court-ordered agreement.
    Your comment would re-ignite my initial concern (my comment at August 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm) “that the UoVa leadership remains incapable of withstanding external pressure”.
    Both mpaul’s and your analysis allows for the gullible/fawning media eagerly waiting to uncritically support ‘poor Mann’.
    QUESTION => Can UoVa really back out of the court ordered agreement? Or even appeal it? Is that possible?
    Personal Note: I still think this is going to evolve into a scorched earth scenario by Mann.
    John

  82. R.S.Brown says:
    August 13, 2011 at 1:47 am
    “The Virginia FOI laws have no provision or room for Mann,
    the ACLU, UCS, AAUP or Climate Science Watch to be anything more
    than spectators at the Prince County Court level. The FOI law
    doesn’t permit 3rd party interventions.”
    I agree but there are two important elements to consider here. Mann will likely argue that the materials requested contain information that is personal and private to Mann and as such, he has standing in the matter before the court. Second, the parties (specifically ATI and UVa) entered into a voluntary agreement that was certified by the court. Mann would be (in my hypothetical scenario) contesting that agreement and not challenging FOIA law. He might also argue that the consent order represents tortuous interference with his employment agreement (if he had one),
    UVa could not appeal a voluntary agreement that they entered into. What would be the basis of the appeal?
    Now, I’m not saying that Mann could be successful with any of these approaches, what I am saying is that the court might feel compelled to hear the matter. This would give Mann (hypothetically) a opportunity to drag this thing out for years.
    My hope would be that, if this happens, the judge would be wise enough to brush the challenge aside on the basis that Mann has no property rights whatsoever to the materials.

  83. John Whitman says:
    August 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm
    “If Mann contests the consent order then I assume that would mean he needs to privately hire his own legal counsel?”
    Pressure groups tend to use these sorts of things as fund raising opportunities. The Union of Concerned Scientists could pay for Mann’s legal and PR fees. They would then go to their big-time donors to raise the money. In all likelihood, donations would exceed expenses. These cause-oriented non-profits have invented a very lucrative business model.

  84. mpaul says August 13, 2011 at 11:25 am: “Mann will likely argue that the materials requested contain information that is personal and private to Mann.”
    This is called Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and there are several state (Virginia) and federal statutes which deal with this topic.
    Until 2005, Mann was a state employee under the auspices of state (Virginia) and federal (grant) authorities. He has zero standing outside of PII statutes, which in Mann’s case happen to be exactly zero.

  85. mpaul, R.S.Brown and Garry;
    Your individual insights and dialog have been invaluable to me in my attempt at comprehension of the strange behavior of the University of Virginia. At least I think it is strange.
    Thank you for kindly answering my Qs.
    To me, in the mix of the circumstances, Mann is not the most important issue and it is expected that an UN body like the IPCC is corruptible. I find of upmost importance is the possibility that an elite USA university might be insurmountably influenced by external forces to the point of resisting investigation of potential faculty corruption.
    Is there a fourth estate? Is its existence just ephemeral?
    John

  86. Hi there,
    is there any new information available on this?
    (the 22nd was yesterday..)
    Thanks a lot,
    LoN

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