Following a comment in the latest SIE update comment section, I draw attention to this article on the Guardian website:
Arctic scientist who exposed climate threat to polar bear is suspended
US government conducts 'integrity inquiry' on federal biologist amid lobbying by oil firms for Arctic permits
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
But now the government scientist who first warned of the threat to polar bears in a warming Arctic has been suspended and his work put under official investigation for possible scientific misconduct.
Read the rest of the article here.
I have to admit that I'm not really up-to-date when it comes to polar bear research, so I can't judge the accusation of scientific misconduct. Of course, the potential extinction of polar bears has been used by environmental organisations to keep the Arctic the pristine place that it is. And rightly so, in my opinion. I believe some organisations are a bit too eager to plunder the Arctic's mineral riches. But would they go as far as eliminating scientists in this way? I guess so, and I guess Barack 'Yes, we can' Obama is proving again he's nothing more than a puppet.
But first I'd like to know if there is any truth to these scientific misconduct charges. Does anyone here have a better overview of polar bear research?
UPDATE: In the Guardian article mention is made of a complaint filed by a group called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility:
The group filed an official complaint on Monnett's behalf on Thursday, accusing the government of persecuting the (PDF) scientist and interfering with his work. It seeks his reinstatement and a public apology.
I had read past it, but after having received an e-mail with the PDF attached, I've looked into it some more. Here's the summary of the complaint:
Several recent actions taken against Dr. Monnett violate the Department of Interior (DOI) policy on Integrity of Scientific and Scholarly Activities (Part 305; Chapter 3 DOI Manual), specifically:
a) Dr. Monnett’s significant scientific activities have been completely disrupted, in violation of the policy against “outside interference” with scientific work (§ 3.5 L). He has been forbidden from conducting any scientific work, contacting colleagues or entering BOEM premises under threat of disciplinary action. (See Attachment I) This open-ended professional banishment not only prevents Dr. Monnett from doing work but substantially interferes with a number of on-going research projects.
b) Dr. Monnett has been subjected to “a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant scientific and scholarly community” (§ 3.5 M), in that –
i. He has been placed on administrative leave and suspended from his Contracting Officer’s Representative duties due to “an on-going inquiry” from the Interior Department of Inspector General (IG) yet Dr. Monnett has not been informed of any specific charge or question relating to the scientific integrity of his work (see Attachment II);
ii. The IG is apparently reviewing a 2006 note authored by Dr. Monnett and a colleague and published in 2006 in the peer-reviewed journal Polar Biology (Attachment III). This note had undergone informal internal peer review, formal management review by the then Minerals Management Service (MMS) chain-of-command and outside peer review coordinated by the editors of Polar Biology. The aforementioned IG investigation, however, is being conducted by criminal investigators who have no scientific training, background or understanding of the scientific issues they are investigating; and
iii. In the course of this investigation, IG agents seized Dr. Monnett’s computer hard-drive, notes, papers and equipment. Although his hard drive was returned within a few weeks, despite repeated requests, IG agents did not return his other materials, further hindering his work.
In short, despite newly minted policies to protect scientific integrity and DOI scientists from political interference, DOI officials have actively persecuted Dr. Monnett, acted on hearsay and rumors, gratuitously tarnished his reputation and substantially disrupted important scientific research.
I advise reading the rest of the PDF. There's a time-line that describes how Charles Monnett came to write his article Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming by polar bears in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea (PDF) to the well regarded peer review journal Polar Biology in April 2005, and how 6 years later (starting February this year) the Office of Inspector General ordered an interview with Dr. Monnett. By criminal investigators. There's a transcript of that interview in the PDF.
If all of it is true, this is pretty hefty. It looks like Ken Cuccinelli's wet dream.