Thanks to everyone who's contacted me since I decided to countersue Michael Mann. That's the main reason I didn't set up a formal "legal defense fund" or "legal defence fund" (as we'll come to in a moment). Because I'm going on legal offense against an abusive litigant. (If you'd like to be a part of the pushback, please consider supporting me by buying a SteynOnline gift certificate: They never expire, so when my new book comes out later this year you won't have to rummage down the back of the sofa for the loose change.)
As to the difference between "defense" and "defence", Steve McIntyre continues his examinations of Dr Mann's false claims to have been "exonerated" by various investigations and inquiries. As Steve has said, these claims are as false as his claim to be a Nobel Laureate, which he made in the original complaint. Dr Mann's argument is essentially an appeal to authority (look what all these prestigious sounding bodies say about me!), but in fact it's far worse than that: it's a dishonest appeal to authority.
Steve McIntyre looked at the Oxburgh findings on Climategate a few days ago. Now he turns his attention to the inquiry by Muir Russell. For all the airy claims by Dr Mann that he's been exonerated around the planet, in his court pleadings he rarely cites any actual words from these reports to support his claim. He did, however, do so on page 20 of his Plaintiff's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendants National Review and Mark Steyn's Motion to Dismiss. What he quoted, with respect to the Russell report, is this:
Three months later, the University of East Anglia published the Independent Climate Change Email Review report, prepared under the oversight of Sir Muir Russell. The report examined whether manipulation or suppression of data occurred and concluded that "the scientists' rigor and honesty are not in doubt. [38 â€“ Muir Russell Report]"
What with computers and Internet and PDFs and so forth, these days when you're writing something and wish to quote from another document you usually just press "copy" and then "paste". Steve McIntyre noticed that the quote said "rigor" as opposed to "rigour", which is how Sir Muir would spell it. So it couldn't have been pasted from the actual report. So he went back and looked at the original quote:
8. The Review examines the honesty, rigour and openness with which the CRU scientists have actedâ€¦ On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.
Mann and his lawyers doctored a quote and put their own version of it in direct quotation marks. That's bad enough. But they did it for a specific reason. Because the original makes clear that Sir Muir's findings apply only to the "CRU scientists" - that's to say, employees of the University of East Anglia, who are the only people the Russell panel was charged with investigating, and were therefore the only people it was in a position to exonerate. So, as evidence of Michael Mann's "exoneration", the best his lawyers can come up with is a fake quote from a report exonerating some people he happens to be acquainted with.
Dr Mann has played fast and loose with details all his professional life, starting from his original "innocent" errors on the hockey stick to his "innocent" promotion of himself as a Nobel Prize winner to his "innocent" misrepresentations of these investigations in his current legal complaint. All these "innocent" mistakes should put to rest at least one thing. It will be for a jury to decide whether he is merely careless or fraudulent, but rigour, or rigor, or any other spelling thereof, is something he knows not.
As to the actual investigation into Mann himself, Louis Lombardi, an attorney and newspaper columnist in Pennsylvania's Happy Valley, very kindly sent me the column he wrote for The Centre Daily Times after the supposed investigation of Mann by Penn State. It seems to have disappeared offline at the paper itself, but the entire piece is archived here:
Here in Happy Valley, Penn State University has just concluded its investigation into allegations against climate-change scientist Michael Mann...
Penn State cleared Doctor Mann of any wrong doing. Now, this investigation may be correct in its conclusion but we really do not know as the University was in no position to investigate one of its own or, stated differently, investigate itself.
Doctor Mann over the years has brought in millions of dollars for the University through his research. For the University to come to any other conclusion than that he acted appropriately would be an admission that the University has been fleecing those who gave the money. How would such an admission affect not only future funding but also repaying funds already received? Thus, it is quite apparent what a predicament the University was in and why the University could not investigate Doctor Mann â€“ as it was really investigating itself.
The conflict of interest is so apparent that one wonders why the University even bothered to produce this report... Penn State for all its wisdom surely knew of this conflict and the appropriate remedy - yet decided to do its own investigation instead of hiring an outside agency. This leaves us with one question â€“ Why?
Quite. To take the other university at the center of the Climategate controversy, the University of East Anglia's investigation was also something of a dodge, but they at least understood the question of "conflict of interest". So they asked an outsider, Lord Oxburgh, to chair the investigation, and he in turn presided over an all-outsider panel from Cambridge, London, Zurich and MIT. Penn State, under its corrupt president (now under criminal indictment), appointed a colleague of Dr Mann's to investigate Dr Mann. And it all worked out swimmingly.
It will not go so well in court.