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SNEAKY FLYING SPY CAMERAS PROVOKE CIVIL LIBERTY FEARS

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By Rod Mills | Express | March 29, 2010

CIVIL liberties groups have condemned a sinister new plan for Scottish police forces to spy on ordinary citizens using unmanned surveillance drones.

The Big Brother-style move will mean the public could be monitored constantly, under the pretext of a crime crack-down.

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) has joined forces with their English counterpart to form the Unmanned Aerial Systems Steering Group, which meets regularly to discuss the use of the planes, and reports to the Home Office.

The drones have already been tested by Strathclyde Police who used one in rescue operations in rural Argyll.

Scotland’s largest police force is keen to be at the forefront of the new technology. But pressure groups yesterday warned the step was being taken without the consent or support of the public and risked transforming Scotland into a “surveillance state”.

Alex Deanie, of Big Brother Watch, said: “It’s pretty scary that more and more police forces are considering using these.

“They invade our privacy and are being brought in without proper public consultation or support. We need a proper debate about the use of this type of surveillance and its effect on civil liberties before the police start to use these devices.”

There are two types of the military-designed drones that are being looked at by police. The first is a remote-controlled helicopter with CCTV cameras and infra red imaging built in. Flying up to 300 feet at 30mph, they are being tested by Merseyside Police.

But it is the second type that is causing the most concern – flying at 20,000 feet it is invisible to the human eye.

Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Green Party, said: “Some people in the Home Office won’t be happy until they have everyone under 24-hour surveillance and every step towards that should be resisted.” Yesterday Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken backed the plans, adding: “There are perhaps civil liberties questions, but basic and more important questions are whether or not we want to cut crime.”

Arms manufacturer BAE Systems is adapting the planes – currently used by the Army in Afghanistan – for the police forces to test. A spokesman for ACPOS yesterday said: “The steering group was set up to consider the implications for policing of such technology.”

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

How government cash created the Climategate scandal

Australian climate scientist policy analyst Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen tells the British parliamentary inquiry into Climategate just how much global warming science is corrupted by politics and money. Excerpts:

I was peer reviewer for IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)… Since 1998 I have been the editor of the journal, Energy & Environment (E&E) published by Multi-science, where I published my first papers on the IPCC. I interpreted the IPCC “consensus” as politically created in order to support energy technology and scientific agendas that in essence pre-existed the “warming-as -man-made catastrophe alarm.”…

3.2 Scientific research as advocacy for an agenda (a coalition of interests, not a conspiracy,) was presented to the public and governments as protection of the planet… CRU, working for the UK government and hence the IPCC, was expected to support the hypothesis of man-made, dangerous warming caused by carbon dioxide, a hypothesis it had helped to formulate in the late 1980s…

3.3 … In persuading policy makers and the public of this danger, the “hockey stick” became a major tool of persuasion, giving CRU a major role in the policy process at the national, EU and international level. This led to the growing politicisation of science in the interest, allegedly, of protecting the “the environment” and the planet. I observed and documented this phenomenon as the UK Government, European Commission, and World Bank increasingly needed the climate threat to justify their anti-carbon (and pro-nuclear) policies. In return climate science was generously funded and required to support rather than to question these policy objectives… Opponents were gradually starved of research opportunities or persuaded into silence. The apparent “scientific consensus” thus generated became a major tool of public persuasion…

4.1 …  As editor of a journal which remained open to scientists who challenged the orthodoxy, I became the target of a number of CRU manoeuvres. The hacked emails revealed attempts to manipulate peer review to E&E’s disadvantage, and showed that libel threats were considered against its editorial team…

4.4 Most recently CRU alleged that I had interfered “maliciously” with their busy grant-related schedules, by sending an email to the UKCIP (Climate Impact Programme) advising caution in the use of CRU data for regional planning purposes. This was clearly reported to [CRU head Phil] Jones who contacted my Head of Department, suggesting that he needed to reconsider the association of E&E with Hull University. Professor Graham Haughton, while expressing his own disagreement with my views, nevertheless upheld the principle of academic freedom…

4.5 The emails I have read are evidence of a close and protective collaboration between CRU, the Hadley Centre, and several US research bodies such as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where former CRU students had found employment. Together they formed an important group inside IPCC Working Group 1, the science group…

The CRU case is not unique. Recent exposures have taken the lid off similar issues in the USA, the Netherlands, Australia, and possibly in Germany and Canada… It is at least arguable that the real culprit is the theme- and project-based research funding system put in place in the 1980s and subsequently strengthened and tightened in the name of “policy relevance”. This system, in making research funding conditional on demonstrating such relevance, has encouraged close ties with central Government bureaucracy. Some university research units have almost become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Government Departments. Their survival, and the livelihoods of their employees, depends on delivering what policy makers think they want. It becomes hazardous to speak truth to power…

Postglacial climatic history is by no means well understood and the human contributions cannot yet be assessed.

Saturday 20 March 2010

1 Declaration of Interest

I have no financial interest in this enquiry; I am no longer asking for research grants and have no close personal relationships with any of the people involved.

My interests are purely academic, professional and political. I am interested in the value and misuse of the peer review process. The negative attitudes of the IPCC/CRU people to my often sceptical journal have harmed it. Its impact rating has remained too low for many ambitious young researchers to use it, and even sales may have been affected. However, this is not an interest as my work is voluntary and the publisher has remained supportive. As a member of the Labour Party and deeply politically engaged person, I have not found life as a ‘climate sceptic’ always easy, but have kept my MP and MEP informed. I have been somewhat offended but not surprised by the ‘CRU-hack’ revelations.

2 Introduction: My Involvement as Researcher and Editor

2.1 Since the late 1980s I have been a researcher of the politics and science of climate change, and especially the IPCC, from the perspective of energy policy and international politics. (See publications, APPENDIX). I was peer reviewer for IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), peer reviewer for Working Group 3 (responses, emission scenarios, economics) for two of its reports and I studied the science and politics of IPCC under a 3-year grant from the ESRC.

2.2 Since 1998 I have been the editor of the journal, Energy & Environment (E&E) published by Multi-science, where I published my first papers on the IPCC. I interpreted the IPCC “consensus” as politically created in order to support energy technology and scientific agendas that in essence pre-existed the “warming-as -man-made catastrophe alarm.”[1]

2.3 I have published peer-reviewed papers and opinion pieces by all the best known ‘sceptics’ and know a number of them personally. My own views being known, E&E therefore attracted, inter alia, papers from IPCC-critical and therefore IPCC-excluded scientists. This did not please the senior CRU members, a number of whom I know personally.

2.4 Since the mid-1990s I have taught environmental management at the Geography Department, Hull University, after a decade as Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the Science and Technology Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University. Previously, I had studied physical geography, including some climatology (as well as geology and German literature) atAdelaide University and married into a well known family of Australian scientists. Science and research have been a major part of my life. I now consider climate scepticism my (unfunded) research area but have published a great deal on the IPCC, climate science and energy policy in the past. (See Appendix)

3 My Understanding of the Issue

3.1 I have no reason to believe that most of the scientists involved in the CRU affair (and this a group reaching beyond the UK) did anything but act in good faith, doing their duty to science, bureaucracy and the public as they saw it and as they were funded to do. It is important, however, for you check my observation, that most climate change since the late 1980s has been government- and grant- funded with the clearly stated objective that it must support a decarbonisation agenda for the energy sector.

3.2 Scientific research as advocacy for an agenda (a coalition of interests, not a conspiracy,) was presented to the public and governments as protection of the planet. This cause of environmental protection had from the start natural allies in the EU Commission, United Nation and World Bank. CRU, working for the UK government and hence the IPCC, was expected to support the hypothesis of man-made, dangerous warming caused by carbon dioxide, a hypothesis it had helped to formulate in the late 1980s and which became “true” in international law with the adoption of the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change.

3.3 This treaty and its protocol does not define “climate”, and applies only to anthropogenic warming assumed to be dangerous. In persuading policy makers and the public of this danger, the “hockey stick” became a major tool of persuasion, giving CRU a major role in the policy process at the national, EU and international level. This led to the growing politicisation of science in the interest, allegedly, of protecting the “the environment” and the planet. I observed and documented this phenomenon as the UK Government, European Commission, and World Bank increasingly needed the climate threat to justify their anti-carbon (and pro-nuclear) policies. In return climate science was generously funded and required to support rather than to question these policy objectives. This policy was of course challenged by those unhappy with the proposed government-stimulated replacement of carbon fuels, but this need not concern this Committee beyond noting that it increased the anger of climate “sceptics” who saw science misused for policies they doubted. Others liked the policy and kept quiet. Opponents were gradually starved of research opportunities or persuaded into silence. The apparent “scientific consensus” thus generated became a major tool of public persuasion.

4 Energy & Environment and CRU

4.1 I inherited the editorship of Energy & Environment from a former senior scientist at the Department of the Environment (Dr. David Everest) because we shared doubts about the claims made by environmentalists and were worried about the readiness with which politicians accepted these claims, including ‘global warming’ which followed so seamlessly from the acid rain scare, my previous research area. As editor of a journal which remained open to scientists who challenged the orthodoxy, I became the target of a number of CRU manoeuvres. The hacked emails revealed attempts to manipulate peer review to E&E’s disadvantage, and showed that libel threats were considered against its editorial team. Dr Jones even tried to put pressure on my university department. [2] The emailers expressed anger over my publication of several papers that questioned the ‘hockey stick’ graph and the reliability of CRU temperature data. The desire to control the peer review process in their favour is expressed several times. Benny Peiser, the Guest Editor of a special issue will report to you on his experience.

4.2 I was sent about 20 emails (e.g. 125655744.text, 1256765544, 12565500876, 125510086, and 125558481) that concern me or the journal E&E. I have not spent time searching for more but have followed the wide debate in several countries. (See Fuel for Thought attachment). The emails also cover events which I have followed since the late 1980s and concern people and institutions I am to some degree familiar with.

4.3 CRU clearly disliked my- journal and believed that “good” climate scientists do not read it. They characterised it as a journal of choice for climate sceptics. If this was so, it happened by default as other publication opportunities were closed to them. Email No. 1256765544, for example nevertheless shows that they took the journal seriously. An American response to McIntyre’s and McKitrick’s influential paper I published in 2005 challenging the “hockey stick” says, “It is indeed time leading scientists at CRU associated with the UK Met Bureau explain how Mr McIntyre is in error or resign.”

4.4 Most recently CRU alleged that I had interfered “maliciously” with their busy grant-related schedules, by sending an email to the UKCIP (Climate Impact Programme) advising caution in the use of CRU data for regional planning purposes. This was clearly reported to Professor Jones who contacted my Head of Department, suggesting that he needed to reconsider the association of E&E with Hull University. Professor Graham Haughton, while expressing his own disagreement with my views, nevertheless upheld the principle of academic freedom. I therefore have no reason to complain against theUniversity of Hull and I am still working from the Geography Department.

4.5 The emails I have read are evidence of a close and protective collaboration between CRU, the Hadley Centre, and several US research bodies such as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where former CRU students had found employment. Together they formed an important group inside IPCC Working Group 1, the science group.

5 UK Policy Context

5.1 Having recently attended a business lunch addressed by our Minister for Regional Development (Rosie Winterton) and a manager from EON (UK) in charge of offshore wind farm development (Humber Gateway, to be completed by 2014, subject to planning permission), I am fully aware of this Government’s commitment to a decarbonisation agenda as the way towards British reindustrialisation, job creation and regional development, including related research and teaching by universities. At this gathering, the problems with IPCC science[3] and CRU (UEA) had not yet registered or were dismissed. More generally, judging by the most recent statements from leading spokesmen from all major parties, it seems that belief in IPCC science remains the primary justification for an energy policy that so obviously needs much more examination. TheUK clearly hopes to continue to “lead the world” in the decarbonisation of energy.  Is this wise? What other consequences might arise? When has competitive advantage been secured by making our energy differentially more expensive? Unless of course, Britain can succeed in effecting a regulatory capture in energy markets on a global scale…

6 Your Specific Questions

6.1 Terms of Reference

The four terms as set out seem appropriate and should establish useful foundations. There is, however, a broader context. The CRU case is not unique. Recent exposures have taken the lid off similar issues in the USA, the Netherlands, Australia, and possibly in Germany and Canada. There may be a systemic problem here, and it would be neither fair nor helpful to make CRU and the UK Meteorological Office the sole fall-guys. It is at least arguable that the real culprit is the theme- and project-based research funding system put in place in the 1980s and subsequently strengthened and tightened in the name of “policy relevance”. This system, in making research funding conditional on demonstrating such relevance, has encouraged close ties with central Government bureaucracy. Some university research units have almost become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Government Departments. Their survival, and the livelihoods of their employees, depends on delivering what policy makers think they want. It becomes hazardous to speak truth to power. In the area of energy policy, there are particular problems since the familiar lobbies of the privatised energy industries have been joined by new pressure groups. As the justification for policies comes to rely increasingly on “environmental” arguments, a host of NGOs, often with electorally appealing single-issue concerns and deceptively simple solutions, begin to raise their voices. The politics have become very difficult, and it is not clear that the traditional structures can cope. The responsibility for excessive pressure on “science” to deliver the desired answers must also lie with the relevant research councils, NGOs, and Parliament itself. Have politicians kept a close eye on the science debate? Have they understood what kind of a body the IPCC really is? Professor Benfield has recently begun to move the debate in an interesting direction by suggesting that that bureaucracy will have to attune itself better to the recognition of the value of diversity in scientific advice. They need to accept that policy advisors and Ministers cannot abdicate responsibility for making balanced judgements by relying on project-funded research in the hope that it will produce settled solutions. I should be happy to discuss this with you.

My suggestions for action would be to expand this enquiry to include the funding of climate science and consider the pressure put on scientists by policy-makers and assorted lobbies.

6.2 How Independent Are The Other Two International Data Sets?

I am no expert here but from the large amount of material I have read, some of it mentioned in Fuel For Thought paper 21/2, I do not think that they are independent but rely on the same primary sources. All have tended to serve the same master (IPCC/ policy-makers) and ‘cause’ (saving the planet) and seem affected either by similar shortcomings (the available measurement periods, changing measurement technology and above all the declining and limited number of measuring points, not to mention the urban heat island effect. These data sets may soon be replaced by better and more reliable data to demonstrate the Earth’s postglacial temperature history (which says little about attribution/causation). Postglacial climatic history is by no means well understood and the human contributions cannot yet be assessed.

Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen

Reader Emeritus, Hull University,

Department of Geography

February 2010

Appendix: Relevant Publications

Refereed journal articles

· ‘The role of IPCC as driver of international climate policy’ paper to Hamburg Institute of International Economics Conference “Critical elements of international climate policy” submitted to Geoforum, May 2004. To be revised/rejected.

· What drives the Kyoto Process?, translated by Kirril Kondratyev into Russian, Proceedings of the Russian Geographical Society, April 2004. Published in Russian

· Climate Policy: Interest driven, Culture Bound or based on Science? Submitted to Area April 2004./rejected

· ‘Investing Against Climate Change: Why Failure Remains Possible’, Environmental Politics: Autumn 2002; 11(3), pp.1-30.

· Journal of Science, Technology and Human Values: ‘Science, Equity and the War against Carbon’. Winter 2003.28 (1) Differentiation since Kyoto: An Exploration of Australian Climate Policy in Comparison to Europe, Energy & Environment, 11 (3), 2000, p.343-353.

· ‘Climate Change and the World Bank: Opportunity for Global Governance? Energy & Environment, Vol.10, No.1, January 1999, pp.27-50.

· ‘A winning coalition of advocacy: climate research, bureaucracy and ‘alternative’ fuels’, Energy Policy, Vol. 25, No. 4., 1997

· (with Z Young), ‘The Global Environment Facility: In Institutional Innovation in Need of Guidance?’, Environmental Politics, Vol. 6, No.1, Spring 1997

· ‘Political Pressures in the Formation of Scientific Consensus’, Energy & Environment, Vol.7, No.4, 1996 pp. 365-375;

· ‘Britain and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: The impacts of scientific advice on global warming: Integrated policy analysis and the global dimension.’ Environmental Politics, Vol.4, No. 1, Spring 1995, pp.1-18

· ‘Britain and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: The impacts of scientific advice on Global warming Part II: The Domestic Story of the British Response to Climate Change, Environmental Politics, Vol.4, No.2, Summer 1995, pp.175-196.

· ‘Reflections on the Politics linking Science, Environment and Innovation’, Innovation, Vol.8, No.3, 1995 pp.275-287.

· ‘Global climate protection policy: the limits of scientific advice – Part I.’ Global Environmental Change, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1994,

· ‘Global climate protection policy: the limits of scientific advice – Part II.’ Global Environmental Change, Vol. 4, No. 3, 1994

· (with J F Skea) ‘The Operation and Impact of the IPCC: Results of a Survey of Participants and Users’. STEEP discussion paper no. 16, SPRU, Brighton 1994.

· ‘A scientific agenda for climate policy?’ Nature, Vol. 372, No.6505,1 December 1994

· ‘Science policy, the IPCC and the Climate Convention: the codification of a global research agenda.’ Energy and Environment; Vol. 4, No. 4, 1993, pp. 362-408.

BOOKS AND MONOGRAPHS

· With A. Kellow, Hobart, International Environmental Policy: Interests and the Failure of the Kyoto Process, Edward Elgar Publishing, October 2002.

Acid Politics: Environmental and Energy Policies in Britain and Germany, with J F Skea, Belhaven Press, London/New York, p 296, January 1991 (paperback April 1993)

BOOK CHAPTERS

o ‘Epilogue: Scientific Advice in the world of power politics’, final chapter (10) in Pim Martens & Jan Rotmans (eds.) (1999), Climate Change: An Integrated Approach. (Advances in Global Change Research), Kluwer Academic

Publishers, Dordrecht, December 1999, pp. 357-397. 0-7923 5996-8ISBN

o ‘Who is driving Climate Change Policy?’ In J.Morris (ed.), Climate Change: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom, The Institute of Economic Affairs, 1998, London

o Uncertainty in the Service of Science: Between Science Policy and the Politics of Power, in Gunnar Fermann, International Politics of Climate Change, Scandinavian University Press , Oslo 1997;pp 110-152. ISBN- 82-00-22711-

o ‘Science, power and policy.’ In: M Imber and J Vogler (eds.), Global Environmental Change in International Relations; London: Routledge, 1996, pp. 171-195

Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen

——————————————————————————–

[1] Since the late 1990s I have contributed a lengthy ‘Fuel for Thought’ item to the journal which documents the relevant developments/discussions in IPCC critical climate science alongside the latest development in policy, technology and finance selected and sorted from a large variety of sources and sorted. The most recent item is attached to the submissions. It deals in some length with the CRU affair and reactions to it around the world, as well as with Copenhagen.

[2] On 26 October in a confidential message also addressed to Dr. Mann , the ‘creator’ of the hockey stick, Jones complained that E&E was to published a paper critical of Mann’s methodology and saw this as a part of a political campaign against energy legislation in the USA. Note (Paul Chesser, GlobalWarming.org, 15 January 2010): “Professor Mann is currently under investigation by Penn State University because of activities related to a closed circle of climate scientists who appear to have been engaged in agenda-driven science. Emails and documents mysteriously released from the previously-prestigious Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom revealed discussions of manipulation and destruction of research data, as well as efforts to interfere with the peer review process to stifle opposing views. The motivation underlying these efforts appears to be a coordinated strategy to support the belief that mankind’s activities are causing global warming Glosser has called for the return of over $ 6million state funding stimulus funds received by Prof. Mann and about whom US Senator Jeffrey Piccola has said: “The allegations of intellectual and scientific fraud like those made against Dr. Mann are serious against anybody involved in academics, but the impact in this case is significantly elevated. The work of Dr. Mann and other scientists at the CRU is being used to develop economic and environmental policies in states and countries across the world. Considering the saliency of the work being conducted by the CRU, anything short of the pursuit of absolute science cannot be accepted or tolerated.”(http://spectator.org/blog/2009/12/03/heat-on-mann-at-home)

[3] See http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-01/28/content_9388032.htm and the attached Fuel for Though 21/2 which conveys many of the reactions around the world , including from other scientists. Note Mike Hulme from UEA:

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | 3 Comments

THE MILITARY’S UNKNOWN A-WASTE AT HANFORD

Radioactive waste is building daily throughout the United States and the government doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. The failure of the media to fully address the issue of increasing radioactive waste qualifies this story for nomination as the #3 censored story of 1981.

While public interest generally focuses on commercial nuclear power plants, wastes from atomic weapons production accounts for half the radioactivity and more than 90 percent of the volume of nuclear waste in the U.S., including some 7 million gallons of high-level liquid waste that result annually from the manufacture of plutonium. Most of the weapons-related liquid waste is stored in 169 temporary underground tanks at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state. Since the mid-1950s, there have been more than 20 instances of leakage at Hanford totaling at least 500,000 gallons of radioactive liquid waste.

While the Reagan administration plans to increase nuclear weapons production, it has yet to discover what to do with all the radioactive waste we already have.

This story appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, 12/28/81.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

Atlantic conveyor belt – still going strong and will be the day after tomorrow

March 29, 2010 | Watts Up With That?

The Gulf Stream does not appear to be slowing down, say US scientists who have used satellites to monitor tell-tale changes in the height of the sea.

Confirming work by other scientists using different methodologies, they found dramatic short-term variability but no longer-term trend.

A slow-down – dramatised in the movie The Day After Tomorrow – is projected by some models of climate change.

The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The stream is a key process in the climate of western Europe, bringing heat northwards from the tropics and keeping countries such as the UK 4-6C warmer than they would otherwise be.

It forms part of a larger movement of water, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which is itself one component of the global thermohaline system of currents.

Between 2002 and 2009, the team says, there was no trend discernible – just a lot of variability on short timescales.

The satellite record going back to 1993 did suggest a small increase in flow, although the researchers cannot be sure it is significant.

“The changes we’re seeing in overturning strength are probably part of a natural cycle,” said Josh Willis from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

“The slight increase in overturning since 1993 coincides with a decades-long natural pattern of Atlantic heating and cooling.”

Short measures

The first observations suggesting the circulation was slowing down emerged in 2005, in research from the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC).

Using an array of detectors across the Atlantic and comparing its readings against historical records, scientists suggested the volume of cold water returning southwards could have fallen by as much as 30% in half a century – a significant decline.

The surface water sinks in the Arctic and flows back southwards at the bottom of the ocean, driving the circulation.

However, later observations by the same team showed that the strength of the flow varied hugely on short timescales – from one season to the next, or even shorter.

But they have not found any clear trend since 2004.

===

Read the rest of the story at the BBC here

Or feel free to laugh at this movie:

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | Leave a comment

A Free and Open Society…

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Video | 1 Comment

James Lovelock on the value of sceptics and why Copenhagen was doomed

Excerpts from Guardian interview with James Lovelock | March 29, 2010

Lovelock’s reaction to first reading about the stolen CRU emails:

I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done.

Careers have been ended by this affair and the reputation of the institution [CRU] will go down for a while. It’s sad because there are some good people there. They have to clean their house if they know people are behaving badly. They have got a rotten job ahead, but it will blow over in a few years.

I would only have been too pleased if someone had asked me for my data. If you really believed in your data, you wouldn’t mind someone looking at it. You should be able to respond that if you don’t believe me go out and do the measurements yourself.

On the over-reliance on computer modeling:

I remember when the Americans sent up a satellite to measure ozone and it started saying that a hole was developing over the South Pole. But the damn fool scientists were so mad on the models that they said the satellite must have a fault. We tend to now get carried away by our giant computer models. But they’re not complete models. They’re based more or less entirely on geophysics. They don’t take into account the climate of the oceans to any great extent, or the responses of the living stuff on the planet. So I don’t see how they can accurately predict the climate. It’s not the computational power that we lack today, but the ability to take what we know and convert it into a form the computers will understand. I think we’ve got too high an opinion of ourselves. We’re not that bright an animal. We stumble along very nicely and it’s amazing what we do do sometimes, but we tend to be too hubristic to notice the limitations. If you make a model, after a while you get suckered into it. You begin to forget that it’s a model and think of it as the real world. You really start to believe it.

On climate sceptics:

The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven’t got the physics worked out yet. One of the chiefs once said to me that he agreed that they should include the biology in their models, but he said they hadn’t got the physics right yet and it would be five years before they do. So why on earth are the politicians spending a fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to prevent events 50 years from now? They’ve employed scientists to tell them what they want to hear. The Germans and the Danes are making a fortune out of renewable energy. I’m puzzled why politicians are not a bit more pragmatic about all this.

We do need scepticism about the predictions about what will happen to the climate in 50 years, or whatever. It’s almost naive, scientifically speaking, to think we can give relatively accurate predictions for future climate. There are so many unknowns that it’s wrong to do it.

On the influence of vested interests:

We shouldn’t let the lobbies influence science. Whatever criticism might befall the IPCC and the UEA, they’re nothing as bad as lobbyists who are politically motivated and who will manipulate data or select data to make their political point. For example, it’s deplorable for the BBC whenever one of these issues comes up to go and ask what one of the green lobbyists thinks of it. Sometimes their view might be quite right, but it might also be pure propaganda. This is wrong.

I don’t know enough about carbon trading, but I suspect that it is basically a scam. The whole thing is not very sensible. We have this crazy idea that we are setting an example to the world. What we’re doing is trying to make money out of the world by selling them renewable gadgetry and green ideas. It might be worthy from the national interest, but it is moonshine if you think what the Chinese and Indians are doing [in terms of emissions]. The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.

Read the interview in G2

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | 6 Comments

Israel gags news of soldier turned journalist under arrest

By Ron Kampeas · JTA · March 29, 2010

WASHINGTON — Israel has held a journalist under secret house arrest since last December based on allegations that during her military service she leaked classified documents suggesting that the Israeli army violated laws dealing with targeted killings.

Anat Kam, 23, was arrested last December and charged under Israel’s espionage and treason laws, JTA has learned. Prosecutors are seeking a 14-year sentence, which is considered severe by Israeli standards.

Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons capability, was sentenced to 18 years, eventually serving the full amount.

At the time of her arrest, Kam was working as a reporter for the Israeli Internet site Walla, which was partially owned by Haaretz until last week. But the charges relate to Kam’s service in the Israeli army, when she is alleged to have photocopied sensitive documents. Bloggers have speculated that those documents served as the basis for a November 2008 Haaretz story suggesting alleged army violations. Kam has denied the charges.

Her arrest has been under a gag order in Israel, which Haaretz says it is appealing. With the gag order in place, it is impossible to know the prosecution’s reasoning for a 14-year sentence. …

Continue at source

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties | 5 Comments

Report: British MPs call for review of arms export to Israel

Ma’an/Agencies – 30/03/2010

Bethlehem – A group of British lawmakers will call on Tuesday for a review of the way arms deals to Israel are approved, after the government admitted British equipment was “almost certainly” used during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, British media reported.

The British daily The Guardian quoted a House of Commons report on strategic exports controls, which stated, “it is regrettable that arms exports to Israel were almost certainly used in Operation Cast Lead [the attack on Gaza].

“This is in direct contravention to the UK government’s policy that UK arms exports to Israel should not be used in the occupied territories,” the report read.

Those MPs making the call for a review said they welcomed the British government’s decision to revoke five export licenses for equipment “destined to the Israeli navy,” the daily wrote, with lawmakers adding that “broader lessons” must be learned from such a review to “ensure British arms exports to Israel are not used in the occupied territories in the future.”

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the House of Commons following Israel’s devastating assault on the Gaza Strip between December 2008 and January 2009 that left some 1,400 Palestinians dead, that all future arms exports to Israel “will be assessed taking into account the recent conflict,” adding that Israeli equipment used during its war on the coastal enclave likely used British-supplied parts such as cockpit displays in US F16 combat aircraft, fire control and radar systems, navigation and engine assemblies for US Apache helicopters, the daily reported.

Additionally, arms sold to Israel included parts for guns and radar in Israeli Sa’ar-class corvettes which took part in the operation, and armored personnel carriers adapted from Centurion tanks sold to Israel in the 1950s.

The government-approved exports to Israel are estimated to be over 27.5 million British pounds for 2008, the House of Common’s report said, with various governmental departments approving nearly 4 million British pounds worth of export licenses for weapons and equipments with both military and civil use in the nine months following the attack on Gaza, The Guardian reported.

“Though this suggests a significant drop, the figures show Britain was continuing to sell Israel a wide range of military equipment, including small-arms ammunition and parts for sniper rifles,” the daily added.

Approved exports include remote ground-sensors, electronic warfare equipment “components for snipers,” “small arms ammunition” and “test equipment for recognition/identification equipment,” the report said.

The report further revealed that the British government decided to revoke a number of arms sales’ licenses to Sri Lanka, saying it regreted that British arms were sold during the ceasefire periods in the conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The call for a review on the way the British government approves arms deals with Israel follows their decision to expel an Israeli diplomat over the use of forged UK passports in an alleged Israeli hit of a Hamas leader in Dubai in January.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | 1 Comment

   

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