ANU's Will Steffen speaks on "death threat" emails

FOI request

UPDATE 3: Anthony at Watts Up? posts on this again (many thanks!):

Quote of the week – Death by Coochey coup

UPDATE 2: Will Steffen speaks again on ABC’s The World Today (link):

“Well I think that newspaper headline you’ve got there in front of me called ‘Climate of Fear’ could actually be turned around to describe what happens in some cases to climate scientists and our staff. 

But there’ve also been direct aggressive and threatening events, physically threatening events to some of my staff. But there were a couple of incidents there which my staff interpreted as being threatening and I think they had very good reason to do so. 

I took a whole range of pieces of evidence – email, non-email and so on – to our security people at ANU (Australian National University) who are experts in the field and asked their advice. And their advice obviously taking a rather conservative position to ensure our safety, which is appropriate, that we move to much more secure quarters, which we have.”

“A rather conservative position”… Note how the ABC is once again cozying up to the alarmists and showing not a hint of critical questioning of anything Steffen says. 

UPDATE: Alan Jones’ comment this morning is again on the death threat emails. Listen here.

They don’t learn do they? ANU’s Professor Will Steffen, the Gillard government’s alarmist in chief, was given a free kick to plug the Climate Commission’s latest doom and gloom report (video here). I’m not even going to bother going into it, because, well, life’s too short. What was more interesting was the response of Steffen to a very gentle question by the interviewer about the “death threat” emails:

Interviewer: Have you ever received a threatening email? Have you received a death threat in your work in the climate change area?

Steffen: It’s certainly a matter of perception there – I believe I have in terms of some very threatening actions to staff and to myself personally. They weren’t via email though and they weren’t during the period under question, so we certainly took the action we thought was appropriate. My number one concern was the safety and wellbeing of my staff and it wasn’t an isolated incident it was a number of incidents that were coupled with very threatening emails. I took all of this to experts on security, I’m not an expert on security, so I had to go to our own people to interpret what was going on. Their expert judgment was we needed to take some measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of my staff and that was my number one priority.

Interviewer: You certainly got the impression you and your staff were under direct threat?

Steffen: I certainly got the impression I was and my staff were the recipients of some fairly aggressive actions in person.

So the threats were suddenly not by email, and they weren’t during the period in question, i.e six months before the story broke. So what did the ABC write again?

Several of Australia’s top climate change scientists at the Australian National University have been subjected to a campaign of death threats, forcing the university to tighten security.

Several of the scientists in Canberra have been moved to a more secure location after receiving the threats over their research.

Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young says the scientists have received large numbers of emails, including death threats and abusive phone calls, threatening to attack the academics in the street if they continue their research.

He says it has been happening for the past six months and the situation has worsened significantly in recent weeks.

So according to the ABC, there were plenty of threats by email, and within the six months prior to the story, completely contradicting what Steffen said on the ABC this morning. Who’s right?


  1. I certainly get the impression that Steffen has completely over-reacted. Ah, whoops.. could that be construed as a threat?

  2. The lie that grew bigger.

  3. I’ll let someone from history do a truckload of speaking for me…

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the Lier can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the Lier to use all of his or her powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the Lier.”

    Wanna know who said that?…

    • Graham Richards says:

      Most disturbing part of this is that the liar actually starts to believe that their own lies are the truth.

      This happens whether they are commentators, “experts”, politicians of the Combet, Gillard, Brown or any alarmist ilk.
      As for the NSW / Sydney west fairy tale, I believe that they are targeting a socio- economic group who are prone to panic and who believe anything coming from a politicians mouth. Poor souls!

    • Garry Nosworthy says:

      Oh Nick, you are a superior wordsmith. It’s definitely not what you say but how you say it. If he were alive today he would be proud of the warmists.

  4. Timothy says:

    Is your nose growing longer Pinocchio, or do you just have a cold from the lack of warmth around here?

  5. Blackadder says:

    Like the URL!

  6. papertiger says:
  7. Baldrick says:

    Yet still, even with so many threats of violence and abusive phone calls, necessitating the scientists be moved to more secure premises, not one single police investigation … not even a call to Crimestoppers.
    Go figure!

  8. Steffan is a great illustration of the mindset of those predisposed to alarmism. The facts are always “interpruted” in a threatening fashion, whether it is climate, crank letters or criticism. Once they have filtered information to formulate an alarmist perception ie threats, they are unable, even in hindsight, to accept that it is just their alarmist nature and imagination that leads them to a conclusion that is far different than the general public. Think of it as confirmation bias towards fear and alarm. They are only capable of expressing themselves in terms of future threat and disasterous outcome. What is really ironic is that such people often think that it is others with different perceptios than theirs that need help mentally.

  9. I thought making up false threats you can be charged with a public nuisance

  10. Garry Nosworthy says:

    I’m waiting for the Kevlar bulletproof jackets to be issued by the ANU to their high profile warmist staff.
    It’s the next logical progression for them to demonstrate their fear of us.

  11. Statements by Steffen are just ridiculous to start with… let’s see if we can see his clearly rehearsed answer…

    Interviewer: “have you EVER received death threats…”

    Steffen: “yes, but not during the PERIOD UNDER QUESTION”

    (My emphasis, obviously).

    I believe the word ‘ever’ covers a period longer than six months, Sunshine. Don’t let that get in the way of you delivering that line though.

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