Friday, September 28, 2012

Don't Look at the Little Man Behind the Curtain

Inspector Clouseau has, after twenty seven or so months of excruciating labor, given birth to a minor reprimand for Charles MonnettBunnies will recall the surreal set of cross examinations lead by Eric Colouseau May of the Department of the Interior's Inspector General Division.

Special Investigator May was indeed special in at least one sense of the word.  It was always unclear what about the polar bear paper that Monnett and Jeffrey Gleason wrote that got this amateur gumshoe with a shiny badge going.  However, the little man has indeed peaked from the curtain.  First,  the BOEM press secretary admitted the obvious
"We have confirmed that the [inspector general's] findings do not support a conclusion that the individual scientists involved engaged in scientific misconduct,"
Given the back and forth over the months it will be interesting to finally see what is in those findings, but, at least to Eli, the revealing point is what the reprimand was about, and indeed, most likely the entire farago.  Monnett
has received a letter of reprimand for allegedly improper disclosures back in 2007 and 2008 which helped reveal that Bush administration Arctic offshore drilling reviews illegally suppressed adverse environmental consequences.
and if you dig a bit into the letter of reprimand itself, lo and behold,
On April 5, 2007 you made an  improper release of an internal government document.  You forwarded an email message with the subject "Weekly report" to Robert Suydam of the North Slope Borough and to Rick Steiner, who at the time was a professor at the University of Alaska and has since served on the Board of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
PEER, of course is the group that has been providing legal representation to Dr. Monnett, who, the bunnies now learn, had been serving as an important whistle blower to PEER, and, among other things, these leaks resulted in an important loss in federal court for BOEM in a case about oil development in Alaska.  Steiner himself was involved at the University of Alaska in a very messy case where he was stripped of a grant by the University and later resigned his position.

It all goes back to BOEM and the state of Alaska wanting to develop oil resources.  Oil, not money, is at the root of all farces.  Slippery stuff.


27 comments:

Russell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Russell said...

]]O great and powerful rabbit of Oz, kindly substitute the following for the spell unchecke gawk that goes before it]]T

his evolutionary parvenu of bears is scarce worth the hiding it inflicts on creatures with more user friendly furs, like seals, which yield much more comfortable bedding than coarse-coated Ursus polaris.

The Wise Use solution would be to let Inuit hunters hire Heartland Instiitute fellows as substitutes, arming each with an extra jawbone of an ass, before depositing them on the floes to compete with pinnaped pups and ursine parents for their place in the free-range food chain.

This might advance the cause of Arctic ecologicl diversity, for although the hazards of eating bear offal are well known, not a single case of vitamin A intoxication has been reported among eagles noshing on the livers of think tank denizens.

Philip Munger said...

It was all about Shell Oil from the beginning. Just like it was with Prof. Rick Steiner.

Steve Bloom said...

Much more here, including some quotes from the original complaint.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

I like the Monty Python treatment one of the commentators there gives: "marine mammals sleep, could just be sleeping". Yeah dude, with their intestines dangling out their asses.

David B. Benson said...

If you run as fast as you can you still end up going backwards into the future.

Anonymous said...

With the record extent of this year's Arctic melt there are bound to be more papers published soon that consider the negative impact on marine mammals such as bears, seals, and walrus.

It will be interesting to see if anyone with a vested interest in disappearing the truth will attempt to find further ways to do exactly this.


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

William Connolley said...

> peaked from the curtain

peeked.

> Colouseau

Ahem.

John said...

Once again, class, what is the name given to government "of, by and for" the corporation?

John Puma

J Bowers said...

Some contex of the goings-on at MMS (now BOEM) at the time:

* Inspector General’s Inquiry Faults Regulators
* MMS Corruption: What The Oil-Rig Cook Saw
* Way Past Time for an Intervention
* Corrupt MMS inspectors exposed by email

No wonder BOEM won't be taking further action.

EliRabett said...

Hmm. Alaska Dispatch has got the report, quite interesting. The calculus is now whether Monnett and PEER will go to the mat on the reprimand as punishing a whistle blower, and if the cover of the complaint writer will be blown. What is clear is that the motivation for the investigation was the leeks to Steiner and PEER. Management may have thought that enough time had passed that going after Monnett would not make many waves.

J Bowers said...

Or use the leaks to try and discredit the polar bear study. The allegation of scientific misconduct seems to have been pretty unambiguous. Given its history, whistleblowing dodgy goings-on at MMS was a surefire 'slap on the wrist', but scientific malfeasance was a surefire career killer and guaranteed to perpetuate Lomborg's myths about polar bears.

Imback said...

For Rattus,

I wish to complain about some polar bears I photographed.
-What's wrong?
I'll tell you what's wrong. They're dead, that's what's wrong.
-No, they must be resting.
Look, I'm a scientist, I know dead polar bears when I see them.
-They're not dead, they're resting. Remarkable animals. Beautiful coats!
Coats don't enter into it. They're stone dead.
-You stunned them just as they were waking. Norwegian Whites stun easily.
These polar bears are definitely deceased.
-They're probably pinin' for the fjords.
Pining for the fjords? They're just bobbing in the water.
-The Norwegian Whites prefer bobbing in the water. Lovely coats.
Look, when I examined them, they were a long way from the ice.
-Of course they were a long way. They were pinin'.
They're not pining! They're passed on! These bears are no more! They have ceased to be! They're expired and gone to meet their maker! They're stiff! Bereft of life, they rest in peace! If they weren't a long way from the ice, they'd be pushing up the daisies! Their metabolic processes are now history! They're off the twig! They've kicked the bucket, they've shuffled off their mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible! THESE ARE EX-POLAR BEARS!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that the dear inspector isn't in jeopardy of breaking the law on whistleblower protection.

Regards, Millicent

John Doe said...

On the subject of polar bears....

There is a movie Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change which calls attention to observations of changes in the north made by the Inuit, the people native to the area. The movie was made by Inuit director Zacharias Kunuk (known also for his Atanarjuat The Fast Runner movie) in collaboration with notorious outside scientist agitator Ian Mauro (known for his Seed of Change movie). A shorter commentary in English explains.

Inuit elders noticed that the sun and the stars had changed position in the sky since they were young. They went to some lengths to draw the attention of the outside world to this fact. Scientists at NASA among others told them this was impossible. The film claims it has been established to the satisfaction of scientists now that due to a lot of warmer air moving into the Arctic as a result of climate change which causes persistent inversions the observations of a changing position of the sun and stars coming from Inuit all over the north can be explained as the result of refraction in the changed atmosphere.

Bunnies snoozing off due to no polar bear news so far in this comment may be interested to know that the Inuit in the film also claim that all these scientists coming north to study bears do not talk to them.

The Inuit in this film are claiming that overall the polar bear population for the moment in most areas of the north is very healthy.

chek said...

It's common knowledge in IG circles that polar bears have learned to duck their heads underwater and play dead whenever they detect the sound of twin turboprops. It's a Darwinian reflex to deter hi-tech hunters, or could be construed as such by those needing to construe such...

dhogaza said...

" The calculus is now whether Monnett and PEER will go to the mat on the reprimand as punishing a whistle blower"

I do hope so.

In what has to be one of the sweetest ironies of all time, House Republicans passed a bill to strengthen whistleblower protection *yesterday*.

Somehow, I doubt Monnett is the kind of whistleblower they had in mind (and of course, if passed by the Senate, it won't be retroactive anyway) but the timing is nice.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

The reaction of the Watties is pretty interesting.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/28/al-gores-drowning-polar-bear-source-reprimanded/#comments

"Oh they'll be fine, just look, one swam for 9 days and 600+ km and lived!"

Of course when you go to the source and read the whole article, you come away considerably less sanguine. The female bear who made this journey lost 22% of her body fat, as well as her cub. Hmm, maybe all is not well in polar bear land?

WhiteBeard said...


chek, 29/9/12, 2:36 PM

In olden days, circa ~1950-1970, hunting was from recip powered Super Cubs and sometimes Cessna 170s or 180s, as fuel, mostly flown to hunt departure points in 55 gal drums by DC-3 and the like, was pretty dear. Even more importantly, the trophy harvest script was: scout for a bear from aloft, and when one was located find a place to get “in” and, much more importantly, room enough to get “out”, near the bear. Still today, small and light equipment allows for much greater opportunities if aircraft are used, though I believe snowmobiles are the transport of choice.

Twin Otter DHC-6s (and similar types) are used on the ice higher up in the Arctic were longer range, better nav equipment and the ability to smack the ice with ~6 tons of airplane and cargo (and then get “out”) are needed. Mostly Hi-Tec scientist uses ’em waaaaay up north where bears are scarce, and for things like aerial wildlife surveys. More generally, they’re used as a replacement for DC-3s to haul fuel drums, groceries, and the odd trophy seeker.


In other news, the walruses appear to be headed back to Point Lay somewhat later than what’s become the new norm.

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/what-arctic-ice-scarcity-means-walruses-alaska

EliRabett said...

Whoever is still gratia over there should copy Imback's comment to Willard Tony's fan boys

coby said...

"motivation for the investigation was the leeks to Steiner and PEER"

Eli, you must be a hungry rabett indeed!

WhiteBeard said...

The 60 page IG’s report:

http://www.peer.org/docs/doi/10_1_12_Monnett_IG_Report.pdf

J Bowers said...

P.28 - "The supervisory geologist also recalled that he and the other peer reviewers met with Monnett to discuss their concerns about the way he extrapolated and presented the data in his manuscript. He could not recall how Monnett explained his extrapolations. He remembered, however, that he must have been satisfied with Monnett’s explanations because he approved the manuscript and forwarded it to his supervisor for further review."

Anyone fancy a game of 'Predict Morano' to see which cherries he picks from the 61 pages?

"If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged" -- Voltaire

J Bowers said...

What's really weird is how the agents are so obsessed with the abstract, as if that's the paper itself.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

J. Bowers,
Actually, not Voltaire, but that other Frenchman, Cardinal Richelieu, though there is some dispute even to that.

J Bowers said...

Whoops, typical Englishman. My bad.

WhiteBeard said...

Pass the alert, nae, sound the disaster klaxon far and wide.

At the bottom of MS page 37, Division Chief, Anchorage office of FWS’ [Fish and Wildlife Service] Marine Mammals Management’s “Meehan said that the polar bear was designated as a threatened, rather than endangered, species because at the time of MMM’s evaluation, the polar bear population was estimated to be around 200,000...” This eight (oh dear, mustn’t ever UNERSTATE these things) ten fold OVERSTATED quantity by the IG has the worlds entire economy atremble on the edge of the abyss.