Supplementary memorandum submitted by
David Holland (UEA Reviews 01a)
BY UEA TO
On reviewing my earlier memoranda I realise
that I failed to focus sufficiently upon the single most compelling
reason that you should reject the Report of Sir Muir Russell and
the recent memorandum from the University of East Anglia submitted
by Professor Acton as blatant works of fiction.
Sir Muir's Report states in paragraph 28 on page
"There seems clear incitement to delete
emails, although we have seen no evidence of any attempt to delete
information in respect of a request already made."
This finding is utterly perverse.
The Report then shows the infamous email Jones
sent to Mann asking him to delete precisely the information I
had specified just two days earlier. I must stress that what I
was asking for was procedural information relating to the IPCC
Fourth Assessment and nothing whatever to do with UEA surface
temperature record which the Russell Review and UEA keep returning
to. Also bear in mind that my request was, at the time it was
being dealt with, the only one that had been made to the Climatic
Research Unit at UEA during 2008. Also it was made more than a
year before the FOIA request deluge that is alleged by some to
have provoked the scientists to misbehave.
Jones clearly indicated to Mann that data would
be deleted at UEA and Mann's reply makes no suggestion that he
might not comply in the USA. The email went beyond incitement.
In the interview on 13 February 2010, reported
by Roger Harrabin at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8511670.stm, Jones
made it clear that his infamous email was a direct consequence
of my 27 May 2008 request. Harrabin asked,
"Why did you ask a colleague to delete all
e-mails relating to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC?"
"This was an e-mail sent out of frustration
at one FOI request that was asking for the e-mail correspondence
between the lead authors on chapter six of the Working Group One
Report of the IPCC. This is one of the issues which the Independent
Review will look at."
The same email correspondence was covered by
my formal request to UEA of 5 May 2008 and by my original email
to Professor Briffa on 21 March 2008. The evidence I presented
to Sir Muir's Review and your predecessor Committee is that the
scientists directly involved in the writing of the IPCC Working
Group One assessment of the science of climate change were advised
by their Co-chairperson, in March 2008, not to make any new disclosures
at all. So far almost nothing new has been disclosed without it
being leaked or my having to appeal refusals and engage the Information
Commissioner's Office. This is despite clear prior FOIA rulings
that everything requested should have been disclosed.
I note that, in his most recent submission to
you, Professor Acton is now trying to imply that no information
was deleted as a result of FOIA requests but simply routinely
deleted prior to the requests. He states:
We have established that the potential email
deletion which gave rise to the ICO's concern did not take place,
and the University has received undertakings from the CRU staff
most notably involved in the emails that they will fully comply
with the letter and spirit of Freedom of Information requests.
Extracts from statements they have made on this subject are provided
in appendix F.
This is utter nonsense and the Report of Sir
Muir Russell provides no evidence to support his claim. Nor are
these statements signed or published at the Review Website. On
the other hand, what is reported to have been said to Sir Muir
on 18 December 2009, suggests very strongly that Professor Briffa
expected information that was subject to FOI requests might well
be deleted. UEA's Director of Information Services Colam-French
is reported as having stated:
For example Keith Briffa took home emails that
were subject to FOI to ensure their safekeeping.
This report of Sir Muir's meeting with IT staff
and Colam was not properly indexed at the Russell Review website
until long after the Review report was published and includes
other evidence that information may well have been taken off-site
and deleted from the CRU computers.
Information that I requested was deleted according
to a letter sent to me by UEA and available to the public at http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/spreadsheet_of_review_comments_f
The leaked UEA emails had revealed that information
I had requested was held in a spreadsheet that had been attached
to one of them sent by Jonathan Overpeck from the USA. In a response
refusing to disclose an FOIA request to UEA that I had made on
28 November 2009 for this spreadsheet, UEA replied:
We believe that Regulation 12(4)(a) applies to
your request because the only location that this information was
held on was on a backup server as the original information had
been `deleted' some years ago.
On 21 March 2010 I asked Overpeck for a copy.
I sent copies of my email request to Susan Solomon, Renate Christ,
Rajendra Pachauri and my MP, Tim Boswell. I received no reply.
A few days later the Information Commissioner's Office phoned
me to advise that Professor Briffa had found a copy of the spreadsheet
on a memory stick. On 26 March 2010 UEA disclosed the spreadsheet.
We are not told when Briffa first started preserving
information that was subject to FOIA requests, if he has more,
or when any of the information which I requested was actually
deleted. The implication from UEA that information I requested
was already deleted makes no sense.
Why would UEA have gone to the trouble of invoking
the Ministerial veto of FOIA section 36 to refuse disclosure if
it no longer held the information I requested? Several of the
leaked UEA emails and others disclosed to me under the DPA and
other FOIA requests show that after I first requested the information
considerable discussion took place on how to use the FOIA to avoid
On 15 July 2008 Sir Brian Hoskins at the University
of Reading told his Information Officer to contact UEA who were
collaborating with the Met Office to "resist" my requests.
Why would UEA be "resisting" requests for information
that had been lawfully deleted before it had been asked for? It
only had to state "the information is not held". At
any time Briffa could have said the information had been deleted.
We are also asked to believe that UEA carried
out a careful review of its refusal to disclose information to
me, as is required by the FOIA section 45 code of practice, but
never found out that the information was already deleted. Clearly
to review a decision to refuse disclosure other than on the grounds
of it not being held the information the information must be physically
UEA's claim is nonsense and you should be aware
that the Information Commissioner's Office conducted a far more
thorough and independent investigation of my information request.
In his Decision Notice Decision Notice FER0238017, issued shortly
before Sir Muir Russell's ICCER report on 7 July 2010, there is
no report that UEA ever claimed to the ICO that the information
I requested was deleted prior to me asking for it.
Despite the reprimand of your predecessor Committee,
the Commissioner himself signed the Decision Notice after adding
a rider to the effect that he remained satisfied that prima facie
evidence existed of an offence which was not investigated only
because it was time barred.
Thus no rational person, regardless of their
views on the science of climate change, can doubt that information
on the assessment of climate change, which was lawfully requested
under our freedom of information laws, was deleted blocked or
concealed from Information Officers to prevent it becoming public.
The documentary evidence of this is easily available on the Internet
and fully understood by many thousands of people worldwide.
The rigour or honesty of all who deny what happened
will remain in doubt.