Climategate, the global warming scandal that won’t be swept away despite the best efforts of international governments, now moves to a Virginia court showdown.
After several Climategate inquiries all dismissed by critics as whitewashes, this is where the real climate war begins, say opponents. Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli has fired his latest legal salvo with a 41-page brief in a Virginia state courtroom.
On Tuesday the Albemarle County Circuit Court was presented with the state prosecutor’s case as to why the University of Virginia (UVA) cannot refuse to answer a subpoena to disclose documents pertaining to an alleged $500,000 grant fraud by former employee and climate researcher, Michael Mann.
Lawyers for UVA have countered that Cuccinelli’s request violates Mann’s academic freedom and that the attorney general has no reasonable basis to believe fraud took place. They’ve asked a judge to set the demand aside.
Leaked Emails Prove Mann’s Intent
Cuccinelli seeks to establish the culpability of Michael Mann as a funding fraudster. The key issue that must be proven is whether Mann acted consciously to hide the failures in his data, which would be fraud, rather than that Mann is just another incompetent climate data handler, as was determined by three official British investigations into Climategate.
Mann appeared to implicated himself in his leaked Climategate emails, such as that of October 27, 2009 in which he confessed, ”As we all know, this isn’t about truth at all, its about plausibly deniable accusations.”
Other leaked Climategate files accredited to Mann labeled "CENSORED" and "FIXED" appear to confirm that a 14 bristlecone pine series had been intentionally excluded from Mann’s climate proxy calculations and kept secret.
Royal Statistical Society Proves Mann’s Fudging
The Royal Statistical Society recently carried out a full statistical analysis of Mann’s disputed numbers and found that the former UVA tree-ring counter had used “inappropriate methods” resulting in an exaggeration of the global warming phenomenon. Professor Hand, in declaring the Society’s verdict wrote, “The change in temperature is not as great over the 20th century compared to the past as suggested by the Mann paper.”
The Society singled out one 1998 paper by Mann (when he was a UVA employee) as being the worst example.
Incompetence or Willful Fraud?
Cuccinelli’s legal team argues that the documents that the University of Virginia (UVA) refuses to hand over may be key to the attorney general’s ongoing fraud investigation. This, says the state’s most senior attorney, is the only standard governing whether the university is legally compelled to answer his subpoena for those documents.
The big question here for Virginia’s taxpayers is, did discredited researcher, Mann obtain five grants from public funds with the intention of faking global warming data?
Withholding Evidence Proves the Crime
Mann and his former employers, UVA, are accused of cynically and persistently obstructing efforts to find out the facts.
Virginia’s own laws relating to the intentional withholding of evidence provide that “[w]here one party has within his control material evidence and does not offer it, there is [an inference] that the evidence, if it had been offered, would have been unfavorable to that party.” Charles E. Friend, The Law of Evidence in Virginia § 10-17, at 338 (5th ed.1999).
Endemic International Climate Government Cover Up
Over several years key government-funded university climate researchers had unlawfully refused Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests. Opponents of global climate taxes argue that it was those institutions that unlawfully refused to disclose such data that precipitated the leaking of emails during the so-called Climategate scandal of November 2009.
The British and American governments, among others, had hoped to premise substantial green energy taxes on the findings of researchers such as Michael Mann.
As Washington Post’s Helderman reports, “Cuccinelli (R) now contends that academic freedom does not shield the university from turning over documents in a fraud probe conducted by his office. But he also seizes the opportunity to dispute climate change research.”
Hockey Stick Graph Relied on Poor Proxy Data
Mann allegedly fudged his hockey stick graph to hide the fact tree rings are proven to be poor proxies when compared to modern temperatures.
Thus, the skeptics argue, if tree ring data is proven to not correlate well with modern temperature records why should we believe they are good proxies of historic temperatures?
Profiting from Deceit?
The so-called ‘hockey stick’ graph has long been the iconic image of environmentalist campaigners and the global warming establishment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) used it as a prominent graphic in its literature as did Al Gore in his award-winning and controversial documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Gore and the IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.
However, Gore has recently spent $6 million on prime California seafront real estate, as reported by James Delingpole of the UK’s Daily Telegraph (‘California Welcomes the Poodle of Lurve,’ July 12, 2010).
Legal Arguments in Cuccinelli’s Brief
The brief justifies the legal standard for issuing the Civil Investigative Demand that Cuccinelli sent to the school in April. He seeks to ascertain whether documents held by UVA are relevant to the investigation. Cuccinelli’s lawyers argue academic freedom is no defense to obstruct a legal investigation into whether fraud has been committed with taxpayer dollars.
The university must respond to the attorney general’s brief by July 20 and oral arguments have been set for August 20.
The first part of the brief is a 17-page description of why Cuccinelli has "reason to believe" that Mann might have committed fraud as he sought public grants for his research. An earlier investigation by Penn. State University, Mann’s current employer since 2005, cleared him of wrongdoing.
Cuccinelli’s brief states, "Simply put, the other investigations confirm that there is substantial reason to inquire, but none can ‘clear’ Mann of violating FATA because no one, other than the Attorney General, has asked that question," they write.
The story, by Rosalind Helderman, features in the Washington Post (July 13, 2010).