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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)

any chances of a successful defence against defamation are surely starting to recede now, even in the US:

Feb 20, 2012 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

This is funny. The LA Times has an article today critical of Heartland and quoting Mein Kampf in support of its position. Its been noted that this is a new ploy: a Reverse Godwin. Here’s how it works: Godwin’s Law states that a commentator comparing an opponent to the Nazis loses the debate – therefore, a commentator comparing himself to the Nazis causes his opponent to lose. Clever move by the LA Times.

Feb 20, 2012 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

The Klimazwiebel blog, run by climate scientist Hans von Storch, still has the fake memo posted up, without any amendment to point out that it's a fake - 5 days on.

Feb 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Matthews

Don Pablo:

An excellent overview of “discovery”. And, of course, it’s available to both parties: DeSmog for example might be quite embarrassed by discovery of its relevant documents.

Feb 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

Joe Bast could clear up everything if he posted a screen shot of the email that was sent. We could see what documents they sent and whom they were sent to.

Maybe Joe Bast just made a mistake and clicked the wrong name in his address book before he pushed "send."

Feb 20, 2012 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

This reminds me of Viscount Monckton's threat to sue Professor John Abraham.

How is that going, by the way?

Feb 20, 2012 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterToby

Heartland has been perfectly clear. The documents were obtained illegaly, and at least one is entirely fabricated. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make Snapple, would you like to say something original for once?

Feb 20, 2012 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered Commenternano pope


How many times do you have post the same thing? You've posted that exact sentiment probably a dozen times on that blog, and several times on every other blog, forum and news story that I've seen about this incident. It's getting tedious.

Especially since
1. we all know that any screenshot would be taken now & wouldn't be accepted by you either
2. he is under no obligation to attempt to prove a negative
3. there is no reason to believe he is even aware of your ridiculous idea, no matter how many times you post it. (hence the "why don't you" is a particularly ridiculous way to phrase the question)

Feb 20, 2012 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

Some people are claiming that heartland is a private company. Actually, it has tax-exempt charity status. Dr. Mashey's report at DeSmogBlog shows how they seem to be violating this tax-exempt status. He has sent his report to the Internal Revenue Service.

Why don't you ask Joe Bast to prove his allegation that the email with the attachments was obtained under false pretenses? Ask him to post a screen shot.

He may have accidentally sent the documents to the wrong person and he doesn't want the donors and board to know he messed up.

Mr. Bast is not providing any proof that he was the victim of a fraud. He is just making claims.

Feb 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple


I believe it's usual with defamation to write to those publishing the libel promptly, stating that you consider their actions defamatory and requesting them to stop and publish a retraction.

It's expected that as the injured party you will have tried to limit the publication of the defamation and warned the publisher of the defamation.

You can't knowingly let it continue for months then spring a legal action on them, not without damaging your chances of success.

Feb 20, 2012 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

snapple - it would be amazing if anyone could get through anything with more than 10 words by John Mashey before their eyeballs started to bleed. He generally fails to make his point. Doesn't he! Oh and it's a strange stunt to pull when you look at all the tax-funded/but really lobbying/fake charities and agencies supporting the CAGW meme that enjoy similar tax status.

Feb 20, 2012 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Copner writes that Mr. Bast is not aware of my ridiculous idea and that Mr. Bast doesn't have to prove a negative. He also says he "knows' what I will believe.

Certainly Mr. has to prove he is the victim of a crime, and so far, there is no evidence that he has been the victim of a crime. He has the evidence---the email with the attachments with the address of the person someone at heartland sent it to.

Mr. Bast has made a public allegation--not he should offer public proof by posting a screen shot of the email Heartland sent someone. We can see the attachments and who got them.

My "ridiculous idea" is the first thing the police will want to see. It's the evidence. Joe Bast claimed that smoking doesn't hurt people. He defended Joe Camel, a cartoon character that promoted cigarettes to children. He's not a very credible source for teachers.

We go by what the Pentagon, CIA, National Intelligence Council, National Academy of Sciences, and the IPCC say. Teachers know that Joe Bast is a dishonest person who is trying to hurt our country and the whole world so that he can make money.

Now the whole world will see what he is. The media won't be fooled for long when he can't show the evidence that he was the victim of a crime.

Feb 20, 2012 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

I think the IRS will understand what Dr. Mashey has sent them.

Feb 20, 2012 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

What is the defamation? What is not true? Mr. Bast has not said what SPECIFICALLY is not true.

Feb 20, 2012 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

The comedy writers - Russel, Snapple et al - remind me of my late Grandfather's opinion
'Teaching the inherently foolish to read and write, no matter the heights they attain in those two skills, can only be counter-productive.'

Feb 20, 2012 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K


"FEBRUARY 19 — The Heartland Institute has sent legal notices to numerous Web sites, blogs, and publications asking them to take down the stolen and forged documents and what it views as malicious and false commentary based on them."

The C&D request is attached in pdf form.

Now you may not construe the above as a complaint about defamation, but there we are.

Feb 20, 2012 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Maybe Joe Bast can't read very well. Maybe he should read his email address before he pushes "send"!

Feb 20, 2012 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple

Crack Snapple and Pop is available on as a download MP3 for $0.89, if anyones interested. Genre Rap and Hip Hop ranked #4,573,987 in top MP3 songs.

Feb 20, 2012 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Some people are claiming that heartland is a private company. Actually, it has tax-exempt charity status. Dr. Mashey's report at DeSmogBlog shows how they seem to be violating this tax-exempt status. He has sent his report to the Internal Revenue Service.
Feb 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM Snapple

The Heartland Institute has charitable status under IRS section 501(3)(c).

This limits, but doesn't forbid, political lobbying activities.

Mr Mashey has worked himself up into one of his celebrated green-ink frenzies and convinced himself that Heartland contravenes its charitable status because, in his rather less than impartial opinion, it disseminates "non-factual" material.

Sadly, in Mr Mashey's feverish poring over 501(3)(c) rules to dream up a "gotcha" against Heartland - he overlooked the fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of US environmental activist groups share the same charitable status.

A good example is Peter Gleick's "Pacific Institute" - of which Gleick is both founder and president and which also declares its 501(3)(c) status on its website.

The Pacific Institute's "mission", on its website, is described as:- we conduct research, publish reports, recommend solutions, and work with decision makers, advocacy groups, and the public to change policy.

That seems a pretty good definition of "political lobbying" to me - and Gleick pushes it into some fairly "non-factual" areas such as his "Science BS" awards for non-believers.

In other words, Mashey's foaming is just another manifestation of the default warmist position - "It's OK when we do it - but if you do it it's striking at the roots of democracy".


Feb 20, 2012 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose


Interesting about and his Pacific Institute. Maybe he needs to be re-branded as a "lobbyist" by concerned bloggers.

Feb 20, 2012 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

Cosmic--It is true that Heartland is complaining about defamation, but they haven't said what is not true.

What is not true in the documents?

Feb 20, 2012 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnapple


Interesting about and his Pacific Institute. Maybe he needs to be re-branded as a "lobbyist" by concerned bloggers.
Feb 20, 2012 at 9:37 PM Skiphil

That's what he is basically.

There are several institutions with high-flown sciency sounding names in the US whose prime function is just activism, including :-

Union of Concerned Scientists (of which Anthony Watt's dog Kenji is a fully accredited member).

Woods Hole Research Center (not to be confused with the genuine Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).

Basically, most of the "science" these institutions produce seems to come in the form of activist "reports" and press releases.

Feb 20, 2012 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose


Part of the complaint is that one of the documents is a malicious fake. This has been published as genuine on various websites, blogs and publications. Furthermore there has been false and malicious commentary on these blogs and websites based on it.

At this stage HI don't have to point out all the various ways in which they consider the document and the commentary based upon it to be libellous, it isn't practical for them so to do and could even damage their case. It should be enough for the various bodies which have been given notice that the document is declared to be a malicious forgery and act accordingly, or they can insist that it isn't a malicious invention and be prepared to prove that in court. The onus would be on those defending the alleged defamation to prove that it was a genuine document and defend statements based upon it.

Feb 20, 2012 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Those accusing Peter Gleick of lying low fail to note his being beaten to the punch by fellow Forbes columnist, Steve Zwick :

Feb 19, 2012 at 9:34 PM | Russell

I've tried engaging Zwick on the facts. But all of my posts have been expunged. It seems that RC/communist 'party line' mentality applies to True Believing enviro-wackos elsewhere.

I did not know that this applied to Forbes too.

Feb 20, 2012 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

Auld lang sine wavelets,
Lest old Seitz be forgotten.
Ghost in the future.

Feb 20, 2012 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

crack Snap-ple popp,

You apparently don't see how the Strategy Memo picks out facts from the other documents and spins them into the tasty conspiracy concoction that Warmists find so yummy. That's why you don't pick up on the essential mendacity of it, because it reflects all your biases and worst assumptions regarding your political opponents. However, when this is parsed in a court of law, you and your ilk - hopefully - won't be sitting in judgement. Everything that Heartland is doing now is laying the groundwork for the court case, including what is released to the public. Maybe you should switch to decaf.

Feb 20, 2012 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterneill

I like the way Lucia nails down the defamation:

SteveF has a shorter version:

What the fake document tells me is that the creator of the fake is both an idiot and immoral.

Feb 20, 2012 at 11:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterharold

I am continually surprised at how many times the climate community wants to do the wrong thing and exploit loopholes and technicalities to escape its consequences.

"The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught."

-HL Mencken

Feb 21, 2012 at 1:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Peter Gleick Admits to Deception in Obtaining Heartland Climate Files

Feb 21, 2012 at 1:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Gleick just confessed.

Feb 21, 2012 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre

@Steve M:

He just confessed to obtaining documents from Heartland - not to faking the strategy memo.

It's all on revkins blog

My summary, from a very quick reading, is that


1. The strategy doc was sent to him separately by an anonymous person - (he continues to claim it might be accurate)

2. The other documents he obtained by calling up Heartland and pretending to be somebody else.

3. He emailed the whole lot out together.

Feb 21, 2012 at 1:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

Pointman, no sign of Leo Hickman grovelling yet - his Guardian article re HI is still up on the Guardian website and the rider about HI insisting that one memo is a fraud is the only alteration I can detect.
Hickman's more intemperate followers are in full voice, too, most unseemly stuff in general, but that's the CiF we know and love!
I am busy laying in popcorn for when the legal arguments begin, but I suspect this may be weeks or months away yet.

Feb 21, 2012 at 2:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Gleick just confessed.

Thanks for that information, Steve. I guess I'll just go and eat my words now.

I just cannot believe this.

Feb 21, 2012 at 2:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Delingpole, paging James Delingpole.

Feb 21, 2012 at 3:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

you might be interested in this post at WUWT

Feb 21, 2012 at 3:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterMargaretO

Those ain't vultures circling the AGW Camp .... them be tort lawyers.

Feb 21, 2012 at 3:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrcrinum

Gleick confesses... how long till we see the bus and all those tossing each other under it? Looking forward to the inevitable groveling from those hoping to avoid multi-million dollar lawsuits.

This is choice.


Feb 21, 2012 at 3:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Calling Snapple, calling Snapple....your big dish of crow is waiting to be eaten.

Feb 21, 2012 at 3:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterEd Snack

@Snapple, you are misrepresenting Joe Bast with your comments regarding second-hand smoke. You are repeating the false talking points that have recently cropped up. Fortunately many of us do bother to check out facts for ourselves, and in this case, I checked out the document written by someone who has done research by Heartland Institute. The document was not written by Joe Bast.

This document did not state that smoking does not affect people. That sir, is a bare-faced lie. What it did say is that the research that was done into whether or not there was a link between second-hand smoke and lung cancer was not sufficient to reach a conclusion that this was the case. This was yet another example of junk science being the winner, where the EPA made a declaration that the science was settled when in fact there was a very small sample with the results being extrapolated to come up with the conclusion that 5000 had died from lung cancer as a result of second-hand smoke. The criticism remains valid.

Disclaimer: I am not a smoker. I have nothing to do with the Tobacco industry although my parents did own a milk bar where cigarettes were sold as I was growing up, my father smoked until the age of 21 and then stopped (he did not develop lung cancer) and I lived not far from the headquarters of one of the tobacco companies as I was growing up.

Feb 21, 2012 at 3:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterMargaretO

Damn... where are all the hypocrites when you need one?


Feb 21, 2012 at 3:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Those ain't vultures circling the AGW Camp .... them be tort lawyers.

Is there a difference?

Feb 21, 2012 at 3:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterformulaic

I offer that this is a false flag move.

The New York Times will 'reveal' the anonmymous donor tomorrow, and Gleick will be forgotten.

Feb 21, 2012 at 3:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Gleick's confession (so far) doesn't change anything as far as Hickman and Goldenberg are concerned. Gleick did not admit to writing the fake climate strategy document. So, the score remains:
fake -- Heartland have said that they had nothing to do with it;
genuine -- some details in it are true.
Despite the fact that it's an anonymous document of unknown provenance which, in McArdle's words, "was written from the secret villain lair [...] [b]y an intern", those who believe that the climate strategy document captures Heartland's evil spirit will still believe it's authentic.

Heartland's statement that the real documents were obtained by pretexting has now been confirmed. Which makes their disavowal of the climate strategy document a little more believable, I should think -- but only to an objective viewer. Which would seem not to include Hickman, Goldenberg, Black &c.

Feb 21, 2012 at 4:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

oops...left off a couple of words there. To correct my previous,
the fake document "reads like it was written from the secret villain lair [...] [b]y an intern"...

Feb 21, 2012 at 4:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

It is understood that Dr Gleick cracked and eventually confessed under sustained interrogation by the Norfolk constabulary.

Feb 21, 2012 at 5:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrantB

Well, now, it appears that the scanner was really in Berkeley.

Congratulations Dr. Gleick. You have single-handedly smeared the cause with disgrace.

Thank you.

Feb 21, 2012 at 5:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra


I offer that this is a false flag move.

The New York Times will 'reveal' the anonmymous donor tomorrow, and Gleick will be forgotten

Somehow, I don't think that they are smart enough to do a false flag. And who cares who is the "Anonmymous Donor"?

But we will see. Gonna be interesting.

Feb 21, 2012 at 5:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

I have a simple theory.

That book review? The push-back he got off that really affected him. Even before, it was clear he was not the most rational of men. His response after said a lot about him.

I think that episode put him on the road to do this.

I also think in the last day or so behind the scenes he was sacrificed to protect others or certain sites. I do not believe he did this alone.

Feb 21, 2012 at 6:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

You just couldn't make it up... from WUWT

AGU’s new task force on scientific ethics and integrity begins work

Peter Gleick
Pacific Institute, Oakland, Calif., USA

Randy Townsend
American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C., USA

In support of the new strategic plan, AGU has established a new task force to review, evaluate, and update the Union’s policies on scientific misconduct and the process for investigating and responding to allegations of possible misconduct by AGU members. As noted by AGU president Michael McPhaden, “AGU can only realize its vision of ‘collaboratively advancing and communicating science and its power to ensure a sustainable future’ if we have the trust of the public and policy makers. That trust is earned by maintaining the highest standards of scientific integrity in all that we do. The work of the Task Force on Scientific Ethics is essential for defining norms of professional conduct that all our members can aspire to and that demonstrate AGU’s unwavering commitment to excellence in Earth and space science.”

Feb 21, 2012 at 6:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

(6:02 AM) -- If that theory is true, I expect someone to claim that it's all the fault of those climate change d****s who criticised Gleick! ;)

(6:17 AM) -- Not only did Gleick do the write-up that you linked, he's the chair of the AGU Task Force on Scientific Ethics !

Feb 21, 2012 at 7:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

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