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« Electric vehicles = crony capitalism | Main | Science by Lucia, cartoon by Josh - 173 »
Wednesday
Jun132012

UEA death threats published

In the wake of the death threats that weren't at ANU, several people sent FOI requests to the University of East Anglia asking for copies of the death threats that they said Phil Jones had received. The relevant emails have now been released and can be seen here

Be warned, this is very, very ugly stuff, and there are several messages in there that seem to me to be criminal.

Colour me disgusted

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Reader Comments (172)

That's pretty awful stuff, I'm not happy that that type of venom should be subjected to anyone.

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJace

Some vile stuff for sure. But almost all of them are not death threats. People say "I hope you die" and "kill yourself" and stuff like that. Only a couple threaten actual harm. Clearly a load of disgusting emails from nutters, but almost all are not death threats in the criminal sense.

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

Although the all-caps 23rd Nov 2009 email comes very close to being an actual threat, only the 24th Nov 2009 email with the subject line "One thing to say" is an actual threat, in my opinion. Nevertheless, they are all nasty, venomous, horrible little screeds, and for the first time I actually feel sorry for Phil Jones for having to deal with that sickening bile. The poor spelling and grammar in practically all of the emails suggests to me that the people writing them are just idiotic trolls, but that hardly makes it any better. Yuck!

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan

Quite so. Since Mr Plod seems to have time on his hands with regard to his Climategate inquiries, perhaps a couple of hours spent finding these morons and having a quiet word in their shell like ears might be a worthwhile alternative activity.

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndyS

Most of these E-Mails read as though they were written by Quentin Tarantino for one of his films.
Of course, they are discusting but this kind of language can be heard in any school playground these days.
Being totally honest, I have had some thoughts about the conduct of the team that I would not care to print.
I believe that they (the team) have conspired to pervert the course of climate science over many years and I find it very impossible to justify. Support for their activities from the establishment,(whitewashes) leave a very very nasty taste in the mouth.

p.s.
I do not condone this type of behavior, but; neither do I condone the team's behaviour

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Did Acton send the writers a prospectus for a UEA creative writing courses

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Fascinating!
Is it just me or are these overwhelmingly American? Certainly the style and the language of most of them seems to be.
I'm afraid I'm a bit less disgusted than you are, Your Grace, more like saddened actually, though I agree that no-one should be expected to put up with this sort of diatribe. Some of us are a bit more thick-skinned but I can certainly understand that Phil and his colleagues would be quite disturbed by language like this directed at them personally.
There is a high level of frustration in there as well which I sense as a feeling of helplessness in the face of scientific arrogance. I would love to have a professional psychological assessment.

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:38 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"Overwhelmingly American"...now, now...what was Gleick doing at the time? /sarc

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Mike Jackson said:

I would love to have a professional psychological assessment.

Oh how I love the out-of-context quote!

The emails are the usual fare of unstable whackjobs everywhere and I'm sure we all agree to condemn them to the utmost. And some of the spelling and grammar too... yuck.

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Well that is lifting the carpet on a world none of us probably realised existed... who writes this sort of stuff?

Strangely if this had been at a "youtube" level (i.e. part of the comments) you become immune to it to some degree.

Direct to your work email address is just something I doubt many of us would be prepared for.

I have always felt you take the heat if you work in the political kitchen, but even politicians do not deserve the level of sentiments in those emails. And they usually have thick skins.

I can honestly say they would have seriously upset myself and my family and my colleagues.

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

No exscuses for that. Disgustingly vile - stopped reading after page 2.

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Doesn't this make all those that doubted that scientists that received abusive emails look stupid
Additionally, despite morano receiving similar emails, doesn't his publishing of email addresses alongside hyped up headlines look untenable..

If only not to give his critics a big stick to beat him with.

Dr katie hayoe gets crap like his, as does Leo hickman.
I have spoken/emailed them about abusive emails.

Why don't we all just condemn it without reservation..


And yes, I am aware of Bob Ward publishing Morano's email address.

Moral high ground please, just condemn anyone who sends emails like this, and discourage others that facilitate it, or hype up the situation, creating this anger

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Ugly.

However, there are a substantial number of our American cousins who are quite convinced that some shonky science by the UEA is an arm of the Illuminati driven war for world domination and, frankly, I am a bit suprised there are not more of these emails and that more of them are not in capitals.

I do not have any difficulty disassociating myself from them. If the UEA are publishing them in an attempt to deflect any deserved criticism levelled at them for their antics as revealed by the Climategate, they are going to be disappointed.

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

What about the possibility that many/all of these e:mails are "false flag" attacks?

Jun 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered Commentermondo

Pretty shocking. It appears that a lot of them are from sceptic septics.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Bloggsworth

@ mondo

I'm with you on this one.
Have these emails been peer reviewed?

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterbarnacle bill

Did not read everyone, but the few I did read appear from someone who's first language is not English, as she is spoke.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

I wonder if this is a FOI request that was continuously stonewalled, or if it was labeled as something that just takes too much time away from research.

Is this the spot where the folks who made the threats argue the necessity for privacy so that "the free flow of ideas" can be maintained among emailers?

Should the death threat makers imply these individual emails were taken out of context from their larger body of expressive work..? Perhaps these folks should just only admit that some of this is "unhelpful" and leave it at that. :-)

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnark

These are disgusting if genuine. They need to be investigated. Acton spent a considerable sum with the English plod to find the leaker maybe a bit spent on this would have been better value.

I know this sounds calous but if their science had been kosher and they had been open and honest this MAY have been much reduced and easier to trace.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Completely unacceptable.

I do hope the perpetrators of this vile abuse are proscecuted to the full extent of the Law.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

BigYin

Oh how I love the out-of-context quote!

I thought about it and decided to let it stand. Lunch was a priority!
Anyway I do like to cheer up people's day.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:36 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

@Don Keiller

Absolutely agree

completely unacceptable

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterMangoChutney

Disgusting and appalling! Few of them read as an actual "threat" but they are vile and abusive filth. Decent people anywhere will condemn and reject such messages.

They do largely read as though they are coming from the USA I'm sad to say (as a token Yank here). They mostly give me the impression of people popping off right after reading an article. Sad to say, if one reads comment threads on Yahoo message boards (which I stopped doing long ago) there is fair amount of extreme abusiveness, from both left and right. The nutters are most definitely not limited to the perspective(s) expressed in these messages; this kind of stuff must be condemned and opposed wherever it arises.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:40 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

There are some seriously crazed people out there. Absolutely chilling.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick

Vile and unpleasant, not to be condoned in any civilised society. I would be upset if I received these too, under any circumstances.

I agree with Mike Jackson that quite a few appear to be written by Americans (references to socialists, military training and possession of guns tends to give that away a bit), and some by people for whom English is not their first language. Most look to be like nutters venting and of course "false flag" is always a possibility, although these strike me as genuine. If this is all of them, it is perhaps suprisingly few (I count 27). Also they are tightly grouped on two dates: 22 - 28 November 2009 and 7 - 17 February 2010. One has the rather imaginative subject line of "ARA Scalars".

It would be interesting to know whether Anthony Watts, Steve McIntyre or indeed the Bish ever receive threats and whether they are in any way comparable in language or tone to these.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

I read them as coming from educated morons. Quite why they can't be traced and the perpertrators prosectuted is beyond me.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Not nice, but could pass for average responses to an upload of your cross-stitch video to YouTube.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterFilbert Cobb

Of course they are vile, but once again I am amazed at the preciousness of people who want to drive major changes in the way we live without any consequences. I have said before, and will keep saying, that Ministers get this stuff all the time, precisely because people think that they have the power to affect the way we live.

The quoted examples are typical of what a powerful politician gets all the time. No, they are not 'death threats', and yes, there are some angry and disturbed people out there.

It should be noted that these sorts of unpleasant communications are not limited to any particular kind of scientist, professional or politician. It is the perception that these people have the power to influence events that generates the hate mail. Judges get this stuff as well, as do doctors and lawyers, and public servants.

Judges, lawyers, public servants, doctors and politicians all manage to keep doing their jobs despite the rantings of temporarily or permanently deranged members of the public. What is so special about snowflake climate scientists, whose only crime is to promote policies that make people poorer (at best) based on questionable premises, data, and conclusions?

They, and their defenders, need to get out more. I'm afraid I don't share the revulsion of previous commenters, having read this sort of garbage very day addressed to Ministers. Boo-bloody-hoo. An old saying about heat and kitchens comes to mind.

Jun 13, 2012 at 1:51 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

People who write such filth should be exposed and to me thes emails should be unlawful.

However, is this one person or more? The language and hatred is very similar in each email.

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

Some of our (mostly) American cousins really are vile and bordeline insane. I don't agree with his science or ideology, but I sincerely apologise to Phil Jones for having to receive such ignorance.

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaz

I agree with Johanna. I am not shocked at all by these e-mails. These are angry people who are reacting against what they perceive as "evil" or "dishonest" or "unethical" etc. behavior. It's standard hate mail overflowing with the "f" word. According to the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, the prevalence of serious mental illness in the US was approximately 4.5% of the general American population in 2008 -- I would think Europe would be similar. It doesn't take much to set off mentally unstable people. Plus I think the Internet has generated a new order of conspiracy buffs -- I find it amazing some of the conspiracies that populate the Internet. Put the latter info into the minds of unstable people and you cannot predict what will happen, but anger and hostility are relatively common manifestations of unstable minds. If you read unmoderated news blogs, you will find a number of people surfacing who would be capable of writing such e-mails to Jones.

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterdrcrinum

@joanna "Of course they are vile, but once again I am amazed at the preciousness of people who want to drive major changes in the way we live without any consequences."

He does research he does not "drive changes"! You may choose not to believe his research but there are many others producing evidence that supports his results.

he should not be threatened for doing his job as a scientist!

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob

I don't think is comes as much suprise to anyone that there are some pretty poor excuses for human beings that seem to get satisfaction from this kind of nonsense, and they exist on both sides of the argument. However I don't see much that looks like a death threat, just basic abuse.

This http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/celebrity/bully-not-the-same-as-twat-2012061129880 may introduce a bit of perspective.

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAngry Hamster

I don't agree with the comments, but I've had similar directed at me by warmists. And I do not get paid, and I do not profit and I'm not trying to defend their malpractice.

And these are not death threats. They might be vile, but I've also no doubt that the UEA were playing the "suicide" card for publicity.

Indeed, I wonder if I was the one who gave his PR spin-doctor the idea of playing the suicide card. I wrote to Phil Jones when it all started and I compared his situation to that of David Kelly who had been in the right but was unsupported by his employer (the government), whereas Phil Jones had been in the wrong was being (wrongly) supported to the hilt by government and his university.

... and what was the result. A few days later, out came a press release talking about his "feeling suicidal" which we now know was part of an orchestrated PR campaign.

OK, it doesn't excuse the emails, but if you play a sham act to the gallery, ....

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Google: [phil jones contemplated suicide].

The emails are reactions on these news items, although disgusting.
The mailers predominantly express themselves with ¨just go ahead¨.
I cannot see death threats in it. Again: disgusting.
It appears more of an own-goal, publishing all this sh.......

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commenteropastun

The ~26 released emails had dates on them range from the period 22 Nov 2009 to 17 Feb 2010. I did not see the FOI request for the emails, so I do not know if the requestor only asked for threatening emails from Nov 2009 to Feb 2010. The distribution was 16 emails in Nov, 2 emails in Dec, 1 email in Jan , and 5 emails in Feb. There were 2 emails with no date.

The 16 released emails which had times on them appear to be from random times of the day. One had a PST time zone indicated in the time stamp, US pacific west coast zone.

I saw no pattern noted on occurrence during the days of the week. The days of the week were represented: 6 emails on Mon, 3 emails on Tue, 4 emails on Wed, 1 email on Thur, 4 emails on Fri, 4 emails on Sat and 4 emails on Sun.

I am still thinking about the distribution of the types of linguistics shown in the various emails. I am a US citizen, for me many have a tone that seems to be American-ish. But since I am not very familiar with how Canadians, Brits, Aussies and NZers use violent and foul language, I abstain from saying if emails are from those countries.

John

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

idotis on both sides and some extreme ones too . Frankly virtual anyone in the public eye will get 'death threats' and could get worse .

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

@ MikeHaseler

Seems that our comments substantially agree and cross posted.

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commenteropastun

I don't have any sympathy for Phil Jones. You make your own bed of nails, you lie in it. Some of you think the emails he received are disgusting. To me, what is really disgusting is that global warming alarmists continue to label AGW skeptics as "deniers" and the mainstream media continues to accept and promote this--this is hate speech, plain and simple.

Just because my opinion of AGW doesn't conform to the views of our political masters, it doesn't mean I am a holocaust denier. As a Jew whose father fought in WWII, I find this continued use of the term to label AGW skeptics doubly offensive.

I was especially offended when Barack Obama used this "denier" term to label AGW skeptics in one of his speeches--isn't it ironic that it's ok for the first black POTUS to promote hate speech, but a few angry e-mails to scientists falsifying their research gets blown out of proportion. Even the Australian prime minister Ju-liar Gillard used this "denier" term to slander AGW skeptics in Australia.

This is the true meaning of post-normal science: it's ok to lie, cheat, and commit fraud because those in power says it's ok to do so. Just like it's ok for Peter Gleick to commit wire fraud and not get punished. Just like it's ok for Phil Jones and Michael Mann to "hide the decline" and not get punished. Just like it's ok for Al Gore and the IPCC to demonize C02, a harmless gas plants need to make food, and not get punished. But if your views go against the political orthodoxy, you will lose your job in a heartbeat. This is the new post-normal science world we live in now.

However, history is on the side of truth. Nazi's came and Nazi's lost. Dictators all eventually fall. Eventually, all these AGW scammers are going to get caught in their own web of lies and charged for serious crimes against humanity. It will be a long struggle but make no mistake, once the global public awaken to the massive lies and fraud going on in the name of AGW alarmism and carbon taxes, a few angry emails will pale in comparison to what these AGW charlatans are going to receive.

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterConnifer

I gave up reading about a third of the way through. But it seems to me these are not very nice "I wish you were dead" insults I traded with other kids when I was 12 years old; more extreme versions of "go and boil yer hied". Presumably the writers haven't progressed past that stage of argument/discussion. Not many actual threats of inflicting death or injury though, unless they are all at the end.

I guess the other victims in the news, such as Louise Mensch, Sally Bercow and Samantha Brick all received similar missives possibly from the same people.

Sandy

Jun 13, 2012 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Not nice. Not nice at all.

So how should the author of a very well known skeptic website in the US react to comments posted on the BBC like this one yesterday on Richard Black's article? [comment #68]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18379777?postId=112766350#comment_112766350

Jun 13, 2012 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

To those who ave thoughts that some of these emails have been cynically generated to put sceptics in a bad light.

Does it make any difference?

Unless you assume that Phil Jones is party to the insults. I could imagine that about some people but not him. It would take a particularly thick skin to agree to put yourself through this. You would have to lie to your family and friends and colleagues.

I just do not see this.

I have little professional sympathy for Phil Jones, but receiving threats like these to a personal email is not acceptable and bears no relation to comments left on blogs and youtube.

Jun 13, 2012 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

The Climategate emails put our Phil right at the heart of the corruption of science that is CAGW, he does not practice science he abuses it.
The sustainability hydra, of which CAGW is just one tentacle, has as a major aim a reduction in global population, how will that be achieved? Phil and his friends want to us to be a lot poorer, to deindustrialise our society, to change our behaviour and remove our freedoms, the last guy who tried anything like that shot himself in his bunker.
Just what reaction should a citizen have when he sees this kind of perverted prof aiming to destroy all the things he holds dear knowing he is helpless to prevent it? I am glad Jones got these emails and I am glad he was frightened. Just because he dresses respectably, is well educated and articulate does not detract from the crimes he has committed and others he would like to see perpetrated on humanity.
I share the anger of the emails but fortutately I am (mostly) in control of it whereas the emailers were totally insenced and had lost it.

Jun 13, 2012 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

Link doesn't work for me. Clipped out the url from inspect element as well, no joy...?

Jun 13, 2012 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

Vile, of course. But I wonder how many of these type of emails Phil Jones and the others received before Climategate. In other words, I’m suspicious that his depression and thoughts of suicide after the leak of those documents had more to do with the professionally damning and potentially incriminating content of the emails than the hatemail trash sent by these morons.

Color me cynical. He’d been in the harshness of the limelight a long time. Remember his comment to the effect that he’d spent his career collecting the data and why should he release it when all his correspondent wanted to do was find something wrong with it? I’m sure he’s gotten some nasty flak for that over the years.

Jun 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

Mike Haseler makes a good point.
There is no way that this sort of abuse can be justified but I wonder if the victims are aware of the extent to which high-profile sceptics are subject to similar treatment, though not in the same terms perhaps.
"Denier" and "anti-science" and "paid shill" may be somewhat more polite but that doesn't make them any less offensive and the intention of those who use those words is to vent their rage on those who disagree with them.

And by the way ...

He does research he does not "drive changes"! You may choose not to believe his research but there are many others producing evidence that supports his results.
he should not be threatened for doing his job as a scientist!
Jun 13, 2012 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob
Don't be so disingenuous.
1.If you honestly believe that The Team are purely engaged in scientific research and that they are not also environmental activists determined to "drive changes" then you are naive in the extreme.
2. It is the lack of any empirical evidence to support the claims made by The Team that drives sceptics' frustration.
3. Neither should we be threatened by the eco-fascists for taking a different view.

Sauce. Goose. Gander

Jun 13, 2012 at 3:32 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

These are not nice at all and I would not like to have been on the receiving end of them. As a councillor with my address in the public domain, I would probably have called the police to let them know of these threats, but, in reality, I doubt whether they are more than sad and pathetic hate letters from cowards who would run a mile if you confronted them. We don't know whether the police were asked to do anything about these emails, especially any from the UK. If they can turn up in force to seize Tallbloke's computers, you'd think they could track down a few crazies and put the fear of god up them by a similar raid.

Jun 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterbiddyb

A number of people have said that they would not enjoy being on the receiving end of hate mail, not enjoying being treated in a particular way is less relevant than the issue of whether or not you earned it, Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi come to mind.
Interesting to see that posters seem to think that Phil Jones is deserving of sympathy and that the hate emailers should be persued. I have no doubt that Phil is the bigger criminal; the emailers vented their anger and hurled abuse but our Phil is literally part of a plot to change the world to the detriment of all of us.

Jun 13, 2012 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

I tried to read them, but the link does not work for me.

There are laws in this land that must be obeyed. Also, if we all used our real names and had the decency not to write anything that we would not say to the recipient's face, in fromt of witnesses, this sort of thing would not happen.

Jun 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Um, Phil wrote most of them? The language and mood suggest a lame attempt at sympathy-getting. A couple stand out as coming from a different pen, however, so may be genuinely hostile. Cowardly but hostile.

Jun 13, 2012 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark F

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