The Bush administration has threatened "one of the most productive and creative scientists in the world" with "dire consequences" if he doesn't shut up about greenhouse gas emissions and his conernes about them.
The New York Times (thanks to Priscilla at Water Weaving for bringing this to my attention) reports on the attempts to muzzle Dr. James E. Hansen, longtime director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. According to the story, "officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists."
Hansen, himself, said that all the pressure has come in the form of undocumentable telephone calls.
What sparked this clampdown on him? He gave information to ABC News that scientific data clearly demonstrates that 2005 was the warmest year on record in over 100 years. Imagine that. Bush doesn't want us to hear something as important as that.
About his responsibility as a scientist, Hansen said: "Communicating with the public seems to be essential, because public concern is probably the only thing capable of overcoming the special interests that have obfuscated the topic."
Apparently, the special interests are watching Dr. Hansen very carefully. The fact is, however, they don't even have to twist arms with the Bush administration to get it to do their bidding. Those special interests have people who work right in the White House itself, and in other federal agencies, who will make all the calls necessary on behalf of their corporate clients. It's a simple premise -- those clients don't want the facts about corporate responsibility for polluting our environment known.
This kind of threat and menace toward a world renowned scientist comes easy to people who ignore the welfare of American citizens and who willingly aid and abet the polluters and exploiters of our land, air and sea.