From a Heartland media release:
FEBRUARY 19 — The Heartland Institute has sent legal notices http://heartland.org/press-releases/2012/02/19/heartland-institute-sends-legal-notices-publishers-faked-and-stolen-docume to numerous Web sites, blogs, and publications asking them to take down the stolen and forged documents and what it views as malicious and false commentary based on them.
The following statement by Heartland Institute President Joseph L. Bast may be used for attribution. For more information, contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at jlakely “at” heartland.org or 312-377-4000.
“We realize this will be portrayed by some as a heavy-handed threat to free speech. But the First Amendment doesn’t protect Internet fraud, and there is no right to defamatory speech.
“For 28 years, The Heartland Institute has engaged in fierce debates over a wide range of public policies – school reform, health care, telecommunications policy, corporate subsidies, and government waste and fraud, as well as environmental policy. We frequently and happily engage in vigorous, robust debate with those who disagree with our views.
“We have resorted in the past to legal means only in a very few cases involving outright fraud and defamation. The current situation clearly fits that description, and our legal counsel has advised that the first step in defending ourselves should be to ask the blogs to take down the stolen and forged documents.”
The Heartland Institute
The Heartland Institute <http://www.heartland.org> is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site http://www.heartland.org or call 312/377-4000.
Here’s the letter being sent to some websites and bloggers, DeSmog Blog and Greg Laden of ScienceBlogs (already in legal trouble over the Tallbloke libel) both got copies.
February 18, 2012
By e-mail to: editor “at” desmogblog.com
By Federal Express to:
Mr. Brendan G DeMelle
[street address redacted]
Seattle, WA 98117-2303
Re: Stolen and Faked Heartland Documents
Dear Mr. DeMelle:
On or about February 14, 2012, your web site posted a document entitled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy” (the “Fake Memo”), which is fabricated and false.
On or about the same date, your web site posted certain other documents purporting to be those of The Heartland Institute (“Heartland”). Heartland has not authenticated these documents (the “Alleged Heartland Documents”).
Your site thereafter has reported repeatedly on all of these documents.
Heartland almost immediately issued a statement disclosing the foregoing information, to which your web site has posted links.
It has come to our attention that all of these documents nevertheless remain on your site and you continue to report on their contents. Please be advised as follows:
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.
2. As to the Alleged Heartland Documents your web site posted, we are investigating how they came to be in your possession and whether they are authentic or have been altered or fabricated. Though third parties purport to have authenticated them, no one – other than Heartland – has the ability to do so. Several of the documents say on their face that they are confidential documents and all of them were taken from Heartland by improper and fraudulent means. Publication of any and all confidential or altered documents is improper and unlawful.
3. Furthermore, Heartland views the malicious and fraudulent manner in which the documents were obtained and/or thereafter disseminated, as well as the repeated blogs about them, as providing the basis for civil actions against those who obtained and/or disseminated them and blogged about them. Heartland fully intends to pursue all possible actionable civil remedies to the fullest extent of the law.
Therefore, we respectfully demand: (1) that you remove both the Fake Memo and the Alleged Heartland Documents from your web site; (2) that you remove from your web site all posts that refer or relate in any manner to the Fake Memo and the Alleged Heartland Documents; (3) that you remove from your web site any and all quotations from the Fake Memo and the Alleged Heartland Documents; (4) that you publish retractions on your web site of prior postings; and (5) that you remove all such documents from your server.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.
Very truly yours,
original Heartland PDF is here: Tier One – DeMelle