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« The Entrepreneur | Main | Not fake, no, not really - Josh 149 »
Sunday
Feb192012

Heartland issues legal notices

The Heartland Institute has issued legal notices to at least two of those who have been engaging in dubious tactics after the faking of the strategy memo became clear.

Firstly there is DeSmog and secondly there is Greg Laden, the blogger who was the subject of considerable interest among Tallbloke's legal team a few weeks back.

...we respectfully demand: (1) that you remove both the Fake Memo and the Alleged Heartland Documents from your web site; (2) that you remove from your web site all posts that refer or relate in any manner to the Fake Memo and the Alleged Heartland Documents; (3) that you remove from your web site any and all quotations from the Fake Memo and the Alleged Heartland Documents; (4) that you publish retractions on your web site of prior postings; and (5) that you remove all such documents from your server.

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Reader Comments (201)

I've just noticed the nature blog has posted about the team of 7's letter. along with quotes from the fake Heartland document. .... time stamp says they only posted in 1 hour ago.

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

If Bast is telling the truth, why would he want to fake a screen catch? If he is being truthful, the screen catch would exonerate him. IT would show who he sent the email to and what documents were attached.

Bast is the one who is claiming there was a crime. DeSmogblog is not claiming there was a crime.

I don't know if there was a crime or not. The FBI says they have no legal basis to investigate this incident. Joe Bast says he contacted the FBI, but the Chicago FBI Special Agent Royden Rice says he did not contact them.

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

@Snapple:

1. Your misquote Rice

2. He made the comments on Thursday. Nearly 4 days ago. A lot can happen in 4 days.

3. A screen capture can easily be faked, and it would be a capture made today, not at the time it was sent, so would prove nothing..... as no doubt you would immediately point out if one were to be published.

4. You also ignore the fact that the email that Heartland sent to the "Heartland Insider" imposter, could well contain other information that Heartland do not want to disclose more widely yet - such as other confidential information that "Heartland Insider" imposter hasn't yet passed on - or perhaps such as information which is likely to be used to identify or prove the identity of the "Heartland Insider" imposter.

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

"As for the fake document, HI has repeatedly said that they did not have anything to do with it."

Then it won't be attached to the email they sent, will it?

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

Don Jambon de la Sierra

Heartland's squealing noises fall flat as their refusal to let us examine what was sent.

As to 'legal notice' , James Taylor is a lawyer, albeit one sorely impeached by past trafficking in other peoples mail.

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

@Snapple: And you would believe the screen capture more than the other details they have put out because of????

Let's be honest, your next claim would be that they could have faked the screen capture, so now you need access to their email logs. But those could be faked too? So what about a forensic examination of the hard-drives? And so on...

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

Snapple

Then it won't be attached to the email they sent, will it?

That is what one would expect. Of course, perhaps you already have a copy and are just waiting to shock us all with the "truth". If so, please do it now as I have an afternoon appointment.

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

@Russell - are you the same person who posted under the id Russell @ American Spectator ?

And if you are, how did you get access to the Forbes' article popularity statistics?

Here is the comment that I'm referring to:

Russell | 2.18.12 @ 3:28PM

HI's refusal to release the originals is itself a violation of transparency.

There's nothing fake about the fact that The real reason Kaminsky is gunning for Gleick here in the science -free TAS is that Heartland's hacks just can't stand up to real scientists on opposing pages of Forbes.

Gleick's columns there have been outdrawing Taylor & Michaels by up to 15 to 1.

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

Russell

You are obnoxious.

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Royden "Ross" Rice hasn't said anything new in four days. If there is a crime, Bast will have to prove it.
Perhaps Heartland accidentally mailed confidential information to the wrong person because they put in the wrong email address, and Bast doesn't want to admit this to his board. If the situation is as he describes, Bast should post a screen capture of what Heartland sent.

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

Snapple
So you don't have the email? What is your point?

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

My point is that Bast has the email. He claims he went to the FBI, but the Chicago FBI says he didn't contact them. Bast is the one who claims he has been the victim of a crime. He should take his computer to the FBI if he thinks he is the victim of a computer crime.

He is like a girl who is crying rape but won't go to the emergency room so the police can do a rape test.

I think I believe the FBI, not Bast.

Feb 19, 2012 at 11:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

Snapple/Russell - HI have now presented a legal notice stating the strategy memo is fake. They have no need at this stage to publish screen captures, logs or anything else. Certainly not now, they can do that anytime or in court if it gets to that. For now, why not give the publishers of fake and fraudulent material the choice of an embarrassing backdown or digging themselves further into the mire?

I'd love to play poker against you two.

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

How do you know what he has or hasn't done? He's under no duty to tell you about any investigation.

All you have is less than 2 days into this (there are now 6 days passed), one FBI agent in one field office said he hadn't heard from Heartland, at that point. You don't know what has happened in the 4 days since then. And you don't know what other law enforcement Heartland may or may not have contacted.

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

Touche.

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterneill

Heartland made a statement. That's not the same as proof. Also, since the FBI says they have no legal basis to investigate this incident, what is the crime?

For all we know, Joe Bast emailed the wrong person in his address book. He's claiming there is a crime, but what is the crime and where is the proof?

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

"How do you know what he has or hasn't done?"

I know he is publicly claiming that he is a victim of a crime but that he hasn't provided any public proof.

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

Snapple - you're getting far too emotional and excited about this. Where have HI stated that a crime has been committed? They state, "Publication of this falsified document is improper and unlawful."

While every crime violates the law, not every violation of the law counts as a crime

To repeat what I posted earlier -

They have no need at this stage to publish screen captures, logs or anything else. Certainly not now, they can do that anytime or in court if it gets to that. For now, why not give the publishers of fake and fraudulent material the choice of an embarrassing backdown or digging themselves further into the mire?

I'd love to play poker against you two.

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

Re: Snapple

He claims he went to the FBI, but the Chicago FBI says he didn't contact them.

Curious. I thought it was policy at investigative agencies like the FBI that they would never confirm or deny any investigation.

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

According to my information, the Anonymous Donor will soon be published in the MSM.

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

Snapple,

Today is the Sunday of a long weekend in the U.S. Tomorrow in Presidents' Day, a Federal Holiday. It is unlikely many Federal Officies are open for business this weekend and I am sure the FBI is only persuing dangerous crimes and criminals. Two days ago was the Friday before a long weekend.

BTW, I used to enjoy your iced tea but over time it became too fake.

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

Ross Rice, an FBI special agent in the Chicago field office, said Thursday that "nothing has been reported to our office" from the Heartland Institute.
After reviewing some of the media reports, Rice added, "It would appear that the items were given to outsiders under false pretenses as opposed to a breach of their IT system or theft."
"As such, there would be no legal basis for us to investigate," Rice said.
An FBI spokesman in Washington said he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation. The Chicago Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/73002.html#ixzz1msW82Dyb

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

The resident trolls are trying to do their best to sow the usual seeds of FUD but I'd suggest we all enjoy the moment, because it's going to be a very long moment. We've got them by the throat and they, and more importantly, the Heartland Institute, know that's the ground zero situation.

A certain person there, who knows exactly what they're doing, is running the situation. The legalities will grind on, the trolls will do their best to divert attention but in the end, the HI is going to make a lot of money or elements of the propaganda arm of climate alarmism are going to have to make a sickening apology.

I suggest we enjoy them grovelling. Such days were rare but I feel we'll be seeing a lot more of them.

Pointman

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

The singling out of Gleick so clearly and quickly was surprising to me.

The question to Gleick by Pielke Jr was a clear call for activitation the blogs on the issue. It worked.

The commenter forensics on the issue is amazing. Thanks all.

John

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

In which case he/she won't be anonymous anymore and there may or may not be legal ramifications with that.

In the meantime, can you cite the sentences in the letter of 18 February 2012 signed by Maureen Martin HI General Counsel where it states or even suggests that a crime may have been committed.

If you can't, might I suggest you try a different tack and look for a bit of wind elsewhere.

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

Amazing spin - Deniergate is good for deniers. Keep spinning, I'm dizzy already.

Feb 20, 2012 at 12:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterScots Renewables

You can find Special Agent Royden R. Rice's bio here
Judge for yourselves whether this 30+ year veteran of the FBI would:

1) Have knowledge of all active investigations.
2) Pre-empt any possible investigation by saying the FBI had no basis to investigate.

My own opinion is that it is unlikely he would know of all active investigations and I doubt somebody as media savvy as this Agent would ever say anything that might impact any possible future investigation.

Feb 20, 2012 at 1:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Gleick is going to be undone by this.

It is worth asking why someone as verbose and aggressive as Gleick has remained silent so far, especially since he's been mentioned in the fake document by name as a 'high-profile' mouthpiece for climate doomsayers.

Well he is definitely very high-profile now and may even go on to become notorious.

Methinks he is a striped donkey who thinks he is a zebra. Prison stripes will suit him.

Feb 20, 2012 at 1:05 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Ross Rice, an FBI special agent in the Chicago field office, said Thursday that "nothing has been reported to our office" from the Heartland Institute.
After reviewing some of the media reports, Rice added, "It would appear that the items were given to outsiders under false pretenses as opposed to a breach of their IT system or theft."
"As such, there would be no legal basis for us to investigate," Rice said.
An FBI spokesman in Washington said he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation. The Chicago Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/73002.html#ixzz1msW82Dyb

Feb 20, 2012 at 1:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

"I suggest we enjoy them grovelling. Such days were rare but I feel we'll be seeing a lot more of them."


Pointman


---------------


Pointman,

I have had the impression that 'cause' cultists who take unethical/unlawful actions have until now thought they can expect to be treated well by the MSM and the law because no matter what they do they 'believe' they are doing it for the highest good; they thought their lesser wrongs would be forgiven due to their greater good intention to save the planet.


It is interesting that they are now being shocked with the real world that treats them like everyone else.


John

Feb 20, 2012 at 1:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

Re: GrantB

can you cite the sentences in the letter of 18 February 2012 signed by Maureen Martin HI General Counsel where it states or even suggests that a crime may have been committed.

Get with the program. It doesn't matter what the letter contains, it only matters what they think it contains.

Feb 20, 2012 at 1:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Snapple, are you suggesting that a public "outing" by the MSM of the "anonymous donor" is either ethical, within journalistic standards, or even for the public good?
How would YOU react if the tables were turned and you were publicized as a significant donor to your favorite cause (say your local church or museum) against you wishes? It does not matter WHY you wish to keep it a secret, it is only important that you have the right to do so.

Feb 20, 2012 at 1:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Daddis

I think publishing a fake document is libelous. I wish the Heartland Institute will succeed.

Now, the publishing of private, but real, documents is disgraceful and that action will reflect negatively on those who commit it. Let them show their colors, if they wish to do so.

Feb 20, 2012 at 1:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndres Valencia

Now, the publishing of private, but real, documents is disgraceful and that action will reflect negatively on those who commit it.

The irony is not lost... :-B

Feb 20, 2012 at 2:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustus

Yes, that Forbes article is very bold with respect to Gleick as their main suspect.

I assume their legal team took a close look to ensure it stopped short of an actual accusation.

Still, all Gleick has to do is deny it publicly, and we can move on.

Feb 20, 2012 at 2:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

"Furthermore, Heartland views the malicious and fraudulent manner in which the documents were obtained and/or thereafter disseminated, as well as the repeated blogs about them, as providing the basis for civil actions against those who obtained and/or disseminated them and blogged about them. Heartland fully intends to pursue all possible actionable civil remedies to the fullest extent of the law."

The HI legal counsel's memo warns of "civil litigation" and says nothing about "criminal charges". Apparently there are posters on this blog who do not understand the differences between civil and criminal law in the US. Perhaps a little education may help:
http://www.rbs2.com/cc.htm

Feb 20, 2012 at 3:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrcrinum

@Rick Bradford

I'm confused about what "Forbes" article you could be referencing. Do you mean the American Spectator article that discusses Gleick?

Also, for anyone who hasn't seen it, the exchange of blog articles between Peter Gleick and Richard Taylor on Forbes in early Jan. is fascinating. I had managed to avoid Gleick's writings before Fakegate erupted, but he is a real...... piece of work.

The ferocity of the dust-up with Taylor is intriguing and disturbing, and it occurred just before the theft and forgery with Heartland docs. However, I don't see any likelihood that Gleick himself could be involved -- more likely one or more of his fanatical fans. When one reads the comments war following those two Forbes blog articles, it is clear that Gleick has some CAGW acolytes who (1) do see him as the center of their world, and (2) could easily decide to "strike" out at Heartland in some decisive manner. The ferocity and obsessiveness of some of the commenters there is quite striking.

Feb 20, 2012 at 3:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

Let them show their colors, if they wish to do so.
Feb 20, 2012 at 1:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndres Valencia

Their colors are not recognized by us. Our colors are not recognized by them.

Unfortunately, my sense is it will be a long, slow, indetrerminate, ugly, and generally sucky process for humanity. Zealots will f*#k humanity, through and through.

Sorry for my frankness.

Feb 20, 2012 at 3:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterneill

This is the response I received from the FBI agent in charge of public communications:

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
From: "Rice, Royden R."< ......@fbi.gov> [Add to Address Book]
To: ------- ------ <---------@---------.net>
Cc: <-------------@ic.fbi.gov>,< ---------@ic.fbi.gov>
Subject: RE: Heartland Institute Cyber Crime
Date: Feb 19, 2012 4:59 PM

Mr. ------ - as of Friday afternoon, nothing had been reported to our office by anyone associated with the Heartland Institute.

Additionally, based on the news accounts of the incident that I have seen, it would appear that the documents in question were given to third parties directly by Heartland employees. There was no computer intrusion which would be a violation of federal law under our jurisdiction.

Finally, it is our practice not to conduct our investigations in our [sic] through the media.

Regards,

SA Ross Rice
Chicago FBI
(312) 829-1199

________________________________________
From: ------- ------ [---------@---------.net]
Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2012 7:25 PM
To: Rice, Royden R.
Subject: Heartland Institute Cyber Crime

Dear Special Agent Rice;

It was widely reported in the news last week that The Heartland Institute at 19 S. LaSalle in Chicago,IL was the victim of identity theft and the fraudulent acquisition of confidential material. Since the act was committed via wire communications (telephone conversations and email) over state lines which is a Federal crime, it would appear that your office has regional jurisdiction.

Has your office started an investigation and can you comment on the progress?

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.


------- - ------
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

It is that agent's OPINION at this point, that there was no crime committed. Nothing official yet.

Feb 20, 2012 at 3:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterDuke C.

It just occurred to me what happened.

What appears to be a 'fake' document is actually a reconstruction using various proxies, backed up by sophisticated models projecting what the Heartland Institute would have said soon.

No surprise that this would confuse the 'little people,' as this methodology often does goes over the heads of the unapproved. But the Team's rigorous circle peer review has repeatedly confirmed that their methods are robust, often double-robust or more.

Now, move along, nothing to see, let alone debate here. It is all settled.

Feb 20, 2012 at 3:54 AM | Unregistered Commenteredward getty

Copner, the reader stats for all articles including Michaels', Taylor's and Gleick's , are posted by Forbes daily.


Thanks to Forbes tech savvy readership, Gleick's honest-to-gosh climate science has been outdrawing the Heartland stable's dishy disinformation by up to 15 to 1.

sHx is also blowing smoke - why should Gleick weigh in when Steve Zwick's Forbes column covered this matter days ago -

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevezwick/2012/02/15/the-real-climategate-desmog-blog-outs-heartland-propaganda-machine/

Feb 20, 2012 at 4:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

edward getty - Yes, a good analysis. The first PCA eigenvector corresponds to "Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms" and the second to "undermine the official United Nation's IPCC reports". Subsequent data suggesting there are problems with the correlation matrix have been ignored, in fact hidden, and replaced with ..er... something else

Feb 20, 2012 at 4:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

If HI succeeds in winning damages, I'm all for a leak of HI documents next year showing Desmog and Greg Laden as Heartland funding sources. That's something I'd really like to see!

Just saying :o)

Feb 20, 2012 at 4:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Additionally, based on the news accounts of the incident that I have seen, it would appear that the documents in question were given to third parties directly by Heartland employees. There was no computer intrusion which would be a violation of federal law under our jurisdiction.

Yes, this is correct, but why did the documents get transferred? Why because the perpetrator pretended to be a board member and that is identity theft, which when done on the internet is a federal crime The Identity Theft Deterrence Act (2003). And there are state laws as well. So we may still hear more about this yet.

Feb 20, 2012 at 4:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Skiphil

The ferocity and obsessiveness of some of the commenters there is quite striking.

We have had our share of them here, too.

Drcrinum


The HI legal counsel's memo warns of "civil litigation" and says nothing about "criminal charges". Apparently there are posters on this blog who do not understand the differences between civil and criminal law in the US.

You are quite right, and given the present DOJ, it is unlikely a federal prosecution will be filled.

Many of us understand that as well.

As for the civil suit, I refer back to Feb 19, 2012 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered Commenter Robin Guenier in Not fake, no, not really - Josh 149 Robin clearly knows that field well.

I do expect HI to find the money.

Feb 20, 2012 at 5:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Hmm, a bit of speculation here, but as HI presses this case, I wonder when we'll start seeing the MSM disavowing and turning on DeSmog and Laden and the others.
Newsroom lawyers are usually very astute about libel laws, and even many "real journalists have a decent working knowledge. I imagine at some point we'll start seeing responses from some portions of the MSM along the lines of; "Oh dreadfully sorry Heartland, we were totally bamboozled by these blogger folks at DeSmogger et al, terrible people deceiving us that way, never have anything to do with them again."
Bottomline, it is VERY UNLIKELY that DeMelle, Laden and the others will get anything like the support they are getting now from the MSM when the SHTF.

Feb 20, 2012 at 5:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterJake

Heartland will remain deservedly hoist on its own petard for as long as it provides downloads of the stolen CRU emails:

http://heartland.org/policy-documents/death-blow-climate-science;

Littlemore has posted this response to them:

http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-demands-desmogblog-remove-climate-strategy-document

Feb 20, 2012 at 5:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

The Internet is free. On the surface you can pretend to be anyone or no one. No cost. Yet when people act like this they forget that there is a real life out there, with real consequences, people earning real money to pay their mortgages. Real reputations at stake. That concentrates the mind wonderfully.

HI are under no obligation to keep anyone informed, especially if that would prejudice any actions they take. To some they are the devil incarnate, and are judged as such. For those people, they have to start from this position of justification. They do not.

They have been wronged.

HI owe none of us anything. They have clearly stated the document is a fake and it should be taken down. If the document is not fake, then they might as well close up shop now. Their reputation would never recover. I doubt they are that stupid.

There is a real world out there.

ps. I found the "morals" projection of the new commenters interesting :-)

Feb 20, 2012 at 5:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

OZ is awake and leading... Jo Nova has an update...

“We realize this will be portrayed by some as a heavy-handed threat to free speech. But the First Amendment doesn’t protect people who knowingly use or invent falsehoods to defame someone else. There is no right to defamatory speech.

“For 28 years, The Heartland Institute has engaged in fierce debates over a wide range of public policies – school reform, health care, telecommunications policy, corporate subsidies, and government waste and fraud, as well as environmental policy. We frequently and happily engage in vigorous, robust debate with those who disagree with our views.

“We have resorted in the past to legal means only in a very few cases involving outright fraud and defamation. The current situation clearly fits that description, and our legal counsel has advised that the first step in defending ourselves should be to ask the blogs to take down the stolen and forged documents.”

Feb 20, 2012 at 6:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Oz had better go back to sleep.

On both sight and experience, Heartland has came across as an utterly mercenary organization catering to any able to fund it. In the years since its inaugural climate conference , where messers Bast & Taylor distinguished themselves by exaggerating the number of scientists attending by a factor of five , its familiars have branched out into inquisitional barratry and reading other peoples mail.

The outspoken contempt for science evident in its self-parodic reports makes it ludicrous to categorize its interests as 'libertarian' .

At once over-lawyered and scientifically outclassed, it has provided a very poor return on cultural capital for the corporate rent seekers and Dominionist religious zealots that subsidize it. One has a positive duty to warn Intellectually serious Conservatives to subject its offerings to fiduciary fact checking as a matter of due course, as they tend to implode on even cursory scientific examination.

Feb 20, 2012 at 7:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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