Monday, May 26, 2014


University of Queensland (UoQ) stumbles into self-inflicted ethical dilemma by issuing legal threats to block scrutiny of a celebrated but now discredited global warming study. The infamous  "97 percent  consensus" paper created by cartoonist and self-styled climate expert, John Cook,  on behalf of UoQ has been shown to be fraudulent after independent analysis.

An open letter addressed to the university from lawyer, Rud Istvan JD, on behalf of the public interest details how it betrayed its own openness policy in what appears to be a self-serving ploy to avert exposure and ridicule. Istvan’s letter to UoQ in full below:

Prof. Alistair McEwan, Acting-Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Queensland

Ms. Jane Malloch, Esq. Head Research Legal, University of Queensland

Mr. Graham Lloyd, Environmental Editor, The Australian

Prof. Richard Tol,  University of Sussex


Prof. McEwan:

On May 20, 2014, you issued a formal statement concerning the controversy published byThe Australian on 5/17/14 surrounding Cook et. al, 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024, ‘Quantifying the Consensus’, hereinafter QtC. That statement presents the University of Queensland (UQ) with an ethical and legal dilemma. I call your attention to it expecting UQ will do the right thing.

Your statement makes it quite clear that UQ considers QtC was done under the sponsorship of and with support from UQ. This is indisputable. The solicitation for volunteer raters for the analysis that became QtC was: UQ released a statement about the importance of QtC in the UQ News on January 16, 2014 headlined, “UQ climate change paper has the whole world talking.”

Your 5/20/14 statement said in part:

“Only information that might be used to identify the individual research participants was withheld. This was in accordance with University ethical approval specifying that the identity of participants should remain confidential.”

And that is precisely your dilemma.

The published paper itself identified all the individual research participants (raters). They were either named authors (with affiliations provided, for example second author Dana Nuccitelli affiliated with UQ associated website SKS, as noted in UQ’s 1/20/14 news release, or were specifically named without affiliation in the paper’s acknowledgement. Lest you doubt this, following is that portion of the paper as originally published.

Your dilemma is this. If the UQ ethical approval exists as you officially stated, then the paper as published grossly violated it. QtC is therefore unethical according to UQ policy, and should be withdrawn forthwith.

We need not cite here all the governing Australian principles that UQ is obligated to follow under such unfortunate circumstances. Those include but are not limited to

There is 2014 retraction precedent concerning another unethical climate related paper from the University of Western Australia. If, on the other hand, there was no such ethical approval, or that approval did not require concealing rater identities, then you have officially misrepresented grossly invalid grounds for withholding the anonymized additional information needed for replication, such as date and time stamped ratings by anonymous rater. Said information has repeatedly, formally been requested by Prof. Richard S.J. Tol (Sussex University (U.K.), and an IPCC AR5 lead author) for his legitimate research purposes concerning what UQ said is a seminal paper. That data should still exist, and should be provided to Prof. Tol under UQ Policy 4.20.06a §8.2 and §9.1 (as last approved 11/28/13).

Either way, you and UQ both appear in a very bad light. It appears that UQ congratulates itself on gross ethical breaches (especially when basking in so much notoriety), while at the same time withholding anonymized primary data underlying a self admitted important research paper in contravention of UQ written research data policy. Either retract the admittedly unethical paper, or retract the grossly mistaken excuse and release the requested data to Tol.

I note in passing there is a third possibility, to wit Tol’s requested data does not exist. In which case, QtC should be retracted for being unsupportable if not also unethical. As you are probably aware, there have been many recent instances of unsupportable research subsequently retracted. These include but are not limited to papers from Ike Antkare in 2010, and many recent papers from the SCIgen group (which interestingly bears surficial similarities to SKS) now being retracted by Springer and by IEEE. Those two precedents may be particularly germane to UQ’s instant dilemma.

This letter is as copyrighted as those Ms. Malloch writes concerning this matter on UQ behalf. You and anyone else in the whole wide world are hereby granted permission to freely reproduce it in whole or in part. I suspect some may.

I look forward to whichever decision (retraction or data provision) you think best for UQ under the aforesaid circumstances.

Sincerely yours, s/s

Rud Istvan, Esq., JD/MBA


Russia's gas king laughs at Europe's "sustainable" energy sources

Europe has lost the global scramble for reliable energy supplies and faces a long-term queeze as Siberian gas is diverted to the fast-growing markets of Asia, Russia's gas chief has warned in scathing comments aimed at EU political leaders.

Alexey Miller, chairman of the state giant Gazprom, said Russia's $400bn deal this week to supply gas to China for 30 years is a black moment for Europe and will change the geo-strategic balance in the world. "The global competition for Russian gas resources started yesterday. Let there be no mistake about that. We have untapped the Asian market and this is going to have an impact on European gas prices," he said.

Mr Miller said the 38bn cubic metres (BCM) contract from 2018 is larger than the entire volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) sold in the world. "You don't find that sort of contract on the side of the road in Europe," he told the St Petersburg Economic Forum.

Relishing his theme, he said China's gas demand is growing exponentially and would surge past Europe's total consumption to reach 400 BCM in "the very near future" as the Politburo tries to wean its polluted mega-cities off coal-powered plants. A large proportion of this will come from the vast Siberian fields, crowding out supplies for buyers in Europe deemed "less reliable".

Describing Europe's energy shortage as "scary", he ridiculed the EU's push for wind and solar power as a shambles, and said its LNG venture had gone nowhere with capacity use collapsing to 22pc. "Europe has lost the competition global for LNG, and in a single day it has just lost the competition for the world's pipeline gas as well," he said.

The comments reflect the fury in Russia over a string of hostile measures by Brussels following the Ukraine crisis, including a de facto freeze on the South Stream gas pipeline through the Black Sea and plans being developed by a team at the European Commission to slash reliance on Russian gas as quickly as possible.

The China prize has given Russia a dramatic means of fighting back, though it is far from clear what the Memorandum of Understanding between the two sides actually means. Most analysts say it is highly unlikely that China would wish to become too dependent on Russian supplies after witnessing the skirmishes in Europe.


Medical body not interested in the scientific facts when it comes to wind turbine noise

Australian Medical Association rebuked by leading acoustics expert, Dr Bruce Rapley, for their latest “cherry-picked” assessment of the dangers of noise emissions from wind farms.

In a comprehensive and worrying letter of rebuttal Dr Rapley accuses AMA of turning a deaf ear on the best science on the biological reception of low-frequency sound. Principia Scientific International herein publishes Dr Rapley’s letter to demonstrate how AMA is lying by omission to the general public about the health impacts of wind turbines.

28 March 2014

Dr Steve Hambleton, President,

Prof. Geoffrey Dobb, Vice-President,

Australian Medical Association,

P.O.  Box 6090,

KINGSTON, A.C.T.  2604

Dear Dr Hambleton, Professor Dobb and AMA members,

I recently became aware of your position statement on wind farms and health dated 14 March, 2014.

I have to say that this public statement has given me great concern with respect to a number of points which I will outline for you.

Your opening statement:

“Wind turbine technology is considered a comparatively inexpensive and effective means of energy production. ”

This raises a number of issues that I feel are inappropriate for a medical organisation to comment on.  Firstly, line one is a statement regarding the economics of wind turbines which has no place in a statement regarding potential health effects.  It is not within your organisation’s professional competence to comment on economic matters and to do so raises questions regarding your credibility and apparent bias.  How would your organisation feel about the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) making statements about medical practice?

Secondly, your position statement then passes comment on acoustic immissions:

“Wind turbines generate sound, including infrasound, which is very low frequency noise that is generally inaudible to the human ear.”

To the best of my knowledge, medical practitioners are not generally known for their skill or expertise in acoustics, other than that directly associated with audiometry.  To pass comment on areas beyond your knowledge is dangerous and leaves you wide open to serious challenge.  Purporting to be experts in areas outside of medicine does not serve your credibility well.

The statement goes on to comment on infrasound, comparing immissions from different sources, yet lacking any sort of scientific credibility because of the significant lack of detailed evidence.  Rather, the statements are reckless generalisations that provide no basis for comparison, let alone comprehension, other than in the broadest sense.

“Infrasound is ubiquitous in the environment, emanating from natural sources (e.g.  wind, rivers) and from artificial sources including road traffic, ventilation systems, aircraft and other machinery.”

Such broad comparisons do not enhance scientific debate and offer little enlightenment to the uninformed, rather, they are more likely to mislead due to their lack of specificity.  It is a well-established fact that low frequency and infrasound immissions from industrial wind turbines differ significantly in a number of critical ways, compared to natural sources like wind and water.  Further,  man-made sources such as road traffic all differ significantly from natural sources of infrasound.  The most significant difference relates to the amplitude modulation of the signal due to blade pass frequency.  This phenomenon is not apparent in natural or many other man-made sources: your comparison is without scientific foundation.

Next you appear to have become experts in engineering:

 “All modern wind turbines in Australia are designed to be upwind, with the blade in front of the tower.  These upwind turbines generate much lower levels of infrasound and low frequency sound.”

The first statement is factual.  The second statement leaves out an important fact; when turbulent air is fed into the ‘modern’ upwind-bladed industrial turbines, they can generate significant quantities of infrasound and low-frequency noise.  This was established in 1989 in Hawaii by NASA researchers Hubbard and Shepherd.  Turbulence resulting from wind turbines being installed too close together, without complying with the international standard for turbine separation distances, is thought to be contributing to the infrasound and low-frequency noise problems at number of Australian wind development sites. Based on the evidence, it would not be unreasonable for the general public to assume that wind developers and turbine manufacturers are more concerned with maximising profit and income from renewable energy certificates (RECS) than from achieving engineering efficiency and safeguarding public health.

While the profit motive is an integral part of normal, accepted business practice, profiteering at the expense of public health is unacceptable.  When profit overrides public health and well being of the general public, in the face of clear scientific/medical evidence, the practice is doubly damnable and ethically indefensible.  To quote the obvious:  “The devil is in the detail”.  The fact that upwind industrial turbines create sounds that affect animals and humans is abundantly obvious and to compare this version of industrial wind turbine to older technology is of no benefit to those who suffer from the acoustic immissions from the current machines.

Your second paragraph alludes to such ‘devils’.  While you state that:

“Infrasound levels in the vicinity of wind farms have been measured and compared to a number of urban and rural environments away from wind farms.  The results of these measurements have shown that in rural residences both near to and far away from wind turbines, both indoor and outdoor infrasound levels are well below the perception threshold, and no greater than that experienced in other rural and urban environments.”

the reality is that these statements misrepresent the facts.  In essence, what you have done is to ‘cherry-pick’ the data.  Further,  your statement leads the reader to believe that as long as sound levels are below conscious, and perhaps audible perception, there is no problem.  This could not be further from the truth.

A significant problem with the determination of environmental noise relates to the inappropriate use of the A-weighting, still so commonly applied.  As it significantly underestimates frequencies below 1,000 Hz and above 3,500 Hz this negates its usefulness in measuring low frequency and infrasound.  The point should be obvious.  Unfortunately regulation so often lags behind scientific knowledge.

Medicine, while based on a good deal of science, remains, as practiced, an ART.  The reason for this is that the practice of medicine involves human beings.  Human beings are not simply a collection of chemicals, cells and tissues, randomly existing in the biosphere.  Rather they are sentient beings that are subject to multiple stimulatory mechanisms.  This is one instance where a holistic viewpoint is nearer the truth than the traditional reductionist viewpoint.  The consequence of this view needs further elaboration which you have chosen to omit . . .

The scientific method is something which is much talked about, but little understood, even by some scientists!  The fact of the matter is that science begins with observation.  This observation then gives rise to a question: how is that so?  What caused that? How does that work?  How did that happen?

The question, which usually has some practical relevance, leads to the creation of a ‘model’ of the ‘how’.  That model is referred to as the hypothesis.  And of course a hypothesis leads to the development of a testing methodology to see if it can be used to explain the facts.  The testing usually takes place in a controlled environment where the idea (hypothesis) is put to test by way of practical experiments.  With good design, these should attempt to limit the number of variables (things that can be manipulated/changed) and keep all other factors the same.  In an ideal world, a control situation could be used to compare the test circumstances to the ‘normal’ condition.

A perfect example is a drug trial.  Subjects would be randomly assigned (so as not to bias the results) to one of two groups.  One group would receive the ‘test substance’ while the other, the control group, would receive a placebo.  That is, they would receive a substance (for example a pill) but it would be inactive, that is, lacking the chemical species under test.  The strength of the findings is further enhanced if the experimenter and the subjects are both blinded as to who got the real drug.  That is the basis of the modern scientific method.

Another perfectly legitimate and accepted method of study for obtaining comparative data is that of the case crossover design, where people act as their own controls.  This design is used to demonstrate a causal relationship in situations like allergic reactions to some foods and particular drugs, for example.  People living with industrial wind turbines are conducting this experiment all the time.  They go away, and notice their symptoms ameliorate.  They come back home, and under certain predictable wind and weather conditions, their symptoms recur.  This is a clear demonstration, using the scientific method, of a direct and causal relationship between exposure and response.  This is why some doctors are advising their patients to move away.  It is clear that the exposure to wind turbine noise is damaging their patient’s health, and there is nothing else they can suggest.

A common mistake, when selecting scientific data, relates to a process of choosing what to include.  When selection bias exists in data selection, this is colloquially known as ‘cherry-picking’.  When this occurs, it necessarily introduces a bias that affects the results.  This is apparent from your statement above relating to human perception of sound.  If you scan the literature more widely, then a plethora of papers appear which contradict the basis of your argument.  To only present one side of the argument is to short-change the readers and the general public. It also facilitates the generation of false impressions.

To return to the scientific method for a moment: when an observation has been made; a question arisen;  a hypothesis created; a series of experiments formulated to test the hypothesis and ultimately the results analysed, there are two relevant tests that need to be applied.  First, the results have to either support or reject the hypothesis.  That means that the hypothesis needs to be able to be falsified and results obtained which are relevant to support or rejection the hypothesis’s claim.  Variables need to be measurable.

The second test, and equally important, is that the consequences of the results, i.e.  acceptance or rejection of the hypothesis, have to be consistent with what is already known.  To take an example: If the results of an experiment lead to the conclusion that the ‘conservation of momentum’ did not always occur, then there would be a great deal of concern.  Physicists are most unlikely to let go of such a well-supported observation as the conservation of momentum.  So, the new findings of an experiment have to fit with our existing reality.

In order to fit with our current reality, or paradigm, there needs to be both internal (within the experiment) and external (in relation to what is already generally known and accepted) consistency to be valid.  This is not to say that one day we might not reject the generally accepted view of the conservation of momentum, only that there would need to be extraordinary evidence to cause us to reach that conclusion.

What assists us with comprehending new knowledge and integrating it into our existing understanding of how the universe works is the existence of a mechanism.  That is, a way in which we can explain the circumstances we discover through our experiment within the current bounds of knowledge.  For your stance to be accepted, there would need to be not only no evidence to the contrary, but also the lack of any understandable mechanism of action.  Neither are in fact the case.

Many scientific papers expound the observation that stimuli below conscious perception do, in a number of instances, result in physiological response.  This is the case for the effects of low frequency and infrasound, and was noted by Kelley 1987, Chen, Qibai & Shi 2004, Swinbanks 2012, and Schomer 2013  in addition to the work of Professor Salt, a leading neurophysiologist working in this area.   Further, there are many plausible mechanisms to explain how sub-conscious perception threshold stimuli may interact with living organisms.  The old notion that perception is the threshold above which biological effects occur is not only out-dated, it is a non-sequitur.  Take x-rays for example, they are not readily consciously perceivable yet can be quite harmful.  Light is in a similar category.  Sound is another physical phenomenon that does not need conscious perception to be received by an organism or for that organism to react.

The work of Professor Alec Salt has done much in recent years to elucidate theory on the biological reception of low-frequency sound, complimenting this with extensive laboratory experimentation.  To ignore this work is a travesty and is tantamount to lying by omission to the general public.  It is another example of cherry-picking the data that effectively distorts the final impression.  To add to this work, the research of Dr. Carey Balaban has done much to throw light on the neuronal mechanism of sound reception by the human body.  We now have theory, experimental evidence and empirical observation, all pointing in the same direction.  To blithely ignore such a body of science and come up with a generalisation of ‘no harm’ is not only lying to the general public but supports a point of view that is largely sympathetic to the commercial, industrial profit motive.  This commercial bias has no place in medicine or public health.

The most recent article to come out of  Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, from Professors Salt and Lichtenbaum is worthy of mention here.  Their landmark paper appears in Acoustics Today,  Volume 10, Issue 1,  pp 20-28, Winter 2014.  In their paper: How does wind turbine noise affect people?, they succinctly describe the results of their recent work on the effects of low frequency and infrasound on the cochlea mechanism.  It appears that the roles of the inner and outer hair cells differ in many significant ways.  In particular, the outer hair cells account for only 5 % of the afferent nerve fibres in the acoustic nerve and are of  Type II in comparison to the inner hair cells which equate to 95% of the acoustic nerves and are of Type I.  Further, the inner hair cells, which are largely responsible for the faculty of hearing in the accepted frequency spectrum of 20 to 20,000 Hz, do not touch the tectorial membrane.  They operate by way of transducing movements in the fluid below the membrane into nerve impulses.  The outer hair cells, by contrast, are directly connected to the tectorial membrane and are far more responsive to low frequency and infrasound.

The point that Salt and Lichtenbaum are making is that the energy that enters the ear canal as low frequency and infrasound is readily translated into neural impulses which reach the brain, albeit they may not be consciously interpreted as sound, but they still reach the cognitive engine.   Another critical point concerns their findings that biologically generated amplitude modulated signals occur in the pulse trains of nerve impulses from the inner hair cells as a result of stimulation from a 500 Hz tone summed with 4.8 Hz. (Their Figure 2.)

Their work is a clear demonstration of a biologically-generated modulation to a non-modulated stimulus.  The cochlear microphonic response is generated by the outer hair cells,responding to both the high and low frequency components.  This occurs either by saturation of the mechano-electric transducer or by cyclically changing the mechanical amplification of the high frequencies. Being insensitive to the lower frequencies, the inner hair cells detect only the high frequency component, which is amplitude modulated at twice the infrasound frequency, in their example.  Thus, the inner hair cells essentially ‘see’ the effect of a high-pass filtered version of what the outer hair cells perceive. This is the most clear demonstration of the effect of infrasound on the cochlea.  The biophysics of the ear creates an amplitude-modulated signal from a non-amplitude modulated source of two pure tones.  This is a neurophysiological explanation of the effect reported by subjects who complain of adverse effects from living too close to industrial wind turbine installations.  To ignore such clear evidence is to deny the very substance of the scientific method in favour of a biased commercial approach to public health.

The deliberate exclusion of empirical data, failure to acknowledge existing scientific knowledge and theory is to effectively lie by omission.  Such distortion of reality is to degrade science, medicine and discredit the practitioners of those disciplines.  I take exception to such biased reporting and the distribution of such misinformation.  It is to degrade my profession as a scientist, researcher and consultant.

I urge you and your colleagues to rethink your position with all due speed.  Simply put: do not comment on areas beyond your own boundaries of knowledge.  Do not tell half-truths, present commercially biased information in the name of health care and stop lying directly and by omission to your patients and the public at large.  This matter needs to be urgently addressed to minimise the fallout and retain the respectability that the practice of medicine deserves and the good name of your organisation.

Sincerely yours,

Bruce Rapley BSc, MPhil, PhD.

Principal Consultant,  Acoustics and Human Health,

Atkinson & Rapley Consulting Ltd.


Woods Hole:  Principles for sale

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is playing a leading role in raising the climate alarm — and scientific understanding — of the perils of climate change. Now it is helping oil and gas companies identify new sources of fossil fuels and signing agreements with Saudi Aramco to study the potential for “hydrocarbons” in the Red Sea.

Its famed research vessels and scientists are arrayed across the globe, installing weather instruments off the Cape, tracking water currents in the Labrador Sea, monitoring monsoons in India, and measuring melting ice in Antarctica.

In these and other ways, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is playing a leading role in raising the alarm — and scientific understanding — of the perils of climate change.

But now the nonprofit institution, facing a severe budget crunch as federal research funding is slashed, has a very different sort of venture in the offing: helping oil and gas companies identify new sources of the very fossil fuels believed to be damaging the environment.

The potential that Woods Hole’s world-renowned expertise in deep water exploration could become a new tool for oil firms — through its newly established Center for Marine Robotics — is troubling to some environmental groups and others who worry the institution’s scientists could be co-opted by private interests if they are forced to rely too heavily on their support for research.

“It is a real problem,” said Walter H. Munk, a professor of oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., which is part of the University of California, San Diego. His university has received money from corporate sponsors. “You have to be quite sure you are getting the money in circumstances that don’t limit your [scientific] freedom,” Munk said.

In the coming days, according to officials at Woods Hole, the institution is set to sign agreements with Saudi Aramco, the primary oil company owned by the Saudi government, to study the potential for “hydrocarbons” in the Red Sea. It is also preparing to ink a deal for a “simulation study” on behalf of the Italian oil company Eni, while it has half a dozen other proposals in the works with unnamed corporations, the officials said.

Yet earlier this month, Woods Hole coauthored the Obama administration’s National Climate Assessment, which partly blamed hydrocarbons for causing climate change and damaging oceans.

“In addition to causing changes in climate, increasing levels of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities have a direct affect on the world’s oceans,” the report found, particularly an increase in levels of acidity, which it said are a threat to marine life.


At Last: EU To Speed Up Shale Development In Response To Ukraine Crisis

Draft European Commission briefing note shows jitters over dependence on Russian gas

The European Union aims decisively to shift away from dependence on Russian gas imports, following previous failed attempts, according to a draft European Commission document on energy security.

The Ukraine crisis has deepened European jitters over gas imports, where Russia is its single biggest supplier.

The European Commission note mentioned the word “solidarity” seven times, in a draft note whose final version would be published in June, titled “European Energy Security Strategy –  Comprehensive plan for the reduction of EU energy dependence.”

“The EU and its Member States have an overriding priority: ensure that best possible preparation and planning improve resilience to sudden disruptions in energy supplies, that strategic infrastructures are protected and that the most vulnerable Member States are collectively supported,” it said.

The EU relies on imports for 70% of its gas consumption. Six member states depended on Russia as their single external supplier for their entire gas imports, the Commission said.

It called for increased gas storage in the short-term, to prepare for possible disruption in the coming winter to Russian gas transiting through Ukraine, and the development of reverse flows through gas pipelines to allow a more flexible routing of gas to where it was most needed.

It also underlined the need for a diversification of gas supplies. That included exploitation of domestic shale gas, and imports from alternative suppliers, with more imports of liquefied natural gas, for example from Qatar and in future the United States.

“Producing oil and gas from unconventional sources in Europe, and especially shale gas, could partially compensate for declining conventional production, providing issues of public acceptance and environmental impact are adequately addressed.”

It also emphasised a greater role for energy efficiency, especially in buildings and industry.

It said that the Commission would prepare efficiency goals for 2030, in a sign that it would propose a concrete EU energy saving target as already agreed for 2020.

“Energy demand in the building sector, responsible for about 40% of energy consumption in the EU and a third of natural gas use9 could be cut by up to three quarters if the renovation of buildings is speeded up.”

Shifting energy politics were visible also on the Russian side, as it signed on Wednesday a major gas supply contract with China, reducing its dependence on sales to Europe.


The Commission saw closer ties between EU member states as the critical factor for improving energy security.

It showed impatience with resistance from Russian gas supplier, Gazprom, to EU competition legislation which limits ownership of both energy and transmission assets. Gazprom sees such rules as a threat to its new proposed gas pipeline through southern Europe.

“The recent experience of certain non-EU operators challenging the application of EU legislation on EU territory might call for a stricter approach and a reinforcement of the applicable (competition) rules at EU and Member states level,” the Commission said.

“Antitrust and merger control rules must continue to be vigorously enforced since they ensure that the EU security of supply and industry bargaining position is not weakened through anticompetitive behaviour from and/or excessive consolidation or vertical integration of non-EU energy companies.”

The Commission detailed a long list of “key actions”, and said that the bloc had done too little to improve its security since previous disruptions of Russian gas, in 2006 and 2009, following gas price disputes between Russia and Ukraine.

“The EU needs, therefore, a hard-headed strategy for energy security which promotes resilience to these shocks and disruptions to energy supplies.”


Australia: Lying Greenie faces jail

And his fellow Greenies don't like that prospect at all.  They think they should be able to do anything without penalty

The campaigner behind an ANZ-Whitehaven Coal hoax email has pleaded guilty to disseminating false information. Jonathan Moylan, 26, of Newcastle was accused of sending out a fake ANZ press release claiming the bank was withdrawing from a $1.2 billion loan facility to Whitehaven's open-cut coalmine in Maules Creek, New South Wales, for ethical reasons.

The hoax email temporarily wiped more than $314 million off the value of Whitehaven's sharemarket value and was reported by a number of news organisations.

Mr Moylan, who had originally pleaded not guilty, appeared at a directions hearing in the New South Wales Supreme Court on Friday and pleaded guilty to charges relating to disseminating false information that was likely to induce a person to "dispose of financial products", the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said.

He was released on unconditional bail and will return to the NSW Supreme Court for sentencing on July 11.

Mr Moylan faces up to ten years in jail and a fine of $765,000 under the breaches of the Corporations Act.

He first appeared in court in July last year but was not required to enter a plea. At a later hearing in November, he entered a not guilty plea.

The hoax email was sent to media outlets in January last year.

The Maules Creek mine has been the subject of legal action by conservation group the Northern Inland Council for the Environment. The group claimed in court the former environment minister Tony Burke breached the law by hastily granting the project conditional approval.

The Federal Court rejected the claims and Whitehaven begun construction on the mine, in the Gunnedah Basin near Tamworth in northern NSW, in December.

Nicola Paris, the coordinator of Mr Moylan's support campaign, We Stand with Jonathan Moylan, said Mr Moylan would not be commenting until after submissions were made to the Supreme Court on July 11.

The Lock The Gate Alliance said last year that it was "extraordinary" Mr Moylan was facing jail.

"We are asking ASIC to reconsider their decision and withdraw the prosecution - the penalty is clearly disproportionate to the offence and Mr Moylan has apologised to anyone affected by his actions," Alliance president Drew Hutton said at the time.



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