FOIA E-Mails: Politically Inexperienced, Publicity-Hungry Scientists Get Burned In Political Arena

Unfolding is the latest chapter in the sad state of climate science and the tragic consequences scientists face when they decide to go political without having the experience to do so.

One has to wonder what these people were thinking when they expected dissenters to just roll over and waive their precious free speech rights.

A Virginia judge has ruled in favor of The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in a Virginia Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against George Mason University, which was ordered yesterday to release documents and e-mails related to a group of scientists calling for the prosecution of organizations that promote manmade climate change skepticism – all under the US Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Full story here.

WUWT sees the scandal surrounding the controversy as one that is even more serious than the 2009 “Climategate” – an affair where e-mails exposed climate scientists exaggerating climate trends, manipulating the peer-review process, and skirting the freedom of information act.

A total of 5 PDFs have been released concerning George mason University, and with climate scientist Jagadish Shukla with a leading role.

Pages 1- 59
Pages 60-102
Pages 103-133
Pages 134-178
Pages 179-190

As one reads the e-mails, it quickly emerges that some of the involved scientists (unwittingly) meandered out of their academic realm, with which they are comfortable and familiar, and into a political one that is very unfamiliar to them. Their scheme was ultimately aimed at intimidating and silencing scientific dissent.

Odds “slim to none”

Early on they were even advised that their case was very weak, and probably best left aside. For example Ed Maibach admitted (000003) that they really didn’t have much of a case:


Yet he seemed unable to resist the opportunity of getting “lots of media attention” (000006):


Maibach even fancied front page coverage in the Washington Post. What harm could it do to try?

“New” in politics

We also see Shukla announcing (000003) how he decided to become politically active, that he was “new” at it, and wrote that the issue is more about politics than science:


Moreover he added that he had a “dedicated activist” on board for the science-based, world-saving political endeavor on which they were about to embark:


Clearly the political arena was a new one for scientist Shukla – one he seriously underestimated. Unfortunately he would soon find out, that at that the level he was entering, it was absolutely no place for political amateurs.

Threatening organizations and scientific dissenters with the powerful crime-fighting RICO Act was taken extremely seriously by dissenting individual scientists, bloggers, organsations etc. They in turn responded accordingly and moved vigorously to defend their rights against what they viewed as a serious fundamental human rights threat. Before too long revelations and allegations surfaced – and the arena became heated.

By early October, after serious allegations were made about Shukla’s salary and compensation, the blowback became too harsh. Shukla penned a letter (000033) backpedaling, claiming that their letter to IGES outlining their RICO effort was “misinterpreted” and that it “was not at all the case“:


He asserted the scientists didn’t mean to send the message that by involving RICO they were trying to silence individual and blogger dissent. Their purpose, instead, was only to punish organizations that might be funding the dissent. Those on the other side saw it differently. Indeed, words do need to be chosen carefully.

Moreover in the letter Shukla claims “much published credible evidence“, giving the impression of a solid case. Yet recall how in July he was told (000003) by Maibach that they had little to go on, that the chances of the Department of Justice (DOJ) pursuing the case were “slim to none”.

As one reads all the e-mails, it becomes apparent that the scientists-gone-activist have really woven themselves into a real mess, now that they have been exposed.

It’s a painful way for scientists to learn that it’s better to stick to science – and to let the politicking to others.

In any case they sought publicity – and now they’re getting it.


70 responses to “FOIA E-Mails: Politically Inexperienced, Publicity-Hungry Scientists Get Burned In Political Arena”

  1. DirkH

    Obviously Shukla wants a war on corporations. He is likely a full-on believer in the modern Western university groupthink that holds that socialism is the fair, just system and that capitalism cheats and exploits the masses to the advantage of the evil company owners.

    Meaning, he doesn’t know anything about the free market – and as a university inmate, he actively avoided any contact with it.

    Expect more of this. The universities, as extensions of the state, want ever more state and will fight for it – like welfare queens, only MUCH more expensive.

    And how do they justify the enormous cost their upkeep requires? By their sheer goodness! By their determination to save the world through the greatness of government science!

    If they ever win it’s Maduro’s Venezuela for ya. So go long flour and beans!

  2. John F. Hultquist

    George Mason University can’t be enjoying this.


    GMU also has Walter E. Williams as a professor. Reason enough, I guess, not to demolish the place.

  3. Frederick Colbourne

    “Their purpose, instead, was only to punish organizations that might be funding the dissent.”

    Was there no lawyer who could explain the position the Supreme Court has taken towards the right to fund political expression?

  4. sod

    which e-mail is the smoking gun?

    I have not read anything, that is of any importance. Which one is it?

    1. David Johnson

      You are being ironic, aren’t you. either that or you are a complete imbecile

      1. sod

        I am a warmist and that for a little bit slow.

        Please help to educate me and post some relevant stuff in those e-mails. So far i have not seen anything that looks even slightly suspicious.

        1. AndyG55

          “Please help to educate me ”

          We have tried many, many times.

          But you are impervious to being educated.

          1. Colorado Wellington

            sod and Shukla deserve each other.

          2. stan stendera

            Quit trying, he’s a troll.

        2. sod

          not a single link or quote.

          I am not surprised.

          Like “climategate”, this new e-mails show absolutely nothing.

          Just another attempt to silence scientists.

          1. AndyG55

            “Just another attempt to silence scientists.”

            No, we prefer that “climate scientists™” keep talking.

            The more they say, the stupider that look.

          2. ClimateOtter

            ‘just another attempt to silence (SKEPTIC) scientists’ – there sod fixed it for ya!

          3. Colorado Wellington

            “Just another attempt to silence scientists.”

            … says the little self-identified totalitarian who would like to control what is “allowed” to be posted.

            I know plenty of idiots who spout incoherent things like this for free in their leisure time but I’m beginning to think this one may be paid to do it.

          4. Denis Ables

            Let’s see where you, as an admitted “warmist”, stand on a couple of issues.

            Are you claiming that the MWP was regional? (If so, where is the evidence for such a claim. There are 1,000+ (last time I looked, which was some time ago) peer-reviewed studies showing the opposite (and you can find links to all these via Of course, if you have to do that it implies that you’re already denying the existence of 6,000 boreholes (around the globe, and not just ice cores) which show the MWP trend.

        3. AndyG55

          “a little bit slow”

          That is a massive overstatement. !!!

        4. T.G. Horal

          Did you ever pass the weather class given by Jeff Harvey?

      2. DirkH

        sod obviously thinks that this is what scientists do.

        Sod! Read about Karl Popper in the wikipedia! He had a much clearer idea of what science is than you! You can learn something from him! For free!

        And no – science and organised crime are NOT the same thing!

        1. yonason

          “And no – science and organised crime are NOT the same thing!” – DirkH

          But they are working hard to remedy that situation.

      3. yonason

        “You are being ironic, aren’t you. either that or you are a complete imbecile” – David Johnson

        the latter.

        He tells us elsewhere that “I am a nice person.” No he’s not. Anyone who wants to con people into something that will harm them is NOT a “nice” person.

        “I have not read anything, that is of any importance.” – sod

        Which is of course because he’s a willfully blind and totally devoted acolyte of the warmunist religion. Nothing we could ever show him would convince him of how totally wrong he is.

    2. Joe

      You see nothing with people whose “advocacy” is taking place on the job, which is certainly NOT in the prescribed responsibilities or within the limits of their job looking for ways to laws bludgeon those they have an ideological problem with?

      Are you high, or do you just think that megalomania is okay when the results sound good to you?

  5. AndyG55

    ““… and organisation broke the law by lying to the public about climate risk””

    What climate risk?

    There is absolutely ZERO evidence even now, except in junk climate models, that there is any more “risk” in the climate than there was 100, 200 years ago..

    There is, in fact, almost certainly LESS RISK.

    It is NOT a corporation’s job to tell “fantasies and fairy tales” to the public.

    1. sod

      “What climate risk?”

      why is it allowed to post such obvious false claims here?

      we are completely changing the atmosphere of our planet.

      The idea that this does not cause any risk is utterly false.

      Why should there be less risk? why do such stupid claims not need any evidence as backup?

      1. Colorado Wellington

        “why is it allowed to post such obvious false claims here?”

        Heh. Because little totalitarian pawns don’t get to define “false claims” and don’t control what is “allowed” to be posted here.

      2. AndyG55

        :why is it allowed to post such obvious false claims here?”

        You, or anyone else, have yet to prove there is ANY increased risk from increased CO2 levels.

        Its all comes from monumentally erroneous, assumption driven models.


        “Why should there be less risk?”

        Because REAL DATA shows that extreme weather is actually DECREASING.

        The LIA was COLD and a time of extreme hardship.

        Warming is good.. COLD is BAD.

      3. AndyG55

        “why do such stupid claims not need any evidence as backup?”

        Yes, you shouldn’t be allowed to make most of the claims you make on any real science forum.

        They have been shown to be monumental BS.

      4. AndyG55

        “we are completely changing the atmosphere of our planet”

        What a load of childish BS.

        We are, thankfully, releasing a small amount of sequestered carbon back into the carbon cycle.

        Since the whole world is absolutely dependant on the carbon cycle, this is absolutely and totally beneficial to the planet and to all creatures that live on the planet.

      5. AndyG55

        “The idea that this does not cause any risk is utterly false”

        Prove it. !!

        So far the small increase in atmospheric CO2 has been TOTALLY BENEFICIAL to all life on Earth.

    2. yonason

      sod writes _

      “‘What climate risk?’

      why is it allowed to post such obvious false claims here?

      we are completely changing the atmosphere of our planet.”
      Well, AndyG55. Whatdya have to say to THAT, huh!? Boy, sod sure told you.

      1. AndyG55

        from 3 parts CO2 per 10,000

        to 4 parts C02 per 10,000.

        Never mind that his padded, sealed basement is probably around 20-40 parts per 10,000, and is obviously affect his mind.

        He is a funny little puppy, isn’t he. 🙂

        1. sod

          “from 3 parts CO2 per 10,000

          to 4 parts C02 per 10,000.”

          380 ppm of colour:

          (picture from this link: )

          You are talking about stuff, that you do not understand.

          We can have a discussion about risk assessment. Or about a benefit/risk comparison.

          But the claim that there is “no risk” is simply false.

          And such a stupid claim would never pass peer review!

          1. AndyG55

            No, any change in “risk” has been in a REDUCTION of risk.

            That is what REAL DATA tells us.

            You are talking stuff from propaganda pap… like you always do.

            Model generated BS.

          2. AndyG55

            “Or about a benefit/risk comparison. ”

            Raised CO2 .. MASSIVE BENEFITS to the whole world… and…
            ZERO extra risk, in fact, according to real data… reduced risk.

            Increased risk only comes from models and assumptions that been shown to be manifestly inaccurate.

          3. AndyG55

            The fact that you even use a dye based material as a comparison to CO2, says all that is needed about your, and their, ignorance.

            Where is the pic of the one with 300ppm KMnO4?

          4. AndyG55

            Oh look, here is a bottle of 8500ppm NaCl


          5. AndyG55

            Name me a REAL risk of increased atmospheric CO2 !!

            One that isn’t derived from erroneous assumptions.

          6. AndyG55

            And guess what this is a glass of…


            Saturated with CO2.. and totally clear..

            and no warming either.

          7. Denis Ables

            There may also be a risk based on the claim by the little man on the corner holding a sign which states the world will be ending tomorrow. Life is short, and when the claimant likely has no known credibility, why waste time doing risk/benefit studies?

            Keep in mind that there is no empirical evidence that co2 level has EVER had any impact on our planet’s temperature, even over geologic periods when co2 level was several times higher than it is now.

            It is also the case that the only correlation betwixt co2 and temperature variation over geologic periods which tracks both up and down trends shows temperature variation happening FIRST, and 800 to 2800 years LATER does similar temperature variation occur. Correlations do not imply causation, but in this case it eliminates the possibility of the opposite correlation. So, the AGW hypothesis is IMPLAUSIBLE.

            That old experiment demonstrating that an increase in co2 level cuases an increase in temperature was performed in a controlled environment (a little greenhouse). But satellites see radiation escaping to space, and there are no planetary level feedbacks within a greenhouse.

        2. yonason

          “He is a funny little puppy, isn’t he.” – AndyG55

          Especially when he tries to fool us into mistaking him for a bigger dog than he is.

          But, if he keeps pretending, maybe someone will believe him.

          1. AndyG55

            A yapping Chihuahua behind a 6ft paling fence.

          2. AndyG55

            Sorry, but this is OT.

            Enjoy, particularly any Americans out there..


  6. Duke Silver

    Regardless of the political and legal ramifications….there was certainly NO scientific relevance established by the RICO20…..

    Common-sensically it falls well within the “don’t throw stones” adage.

    My guess is these tenured professors are so far removed from earning their way they’ve forgotten somebody may be looking. Unfortunately, academic privilege (aka ultimate camouflage) was stripped away when they invoked the courts.

    This sets a wonderful precedent for Steyn v Mann …. well, for Steyn anyway.

    1. Graeme No.3

      I think they will decide, with the help of hindsight, that the plan should not have been named Operation Petard.

  7. boyfromtottenham

    Hi from Oz. Why do so many seemingly intelligent people think that they know better how the world should be run, and therefore feel the need to become ‘activists’ for their cause de jour? I belong to a humble Men’s Shed and we have one of these ratbags causing us all sorts of trouble. He generates lots of emails making exaggerated claims to push his POV, and can convince others to unite against the elected committee of management.But he won’t put his money where his mouth is by standing for a leadership position himself. Why is this? Is he a convert to Social Marxism, or just a nut job?

  8. Jamie

    Again we see the scientific method perverted by shameless warmists. One of the basic tenants of science is not to allow any bias into your observations and experiments. Obviously, wanting to lock-up people who don’t accept your hypothesis and dogmatically trying to sell your hypothesis is as far away from the scientific method as possible.

    A true scientist should not be emotionally attached to their hypothesis and should actually rejoice if new facts arise that disprove it. This is how science is moved forward, not by locking up people you disagree with or ranting with oxymorons like ‘settled science’.

    The promise of a trillion dollar carbon trading floor is one of the main culprits. It is impossible to have unbiased science, when it is being pushed to reap trillions in profits and taxes.

  9. David Springer

    Sod asks why are false statements allowed to be posted here.

    I’m more curious about why sod is allowed to post here.

    For instance he weeps about humans “totally changing the atmosphere” when in fact you have to have 20th century technology to detect any change at all.

    1. Denis Ables

      Sod probably hasn’t asked NASA or NOAA why both ignore data from our two weather satellites (which show no additonal warming for the past 18+ years, and that’s in spite of an El Nino which cranked up in mid 2015.

      Sod probably hasn’t asked NASA or NOAA why they continually make claims about a year or a particular month being “hottest” because the difference in temperature comparisons amongst recent candidate years is MINISCULE, less than the uncertainty error.

    2. sod

      ” when in fact you have to have 20th century technology to detect any change at all.”

      What are you talking about? we are talking about the atmosphere in huge heights. It is obvious, that we need modern technology to detect the changes.

      Are you expecting changes that could be detected by stone age humans? Like the sky turning purple?

      1. AndyG55

        “Like the sky turning purple?”

        Ah, so, that’s what Bellany’s KMnO4 farce was all about.

        They want purple sky.

      2. AndyG55

        Notice that sob has totally ignored the question above..

        I’ll re-iterate it……

        “Name me a REAL risk of increased atmospheric CO2.

        One that isn’t derived from erroneous assumptions.”

        1. Colorado Wellington

          True, Andy, but you don’t really expect him to answer that question, do you? Is he supposed to betray the collectivist cause?

          Would you have expected a Communist “free-speech hero” Dalton Trumbo to tell us what he thought of free speech rights of Soviet citizens or why he switched from being a pacifist to a war hawk after Hitler junked his pact with Stalin?

          1. yonason

            Come on, guys. Everyone knows that CO2 caused warming is the greatest threat we face today.


          2. AndyG55

            The yappy Chihuahua says I shouldn’t be allowed to post such comments as…

            “What climate risk?

            There is absolutely ZERO evidence even now, except in junk climate models, that there is any more “risk” in the climate than there was 100, 200 years ago”

            He has yet to prove where I was incorrect.

        2. sod

          ““Name me a REAL risk of increased atmospheric CO2. ”

          If you claim, that there is no risk, it is you who has to name the evidence.

          1. CraigM350

            “If you claim, that there is no risk, it is you who has to name the evidence”

            I say there is risk that the monster behind you is going to eat you and then use your bones to pick its bogies as it hop, skips and jumps away. However you said there is no monster. Prove it!!!

          2. AndyG55

            Run and hide, little child.

            You know you have NOTHING.

            I said there is no increased risk.

            ie.. the null hypothesis.

            It is YOU that has to provide proof that there is increased risk.

          3. sod

            “Run and hide, little child.

            You know you have NOTHING.

            I said there is no increased risk.

            ie.. the null hypothesis.”

            So your idea is: If i increase the intake of substance X, nothing will happen.

            And you think that this is the null hypothesis?

            You know nothing!

          4. AndyG55

            The only REAL RISK comes from the ridiculous government responses to this faked-up-scare of AGW.

            The destruction of stable electrical supply systems in many countries could very easily put enormous strains on many lives due to blackouts and energy poverty. It is already happening.

            But you don’t give a stuff about that, do you.

            People can suffer from your agenda.. you just don’t care.

            You disgust me, sob. Truly you do.

  10. Spuds

    If people like sod are no different than everyone else, why are they even using a computer and communicating here? There is no guarantee that the energy they are using came from a renewable resource and even they promote carbon use.

  11. DennisA

    Maibach’s CV describes how he gained his “climate epiphany” on a visit to Potsdam!

    He is a marketing man,

    “Dr. Edward Maibach is a University Professor and Director of Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication (4C). In the Department of Communication, he teaches seminars in climate change communication, strategic communication, and social marketing.

    His research currently focuses exclusively on how to mobilize populations to adopt behaviors and support public policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to the unavoidable consequences of climate change.

    Dr. Maibach holds a BA in social psychology from University of California at San Diego (1980), an MPH in health promotion from San Diego State University (1983), and a PhD in communication research from Stanford University (1990).”

    1. Denis Ables

      That background smacks of the same ilk by the original warministas – in particular, redefining the term “climate change” to mean “Human-activity caused global warming” (and later, “climate disruption”, etc.)

    2. Paul Matthews

      Yes, by his own description, he’s a marketing man. Yet he signed, and it now appears also wrote, the letter saying “as climate scientists, we…”

  12. M E

    Professor Jagadish Shukla comes from Uttar Pradesh on the N W frontier,which Wikipedia claims as one of the most corrupt states in India. He obviously has had his mind formed there, as a student and as a young professional. He will naturally see corruption everywhere.
    Young Sod seems to come from a background where the current ideology has to be adhered to , no matter what. He doesn’t know how to question his own assumptions just those of other people. It’s a matter of education in both cases.
    Sod should meditate on this, too.
    “Whoever marries the spirit of the age will find himself a widower in the next ”
    You’ll get left behind when the official position changes, boy. Be flexible

    1. Colorado Wellington

      The boy will be fine.

      His predecessors had to switch from anti-Nazi to pro-Nazi position after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signing in August 1939, and anti-Nazi again after Operation Barbarossa started in June 1941.

      They always had to be very flexible. The Party wouldn’t have it any other way.

  13. gallopingcamel

    Arrogant academics are so used to pushing their views without any supporting basis in fact.

    It must be a terrible shock to these people when courts demand evidence.

  14. Paul Matthews

    “We should choose our words carefully, because they could wind up on page 1 of the Washington Post”

    Well he made the Washington Times

  15. Paul Matthews

    Maibach: “The letter will get lots of media attention”.
    Well, he was right about that.

  16. fromdownunder

    So the RICO probe is about organization hiding they knew about global warming, which only become more apparent after old data was CORRECTED to show a warming trend 20 years later.

    1. AndyG55

      Catastrophic Global warming had only just been “invented”,

      And nobody with any sanity took any more notice of it than they did about the cooling scare 20 years earlier, ..

      ..(unless, of course, they thought they could make a buck or so out of it somehow).

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