Sunday, September 11, 2011

So Where is This Going

Joe Romm reposts from Scott Mandia

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: and 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

A donation button has been set up at 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.
and Eli notices this
Former University Environmental Sciences Prof. Michael Mann began legal procedures last Friday to intervene on the attempt of the American Tradition Institute to acquire documents of his research on global warming. . . .

Mann, who now teaches at Pennsylvania State University, is challenging a protective order which requires the University to disclose information relating to Mann’s research to ATI, a conservative think tank. The only people who would then be able to access the research would be ATI and the presiding judge, according to a press release by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“I clearly have the right to make sure that my interests are represented in any matters involving the release of my private emails,” Mann said in an email. “Apparently Mr. [Chris] Horner [director of litigation at ATI] wishes that were somehow not the case — which is really a statement about him, and his ethics and integrity, more than anything else.”

The union believes Mann’s research should not be disclosed to ATI to ensure scientific integrity.

“Dr. Mann is protecting scientists’ ability to communicate with one another without fear of harassment,” said Michael Halpern, program manager for the union’s Scientific Integrity Program. “ATI should not be given special privileges. It’s inappropriate for any outside group to have access to emails about student grades, research development and other privileged information.”

And then there is this

Lawyers for Mr. Mann, however, argue the professor was not provided a copy of the protective order until after it was entered into the court, and that he wanted to intervene but lacked the money to do so.

But “recently, through a fundraising effort by the scientific community,” Mr. Mann was able to retain counsel, they wrote.

Indeed, Mr. Mann has been widely cleared of academic misconduct, including, most recently, by the U.S. National Science Foundation Office of the Inspector General.

ATI disagrees. It might be tempting for Michael Mann to offer the schoolyard challenge to Chris Horner, you show me yours, and I'll show you mine. Given the right legal grounds discovery might be interesting.


Anonymous said...

I am not Nelson's brother. It is Mandia. :)

Thank you for the post.

EliRabett said...


David B. Benson said...

Where going? Wasting time and making lawyers rich, that's where it's going.


Now is the time for all good conservative think tanks to throw the collected works of Burke & Kirk at this coven of creeps.

If Bill Clinton deserved disbarment for his criminal abuse of the word 'is', then the barrators playing Big Brother at ATI should be run out of the profession for contempt of the constitution by attempting to subject scientists to unreasonable search and seizure.

dbostrom said...

The only people who would then be able to access the research would be ATI and the presiding judge, according to a press release by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Some more specifics on this remarkable sentence would be great. Does this mean sole, unique instances of Mann's work materials will be sequestered?

$2.3 trillion in annual revenue pass through the 10 largest fossil fuel firms alone, meaning that almost arbitrarily large amounts of money can be converted into sand and thrown in the gears of progress, in the form of Chris Horner's ilk. Somehow $100 as a counterbalance does not seem outlandish. Thanks for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

Chris Horner claims that 0.5 million dollars has been spent by Mann's university to impede his legal action. Being a curious individual I asked what political activist/public spirited soul is willing to support the American Tradition Institute, to the tune of some similar amount, 0.5 million dollars, so Chris can get hold of these incredibly valuable emails that might in fact turn out to be completely worthless.

Chris seems to be a bit coy about this. So if we could figure out who is so desperate for these emails, the middle man could be cut out and Mann could sell his incredibly valuable emails and pocket 0.5 million. Would sure pay for a lot of climate research. Just saying.

John said...

ATI needs to be independently pushed to the limits of funding transparency required by law for a 501(c)(3) organization as it claims to be.

John Puma

Anonymous said...

How about a FOI for Spenser's emails( public money bien sur). It may be enlightening to know who he talked too, when and about what leading up to the Remote Sensing fiasco.

I send money to MKandia and told Watts about it.


Anonymous said...

"$2.3 trillion in annual revenue pass through the 10 largest fossil fuel firms alone,...."

Evidently they want more, and climate change helps them get more by clearing the Arctic of bothersome ice. Exxon bets billions that climate change is here to stay.

Pete Dunkelberg

Anonymous said...

Anonymous FOIA

The Union of Concerned Scientists thrives on FOIA

UCS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Your gift is tax-deductible to the full extent provided by law.

Horatio Algeranon said...

"Harassment and Intimidation" (especially of the legal kind) are indeed among the finest of American traditions.

Right up there with singing Christmas caroles and having the President throw the first ball (or rarely, strike) of the major league season... And robbing banks (legally of course)

Anonymous said...

Is Earth to be sued too, clearly part of the conspiracy.

On a more serious note. Does the US have vexatious litigant laws? Although it clearly has beeen a concerted campaign, I don't know how sucessful such an application would be.

Little Mouse

J Bowers said...

Sorry, OT, but: Henry Waxman unveils a searchable database of anti-environment votes by the current Congress.

barry said...

I just love this quote -

'Asked what ATI plans to do with the documents, Chesser said that depends on what's in them. The institute may decide to post them on its Web site, he said. "We'll have to see what we've got first."'

After banging on about right of access for the humble tax-payer, Chesser will now determine what is fit for public consumption. Could the hypocrisy be any more stark? If they had any integrity they'd post it on the website without guidance for the unwashed masses.

Anonymous said...

Hang on, let me wrap my head around this...

Is the ATI demanding that it be given the legal right to essentially own Mann's work and correspondence, when they have no relationship whatsoever to him or to his institution?

Seriously, is this what's happening?!

Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII

Anonymous said...

You're much creative, my respect for You!
stop snoring