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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)

The law aims to protect Phil Jones from this kind of abuse but the law does not protect us from Phil Jones and his abuse of science.

Jun 13, 2012 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

Phil must be looking fairly ghostly considering how many times the law has whitewashed him.

Jun 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM | Registered CommenterDung

f*ck face is a British insult, probably from an older person. about my age probably...hang on I have to go, there's someone at the door

Jun 13, 2012 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

I have long felt that much of the personal criticism of Phil Jones and other warmists by the cognoscenti on this and other blogs is misdirected. After all most of these people are only doing their job.

I recap: scientists come in two sorts: (i) those who search for the truth about how things are, and (ii) those who use science for a purpose.

Typically both sides busy themselves with what they are doing and in return collect their pay. They do not waste their employer’s time in examining whether the work is justified.

The matter of whether type (ii) scientists should be doing what they do depends, in part, on the value of the purpose. In the Phil Jones case, that purpose is to clothe the Government’s advocacy of the evils of global warming with science, and the Government uses our tax money to pay him for his efforts. I would doubt the cognoscenti here would fault Phil for the sheer quantum of energy and graft he puts into his work. At the same time I would expect them to be extremely critical of the government for funding him with our tax money

Hence my doubts over excoriation of our Phil and others in this and other blogs. Certainly, you can complain about the antics he gets up to, but the main thrust of indignation should be directed at the real villain – the Government.

And I doubt that criticisms of Jones or other warmists are effective blows in the war – after all, he is only one cog in the vast Government CAGW juggernaut.

These emails are extreme outliers on a continuum that also includes some of the more personal criticisms of Phil Jones that have appeared on this and other blogs. They could be weapons for warmists if any part of the skeptical cause were to be shown or thought to be associated with them or sympathetic to their ideas.
.
Somewhere I have read that it is impossible to ask what it is like to be a stone. However, it’s very possible to ask what it must be like to be Phil Jones. Poor mite – not only these emails but his whole working life! I wonder if he realized he was joining the PBI when he first agreed to take the government’s money for the work he’s now on.

Jun 13, 2012 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

Meanwhile people are being murdered, people are being forced off their land; wheat is being coverted to fuel, causing hunger and food riots, etc, etc.

Jun 13, 2012 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSleepalot

As a previous commenter stated

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

Neither will the link work for me from WUWT

Jun 13, 2012 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

@Ecclesiastical Uncle - you are making a variety of the 'I was only following orders' argument, usually made while the miscreants are in the dock for their lives.

Yeah, the 'death threats' aren't pleasant. Perhaps ivy-covered professors in ivy-covered halls might regard them as a threat. Perhaps a couple might truly represent hostile intent.

But my sympathy for Dr Jones is tempered by the knowledge that:

a) He's run his shop, on the accuracy of whose results we're supposed to depend for decisions that'd drastically affect the economies of the world, like a two-bit rummage sale.

b) He's been a wiling participant in a conspiracy (okay, harsh word, but not inaccurate) to enforce a political agenda.

So, really, he deserves derision, though it'd be better for the credibility of those involved if that commentary were written at a tenth-grade level and focused more on his professional shortcomings than his mortal existence.

Jun 13, 2012 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

For those trying the link - right click, save target as ... and wait. Eventually you will be served. I was.

Jun 13, 2012 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Of course, any such emails and threats are to be condemned. Equally, however, the actions of one or a few nutters should not be used against the moderate majority.

I do find them strange. The content and style does not reflect the sort of people who would have any interest in the climate change debate. There is almost zero reference to anything covered in the Climategate emails, or even common climate science issues. A word search shows no reference to 'trick', 'hide', 'decline'. Considering these were the most famous words linked to Jones, their complete absence is surprising. The only reference to the issues I can see is a mention of the MWP and 'temperature declining since 1998' - bottom of page 7. [I have skimmed, not read every word].

Thus, these appear to have been prepared by one, or a small number of nutters, who have limited if any understanding of the issues, or even knowledge of the Climategate emails.

Jun 13, 2012 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

I think you can use these emails as a barometer to gauge the amount the anger arising in people whose trust was broken following Climategate.

Who do I remember saying "the debate is settled, the public fully expects governements to take climate action"?

I would agree with a lot of the *sentiment* expressed in many of these emails, though not the hatred, and tendency to refer to violent acts, which I find strange and leaves me cold.

Phil Jones is seen as a part of an academic cabal, though not of his making, that is intent on advancing an agenda that is at odds with the man on the street. Do such questions cross these scientists' minds when they work? Do they cross-examine their work in the larger political-social context in which it is taking place?

Shut down of the coal-oil economy. What a cruel thing to wish for, eh? But that is exactly what climate scientists and their work is inexorably funnelling toward. Why? I've never seen a single climate scientist consider the question of carbon and its role in the world, any more seriously than the juvenile, pathetic, cringeworthy ramblings of Mikey.

On a side note, the letters sound very similar to each other and equal to each other in their strident tone. This is not a representative sample of Jones' email from the time, as the emollient and supportive letters that he surely has recieved, are not available.

Jun 13, 2012 at 5:49 PM | Registered Commentershub

NOTE: I just posted the following comment at WUWT.

- - - - -


Because just the pdf of these allegedly real emails has been disclosed at BH's blog and nothing else related to the FOI request, then I am skeptical of the pdf file containing the emails. I will remain skeptical until I see:


1) the original FOI request made to UEA/CRU by the person who made the FOI request


2) the original UEA/CRU acknowledgement of receiving the FOI request that they are required to send to the FOI requester.


3) any response by the requestor to UEA/CRU receipt acknowledgement notice

4) the actual UEA/CRU transmittal letter/email sent to the requestor which contained the release of the requested emails/info.


Also, I would like to see the Information Commissioner in the UK (I sorry if I got the title wrong) review the credibility that these are real emails.


John

Jun 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

These strike me as being the sort of "green ink" missives quite a few people in public positions get.

The people who write them are usually very young and chemically stimulated - or suffering from borderline mental illness.

I certainly see no signs in them of the "climate sceptic conspiracy" touted in the green supporting media.

The best disinfectant for this sort of nastiness is sunlight so I wonder why the UEA redacted the sender's addresses - did they think the green inkers would complain about data privacy? I rather doubt that somehow.

Jun 13, 2012 at 6:21 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Lady Macbeth said similar stuff about King Duncan in the Shakespeare play but without the scatology.

Jun 13, 2012 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterEpigenes

Once again skeptics are condemning obvious crank and wack job notes, while AGW true believers largely ignore much worse from their side.
Two or three death threats received in the heat of the moment when the world found out that Jones and gang are lying scumbags is not much of a problem.
Twenty two e-mails over a several month period of time, when literally millions of people are looking at the climategate scam is statistically insignficant.
Color me underwhlemed by this entire non-event.

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

John Whitman - the information you seek is in the link given in the orignal post. Chop off the end and you get:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/116404

Visit that and you will be rewarded.

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

I have seen toxic threatening shouty bilge semi literate communication all over the place on the 'net and in emails.

There is no excuse for it - and it can be distressing - it says more usually about the sender than the recipient.

I have to contrast though - this with the sentence handed down to the blogger who called Bexley councillors erm... a bunch of Bexley councillors. ( HuffPo)

The inaction of Norfolk plod in this matter - which is surely far worse than throwing a few expletives at incompetent and possibly corrupt municipal nabobs - speaks volumes - and I'd like to think a few ripe remarks about dealing with the underclass in the police canteen.....

The timing of this release is so far from the events it strikes me as playing the victimhood card. Stiff upper lip old chap? ->no way<- these goons should have had their tickets unequivocally punched - the fact that it didn't happen is the key thing here.

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:17 PM | Registered Commentertomo

As presented, there is no way of telling anything about these emails.
If anyone EVER submits an FOI request for emails, you really need ensure that you request emails with all headers intact.

That's not just the From, Subject, Date headers, but all the rest not normally displayed in most email clients, which give routing information etc. These are somewhat harder to forge, and are very useful in determining if multiple emails originate from the same individual(s).

The emails listed here are useless. Just a bunch of nasty words and phrases which have some indications of coming from a very restricted set of originators.

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPJP

I have to say that these alleged threat emails are most regrettable (and don't suggest that the authors enjoy even an adequate standard of literacy, or ability to express themselves).

But I fear that I haven't been dabbing at my eyes in sympathy for "poor Phil".

Yes, as some commenters have said, the Team doesn't enact policy. But is there anyone here who really doubts that the Team is only too well aware that policy is founded on their shoddy and tendentious "science"? And that they positively revel in that awareness?

Bob says:- "he should not be threatened for doing his job as a scientist!"

Well Bob. If he was indeed "doing his job as a scientist", you might have a point!

The scatalogical diatribe in the emails is not just unacceptable. It is, more to the point, quite unhelpful.

But I fear that if the Team's handiwork continues to be enthusiastically implemented by our clueless political leaders and it results in the collapse of the economy and people shivering in the dark, Phil Jones and his chums will have much more to fear than some angry emails.

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

I wonder how on earth they got through the University content filtering systems to hit the mailbox? Vile, ugly and should have been caught before they got through.

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterjason f

For best results read them while watching the 10:10 video at the same time While these emails appear to be from individual cranks of limited IQ, the many involved in the 10:10 video production must have discussed and fine tuned the same ethics at length.

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrankSW

Is that all they could find? On clicking the link to see them I was expecting many more given the content and context of the emails that escaped from CRU.

Reading through them there are not many that are imo threats of harm or death. 3 I would say. The rest are certainly abusive but the law isn't there to protect people from insults.

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:42 PM | jason f

Fair point. Someone sent me an email at work last week containing the word "bloody" (referring to a minor injury.)

I had to get an administrator to release the email, which was held in quarantine as being "profane".

Wretched nanny IT department.....

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

@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
---------------------------------------------------------
Pull the other one, Bob, it plays Jingle Bells.

You can't have it both ways. Either they were unassuming scientists, quietly beavering away - in which case no-one would ever have heard of them - or they were claiming to predict future catastrophe for the planet, requiring a major reconstruction of the economy and political structures.

Do let us know when you decide which you prefer (yawn).

Jun 13, 2012 at 8:00 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

John Whitman - the information you seek is in the link given in the orignal post. Chop off the end and you get:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/116404

Visit that and you will be rewarded.

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:16 PM | BitBucket

---------

BitBucket,


Thanks. All the info I wanted was there.

John

Jun 13, 2012 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

@Gareth 7:45 PM

Reading through them there are not many that are imo threats of harm or death. 3 I would say. The rest are certainly abusive but the law isn't there to protect people from insults.

You might be surprised at what the law protects...

Communications Act 2003, section 127

The Communications Act 2003 section 127 covers the sending of improper messages. Section 127(1)(a) relates to a message etc that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character and should be used for indecent phone calls and emails. Section 127(2) targets false messages and persistent misuse intended to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety...

Communication offences - CPS prosecution guidance

Jun 13, 2012 at 8:04 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

I share the regret of others that Jones was subjected to such vile emails. I presume that Mann has received similar emails and that too is deplorable.

Fortunately I haven't received anything remotely like these emails. Nor have I seen anything similar in comments at Climate Audit. Nor had Anthony when I asked him about comments at WUWT.

Oakwood commented perceptively that the content of the emails surprisingly contained none of the hallmark Climategate vocabulary, such as the trick to hide the decline. If the emailer came from the climate debate, it seems odd that someone would be angry enough to send such abusive email without also making similarly angry comments at one of the climate blogs.

Regardless of the motives, the abuse is despicable.

Jun 13, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

Jun 13, 2012 at 7:35 PM | Martin Brumby

There are, indeed, some parallels between these modern carbon-tax-farmers and Lavoisier...

Jun 13, 2012 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

As presented, there is no way of telling anything about these emails.
If anyone EVER submits an FOI request for emails, you really need ensure that you request emails with all headers intact.

That was my first reaction, when reading through these. Although one shouldn't have to ask - because one would think that the recipient(s) would volunteer (or at least be advised to volunteer!) full headers in order to substantiate authenticity and provenance - not to mention being far more useful in tracking down the perpetrator(s) if reported to the appropriate authorities.

I tracked back from the URL to see the original FOI request (which was from Simon Hopkinson who sometimes posts here, IIRC) and he had also requested evidence that they had been reported, which does not seem to have been provided.

As for the "content" of the emails, they struck me as being tediously similar and juvenile. IMHO, for the most part, if one "redacted" all the F-bombs, there's very little left. Sort of a very third-rate (but humourless) emulation of Jackie Gleason in his Ralph Kramden role, brandishing his fist and saying "To the moon, Alice" - back in the days when no one dreamed of actually landing a man on the moon, of course!

The writer(s) might have been better off using a random insult generator. Here's what popped up when I tried it:

You started at the bottom...and it's been downhill ever since!

Or the more sophisticated Shakespearian insult generator. This must be my lucky day, because my first click yielded:

Thou soulless weather-bitten lout!

All of this aside, of course, if these emails can be shown to be genuine - and each one is unique (in my scroll through, I think I spotted at least one potential duplicate) - then it strongly suggests to me that UEA's IT admin are about as knowledgeable and effective at keeping "confidential" emails and data in (and protected from the dastardly acts of any "hackers") as they are in filtering to keep such trash out (thereby protecting the delicate sensibilities of their "star" performers!)

In short, at this point, please colour me somewhat skeptical about this tranche of alleged emails. But if and when proven to be genuine, I would definitely agree with those who find them to be beneath contempt. No one deserves to be subjected to such abuse ... not even Poor Phil.

Jun 13, 2012 at 8:28 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Like Hilary, I confirmed that the emails are the product of an official FOI request to and a response from UEA.


So that leaves me only with a nagging question of doubt about the real source of the threatening emails. I think I am entitled to that doubt given lack of morality by CAGW activists in the past few months wrt Gleick's perpetration of an email scam and fraud.


My questions about the real source of the emails can only be answered by a formal investigation of the full email metadata and authors identity. What is the chance of getting that? I will continue my skepticism until that info is made public.


John

Jun 13, 2012 at 8:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

Hilary, if you look at the response letter (12 June) to the FOI request, it says that the email address of the sender must be redacted because of data-protection law. Full headers would, I guess be omitted for the same reason. That, it would seem, is the law.

Note that in doubting the authenticity of the emails you follow the familiar sceptic approach of calling into question the honesty of all and everything involved in climate science. If this constant drip-drip, undermining the good name of people and organisations, doesn't encourage those of unstable mind to send abusive emails, I would be surprised.

Sceptical arguments that challenge climate science would, if they stand up to scrutiny, surely have more weight if addressed directly and honestly without impugning the honour of all who take an opposing view.

Jun 13, 2012 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

I once made rude remarks in a blog comment about Phil Jones’s pullover. I even featured him in a Tolkienesque spoof I started as Jones the Beige.
In my heart of hearts I was trying to be as hurtful as these mindless idiots. Knowing he was English, like me, being rude about his dress sense seemed to me to be the outer limit of insulting behaviour.

Jun 13, 2012 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers


Note that in doubting the authenticity of the emails you follow the familiar sceptic approach of calling into question the honesty of all and everything involved in climate science. If this constant drip-drip, undermining the good name of people and organisations, doesn't encourage those of unstable mind to send abusive emails, I would be surprised.

Sceptical arguments that challenge climate science would, if they stand up to scrutiny, surely have more weight if addressed directly and honestly without impugning the honour of all who take an opposing view.

Jun 13, 2012 at 8:52 PM | BitBucket


- - - - - - -


BitBucket,


I think it is prudent to trust but verify first, in general, irrespective of whether you are looking at UEA/CRU or Phil Jones related matters.


Why not question everything? Young children do it naturally. It is healthy and beneficial to learning and self-esteem.


John

Jun 13, 2012 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

@martin brumby, I work in IT and the more I think about it this is fishy the University email infrastructure should have blocked the emails. I worked at a newspaper our content filtering system would have caught and blocked this.

Jun 13, 2012 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterjason f

Forgot to mention that when I tracked back to the original request, the first thing that struck me (considering their past record) was the remarkable alacrity with which UEA had responded and (at least partially) complied:

Request initiated 12 May 2012 and data provided 12 June 2012

And (in revisiting) I see that the response includes:

[quoting part of request:]In each instance, please also provide information regarding any action taken by the scientist, department or university in response to these messages (eg. informing the police, etc).

A tranche of abusive emails was sent to the Norfolk Constabulary on 23 November 2009 by Mr. Steve Mosley, then ICT Policy Manager who led on IT security investigations. There is evidence Mr. Mosley forwarded further emails on 2 December 2009. A specific internal email account was established to receive and hold all abusive emails.. The account was established to provide a central repository for the storage and review of the hundreds of emails coming in, allowing the University to respond with latest correct information rather than simply ignoring genuine questions. Staff in CRU and in other University units forwarded abusive emails which had been sent to Professor Jones and CRU in the first instance, and more generally to this account. Whilst all legitimate questions were responded to, anything abusive did not receive a reply from the University. [emphasis added -hro]

FWIW (which is probably not much!) Mosley seems to have been promoted or demoted (?!) at some point to the position of Project Manager for:

The Sustainable ICT Service Provision project (SISP) started in October 2008 and was funded by JISC under phase two of their Institutional Innovation Programme. The project completed in March 2010.

There's no indication - as far as I can tell - as to how Norfolk's finest might have dealt with these. Probably requires another FOI :-)

Jun 13, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Jun 13, 2012 at 8:52 PM | BitBucket

it says that the email address of the sender must be redacted because of data-protection law. Full headers would, I guess be omitted for the same reason.

Perhaps you ought to guess again, oh pseudonymous bitty-one. Because I have a very high level of confidence that any detail in the headers - that would readily identify the sender(s) - could be as easily redacted as the E-mail address(es) was/were in the E-mail(s).

But do have a nice diversonary, fact-free, generalizing day!

Jun 13, 2012 at 9:42 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

So the emails were released onto the Russian server on the Thursday 19th Nov 2009 and the first email Jones receives is Saturday 22nd of November 2009 sent at 15:09.
Come on people there's only one person alive capable of reading all those emails and getting a fast fingered response sent off within a couple of days and then follow up over the next six days with another 20 or so emails.

Jun 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

I've read through the emails and draw the following conclusions.

Of a total of 27, most were written by an American, at least 22 of them are pretty certain (based on a combination of date stamp style and use of language, especially certain expletives, and spelling. Although some still have a European-style date stamp, the language is definitely American). Of these, most, likely all, were written by the same person - based on writing style. Only one is definitely written by a Brit, that at the bottom of page 7, which is the only one referring to any true climate science issues - the MWP and 'cooling since 1998'. The remaining 4 could be UK or USA sourced, but more likely USA
- based on language style.

The one 'definite UK' source includes an unpleasant suggestion to 'rot in a ditch', but no direct death threat.

In my view, all of the direct death threats or suicide recommendations come from the same US citizen. Therefore, these emails are not an indication of a pattern of death threats against Jones. Instead, it is the story of one sick individual, with little understanding of Climategate or the climate change debate, who chose to harass Jones.

Of course its fodder for those who want to use it to portray pro-AGW scientists as victims, but its a further diversion from the chance of a rational scientific debate.

Jun 13, 2012 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

The number of people that I admire more than Steve McIntyre can be counted on the fingers of one hand. One of the proudest moments of my life was shaking his hand and getting his autograph in my copy of The Hockey Stick Illusion. However I disagree with him on this issue.
All the people who post on this blog are intelligent, even the trolls ^.^
I would guess that most of us will not be made paupers by the government policies resulting from the actions of our Phil and his associates. However please consider the plight of those less fortunate. Everyone here is capable of articulating his/her objections to the actions of the CAGW cabal but many are not.
How exactly do we all expect these people to behave when they figure out what is being done to them?

Jun 13, 2012 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

I remember reading on a toilet wall many years ago "Violence is the last refuge of the ignorant" and it was signed "the Beast". I think there is a touch of the beast in all of us and it shows itself in frustration. Those that write hate mail probably do not know how to better articulate their frustration. It is no excuse and I would not excuse them. In civilised society a certain amount of self-control is a necessity.

I do find myself coming up against a massive feeling of frustration when I see the apparent malfeasance of climate scientists. It is clearly wrong in a society that expects the ordinary citizen to show self-control that there is no means of rogue scientists being brought to justice. Therein lies the root of all frustration. Academics whose work underpins policies designed to make us all worse off and yet are outside the law. There is no body to whom the citizen can lodge a complaint. No body charged with ensuring the professional conduct of our scientists. I can think of no other area of professional life where this is the case.

All the more regrettable in that 'science' more than any other field of endeavour deserves a white knight.

Jun 13, 2012 at 11:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

Hilary said:

Perhaps you ought to guess again, oh pseudonymous bitty-one. Because I have a very high level of confidence that any detail in the headers - that would readily identify the sender(s) - could be as easily redacted as the E-mail address(es) was/were in the E-mail(s).

I think that is what I said: "Full headers would, I guess be omitted for the same reason."

Jun 13, 2012 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

I ESPECIALLY LIKED THE ONE WHO ONLY WRITES IN CAPITALS
SHE COMES OVER QUITE LOUD, THE LOUT

Anyway this is just some disgruntled people, watch out when the utility bills get too high for well documented reasons, and people need to short on food and beer..this will be small change then.

We saw a little bit of that during the londonistan riots.. all our community organisers were taken aghast and had to be flown in from marbella , dubai, etc..you can take it from me they are not up to it.

threats are when the "I know where you live" is followed with exact address and you have cars roaming in the street that weren't there before, with dimmed lights.

Jun 13, 2012 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Before I say goodnight, it is good to end on a light note. In recent hours the thread is reminiscent of the original movie 'The Wizard of Oz' with Judy Garland.

Cast of Characters:

Dorothy - Hilary Ostrov

Toto - me : )

Good Witch of the North - BH (showing up to resolve question/conflict)

Wicked Witch of the West - ZDB et al (don’t worry ZDB, in my version for concensus AGWist’s she isn’t melted by water, but lives happily ever after as an eternal bane for skeptics)

Ruby Slippers - FOI requestor

Tin Man (no heart) - all those focused primarily on the issue of the email sources, related forensics, past relationships and timelines

Lion (no courage) – all those worried primarily about being perceived as not sufficiently empathic and politically correct about the emails.

Strawman (no brain) - CG1 famed Jones and the denizens of CRU

Wizard of Oz - the PR firm that initially handled all of UEA/CRUs fiascos and the other PR firms handling continuing fiascos to date

John

Jun 13, 2012 at 11:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

these are unpleasant emails ,btw
but so are nigerian emails that try to dupe naive people.
far more worrying is the knee jerk reaction of the faux-establishment to stifle free expression.
We cannot throw people in jail for emailing immaterial abuse, just like you cannot jail people for shouting abuse on a bus , or on twitter. That development is far more dangerous than some public figure that gets disgruntled emails from the lower percentiles.

the 1st choice of obama , who made a multi year living scolding bush and decrying injustices of all sorts of delusions, for spook office head, was a guy called Charles who said the chinese had been too soft at Tienanmen.That is the sort of people that quickly want to "track" people and throw in jail.
Now I don't blame obama, he was just "following advice" of the sociopaths that put him there.

Jun 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

I'm curious about the assertion that email addresses supposedly *must* be redacted under UK data protection law - and would ask that citation be used rather than unsupported assertion. The assertion smells strongly of that well known (around these parts) precautionary principle.

I'm looking at at a pile over 1000 pages of FoI from the UK Environment Agency. They have teams of FoI administrators and "interested parties" looking for any way they can obfuscate and redact to make our task harder - and I cannot recall a single instance of overt email address redaction.

I may be wrong but I suspect that there is actually no legal compulsion to redact this information - if there is, I can think of half a dozen names at the Environment Agency I'll be dobbing in to the authorities ;-)

I do think that the apparent inaction in reporting and identifying the perpetrators is telling. I also think that agents provocateurs are a fact of life in the Green Movement and thinking that they stop at supplying wire cutters, smoking the odd joint and siring hippy children is naive in the extreme (Curious to note that Ms Lucas The Member for Brighton is presently shrieking about similar stuff)

Nasty - unequivocally yes - the work of deniers or skeptics - utterly and completely unproven.

Jun 14, 2012 at 1:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomO

Is it late to send a completely offensive email of my own:

"Dear Poor Professor [insert name]:

Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You
fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe."

Jun 14, 2012 at 2:20 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Oakwood wrote:

In my view, all of the direct death threats or suicide recommendations come from the same US citizen. Therefore, these emails are not an indication of a pattern of death threats against Jones. Instead, it is the story of one sick individual, with little understanding of Climategate or the climate change debate, who chose to harass Jones.

What makes you think that nearly all the emails have the same author?

BTW a candidate loon - Stan Lippmann - was identified last year at Tom Nelson's in connection with the Australian incident:
http://tomnelson.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/breaking-in-comment-on-this-blog-today.html
http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2011/06/warmist-anna-maria-arabia-allegedly-so.html?showComment=1308635950711#c795478143410477952

Jun 14, 2012 at 3:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

The FOI response PDF that Bish has linked is from my FOI request. I'll clear up a few points.

The senders' email redactions were expressly permitted in my FOI. I didn't want to be complicit in feeding "Pitchfork Mob B" with "Pitchfork Mob A"'s contact details. I also didn't want to give the CRU an excuse to delay their response or reject my request on privacy grounds.

On that note, the CRU didn't stonewall my request and instead responded promptly. I requested copies of emails which staff considered amounted to threats to life or bodily harm. Dave Palmer wrote to say:

Initial investigations into whether or not the requested information is held have revealed that while we do hold a file of abusive emails compiled centrally by support staff, we do not hold any information on the views of any particular scientist or faculty member within CRU regards the nature or degree of threat contained within the emails. . Would it be acceptable to you to source the requested material from the objectively classified abusive email file?

I agreed, and the information was provided in the document you've read.

It has been suggested that I doubted that CRU had received threats at all. This is not correct. I'm very well aware of the significance of the Climategate event, and under no illusions about how very aggrieved a great many people have been on learning details of the poor behaviour of climate scientists at CRU and elsewhere, abundantly in evidence in the Climategate dossier.

Understanding this, it would be counter-intuitive to believe anything other than that some members of the public would likely feel compelled to inappropriately express their anger (and, I agree with Bish/others, in some cases criminally so) towards those they felt had knowingly lied, hidden data, conspired to delete lawfully FOI'd emails, pervert peer review processes, and many other transgressions besides.

Following the ANU revelations, where it's apparent that climatologists did falsely claim to have received death threats, the perfectly reasonable question (in the absence of publicly available information) loomed whether or not death threats had been made to Phil Jones and/or other CRU staff. Some believed (as I did) that they almost undoubtedly had, while some believed that they possibly hadn't. There was much speculation but no evidence. The purpose of my FOI was to resolve the question with that evidence. Now we have it, there is no longer any reason to suffer the accusations of CRU scientists crying wolf on this subject.

What my FOI does not resolve is whether Phil Jones' receipt of these death threats was the reason for his considering suicide, as was reported at the time. This is something we will almost certainly never know.

However, it is my experience that those who are presented with a threat to their life/well-being will instinctively tend towards self-preservation rather than towards contemplation of suicide. Conversely, those who find themselves contemplating suicide, again anecdotally, do so because of an overwhelming lack of self-worth, a phase of debilitating self-doubt, a deep sense of guilt, shame or embarrassment.

And thus, in my opinion, it is more likely Jones' cognisance of his own scientific shortcomings and conduct, exposed brutally and unequivocally in the Climategate dossier, which is likely to have driven him to consider suicide. And, I most emphatically assert, I'm immensely thankful that he didn't follow through.

Jun 14, 2012 at 3:10 AM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

TomO, fair point. I have no idea what restrictions, if any, the data protection act or FOI legislation puts on the publishing of emails addresses in these circumstances. But if I were UEA (I'm not) I would want to be sure not to open myself to the threat of legal action. If I publish an address I might be liable to claims against me by the address owner who disputes having sent the message. If in doubt, redact: it seems a reasonable approach.

Jun 14, 2012 at 4:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Disgraceful, much as I have contempt for the behaviour of Jones and his Team nobody has the right to abuse or threaten them, and people who do are beneath contempt.

Simon Hopkinson thanks for the explanation, agree with you entirely. Two points have come to mind.

1. Why didn't the UEA publish them themselves? And why are we keeping the identities of these low life's secret?

2. Given the response to your FOI would you please be so kind as to get in touch with a Mr. S McIntyre I'm sure he would take any advice he could get in making the UEA's response to FOI requests expeditious.

Jun 14, 2012 at 4:20 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

JEM

Quite so. Phil Jones did what he did and, as a matter of fact, will have to live with the consequences irrespective of people’s opinions. Personally, however, I cannot find it in my heart to be unsympathetic. He may not have been wise to accept government funds for his present work but I guess few who do this expect to become embroiled in warfare as a result.

The cognoscenti here

I stick with my belief that Phil and the UEA crew will not spend time examining whether what they do is justified. That would amount to something near a breach of trust with their funders. However I would expect that if they were naughty enough to do so, having accumulated so much knowledge of their own work and understanding so little about the case against it, they would conclude that they truly believe in the edifice they have constructed. They will either simply not understand criticisms or will think they are trivial. (For a splendid example see Nick Stokes in the Climate Audit thread starting 10th June.)

And I also stick to the point that destruction of Phil Jones is not going to be a significant win in the CAGW war. It is Government’s policy that has to be changed – achieve that and UEA’s funding will disappear and the Prof will have to look for something else to do.

[snip]

Bishop

I hope you will not snip ZDB. If you find her intervention irrelevant please stick it into some separate thread. Occasionally it would be nice to visit for a little bit of light relief and it’s occasionally interesting to learn how the other side see us.

Jun 14, 2012 at 4:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

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