I may be being overly pernickety here, which as a lawyer I often am, but having seen extracts from the ANU emails (go here – warning, strong language), none of them come remotely close to a “death threat”. The vast majority of it is good old fashioned abuse (and we’ve all had our fair share of that – solution: you hit the delete button), but there are no death threats (original story on this here).
The worst are probably:
“Die you lying bastard”
“The quicker that C*nts like you and your kind Die the better”
Which is kind of like saying “F*** off and die” to someone – in other words, hoping that someone will die rather than a clear threat to kill. Just for the record, my interpretation of a “death threat” or a threat to kill would be something explicit, along the lines of: “Unless you stop your research, I will kill you.” Result: go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
If it had been reported as mere abuse, the story wouldn’t have got any traction. But because of the “death threat” angle, a Google search brings up over 5,000 hits, and the story has now reached as far as the UK’s Guardian and Telegraph newspapers, both of which repeat the allegation of death threats:
A number of Australia’s leading climate scientists have been moved into safer accommodation after receiving death threats, in a further escalation of the country’s increasingly febrile carbon price debate.
The revelation of the death threats follows a week of bitter exchanges between the government and the opposition in the wake of a pro-carbon price TV advert featuring actor Cate Blanchett. (Guardian - source)
And the Telegraph:
Australia’s top climate scientists have been forced to move their offices to a secure location after they received death threats relating to their work on global warming.
As an intense debate over how to tackle climate change in the country becomes increasingly vicious, a team of high-profile researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra has been given increased security protection after a campaign of menacing and abusive emails and phone calls intensified in recent weeks.
The threats, which included sexual assault, sexual attacks on family members and public smear campaigns, were so serious and so explicit that the Australian Federal Police have been called in to investigate. (source)
That last bit is factually incorrect, since an email to the AFP media centre yesterday revealed that “no complaint had been received.” I guess that’s just the Chinese whispers of the media at work. Of course, the AFP and ACT police wouldn’t be interested in any of the stuff released above.
Obviously, such emails are wholly unacceptable from both sides, but the warmists haven’t exactly got clean hands. Let’s just remind ourselves of some of the hate and vitriol that anyone who dares question the consensus has been subjected to for years.
- Just on Saturday, Richard Glover in the Sydney Morning Herald wrote that climate change “deniers” should be “forcibly tattooed on their heads”.
- In 2009, a commenter wrote “At what point do we jail or execute global warming deniers?”
- James Hansen in 2008 called for trials of climate sceptics for “high crimes against humanity”
- Robert F Kennedy said sceptics should be “treated as traitors”
- Go here for a longer list
Arguably, these statement, whilst not containing the swear words and abuse, are far more concerning than anything in the ANU emails so far released. They are calls to treat an entire class of person, namely anyone who questions the alarmist consensus, as a criminal or traitor, and that class of person should therefore suffer the same punishments and restrictions on liberty as their genuine counterparts.
Obviously, if further evidence is forthcoming of genuine death threats, then such criminal action should, indeed must, be investigated, and if the perpetrators found guilty, punished with the full force of the law. But as it stands… hit delete.