Heartland publishes an "Open Letter to Directors of the Pacific Institute"

Fakegate: Open Letter to Directors of the Pacific Institute

FEBRUARY 29, 2012 – Today, The Heartland Institute sent the letter below to the following members of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute:

Peter Boyer, Trustee, The Ayrshire Foundation

Gigi Coe, Trust for Conservative Innovation

Joan Diamond, Chairperson, The Nautilus Institute

Anne Ehrlich, Senior Research Associate, Stanford University

Eric Gimon, Department of Physics, University of California – Berkeley

Corey Goodman, Managing Director, venBio LLC

Margaret Gordon, Second Vice-President, Port of Oakland

Malo Andre Hutson, Affiliated Faculty, University of California

Olivier Marie, Business Strategist, Haas School of Business

Richard Morrison, California Advisory Board, The Trust for Public Land

Robert Stephens, President, MSWG, Inc.

Michael Watts, Geography Department, University of California, Berkeley

We will post at www.fakegate.org any replies we receive. Previous press releases from The Heartland Institute plus links to dozens of news reports and commentary on Gleick’s transgressions can be reviewed at Fakegate.org. The Heartland Institute 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 or call 312/377-4000.


February 29, 2012

Dear _________:

On February 27, the Pacific Institute made the following announcement:

The Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute is deeply concerned regarding recent events involving its president, Dr. Peter Gleick, and has hired an independent firm to review the allegations. The Board has agreed to Dr. Gleick’s request for a temporary leave of absence …

The Heartland Institute’s staff, directors, donors, and other victims of Mr. Gleick’s crime look forward to reviewing the outcome of your investigation. Please confirm that you intend to make public the results of your investigation.

I hope that you and the firm you have hired will pay special attention to the documents I have enclosed:

  • The emails Gleick exchanged with Heartland prior to committing his crime, in which he was respectfully invited to debate Heartland Senior Fellow James M. Taylor on the issue of climate change at Heartland’s anniversary benefit event in August. In these emails, Gleick is informed of Heartland’s policies regarding the confidentiality of its donors and why we adopted that policy. Gleick declined the invitation to debate.
  • The emails Gleick used to steal documents intended to be read only by members of Heartland’s board of directors. Gleick falsely assumed the identity of a member of Heartland’s board on the same day (January 27) that he declined the invitation to debate climate change with Taylor.
  • The forged memo Gleick included with the stolen documents and falsely represented, in his message accompanying the documents to 15 allies and journalists, to have come from The Heartland Institute. I have highlighted the forger’s own words, as opposed to text that was copied and pasted from the stolen documents, and included my own analysis of this fraudulent document.
  • Gleick’s partial confession, in which he admits to having stolen the documents but claims that the memo, which he previously said came from The Heartland Institute, came “in the mail” from an anonymous source. He claims he stole documents because “a rational public debate is desperately needed,” a debate he had just declined to participate in. He offers his “personal apologies to all those affected,” presumably including people he knew his actions had put in harm’s way. He does not say or offer to do anything that would limit or undo the harm he caused.

I hope you will tell me, as you review these documents, if you recognize the author of the highlighted text of the forged memo, and if you believe Gleick received it from an anonymous source, and if you believe Gleick has shown any personal remorse for what he has done.

Finally, please pass along the following questions to the “independent” firm you hired to investigate Gleick:

  • Did Gleick use Pacific Institute computers to establish the Gmail email account under the name of a Heartland board member?
  • Did Gleick use Pacific Institute computers to establish the Gmail email account under the name of “heartlandinsider@gmail.com,” which he used to send the fake memo and the stolen documents to 15 media outlets?
  • Does the investigative firm intend to examine whether Gleick is the author of the fake memo?
  • Does the outside firm have access to all of the personal computers Gleick may have used to write and send the emails or to write the forged memo?
  • Is the fake memo or any trace of it on Gleick’s personal computer(s)?
  • Is the fake memo or any trace of it on the Pacific Institute’s computer system?
  • Is there evidence (as a blogger says) that the fake memo was scanned into a PDF document on a scanner at the Pacific Institute?
  • Does the Pacific Institute have possession of the hard copy of the fake memo or the envelope in which it was supposedly sent?
  • What steps does the Pacific Institute plan to take to preserve these and other documents relevant to the investigation?

Sincerely,

Joseph L. Bast

President

The Heartland Institute

=============================================================

NOTE: Michael Watts, Geography Department, University of California, Berkeley is no relation to Anthony Watts, proprietor of this blog – Anthony

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Personally, I think letters like this have ever so much more impact coming not from anyone on Heartland’s board of directors, but from an attorney, formally warning them to preserve the evidence even as it invites response.
Email from an individual can often be ignored. Email from an attorney — especially if accompanied by a court “discovery” order — cannot. Who cares, after all, about their independent investigative firm? The only firm that matters is the legal firm representing the Heartland institute, which is surely not fool enough to try to do this on their own without counsel.
rgb

BOOM! Ahhh, love to be a fly on the wall in the lawyer’s office when the consequences of THAT letter are considered in full…

I see another greenwash coming. Those who review themselves always find themselves exemplary.

Willis Eschenbach

Anne Ehrlich is on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute? How deliciously appropriate. She and her husband Paul are among the least successful of the failed serial doomcasters that include Holdren, Hansen, and Stephen Schneider. No wonder they’re teamed up with a loser like Gleick.
w.

Pat Frank

That letter would have force only if it were written under legal letterhead, and accompanied by a demand letter for the preservation of evidence. Otherwise, sending it seems like naive posturing to me. The Pacific Institute board can ignore that letter with complete impunity.
Mr. Bast neglected to include posthumous board member Stephen Schneider (in memoriam) among the recipients, by the way. That was an opportunity lost.
REPLY: This letter is for public consumption, the letters going out from the legal team are not. – Anthony

Big D in TX

“What steps does the Pacific Institute plan to take to preserve these and other documents relevant to the investigation?”
Good luck with that one…
Possibly the most important question there, which in my experience dealing with large companies and organizations, will be answered with a PR response, if at all.
Definitely worth putting some pressure on, however – destruction of evidence raises presumption of guilt, not to mention an Obstruction of Justice charge.

Bernie

It would be more forceful from a lawyer at a prominent law firm. IMO, it still signals that HI are willing to play hardball on this if PI and Gleick do not come clean on the source of the fake strategy document.

Still unsure about pronunciation. Is it Gleick as in weak / leak, or is it Gleick as in fake / rake, or yet Gleick as in thick / dick ?

If we’d needed evidence HI doesn’t have money to pay for attorneys or PR professionals, we’ve got it now.

Tom G(ologist)

Ditto comment No. 1 from Robert Brown. I earn most of my living testifying and consultig as an expert witness in court cases. Not only does a message carry more weight coming from an attorney, Heartland would be well advised to stop making public comments, clam up and allow an outside counsel handle all communication. I don’t think there is anything to hide, but I know the workings of loose words in legal procedings.

Brian Adams

Robert Brown,
Isn’t the FBI already on this case (so reported here on WUWT)? It would be hard to fathom that the FBI are not already crawling around P.I. unless they are not fully “on board” that this is a serious issue. Also, we don’t know (and probably will not know) what communication H.I.’s legal team might have had with P.I. This “open letter” from H.I. is more for P.R. value and to put P.I. on the spot in public than anything else.

Willis, I was struck by Anne Ehrlich’s name too. Googling for her took me soon enough to the Wikipedia page for her husband. It was fun in its way to read the following about the famous interaction with Julian Simon:

This exchange eventually led to the Simon-Ehrlich wager. Simon had Ehrlich choose five of several commodity metals. Ehrlich chose copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten. Simon bet that their prices would decrease between 1980 and 1990. Ehrlich bet they would increase. Ehrlich ultimately lost the bet. Over the years the two maintained a public debate, but the two never met face to face. Ehrlich considered Simon a “fringe” character, and refused to meet.

A fringe character who also happened to be right. The last sentence put the radio silence that’s been imposed on characters like Steve McIntyre into a fresh light.
I doubt Steve would sign up for everything Simon taught. But that’s not the point. If you prove these guys are wrong you’re “fringe” and they refuse to meet you. If you agree with them and thus become wrong with them, as Gleick obviously did, they’ll shower you with kudos, MacArthur Genius and all.
Good letter, Mr Bast.

Greg, San Diego, CA

Or Gleick as in hike/pike?

Duke C.

A Muir Russel type investigation? Just gobsmacking. That may have worked with the Brits to some degree, I seriously doubt it will work with us Yanks.

jim papsdorf

Is a copy of the full letter sent by HI to the Pacific Institute available ? Lots of times a letter such as this includes a “cc” listing the name of a law firm. That will often serve as a rather pointed wake-up call that all of these communications are being reviewed by competent legal counsel.

John from CA

Unless the “(as a blogger says)” post has changed, it doesn’t allude to the “fake memo was scanned into a PDF document on a scanner at the Pacific Institute“.
“• Is there evidence (as a blogger says) that the fake memo was scanned into a PDF document on a scanner at the Pacific Institute?”

Ken Harvey

This is turning into the classic of all whodunits. This could become a case study for all first year IT students. I love it.

Lee L.

Freedom 55 comes to Pacific Institute.

Rogelio

Frank I hope to XXXXX that they have ior are using legal council and that they are not posting the legal letters, because they have been told not to and this is just “sample” of the legal letters that have beeen sent. Otherwise the whole thing is a joke.

Al Gored

Anne Ehrlich!
Alllllllrighty then. That certainly explains things.
But I thought we were all supposed to be dead by now?

Gleik. It’s pronounce similar to “Wile E” as in Coyote.

John Whitman

OPEN CAUTION TO THE PACIFIC INSTITUTE
Dear PI,
I suggest that you and your independent investigators resist the temptation to use the failed Phil Jones defense in your strategies.
Let me paraphrase and reword slightly the infamous Phil Jones defense for you {italized words and the strike through are mine-JW}
“[ . . . ] Why should I make the data evidence examined by PI’s independent investigator and the results of the independent investigation available to HI, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”
PI board of directors, your independent investigation’s credibility hopefully will not be impeached due to interference by you or by interested third parties who can have conflicts of interest with your independent investigators.
John

harrywr2

Robert Brown says:
February 29, 2012 at 10:23 am
Personally, I think letters like this have ever so much more impact coming not from anyone on Heartland’s board of directors
This is a polite letter pointing out some facts that one may not wish to ignore before signing off on the ‘internal whitewash’ investigation that many organizations engage in. I.E. Hire a ‘blind man’ to investigate…then hold up the report from the ‘blind man’ that authoritatively states that he ‘didn’t see anything’. The backsides of the Board is ‘duly’ covered. They had an investigation…no wrongdoing was found…back to business as usual.
Heartland has now publicly provided to each of the board members documents that would appear in an ‘actual’ investigation and the questions the ‘internal investigator’ should be answering.

neill

From commenter oMan at CA, and my reply:
Posted Feb 29, 2012 at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Reply
It will be interesting to learn who paid for the equipment used by Gleick, and any expenses he incurred, in preying on Heartland. He seems to be the recipient of public funds in various roles. Suppose his computer and email account were funded by a US government grant. That might establish a possible link between a felony and assets purchased with taxpayer money, or a diversion of those assets to purposes outside the scope of the grant, or false claims against the government for payment in respect of activities outside the scope.
This kind of thing is very well-developed law in the field of medical claims and, I think, increasingly in cases of misdirected public funding of scientific work. Even poor accounting and proper segegation of assets can be problematic.
It is also an area where private relator actions can be brought if the government does not act.
The closer you look, the worse it gets.
neill
Posted Feb 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM | Permalink | Reply
This would seem the strongest motivator to get the Feds moving into this. Even if the current DOJ leadership is averse taking action against a CAGW leader, the criminal misuse of taxpayer dollars may not leave them a choice in the matter.

Boudumoon says:
February 29, 2012 at 10:40 am
“Still unsure about pronunciation. Is it Gleick as in weak / leak, or is it Gleick as in fake / rake, or yet Gleick as in thick / dick ?”
Wikipedia says:
“Peter H. Gleick (glick[1]; born 1956) is an American scientist working on issues related to the environment,”

jonathan frodsham

I was just wondering if he had used a VPN if he would have been able to hide?

James Ard

I heard that San Diego newsman calling him Gleick, as in wreck.

John Whitman

Joseph Bast,
My evaluation of HI has so far grown significantly more positive with the unfolding of the Gleick affair. But, my evaluation of PI has exactly the opposite trend.
Thank you Mr. Bast and also your associates for offering an independent view that does not derive from the alarm oriented activists that have successfully manipulated IPCC centric climate science. That kind of independent source of ideas and information is required for a constitutional republic to retain the values of independent thought, speech and actions.
I assess that your organization’s public credibility stock is appreciating nicely. Congratulations.
John

Bill Parsons

I’m surprised at how many of the mainstream papers have published comments in support of Gleick. Bast’s letter appears to be laying the groundwork for (whatever) actions to follow in the full knowledge that there will be a firestorm of criticism. Since it appears that the lawyers are circling, it might be a good idea if this blog set parameters. Meanwhile (snip if necessary):
Lucia stated a day or two ago on her blog:

Should Heartland sue someone (and I think they likely will) I have no idea how the courts will view this. I certainly can’t guess the level of monetary damages that might be awarded for harms like “potential loss of the public ear”. I also have no idea how the fact that the damaging memo was revealed to be fake which tended to limit any harm the Heartland’s reputation would affect any outcome.
Still, at least hypothetically, had people come to believe the fake memo was real and believed that the memo truly expressed views and behavior of Heartland, Heartland’s reputation would have been dealt some very real damage that would not have accrued based on the other 7 memos leaked in fakegate.

My 2 cents on the growing pile.
In days gone by, a power-hungry prince might lace a piece of vellum with virulent poison and send it to his / her victim. Murdering one’s way to the top seems to have been almost commonplace among royal families in the Middle Ages. The Heartland “Strategy Memo” looks like such an attempt. Though it appears to have been dashed off hurriedly, in an almost satirical manner, the “appeals to the emotions” and deceitful rhetorical tactics, which Peter Gleick had attributed to the motives of skeptics in his 2007 address to Congress, salt this document subtly.
Like many, I am curious about the writer’s many implications, innuendos, and contrary meanings, but I don’t think additional interpretations are necessary, other than to support a few general conclusions about the letter’s origins, it’s tone and it’s purpose.
The memo is a fraud, and an act of impersonation. The copies of the memo distributed to the public blacked out the signee, apparently Heartland’s attempt to preserve the the actual board member’s name.
The intended readers of the letter were: the warmist community, the taxpayers, legislators, the general,uncommitted public, and (possibly) classroom children studying global warming. We know that it was distributed by Peter Gleick, so that part of the letter-writer’s intent was carried out. Finally, regardless of whether PG knew that the letter was phony, its intent, contrary to his publicly expressed sentiment, was clearly to head off any open debate with skeptics – he had just refused this offer.
It was intended to: embarrass fund recipients and Heartland, discourage donors, embolden and hearten the warmist community, horrify legislators and members of the public and persuade them to vote against skeptical points of view, and validate the “victimhood / underdog” status of warmists. Heartland is presented as an evil bureaucracy, impassively plotting to undermine the IPCC and warmists who get in their way.

I agree with others who said any correspondence should come from an attorney. Lawyers will pick on any little thing, twist the meaning, and then try to use it against you. On the other hand, getting teams of attorneys involved doesn’t help anyone except the attorneys. (Yes, I’ve watched this sort of stuff in action and the companies involved were damaged beyond repair. Both went belly-up while the attorneys laughed all the way to the bank.)

Gary Meyers

I think it’s pronounced Glick, as in ick, click ,or trick

Darkinbad the Brightdayler

I reckon all the fat’s been chewed out of this issue now.
Time to move on

Peter

I suspect that the Director’s Liability carrier (insurance is my specialty) has already informed the Board of the Pacific Institute the precarious position they find themselves in, and that in cases of wilful misconduct, they may be on their own. I imagine the legal bill at the PI wil consume much of their funds for the next while.

Bill Parsons

My “conclusion” to the above comment.
A suit can and should be brought against Peter Gleick. His crimes include: wire fraud, libel, character defamation of the signed board member, defamation of Heartland (laws on institutional defamation differ by state) damages for lost income (for Heartland).
Newspapers which spread the story without verifying its authentic sources can be accused of libel as well.

Jim G

Bob says:
February 29, 2012 at 11:24 am
Boudumoon says:
February 29, 2012 at 10:40 am
“Still unsure about pronunciation. Is it Gleick as in weak / leak, or is it Gleick as in fake / rake, or yet Gleick as in thick / dick ?”
Wikipedia says:
“Peter H. Gleick (glick[1]; born 1956) is an American scientist working on issues related to the environment,”
[SNIP: Really uncalled for. -REP]

DesertYote

dfbaskwill
February 29, 2012 at 11:06 am
Gleik. It’s pronounce similar to “Wile E” as in Coyote.
###
HEY! Be nice! No insults.

Scott Covert

I assume this is a preemptory statement to make the ensuing PI whitewash more obvious to the public. HI’s legal staff will or already have send a more pointed and concise communication that will hold up in court when the information is or might be witheld. This will establish whether or not PI is voluntarily witholding information before legal discovery begins and would give HI reason to ask the judge to compell PI to disclose the facts completely. That’s just my take.

Ally E.

I think that’s a great letter.
I hope Heartland goes all the way with this, it is so important.

Anton

Boudumoon says:
February 29, 2012 at 10:40 am
Still unsure about pronunciation. Is it Gleick as in weak / leak, or is it Gleick as in fake / rake, or yet Gleick as in thick / dick ?

I’ve heard one of his friends pronounce it “Glyke” (rhymes with “Mike”).

Mac the Knife

By Gleick’s own assertions, this is ‘war’. Now we hear the baying of the Heartland legal hounds, as they catch the ‘scent’ and chorus bark ‘trail’!
“…..Cry ‘Havoc’, and let slip the dogs of war, that this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial!” Indeed, Mr. Shakespear! Indeed!!!

Jeff Wiita

Does Heartland have a civil case against the Pacific Institute?

Jeff Wiita

Should Heartland ask the Pacific Institute to have their independent investigators to investigate if there were others involved in the crime?

Otto Zilch

>>It was intended to: embarrass fund recipients and Heartland, discourage donors, embolden and hearten the warmist community, horrify legislators and members of the public and persuade them to vote against skeptical points of view, and validate the “victimhood / underdog” status of warmists.
If that doesn’t say RICO, I don’t know what does.

Gary Pearse

Anthony, you may have to open a new section in your menu called “Whitewashes in Climate Science”

ChE

I think Anthony’s right. The version on the law firm’s letterhead has already been served. It’s longer, more technical, and puts them on notice in no uncertain terms that any document destruction will come back and bite like a cobra. This one is for PR effect.
No hackeysack tonight.

Walt in DC

Heartland should have already sworn out a criminal complaint against Gleick.

Billy

I’m not a lawyer.
In my experience it is normal to request a response with clear and civil letter. This gives the other party a chance to respond. When there is no suitable response you resort to lawyers and courts. I think this is what Mr. Blast is doing. I trust that he has good advice.

Such a NICE TOP LEFT SIDE LOGO PI has 🙂

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Gleick finally let leak
his phishing skills were weak
when bloggers punched his beak
and lawyers did he seek.
He still has lots of cheek
the facts he tries to tweak
yet it looks very bleak
since truth will Heartland seek.

Hopefully this will help the pronunciation problem, for those who didn’t pick up enough clues from this post’s title and accompanying excellent graphic.

ChE

I’ve heard one of his friends pronounce it “Glyke” (rhymes with “Mike”).

FWIW, that would be correct German.

REPLY:
That is the correct pronunciation AFAIK – Anthony