This is important, please have a look:

Dear Colleagues,

Climate researchers are in need of immediate legal assistance to prevent their private correspondence from being exposed to Chris Horner and the American Tradition Institute who are using Freedom of Information (FOI) to harass researchers. (For context please see: http://wapo.st/pQg0JC and http://wapo.st/oiua7V) The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has recently stated: “the sharing of research data is vastly different from unreasonable, excessive Freedom of Information Act requests for personal information and voluminous data that are then used to harass and intimidate scientists.” The complete AAAS statement is available at http://bit.ly/p04sIq

Many scientists do not enjoy the institutional support necessary to fight attacks from well-funded science-denying groups. We need to help scientists to defend themselves. If ATI succeeds in this case, it would set a terrible precedent for scientists at public institutions across the country. But if they are turned back here, it will send a clear message to climate deniers that scientists are willing to stand up to them and fight for their rights.

A donation button has been set up at http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/donation/ So far we have collected almost $2000 of the $10,000 needed to file the legal papers. This fundraising will be an ongoing effort so the $10,000 is our immediate short-term goal. A gift of $25, $100, or more will go a long way to ensure that our top scientists can continue their important work without the constant harassment designed to slow them down.

I also strongly encourage you to share this information with your colleagues or others who would be interested in contributing . Any questions can be directed to me by phone or email. I will be keeping a private record of contributors.

Scott A. Mandia, Professor – Physical Sciences
T-202 Smithtown Sciences Bldg.
Suffolk County Community College
533 College Rd.
Selden, NY 11784
631-451-4104
mandias@sunysuffolk.edu

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ORIGINAL AND TO HELP!!!

And please pass this information around. Thanks.

Comments

  1. #1 Your Mom
    September 9, 2011

    So public tax money funds their research and livelihood but they won’t allow a look see? Gall or fear on their part? Both.

    No thanks.

    -A real scientist.

  2. #2 TTT
    September 9, 2011

    It isn’t “a” look-see. It’s redundant demands for the same information time and time again, done frivolously just to waste the scientists’ time, and with the foreknown certainty that all findings would be misrepresented via slander of the “Climategate” brand.

  3. #3 Your Mom
    September 9, 2011

    Dr. Mann’s argument, distilled, is that the court must bend the rules to allow him to block implementation of a transparency law, so as to shield his sensibilities from offense once the taxpayer – on whose dime he subsists – sees the methods he employed to advance the global warming theory and related policies. ATI’s Environmental Law Center is not sympathetic.

    (TTT – WRONG!. Cool talking point though)

  4. #4 Gerard Harbison
    September 9, 2011

    Mann should not be using a university email system for his private emails. I see absolutely no reason why email on a public university server, funded by public money, and presumably having the primary purpose of university business, should not be subject to FOIA.

    Which reminds me; I must set my junk folder not to automatically delete.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    September 9, 2011

    Gerard, are you certain that you are the guy who gets to make up rules for other people and institutions post hoc? Interesting. That is one impressive bit of superpower you have there.

    The only thing that climate change denialists have left (or ever had, really) is harassment tactics. Pitiful.

  6. #6 Collin
    September 9, 2011

    Gerard is stating an opinion. That’s what blogs are for. It’s not a “superpower”; it’s free speech. No one’s being ruled over.

  7. #7 Your Mom
    September 9, 2011

    Or how about this…

    Just GIVE THE MONEY BACK. and go do whatever you want.

  8. #8 PityFull (Your Mom)
    September 9, 2011

    “The only thing that climate change denialists have left (or ever had, really) is harassment tactics. Pitiful.”

    LOL. That and a little thing called following the scientific method and transparency.

    pitiful u.

  9. #9 dean
    September 9, 2011

    so “real scientist”, “your mom”, and gerard, feel that whenever somebody does not like the results of research done by an academic scientist, it is perfectly fine to continually harass them without any proof of wrong-doing. galling.

  10. #10 Gerard Harbison
    September 9, 2011

    In what sense is this post hoc, Greg? State Freedom of Information Acts are mostly over 20 years old. And I didn’t write or draft any of them. Possibly you attribute to me superpowers I do not possess?

    FOIAs are an essential part of government transparency. I’ve used them myself to get information out Board of Regents was hiding from us. I’m not going to turn around and claim my own email as a scientist working for the government deserves an exemption I won’t concede to them.

  11. #11 Gerard Harbison
    September 9, 2011

    As a public employee, Dean, you have an obligation to follow laws governing public employees. One of those is FOIA. There generally isn’t a “scientists are special” clause, and I don’t see why there should be one.

    It’s trivial to take one’s entire mail folder and turn it into a very large text file. No fuss, no muss.

  12. #12 Stephanie Z
    September 9, 2011

    Gerard, that would be a very simple thing. However, that isn’t allowed. Personnel and students matters, among other protected inforamtion, is also included in some perfectly legitimate university emails, as is competitive information that may not be protected but shouldn’t necessarily be shared. However, feel free to post a text file of your email as proof of concept.

  13. #13 Your Mom
    September 9, 2011

    “so “real scientist”, “your mom”, and gerard, feel that whenever somebody does not like the results of research done by an academic scientist, it is perfectly fine to continually harass them without any proof of wrong-doing. galling.”

    Nope. I’m saying ANYONE shouuld be able to see what their money is buying. You included. It’s the law.

    The attempts to evade are telling.

  14. #14 Raging Bee
    September 9, 2011

    Notice how the denialist assholes aren’t specifying what information, exactly (or even generally) they think is being unlawfully hidden? That shows how bogus and dishonest they are. It also shows (again) that the denialists aren’t doing any actual science. If the were, they wouldn’t need to bother with anyone’s emails.

  15. #15 Raging Bee
    September 9, 2011

    I’m saying ANYONE shouuld be able to see what their money is buying. You included. It’s the law.

    If you really believed that, you’d be focusing your attentions on the military and large private businesses. The fact that you’re not, proves you’re nothing but a bunchof liars who don’t really give a shit about the truth.

  16. #16 Raging Bee
    September 9, 2011

    Also, the law allows the targets of FOIA requests to contest the validity of such requests. Remember that next time you try to pull “it’s the law” to trump debate.

  17. #17 Gerard Harbison
    September 9, 2011

    Stephanie:

    If someone were to FOIA my entire email, I or some other competent person would indeed have to check the emails for student and other confidential information. The university could then, by law, bill the requester for my time, which is very expensive.

    That would be why you would FOIA all emails containing the words ‘climate’, ‘GCM’, ‘trick’… The university could still bill the requester for the time required to run a search, but that would be trivial; and the time required to vet confidential information, which would not.

    By all means do this. It will entertain university counsel, and cost you quite a bit.

  18. #18 Gerard Harbison
    September 9, 2011

    Call me a raving idealist, but I don’t think complying with vital laws designed to ensure transparency in government operations is ‘harassment’; and having filed FOIAs myself and observed the process, I don’t consider it particularly time consuming.

    Universities are very good at keeping things secret when they want to, and pay lawyers to deal with this sort of thing.

  19. #19 Raging Bee
    September 9, 2011

    They ARE complying with the law, you stupid asshole. They’re exercising their legal right to contest the validity of FOIA requests. You got a problem with that? Tough shit, IT’S THE LAW!

  20. #20 Raging Bee
    September 9, 2011

    Yo, Gerard, what about those rumors that you raped and murdered a 10-year-old girl in 1990? You’ve never been all that cooperative in clearing that up, have you? Your attempts to evade are telling.

  21. #21 Stephanie Z
    September 9, 2011

    Oh, so it’s nothing like as simple as you made it out to be in suggesting that the scientists are whining? Huh. Go figure.

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    September 9, 2011

    Gerard Harbison, I was referring to the policy of people who work for universities using their emails for personal purposes. Not only is that allowed at most universities, but encouraged in some cases, for a number of different reasons. I have had university emails since emails started and not once, ever, was there no-personal-email policy.

    When you say:

    Mann should not be using a university email system for his private emails.

    you are probably wrong.

    I see absolutely no reason why email on a public university server, funded by public money, and presumably having the primary purpose of university business, should not be subject to FOIA.

    It probably is. It is also subject to civil law and ferpa. Again, you don’t get to make up post hoc what appeals to you to make your case.

    Which reminds me; I must set my junk folder not to automatically delete.

    A guy like you probably lives in lot of people’s junk mail folder, I would imagine. What is it like being widely disliked?

  23. #23 daedalus2u
    September 9, 2011

    How about we turn the tables on the fossil fuel companies. The stock prices of those companies are based on the value of their fossil fuel reserves. The value of those reserves are based on how much of them can be sold at what price.

    There are more fossil fuel reserves than can be sold.

    http://www.carbontracker.org/carbonbubble

    It isn’t a question of running out, it is a question of the CO2 emissions making the world uninhabitable.

    How about the accountants and the CEO’s be questioned about how they attach a value to their fossil fuel reserves? Under Sarbanes-Oxley they can be personally charged with fraud if they

    “… execute, a scheme or artifice … to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any money or property in connection with the purchase or sale of any security of an issuer with a class of securities registered under section 12…”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarbanes-Oxley_Act

    Misrepresenting that their reserves can be sold and burned at market prices seems to fit the bill to me.

    Sorbanes-Oxley does have whistle-blower protection for employees, so there might be some employees who would be willing to spill the beans.

    Sorbanes-Oxley limits the influence that management of a company can have on its auditors.

    “It shall be unlawful … for any officer or director of an issuer, or any other person acting under the direction thereof, to take any action to fraudulently influence, coerce, manipulate, or mislead any independent public or certified accountant engaged in the performance of an audit of the financial statements of that issuer for the purpose of rendering such financial statements materially misleading.”

    Tobacco companies knew that smoking tobacco caused disease. The fossil fuel companies know that burning fossil fuels is increasing CO2 and is causing climate change. Sorbanes-Oxley now makes not disclosing those kinds of skeletons in the corporate closet a crime, if they affect the stock price of the company.

  24. #24 Chris Winter
    September 9, 2011

    Dr. Mann’s argument, distilled, is that the court must bend the rules to allow him to block implementation of a transparency law, so as to shield his sensibilities from offense once the taxpayer – on whose dime he subsists – sees the methods he employed to advance the global warming theory and related policies.

    You’re sure the e-mails will contain evidence of this? I’d love to see you try to defend that.

    As I see it this is nothing but a fishing expedition on ATI’s part. If they had real evidence of crime, they would state it and go after the specific documents related to that. But that’s not what they’re doing.

    And in targeting Dr. Mann, ATI demonstrates once again the fallacy of clinging to the idea that his work is the cornerstone of the consensus on climate change.

  25. #25 Raging Bee
    September 9, 2011

    If they had real evidence of crime…

    …they’d be getting SUBPOENAS, and not bothering with FOIA requests. They’re only going the FOIA route because they don’t even have probable cause, let alone proof of anything.

  26. #26 Scott A Mandia
    September 10, 2011

    These requests are politically-motivated witch hunts against 30+ scientists. Dr. Mann is standing up for academic freedom, the preservation of the scientific method, and first amendment rights. Let us not allow a few lines of emails taken out of context to cause another false controversy such as happened when the bad guys stole emails in November of 2009.

    ATI and Chris Horner are not interested in advancing the science and I do not think for a moment that they will honor the legal gag order if they view the “exempt” emails. The sanctions for breaking that law will be pennies in the bucket for the massive fake smoke they will create in order for fossil-fuel funders to continue to play fast and loose with the scientific truth in order to make their buck.

    The hockey stick-shape temperature plot that shows modern climate considerably warmer than past climate has been duplicated by many international scientists using different types of data (tree rings, ice cores, corals, ocean and lake sediments) and different methodologies. To question Mann’s research is to question dozens of studies by other well-respected scientists.

    Let us not kid ourselves what this is all about. Please.

  27. #27 Daniel J. Andrews
    September 10, 2011

    Considering the denialists can’t even quote a publicly accessible interview without misrepresenting it (yes, Neil, that’s you), and considering how they’ve managed to mangle the Nature trick, even attributing the email to the wrong people–now how stupid do you have to be to misattribute an email and then not correct it even when shown the original email–then they certainly will misquote and misuse anything they get from the scientists. If there’s absolutely no evidence of wrong-doing in the emails then someone will just make something up just like last time.

    It wastes time, money and it is harassment. Reminds me of McCarthy.

  28. #28 Mal Adapted
    September 10, 2011

    $100 to the defense fund from me. And I would like the see the emails, phone records, and office visit logs of all elected officials that have accepted money from the likes of Exxon, the Koch brothers, etc. Are you with me, Gerald?

  29. #29 Cool Story Bro (Your Mom)
    September 13, 2011

    What’s the opposite of skeptic?

    A. Guillible.