Saturday, July 31, 2010

Federal and State Agents Raid Tampa Home and Seize Evidence Against Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's Sugar Daddy Bobby Thompson

State and Federal agents raid a Hillsborough County home in the Tampa area on Friday, July 30, 2010
Agents seized documents and computer records from assistants to Bobby Thompson, the director of a bogus, Florida-based charity called U.S. Navy Veterans Association.
Virginia's hypocritical Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (above), who is persecuting the famous climate scientist Michael Mann on trumped-up "fraud" allegations, received $55,000 from his sugar daddy, the now-vanished fraud Bobby Thompson.
Cuccinelli finally announced that he would donate the illegal political contributions to legitimate veterans' charities on Wednesday, July 28, 2010, although Thompson vanished last month! Cuccinelli wanted to give Bobby Thompson the benefit of the doubt.
Considering the fact that Cuccinelli is persecuting Dr. Mann based on evidence manufactured by stolen and mischaracterized emails, the Attorney General has a double standard you could drive a truck though!
As Rep. Ward Armstrong has observed, "He can waste taxpayer dollars going after professors at our public colleges and universities . . . but yet we can't take a look at Mr. Thompson and his group...You have to wonder if there's a connection there with the $50,000 contribution."
Bobby Thompson, MIA
"In May, following news reports of phantom officers and millions in donations that could not be accounted for, Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia asked the IRS and the VA to investigate the Navy Veterans, a charity founded in Tampa in 2002 that has since reported receiving $99.6 million in tax-exempt income."---St. Petersburg Times (7-31-10)
Intrepid investigative reporters at the St. Petersburg Times have been investigating Bobby Thompson's apparently bogus Florida-based charity called The U.S. Navy Veterans Association and have published a series of reports that are collected and updated on a page titled U.S. Navy Veterans Association: Under the radar.
Armed with a search warrant, federal and state agents on Friday seized documents and computer records from the Clair-Mel home of residents who served as assistants to Bobby Thompson, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association director who vanished last month.
Criminal investigators from the IRS, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services arrived at the home at 2062 Balfour Circle on Friday morning and seized boxes of documents — some already shredded — and loaded them into an unmarked van.
The residence is listed as the home of 20-year-old Nancy Contreras. She and her mother, Blanca Contreras, 38, a former citrus processing plant employee, have been associates of Thompson and recently signed as Navy Veterans officers on registration papers in several states.
Kim Pennington, an IRS spokeswoman, confirmed that agents for the IRS, the VA and Florida Consumer Services obtained a warrant to search the home but said she could not comment on the investigation.
In May, following news reports of phantom officers and millions in donations that could not be accounted for, Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia asked the IRS and the VA to investigate the Navy Veterans, a charity founded in Tampa in 2002 that has since reported receiving $99.6 million in tax-exempt income.
In June, Florida Consumer Services issued an emergency order to shut down all fundraising by the group in the state after finding the charity's officers were listed at phony or nonexistent addresses. An investigator for the office's law enforcement agency began asking around Tampa about individuals connected to the Navy Veterans.

That included Nancy and Blanca Contreras, who are described as volunteers for the Navy Veterans on the group's website. They started signing as officers of the Navy Veterans' state chapters several months ago, about the time the group's leader, Thompson, abandoned his Tampa home.

• On Nov. 12, Blanca Contreras signed papers to register the Navy Veterans in Washington state, listing herself as acting secretary of the state chapter.

• On Dec. 31, Blanca Contreras signed as acting secretary for the Connecticut chapter of the Navy Veterans, attesting to a resolution purportedly approved by directors in Hartford to dissolve the chapter because of declining membership.

• On Jan. 21, Blanca Contreras signed as acting vice president and Nancy Contreras as acting secretary on registration papers in Massachusetts.

• On Feb. 18, the notarized signatures of Blanca Contreras, as chief financial officer, and Nancy Contreras, as acting vice president and using her married name, were affixed to Navy Veterans papers in West Virginia.

The federal search warrant served in Tampa on Friday comes just 11 days after attorneys for the Navy Veterans received permission to withdraw from representing the charity after reporting that Thompson was the sole remaining director and could no longer be found. Thompson disappeared about June 20, according to attorneys at the Ohio law firm Mac Murray, Petersen & Shuster.

Officials in Florida, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia, Hawaii, Missouri, Oregon and New Hampshire are investigating the charity, which was set up and run from an Ybor City duplex rented by Thompson.

The Navy Veterans boasted that it took in $22.4 million a year, had a network of state offices nationwide and a slate of 85 directors and officers. But a Times investigation found that the office addresses were rented mailboxes, most of the charity's gifts could not be confirmed, and 84 of its 85 officers were nowhere to be found.

The 85th was Thompson, 64, who advanced various stories about his military service as a lieutenant commander with the U.S. Navy — none of which could be confirmed. After the Times started asking questions last year, Thompson cleared out of his duplex and left his landlord no forwarding address.

On the Navy Veterans website, the Contrerases are shown in ceremonial photographs, presenting checks and laying a wreath at a Navy memorial. They were described as association members but were never identified by name.

In January, Nancy Contreras was dispatched to a political reception to deliver a message from Thompson to Pam Bondi, the former Hillsborough County prosecutor now running for Florida attorney general, according to Patrick Thacker, a stand-in recruited by the Navy Veterans.

"Nancy was sent with a message from Cmdr. Thompson to give to Pam Bondi," Thacker told the Times, "that if there was anything the Navy Veterans could do for her, just to let Thompson know."

Before the Times published its stories on the Navy Veterans in March, the newspaper tried to reach Nancy Contreras and left a message on her cell phone. A day later, Navy Veterans attorney Helen Mac Murray wrote a Times attorney to complain that Contreras was "substantially distressed" by the message. Mac Murray warned that any future attempt to contact Contreras might constitute criminal "stalking."

[Last modified: Jul 30, 2010 11:19 PM]

University of East Anglia and the Climate Research Unit (CRU) Respond to New Science Editorial (17 July 2010)

"New Scientist, when do science conclusions become 'correct'? Science conclusions remain provisional, becoming more or less provisional over time, until/unless they are replaced by scientifically likelier conclusions, or unless they reach the elevated status of 'fact'. In the observational sciences, that process develops through the honestly and scientifically justified interpretation of data."---Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, Norfolk, England

The University of East Anglia and its Climate Research Unit (CRU) respond to an editorial in New Science (7-17-10) about the investigations of the Climate Research Unit (CRU):

Response to New Scientist editorial (17 July 2010)

It is depressing that the New Scientist follows parts of the blogosphere, and some other sections of the press, in asserting that of the three independent investigations into Climategate "none looked into the quality of the science itself" (Editorial, 17 July 2010, page 3). Our hope was that New Scientist would have a more informed understanding of the method of science research.

Lord Oxburgh writes, in the first paragraph of his report, that his panel was asked to address criticism “that climate data had been dishonestly selected, manipulated and/or presented to arrive at pre-determined conclusions that were not compatible with a fair interpretation of the original data”. In the second paragraph he wrote “The Panel was not concerned with the questions of whether the conclusions of the published research were correct…….rather…..whether as far as could be determined the conclusions represented an honest and scientifically justified interpretation of the data” (our italics).

The Oxburgh Panel operated, and wrote their report, entirely independently and so we cannot answer for the precise form of words used, but it does seem entirely consistent with the way science works. New Scientist, when do science conclusions become “correct”? Science conclusions remain provisional, becoming more or less provisional over time, until/unless they are replaced by scientifically likelier conclusions, or unless they reach the elevated status of “fact”. In the observational sciences, that process develops through the honestly and scientifically justified interpretation of data.

The compilation of a hemispheric or global land surface data time series from irregularly distributed (in time and space) historical thermometer observations can never be “correct” in an absolute sense. There will always be uncertainty, as there will be greater relative uncertainty in our knowledge of past temperatures from ”proxy indicators” such as tree-rings. The discovery, or utilisation, of more or better proxy records might improve our understanding of the Mediaeval Warm Period. Developing analytical techniques may also change our understanding; hence the provisionality of scientific conclusions.

When one understands how science research progresses it is clear that the Oxburgh approach is entirely consistent with – as his report says – an investigation into whether CRU’s research conclusions were scientifically justified. Moreover, as many others have pointed out, there is a similarity with the conclusions on the character of climate change from many other groups around the world using a variety of variables and indicators.

Although the main focus of the Muir Russell Review was not the science, as the report made clear, a reading of the document clearly shows that a number of the questions put to CRU did address science. Examples include “Does not the problem of divergence for the late 20th century record invalidate the deduction of tree ring palaeotemperatures for the period prior to the instrumental record?”, and “How has this choice (of data stations worldwide) been tested as appropriate in generating a global or hemispheric mean temperature (both instrumental and proxy data)?” Certainly the answers provided to these, and other, questions were couched in scientific terms.

We would urge readers of New Scientist, and others, to read the Oxburgh and Muir Russell reports as well as CRU’s submissions to Muir Russell to judge for themselves the adequacy or inadequacy of the examinations of CRU science. They may also like to bear in mind that CRU’s research has been published in the top peer-reviewed international journals (unlike almost all of the criticism). Although peer review - as Muir Russell pointed out - is not perfect, the New Scientist, more than many other printed media, will understand the significance of this point.

A proper reading of this material will also demonstrate that CRU did not regard its “assembly of 160 years of global thermometer data” as “private property”, as New Scientist claims. Muir Russell concluded “On the allegation of withholding temperature data, we find that CRU was not in a position to withhold access to such data or tamper with it”. Some data were subject to non-publication agreements but the vast majority were already freely available; ready for anyone (as Muir Russell demonstrated) to reconstruct temperature time series virtually identical to those of CRU (and others).

The “judgemental decisions” about which Oxburgh made comment, and to the New Scientist refers, were not about thermometer data, as the Editorial implies, but related to tree-ring data. Oxburgh and Muir Russell both emphasised that, within CRU’s scientific publications, the uncertainties around tree-ring temperature reconstructions were fully explained.

The stolen emails demanded serious independent investigation. We instigated two ourselves and, in response to a letter to the Chair of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee, our Vice-Chancellor made clear his enthusiasm for cooperating with a Parliamentary Inquiry, should that be the decision. Although we have suggested that New Scientist readers do examine the Oxburgh and Muir Russell reports, and our submissions to Muir Russell, we recognise that many will not and will depend, at least in part, on the Editorial comment to form their opinion. We fear that the Editorial’s imprecision will help to perpetuate the distortion to debate produced by the controversy of Climategate, much of which was contrived.

Not all was contrived. We agree that open-ness in sharing data, “even with… critics”, is a legal requirement. Largely, we have met that requirement although we have accepted that, in some instances, we should have been more helpful, pro-actively and absolutely. A particular instance to which Muir Russell brought attention was meta-data, not observational data, but still data which were pertinent to an interpretation, by others, of some of CRU’s analyses. We are addressing this.

It would have been helpful if the New Scientist had drawn a distinction between the disclosure of data (including meta-data) and analysis methods, and the disclosure of email conversations, including those which were clearly regarded as confidential communications by sender and recipients. Others are recognising that there are important differences, and there are implications for the way that research is conducted in the UK. It is important that we do have candid conversations about these matters, and we think that the New Scientist is in a good position to help in the understanding of these implications.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Russia's President Medvedev Confirms Global Warming

"What is happening to our planet's climate should motivate all of us, I mean, states and heads of non-governmental organizations, to take more active steps to resist global warming."---Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (RIA Novosti, 7-30-10)

The stunning picture (above) is from an interesting NYT article titled "Rybkhoz Journal: From Fires to Fish, Heat Wave Batters Russia" (7-29-10)

When we burn fossil fuels, greenhouse gasses accumulate in the atmosphere, trap heat, and cause global warming; but on Tuesday, Russia's official press agency RIA Novosti (7-27-10) suddenly snapped and published a paranoid rant which claimed that global warming happens because U.S. scientists are zapping Russia with secret "climate weapons" that "provoke droughts" and "erase crops." Today, the Russian bear seems to be normal again. Perhaps the air conditioning in the Kremlin broke down.

Today, RIA Novosti (7-30-10) carries and article titled "Climate change important consideration for Winter Olympic preparations - Medvedev":

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said climate change should be taken into account in the country's preparations for 2014 Winter Olympic Games in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

"What is happening to our planet's climate should motivate all of us, I mean, states and heads of non-governmental organizations, to take more active steps to resist global warming," Medvedev said.

"We should take it [climate change] into account when preparing for the Olympics, and other international competitions," Medvedev said. "I think we will have to make changes due to the climate and spend additional funds, including for the Winter Olympics," Medvedev said...

"Life is full of surprises; at the moment there are fires all over the country, in almost 14 territories," Medvedev said.

Over 900 homes have been destroyed, at least 14 have died and 34 have been injured over the past 24 hours in the largest wildfire ever to hit the European part of Russia.

Temperatures across much of western and central Russia have topped 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) for the past five weeks, causing peat bog and forest fires and creating what is thought to be the worst drought since 1972.

The Russians are really suffering. The NYT (7-29-10) reports:

Oymyakon in Eastern Siberia is considered one of the coldest places on Earth, with winter temperatures dropping to as low as minus 90 degrees. On Thursday, the thermometer also read 90 degrees. Plus 90. In the evening.

Much of Russia has been reeling. Forest fires have erupted. Drought has ruined millions of acres of wheat. More than 2,000 people have died from drowning in rivers, reservoirs and elsewhere in July and June, often after seeking relief from the heat while intoxicated. In Moscow alone, the number of such deaths has tripled in comparison with last year, officials said.

All week long, temperatures have been soaring to records, and on Thursday, they reached a new high for Moscow, 100 degrees. July has been the hottest month since the city began taking such measurements under the czars, 130 years ago, officials said.

At the Biserovsky Fish Farm in this suburb of Moscow, Ivan Tyurkin trudged along a pier and surveyed the breeding ponds all around him. He did not need a thermometer to figure out that the water was treacherously tepid. Dead trout, drifting like buoys, were evidence enough.

Last month, they were flipping and flopping and leaping, and Mr. Tyurkin was readying for another bountiful harvest. Now, with the weather finding seemingly endless ways of wreaking havoc across the country, the farm was in crisis.

“This is all just very difficult to believe,” Mr. Tyurkin said.

“There has never been a summer like this,” he said. “Never. Not once.”

That is a widely held view in Russia. New York, Washington and many other cities in the United States have certainly suffered from their own heat waves. But most Russians do not have air-conditioners, reasoning that they are not worth the investment given the typical summers here.

As if the heat were not enough, Moscow has lately been coated with a patina of smoke from fires that have broken out in dried-up peat bogs in the suburbs. Throw open a window in a desperate bid to catch a breeze and the unpleasant smell of smoke bounds in. One of the country’s chief medical authorities estimated that walking around Moscow for a few hours was the equivalent of smoking a pack or two of cigarettes.

A little respite from the heat is expected on Friday, when the temperatures are predicted to drop to 88 degrees in Moscow, but next week they may jump to 100 again.

When the heat wave hit Russia, agriculture seemed the first to fall victim across much of the country, with officials predicting that grain production could decline by as much as 25 percent. Now, fish farms like Biserovsky are struggling to keep their stocks alive.

Here in the village of Rybkhoz, a name derived from the Russian words for “fish production,” the artificial ponds have been nurturing fish for local consumption since Nikita Khrushchev’s time.

Trout is a relatively new venture for the Biserovsky farm, underscoring Moscow’s prosperity. In Soviet times, trout — let alone fresh trout — was viewed as a delicacy, but these days, it is much more available. It often retails for $5 to $7 a pound.

Biserovsky also produces carp, which is heartier and able to endure warm water, so that harvest is not at risk — at least not yet.

The farm said it had been expecting to harvest 100 tons of trout this year. Some died. The rest were prematurely sold — often at deep discounts — before they could be killed by the rising temperatures. About 30 percent of the live fish were in such bad shape that they could be used only for fish meal and other low-grade products.

With the current harvest gone, Mr. Tyurkin, who oversees the trout ponds at Biserovsky, has been intent on rescuing next year’s stock. His workers have been crowding the juvenile fish into a single pond that they have tried to cool down, as if it were a refugee camp for survivors of a great meteorological cataclysm.

“We realize that this may not have a great chance of succeeding, but if we don’t do this, they won’t have any chance at all,” Mr. Tyurkin said.

He explained that trout thrive in water that is 55 to 62 degrees. In recent days, the water temperature has spiked to as high as 85 degrees near the surface. The trout swim deeper to seek cooler water, but the lower they go, the less oxygen is available. They either overheat or suffocate.

Yuri Baranov, Biserovsky’s marketing director, said the heat had even paralyzed the farm’s ability to receive shipments of live trout that are raised elsewhere and then trucked here to be fattened up to their sale weight, usually about two pounds.

“All around Russia, even in the north, they are having the same problems,” Mr. Baranov said.
For now, the Biserovsky workers are pumping air into the ponds for the remaining stock, as well as circulating cooler water sucked up from the depths.

Mr. Tyurkin, with his expansive belly and equally expansive manner of talking about fish, was clearly pained by it all.

“These are like my children,” he said. “We see them when they are little hatchlings, then we watch them grow. And normally, you see the result of our work. But now, just look at this. They start dying, they float, and that’s it.”

Earth to Ken: Virginia's Shameless Attorney General Crookenelli Finally Turns Over Suspicious Campaign Donations to Legitimate Veterans' Charities

"[E]fforts aimed at deliberate climate change are not a the nearest future Russia – together with the rest of the world – will face a new generation of threats. At the moment the climate weapons may be reaching their target capacity and used to provoke droughts, to erase crops, and to induce various anomalous phenomena in certain countries."---the very latest trend in petrostate propaganda

The Washington Post is reporting here and here that Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is finally donating the 55,000 dollars given to him by Bobby Thompson, the director of a mysterious Florida-based "charity" called "the U.S. Navy Veterans' Association," to legitimate veterans' charities.

Other politicians who benefitted from the bogus Florida "charity" donated their money to legitimate charities a long time ago. Attorney General Cuccinelli, on the other hand, is very slow to notice the screamingly obvious signs of criminal fraud when he is the beneficiary; but he is quick to accuse climate scientists of fraud based on stolen emails posted on the server of an "Internet security company" in Tomsk, Russia. Tomsk is a place where there are a lot of "patriotic hackers" who attack the petrostate's enemies in order to damage or compromise them.

The Post claims Mr. Cuccinelli is bowing to pressure from Democrats, but this is not the whole truth. Republicans---or rather former Republicans like me---have also been very critical of Cuccinelli's use of government funds to persecute the climate scientist Michael Mann and of Cuccinelli's willingness to hang on to money from the shady "charity" operated by the vanished Bobby Thompson.

We don't know the origins of the money Thompson dolled out to Cuccinelli and other politicians because Thompson fabricated so many identities. In at least one case, a donation to an Ohio politician was made by appropriating the identity of a Cincinnati man who was also named Bobby Thompson and who was falsely identified as the director of the U.S. Navy Veterans "charity":

The St. Petersburg Times (7-15-10) reports:

In 2006, Ohio politician Betty Montgomery reported a $500 contribution to her 2006 campaign for attorney general from U.S. Navy Veterans director Bobby C. Thompson. His address was listed at 934 Smiley Ave., Cincinnati.

A Bobby Thompson did live there, just not Bobby C. Thompson. It was Bobby no-middle-initial Thompson, a 67-year-old retired metalworker who says he lived in that Smiley Avenue house with his wife, Ernestine, during all of 2006, but he never wrote a campaign check to anyone.

"I ain't never been in the Army, ain't never been in the Navy, ain't never been in the Air Force, ain't never been in the Marines, and I don't make contributions,'' he said. "And I have a problem with this."

For all we know, the $55,000 donated to Cuccinelli could have originated with the political operatives of fossil fuel interests who want Cuccinelli to intimidate global warming scientists. Bobby Thompson's bogus "charity" could have been laundering money from the political operatives of fossil fuel companies to Attorney General Cuccinelli, for all we know. They might want to help finance Cuccinelli because he persecutes climate scientists. Hopefully, the authorities will get to the bottom of this mystery.

Global warming denialists often claim that the scientists who study global warming are "commies," and that global warming is a scientific "hoax" to seize our money and expanded political power; but I notice that the Russian tabloid Pravda claims that global warming is a scientific hoax, so I think I'll believe what NOAA, NASA, and other scientific organizations tell me, not Pravda and that hypocritical "law officer" and persecutor of scientists, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Although thepetrostate's ruling party is the Unity Party (Единство, Yedinstvo) and not the Communist Party, the Kremlin-financed English-language Russia Today Satellite T.V. provided a platform for prominent Western global warming denialists such as Lord Monckton before the Copenhagen climate summit.

The Russian petrostate is very influenced by the huge natural gas and oil monopoly Gazprom. Many former KGB officers went to work for Gazprom, and not because they know how to drill for gas in Russia's thawing permafrost. Gazprom does double duty as an outpost for Russia's state security, and Russia's President Medvedev is the former chairman of the board of Gazprom. A lot of Russian media is owned by Gazprom.

The Russian bosses and the Russian people know there is global warming. The permafrost and Arctic ice are thawing. The Russian intelligence even hires outside analysts to study the problem and predict the consequences. The Russians just haven't decided that they want to contribute to international efforts to mitigate global warming. This is no surprise, since the Gazprom bosses are very powerful in Russia. We have a similar problem with American politicians who are on the take from fossil fuel companies.

But global warming is happening, so I think these Russian and American politicians are not very patriotic. They are not considering the future of their countries' people and the world. Instead of spinning moronic denialist hoaxes and wasting time, all the politicians in the world should be working with scientists to educate us and develop strategies to meet this challenge.

Perhaps it is time for Mr. Cuccinelli to pack up his tinfoil hat and stop persecuting the climate scientists. Aren't there are more important targets for his investigations? For one thing, where are the aliens at Area 51? In the second place, the state-controlled Russian media is no longer denying global warming. The latest tinfoil conspiracy theory about global warming, which has been published in official petrostate sources, is that global warming is happening but that it is not caused by greenhouse gasses emitted when we burn fossil fuels. According to official petrostate sources, global warming is caused by crafty U.S. scientists who are zapping the Russian petrostate with secret "climate weapons" to "provoke droughts, to erase crops, and to induce various anomalous phenomena..."

Will Comrade Cuccinelli buy into this new tinfoil conspiracy theory? It would be very unwise. After all, if it turns out that those crafty U.S. climate scientists Cuccinelli persecutes are manning dreaded "climate weapons," the first target they "erase" probably won't be in Russia.

Busted! SEC Charges Wyly Brothers with Fraud

Texas Billionaire Charles Wyly
Texas Billionaire Sam Wyly

"In 2004, the Wylys helped fund Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, [a] third-party organization that ran controversial television ads attacking the military record of Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), Bush's Democratic opponent."---Washington Post (7-30-10/page 2)
According to the New York Times (4-9-09):
[The global warming denialist Marc Morano] was the first to publish accusations from Vietnam Swift-boat veterans that Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, then the Democratic presidential nominee, had glorified his war record. Many of the accusations later proved unfounded.
Sam and Charles Wyly, billionaire Texas brothers who gained prominence spending millions of dollars on conservative political causes, committed fraud by using secret overseas accounts to generate more than $550 million in profit through illegal stock trades, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Thursday.
The Wylys, who have been generous contributors to the Republican Party and GOP candidates, have spent the past several years facing questions, including from a Senate investigative committee, about whether they hid millions of dollars in tax shelters abroad.
Through their lawyer, the Wylys denied all charges.
According to the SEC, the brothers, who live in Dallas, created an elaborate and clandestine network of accounts and companies on the Isle of Man and in the Cayman Islands. The brothers then used these accounts and companies to trade more than $750 million of stock in four public companies on whose boards they served, not filing the disclosures required for corporate insiders, the SEC said.
In one case, the SEC alleges that the Wylys traded based on insider information they learned as board members, netting a profit of $32 million. [See the full text.]

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Khimki Forest Defender Yevgenia Chirikova

“Sometimes I read 'The Gulag Archipelago' when I am feeling particularly down. I read and think how easy we have it. I really admire Solzhenitsyn,"..."You know, this person, he had already tried to change the regime, and he sat in prison. He was sick. He was weak and sometimes wasn’t even able to write. And despite this he wrote a book that crossed the world. He found the strength in himself to do it.

"And you know, today we have the opportunity to be politically active. And in comparison with Solzhenitsyn, we are free, we have the Internet, cell phones. You know, we are so happy-go-lucky.”---Yevgenia Chirikova

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (7-29-10) reports:

On one of their daily walks through Khimki forest in the summer of 2007, Yevgenia Chirikova and her husband, Mikhail, noticed something unusual. Nearly all of the trees were marked with small red Xs.

After some research on the Internet, the couple learned that, unbeknownst to most nearby residents, the forest had been sold and a construction company planned to knock down large swaths of it to build a new highway.

Chirikova says she had always believed that the forest was federal land, protected by law against any development. It was then that Chirikova understood that she had to act -- and act quickly -- if she wanted to save the forest, which adjoins the northwest Moscow suburb where she lives with her family.

“I knew it couldn’t be legal," she recalls. "It is [part of] Moscow's green defense belt.”

With short blonde hair and a penchant for brightly colored tank tops, Chirikova hardly looks the part of a political activist.

But in recent weeks, this petite 33-year old former Moscow businesswoman and mother of two has become the public face of a growing grassroots movement to save the Khimki forest. Her newfound activism has put her in opposition to powerful commercial and political interests, won her admirers among environmentalists, and placed her in a white-hot media spotlight...

Until a few years ago, Chirikova was indistinguishable from the multitude of upwardly mobile Muscovites pursuing wealth, prestige, and prosperity. She has two degrees -- in business and engineering -- and previously worked as the deputy director for a financial company.

In 1998, she and her husband decided to trade in their comfortable urban lives in the capital for the relative calm of Khimki. Chirikova, pregnant with her first daughter, loved the fresh air and calming walks through the pristine forest. Part of Moscow’s dwindling green belt, the 150-hectare Khimki forest was intended to be a preserve for local wildlife and to act as buffer against the pollution radiating from the capital.

But in 2004, the Transportation Ministry announced plans to build a new highway between Moscow and St. Petersburg in an effort to ease congestion between Russia's two main metropolises.

The logical route, environmentalists say, would have followed a railway line that has connected the cities since the early 20th century. Instead, the route approved by Khimki Mayor Viktor Shelchenko in 2006 made a looped detour through the forest to bring it closer to Moscow’s busy Sheremetyevo airport.

Chirikova laughs, calling the route illogical.

"As an engineer who works at an engineering firm, I understand that it was a completely bizarre decision in our modern age to build a highway meandering through a forest, with strange turns and entrance ramps that would not allow cars to gain speed," Chirikova says. "And so it was totally obvious that it was simply a backroom deal to begin [property] development in our oak forest." [Read the full text.]

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

RIA Novosti Floats a Florid Conspiracy Theory about Global Warming

UPDATE: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (7-30-10) confronts Russian scholar/conspiracist Andrei Areshev, who now characterizes his defamatory article about U.S. scientists using secret "climate weapons" as a "theory."

"Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eye are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he seees any one whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter life, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by the excess of light. And he will count the one happy in his condition and state of being, and he will pity the other; or, if he have a mind to laugh at the soul which comes from below into the light, there will be more reason in this than in the laugh which greets him who returns from above out of the light into the den."---Plato, The Republic

After having published quite a few informative articles in recent weeks on global warming that seemed based on scientific research, the Russian government’s official press agency RIA Novosti (7-27-10) has done an about-face and is publishing a florid conspiracy theory about global warming that outdoes even the the stupidities spread by the tabloid Pravda and by Western denialists on the Kremlin-financed Russia Today T.V.

According to this latest conspiracy theory, secret “climate weapons” built by American scientists may be causing global warming. [See
"Climate Weapons: More Than Just a Conspiracy Theory?" (7-27-10)].

Western conspiracists used to pop up on Kremlin-financed satellite television and claim that global warming wasn't happening and that it was a "hoax" perpetrated by climate scientists. Now it is claimed that American scientists are causing global warming in Russia with "climate weapons."

We need to let Virginia's Attorney General Chicken Little know about this right away so he can also persecute Michael Mann for making "climate weapons" and causing global warming!

Last winter before the Copenhagen climate summit, Russia Today promoted the conspiracy theories of Western global warming denialists. For example, the British global warming denialist, Lord Monckton, appeared on Russia Today and claimed that man-made global warming was nothing but a hoax cooked up by dishonest Western scientists.

Now some equally nutty Russian Ph.D. in history, a clown named named Andrey Areshev, seems to have slipped a cog and is claiming that American scientists have built "climate weapons" to destroy Russia.

The poor climate scientists are getting it from both sides. First, they were in hot water because they concocted the "hoax" of global warming, and now they are being accused of causing global warming with "climate weapons." I wish all these conspiracists would come to some kind of consensus!

Russia sometimes reminds me of that mentally-challenged bakery worker in the 1969 Academy Award-winning film Charly, which is based on Daniel Keyes' 1959 short story and the subsequent 1966 novel Flowers for Algernon. The mentally-challenged Charlie is given an operation that turns him into a genius, but the effect eventually wears off. The film ends with Alice, Charlie's teacher, watching Charlie playing with children in a playground, having reverted to his former self. Sometimes the Russian government gets smart for a little bit, too; but it never lasts.

According to the new line on global warming being floated by the Russian government's press agency, RIA Novosti, global warming is real (DUH!); but it is supposedly happening because the American scientists are zapping Russia with "climate weapons."

This is just like the stupid KGB conspiracy theory that the American scientists made AIDS for biological warfare.

The well-known Canadian Internet conspiracist M. Chossudovsky is cited by the Russian "scholar" Areshev. These Russian conspiracy theories sometimes get the factual tidbits they rework into disinformation from Western conspiracists instead of believing scientific research.

Ph.D. Areshev notes that some debates about global warming are “unscholarly” but comes up with something just as crazy; he suggests that climate change may be helped along by America’s secret “climate weapons.”

When the Russian government can’t solve their people’s problems, they blame it on the Jews…or the plots of American scientists.

The Russian government may be trying to back out of their denialist propaganda because the heat wave, drought, and burning peat bogs make their denialist propaganda sound stupid, but they can’t just admit that their propaganda was stupid.

This destructive conspiracy theory should be immediately countered. The AIDS conspiracy theory was still being repeated by President Obama’s minister Rev. Wright, even though KGB chief Primakov admitted in Izvestia in 1992 that the KGB made up those stories about the plots of crafty US scientists. As
Izvestiya (3-19-92) famously reported:

[KGB chief Yevgeni Primakov] mentioned the well known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing US scientists' 'crafty' plots were fabricated in KGB offices.

I wonder if our domestic denialists and 9-11 Truthers will also change their line and start claiming that global warming is happening but American scientists did it with their “climate weapons.” Perhaps Virginia's lunatic Attorney General Cuccinelli will even claim that Michael Mann is making "climate weapons" with his grant money.

According to RIA Novosti,
"Climate Weapons: More Than Just a Conspiracy Theory" was pubished by International Affairs, but the link actually takes you to the American Publication Foreign Affairs:

This story by Andrey Areshev, political scientist, PhD (History), Strateic Culture Foundation expert, was published in International Affairs magazine.

The Russian publication
International Affairs is a publication of the Strategic Culture Foundation. According to the "About Us" page of International Affairs:

Founded in 1954 by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Affairs is a leading foreign politics monthly with wide audiences in Russia and other countries. The International Affairs council is chaired by Russian Foreign Minister S. Lavrov. The journal's editor in chief is renown journalist and political scientist A. Oganesyan.

The affiliation with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the factors making International Affairs an authoritative source of information on Russia's foreign politics and diplomacy. The journal provides broad and unbiased analysis of the political problems currently confronting Russia and the international community.

Economy, both Russian and international, is another key theme addressed in contributions to International Affairs. In particular, the journal hosts presentations organized by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly with Russian regions, ministries, and departments to attract investors to Russia.

The readership of International Affairs includes the Administration of the Russian President, the Russian government, and influential diplomatic, financial, economic, and academic circles in various countries.

The English-language version of International Affairs is published by East View Information Services.

The mass media registration certificate of International Affairs is 016560 (issued on August 29, 1997).

Dr. Areshev's goofy conspiracy theory is the stupidest thing I have seen in the Russian media since the Soviets claimed that Pentagon scientists were making the AIDS virus as an instrument of genocide:

This story by Andrey Areshev, political scientist, PhD (History),
Strateic Culture Foundation expert, was published in International Affairs magazine.

The abnormally hot weather in the central regions of Russia has already caused serious economic damage. It has destroyed crops on roughly 20% of the country's agricultural land lots, the result being that the food prices are clearly set to climb next fall. On top of that, fires are raging over peat lands around Moscow. These days, the majority of forecasts concerning the climate are alarming: droughts, hurricanes, and floods are going to be increasingly frequent and severe. Director of the climate and energy program of the Wildlife Fund A. Kokorin says that the current trend is not a random phenomenon and should not be expected to subside 1.

In this particular context, the credibility of projections emanating from the Wildlife Fund, an influential international organization running worldwide operations styled as environment-protection programs, is beyond question 2. The reason is that the global warming which is the subject of heated academic (or, occasionally, absolutely unscholarly) debates is not necessarily an uncontrolled process. At least, the incidence of the current anomalously high temperatures exclusively in Russia and some adjacent territories invites alternative explanations.

Back in the 1970ies, Z. Brzezinski invoked in his Between Two Ages the theme of weather control, which he regarded as a form of broader social regulation. No doubt, the heavyweight of the US geopolitical thinking had to take interest not only in the immediate social but also in the potential geopolitical implications of influencing the climate. He was not the only author to probe into the issue but, due to obvious regards, information on the progress in the sphere of climate weaponry is unlikely to spill over secrecy barriers in the foreseeable future.

M. Chossudovsky, an economics professor from the Ottawa University, wrote in 2000 that in part the ongoing climate change could be triggered by the use of new-generation nonlethal weapons. The US is certainly exploring the possibilities of controlling the climate in several regions of the world. The corresponding technology is being developed in the framework of the High-Frequency Active Aural Research Program» (HAARP) 3, the objective being to build a potential to launch droughts, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. From the military standpoint, HAARP is supposed to create a novel type of weapons of mass destruction and an instrument of expansionist policy which can be used to selectively destabilize environmental and agricultural systems of target countries 4. Technically, the system is known to be a set of sources of electromagnetic radiation affecting the ionosphere. It comprises 360 sources and 180 aerials having the height of 22 meters 5. Altogether the station emits 3,600 kW towards the ionosphere, being the world's most powerful system of the kind6. The program opened in 1990, is jointly funded by the US Office of Naval Research and the US Air Force Research Laboratory, and is implemented by several university laboratories.

Far-reaching hypotheses arise naturally in the situation. Venezuelan leader H. Chavez was ridiculed for attributing the Haiti earthquake to the impact of HAARP ( but, for example, similar suspicions crept in following the 2008 earthquake in China's Sichuan province. Moreover, there is evidence that the US climate influence program not only spans a number of countries and regions but is also partially based in space. For instance, the X-37B unmanned vehicle orbited on April 22, 2010 reportedly carries new types of laser weaponry. According to New York Times, the Pentagon rejects any connection between X-37B and whatever combat weapons but recognizes that its purpose is to support ground operations and to handle a number of auxiliary tasks 7. The vehicle was built 11 years ago as a part of a NASA program which was taken over by the US Air Force 6 years ago and completely classified 8.

Demands to unveil details of the experimental program put into practice in Alaska are voiced both in the US and in several other countries. Russia never joined the chorus, but the impression is that efforts aimed at deliberate climate change are not a myth, and that in the nearest future Russia – together with the rest of the world – will face a new generation of threats. At the moment the climate weapons may be reaching their target capacity and used to provoke droughts, to erase crops, and to induce various anomalous phenomena in certain countries.

1. Odnako. – 2010. – № 28. - p. 33.
2. For details concerning the Wildlife Foundation, see:
3. Program site: The HAARP station is located in Alaska, 250 km north-east of Ankoridge.
4. Chossudovsky M. Washington's New World Order Weapons Can Trigger Climate Change //
7. Surveillance Suspected as Spacecraft’s Main Role. By William J. Broad //
8. The Times claimed that the secret unmanned vehicle might be testing laser weapons:

Friday, July 23, 2010

When the Wind Changes

Russia Today (4-1-10) has issued a third in a series of special investigative Reports:

Scientists have confirmed that an unidentified flying object recently landed in a park in the Russian city of Voronezh...Competent authorities have identified the landing site and have apprehended a British citizen, Lord Christopher Monckton, promenading about the park and brandishing a hockey stick in the direction of scores of stunned onlookers.

A local scientist quoted in RIA Novosti (4-1-10), Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, the head of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory, reportedly claimed that Russia Today had greatly embellished his account of the events in Voronezh: "Don't believe all you hear from Russia Today," [Chichikov] stated. "We never gave them part of what they published."

The Kremlin-financed Russia Today reports that people who heard the alien speak ''were struck speechless for several hours.''

The authorities in Voronezh, some 300 miles southeast of Moscow, could not be reached tonight for comment. A spokesman for Russia Today, reached by telephone tonight, said the report was neither a hoax nor a joke. ''It is a serious dispatch,'' the night duty officer at the agency said.

Last November, Russia Today seemed to undergo a bizarre metamorphosis. In addition to its traditional role of dutifully reporting the comings and goings of Russian leaders, the Kremlin-financed satellite channel has taken to reporting supermarket-tabloid sensationalism with all the gravitas due a Copenhagen climate summit.

As RIA Novosti has noted, Russians have long been mesmerized by the occult, and lately the authorities seem to be feeding this interest. One of the hottest programs on Russia Today these days is a psychic healer who promises to cure everything from the common cold and flu to multiple sclerosis and AIDS, in person or via the airwaves.

There seems to be a particular fascination here with outer space; and the authorities have now set up a Commission Into Abnormal Phenomena to study the reports of alien landings, which are sprouting like mushrooms after a rainfall.

One Report Is Debunked

A Commission has already debunked a Russia Today report last fall which asserted that a spaceship landed near southern Moscow, leaving behind a huge scorched patch. RIA Novosti was first to report the Commission's findings: firefighters believe that a haystack caught fire and singed the ground.

All of the sightings, and even the ''re-evaluations,'' are earnestly reported. Indeed, the report in Russia Today (4-1-10) was presented with a straight face and with technical descriptions worthy of a major scientific discovery. Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, the head of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory mentioned above, said in an interview with Russia Today that the landing site was identified ''by means of bilocation.''

According to Soviet reference books, bilocation is an extrasensory method of tracking objects or people invisible to the human eye.

'Mysterious Pieces of Rock'

Chichikov described the landing spot in Voronezh as being "about 20 yards in diameter, with four charred, lattice-shaped impressions branded on the grass that resembled a grille, or portcullis, situated in the four points of a rhomb.'' Chichikov said scientists also found ''two mysterious pieces of rock'' and that ''mineralogical analysis determined that the substance was an unusually pure form of blarney.''

Russia Today said Voronezh residents reported that the alien visited the place after dark at least three times. He arrived in a large shining ball, or disk, and emerged through a pink latticed hatch, or portcullis, "accompanied by a small robot'' and went for a ''short promenade about the park.''

A Stare Silences Boy

On his first visit, the bug-eyed creature---who was fashionably attired in silvery overalls, bronze boots, and sported a hot pink portcullis on his chest---promenaded around the park trailed by his companion, the robot.

Terrified, a boy began to scream; but with a stare of the alien's shining eyes, Russia Today reported, the boy was paralyzed and struck dumb.

When the alien touched his fingers to the glowing pink portcullis emblazoned on his chest, the boy, whose name was not given in the report, promptly vanished, but reappeared after the alien embarked in the U.F.O.

Report Treated Seriously

Editors of Russia Today, and indeed many of its viewers, treated the report as a serious scientific phenomenon. No extra men are assigned to patrol the area because the department is short-handed, said the duty officer at the Voronezh state security office, who identified himself only by his last name, Bobkov; but he said troops would be dispatched ''if he appears again.''

The Russia Today correspondent covering the case of the mysterious visitor to Voronezh, Pavel Pavlovich Poshlost', seemed insulted that anyone would treat the story with anything but the full seriousness that it was given by the agency.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Pashlost' described conversations with dozens of witnesses and with state security experts who had examined the evidence and seen the dumbfounded boy.

While not a witness himself, Mr. Poshlost' said he had visited the site. ''The traces were still seen,'' he said. ''I could see the four charred, lattice-shaped impressions branded in the grass. They resembled the hot pink portcullis witnesses reported seeing on the alien's chest.''

Mr. Poshlost' said his reports from Voronezh would continue.

Russian psychiatrist Andrei Snezhnevsky of the Serbsky Institute maintains that the appearance of the peer with the portcullis may be attributable to sluggish schizophrenia triggered by heat stroke. RIA Novosti (7-23-10) reports that "according to environmentalists, the heat wave in Russia has been caused by man-made global warming."

I Can See ROSHYDROMET from My Windows!

What do government scientists in the Russian Federation say about climate change and global warming? I looked on the site of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), clicked on the "links," and found this statement:

Important Disclaimer: This material is provided by individual governments, which are members of the IPCC. Linked material is not endorsed by the IPCC, nor is it necessarily based on IPCC approved reports. Where possible we have tried to emphasise links with specific reference to IPCC reports. This page is being offered on a trial basis to IPCC members that may be interested in viewing outreach efforts of other nations in the area of climate change. It is not endorsed by the IPCC as a source of IPCC public outreach material.

I clicked on the link for the Russian Federation document titled The Assessment Report on Climate Change and its Consequences in the Russian Federation.
I clicked on the arrow and saw five books. One of the books is an English-language document titled Assessment Report on Climate Change and Its Consequences In Russian Federation: General Summary.
The report was prepared by the Russian Federation's Federal Service For Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (ROSHYDROMET); but the document indicates (2) that this was a collaborative effort, and the leading scientific organizations recognized for preparing the report include:
1. Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory
2. Roshydromet (MGO) Institute of Global Climate and Ecology
3. Roshydromet and Russian Academy of Sciences (IGCE)
ROSHYDROMET has an English-language site, but there is almost nothing on it, so use your Google translation tool. Here is a google Internet search for Росгидромет.
ROSHYDROMET seems to be Russia's version of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), or perhaps NOAA's National Weather Service; but ROSHYDROMET also seems to perform functions that in the U.S. would be performed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and perhaps other U.S. agencies. Their mission statement is described here, and they are described in a Russian-language Wikipedia entry.
St. Petersburg is the home of the Russian State Hydrometeorological University.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The IPCC and Others Remember Dr. Stephen Schneider

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."---Jesus

I wrote about the passing of the famous climate scientist Stephen Schneider yesterday, but today I notice that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has posted an article on its homepage about Dr. Schneider's widely-recognized contributions to scientific knowledge:

Professor Stephen Schneider

Climate scientist at Stanford University – passed away on July 19. Steve was a dedicated author contributing to all four IPCC assessment reports. He also worked tirelessly to disseminate knowledge about man-made climate change. The scientific community will deeply miss this great leader.
Read more ...

The Guardian (7-21-10) has published Dr. Schneider's obituary.

Climate researcher Dr. Ben Santer pays tribute to his peer Prof Stephen Schneider in a Guardian article titled "A Eulogy to Climate Scientist Stephen Schneider" (7-20-10).

Climate Denial Crock of the Week also honors Dr. Schneider with two videos.

Stephen Schneider in 1979 (7-19-10)

Schneider-Is the Science Settled? (7-20-10)

RIA Novosti Reports That Summer Ice Will Vanish from the Arctic by Mid-21st Century

A few years ago, Russia's official press agency RIA Novosti carried articles reporting that the earth was about to go into a cooling phase; but lately, RIA Novosti is reporting information about global warming that is similar to the consensus views adoped by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The latest information on Arctic ice comes from a facinating site in Boulder, Colorado called the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

The always-entertaining Climate Crock of the Week also has a video titled Ice Area vs Volume.

RIA Novosti (7-20-10) reports:

The Arctic will have no ice during the summer by the mid-21st century, the head of the Russian Meteorological Centre said on Tuesday.

"In 30-40 years, the Arctic may have no ice in the summertime, including the North Pole," Alexander Frolov said, quoting data from an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Frolov said levels of ice reduction in 2010 could exceed the record levels of 2007.

"The average level went long ago. [The previous] minimum was about 11 million square kilometers [of ice]. Currently satellites show around 10.8 million square kilometers," Frolov said.

Russia's Official Press Agency RIA Novosti Reports on the Independent Climate Change Email Review

Dr. Phil Jones, a scientist at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in the U.K., was targeted by email thieves who wanted to discredit the science of global warming by defaming climate scientists right before the Copenhagen Summit. The scandal became known as "Climategate."

The official Russian press agency, RIA Novosti (7-7-10), carries a report about the outcome of the Independent Climate Change Email Review. Use your Google translation tool to understand the gist of the article:

МОСКВА, 7 июл - РИА Новости. Третье и последнее расследование обстоятельств "климатгейта", скандала с публикацией писем климатологов университета Восточной Англии, не нашло доказательств нечестности ученых, однако указало на недостаток открытости, говорится в отчете о результатах, обнародованном в среду.

"Наука о климате - вопрос настолько важный на глобальном уровне, что в его изучении необходимы самые высокие стандарты честности, строгости и открытости. По конкретным претензиям к поведению ученых Центра исследования климата, мы заключаем, что их строгость и честность как ученых не вызывает сомнений", - заключает комиссия.

Скандал, окрещенный "климатгейтом", разразился в конце 2009 года в преддверии Копенгагенской конференции ООН по изменению климата. В интернете были опубликованы более тысячи электронных писем и других документов сотрудников Центра исследований климата (CRU) университета Восточной Англии и их коллег из разных стран, в том числе и из России. Из этих материалов некоторые журналисты и эксперты сделали вывод, что научные выводы, которые не подтверждали антропогенную природу климатических изменений, могли намеренно замалчиваться.

Комиссия под руководством бывшего госслужащего сэра Муира Расселла (Muir Russell), расследовав обстоятельства дела, пришла к выводу о том, что свидетельств обмана или коррупции в опубликованных письмах нет. Однако Расселл и его коллеги осудили участников скандала за то, что они не делились своими данными с критиками.

"Мы обнаружили, однако, что имел место систематический недостаток открытости, как со стороны ученых Центра, так и со стороны университета Восточной Англии, который недооценил не только значение установленных законом требований, но и репутационный риск для университета и даже для всей британской науки о климате", - подчеркивается в отчете.

Отчет Расселла представляет итоги третьего по счету расследования "климатгейта": ранее профессора Фила Джонса (Phil Jones), главу Центра исследований климата университета Восточной Англии, оправдало парламентское расследование, завершившееся в конце марта. Затем в апреле независимая комиссия под руководством лорда Рональда Оксберга (Ronald Oxburgh) заявила, что в действиях и работах ученых не найдено признаков намеренной небрежности (malpractice).

"Публикация электронных писем стала поворотной точкой, она изменила все. Уже виден новый тон. Исследователи более прямолинейны, открыты и, например, чаще говорят о своих сомнениях... Нам нужно восстановить доверие", - сказал профессор университета Восточной Англии Майк Халм (Mike Hulme), чьи слова приводит агентство Ассошиэйтед Пресс.

Независимая комиссия была организована по просьбе самого университета Восточной Англии. Возглавивший ее Расселл в 2003-2009 годах руководил университетом Глазго, а ранее занимал ряд постов на государственной службе, в том числе пост главы отдела внутренних дел в Секретариате Кабинета министров Британии. Кроме Расселла, в комиссию входят по одному представителю от Королевского научного общества Шотландии, университета Эдинбурга, отдела науки и технологии компании BP и Британского компьютерного общества (BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT).

Как важно быть открытым

Группа Расселла искала доказательства того, что специалисты Центра манипулировали данными, искажали процесс рецензирования научных статей или нарушали требования законодательства о свободе информации. В 160-страничном докладе "Независимое исследование электронных писем по изменению климата" комиссия приводит описание ситуации, рассказывает о методах расследования ее обстоятельств, рассматривает существо претензий, предъявленных участникам скандала, а также дает перечень всех дополнительных материалов, использованных в работе.

Подчеркивая недостаток открытости ученых, Расселл и его коллеги приводят конкретные примеры некорректного с точки зрения комиссии поведения.

Так, в отчете отмечается, что у Центра исследований климата просто не было никакой возможности ограничить доступ к данным измерений температуры с наземных станций или как-то исказить ее, поскольку вся информация находится в открытом доступе, и получить ее можно непосредственно из первоисточника. Однако Центр должен был представить однозначный перечень идентификаторов станций, данные с которых были использованы в исследованиях, сразу после публикации.

"Мы считаем, что ответы Центра на разумные запросы информации были бесполезными и имели оборонительный тон", - пишут авторы отчета.

Рассматривая другое распространенное обвинение, связанное с данными анализа годичных колец деревьев, комиссия отмечает, что не обнаружила в способе представления информации, использованной в четвертом оценочном докладе Межправительственной группы экспертов по изменению климата (IPCC), свидетельств "исключения иных опубликованных реконструкций температуры, которые дали бы совершенно иную картину".

Однако и в данном случае ученые не были достаточно открытыми: хотя единственный запрос данных о годичных кольцах с полуострова Ямал они корректно переадресовали их владельцам, "в интересах прозрачности, мы считаем, что Центр должен был убедиться, что данные, которыми он не владеет, но на которых основаны его исследования, заархивированы (и доступны в необработанном виде), несколько более оперативно".

Обвинения в искажении процедур рецензирования работ с целью избежать публикации "нежелательных" результатов, а также в нарушении правил работы IPCC комиссия отвергла как необоснованные, пояснив, что не обнаружила свидетельств таких нарушений.

По итогам своей работы комиссия Расселла порекомендовала университету Восточной Англии, инициировавшему расследование, уделить больше внимания управлению репутационными рисками, а также соблюдать требования законодательства о свободе информации.

"Там, где есть некоторая организация и система документирования и обработки информационных запросов, эту систему должно поддерживать и усиливать руководство университета. Центр исследований климата должен сделать доступной информацию, использованную в своих публикациях, в объемах, достаточных для того, чтобы другие ученые могли повторить их результат", - рекомендуют авторы отчета.