When the Heartland Institutes documents hit the Internet Heartland immediately went into a very heavy handed, legally threatening mode. They issued a statement saying that they intended to pursue all possible actionable civil remedies to the fullest extent of the law, and called on all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.
In a witty and ironic parody the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, issued an almost word for word identical statement but with the 'Climategate' emails as the subject and asked that;
"the Heartland Institute, all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions".Though it is sobering to think that climate researchers could require the services of a defence fund.
But now Heartland have a target to aim all the legal backed ire at in the form of whistle blower Peter Gleick. I have already seen many posts on blogs from 'Skeptics' calling for the man to be sued. So here is my prediction for the future;
I predict that legally the Heartland Institute will do nothing that could end up with Peter Gleick in a public courtroom. They wont dare.I feel a psychic certainty that this will be the case. But it is a prediction that I hope I am really, really wrong about. Any defence that Gleick makes will rely heavily on motive and that in turn will bring more public scrutiny upon the documents and who their Mr Anonymous might be. The documents themselves have already revealed that they have set aside;
A public court case could be very damaging for Heartland if public sympathy turned to favour a scientist who felt the need to go to such extremes in his fight with Heartland. Heartland's other donors, now publicly unmasked within these documents, will not like further media attention on their actions and motives."An estimated $36,000 to pay lawyers for litigation over whether Heartland can be forced to handover records of conversations with a donor of some five years ago."
As example of similar previous situations, James Hansen has now been arrested three times in protests but has yet to see the inside of a courtroom. On the matter of his first arrest in 2009, the 71 year old has stated in his book, Storms of my Grandchildren, in a published interview with Bill McKibben;
"Still no trial date has been set. According to the law, I could get as much as one year in prison. I am beginning to think that the authorities do not want a trial."In the Tim DeChristopher trail the activist was found guilty of fraud after bidding on oil-and-gas drilling leases, and winning to keep them out of the hands of Oil and Gas companies. Before the arrest he was hardly known. But when on trail hundreds of activists marched to the federal courthouse in his support, including film stars and other celebrities.
This is the sort of media attention that I can predict with certainty that Heartland will want to avoid, and a possibility they might get by pursuing Gleick.