In the climate controversy dubbed Kiwigate New Zealand skeptics inflict shock courtroom defeat on climatologists implicated in temperature data fraud
New Zealand’s government via its National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has announced it has nothing to do with the country’s “official” climate record in what commentators are calling a capitulation from the tainted climate reconstruction. The story is also covered on web news aggregator site, icecap.com.
NIWA’s statement claims they were never responsible for the national temperature record (NZTR).The climb down is seen as a dramatic legal triumph for skeptics of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC) who had initiated their challenge last August when petitioning the high court of New Zealand to invalidate the weather service’s reconstruction of antipodean temperatures.
According to the August official statement of the claim from NZCSC climate scientists cooked the books by using the same alleged ‘trick’ employed by British and American doomsaying scientists. This involves subtly imposing a warming bias during what is known as the ‘homogenisation’ process that occurs when climate data needs to be adjusted.
(View graph of temperature record before and after ‘adjustment’)
The specific charge brought against the Kiwi government was that it’s climate scientists had taken the raw temperature records of the country and then adjusted them artificially with the result that a steeper warming trend was created than would otherwise exist by examination of the raw data alone.
Indeed, the original Kiwi records shows no warming during the 20th century, but after government sponsored climatologists had manipulated the data a warming trend of 1C appeared.
New Zealand Government Abandons ‘Official’ Climate Record
The NZCSC story reports that the NZ authorities, “formally stated that, in their opinion, they are not required to use the best available information nor to apply the best scientific practices and techniques available at any given time. They don’t think that forms any part of their statutory obligation to pursue “excellence.”
NIWA now denies there was any such thing as an “official” NZ Temperature Record, although there was an official acronym for it (NZTR). However, the position now taken by the NZ government is that all such records are now to be deemed as unofficial and strictly for internal research purposes.
The article urges that if the government will not affirm that their temperature reconstruction is official then, “Nobody else should rely on it.”
Researcher from Climategate University Implicated in Data Fraud
As reported in a Suite101 article by the same writer of April 2010 ‘Kiwigate is a Carbon Copy of Climategate’ it was shown that the scientist who made the controversial “bold adjustments” is none other than Jim Salinger who is also a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Because very few temperature records exist for the Pacific Ocean, the NIWA record is given extra weight by the UN’s IPCC for determining multi-decadal trends in global average temperatures.
Salinger was dismissed by NIWA earlier this year for speaking without authorization to the media. The discredited researcher originally worked at Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), the institution at the center of the Climategate scandal.
Salinger was also among the inner circle of climate scientists whose leaked emails precipitated the original climate controversy in November 2009. In an email (August 4, 2003) to fellow disgraced American climate professor, Michael Mann, Salinger stated he was “extremely concerned about academic standards” among climate skeptics.
Bogus Data Destroyed before it could be independently verified
In circumstances strangely similar to those witnessed in the Climategate controversy Kiwigate appears to match Climategate in three key three facets. First, climate scientists declined to submit their data for independent analysis. Second, when backed into a corner the scientists claimed their adjustments had been ‘lost’. Third, the raw data itself proves no warming trend.
Dunleavy MBE, T.,’High Court asked to invalidate NIWA’s official NZ temperature record,’ (August 13,2010); http://www.climatescience.org.nz, (accessed online: October 6, 2010)
Costa, A.C. and A. Soares, ‘Homogenization of Climate Data: Review and New Perspectives Using Geostatistics,’ Mathematical Geoscience, Volume 41, Number 3 / April, 2009.
New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, ‘NIWA Challenged to Show Why and How Temperature Records Were Adjusted’ (February 7, 2010), accessed online April 26, 2010.
NZCSC & Climate Science Conversation Group; Press Statement of December 18, 2009; accessed online ( April 26, 2010).
Salinger, J. Climategate email Filename: 1060002347.txt. (August 4, 2003).
Lamis Andoni | Al-Jazeera | 07 Oct 2010
The Obama administration’s letter of assurances and incentives to Israel has Dennis Ross written all over it.
The draft letter written by the Obama administration to Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and revealed by David Makovsky on the website of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has Dennis Ross written all over it.
The veteran American negotiator who has championed Israeli security needs while repudiating Palestinian rights for the past two decades reportedly convinced Barack Obama, the US president, that the letter of assurances and incentives was necessary to persuade Israel to extend the settlement freeze that expired at the end of last month.
At first glance, the letter appears to be trying to accommodate the Palestinian demand for a freeze in settlement construction in return for the resumption of stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks.
Strengthening Israel’s hand
But the equation is hugely unbalanced. In exchange for a partial two-month settlement freeze, Israel is offered US endorsement of all of its “security needs” – as defined, of course, by Israel.
Included within this are assurances aimed at stopping the infiltration of weapons into Palestinian territories and the positioning of Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley – all of which is consistent with the Israeli vision of a demilitarised Palestinian state. The letter effectively offers to consolidate the integration of Israeli security interests into US national strategy and pledges to engage Arab parties and Israel in discussions on a “regional security architecture”; a convoluted euphemism for an arrangement to address Israel’s need to confront Iran.
Furthermore, the letter promises that after the initial 60-day extension of the freeze, the US would not ask Israel for another – leaving the status of the settlements to be decided only as part of final status negotiations.
The terms are such that they would only serve Israel’s strategic goals and further strengthen the Israeli hand at already asymmetrical negotiations.
Under such conditions, the construction of colonies would continue unabated as soon as the extended freeze expired, leaving Palestinians unable even to raise the issue of Israel’s ongoing land grab. The letter offers Israel what it wants, while effectively setting the stage for the legitimisation of settlement building and the fulfillment of Israeli plans to annex the major settlements as part of a final deal.
No surprises, no secrets
But as damaging as these assurances are to Palestinian interests, they should not come as a surprise. After all it is not the first time that Ross has helped find “a solution” to an impasse in Israeli-Palestinian talks in a way that provides strategic benefits to Israel.
In 1997, during negotiations over the Hebron Protocol, Ross played a crucial role in convincing Netanyahu, who was prime minister then too, to accept a partial withdrawal from the Palestinian town.
He is also said to have written a memo that – for the first time since the 1993 Oslo Accords – stipulated that future Israeli implementation of its obligations under the agreement hinged on Palestinians meeting Israel’s security requirements (as defined by Israel).
During the Camp David talks in 2000, according to his published memoirs, Ross pushed for Israeli “security need” to take top priority while dismissing any discussion of Palestinian rights.
But the US diplomat’s bias in favour of Israel is hardly a secret. Palestinian negotiators have always complained that Ross was bargaining on behalf of Israel, while other Obama aides have more recently accused him of placing Netanyahu’s concerns above all others.
The international law impediment
Ross’ imprint on the letter is testimony to his influence over Obama – an influence that took root long before Ross was moved from his position at the State Department to the White House in the summer of 2009.
He has come to represent continuity in US foreign policy – having held positions under George Bush Snr, Bill Clinton, George Bush Jnr and now Obama. And even when he took a break from these positions, he worked for the influential Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which gave him a forum from which to influence decision makers and to shape media and public perceptions.
WINEP was a perfect fit for Ross as it has become the most influential think tank openly promoting Israeli interests and goals as the basis for discourse on the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Ross, who as an official stays away from public statements, openly articulated his pro-Israeli views in a book he co-authored with fellow WINEP associate David Makovsky, in which he argued that the US should foster a partnership with Israel in its policy towards Iran.
But it was his memoirs that revealed the true extent of his support for Israel and his dismissal of Palestinian rights. For Ross, Palestinians are held hostage to a culture of victimhood that breeds a sense “of entitlement” to land and self-perceived rights without paying attention to “Israeli needs”.
The Orientalist view Ross espouses discards Palestinian rights as a subjective narrative existing only in Palestinian eyes. International law and UN resolutions that affirm Palestinian national rights are, in his view, a cumbersome impediment to finding a solution on the premise of “Israeli needs”; a view reflected in the letter’s promise to veto any UN Security Council resolutions during the one-year negotiating period.
But Ross is not alone within the US establishment in dismissing UN resolutions relating to Israel and Palestine, for US policy in general is based on the belief that Israeli military-imposed facts on the ground should determine the shape of a final solution to the conflict. In other words the party that controls the land determines the parameters for a solution.
Ross’ blatant bias against the Palestinians was already well known when the Obama administration decided to recruit him as their main advisor on Middle Eastern affairs.
But Ross’ value was not based simply on his knowledge and experience of the region. His initial role was to garner votes for Obama within pro-Israeli Jewish circles.
In June 2008, he was sent to Florida, a swing state, to convince pro-Israeli Jewish voters that Obama was a true friend to Israel. He also gave interviews to Israeli newspapers to placate Israeli fears.
After the elections Ross became the point man on Iran at the state department. A former member of the Obama campaign, visiting the Middle East after the elections, told me that Arabs had no need to worry about Ross because he would not have Obama’s ear as long as he was at the State Department.
But, in the summer of 2009, all that changed when Ross was promoted to the role of special assistant to the president and head of “the region” at the National Security Council. His influence – and that of his former associates at WINEP – can now be clearly detected.
Obama had initially stated that a halt to settlement building was a prerequisite to the resumption of negotiations. In a speech to the UN he even called the settlements illegal. But then WINEP stepped in. Ross’ former associates began a campaign portraying Obama’s statement as a policy error or even a blunder that should be rectified.
In their articles and media appearances WINEP fellows sought to divert attention from the settlement issue and to place the “Iranian threat” at the centre of US policy towards the region.
Obama, meanwhile, was gradually abandoning his position.
Even as Israel agreed to a partial 10-month settlement freeze under US pressure, Ross and Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, were negotiating the very terms that appeared in the letter.
Under the guise of meeting Palestinian demands, the letter aims primarily at repudiating international law and UN resolutions once and for all, while making Israeli “security needs” the main focus of final status talks… Full article
Comment by Philip Weiss:
Dennis Ross is the former chairman of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute of Israel, which opposes assimilation and intermarriage; he is a former leader of the Israel lobby who has argued that it does not exist, and he is now installed in the Obama administration in a crucial role, and why? Because he has great authority in the Jewish community, that’s why. Because his presence says to the conservative and wealthy Jewish community, Obama won’t sell us out. No wonder this guy has survived from Republican to Democratic administrations, his constituency transcends party. No wonder that MJ Rosenberg has written that Netanyahu is more powerful than Obama.
Israel Releases 1973 War Minutes To Send Syria, Hezbollah, “Strong Warning”
The Israeli intelligence Website “Debkafile” quoted “military and intelligence sources” as saying that PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak have decided to release the minutes of the deliberations on an air blitz against Damascus – held in Jerusalem before and during the 1973 war – “as a strong warning” to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“Then, a decision to take out Damascus to halt the Syrian offensive was overruled. This time could be different: Bashar Assad regime’s own centers of power could be at risk if Syria and Hizballah go through with their plan to overpower Beirut and topple Saad Hariri’s sovereign government,” the sources told Debkafile.
The Website said that in the hours leading up to Oct. 6, 1973, Lt. Gen. David Elazar told PM Golda Meir that the Israeli forces can wipe out the entire Syrian air force by noon that day, and that they need another 30 hours to destroy Syrian missiles.
“Then, if they go on the offensive at 5 pm., our air force will be free to strike the Syrian army. To me, this operational option is attractive.” Three days later, on Oct. 9, catastrophe stared Israel in the face: The IDF was in a bad way and taking casualties in the realm of hundreds dead and thousands injured; their defense lines in Sinai and the Golan had fallen and there was nothing in the way of the Syrian army going all the way to the Sea of Galilee and Tiberias.
In a closed meeting with Golda Meir, the iconic defense minister Moshe Dayan asked for permission to bomb Damascus. “Inside the city?” she asked. “Inside the city and its environs,” he replied. “We have to break the Syrians,” Dayan explained that he proposed to strike the Syrian General Command and infrastructure in Damascus. “We’ve done enough going around the fields (a reference to targets outside the Syrian capital). There are no more key targets left. Damascus is the only one. We can’t promise the population won’t be hurt,” Debkafile reported.
It added that “Golda’s permission was withheld.”
The Israeli military and intelligence sources told Debkafile that the decision to release the documents and the section relating to Syria was taken in Jerusalem “after the Obama administration failed to prevent the two-day state visit to Lebanon by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad taking place on Oct. 13.”
According to the Israeli site, the message “goes beyond uncovering secret operational and intelligence decision-making and is unusually wide-ranging.”
In recent weeks, articles have appeared in various media outlets detailing recent surveillance activities of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. According to these reports. much of this surveillance was focused on antiwar and peace groups. Then, on September 24, 2010 several homes and offices in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago and North Carolina were raided by the FBI. Subpoenas to appear at a grand jury investigation were issued to several activists. The reason provided for the raids was that some individuals were suspected of providing “material support to terrorists.” These raids and recent revelations have been met with protest and, in some quarters, shock-as if the United States government were somehow above such police state intimidation and practices.
On October 10, 2010 at the Mission Cultural Center of Latino Studies in San Francisco, the Freedom Archives will premier its latest documentary. Titled Cointelpro 101, this hour-long film makes it quite clear that the US government is certainly not above such practices and that, furthermore, it has a long history of them. For those who don’t know, Cointelpro was the abbreviated name for the intelligence and counterinsurgency operation waged against a multitude of organizations and individuals deemed threats to national security during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s by the FBI and other US law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Short for counterintelligence, Cointelpro involved the use of a multitude of methods up to and including murder in its crusade to neutralize any and all left opposition to the status quo in the United States. From Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Weather Underground Organization, any one considered an enemy of the US national security state because of their opposition to the US war in Vietnam or their support for the self-determination of people of color in the United States was a potential target of the Cointelpro program.
Cointelpro 101 opens with the April 1971 break-in by antiwar activists at the federal offices in Media, Pennsylvania. The activists were searching for Selective service files to destroy when they came upon files labeled Cointelpro. After a quick perusal of the file’s contents, they removed as many as they could find from the office, made copies and released them to the press. The program was unknown to the broader public at the time and the files proved a revelation to the country. Many politicians were offended and, after the 1972 discovery of the Plumbers unit run by G. Gordon Liddy under the direction of the Nixon White House and the subsequent months of Congressional hearings around Watergate, Senator Frank Church called for hearings to investigate the Cointelpro program.
As the history related in the film makes clear, Cointelpro’s stretch was broad. Beginning in the 1950s with a focus on the Puerto Rican independence movement and continuing through the 1960s and into the 1970s when much of its focus had shifted to the black liberation, Chicano liberation and American Indian movement, the program racked up a number of assassinations, false imprisonments and ruined lives. No government official was ever punished for actions taken under the program’s auspices. The film details this history through the artful use of still photos and moving images of the period covered. Films of police attacks and protests; still photos of revolutionary leaders and police murders graphically remind the viewer of Washington’s willingness to do whatever it takes to maintain its control. Organizers who began their political activity during the time of Cointelpro discuss the effect the program had on them and the organizations and individuals they worked with. Indeed, several of the interviewees were themselves targets and spent years in prison (some that were false, as in the case of Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt) or on the run. One of the interviewees, Wesley Swearingen, is a former FBI agent who was involved in Cointelpro operations in Los Angeles and elsewhere and later published a book exposing his knowledge. His recollections reveal the nature of the war the FBI was fighting.
Former Black Panther member Kathleen Cleaver states toward the end of the film that Cointelpro represented the efforts of a political police force making the decision as to what is allowed politically and what is not. Anything outside the parameters set by this force was fair game. Nothing that was done by government officials or private groups and individuals acting on the government’s behalf was perceived as wrong or illegal. As Attorney Bob Boyle makes clear in his final statement in the film, Cointelpro is alive and well. The only difference now is that most of what was illegal for the government to do during Cointelpro’s official existence is now legal. The PATRIOT Act and other laws associated with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security have insured this. The September 24, 2010 raids mentioned above are but the most recent proof of it.
Cointelpro 101 is a well made and appealing primer on the history of the US police state. Produced, written and directed by individuals who have themselves been the target of tactics documented in the film, it has an authenticity and immediacy that pulls the viewer in. Although too short to cover the history in as full detail as some may desire, the film’s intelligence and conscientious presentation of the historical narrative makes it a film that the student, the citizen and the activist can all appreciate.
Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso.