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Skeptic Author Chris Horner Exposes New York Times and AAAS: FOIA = Death Threats?! ‘Do we condone death threats (really?) and, if not, why would we then also issue a FOIA?’


Guest Post By Chris Horner, Director of litigation at American Tradition Institute and author of Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed

So the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), thoroughly rattled by the American Tradition Institute’s FOIA requests of UVa and NASA — and even more so by the litigation forced by the institutions’ respective stonewalling — issued a board statement comparing FOIA requests of climate scientists with death threats. Really.

Naturally this caught the eye of the New York Times, which had a young lady contact us for comment. Right off the bat it was clear she, too, had been rattled by the horrors of our outrageous efforts to …see certain records the taxpayer has paid for and which are expressly covered by transparency laws.

Her stance was sympathetic to AAAS’s to the point of temper. She first reaffirmed a fancy for the apparently absolute truth that a FOIA request for climate scientists’ records is indeed no different than death threats allegedly made in Australia against scientists — sadly, if that’s true, they are now treated to what ‘skeptics’ have experienced for years, as I have detailed.

Well, actually, her disinterest in Greenpeace having created this little cottage practice indicated that this is true only for certain climate scientists’ records. Not the ones whose records Greenpeace is asking her for…that’s just transparency, good-government type stuff.

She continued by wondering, as such, do we condone death threats (really?) and, if not, why would we then also issue a FOIA?

Why that is particularly amusing, as opposed to sad, is that she was shocked by my assertion that Big Science/Big Academia’s objection to having laws that obviously cover their own actually applied to their own was of a part with Hollywood objecting to laws being applied to Roman Polanski. Apparently, by saying this, I was accusing Michael Mann of rape. Or something.

So see the below as I sent to her and, given the above, I expect you will not see in the story. Surely because it will be too busy explaining the tyranny of Greenpeace broadly filing similar requests. ATI’s statement is here:

—–Original Message—–
[email protected]
To: [email protected]
Sent: Wed, Jun 29, 2011 1:14 pm
Subject: AAAS release citing ATI transparency efforts

Dear Joanna,

I’m told you called ATI for comment. Below is my response per an earlier inquiry.


Christopher C. Horner Senior Fellow Competitive Enterprise Institute 1899 L St, NW 12th Floor Washington, DC, 20036 +1.202.331.2260 (O)

Several points:

I noticed no relation between our initiative and the Board’s rhetoric until they mentioned us somewhat incongruously.

The notion that application of laws expressly covering academics [is] an ‘attack’ on academics is substantively identical to Hollywood apologists calling application of other laws to Roman Polanski an attack on Polanski. They rather lost the plot somewhere along the way.

The failure to mention the group that invented this series of requests, Greenpeace, informs a conclusion that this attempt at outrage is selective, and therefore either feigned or hypocritical. This is also new; their problem is quite plainly with the law(s), but it is a problem they have, over the decades of transparency and ethics laws applying to scientists subsisting on taxpayer revenue, heretofore forgotten to mention.

Opposition to such laws applying to them is rather shocking. But then, maybe not so much when you also note their failure to comment on scientists being outed as advocating the flaunting of transparency laws.

Finally, AAUP’s code of professional ethics indicates that efforts to manipulate the peer review process are impermissible. Given the overlap and for other reasons we assume this is something AAAS agrees with or at minimum accepts. But this, too, is insincere if such behavior is permissible — or at least, where just cause indicates further inquiry is warranted, it is to be ignored — if the party at issue is one who for various reasons the AAAS or AAUP et al. elevate or find sympathetic. In Mann’s case, if our review of his documents which belong to the taxpayer also happen to exonerate him from the suspicions that have arisen, we will be the first to do so.

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