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« The world gas market | Main | Gleick "cleared" »

Gleick uncleared

Further to my article noting  that Peter Gleick has been cleared by an internal investigation into the Fakegate affair, the original source - the Guardian - has pulled the story.

How strange.

The original is still on Google's cache for anyone who wants it.

[Update: I've attached a copy for posterity]

Original Guardian article

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Reader Comments (48)

But the original story will have served its purpose. The Guardianistas will have been suitably reassured that all is well.

May 21, 2012 at 7:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Hmmm... surely the Guardian could not have been so foolish as to rely upon unreliable information to run a dramatic headline story on such a sensitive matter??

Think of how foolish the Guardian would be to make sweeping assertions to the effect that Gleick had been "cleared" without reliable sources!

What can this mean, that the article was published and then withdrawn hours later, with no explanation offered to the public?

May 21, 2012 at 7:55 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

In light of Goldenberg's past performances, perhaps this post should be titled: "Goldenberg's Gleickenshpiel Gaffe Gored"

May 21, 2012 at 8:01 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

It's coming apart for them, poor dears.

May 21, 2012 at 8:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Pacific Institute Classified Section:

For Sale: 1 used halo, includes free Goldenberg branded Band-aids to hold it together.

May 21, 2012 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Gleikgate, open or shut?

May 21, 2012 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

Troll Gleickenschlemiel's Merry Pranks ...

May 21, 2012 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Maybe an editor accidently walked into the playpen known as the Guardian Environment section and was startled to find it nothing more than an NGO clearing house and has started cleaning up there?


May 21, 2012 at 8:38 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

As a regular reader of the Guardian's environmental section I see this as just one more in a long list of , in my opinion, shockingly ill-informed and/or misleading articles by this author.

Her reluctance, it would seem, ever to allow comments on her articles also speaks volumes. I have long ago ceased looking for any content of value from her, but read her work with fascination as a perfect example of output from someone who is a full blown high priestess of the alarmist crowd.

Bracket her with Richard Black, I say.

May 21, 2012 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Despite the fact this article has been pulled, I fully expect Gleick to be "clear". A bit of hand waving and excuse making and the residual findings on his actions will be that they "do not matter".

Same old same old.

May 21, 2012 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Hang on - wasn't Dr Gleick identified by the language contained in the document which he didn't fake - which led to him admitting it ?

How can that be if he didn't fake it ?

May 21, 2012 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

Down the memory hole ....

May 21, 2012 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

It would be interesting to know exactly what official investigation is being conducted into the Gleick affair. A civil suit will no doubt take its meandering and very expensive course around the various lawyers involved.

I often ask people for their opinion about climate change and find that many believe that it is a serious threat to the planet. They are all levels of intelligence and as informed as they have the time to be. However, most have never heard of Gleick and many have little or no interest in the CRU emails.

When they seem open to a view that differs from the 'consensus' I direct them to blogs such as Bishop Hill and let them make up their own minds. One or two very popular blogs [rarely this one] have comments which insult those who have been led to believe in rapid warming caused by carbon dioxide from fossil fuels.

The tone of some of the comments irritates them to such an extent that they are driven back into the 'cagw' camp. It is of course human nature for people who believe something is true to ignore any evidence to the contrary if they find that they are insulted and ridiculed for their existing beliefs. I don't believe in censorship, it is simply feedback from my efforts.

Needless to say I hope you continue your excellent work looking into the science and politics of climate change. You may already know that Amazon states that people who buy Mann's new book frequently buy The Hockey Stick Illusion also.

May 21, 2012 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered Commentermfo

Interesting. It was definitely there at 10.48pm last night when I looked at BH and posted a comment but seems to have gone by the time of the next comment at 11.01pm.
I think Suzanne Goldberg (@suzyji) needs to explain what happened - otherwise people will be tempted to speculate.

May 21, 2012 at 8:59 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

The article was probably pulled because of some horrible journalistic sin, such as breaking an embargo

May 21, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndyL

Suzanne Goldberg’s other article on Heartland, posted at Guardian Environment one minute before the “Gleick cleared” one, is still up. It was altered two hours after being posted. A comparison of the original with the altered version might reveal something.

May 21, 2012 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

I'm with AndyL. It was probably just embargoed, and will come out soon, along with all the other usual suspects. Richard Black will have his puff piece ready to go. Just need to hit SEND.

It does reveals how the Guardian is simply an uncritical mouthpiece for the CAGW propaganda machine though.

May 21, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Surely it is obvious that the original article was a hack by The Big Oil Well Funded Denier Machine and their Planet-Destroying Lackeys, Running Dogs and LickSpittles.

It was placed to discredit Suzanne Goldberg who is a fearless seeker after Truth and Justice. And it was only the Vigilant Forces of Progressive Thought who noticed and pulled this shameful forgery.

All who are devoted to the One True Way of the Sacred Hockey Stick and the Coming of Thermageddon can only condemn this Cynical Attack on Hard Working Climate Scientists and the Communicators who risk their Credibility every day against the Anti-Science Hordes of Denialism


PS: Buy my book, please.

May 21, 2012 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Mann

Realistically it probably is just an embargo.... or could it be:

You have to read carefully what the Guardian wrote:

"A review has cleared the scientist Peter Gleick of forging ***any*** documents "

The review didn't just clear him of forging the strategy memo - it also cleared of writing ***any*** forgery!

He didn't forge multiple emails to Heartland's staff, getting them to send him confidential documents. And he didn't forge emails to "15" friends, pretending to be a Heartland Insider. He's not guilty of pretexting. And he's not guilty of disseminating Heartland's confidential materials. (according to the review).

In fact, it's now clear that Peter Gleick is a completely innocent man, hounded by Heartland for no reason whatsoever. (according to the review)

I'm sure the Guardian would love to tell us more about the review, who was involved, what procedures were followed and so, on, but I suspect that all they have is a scanned, unsigned PDF, created on an Epson scanner, and sent to them from an anonymous email address. And when the review "leaker" is eventually found, it may well turn out that he can not testify as to the details of the review either - since it was slipped to him anonymously, possibly because he was mentioned by name as a prominent climate scientist in the review.

May 21, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

Could the article clearing Peter Gleick be a forgery?

May 21, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

So the story so far as I understand it.

Allegedly a brave and courageous whistleblower working deep inside the crater of the dormant volcano cunningly hidden in a street in Chicago discovers an evil plan to murder kittens on childrens TV.

This brave operative gets out his/her mini camera, well, ok borrows the office photocopier and makes a copy of the documents. Now how does this brave spy get their information out to the world ?

Secret comms link to a satelite from the volcano ? - no.

Morse code from the secret transmitter in the heel of their shoes ? - no.

Tie the copies to a messenger bird and release it ? - no.

They put the copies into an evelope and send them in the mail.

Our brave and courageous campaigner (with a reputation for whiney, name-calling screeds against anyone who disagrees with him - oops I mean known for his careful and well crafted documents "pwning" anyone who is just stupid) receives these documents in the mail.

He is fighting an uphill battle with only the resources of the MSM, the UN, the strained credibility of the science behind him to fight this evil organisation with literally single figure millions of "BIG OIL" dollars.

"Wow" he thinks, "this is dynamite. This will show those evil deniers a think or two and no mistake." After a while he begins to think he will need more to back this up. So he hatches a cunning plan to extract more secret documents from the dormant volcano.

At this point of course we should have a scene involving our brave hero hangliding onto the peak of the volcano, breaking into the volcano avoiding the laser traps, killer robots and crack enemy agents - culminating in our hero positioned in front of a PC deep inside the volcano with the following on the screen

Copying File : Muuuhahahahaha.doc

just before he makes his dramatic escape.

Instead reality is less exciting - he just sets up a fake GMail account and emails the evil genius' secretarial staff and politely asks them to send him what they have - which being polite but rather stupid evil geniuses they do of course.

Meanwhile on the outer rim of the internet there is an often overlooked area where tumbleweed occasionally gets lost enough to bother blowing through it. This goes by the name of Desmogblogville.

You would be mistaken thinking this is just a ghost site with nothing to look at except for the garbled posters put up on the edge of town to keep the public out in case their heads explode. But no, in the saloon is a crack team of PR experts carefully honing their skills on making sure the public are fully informed on how PR experts are skewing the argument on global warming. Their success is clear from the high traffic passing through. They are after all PR experts.

Our hero arrives in town in his Jeep suitably covered in dust and sporting some bullet holes from his courageous adventure. A few "manly" hugs are exchanged followed by the secret documents. Do they verify the documents ? No need the hero is clearly a hero - he speaks their language. "Fire up the PR cannons" shouts their leader and within minutes the documents are online for the world to see.

A brave and beautiful journalist working tirelessly for a campaigning newspaper with a worldwide reputation for fair play and accuracy is one of the few visitors to this outer reaches of the web and picks up the document. Does she check the facts with anyone ? No need - the PR crack team say it must be true so thats good enough for her. She hits the big green publish button.

She is not alone, another bearded campaigning journalist (who no longer does "news" apparently) joins in hitting his own big button. "Look, look at the evil kitten murderers" they all squeek. 99% of the world ignores this, the 1% online who care go into overdrive.

There follows a week of feverish activity trying to identify if the documents are genuine and who the brave hero who got them is. The first mystery is both solved and further confused by the evil geniuses admitting that the ones about that boring stuff are genuine, but the one that describes their plans to murder kittens on TV is clearly a fake - they love kittens they say, they want everyone to have a kitten.

The 1% active in this go beyond overdrive and take it to 11 - "Hang on, this document contains the same whiney language our brave hero uses and not enough 'Muuuhahahaha' that the evil geniuses use as they choose which kitten is next. Could it be a fake ?"

Some forensic experts are paid some money and say no. Some more experts volunteer to analyse the document and says "yes". A "crowdsourcing" scientific analysis experiment descends into predictable chaos with no conclusion either way. 99% of the world continues in ignore mode.

Speculation continues until inexplicably our brave hero admits he did the evil deed of using GMail as an intelligence gathering device - the 'orrer the 'orrer. He is suspended (on full pay ?) from his "Institute" cover, which does not stop him being described as a hero by philosophers the world over with full support from commenters - and he is still being invited to spread his genius around.

In the meantime of course the evil geniuses prove how smart they really are by avoiding capitalising on the raised profile they have across the world by putting out posters about how the evil characters of the planet believe that murdering kittens on children's TV was a good thing, thereby dipping their own reputation in the nearest cowpat they can find and lose support.

Our brave and beautiful journalist now thinks our hero is still a hero and says he has been cleared.

Cleared I tell you.

May 21, 2012 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

Joe Bast of Heartland seems to be in a somewhat combative mood at the moment, and no doubt sees Gleick as part of the cause of the organisation's current travails.

Surely he must be considering a civil suit for damages.

May 21, 2012 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

I'm not a tw@t but reading her tweeter feed may show why her story was pulled, people started to ask difficult questions like where she actually got her info. from.

May 21, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

I think Roy is on the right track here. Glieck forges email from "review" and sends it to friendly journalists. After all, he's got previous in this respect.

May 21, 2012 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

@BBCRBlack via Twitter
Looking forward to reading @suzyji on the Heartland Institute conference. The arguments are always rooted in science, remember...

Arf, arf, arf.

May 21, 2012 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm

how will the intellectual property of the obfuscated article be handled ?

I think the ecoloons made it vanish to make space for a comprehensive study on all of obama's publications from 1991 onwards. Takes a lot of data all these goegraphic birthing locations.

May 21, 2012 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Can we call this GoldenGate?

May 21, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Election season in the US. My first reaction to this episode was that it could well be a hoax being played by someone either like minded to Peter Gleick, or by someone trying to demonstrate MSM bias on this subject.

The problem the Guardian [and the BBC] have brought on themselves with the Gleick affair, is that they have shown themselves to be gullible as well as biased.

May 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

@BBCRBlack via Twitter
Looking forward to reading @suzyji on the Heartland Institute conference. The arguments are always rooted in science, remember...

Are these hints to "remember", and libtard opinionating on someones tweets part of the TVL value we get? Is this part of the package of "unbiased reporting" , from the BBC??

i know they want to deliver, for the gortesque keep they get. But maybe this is over-delivrance.

May 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

It is now back with (from a quick look) an additional phrase "although it is not entirely clear what the investigation entailed" and a new URL: - i.e. an updated date (h/t Bill on WUWT who spotted it as "Still there...")

May 21, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterHK

Well the story is back with us on the Guardian , still no information of what the review consisted off was nor who did it. Hardly surprising as such ‘details’ often go missing from this author.
It may prove interesting to review the current release with the last one to see what’s changed . But ‘facts ‘ there are a missing as so often in climate science .

May 21, 2012 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Back again at

Looks identical One slight change ("although it is not entirely clear what the investigation entailed") - still content-free. Timing 16.01 suggests some sort of embargo.

May 21, 2012 at 4:53 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Link to the restored article. As KnR notes, no details about the review. Presumably it's the Pacific Institute's "independent" review, as they announced here. Surprising, then, that the Pacific Institute has made no mention of it as yet. I suppose it's just a coincidence that the review results are available during the Heartland Institute's annual conference on climate change.

May 21, 2012 at 4:59 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Maybe Peter Gleick got to see a pre-draft of the investigation, just to make sure that they got the details right. And got so excited that he mailed it to the same list of 15 churnos and other activists as last time ..

Before the thing was made official, I mean ..

Just a thought


May 21, 2012 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

Wherever integrity is subatomic-size, truth becomes elusive because of quantum physics effects

May 21, 2012 at 5:22 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Don't you find the timing interesting? Given that how much the Guardian is obsessed with the Heartland Institute.

I think the Guardian is in love with the Heartland Institute.

May 21, 2012 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub


Yes, the day before the Heartland Conference starts is not an accident.

There's some rabble rousing going on too -

May 21, 2012 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

The Guardian in love with the Heartland Institute? Certainly obsessed with bringing it down by frightening off potential donors. I’ve been obsessed with Guardian Environment in my time, when I assumed they were a bunch of nutters in an otherwise sane paper, and that they’d be reined in once the editors realised how much they were despised by the majority of their readers (see the ”recommmends” on comments to any climate change article).
I think it’s clear now that the pressure is in the other direction. Goldenberg is under orders to get Heartland. How else explain her sixteen articles on the Heartland-Gleick affair? Her overt partiality, propagandising and self-censorship has probably rendered her unemployable on a serious US newspaper.
The question is - why? The Hickmans and Carringtons are perfectly aware that the centres of sceptic strength are at Bishop Hill, WUWT, Climate Audit etc, far from the fossil fuel lobby. Only pressure from ignorant CAGW believers higher up can explain the Heartland obsession. The environment page boss John Vidal stays far away from the fray, spending most of his time on visits (many of them imaginary) to third world countries; Monbiot has retreated into saving badgers and changing nappies. The vast majority of their green readers prefer articles about organic bicycles and butterflies. There’s a touch of Moby Dick about the last days of the Graun.
My money’s on the whale.

May 21, 2012 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

geoffchambers the thing to remember is that Goldenberg is a 'political journalists' whose deep in the Washington process so is more than happy to smear to achieve an objective, as that is the standard way to work in this area. The attacks on the Heartland Institute are not becasue of what is says but who its seen to support, in this case the Republicans while Goldenberg has a hard-on for the Democrats , she is after all Hilary's biographer.
The 'quality' of her work is indicated by the fact her articles don't get opened up for comment, which on CIF is a sure sign that its even bigger BS than normal.

May 21, 2012 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

What does the Guardian think it achieves by the addition of this sentence. "although it is not entirely clear what the investigation entailed" just seems to confuse the issue further; reinforces that they haven't a clue what they are actually reporting.

May 21, 2012 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered Commentermiket

"it is not entirely clear what the investigation entailed".

A side-splitting LOL!!

That is one of the most pathetic weasel phrases ever uttered. Considering that NOTHING is reported in the article about any aspect of such an "investigation" (except that it is alleged to be "external"), the idea that anyone could be "cleared" by any investigation lacking credible detail on who-what-where-when-how-why is preposterous.

Try to imagine any entity loathed by Guardian writers and editors getting such a loving, mindless vindication. The double standards, i.e., lack of standards on display in the Guardian is beneath pitiful.

May 21, 2012 at 9:57 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Goldenberg’s articles aren’t open for comments because she’s a reporter, not a columnist or commentator. Hickman had an article on Gleick and Heartland which was open for comments.
I agree she is totally biassed as a reporter. Her and Tomasky’s reporting of the 2008 presidential election was a disgrace, as was the Guardian’s treatment of Ron Paul, the only radical candidate (though from the radical right). I believe (possibly naively) that such biassed reporting would be unacceptable in a serious newspaper in the US.
I agree with Skiphil (and many others) that the Guardian’s reporting is “beneath pitiful”. I’m typical of a lot of Guardian readers in that my politics are well to the left of the Guardian’s, which I’ve traditionally read for want of anything better. The accusations of leftism which are often hurled at the Graun here and elsewhere strike me as bizarre. Any hint of leftish success (eg as currently in Greece) and Aunty Graun reaches for the smelling salts. The Graun represents the priggish centre, hemmed in by ever-so-British fear of the oiks on one side and right-on fear of being seen as snobbish on the other. Gaia rot them.

May 21, 2012 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

In the "cleared" thread, HaroldW had provided a link (thanks, Harold!) to a Pacific Institute (PI) page on which all three versions of the board's "statement" appear. The metamorphosis is, well, interesting - as is the "preface":

The Pacific Institute issued the following statements in late February 2012. Each statement is superseded by the one that came after. The Board of Directors developed the statements as events unfolded and more information came to their attention.

Feb. 21:

We are aware of Dr. Gleick's apology and actions related to the Heartland Institute. [...]Dr. Gleick has been and continues to be an integral part of our team.

No evidence of the concern ("deep" or otherwise) which surfaced on

Feb. 22:

The Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute is deeply concerned and is actively reviewing information about the recent events involving its president, Dr. Peter Gleick, and documents pertaining to the Heartland Institute. Neither the board nor the staff of the Pacific Institute knew of, played any role in, or condones these events

This does give the impression that an "internal investigation" is being conducted. Although - knowing that Gleick receives a salary and serves as President and board member - the claim that neither board nor staff knew etc. is not entirely, well, sustainable! At the very least, it is at odds with the Feb. 21 "we are aware ...".

Perhaps they were hoping that this would make it all go away (in much the same way as CRU/UEA's initial "statements" post-Climategate, one suspects) But to CRU/UEA's credit, the words in their "statements" were attributed to specific individuals.

Then on Feb. 27, regardless of whether they hoped their Feb. 22 "statement" would calm the waters, they decided to follow the CRU/UEA path of granting "temporary" leave to the primary culprit (Poor Phil and Poor Pete, eh?!) and embarked on Plan B: the "external investigation".

For the record, on Feb. 27, the Board of Directors was still "deeply concerned".

But all three "statements" are remarkably "passive" ... which, I suppose is appropriate for a "Pacific" org ;-)

So now we have Goldenberg at the Guardian claiming, somewhat bizarrely, in both yesterday's and today's versions of her - now-you-see-it, now-you-don't, now-you-do - post:

an external investigation into the unauthorised release of the documents,[emphasis added -hro]

I would have thought that - from the PI board's perspective - this "external investigation" would have been examining the unauthorized acquisition and/or fabrication of the Heartland documents by Gleick.

This particular choice of wording suggests that the mode of "acquisition" by Gleick had the board's approval, but that the release by Gleick of that which he acquired (and/or fabricated) did not! OTOH, this would almost be consistent with the PI board's "unconcerned" Feb. 21 "we are aware ..." statement; Mind you, it would be interesting to hear their answers to "what did the board know, and when did the board know it?"

Perhaps it was simply a consequence of Goldenberg's failure to engage her brain before putting fingers to keyboard. As others have noted, it certainly wouldn't be the first time her reports have reflected such an unfortunate deficit. Or perhaps she merely "lifted" this particular phrasing from the more responsible and factual reports on the heels of Climategate.

Whatever the case, IMHO, Goldenberg's phrasing certainly does very little to enhance her credibility - or that of PI.

Both of which may well be secondary to what appears to be her primary goal: promoting the "rehabilitation" of Gleick while producing a fog of confusion regarding the baggage he carries - and shifting the focus to a repetition of the myths and memes in the fabricated "memo" that she (along with Revkin, Hickman and Black) was so quick to publish without verifying its provenance and authenticity.

May 22, 2012 at 12:06 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

By the way, what is Golden doing at the conference? How did she get in?

Does the Heartland know that she was one of the gang of 15 who spread the fake memo around in the first place?

"... the "rehabilitation" of Gleick while producing a fog of confusion regarding the baggage he carries - and shifting the focus to a repetition of the myths and memes in the fabricated "memo" ...

That's pretty much it, isn't it? It is not just her - a whole coterie of journalists, bloggers and commenters working hard to create little black holes with their spin into which they hope the facts of Gleickgate would get sucked into, and they would walk out onto the other side shining like new.

May 22, 2012 at 3:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Grauniad Burbles, Burps and Produces a "Story"

May 22, 2012 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

geoffchambers CIF strap line is facts are sacred , you don't have to hang around there long to realize that in practice SOME facts are sacred , others are unmentionable. There are two classic approach to what they know are poor articles , hiding under editorial so the author can't be reminded for their past words or the no comments approach to ensure that the author remains critique free when their spotting BS. As its not at all usual to find people commenting on articles know more than the 'expert' authors and Goldenberg's is a classic example pf the later , they know full well how full of wholes it is and that she in no position to deal with questions so they deal with it by avoided the problem in the first place .
Meanwhile the attack smears carry on and your increasingly left with the impression she is somewhat obsessed with attacking Heartland , for there most be far more important and interesting environmental stories she could cover if she was really concerned about the environment . But then she is a 'political' journalists and that is what this is about .

May 22, 2012 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Goldenberg is back at Guardian Environment with an article on the Heartland conference, with - bizarrely - a photo of Gleick at the top (perhaps an ironic comment on Heartland’s photo of Unabomber?). The whole article is a gloat at Heartland’s lack of success, with not a word on the content of the conference. It’s the way you might report a North Korean Party Conference, except you wouldn’t bother. It’s pitiful.

May 23, 2012 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

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