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Science(mag) Insider

November 23, 2009

Interestingarticle at Science (mag) Insider
here. The writer sought perspectives on potential liability in relation to FOI from two aspects: the deletion of emails subject to an FOI request:

According to Hazel Moffatt, a partner in the litigation and regulatory department at the law firm DLA Piper in London, deleting emails subject to a FOI request is a criminal offense in the United Kingdom, punishable with a fine. “It’s quite naughty to do that,” said Ms. Moffatt.

and Jones’ claim to have persuaded UEA FOI officials to ignore FOI requests from Climate Audit readers:

“Think I’ve managed to persuade UEA to ignore all further FOIA requests if the people have anything to do with Climate Audit,” Jones wrote in a 2007 email. According to Moffatt, the U.K.’s FOI law is supposed to be “identity blind” meaning that requests should be judged on the merits, not who does the requesting.

Take a look.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Les Johnson permalink
    November 23, 2009 7:56 pm

    A post I left at RC.

    Start below….

    Can Dr. Mann first confirm that these e-mails are genuine, and if so, reconcile these two e-mails, in light of his statement that he did not delete any e-mails?

    From: Phil Jones
    To: “Michael E. Mann”
    Subject: IPCC & FOI
    Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008
    Mike,
    Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
    Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
    Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t
    have his new email address.
    We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.
    I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!
    Cheers
    Phil


    and the reply, the same day.

    From: Michael Mann
    To: Phil Jones
    Subject: Re: IPCC & FOI
    Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 08:12:02 -0400
    Reply-to: mann@xxxxx

    Hi Phil,

    laughable that CA would claim to have discovered the problem. They would
    have run off to the Wall Street Journal for an exclusive were that to
    have been true.
    I’ll contact Gene about this ASAP. His new email is: generwahl@xxxxxxx
    talk to you later,
    mike

  2. Tim G permalink
    November 23, 2009 7:56 pm

    What is the 1945 problem? Was it something that was found? Or something they know about but has not been found outside the group?

    Thanks,
    tim

  3. November 23, 2009 7:57 pm

    Mann likely caught in a lie by a commenter on that article: –

    By JimR on November 23, 2009 6:12 PM

    In an email, Mann, a climatologist and statistician at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, said, “I did not delete any emails at all in response to Phil Jone’s [sic] request, nor did I indicate to him that I would.”

    In response to Phil Jones May 29th E-mail to Mike Mann asking him to delete E-mails pertaining to IPCC AR4 and ask Gene to do the same Mann responded the same day:

    “I’ll contact Gene about this ASAP. His new email is: generwahl@xxxxxxxxx.xxx

  4. Les Johnson permalink
    November 23, 2009 7:59 pm

    The above originated reading Jim R, from the Science Mag site.

  5. Peter S permalink
    November 23, 2009 8:02 pm

    From the article –
    ‘Mann, a climatologist and statistician at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, said, “I did not delete any emails at all in response to Phil Jone’s [sic] request, nor did I indicate to him that I would.”’

    1212063122.txt (29 May 2008}
    Phil Jones: “Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

    Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.”

    Michael Mann: “I’ll contact Gene about this ASAP. His new email is: generwahl@xxxxxxxxx.xxx

  6. theduke permalink
    November 23, 2009 8:26 pm

    I posted this earlier n another thread, but it’s from Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer under Thatcher adn I think it’s important:

    “There may be a perfectly innocent explanation. But what is clear is that the integrity of the scientific evidence on which not merely the British Government, but other countries, too, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, claim to base far-reaching and hugely expensive policy decisions, has been called into question. And the reputation of British science has been seriously tarnished. A high-level independent inquiry must be set up without delay.”

  7. November 23, 2009 9:54 pm

    I’ve also passed this info (& link) on to Andy Revkin at NY Times.

    Cheers — Pete Tillman

  8. John M permalink
    November 23, 2009 10:03 pm

    “In an email, Mann, a climatologist and statistician at Pennsylvania State University, University Park…”

    I thought he wasn’t a statistician. 😉

  9. Mr Purple permalink
    November 23, 2009 10:43 pm

    I think the ‘1945 problem’ is in relation to a changeover from the type of sensor that was in place at the time prior to and after WWII (uninsulated bucket sensor vs insulated sensors or something).

    Obviously all the sensors weren’t replaced overnight and some liberties were apparently taken with the data. I believe it would affect more years than just 1945.

  10. Andy permalink
    November 23, 2009 11:31 pm

    I need to meet a nice Brit girl like Hazel Moffatt. They use words like “naughty” and, in the case of Ms Moffatt, is easy on the eyes.

    Back to the issue of malfeasance by government paid employees. Gavin seems to spend a awful lot of time working on that blog. Are PhD’s allowed to do that sort of thing during working hours? When I worked for good ol Uncle Sam it was always about fraud, waste and abuse and the things not to do that would keep you out of trouble. It’s been a while so does anyone know what the relevant regs are?

  11. Bernie permalink
    November 24, 2009 12:12 am

    Parsing Dr. Mann’s words carefully allows for his deleting of the emails of his own volition and not at the behest of Dr. Jones. Note that he did not say that he had not contacted Gene.

  12. Bernie permalink
    November 24, 2009 12:17 am

    This is a distraction and could easily be covered by a claim of filling a public education role. The bigger issue, IMHO, is Hansen’s role as an advocate. Gavin can always claim he was following orders from Hansen.

  13. Peter S permalink
    November 24, 2009 6:51 am

    “I need to meet a nice Brit girl like Hazel Moffatt. They use words like “naughty” and, in the case of Ms Moffatt, is easy on the eyes.”

    Andy – if ever you’re over in Britain just look out for a toffet and you’ll surely find one (breakfast time is best). Just make sure there are no spiders around.

  14. November 24, 2009 7:33 am

    The 1945 problem is, I would suggest, the abrupt fall in SSTs at that time. The solution was not to try to find or research a reason, instead the data was adjusted by the Folland Parker method, which smoothed the rise in ’39 back to about ’37 and tailed off the drop from ’45 to nearly 1950. I have read somewhere that the models could not explain the blip but the newer smoothed version was manageable. Climate Audit found the adjustment questionable.

    I watched the disappearance of the WWII SST blip — a feature on the graphs which I once described as standing out like a Rottweiller’s gonads but ended up like a Pekinese’s percy — with disappointment as I had created around it my own theory of warming. Maybe I should dust off the files. Dr Wigley, if you need a new line of research, give me a call.

    JF

  15. Andy permalink
    November 24, 2009 10:17 am

    Peter,

    After I get back from class I’ll have to research what you said.🙂

    Cheers

  16. PhilH permalink
    November 24, 2009 10:44 am

    Whether or not any of these guys actually erased any of the messages, they have nevertheless engaged in a conspiracy to do so; a felony in the States. When Jones contacted Mann with the request to erase and then Mann (whether he, himself, did or did not erase) contacted Wahl with the same request, all the elements of a conspiracy had been satisfied. Don’t know anything about Brit conspiracy law.

  17. Eyesapoppin' permalink
    November 24, 2009 10:52 am

    According to an IPCC chart I exhumed, http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/fig2-4.htm it was an abrupt rise in SSTs, going forward in time that is, not a fall. Anyway, this all exemplifies what for me, a rank amateur in many disciplines, is the amazing thing about the climatological community. I mean look at the red line. There is a totally wild zag upwards. No one can authoritatively explain it, but everyone just goes merrily about “correcting” it, i.e., what a”correcting” really means, is smudging the disjuncture line so that it looks like the rise is more gradual than the data would allow. Just simply amazing to me. No concern that there isn’t any reason to smudge it that way. Do you think that anyone in a science like microbiology, which is fraught with its own data interpretation problems, would dare to even try to publish such crap? Maybe there really was a jump upward; how do you know? I know, I know, it’s impossible for the ocean to change overnight– well really over-year.. But what is so more “:possible,” or even plausible about the “Folland Parker method”– not an accepted method, I’ll wager, that the name would make it appear to be, but probably just a jerry-rigged kludge to obscure the underlying data for this one investigation. if even those data can be trusted, which according to the Trouble With Harry threads that I’ve been reading, I would be a fool to trust. My god.

  18. Lina Inverse permalink
    November 25, 2009 5:45 pm

    I can’t see the current governments in the US and U.K. prosecuting these “scientists”, but a lawyer who wrote to James Taranto, author of “The Best of the Web Today” in the Wall Street Journal noted that there’s one private cause of action available:

    Tortious interference. For researchers and academicians, publication in peer-reviewed journals is important to advancement, raises, grant funding, etc. Wrongful interference with the ability to publish has monetary and reputational damages. If that interference is based not on editorial judgment of worthiness for publication, but rather on protecting reputations, scientific positions, political goals or “places in history” (as mentioned in one email), then it could give rise to liability in tort for the individual scientist and possibly for the university or organization for which he works.

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