The latest swift-boating (unless there is a new one among seven
unanswered calls on my cell) is the whacko claim that I received
$720,000.00 from George Soros. Here is the real deal, with the order
of things as well as I can remember without wasting even more time
digging into papers and records.
Sometime after giving a potentially provocative interview to Sixty
Minutes, but before it aired, I tried to get legal advice on my rights
of free speech. I made two or three attempts to contact people at
Freedom Forum, who I had given permission to use a quote (something
like “in my thirty-some years in the government, I have never seen
anything like the present restrictions on the flow of information from
scientists to the public”) on their calendar. I wanted to know where
I could get, preferably inexpensive, legal advice. Never got a reply.
But then I received a call from the President of the Government
Accountability Project (GAP) telling me that I had won the Ridenaur
Award (including a moderate amount of cash — $10,000 I believe; the
award is named for the guy who exposed the Viet Nam My Lai massacre),
and offering pro bono legal advice. I agreed to accept the latter
(temporarily), signing something to let them represent me (which had
an escape clause that I later exercised).
I started to get the feeling that there may be expectations (strings)
coming with the award, and I was concerned that it may create the
appearance that I had spoken out about government censorship for the
sake of the $. So I called the President of GAP, asking how the
nomination process worked and who made the selection. He mentioned
that he either nominated or selected me. So I declined the award, but
I continued to accept pro bono legal advice for a while.
The principal thing that they provided was the attached letter to
NASA. This letter shows me why scientists drive 1995 Hondas and
lawyers drive Mercedes. I have a feeling that the reader of that
letter had at least one extra gulp of coffee that morning.
Meanwhile Steinn SigurÃ°sson investigated the IBD claims himself:
So: Hansen got pro-bono legal advice, and possibly some media advice (though I doubt he needs that, he’ll have his own AddressBook of contacts) from GAP, which got some of its funding (about 15%) from OSI, including $100k specifically to assist Science and Engineering whistleblowers. The Soros Foundation, of which OSI is part, spend $400 million in 2006.
One can find all this online in 30 seconds through Google.
Yet IBD considers this a “threat to democracy” because these organizations seek to affect public opinion and “lack transparency”.
Do IBD op-ed columns attempt to affect public opinion?
The column was not signed, btw.
I thought Investor’s Business Daily approved of rich people being allowed to spend their money however they liked?
I should note that an additional seven seconds with Google showed that the Government Accountability Project didn’t just reveal their relationship to Hansen, they sent out Press Releases SHOUTING this fact to the world
Contrast this with NewsBusters (part of Media Research Center), who have helped lead the swift boating of Hansen. They sure seem to keep very quiet about the hundreds of thousands of dollars MRC has received from Exxon, don’t they?
Update: Robert McClure talked to GAP and OSI:
GAP’s president Louis Clark and Rick Piltz, director of GAP’s climate science watch program, say they helped Hansen in about February to April of 2006. Their 15-page grant proposal to the Open Society Institute in late July of that year had 15 lines that referred to Hansen, with seven lines recounting what they’d already done for him and two more that said they “remain available to defend Dr. Jim Hansen’s job and to offer legal advice upon request.” Said Clark:
This is happening because it’s much easier to attack the messenger than it is to actually deal with and come to terms with what his message is. Some people have a vested interest in not dealing with the concerns he has raised.
Clark had a minor correction to Hansen’s account: Hansen called them about representation after having been told he was nominated for the Ridenaur Award, rather than GAP calling Hansen to offer counsel.
Amy Weil, a spokeswoman for the Open Society Institute, e-mailed to say her institute is non-partisan and has never given any money to Hansen, adding:
However, OSI does support whistleblower protection agencies and we applaud Dr. Hansen for exposing NASA’s attempts to silence his call for prompt reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.