[NOTE: This got lost is the days following Fakegate, as WordPress sometime fails to notify me that Guest posts are in que, so in deference to the author, I’m running it now – Anthony]
Guest post by John A
In the virtual reality world of climate science, it appears that quoted statements from emails made by some climate scientists showing malfeasance and outright lying are false because they are “out of context” and quoted statements from fake documents purporting to come from thinktanks are true because…well probably because that’s what we come to expect from people like that.
In Guardian-land, this means that someone has taken it upon himself to report the Heartland Institute to the IRS. No really.
The Heartland Institute, the libertarian thinktank whose project to undermine science lessons for schoolchildren was exposed this week, faces new scrutiny of its finances – including its donors and tax status.
The Guardian has learned of a whistleblower complaint to the Internal Revenue Service about Heartland’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
Who is this whistleblowing Dark Knight?
John Mashey, a retired computer scientist and Silicon Valley executive, said he filed a complaint to the IRS this week that said Heartland’s public relations and lobbying efforts violated its non-profit status.
Mashey said he sent off his audit, the product of three months’ research, just a few hours before the unauthorised release of the Heartland documents.
Mashey said in a telephone interview that the complaint looked at the activities of Heartland and two other organisations that have been prominent in misinforming the public about climate change, the Science and Environmental Policy Project, run by Fred Singer, and the Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, run by Craig Idso. Both men were funded by Heartland, with Idso receiving $11,600 per month and Singer $5,500 a month, according to the 2012 budget.
Heartland is also funding contrarians in Canada and other countries, the documents show.
“I believe there was a massive abuse of 501c(3),” Mashey said. “My extensive study of these think anks[sic] showed numerous specific actions that violated the rules – such as that their work is supposed to be factually based. Such as there was a whole lot of behaviour that sure looked like lobbying and sending money to foreign organisations that are not charities.”
Mashey later published his audit of Heartland finances in Desmogblog, which was the first outlet to run the trove of Heartland documents.
Others were demanding more disclosure from Heartland about its donors and its activities.
This appears to be a consistent target for the climate alarmists – don’t argue the facts, methods or data. Instead try to get your opponents fired or defunded.
This is what passes for climate science these days.
Here’s a mystery item (my emphasis):
In a letter that was published on Friday and then subsequently removed, more than 30 leading health professionals and scientists from the US, Britain, Australia and New Zealand called on Heartland to come clean. “What motivates the Heartland Institute? As climate scientists and health professionals, we view the systematic manipulation and suppression of climate science for private benefit as confusing at best, and inhumane at worst,” the letter said.
“It is in the public, national, and global interest for all funding behind their activities to be revealed. This allows people to make up their own minds about the truth of the climate change threat, so that action can be planned in the light of reality rather than the murky shadows of secretly funded disinformation.”
How do we know that such a letter existed and it is not the figment of some journalist’s imagination? Where was it published? Why was the letter withdrawn? Alas, we mere mortals shall never know.
In a separate initiative, seven climate scientists wrote an open letter calling on Heartland to see the moment of exposure as an opportunity to change tack.
The scientists, who included Kevin Trenbeth at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research and Ben Santer at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs, also took Heartland to task for its response to the 2009 and 2011 hacks of climate scientists’ emails. “The Heartland Institute has had no qualms about utilising and distorting emails stolen from scientists,” the letter said.
“The Heartland Institute has chosen to undermine public understanding of basic scientific facts and personally attack climate researchers rather than engage in a civil debate about climate change policy options,” the letter said.
“We hope the Heartland Institute will begin to play a more constructive role in the policy debate. Refraining from misleading attacks on climate science and climate researchers would be a welcome first step toward.”
Of course the last time either Gavin Schmidt or John Cook argued in a fair debate they got creamed. Which is why they most certainly do not engage in a civil debate – the Climategate emails show anything but civility. And “Skeptical Science” is anything but skeptical or scientific.
Mashey also lives on the West Coast and has close links with DeSmogBlog and was investigating the Heartland Institute…hmmm…I wonder if he has an Epson scanner?
If I were paranoid, I’d say these events are awfully convenient for all of these things to happen at the same time, with the same people and on the same blog. But I’m not very conspiratorially minded.