Municipalities of Puerto Rico v. Exxon Mobil, et al. Part 2: RICO-teering

(see Author’s July 2, 2024 addition at the bottom of this post)

Bad enough that this lawsuit filing from the Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman LLC law firm has a no-win appearance of being either a mismanaged effort guided by the Sher Edling law firm without any disclosure of that partnership, or it appears to be a spectacularly inept and possibly unethical plagiarizing of the accusation content and other bits from the 16 boilerplate copy Sher Edling lawsuits. I detailed all of that in my Part 1 blog post (handily reproduced at WUWT, enabling me to reach a wider reading audience).

Exponentially worse for Milberg Coleman is the widespread news assertions that their lawsuit filing “is unique” because it is “the first climate case against fossil fuel companies alleging harms against cities as a class of plaintiffs, and the first climate case to include Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claims” as if this tactic is some kind of new idea. Many ‘news’ outlets belched out this RICO idea without questioning anything about it. It seems this mob is oblivious to the central hallmark of far-leftists, namely how they project what they do as accusations of what their political opposites do.

Why is all of this bad for Milberg Coleman? Because their RICO tactic doesn’t point to anything done by ‘Big Coal & Oil’ and skeptic climate scientists, it instead points an arrow the size of Texas at one of the core promulgators of the “crooked skeptic scientists” accusation.

Meaning Naomi Oreskes. She’s not just some person who invented the anti-science idea of a “100% scientific consensus” for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), who penned a book essentially claiming skeptic climate scientists’ CAGW denial stemmed from their political beliefs (no joke!), who now claims she has a mountain of evidence that “Exxon Knew” their products caused harm from CAGW but ran disinformation campaigns to hide what they knew (Exxon knew no such thing, but that’s a whole other story).

The irony here is where the real disinformation is found in abundance. Naomi Oreskes is where she is today because of her initial, and ongoing enslavement to the worthless, never implemented proposal documents containing the specific “reposition global warming as theory (not fact)” ‘sinister directive’ (along with an unsolicited alternative name, and never-implemented audience targeting suggestions). At my June 17, 2022 GelspanFiles blog post, I detailed her level of enslavement and basic once-per-minute average of offering outright disinformation items about those memos and the Western Fuels Association “ICE” public relations campaign those documents are falsely attributed to.

Piling on, she ineptly felt compelled to say (more than once!) the documents, including newspaper ‘advertorials,’ were archived at the American Meteorological Society D.C. archives (they are not), and in one more act of clumsiness, claimed she was alerted to all these AMS archive copies by a person separated by just one degree from Al Gore’s 1991-’92 Senate office. For those who don’t know, Gore spoke of ‘leaked documents to his office’ about that same newspaper campaign in his 1992 “Earth in the Balance” book that Oreskes is enslaved to.

Meanwhile, what’s does the arrow the size of Texas in this Milberg Puerto Rico filing also inadvertently point to? When you take into consideration that “psychological projection” is a hallmark of far-left liberals, it’s no surprise: Naomi Oreskes’ 2012 La Jolla, California “Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control” workshop. It was a brainstorming effort she created on how the RICO statute could be used against Big Oil’s ‘tobacco industry-like disinformation efforts.’ But remember who it is – and which side of the CAGW it is – who has an apparent stranglehold on disinformation.

Blogger “Shub Niggurath” exposed the massive problem about Oreskes’ workshop back in 2015: “RICO-teering: How climate activists ‘knew’ they were going to pin the blame on Exxon.” Oreskes’ workshop wasn’t a one-time effort — hold that thought until the end of this post.

Now – speaking of unified disinformation efforts – who were the participants at Oreskes’ La Jolla brainstorming session on how to wage a lawsuit war against Big Oil?

What’s one of the items Oreskes herself brought up at that 2012 workshop as a tactic to use in a RICO-style lawsuit against energy companies?

Those old newspaper ads she asserts were part of a fraudulent energy company-led ‘disinformation campaign.’

See the pattern here? A collection of people enslaved to a particular narrative about a worthless set of ‘leaked industry memos’ in their claims that the fossil fuel industry and skeptic climate scientists engaged in organized crime activity – racketeering – to enrich themselves while fraudulently telling the public there was no harm from fossil fuels causing catastrophic global warming.

What’s the basic definition of racketeering? Organized criminal activity in which the perpetrators offer a service to solve a nonexistent problem, or offer a service that solves a problem that would not exist without the racket.

Essentially, the racketeering accusation the Gore-Oreskes-Gelbspan mob hurl could be mirror flipped against them: the ‘service’ they offer to solve the ‘man-caused global warming’ problem is to expose the ‘Big Oil / skeptic climate scientists racket,’ forcing civil penalty settlements out of the colluders. The problem, according to skeptic scientists’ hugely detailed climate assessments, is that the Gore-Oreskes-Gelbspan mob cannot prove ‘man-caused global warming’ is actually a problem. But far worse, defamation is a crime. Any cash this mob receives from the accusation – book sales, for example – might be considered a form of fraud. It might be further argued that by saying “Exxon Knew” as far back as the 1960s that burning fossil fuels cause global warming because the “government knew” might also be a form of fraud because neither the government nor Exxon could have known any such thing since concern about global cooling was all the rage back then. Cooling!

But let’s now focus again on the disinformation within the Milberg Puerto Rico filing. On the filing’s PDF file/print page 110 it says the following, where its two footnotes go to the UCS’ 2015 “Deception Dossiers” Report and the New York Times 1991 “Pro-Coal Ad Campaign Disputes Warming Idea” article:

…. Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling and Sherwood B. Idso all lent their names in 1991 to its scientific advisory panel.

The Coal Defendants’ publicity plan called for placing these three scientists, along with fellow climate change denier S. Fred Singer (see below), in broadcast appearances, op-ed pages, and newspaper interviews by its public relations firm.

Fred Singer’s name does not appear in any form within either the UCS Dossiers Report or the NYT article. Where does the above appear, almost identically, just without the lawsuit’s “The Coal Defendants’” and “(see below)“wording?


What do the #s 1 and 2 footnotes cite for their accusation about Dr Singer’s alleged involvement with the ICE PR campaign?

The #2 footnote goes to “pages 688-693” of Sheldon Brampton’s 2001 “Trust Us, We’re Experts!” book (the actual page numbers for their chapter is 267 through 288), where it does indeed have that accusation regarding Dr Singer. What’s Rampton’s source for that? A June 24, 1991 article in The Energy Daily by Mary O’Driscoll titled “Greenhouse Ads Target ‘Low-income’ Women, ‘Less-educated’ Men” of which I have not yet located a copy. If the actual article contains no evidence proving Dr Singer was involved in that campaign, Rampton could be in a spot of trouble, couldn’t he? (By the way, he’s that Sheldon Rampton who I’ve tagged as being only one degree separated from Ross Gelbspan in several posts at GelbspanFiles, including one detailing how Rampton worked at Wikipedia as an editor). What else is seen on that Rampton book page? Oh, yeah, the never-used ICE ad I mentioned in my Puerto Rico Part 1 dissection which Naomi Oreskes somehow had in her lousy scan photocopies collection. (Rampton’s book predates Oreskes’ earliest known public arrival to the climate issue by two years.)

But what’s Wikipedia’s #1 source about Dr Singer’s alleged involvement with the ICE PR campaign? ………. Wait for it ………………. Naomi Oreskes.

Problem is, Oreskes’ entire 2010 book Chapter 5 contribution never mentions Dr Singer’s name one single time. She does mention the ICE Advisory Board though, but without any footnote source for it. It turns out to be PDF file pages 2 and 4 in the horribly degraded old “Greenpeace USA née Ozone Action” scans collection (“Gp USA née OA” = John Passacantando / Kert Daviesthat non-transparent duo).

The bigger – and basically fatal – problem for the Milberg Coleman law firm is ….. Dr Singer never had any involvement of any kind with the Western Fuels ICE PR campaign. I had to remind him on one occasion regarding what the ICE campaign was, that’s just how un-associated he was with it.

The most basic of questions arises out of just this one example when this Milberg Puerto Rico filing ineptly cites Wikipedia – which cites one source cascading back further to an unavailable article, while citing another problematic source in its own right which doesn’t actually prove a particular accusation: Are the attorneys or staffer interns at the law firm so incompetent that this instant is no more than a clumsy effort arising from leftist-blinded enviro-political ideology? Or was it fed to them as part of a much larger – albeit maladroit – fraudulent effort that aims to be rewarded by mega-dollar settlements for their initial brainstorming and subsequent contributions into these kinds of lawsuits?

Maladroit. Bungling. That wasn’t the only unsupportable accusation in this filing aimed at Dr Singer and his Science and Environmental Policy Project organization. On PDF file/print page 126 it says, with regard to the meeting that ultimately resulted in a summary leaked to enviro-activists which are now known as the notorious API “victory will be achieved” memos (this filing labels it the “Global Climate Science Communication Team Action Plan {GCSCT Action Plan} ):

The GCSCT Action Plan named the following members as having contributed to the development:

… Candace Crandall, Science and Environmental Policy Project

…. Candace Crandall was the wife of S. Fred Singer …

She was indeed his wife; but as is clearly seen to this day at the bottom of the NYT 1998 article specifically about the API memos (which ironically never assigned any name to the memos at all or quotes the infamous “victory will be achieved” phrase), neither Ms Crandall nor Dr Singer or his SEPP organization was involved with the little 1-day workshop surrounding the API “victory” memos.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to find these details.

For the readers who remembered to hold the thought I suggested in Part 1 about this Milberg law firm retyping those “victory will be achieved” memos “for clarity,” consider now who it was that originally had those practically unreadable scan copies in the first place.

Greenpeace. These horrible scans. I detailed myriad problematic situations surrounding the already long-ago completely typed out memos transcription in my February 19, 2020 blog post, and in my follow-up in that series, “Greenpeace People, for their API Memos Scans before they were Against Them.”

More than any prior “#ExxonKnew” lawsuit filing, this Milberg Puerto Rico one is practically in love with the API “victory will be achieved” memos, referring to it no less than 66 times in it and outside of it:

Melissa Sims, one of the attorneys at Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman LLC, the law firm representing the Puerto Rico communities, said fossil fuel defendants’ actions were not only similar but directly tied to the tobacco companies, … “The racketeers solicited the same scientists who denied the link between second hand smoke and lung cancer,” Sims told me.

In an internal industry document known as the 1998 Victory Memo, part of a master strategy of deceit assembled by the American Petroleum Institute and cited throughout the complaint, the defendants’ intent was summarized: “Victory will be achieved when average citizens understand uncertainties in climate science.”

“This memo was a multi-faceted approach intended to dupe consumers into believing there was no such thing as climate change and that their products wouldn’t cause the disastrous effects we’re seeing today,” Sims said.

This never-implemented memo set could not, by default, be any sort of ‘multi-faceted master strategy.’ There’s simply no “there” there, as I’ve illustrated more than once using a mirror-flip of them that Greenpeace, Al Gore, Greta Thunberg, and the whole rest of the pro-global warming crowd would love. There was nothing sinister in the memos, and as former API Executive VP / COO William O’Keefe told me in my interview of him, the whole point of the meeting on how to counter the Kyoto Protocol Treaty became academic when everyone realized the U.S. Senate would never sign the treaty.

This Milberg Puerto Rico filing is also in love with castigating the late Dr S Fred Singer. His name is mentioned 40 times, including unsupportable ‘tobacco industry angle’ accusations — plural! — against him that the Milberg attorney just above alludes to. The first of the two ‘tobacco angle’ accusations in this filing cites a New York Times obituary for Frederick Seitz which contains zero mention of Dr Singer, and the second one cites a Scientific American article hurling the ‘cancer denier’ accusation with zero evidence to support it. As I detailed here, Dr Singer abhorred cigarette smoke, and his sole complaint was how E.P.A had mislabeled second-hand smoke as a Class A carcinogen.

When it comes to unsupportable political assertions and accusations, the above problems and what I covered in Part 1 are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. A Part 3 continuation on the indisputable accusation errors in this filing would also be very lengthy. Without covering any of the filing’s science assertions.

I’ll end technically where I started in this post, about where the real ‘RICO-teering’ effort appears to be in the global warming political issue, but with this additional note: Naomi Oreskes’ 2012 effort wasn’t a one time event, it appears to be an ongoing thing as reported at the end of this 12/29 Energy in Depth report, where they mention a similar brainstorming 2-day conference led by Oreskes in September 2022. A less than transparent conference, where we have just an audio interview of Oreskes done by Amy Westervelt (yeah, that Westervelt, who made a false statement about the “victory will be achieved” memos, an inexplicable blunder I further detailed here). At the 3:58 point of that audio file, just seconds before Westervelt’s interview, Oreskes introduces Westervelt as “my good friend and colleague,” and then proceeds from the 5:50 point to the 7:20 point to spew essentially outright psychological projection accusations against the people she says spew ‘deception and disinformation,’ while naming fellow colleagues who supposedly expose ‘industry disinformation.’ Oreskes practically hands out a verbal roadmap to investigate where the real racketeering may be in the climate issue.

At her other 12/6/22 audio podcast report “First Climate RICO Filed,” Westervelt says the following, 2:05 point / 2:23 point:

… The plaintiffs in this case are 16 in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico …

… I started following this case three years ago, and went to Puerto Rico in 2019 with Melissa K. Sims.* Sims is senior council for the plaintiffs law firm Milberg …

Interesting, isn’t it, that just over seven weeks after this Sept 2022 semi-transparent conference was held, that we all were blessed with an error-riddled, “reposition global warming” / “victory will be achieved”-enslaved “Puerto Rico v Exxon lawsuit filing that looks like it was giddily slapped together by a team of the ‘usual suspects’ [*ahem*] usual suspects, and their associated vulnerable weak link comrades.
* [Author’s July 2, 2024 addition: The plot thickens. One file uploaded by Amy Westervelt into the “DocumentCloud” system contains the all-caps note “[MELISSA: BE SURE TO REVIEW THE DOCUMENT,” and then just 6 paragraphs further down on page 1, Westervelt quotes Davies offering the unsupportable accusation that, despite the notorious 1998 “victory will be achieved” memo set being exposed in the NY Times, elements of the plan were implemented anyway. The question becomes ever more obvious now – was Amy Westervelt a direct contributor via Kert Davies on the main accusation thrust of Puerto Rico, or did Westervelt just happen to name a person coincidentally sharing the first name of the lead lawyer in that lawsuit? If the answer is “no” on that second part, the first part becomes a much bigger problem. ]