Anthony Watts clearly doesn't want a RICO-style investigation of organisations that peddle climate science denial. I don't know what he thinks will emerge, but he's obviously very much against shining a light on the behind-the-scenes activities.
Which organisations he is protecting he hasn't said. I don't think it's his own. He's just a bit player. His blog is just one of the many outlets used by professional climate science deniers.
Today he's got an article up (archived here) complaining about a barely heard short comment by Naomi Oreskes in an hour long you tube video. I doubt Anthony would have heard the comment itself. He has a hearing problem. I don't. Yet I couldn't quite make out the words that Naomi spoke. Anthony wrote:
...today I want to highlight Naomi Orekses and Suzanne Goldenberg, who seem seem to like the idea of having climate “deniers” arrested under RICO act for thought collusion...
Arresting climate (science) deniers for "thought collusion"? That's not what Naomi Oreske's said. Or not as far as I can make out. Here is the video in full. Her suggestions about RICO-style investigations is almost at the end. At the 1:12 mark or thereabout.
So who was it who alerted Anthony to the video and to the comments. Would it have been an organisation that funds or is funded to promote climate science denial? Climate Depot for example, which seems to act as a clearing house for all things anti-climate science. Or was it an enthusiastic amateur who spends all their time poring over you tube videos and blogs for comments that can be twisted and used out of context.
Here is an explanation of the RICO Act from Wikipedia:
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually commit the crime personally.
RICO was enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (Pub.L. 91–452, 84 Stat. 922, enacted October 15, 1970). RICO is codified as Chapter 96 of Title 18 of the United States Code, 18 U.S.C. § 1961–1968. Under the close supervision of Senator John Little McClellan, the Chairman of the Committee for which he worked, G. Robert Blakey drafted the "RICO Act," Title IX of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, signed into law by Richard M. Nixon.While its original use in the 1970s was to prosecute the Mafia as well as others who were actively engaged in organized crime, its later application has been more widespread.
Beginning in 1972, 33 States adopted state RICO laws to be able to prosecute similar conduct.
I'm not from the USA and am by no means an expert in law, let alone US law. However to claim that the RICO Act, which was signed into law by Richard Nixon and adopted by 33 states, is akin to Nazi domination in pre-War Germany seems to me to be a little over the top.
Also, for people at WUWT to think that dumb deniers like them would be prosecuted under the Act is incredibly naive. I mean it looks to me that it's people like them that the Act was designed to protect. Most of them are the ones being hoodwinked. They are the victims. Anthony Watts isn't a victim. He's a stooge. He's one of the low level lackeys who embarked on his crusade against science for ideological reasons as far as I can make out. Funded organisations, like the Heartland Institute use him and people like him as freeby public relations arms.
I gather that the RICO Act was used to prosecute people who deliberately hid the facts about tobacco. The Heartland Institute allegedly had strong links to the pro-tobacco lobby. I came across this comment by A Physicist at Judith Curry's blog. The comment included a comment that Anthony Watts deleted from his blog, which was speculating that this letter from Edward J Markey to the Heartland Institute was in preparation for a RICO investigation into Heartland Institute, when it emerged that they were funding a deliberate campaign aimed at subverting education in climate science.
Will the RICO Act ever be used to investigate funded campaigns to spread disinformation about climate science? I wouldn't be surprised if it were. Not this year. Not next year. Maybe in the early 2020s.
A lot of cyberspace this past few days has been devoted to fake sceptics and contrarians arguing that free speech means people are free to defame, libel and slander and try to ruin the reputation of climate scientists. I take it from the WUWT reaction to Naomi Oreske's short comment that these same people think that free speech also gives organisations the right to manufacture propaganda designed to mislead the general public about climate science.
Science deniers live in a very strange world. Not the one I want to live in.
As an aside, Anthony is surprised that a normal person doesn't know what CAGW stands for. That's an acronym that took me ages to work out. It's only ever used by climate science deniers and would only be understood by them or people who frequently visit their underworld. It stands for "catastrophic anthropogenic global warming". Although some of the less educated deniers seem to think the "A" in CAGW stands for Anthropomorphic :)
As another aside, and in keeping with Roy Spencer's recent outburst, later in his article Anthony quoted a passage by AlecJC (whoever that is):
Some commentators on WUWT have likened this little scene to Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda in the 1930s, and I’m inclined to agree.
Climate science deniers are a weird mob.
PS Anthony used his article as an excuse to post an image stolen from the SkS private website. Someone from the SkepticalScience crowd obviously decided to make a joke out of the tedious allegations from science deniers. Fake sceptics were constantly referring to SkepticalScience as "Nazis". Rather than let the endless namecalling get to them they had a bit of fun - Monty Python style. In private - at least until Brandon Shollenberger broke into their private files and stole their images. Fake sceptics aren't predisposed to laugh at themselves so they don't understand how letting off steam and turning around the nasty name-calling and making light of it can be therapeutic. (Some of the best television comedy series of the 1970s were the English poking fun at themselves, the English.)
From the WUWT comments
I don't have time to sieve through the WUWT comments, you can wallow in them in the archive here if you're interested.
Here are just a few of them.
Richard Drake says he agrees with the parallels with Nazi Germany:
February 24, 2014 at 9:39 am
I totally support you in the line you take on this Anthony and the historical parallels you rightly draw.
Tamara says, after Anthony pointed out Naomi Oreskes is Jewish:
February 24, 2014 at 9:39 am
Another parallel: Oreskes is an “educator”. Training the Hitler-youths of the future?
Roy Spencer says:
February 24, 2014 at 9:59 am
good summary, Anthony.
February 24, 2014 at 10:13 am
It is a sad commentary on the intellectual zeitgeist of many of our great universities when someone of Oreskes limited capacity for independant data based critical thinking and penchant for propaganda can be employed as a Professor.
We see similar politically correct scientific and communications departments and groups at Yale and Columbia.
Ric Werme says smiling is a crime and winter snow means global cooling - or something like that:
February 24, 2014 at 10:13 am
Watch the video: The RICO quote is about 1:12:30 in the video. Note that none of the panelists blinks an eye at the suggestion. They are all smiling after Oreskes finishes.
I skipped around that video some yesterday, all three were smiling nearly all the time, it seemed a self-satisfied sort of smile between friends rebuilding their common worldview.
I don’t know when the video was made, but apparently it was snowing outside at the time, so their worldview likely needed some rebuilding.