How a fracking company is silencing academic criticism with smears and payoffs | Pride’s Purge

Snouts in the trough: Martin Rowson's Guardian cartoon on the greed surrounding fracking is as relevant now as it was two years ago.

Snouts in the trough: Martin Rowson’s Guardian cartoon on the greed surrounding fracking is as relevant now as it was two years ago.

This sordid story of the corruption that surrounds the fracking industry and the lengths to which those involved will go to silence objective evidence against the process is lengthy, and what follows is just a fraction.

It may shock. Visit Pride’s Purge for the full story.

You can contribute to David Smythe’s legal fight to regain access to data so he can continue his research here.

And his personal website can be seen here.

When retired geophysics professor Dr David Smythe wrote a highly technical academic paper critical of fracking processes, he expected the usual questioning from academic colleagues that goes with peer reviewed academic publications.

What he didn’t expect was to see his academic reputation smeared in two national newspapers.

The Telegraph and the Daily Mail – not publications normally interested in micrite layers of subsurface geology – both ran bizarre smear stories claiming Smythe had ‘fabricated’ his qualifications.

Dr Smythe was even more surprised to see a colleague from his alma mater Glasgow University – a prof Paul Younger –widely quoted in the newspaper articles, fiercely criticising him for supposedly ‘lying’ about his academic credentials and calling him a “fraud”.

Without warning or explanation, Glasgow University suddenly blocked Smythe’s online access to the banks of data he needed for further research, after 17 years of trouble-free access.

It is a devastating and unprecedented move to make against an academic involved in research – effectively barring him from producing any more studies into fracking.

Internal university emails showed the person responsible for the move to bar Smythe from his research was also a prof Paul Younger – in his position as Rankine Chair of Energy Engineering at Glasgow University.

Unfortunately for Dr Smythe, Younger doesn’t just have an academic interest in fracking processes.

He also happens to be on the very lucrative payroll of a company called Cluff Geothermal – an energy company highly involved in fracking.

Source: Extraordinary story of how a fracking company is silencing academic criticism with smears and payoffs | Pride’s Purge


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7 thoughts on “How a fracking company is silencing academic criticism with smears and payoffs | Pride’s Purge

  1. Neilth

    Glasgow University has questions to answer and need to seriously address possible issues of conflict of interest. Most UK universities are publicly funded institutions and have both their reputations as representing fairness and places of scientific and academic rigour to maintain. I would hope to see this matter swiftly investigated and publicly and openly resolved.

  2. mrmarcpc

    The government will sadly get their way with fracking, they’re whores to big business and big money, they’ll do as they’re told and get it pushed through for their masters!

  3. Dez

    First things first…..Once again the Mail and the Telegraph (and others) follow their paymasters orders and just print whatever crap the big industries PRs send to them. It’s a pity neither of them did not follow up the main issue of proving or disproving the main thrust of the anti lobbying attack which was Dr. Smythe was a liar and did not have the qualifications that he claimed. Yeah good point in pointing out that if Dr. Smythe was a liar with regard to his expertise and professionalism then what he is spouting must also be suspect. So where are the Mail and Telegraph with their
    robustly vetting of this statement?? Has he missed a grade in Religious Studies o level?? If on the other hand it is found Paul Younger has made up this personal accusation up purely to discredit a valid arguement for the benefit of his paymaster Cluff Geothermal then he should be personally sued and most certainly his charmanship of a key Glasgow University should be removed immediately as he has a major comflict of interest….unless the whole University is full of similar greedy industry whoares singing to the Industry and governments hymn sheets??. Practically all the large industries use this method of paying off industry leads as consulatants to promote only what they want the public to know. ….Pharma, chemicals, GM producers etc etc. eg the use of chemicals decimating the bee population was like drawing teeth to get the real truth because our MPs are so gullible and in bed with the lobbying companies. The public are fed up with biased technical statements that do not tell the whole truth and being treated like second class lab rats. .

  4. Christine Cullen

    The first lab rats were in the US. I’m a regular visitor to Oklahoma (family there) where they have a history of low level earth tremors. After fracking started a few years back, their usual tremors progressed to quakes in what they called “swarms” resulting in houses shaking and things coming off walls. I experienced a few two years ago whileI was visiting. Very scary when it feels like a train is running through the house and the shelves get re-arranged!
    They had been assured by the fracking companies and their state government that it was not the fracking causing it, but mysteriously there is now a moratorium on fracking while a review was carried out. There is now positive proof by the US Geological Survey that fracking caused the increase in frequency and intensity of the earthquakes.

  5. Phil Lee

    Clearly Professor Paul Younger neither has or understands academic integrity, or any other kind.
    Dr David Smythe’s integrity can however only be enhanced by the fact that only those who are paid to do so challenge him!
    And as for Cluff Geothermal, we will have to put any fracking applications they are involved in, in even the slightest way, under special scrutiny, knowing how far they are prepared to go to hide the truth about the effect of their activities. In fact, knowing their activities, now they are in the open, should be sufficient to bar them from any and all future involvement in any such activity, as well as automatically reopen investigations into any past activity, in the light of this new evidence.
    Finally, Glasgow University one option available to them which allows them to retain a shred of academic respect – sack Paul Younger for abusing his position, and for academic fraud.

Comments are closed.