Right Wing ATI Attempts to Character Assassinate Climate Science

ATI, well known for litigious attacks and harassment aimed at prominent climate scientists, has set its sights on one of the most celebrated researchers at NASA.

After failing in its first attempt to slander the work of NASA climate researcher James Hansen by raising false claims and creating trumped up ‘ethics violations,’ ATI has filed a lawsuit against NASA itself. The lawsuit, which makes a number of spurious claims about Hansen’s ‘outside activities’ presumes that Hansen violated NASA ethics while engaged in advocacy work outside of his role as a NASA scientist.

The lawsuit focuses on 1.2 million dollars Hansen received outside of his $180,000 per year salary at NASA and claims that he unlawfully profited from his position as a NASA scientist. The lawsuit demands the release of private documents from NASA on the basis that Hansen’s supposed outside profiteering is a matter of public interest.

Despite ATI’s birther-like fanaticism and Spanish Inquisition-like truth seeking, much of the information regarding Hansen’s ‘outside activities’ is already a matter of the public record. Hansen won four prestigious science prizes, which, like the Noble Prize, is entirely permissible for public employees. The honorable recipient of the Blue Planet Prize, the Heinz Award, the Dan David Award, and the Sophie Prize, Hansen received recognition for his ground-breaking work in clarifying science’s understanding of Earth’s climate systems. The total value of these awards was just over 1.2 million.

Hansen also received approval from NASA for writing his well-known book “Storms of My Grandchildren” and for making a number of public speaking appearances. According to available records, it appears that Hansen earned about 48,000 dollars from the speaking engagements, far less than the sum earned from his science awards.

Further in it’s rabid attempts to discredit Hansen, ATI departs the realm of mere misrepresentation of facts to make a claim that is altogether false. In the grand tradition of ACORN assassination and attempts to deny poor people the right to vote, ATI tells the lie certain to gain the most traction. Clearly aimed at inciting a reaction from the right-wing media and from the conservative fanatics who follow it, ATI has asserted that Hansen received $720,000 from George Soros. This fictitious accusation, which is simply a recycling of a previous false claim, would be laughable if, in the current political climate, it weren’t so poisonous.

ATI’s fallacious claim that Hansen’s prize-winning science and public engagement on the issue of climate science is an ethics violation along with their other blatantly false assertions are nothing more than a backwards attempts to defame one of America’s top scientists and to violate his free speech and privacy rights. Such an active attempt to suppress science through the character assassination of one of its savants is what one would expect to witness during the darkest days of the middle ages not at a time when science has provided such obvious benefit and is so well-respected in the public eye.

It is this kind of malicious mischief from the radical right that must not be tolerated. That must be shamed and revealed for the false, terribly insidious, thing that it is. In its simplest, most basic form, the conflict between ATI and NASA boils down to this: Hansen told the truth. Now those not happy with it are trying to kill the messenger.