We reveal a political issue likely to cause extreme embarrassment to the UK Labour government in the run up to this spring’s General Election. It concerns a disturbing revelation that a “flaw” in the UK’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) prevents any prosecutions for alleged fraud and malfeasance of public office by climatologists at the UK’s Climatic Reseach Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia (UEA) who willfully abused the FOIA, in the scandal now known as “Climategate.” Why? Because no prosecutions can be brought for offences committed more than six months prior!
Skeptic Internet blogger Bishop Hill made this astonishing discovery as he followed up on an earlier Freedom on Information Act request he made related to withheld information by government scientists related to this scandal.
Climate blogger Bishop Hill explains this shocking new development:
I’ve just come off the phone to the investigations office at the Information Commissioner’s office. I was told that while there appeared to be a problem, I needed to be clear that there would be no prosecutions under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, regardless of the final outcome of the investigation.
…. Although withholding or destroying information is a criminal offence under the terms of the Act, apparently no prosecutions can be brought for offences committed more than six months prior. As anyone who has made a UK FoI request knows, it can take six months to exhaust the internal review process before the ICO even becomes involved. The ICO can then take another six months before starting his investigation.
In leaked emails and statements to the press, climatologists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based. It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years. The UEA’s CRU was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.
The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape—were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.
However, 1,000 leaked emails and other documents released by a whistleblower from within the CRU last November prove that lead British climate conspirator, Professor Phil Jones, admitted a deliberate intention to prevent skeptic scientists from seeing the requested FOIA climate data over a five year period. The Freedom of Information Act (2000) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is the implementation of freedom of information legislation that introduces a public “right to know” in relation to public bodies. The Act implements a manifesto commitment of the Labour Party in the 1997 general election and which Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has trumpeted.
In email correspondence dated February 4, 2004 [ email 1076083097 ] Jones stated,
“I’m still against the computer programs being given out.”
In another email he admits that he stymied FOI request from respected independent climate analysts, Steve McIntyer:
“I had some emails with him [McIntyre] a few years ago when he wanted to get all the station temperature data we use here in Climatic Research Unit. At that time, I hid behind the fact that some of the data had been received from individuals and not directly from Met(eorological) Services through the Global Tele-communications Service (GTS) or through the Global Climate Observing System.” [February 9, 2004: email 1076336623]
However as the pressure to release climate data grows, Jones becomes more desperate to defeat FOIA requests any way he can and begins to give colleagues tips on finding loopholes in the legislation and makes this suggestion to American climatologist, Tom Wigley:
“As you’re no longer an employee, I would use this argument if anything comes along.” [January 21, 2005: email 1106338806]
Bishop Hill goes on:
“The upshot is that the FoI Act’s section allowing criminal prosecutions is to all intents and purposes a dead letter and the ICO officer actually volunteered this conclusion himself – “the Act is flawed” was the way he put it. The ICO is apparently going to take this up with the Ministry of Justice, which is fine but will be of little help for those who are interested in seeing justice done.”
Such flaws appear to have been fully apparent to Phil Jones who had a very cosy relationship with government civil servants entrusted to enforce compliance. Jones refers to the refining the loopholes even further to help his associates duck the law:
“As for the Freedom Of Information Act, Sarah isn’t technically employed by the University of East Anglia and she will likely be paid by Manchester Metropolitan University.” [January 21, 2005: email 1106338806]
Again Jones refers to the ‘nuisance’ being caused by FOIA requests:
“[McIntyre and McKitrick] have been after the Climatic Research Unit … data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the United Kingdom, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send it to anyone.”[ February 2, 2005: email 1107454306]
Professor Jones appeared to be spending more and more of his publicly funded time trying to find every dodge in the book to keep the public from discovering his great climate scam:
“Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it—he thought people could ask him for his computer programs. He has retired officially from the University of East Anglia so he can hide behind that.” [February 2, 2005: email 1107454306]
But will we now witness further complicity by the UK government on top of that committed so perniciously by Professor Jones? If Prime Minister Brown fails to take immediate steps to redress the balance in law, then he will stand accused not only of abject incompetence in drafting the FOIA laws, but intentional subversion of the principles of that Act hypocritically subverted for his own political benefit.
We call for transparency, integrity and a closure of any loopholes created by poorly worded legislation by an incompetent government that may now seek to hide behind its own mistakes to preserve its claims to the dwindling credibility on the science that drives its climate policies.
We further demand that if the British government refuses to implement an immediate legislative remedy to their FOIA “flaws” to correct the loopholes than representation and motions will be made to the UK Supreme Court demanding an immediate Judicial Review.
Possibly related posts:
- Breaking! Penn State says they are exempt from Freedom of Information Act
- The University of East Anglia CRU comes clean: there WAS a medieval warm period
- Exclusive: Q&A on Climategate with Britain’s Chief Police Officers
- Swedegate: Climate professor’s lies exposed By Swedish meteorologists
- Police pension fund conflict of interest raises question of Climategate cover up