Thursday, August 22, 2013

Yet Another Nail Pounded

Graham Redfern used the majic of the INTERTUBES to turn up a damning NSF OIG report on Murry Salby.   Jo Nova was moved to take up pen at Willard Tony's on the Salby matter

On closer inspection the NSF report used by people to attack Salby does not appear to be the balanced, impartial analysis I would have expected. Indeed the hyperbolic language based on insubstantial evidence is disturbing to say the least. Because of the long detailed nature of this I cannot draw conclusions, except to say that any scientist who responds to a question about Murry Salby’s work with a reference to his employment is no scientist.

Remember the NSF report was supposedly an inhouse private document. It was marked “Confidential”, subject to the Privacy Act, with disclosure outside the NSF prohibited except through FOI. Desmog vaguely suggest there “must have been an FOI”, but there are no links to support that. In the end, a confidential, low standard, internal document with legalistic sounding words, may have been “leaked” to those in search of a character attack.
 Raising the issue of why the NSF report on the matter was posted on a web site, and indeed Murry Salby himself had raised the issue parenthetically in his recent self justification about the results of the NSF report
It’s noteworthy that the NSF report, which was stamped “Confidential”, was developed as an internal document for distribution only to the two parties: Me and CU. Unfit for public release,its disclosure other than by NSF was prohibited  (pg6)
Eli, innocent bunny that he is, was moved to write to the NSF OIG Office on the matter
Dear Sir,

I write to you about OIG  Case Number, I06090025 Case Closeout, specifically as to why this report is available on the Internet at,0,790.

As you may (or may not) be aware, this Closeout Report has become an issue of some contention following the firing of the subject of the report, Prof. Murry Salby, from Macquarrie University in Australia, under circumstances in which his behavior mirrors parts of what occurred at the University of Colorado and were the subject of the NSF Report.

Prof. Salby has claimed that bottom of page 6
It’s noteworthy that the NSF report, which was stamped “Confidential”, was developed as an internal document for distribution only to the two parties: Me and CU. Unfit for public release, its disclosure other than by NSF was prohibited."
Clearly NSF OIG has disclosed this document.  I would appreciate hearing from you as to why (for example, is this the normal procedure at the end of an investigation or what). 
and today received this reply from the NSF OIG FOIA Attorney
Thank you for your inquiry. 
The legend that appears on the cover page of the Report of Investigation is applied when the Report is drafted and initially submitted to the Foundation for its review and action.  The intent is to warn those personnel of the Foundation who will have access to the Report during their evaluation that there are limitations on disclosure while the matter remains active.
When we close an investigation after NSF takes action, we conduct a FOIA review of certain case documents for public release on our website (  Reports of investigation are typically included.  In the past we have not redacted the confidentiality warnings, or attempted to annotate them with a “cleared for public release” message, relying instead on the inference that if they are accessible on a public website, the disclosure must have been intentional and authorized by competent authority.
In cases where the subject’s identity is not disclosed, the continued presence of the confidentiality warning is generally not noteworthy or ambiguous.  In cases where the subject or subjects are identified, there is some potential for confusion.
This Report of Investigation was subject to multiple FOIA requests.  The subject’s name was disclosed because his debarment was listed on the Excluded Parties List System, and remains so in the Inactive collection of the System for Award Management (, the system that replaced EPLS.  We determined that the subject’s privacy interests were lessened by the EPLS/SAM disclosure, and that FOIA required release of the information.
You may interpret the presence of the document on a public NSF OIG website as confirmation that public release in this form has been approved and is consistent with the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.  This disclosure by OIG is in accordance with those statutes.
Eli hopes this has been of service to Willard Tony, Jo, and Dr. Salby.  Readers may now resume normal breathing.  John Mashey will be by soon with further details.  If Salby were not such a user the bunnies might shed a tear for him.


John Mashey said...

Rabetts are fast with FOIAs, although JO Nova actually took up the pen at her own blog. AS such are wont to do, it rapidly propagated to WUWT and ClimateDepot. However, commenters seemed less enthusiastic than in the earlier rounds. The first report was deemed important enough for Andrew Montford to post quickly even though he was "off duty," but this one, alas, seems not to have generated one.

But while Rabetts were fast, others were slowed by digging out the 193-page (paper) record of Salby vs University of Colorado, Provost Philip DiStefano, and JOHN DOES.

But all have useful information.
How might people interpret Salby's Claims such as:

'The NSF action was of no practical consequence, a cosmetic exercise.
It could only undermine my litigation against CU.

The matter with CU was settled when CU released my computer files.
CU then paid legal costs. It also provided the computer servers on which my files resided, major equipment that had not even been requested.'

John Mashey said...

Well, actually it was 195 pages, see the update to Murry Salby: Galileo? Bozo? Or P.T.Barnum?.

CU basically had to chase Salby for a month or two to come by his office, have unsupervised access as long as he didn't *remove* stuff paid for by Federal grants. He was hard to find, didn't show up for class.

Then, in late 2008, he filed Federal lawsuit that went nowhere, then in April 2009, a Colorado lawsuit whose records are 195-pages long. He wanted punitive damages, legal costs, etc.
After lots of back-and-forth, judge basically said: stop messing around, or I dismiss case and you pay. A few weeks later:


'The University and Plaintiff have resolved and settled all issues between them and as part of their agreement stipulate that this lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice, each party to bear its own fees, costs and expenses.

WHEREFORE, the parties respectfully request that this action and all claims herein be dismissed with prejudice.'

Now go back and read Jo Nova's take on this.

Russell Seitz said...

Willard alas remains unserviceable, as he is <a href="in the throes of another <i> grand mal </i>snip snip seizure.</a>. Seems he can't get his censors to march in close enough formation to enforce his blacklist.

Russell Seitz said...

once more...

Willard alas remains unserviceable, as he is in the throes of another grand mal snip snip seizure.. Seems he can't get his censors to march in close enough formation to enforce his blacklist.

John Mashey said...

See Defamation By Internet? Part 1 - Murry Salby's SHort-Lived Blog Storm.

John Mashey said...

Of course, Jo Nova, expert on NSF, did not recognize the pounding of the nail. Start at Eli's comment.

' Eli Rabett
August 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm ·

NSF has responded to the question of why the report was on the OIG web site

August 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm ·

Nice work Eli – good to see scepticism paying off.

Oh yes – skepticism about someone’s biography. Has Eli discussed the science? I couldn’t find it? _ Jo

Joanne Nova
August 26, 2013 at 6:03 pm ·

Since the NSF report contains so-called “findings” that even the NSF admits are not backed by evidence, questions of defamation stand untouched. Frankly the document shows how sloppy the NSF is.

And now the NSF author admits that it is confusing to label it “confidential” when supposedly it isn’t really? Another detail the NSF managed incompetently? Their publication standards are low aren’t they?

And perhaps it was released under FOI, but the NSF is strangely vague on that. Who requested it, and who decided that the release of such an unbalanced article, with specious unbacked claims was “in the public interest?”.

It’ll kill you if his scientific work turns out to be right won’t it? You will have been one of the petty ad hom attackers trying to do character assassination instead of getting the science right.

So Eli, have you any thoughts on his equation about how Temp and CO2 are related?'

Strangely, no one who knew anything about NSF was in the slightest bit confused about CONFIDENTIAL. I certainly wasn't when I mentioned this at DeSmogBlog.

Likewise, Eli did not happen to ask who FOIAed it (and in fact, such a request might well take another FOIA), so of course NSF did not answer it.

But, suddenly, after 3 blog posts promoting the injustices Macquarie or NSF inflicted on Salby, Nova has become really interested in science :-) Look! A squirrel! (or maybe, a carrot)