Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I've been paged


Again
at WUWT

I responded there at about 7.30pm 29 May here (2.30 am PDST). My posts there now just disappear - I think into the spam bucket. We'll see if it appears.

24 comments:

  1. Many of my polite but critical comments never appear on WUWT. They look for the silliest reason to not publish them.

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    1. I've not had trouble, even when I've been critical of Anthony (and I'll say I've been much less polite than Nick in pointing out absolutely retarded nonsense like the Watts/D'Aleo SPPI swill, strong opinions I don't lack).

      Anyway, this is complete idiocy on Anthony's part, and most people (except the foam at the mouthers) probably secretly wish Anthony would get over this childish idiocy. I have never seen this before, but the blog owner here is the troll. Weird. Screwed up. Strange.

      Nick you have my complete sympathy on this one. Even if I don't entirely agree with you on this issue, what he's done is wrong.

      I'm not actually sure why you bother replying to it. The best remedy to trolls is to act is if they don't exist, and let intelligent people sort things for themselves.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Carrick,
      I mainly continue because I have a thing about trying to get facts set right.

      My status at WUWT at he moment is rather odd. For high-profile occasions like this I seem to get very prompt treatment - possibly better than normal. But I suspect "troll bin" is actually spam bin with manual retrieval. And for more routine threads, no-one bothers to look for my posts. I've written a couple, quite factual, that just haven't appeared.

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  2. As I have been banned from WUWT perhaps these may clear the air!

    Warning graphic language in emails!
    http://www.readfearn.com/2011/06/emails-reveal-nature-of-attacks-on-climate-scientists/

    I understand there were several incidents at the ANU in early 2010. On two separate occasions, individuals had walked into institute premises demanding to see particular staff members. Both individuals were acting “aggressively”, professor Steffen said. The institute’s offices were on the ground floor with open access with no security restrictions. The institute’s website had also been subjected to what professor Steffen described as a “cyber attack”.
    http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/05/07/hate-campaign-against-climate-scientists-went-beyond-emails/?wpmp_switcher=mobile&wpmp_tp=1

    MIT Climate Scientist's Wife Threatened In A "Frenzy of Hate"
    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/01/mit-climate-scientists-wife-threatened-frenzy-hate

    "I have hundreds" of threatening emails, Stephen Schneider, a climatologist at Stanford University in California, told Tierramérica.
    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50607

    Dr Wigley what can you tell me about these death threats?

    TOM WIGLEY: Well there've been a number of abusive and threatening emails that have been sent to a number of the protagonists here, and I'm not going to mention the names of the individuals but it does include me, and those things are very worrying.

    I've been asked not to say anything about the details of these threats but I can at least say that the FBI in the USA and the police in England are taking these things seriously and are investigating the sources of the threatening emails as well as they can.

    And you know, while the investigation is going on it's really not possible for me to say any more and I've been asked not to say any more.
    http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2009/s2766202.htm

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  3. Do you get the feeling that Anthony and crowd don't welcome you? Do you have any question of why that might be?

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    1. I'm reminded of the old song,
      Two lovely black eyes,
      Oh what a surprise,
      Simply for telling a bloke he was wrong,
      Two lovely black eyes

      Delete
  4. No one should expect this to happen:
    "individuals had walked into institute premises demanding to see particular staff members. Both individuals were acting “aggressively”"

    Comments at wuwt seem to say this is no problem but then you get this from watts when his work place is invaded:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/07/a-note-about-boundaries/

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  5. It's amazing how the WUWTians interpret all of this as 'there has been no death threats evah! them sientists are lying again! tey should all be hanged!'

    And none of them will watch the Media Watch report that explains the whole thing...

    Amazing, but not surprising.

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    1. As I've said on other threads there are three issues, 1) abusive letters (wishing you were hit by a bus is not a death threat for example---I don't wish that), 2) claims of death threats need substantive evidence for their existence, and 3) the evidence needs to have existed and been in position of the Canberra Times at the point the article was written. Even if death threats were uncovered later (which I don't think there's substantive evidence for this), this doesn't demonstrate that the Canberra Times behaved responsibly based on the information they had available.

      (OTH, it would be helpful if some of the more neutral of you were willing to admit when climate scientists---who are human after all, flawed like the rest of us, and perfectly capable of totally muddling things up----make mistakes and go on with life, instead of entrenching yourself in a position of total inflexibility that nothing they did could possibly be construed by a reasonable person as flawed. Just saying.)

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    2. * and been in possession

      'friggin autocorrect.

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  6. Looks like Anthony has embraced his inner Saul Alinksy:

    13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and 'frozen.'...

    It's important to him to ridicule and silence opposing voices. Indeed, it is essential tactic of that whole tribe.

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  7. Carrick,
    I think the Media Watch article has clarified quite a lot. It seems the Canberra Times article was well-sourced from scientists. It mentioned death threats only marginally. The later amplification occurred mainly within the press, starting with the ABC.

    I've posted the exchange between Prof Chubb and Sen Ryan. It also clarifies quite a lot. He was V-C in 2010 and authorised the move of CCI to secure quarters (keycard - common at ANU). MW criticised the Canberra Times for reporting this, but without a date, which allowed some later mis-reporting. Chubb says that at the time he was responding to some unwelcome visits and some unpleasant emails. He makes it clear that there was no talk there of death threats, and he saw no need for major investigation. People worried, he solved the problem, end of story.

    So yes, I don't think there's evidence scientists were at fault. A modest worry with a proportionate response. Even the unsought Canberra Times publicity was reasonable. The hyping was in the press, and possibly in the later V-C's statement, though there's some doubt about what he said.

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  8. Nick: I think the Media Watch article has clarified quite a lot. It seems the Canberra Times article was well-sourced from scientists. It mentioned death threats only marginally. The later amplification occurred mainly within the press, starting with the ABC.

    Yes this is a good point. I have to keep reminding myself that Canberra Times wasn't really the main originator of the death threat meme. And it's easy enough to get the semantics a bit off, especially when somebody is writing something that feels threatening, and reporters aren't known for their keen awareness of semantical distinctions in any case, etc..

    In this case (having suffered through directly or by proxy similar media over-reactions), I can appreciate that the scientists have been put an awkward position. I of course have no problem with them being moved to a more secure location.

    Ron the only other comment I have is about ridicule... I think it is an essential tactic of tribes in general, not just that tribe. Not that this excuses the tribal leader from engaging in ridicule, that's just bullying behavior.

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  9. Somehow this one really bothers me.

    Anthony should have the balls to come to this forum to debate this issue, or choose a neutral forum where he can't control the debate.

    It seems he's so secure about himself on this issue, that he will only debate it when the opposition view is tightly monitored and he's surrounded by a home crowd.

    What bollox.

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  10. I'm a bit surprised that Anthony is so exercised about this issue. Considering how upset he was when that journalist/blogger showed up at his office a couple of years ago, I would have thought he'd be more sympathetic.

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  11. Nick,

    You write,

    ...I don't think there's evidence scientists were at fault. A modest worry with a proportionate response. Even the unsought Canberra Times publicity was reasonable. The hyping was in the press, and possibly in the later V-C's statement, though there's some doubt about what he said.

    I beg to differ.

    1) Since the scientists knew that the reports about death threats were wrong, why didn't they say anything? Imagine if it was the other way around and an incorrect story had implied doubt about climate change in some way. They would have immediately issued a statement condemning the media reporting. By staying silent they were complicit.

    2) Why did they try to evade the FOIA requests? They claimed concern about their privacy and this was dismissed as unwarranted by the Privacy Commissioner. Having now seen the content, the concerns about privacy appear to be ridiculous. Also, why was there no similar concerns about privacy when the Media Watch segment revealed a good deal of additional hate mail?

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    1. Alex,
      "Since the scientists knew that the reports about death threats were wrong, why didn't they say anything?"
      Which scientists knew that? And how? Each scientist knows what he has received, but how does he know, any better than you or I, whether anyone anywhere received a death threat?

      "Why did they try to evade the FOIA requests?"
      No-one tried to evade FOIA requests. There is an exemption for release of information where the release could endanger someone. ANU would have felt that a difficult situation had passed and that nothing but harm could come of stirring it up again. As a responsible employer they made the only decision they could. The safety of their staff comes first. It is for the Privacy Commissioner to rule on the balance between risk and public interest.

      And in fact the Commissioner did rule that the documents are exenpt for that reason. But he varied the original ruling to say that with suitable redactions the docs could be released, since harm was possible but "not a real chance". It takes a person in that position to make such a ruling. No responsible employer could do something where harm to staff is possible, even if not a "real chance".

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    2. Correction - I see that he ruled the docs exempt under S 47 F (privacy) rather than s 37.

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  12. Nick,

    It is just not plausible. Let's take a step back. On June 4 2011 a headline appears,

    Several of Australia's top climate change scientists at the Australian National University have been subjected to a campaign of death threats, forcing the university to tighten security. ... it has been happening for the past six months and the situation has worsened significantly in recent weeks.

    Anyone at the ANU - indeed any member of the public - can work out that 'several of Australia's top climate change scientists at the ANU' can only refer to a handful of individuals. These individuals in turn know each other very well.

    Any one of these can easily find out who talked to the ABC. They can easily discuss exactly what was said to the journalist in order to cause him/her to believe that the 'death threat' situation has 'worsened significantly in recent weeks'. They can, and must have, easily come to the conclusion that the story was grossly misreported.

    Certainly Prof. Chubb knew it wasn't true.

    Professor Chubb ... denied any of [the emails] had included death threats as was widely reported. "They were at least abusive but let me be clear . . . I didn't read the emails. I trusted the man who came to me, he was a senior member of the staff and he represented concerns of the staff to me," Professor Chubb said.

    "For the record, there were no alleged death threats except when journalists picked up the story."


    Even the wording of the internal email (doc #10) suggests that it was known that this story was a media beat-up and not based on truth.

    As you may be aware there have been several media reports of threats that have been made against members of the Climate Change Institute.

    Notice that it doesn't say, 'As you are probably aware, some members of the CCI received death threats'.

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    1. Alex,
      "Any one of these can easily find out who talked to the ABC."
      No need. The ABC said that was what Prof Ian Young, then (and now) V-C, said during an on-air interview, though they are paraphrasing, probably inaccurately. Unfortunately, there is now no recording. However, Prof Young apparently still affirms that there were death threats during this period.

      But if you're suggesting that the "leading scientists" should have jumped into print to say the story was false, they'd need to have more faith in the literal correctness of press stories than most people have. If they had in fact received none, it may be that the ABC (or V-C) is stretching the death threat aspect, or who constitutes a top scientist or the time period - who knows?

      "Certainly Prof. Chubb knew it wasn't true."
      No, certainly not. I don't know how many times it has to be said, but Chubb was not V-C in this period, or at least he finished in Feb (and was probably using up his leave before that). And the Australian has been misleading in that report, in my opinion. The context of his statement is here.

      Prof. Chubb: As a responsibility to staff, I moved them. That is it. I do not think you can find a quote attributed to me where I said they had received death threats.
      Senator RYAN: Professor Chubb, maybe this is the reason you reacted before. At no point have I mentioned your name in respect of this at this point. I am merely trying to summarise the issue. So I am not mentioning—and I have not, for the record—your name. I have talked about there being media reports.
      Prof. Chubb: For the record, there were no alleged death threats except when journalists picked up the story later that those death threats applied to scientists at the ANU.


      He is being quizzed about allegedly shifting staff in response to death threats - he says he never said that - Sen Ryan asks him to summarize the issue - he says "For the record etc".

      He's clearly saying that there were no death threats associated with the move, not in general.

      And again, your quote from Doc 10 is out of context. It's an email in which Steffen is informing his staff of the FOI request, and saying that it follows from media reports, as it does. He's explaining why the FOI specifies CCI members (those media reports). It is actually best for him not to give his own view in this email asking for materials, as it could be seen as coaching.

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  13. However, Prof Young apparently still affirms that there were death threats during this period.

    If so this detail makes all the difference, in my view. It would be nice to see Prof. Young's claim further examined. If he's right/telling the truth you'd think supporting evidence would have turned up by now. However, I think it's highly unlikely for the same reasons given below.

    But if you're suggesting that the "leading scientists" should have jumped into print to say the story was false, they'd need to have more faith in the literal correctness of press stories than most people have. If they had in fact received none, it may be that the ABC (or V-C) is stretching the death threat aspect, or who constitutes a top scientist or the time period - who knows?

    The ABC was claiming an intensifying campaign of abuse and death threats against top ANU scientists. The 'top' ANU climate scientists know who they are. If there were more junior scientists receiving the abuse and death threats (and it wouldn't make any sense at all for junior scientists to be targeted and not their superiors), the senior scientists would have to know about this too. And the time frame? There is no wiggle-room on the time frame. The article claimed that the death threat/abusive email campaign was intensifying in recent weeks and had persisted over the previous six months. That statement is either true or false. It appears to be entirely false.

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    1. "There is no wiggle-room on the time frame."
      This illustrates the problem. It's a press report. The scientists don't have to wiggle - it isn't their report. Yes, if there's nothing to it, and they individually know that (big ifs) then they should say so. But if the report just got the dates wrong, say, or the seniority of the targets, then I don't see that they are obliged to make big efforts to get it corrected. They do have other things to do.

      And as to targetting juniors, Beeby's Canberra Times report seems to say this was happening. There was the lady who got an email which she said threatened sex assaults on her toddlers. And the lady who hade a message smeared on her car window with excrement. All, according to that report, in Canberra. One of them was just speaking at a local library. They do not sound like senior figures.

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  14. I think Anthony should apologize now for that silly article of his criticizing Taka Tanaka's use of the word "global warming".

    "Global" is a term of art in cosmology. Will he apologize for this egregious mistake?

    :-P

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