By Gary Wamsley
When I read the original articles on the release of confidential documents from the Heartland Institute board meeting, (see They’re Coming for Your Kids) I was infuriated.
I reacted by sending a strongly worded email to the president and all the board members of the Heartland Institute.
Surprisingly, one board member and institute president Joseph Bast responded to my email.
Bast’s response is one that I would consider threatening. He said he was turning the email over to their legal department, the forensic staff and the FBI. He also warned me not to delete any emails.
Apparently, I was supposed to be frightened by the specter of this multimillion dollar non-profit (?) spending resources on an old veteran. The whole idea seems ludicrous and they know it. Still, I am not afraid of the battle if it comes. This is a tactic that big money often used to suppress free speech. See Gleen Greenwald’s article in Salon “Billionaire Romney donor uses threats to silence critics.”
During my career I have been in position for many sensitive positions and have had top secret clearances, I have been investigated by the Civil Service Commission, the FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. I feel secure that the government knows who I am.
I decided to publish these emails so that you can judge the exchange for yourself.
These emails have also be reposted at Climate Denial Crock of the Week: Heartland Panics Over Leak: 71 Year Old Vet, Young Mom Fire Back at Threats.
In addition to comments below, additional emails to me on the subject are found at Freedom of Expression and Heartland I
From: Gary Wamsley [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 5:16 PM To: Joseph Bast Subject: Heartland Institute disinformation campaign
You should be ashamed of yourself. The United States already has a problem in keeping up with the rest of the world in science education and now you want to play a role in further destroying our nation as well as our planet.
You are a traitor to your own country. I did not spend 30 years in the military to protect the likes of you.
Colonel, USAF, Retired
From: Joseph Bast <JBast@heartland.org> Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2012 09:46:00 -0600 To: Gary Wamsley <firstname.lastname@example.org> Cc: Jim Lakely <JLakely@heartland.org> Subject: RE: Heartland Institute disinformation campaign
I assume your intemperate comments are based on a forged memo that misrepresents our efforts in the area of global warming research education, so let me explain before demanding an apology.
The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit research and education organization. We produce top-quality research and commentary on a wide range of topics, including school reform, health care, budget and tax issues, and environmental regulation. More than 100 academics and 200 elected officials serve on advisory boards, helping to write our publications and review our work. More than 1,800 individuals, foundations, and corporations contribute voluntarily to support our work.
Last week, someone stole some documents from us and forged a memo claiming to state our ‘strategy” on global warming. See our statement in response to this attack here: http://heartland.org/press-releases/2012/02/15/heartland-institute-responds-stolen-and-fake-documents .
The Heartland Institute has never tried to “dissuade teachers from teaching science, “undermine” any other sources of research, or “keep opposing voices out” of the debate over global warming. In fact, our goals and activities are just the opposite: We have helped thousands of teachers upgrade the ratio of science to rhetoric in their classes on climate change. We have complied two hefty reports – one 800 pages long and another 400 pages long – summarizing peer-reviewed literature on climate change. We have sought to promote debate and a free exchange of ideas, despite efforts by the most alarmist voices in the debate to try to shut down discussion and ruin the reputations of any who doesn’t toe the ideological line of a small but politically powerful faction of the global science community.
The forged memo has been quoted in scores of articles and hundreds of blog posts. We are working to get those statements removed and retracted. Meanwhile, and regrettably, many people like you are being misled about our work and intentions.
Now that you know the truth, I ask that you apologize for your intemperate and very offensive letter. Since your letter is threatening, I’ve forwarded it to our legal counsel, forensics team, and the FBI. It is important that you not delete the email from your sent file, or any other emails you may have exchanged with other people while preparing it, since this could be evidence in criminal and civil cases.
Please write back to let me know if you will comply with my requests.
The Heartland Institute
From: Gary Wamsley [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Saturday, February 18, 2012 10:46 AM To: Joseph Bast Subject: Re: Heartland Institute disinformation campaign
Dear Mr. Bast,
Your threatening letter only serves to reinforce my opinion that the documents are in fact all true. Your ludicrous claim that my letter is threatening is a bullying tactic to which I will not succumb. No apology is offered. I do keep my emails for six months before deleting them.
Colonel, USAF Retired
From: Joseph Bast <JBast@heartland.org>
Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2012 11:26:18 -0600|
To: Gary Wamsley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Jim Lakely <JLakely@heartland.org>, Maureen Martin <email@example.com>, “Michael P. Padden” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, William Cook <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: Heartland Institute disinformation campaign
Thank you. This is very useful.
The Heartland Institute
From: Gary Wamsley [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Saturday, February 18, 2012 01:01 PM To: Joseph Bast Subject: Re: Heartland Institute disinformation campaign
In my opinion you have handled this whole situation quite poorly. Your original letter of Feb. 15 was almost surreal in its content and did not inspire confidence in its truthfulness, especially when compared to your actions in publishing out of context emails in what became known as ClimateGate. Did you wait to try to get verification from the scientists in East Anglica?
Your response to me would been better served by referencing articles like Megan Mcardle’s well written piece in the Atlantic or Anthony Watts in WUWT, both of which conclude that the board memo is a probably a fake.
Perhaps you responded as you did because my email angered you. I will admit that had I not been so angry when I wrote, that I might have been a bit more restrained. Please do not take this as an apology.
Colonel, USAF Retired
Note: The following email was sent twice, but does not show up in my “sent” folder. I am unable to assertion that Mr. Bast and his associates received it.
From: Gary Wamsley [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Sunday, February 19 , 2012
To: Joseph Bast
Subject: Re: Heartland Institute disinformation campaign
Dear Mr. Bast, et. al.
It occurred to me that you will need my address in case you wished to pursue legal action against me.
My home address is:
Col Gary Wamsley
(address withheld here)
Just to make sure my emails are readily available to you, I am posting them on my web site. You will find them at this link
Heartland Institute threatens 71-year-old veteran
See also the following links for more on this:
and also from National Wildlife Foundation, this excellent detailed article