Climate scientists in the US say police inaction has left them defenceless in the face of a torrent of death threats and hate mail, leaving them fearing for their lives and one to contemplate arming himself with a handgun.
The scientists say the threats have increased since the furore over leaked emails from the University of East Anglia began last November, and a sample of the hate mail sent in recent months and seen by the Guardian reveals the scale and vitriolic tone of the abuse.
The scientists revealed they have been told to "go gargle razor blades" and have been described as "Nazi climate murderers". Some emails have been sent to them without any attempt by the sender to disguise their identity. Even though the scientists have received advice from the FBI, the local police say they are not able to act due to the near-total tolerance of "freedom of speech" in the US.
Most of the emails spout standard ultra-right wing conspiracy theories about the UN, one world government and standard Obama = Nazi bullshit. Some are a little less cerebral than that...
Subject: YOU FUCKING FRAUD! WATCH IT ALL FALL APART YOU CUNT!
YOU ARE A PATHETIC FUCKING CUNT. YOU ARE A LIAR! YOU ARE A CRIMINAL! YOU
ARE A FRAUD! DON'T YOU DARE TRY TO WEASEL YOUR WAY OUT OF THIS ONE!
The scientists have noted an "immediate, noticeable rise" when climate scientists are attacked on Fox News or other right wing talk shows.
The FBI became involved when his name appeared on a "death list" on a neo-Nazi website along with other climate scientists with Jewish ancestry.
Professor Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University and leading proponent of the "Hockey Stick graph", said his experiences of hate mail were "eerily similar" to those described by Schneider. "I'm not comfortable talking about the details, especially as some of these matters remain under police investigation," he said. "What I can say is that the emails come in bursts, and do seem to be timed with high-profile attack pieces on talk radio and other fringe media outlets."
Last month, Mann told ABC News in the US that the following message was typical of the emails he has been receiving: "Six feet under with the roots is where you should be. I was hoping I would see the news that you'd committed suicide. Do it, freak." Another climate scientist, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had had a dead animal dumped on his doorstep and now travels with bodyguards.