Deception, Lies and Forgery

The “believer” world erupted last week with “gotcha” columns and blogs when private board papers from a US conservative think-tank,Heartland,  were stolen and publicised. The useful idiots here in New Zealand also jumped in on the act.

Unfortunately for them all their claims were, yesterday, turned topsy-turvy when a leading climate scientist (chair of the IGU Integrity Committee) confessed that he had fraudulently obtained the documents by a form of identity theft. Worse, the main document is a forgery.

Peter H. Gleick, a water and climate analyst who has been studying aspects of global warming for more than two decades, in recent years became an aggressive critic of organizations and individuals casting doubt on the seriousness of greenhouse-driven climate change. He used blogs,congressional testimony, group letters and other means to make his case.

Now, Gleick has admitted to an act that leaves his reputation in ruins and threatens to undercut the cause he spent so much time pursuing. His summary, just published on his blog at Huffington Post, speaks for itself. …

The Heartland Institute had already signaled that it plans to seek charges and civil action against the person who extracted its documents under a false identity. Foreshadowing today’s events, on Friday, Ross Kaminsky, a senior fellow and former board member at Heartland, posted a piece on the American Spectator site naming Gleick as an “obvious suspect.” Now they have their man.

I won’t speculate on how the legal aspects of this story might play out.

Another question, of course, is who wrote the climate strategy document that Gleick now says was mailed to him. His admitted acts of deception in acquiring the cache of authentic Heartland documents surely will sustain suspicion that he created the summary, which Heartland’s leadership insists is fake.

One way or the other, Gleick’s use of deception in pursuit of his cause after years of calling out climate deception has destroyed his credibility and harmed others. (Some of the released documents contain information about Heartland employees that has no bearing on the climate fight.) That is his personal tragedy and shame (and I’m sure devastating for his colleagues, friends and family).

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.