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Death threats debunked

There's a fascinating story in the Australian today apparently. It seems that claims that Australian climate scientists received death threats were largely fabricated. It seems that Australian chief scientist Ian Chubb's role is somewhat questionable too - he apparently moved scientists to more secure premises without actually having seen the emails in question.

The story is paywalled, but James Delingpole summarises the salient points.

Here's a question. Are chief scientific advisers a force for good in government?

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Reader Comments (66)

Most scientists, would hide away than get their name in the media (and I don't blame them)
Don't use this as a story to beat scientists up with, what has any scientist in the UK, or USA got to do with this story, or even the majority of scientists in Aus.. making out that no-ones gets rude emails or condoning them by silence, just makes sceptics look very partisan in the eyes of scientist, and why wouldn't they think, well i get rude nasty emails, these guys won't say it isn't on, why should I talk to any sceptics at all.)
May 3, 2012 at 10:38 AM Barry Woods

With respect Barry, it's not really true to say "what has any scientist in the UK, or USA got to do with this story, or even the majority of scientists in Aus...".

This whole "death threats" story is only public news because scientists like Jones in the UK (possibly under professional PR guidance), Hayhoe in the US (in numerous interviews & articles) and Arabia in Australia, together with their media sympathisers, deliberately built it up into a media story.

I'm not denying that people with a public profile get "green ink" letters - I've had a few myself - but if people deliberately manufacture a fake media scare out of it to smear their enemies - they should be exposed.

May 3, 2012 at 4:21 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

That tame "woe is me" interview Jones gave to a compliant Sunday Times was part of a strategy arranged by the public relations company UEA had employed – no doubt at lavish taxpayer expense – to make the disgraced Jones and his department look more sinned against than sinning."

"no doubt at lavish taxpayer expense". Yup. Outside Organisation was paid STG112,000 for its services, one of which included placing the poor Phil article in the Times. The timing of the David Leigh-Charles Arthur on Feb 4, 2010 looks like it has Wallis' fingerprints on it as well.

May 3, 2012 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

Don K

"clearly libellous comments"

It ain't libel if it's true! (which is probably the point you were making)

May 3, 2012 at 4:48 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Jo Nova has a good post, listing the media headlines the "death threat scam" achieved around the world and reinforcing the message that this level of misinformation can't just be ignored - it has to be countered.

May 3, 2012 at 5:35 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

This is exactly why I would say not to make a big deal about online rude behaviour (not that we should actively condone it).

It is the propagandists who wish to do so.

May 3, 2012 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered Commentershub

Calmness and politeness must be the priorities in countering the alarmist/greenie claims. You fall plum into their trap if you resort to abuse.

There is no place for unnecessary noise, abuse and nonsense in this. Don't be provoked.

Stick to the facts, stick to the truth.

That's what will scupper them in the end. It's guaranteed, however much they squirm.

May 3, 2012 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

@Don Keiller 3:47 PM | "Another pertinent question is why the University of East Anglia does not sue James Delinpole for his clearly libellous comments."

Probably Don, because last time they had a pop at him, they lost;

Google: "UEA: the sweet smell of napalm in the morning"

May 3, 2012 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Agouts: spot on.

Steve Mc: As I've mentioned to Andrew I've made a new friend in London who was interested by my interest in Neil Wallis. He knows nothing of the climate debate but is quite an expert on the phone hacking saga. He's pretty convinced that key players like Wallis will see the inside of the clink before the story's done. If so, at that point the amount UEA paid for his services will stand out in rather sharp relief. I'll email you a bit more about it before too long.

May 3, 2012 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake


Delingpole press complaint win, By me, at Watts Up

Judith Curry also picked up on it...

May 3, 2012 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

In a minute there is a new eposode of Big Bang Theory on E4 which i shall watch

But over on BBC 4 there is Horizon Armageddon when it arrives and how the scientice will save us from it

Will seeing they predicted another iceage when i was a kid that never materailised and a Millenium Bug
and now Climate Change thats ere a bit late arrivaing if at all

So now AGW has failed to show the scientices are now saying Global Weirding instead of warming
They are now taking credit for saving us from something that hasnt happened

May 3, 2012 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Just turned it over and they talking about solar mirrors to deflect an aastroid

Solar mirrors see where this headed and now they are on about giant volcanos which havent exploded yet

May 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

May 3, 2012 at 6:53 PM Well put, Agouts.

The climate doomsters or subtler variants may be with us indefinitely now, like economists whose subject has proven so feeble in prediction, so influential in politics, and so presumptious of insight when deploying hindsight, we shall have to endure pretentious climatologists behaving in much the same way.

But we might at least drive their poisonous attitudes out of our nursery schools, our primary schools, and our popular discourse. This looks to me more like a series of marathons than a sprint, and calm heads and hearts will be needed to see it through.

Only if we get more talented physicists and other scientists devoting their best years to scotching this snake will the outcome be different, or so it seems to me. But will the messy topic of climate appeal enough? Lindzen has shown the way, and others from the sidelines such as Ivor Giaever , Hal Lewis, Will Happer, Robert Laughlin, and many others in various levels of involvement (see The erudite fury of younger physicists such as Lubos Motl might inspire more young physicists to get engaged. There's hope yet.

May 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

They had the tsunarmi bird flu 9 11

They just got round to Global warming and the gulf stream
Antartic getting warmer Horizon Film clip from 1997

Blah blah usual doom and comsumer guilt typical BBC
Now they saying because Climate Change is slow and not spectacular
But its still going to happen
BBC changing their tune slightly

Thats the real trick as Han Solo would say
They cant tell us when and by how much
So whats the point of paying someone to study it
Or paying someone to talk about it

Ps they now got some show on BBC 4 about death and decay
Yeah great

May 3, 2012 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Now it turns out that the Australian university that hyped the "death threats" didn't even call police - although they lied at the time and pretended they had.

Find a few scraps of data, grossly inflate them, draw an erroneous conclusion and, if called out, hide the evidence and then lie about it.

Where have we seen that before?

May 4, 2012 at 12:28 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

@simpleseekeraftertruth/Barry Woods

Thanks for pointing out UEA's dismal attempt at gagging Delingpole.
I'd missed that one.

It is quite difficult to spot all of the squirming maggots.

May 4, 2012 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

@ May 3, 2012 at 12:17 PM John Shade

we need people like you & the Bishop to have an input into the science/political process.
common sense is in short supply.
always find your input/comments reasoned,apt & short on bull**t..

May 5, 2012 at 2:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

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