A Few Things Ill Considered

Happy anniversary FakeGate!

So it is about one year ago that Peter Gleick exposed the too-ashamed-to-admit-it donors of the science denialist industry flack Heartland Organization.  Michael Tobis has a very comprehensive run-down and analysis of the event over on P3, I recommend it, especially if you need to get up to speed on what I am talking about.

My only comment on the whole morality play aspect of it is that the question “do the ends justify the means” does not have a one size fits all answer.  I have always been a bit puzzled by the seemingly unquestioned moral hammer that question gets used as.  Clearly we all make choices in our lives and as a society where the answer to that question is sometimes, even often, yes.  It is naive or disingenuous to pretend otherwise.  Sometimes the answer is a resounding, uncontroversial no as well.  It really depends entirely on the exact nature of the specific means and the specific ends.

Do the ends of getting a patient to the hospital in time justify the means of exceeding the speed limit?  Clearly as a society we have decided yes, and made allowances in the law.  What about speeding a loved one with a heart attack in your own vehicle?  There are many real life examples where it would be hard to argue against the “yes” position and many hard to argue for it.  And plenty where we could argue endlessly, passionately and sincerely for and against the same proposition.  It is a personal choice and often one that comes with societal judgement once made.

So, yes, what Peter did was dishonest.  But personally I have no problem with it given the nature of the act, the people and organization he was dealing with, the global stakes of the game the Heartland Institute plays and the good that seems to have come out of it.  Was it illegal?  I don’t really know, that is something Peter may have to face and he may have accepted that possibility from the outset.

I am sure other opinions will differ, as I said it is a personal choice.  But I do not and never have accepted the blanket assertion that the ends never justify the means nor the implied accusation that if one thinks they do in this case then one must accept any manner of atrocity as long as it is well intended.

Comments

  1. #1 Kevin
    February 14, 2013

    “I am sure other opinions will differ, as I said it is a personal choice.”

    It is a personal choice, but a choice that should be easy. Lying, theft, where does it end? Wrong is wrong!

  2. #2 G
    California USA
    February 15, 2013

    What Gleick did was squarely within the traditions of nonviolent civil disobedience. My only qualm with his actions is that I do not believe he should have apologized: he should have demanded that the people he exposed apologize to the public. But in the long run that qualm is insignificant, and the actions he took to expose the denialists are what counts.

    Now let’s take the moral analysis just a bit further.

    How many human lives do you expect will be lost as a direct consequence of the effects of climate change? The estimates used by the United States Department of Defense in their long-term strategic planning documents, are in the range of millions. Those docs are publicly available so you can check them for yourself. And given that the Pentagon would tend to be conservative about such things, you can probably safely double their numbers.

    At that point what you’re looking at is a number in the range of the Nazi holocaust, for starters. (Don’t go yelling “Godwin!”; his point was merely to illustrate that as a quantity of sentences increases, the probability of any given word being mentioned in a sentence asymptotically approaches 1.0. He used “Hitler” as an example to make the point memorable.)

    Now ask yourself: if you had lived in the early 1940s, would you support the Allies going to war against the Nazi regime?

    Moral logic compels the same answer with respect to climate change.

    However no US President or other world leader is about to call for military actions against coal mines, coal-fired power plants, and so on, much less conduct targeted strikes against climate denialists and their minions.

    In light of that, nonviolent civil disobedience to demand and obtain action on climate is not only morally right, it’s morally necessary.

  3. #3 coby
    February 15, 2013

    Kevin, put a little thought into it, please.

    ” Lying, theft, where does it end? Wrong is wrong!”

    As I thought I made clear in the post, real life simply is not so easy. “Where does it end” is indeed the question and your position seems to be that the question is hard so let’s just not ask it.

    Is stealing a loaf of bread from a vendor to feed your family “wrong” when you can find no other options and the children are starving? Is lying to a murderous gunman by telling him the children are all in the gym when they are actually hiding in the closet “wrong” when it saves their innocent lives?

    As I said, put some thought into it!

  4. #4 freddy
    February 15, 2013

    Coby, are you really insinuating that you consider a crime against AGW opponents morally justified? Are you aware of the fact that any violation of the law has to be prosecuted? There is no exception for AGW alarmists who pretend to be willing to save the world. A crime is a crime, even if a climate alarmist has committed it and you don’t like this.

  5. #5 Bernard J.
    February 15, 2013

    Are you aware of the fact that any violation of the law has to be prosecuted?

    This goes to show that ‘law’ does not necessarily equate with morality, or with ‘right’.

    http://www.stupidlaws.com/

    Of course, not all in the example above are bona fide law, but you should get the gist…

  6. #6 coby
    February 15, 2013

    “Coby, are you really insinuating that you consider a crime against AGW opponents morally justified?”

    No. And I don’t see how any remotely reasonable reading of what I wrote could give that impression. What I am stating is that I consider this act (I don’t know if it is a crime or not) against this organization to be morally justifiable.

  7. #7 freddy
    February 15, 2013

    Coby, strange argumentation “What I am stating is that I consider this act (I don’t know if it is a crime or not) against this organization to be morally justifiable”

    So please tell the audience here, that you would also be stating that “this act (I don’t know if it is a crime or not) against the GISS institute to be morally justifiable”.

  8. #8 coby
    February 15, 2013

    Since the funding sources of the GISS Institute are public, this act does not make sense taken against GISS.

    But before we continue playing this game, freddy, can you please state for the record whether or not you accept that there are sometimes circumstances where a lie or even a criminal act is a moral choice?

    Please tell the audience here that you would not have lied to Adam Lanza and instead told him the children were hiding in the cupboards because, as we all know, lying is wrong.

    If we can not agree that right and wrong are not mindless absolutes, then there is nothing to discuss.

  9. #9 Wow
    February 15, 2013

    “I have always been a bit puzzled by the seemingly unquestioned moral hammer that question gets used as. ”

    Moreover, that hammer is only used on “deserving” targets.

    I.e. look at the “outrage” from these same people at the theft of email (and ALL emails, not that which was handed over in error) INCLUDING private and personal information from CRU.

    There was none.

    That hammer only appears to exist one way.

  10. #10 Wow
    February 15, 2013

    “It is a personal choice, but a choice that should be easy. Lying, theft, where does it end? Wrong is wrong!”

    And killing is wrong.

    Except killing murderers.

    Or terrorists.

    Or those who may be either of the above.

    Or friends of ours.

    Really, if WRONG is WRONG, then why do you keep so very quiet about the CRU hack, the lies from Wegman, McIntyre, Montford, Watts, et al?

  11. #11 Wow
    February 15, 2013

    “Are you aware of the fact that any violation of the law has to be prosecuted?”

    Proof required.

    (the prosecutor can decide not to. Indeed plea bargains rely on not doing that)

  12. #12 Bill
    February 16, 2013

    @Wow

    “…the theft of email (and ALL emails, not that which was handed over in error) INCLUDING private and personal information from CRU.”

    Proof required.

  13. #13 freddy
    February 16, 2013

    Coby, of course are there sometimes circumstances where a lie or even a criminal act is a moral choice.

    Please explain why it makes a difference to you whether Gleick’s action is justifiable in the case of a privately subsidized organisation but not in the case of a publicly subsidized organisation.

  14. #14 freddy
    February 16, 2013

    Wow, anthropogenic carbon dioxide from fossil fuels burning and other human activities cause dangerous anthropogenic global warming?

    Proof required!

    What is the single most specific piece of evidence for anthropogenic global warming?

  15. #15 Marco
    February 16, 2013

    Freddy/Kai, I see that after you got your answer on stoat, but didn’t like it, you now try here. If any of us believed you were honest in your desire to gain knowledge, we might answer. However, I don’t think anyone even considers you anything other than a troll.

  16. #16 Wow
    February 16, 2013

    Wow, anthropogenic carbon dioxide from fossil fuels burning and other human activities cause dangerous anthropogenic global warming?

    Proof required!

    Proof has been available for nearly 80 years.

    Proof that you’ll accept proof required.

  17. #17 Wow
    February 16, 2013

    Please explain why it makes a difference to you whether Gleick’s action is justifiable in the case of a privately subsidized organisation but not in the case of a publicly subsidized organisation.

    Please show that Coby has stated it makes a difference for that reason.

  18. #18 Wow
    February 16, 2013

    “…the theft of email (and ALL emails, not that which was handed over in error) INCLUDING private and personal information from CRU.”

    Proof required.

    Proof has been available at denier blogs for over a decade.

  19. #19 Wow
    February 16, 2013

    I note that no proof has been forthcoming that a crime MUST be prosecuted…

  20. #20 Wow
    February 16, 2013

    Oh, and the police are investigating the CRIME of theft from CRU.

  21. […] Happy anniversary FakeGate! by Coby Beck at ScienceBlogs […]

  22. #22 Bill
    February 17, 2013

    @Wow,

    “Oh, and the police are investigating the CRIME of theft from CRU.”

    No. They did investigate the case, but came to no conclusion. If you have proof the emails were stolen, I’m sure there are plenty of people who would be interested. What’s that? You don’t? So your statement that it was a theft is pure assertion without evidence. Typical.

    To your other point, for once, you have one. There is nothing which says a crime MUST be prosecuted. Were there, Gleick would have already been charged because as soon as he stupidly crossed state lines with his document shuffle, he committed wire fraud. But if there weren’t sufficient damages, no doubt the feds have better things to do. Still a crime though, and a federal one at that. And one he could still face charges for should the powers that be decide to do so.

  23. #23 Marco
    February 17, 2013

    Bill:
    http://www.norfolk.police.uk/newsevents/newsstories/2012/july/ueadatabreachinvestigation.aspx

    “However, as a result of our enquiries, we can say that the data breach was the result of a sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU’s data files, carried out remotely via the internet. The offenders used methods common in unlawful internet activity to obstruct enquiries.

    “There is no evidence to suggest that anyone working at or associated with the University of East Anglia was involved in the crime.”

  24. #24 Bill
    February 17, 2013

    Marco,

    So they think it was a breach despite having absolutely zero evidence of that? Got it.

    Sorry, that isn’t proof of anything. And just as I said, contrary to Wowzers assertion, there is NOT an ongoing investigation. And the handwaving statement that they know it was done via the internet, but have no way of telling who or where it came from? I don’t recall seeing the evidence that supports their claim.

    Now, you may be right, but there is no proof either way.

    To be honest, I don’t really care, and either way, the emails were released without authorization, so I don’t condone it. Just like I don’t condone wire fraud and forgery a la Gleick. The ends don’t justify the means. Period.

  25. #25 Marco
    February 17, 2013

    Bill, what makes you think they have “absolutely zero evidence”? Clearly they DO have evidence: “The offenders used methods common in unlawful internet activity to obstruct enquiries.”

    That *you* didn’t get to see the evidence does not make your view true. For some odd reason I am inclined to believe the UK police more than you.

  26. #26 Wow
    February 17, 2013

    Bill, you’re a loon.

  27. #27 Wow
    February 17, 2013

    “They did investigate the case”

    So you agree there was a crime.

  28. #28 Wow
    February 17, 2013

    “So they think it was a breach despite having absolutely zero evidence of that?”

    No, they know it was theft.

    You know, when stuff you have is nicked? That’s theft.

  29. #29 Wow
    February 17, 2013

    “Just like I don’t condone wire fraud and forgery a la Gleick. ”

    Except it wasn’t wire fraud nor forgery.

    But I guess you’re against spies from your own country, right? And plainclothes police. And undercover work, right? You’re against all those fraudulent acts too, right?

  30. #30 mandas
    February 17, 2013

    Just so we are clear, what crime did Gleick commit?

    If no crime was committed, then it is a non-issue isn’t it? If there was a crime, could someone tell us what it was so we can discuss.

    Thanks.

  31. #31 Wow
    February 17, 2013

    Oh, by the way, denieridiots, merely claiming isn’t going to cut it, otherwise merely claiming Anthony Watts is guilty of mass murder and ritual cannibalism will be just as valid.

  32. #32 mandas
    February 18, 2013

    I have been on the record here – and elsewhere – stating my opposition to torture. And I don’t care that whether or not it is justified on the basis that it may save lives. It is wrong, end of story. And not because it is morally wrong – because everyone’s morals are different and just because you think something is moral or immoral does not mean that others think the same. No, torture is wrong because we are supposed to be a society based on the rule of law and no-one – especially organisations responsible for creating or enforcing the laws – should be above the law.

    Now, that being said, there is a justifiable case to be made that laws are sometimes stupid, or that they only exist to impose a status quo that enforces an inequitable state. In those cases, then civil disobedience is a reasonable approach in an attempt to change those laws. But in undertaking a strategy of civil disobedience, individuals have to accept that they will suffer the consequences of violating the law until the laws are changed. And they may never change, or the laws were right in the first place and it was the disobedient individuals who were out of step. Nonetheless, history is the final arbiter and some individuals end up being heroes because the courageous stance they took.

    In this case we have to ask a few questions. Firstly, did Gleick do anything illegal? I am not sure he did, in which case the whole point is rather moot. Nothing illegal, nothing to get concerned about.

    Second; did he do anything unethical / immoral? As I suggested, everyone’s moral codes are different, and while Heartland and many of its supporters claim the actions where unethical, others disagree. So this is also a moot point. And only a hypocrite would cry foul over the ethics of someone who is exposing unethical behaviour on your behalf.

    Finally, were his actions justified? History will be the judge of this one. But I would like to suggest that all the indications are that he is more likely to be feted than condemned.

  33. #33 mandas
    February 18, 2013

    Freddy

    At post #14, you said this:

    Wow, anthropogenic carbon dioxide from fossil fuels burning and other human activities cause dangerous anthropogenic global warming?….Proof required!

    So I have to ask you, if we can show you the evidence, will you accept it and change your position?

  34. #34 Vince Whirlwind
    February 18, 2013

    Bill, the Norfolk Constabulary concluded it was illegal electronic access from the outside, aka, hacking.

    But you can’t help Denying, can you?

    test

  35. […] 2013/02/14: AFTIC: Happy anniversary FakeGate! […]

  36. #36 Bill
    February 19, 2013

    Yep, I’m a loon. And you’re an idiot loser Wow. An idiot loser with zero understanding of US law apparently. As soon as Gleick ADMITTED he used the internet to gain those files across state lines, he committed wire fraud. It isn’t in dispute except in the mind of loser idiots like you Wow. Idiots who proclaim things on blogs as if they know all when, in fact, they know very little. You can deny it if you like, Wow, [snip] but that makes you, well, a denier. Remember that before you attempt to rebut this with your *opinion* on US federal law. Because that’s all you have, your opinion. And it’s wrong.

    As for the “theft” of emails, fine, despite any evidence being shown they were stolen, I already stated I don’t condone it either way. Assuming they were stolen, using that to justify Gleick’s actions as honorable is a fallacy.

    And lastly, for the ignorant loser Wow, no, that the police investigated doesn’t mean there was a crime committed. So, again, nice try, but another fail. Police investigate things all the time which turn out to be nothing. Well, maybe not in Wowland, but in the real world, yes.

    And Vince, [snip] I am not denying anything though I know that is a favorite go to of yours when you have nothing else. Talk to your pal Wow about denial.

  37. #37 Wow
    February 19, 2013

    “Yep, I’m a loon.”

    You realised!

    ” And you’re an idiot loser Wow. ”

    ‘fraid not. Please try again.

    “As soon as Gleick ADMITTED he used the internet to gain those files across state lines”

    That isn’t wire fraud.

    If it were, then investigative journalists would all be in jail.

    “As for the “theft” of emails, fine, despite any evidence being shown they were stolen”

    Apart from you having read them…

    :D

    “Assuming they were stolen, using that to justify Gleick’s actions as honorable is a fallacy. ”

    We weren’t. We were using your faux-outrage on this because HI got extremely buttfucked by their own fraudulent activities and gullibility, you pretend to be OUTRAGED!!!

    Except you’re not.

    Your humiliated. Leading to rage.

    “Police investigate things all the time which turn out to be nothing.”

    They investigate crimes.

    Since the CRU theft was investigated, it was a criminal act in potentia.

    Since Gleick’s act was NOT investigated, it wasn’t considered a criminal act.

    Poor little loser.

  38. #38 Wow
    February 19, 2013

    ” Remember that before you attempt to rebut this with your *opinion* on US federal law.”

    I’m not using MY opinion on US federal law. I’m using the “opinion” of federal investigators on US federal law.

    Cry little baby, cry.

  39. #39 Bill
    February 19, 2013

    Not crying douchebag. Projection much?

    Let’s see, here is the definition of wire fraud…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mail_and_wire_fraud

    Pay particular attention to the part about state lines you ignorant idiot. It’s not up for debate. The only question are the damages. And whether or not the feds or police decide to investigate does not dictate whether it is a crime. Unless you want to contradict your own point above that not all crimes must be prosecuted. Your assertion about investigative journalism is completely unfounded, and as usual for you, wrong. If a journalist misleadingly acquired documents in the above manner while doing a story on HI, it would be a crime.

    I am actually not outraged at any of this. So sorry, your projecting again. I don’t care about the emails and I haven’t read them. I really don’t care about Gleick, but I think it’s hilarious and sad that you and others hold him in such high regard. Heartland? Again, don’t care and I don’t think much was revealed by Gleick’s stupid actions which wasn’t already known and public. Think tank which doesn’t share the belief in AGW. Big deal. Uses tax loopholes? Shocking!

    Humiliated? Bwhahahahhhaaahahahahahahahahahahaa. By you? That’s even funnier. Humiliated by a LOSER who spends most of his “life” pontificating on blogs? I think not.

    You ARE using your opinion assclown, because what Gleick did was a crime by definition. That he hasn’t been investigated–yet–is meaningless by your own logic that not all crimes *must* be prosecuted.

    You really need to try harder.

  40. #40 Wow
    February 19, 2013

    Oh, bill, you retarded curtain-twitcher, the police didn’t investigate because there was nothing to investigate: no wire fraud.

    If your baseless and assinine assertion were true, then the entire journalistic industry, along with private investigators and even the police themselves would be in clink.

    Desperately trying to make up some fake outrage and, franky, it’s both tiresome and predictably lame.

  41. #41 Marco
    February 19, 2013

    Bill, pay close attention to “scheme to intentionally deprive another of property or honest services via mail or wire communication”. Take close attention to the meaning of the word “deprive”.

    Since these were electronic documents, they were and are still in possession of the sender. Therefore, there has been no “deprive”…

  42. #42 G
    February 19, 2013

    So much legal fiddling (by non-lawyers no less!) while Rome burns. Some of the comments here sound like people who are just drooling to get Darwinized while they bicker over how many angels can pirouette on a pinhead.

    Let’s be really clear about this:

    If someone grabbed your kid and started to suffocate her, you’d be justified to kill them with your hands or whatever weapon you had at your disposal.

    Climate change is like that on a global scale.

    When the impacts of climate change start getting really serious, as in large scale casualties with clear attribution, we are going to see eruptions of violence and terrorism the likes of which we have never seen before.

    Consider the spread of cheap DIY biotech and “biohacking.” Now consider someone in a third-world country who has watched their family members die from climate impacts, and who is burning with rage at the United States and other countries for their inaction. Anyone here who has the slightest doubt about what’s going to happen is welcome to look up the Pentagon reports and analyses, that put this in clear though conservative language: climate change will give rise to international bioterrorist attacks, full stop.

    If climate change itself isn’t enough to motivate us to get off our fat arses, the threat of bioterrorism in response to it damn well should be.

  43. #43 Wow
    February 20, 2013

    You forget, all those bad things will happen to OTHER PEOPLE. Whereas they are risking maybe not making as much money if they decided to follow reality.

    And compared to maybe, possibly, making a little less more profit than before, well, to these psychopaths, the entire world can burn.

  44. #44 freddy
    February 20, 2013

    wow: “And compared to maybe, possibly, making a little less more profit than before, well, to these psychopaths, the entire world can burn”

    Proof required

  45. #45 Wow
    February 20, 2013

    Uh, yours and Bill’s postings prove it.

  46. #46 mandas
    February 20, 2013

    Freddy keeps asking for proof, but as I asked at post #33, I wonder if he would accept it if it was given.

    Would you freddy? Or would you just stick to your current position – one which I might add, for which you do not have any proof. So why is that freddy? Why do you need proof that the climate is changing because of human emissions of CO2, yet you do not require proof for your belief that it isn’t?

  47. #47 mandas
    February 20, 2013

    And on the subject of Heartland, check out this article in Forbes magazine:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/02/13/peer-reviewed-survey-finds-majority-of-scientists-skeptical-of-global-warming-crisis/

    Wow – that’s significant. There apparently is no consensus on climate change any more. That is, until you explore a little deeper and discover just what sort of unethical lying arseholes they really are. Here’s why:

    “There is no mention that all the study’s respondents were only in Alberta, Canada. There is no mention that they’re all members of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). There is no mention that the membership of APEGA is predominantly employed by the Alberta petroleum industry and its regulators…….Furthermore, Taylor fails to mention fact that 84% of respondents were actually engineers, not scientists.”

    Check out the full takedown here:
    http://scholarsandrogues.com/2013/02/18/heartland-institute-taylor-makes-false-claims-about-new-study/

    So, let’s here from those who want to defend Heartland. Anyone?

  48. #48 Bill
    February 20, 2013

    Retarded curtain-twitcher? That’s a new one Wow. So proud you must be of yourself. I was expecting “bum gravy” or one of your other brilliant retorts.

    Look, I know it’s really hard for you to admit–Marco too it seems (you really could have done better than that line of reasoning Marco)–but when your golden boy Gleick deprived HI of their internal documents, using an intentional scheme via the internet, he did, in fact, commit wire fraud. You don’t like it, sure, because you can’t possibly be wrong. Right Wow? Ah, but you are. Defending the indefensible.

    Tell you what, if you like, I can put you in touch with a local federal attorney friend here in the US and he can verify this for you. I doubt you have the balls to contact him though, as your M.O. is that of the know-it-all anonymous coward, not seeker of the truth.

    Only your assertion is baseless Wow. This has nothing to do with journalism or private investigators or even the police as none of them can commit crimes in the line of duty. Even police need warrants for wire tapping or, if caught, the case is lost. In other words, You Are Wrong. Again.

    Fake outrage? Nope. No outrage. Just amusement. And that really bothers you because I must have some anger, right? I mean it can’t be enough that I simply enjoy showing what an arrogant idiot you really are, can it? And as far as “predictably lame” and “tiresome” your shtick has that in spades. I can show evidence if you like, but that might embarrass you. And I wouldn’t want to do that.

  49. #49 mandas
    February 20, 2013

    Bill

    I am not going to argue with you with regard to the definition of wire fraud etc, but there is no doubt that you are wrong about one thing.

    These are some of the statements you have made on this issue:

    “It’s not up for debate. The only question are the damages”

    “…he did, in fact, commit wire fraud….”

    “….As soon as Gleick ADMITTED he used the internet to gain those files across state lines, he committed wire fraud. It isn’t in dispute except in the mind of loser idiots like you Wow…”

    The problem Bill, is that you are wrong – of that there is absolutely no doubt. Whether or not Gleick committed wire fraud IS up for debate – it is for the courts to debate and for the lawyers to dispute – not just losers like Wow (and whoever else you may wish to include in your allegations).

    You see, that’s how the law works. It is not for you and me to decide based on media reports or from the opinions of bloggers. It is for properly constituted courts of law based on the actual evidence – not the “evidence” which is presented on a blog.

    Now it may well turn out that Gleick IS guilty of committing some crime. But until it is heard in a court of law and the judge hands down the decision, he is not.

    And I am sure you will agree with that, given that you are obviously well versed in the law based on your use of wikipedia as a reference.

  50. #50 Wow
    February 20, 2013

    Bill, you’re wrong.

    It’s as plain as that.

  51. #51 Bill
    February 21, 2013

    Mandas,

    You are correct, he hasn’t been tried for his actions, nor convicted, and likely never will. However, by your logic, every assertion here that there was a theft of emails (crime) suffers a similar problem, with one very important difference.

    Now, I linked to Wiki for the definition of wire fraud simply because it is easy, and it is, in this case, accurate as it quotes the law, but the weak cheap shot is noted. So, to go back and rehash a bit–and this is the important part–Gleick has admitted publicly, confessed one could say, to using a false identity to obtain private documents via the internet, and he did this across state lines. By definition, and by his own admission, he committed a crime. How serious this crime is is what is up for debate, because he already admitted committing it. Had he been smart enough to consult a lawyer, no doubt he would have never admitted it and your point would be valid. This is pretty simple stuff. It’s his admission which is the problem with your argument. Why you, or anyone, is not only trying to deny this, but elevate the action to one of honor is puzzling and more than a bit disturbing.

    The problem with Wow’s argument, is that he has none. His proof is “I say so, therefore it’s true and it’s true because I say so”. Or to use another of his own favorites, he’s making shit up. It’s what he does when backed into a corner. Ad naseum.

  52. #52 Wow
    February 21, 2013

    Oh, yeah, ‘cos there’s a conspiracy.

    Right.

    Don’t let the tin foil fool you: it’s aluminium, not tin, and the rays are getting in to your head…!!!!

    Problem is, you’ve only got a conspiracy theory.

  53. #53 Wow
    February 21, 2013

    Now, I linked to Wiki for the definition of wire fraud simply because it is easy

    And wrong.

    Therefore your effort, miniscule though it was, was wasted.

  54. #54 mandas
    February 21, 2013

    Bill,

    Firstly, it was not a ‘weak cheap shot’ on my behalf to criticise the use of wikipedia as a reference. I have been on the record on numerous occasions for my criticism of wikipedia and other non valid reference sources, so I am being consistent. And I would like to suggest that, for the future, if you want to provide a valid reference source for any of your positions in the future, you go to the original source, not a secondary source or one which can be manipulated by anyone at any time.

    And you should also realise – and accept as a fact – that a ‘confession’ is not nor has it ever been proof of anything. People ‘confess’ to things all the time. That neither means they actually did what they are confessing to, not does it mean that – even if they really did it – that what they did constitutes a crime. That is solely a matter for the courts to determine. So until and unless there is a court hearing and judgement is passed, there is no crime in this case – nor in any case. The law is a complicated thing, and until all the facts are revealed and arguments are put for both sides, it would be wrong for you or anyone to judge someone as guilty of an offence. Your knowledge of this case comes solely from what you have read on blogs – and if you honestly think that means you are capable of rendering judgement then I have to suggest that you have serious ethical issues that you need to deal with.

    I am not trying to deny the facts of this case. And the reason for that is obvious – I don’t know them all. Neither do you. And until the facts come out and a person in a proper position to judge those facts determines what they mean, I will reserve judgement. But then, I am a scientist. That is what I do, unlike your average denier who makes judgements based on what he reads on a blog.

    As I have said – and you can go back to my post #32 to see my position – Gleick MAY have committed a crime, in which case he should suffer the consequences of his actions as determined by the courts. But in the long run, whether or not his actions are seen to be justified as valid civil disobedience is a matter for history to determine.

  55. #55 Wow
    February 21, 2013

    It was illegal to leave the USSR.

  56. #56 Bill
    February 22, 2013

    Mandas,

    My apologies and fair enough. Here is a source from Cornell Law, which, despite Wow’s assertion to the contrary, says the exact same thing. I can provide others if you like…

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1343

    Now, my understanding of what Gleick admitted to doing does not come from blogs. It was reported in the MSM, the NYT being a prime example. But there are others as well. So when I read that a prominent scientist admits to faking his identity, and uses the internet to obtain other people’s private information across state lines, I am left with the opinion that he committed a crime. Why? Because what he said he did is illegal. What I don’t know is how serious the crime was, and that would be for a court to decide. I suspect any court, were they ever to hear the case, would decide there wasn’t much in the way of damages–primarily because, if anything, HI got more publicity and probably doners as a result–which is also what I think the US Attorney believes and why a case will never see the light of day. I could be wrong. It might. What I really don’t like, because it give those with an axe to grind against science and scientists, is calling Gleick a hero for doing it. Because that is ridiculous and opens the line of questioning of, “if he did that, what else has he done or would he do” and that is bad for science. As a scientist, I would be surprised if you endorsed this. But perhaps not. I am also surprised you think that anything he did could be considered civil disobedience–a la Hansen–as there is zero evidence for this based on his own telling of the story. Civil disobedience can, and frankly should, be respected, dishonesty cannot and should not.

    Which brings me to Wow. If anyone here, or elsewhere actually takes your dishonesty, ramblings, assertions, and two-faced stupidity seriously, I am sorry for them.

    Let’s start with your inane conspiracy comment. Who mentioned conspiracy? Not I. Didn’t even hint at it. Certainly not with regards to Gleick’s prosecution or lack thereof. The entire thing, aside from Gleick’s dishonest actions, is a joke. He likely won’t be prosecuted because it isn’t worth it, and it costs time and money, not because of some larger conspiracy to protect him. But I guess in Wow world there are boogymen around every corner which must be ferreted out. Simple logic and things like that don’t matter. Apparently neither do facts because when you say…

    “Now, I linked to Wiki for the definition of wire fraud simply because it is easy” (my words)

    “And wrong.

    Therefore your effort, miniscule though it was, was wasted.” (your words)

    …we have yet another “it’s true because I say it is and because I say it is it’s true” moment. You are famous for them. Even though you condemn them. It isn’t wrong, Wow. It is perfectly correct and taken straight from the federal code. But your miniscule and pathetic efforts aren’t wasted Wow. They go to show just how bogus your comments are pretty much all the time. My suggestion–which you won’t take–is get a better hobby/life because this one isn’t treating you very well it seems. Hours spent hovering over your keyboard demanding facts from others, but never put up when they are demanded of you. You pontificate arrogantly on topics for which you have no knowledge–US law being one of my personal favorites. And you generally waste time carpet bombing threads with your blather–see the nonsensical USSR comment above for example. You strike me as a pathetic and angry person, and a coward who can’t ever admit being wrong. And you are often wrong.

    If anyone on Scienceblogs genuinely respects you or your opinions I would be shocked.

  57. #57 Wow
    February 22, 2013

    And no matter what the result, you’re going to say it was a whitewash, because you “know” that he’s guilty.
    Right.

    There’s no case to answer. His actions uncovered the fraudulent antics of wealthy people and that’s the only reason why it’s being pursued.

    It’s a load of toss. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Rather like you deniers, Bill.

  58. #58 mandas
    February 22, 2013

    Bill,

    I understand that you may have obtained your information from the MSM rather than blogs, but my point remains the same. “Trial by media” is something that I abhore, because the media always spins the facts to suit their own agenda, and they never report all the facts anyway. I am sure you would have a similar position on the issue.

    And I will continue to reiterate my point about there being no crime until a properly constituted court says that there was. Thank you for providing the link to the Cornell University Law School site, but I should advise that is still a secondary source – although links to the actual legislation are provided at the bottom of the page.

    Further, the problem with your assertion that Gleick’s admission is proof that he commited a crime is twofold, Firstly, as I have pointed out, people confess to things all the time and just because he ‘confessed’ does not mean he actually did what is being claimed – but I accept that it probably does in this instance.

    Secondly, and far more importantly, every law has ‘defences under the law’ which allow for a finding of not guilty if certain conditions are met. I don’t know what such defences are permitted under this Act, and I do not know if Gleick or his lawyers would use such a defence if a hearing was ever constituted. No-one does. And that is why you, me, nor anyone other than a properly constituted court can determine whether or not an offence has been committed. And as I said, I will properly reserve judgement until then – because I simply don’t know all the facts and it would be improper of me or anyone to pass judgement without knowing them. I would hope you are ethical enough to agree with that.

    And I have never said that Gleick is a hero. In fact, if you read my last post, you will have noted that if he committed a crime and is found guilty of doing so, then he should properly suffer the consequences of doing so. But that is for the courts to decide. As far as being a hero is concerned, that is a matter for history to determine. History is littered with examples of people who ‘broke the law’ and suffered legal penalties for doing so, but were later feted as heroes for the actions which were seen as crucial in changing an inequitable situation. Just think Rosa Parks, Ghandi or Nelson Mandela. I am not putting Gleick in their category – but who knows, someday in the future people may. We can only wait and see.

  59. #59 mandas
    February 22, 2013

    Bill,

    And let me give you an example so you understand what I mean. People confess to killing people all the time, but that does not mean they are guilty of a crime. It is a legitimate defence to a charge of murder if you acted in self defence, if you were not responsible for your actionsm or if you did not intend to kill the person. In the first two cases the person would be found not to have committed a crime at all, while in the third they might be found to have committed the lesser offence of manslaughter.

    We will have to wait and see if anything like this is relevant to this case, and should not make a judgement based on media report which are almost always biased and always are short of all the facts . I am sure you agree.

  60. #60 Vince Whirlwind
    February 22, 2013

    I disagree, Mandas, what Gleick did was in the public interest, therefore no condemnation nor punishment is appropriate.

    Many jurisdictions have whistleblower legislation, and most have some kind of recognition of the doctrine of necessity.

    When the biosphere that supports our lives is threatened by liars who are planning to subvert the education system to their ends, then it becomes necessary to oppose them.

  61. #61 Marco
    February 22, 2013

    Bill, do you see the words “private information” anywhere in the law? It’s either money, property of services. The spirit of the law is made clear through jurisprudence. If you have any jurisprudence that shows obtaining electronic documents that have no monetary value to the recipient has been considered mail fraud or wire fraud, you might have a case. If not, you’re skating on very thin ice.

    But even then you’re not done yet: as a private foundation with charitable status, Gleick’s lawyers could well argue that Heartland should itself have released those documents, as they are crucial to its activity as a charitable organization. Add a little bit of doubt on whether the documents show Heartland violates the rules, and they could further add the whistleblower defence.

    Heartland always has had the possibility for a civil case, but with the two issues I indicated above, I think it is very likely they never will.

    Oh, and I discussed this with someone with a range of legal degrees; I prefer that over journalists’ opinions.

  62. #62 Wow
    February 22, 2013

    Indeed, any private information is either trade secret and therefore only the one revealing it is at fault (and journalism/whistleblowing is covered for that), or it’s personal information (which this isn’t: it’s commercial), which can cause someone to fall foul of data protection acts.

    Except the USA neutered any DPA under the behest of corporate lobbying from marketing companies, and are doing so in the EU too.

  63. #63 mandas
    February 24, 2013

    Vince,

    While I do not disagree with your point that what Gleick did was probably in the public’s interest, it is not really for you and me to decide that. Because, like it or not, our opinion is just that – and opinion – and there are others who express the opinion that the theft of emails from the CRU were also in the public’s interest.

    Better to let the court’s decide based on all the evidence. I also tend to think it would be a good thing if it went to court, because then the full details of Heartland’s actions would come out. That’s probably why that haven’t pursued the case further. They don’t want their unethical behaviour to be made public.

  64. #64 freddy
    February 24, 2013

    Vince, more than half of the US population does not agree with your exaggerated unbased climate alarmism view and want compensation for their wasted taxes. Your climate church caused terrible economic damage.

  65. #65 Wow
    February 24, 2013

    Except that is incorrect. nearly 60% of the US public want more done to combat AGW.

    Meanwhile, as an aside, can you let us know how many Americans think that the world was created within the last 10,000 years.

    I mean, if you’re going to use the consensus of the American Public as evidence, lets see what evidence that consensus is worth, eh?

  66. #66 Wow
    February 24, 2013

    Oh, and how much damage did the Church of Libertarian Doctrine cost in the financial crash, hmmm?

    And don’t give me that bit about the mortgages. The value tied up in those mortgages were entered into with open eyes by the bankers and was a tiny fraction of the money gambled and lost in that crash. About all those mortgages did was give the banks some sugar coating when selling on toxic assets to the insurers. But when sugar coating, you don’t use mostly sugar. Only the bare minimum.

  67. […] plausible explanation for the still mysterious beginning of the whole FakeGate controversy from just over a year ago.  Heartland itself is likely the source of the initial forged document that came into […]

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