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 *Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.*  A Einstein
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On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 6:41 AM, Jonathan Latham <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Remarkable.
> Jonathan
> USDA JUSTIFIES SCIENTIFIC SUPPRESSION AS ITS POLICY
>
> Confidential Agency Panel Approves Censorship and Media Gag Orders
>
> Posted on Feb 29, 2016 | Tags: Scientific Integrity
> <http://www.peer.org/news/tags.html?news-tags=scientific-integrity>, USDA
> <http://www.peer.org/news/tags.html?news-tags=usda>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Washington, DC — Under its policy purporting to protect scientific
> integrity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is entitled to do just the
> opposite, according to confidential findings by an internal agency panel
> released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
> The panel rejected a complaint by one of its top entomologists that USDA
> purged controversial findings, blocked publication of research papers with
> policy implications, and forbade scientists from being interviewed by
> reporters.
>
> These conclusions come from a report by a five-member “Scientific
> Integrity Review Panel” convened to review the dismissal of a complaint
> filed by Dr. Jonathan Lundgren, a Senior Research Entomologist and Lab
> Supervisor for the USDA Agriculture Research Service based in South Dakota
> who has published research about adverse effects on monarch butterflies
> from widely-used neonicotinoid insecticides (or “neonics”). The panel
> agreed that Dr. Lundgren’s complaint should not be pursued because –
>
>    - The panel was told that charges of “reprisal” and retaliatory
>    investigations were outside the scope of its review;
>    - The panel found that USDA is entitled to prohibit scientists from
>    speaking with reporters or even answering questions at conferences about
>    the significance or ramifications of published studies; and
>    - USDA’s Scientific Integrity Policy explicitly authorizes it to block
>    publication of research containing “statements that could be construed as
>    being judgments of or recommendations on USDA or any other federal
>    government policy.”
>
> “This review confirms that what occurs inside USDA does not resemble what
> anyone else would consider ‘scientific integrity,’” stated Jeff Ruch,
> Executive Director of PEER which is suing USDA for its refusal to even
> consider a rulemaking petition seeking to strengthen the agency’s
> Scientific Integrity Policy. “Inside USDA, politics determines what
> scientific work will see the light of day.”
>
> On February 12th, USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong announced that her
> office had opened an investigation into a “significant volume” of
> complaints by agency scientists about censorship and interference with
> research on subjects that USDA upper management deemed sensitive.
>
> The review panel report on the Lundgren complaint arises out of the first
> appeal of any USDA scientific integrity complaint. Dr. Lundgren filed his
> formal scientific integrity complaint in September of 2014. One month
> later, it was rejected as not even meriting an investigation. Dr. Lundgren
> immediately appealed but since USDA had never received an appeal on a
> scientific integrity complaint decision, the agency took an entire year to
> determine how to handle it. Yet under the guidelines finally developed –
>
>    - The panel does not investigate the complaint but instead simply
>    reviews materials provided by agency management. In this case, no panel
>    member even attempted to speak with Dr. Lundgren or any of the witnesses he
>    identified;
>    - There is no process for remedying any alleged scientific misconduct
>    if it is ever confirmed; and
>    - The panel findings are confidential and USDA will not release them
>    under the Freedom of Information Act by maintaining that even final reports
>    are “deliberative.”
>
> “How will public confidence in the integrity of USDA science be enhanced
> when all of the reviews are kept secret?” asked Ruch, noting that a stated
> objective of the policy is to “ensure public confidence.” “Given how this
> complaint was handled, no wonder scientific integrity lapses inside USDA
> are never resolved and simply fester. Something now unmistakably clear is
> that no scientist in their right mind should report political manipulation
> of science inside USDA.”
>
>
> ###
>
> Read the Scientific Integrity Review Panel report and approvals
> <http://www.peer.org/assets/docs/usda/2_29_16_SIRP_report.pdf>
>
> See ruling that reprisal is outside the scope of USDA Scientific Integrity
> Policy
> <http://www.peer.org/assets/docs/usda/2_29_16_Ruling_Reprisal_Outside_Scope.pdf>
>
> Examine USDA scientific integrity appeal guidelines
> <http://www.peer.org/assets/docs/usda/2_29_16_Appeal_Guidelines.pdf>
>
> View transmittal letter to Dr. Lundgren asking him to keep it confidential
> <http://www.peer.org/assets/docs/usda/2_29_16_Lundgren_transmittal_ltr.pdf>
>
> Look at Dr. Lundgren’s scientific integrity and whistleblower complaints
> <http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/usda-scientist-punished-for-pollinator-research.html>
>
> Revisit USDA refusal to consider strengthening its scientific integrity
> policy
> <http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/usda-sued-to-end-scientific-censorship.html>
> Jonathan Latham, PhD
> Executive Director
> The Bioscience Resource Project
> Ithaca, NY 14850 USA
>
> www.independentsciencenews.org
> and
> www.bioscienceresource.org
>
> [log in to unmask]
> Skype: jonathanlatham2
> Tel: 1-607-319-0279
>
> “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits
> and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic
> society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society
> constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of
> our country.”—Edward Bernays, Propaganda
>
>