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Denialgate - Internal Heartland Documents Expose Climate Denial Funding Network

Posted on 15 February 2012 by dana1981

This is a combined re-post of two major exposé posts on DeSmogBlog (here and here) regarding internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents.

*UPDATE 3* Desmogblog have removed the document Board Directory 01-18-12.pdf from their website as it contained home addresses.  

*UPDATE 2* the link to the climate strategy document below has been removed, as Heartland disputes its authenticity.

*UPDATE* DeSmogBlog now reports on a prepared statement from Heartland Institute regarding the leak:  

The Heartland Institute has confirmed in a prepared statement that it mistakenly emailed its board materials to an anonymous third party - confirming the source of the documents released here on the DeSmogBlog yesterday.

Heartland then goes on allege that one of the documents (the Climate Strategy) is a fake.

The DeSmogBlog has reviewed that Strategy document and compared its content to other material we have in hand. It addresses five elements:

The Increased Climate Project Fundraising material is reproduced in and confirmed by Heartland's own budget.

The "Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms" is also a Heartland budget item and has been confirmed independently by the author, Dr. David Wojick.

The Funding for Parallel Organizations; Funding for Selected Individuals Outside Heartland are both reproduced and confirmed in the Heartland budget. And Anthony Watts has confirmed independently the payments in Expanded Climate Communications.

The DeSmogBlog has received no direct communications from the Heartland Institute identifying any misstatement of fact in the "Climate Strategy" document and is therefore leaving the material available to those who may judge their content and veracity based on these and other sources.

*SkS note: Heartland could easily prove the strategy document is a fake by releasing the email which they claim contained the released documents.


Heartland Insider Exposes Institute's Budget and Strategy

An anonymous donor calling him (or her)self "Heartland Insider" has released the Heartland Institute's budget, fundraising plan, its Climate Strategy for 2012 and sundry other documents (all attached) that prove all of the worst allegations that have been levelled against the organization.

It is clear from the documents that Heartland advocates against responsible climate mitigation and then uses that advocacy to raise money from oil companies and "other corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies." Heartland particularly celebrates the funding that it receives from the fossil fuel fortune being the Charles G. Koch Foundation.

Heartland also continues to collect money from Philip Morris parent company Altria as well as from the tobacco giant Reynolds American, while maintaining ongoing advocacy against policies related to smoking and health.

Heartland's policy positions, strategies and budget distinguish it clear as a lobby firm that is misrepresenting itself as a "think tank" - it budgets $4.1 million of its $6.4 million in projected expenditures for Editorial, Government Relations, Communications, Fundraising, and Publications, and the only activity it plans that could vaguely be considered policy development is the writing of a curriculum package for use in confusing high schoolers about climate change.

There will be more comment and analysis to follow on DeSmogBlog and elsewhere, but we wanted to make this information available so that others can also scrutinize the documents and bring their expertise to the task.

AttachmentSize
(1-15-2012) 2012 Fundraising Plan.pdf 89.87 KB
(1-15-2012) 2012 Heartland Budget (2).pdf 124.62 KB
2 Agenda for January 17 Meeting.pdf 7.4 KB
2010_IRS_Form_990 (2).pdf 2.7 MB
 
Binder1 (2).pdf 55.36 KB
Board Directory 01-18-12.pdf 11.28 KB
Board Meeting Package January 17.pdf 6.84 KB

Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine

Internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents obtained by DeSmogBlog expose the heart of the climate denial machine – its current plans, many of its funders, and details that confirm what DeSmogBlog and others have reported for years. The heart of the climate denial machine relies on huge corporate and foundation funding from U.S. businesses including Microsoft, Koch Industries, Altria (parent company of Philip Morris) RJR Tobacco and more.

We are releasing the entire trove of documents now to allow crowd-sourcing of the material. Here are a few quick highlights, stay tuned for much more. -Confirmation that Charles G. Koch Foundation is again funding Heartland Institute’s global warming disinformation campaign. Greenpeace’s Koch reports show the last time Heartland received Koch funding was in 1999

The January 2012 Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy states:

We will also pursue additional support from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. They returned as a Heartland donor in 2011 with a contribution of $200,000. We expect to push up their level of support in 2012 and gain access to their network of philanthropists, if our focus continues to align with their interests. Other contributions will be pursued for this work, especially from corporations whose interests are threatened by climate policies.”

-Heartland Institute’s global warming denial machine is chiefly – and perhaps entirely – funded by one Anonymous donor:

Our climate work is attractive to funders, especially our key Anonymous Donor (whose contribution dropped from $1,664,150 in 2010 to $979,000 in 2011 - about 20% of our total 2011 revenue). He has promised an increase in 2012…”

-Confirmation of exact amounts flowing to certain key climate contrarians. 

funding for high-profile individuals who regularly and publicly counter the alarmist AGW message. At the moment, this funding goes primarily to Craig Idso ($11,600 per month), Fred Singer ($5,000 per month, plus expenses), Robert Carter ($1,667 per month), and a number of other individuals, but we will consider expanding it, if funding can be found.”

-As Brad Johnson reported today at ThinkProgress, confirmation that Heartland is working with David Wojick, a U.S. Energy Department contract worker and coal industry consultant, to develop a ‘Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Schools.’

-Forbes and other business press are favored outlets for Heartland’s dissemination of climate denial messages, and the group is worried about maintaining that exclusive space. They note in particular the work of Dr. Peter Gleick:

Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.” (emphasis added)

Note the irony here that Heartland Institute – one of the major mouthpieces behind the debunked ‘Climategate’ email theft who harped about the suppression of denier voices in peer-reviewed literature – now defending its turf in the unscientific business magazine realm.

-Interesting mentions of Andrew Revkin as a potential ally worth “cultivating,” along with Judith Curry.

Efforts might also include cultivating more neutral voices with big audiences (such as Revkin at DotEarth/NYTimes, who has a well-known antipathy for some of the more extreme AGW communicators such as Romm, Trenberth, and Hansen) or Curry (who has become popular with our supporters).”

-Confirmation that skeptic blogger Anthony Watts is part of Heartland’s funded network of misinformation communicators.

We have also pledged to help raise around $90,000 in 2012 for Anthony Watts to help him create a new website to track temperature station data.”

Stay tuned for more details as DeSmogBlog and others dig through this trove of Heartland Institute documents. The Heartland Institute's legacy of evasion of this level of transparency and accountability has now been shattered.

Read the documents [all PDF]:

Minutes of January 17 board meeting (.doc)

Agenda for January 17, 2012 Board Meeting

Board Meeting Package January 17, 2012

Board Directory January 2012


Binder 1 (maybe overlap with above documents)

2012 Heartland Budget

2012 Heartland Fundraising Plan

2010 Heartland IRS Form 990 (public document)

Stay tuned… see also DeSmogBlog's Richard Littlemore's coverage.

AttachmentSize
 
Minutes of January 17 meeting.doc 50.84 KB
Board Meeting Package January 17.pdf 7.47 KB
Board Directory 01-18-12.pdf 12.51 KB
Agenda for January 17 Meeting.pdf 8.49 KB
Binder1.pdf 67.68 KB
(1-15-2012) 2012 Heartland Budget.pdf 126.68 KB
(1-15-2012) 2012 Fundraising Plan.pdf 91.32 KB
2010_IRS_Form_990.pdf 2.7 MB

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Comments 51 to 100 out of 223:

  1. Come on folks, it's not that hard, there is a very clear moral imperative at work here. If someone working at Heritage could see that what they were up to was wrong, and thought spreading false information is deceptive and misleading (here in Australia these are crimes for those engaged in commerce under our trade practices law, now known as the Competition and Consumer Act), and/or endangering the public interest, it is entirely proper for them to arrive at a decision that their obligation to tell the truth to the world is greater than any contractual duty of confidentiality they may owe to their employer.

    Perhaps the most honourable thing for them to do would be to quietly resign, but for all our sakes I hope we see a lot more from them...
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  2. The argument that we (I) have used ill-gotten documents has merit, as far as it goes. I personally have no knowledge of how the documents came to be exposed and accept that there may have been misbehaviour in their release. I considered that situation before posting my comments here.

    Having said that, I regard some of the content of the documents as being objectionable to a reasonable person. The objectionable information requires no spin, no quoting out of context, no contorted lying about what is said. I am satisfied that exposure of the activities of the Heartland Institute is in the interests of the public, both in the USA and world-wide. Action - or more accurately, inaction - on Climate Change by legislators in the USA has repercussions for all the world's citizens. We all lose when systematic and well-funded misinformation affects the quality and impact of education and political ideologies.

    So, have I compounded a possible misdemeanour by reading and commenting upon the leaked documents? In my own little way, yes. Do I claim the moral high ground? No. Have I scolded deniers for the theft of the Climategate emails? No, I have always attacked the misinformation spun from the stolen material, just as I am now attacking the information in the Heartland Institute documents. The leaks on both sides are a fait accompli and I am only interested in exposing what passes for the Truth in each case.

    Do I have any regrets? No. Do I place the future of mankind higher than the rights of the Heartland Institute to pervert the education system? Yes - unequivocally. Does that make me a bad person? Not for me to judge.
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  3. Man Desmogged are goiong to need some lawyers. I can predict a load of legal action over this. From those docs Heartland could be in hot water with the tax people over their non lobbying status.

    Well I think the gloves will be coming off.

    If these are legit then its going to really hurt the disinformers. Good stuff.
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  4. macoles #50

    I agree that whistleblowing is lawful.

    The laws of the US, UK and many other common law jurisdictions specify that the unveiling of wrongdoing is in the public interest.
    The US statute law on whistleblowing can be traced back to the civil war when unscrupulous merchants sold bad powder to the Union army.
    There is a vast body of case law in common law jurisdictions which permits governments to recover any losses suffered by 'the people' as a result of false claims which have caused the people financial losses.
    In the US a whistleblower is guaranteed 15 - 25 percent of funds recovered plus legitimate costs.
    A procedure at law known as qui tam permits any citizen to sue on behalf of the government. It is a suit by an informer on behalf of the government claiming that a wrong has been committed against the people according to a specified statute.

    There can be no argument of wrongdoing against any person who acts within the law, provided only that the Nuremberg principle does not apply.
    The Nuremberg principle specifies that obedience to law is no defence against a breach of the fundamental human rights recognised by all civilised nations.

    The Heartland whistleblower acted lawfully, q.e.d. - and I would add: ethically.
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  5. Follow the money?
    Well if you are motivated only by money, then I guess this is the result. There are millions of teachers and other professionals write materials about climate change for average wages. But I guess fat cats need an incentive to do the same for the market interfering Heartland Institute.
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  6. People, people! Did the Watts crowd tie themselves in knots agonising over the CRU Hack? This is a political fight, fer Chrissakes, not Philosophy Club! You didn't do anything wrong, the information is irretrievably in the Public Domain; now get to work!

    Try beating up your opponents, and not your allies, eh? There's, um, rather a lot at stake, after all.

    Imagine if Julian Assange had carried on like this...
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  7. I can't see any moral quandary with leaked documents, paticularly when those documents detail the efforts to promote short-term gain for already privileged interests at the expense of the common good.

    And when those efforts include a planned and financed program to subvert the teaching of children and students in service to those interests, that's beyond reprehensible.

    Heartland and the whole rancid, well-financed underbelly of denialism needs to be investigated by the DoJ or a similar high powered agency with real teeth.
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  8. As far as Whistleblowing is concerned, I would refer you to the included "2010_IRS_Form_990.pdf"

    Page 9 of the PDF, but page 6 of the 990:

    13: Does the Organization have a written Whistleblower Policy. X (Yes)

    I think that would suggest the whistleblower is protected by law, and is aware of the contents of the policy.

    Agree that this does not appear to be theft from outside the organisation which differentiates it from the CRU hack.

    Andrew.
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  9. I had some reservations about this, centering about betrayal of trust. Buth then I realized, they have implicitly given permission for this. They laud whistleblowers. They want to see the CRU hack as being whistleblowing by a disgusted insider. While this does seem to be at variance with reality it does mean that I don't think they can justifiably complain if they are made to look bad by a whistleblower.

    I am as susceptible to rationalization as anyone else but I do do try hard to fight this. I think I suicceed most of the time. I am trying to fight the temptation to rationalize right now but I do believe that the argument that I just gave is valid.
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  10. Curiously, if you google search [site:heartland.org whistleblower] you get 173 hits, many of them dealing with EPA whistleblowing, so there is not question that they support whistleblowing , so long as they are not the targets. On the other hand, google searching [site:heartland.org "whistleblower policy"] brings up nothing, so it appears they don't want their whistleblower policy known.
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  11. Tom, I think they are so self righteous that it never occured to them that they might be the target of whistleblowing.

    From most of the accounts that I have seen, the typical whistleblower is not a radical or a rebel but a principled supporter of the system trying to force the system to live up to its claimed ideals. I would expect this to be so here.
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  12. I just have time for a quick note this morning. A comment on the first page says Heartland is doing nothing illegal. This is in doubt, due to their political activity and tax exempt status.
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  13. On the ethics of using leaked documents:

    - I believe that what broke the back of the "cigarettes don't cause lung cancer" denialism was the leakage of papers from the Tobacco Institute by an employee of Brown & Williamson.

    - What blew the covers off the Vietnam War was the leakage of the "Pentagon papers" of the RAND Corporation by Daniel Ellsberg.

    If validated, I believe that these "denialgate" papers are a worthy modern example of the genre.
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  14. On a side note, I am not a fan of the leakage of the internal communications of the US State Department by Manning, through WikiLeaks:

    - I don't see that we learned anything important
    - It did expose confidential positions that embarrassed US negotiations with other countries
    - It did expose US operations and personnel
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  15. As of now Google news is showing a grand total of 11 articles on this subject... most of them on clearly 'left wing' sites and/or blogs. This lackluster reaction might be put down to the authenticity of the documents not being proven (which is probably the most important thing to get nailed down at this point), but then there were hundreds of articles, including in the mainstream news sections of major papers, before the CRU e-mails were verified.

    It is still possible that this count will grow and word of these issues reach beyond the realm of people who closely follow the 'climate wars' to the general public, but I think the fact that it hasn't already shows that we are up against more than 'just' a 'false balance' problem with much of the global media.

    As to the ethical hand-wringing... frankly I always found the 'but it was hacking' angle on the CRU e-mails somewhat over-wrought. Had the e-mails shown actual wrongdoing I'd have had no problem with them being hacked and released. Any law which makes it illegal to expose unethical, immoral, or illegal behavior by someone else is inherently flawed and should be ignored when necessary. That said, if you only think someone is doing bad things and turn out to be wrong it is then perfectly appropriate to be arrested for it.

    In this case we have the Heartland Institute receiving 501(c)(3) tax exempt status while possibly violating the limitations against political activity and lobbying required for that status. Even if they managed to stay within the law there (which seems unlikely to me if the documents are authentic) the documents still show clear ethical and moral lapses which more than validate action by any internal whistleblower or (IMO) external hacker.

    The law is a blunt instrument. In order to protect legitimate privacy concerns we establish laws worded so broadly that they end up also preventing the exposure of corruption. If that flawed structure is not challenged then the corruption is allowed to flourish and grow unchecked... a harm potentially as great as the one the law was meant to protect. This is an eternal conflict which has usually been solved by allowing exceptions or minimizing penalties for violations of the law which expose such corruption.
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  16. I would think that it would be important to Revkin to address this right away.
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  17. I dont think Revkin has anything he needs to address.
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  18. dorlomin, well... it becomes somewhat difficult for Revkin to continue claiming that suggestions of a degree of 'skeptic' bias on his part are all in the minds of 'AGW extremists' (not his terminology, but the implication) when even Heartland agrees he is somewhat 'on their side'.

    Hey, look at that... 'deniers' and 'alarmists' find common ground. Peace on Earth. Good will to all. :]
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  19. CBDunkerson, I think recklessness is still culpable even if you luck out. If you suspect someone of wrongdoing but you have little real evidence for it, and you do something that is an invasion of privacy and happen to expose actual wrondoing I think you should still be punisheed for a reckless invasion of privacy. It's like the idea of probable cause when law enforcement seeks a search warrant. The intrusion of the search is inherently undesirable and can only be justified by strong suspicion with objective justification. The CRU email affar would still have been culpable even if they had turned up evidence of wrongdoing since the only thing that they had to justify the hack was their prejudices.
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  20. @62/Pete Dunkelberg - non-profits are not completely barred from political activity, if the term is broadly defined. I'm on the board of a local non-profit, the issue comes up. One does have to be careful, however -- there's stuff you can't do. Some of what you cannot do depends on how the non-profit was incorporated (as in, actual word choices made by lawyers on the paperwork when you apply for your 501c(3)). Without knowing all the details (and I haven't read anything beyond what's here) it could easily be legit-enough.
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  21. Update: Up to 16 articles now, and the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Carter had confirmed he is receiving payments from Heartland.

    Lloyd, you are correct in terms of pure philosophy... but in real world applicability the difference between 'prejudice' and 'insight' is highly subjective. In most cases our only guide to judging the inner mind of others comes down to end results.
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  22. This is funny. I mean we all knew what was happening, but details make it much more interesting.

    Is there anything connecting Heartland with Australian skeptical bloggers? Maybe through the Institute of Public Affairs...
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  23. It's being reported by the Guardian newspaper in the UK now:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/15/leak-exposes-heartland-institute-climate
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  24. I was out of the loop a lot yesteday so I just learned this news now. I haven't had a chance to read all the comments on this and hope I'm not repeating something here. There's a critical element to the clamor about the publicly-funded scientists' emails being made public (Climategate, Cucinelli's witchhunt, etc.) and this event that needs to be addressed.

    It's one thing to engage in junk science (e.g., NIPCC) at the behest of your anonymous donors, but to start a well-funded campaign that deliberately intends to change public education is an invitation to public sctrutiny at the same level of the work of public officials.

    A good example of this in these documents is, buried in the budget (p.20) is a tie in with ALEC -- the American Legislative Exchange Council -- a secretive organization funded by private corporations that, among other things, writes "model legislation" that is typically introduced verbatim by friendly legislators in U.S. state legislatures to engage in such "reforms" as privatizing public schools and prisons (guess who gets paid to operate them?), among many other proposals that have the direct effect of increasing corporate revenues. One Florida legislator recently introduced an ALEC bill and forgot to remove the reference that it was written by ALEC in the text. Ooops.

    If word really got out, Americans would be shocked to learn that corporations -- not the people they elect -- are actually writing their laws. The New York Times recently ran an editorial on ALEC's activities, but the group still operates largely under the radar.

    You can learn more about ALEC here: http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

    There is so much in these documents that demonstates that Heartland is not about science but rather corporate influence. I challenge any deniers who attack individual climate scientists as "leftist" or "environmentalists" with an "agenda" to explain how the relationship between Heartland, its paid consultants, and groups like ALEC should not also make Heartland's work suspect.
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  25. Well, that's hit the papers here in Oz!

    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/scientist-accepts-cash-for-climate-20120215-1t7ho.html

    Oh, and since John Brookes asked:

    http://www.ipa.org.au/people/bob-carter
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  26. Anyone that threatens everyone's futures by corrupting the truth for the sake of selfish short-term gain is as unscrupulous and as low as a spammer in my opinion.

    I hope this will get as much media coverage as "Climategate" did, expose the nastiness and make Denialism as socially unacceptable and unfashionable as drink driving.
    I'm sure we would all like to know who is this anonymous donor, and their motives, because it certainly isn't about truth.
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  27. Primus - I believe most people realized what groups like Heartland were up to, and now there's proof. I think this may be a very significant story.

    I think I would tend to agree with some of the speculation here - that Idso (as a fairly minor public figure) may be acting as a distribution hub, that Singer isn't giving Heartland much bang for the buck. And that $88k to Anthony Watts is an awful lot for setting up a website! Hmmm...

    The person referred to in the documents as "The Anonymous Donor" is fascinating: roughly $15M US given by a single donor to lobby against acting on climate change?!? I wonder who that is.

    Secundus - I'm greatly encouraged by the discussion here, with actual consideration of the ethics of disclosures. I somehow don't recall anyone in the 'skeptic' groups being upset over email hacking. Moral high ground, anyone?

    That said - whistleblowing is a time-honored tradition when a person of ethics feels that an entity (company, government, etc) is acting in an illegal or immoral fashion.
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  28. As of this morning I see 32 articles on Google News, including one from Forbes.
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  29. KR, $88k for a decent website is significant, but not an "awful lot". It depends on how many man-years would be involved.
    The last site I worked on as CTO (and took over) took $1.5m to build, required a team of 20 programmers in 4 countries with multiple redundant servers etc.

    However, no amount of money would entice me to build a site that compromised my values.
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  30. andylee - I suppose I was thinking about something on the level of Watt's surfacestations website - which is slightly above blog level. That shouldn't cost much.

    If you're doing a more interactive website, dealing with databases, transactions, or money, costs will be much higher. And if you need 24/7 access, or have loads that require multiple servers, etc.

    But I can't forsee anything from Watts and company that would hit that level.
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  31. AT,

    realize the first line of defense from the deniers will be "what happened to your pious, sanctimonious drivel about stolen documents".

    So what? If they didn't use that defense, they'd use another, equally obnoxious and aggressive one. That's what they do. Arguably, that's all they do.

    The defense, obviously, is that it wasn't "pious, sanctimonious drivel." It was legitimate anger at the use of stolen emails to advance a false argument, demonize honest people and enrich a redundantly wealthy industry.

    Also, given the accusations Heartland routinely makes against people like me -- which include genocide -- sanctimony barely registers.

    This is a moment that we will learn something about ourselves (and indeed at the current ratio of 17:1 we now know).

    Someone who can't or won't acknowledge the difference between leaked documents that reveal a fully conscious campaign of deceit -- one that targets schoolchildren, for God's sake -- and a bunch of stolen emails that reveal no such thing is not someone I want advising me on ethics, thanks.

    Rationalizing that this is for the good of humanity (which I happen to agree with) makes us feel better.

    Yes, as it should. Because as you yourself acknowledge, it actually is for the good of humanity. Which is why it is not, in fact, a rationalization but a justification.

    At a minimum, it would behoove us to acknowledge we are ceding that portion of the high ground. Self awareness is a valuable asset.

    The moral high ground here is a) not lying about climate science; and b) putting the planet and humanity before the corporate bottom line. No one here has ceded either position. Rather, these positions have informed their reaction to this leak, just as one would expect and want them to.

    What would you prefer us to do? Pretend this material doesn't exist? Refuse to use it as evidence? Begin every discussion of it with some anodyne disclaimer to the effect that "stealing is wrong, but...." What is the practical outcome you'd like to see?

    Had the stolen CRU emails actually supported the denialists' allegations of a global conspiracy to falsify evidence, the same points I'm making here would apply. But they didn't, and the people who stole them and misrepresented their content knew they didn't.

    Do you also feel that the antiwar movement ceded the moral high ground by supporting Daniel Ellsberg's "theft" of the Pentagon Papers? Or by using information obtained from them for political purposes? Is it ever morally acceptable to "steal" information, in your view, or do property rights always trump human life (or at least counterbalance it)?

    as the core issue is that these documents were obtained against the will of the document owners

    Yep. And climate science has been rendered "controversial" in classrooms against the will of teachers and administrators. For years, and for money. An ethics that draws no real distinction between these wrongs is not a useful, realistic or "actually thoughtful" one, in my view.

    Ultimately, the conflict here isn't between ethical and unethical behavior; it's between obedience to law and obedience to justice (as it usually is in whistleblowing cases).

    If Heartland has a legal case, they can take legal action. Presumably, that's a risk the leaker consciously chose to take. Whether that should or will happen is a completely separate issue from whether the leaked information should be used here in defense of science. Obviously, it should. Failing to do so would be immoral.
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  32. Excellent article at the Huffington Post about the "Heartless" Institute.
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  33. One possible wedge is Indur, who is a DOE employee. Has he declared this payment on his COI forms?
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  34. How sure are people that this is real? Seems real but still little to confirm it.
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  35. ...adding, that the problem with groups like Heartland is that they exploit the structures and values of civil society in order to dismantle civil society, just as anti-democratic groups rely on the values of pluralism and tolerance to advance an anti-democratic agenda. In both cases, the goal is to climb the ladder of democracy and free speech and then pull it up.

    As such, Heartland's activities aren't just dangerous to the environment; they're dangerous to the entire philosophical framework on which actually thoughtful bases his objections to "stealing."

    This self-canceling aspect of democracy, and the need for extralegal steps to preserve the law, has worried philosophers from Carl Schmitt to Jacques Derrida to Giorgio Agamben. I don't think we're going to settle that debate here, but I will say that I'd prefer to have illegal law-preserving steps taken by private citizens than by governments, for the simple reason that they can bring about needed change without making law itself seem totally arbitrary.

    Of course, it would be preferable to have transparency and other legal rules that limit the power of groups like Heartland. But unfortunately, the more groups like Heartland make such rules necessary, the more power they have to prevent them from being enacted or enforced. It'd be great if things never got to that point. Unfortunately, they have, which leaves us with a range of options running from worst to least bad. As I see it, an objection to leaks in this climate actually undermines the moral standards it attempts to invoke. Like it or not, this is one of the ways societies advance. In some cases, it may be the only way they advance. Or at least, the only nonviolent way.
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  36. Phila, I take your point, but I certainly don't need you lecturing me on ethics. I raised legitimate issues that most of us were already considering and processing. I for one think the conversation is healthy, and prepares us for what is, for the short term at least, a political battle, and one that will be fought on perceptions as much as reality. If reality were the only issue - there would be no climate change "controversy".

    Don't undertake a circular firing squad rather than look at the issue and understand what the differences are, and where the similarities are. A small acknowledgement that yes, the whistle blown documents were taken against the will of the document owner (and then a smooth follow on tying it to the Vietnam war as you did) is much more powerful than sputtering that the this was done for the "good of mankind".

    Sadly, that will sound very familiar, as that is the self-serving malarkey offered by the deniers to cover stealing documents and cherry picking the contents.

    This whole episode confirms something that I formerly thought was a bit on the cynical side. Everything the deniers accuse of us doing has been merely projection for the exact things they are doing.

    If this gets even 1/2 the attention of climategate it will make a huge advance in the public's understanding of what is happening.
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  37. dorlomin, subsequent stories have reported that Bob Carter has confirmed he is being paid by Heartland and that James Taylor (of Heartland) responded to questions about the curriculum program by writing;

    "We are concerned that schools are teaching climate change issues in a manner that is not consistent with sound science and that is designed to lead students to the erroneous belief that humans are causing a global warming crisis. We hope that our efforts will restore sound science to climate change education and discourage the political propaganda that too often passes as “education”."

    That thus indicates there are at least two things contained in the documents which were not previously known and have now been confirmed to be accurate. What do you suppose the odds would be for two completely fabricated 'revelations' to turn out to actually be true?
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  38. What is so stunning about Idso's (3 of them) getting six figures? That pays for a few papers and the co2science.org website. Other than their ongoing newsletter, a lot of the website is about 5-10 years old (by cursory review). Their rank is 937,193 worldwide 654,262 US


    Skeptical Science is 101,300 worldwide and 45,747 US with more than twice as many incoming links.

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  39. Phila: "As I see it, an objection to leaks in this climate actually undermines the moral standards it attempts to invoke."

    I appreciate your acknowledgement that there is a moral issue worth discussing. If by "objections to leaks" you mean jail time for the whistle blower, I'm not sure I agree. I would like to think that were I in that person's shoes, I would have done the same thing (ie released the documents). I think ethically his/her position is very clear. By which I mean this person was forced to chose between "follow the law" and "follow the ethically correct thing" and their actions indicate they took the ethically correct path (made difficult by the opposition in law).

    And I don't know that what the whistle blower did is illegal - some great comments upthread defining whistle blower (in Australia at least) and laying out the possible illegal activities of the Heritage Foundation (which move the whistle blower to the legally safer area of blowing the whistle on illegal activities.

    In my life I have found great value is seeing the grey. That doesn't make me a "warmist" or any such thing, just allowing honorable opposition a face-saving way out.

    As for dishonorable opposition? Let them go the way of the Heritage Foundation (which, if there is any justice will be into well deserved oblivion).

    However, I can't imagine the people giving big money to the Heartland Foundation giving up - even if the Heritage Foundation falls (which is highly unlikely, given the folks who support them already know they are a crooked), this work will continue through a multi-headed guerrilla war style effort. Whether this is the tipping point or it is this + the next El Nino isn't know yet, but I remain optimistic (while recalling that there are still smokers even after all the lies were revealed).
    0 0
  40. DeSmogBlog appears to be down. Anyone know why? Too much traffic? Denial-of-service attack? Black helicopter assault?
    0 0
  41. DeSmogBlog still doan as of 10.22 US Pacific time. Wonder what's going on.
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  42. Eric considering the quality (cough!) and the influence of Idso's miserable pile of nonsense, 6 figures is way overpaid. Then again, it's not clear that anyone at Heartland can actually appreciate the true quality of what he puts out. By their perception, it probably reads like pure gold.
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  43. Much to my amazement The Register wrote a fairly balanced article on this subject as well.

    They normally have a solidly anti-science "skeptic" stance written by Lewis Page and Andrew Orlowski (Wikipedia entry here) so I'm pleasantly suprised at them, for a change.
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  44. Re: are these real? The fact that Carter, Taylor and also Watts (over at Bishop Hill) have addressed these without challenging their authenticity certainly suggests that at least their information in them is accurate.

    Also worth thinking about is this: All the documents except the "Confidential Memo" appear to been PDF's generated via the computer applications they were composed on. The "confidential memo," however, looks like it was scanned. There's a graininess to the document and shadows to the margin typical of when one photocopies or scans the document. This, to me (OK, I read too many spy novels) is that this was deleted from the computer it was composed on and someone scanned a paper copy. That suggests an inside job; you had to have a physical copy. OK, before I start sounding like one of the climategate conspirators I'll stop.
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  45. I'm sure the site will be struggling to deal with the world's attention focussing on it right now. (AKA 'Slashdotted')
    They could have anticipated a 1000x increase in traffic and arranged for mirrors or extra servers to cope, but it is also conceivable that the Denialati have mobilised a DDOS too.
    Standard practice would be to release the docs as a torrent, making it extremely difficult to suppress.
    News is spreading quickly as various organizations are picking it up.
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  46. AT<

    I certainly don't need you lecturing me on ethics.

    Emotional conjugation at its finest: I raise legitimate issues, she counsels, you lecture.

    Being as you're recommending self-awareness, perhaps you should consider the possibility that your initial post itself constituted a "lecture on ethics." I'm honestly not trying to be snarky or nasty here; I think this is a reasonable request.

    Sadly, that will sound very familiar, as that is the self-serving malarkey offered by the deniers to cover stealing documents and cherry picking the contents.

    I can see how it might sound familiar...provided you obdurately persist in ignoring the fact that one was a lie, and one wasn't. That the evidence supported one position, and not the other. And that virtually no one involved in slandering these scientists has ever issued a correction or an apology, even after they'd been exonerated by multiple inquiries.

    But yeah, other than that minor detail of totally unrepentant cherrypicking and misrepresentation and slander in service of an incoherent conspiracy theory for which no actual evidence has ever existed anywhere...it's pretty much the exact same thing.

    We seem to be on the same side, ultimately, and I wouldn't want to turn this thread into an argument with you even in the unlikely event that the moderators would allow it. So in the interest of finding common ground, I'll just point out that the view you define here as "self-serving malarkey" seems to be the very same view you espoused upthread when you agreed that the leak is potentially good for humanity. This suggests to me that you can, in fact, distinguish between leaking a Heartland document and stealing CRU's emails....even before the issue of representing the contents fairly arises.

    As for whether this actually was "done for the good of mankind," I don't think we know that yet. The leaker could simply have been angry at someone, for all I know. Regardless, as you note, it has the potential to "make a huge advance in the public's understanding of what is happening." And as you also note, that seems likely to be good for humanity. So it seems like we agree on the important points.

    A small acknowledgement that yes, the whistle blown documents were taken against the will of the document owner

    I think the word "leaked" provides precisely that acknowledgment. Even if it doesn't, have you seen any articles so far that don't acknowledge that these docs were released against the owner's will? 'Cause I haven't.

    I appreciate your acknowledgement that there is a moral issue worth discussing.

    Weirdly enough, I kind of thought I made that belief clear with my original comment.
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  47. Anyone want to bet that we are shortly going to see a another batch of hacked e-mails from Hadley CRU released as a distraction?
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  48. People might save themselves some time if they read the first 21 pages of Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax.

    1) The documents sure look real, they mesh perfectly with what I'd seen in 5 months' detailed study and much of that is documented in the massive appendices. The only one that even has the slightest possibility of fakery is the strategy doc, but it is certainly quite consistent also. The K-12 project seems an outgrowth of the education efforts documented in Fakery.

    2) I have alleged that Heartland has been seriously breaking IRS tax law, specifically various provisions of 501(c)(3) public charity rules. Free speech lets people lie, but if you do it too much as a charity, you can have that status revoked, have to pay back taxes. Ignore the climate side: all their efforts on behalf of tobacco violate 501(c)(3).

    3) Likewise, the US IRS frowns on a charity sending money abroad to non-charities ... and Heartland did that, certainly to CA and NZ, and almost certainly to Oz.
    0 0
  49. Desmogblog still down, now with this message:

    "Desmog Blog is currently running scheduled maintenance. We should be back shortly. Thank you for your patience."

    A scheduled maintenance today seems a very unlikely coincidence, if you ask me.
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  50. Phila: "So in the interest of finding common ground, I'll just point out that the view you define here as "self-serving malarkey" seems to be the very same view you espoused upthread when you agreed that the leak is potentially good for humanity."

    You have an interesting way of finding common ground. I am giving up. In order to find common ground you have to want to have a discussion rather than stick to lecture mode. Valid points of view exist that are not your own.

    I hope folks made copies of those documents. I haven't been able to get to www.desmogblog for the last hour or so. AS others have noted, hopefully that means this is "going viral".
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