A coalition of state attorneys general trying to terrorize, muzzle, and extort climate skeptics with legal assaults may have bitten off more than it can chew — and the AGs may eventually have to face justice, experts say. In recent days, an alliance of prosecutors purporting to “investigate” climate skeptics, which styles itself “AGs United for Clean Power,” has sparked a backlash of massive proportions. Now, the group of Democrat and far-left prosecutors is being accused of serious wrongdoing, including abuse of power, unethical behavior, and potential criminal activities such as conspiracy to deprive people of constitutionally protected rights.
Even believers in the man-made global-warming theory (less than 40 percent of Americans) have lashed out against the anti-free speech machinations via top American media outlets. Reasonable prosecutors from across the country have also lambasted the effort as a dangerous and illegal assault on freedom of speech and the First Amendment. And this is probably just the start. E-mails and documents about the effort to prosecute climate skeptics have started trickling out, despite the efforts of lawless officials to conceal their scheming from the public. Depriving people of rights "under color of law" is a serious criminal offense.
Perhaps the most serious accusation thus far argues that the coalition of state prosecutors, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, are involved in a criminal conspiracy to deprive Americans of their constitutionally protected rights. University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, for example, noted that it is a felony under federal law for two or more people “to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).”
Writing in USA Today, America's largest newspaper by circulation, Reynolds wondered if Schneiderman, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, or California Attorney General Kamala Harris had read the law. They are among the more than a dozen AGs involved in the alleged conspiracy. “Because what they’re doing looks like a concerted scheme to restrict the First Amendment free speech rights of people they don’t agree with,” he explained, saying the prosecutors should look up 18 U.S.C. Sec. 241. “You don’t have to be paranoid to see a conspiracy here.” The penalty for such conspiracies includes up to a decade in prison. If anyone is kidnapped or killed as a result of the conspiracy, the conspirators can be sentenced to death.
Reynolds highlighted the massive amounts of disagreement in the climate debate: Is the planet warming? By how much? What is the cause? Will regulations make a difference? And so on. “Yet the goal of these state attorneys general seems to be to treat disagreement as something more or less criminal,” he explained. “That’s wrong.” He also cited a Supreme Court decision pointing out that, as the court wrote, “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.”
But prescribing such orthodoxy — ironically even the warmists themselves are not sure what the current orthodoxy is — appears to be exactly what the AGs have in mind, Reynolds said, calling the approach un-American. “In pursuing this action, they are betraying their oaths of office, abusing their powers and behaving unethically as attorneys,” he added, raising the possibility that the AGs could lose their law licenses, as well, due to their unethical behavior.
Obama's attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who also came under fire for admitting that the Justice Department referred climate skeptics to the FBI for potential investigation, is unlikely to bring charges against the state AGs conspiring to deprive Americans of their right to free speech. A Ted Cruz or Donald Trump presidency, however, might make such charges more likely, Reynolds argued. Even without criminal charges, however, victims of the state AGs' conspiracy to silence AGW skeptics have civil options to pursue justice as well.
Even prominent media personalities among the minority of voices in America who agree with the controversial anthropogenic (man-made) global-warming (AGW) theory have suggested that the assault on the First Amendment rights of climate skeptics was a dangerous and potentially criminal abuse of power. Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle, for example, was quick to point out that she agrees with the AGW movement on climate and the alleged need for governments to do something. But she was not OK with these tactics.
McArdle pointed out that the state AGs threw the word “fraud” around quite a bit during their recent New York press conference (which of course was followed inevitably by record-breaking cold temperatures across New York as part of the infamous “Gore Effect”). “The more they talked about it, the more it became clear that what they meant by 'fraud' was 'advocating for policies that the attorneys general disagreed with,'” she continued, blasting the legal abuses by the prosecutors as an “attempt to criminalize advocacy.”
Al Gore ally Schneiderman, who appears to be the master-mind behind the new wave of Lysenkoism, “gave the game away” when he noted that different theories to attack the climate heretics were being pursued in different jurisdictions. “It is traditional, when a crime has actually been committed, to first establish that a crime has occurred, and then identify a perpetrator,” McArdle wrote. “When prosecutors start running that process backwards, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re looking at prosecutorial power run amok. And that approaches certainty when attorneys general start sending subpoenas to think tanks that ExxonMobil might have supported.”
The author and Bloomberg columnist also called on her fellow AGW believers to hold their applause, noting that every tactic they use could eventually be used against them. “The rule of law, and our norms about free speech, represent a sort of truce between both sides,” she said. “We all agree to let other people talk, because we don’t want to live in a world where we ourselves are not free to speak. Because we do not want to be silenced by an ambitious prosecutor, we should all be vigilant when ambitious prosecutors try to silence anyone else.”
There are also fresh accusations of wrongdoing stemming from public records. Among other concerns, e-mails obtained by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) under Vermont's freedom of information laws revealed collusion between the AGs and radical activist groups funded by Rockefeller interests. The AGs then sought to conceal their scheming from the public by claiming “privilege” for their discussions, and agreed to inform each other of any public records requests. Officials from Vermont, however, citing laws banning such deceptive machinations, refused to cooperate in the schemes.
The documents also appear to show that U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Walker, who recently subpoenaed climate e-mails from the non-partisan Competitive Enterprise Institute think tank, is hoping to extort money from his victims. In the documents, he brags about shaking down Hess Oil for an almost $1 billion settlement that was used to create a slush fund to finance expensive and unreliable “green” energy (think Solyndra). The radical AG, who has likely committed career suicide with his scheming, was hoping the extremist AG coalition led by Gore and Schneiderman could help him identify “other potential litigation targets” and ways to “increase our leverage.”
“These emails strongly suggest the financial motive for AGs to pursue their political opponents, not content with merely silencing and scaring away support for those who dare disagree with their extreme global warming agenda,” said E&E Legal Executive Director Craig Richardson. “Alarmingly, government officials are actively trying to cover up their coordination by using a Common Interest Agreement, even to claw back records already circulated, which another attorney general properly objected to as violating state law.” The group also called for the AGs to halt their “investigation” and to lay out for the public the extent of their collusion with outside activists.
Meanwhile, other state attorneys general are blasting the abuses by fellow prosecutors. “You cannot use the power of the office of the Attorney General to silence your critics,” explained West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey. In a joint press release, Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt and Alabama AG Luther Strange also lambasted the abuse of power. “It is inappropriate for State Attorneys General to use the power of their office to attempt to silence core political speech on one of the major policy debates of our time.” Louisiana AG Jeff Landry was outraged, too. “It is one thing to use the legal system to pursue public policy outcomes; but it is quite another to use prosecutorial weapons to intimidate critics, silence free speech, or chill the robust exchange of ideas,” he said.
Ironically, if the AGs do end up facing justice over their potentially criminal efforts to criminalize dissent on the increasingly discredited AGW theory, they would not be the first to find themselves in hot water. Self-styled climate scientist Jagadish Shukla, whose phony “Institute of Global Environment and Society” has bilked taxpayers out of over $63 million so far, is now facing congressional investigations for misappropriating public funds. He paid himself and his wife almost $6 million to do alleged “climate research.” The scrutiny began when he rounded up a group of fellow pseudo-scientists to demand anti-mafia RICO prosecutions of climate heretics.
Just 40 percent of Americans believe the AGW theory, according to a Pew survey. And launching a new wave of Lysenkoism to terrorize critics is unlikely to win any new converts for the alarmist movement — described by top climate experts as a “cult” or even “global warming Nazis” who threaten the lives of millions of people. If and when the very real, well-documented fraud in the “climate” debate is ever prosecuted, though, Gore, Walker, Schneiderman, and other alarmists will regret the day they launched their “AGs United for Clean Power.” The “ClimateGate” leak and mountains of other evidence and testimony is already available to prosecutors everywhere — and the alarmist fraudsters perpetrated much of the fraud with public funds, with a goal of extorting trillions from humanity.
Even the full terror apparatus of Stalin's mass-murdering regime was unable to protect Lysenko's quack theories on genetics from reality. The AGs hoping to silence those who expose the flaws in AGW theory do not stand a chance. And when the truth is eventually known, the climate hustlers may find themselves in serious legal trouble.