Monday, February 20, 2012

Mr. Bluster

The Heartland Institute has pretty much thrown in the towel about everything EXCEPT the strategy memo. Gary Wamsley, a self described 71 year old veteran, got a mite peeved when reading the Heartland Papers (Eli is tempted to call them the Screw Heartland Letters, but what the hell, this is serious stuff) and wrote to Heatland

You should be ashamed of yourself. The United States already has a problem in keeping up with the rest of the world in science education and now you want to play a role in further destroying our nation as well as our planet.

You are a traitor to your own country. I did not spend 30 years in the military to protect the likes of you.

Joe Bast was not pleased, these are stressful days for him, and he replied
Last week, someone stole some documents from us and forged a memo claiming to state our ‘strategy” on global warming. See our statement in response to this attack here: http://heartland.org/press-releases/2012/02/15/heartland-institute-responds-stolen-and-fake-documents .
The bunnies, of course, noted the emphasis added, and compared this with the link

The stolen documents appear to have been written by Heartland’s president for a board meeting that took place on January 17. He was traveling at the time this story broke yesterday afternoon and still has not had the opportunity to read them all to see if they were altered. Therefore, the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed.

Since then, the documents have been widely reposted on the Internet, again with no effort to confirm their authenticity.

One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.

So this confirms that Joe Bast likes to bold things, but most importantly the authenticity of everything except the Climate Strategy memo is now confirmed by Heartland. Of course, everything in the Climate Strategy memo cross checks against information in the other documents.

The last refuge of blusterers is threats, and Bast is a blusterer. He threatened Greg Wamsley
Now that you know the truth, I ask that you apologize for your intemperate and very offensive letter. Since your letter is threatening, I’ve forwarded it to our legal counsel, forensics team, and the FBI. It is important that you not delete the email from your sent file, or any other emails you may have exchanged with other people while preparing it, since this could be evidence in criminal and civil cases.
Col. Wamsley (Ret.) was not too threatened
Your threatening letter only serves to reinforce my opinion that the documents are in fact all true. Your ludicrous claim that my letter is threatening is a bullying tactic to which I will not succumb. No apology is offered. I do keep my emails for six months before deleting them.
Eli hears along the bunny trail that others are being encouraged by the Heartland Institute, which is kind of amusing in the biter bit sort of way, because one of their agitprop pieces is Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly (there is not enough for a weekly, a lack Heartland appears to be trying to remedy). Some are responding by kicking Joe Bast right in the middle of the sawhorses he is trying to straddle

46 comments:

bill said...

An astute observation on the parsing! I think most of us have been assuming that for a while now.

There was only a limited amount of time the docs could remain in that funny box with Herr Schrödinger's cat, after all...

I thought Col. Walmsley writing back to give Bast his address to facilitate legal process was a master-stroke! Well played, that man!

Joe said...

The Heartland Institute has a forensics team???

Anonymous said...

I have a question: was the "strategy memo" actually forged?

1) It seems unlikely to me that Heartland would lie about the memo - they'd get huge egg on their face if it were eventually proved to be a real document. So I would assume that it was, indeed, forged.

but, 2) It seems stupid to me for whoever got the group of documents to stick in a made-up strategy memo that didn't really add very much, and gave Heartland the gift of being able to complain about the forging rather than just playing defense on the real documents.

Is there any other option? I can't see how to make the "trojan memo" theory quite work out...

-MMM

Martin Vermeer said...

MMM, my theory is that the memo is a fake, a vehicle for getting those outrageous sound bites in that caused the whole story to explode in the mainstream media. It's made up of cut-and-paste phrases from the other docs, slightly edited, and these sound bites thrown in (which, taken as 'thought bites', are only too accurate!).

I think it was a ruse that worked out quite well. As to the moral aspect, after first lying to Heartland to get the docs, and then misrepresenting yourself to DeSmogBlog etc. as an insider to get the stuff published... you get used to it :-)

Of course the Watties and friends are harping 'fake', because they have nothing else...

Martin Vermeer said...

Of course the letter was threatening! It says "I did not spend 30 years in the military to protect the likes of you," which is a clear threat to throw Mr. Bast at the mercy of the Soviets...

rumleyfips said...

I just emailed J.Bast to inform him of the documents in question residing somewhere on my harddrive and my inability to destroy them

I offered to mail him my laptop if he first sends me a new one.

John McManus

Anonymous said...

I think a "forged" document amongst a sea of bona fides is a masterful, cunning ploy by the whistleblower (tsk, tsk).

THI can either claim that the papers and the accompanying memo are false, thereby committing a terminological inexactitude of the first degree just prior to being found out. Oh, the shame of it, to be caught lying to your public. Their "undoubted probity" (pmsl) would be forever diminished beyond the current nano-level.

Or, THI can just claim that the memo is false, thereby telling the truth, the partial truth and nothing like the truth, and de facto agreeing the rest is kosher. Oh, the shame of it. Their "undoubted probity" (pmsl) would be forever diminished beyond the current nano-level.

Cymraeg llygoden

J Bowers said...

I recall Watts congratulating Tallbloke for getting "Slashdotted" due to Sloppysecondsgate. Allow me to heartily congratulate Heartland for getting many mentions on Slashdot over the weekend, too, with regard to their threatened legal actions. The Slashdot members went what can only be described as 'absolutely mental' over it.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

No, no Eli. Nice try. Gary Whamsley is a teacher (big Democrat cough cough) at Virginia Tech (probably a friend of Michael Mann).

Why do you even bother? How about for you next post, you feature Joe Romm, and describe him as a "concerned citizen" maybe that will fly.

Talk about dishonest Eli. You try to present these people as common citizens who otherwise don't discuss global warming. Hypocrisy.

rumleyfips said...

Is Virginia Tech the same as the Univesity of Virginia? Maybe all the big words are confusing me,

John McManus

Anonymous said...

The legal discovery process, where THI submits to opposing counsel the documents it would not otherwise want revealed, should help evaluate authenticity of these documents.

- The mouse that snored

Anonymous said...

dR. Jay Cadbury, phd.

Sorry Rumneyflip, however I still bet he knows and is a friend of Mann.

J Bowers said...

Pizza Home Delivery guys blind themselves to the difference between Virginia and Colorado and just can't understand normal, everyday folks, showing outrage at their objectivist heroes. It does not compute. It will not compute. It can never compute. Poor Pizza Home Delivery guys, they thought they had middle America sewn up and in the bag.

rumleyfips said...

Joe Bast has replied! He says he has sent my email to his forensic team, his legal people and the FBI. He seems to be having difficulty with document proof and is now relying on messanger slaying.

John McManus

J Bowers said...

According to Joseph Bast, Watts, Delingpole and McArdle are apparently independent experts at analysing documents. Very impressive. Who'd have thought. Not me, that's for sure.

Joe Bast said...

Will you guys just shut up already? I told you guys (both within and outside of parentheses) to stop commenting on the Hinterland Institute documents even though they're clearly forged and in no way attributable to anything we stand for, though I have to add that I've not had enough time to look at all the documents to tell whether they are or are not ours.

Anonymous said...

What I find particularly amusing is Heartland's use of the d-word: defamation. Just about everyone is ignoring that.

But considering Heartland's association with Anthony Watts and his web site, which I affectionately refer to as the Defamation Factory, the irony is excutiating. No doubt many of Anthony's more excited fans will be shocked to discover the whole idea of defamation might apply also to them.

So here is a hypothetical scenario. Heartland sues for defamation. Climate scientists get some balls and use the precedents involved to bring tears to Anthony's eyes. Yummy.

The climate ferret.

Phil Clarke said...

The delectable Lucia believes that me Hearties are acting in utter good faith when they commission the NIPCC report, bankroll Singer, teach children the controversy etc

"Although I think the NIPCC document is far from a fair and balanced presentation of what science tells us about AGW, I think the leadership of HI and the directors believe the message and believe they are presenting a counter-balance to biased science. I think they believe the materials they write are educational"

Sweet, innocent child.

willard said...

Please help Jeff find some quotes showing that a smearing campaign is taking place against Anthony:

http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/hey-media-skeptics-are-scientists-too/#comment-68992

J Bowers said...

Ethical Analysis of the Climate Change Disinformation Campaign: Introduction to A Series.

Ethical Analysis of Disinformation Campaign's Tactics: (1) Reckless Disregard for the Truth, (2) Focusing On Unknowns While Ignoring Knowns, (3) Specious Claims of "Bad" Science, and (4) Front Groups.

Ethical Analysis of Disinformation Campaign's Tactics: (1) Think Tanks, (2) PR Campaigns, (3) Astroturf Groups, and (4) Cyber-Bullying Attacks.

Ethical Analysis of Disinformation Campaign’s Tactics: Reckless Disregard for the Truth, Specious Claims of ‘Bad’ Science

Irresponsible Skepticism: Lessons Learned From the Climate Disinformation Campaign

Good reads.

Scrooge said...

Just wondering but it looks like they are getting legal advice from chris monckton.

bill said...

Re the legal 'advice'; yeah, my sense of these guys being Machiavellian geniuses has eroded considerably...

Neven said...

Poor Jeff, Willard is cutting into him like the North Atlantic Current into the ice north of Svalbard.

EliRabett said...

"Gary Whamsley is a teacher (big Democrat cough cough) at Virginia Tech (probably a friend of Michael Mann)."

The Chocolate Bunny wins the Golden Horseshoe Award

1. Mann was at UVa, not VaTech, which is way back there in the backwoods Blackburg while UVa is in stylish Charlottesville.

2. Gary Wamsley is not Gary Wamsley

Anonymous said...

One Gary Wamsley, by his own admission, "served as a commissioned officer in the Air Force for four and a half years" after graduating from UCLA.

One Gary Wamsley, by his own admission, "did not spend 30 years in the military to protect the likes of you".

Now only one chocolate teapottery advocate has proven hereabouts that he has sufficient mathematical illiteracy to equate 4.5 with 30 and consequently arrive at the hypothesis that two is one.

So, it seems to me, not only did this PhuD merchant not receive sufficient mathematical training during his studies, he also did not receive sufficient training in how to gather information, analyse the data and interpret that data and draw conclusions. Perhaps he needs to reapply!

All in all, one might say another typical Cadbury fudge!

Cadbury Fudge ... is really pretty self explanatory ... It’s very thick and ... is not for the faint of heart ... just be forewarned.

Cymraeg llygoden

Hank Roberts said...

Glieck! (at, d'oh, huffpost) did it.

a gentlemen-don't-read-each-others'-mail kind of guy now says the first doc was sent to him and he used pretext -- someone else's name -- to get someone to send him the other docs.

Naughty.

Arguable: http://www.scambusters.org/pretexting.html

owlbrudder said...

Yes, perhaps naughty, buy I'm glad he did it. Turning the light on is always a good way of exposing things. Well done, Mr. Glieck.

owlbrudder said...

tsk! 'buy' = 'but'.

Anonymous said...

Well, color me stoopid!

Sadly, as history tell us, he who must not be named, at the heartland of this sorry wormtale, has told us a string of lies and has been deeply involved the creation of pure unadulterated fiction concerning tobacco, ozone depleting CFC's, DDT, Health Care and so the long list of his bull dustius tales goes on!

Thus, until such time as he who must not be named, releases the complete source code, for all to see, one cannot take his claims of innocence at face value.

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." Abraham Lincoln ...

Anonymous said...

Well, to repost my speculation:

"2) It seems stupid to me for whoever got the group of documents to stick in a made-up strategy memo that didn't really add very much, and gave Heartland the gift of being able to complain about the forging rather than just playing defense on the real documents. "

So now we have 2 options: 2A) Peter Gleick made up the memo, confessed to document stealing, but for some reason continued to lie about the memo,

and 2B) A third party sent Gleick the memo. Which, as bizarre as this all becomes, at least makes every individual action make sense: the memo is fake, so Heartland is denouncing it, but the memo-leaker thought it was real, so it makes sense to include in the memo batch.

This leads us to the question of... WHO SENT THE MEMO? It must have been someone with access to the Heartland documents... which suggests this was a honey-trap? In which case, it succeeded beyond the trappers wildest dreams. But... why bait a honey-trap with real info? What if Gleick had just published the memo as is, noting he'd gotten it from Anonymous?

Which comes back to my question that there's no obvious rationale for someone to invent a memo which is mostly true but actually fake... so maybe Gleick really was that stupid and did fake the memo, and is now lying about it? I know that it is always difficult to overestimate the power of stupidity...

-MMM

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

@JBowers

Oh ho ho ho ho! Poor Jbowers, he crossed his fingers and hoped to die that the heartland document was real but alas it was a fake, and it was faked by teammate Peter Gleick.

hahahahahaha

J Bowers said...

"and it was faked by teammate Peter Gleick."

Not according to Peter Gleick. Maybe he used remote viewing to know what to ask for? How's it going trawling through those stolen emails looking for ripe cherries to pick and quotes to mine, by the way?

badger badger badger said...

A fake document with real info is what Dan Rather got.

dhogaza said...

"Which, as bizarre as this all becomes, at least makes every individual action make sense: the memo is fake, so Heartland is denouncing it, but the memo-leaker thought it was real, so it makes sense to include in the memo batch."

or that the document really did come from inside Heartland, but wasn't an official Heartland document. In other words, someone got their hands on an internal document and sent it on.

The sequence of events is starting to make sense - Gleick got a hard-copy document purporting to show Heartland's strategy. He unethically tricked Heartland into sending supporting information. He then scanned the original document, bundled it with the e-mails, and sent the package on.

If the supposedly "fake" document had contained false information, his tricking of heartland would've resulted in his getting board documents uncovering the "fake" as being innaccurate.

But that's not what happened.

It's an odd "fake" document indeed that contains accurate information suppoedly only known to Heartland insiders ...

Anonymous said...

dhogaza: But if the memo is NOT fake, then how did Heartland know to claim it was fake before they knew how it had gotten out?

I guess we have a series of possibilities. In order of what I think is most likely, at this point:
a) memo was forged by Gleick
b) memo is real, insider sent it to Gleick
c) memo was forged by insider who sent it to Gleick
d) someone who got a hold of the Heartland docs, forged a memo consistent with those docs, and then sent the memo to Gleick

Any other options? Also note that for b, c, and d, we have to figure out how the memo was made to be consistent with documents that hadn't necessarily been written yet...

-MMM

dhogaza said...

I would merge your "c" and "d", but substitute "written" for "forged" (it wasn't on official letterhead, etc).

"Also note that for b, c, and d, we have to figure out how the memo was made to be consistent with documents that hadn't necessarily been written yet..."

Ever serve on a board? I've served on two. Staff prepares the budget for board approval, and the budget and supporting information will be completed for submittal generally well in advance of the board meeting where it will be voted on (in well-run organizations, board approval is frequently mostly a formality).

It wouldn't be hard at all for a staffer to write something up that jives with the budget even if the board documents hadn't been written up yet.

Of course, it's also possible the person saw the board documents.

"a" is unlikely because having decided to reveal his identity, and to take the hit on his credibility, any sane advisor would tell him to put it all on the table at once, ride the storm, and be done with it. Serial confessions do not make for a more pleasant life.

Anonymous said...

""a" is unlikely because having decided to reveal his identity, and to take the hit on his credibility, any sane advisor would tell him to put it all on the table at once, ride the storm, and be done with it. Serial confessions do not make for a more pleasant life."

I completely agree that this would be a scenario to be avoided... and yet, do you remember Weiner-gate and the "hacked facebook page"? It seems not uncommon for individuals caught in bad behavior to attempt to make up a half-way story, making everything worse.

But yes, on second thought I agree that producing said memo based on draft documents a month in advance would not be infeasible... maybe I'd go with 40% a, 40% (c+d), and 20% b (I've lowered b mostly because Heartland appeared to know that they could get away with denying the memo early on)

-MMM

Anonymous said...

The only one who has broken the law here is Peter Gleick. He now has zero credibility. Hopefully soon we can refer to him as a convicted felon.


I think my "Rabett Run, Fonzi and sharks" comment was spot on the other day and seems even more appropriate in light of these recent posts and comments.


Celery Eater

J Bowers said...

Celery Eater can specify which law he broke and whether there is any public interest defence, then.

Anonymous said...

http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/528.5.html



Celery Eater

Anonymous said...

In what way is that law applicable, CE?

I'm willing to be convinced, even by you.

How is PG "harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person"?

For one thing, the Heartland Institute is not a "person".

For another, apart from a disputed memo which PG assures he received from a third party from the HI, how do the other docs, which appear to be genuine (I'm led to believe), harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud?

Cymraeg llygoden

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that Peter impersonated a HI board member. That person is the one who has been harmed and defrauded. I am not an attorney so I do not know if this section of law can be interpret "person" into HI.

There may be other sections that are relevant and define a person as including corporations.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=528-539


Any assurances that PG makes I view with a great deal of skepticism at this point.


The short of it is I would be surprised that it is not illegal to contact a company, impersonate an employee of said company and obtain company property.


The documents are out and whatever that leads to is fine by me, but the way they were released should not be condoned nor ignored.



Celery Eater

hd wallpapers said...

great source

J Bowers said...

Pretexting seems to be a somewhat grey subject in law.

Lionel A said...

Cadbury and others could be very wrong pining the Donkey's tail on Gleick for textual analysis comes up with a very different answer, Mr Bluster himself .

Anonymous said...

"My understanding is that Peter impersonated a HI board member. That person is the one who has been harmed and defrauded. I am not an attorney so I do not know if this section of law can be interpret "person" into HI."

Your latter attempt to confabulate the Heartland "board member" with the institute itself completely contradicts your prior claim that it is specifically "the ["board member"]... who has been harmed and defrauded". You are attempting to transfer to that particular individual any harm that might have been done to the institute. And it would seem to be a very fraught exercise indeed to claim harm specifically on behalf of that individual.

The alleged Heartland "board member" is anonymous. There can be no public reputation harm to an anonymous person.

The alleged Heartland "board member" did not have any document, whether hard copy or electronic, stolen that was specifically that person's property. There can be no material property harm to a person who had nothing material taken specifically from them.

The alleged Heartland "board member" was not the recipient of Gleick's request for the Heartland documents. Therefore the alleged Heartland "board member" was not him/herself "defrauded".

If there is any harm, it is to Heartland itself for having been:

1) silly enough to be convinced to part with documents that it wanted kept secret

2) silly enough to claim charity/tax-exempt status when it appears not to qualify

3) silly enough to think that it can lie and deceive the public about science, and expect not to be caught out.

If the alleged Heartland "board member" is subsequently identified I suspect that they will have a difficult case for demonstrating personal harm, even for having allegedly had their identity used.

If Heartland is going to claim "harm" based on the documents that were released, then it's going to have to participate in and endure a very detailed and a very public examination of its policies, its publications, and its pronouncements on science, in order to show with credibility that it was not and is not engaging in activities that constitute the harm that it believe is alleged by the documents.

Ouch.

Heartland's best avenue for action would seem to be (and I am not a lawyer either) to follow up on Gleick's use of a Heartland associate's identity to obtain information. And as has been repeatedly pointed out on the Interweb, this might not be as cut and dried as it seems to appear to many Heartland sympathisers. Further, if the IRS ever manages to demonstrate that Heartland was Very Naughty about abusing its charity status, then Gleick may in fact be in line for a share of a reward, which could quite possibly complicate any action directed at Gleick.

Further, if (as the above-mentioned stylistic analysis shows) Heartland has a plausible link to the authorship of the "fake" memo, then the whole exercise is turned on its head and Gleick's involvement in the whole affair becomes almost incidental.

Bast's professional propaganda work to whip up hysteria over lies, misrepresentations and exaggerations has been a liability in this case. A wise board would probably have urged discretion here, but Bast's habitual proclivity for FUD techniques has probably caused the institute far more harm than would otherwise have occurred.

Oo, and celery is toxic in large quantities.


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq. (the Old World sort, not the New World sort - after all, IANAL...)