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Mann hearing transcript

The American Tradition Institute has posted the official transcript of the last court hearing at which both sides argued over the nitty gritty of whether Mann's emails should be released. Anthony W has published excerpts here.

I particularly enjoyed this intervention by the judge and the response from Mann's counsel, who has argued that ATI are bad people.

THE COURT Modern American debate seems to require us to accuse adversaries of improper motives. We see that in the public forum all the time. What if, for general purposes, all of those bad motives are true? How does it effect the legal right to FOIA protection? Are we -- do we have a purity of heart test before we apply FOIA's legislative acts?

MR. FONTAINE: No, Your Honor, the law on that is quite clear. It is not really the Court's function to try to weigh the motives.

The full transcript is here. Feel free to note anything interesting in the comments.

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Reader Comments (15)

coming a court in Norwich......

May 2, 2012 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

hey...I would like some experimental evidence of anthing to do with climate change. the fact that proto-fascist Arrhenius severely revised his estimates of the "sensitivity" (if that is a meaningful label) down by a few degrees over a span of a few years suggests to me that there is much to learn. But i am not a climate scientist.

(the only reason I point out that Arrhenius was a proto-fascist is to annoy the Connolleys and the other ignoranti...if they knew that, watch how quickly they would jump off the bandwaggon)

May 2, 2012 at 10:29 PM | Registered Commenterdiogenes

But why not just publish the emails? As New Labour said "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

May 3, 2012 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterTucker

It's sad the follow on discussions don't happen more often. As the judge here says, let's suppose all you say is true...

For example, suppose that temperatures are rising. And CO2 is causing most of it. Stipulate a "carbon tax" of one sort or another might affect the use of fossil fuels.

Does it then really follow that the United Nations or the EU is any more likely to use the carbon tax revenues wisely?

Stipulate that "deniers", as they call us, share traits with tobacco executives. Does the example of exceptional tax increases on tobacco give us assurance that increasing taxes on "carbon" will break us of the smokin' habit? Will the revenues collected be applied to mitigation of the damages? Or will carbon tax revenues be as poorly applied as tobacco tax revenues to lung cancer and other health consequences of tobacco use?

Stipulate that glaciers are more likely to melt, more quickly. (Seems highly unlikely, but just for discussion begin with that assumption. ) In a world facing widespread shortages of fresh water, how is the conversion of locked up ice into clean cold running river water, exactly, a bad thing?

There are a host of Socratic dialogs and Hegelian dialectics to be had on this topic.

No wonder the alarmists are unwilling to debate.

May 3, 2012 at 2:33 AM | Unregistered Commenterpouncer

Here's a fascinating (well at least to me!) tidbit from p. 74. Dr. Schnare (counsel for ATI) is speaking:

Notably, during the discussion as to the protective order, Mr. Fontaine famously said that the only person on the planet capable of understanding and reviewing the e-mails, to select a bunch of exemplars, the only person on the planet was Michael Mann.

To my mind this is somewhat reminiscent of the "logic" of UEA selecting the papers that were to be reviewed by Oxburgh (while pretending that they were selected by the RS).

And of course one can rely on Michael Mann's interpretation and "understanding" to be absolutely pure and beyond reproach. NOT.

Talk about the unbearable arrogance of "climate scientists"(and/or their lawyers) eh?!

May 3, 2012 at 2:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Here's another tidbit (Schnare again, pp 81-82):

Columbia University Press, published a book that included, cited to, and quoted the Wegman e-mails, e-mails obtained under the Virginia FOIA. They showed no concern about a copyright interest in those e-mails, either.

And the author of the book showed no concern either about the copyright interest Wegman had or any threat to academic freedom that Wegman might suffer. He showed utterly no concern about publication of these e-mails and whether they would chill academic work in the correspondence of academicians during the research process.

And who, Your Honor, is this author? Michael Mann.

Following on the previous tidbit I quoted, it would appear that someone has imbued Michael Mann with the skills required to be the ultimate arbiter of what emails should and should not be published.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

May 3, 2012 at 3:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterHilary Ostrov

The way to go is to investigate legally if there has been any

1. research grant fraud
2. conspiracy in connection with research grant fraud,
3. breaking of FOIA laws,
4. conspiracy to break FOIA laws (which is actable even beyond the 6 months period)
5. conspiracy against sceptics at universities, journals, media etc. to silence dissenting views and harm individual careers
6. bribery

May 3, 2012 at 3:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterMarkus

Here's a rather surprising tidbit from Schare (p. 131), in response to question from the Judge (after Wesson for UVA had regurgitated the party line about how the emails were "stolen" from UEA). Sheridan had asked what the current status of the UEA investigation is.

Your Honor, the local constabulary has closed the criminal investigation entirely. The only role of the U.S. Attorneys and the Department of Justice was to facilitate obtaining evidence from two sets of computers that were in the United States. It is our understanding the issue is closed.

Bish, have you heard anything about Norfolk's finest having "closed the criminal investigation entirely"?

May 3, 2012 at 3:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Hilary-As far as I can see, this was the latest post from the Bishop about the plodding along in Norfolk.

May 3, 2012 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

The comments about the peer review process being for the benefit of all gave me a good laugh. The proles should be content that the experts know what they're doing.

May 3, 2012 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRB

lucia, at the Blackboard, has an interesting, somewhat parallel, case.

May 3, 2012 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

A couple interesting notes from the transcript:

UVA released the entire content of the e-mails in question to Mann, who is no longer affiliated with UVA or the State of Virginia. Schare suggested that this is evidence that UVA has indicated by the this act that they can release them to any interested individual because Mann in just another individual as far as the law is concerned. The point was also made that Mann does not own the e-mails and has no more right to them than anyone else. The Commonwealth of Virginia owns them and UVA is merely the custodian.

Scondly, much was made by opposing counsel that the e-mails are "proprietary" (heard that one before?) However, ATI counsel made a request for a specific subset of the e-mails at first, just about how Mann conducted his work at UVA, no work product was included. That is "proprietary?"

This is good stuff. Reading the actual transcript means you can decide for yourself what is going on, no interpreters or spinmeisters needed.

May 3, 2012 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered Commenteroeman50

Sorry about the typo, "secondly" is correct. Should have used preview.

May 3, 2012 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered Commenteroeman50

It struck me that, although the law profession is normally a nitpicker's paradise, the respondents' lawyers were very cavalier about working relationships and informal agreements. Their argument regarding their sharing of the "exempt" emails with Mann's lawyer is, essentially, we're going to be working together later, so let's get started now. In other realms of endeavour, prior to sharing information everyone signs non-disclosure and/or non-compete agreements first, then they share. Here, they behave as though mere intention is dispositive. My counter-argument to the 'we're working together, we can share' line is 'only after you have a formal (e.g. written and signed) agreement. Anything prior is just gossip.'

May 4, 2012 at 6:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn C

This snippet encapsulates what it is really all about. Hiding these.

MR. KAST (representing University of Virginia)
“I think, again, that is something that this court can determine. It is not a factual
issue that requires discovery. But you can look at an e-mail; and if the e-mail is an e-mail to
a scientist at the University of East Anglia talking about tree rings, for instance, and how they may have or not recorded climate change inpast, then that is one type of e-mail that we would claim falls within this research proprietary exemption.”

The only question the Court needs to answer is did Mann do this work with private, or PUBLIC funding?

The answer will determine whether it is "proprietary" or "Public".

That's my "two pennies".

May 4, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

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