Mann and the Muir Russell Inquiry #1

In my most recent post, I showed that Mann’s claim to have been “exonerated” by the Oxburgh inquiry had no more validity than Mann’s claim to have won a Nobel prize. In today’s post, I’ll continue my series on the “investigations” by showing that Mann’s claim to have been “exonerated” by the Muir Russell inquiry is equally invalid.

In their memoranda supporting their original motions to dismiss, both National Review and CEI had observed (correctly) that the Muir Russell panel had limited their findings to “CRU scientists” and contested Mann’s assertion that the Muir Russell panel had made any findings regarding Mann himself, let alone “exonerated” him.

In Mann’s Reply Memorandum, he vociferously rejected the (correct) assertion that the Muir Russell had not exonerated Mann himself, describing such assertion as merely an attempt to “obfuscate and misrepresent”. Mann supported this bluster with an apparent quotation from the Muir Russell report, but the phrase within the quotation marks does not actually occur within the Muir Russell report. As shown below, Mann and/or his lawyers subtly altered the quotation to more supportive language.

The Muir Russell Report

In their summary, the Muir Russell report explicitly stated that its remit related to the behavior of CRU scientists, not scientists in the United States or even at other UK institutions:

6. The allegations relate to aspects of the behaviour of the CRU scientists, such as their handling and release of data, their approach to peer review, and their role in the public presentation of results…

The Team wishes to focus on the honesty, rigour and openness with which CRU handled its data…

The Muir Russell panel did not interview Mann, a minimum prerequisite in any investigation of Mann. (Not that their investigation of CRU scientists was searching or even adequate, but they at least interviewed Jones and Briffa.) Nowhere is there any Finding in the Muir Russell report that refers to Mann, though there are many references to “CRU scientists.” Consistent with their limited remit, their signature finding is explicitly and unequivocally limited to “CRU scientists” and made no mention of Mann:

8. The Review examines the honesty, rigour and openness with which the CRU scientists have acted… On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.

Re-read the exact language of this finding carefully as I’ll refer to it later.

Mann’s Complaint
As discussed in connection with the Oxburgh panel (see here), Mann claimed that he had been “investigated” by numerous investigations, including the Muir Russell inquiry, and that “all” of these investigations, including Muir Russell, had “exonerated” him on wide-ranging counts, “scientific misconduct”, “fraud”, “academic fraud”, “data falsification”, “statistical manipulation”, “manipulation of data” and even found that his work was “properly conducted and fairly presented”.

Mann’s Reply Memorandum contains a section entitled “Dr Mann Is Exonerated”, in which the two East Anglia investigations (Oxburgh and Muir Russell) are discussed in support of the assertion that Mann had been “exonerated” by “all” of these numerous investigations.

National Review and CEI Motions to Dismiss

The National Review memorandum in support of their motion to Dismiss (December 2012) clearly stated (page 9) that the Muir Russell report did not “offer any opinion on Mann”:

Nor did it offer any opinion on Mann, who was not a part of CRU, but merely a collaborator with some of its scientists.

The CEI memorandum in support of their motion to dismiss (p 12) more generally observed that Mann had failed to provide supporting quotations from seven of the nine reports (including Muir Russell.)

So too is the assertion that those reports’ contents contradict any of the challenged statements made by the CEI Defendants. Compl. ¶¶24-25. Indeed, the Complaint fails to quote a single word or cite a single page from seven of those reports, and the brief excerpts of two that it does set forth do not actually contradict any of the CEI Defendants’ challenged statements.

Mann Reply Memorandum

In the Introduction of his Reply Memorandum, Mann acknowledged that both CEI and National Review had contested Mann’s claim to have been exonerated by the Muir Russell and other listed investigations with bluster that these (true) assertions were nothing more than attempts to “obfuscate and misrepresent”:

While Defendants do address some of the inquiries [a list including Muir Russell] into these issues, including those undertaken by Pennsylvania State University, the National Science Foundation, and the University of East Anglia, they obfuscate and misrepresent the findings of those panels, in an effort to suggest (erroneously) that those inquiries did not exonerate Dr. Mann of fraud or misconduct. See CEI Anti-SLAPP Mem. at 14-17; NRO Mem. at 8- 11. 9 [Reply to CEI, page 3, fn 5]

{Feb 27, 2010): That Mann himself knew that the Muir Russell report was limited to “CRU scientists” and did not include himself is demonstrated by his contemporary comment at realclimate (h/t Barry Woods):

“The main issue is that they conclude that the rigour and honesty of the CRU scientists is not in doubt. For anyone who knows Phil Jones and his colleagues this comes as no surprise, and we are very pleased to have this proclaimed so vigorously.” Mike & Gavin

Later in the Reply Memorandum (page 19), Mann purported to provide the requested supporting quotation from the Muir Russell report showing that the supposed exoneration was not limited to “CRU scientists”, but extended more generally to “the scientists”, including Mann himself:

Three months later, the University of East Anglia published the Independent Climate Change Email Review report, prepared under the oversight of Sir Muir Russell. The report examined whether manipulation or suppression of data occurred and concluded that “the scientists’ rigor and honesty are not in doubt. [my bold][38 – Muir Russell Report]“

But watch carefully here. The exact phrase within quotation marks doesn’t actually occur in the Muir Russell report: I noticed this because of the American spelling “rigor” rather than the English spelling “rigour” which would have resulted from a cut-and-paste. The actual quotation from the Muir Russell report (shown below) clearly limits its findings to CRU scientists,as National Review and CEI had asserted and contradicting both Mann’s complaint and blustery reply:

On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.

Had Mann’s Reply Memorandum provided the actual quotation, it would have confirmed National Review’s and CEI’s claim that the Muir Russell had confined its findings to “CRU scientists”, but not in the quotation as altered by Mann and/or his lawyers.

Contrary to the claims in Mann’s complaint and Reply Memorandum, neither the Oxburgh panel nor the Muir Russell inquiries “exonerated” Mann himself. As clearly stated by National Review, the Muir Russell inquiry did not “offer any opinion on Mann, who was not a part of CRU, but merely a collaborator with some of its scientists”. In future posts, I’ll show that other Mann claims of “exoneration” are also untrue.

I also plan a second post on an important topic arising from Muir Russell’s finding that the omission of data in certain graphs resulted in them being “misleading” and discuss whether these findings demonstrate the elements of “falsification”, as defined in standard academic codes of conduct.

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