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Death Threats

December 13th, 2009 No comments

I saw a Guardian article saying that climatologists had been receiving death threats after ClimateGate and that the FBI and British police are investigating. Megan McCardle’s post on this has a lot of good comments. The problem is that when people who have been exposed as cheats who refused to reveal the evidence they claimed to have for their strong scientific assertions say they are being sent death threats but refuse to reveal the evidence they claim to have for being threatened, we ought to be a little skeptical. McCardle comments said:

[1] "I doubt the FBI comments on pending investigations." 

And you'd be right. The don't comment on actual investigations that are under way. That's the point. There is no FBI investigation under way concerning email threats to US climate scientists because there haven't been any.

If you doubt it, I suggest you call the telephone number listed here:

(202) 278-3519

If you are credentialed journalist, the Public Affairs spokesman for the Washington Field Office of the FBI will gladly confirm for you that this Guardian story is a hoax.

Takes five minutes to do this simple legwork.

[2] Yep! If they really wanted people to see these things they could just post emails, with ALL the header info on the web. Everyone, including authorities, would know who sent them. Amazing how that never seems to happen. Instead, it's "trust us".

I googled and found an example of some earlier threats to Skeptics instead of Warmists. From
Scientists threatened for ‘climate denial’
The Telegraph, 11 Mar 2007:

Timothy Ball, a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, has received five deaths threats by email since raising concerns about the degree to which man was affecting climate change.

One of the emails warned that, if he continued to speak out, he would not live to see further global warming.

Compare with the 2009 situation.
“Climate scientists receive death threats,”
Eleanor Hall interview, Australia, December 9, 2009:

ELEANOR HALL:Now to those death threats against climate scientists at the centre of the East Anglia University email affair. The death threats are now being investigated by the FBI in the US and the British police.

Dr Tom Wigley is a former director of the Climatic Research Unit at the East Anglia University and has had several of his emails used by climate change sceptics to suggest that he and his fellow climate scientists have been distorting data and cooking the books to fabricate evidence of global warming….

TOM WIGLEY: Well there’ve been a number of abusive and threatening emails that have been sent to a number of the protagonists here, and I’m not going to mention the names of the individuals but it does include me, and those things are very worrying.

I’ve been asked not to say anything about the details of these threats but I can at least say that the FBI in the USA and the police in England are taking these things seriously and are investigating the sources of the threatening emails as well as they can….

ELEANOR HALL: I understand that you can’t go into detail about who you think might be behind this but can you tell me a little bit more about your reaction? I mean do you now feel frightened for your life?

TOM WIGLEY: You know, I’m in a rather fortunate position that I spend half my time in Australia and half my time in the United States. I mean one of the emails to me said: “we know where you live”. Well I’m not really sure whether they do know where I live.

In that sense I’m not particularly worried but the other emails that some people have received have been rather more pointed and detailed and, as I said, I mean I wish I could tell you more but I just can’t say any more at the moment so…

From my reading of the ClimateGate emails, I doubt that Dr. Wigley would send himself fake death threats, but other people might, and it’s interesting that the journalists just take his word for it, without even seeing copies of the threats. Note, too, the mention of police reaction. Do the police care about Skeptics being threatened too?

Categories: global warming, reputation, thinking Tags:

Dealing with Reporters on a Regular Basis

December 10th, 2009 No comments

Via Sailer, “The Michael Jordan/Tiger Woods Model: Why It Will Never Work With The Media,” . The title has it wrong, but the article is good. The strategy is to intimidate reporters and cut off access to any reporter who ever prints anything critical. The drawback is that if the athlete’s stock ever falls (e.g. Tiger Wood’s), even the hitherto friendly reporters hate him and have repressed stories to tell. The tradeoff can be worth it, though.

Categories: game theory, media, reputation Tags: