• 15 FEB 06
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    CSIRO Corporate lackies promise to investigate themselves

    Following is theThe Scientist reporting on the suppression of scientists within the CSIRO (last message) . Spot the farce where the people who have been doing the gagging are now promising to investigate whether or not they have been doing it! But also note that they are limiting the promised investigation to only one complaint. How about the sacking of a whole list of other former CSIRO scientists who dared speak out? We could even take the investigation back to the late 1950’s with the Menzies “Liberal”government’s actual destruction of CSIRO scientist Ian Dunlop who dared speak out against nuclear testing and exposing servicemen and aboriginals to ionizing radiation. In Dunlop’s case the government ordered that he be committeed to a sanitorium, without his family’s permission or knowledge and during which he was pumped full of drugs and given shock therapy (the Stalanists also employed this usefull tactic). By the time he was let out, about 6 months later, he was no longer a threat to the government’s secret nuclear ambitions to develop its own nuclear arsenal. Dunlop, a broken man, committee suicide in the early 1960s.

    For more recent events we could include an investigation of why the New corporate controllers of CSIRO sacked Stan Barnett and ended CSIRO’s involvement in non-ionizing radiation.

    How about why a former Tobacco Industry lacky is hired to communicate CSIRO’s new corporate image on an annual salary three times that of a senior research scientist and more than what the Australian Prime Minister makes?

    A necessary addition to any investigation would be an examination of the hidden role of transnational Public Relations firms, such as Burson Marsteller, in the suppression of science in Australia.

    An independent Royal Commission is the only way to get to the truth of what has been done to CSIRO by a government/industrial “Mafia” more extensive than just for Greenhouse issues.

    But will a government that has done for good science what Robert Magabe has done for good government be trusted to allow such an investigation?

    I doubt it.



    Australian climate researchers gagged?
    Former CSIRO scientists say they have been pressured over talking about climate change
    [Published 14th February 2006 05:18 PM GMT]

    Australia’s government-funded Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organization (CSIRO) said today (February 14) that it would hold an investigation into claims scientists had been discouraged from publicly discussing the effects of climate change.

    The claims, which follow close on the heels of similar accusations in the US, arose Monday night on the state-run broadcaster ABC TV. During a current affairs program, three former CSIRO scientists said they had been censored in one way or another by the national government.

    One climate scientist, Barrie Pittock, said he was asked not to write in a government publication about the potential for people to be displaced by climate change. Pittock is currently an honorary fellow at CSIRO, meaning he does research there but is not on salary, a spokeswoman for CSIRO told The Scientist.

    Another scientist, Graeme Pearman, who was laid off from the CSIRO in 2004, said he was told not to make any comments indicating he disagreed with government policy on emissions. “At least a half a dozen times over the last year that I was with CSIRO,” he said in the program.

    The third scientist, Barney Foran, who retired recently, said that last August he had received a telephone call at his desk from CSIRO’s “corporate center” explaining that the Prime Minister’s department had just requested that he “didn’t say anything about ethanol.”

    The environment minister Ian Campbell rejected the claims, but called for CSIRO to hold an investigation. “We let our scientists talk freely to the media,” CSIRO spokeswoman Marilyn Chalkley told The Scientist. “But we take this matter very seriously and will be holding an investigation.” The details of the probe are not yet public, Chalkley said, but it would likely be limited to the accusations made by Foran.

    Ron Sandland, deputy chief executive of CSIRO, said the program’s claims were misleading. “Should scientists want to comment on Government or Opposition policy, they can do so as private individuals, but they have to be very clear they are expressing personal views,” he said in a statement.

    Jorg Imberger, director of the Centre for Water Research at the University of Western Australia, said researchers in universities, CSIRO, and elsewhere were feeling the impact of growing politicization. “People are very much dependent on outside funding and it’s dependent on a political agenda,” he told The Scientist. “If you state a position incompatible with the organization that provides your money, you are at risk of losing that money.”

    However, Peter Cook, head of the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies — funded by government, CSIRO, universities and several oil, coal, and mining companies — said he had never been put under pressure not to speak about issues relating to climate change. “At no stage have I been approached and asked to sing a different tune,” he told The Scientist.

    Still, Cook said it was not uncommon to hear scientists talking about supposed cases of censorship. “You don’t know if it’s urban myth, rumor or true,” he said. “I think when you have a single funding source, things could be different. I’m not saying they [other researchers] have not experienced problems, but I haven’t.”

    The scientists who made the accusations on television could not be reached for further comment by deadline.

    Stephen Pincock

    Links within this article

    A. McCook, “James Hansen speaks-and maybe says too much,” The Scientist, February 13, 2006.

    “CSIRO scientists say Govt stifles debate,” ABC News, February 13, 2006.
    Barrie Pittock, “Climate Change”

    Graeme Pearman

    CSIRO statement: CSIRO’s scientists not gagged

    Jorg Imberger

    Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies

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