The University of Queensland has sent an extraordinary letter to a researcher who wrote a paper exposing the bad research in the Cook et al "97% consensus" nonsense paper about climate change.
The researcher is Brandon Shollenberger, whose website is at http://hiizuru.wordpress.com. In their letter UQ not only threaten legal action if Shollenberger publishes research based on the data, they also threaten legal action if he reveals the content of the letter itself to anyone! This is beyond disgraceful. It would be bad enough from a commercial enterprise, but coming from a publicly funded institution whose every output is paid for by the taxpayer, it beggars belief.
UQ, you have received my last ever alumni donation! You have become trash, beneath contempt. I am ashamed to hold degrees awarded by you.
Here is a portion of Brandon's blog post about the UQ intimidation letter:
In the meantime, I’d like to challenge more than just the University of Queensland’s attempt at intimidating me into silence. I’d like to challenge several factual claims made in the letter. Specifically, the letter makes three claims I find difficult to believe:
1. The intellectual property in the data set (the “IP”) [I] have in [my] possession is owned by the University of Queensland.
2. The University of Queensland has contractual obligations to third parties regarding the IP. Any publication of the IP will expose the University to civil actions from third parties.
3. The University of Queensland has conducted a forensic investigation and it appears that the site where the IP was housed has been hacked
That is a quote from an e-mail response I sent to Jane Malloch, solicitor for the University of Queensland and author of the threatening letter. I expressed doubt about each claim and requested the university justify them. I received no response. I’m not sure why. All I am sure of is it is unreasonable to expect people to believe things simply because you say they’re true. We should look at what evidence there is, not just take one person at her word.
When we look at the available evidence, these claims don’t seem to hold up. Steve McIntyre has pointed out the Consensus Project was carried out by Skeptical Science volunteers. No indication was given the project was tied in any way to the University of Queensland. The data was stored on a third-party website. If the University of Queensland owns this data, there’s nothing to indicate it.
Naturally, if the data doesn’t belong to the University of Queensland, it cannot have the supposed contractual obligations regarding it. Let’s assume, however, it does own the data. Let’s also assume the University of Queensland had the obligations it claims to have had. If those things are true, why was the data stored on a publicly accessible, third-party website? Wouldn’t that failure to protect the data amount to a violation of the supposed contractual obligations?
Finally, what kind of forensic investigation did the University of Queensland do? I clearly didn’t hack anything. I guess it’s possible someone other than me hacked into the site I got the material from, but in that case, why would they direct the threat to me?
I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. I could guess the answer is universally, “The University of Queensland made that up,” but I don’t know. Maybe some of what they said was true. Maybe none of it was. I hope to find out in time.
Until I do, I want to challenge the University of Queensland to stand by what it has said. I’m calling their bluff. I’ve published their letter, and I await the legal proceedings we all know will never come.
What needs to be understood about this business is that the "research" concerned was one of the silliest pieces of bad data collection imaginable. UQ should be disowning the data, the research, and the researcher! But instead they show for all to see the real nature of the "climate change" alarmist movement: collect data so bad that you even label some of the most trenchant critics of alarmism as its supporters, then try to suppress the expose when it inevitably arrives. Threats, bullying, and intimidation, that is their stock in trade. Decent people siding with these operators need to seriously ask themselves if these are the kinds of friends you want to be seen in company with.
Nice people don't bully people for having a different opinion.
This is a time to stand up and be counted. Bullies, especially publicly funded bullies who think they can misuse our taxes for their own intellectually dishonest purposes, need to be challenged.
Here is the letter concerned. UQ, sue me.