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Heartland Institute Threatens To Sue Anyone Who Comments On Leaked Documents 517

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-talking dept.
Layzej writes "Bloggers around the world have been commenting on recently leaked Heartland Institute documents that reveal their internal strategies to discredit climate science. These posters are now under threat of legal action. According to the Heartland Institute 'the individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages'"
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Heartland Institute Threatens To Sue Anyone Who Comments On Leaked Documents

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  • If the documents are false they were talking about someone else and it's good for them in the long run because they'll have lots of independents to point to and say "these people are the cause of all this!" But if they are real then they're only going to make it look like they're trying to bury the truth (which would, in fact, be the case) and it can only go against them.

    • by SadButTrue (848439) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:42PM (#39092999) Homepage

      They seem to be a bit confused about the authenticity of the documents:

      "Therefore, the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed." (in bold none the less)
      then at the bottom:

      "How did this happen? The stolen documents were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to “re-send” board materials to a new email address."

      Err so they are your documents but you cannot confirm that they are your documents?

      • by MisterMidi (1119653) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:58PM (#39093139) Homepage
        They claim at least one document has been faked (the climate strategy memo) and others may have been altered. If this is indeed the case, the documents aren't authentic.
        • by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:11PM (#39093229)

          Of course they claim one is faked. It's so damaging to them they don't have any other means of defence other than to claim fake. We can expect them to say it's faked either way.

          Whether it actually is faked or not is another matter. There's no evidence one way or the other. But it being in a bundle with genuine documents does put the balance of probabilities on it also being genuine.

          • by sed quid in infernos (1167989) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:24PM (#39093327)

            "But it being in a bundle with genuine documents does put the balance of probabilities on it also being genuine." No, it doesn't. We know the person who obtained whatever genuine documents are there is dishonest and has an agenda.* How does the "balance of probabilities" say that this person didn't do something else dishonest to further his agenda? We have no knowledge on this point one way or the other.

            *I know some people say the same thing about the institute itself. Which is why I have no idea whether that document is fake or not.

            • by mathmathrevolution (813581) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @02:28PM (#39093831)
              The best evidence that the strategy memo is authentic is the amount of material in that memo that has subsequently been confirmed by other sources: From Desmogblog: [desmogblog.com]

              The DeSmogBlog has reviewed that Strategy document and compared its content to other material we have in hand. It addresses five elements:

              The Increased Climate Project Fundraising material is reproduced in and confirmed by Heartland's own budget.

              The "Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms" is also a Heartland budget item and has been confirmed independently by the author, Dr. David Wojick.

              The Funding for Parallel Organizations; Funding for Selected Individuals Outside Heartland are both reproduced and confirmed in the Heartland budget. And Anthony Watts has confirmed independently the payments in Expanded Climate Communications.

            • by nadaou (535365) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @03:21PM (#39094175) Homepage

              > We know the person who obtained whatever genuine documents
              > are there is dishonest and has an agenda.* ..
              > *I know some people say the same thing about the institute itself.

              "some people say"?? it's their entire reason for existence and they've never tried particularly hard to hide it!

              some people also say the pope is catholic.. there is a time for
              choosing your words carefully, and there are other times to call
              a spade a spade.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2012 @03:32PM (#39094249)

              We know the person who obtained whatever genuine documents are there is dishonest and has an agenda.

              This statement, on it's own, impinges on the authenticity of every whistleblower, ever.

              Of course, for the aggrieved party, every person who betrays confidences is dishonest and has an agenda. It remains then, for the 3rd party observer, to determine if that evaluation holds up against the scrutiny of the agenda of the aggrieved.

              Frankly, "If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands."

          • by demonlapin (527802) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:30PM (#39093389) Homepage Journal
            There is actually a pretty significant amount of evidence it's faked. Every document in the bundle except the strategy memo and an IRS document was printed to PDF in the central time zone. The IRS document was printed to PDF in GMT-4. The strategy memo was scanned in with an Epson scanner to a PDF by someone in the Pacific time zone. All documents except the strategy memo and a board directory were printed to PDF on January 16, the day before a board meeting. The board directory was printed January 25. The strategy memo was created at 3:41 PM on February 13. If you want more, read over here [theatlantic.com].

            In short, it really looks like someone got a bunch of real documents and then threw something in to sex it up a bit. The problem for them is that they did it so damned badly. The problem for Heartland is that they're acting like dicks toward a lot of people, when they should be upending heaven and hell to find the memo forger and crucifying him for libel.
            • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:50PM (#39093549)

              There is actually a pretty significant amount of evidence it's faked. Every document in the bundle except the strategy memo and an IRS document was printed to PDF in the central time zone. The IRS document was printed to PDF in GMT-4. The strategy memo was scanned in with an Epson scanner to a PDF by someone in the Pacific time zone. All documents except the strategy memo and a board directory were printed to PDF on January 16, the day before a board meeting. The board directory was printed January 25. The strategy memo was created at 3:41 PM on February 13. If you want more, read over here [theatlantic.com].

              How do these dates, time zones and scanner types recorded in the PDFs suggest that some of these docs are fakes and some are original? Are you suggesting that the time zone discrepancy indicates that?

              • by robot256 (1635039) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:56PM (#39093591)
                Clearly they are false because no organization owns more than one scanner! This is clear evidence that someone other than their organization scanned some of the documents. /sarcasm
              • by demonlapin (527802) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @02:19PM (#39093773) Homepage Journal
                Because only one document is scanned. And the one document that's scanned is scanned almost a month after everything else. And the one document that's scanned a month after everything else is the only one that uses inflammatory language like preventing people from "teaching science". It looks fake to me. There's plenty of stuff in the documents that are basically acknowledged as real to let people know how they work, and who they support, and where their money comes from... but the hot, sexy stuff just isn't there. Does your organization work like this? Unsigned, undated memos to people who aren't listed are scanned in from printouts to be put in the corporate file even though everything else you generate goes direct to PDF?
                • by tgibbs (83782) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @05:10PM (#39094859)

                  Another plausible scenario is that that one document was leaked first, in the form of a paper copy (or scan of one), and it was the information of that document that inspired those who received it to seek further corroborative evidence via "social engineering."

                  • by demonlapin (527802) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @05:44PM (#39095061) Homepage Journal
                    The "strategy memo" is, from what I have read, dated on the afternoon before this was all released. I suppose your scenario might apply if it was dated even a few days earlier, but 3:41 pm Pacific is 5:41 pm Central - i.e., Heartland's offices would almost certainly have been closed. And that strategy memo, which is the one whose authenticity is most suspect, is also the one that makes the broadest, most vilifying claims (about preventing teachers from teaching science, or the megabucks from the Evil Kochs to trash talk global warming, or the journalists who are supposedly in their pockets). In at least one case - the Koch funding - it's clearly contradicted by the other documents, so if you want to be a responsible journalist you'd have to question your source's reliability when the document with the juiciest information isn't supported by anything else.
            • by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @02:36PM (#39093897)

              Of all the people in the world who could have provided an analysis that it's a fake, it's the wife of a fellow in the Koch Foundation. The Heartland Institute's biggest donor.

              And then all the evidence she gives isn't that it's a fake, but only that the author is different from the other documents. And that the person that wrote it did so later than the other documents and referring back to them. But Heartland is a lobbyist organisation with multiple employees spread out over America, so none of that is evidence of a fake.

              It's basically someone with the objective of showing it's a fake throwing everything at it. All of it sounds plausible, but none of it actually logically stands up as evidence of a fake.

              • by demonlapin (527802) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @03:31PM (#39094243) Homepage Journal
                It's circumstantial evidence. You obviously find it less compelling than I do. It's not proof of a fake, but it's certainly evidence of one.

                Incidentally, as for Koch being "[t]he Heartland Institute's biggest donor", go check out their response over here [desmogblog.com], where they claim (and Greenpeace's records confirm) that they gave $25k to Heartland in 2011 for health care research, not global warming, and that this was the first donation they had made since 1999. They do have one very large anonymous donor, and if you have some evidence identifying who that is I'd for one find it interesting.

                If you really care about fixing global warming rather than Team Red/Team Blue, you're going to need to engage people on both sides of the political spectrum. Turning everything into a massive conspiracy theory is not going to help you do this.
                • by mbkennel (97636) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @03:59PM (#39094425)

                  "Turning everything into a massive conspiracy theory is not going to help you do this."

                  One side promotes the idea that there has been a massive global conspiracy by scientists, across a number of disciplines and organizations, lasting over decades, to lie about a central scientific result in their field. There is no sensible organizational backing or motivation to this.

                  Scientists try to "engage people" by doing as good science as they can and working hard over decades to produce consensus estimates of the best known status from high-quality experimental and theoretical research, and work to explain it in (highly educated) laymens' terms as well as they can.

                  The other side yells that they're lying scumbags out to attack freedom.

                  The other side promotes the idea that there is a small political conspiracy to gain by people who have previously been known to engage in political conspiracies of a a similar nature. There is a well known organizational consistency and economic motivation to this.

                  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @05:12PM (#39094871)

                    If I had mod points to give you'd get a +1 Insightful. The idea that so many scientists across so many disciplines from around the world could maintain such a conspiracy for so long is absurd. Do people really believe the so many scientists are willing to risk their scientific reputations for political aims? Anyone who proves them wrong would destroy them and would be up for a Nobel Prize.

            • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @03:05PM (#39094081) Homepage

              There is actually a pretty significant amount of evidence it's faked. ...

              No, what you listed is merely evidence that the pdfs were not all produced at the same time.

              This is interesting, but has no relevance to whether it's faked or not. There is no reason that real documents might not have been pdf'd at different times.

              ...The problem for Heartland is that they're acting like dicks toward a lot of people, when they should be upending heaven and hell to find the [putative] memo forger and crucifying him for libel.

              Which brings up an interesting question. When somebody broke into the CRU and published (what turned out to be a highly edited selection of) stolen e-mail, the response of "let's upend heaven and hell to find the thieves" did not seem to be high on anybody's priority list. So, apparently, it's only an important crime if you steal documents from people denying the science?

          • by ravenshrike (808508) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @04:19PM (#39094557)

            Well, let's see. Except for the one document, ever single one is a professionally designed print to pdf document with creation dates in early and mid January and which has a timecode of CST the region where Heartland has it's main offices. The "memo" is a poorly scanned document that reads like a 8th grader's "how to talk like a supervillain" letter with plenty of copypasta and an outright falsehood. Namely that the Koch brother's donation was concerned with climate change. Given that the donation code was HCN and that Bayer AG and multiple other pharma and medical companies also have the same donation code this is unlikely to say the least. Then there's the fact that the memo was scanned in Februray with a timecode of PST. All in all, a shittastic smear job.

        • by FirstOne (193462) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:31PM (#39093397) Homepage

          The first thing a defendant's lawyer is going to do is subpoena a true copy of the originals. Then the cat will be out of the BAG for sure.

    • by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:21PM (#39093295)

      The innocent have nothing to fear, yes, I know that.

      If they fear commenting on these documents to such a degree, I have to ask why, All they have to do is never confirm the documents (or wait a few months, on a Friday, at midnight). So there is an easy route of censorship there.

      Second, the whole climate change is bunk movement's claim is that politics is being played, and you can't trust the results saying it is happening. We have a memo here implying that politics might be being played, and research/motives to be questioned. Revealing this is grounds for being sued.

      Third, lawsuits potentially coming? Even ignoring the chilling effect, do we really need to reach that stage of escalation int his subject where every time someone speaks for one side the other side begins suing?

      They are all attacking the messengers and trying to cease the message. They have yet to put out anything to show these are false. Just silencing the people trying to talk about this.

      • by Moryath (553296) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:44PM (#39093505)

        The innocent have nothing to fear, yes, I know that.
        Actually, what the innocent still have to fear is HI acting like every other right wing shill group. They have two things on their side: money and lawyers. They can bankrupt an innocent person through the act of barratry [thefreedictionary.com] and as a corrupt right wing shill group whose previous exploits involve funding faked studies to do things like claim cigarette smoke isn't dangerous, they've already shown that they have no moral compass stopping them from doing so.

        If they fear commenting on these documents to such a degree, I have to ask why,
        See above. If they get exposed so blatantly, they might have to fold. And the people writing for them might have to find real work rather than being right wing shills.

        Second, the whole climate change is bunk movement's claim is that politics is being played, and you can't trust the results saying it is happening. We have a memo here implying that politics might be being played, and research/motives to be questioned. Revealing this is grounds for being sued.

        Third, lawsuits potentially coming? Even ignoring the chilling effect, do we really need to reach that stage of escalation int his subject where every time someone speaks for one side the other side begins suing?

        They are all attacking the messengers and trying to cease the message. They have yet to put out anything to show these are false. Just silencing the people trying to talk about this.
        Right wing shillery RELIES on two things: the echo chamber and the chilling effect. Ever noticed how a Fox News viewer screams about the "liberal media" nonstop? It's because if they ever listened to both sides, they'd realize their side's argument is more full of holes than a loaf of aged swiss cheese.

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Are they going to prosecute first posters?

    • by erroneus (253617)

      That's true to a point, but did you know most people still believe "Climategate" was the truth and still is? That's the problem. Once the kind of lies Heartland put out circulated, that was that. When the truth came out about Climategate, no one was interested in publishing the truth... there's no zip, pop or bang in reporting that, after all, and without the zip, pop or bang, you can't sell breakfast cereal advertising.

      What Heartland seeks to prevent is... well... exactly the effect they launched agains

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:39PM (#39092953)

    we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation.

    lol

    you guys are fundies. your rep is what it is, memos or no memos.

    enjoy your 'moment of babs', you losers.

  • by salvorHardin (737162) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (fluwda)> on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:39PM (#39092955) Journal
    Strangely, there don't seem to be many comments on the subject of "Heartland Institute Threatens To Sue Anyone Who Comments...".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:39PM (#39092959)

    Their view of law is very similar to their view of science.

  • Streissand (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:40PM (#39092969)

    Hiring Barbara Streissand as a legal consultant was not their smartest move.

    • Re:Streissand (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bagorange (1531625) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:50PM (#39093069)

      Maybe the Streisand Effect will get more eyeballs on their sites?
      They claim that their message is being suppressed by the forces of evil anyway. Their target audience might just see the leaks as the work of the conspiracy of freedom haters and lap up the message.

      • Re:Streissand (Score:5, Informative)

        by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:15PM (#39093251)

        Their target audience might just see the leaks as the work of the conspiracy of freedom haters and lap up the message.

        Of course they will. The very same people that were so pleased that the CRU email server was hacked into in the so called "Climategate" affair. That said how great it was that this information was now in the public domain.

        Cretins.

  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:40PM (#39092973) Journal
    'the individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents.

    well I guess that confirms the authenticity now
  • by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:40PM (#39092981)
    Even if they were written by his holiness Satan himself, I don't get how that would stop me from 'commenting' on them!
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:45PM (#39093031) Homepage
    The most fascinating thing about this is the general hypocrisy involved. Whenever the whole "ClimateGate" matter occurred, Heartland was at the front of trumpeting the documents from that (which incidentally turned out to be utterly benign), with zero concern about the ethics of taking confidential documents from other people using hacking. Yet now, when the same thing happens to them, they use every bit of the legal system to go after not just the people who actually did do it but anyone who is then commenting or reproducing the documents. Really charming behavior.
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:55PM (#39093113) Journal

      I can't sort out what part of the legal system they plan on using. If you can find the leak, then certainly you can persue them criminally and civilly. Perhaps if it's being reproduced word for word on websites, then you can probably go for copyright infringement, though by now the document has spread to the four corners of the planet and it's far past the point when that's really a meaningful option. As to suing people that comment on the document, that's patently absurd. In most Western countries there are protections on that sort of speech. I guess you could try to claim libellous conduct, but by now tens of thousands of people have likely commented on it, and the idea that you can actually bring any fraction of them into court is highly unlikely, and that's not even talking about the odds of conviction (pretty low in the US, that's for sure).

      I've seen some pretty pathetic legal threats, but this more resembles the kind of nonsense I used to see on some Internet forums where some nasty little prick, when cornered, would make some vague legal threat. Might as well threaten that Jesus will come down and stomp on your balls.

      • I guess you could try to claim libellous conduct

        That would only work if they could prove the documents were indeed forgeries and that the commenters knew about them being forgeries. Neither of which applies in this case, so no libellous conduct - defense for them. In short, there is nothing they can do about this, they're just pushing out lots of hot air right now.

        • by mbone (558574)

          That would only work if they could prove the documents were indeed forgeries....

          For some reason, Wilde vs Queensberry comes to mind here.

      • by Guppy06 (410832)

        In most Western countries there are protections on that sort of speech.

        All you need to do is find one jurisdiction where there aren't. For the English language, the jurisdiction of choice is England and Wales. It's called "libel tourism [wikipedia.org]."

    • The most fascinating thing about this is the general hypocrisy involved. Whenever the whole "ClimateGate" matter occurred, Heartland was at the front of trumpeting the documents from that (which incidentally turned out to be utterly benign), with zero concern about the ethics of taking confidential documents from other people using hacking. Yet now, when the same thing happens to them, they use every bit of the legal system to go after not just the people who actually did do it but anyone who is then commenting or reproducing the documents. Really charming behavior.

      You want to see even greater hypocrisy? Go to the Heartland Institute site and look up their articles on Tort Reform. Hypocrisy indeed!

  • Scientology (Score:4, Insightful)

    by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot AT davidgerard DOT co DOT uk> on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:49PM (#39093055) Homepage

    Because it worked so well for Scientology [suburbia.net].Yeah, I can't see this going wrong in any way at all.

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintiumNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:50PM (#39093061)

    The best way to win in the court room is to prove a witness has a history of lying. This begs the question, "Who from Heartland could be a credible witness"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:50PM (#39093067)

    The Heartland Institute didn't find it necessary for following this protocol for commenting on leaked documents when it came to Climategate [heartland.org].

  • by acidfast7 (551610) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:51PM (#39093071)
    everyone to comment on it! Where is the FB group? or where is published link so that I can refer to the referenced blog in a status update. it's about time that /. realized that it has a moral duty to combat stuff like this. without organization, ACTA would still be a huge deal.
  • "methinks the lady doth protest too much"

    if the documents were fake, they wouldn't elicit such a strong reaction. therefore, the documents are real

    • by Jiro (131519)

      if the documents were fake, they wouldn't elicit such a strong reaction. therefore, the documents are real

      By your reasoning, it should be okay to run around saying that black people are low IQ and are stealing all the white women. I mean, you know there would be a strong reaction to that, right? So it must be true.

      • if the documents were fake, they wouldn't elicit such a strong reaction. therefore, the documents are real

        By your reasoning, it should be okay to run around saying that black people are low IQ and are stealing all the white women. I mean, you know there would be a strong reaction to that, right? So it must be true.

        I believe the "strong reaction" to which the GP was referring was the strong reaction of denial by the alleged authors of the leaked documents, not the "strong reaction" by those now reading them.

    • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:23PM (#39093315)

      "methinks the lady doth protest too much"

      if the documents were fake, they wouldn't elicit such a strong reaction. therefore, the documents are real

      Not to be nit-picky, but when the queen said this in Hamlet, she meant "promise" too much, as the word was sometimes used then.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:53PM (#39093089)
    Perhaps some of their funding is under threat as the pendulum slowly moves away from anti-science craziness to wondering why the Greenland glaciers are melting and whether buying beachfront property is now only a short term investment. Perhaps, I don't know, some very rich people are looking at San****m* and Romney and thinking that, just perhaps, the time has come to start repositioning themselves as progressives, because rich people like to be on the winning side. And perhaps suing John Doe for punitive damages for commenting on a leaked document looks like a way of restoring some of that funding.

    *letters omitted to protect sensitive but uninformed Slashdot readers from the effects of a Google search.

  • by forkfail (228161) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:55PM (#39093109)

    And to make sure that there's some substance:

    My read on the documents is that they provide conclusive proof that the Heartland Institute promoted systematic criminal fraud, corrupted science and effectively engaged in treasonous activity.

    There. Now sue me.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:58PM (#39093137)

    Those persons who posted these documents and wrote about them before we had a chance to comment on their authenticity should be ashamed of their deeds, and their bad behavior should be taken into account when judging their credibility now and in the future.

    Presumably they have the same attitude to the leaked University of East Anglia emails, and have campaigned to have the people responsible for the leak, and the many, many denialists who misrepresented their contents, taken to court.

  • by andydread (758754) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:06PM (#39093197)
    I would seem that the Heartland institute [arstechnica.com] is a truly corrupt entity. The Heartland institute [arstechnica.com] cannot expect to stifle discussion of their seemingly corrupt behaviour. The Heartland institute [arstechnica.com] must not have heard of the Streisand Effect. Maybe the Heartland institute [arstechnica.com] should get a a clue and stop trying to squelch discussion. Its funny that the Heartland institute [arstechnica.com] is trying to squelch speech yet the Heartland institute [arstechnica.com] claims to be for free speech. The Heartland institute [arstechnica.com]were at the front of the line waving internal documents of climate scientists. Yet The Heartland institute [arstechnica.com] is now threatening to sue anyone who discusses their internal Documents. Such pathetic doublestandards highlight the hypocrisy of the Heartland institute [arstechnica.com] A poster child for corruption.
  • by 2Y9D57 (988210) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:11PM (#39093227)
    So sue me. If the district court judges here can stop laughing long enough, they'll sanction your lawyer and award me costs.
  • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:12PM (#39093235)
    FUCK YOU HEARTLAND INSTITUTE. FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU. FUCK. YOU.

    Whew... Now that that is off my chest...

    This is completely unacceptable. We really ought to have laws in place to smack down people that try to use the legal system to suppress protected speech -- this type of prosecution, regardless of the ultimate outcome, causes great harm to the people that are caught up in it. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to defend yourself, which is financially ruinous to the average person. This creates a chilling effect on free speech, which we really cannot allow if we want to remain free. I honestly believe that the people from the Heartland Institute belong behind bars for even attempting such a thing. So, in short, fuck off Heartland Institute. Keep your shit-digging hands off of my civil liberties. Even if you weren't a braindead anti-science piece of shit of an organization, I would think that it is time for you to go. The fact that everything your institute stands for is a huge, fat, retarded lie does not help your case.
  • by TemperedAlchemist (2045966) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:23PM (#39093309)

    Come at me bro.

    As it turns out, we do know what burden of proof is. We know that you have it. And I am prepared and willing to watch yourself just try to violate the axiom of non-contradiction. Either they're your documents or they're not.

    See there is this thing called the first amendment...

  • Always idiots... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:25PM (#39093335) Journal

    OK, suppose everything Heartland says about the documents is true: someone leaked a bunch of real documents, and slipped a bogus "smoking gun" memo in there.

    Any PR firm worth its salt could have a field day with that, portraying the Heartland Institute as the victim. Why would they then ruin it by making ridiculous statements implying it's an individual's legal obligation to fact check a document before commenting on it? Do they just have an institutional need to twirl their evil mustache?

  • by sjames (1099) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:43PM (#39093491) Homepage

    I thought they chose a nice font for the documents.......DOH!!

  • The big picture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metrometro (1092237) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @02:49PM (#39093971)

    Think about this: how committed to individual liberty is a group that threatens civil and criminal penalties for discussing their donor list?

    The Heartland Institute calls themselves a "libertarian think tank" which is rarely disputed. However, they are actually a pro-corporate think tank. This involves a lot of libertarian language and theory, but all of it is aimed at crippling government regulations over their donors. This works very well. It does not, however, advance the libertarian agenda or discussion in useful ways. They are shaping the discussion of liberty along frames they find useful, but have the effect of isolating and stupifying the libertarian movement. The result is bipartisan consensus on the Patriot Act. SOPA. TARP.

    Pro-corporate think tanks and their government allies will never be able to have a conversation about state capture, the role of corporate institutions in individual liberty, or free individuals as a curb on corporate excess because a corporate-run tyranny is their preferred outcome. Libertarian-leaning people need to point this out, loudly and often, or they will continue to us for ends we do not support.

    • Re:The big picture (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @05:24PM (#39094923)

      Think about this: how committed to individual liberty is a group that threatens civil and criminal penalties for discussing their donor list?

      The Heartland Institute calls themselves a "libertarian think tank" which is rarely disputed. However, they are actually a pro-corporate think tank. This involves a lot of libertarian language and theory, but all of it is aimed at crippling government regulations over their donors. This works very well. It does not, however, advance the libertarian agenda or discussion in useful ways.

      This is what "libertarian" has become in the USA. Republicans without the pretence of being on God's advisory panel.

  • by glorybe (946151) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @02:57PM (#39094035)
    I hasten to offend in every way I can the Heartland Institute. I hope they spend a vast fortune trying to sue me. I'm willing to do most anything to expose these creeps and could care less whether I win or lose a law suit with them. Fact is I am immune from bad consequences to a civil court. I intend to remain immune as well. In my state a person on Social Security, disabled who only owns one home and one vehicle can not be touched by a civil suit. So if these think tank types wish me to let up on them they better give me a small fortune so i would feel some sorrow if they win in court. I think these creeps rape babies. They might be the ones who murdered that Ramsey child. They might even have murdered Nicole Simpson. Worse yet I suspect they are Republicans.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.

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