Local Blogger Promoting Website Prompting FAKE Documents

Russ Steele

(Editors note: Title edited for accuracy)

Several readers have been sending me e-mails about his post on the Sierra Foothills Report and I appreciate their support.

“Climate denial machine” exposed! (Russ Steele, call the office!)

Editor’s note: Former county ERC board member, local tea party activist, climate denier and hard-right blogger Russ Steele’s “hero” Anthony Watts gets named in this elaborate “climate denial machine” funding scheme. Lots of details about this strategy:

“Internal Heartland Institute strategy and funding documents obtained by DeSmogBlog expose the heart of the climate denial machine – its current plans, many of its funders, and details that confirm what DeSmogBlog and others have reported for years,”

Now we learn that at least one of the documents DeSmog Blog is sending around the Internet is a Fraud. Details in this press release.

PRESS RELEASE 11:45 AM

FEBRUARY 15, 2012 – The following statement from The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more information, contact Communications Director Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/377-4000.

Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute’s 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.

The stolen documents appear to have been written by Heartland’s president for a board meeting that took place on January 17. He was traveling at the time this story broke yesterday afternoon and still has not had the opportunity to read them all to see if they were altered. Therefore, the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed.

Since then, the documents have been widely reposted on the Internet, again with no effort to confirm their authenticity.

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. [Color Added For Emphasis]

We respectfully ask all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

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, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

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. Identity theft and computer fraud are criminal offenses subject to imprisonment. We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes.

Apologies: The Heartland Institute apologizes to the donors whose identities were revealed by this theft. We promise anonymity to many of our donors, and we realize that the major reason these documents were stolen and faked was to make it more difficult for donors to support our work. We also apologize to Heartland staff, directors, and our allies in the fight to bring sound science to the global warming debate, who have had their privacy violated and their integrity impugned.

Lessons: Disagreement over the causes, consequences, and best policy responses to climate change runs deep. We understand that.

But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.

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.

I find the comments at the Sierra Foothills Report most informative and will be commenting on some of the ramarks. They reveal more about the left wing warmers than they do about me, and local conservative bloggers who are proudly skeptical of human caused global warming claims.  More on this in future posts.

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About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

9 Responses to Local Blogger Promoting Website Prompting FAKE Documents

  1. Bob W says:

    How many organizations are there providing research and education for the benefit of the public that people, business and corporations contribute to because they believe the work is of benefit to the public?

    After reading Pelline’s post on “Climate denial machine” I don’t see one reference to anything “The Machine” advocates that he takes exception to as false or misleading. All I see is reference to individuals and entities that he apparently takes exception to as having ulterior motives. But then again I don’t see these suggested motives delineated anywhere. This is common conduct of one that intrinsically knows he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

    It should also be interpreted as further substantiation of what Pelline actually believes are the motives of the “Global Warming Machine”.

  2. Barry Pruett says:

    “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, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.”

    Isn’t getting a confirmation from the source what “real” journalists do before they write hit pieces? If I were Jeff Pelline, I would try to limit any potential liability and take the post down ricky-tick.

  3. Bob W says:

    How many organizations are there providing research and education for the benefit of the public that people, business and corporations contribute to because they believe the work is of benefit to the public?

    After reading a local blog post on “Climate denial machine” I don’t see one reference to anything “The Machine” advocates that he takes exception to as false or misleading. All I see is reference to individuals and entities that he apparently takes exception to as having ulterior motives. But then again I don’t see these suggested motives delineated anywhere. This is common conduct of one that intrinsically knows he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

    It should also be interpreted as further substantiation of what this local blogger actually believes are the motives of the “Global Warming Machine”.

  4. Dixon Cruickshank says:

    I am really surprised scooped got scooped – not

    so ready to jump and Mr Copyright laws apparently didn’t even look at a source – WUWT to get a explaination.

    I guess a journalism degree isn’t worth the paper its written on – be sure and turn him in or I will if there is no retraction

    Its pretty funny that the amounts are honestly just chicken feed in this game of millions and billions

  5. Todd Juvinall says:

    Russ, no wonder the FUE is the FUE. Now we see why.

  6. Todd Juvinall says:

    I guess the hundreds of billions in taxpayer money to the global warming hoaxers is of no concern to the FUE. The left is so predictable. They always try some moral equivalence even when the disparity is say, a billion to one! What a hoot!

  7. Greg Goodknight says:

    Dixon, Pelline’s degree from Cal was in Rhetoric, not journalism. Just the thing if what you’re trying to do is win arguments, whether you’re right or wrong.

    When asked, his chosen local climate expert (Ms. Haynes) couldn’t identify what temperature was, besides being what the numbers on a thermometer measure. She also can’t remember ever taking any class in physics in high school or college, and it shows.

  8. Russ says:

    More on Fakegate
    The Heartland institute folks have now formally responded to the released documents. Here’s the most important paragraph:

    1. The Fake Memo document is just that: fake. It was not written by anyone associated with Heartland. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact. Publication of this falsified document is improper and unlawful.

    Heartland Institute is now asserting formally and legally that the particular memo is a fraud. DeSmogBlog and others continue to assert it’s not a fake. If they’re wrong, it could be fairly expensive.

  9. Perhaps the lefty blogs here and elsewhere receive George Soros money? Media Matters and many on the left do there dirty deeds and then complain that every conservative blog gets Koch Brothers money in order to defame them. Maybe the “sailor” gets some dough from Georgie?

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