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Earth Your Rights Online

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 zero.kalvin (1231372) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @11:40AM (#39092981)
    Even if they were written by his holiness Satan himself, I don't get how that would stop me from 'commenting' on them!
  • Fake. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by cryptical (128203) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @11:52AM (#39093081)

    The "smoking gun" memo is most likely faked, see Megan McArdle's analysis at http://www.theatlantic.com/megan-mcardle/ [theatlantic.com]

  • Re:Right Wingers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Sunday February 19, 2012 @11:55AM (#39093107)

    Well, to be fair, the Democrats are only slightly better... And are in bed with the RIAA and the MPIAA. (Among other things.)

    It's really a matter of 'who will do the least damage to the country', not 'who will make the country better'.

    (Personally, I refuse to vote for either party, but I know that it's a vain hope that my vote will make any difference.)

  • Re:Right Wingers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by History's Coming To (1059484) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:02PM (#39093163) Journal
    You'll probably like the Lamb Of God frontman [tumblr.com] who's standing for election.

    My first act as President of the United States will to be shot. That’s right, SHOT. With a high-powered assault rifle. Immediately after taking the oath of office, I will be escorted about twenty yards away and be shot publicly in a non-lethal area of my body by a highly trained Navy SEAL sniper. It will hurt like fuck. Why would I do this? Because I will now be commander-in-chief of the armed forces. This means that during my term I will probably have to make some tough decisions affecting the survival of other men. And as commander-in-chief, I shouldn’t expect anyone in our military to do anything I’m not willing to do myself. That includes getting shot. Me being shot will be broadcast live world-wide via satellite, with no bleeping out of the incredible string of curse words I will undoubtably let fly with. I will be required to walk/limp/crawl on my own power a minimum of 50 yards through the mud to an ambulance that will take me away to patch me up. If I can’t make it on my own, I’m not tough enough to be your President.

  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @12:50PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:11PM (#39093713)

    That's why civil justice is a nonsense. When there's no third party evidence to make it clear one way or another (in which case no sensible party would risk taking it all the way to court), the judge will look at the facts and "on the balance of probabilities" conclude whatever corresponds to his bias.

    There really needs to be an, "On the balance of probabilities, I'm not sure - come back later," routine option.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @01:36PM (#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 turkeyfish (950384) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @02:24PM (#39094189)

    Unfortunately, the thief was apparently smart enough to photocopy the documents and then pass them through a filter. Poof, no yellow dots.

    The problem for Heartland is these guys got caught with their pants down and revealed they have quite a few less inches than they were claiming.

  • by demonlapin (527802) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @02:31PM (#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 PopeRatzo (965947) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @03:14PM (#39094533) Homepage Journal

    And Left wing shillery relies on two things: vilification of your enemies and the chilling effect.

    You know, when you say, "They both do it, and they're both the same", you deny what's going on in this story and in all politics across the nation.

    You're responding to the news of a killing spree by saying, "Well, the other side has used spitballs to annoy people", so they're murderers, too.

    "They" and "Them" was not an invention of the Left in America. Demonization of the "Other" was purely the Right's innovation. If you go over the history of the US since WWII, you'll find that the Left's approach has been, "Let's get as many people on board as possible" and the Right's approach has been, "We're being victimized by THEM".

    Even in the area of racism, which was a huge problem for the Democratic Party in the post-war era, you'll find a steady effort by the Democrats to make the party as uncomfortable for racists as possible, so that by the time a black man was the head of the party, the racists had left. And just guess where they all went. When all those racists left the Democratic Party, which party do you think they went to? You think they all became Libertarians? You think they all started voting for the Green ticket?

    Even so, if you look at tip of the spear of the Left in America currently, the Occupy Movement, there is still an effort to invite and include the tea party and disaffected poor white working class people (which has been surprisingly effective, by the way). How inviting were the Tea Party to people who were pro-choice or pro-union or pro gay marriage. Even though the Tea Party was ostensibly focused singularly on government spending, there was a whole list of exclusionary issues with which one had to agree with them before they'd even consider you an American, much less "one of them".

    From Edmund Burke on, the Right has been purely reactionary. It's what's given them their amazing draw with racists, sexists, bigots. It's what makes every single right-wing talk show revel in racism, sexism and bigotry. Check out at random any right-wing talk show and listen to the callers. Listen to the hosts. There is an effort to outdo one another. If one says "Obama is a liberal" the next will say, Obama is a tyrant, the next will say he's Hitler, and the next will say he's the Antichrist (though, to be fair, "Antichrist" is usually where they run out of steam, because it's hard to top that one, which is why it's usually saved for the most horrible crimes of this President, such as showing respect to a foreign head of state).

    You want to say "Oh both sides are equally horrible" you're going to have your judgment called into question, friend.

    We're losing OUR country.

    And who the fuck is "We", white man? You got a mouse in your pocket? And who are YOU and your "WE" losing your country to, exactly? The liberals? You start out decrying how someone's comments are horrible because they talk about "THEY and THEM" and then you say, "We're losing OUR country". Do you even realize that the statement, "We're losing OUR country" is the very definition of pointing a finger and blaming, "THEY and THEM"? "We're losing OUR country" has zero meaning unless there is a THEM that you are demonizing. So who the fuck are you losing YOUR country to, exactly?

    Now I'm going to give you a pass, because it's Sunday and maybe you've had a rough week. But you're going to have to spend a little time thinking this over. You can come back when you've learned something.

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Sunday February 19, 2012 @04:02PM (#39094819)

    How would the prospective forger have known about Anthony Watt's involvement in the Expanded Climate Communications?

    That was listed in the fundraising plain document on page 19.

    That said, I think that it is the most stupid defence to claim that this is a forgery because every fact in it is true! If that is the most damning thing they can say about it, then it is pretty weak.

    However, in true-to-form fashion for this organization, it is a often used strategy that works. Look how much time is being spent arguing about a document that is supposedly all true. It is a great way to spread doubt about the revelations and to turn the discussion away from the real meat of the matter - the allegations themselves. As I have been discovering recently in a conversation from a previous story on this matter, misdirection is a key tool in the denialist's arsenal.

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @04:10PM (#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 Moryath (553296) on Sunday February 19, 2012 @05:46PM (#39095397)

    "They" and "Them" was not an invention of the Left in America. Demonization of the "Other" was purely the Right's innovation. If you go over the history of the US since WWII, you'll find that the Left's approach has been, "Let's get as many people on board as possible" and the Right's approach has been, "We're being victimized by THEM".

    At the risk of Godwinning the thread... the right wing got round to starting this not very long after a war involving Germany, Italy, and Japan was resolved... and their initial targets "just happened" to be blacks, jews, and "communists." [wikipedia.org] Anyone else have a sneaking hunch whose plan they were thinking had worked so well in Europe for taking power?

    Even so, if you look at tip of the spear of the Left in America currently, the Occupy Movement, there is still an effort to invite and include the tea party and disaffected poor white working class people (which has been surprisingly effective, by the way). How inviting were the Tea Party to people who were pro-choice or pro-union or pro gay marriage.

    Dunno about those groups, but I've gone to a couple events (4th of July celebrations last year) that were swarming with Tea Party folks... they were busy getting drunk as shit and started shouting racist crap and spitting at a friend of mine who's latino, despite the fact that my friend's family presence in the USA predates the entrance of Texas into the country.

    If one says "Obama is a liberal" the next will say, Obama is a tyrant, the next will say he's Hitler, and the next will say he's the Antichrist (though, to be fair, "Antichrist" is usually where they run out of steam, because it's hard to top that one

    Actually, that's about the time that the dumbasses start insinuating Obama's either a muslim, or start calling him a "marxist socialist."

    And who the fuck is "We", white man? You got a mouse in your pocket? And who are YOU and your "WE" losing your country to, exactly? The liberals? You start out decrying how someone's comments are horrible because they talk about "THEY and THEM" and then you say, "We're losing OUR country". Do you even realize that the statement, "We're losing OUR country" is the very definition of pointing a finger and blaming, "THEY and THEM"? "We're losing OUR country" has zero meaning unless there is a THEM that you are demonizing. So who the fuck are you losing YOUR country to, exactly?

    Apparently, Mr. Racist Redneck Retard is losing "his" country to actual Americans...

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