It was a curious connection of politics, science, education and the courts: A lawsuit brought by a British father who objected to his school's showing of the global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" to his two children.
The documentary, authored by Al Gore, won critical praise, spectacular box office, and an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. But Stewart Dimmock, a school official and truck driver, charged that showing the film to students amounted to politically "brainwashing" them.
A U.K. court sided with the schools, allowing the screenings to continue, though the judge cited several what he termed "inaccuracies" in the film, saying some actions like the melting of snows on Mt. Kilimanjaro could not conclusively be linked to human activities, as Gore and climate scientists contend.
Gore's critics jumped on the judge's findings, as a means to further try to debunk the scientifically-accepted finding that man-made greenhouse gases are increasing the warming of the Earth.
But the story of a parent standing up to school administrators lost some of its "David vs. Goliath" overtone with an article today in The Observer, which reported that Dimmock was standing on well-funded shoulders.
According to the British paper, Dimmock credited an obscure Scottish party, the New Party, with supporting him in the case, without much elaboration. The party promotes lower taxes and an expansion of nuclear power.
The Observer has established that Dimmock's case actually received support from a network of business interests, including those with links to the fuel and mining industries, as well as a local Conservative Party figure.
According to Electoral Commission records, nearly all funding for the New Party came from a mining concern, Cloburn Quarry Limited in Lanarkshire, which contributed almost 1 million pounds between 2004 and 2006. The company's owner, Robert Durward, is also chairman of the New Party, and is a long-time critic of environmentalists.
He also helped form the Scientific Alliance, an industry-backed non-profit with links to other global-warming debunkers (like the U.S.-based George C. Marshall Institute) that have received funding from ExxonMobil.
The Observer also reported that Dimmock received additional support from another source, Straightteaching.com, which established an online payment system inviting contributions to support Dimmock's case, via a proxy domain purchased a month ago through the Arizona-based godaddy.com.
When asked by the Observer who else was backing the Web site, Derek Tipp, a Conservative council member in Hampshire, declined. "There are other people involved but I don't think they want to be revealed," the paper quoted him.
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