Recently leaked documents from the Heartland Institute, a right wing funded think tank, outline a sinister plot to teach phony science and to dissuade teachers from teaching science in out schools. The documents were first published on desmogblog.com, a site dedicated to combating the disinformation campaign of climate change deniers.
Heartland reacted quickly on Wednesday when the documents first appeared, claiming they were stolen and that at least one was fake. One of the articles below is quite confident the the document, perhaps the most damning of the revelations, is in fact true. In the sixth link, “Leaked Docs From Heartland …,” Megan Mcardle of the Atlantic makes the case that the memo is in fact forged. Be sure to read both opinions. Then desmog blog responded to those comments in, “It’s a bird; it’s a hockey stick; it’s a faked document!” “Given the value of these documents to activists, it would be unfortunate to risk losing credibility by faking or altering any of the documents. Heartland had called on the press not to release any of the documents until they had verified them. How odd even for damage control. Most disgruntling for Heartland was that the many of their donors were identified. While the Koch brothers were identified as potential donors, they in fact have not donated to the institute for some time.
This became very personal for me when I saw that one of the articles listed USAA as a donor. USAA is “member owned” insurance company built on servicing past and present members of the military. I have been a member since 1963 and am incensed that they are using member funds to promote this anti-science foundation. I called the company and spoke to an aide in the CEO’s office. He promised to get back to me. I hope that the reference was wrong. Meanwhile, Bill Gates has made a statement disavowing the institutes climate denial. You can read that post here. Note that some of the commenters are not buying Gates explanation.
Several articles mention ClimateGate. For those who are unfamiliar with that incident, you can find details in Wikipedia: Climatic Research Unit email controversy. The hacked emails that were conveniently distributed just prior to Copenhagen Summit were shown to have been carefully selected and take out of context to in order to discredit the scientists and the science. The story received much press. The result of the investigations that exonerated the scientists went mostly unpublished and unnoticed. The following article at desmogblog, “Climategate victims chide Heartland double standard,” points out the Heartland was quick to take bits and pieces of the purloined emails out of context and at no time suggested that the hackers had been wrong to steal the information.
Two of the following articles compare the Heartland Institute leak as being a reverse ClimateGate without fingering Heartland as the culprit in the East Anglia incident. Note in these articles that Heartland is very busy with damage control. The first article is the original response by Heartland on February 15. The letter is almost surreal.
The last link is to the addresses of the Heartland Board of Directors. You may wish to send them a message expressing your opinion.