PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release Washington, D.C. January 25, 2012
On Tuesday the American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center sent the University of Virginia and Michael Mann copies of 40 emails selected as examples of the 27 categories identified as benefitting from the Court’s review of UVA and Mann’s claims that emails in the taxpayer-funded school’s possession are properly subject to the specific exemptions under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA). These categories range from discussions of professional retaliation against other scientists who challenged Mann’s work, to those sent to or from Mann from or copying an email account covered by other FOI laws, such as the federal Freedom of Information Act.
This was part of a process agreed to by ATI, the University and Mann’s attorneys as ATI continues to seek Thomas Jefferson’s university to release a cache of 12,000 emails covered under VFOIA that tell an important part of the history of climate alarmism and the often unsettling ways taxpayer money was spent in promoting it.
“The UVA emails are a key part of a history that taxpayers are trying to piece together to place the early climate alarmism, and taxpayer financing of it, in context,” said Dr. David Schnare, Director of the ATI Environmental Law Center. “The alarmist professors who in some of these emails speak about ‘the cause’ have complained that their emails have been taken out of context. Release of the full UVA email collection, all sent or received by Mann after expressly agreeing he had no ownership of or expectation of privacy about them, will provide that context. Considering the behavior of this former UVA professor as documented in many emails already available to the public, these emails are the only means he has to claim exoneration without being accused of a whitewash.”
The selected emails include graphic descriptions of the contempt a small circle of largely taxpayer-funded alarmists held for anyone who followed scientific principles and ended up disagreeing with them. For example, in the fifteenth Petitioners’ Exemplar (PE-15), Mann encourages a boycott of one climate journal and a direct appeal to his friends on the editorial board to have one of the journal’s editors fired for accepting papers that were carefully peer-reviewed and recommended for publication on the basis that the papers dispute Mann’s own work. In PE-38, he states that another well respected journal is “being run by the baddies,” calling them “shills for industry.” In PE-39 Mann calls U.S. Congressmen concerned about how he spent taxpayer money “thugs”.
PE-18, 20 & 27 illustrate the typical fashion with which Mann used a UVa email account to accuse co-authors and other respected scientists of incompetence, berating them in emails copied to colleagues living throughout the world. UVA claims this is somehow exempt from VFOIA as scientific research.
In PE-22, Mann alludes to his “dirty laundry” which cannot come out, requesting his correspondent to not pass the email or the data attached to it to anyone else (UVa has claimed no attachments to any emails were preserved on their system). In this email, Mann admits he has failed to follow the most basic tenet of science, to keep a record of exactly what he did in his research, and thus himself could not reproduce his own results.
PE-24 & 25 characterize the efforts of this small group of academics to hide what they are doing and to avoid their work being held up to inspection under the Freedom of Information Act. In PE-26, Mann goes so far as to ask a federal employee — impossibly, as he send it to an email account subject to the federal FOIA — to “treat this email as confidential” though all the email does is complain about a Wall Street Journal author’s efforts to report the science impeaching Mann’s early work. PE-26, like many other emails UVA wishes to keep secret, is subject to release under the federal FOIA.
These emails, if honestly representative of the entire collection, do not make Virginians proud of having paid Mann’s salary. “ATI, like Greenpeace and its peers, as well as the media, is committed to using transparency laws to make science and government policy open to the citizens who underwrite it, to the exclusion of properly exempt information such as proprietary material,” said Chris Horner, ATI’s Director of Litigation. “Universities are routinely asked to produce emails under FOIA, and most do so quickly. This has recently been proved true at another Virginia university when the media sought emails of a Mann critic. Why UVA wishes to boast of such outlier status within the academic community makes one ask, ‘what is it they are trying to hide?’”
The Petitioners’ Exemplars are available at ATI’s site.
If you wish an interview with Dr. Schnare or Mr. Horner, please contact ATI at email@example.com.
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