Former ACLU President: Targeting Global Warming Skeptics Is ‘Pure Harassment’

From the Daily Caller’s Mike Bastasch:

Harvey Silverglate, a renowned civil rights attorney and former president of the American Civil Liberties Union in Massachusetts, called investigations of global warming skeptics by state attorneys general “pure harassment.”

“It is outrageous for any law 
enforcement official to be seeking to win this battle for minds by flexing law enforcement muscle and trying to shut up the other side,” Silverglate told The Boston Herald Thursday.

Silverglate, a veteran civil rights lawyer, was reacting to a subpoena issued Wednesday by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, demanding ExxonMobil turn over 40 years of records, including records regarding prominent conservative think tanks.

Healey claims the investigation is to determine if Exxon misled the public and shareholders about the risks of global warming. Healey is the latest state prosecutor to demand records from groups that disagree with her on global warming. New York AG Eric Schneiderman became the first law enforcer to investigate Exxon in November.

“It’s not the way scientific or factual or even political battles are settled in this country, which last I checked is still a free country,” Silverglate said, who founded the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

State AGs claim their investigations are based on reporting from liberal news outlets that Exxon tried to cover up the truth about global warming by funding conservative groups skeptical of man-made warming and opposed to anti-fossil fuel policies.

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it does not protect companies from defrauding the American people or improperly disclosing information to their shareholders,” 19 Democratic California lawmakers recently wrote to state AG Kamala Harris, who has her own probe into Exxon.

But as more AGs start to investigate their political opponents, others are propping up to stop what they see as attacks on free speech.

“Exxon is a resident of the state of Texas, and we felt this was an attack on their first amendment rights,” Texas AG Ken Paxton said after he and Alabama AG Luther Strange filed a brief in support of Exxon’s legal battle to defeat a subpoena from U.S. Virgin Islands AG Claude Walker.

“They have every right to have their opinions on climate change. In my opinion you cross the line when you start prosecuting individuals for disagreeing with you,” he said.

Newspapers have also come out against Democratic AGs who are targeting Exxon.

“Climate change campaigners argue the seriousness of the issue means extreme measures are warranted, but the exact opposite is the case,” the Financial Times editorial board wrote in response to the Exxon investigation.

“It is precisely because the stakes are so high that all arguments must be heard. The actions by the attorney-generals can only degrade the quality of that debate,” they wrote.

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82 thoughts on “Former ACLU President: Targeting Global Warming Skeptics Is ‘Pure Harassment’

  1. Notably, Silverglade is former ACLU official, not a current one. The current ACLU is much more likely to defend Healy and Schneiderman than sue them for civil rights violations.

    • Don’t be so quick to judge… the ACLU filed an amicus brief supporting Mark Steyn in his fight with little Mikey Mann

    • “Insecurity” may be what is behind this harassment, but the purpose is to send a message to skeptics that they had better keep quiet or they could also become part of a fishing expedition. This action is designed to suppress the opposition. Scooter Libby was innocent of the original charges used to investigate him, but he was found guilty of not telling the truth to investigators. So all they have to do is play off a person’s old or unclear memories to get you to misspeak and contradict yourself or the evidence. Then they can punish you, even if you are not guilty of the original charge. The punishment is malleable and can be greatly influenced by politics. Scooter Libby, for example, spent time in jail for giving false testimony that had no bearing on the outcome of the investigation. They already knew who outed Valerie Plame and had no reason to prolong the investigation. But they kept this knowledge secret so they continue the investigation as a fishing expedition for political reasons. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, was also found guilty of lying under oath, but he didn’t spend a day in jail. Unlike Libby, his false testimony could have had a direct bearing on the outcome of the case if there not been enough evidence to contradict him. So which prominent skeptics are going to take the chance of having their lives ruined by being made political examples by these people? Regardless of the outcome of Healey’s investigation, damage has been done, and the intended message has been sent.

      • The case against Libby wasn’t even that strong.
        He remembered a conversation one way, the way he told investigators.
        Someone else remembered it a different way.
        It was a classic he said, he said situation, with absolutely no physical evidence backing up either person’s memories.
        The prosecutor got the jury to believe that their guy was telling the truth.

      • The last I looked, it is not yet illegal to form an informed opinion on ANY subject based on the weight of the evidence, as opposed to appeals to authority, emotion, etc. Also, in a civil suit you have to prove monetary damage took place. This IS nuisance harassment designed to intimidate and silence, and that’s all.

  2. I suppose it will also take “former” FOIA law advocates to make any statement about wholesale stonewalling turned SOP in the current administration at EPA, IRS, and a lot of other agencies.

  3. Seems like we should reduce the number of attorney generals if they are just going to duplicate efforts.

    • AGs are elected in each state and are not Federal AGs.
      Karmala Harris, California AG, was the top vote getter in the California June U.S. Senate primary election race. The top two candidates will be on the November 2016 California election ballot.
      This will be a California election hot topic issue.
      The outcome of the June primary election indicates that Californians don’t care about about the AG issue.
      Maybe a hot election topic in other states with their AGs involved in this situation.
      Move the AG issue to a state where this may not be an election issue in November 2016?

  4. Personally, I only see this as a smoke screen for something that should be watched. It will be hard to determine until it is too late.
    so what laws are these folks trying to pass while we look elsewhere.

  5. “The actions by the attorney-generals can only degrade the quality of that debate,”
    The actions of the AGs is based on the presumption that the debate is over.

  6. Dang! The each of the #RICO20 AGs should be heavily fined by their State’s Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife for repeatedly fishing without a license.

    • Oops! Forgot to add… Silverglate sounds like my kind of guy. I wonder if he was forced out of the Mass. ACLU?

      • Silverglate is still held in high regard by the general membership, at this past year’s ACLU dinner he was a noted guest. I suspect that he left the ACLU because he does have a lot on his plate.

  7. Neither the Attorneys General nor the Legislators are qualified to make scientific evaluations from the data available. As between them or Exxon, a pox on both of them! Neither seems to care much about the truth. For them it is all about money and power..

    • The difference being, an AG can haul your hiney into court and Exxon just wants to sell you gasoline (and other useful products.)

  8. This ( scapegoating by way of government power ) is allowable because:
    1) lying is tolerated,
    2) free speech is no longer valued.
    The jerks in government would never get away with this if lying was not tolerated by the people. Lying is despicable and I detest liars.
    Free speech is the key to truth and freedom and the liars in government have abandoned it as a virtue.
    So the liars will lie and the will use the force of government to stop you from complaining about it.
    I lay blame with the universities for putting leftism (all of it) ahead of free speech over the past 2 generations and cultivating a brood of beings that feel comfortable in lying about their objectives and tossing out free speech in the process.
    Liars need to be socially isolated.
    Obstacles to free speech need to be attacked with all vigor. The bad actors who inhibit free speech need to be called out, exposed, prosecuted, impoverished, and demonized.

    • free speech is no longer valued
      ========================
      once a law is passed saying your speech must not offend, free speech is over. because no matter what you say, someone somewhere is going to be offended.
      For example, “people of color”. Why is it not racists that whites are kept out of this club? White after all is a mixture of all colors. How is this not discriminatory?
      Doesn’t racism exist because of segregation, and doesn’t dividing people into “people of color” and “people of no color” encourage segregation? And thus should we not ban this phrase under PC rules?
      Personally, I have no feelings on the subject one way or the other. Rather I was trying to show the slippery slope we are on with politically correct speech suppressing free speech.

      • Racists exist because they refuse to acknowledge that there is only one race, the human race. Racism is so early 20th century.
        As soon as they do, all their beliefs are reduced to tribalism, which is a natural survival mechanism found in all species of the superfamily Hominoidea. It takes a village or a 100 monkeys. Take your pick.

      • Worse, the government gets to rule that not all offense is equal.
        Offend a white male, and nobody cares.
        Offend just about anyone else, and you’re going to jail.

      • Speaking as an artiste:
        Regarding light, white is the presence of all colors in equal amount.
        Regarding pigmentation, white is the absence of color.
        Try it sometime with paint…mix ’em all together and you do not get white…more like a grayish brown…which i think might be black if you had enough different colors of paint.
        But what do i know…I aint no stinkin’ artiste.

      • Willful lying is about as low one can go, intellectually. When all you can know is from the honest evocation written or stated by another person, then your knowledge and how you relate to the world is based on the veracity of that knowledge. I value truth, and the effort to deliver it, mighty importantly.

    • 1) lying is tolerated,
      2) free speech is no longer valued.

      The MSM ‘press’ has abrogated their responsibility, exchanging it for a seat at the table of ‘power’ … and good seats at the yearly press dinner in Washington.

  9. The degree to which climate science has gone to in order to silence by threat or intimidation, or by riducle, or by inundation, or false claims ( I’m on the payroll of big oil), sick, don’t understand science, belittling, have a problem with authority ( rebel without a clue complex), the constant use of terms that imply impending diaster or never before seen events…. just on the prima facia seems like they are not being exactly truthful and that the real intent isn’t the obvious one stated.
    If it turns out to be the case that temperatures do decline in the coming years, can we go after the AG in those states personally? They are clearly outside the intent and letter of the law pursuing a personal agenda. This is far from a criminal activity in any sense.
    And even if.. if… if Exxon did know, paid for their own research, is that criminal? If I did my research and determined that that we are on the verge of another LIA could the state come after me for not sharing that information with them? Or proposing laws to silence the CAGW people. I personally think my research is not only better, but is not biased one way or the other. Is that criminal?
    Unless you are paid by the government or have contracts pertaining to research or inventions, they have no right to demand anything of me concerning a scientific endeavor, or anyone else. Which is in sharp contrast to the smoke screen put up by NASA/NOAA pertaining to the emails of government scientists. Or universities that take money then stonewall FOI. Or oops my hard drive crashed. Sorriee …

    • Unless you are paid by the government or have contracts pertaining to research or inventions, they have no right to demand…
      And haven’t we seen that even when *some people* are paid by government they kick and scream, stonewall and outright refuse to release information despite FOIA? Outrageous.

  10. This is political harassment and intimidation from the state against those who hold different views than the state presently condones.
    The country is moving ever faster towards a dystopian police state, we see more and more examples of the power of the courts used in ways that would astonish my grandparents; much less the founders. Not to be overly pessimistic (I hope), but the USA will never be the “land of the free, home of the brave” again as long as it exists as a worldwide empire.

  11. People should subpoena Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, demanding that she turn over 40 years of records to determine if she misled the public about the risks of her being an Attorney General.

    • Ask for the records relating to Evergreen, UPC Renewables,IVPC, First Wind and SunEdison. Also all information regarding appointments by the former Governor, Deval Patrick.
      Add in Evergreen Solar, Beacon Power, Mass Tank, CEC et. al..

      • Indeed a must read!
        Massachusetts has its hand out for Canadian hydro-power. One of the locations is supposed to be the Muskrat Falls dam now under construction in Newfoundland. And another is Quebec hydro-power.
        And Mass. electric customers will have to pay the transmission costs from Canada.
        Donor list includes:
        Boston Scientific
        John Abele, retired Boston Scientific Founder and Chair.is on the Board of Trustees of the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado. And as I recall a donor to the Colorado NEE project?

  12. I’ve said it before, but I think people here are misreading the RICO20 initiative — it’s not about jailing skeptics (at least not as far as the AGs are concerned). The comparison with the tobacco industry suits is apt and people should pay more attention to it.
    This is about creating a pretext so states have standing to sue fossil fuel companies for the alleged costs of “climate change mitigation” measures or “green energy transition” projects. If the various states can gain standing, they can sue for the estimated/projected/modelled costs to cope with pending climate change caused by burning fossil fuels which the oil companies “knew” about but did not “disclose”.
    Look at the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. This is the pattern the AGs are following. What did the states get? $206 billion over 25 years (more for some states which reached their own settlements). What did the tobacco companies get? Immunity from further suits and staying in business while imposing a tax on each cigarette starting at $0.0094 and rising in several steps to $0.0188 by 2007 ($1.88 to $3.77 a carton). What did smokers get? More expensive cigarettes. There is no need to ask what the trial lawyers got.
    What have the states spent their settlements on? Some anti-smoking programs to be sure, but they are not bound by law to do so and some states have essentially turned their payment stream into a lump sum by selling bonds backed by the settlement payments. States have simply folded most of the money into the general fund and spent it one whatever they pleased. The only way the states could be assured of the money is if the tobacco companies stayed in business and were successful. So Joe Camel is gone but smoking is not; that was never part of the plan.
    In effect, the states became accessories after the fact in exchange for a cut of the take.
    The tobacco settlement gave states a taste for blood and now that tobacco revenue is drying up (or has already been spent or pledged), they are looking for a new target. All they need is a villain with deep pockets, legal standing, some junk science, a court with unlimited power and a jury with limited intelligence. The last three are easy to find. Now that they have identified the target, the only thing missing is legal standing as victims of climate change damage.
    The AGs will use the usual green groups (350.org, WWF, Sierra Club, etc.) and their cheering sections in the media as useful cover while they “go after” the evil polluters and then reach a settlement yielding billions for state coffers while guaranteeing the oil companies can stay in business.

  13. Mods: my (insightful) comment of approximately 14:55 EDT seems to have disappeared. My only transgression was a single link to WhackyPedia.

    • Reposted at 15;17 EDT and same result. I swear I didn’t even mention Ch*mTr**ls.

  14. The rule of law in the US has broken down.
    For all intents and purposes the Constitution and Bill of Rights are dead.
    Politicians swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, either not having even read it, or having absolutely no intention of upholding it. They may even have an agenda to usurp it.
    Now we have Attorneys General ignoring the oath they took to defend the Constitution.
    The Administration decides which laws they will choose to enforce, and who is required to comply with the law and who can ignore it.
    The Justice Department’s decision to prosecute is often based on politics rather than the law. Certain people are above the law. They can also choose to target people who have not broken the law.
    What happened? How did we get into this situation?

  15. THE ACLU. Hypocrisy by any other name…… Notice the word “former” president “Call me when you can use the word Current and maybe I’ll give an ounce credence to aything out of their pie holes. Pathetic.

  16. “The actions by the attorney-generals can only degrade the quality of that debate”
    What ‘debate’ would that be?

  17. Well the last time I checked, it was only a free-ish country. 😉
    How could we protect the hurt feelings of the emotionally unstable in a truly free country?

  18. Can wait for a RICO act against the Vatikan and it’s representatives in the US asking for the Papers in the cellars of the vatican for the last 2000 years – all those fraud prophecies end of time ‘next year’.
    / imaging my god smiling when reading this /

  19. Could somebody feed this to the Trump’s team to use it against Hillary?
    I think it would do a miracle to dismantle this green cabal
    JMHO

  20. … also come out against Democratic AGs who …

    It seems to me that these constitution abusers aren’t the least bit democratic. How about:

    … also come out against Democrat AGs who …

    If I’m feeling real grumpy, I might even go with:

    … also come out against despotic AGs who …

    Democratic vs. Democratic

  21. This ‘pure harassment’ is starting out just like an Inquisition. A good defense would be to somehow publicly humiliate the Inquisitors to the point they lose all public credibility. I imagine that inquiries into their personal histories would likely reveal facts they would mot enjoy having publicized.

  22. Doesn’t a subpoena need judicial approval and some sort of probable cause?
    I am at a loss to see how these AGs can get as far as they have.

  23. Her sole justification is hearsay? I thought they had to have some reasonable belief that a crime had been committed and they had to disclose the crime they think was committed.
    Pretty chilling if the courts are going to allow law enforcement to ignore the 4th amendment. We’re going to look at ALL your records to see if you have violated any laws at some time in the past. We don’t know if you have and have no reason to think you have except your neighbor called and said he thinks you may or may not have broken some law, sometime, so we’re going to check.
    I Suppose I’ll stop saying ‘last time I checked this is still a free country’ because it isn’t

    • “Pretty chilling if the courts are going to allow law enforcement to ignore the 4th amendment.”
      The Virgin Islands AG withdrew its fishing request, when it was challenged in court.
      The demands on Epstein will also be challenged in court.
      Don’t count the courts out as being a neutral party in this yet.
      AG Healey’s case against Epstein looks particularly weak.

  24. Climate change campaigners argue the seriousness of the issue means extreme measures are warranted,

    i.e. “the ends justify the means”. Where have we heard that one before?

  25. I found this statement ( last 2 paragraphs in the article) very important.
    “Climate change campaigners argue the seriousness of the issue means extreme measures are warranted, but the exact opposite is the case,” the Financial Times editorial board wrote in response to the Exxon investigation.
    “It is precisely because the stakes are so high that all arguments must be heard. The actions by the attorney-generals can only degrade the quality of that debate,” they wrote.
    I hope no one loses sight of that.

    • Yeah, whatever! Except the stakes they claim are so high are so distorted that they have it backwards. Doing what they want would be the disaster.

  26. People claim the moon landings were faked and we don’t put them in jail. People wear tinfoil hats and we don’t put them in jail. Politicians and pundits argue both sides of issues all day long and one side (or both) must be wrong–and we don’t put them in jail.
    The fake claim against Exxon is that there was systemic risk to their shareholders from climate change legislation and/or a potential harm to the public–but as a corporation the law requiring disclosure of regulatory risks is only a few years old, and they complied with this law. If a corp complains too much that they are at risk from regulations, the gov takes revenge on them and their stock tanks. As far as harm to the public, Exxon had no secret knowledge on this topic and actually funded basic research at universities which was published.

  27. The persecution is actually becoming real, but it doesn’t show up in ways that are actionable.
    You suddenly find you can’t get fire insurance. It used to be you might find you couldn’t get affordable health insurance but now its something that threatens your mortgage, which is a threat to your home. For one reason or another your building plans were rejected by the local zoning board. It goes on and on.
    When the government begins turning on you they’ll use the simplest paths first, the ones they already regulate to the point of total control; insurance.
    Clifford Simak wrote a book, it was titled “The Syndic” back in the 1950s. Anyone really interested in the structure of the US political machine should read it. It’s a humorous and condescending view. A more mature treatment of the situation we all face would be John Brunner’s “The Shockwave Rider”, a book that very accurately describes the society we live in today, and concludes (spoiler alert) that organized crime has taken over our government.

  28. “Climate change campaigners argue the seriousness of the issue means extreme measures are warranted…”
    Are we proposing waterboarding with this? What exactly is meant by “extreme measures”?

  29. “Healey claims the investigation is to determine if Exxon misled the public and shareholders about the risks of global warming.”
    I am an Exxon shareholder and I was not misled. I have a full understanding of the issues surrounding the use of fossil fuels and the potential impact on global environment.
    In my informed and considered opinion, I have no reason to believe the release of carbon dioxide by humans has a deleterious effect on life in any way. I have some reason to believe the release of carbon dioxide benefits life. For that reason alone I support Exxon and I will continue using fossil fuels.

    • I suppose I missed [an] end italic marker. It there’s anyone (mod. Please? I promise to never bad mouth you again?) out there who might correct that oversight I might promise to never, ever make comments about your mother again?

      • Missed an. I missed “an” not “and” italic marker.
        And why are we still doing this? Write a letter to WordPress? Yank them kicking and screaming into the 21st century? Please? You have a very big and influential blog. Can we get an Edit button? Would that be so hard?

  30. The seriousness of the issue…. the enemy is at the gates, democracy doesn’t work, we need a dictatorship. And as proof look at all the people arguing for the enemy. It’s an emergency, we need extreme measures to silence the opposition. Shadham Hussein was buying nuclear material to build a bomb. Persuing weapons of mass destruction. And if you said that wasn’t true, you were a traitor.
    You don’t think there isn’t a price to pay. Lies have a way of destroying people, families and their children. I’m well acquainted with people who twist, distort, and out right lie. Was Iraq worth one American life? And the result went so well too. Instead of a puppet we have ISIS.

  31. I quote: “Sulverglate…. reacting to a subpoena issued Wednesday by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, demanding ExxonMobil turn over 40 years of records, including records regarding prominent conservative think tanks…calls it pure harassment. “…
    Clearly, Healy at this point has no data except unverified, undisclosed charges from liberal news outlets or think tanks. In contrast to such undisclosed charges the evidence is strong that climate predictions based on computer models created by climate warming advocates are a complete fabrication designed to make us believe that there is more warming than there actually is. This has huge consequences for global climate policy It demonstrably qualifies as pseudo-science –- using the language of science to promote a non-existent trend.
    It all started with James Hansen in 1988 when he presented four computer models of future climate to the Unites States Senate. Three of them were hypotheticals demonstrating how wonderfully lowered carbon dioxide will reduce global warming. The fourth one he called “business as usual.” He calculated it out from 1988 to to 2019. It was an attempt to tell us how bad climate would be if atmospheric carbon dioxide created by humans were allowed to accumulate. From the start, his predicted temperature was always higher than the actually observed temperature was. In some years it was as much as half a degree or higher than observed. Compare this to total warming of only 0.85 degrees for the entire length of the period from 1880 to 2012.
    You might think that later introduction of new and better equipment might improve on Hansen’s results but this is not the case. Supercomputers that could handle one million lines of code were supplied to them but there was no noticeable improvement – their predictions were still chronically high. This has been going on for 26 years now. A commercial outfit with an unmitigated failure record would have been shut down long before it even got this far. But global warming management at IPCC is apparently happy. These results are passed on to their political supporters as latest science and are then used it to justify their need for megabucks (or terabucks?) to run their “mitigation” efforts and their international climate funds. This has become a huge profit-making enterprise with a customer base consisting of over 200 nations who were cajoled into signing up for the Paris conference promises.
    All I can say about this is that their propaganda machine is a Joseph Goebbels-quality propaganda machine. You may not know this but once he understood that the Third Reich was really kaput he and his wife killed their own young children and then committed suicide. That is history but the computer-predicted climate models are ln front of us now. They need to be shut down urgently to prevent the continuation of the (now) 26 years old global warming model fraud.
    I am going to suggest to Maura Healy that she should give up her wild goose chase that these think tank people lured her into and instead concentrate on investigating the management of the global warming models if she wants to be constructive in the global warming area.

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