the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

CUCCINELLI v. MANN

Posted by Jeff Id on May 3, 2010

I first read about this at Tom Fullers blog and later at Climate Audit.  Regulars here already know my opinion of Mannian hockeystickizatoin, and that won’t change.  Ryan left this response in my email with a request to post here.  Despite my dislike of the Mannian work and the shock at seeing it published again and again, I am in full agreement with Ryan on this one, prosecution for his bad work, deliberate or not, is a huge stretch and is probably about fame rather than truth.

Guest post Ryan O

I have to admit that I did not follow Climategate as closely as many.  I did not follow the numerous inquiries, except to read little bits about them on CA and the mainstream media.  Except at the very beginning of the incident, I found myself rather disinterested in them.  So I must say I was quite surprised to find out that the Virginia Attorney General is apparently filing suit against Dr. Mann.  Steve McIntyre is reporting on this here:  (http://climateaudit.org/2010/05/02/cuccinelli-v-mann/).  Apparently Cuccinelli’s justification is fraudulent use of NSF funds.

I will second Steve’s disgust at the actions of Cuccinelli.

This lawsuit – assuming it is allowed to proceed – sets a very dangerous precedent, wherein individual scientists can be held liable for publically funded research by a third party.  This is tantamount to government censorship of science, topped off by a financial penalty.  Such a misuse of our legal system could have far-reaching consequences, none of which are healthy for science.

Unless Dr. Mann took NSF funds and put them in his own pocket (which he did not), this is an entirely baseless accusation.  The result of Dr. Mann’s research has been published in the peer-reviewed literature.  Regardless of anyone’s opinions concerning peer review, that is the wicket for legitimate research.  Adding an additional wicket that one must not later get sued by the government is despicable.

Some of you probably disagree with me, and I am sure you will post your disagreement.  You will not change my mind.  Cuccinelli is a glory-hunter who does not mind endangering the freedom of science for his own personal fame (and furthering his political career).  Therefore, I do not mind expressing my opinion that I hope this backfires quite gloriously on him, and he finds himself out of office and faded into obscurity.

Steve had mentioned that he planned to send a comment expressing his disdain for Cuccinelli’s behavior.  If he is looking for additional signatures, I will gladly sign.


126 Responses to “CUCCINELLI v. MANN”

  1. j fergson said

    Agreed all above, Where to sign?

  2. BillyBob said

    “This is tantamount to government censorship of science, topped off by a financial penalty.”

    Well, they asked for it by censoring and penalizing scientists whose papers they did not agree with.

    I say sue all of them for fraud.

  3. HotRod said

    Interesting that those with reason to dislike Mann and his science, with strong blog voices, have united against Cuccinelli. Steve Mc in particular takes a strong line against the guaranteed waste of public funds.

  4. Jeff Id said

    This was my response on CA last night – while watching the wings loose because of one bad call after another. I was already a little grumpy.
    ———-

    I’ve got a whole climate blog because of Mann. Without his obviously bad work in Mann08 (very different and more simple than Steve’s early Mannian adventures) the Air Vent would be something else. I wrote on Tom Fuller’s blog, the same as I’ll write here. This is nothing but political gamesmanship, and I’ve got no patients for it.

    In short, I wouldn’t care which way any of these committees find, including Wegman, NAS, Oxford or PSU, it means nothing. The guy’s work is crap and any sane scientist already knows it. The recent work isn’t complex enough to require a committee and no decision which didn’t match my own would have any effect on me.

    I’m therefore tired of the political committee games, I’m tired of people claiming to be unbiased and finding Mann or climatgate to be just fine. We’re not that damned stupid and frankly, anyone who makes the claim that Mann’s hockey sticks are reasonable or climategate isn’t proof of the corruption of climate science are full of crap. Flatly full of crap, and I’m not going to give them a moment’s thought.

    This prosecutor is seeking fame, not truth, he should fund the investigation himself if he’s so concerned with truth. Or maybe he should read a book.

    Sorry, snip if you must, but that’s what I think.

  5. j fergson said

    I hope the inquisition drops this thing promptly, but if not?

    If Mann needs financial support to defend himself and it still looks like a witch-hunt, it will be interesting to see the ratio of people willing to kick-in some money on the denialsit side vs the AGW side. I wouldn’t be surprised if denialist support was substantial.

    I would certainly consider it.

  6. Chuckles said

    I am sure that the Virginia Attorney General would also be surprised to hear that he is filing suit against Dr. Mann,
    since he has actually served a request for documentation to support an investigation on the University of Virginia.

    Since the request covers financial documentation, it is difficult to see how this censors science. As the documentation concerns funds granted by the State of Virginia, I’m not sure how the NSF is involved. Other than that, great article.

    The act concerned tasks the Virginia DA with investigating potential misuse of state funds. Clearly Cuccinelli feels this could be the case here, possibly as a result of Climategate?
    Whether anything comes of it will, I suppose, depend on the investigation.

    No, I don’t particularly like the investigation, but decrying it amounts to special pleading that academics and scientists are not bound by the same laws as everyone else. And that, I will not admit.

  7. Garry said

    Ryan O said: “Cuccinelli is a glory-hunter who does not mind endangering the freedom of science for his own personal fame (and furthering his political career).”

    Correct. Cuccinelli is a pol. Just like Mann, Jones, Hansen, et al. who also do not seem to mind pevereting science for their own political and ideological goals.

    So this time Mann the highly politicized scientist – and who has given several **hundred** public interviews since Nov. 2009 – will be pilloried in the correct venue. That’s not in the collegial halls of the academy, but in his actual domain of the moment, which is the sleazy mudslinging pit of controversy and realpolitik.

    Ryan O said “Therefore, I do not mind expressing my opinion that I hope this backfires quite gloriously on him, and he finds himself out of office and faded into obscurity.”

    Yes, and that is the hope we all share for all sleazoid politicians, which includes Mann, Hansen, Jones, et al.

  8. Andrew_KY said

    Woe is us! Science Man is being persecuted by a Meanie. Let us all wail and gnash our teeth. I’m going to flog myself this afternoon in dismay.😉

    Andrew

  9. stan said

    I think it very likely that those who are criticizing the Va AG have no real knowledge about what he is or isn’t doing. I sure don’t.

    If people want to get exercised about political grandstanding, show trials, or abuse of the subpoena power for blatant political manipulation, the ongoing travesties piling up in DC by this Congress and this administration provide far more legitimate opportunities for outrage than this investigation (and that assumes that the investigation is every bit as improper as Ryan ASSUMES).

    I’m curious what forum people think is appropriate for seeking redress, if state funds are secured by scientists through fraud. The idea that peer review should be relied upon by the taxpayers to resolve the matter seems rather strange to me.

  10. Sam said

    Apparently the tea partiers in Virginia believe the same way about Cuccinelli that many of us do:

    It has been said already but I’ll repeat it; this is just more politics, and just because Cuccinelli is probably closer to my political view than Mann is doesn’t mean I’ll support him.

  11. j ferguson said

    Guys, is there any chance this investigation is capricious – not part of a general investigation into use of public funds at the university? is it possible that Mann’s UofV use of funds is the only such use of interest to the AG?

    Chuckles, is there no abuse if Mann has been singled out for such an enquiry – one that is likely to require a lot of his, and other’s, time to assemble the documentation requested?

  12. stan said

    Of course, there’s a chance the investigation is purely a political witch hunt. Just like Waxman’s little snit where he used subpoenas to investigate companies which complied with US law to take charges against earnings due to the new healthcare law. Of course, the companies had done nothing wrong and were compelled by law to do what they did. Didn’t matter. The news that they had followed the law pissed off Waxman and he had the subpoena power to abuse them, so he did. Without even a hint that they had done anything wrong. Welcome to government control of your life.

    Check out Spitzer or Cuomo or any of a thousand other such nitwit poppinjays who abuse the power of political office for political gain. Of course it’s possible the AG is preening for political gain.

    I don’t know. And I doubt anyone else firing broadsides has any idea, either.

  13. Chuckles said

    J Ferguson,

    ‘is there no abuse if Mann has been singled out for such an enquiry’

    Roger Pielke Jr. has a link to the relevant statute in his post on this(thanks Roger).

    http://www.taf.org/virginiafca.htm

    I had a quick look at it, and it empowers and directs the Attorney General to investigate use of State of Virginia public funds for probity in their use.
    Anyone accepting funds from the state for any purpose can be investigated. Interestingly, it appears to be a civil rather than a criminal action, which may be interesting in terms of weight of evidence and procedures.(IANAL!)

    As I speculated earlier it may have been prompted by Climategate, may be politically motivated as speculated by others, could be a ‘whistle-blower’, or it could just be that the statute of limitations is getting close.

  14. PhilJourdan said

    Chuckles #12:

    Well said. Thank you for expressing it so well. As I said over on CA, nothing may come of this. But it is the AG’s duty to look into it. An investigation is not a charge of criminal activity or a conviction. I think too many are jumping to the wrong conclusions.

  15. Andrew said

    I hope this backfires quite gloriously on him, and he finds himself out of office and faded into obscurity.

    What disgusts me is that noone can seem to use a tone which doesn’t strongly suggest they think this is practically an impeachable offense on the AG’s part. Cuccinelli is a good man and on the whole a good AG. If you have a problem with this particular action that’s one thing. But why this justifies people deciding to declare him the devil incarnate is beyond my imagination.

  16. Prentis Kasser said

    If a scientist accepts taxpayer funding then said scientist should be held responsible and accountable for the type of science he/she performs. Often, millions, billions, and ultimately, even trillion dollar decisions are based on the science done by these publicly funded scientists. And you know what? The paying public deserves factual, objective science without the hint of fraud due to a biased political agenda and/or financial rewards. Fraud is fraud and scientists don’t deserve some special pass of “skipping jail” because their fraud was peer-reviewed. You do the crime, you then get to do the time, even if you’re a scientist.

    The reason we’re at this point is because the university officials, the science community, the government science agencies, the self-appointed committees, the press, the regulators and the politicians did not hold AGW-IPCC scientists, like Mann, accountable or responsible for their science and scientific techniques. Because these previous protectors of science truth didn’t do their societal job, it now turns to the courts to determine the allegation of fraud, which is entirely appropriate and reasonable.

    The State of Virginia officials face ‘cap & trade’ legislation and EPA CO2 regulations that are based on the “science” of Mann and others. The citizens of Virginia have a right to know if these policies and regulations that will devastate their state’s economy have been based on real science or bogus science, which was paid for out of their pockets. The citizens of Virginia deserve a legal recourse against alleged scientific fraud that may harm them, and their attorney general is properly providing that solution. To deprive them of that legal recourse because someone has the title of “scientist” is both absurd and obscene.

    Michael Mann put himself in this position and no official, up to this point, has been willing to put a stop to the Mannian science, which is about to deliver onerous EPA regulations, and potentially the insanity of ‘cap & trade.’ Despite the misgivings of McIntyre, scientists don’t get special dispensation in our legal system, thank goodness. Again, fraud is fraud, and those that practice it or condone it deserve the wrath of the public.

  17. Skip said

    Chuckles, it’s definitely broader than just looking at financial info, if you look at the actual demand letter it asks for all communications between Mann and basically everyone in the climatology world, both skeptic and true believer. So barring some sort-of whistleblower we might not know about, it pretty much has to be a fishing expedition.

    Due to the extreme politicization of folks like Hansen and Mann, though, I’m having a hard time finding much sympathy for them. In my view ‘Mike’s Nature Trick’ was scientific fraud, but I doubt that there’s any financial fraud involved.

  18. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    The investigation will probably go nowhere, and for sure it is politically motivated. So while I do not think this will end up making any difference (I think the case will be dropped and Mann will continue to publish generously funded and technically weak papers), I have to admit to being a bit pleased to see a very politically motivated climate scientist being threatened for political reasons. If climate scientists want to avoid politically motivated attacks, they need to act more like honest brokers and less like politicians.

  19. Chuckles said

    #15 Skip,

    Yes, no question of that. But the investigation is financial insofar as it relates to the use of funds, i.e. State of Virgina public money, advanced for a particular purpose.

    So, if you were paid $5000 to build a wall, they’d look at the paperwork, and either inspect or request a report on the wall, both as to it’s existence and suitability to the original spec.

    Similarly, if you were paid to produce a scientific report, measure some temperatures, or do some original research they would probably want some evidence that any monies were in fact used for this, that it was actually done as specified, and that the supplied results matched the specified work. just like the wall being built.

    Given the statute, I don’t see that it could easily be a ‘stitch up’ but it could certainly be inconvenient. I’d imagine the University regularly gets such requests and is equipped to handle them. Again, the request is directed to the University, not to Dr. Mann.

  20. Dear Skip,

    I am not sure whether we agree what the term “financial fraud” means. If someone gets a $500,000 grant because of a research statement where the author wants to continue the research into a shocking new phenomenon whose existence has been demonstrably fabricated in the previous works (the hockey stick graph), it is surely “financial fraud” in my definition and the author should be jailed.

    Dear Jeff Id,

    as my blog makes clear, we don’t agree about this topic. But one particular question: you say that Mann didn’t insert the grant money in his pocket. Oh, really? What did he do with it? Did he give it to charity? Or did he buy a pound of wood from the famous one tree for half a million dollars?🙂

    When scientists in similarly theoretically oriented fields become “bosses” that can employ other, it’s still understood that they can pay a significant portion of the grants as salaries for themselves (the bosses). The percentage may vary – 20% is close to the minimum.

    Best wishes
    Lubos

  21. Jeff Id said

    Ryan O emailed me this, they don’t let him comment at work.
    —-

    Mann is specifically named as the individual under investigation by the papers Cuccinelli submitted to UVA:

    http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/Virginia_Attorney_General_Letter.pdf

    The grants from UVA were also not exclusively Virginia state monies, as UVA receives multi-million dollar grants from the NSF. For example, the Antarctica project listed in the AG’s letter is entirely NSF money (OPP-0125670) that was simply subcontracted out to Mann by UVA.

  22. Jeff Id said

    #18

    The quote you make is from Ryan’s post, so he can argue that. I agree that Mann shouldn’t receive any more money for this crap but what can I do. The investigation is likely just going to be a witch hunt or whitewash as Tom Fuller wrote, and in the meantime we get to pay for that too.

    I agree that there is monetary incentive for Mann to keep doing this work and for his employer to ignore any problems. A half million is the profit from a healthy 5 million dollar company. It’s a lot of money, but people in cushy jobs often miss that.

  23. Chuckles said

    Jeff, Not sure I quoted Ryan anywhere? I agree that I don’t like witch hunts or the like. But if the law says the AG should do such things, then I suggest anyone who disagrees should petition to get the law changed.
    What I will most definitely NOT support is any suggestion that academics and scientists are some special privileged elite group who are not answerable to the same laws as everyone else, and deserve ‘special treatment’.
    There do however appear to be many people who feel that that should be the case.

  24. Kon Dealer said

    Much as I agree with Jeff that the Mann should not have a suit filed against him by the Virginia Attorney General, on the bais that it is “political, I also can’t help feeling that in many ways Mann is getting his just deserts.

    Mann has long played the political game to his advantage, now politics may be turned against him.

    There is a saying “He who lives by the sword…..

  25. Garry said

    Mann is a highly politicized scientist, and as revealed by many of the Climategate emails (not to mention their own persistent and demonstrative behavior over the last decade), so too are Hansen, Schmidt, Jones, et al.

    These are highly politicized people who are fully immersed in a charged and vicious political debate of their own making. Their academic shield of collegiality is very thin indeed.

    Due to their political advocacy, it is fully appropriate that all of them be rousted from their academic seats and be dragged onto the open political playing field by Cuccinelli. That is exactly where they want to be, and that’s where they belong.

    (Oddly, 39 well-known climate researchers are named in Cuccinelli’s official demand letter, but James Hansen is strangely omitted.)

  26. j ferguson said

    I do not think that academics or anyone else should enjoy any privilege with regard to this sort of investigation.

    Maybe those of you who suggest that there is sufficient cause in what is now the public record to at least explore the possibilities are correct.

    I suppose in the best sense of “public murmuring”, an activity that has helped invent and build our democracy, particularly when confronted with what appear to be politically motivated harassments, murmur we must.

  27. Andrew_KY said

    Hey, other people play the Race, Gender, Ethnicity, Victim, Sexual Orientation, and various other Cards…

    Why not play the Scientist Card ’till you can’t play no more? Who cares? It’s all the same thing. Just a diffent name.

    Andrew

  28. Skip said

    Lubos, it really depends on intent – if I’m just not a very good researcher, but I make a good faith effort to do the work you hire me to do, it’s not fraud – but if I knowingly skimp, substitute, or cheat on it, that’s a different story entirely. I’ve read a good chunk of the climategate letters, and to me, in general they seem, mostly, like true believers with a severe case of confirmation bias, not like a group of people conspiring to concoct a modern-day Piltdown Man.

    But, like I said, when they start politicizing the science I have a hard time having sympathy for them when it bites back at them.

  29. Garry said

    Sam May 3, 2010 at 11:14 am said: “I’ll repeat it; this is just more politics.”

    And so too are Mann, Schmidt, Hansen, Jones, Briffa and the rest all “climate politicians.”

    Actually they are only marginally more serious than complete and total charlatans such as Al Gore and Paul Erlich.

    So it is right and proper that all of them be treated as politicians. Because that’s exactly what they are, outside of their day jobs.

  30. Cliff Huston said

    No rational society can grant freedom without the requirement responsibility. Any reasonable defense of academic freedom must be able to show that the given freedom is being used responsibly. In the case of Michael Mann and climate science in general, the climate gate e-mails offered a chance for climate science to show that it was responsible and would correct abuses of academic freedom. To date, that responsibility has been shrugged off and white wash is the order of the day.

    Sorry, but any defense of climate science academic freedom at this point is defending ‘free lunch’ not freedom.

    Cliff

  31. Braille said

    If someone was given government money to produce accurate data/results and it is found that they purposely skewed said data/results in order to get more government money, they should be liable for fraud.

    It seems to me that the only way this lawsuit could be bad for science as a whole is if it is found that Mann did not knowingly create false data/results with the intention of passing muster for his next paycheck.

    If he made an honest mistake, and they charge him with fraud anyway, then science takes a serious blow.

    From reading this blog for the last few months, I’m going to guess that Mann made few honest mistakes.

    On the other hand, I have to wonder if the parameters for continuing to get grant money were designed in such a way that truth wasn’t necessary so much as agreement and support of a particular view of climate science. I’ve read a few quotes here on TAV that seemed to indicate that grants were designed to promote the global warming agenda instead of promoting honest science.

    If that is the case, it should be fairly easy to make a case that the original grant contract was designed in a way that required fraud if the results didn’t agree with the scope of the contract. Which, if I understand correctly, would make Mann not liable for breach of the contract (can’t breach a contract that’s not fairly written).

    So, in the long run, if Mann gets sued, but counters that the contract was designed to force him to commit fraud, perhaps we can see better written grant contracts in the future that allow scientists to publish honest results without losing their grant money.

    And that would be a big win for science.

  32. Shub said

    Jeff,
    I am not sure if you followed Kieth Kloor thread with Dr Curry. Dr Curry had her hands tied because she could not provide any ‘links’ or references to prove that the IPCC process is ‘corrupt’.

    The Russel panel has refused to publish Mr David Holland’s submission. Bishop Hill talks about the resurrection of the Jesus paper in his blog. McIntyre has posted about it. The actual details are in the Climategate emails.

    No wrongdoing can be demonstrated because there is no ‘official’ version of the shameful events surrounding how the IPCC functioned in writing its Chap 6.

    My question is: who will question this particular act of scientific misconduct? No one. Because the IPCC falls under no jurisdiction.

    We are already in the post-normal realm of concentration of scientific authority and dispersive disintegration of scientific responsibility.

    Mann’s work, his hundreds of interviews all fall in the same category. Do we persecute this man and make ourselves look like witch-hunters? Or do we just let it all go?

  33. Given the involvement of the leaders of the scientific community at the US NAS (National Academy of Sciences)and the agencies it controls through budget review (NSF, NASA, DOE, EPA, etc), I agree that Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli is making a serious mistake in filing suit against Dr. ichael Mann for fraudulent use of NSF funds.

    I have personally seen how federal bureaucrats might use such a decision to control any critics. When I spoke out against NASA in ~1972-1973, an investigator was sent to my research facility to look for “missing” lunar samples.

    None were missing, none were found, and the investigation quietly ended after I showed the investigator a complete accounting of all lunar samples received, used and returned to the Curator of Lunar Samples at the Lyndon B. Johnson Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal Investigator
    for Apollo Lunar Samples

  34. AMac said

    McIntyre in the ClimateAudit comments

    …Cuccinelli hasn’t singled Mann out for special attention because he’s got reasonable grounds to suspect the financial probity of the invoices. Give me a break. He’s going after an unpopular figure.

    Cuccinelli’s enterprise is singularly stupid because, aside from anything else, he’s investigating an offence that is not clearly related to verification r2 or that sort of stuff. As a result, he poisons the well for serious critics. Cuccinelli is just as bad as Oxburgh…

    I concur (FWLIW).

  35. Ryan O said

    Science is not decided in courts. It is decided by those methods and ideas that survive both hypothesis testing and the test of time. For the courts to intervene is wholly irresponsible and dangerous. Those of you who applaud Cuccinelli’s decision, what would you say if a similar Civil Investigative Demand were handed out to McIntyre or McKitrick to find out if Exxon had been funding their work? Be careful what you wish for.

    This move by Cuccinelli is not about misappropriation of funds. The State of Virginia has zero evidence that Dr. Mann pocketed any funds, fraudulently submitted invoices, or in any other way misused the funds that he obtained. All the State of Virginia has is what we have: the Climategate emails. Not a single one of them shows a shred of evidence that Dr. Mann (or anyone else, for that matter) fraudulently obtained or appropriated grant money from the State of Virginia or any other governmental body.

    Cuccinelli is attempting to single out one specific individual in order to abuse the justice system to paint Dr. Mann as a fraudulent hoakster. He could care less if he wins the case; winning is not what this is about. All he needs is an indictment and release of the juiciest tidbits he can dig up and his mission is accomplished. He is not concerned with the science. He is concerned only with glorifying himself by undermining some sort of vast left-wing greenie conspiracy by publicly whipping their most prominent scientist. He is one big vacuous walking ad hom. People like Cuccinelli make me sick. They undermine the entire effort to have legitimate, scientific criticism determine the course that climate science takes.

    What good will come of this? Do you think the scientific community will unite behind Cuccinelli? That climate scientists will band together and chant you go on with your bad Virginia self! Get ’em! The scientific backlash at the completely inappropriate government intervention will destroy whatever increase in openness and change in attitudes that Climategate has (directly and indirectly) brought about.

    But cheer it on if you want. Don’t expect me to join you. And don’t expect any sympathy when the government turns the tables against a cause you happen to believe in.

    Science is decided in the journals, not in the courts. And for those of you who complain about the peer-review gatekeeping, that, too, will come back to bite those who continue to do it. Not in the courts, but in the influence and prestige of those scientists and journals who continue to engage in it. It will take longer than you might want, but it will bite them in the ass. And when it does, it will be far more effective than some uber-conservative pol looking to add Dr. Mann’s scalp to his collection of political victories.

  36. Garry said

    Ryan O said May 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm: “don’t expect any sympathy when the government turns the tables against a cause you happen to believe in.”

    “The government” has been denigrating (not simply ignoring) those opposed to global warming zealotry for the last decade or three (a grad student friend guffawed to me about AGW grants at Boston Univ. in the mid-1980’s!).

    And bad Cuccinelli has the gall to do this just when we were beginning to be friends with the cargo cultists and the AGW extremists and the ones who want to put us in jail for disagreeing with their various social progroms!?!?!?!

    Cuccinelli is a pol. Mann, Hansen, Jones, et al are pols. There are no victims here. Stop pretending otherwise.

  37. Stephan said

    I completely disagree. It is the only language these people will understand. They have to be stopped by legal means. I am a scientist myself and I believe that if I had fudged the data as it seems these people have so be it. Its probably a one off that has to be done. It will not have any repercussions in Science in general. This is a very very special case (Climate change) and deserves this treatment otherwise we could all be bankrupted by senseless stupidity!

  38. David Schnare said

    If UVA and/or Dr. Mann misrepresented the science when making an application for funds, they committed fraud and are subject to civil fines under Virginia law and subject to criminal penalties under federal law. The bar is higher (beyond a reasonable doubt of an intent to defraud), so those of you concerned that Mann faces criminal liability because he was sloppy in his work may rest assured that he won’t be going to jail for that. However, if the correspondence documents an effort to bias the outcome of his study and he used that study to obtain further funding, he has committed a civil fraud and should be subject to civil penalty.

    Frankly, I don’t understand why so many are upset with the Attorney General’s efforts. The grant money tree is plucked by far too many who punish their data to get the next grant, and without some enforcement, that only gets worse with time. If you’ve done it, shame on you. If you have tortured data to make a political point under the guise of science, shame on you again.

    I have zero tolerance for misrepresentation of science, and having spent over 32 years as the US EPA trying, in part, to dampen the politicization of science, I’m fed up with it. If the AG finds Mann played fast and loose with the science when seeking grant money, then he and the University should be dealt with appropriately, and others watching should straigten up and fly right.

  39. Stephan said

    BTW if Mann has done nothing wrong this is his opportunity to clear himself and make all us look stupid. If so we should all apologize to him.

  40. Andrew_KY said

    “Science is not decided in courts.”

    What science? Practiced by who? Sounds like somebody is having delusions of grandeur.

    Establishment Science has already been corrupted, so you aren’t really protecting anything by crying and stamping your feet. It has been compromised for a long time, and will continue on being so as long as humans and money/power have anything to do with it.

    You modern scientists may fancy yourselves as your own breed of saint, but I got news for ya… you ain’t.

    Andrew

  41. AMac said

    Prof. Mann should prove himself innocent of whatever charges AG Cuccinelli lays against him.

    Dislike aside, that’s what most of the pro-Cuccinelli arguments seems to amount to.

    To my knowledge, there is no evidence of financial impropriety on Prof. Mann’s part. “Not being very good at your job,” “being political,” “not releasing code”: these aren’t indications of financial misdeeds. Certainly they don’t suggest willful misappropriation of State of Virginia monies.

    Due process? Equal protection? Presumption of innocence? High school civics class?

    Bueller? Anyone?

  42. sleeper said

    You may not like the Cuccinellis of the world, but the fact is they exist – in plain view. Mann et al. stepped into Cuccinelli’s kitchen with their shenanigans revealed by the Climategate emails, and the kitchen’s getting hot. I don’t feel sorry for him one damn bit. Maybe he’ll learn to be what all scientists should be – humble and skeptical.

  43. Tony Hansen said

    RyanO #35 ‘….The State of Virginia has zero evidence that Dr. Mann pocketed any funds, fraudulently submitted invoices, or in any other way misused the funds that he obtained’.

    Ryan,
    Do you know this because you know everything the DA is privy to, or do you know this because you have personally audited the grant accounts of Dr Mann (or both)?
    I have access to neither and I am therefore unable to make, or support, a categorical statement such as yours.

  44. Braille said

    From Ryan O.: “Those of you who applaud Cuccinelli’s decision, what would you say if a similar Civil Investigative Demand were handed out to McIntyre or McKitrick to find out if Exxon had been funding their work?”

    If M&M were given the money to investigate the climate and reported honest results, regardless of the outcome, the investigation is just an annoyance. An expensive annoyance, but still just annoying.

    If M&M were given the money to “find proof that AGW is false” and came back with overwhelming proof that AGW is false, well, they fulfilled contract, didn’t they? If the contract was worded in a way that prevents honesty, perhaps that’s the problem.

    The question is, which happened with Mann? Did he get an open grant for climate science and produce honest/fraudulent results? Did he get a biased grant for AGW proof and produce honest/fraudulent results?

    The first situation means he got a fair grant contract (open), which means that if he produced fraudulent results, he violated the contract under which the grant money was issued to him. If that happened, he should come under some kind of penalty. If the AG’s method is the only way to impose that penalty, so be it.

    The second situation means he got an unfair grant contract (biased), since it required either fraudulent results or heavily-biased-even-if-honest results, neither of which should be allowed to happen in science. I can only hope that if that situation is true, it comes to light in the AG’s investigation.

    Ryan O.: “This move by Cuccinelli is not about misappropriation of funds. The State of Virginia has zero evidence that Dr. Mann pocketed any funds, fraudulently submitted invoices, or in any other way misused the funds that he obtained. All the State of Virginia has is what we have: the Climategate emails. Not a single one of them shows a shred of evidence that Dr. Mann (or anyone else, for that matter) fraudulently obtained or appropriated grant money from the State of Virginia or any other governmental body.”

    Your definition for “misappropriation of funds” is too specific. It should also include a situation where the funds were provided with the expectation of honest reporting of results, and it’s found that the results were tortured to produce a reason for the funding to continue. That is also a “misappropriation of funds” that should not be tolerated in science.

    Ryan O.: “Cuccinelli is attempting to single out one specific individual in order to abuse the justice system to paint Dr. Mann as a fraudulent hoakster…. He is one big vacuous walking ad hom.”

    What if he really is a “fraudulent hoakster?” To be truly ad hominem, the attack would have no bearing on the scientific credibility of his results, only his character. As I see it, if he produces verifiably fraudulent results, that’s what’s important. The fact that it would normally be expected that a “fraudulent hoakster” would produce fraudulent results is secondary.

    Ryan O.: “People like Cuccinelli make me sick. They undermine the entire effort to have legitimate, scientific criticism determine the course that climate science takes…

    Science is decided in the journals, not in the courts. And for those of you who complain about the peer-review gatekeeping, that, too, will come back to bite those who continue to do it. Not in the courts, but in the influence and prestige of those scientists and journals who continue to engage in it. It will take longer than you might want, but it will bite them in the ass.”

    Seems like that isn’t happening reliably. The “legitimate, scientific criticism” isn’t determining the course of climate science, it hasn’t for a couple decades at least. The journals have been publishing shoddy science for decades as well, so that isn’t effective at keeping out fraud, or even cleaning up after honest mistakes. So what we do? Wait until they’ve enacted legislation that destroys the economy before science can get back to being honest and trustworthy? Or do we cheer on the AG who might actually expose the use of grant money for fraudulent science, even if he is likely also doing it for publicity?

  45. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I guess I am little more jaded than some of you who seem to deal with this episodes as though they were unique.

    We live currently in a very litigious country and state AGs have taken to suing just about anything in sight and anything that might help them politically. Think Elliot Spitzer, the Cuomos and that bozo AG from Mississippi who was suing the tobacco companies and making all the talk shows. I believe it was a Louisiana AG who did the Kennedy conspiracy thing and actually brought charges against a man who would not have been charged by anyone but a conspiracy nut. We actually had Oliver Stone make a movie and make a hero out of this AG.

    I am feed up with these AG initiatives, and probably more than most of you and certainly more than the tearful liberals, so sniff-sniff I feel for the Mann, but not any more than others who have been caught in these litigations that many people otherwise do not seem to mind.

  46. TGSG said

    Science is decided in the journals, not in the courts.

    Appeal to authority, I thought we got past that.

  47. Harry said

    My opinion on this is as follows:

    Mann received and accepted funding from Va state taxmoney for conducting research. He will no doubt have done this, as well as he could, no doubt. It may have to do with specific requirements in the contract that have or have not been met: e.g making data, software etc directly available. Some research grant contracts do have such requirements, and it is enforcible if they are not met (socalled deliverables).
    And until now, it is only an investigation. No charges, no allegations whatsoever. So while I do not think the publicity around this case is justified, the investigation itself is without any doubt justified. If Mann has fulfilled his contractual obligations, he has nothing to fear. If not, he will be accountable for his failures. This is our everyday reality: if I do not fulfill my contractual obligations, I will be liable for the consequences.

    Simple.

  48. Black Sabbath said

    If suing keeps Mann on the defensive, it’s a good thing. Maybe it will get some of these other environmentalist wackos to stop lying.

  49. […] CUCCINELLI v. MANN « the Air Vent […]

  50. Kenneth Fritsch said

    That would be New Orleans District Attorney, Jim Garrison, who acted in his official office as a conspricacy nut job and Oliver Stone attempted to make a hero out of him – and I heard a lot of people in the amen choir on that one.

  51. Robert E. Phelan said

    I’m of two (or maybe even three!) minds about this. There definitely needs to be a very thorough investigation and review of the whole climate milieu: science, politics…. but what is the AG looking for? His letter to the Rector at the UV is reproduced here:

    The scope is a “bit” disturbing. If the AG is concerned with the possible misuse of public funds (trips to strip joints, paying off the mortgage, etc.) that is one thing…. failure to comply with the terms of the grants about reporting, data archiving, publishing…. well, OK…. but if he wants to make a case about misrepresenting the data or the conclusions… my personal opinion is that Dr. Mann has falsely misrepresented his results, but there are others who may be better versed, who certainly disagree. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on skeptic blogs replying to people who have strong opinions about the validity of the social sciences… (often engineers!) they often represent points of view I fundamentally disagree with but wich must be addressed.

    Science is not decided by consensus nor by grand juries or prosecutions. Keep in mind, too, that the legal process is not marked by transparency. We’ve been reduced here to speculating about the AG’s motives, what he’s looking for, what his evidence is… all we’ve got, so far, is his demand to the UV, and that is… disquieting.

  52. CoRev said

    I don’t understand all the angst and hyperbole over Cuccinelli’s simple request for ll available and possible evidence to perform a preliminary review. If that review does indicate there is some possibility of legal action, then it will proceed. Will it delve into some of the science? Only if the evidence so indicates.

    Most wanted some kind of better independent review. That’s what is being done. Nothing new or unique here. Move along.

    Sheesh!!!

  53. Ryan O said

    Science has been decided by courts in the past, and the results have not been amongst some of mankind’s finest moments.

  54. Jeff Id said

    #52 I don’t like Mann. I wouldn’t have a quiet drink with the guy. He’s very possibly dishonest in my interpretation, yet I know the lawyer investigating Mann is dishonest. Prosecutors are not driven by things like justice or honesty, they are driven by the ability to convince a jury and gain political points. Mann could be raked through the coals or exonerated, neither verdict will have much to do with the truth. In this case, the only way we find truth is through our own understanding, the rest is just flushing money down the hole.

  55. Andrew said

    I’ll ask again-why are people going beyond just saying Cuccinelli is making a mistake, being political, wrong, misguided, whatever, to attacking his character?

    Whatever you may think of his investigation-whether he should be doing it or not, etc. should have nothing to do with you thinking he should drawn and quartered over this.

    I like Cuccinelli and I dislike Mann. I’m not sure how I feel about this case, but even if I decide I’m opposed, I still like Cuccinelli. Does that make me the scum of the earth as well?

  56. Jim said

    I think most people are missing the real point here. Science and politics should not be mixed. Scientists who politicize their science are just begging for this sort of thing and politicians, well, they always have an agenda. If government must fund science, it should done in such a manner that is divorced from day to day politics. If government wants to involve science in policy, it should hire full time people with PhDs in science that serve only to interpret science, but are not active researchers. Government screws up everything it touches, including science. That’s what I see going on with climate science from the beginning of global warming as a meme to the present situation in which Mann finds himself. He has been hoisted by his own petard.

  57. Nick Stokes said

    Re: Harry (May 3 18:14),
    What did you think of Nixon ordering extra tax audits for those on his enemies list? Of course, if they had fulfilled their tax obligations, they had nothing to fear.

    But it was item 1 of the second article of impeachment:
    “and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”

  58. Mesa said

    The paleo-climatologists have been playing politics big-time with their science, both within their own sandbox and with respect to how their results are portrayed to the public, with the clear intent of influencing policy. I can’t see any problem with another politician taking a look at what they have done with public funds. Have at it. If it places a “chilling” effect on the practice of these type of scientific machinations as opposed to actual science – good! This is exactly the antidote to the inside-baseball reviews that have occurred so far. The point is not to have the attorney general opine on the science, but the process, and to attempt to uncover additional malfeasance in terms of blatantly cooked science served up to the public – not statistical exotica or subleties.

  59. Bill Illis said

    Let’s change the topic slightly.

    Should Mann be allowed to continue publishing in the climate science field?

    Should he be allowed to continue ruining careers and suppressing other science that does not promote the pro-AGW line?

    Should he be allowed to be a lead author at the IPCC or run another “team” that controls much of the science?

    If you answered No to any of the preceeding questions, how can his previous practises be curtailed? Do we just hope? Did his Climategate activities effectively already remove his power on the preceeding? Do we just continue to rely on a Steve McIntyre/Ross McKitrick coming along to moderate the impact of his activities?

    The consequences of his previous actions have been very influential/negative.

  60. timetochooseagain said

    59-

    Should Mann be allowed to continue publishing in the climate science field

    He should no longer get “pal review”. If that means he can’t get published, then that’s what it means. He has a right to try. He does not have a right to succeed.

    Should he be allowed to continue ruining careers and suppressing other science that does not promote the pro-AGW line?

    I think he, and a lot of other scientists should have their undue influence brought in line. There need to be safe guards on attempts to control the actions of journals. To this effect I think we need editors who are willing to come out and say when they are being pressured. Just like a crime, you can try to do it, but you shouldn’t get away with it.

    Should he be allowed to be a lead author at the IPCC or run another “team” that controls much of the science?

    Let’s do away with the idea of “lead authors” altogether. Instead on each topic people of differing points of view should present their case. Mann could write something, but so could some skeptics/lukewarmers/whatevers.

  61. gallopingcamel said

    It feels strange to find myself defending Michael Mann but the Cuccinelli lawsuit is just grandstanding. If Mann were being sued for sloppy work, incompetence or hubris I could support it, but those things are probably not crimes.

    One type of lawsuit that should be used against NASA, NOAA, UEA, Penn State and the usual suspects is their reluctance to respond to “Freedom of Information” requests. You may think that such lawsuits are too trivial to do any good but nothing could be further from the truth.

    For many years I lived at the public trough (research funded by the US government) and became familiar with the leverage that research contracts give to funding agencies. For example, the Department of Defence once forced my university to raise membership fees at its excellent golf club!

    Once you have a finding in Federal court against an organisation with US government research contracts, related payments can be frozen until the issue is resolved. At present it is the government that uses this kind of arm twisting but the boilerplate in the research contracts is written in such a way that Steve McIntyre or Willis Eschenbach could use the same approach.

  62. JAE said

    [snip per user request]

  63. Paul Z. said

    Fraud is fraud. If you don’t pull out the weeds, the crops will die.

    For years now I have been forced to put up with being called a denier and being likened to nazis, all because I don’t believe the science of AGW is as settled as the chicken littles would have us believe.

    Let Mann, Pachauri, Jones, Gore, Obama, et al get a taste of their own medicine for once.

    Cuccinelli may be doing this for personal gain, but he is doing us all a big favoue by putting some fear into these AGW charlatans.

    No need to charge Al Gore with fraud, just get him to agree to a public televised debate on AGW and everyone will see the emperor with his new clothes.

  64. BillyBob said

    Did they get Al Capone for murder or tax evasion? Did it matter? Should they not have investigated him for tax evasion?

  65. CoRev said

    Jeff @ 54and all the others pillorying Cuccinelli, understand there is NO CASE! It is a search for information to determine preliminary steps. It is not about Mann’s science as much as it is about his accounting for grant money.

    At this point there is no there, THERE! If there is a smoking gun it will be about accounting and spending of the grant money.

  66. Greg F said

    Seems there is this assumption that the AG is investigating the science. I see no evidence that this is or is not the case. The first thing I would like to know is what were the terms of the contracts. Has anybody presenting opinions on this issue read those contracts? Raise your hand. Anybody? Bueller? Ah! Nobody has read the contracts.

    I have had a bit of experience with government contracts. Where I work now we are in the middle of a project funded by a government grant. Grants are often structured so that the payments are made at defined points as the project progresses. You don’t get all the money at once. There are deliverables required for each payment. Even if the project is for tangible goods, like a bridge, there are always documentation requirements. I have no reason to doubt that the contracts Mann received money under had similar provisions. I also have little doubt that there were provisions that in effect said:

    1. All data, code, algorithms, ect. generated from the grant are the property of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    2. Payment is contingent on receipt of the items in #1.

    The relevant statute says:
    § 8.01-216.3. False claims; civil penalty.

    A. Any person who:

    1. Knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, to an officer or employee of the Commonwealth a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;

    2. Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim paid or approved by the Commonwealth;

    3. Conspires to defraud the Commonwealth by getting a false or fraudulent claim allowed or paid;

    It may be the case, again I don’t know, that there is something in the emails that is prima facie evidence that Mann withheld documentation under one or more of the contracts. If this is the case then this is not about the science. I don’t know what the provisions of the contract were (I haven’t read them either). If they did require ALL the code, data, and algorithms be delivered for payment, and they weren’t, the claim for the funds would have been fraudulent.

  67. Paul Z. said

    I should add that the AGW scare is really about CLASS STRUGGLE. Those at the top figuring out how to control and exploit those under them in a perpetual game that never ends.

    This will never change as long as two humans exist. If it’s not AGW, rest assured the elites will find something else to scare and exploit the middle class and poor.

    Don’t be surprised if Al Gore starts telling you that oxygen is causing global warming and we need to buy o2 offsets for how much we can breathe.

  68. Jason Chev said

    “Science has been decided by courts in the past, and the results have not been amongst some of mankind’s finest moments.”

    Really? Possibly you can provide court examples versus those exemplary rulings by regulators and science decisions of politicians. Ethanol anyone? (You’re blowing smoke, Ryan.)

    Mann has been widely ostracized on this site in the past for doing shitty science. The shit has now finally landed on Mann in the form of an investigative-legal challenge. If you don’t like the logical outcome of your bitching about his shitty science, then quit bitchin about his “science” in the future on any blog.

    Get over it – Mann did wrong and now he’s going to pay the piper. To expect the science professionals, amateurs (McIntyre) and the journals to address and correct his shitty science has already been proven not to work in the least – Mann et. al. keeps denying and following up with more shitty science. If existing science institutions, associations and publications were really a solution to this type of fraudulent science, this blog (tAV) would not even exist.

  69. […] chickens coming home to roost! ; Cuccinelli vs Mann ; Opponents against draconian global warming laws lining up ; The green stench of selling hot air! […]

  70. sod said

    Did they get Al Capone for murder or tax evasion?

    sorry folks, but this is getting insane.

  71. DJA said

    “When you lie down with dogs you get fleas”
    Mann and the team left science behind to enter the world of politics. Politics is a dirty game and Mann and the team entered this dirty world when they started the advocacy blog Realclimate and played politics within the IPCC. .
    Now Mann is seemingly being used for political purposes, how surprising!
    We shall see how this “Bonfire of the Vanities” (Tom Wolfe) plays out.
    I wonder if Cuccinelli will release any documents or emails to the public, we could have yet other Climategate again. IMHO Cuccinelli is not after scientific truth but a political scalp, from someone he sees to be on the other side of politics
    I deplore science mixed up with politics but I feel Mann has brought it down on himself.

  72. DJA said

    Jason Chev said
    May 3, 2010 at 11:40 pm
    ‘Really? Possibly you can provide court examples versus those exemplary rulings by regulators and science decisions of politicians. Ethanol anyone? (You’re blowing smoke, Ryan.)’

    I would have thought that the “Scopes Monkey Trial” in 1925 in Tennessee, a case which contested the Butler Act is a prime example of science on trial.

  73. Nick Stokes said

    Re: DJA (May 4 00:43),
    “…they started the advocacy blog Realclimate…”

    I’m with Sod – this is getting completely insane. There seem to be many different justifications for hauling MM in for questioning. But if starting a blog justifies intervention by the state AG, then a lot of us are in trouble.

  74. hwsiii said

    These are my feelings on the matter, as I posted on Climate Audit yesterday.

    hwsiii
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 3:07 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I have been a long time reader of yours, and I stand 100% behind your statements that ALL scientists have to stand behind any material that they have published and that has supposedly gone through the peer review process. But the peer review process in climatology is NOT quite the same as it is in the other sciences, and whether it was or not ALL studies should be required to post their data and the associated software so their can be REPLICATION of their results to prove that what they say is backed by VALID scientific data and procedures.

    CLIMATOLOGY is a field that most world governments are trying to PUSH very hard, thus the UNLIMITED funding that is available to the people posting the RIGHT studies,in my opinion. We are discussing the LARGEST transfer of wealth that has EVER happened in this world.

    And anybody who has had as many important published papers as Mann, especially his Hokey Stick which really was SENSATIONALISM and yet NOT true. He should be under the utmost scrutiny, in my opinion, especially, when it is proven that he has virtually LIED in so many of his papers, and that WE the PEOPLE paid for those lies, with our hard earned money.

    There are very powerful people that stand to make TRILLIONS, if the UN is able to push these accords through to a final agreement, and they are using their political connections to make sure the people that get most of the money are the ones that will help them get there.

    Sensationalism is one of the difference between this particular field of science and many other fields. That is why there have been so many scientists willing to fudge their scientific results to make the issue appear so MUH more an IMMEDIATE CRISIS and act like they have all the answers in their little computer models.

    YES, I believe Cuccinelli, HAS to go after Mann, SOMEBODY has to be held accountable for all of the misinformation that has been coming from most of the scientific community about this subject, and EVERY time I read of the supposed investigations into this field it is ALWAYS a WHITEWASH. This is why it is still continuing today, because all of the scientists know that there are no real PUNISHMENTS for lying, because it is what the POLITICIANS want to hear, so they can get their share of those TRILLIONS.

    All that has to be done to make the science in this field BETTER and TRUER is to let everybody know that if they are willing to falsify data that they will HAVE to pay a PRICE for that, and so far it appears that Mr.Jones is the ONLY one that has had any type of repercussions from his behavior.

    Steve, I am sorry I do not agree with you on this particular subject, but in order for the science to be TRUE, I believe ALL of the scientists in this field need to know there can be VERY damaging consequences for falsifying data.

    H

  75. John said

    Sorry, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

    Yes you are accountable for research and funding.

    Get over it.

    I hope Mann suffers, one only has to read his hysterical rantings to see what type of man he is.

  76. stan said

    Nick (57),

    You bring up tax audits. Then someone responds to the tangent you introduced and Sod says it’s insane. Then you agree by taking a comment totally out of context. Curious.

    BTW — the Clintons used the tax audit to harass political enemies and it didn’t bother lefties at all. In fact, during the Clinton years, Congressional Dems wrote letters demanding IRS audits of people they didn’t like. Don’t recall lefties complaining then.

  77. Ryan O said

    I find myself agreeing with sod . . . for perhaps the first time ever😀 . . . and also agreeing with Nick Stokes (not for the first time ever).
    😀

  78. AMac said

    William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

    Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

    William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

    Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

    – – – – –

    Just a reminder. I’m surprised that so many of the posters on this thread seem to need it!

    Who do you think have more friends in high places, with the power and the unscrupulousness to pull these sorts of stunts?

  79. Steve McIntyre said

    AMac, I was thinking of exactly the same lines this morning🙂 (from A Man for All Seasons).

    One of my grandfathers conducted an influential Royal Commission into civil rights, focusing particularly on abuses of administrative prerogative. This is bedrock stuff for me.

  80. Chuckles said

    Amac and Steve,

    I think a number of commentators would give the benefit of law. What they are not so keen on is benefit of clergy.

  81. Jeff Id said

    #80, It’s difficult to mete justice when the process is the punishment and the outcome is moot.

  82. Andrew_KY said

    AMac @ 78,

    You are referencing a different time, and a different place and situation, with different people with different beliefs, and different laws than in the situation that is the topic of this thread.

    You are making a non-scientific comparison. Hiding behind an imaginary notion of ‘the law’, rather than looking at the actual details.

    What is it with you lukewarmers? You can make lines squiggle with the skill of a surgeon, but when it comes to real-world politics, your minds go comatose.

    Andrew

  83. AMac said

    This conversation reminds me of the thread that followed Steven Mosher’s Noble Cause Corruption piece in February at the conservative website “Pajamas Media.”

    Commenters excoriated Mosher for declining to conclude that the Climategate emails proved fraud on the part of Prof. Jones et al.

    Mosher had carefully read the evidence in question. As far as I could tell, none of the commenters had. But, dang it, they knew what the emails would indicate…

    It seems to me that many skeptics of the AGW Consensus find their own positions so compelling, that they forget.

    * Forget that the story is complicated, and is subject on most points to multiple interpretations.

    * Forget that theirs is a minority stance. Most people who know something about Climate issues are largely in agreement with the AGW Consensus.

    * Forget that demonstrations of seemingly-irrational anger are going to be read as negative evidence by onlookers. Hard though it may be to believe: most intelligent, educated people have been paying little or no attention to the Climate Wars.

    Schadenfreude over the problems that AG Cuccinelli intends to cause Prof. Mann is a mistake (ref. Talleyrand).

    The AGW Consensus is a scientific consensus. Amendment will have to come via the mechanisms and institutions of science. The elected AG of Virginia isn’t a player in this sphere.

    The AGW Consensus is also one of the centers of a quasi-spiritual movement. Bullying and the use of State power can turn a leader into a martyr, or into a hero.

    And, as been discussed: Skeptics are the minority party (parties). You’re celebrating the use of this tool in one of the rare instances where your “friend” controls the levers of power. You’re betting that mainstream AGW Consensus boosters are too scrupulous to use this precedent against you, at the time and place of their choosing.

    I wouldn’t take that bet.

  84. Andrew_KY said

    “The AGW Consensus is a scientific consensus”

    No, it isn’t. It’s a group of people who prefer one idea over another. It’s political.

    Andrew

  85. JAE said

    83: AMac: It’s simple politics: We just need to keep the AGW Hoax in the spotlight, so more folks think about it. It will be crushed completely if it is exposed to the “sunshine” of rational thought (maybe it already has been). The AG’s focus will help, as does this blog.

  86. Garry said

    AMac said May 4, 2010 at 9:03 am: “AGW Consensus …. agreement with the AGW Consensus…. AGW Consensus is a scientific consensus…. AGW Consensus is.. a quasi-spiritual movement…. AGW Consensus boosters are too scrupulous.”

    I’d perhaps agree with your points except that they all rest on your red herring of an “AGW Consensus” (capitalized as a pronoun no less) which exists only in the imaginations of AGW hucksters.

  87. j ferguson said

    JeffID said “the process is the punishment.”

    This is one of the best observations on this subject that I’ve ever seen. Thanks much for posting it, Jeff.

    And this is why initiation of an investigations should NEVER be capricious or inequitably applied to a single member of a class which on a superficial level might all share the equivalent possibility of the transgression.

    It’s not “Why me, Lord?”

    The issue with Cuccinelli’s investigation seems identical with Nixon’s tax audits.

    Does Title 1879 “Harassment Under Color of Law” speak to this sort of enquiry?

  88. AMac said

    Re: Garry (May 4 10:03),

    To be clear, I’m using “AGW Consensus” as a neutral term. The general position that “IPCC AR4 is broadly correct” is very widely held among climate scientists. Strictly speaking, is it a “consensus”, where everyone agrees? No.

    Most participants in the debate agree that Radiative Transfer Equations describe heat transfer in the atmosphere, and therefore that rising CO2 makes a direct contribution to rising surface temperatures. So to that extent, most of us agree with one part of the AGW Consensus.

    The AGW Consensus position goes on to state a range for secondary effects of rising CO2, claiming likely large net positive feedbacks, and makes other claims about the validity of GCM models and paleoclimate reconstructions. Are these stances correct, objectively speaking? Well… they are the main underlying disputes in the Climate Wars.

    For me to describe a consensus position isn’t the same as endorsing it.

    Come up with a better term that’s succinct, descriptive, and not offensive to its adherents, and I’ll use it instead.

  89. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    Jeff #81,
    “It’s difficult to mete justice when the process is the punishment and the outcome is moot.”

    Yes, this is completely true. Mann will pay some price for this action by the AG, independent of the results of the case. Should the fishing expedition turn up damaging documents, then it could become very ugly for him.

    But if you believe that all this is somehow “unfair” to Mann, I would suggest that you balance this against the unfairness of his behind-the-scenes activities to pressure journal editors, blackmail journal publishers, rig peer review, etc. Dr. Mann acted for a very long time in ways that can be best described as unscrupulous. I find it difficult to have a lot of sympathy for somebody who has behaved this badly.

    If Mann had said to Jones et al

    “Now listen guys, what you are suggesting here with regard to Douglass et al is really beyond the pale and not appropriate. We should just treat this paper like any other bad paper and send a comment pointing out the errors. I know you all want to limit the political damage Douglass will cause, and so do I, but we must not use a bad paper to justify activities that are improper or anything but above board.”

    and

    “Phil, I must point out to you that destruction of documents to avoid FOIA requests is unethical and probably illegal. I can’t be involved in this and I urge you and everyone else you may have discussed this with to not take any action along these lines.”

    then Mann would have been held up as an example of a scientist with integrity, and I doubt the AG would be after him. But, you know, those were not the things he wrote.

  90. j ferguson said

    Re #89.
    Steve,
    Do you really think pursing someone for one thing because you have a convenient statute when the errors may lie elsewhere is fair? or even legal?

    I don’t.

  91. j ferguson said

    Re #90
    AAAAK. pursuing.

  92. Michael Moon said

    $484K used by Mann to further his political agenda, investigated by Cuccinelli to further his own political agenda. Mann’s agenda is not a pretty one, quite susceptible to close examination. Cuccinelli’s agenda seems to be excellent, defending his state against fraud. Most of the posters on the Air Vent agree that the Hockey Stick was fraudulent, and it was done while Mann was at U-Va. I am surprised at backlash against Cuccinelli, from this venue, as it would seem to me that most posters here would regard this as God’s work. Mann seems likely to lose his PhD if Cuccinalli is successful, and I say “Hear Hear!” His entire career as a “scientist” has been fraudulent, based on lies, and is nothing more than a carefully concocted attempt to provide a plausible basis to Greenies to disrupt our modern lifestyle, cancel our standard of living, send us back to pastoral Stone Age times. Greenies love the Earth, as do we all, but Greenies hate their fellow men!

    Mann has never revealed his methods. McIntyre backtracked them and proved his fraud. Now Cuccinelli wants to make it official, haul it all out in the open in court. I hope that M4GW get in on it too, I would dearly love to see discovery in a lawsuit against them as Mann has threatened, it would hit the Greenies/Alamists/Church of the AGW right where they live.

    Who would not like to watch the RealClimate clowns try to prove AGW “to the preponderance of the evidence?” I sure would. Any conservative attorney would love to be allowed to make them reveal their methods…

  93. BillyBob said

    “The issue with Cuccinelli’s investigation seems identical with Nixon’s tax audits.”

    No. Not even close. The Hockey Stick is one of the greatest frauds in the history of science and I do not care how they get Mann. I would prefer that real scientists hold investigations and find him guilty of scientific fraud, but we now know that that will not be allowed to happen.

    In the same way Capone was allowed to run Chicago and bribe enough police and judges to stay out of jail, I believe the money behind AGW has bribed enough “scientists” to keep Mann out of “science jail”.

    If Cuccinelli can get Mann for fraud I will be satisfied. Because otherwise the greatest fraud in the history of science will continue.

  94. Andrew_KY said

    The law is supposed to be about justice. Not about avoiding justice through legalisms.

    Andrew

  95. j ferguson said

    Somehow, I thought his possible scientific fraud was unlikely to be on this investigation’s menu.

    Did I miss something, here?

  96. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    j ferguson #90

    “Do you really think pursing someone for one thing because you have a convenient statute when the errors may lie elsewhere is fair? or even legal”

    Fair? No! I agree completely, it’s not at all fair. But do you suggest life is, ever has been, or ever will be fair? Do you think Mann treats people fairly?

    Legal? That is a question for the courts. If the UVa and thier attornies believe the AG’s investigation is not permitted under the law in Virginia, then the University has the option to bring a lawsuit against the AG and the state of Virginia to try to stop the investigation. Of course, considering that the law gives the AG considerable investigative authority, and further considering that the University of Virginia is funded by the State, and the scale of legal resources available to the State AG, such a lawsuit may be a very imprudent course of action.

  97. j ferguson said

    Re: #96
    I agree Steve, life isn’t fair and probably cannot be.

    But the Law? And the exercise of the law?

    Where are you, Chuckles, when we need your thoughts?

  98. Braille said

    From AMac: “It seems to me that many skeptics of the AGW Consensus find their own positions so compelling, that they forget.

    * Forget that the story is complicated, and is subject on most points to multiple interpretations.”

    It’s easy to make that mistake when all the “science” that gets published in places like the ICC reports is both definitive in it’s conclusions and extreme in it’s recommendations for action. There is no evidence of “multiple interpretations” or complications in the story in those reports. No admittance to the uncertainty of the science. Perhaps if they were honest about the uncertainties inherent in their climate science, we would not forget this point so easily?

    From AMac: “* Forget that theirs is a minority stance. Most people who know something about Climate issues are largely in agreement with the AGW Consensus.”

    It would be more accurate if it read: “Most people who know something about Climate issues and have access to a microphone or political reporting tool (ICC reports) are largely in agreement with the AGW Consensus.” The history of science tells us that when there is a consensus about something in science, particularly something that isn’t all that certain, the minority needs to be taken seriously, because it’s usually a small group that figures out the truth. The “consensus” is usually the team of scientists that work the hardest to prevent the truth from getting out.

    From AMac: “* Forget that demonstrations of seemingly-irrational anger are going to be read as negative evidence by onlookers. Hard though it may be to believe: most intelligent, educated people have been paying little or no attention to the Climate Wars.”

    If there was a better way to address the issue of fraud in science that has been going on in the scientific community too long and that the scientific community itself has proved it isn’t capable of dealing with, I would be rooting for that “better way” instead. However, this is the first time I’ve seen anyone step up to try to do something about the in a way more solid than words. Do I know if it will turn out the way I hope? No, I don’t, but I don’t hear any more decisive solutions to the rampant fraud being suggested, either.

    From AMac: “The AGW Consensus is a scientific consensus. Amendment will have to come via the mechanisms and institutions of science. The elected AG of Virginia isn’t a player in this sphere.”

    And in the meantime, while the scientific community takes years or decades to get their act together, policy will be enacted based on the bad science. No, I’d rather the bad science be lambasted in the media circus if nothing better comes of it than the politicians are made too afraid of public scandal to be quick to get behind world economy-shattering legislation.

    It’s crude, and a bit disgraceful, but it’s the best answer that’s come up yet. Certainly the scientists aren’t shouting loud enough about going back and fixing all of the bad science to be heard over the Copenhagen crowd.

    From AMac: “The AGW Consensus is also one of the centers of a quasi-spiritual movement. Bullying and the use of State power can turn a leader into a martyr, or into a hero.”

    At least you admit that the science is being affected to a great extent by beliefs of the authors and scientists involved. Maybe if that quasi-spritiual side was more apparent, there would be fewer believers. Martyrs don’t matter if there aren’t enough believers for them, or the believers don’t have enough power.

    Unfortunately, this is exactly why legal means have become necessary. Too many believers in the spiritual AGW movement have too much power of the scientific community, so something outside of that community has to dislodge them from their thrones.

    From AMac: “And, as been discussed: Skeptics are the minority party (parties). You’re celebrating the use of this tool in one of the rare instances where your “friend” controls the levers of power. You’re betting that mainstream AGW Consensus boosters are too scrupulous to use this precedent against you, at the time and place of their choosing.”

    I assumed that the “mainstream AGW Consensus boosters” are exactly the crowd most likely to use exactly this kind of tactic to push their agenda forward. I’m a little surprised that the anti-AGW side got the first punch in, and I fully expect retaliation from the priests of the AGW movement.

    That being said, should a scientist have anything to worry about if their science is sound? That’s like being questioned by the police in relation to a murder. If you’re innocent, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Answer the officer’s questions and comply with the investigation as much as possible. The worst that could happen is the media gets a hold of the information and reports that you’re a suspect (or implies it). Well, that sucks, but that’s how media works. Maybe you’ll get a chance to clear your name, too. Media is fluid like that.

    Of course, if the police come to question you about a murder and you’re guilty, well…

  99. Trevor said

    1. I, as a Virginia voter and taxpayer, support Cuccinelli’s action. The rest of you (except those who also happen to be Virginia citizens) can register your own opinions if you like, but they mean exactly SQUAT. I voted for Cuccinelli the first time around, and now, after taking on ObamaCare AND the global warming hoax, he could declare himself the Anti-Christ, and he’d still get my vote for re-election.

    2. Cuccinelli hasn’t violated anyone’s Constitutional rights. He isn’t even violating Mann’s “right to privacy”. First of all, there’s no such thing in the Constitution. Second, if you put something on a computer that is owned by the State, or a State-funded institution (like the University of Virginia), then there’s no expectation of privacy. To be sure, Cuccinelli’s actions are politically-motivated. And maybe he wouldn’t be so gung-ho about going after a skeptic who did the same thing as Mann. So what? That’s the nature of the game. When Democrats control the AG office, they go after Republicans and ignore equal or greater offenses by Democrats. The Republicans are in control now (at least in VA), and it’s their chance to prosecute all the Democrats that the previous AG let off the hook.

    3. This isn’t about “freedom of science”. It’s about FRAUD. If “freedom of science” means the freedom to cherry-pick data, rig models, and corrupt the peer-review process, then I don’t have a problem with limiting “freedom of science”.

    4. It’s not even really about fraud (though I hope someone finds a way to prosecute Mann for that too). It’s about the use of PUBLIC FUNDS to commit fraud. As a Virginia taxpayer, I’m ticked off that my hard-earned money was used by Mann to commit scientific fraud. And I want the SOB hung out to dry. And I want my State to be refunded every penny that Mann stole.

    5. It’s not about “pocketing” research funds (though clearly some of the funds ended up in Mann’s pockets). It’s about FALSIFYING the results. Mann clearly did so, and should suffer the penalty for doing so. At the least, he should refund all public funds acquired by him related to the false research he published.

    6. I don’t even care about Mann’s motivation for fraud. Some of you are arguing that his actions were those of a “true believer”, and he really thought he was doing the right thing by telling his lies. So the hell what?! If some whacko is a “true believer” in racial purity, and goes off and kills a bunch of blacks, do we let him off the hook because he’s a “true believer”? Hell no! We fry his ass just like the rest of the murderers. (And though “murder” is quite a bit more serious a crime than “fraud”, the same principle applies – there should be no exception for idealogical motivation for crimes. Moreover, if Mann’s fraudulent research ends up convincing governments to enact “cap and trade” or other policies which legally constrain the use of fossil fuels, it WILL result in human deaths, and a hell of a lot more of them than one racist whacko with an AK-47.)

    7. If Mann’s actions were not intentional, that’s another story, and I could see him getting off if the prosecution is unable to prove intent. But that’s what Cuccinelli is trying to establish, whether the fraud was intentional. In deciding this issue, he has the authority to subpoena all documents relative to that decision. In particular, as a State official, he has a right to view any material created on or stored on computers that are owned by the State or State-funded institutions. Mann, as a user of a State-funded computer network, has no expectation of privacy when using that network, and the State has a vested interest in knowing whether that network was used for fraud. If, after viewing these documents, Cuccinelli determines that there was no intent to use Virginia taxpayer funds to defraud the State and people of Virginia, then he will likely drop the charges. And if, in the process, some of the more personal emails that Mann sent on a PUBLIC computer become public knowledge, then that’s just what SHOULD have happened (but didn’t happen) when the very first Freedom of Information Act request was submitted by a citizen of Virginia.

    Regards,
    Trevor

  100. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    Trevor #99

    Wow, you need to calm down a bit I think. Mann will be tormented by the investigation for sure (and by his past actions he has made himself a juicy target!). But it seems to me very unlikely charges of fraud will ever be brought against him. Crappy science is not the same as fraud. I suggest that you don’t get your hopes too high.

  101. Paul said

    If instead of an end product of social change and redistribution of wealth the end research product was regarding a course of drug therapy or product safety, I wonder how many here would defend the publicly funded researcher?

    Validating the services rendered is important to me as a taxpayer, not the possible motivations of Cuccinelli.

  102. MikeN said

    We don’t know what the AG’s motivations are or his line of inquiry.
    I think the Climategate e-mails make a case for investigation.

  103. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I hope we do not invoke the mantra that scientists need more freedoms to do their work as we sometimes infer that journalists need more First Amendment rights than others to do their work. There cannot be any special cases when it comes to protecting our freedoms. This case should provoke a discussion about protecting freedoms and how AGs can apparently bring law suits without regard to those freedoms. Mann is not a special case, but rather he has the same rights and freedoms as any other US citizen.

    I guess what bothers me most about these discussions is the partisan and hypocritical special pleading that is used to rationalize these AG initiatives depending on where they come down on the partisan divide.

  104. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    j ferguson #97

    “But the Law? And the exercise of the law?”

    The law in Virginia appears to allow the AG to investigate any organization or person that has received funds from the State to verify that the funds have been properly used and accounted for.

    The AG probably read some of Mann’s emails, and concluded that his overall behavior is consistent with someone who is less than completely honest. Since Mann received a fair amount of money from the State, it seems tome legally defensible to investigate if the State’s money was used properly.

    I do not doubt that the AG’s investigation is at least in part motivated by political considerations, but that doesn’t mean that it can be legally justified. I also do not doubt that many of Mann’s “unfair” actions have been politically motivated. I just don’t see how/why many people are so outraged by this investigation.

  105. j ferguson said

    #104

    Steve, you said in part: ..”I do not doubt that the AG’s investigation is at least in part motivated by political considerations, but that doesn’t mean that it can be legally justified.”

    Where you say, “..can be legally justified.”

    did you mean top say “cannot” ?

    I do agree with that. But I still would rely most on Jeff’s “the process is the punishment.” based on what appears to me to be the limited scope the pertinent statute allows this investigation.

  106. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    Ugg! in #104 I meant to say “but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be legally justified.”

    Kenneth Fritsch #103

    Maybe what sticks in people’s craws about the AG’s investigation is the feeling of “abuse of authority” in going after Mann. Exact same feeling I got reading the emails about Mann’s efforts to corrupt peer review, blackmail publishers and pressure journal editors to silence people Mann disagreed with…. And that is why I can’t get too worked up about this.

  107. AMac said

    Fraud noun 1 a : deceit, trickery; specifically: intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right.

    [Emphasis added.]

    About 47 uses of the word “fraud” in this thread, so far. In #66, Greg F quoted from statute §8.01-216.3.(False claims; civil penalty) and showed that, indeed, fraud is the key concept.

    Most of those cheering on AG Cuccinelli think that he can prove Prof. Mann’s state of mind. That the work coming from Prof. Mann’s lab was intentionally designed to be a perversion of the truth.

    I don’t know of any compelling evidence that Prof. Mann doesn’t believe in his own cause, and doesn’t believe in his own science. Note that whether the science was properly done is irrelevant to this issue. Whether the results are correct is equally irrelevant to the statute as written.

    You’re claiming that you (or AG Cuccinelli) can peer inside Prof. Mann’s head and know his mental state. Further, you’re claiming that this view of his mental state meets the relevant standard of proof. And that you can demonstrate this to a disinterested party (judge or jury).

    I think this is a fool’s errand. Irrespective of my own harsh criticisms of Prof. Mann’s performance as a scientist.

    For those who are cheering AG Cuccinelli’s actions as payback–irrespective of Prof. Mann’s mental state–see #78, A Man for all Seasons.

    This is a sobering thread.

  108. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    AMac #107,

    Many people here do not seem to claim that Mann acted fraudulently. I certainly do not make that claim. I do not think it likely the investigation will lead to any further action. But I do think that a reasonable case can be made that the AG has cause to investigate. If Mann acted like a saint, nobody would bother investigating how he used public funds. Outspoken, well known people with strong political views, who behave badly in private and receive who public funds are obvious candidates for this kind of investigation.

  109. j ferguson said

    Steve,
    the thing that worries me about this investigation is that it addresses issues tangential to those that concern us here.

    If the investigation went directly to the misdeeds we see in the emails assuming there was a statute on which to base such an investigation, it would be another thing and i think I would support it.

    What may happen here is that Cuccinelli will not be able to discover anything worthy of further pursuit, the thing will be dropped with a finding like “nothing found.” The true believers will then be able to say that the allegations of “whatever” were looked into and nothing was found.

    And they will extend this to his entire life’s work.

    And the sheep will continue to safely graze.

  110. Garry said

    AMac said May 4, 2010 at 10:55 am: “I’m using “AGW Consensus” as a neutral term.”

    When you repeatedly use “AGW Consensus” as a proper noun, you have converted it to a monolith. It’s certainly not neutral.

    In fact “AGW consensus” is a tautology, because there is a “consensus” only among those people who believe in AGW.

    There is no such “consensus” among thinking people or even among scientists generally.

  111. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    j ferguson #109

    “What may happen here is that Cuccinelli will not be able to discover anything worthy of further pursuit, the thing will be dropped with a finding like “nothing found.” The true believers will then be able to say that the allegations of “whatever” were looked into and nothing was found.

    And they will extend this to his entire life’s work.”

    Yes, that is the most likely immediate outcome. But if much of his work really is crap, then eventually that will become clear. I think other climate scientists will rationally look at these events and figure out that behaving like Michael Mann probably isn’t the best course of action. I doubt that there will be much talk in the future about destroying documents, rigging peer review, careful exclusion of “undesirable” research from IPCC reports, etc., etc., etc.

    A few brave climate scientists (like Judith Curry) have addressed the many serious errors of judgment shown in the emails, and this is a good start. Climate science and climate scientists need to become a lot less political, a lot more more open, and to accept that they are in no position to dictate/control the political choices humanity will make in response to warming from GHG’s, whatever that warming turns out to be. The AG’s investigation is just a small step in the process.

  112. j ferguson said

    Steve,
    again agreed to what you say in #111. Except that I had thought we were getting there without something like the AG affair.

  113. AMac said

    [off topic]

    Re: Garry #110 (May 4 12:54),

    > When you repeatedly use “AGW Consensus” as a proper noun, you have converted it to a monolith.

    You have a point. Can you suggest a better descriptor?

    [/off topic]

  114. RB said

    I suggest “AGW enviroberalisticianxists” as something that is likely to be agreeable with the anti-AGW base.

  115. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    J Ferguson #112,

    There has been (I think) more progress in making climate science like “normal science” since the emails were published than in the several years prior. The AG’s investigation is a result of the emails; I do not find the investigation surprising, nor even all that troubling. Just politics.

    Were climate science not overtly political I too would be outraged by this kind of investigation, but right now, all I do is shrug my shoulders.

  116. Trevor said

    AMac (107):

    “Most of those cheering on AG Cuccinelli think that he can prove Prof. Mann’s state of mind. That the work coming from Prof. Mann’s lab was intentionally designed to be a perversion of the truth.”

    There are fraud cases tried and won all the time. If the defendant’s “state of mind” were the criteria of proof, then it must not be as hard to prove as you seem to think it is. In reality, however, I think the only thing the AG needs to prove (in addition to the deception, of course) is the INTENT to deceive. In fact the definition you supplied says something about “intent” (in fact, you emphasized it) but says nothing about “state of mind”. In any event, “intent”, or “state of mind”, or whatever you want to call it, is a crucial element in many, many crimes, yet prosecutors seldom have any difficulty “proving” it.

    “I don’t know of any compelling evidence that Prof. Mann doesn’t believe in his own cause, and doesn’t believe in his own science.”

    Nor do I. But Mann clearly doesn’t believe in his own data, because he suppressed the majority of it, all but the part that showed what he wanted to prove. And he knowingly used a model that spit out hockey sticks even when random data was entered. And therein lies the FRAUD.

    “Note that whether the science was properly done is irrelevant to this issue. Whether the results are correct is equally irrelevant to the statute as written.”

    Hardly. The science being done wrong, and the results being incorrect is half the battle. Doing the science RIGHT and publishing CORRECT results would not be wrong, regardless of intent. So, yes, proving that Mann did the science wrong and published incorrect results is a necessary first step to convicting the SOB of fraud (unless, of course, he’s willing to stipulate to what we all already know – that he got the science wrong).

    “Intent”, of course, is the other half of the battle, and I understand you’re having problems with that part of it. But prosecutors seldom have difficulty proving intent. In fact, it seems to me that, the way the legal system actually operates is that, though the burden of proof regarding the act itself falls on the prosecution, the burden of proof of intent falls on the defendant. If that were not the case, then the so-called “presumption of innocence” in criminal trials (at least for charges where intent was a factor) would include a “presumption of non-intent”, and in every case, the defendant could just say “I did it by accident”, and the prosecution would have to prove otherwise.

    For example, “Your honor, I was just sitting there cleaning my gun, but I had forgot to clear the chamber, and when I was polishing the trigger, the gun went off and shot my wife right in the forehead”. If you accept the defendant’s statement, then the shooting was obviously unintentional, and not deserving of a first-degree murder conviction (though a negligent homicide conviction is a virtual certainty). And just as obviously, the prosecutor cannot prove this to be a falsehood, and therefore, he cannot prove that the shooting was intentional. If the burden of proof of intent always fell on the prosecution, then it would be just that easy to get away with murder. But you seldom hear of murder defendants getting off with that defense. So it must be that, once the prosecution meets its burden of proof regarding the act itself, if there’s a question of intent, the burden of proof then falls on the defendant. Mann’s going to have a hard time proving a lack of intent to deceive.

    Regards,
    Trevor

  117. Garry said

    I don’t think Mann committed fraud in the sense of lying about his results. However over on CA – where quite ironically Steve Macintyre is **adamantly** opposed to Cuccinelli’s legal action – Macintyre also posted several pieces of circa-2005 correspondence about Mann’s withholding of data that (from what I can surmise) was obtained under the specific research grants from the Commonwealth of Virginia (perhaps I am wrong about that latter point). The Virginia fraud statutes which are being cited specifically prohibit the withholding of any results or data in the manner of which Mann and “the Team” have been accused many times over. It is eminently sensible that a researcher cannot accept public tax monies and then assert that “the data belongs to me.”

  118. DJA said

    Nick Stokes said
    May 4, 2010 at 1:27 am
    ” But if starting a blog justifies intervention by the state AG, then a lot of us are in trouble.”
    Nick, this is an absurd straw man argument, I never said that starting a blog justified intervention.
    I said that Mann entered the world of politics and as such he became a political opponent. I stand by this analysis as do many of the bloggers here.

    I believe it was the team that used their science as a political tool in order to change society. They knew full well what impact their reports/papers would have and implemented their strategy within the IPCC.
    Their conviction of their cause is well illustrated in the CRU emails, “bodges”, “tricks”, perversion of the peer review process, suppression of dissenting opinions, taking on temperature records to proxies without sayinf so, are evidence that they knew exactly what they were doing.

    An example of Mann’s deceit is here, June 11, 2008: email 1213201481, http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/1/FOIA/mail/1213201481.txt
    Jones “this is what people call the H index. I’ve tried working this out, and there is software for it on the Web of Science website.

    The problem is my surname. I get a number of 62 if I just use the software, but I have too many papers. I then waded through and deleted those in journals I’d never heard of and got 52. I think this got rid of some biologist from the 1970s and 1980s, so go with 52. ”

    Mann “OK—thanks, I’ll just go with the H = 62. That is an impressive number and almost certainly higher than the vast majority of American Geophysical Union Fellows”

    Would you trust this man? Evidently Cuccinelli doesn’t.

  119. MikeN said

    That could just be a typo, maybe he submitted 52.

  120. Go, AG, GO!!!

    are only way to find the truth!

    Tim

  121. barry said

    If the A/G were to apply this action equally, much of science and the scientists doing it would be subpoenaed. Fraud is a very different kettle of fish to making science using questionable methodologies when there are a range of options, or that comes up with the wrong results. This applies to skeptical AGW scientists, too, which, I’m glad to see (along with skeptical bloggers), support Mann and the scientific method on principle even if they don’t agree with his methods in particular papers. If it goes through, it would set a terrible precedent for the academic freedom.

    Your tax dollars pay for science that is robust and science that isn’t. If scientists aren’t making mistakes, they’re not doing science. When all science is ‘error-free’, then it is dogma only. Mann’s work can be investigated, but the Attorney General is choosing the wrong forum. I hope U of V disputes it.

  122. Nick Stokes said

    Re: barry (May 8 02:31),
    I hope U of V disputes it.
    There’s a problem with taking it to court. U of Va is a state institution, and would be represented by … the AG’s office.

  123. barry said

    Surely there’s some recourse?

  124. barry said

    Seems my wish had already been granted, up to a point. U of Va faculty senate responded May 5:

    ] We maintain that peer review by the scientific community is the appropriate means by which to identify error in the generation, presentation and interpretation of scientific data. The Attorney General’s use of his power to issue a CID under the provisions of Virginia’s FATA is an inappropriate way to engage with the process of scientific inquiry. His action and the potential threat of legal prosecution of scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer-review standards send a chilling message to scientists engaged in basic research involving Earth’s climate and indeed to scholars in any discipline. Such actions directly threaten academic freedom and, thus, our ability to generate the knowledge upon which informed public policy relies.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/UVa%20Faculty%20Senate.pdf

  125. PhilJourdan said

    Amac #107

    You seem to be confusing the law with absolutes. There is no way to “peer inside” of Mann’s head to know, beyond doubt, what his intentions were. But the law is not concerned with absolutes, but reasonable doubt. In other words, the law wants to know if people, seeing the outward manifestations of the accusation, can come to a reasonable conclusion of intent. The law is concerned with means, motives and opportunity. But not in the absolute sense since what is in the mind of an individual is never entered into court (just the perception of the prosecutors of what is in the mind).

    And the kicker is, that is what happens all the time. There is nothing new or sinister about the Cuccinelli inquiry. That it involves a famed (or infamous) scientist perhaps is. But this is not an inquisition as the law that many seem to be ignoring or trashing, is designed to prevent such injustices.

    On one level, yes you can say this appears to be just such an inquisition. But then every prosecution that does not involve an eye witness involves the exact same ingredients.

    What is surprising to me is that somehow, for some reason, this argument is not about persecution, but about elevating scientists to positions above the law. By extension, the same arguments being made here can be made against every business man ever brought before a judge for crimes of his profession. I guess the difference is that business men do not hold the esteem of their non-professional world as scientists do.

  126. […] is in dit geval dat in Cuccinelli’s eigen hoek de roep  klinkt om af te zien van gerechtelijke vervolging, omdat het helemaal nergens over zou gaan.  […]

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