Heartland Confirms that it Mistakenly Emailed Internal Documents

Wed, 2012-02-15 12:41Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Heartland Confirms that it Mistakenly Emailed Internal Documents

The Heartland Institute has confirmed in a prepared statement that it mistakenly emailed its board materials to an anonymous third party - confirming the source of the documents released here on the DeSmogBlog yesterday.

Heartland then goes on allege that one of the documents (the Climate Strategy) is a fake.

The DeSmogBlog has reviewed that Strategy document and compared its content to other material we have in hand. It addresses five elements:

The Increased Climate Project Fundraising material is reproduced in and confirmed by Heartland's own budget.

The “Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Classrooms” is also a Heartland budget item and has been confirmed independently by the author, Dr. David Wojick.

The Funding for Parallel Organizations; Funding for Selected Individuals Outside Heartland are both reproduced and confirmed in the Heartland budget. And Anthony Watts has confirmed independently the payments in Expanded Climate Communications.

The DeSmogBlog has received no direct communications from the Heartland Institute identifying any misstatement of fact in the “Climate Strategy” document and is therefore leaving the material available to those who may judge their content and veracity based on these and other sources.

Previous Comments

It seems, for now, that Heartland is denying the authenticity of the “climate strategy.”  I don’t know if I beleive them, but for now it’s probably wise to assume they are correct.  It’s too bad we probably won’t be able to verify either way.

They should open all of their documents for public perusal.  We should read all their home email, and office emails, and schedule books.  Everything.  Because they might be lying.

A forensic scan of all of their PCs should suffice.

Skeptics are fond of saying we need to open up scientist computers…

Just saying…

Heartland isn’t publically funded being one obvious point.

If you are an American Citizen, you are funding them.  Charities don’t pay tax for the work they perform.

“Heartland isn’t publically funded being one obvious point.”

No but they are duplictious & lobby the general public on behalf of clients that seek to dupe the tax payer into believing there is no harm from their product - product defence. Meanwhile the costs of their damage is socialised, while their profits are privatised. Often with a nice injection of funds from the tax payer.

 

Even if the “climate strategy” document is fake the pressure will be on Heartland to publicly reveal what strategy, if any, it actually has.

I wouldn’t want to be head of Heartland’s PR department now.

The whole “institute” is a PR department…

Perusing the author information on the docs, the strategy piece appears unique in being output of a scan as opposed to a directly generated PDF with attribution to a specific author.

That being said, regardless of provenance the strategy item also appears to be mostly a synthesis of material replicated elsewhere in the items not disavowed by HI

Of the 9 documents that Brendan DeMelle attached to yesterday’s post, one of them, Minutes of January 17 board meeting, was a Word.doc and not a PDF.

The metadata for this doc shows it was created on 1/29/2012 and modified on 1/31/2012. It also shows that the person to last modify the document was jbast.

Can’t see how they’ll be able to deny that document.  If you all have the original documents before they were made into pdf’s, might not hurt to check the rest of them out.

Good job, DeSmogblog!

 

is that the funding memo is a fake. Your site is a willing part to fraud by not retracting;

 http://www.climatedepot.com/a/14840/Heartland-Inst-Responds-Warmist-Touted-Climate-Skeptic-Document-a-total-fake–Others-documents-may-have-been-altered

You’re confirming your sleazy sterotype of dishonesty.

Nice red herring Chris……..careful, your desperation is showing.

 

“…may have been altered.”

Uncertainty is a friend when facts are not.  A one-trick pony, apparently: “May not be linked with cancer… may not actually be warming… may have been altered…”

They sell only one thing.

Fear

Uncertainty

Doubt.

that’s three things.

:-)

We’ll know if they WERE altered.  Case closed.

(Seriously… those bozos state that a document WAS altered? It just might not have been?)

Perhaps Heartland could conduct nine independent inquiries into the documents, checking their authenticity and context?

That still wouldn’t be enough unless they’re somehow exonerated!

Good idea Benjamin. Let’s have an investigation into this company asap. All of its books, computers funding etc. 

It’s in the public’s interest what these guys do. 

 

I would like to give an advise for checking the authenticity of the PDF in question.

This method should work if the person used a major public email service like Google or Yahoo.

The person who has the original email should download it with some client like Outlook or Thunderbird (but not The Bat, which has a buggy export) and post it as an .eml file - with headers and all.

The crucial part of the email is the DKIM signature. It is added by all major servers and it verifies not only the body of the email, but also the attachments and the main headers. There are several online DKIM verification forms, so verifying should not be a problem. If it passes verification, then it was indeed sent out from HI.

But it wasn’t sent from HI, we know that already. This was a social engineering hack: the hacker convinced a low-level person at HI that he was actually a board member, and convinced the HI person to re-send the board meeting information packet to a new email address.

HI claims that the Strategy Document is a fake, but it has an internal last-change date/time stamp that is within 2 minutes of the last-change date/time stamp of the IRS 990 document, which contains signatures, and which nobody is claiming is faked. So I think HI is lying because of the incendiary contents of the strategy document.

Whether it was straight from HI or from a HI employee is a detail. The test is to establish that it was sent from an address of a HI-associated person. Moreover, if the pdf is in the same email with other files acknowledged by HI to be authentic, it is also authentic.

The Strategy PDF may raise suspicion because it was created on Feb. 13, i.e. supposedly on the day (or the day before) the email was sent out by HI employee. The story is that the employee was asked to re-send the documents, supposedly they had been sent already. So why did this secretary (or whoever) need to scan the document if it was already available in electronic form? I suppose it could be argued that that person lost the trace of the electronic file and simply rescanned what (s)he had at hand in paper form. Possible. But still you see how it can raise suspicions.

The IRS form was created on 13.07.2011. The changes to both documents were made on Feb. 14, i.e. the date of release, so I don’t see how this proves authenticity (tho it doesn’t disprove it either). The documents may have been simply resaved by the DSB team or their source. That would create this late last change date. Easy to see how that could have happened too. Usually PDFs from the web are viewed in the browser window with the Adobe plugin. From this window they may also be saved to the hard disk (the “diskette” button). Probably the last-change date reflects the sequence in which the files were saved by the DSB team to their disks after being opened in the browser. In any case the last change date doesn’t prove anything either way.

It’s not so easy to dismiss HI’s claim of fakery too. They claim they will pursue the impersonator by legal means. That means they will have to give up the outgoing emails from that employee in unchanged electronic form to the police. And if these emails do really contain the PDF in question, and this info leaks, they will have a lot to answer for. And they know it. So either they’re being painfully stupid by lying about fakery knowing that they might be easily exposed, or…

Even if you know the document’s meta data format, that can be faked.

The only way to really know is a forensic scan of the two PCs invovled in the communication.  Typically the document creator will have a ton of copies and versions and variants all over the place in the deleted sectors of the PC.

If they are byte for byte, or at least content to content, then you’ve got the right stuff.

Anything short of that is pure conjecture. I’d want a police investigation to look further.  I’d trust that.

(I’m not an expert, but I’ve worked with X-RCMP to uncover stolen documents from a company.  I had to hunt through forensic drive scans to locate evidence.)

“Even if you know the document’s meta data format, that can be faked.”

I’m not talking about the document metadata tho. I’m talking about the digital signature added by many mail servers that certainly cannot be faked - that is, unless, you’ve hacked Google’s server (for example) and stole their encoding key. Such a feat has not been accomplished yet.

The only problem with this approach is that the DKIM sig can be turned off. But it is usually not, so it’s worth a try.

“But it wasn’t sent from HI, we know that already.”

Even if it was sent by HI via their servers, its unlikely that they would employ DKIM. Plausible denialbility.

These guys are busted.


 

Most people don’t know about it, so it’s on by default. I know it exists in all the recent gmail correspondence I have, both incoming and outgoing - and I didn’t turn it on. So it doesn’t hurt to try.

There’s yet another possible way of verification, though weaker than DKIM.

If the original received email is on a web service like Gmail, one can simply make a video: logging into gmail account, finding the email in question, showing the attachments it has, showing the original plain text version with all the headers.

Maybe a very good hacker can fake such a feat, but it’s still at least something.

 

There are good suggestions upstream but there are also various forms of linguistic comparative authorship analysis.

I have a suggestion.  Why doesn’t Heartland sue the leak?  Hmmm?

In court a third party can compare two different forensic computer scans and see who’s telling the truth.  (AND NOT REVEAL EITHER PARTY’S PERSONAL INFO)

This is current and standard practice in our judicial system.


I know why they don’t.  The scans would show that the leak told the truth.

Hell Skeptics have been pretty willy nilly about who they lay into.  Why not this leak?  Hmm?

So now we have three stories from Heartland (1) One is total fake (2) Some are altered and (3) They were sent out in error by a Heartland employee, meaning the docs are genuine.

Heartland are not playing a straight bat. Even when their own reputation is at stake they prefer to genuflect at smoke and mirrors rather than point to the truth.

 

“So now we have three stories from Heartland (1) One is total fake (2) Some are altered and (3) They were sent out in error by a Heartland employee, meaning the docs are genuine.”

Uh, no. That’s not what they’re saying at all. What they are saying is that 1 is a fake, while others are at least based on the originals, and may or may not have been altered, which they will be able to check when some guy involved with these documents returns from whatever trip he is on. There is no contradiction in HI’s claims.

Also, it’s not “three stories” in any case, since your (1) and (2) are the same story.

There’s no reason to distort their press release.

Hello Sergey, there’s a big difference between ‘total fake’ and ‘some may have been altered’. Heartland needs to enlarge on their documents may have been altered gambit   pointing out in what way they have been altered. Without that Heartland’s pretence that the truth is their business is exposed as a sham. If docs have been altered they are partially true, the salient question is which part Heartland ?

Are you the same Sergey Romanov behind the Holocaust Controversies blog ?

“Hello Sergey, there’s a big difference between ‘total fake’ and ‘some may have been altered’.”

Of course, but since these do not describe the same document(s), where is the contradiction? They allege that one document is an outright fake. They confirm that the rest of the documents were stolen, but leave the possibility that they may have been altered - until further checking by their director who had been traveling at the moment of the leak.

“Heartland needs to enlarge on their documents may have been altered gambit   pointing out in what way they have been altered.”

Sure, and if they don’t in a couple of days, that means other documents haven’t been altered. Their claim about the alleged fake will still stand on its own merits (or lack thereof).

Yes, I am from HC.

“ but leave the possibility that they may have been altered - until further checking by their director who had been traveling at the moment of the leak.”

Oh cmon. These are paid deniers & liars for hire. As if they are going to admit to the most damaging document. At least Phil Jones et al had the courage & decenncy to admit everything in the climategate emails were definately theirs, its just that a) deniers didnt know what they were looking at & so looked for negative words to invent new story lines & b) They only released 5000 out of 200,000. Knowing that the rest of the 195,000 would likely reveal the truth & deniers dont want that.

Heartland are people that are quite comfortable at lying. Why would this siutation buck the trend?

 

In this sub-thread I was simply pointing out that the explanations contained in the press-release are self-consistent. They may be false, but still consistent. The original commenter above contended that HI put out contradictory explanations, and that’s the claim I tried to address.

On further reflection, you were probably responding to my comment on (1) and (2) being the same story. What is meant is that those are two parts of the same story. They are not 2 stories that contradict each other.

So I have just emailed them the following message.

Is it not time that you picked up on the news about the climate change denial factory that calls itself The Heartland Institute being exposed to scrutiny.

Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine

http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-institute-exposed-internal-documents-unmask-heart-climate-denial-machine

With the following being a different, but unwittingly related item:

Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax

http://www.desmogblog.com/fake-science-fakexperts-funny-finances-free-tax

I note that the Guardian is on the ball:

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/feb/15/leaked-heartland-institute-documents-climate-scepticism

 

I have picked up, thanks Bill at Deltoid, on the fact that the BBC did place an article by Richard Black on their website some time on the 15th February 2012. It must have been posted some time after I had looked after reading about the HI leak here and no reference to it, or another article, appeared on the 16th February 2012 when I was composing my message to the BBC. And I doubt that many would have found it at all.

The BBC article Openness: A Heartland-warming tale is at:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17048991

I also pondered on the GWPF and its coy attitude to revealing funding as their is considerable overlap in key people between the two as recorded at Sourcewatch:

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=GWPF

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heartland_Institute/Global_warming_experts

Philip Stott taking at an iq2/US gathering which is revealing, he kicks off with the scientists and eugenics chestnut:

SOAS Professor: ‘Global warming is a myth’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZBP-JYzQKg

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoftpri0/2017522350_microsoft_takes_flak_for_donating_software_to_thin.html

Since Heartland is a “nonprofit”, Microsoft donated software to it.

In thinking about it, Microsoft might have done us a favor by donating software to HI. At the least, it should help to slow HI way down. :-)

Sergey Romanov is a member for 18 hours and 22 minutes. Hmm. Guess he has heart for Heartland.

“Sergey Romanov is a member for 18 hours and 22 minutes. Hmm. Guess he has heart for Heartland.”

Yes, the denialosphere is in damage control over this.

Why does WTFUWT need to dedicate 3 posts in support of a lobby group? 

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/16/the-anatomy-of-a-global-warming-smear/

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/15/notes-on-the-fake-heartland-document/

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/15/some-notes-on-the-heartland-leak/

A phone call has gone out to Watts to man the bilge pump & start bailing out the sinking ship. Watts whines about the smear, the smear, oh that terrible smear.

Oh the irony. As Watt’s would say “Oh dear”.


 

Sorry, but just because I’m skeptical about a pdf from an anonymous source doesn’t make me a part of denialsphere. I came here from LGF, which is not known for tolerance to climate deniers. Me? I think climate denial is an intellectual (if not moral) equivalent of Holocaust denial. I wrote about Holocaust/climate denial nexus once upon a time. So let’s not knee-jerk, OK?

I’m not knocking you… I’m just saying…

I have offered two viable, easy, possible ways to demonstrate the authenticity of the PDF in question, and thus possibly refute deniers at HI and destroy the shreds of their credibility once and for all. In my book that’s useful. I don’t see anybody else in this thread saying anything practically terribly useful on this issue, so I think your comment may be a bit misplaced.

Otherwise, I’m just hoping that we don’t have another Rathergate here. It would be a cunning plan too. Pretend to be a person who got secret denier documents. Plant a fake. Wait till the bloggers spread the story. Accuse the “warmists” of fakery. Make the story not about HI, and not about the content of the real documents, but about the fake.

Now, I’m not saying the PDF is a fake. Too early to tell. But I would think people would be more careful with “too good to be true” information from anonymous sources after 2004.

I know precisely squat about email.  Telling me that you personally know how to check this stuff.. tells me squat.

Bring in the police to verify it.  I’d trust that, and they are a third party who know about this stuff.

Saying “bring me the police” is the epitome of uselessness, because it won’t be coming at your beck and call.

And of course the comments are not meant for you, unless you’re one of DSB bloggers.

(I don’t always vote you down either.)

And yes, you are likely right about what you are saying, but it won’t really prove anything.

A lawsuit would get exactly the evidence you want, and it would be examined by third party experts.

is the Marxist narrative that can’t distinguish the rights of a private enterprise (Heartland) by making a mindless comparison to the abuse of public resources that is Climategate and all it indicates.

Aside from the planted commentary of one fake document there is nothing indicated from Heartland thast represents “scandal”. The eco-left seems very confused on this point.

Did I miss the link to the apology for not calling Heartland to confirm the fake? This is a hate site isn’t it?

 

Climategate?  What’s that?  What are you talking about?

You are the first person I’ve heard use the word scandal.  This isn’t a scandal to me.  Its just a reiteration of real true and measured facts.

Thanks for calling it a scandal though.  I’ve have to think about that, but I don’t think it is.

“is the Marxist narrative “

Now your ideology is showing.

“Aside from the planted commentary of one fake document there is nothing indicated from Heartland thast represents “scandal”.

Wishful thinking no doubt.

“This is a hate site isn’t it?”

Ok, well, I guess you have a point there. Most people I have seen on this site hate lies & dishonesty. Busted I guess.

Maybes because you spend so much time in the denialsphere you have troubles distinguishing facts. Most people, perhaps even deniers knew these scientists were paid by the oil industry for spreading doubt & denial. Maybe thats a shock for some of the more deluded. But I must say, its funny watching Watts bailing the boat & nitrous injecting his spin over this one. I think it was always a given that Watts is funded by the fossil fuel industry, but its good to have the facts now.


“Heartland has agreed to help Anthony raise $88,000 for the project in 2011. The Anonymous

Donor has already pledged $44,000. We’ll seek to raise the balance.”

 

http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/(1-15-2012)%202012%20Fundraising%20Plan_0.pdf

 

http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/(1-15-2012)%202012%20Heartland%20Budget.pdf

 

Gold. Bail Tones, bail…oh dear.

   

“What’s really revealing…..

is the Marxist narrative that can’t distinguish the rights of a private enterprise (Heartland)…”

I kinda like the way you put that.  Heartland isn’t supposed to be a private enterprise… its a charity.   And of course Charities are out and out socialist endeavors.

Good luck passing your highschool exams.

On Wednesday, HI’s press release claimed that at least one document is totally fake and the others could not be confirmed as unaltered because Joe Bast was traveling and had not been able to verify their authenticity.

Well, today Joe Bast found time to take apart and ‘rebut’ a New York Times article on the leak - line by line, but apparently has not had the opportunity to look at the documents that HI wants taken down from this site until they are verified.

In fact, he even mentions that desmogblog still has the documents online even though they are not verified yet, going so far as to claim that this may be a criminal act committed by desmogblog.

How can anyone trust this group of ‘scientists’ if they are unable to apply widely available technology that allows for document comparisons in less time than it takes to write a blog post rebutal that includes possible criminal accusations? 

Happy traveling, Joe. And good luck finding an app store… being as how they’re so hard to find and all.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/travelingjoe

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