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Gleick confesses

Extraordinarily, Peter Gleick has confessed to being the person who blagged emails from the Heartland Institute.

In the latest revelation, Peter Gleick, a water scientist and president of the Pacific Institute who has been active in the climate wars, apologised on Monday for using a false name to obtain materials from Heartland, a Chicago-based think tank with a core mission of dismissing climate change.

Crucially, he seems to be denying the faking, although he doesn't appear to be letting on who did.

In the piece, Gleick made the odd claim that he carried out the hoax on Heartland as a means of verifying the authenticity of a document that appeared to set out the think tank's climate strategy. Heartland declared the two-page memo a fake.

"At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute's climate programme strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute's apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it," Gleick wrote

I have to say I don't know whether to be more stunned by Gleick's foolishness or the blogosphere's ability to deduce that it was him what dunnit.

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Reader Comments (251)

Assuming for the moment that the 2012 Strategic memo is a fake, then it virtually has to be Gleick that did it. He claims to have received the anonymously posted documents in January, 2010...
Feb 21, 2012 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered Commenter GW

If as he claims he recieved these documentsin January, why did Gleick write the following in early February?

First, the stakes are too high for any geophysicist or climate scientists to even consider doing bad science for money — the stakes to their reputations and to the planet. Alas, this isn’t true for the organizations paid to deny the science.
Second, none of my funding or my Institute’s funding is used to support our conclusions. In fact our guidelines prohibit it.
Finally, all of our funding information is completely transparent and publicly available, which you would know if you had bothered spending 2 minutes on the web before making unfounded insinuations. But try asking the Heartland Institute for a list of THEIR funders. They refuse to provide it.

Source: (page 13)

Feb 22, 2012 at 6:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Sorry if this has been mentioned here already, but the third article by Megan McArdle is a gem!

Feb 22, 2012 at 7:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterharold


Now that Gleick is being described as a “water scientist” rather than a “climate scientist”, a WUWT suggests that this affair be called “watergate”.

Feb 22, 2012 at 7:21 AM | Unregistered Commenterharold

I agree with harold that the latest McArdle piece is a gem. It's full of interesting observation. For example:

The other thing one must note is that his story is a little puzzling. We know two things about the memo:

1. It must have been written by someone who had access to the information in the leaked documents, because it uses precise figures and frequent paraphrases.

2. It was probably not written by anyone who had intimate familiarity with Heartland's operations, because it made clear errors about the Koch donations--the amount, and the implied purpose. It also hashed the figures for a sizable program, and may have made other errors that I haven't identified.

Did someone else gain access to the documents, write up a fake memo, and then snail mail that memo to Dr. Gleick? Why didn't they just send him everything?

If an insider was the source of the memo, as some have speculated, why did it get basic facts wrong? (I have heard a few suggestions that this was an incredibly elaborate sting by Heartland. If so, they deserve a prominent place in the supervillain Hall of Fame.)

Why did the initial email to the climate bloggers claim that Heartland was the source of all the documents, when he couldn't possibly have known for sure that this was where the climate strategy memo came from?

Why was this mailed only to Gleick? Others were mentioned in the memo, but none of them seem to have been contacted--I assume that after a week of feeding frenzy, anyone else who was mailed a copy would have said something by now.

How did his anonymous correspondent know that Gleick would go to heroic lengths to obtain confidential material which confirmed the contents, and then distribute the entire package to the climate blogs?

How did the anonymous correspondent get hold of the information in the memo?

It's getting increasingly hard to believe that Gleick was not the faker.

Feb 22, 2012 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

Here's another example of the extremism at the Daily Kos:

Gleick needs to stop being a wimp and... (4+ / 0-)

Recommended by:
WarrenS, Dallasdoc, OleHippieChick, RunawayRose

... go into warrior mode.

THIS is disgraceful: "Nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case. I offer my personal apologies to all those affected." I read those lines and they made me so mad I could just spit nails.

What he should have said is, "I have only just begun to fight!"

Fuck!, I am so fucking sick of people who can barely throw a punch before they feel compelled to apologize! What I want to see is them going for the jugular, going for the kill, and then pissing on the enemy's corpses. And if they have to apologize for anything, they can apologize for the pissing but not for the corpses. Did Obama apologize to Bin Laden's family? Hell no.

The climate deniers are setting the world up for a dieoff that will be equivalent to the outcome of a nuclear war. For this they deserve to be treated like war criminals, and anything less than a United Nations tribunal, ending up with being put before a firing squad, is merciful.

Gleick needs to take a few lessons from Seal Team 6 and apply them, nonviolently but relentlessly.

"Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

by G2geek on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:19:17 AM PST


Feb 22, 2012 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Was Richard Black at the BBC one of the "15 Friends" to whom Dr Gleick sent the FakeGate documents ?

The DeSmog website was the frst "Friend" to publicise the documents - but Black was very very fast out of the gate. DeSmog is hailing Gleick as a hero for the Warmism cult - and has still not taken down the links to the documents. I would expect the Heartland Institute to sue them in due course. They could then meet their nemesis after their current hubris. "Beware Gleicks bearing gifts".

Feb 22, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

If we suspend disbelief for a moment and say PG was not the faker.

He certainly must have know the document was fake. I mean, could he admit to being that dumb? The genius climate, sorry water scientist?

Therefore does it make any difference if he faked the document or not. He still disseminated it as though it was genuine, in full knowledge it was fake.

Feb 22, 2012 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

I am not sure if this has been posted already - a video clip of Joe Bast (President of the Heartland Institute) - slamming Dr Gleick :

Feb 22, 2012 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

What really concerns me is the lack of reaction by the scientific community and the free use of the phrases such "Climate Wars" by climate scientists and words such as "disappontment" by organisations such as the AGU. Megan McArdle comments hit the nail on the head for me and alerts me to the fact that the path that Peter Gleick has trod leads to extremism, and his elevation to of a Climate Martyr means that others will tread this path with the likelihood that violence will be on their minds.

It is clear that Peter Gleick knew that he would be caught, his early resignation from the AGU indicates that. In this war, and it is now a war been declared on climate sceptics by actual scientists, we have a person who was more than willing to sacrifice his reputation, his career and his family for a cause - Gleick in effect decided on a Suicide Mission. The reaction from climate alarmists has been instant deification, from the climate community one of disappointment, not disdain, not condemnation, not even anger - they all understood Gleick's motives.

Now the next eco-zealot willing to sacrifice everything for instant climate martyrdom may take a gun down the path that Gleick has blazed, and will uses bullets to justify taking direct action against people who others have found guilty of climate denial.

The climate community and scientific bodies in failing to condemn outright the actions of Peter Gleick and failing to call for Gleick to feel the full force of the law have made sure that a campaign of hate and violence will now be directed at sceptics and those termed luke-warmers.

For example, Andy Revkin has been singled out for criticism by Gleick as someone who could be turned. If I was Mr Revkin I would watch my back from now on.

Feb 22, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I'm wondering why so few of the 15 original recipients have shown up. I think only 3 of them have been identified so far. My suspicion is that Gleick's email ended up in various people's spam filters and was probably deleted unread.

Feb 22, 2012 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterEddy

Now PZ Myers has a post confession piece up.

No sympathy for the devil

I am not being disengenous when I say I thought people like this would be able to not say incredibly stupid things - maybe rather not saying anything and hang fire considering the early ejaculations that had occured previously - but not incredibly stupid dumb things, but no.

He quotes from the fake document maintaining about Heartland.

And they plan to poison American education.

Dumb. The plethora of similar reactions breaking out are akin to some social petri dish of stupidity that has exploded and infected previously sane looking media. Possibly the infection was always there underneath.

Feb 22, 2012 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

In all the comments I've seen about Megan McArdle's articles — all of them excellent, I might add, and very perceptive — no-one seems to have picked up on

For that matter, what about the judgement of all the others in the movement who apparently see nothing worth dwelling on in his actions?
We've always claimed the AGW belief was a 'religion'; here we have at least confirmation that one of its supporters considers it at least to be a 'movement'.
And here's me thinking it was supposed to be all about objective scientific research!

Feb 22, 2012 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Feb 22, 2012 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

Joe Bast comes across pretty well in that intereviw he is ask most of question I would have been interested to hear him asked, and answers well. Not as bone headed right wing as I would have assumed. Again against my intial instincts, like I assumed Gleick wouldn't be so stupid! I am learning a lot here.

Feb 22, 2012 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Among all the hysterical and shrill comparisons between Climategate and Fakegate there is something that has been missed. The international authorities, which we know are sympathetic to the CAGW cause, are now faced with a bit of a problem.

If they refuse to throw the criminal book at Peter Gleick they set themselves an uncomfortable precedent regarding the Climategate leaker/hacker. If Peter Gleick is given a lenient sentence or, God forbid let off completely with a tap on the wrist, then it's going to be very very difficult to make the case that what happened at the University of East Anglia was in any way a crime. (Especially if, as many of us suspect, the identity of the leaker is known and protected by the University because of embarrassment; a scandal which would be enormous). Peter Gleick has undoubtedly committed several federal offences. Offences that regularly receive long custodial prison sentences in the US. Any attempt to absolve him will be seen to be politically motivated.

Feb 22, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Mike Jackson - that point made well by Megan McArdle makes it easier for others to follow Peter Gleick.

If you know your personal sacrifice is to be in effect honoured and not condemned by your peers then it makes more likely that others will do the same with increasing emnity. That is the road to extremism and violence.

It is important for the climate community and scientific bodies to now condemn Peter Gleick's actions and to call for the law to be upheld and for justice to be done.

If they don't they are in effect declaring open season not just on sceptics but also on those as Peter Gleick stated "could be turned". That includes people like Andy Revkin and Judith Curry.

Feb 22, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Scientific Integrity Exposed: Email 2486

date: Thu Jan 29 09:37:26 2004
from: Phil Jones <REDACTED>
subject: Re: MBH Submission (fwd)
to: REDACTED, Stephen H Schneider <REDACTED>, Editorial Board--Ann Henderson-Sellers <REDACTED>, REDACTED, Christian Azar <REDACTED>, Cynthia Rosenzweig <REDACTED>, REDACTED, Danny Harvey <REDACTED>, Dave Pollard <REDACTED>, "David G. VICTOR" <REDACTED>, Diana Liverman <REDACTED>, REDACTED, gary yohe <REDACTED>, "H.J. Schellnhuber" <REDACTED>, REDACTED, Jon Foley <REDACTED>, Katarina Kivel <REDACTED>, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, "Peter H. Gleick" <REDACTED>, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, "Rosenberg, Norm J" <REDACTED>, REDACTED, Stewart Cohen <REDACTED>, Thomas R Karl <REDACTED>

Steve, Peter et al,
I totally agree with Peter on Yuck. The tone of the email from Reviewer A indicates the sorts of issues we would be in. Here are my thoughts:
If you accede to this request the whole peer-review process goes down the tubes. Reviewers will be able to request the earth from authors. If we all started doing this the number of reviews we could do would dramatically reduce. I currently do about 20-30 reviews a year. If I began asking for this sort of information from journals (AMS, AGU, RMS etc) I would be laughed out of court. I guess it would stop the papers to review coming. The whole system would grind to a halt.

I've never requested data/codes to do a review and I don't think others should either. I do many of my reviews on travel. I have a feel for whether something is wrong - call it intuition. If analyses don't seem right, look right or feel right, I say so. Some of my reviews for CC could be called into question!

I've just been told that a paper will be appearing in GRL soon (by some of the skeptic crowd - not McIntyre). Paper was obviously reviewed. It commented upon some aspects of the TAR, data on CRU's web pages and of some of Mike Mann's work. It didn't go to review to me, Mike Mann, Chris Folland or Tom Karl. I am currently marking 5 U/G theses. Most are better than this GRL paper. The students put in references to justify statements - this GRL paper doesn't.
We are trying to be fair, yet they are clearly not.
So is there a compromise. What if Mike sent them his data/codes - the data is there on a web site - and they sent Mike their data and codes. As Ben pointed out Mike's code will not be simple. There are at least 50, maybe more, combinations of proxies used for different periods in the past.
At 21:45 28/01/REDACTED, Peter Gleick wrote:

I find Reviewer A's email a pretty convincing indication of what CC and Mann will face if the code isn't released.


Dr. Peter Gleick
Pacific Institute
Oakland, California

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0)REDACTED
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0)REDACTED
University of East Anglia

You can see the start of the paranoia within the climate community when their science as practiced started to become scrutinised in more detail. Peter Gleick's expressions of "YUCK" is a clear indication of unhappiness at the thought of it.

Feb 22, 2012 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I'm wondering why so few of the 15 original recipients have shown up. I think only 3 of them have been identified so far. My suspicion is that Gleick's email ended up in various people's spam filters and was probably deleted unread.
Feb 22, 2012 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterEddy
Very good question, Eddy. Who were the privileged 15, and how soon did they post Gleick's package, if at all? Was the covering email we have seen his only communication with them?

Another question that is still buzzes away in my brain is the AGU resignation timeline. According to them, he resigned as head of the Ethics Committee on Feb. 16, for unspecified personal reasons, a couple of days after the scam was unleashed. Did anyone there have any idea why? Was the resignation contemporaneous, retrospective or prospective? Was leaving his name on the website a get-out clause in case he wasn't found out? Or did he just drop them in it? Did none of them notice the speculation about him being the proponent of the Heartland 'expose'?

Their 'nothing to see here, move along' press release is out of the cookie cutter that has produced similar responses from, eg the IPCC when finally forced to admit their howler about Himalayan glaciers. Fortunately for skeptics, they seem to be slow learners when it comes to damage control. The 'this is just a blip, forget it' approach they favour is exactly what creates even more suspicion among punters.

Feb 22, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

@Jiminy Cricket (Feb 22, 2012 at 9:23 AM)
"He [Gleick] still disseminated it as though it was genuine, in full knowledge it was fake."

What I see from Gleick's article is that the claim is being staked that Gleick did take action (legitimate & illegitimate) to corroborate the fake document. The legitimate Heartland documents did confirm some of the figures in the strategy document. (Although, as people have pointed out, there are some inconsistencies.) This might shield him from a defamation claim, if it were believed that he (a)didn't generate the fake document himself and (b)made a good-faith effort to verify the anonymous document and (c)reasonably concluded that the authentic documents were adequate confirmation. [Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.]

It also has the effect that the more outspoken voices can continue (at this moment) to quote from the fake document as if it were real, using the same storyline.

Feb 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

All this reminds me of Beyond the Fringe:

"We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the controversy. Get up in a crate, Gleick. Pop over to Heartland. Take a shufti. And don't come back."

Feb 22, 2012 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Harold, using criminal or deceptive means to obtain information is not 'in good faith' in any jurisdiction with a trace of British legal history. So no, that is the post-modern science justification for what he did, but pretty much destroys his case in court.

Dreadnought, thanks for the clip!

Feb 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Johanna --
Accepted, "good faith" was a poor choice of words on my part. [I did warn you that I'm not a lawyer!]

Feb 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

"if it were believed that he (a)didn't generate the fake document himself and (b)made a good-faith effort to verify the anonymous document and (c)reasonably concluded that the authentic documents were adequate confirmation.

Awesome. But surely even this crowd wouldn't be stupid enough to attempt the, ‘I only broke into the bank because I suspected they were storing money there’ defence?

Feb 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record


I'm disappointed in Myers. A pharyngula-stage embryo could have spotted that the memo was fake. He, prominent skeptic though he is, quotes from it without a second thought.

He also hasn't thought through what he is advocating:

"And there's Peter Gleick beating himself up for exposing the Heartland Institute's mendacity. I really don't get that. He's a scientist. Scientists gather data to make informed decisions. Gleick got the data the Heartland Institute tried to hide. You can't on one hand condemn Gleick for asking for the information and getting it handed to him, while praising hackers for breaking into a server and illegally taking data." - Myers

Scientists gather data...????!!!!! Where does this end???

Feb 22, 2012 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJit

Well it is likely that Gleick's 15 friends were a combination of scientists, activists and journalists. It also likely that some chose to act immdediately, others to hang fire and some to retreat to safer climes. What we do know that once Gleick's 15 friends are exposed, and they will be, they will all suffer reputational damage, some more than others. It might be best to come forward now rather than be exposed as part of a conspiracy in a court of law.

Feb 22, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac


I suspect there *weren't* 15 recipients. Perhaps he didn't want the recipients to know who else had it, or didn't want skeptics to have the chance to deduce his identity by which blogs he chose to send the material to (i.e. his favourite three, say). Instead he claims to have sent the material to 15. He might also have seen it as a psychological ploy to get the recipients to publish.

Then again, I could be wrong, and think all this because deep down, I now automatically distrust everything Gleick writes.

Feb 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJit

This might shield him from a defamation claim, if it were believed that he (a)didn't generate the fake document himself and (b)made a good-faith effort to verify the anonymous document and (c)reasonably concluded that the authentic documents were adequate confirmation.

You forgot (d) then admitted the document was a fake. He has not yet done this, and it will be hard to get a jury or judge to believe his sincerity until such time as he admits this. Your point (c) is also difficult to swallow given all the talk of his "genius" (IMO, it is a silly label simply because he was granted a McArthur Fellowship - I'm not seeing how being a genius has anything to do with the award). Any reasonable person can see the immediate flaws in the document. Judges and juries are not nearly as easily fooled as people would like to believe.


Feb 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Mac -
Why do you think that a recipient of Gleick's email -- one of the 15, if indeed there were 15 -- would suffer or be accused of conspiracy? If they didn't post the material, I can't see that they did anything wrong. In fact, not posting would appear to indicate good judgment.

Feb 22, 2012 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Because of his actions Peter Gleick has lost the right to be taken at his word.

He should therefore:

1. Reveal the exact date he received the anonymous document and via what medium.
2. Produce an exact copy of the anonymous document he received.
3. Produce copies of any supporting evidence such as a covering letter and/or an envelope.
4. Produce the email(s), including all attachments, that he fraudulently obtained from the Heartland Institute.
5. Produce the email(s), including all attachments, that he sent to what he calls "journalists and experts".
6. Reveal the names of the "journalists and experts" he sent the emails to.

Feb 22, 2012 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Feb 22, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Stuck-record

Among all the hysterical and shrill comparisons between Climategate and Fakegate there is something that has been missed. The international authorities, which we know are sympathetic to the CAGW cause, are now faced with a bit of a problem.


I suspect it won't cause that much of a problem. Largely, they'll just ignore the contradictions and continue.

However Gleick is dealt with is largely a matter for US law. The line I'd peddle is that this is a US matter although there questions of civil law involving the BBC and possibly others. This has nothing to do with the investigations regarding the UEA and certainly has no bearing on EU or UK environmental policies.

Feb 22, 2012 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Mark T -
If I were on a jury, and the case turned on whether Gleick was the author of the document, my opinion would depend upon the standard of evidence. I think the preponderance of the evidence indicates Gleick as the author. However, I would say that the evidence (to date) does not establish this beyond a reasonable doubt. To your point about the flaws in the document, I consider that the evidence that the document is fake *is* sufficient to establish this point beyond a reasonable doubt.

Just my opinion.

Feb 22, 2012 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Richard Black has a piece up now about the latest:

Many thanks for all your messages - nice to know one's thoughts are in such demand!

He has the smug 'water off a ducks back' attitude to criticism down pat. Shame that's all he can manage. he clearly has full contempt for both the sceptics and faithful. I wonder how anyone can give him credibility.

Feb 22, 2012 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Why do you think that a recipient of Gleick's email -- one of the 15, if indeed there were 15 -- would suffer or be accused of conspiracy? If they didn't post the material, I can't see that they did anything wrong.

A conspiracy to hide the truth after it was apparently obvious to nearly everyone that a) the legitimate documents were obtained illegally and b) the "strategy document" was more than likely fake. Certainly not a grand "conspiracy," but those that kept quiet, the majority from what I can see, will seem as if they did not want to face the facts and do the right thing.

In fact, not posting would appear to indicate good judgment.

Doubtful, though difficult to assess at this stage. Their judgement does seem consistent with the climate community in general, which tends to keep its collective mouth shut in the face of otherwise damning evidence of malfeasance. To me, this is just more of the same, giving less and less credibility to those attempting to convince me of the horrors of a warming planet, i.e., it would be hard for the 15 (assuming they are among the usual suspects) to have a reputation lower than what I already perceive.


Feb 22, 2012 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

If I were on a jury, and the case turned on whether Gleick was the author of the document, my opinion would depend upon the standard of evidence. I think the preponderance of the evidence indicates Gleick as the author.

Agreed - it is circumstantial, however.

However, I would say that the evidence (to date) does not establish this beyond a reasonable doubt.

In civil litigation, in the US at least, the threshold is much lower than "beyond a reasonable doubt." In a criminal case, I agree, though without the original, it may be hard to use as a defense - judges do not like admitting evidence that cannot be verified.

To your point about the flaws in the document, I consider that the evidence that the document is fake *is* sufficient to establish this point beyond a reasonable doubt.

Indeed. In fact, there is, in reality, no evidence that the document is legitimate. Gleick did not say that he verified it, only that he attempted to (yet managed to go off and release it anyway - what a guy). So far, the only admissible "evidence" is Joe Bast's statement that it is not theirs. No other opinions really matter, legally, without Gleick's presentation of the original for examination by the courts (and plaintiff). It is unlikely he will even be allowed to claim it existed if he cannot produce the original as I noted above.

This isn't even a case of Joe Bast's word vs. Gleick's word - Joe Bast is the only one that can make any definitive statements on the matter - "It is not ours, prove me wrong," is sufficient. If Gleick chooses to reveal the identity of the source for the document, that may help, but that source will still need to present evidence that the document was actually taken directly from Heartland Institute and not fabricated as is suspected.


Feb 22, 2012 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

As has been said before, especially by Mosher - there are ample stylistic similarities between the fake document and Gleick's style. More importantly, to my mind, is that the fake strategy document "reveals" information obviously lifted from the Board papers and the IRS form. It is inconceivable that Gleick somehow received the fake strategy document and later went on a phishing expedition for Board papers and got ALL the "info" confirmed by just the set of papers for that Board meeting. That is - the Board papers obviously predate the fake strategy document, the fake was produced to "sex up" and distort otherwise innocuous information from the Board papers.

Feb 22, 2012 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

I went over to HI's site this morning (I'm in California this winter) and stumbled on a op-ed piece by Rich Trzupek. He has some interesting insights about Peter Gleick and his ilk:

From:Fakegate – A Few Thoughts From A Humble Scientist
by Rich Trzupek

Yet none of that is enough for people like Peter Gleick. They can’t abide even one dissenting voice in the wilderness. Their arrogance of their convictions knows no bounds, so if they can’t prove that an evil conspiracy stands in their way, they’ll invent one. It’s revolting, but sadly representative of the many academics who believe they alone retain a monopoly of truth.

Link here

Feb 22, 2012 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra


Yes - in a civil case the burden of proof would be on the defendant to show that what the fake says is true. And the standard of proof is not "beyond all reasonable doubt" as applies in a criminal case, but - what ON BALANCE appears to be the truth. On that test, on the evidence so far, it would surely be very hard for Dr Gleick to convince people that he is not the author of the fake document, which he then published to his "15 Friends"

Feb 22, 2012 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

Mark T -
Put yourself in the position of one of the recipients. You recieve a set of documents in an email, anonymously. You read them, decide they are defamatory and of uncertain provenance, and discard them. Other recipients of the documents, however, post them on blogs. Heartland then issues a statement that documents were obtained illegally, and that the key document is fake.

What truth are you hiding? All the facts which you possess, are already public. It's public knowledge that the documents were provided by a so-called "Heartland Insider". You know nothing more about the fake-ness of the key document than everyone else on the internet. I don't see that you've done anything wrong. Certainly you're not under any obligation to offer your opinion on the validity of the documents. Perhaps you might venture to post that you were one of the recipients, but that fact doesn't strike me as significant, despite the curiosity expressed on the topic.

Feb 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Several tid bits. First of all, assuming that there were 15 recipients, it is trivial to keep them from knowing about each other. All you have to do is send them all using BCC

Just about everybody knows how to hide behind a Gmail or Yahoo throw away email account.

No crime is committed if you do not print the documents on your blog. Indeed, you can print them even if they are sent to you anonymously. However, once informed that they are fake and you fail to remove them then you are at least opened to civil suit, and perhaps a criminal case, depending on the content.

The FakeGate case will never get to criminal proceedings with Eric Holder as AG.

This may well not go to civil court as well as it will be very expensive as others have pointed out.

And what many are missing is the real value of this is the PR disaster that the warmistas got out of this. The damage is done. All Soros' money can not undo that now. I repeat -- THE DAMAGE IS DONE.

Feb 22, 2012 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

"15 friends" indicates a specific group expected to do the right thing. That can be viewed as being conspiratorial because the defamation is dependent on those "15 friends" to rush to publish and to judgement without checking first the authenticity of those documents. Fakegate is all joined up from the theft, the fake, the defamation and the churnalism. All did what was expected of them.

Feb 22, 2012 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Some warmistas are trying to claim moral-equivalence with the Climategate affairs. However, I think there are some important differences.

First, the climategate emails show climate scientists acting in a concerted fashion to block FOIA requests, rig the peer review process, destroy the careers of fellow scientists and presenting a unified front to the wider public.

During blog discussions, it became clear that many career scientists saw nothing particularly wrong or reprehensible about these actions. It was the outsiders from industry or elsewhere who were dumb-struck by the evidence there presented. And, of course, warmista activists thought that their climate science heroes were simply acting heroically in their mission to save the planet.

This latest affair shows a climate scientist taking the ethics of academia into the public sphere. Whereas the climategate emails were full of content that surprised the non-scientists who read them, these latest emails contained nothing very surprising. However, the revelation that at least one of the leaked documents was fake - and of course, it just had to be, by coincidence, the one with the juiciest quotes - changed the situation. The legal temperature began to rise.

And then, along comes a climate scientist to claim that he had orchestrated the whole affair. His statement potentially reduces the chances of DeSmog and Greg Laden getting hit with a claim for defamation. This is good. However, it reveals that climate scientists have got so blinded by what they have been able to get away with in academia that they think they can also act that way in the real world. It is worth consideration that the scientist involved is evidently very interested in ethical matters - such a delicious irony.

The mass media are complicit in this. They are showing how increasingly out of touch they are with reality. It is not so hard to envisage a world where you turn to blogs for the news and reportage - the newspapers and TV channels being widely ignored.

The real victim will be science as a profession. Sooner or later, people outside academia will get bored with funding people who act with the ethical code of alley cats. Perhaps there is space in the TV schedules for a reality show called Scientists' island, where we can tune in to watch scientists fighting, screaming and squabbling, regressing all the while to the level of the children in "Lord of the Flies".

Feb 22, 2012 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

The fact that someone emails you stuff does not make you complicit in anything - unless you solicited it or otherwise were involved in planning its compilation and/or distribution.

That is one of the reasons why Eddy's question is interesting - did some of the recipients decide to hold off publishing or otherwise promulgating this stuff because they wanted to check if it was true? Or because they had reservations about publishing stolen documents? That would show a certain amount of integrity and would be a solid defence.

Feb 22, 2012 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

What truth are you hiding?

That you did not think the document(s) were legitimate, and that you intentionally discarded them because of such a belief. Like I said, not a grand conspiracy, but a general attitude among climate scientists to protect their own. Anyone of the 15 could have stood up and said "I was one of the people that Peter Gleick sent these documents to and I do not believe this was ethical and I have doubts about the legitimacy of at least one of them." Such an act would have immediately demonstrated his integrity as greater than that of Gleick, if not the rest of the climate world, and would have immediately shut down the rest of what happened in the blogosphere.

Instead, none said a peep. Can't obstruct the cause.


Feb 22, 2012 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark T


This from Tim W's site:

Andrew Zalotocky // May 8, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Nobody can have an informed opinion on everything because nobody has enough time to become an expert in every subject. So people who express opinions about everything are likely to be wrong most of the time, even if there are some topics that they understand well.

But that is exactly the kind of people who are most likely to succeed in the old media. Newspapers work on very short deadlines and have very limited space. They need writers who can knock out something attention-grabbing on any subject, at any length, in a couple of hours. TV and radio work under similar constraints, except that they also need people who can talk confidently on air. They all want contributors who share their ideological positions.

So if you’re glib, over-confident, and can rush to the studio or produce a comment piece at very short notice, you’ve got it made. That’s the main reason why Penny is “the BBC’s new go-to girl”. Being reliable and ideologically on-message is far more important than knowing what you’re talking about.

That’s also the reason why the internet is such a threat to the old media. It’s not just that it increases competition or changes distribution models. It’s that subject-matter experts can now talk directly to the public. They can discuss complex issues at whatever length is necessary to explain them, without any editorial interference. This destroys the authority of the traditional opinion columnist because it exposes just how little they actually know. This in turn undermines the credibility of the media outlets that employ them. If their talking-heads are so clueless, why should we trust anything they tell us?

Feb 22, 2012 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

I agree, it would be very interesting to find out who those 15 recipients of Gleick's 'leak' actually were.

I wonder for instance if John Mashey was among them.

Mashey seems almost (more than) obsessed with Heartland, and his latest piece (dated February 14) features the term 'Heartland' 811 times!

At the same time of original DeSmogBlog 'release', Mashey filed a complaint with the IRS (based on the above document) against Heartland, challenging their their tax exempt status: "I believe there was a massive abuse of 501c(3)" Mashey said!

Mashey says it was sent just hours before, and that he'd been working on it for months. But Mashey too chose DeSmogBlog for his channel of communication ...

Well, well. As I said, I think there is more to this than we know at this time ..

Feb 22, 2012 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

Thanks very much to HaroldW and Don Pablo de la Sierra for the technical advice.

And pardon me for not noticing those details right below this box! I feel like an IPCC climatologist who didn't notice the Sun.

Now I just need to come up with some bold thought.

Feb 22, 2012 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered Commenteredward getty

I've been in London today attending Richard Lindzen's excellent talk at Westminster. Back at my computer, I see that the BBC's Richard Black has at last commented on the Gleick revelations. And it's a pretty pathetic response. But one thing struck me. He correctly quotes one of the Heartland documents as saying, re their proposed education modules,"whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy". Black comments that "within science, the question is how much, not whether".

I think Professor Lindzen would agree with Black on that.

Feb 22, 2012 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobin Guenier

Gliek's original confession:

"I am the one who disseminated (distributed, or otherwise put out) the documents (statements on paper, email, or the like) about Heartland (a group of people, such as a company) Institute."

It went on like that for a very long time.

Feb 22, 2012 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Back to Black

Was Black at the BBC one of the "15 Friends" selected by Dr Gleick as targets for the stolen Board papers and the fake strategy document ?

Otherwise - how did Black go to print so quickly ? Or is he permanently tuned into the DeSmog website.

Black's BBC article today is weaselly. It really is pathetic.

As Connolley = self-declared Stoat , maybe Black = Weasel ?

Feb 23, 2012 at 2:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

One wonders, will the Pacific Institute disclose the names of its donors in the wake of the Gleick confession? Gleick confessed and apologized for a serious lapse in judgment, a lapse that some would characterize as criminal. Wire fraud and all that...

If the public should know who is donating to the Heartland Institute to support their agenda and donating to the GWPF to support theirs, shouldn't we also know who helped pay Gleick $152,514 in 2010 according to the institute's publicly available IRS 990 for his part time job at the institute?

Feb 23, 2012 at 3:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterDGH

Powerline was the first blog to expose Dan Rather's fraud.

John Hinderaker at Powerline apologises for coming late to the Gleick story. But I think he nails it -

Feb 23, 2012 at 4:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

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