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No scientist had email stolen from East Anglia!

Most people that read this site have likely heard of the emails that were stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU). I would like to offer a few of my thoughts on the subject.

First, catch the people responsible for breaking into the property of the University of East Anglia. Prosecute the offenders to the fullest extent of the law. I am not versed in the laws of the UK but I would assume that each document and email that was illegally stolen from those servers would be an individual count of theft, so the parties involved would be liable for several thousand counts of theft. No one should ever break the law to further their political interest (and remember there was nothing purely scientific in these emails – they are simply emails with opinions and, as such, are not facts). Breaking the law is simply not a way to discuss the scientific relevance of information. So just as I condemn Mr. Al Gore, former Vice President of the US, for suggesting civil disobedience, I condemn the stealing of information from the University.

I sincerely hope that no personal information was stolen to the point that any of the senders or recipients have their personal security or wealth compromised. While we all know that emails are not incredibly secure, the stories of identity theft are countless. It would be a travesty if this crime caused personal harm to any involved. Some of these emails reveal personal information and information about family members so this is a serious issue.

I have reviewed a few hundred of the emails that were stolen.  I had nothing to do with the stealing of these files but they are now readily available on the web so I looked at them. For the vast majority of the emails that I have read, the conversation was the innocent discussion of the global warming topic and typically was regarding the proxy information used to guess at temperatures before decent data gathering techniques and tools were deployed (yes, some would argue that we still don’t have that accomplished). As I stated above, these emails really have no data in them – they are primarily the opinion of the writer of the individual email.

While the emails are only opinion, that opinion is quite unsettling in many ways. Scientists should be, first and foremost, discoverers of the truth. No scientist should ever care which way the data leads them. If the data supports their hypothesis, that is fine. If the data refutes their hypothesis, that is also fine.

After reading the random emails that I have read, I do not feel that a single scientist had his email stolen! If you agree with me that a scientist must first be concerned with the whole truth, then no one that I read would qualify as a scientist! The number of attempts to hide data, modify data, and silence discussion was unnerving and completely unprofessional!

I REPEAT IN CAPS: THESE MEN CANNOT BE SCIENTISTS BECAUSE THEY VIOLATE THE FIRST STANDARD FOR ALL SCIENCE – LET THE DATA DRIVE THE CONCLUSION!

These are the same non-scientists that much of the IPCC conclusions are based on. These gentlemen do not have the authority to stand up and say that they have examined the evidence and the conclusion is obvious. Rather, if they were true scientists they would stand up and explain that some data leads them to one conclusion but a great deal of data, leads them to another conclusion.

We should throw out the entire IPCC findings, fire the people involved, and start over with complete transparency of processes and data. If global warming is found to be true with full transparency of research then that is fine. If the data suggests that we are all not going to die in the desert or a massive flood, so much the better.

I am perfectly disgusted with much of what I read. In particular, Mr. Jones, Mr. Schmidt, Mr. Mann, Mr. Wahl, Mr. Ammann and many of the others should, collectively, be ashamed of themselves. They are a disgrace to the title: scientist.

To substantiate my point, I leave you with a small sampling of text from some of the emails.

Email: 1219239172.txt

From: Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>
To: Gavin Schmidt <gschmidt@giss.nasa.gov>
Subject: Re: Revised version the Wengen paper
Date: Wed Aug 20 09:32:52 2008
Cc: Michael Mann <mann@meteo.psu.edu>

    Gavin,
   — portion removed for brevity and not relevant —
        Keith/Tim still getting FOI requests as well as MOHC and Reading. All our
    FOI officers have been in discussions and are now using the same exceptions
    not to respond – advice they got from the Information Commissioner. As an
    aside and just between us, it seems that Brian Hoskins has withdrawn himself
    from the WG1 Lead nominations. It seems he doesn’t want to have to deal with
    this hassle.
        The FOI line we’re all using is this. IPCC is exempt from any countries FOI – the
   skeptics
    have been told this. Even though we (MOHC, CRU/UEA) possibly hold relevant info
    the IPCC is not part our remit (mission statement, aims etc) therefore we don’t
    have an obligation to pass it on.
    Cheers
    Phil

Email: 1107454306.txt

From: Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>
To: “Michael E. Mann” <mann@virginia.edu>
Subject: Re: For your eyes only
Date: Thu Feb  3 13:11:46 2005

    Mike,
   — portion removed for brevity and not relevant —
    Phil
   At 15:26 02/02/2005, you wrote:

     Thanks Phil,
     Yes, we’ve learned out lesson about FTP. We’re going to be very careful in the future
     what gets put there. Scott really screwed up big time when he established that directory
     so that Tim could access the data.
     Yeah, there is a freedom of information act in the U.S., and the contrarians are going
     to try to use it for all its worth. But there are also intellectual property rights
     issues, so it isn’t clear how these sorts of things will play out ultimately in the U.S.
     I saw the paleo draft (actually I saw an early version, and sent Keith some minor
     comments). It looks very good at present–will be interesting to see how they deal w/
     the contrarian criticisms–there will be many. I’m hoping they’ll stand firm (I believe
     they will–I think the chapter has the right sort of personalities for that)…
     Will keep you updated on stuff…
     talk to you later,
     mike
     At 09:41 AM 2/2/2005, Phil Jones wrote:

      Mike,
         I presume congratulations are in order – so congrats etc !
      Just sent loads of station data to Scott.  Make sure he documents everything better
      this time !  And don’t leave stuff lying around on ftp sites – you never know who is
     trawling
      them.  The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear
     there
      is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than
     send
      to anyone.  Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within
      20 days? – our does !  The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it.
     We also
      have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried
      email when he heard about it – thought people could ask him for his model code.  He
      has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that.  IPR should be relevant
     here,
      but I can see me getting into an argument with someone at UEA who’ll say we must adhere
      to it !
    — portion removed for brevity and not relevant —
      Cheers
      Phil
   — portion removed for brevity and not relevant —

Email: 1212073451.txt

From: Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>
To: “Michael E. Mann” <mann@meteo.psu.edu>
Subject: IPCC & FOI
Date: Thu May 29 11:04:11 2008

          Mike,

              Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?
    Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.
        Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same?  I don’t
    have his new email address.
        We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.
    I see that CA claim they discovered the 1945 problem in the Nature paper!!
    Cheers
    Phil

   — portion removed for brevity and not relevant —

Email: 1189722851.txt

   — portion removed for brevity and not relevant —
—–Original Message—–
From: Phil Jones [mailto:p.jones@uea.ac.uk]
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:30 AM
To: Wahl, Eugene R; Caspar Ammann
Subject: Wahl/Ammann

  Gene/Caspar,
     Good to see these two out. Wahl/Ammann doesn’t appear to be in CC’s
  online first, but comes up if you search.
     You likely know that McIntyre will check this one to make sure it
hasn’t
  changed since the IPCC close-off date July 2006!
     Hard copies of the WG1 report from CUP have arrived here today.

  Ammann/Wahl – try and change the Received date!  Don’t give those
skeptics something
  to amuse themselves with.

  Cheers
  Phil

Email: 1047388489.txt

From: “Michael E. Mann” <mann@virginia.edu>
To: Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>,rbradley@geo.umass.edu, mhughes@ltrr.arizona.edu,srutherford@gso.uri.edu,tcrowley@duke.edu
Subject: Re: Fwd: Soon & Baliunas
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 08:14:49 -0500
Cc: k.briffa@uea.ac.uk,jto@u.arizona.edu,drdendro@ldeo.columbia.edu, keith.alverson@pages.unibe.ch,mmaccrac@comcast.net,jto@u.arizona.edu, mann@virginia.edu

   Thanks Phil,
   (Tom: Congrats again!)
   The Soon & Baliunas paper couldn’t have cleared a ‘legitimate’ peer review process
   anywhere. That leaves only one possibility–that the peer-review process at Climate
   Research has been hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board. And it isn’t just De
   Frietas, unfortunately I think this group also includes a member of my own department…
   The skeptics appear to have staged a ‘coup’ at “Climate Research” (it was a mediocre
   journal to begin with, but now its a mediocre journal with a definite ‘purpose’).
   Folks might want to check out the editors and review editors:
   [1]http://www.int-res.com/journals/cr/crEditors.html
   In fact, Mike McCracken first pointed out this article to me, and he and I have discussed
   this a bit. I’ve cc’d Mike in on this as well, and I’ve included Peck too. I told Mike that
   I believed our only choice was to ignore this paper. They’ve already achieved what they
   wanted–the claim of a peer-reviewed paper. There is nothing we can do about that now, but
   the last thing we want to do is bring attention to this paper, which will be ignored by the
   community on the whole…
   It is pretty clear that thee skeptics here have staged a bit of a coup, even in the
   presence of a number of reasonable folks on the editorial board (Whetton, Goodess, …). My
   guess is that Von Storch is actually with them (frankly, he’s an odd individual, and I’m
   not sure he isn’t himself somewhat of a skeptic himself), and without Von Storch on their
   side, they would have a very forceful personality promoting their new vision.
   There have been several papers by Pat Michaels, as well as the Soon & Baliunas paper, that
   couldn’t get published in a reputable journal.
   This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the
   “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal!
   So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a
   legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate
   research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.  We would also
   need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently
   sit on the editorial board…
   What do others think?
   mike
     — portion removed for brevity and not relevant —

Email: 1089318616.txt

From: Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>
To: “Michael E. Mann” <mann@virginia.edu>
Subject: HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL
Date: Thu Jul  8 16:30:16 2004

    Mike,
       Only have it in the pdf form. FYI ONLY – don’t pass on. Relevant paras are the last
    2 in section 4 on p13.  As I said it is worded carefully due to Adrian knowing Eugenia
    for years. He knows the’re wrong, but he succumbed to her almost pleading with him
    to tone it down as it might affect her proposals in the future !
       I didn’t say any of this, so be careful how you use it – if at all. Keep quiet also
    that you have the pdf.
      The attachment is a very good paper – I’ve been pushing Adrian over the last weeks
    to get it submitted to JGR or J. Climate. The main results are great for CRU and also
    for ERA-40. The basic message is clear – you have to put enough surface and sonde
    obs into a model to produce Reanalyses. The jumps when the data input change stand
    out so clearly. NCEP does many odd things also around sea ice and over snow and ice.
       The other paper by MM is just garbage – as you knew. De Freitas again. Pielke is also
    losing all credibility as well by replying to the mad Finn as well – frequently as I see
   it.
       I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep
   them
    out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !
    Cheers
    Phil
      — portion removed for brevity and not relevant —

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11 Responses to “No scientist had email stolen from East Anglia!”

  1. […] is an excellent analysis of the inherent problems that have been exposed by the stolen emails from CRU. While the stealing of the emails is a crime that must be punished, the conclusion from these […]

  2. Is it theft? Well there is a whistle blower’s defence in UK law.

    So if the emails show illegal activity, the person who has leaked or hacked has a defense.

    Now destroying data subject to an FOI request is a criminal offence. Even if you don’t do it, discussing it with others is conspiracy, and that is a criminal offence in the UK.

    Threatening to beat people up in the UK is a criminal offence.

    So its pretty likely whoever took them or leaked them hasn’t broken the law. Plus you are unlikely to get a conviction in the wake of MP’s expenses where a similar scenario took place.

  3. Don’t forget too. We have pretty conclusive evidence here that the science behind AGW is being faked. That costs people money.

    1. The CRU has been funded with millions of taxpayer’s money. Doing that on the basis of false results is fraud.

    2. We have to pay the bill for AGW and its ‘mitigation’. If AGW doesn’t exist, then the taxpayer is out by trillions. That’s fraud too.

  4. I am not a lawyer nor am I familiar with UK laws. My presumption is that in order to get access to the emails, at least some violations of laws were accomplished. I do not think that because someone else broke the law, then you are allowed to break the law but, as I said, I am not a lawyer.

    I will moderate my post and simply say that if laws were broken then the perpetrator(s) should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

  5. No, I state it again. In the UK, you have a valid defence if you have done it for purposes of whistle blowing.

    The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 protects workers who ‘blow the whistle’ about wrongdoing. It applies where a worker has a reasonable belief that their disclosure tends to show one or more of the following offences or breaches:

    * a criminal offence;
    * the breach of a legal obligation;
    * a miscarriage of justice;
    * a danger to the health and safety of any individual;
    * damage to the environment; or
    * deliberate covering up of information tending to show any of the above.

    Destroying data subject to an FOI request in the UK is a criminal offence. Since the emails state they would rather destroy and may well have done, data subject to the request, the whistleblower is protected.

    In reality, there is a further test. The CPS (Crown prosecution service) has to assess whether or not there is a realistic chance of a prosecution. It wouldn’t win, in particular post the Expenses scandal in the UK. Here MPs have been committing fraud on mass. A whistleblower leaked the information on the scams to the Telegraph newspaper. No prosecution took place in that case.

    Nick

  6. Nick –

    I am not nearly as well versed in UK laws as you appear to be. I will defer to you.

  7. […] on the current discussion regarding the stolen emails from East Anglia. You can read more here. AKPC_IDS += "730,";Popularity: unranked [?]SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Interview with both sides […]

  8. FWIW, under U.S. law, a valid defense (as I read Nick’s posts, I assume this is the UK equivalent of our affirmative defense) does not negate the fact that laws were broken (the prosecution may still have successfully proved its case), it merely allows a perpetrator to escape punishment .

    “He’s guilty, but with a really good excuse.”

    As a practical matter, this is an unimportant distinction, but if UK law is the same as US law, then it has relevance to the disagreement between Nick and the Admin–they may both be right.

  9. Don’t forget too that there is a huge assumption that the emails were hacked.

    1. It depends on the location of the hacker. They may well be operating under a set of laws where it is not illegal.

    2. How do you know they were hacked? One of the CRU workers may well have walked out with them on a memory stick.

    There are as many assumptions in the allegations of illegality as there are assumptions in the research

  10. Actually, Nick, you may have a point on number 2. We don’t know who released the emails so it is quite possible that s/he was not breaking the law. The release could have been made with a member of the staff that did not have to hack the server to get access. In that case, the charge of hacking may not be relevant. In addition, it could have been released by all the people that owned the the emails (the original authors such as Dr. Mann) in which case it is possible that no laws were broken. Surely it is not illegal for one to post an email that one has written. Since we don’t know who released the emails then we don’t know what laws were broken.

    I amend my stance to be that IF any laws were broken then the full power of the law should be applied to them.

    Regarding your first statement. I know for sure that would be a major violation of laws. UK is a signatory of several treaties that would enforce one or more laws if a foreign person would access the server without specific permission and remove files without specific permission. Also, as I understand it, the whistleblower statutes would not be in affect in this case as the whistleblower doesn’t cover foreign acts nor does it cover moving files out of the territory of the UK. The person may not be guilty of a law in Russia (or Iraq/Kuwait/Venezuala/etc.) but would surely be breaking UK laws.

  11. You said

    “I sincerely hope that no personal information was stolen to the point that any of the senders or recipients have their personal security or wealth compromised. While we all know that emails are not incredibly secure, the stories of identity theft are countless. It would be a travesty if this crime caused personal harm to any involved. Some of these emails reveal personal information and information about family members so this is a serious issue.”

    I to wish no harm on these scientists families,However if…and it appears quite likely from quotes I’ve read….these people manipulated the truth and hid evidence to support a theory that has cost money, time, conveniences and loss of freedoms for most all people on earth while making a great living, I would be happy to see them loose their wealth and spend a good deal of time in a very insecure place called prison.

    Their are many lesser criminals in such places now.