Friday, May 28, 2010

University of Virginia Defies Commissar Cuccinelli's Civil Investigative Demand

"'Just in asking for the documents and the interrogatories, you've already had the effect of chilling First Amendment conduct at the university,' said Richard C. Schragger, a professor of law at U-Va. who drafted a letter signed by 38 other law school faculty members urging the administration to fight Cuccinelli.

Besides First Amendment issues, the university also argued Thursday that Cuccinelli failed to spell out the conduct that allegedly violated the Virginia fraud statute, as required by the law. The school also noted that of the five grants totaling $466,000 that Cuccinelli named in his request, all but one were federal, not state, grants. The one state grant came in 2001, before the fraud statute took effect.---The Washington Post (5-28-10)

The University of Virginia is defending the famous climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, who is being persecuted by Virginia's infamous Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The Attorney General is on a fishing expedition for some scraps of "evidence" he can characterize as fraud because he is a global warming denialist. Attorney General Cuccinelli is just another contemptible, cynical demagogue like Senator Inhofe, who gets money from oil companies and votes from conspiracy theorists who are howling for the blood of "crafty" climate scientists who are accused of plotting the communist take-over of America.

Cuccinelli seems to lack jurisdiction, and he also "failed to spell out the conduct that allegedly violated the Virginia fraud statute, as required by the law," according to UVA.

Cuccinelli could try to make his case for fraud by examining Dr. Mann's published scientific papers, but he wants to make a case before the ignorant mob by creatively misinterpreting e-mails, just like the criminals who stole the CRU e-mails. Mainly, Cuccinelli wants to throw mud on Dr. Mann's reputation.

Denialist demagogues like Commmissar Cuccinelli use a noxious slurry of dirty tricks, illegal hactivities, judicial persecution, and media manipulation to "swiftboat" climate scientists.

Who can respect the laws of Virginia when the head law officer is Commissar Cuccinelli, who even denies the laws of physics? His ignorant denialist views on global warming are the same canards embraced by the Russian news media, which are often owned by fossil fuel monopolies and controlled by the ruling United Russia party. Still, most Russian scientists typically distance themselves from politicized junk science.

The "legal" attacks on climate scientists began after criminals stole some e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and posted them on the server of Tomcity, an "Internet security business" in Tomsk, Russia. Tomsk is infamous for its "hacker patriots" who attack the Kremlin's opponents. The British authorities are investigating the crime. The CRU works closely with the U.K.'s Meteorological Service (MET), which is a branch of the U.K.'s Ministry of Defense.

According to The Financial Times (4-15-10):

There have been indications that the hackers could have been based in Russia, and some experts believe they may have been hired by sceptics based in the US.

The Washington Post (5-28-10) reports:

Virginia's flagship university went to court Thursday to fight an effort by Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R) to get documents from a former climate scientist at the school, an unusual confrontation that will test the bounds of academic freedom and result in the college facing down its own lawyer in court.

In a motion filed in Charlottesville, the University of Virginia argued that Cuccinelli's subpoena for papers and e-mail from global warming researcher Michael Mann exceeds the attorney general's authority under state law and intrudes on the rights of professors to pursue academic inquiry free from political pressure.

Cuccinelli, a vocal skeptic of global warming who is suing the Environmental Protection Agency over the issue, has said he is investigating whether Mann committed fraud by knowingly skewing data as he sought publicly funded grants for his research. Mann left U-Va. in 2005 and now works at Penn State.

Mann's case has been embraced by academics across the country, who wrote numerous letters encouraging the university founded by Thomas Jefferson to resist the attorney general. The university's governing board -- whose members were appointed by former governors Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine, both Democrats -- had first signaled that it would likely comply with the April order but then hired a major Washington law firm and prepared to take action.

...[Dr. Michael Mann]...said the school was standing up "against the harassment of scientists by policymakers with a potential agenda." [See the full text of this long, informative article.]

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