Toxic Leak Swamps Denial-ville
February 15, 2012
It started when a small group of key journalists and investigators received a mysterious package in the mail.
It seems that an anonymous source opened a gmail account, dropped in a zipped file of internal documents from the leading vector of climate denial information, the Heartland Institute, closed the gmail account, and disappeared.
The contents quickly bounced around to a small group of astute observers, and the general consensus after close exam of the files was that they were genuine – although Heartland now has a statement out claiming at least one of the files is a hoax.
One of the first to receive the package was John Mashey, the relentless investigator who helped uncover the plagiarism and distortion that lead to the withdrawal of a key climate denial study last year.
At the present time numerous avenues are being pursued to establish the authenticity of the newly released documents. In a statement, Heartland Institute has stated the following:
One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.
Mashey has used the release of the new documents to add a final flourish to his most recent investigations, which have now been released online. Mashey’s allegations, relating to Heartland and senior climate denialist scientist Fred Singer, include:
1. Climate denialist Fred Singer committed perjury in his tax filings to the IRS by claiming that Fred Seitz continued to chair Singer’s own tax-protected SEPP for two years after Seitz death in 2008.
2. Singer made other representations in his 990 tax filings that either skirted the rules or, at the very least, let him shelter his own investments from taxation.
3. Singer is a lobbyist, not a scientist (at least, he has not produced any significant work of science in several decades) and is therefore in violation of limits to undeclared lobbying activity.
4. The Heartland Institute has a long-established reputation as an organization dedicated to providing legitimacy to industries that want to confuse the public about science. For example, Heartland’s President Joe Bast has been a leading defender of such things as the “Joe Camel” campaign to encourage children to take up smoking – even while the tobacco industry was funding Heartland’s operations. This was corroborated by the Heartland budget documents which show that both Phillip Morris and Reynolds American continue as Heartland donors.