…. or at least attempted to do so by every available means available to me. At least one roadblock slowed me down.
Regarding the PDF file attachment emailed to me from the ECU which I reproduced verbatim in my prior blog post, I initially thought that I now had a direct email connection to the top person at ECU, defined elsewhere as the guy who handled only the most serious complaints. That’s what his email address looked like to me, anyway. So, I composed a reply containing detailed info with supporting web links, with a plea that he grant an appeal to me, since his decision was basically based on a false assumption on his part about what the core of my complaint was. But about 90% through my composition, I remembered something inconvenient about the one prior email I had received from the ECU where they simply acknowledged the receipt of my Stage 2 Complaint. Oh, great — the address was an unmonitored one, only used for outgoing email responses.
Ok, I’ll just shorten my email to fit within the restricted size limit of complaints sent in via the official ECU Stage 2 web page form. But the roadblock I immediately encountered was how it first asks for confirmation of the email address assigned to the Stage 1 Complaint – my email address. As seen in this composite screencapture, it first displays a really long url address that clearly contained my Complaint number, then automatically it changes to a shorter authentication address. ECU’s page previously accepted my address just fine when I filed my 7/13/21 Stage 2 complaint, but now when I try to enter the email address I’ve used throughout the entire last year …. the result is that ECU says my address does not match the case number on file for the complaint. It’s not a one-time glitch, it happens every time I try it.
So, for experiment’s sake, I thought I’d try re-entering my complaint in the far more restricted BBC web form for initial complaint submissions, where there is an opportunity to enter a case number of an existing complaint. I jumped through all of those hoops, and the result on immediately after I entered it on 8/20/21 was that it allowed me to type in my complaint, it allowed me to review and edit it if necessary, and then it accepted it.
Is it possible that at the Stage 2 ECU level, my email address was purged from the system after it received a “final decision”? That’s plausible. However, I didn’t stop with just the inadequate (in my view) submission back down to the Stage 1 level, I also looked for a working email address for the ECU, which I found in one of their own 52-page PDF forms that also included an address for a specific person there.
Using those two email addresses – the copy to the specific person bounced right back with an automatic note that he’s “on leave” (from when to when??) – I fired off the following email to ECU while drawing attention to my two other same-day online attempts to contact ECU. It’s a long email, 2,384 words, but in my defense about the length, I’d point out that the official PDF file ‘final decision’ reply from ECU’s Colin Tregear was 2,604 words …. the bulk of which, as I detail below, was a response in regard to an incorrect assumption he made about my complaint. Fair’s fair, I should be entitled to detail exactly how each of his defenses is skewed by his incorrect assumption. My email below is verbatim, including the italicized formatting, and red highlighted of the key detail, with one exception for easier reading: I embedded the web links, whereas my email had the link addresses fully spelled out.
Will ECU Stage 2 respond, or will BBC Complaints Stage 1 respond? As of the publication date of this blog post, neither have responded with an acknowledgment of its receipt. I’ll give them a month minimum, since that’s how long it seems to take sometimes, before I go up to the Stage 3 Ofcom agency complaint process.
For Colin Tregear, RE, CAS-6241179 Executive Complaints Unit Finding (17 Aug) – may I appeal if your Finding results from an incorrect assumption on your part?
Mr Tregear and ECU staff,
First, let me thank you for your response time of about 33-34 days from the receipt of my Stage 2 complaint at ECU, compared to the approximately 340 days that the BBC Complaints stage 1 people took to completely address my complaint. I believe this matter could have been resolved within the span of a month or two.
Second, ECU’s online form is rejecting my email address today, 8/20/21, so I sent a much shorter version of what follows below to via the regular BBC Complaints online form, which accepted my address. Reference: CAS-6241179-K0Y8J5
May I politely suggest that your ‘final’ decision should be rescinded because you made an elemental error of assumption in your main defense responses about the core part of my complaint?
The clear indicator of your error of assumption is your response statement, “The fact you assert these particular strategies were not implemented does not, in my view, alter the editorial justification for drawing attention to the undeniable efforts which were made to seek to influence public and political opinion on climate change. Furthermore, in apparent contradiction to your assertion, I have seen documents which indicate the Information Council for the Environment did run a test campaign in three US towns …”
Nowhere within any of my complaint forms did I say or imply the ICE campaign did not take place, nor that whatever genuine dissemination effort they had didn’t happen. Instead, what I tried to get across via hints that BBC people should research it themselves, is that the specific subset of memos that have been repeatedly used throughout the years to accuse the fossil fuel industry of engaging in deception campaigns that are falsely attributed to the ICE campaign — seen interspersed within the genuine ICE campaign’s documents in Greenpeace’s 2007-era scan uploads in pages 9 through 11 and 17 through 25 here (archive copy here if Greenpeace’s link balks) — were not only never implemented by the ICE officials, they were rejected outright and weren’t even solicited for the campaign in the first place!
My proof via firsthand confirmations for my assertion is among others – ironically – the very same person you quoted in your evidence that the ICE campaign took place: Ivan Brandon.
Did you talk to him personally, or did you rely on no more than an impossible-to-find 1991 newspaper article interview? I spoke to him on the phone much more recently, and he not only laughed about how big of a mountain has been made out of that brief and hardly seen pilot project campaign, he also said outright that he never saw any directives to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” or anything similar to that. Ask him yourself if the campaign targeted any sort of narrow demographic, and he will probably laugh at that as well. In addition to that, as a matter of my own due diligence to find out what actually happened with the ICE campaign, I have it personally confirmed from the two top Western Fuels Administrators, Fred Palmer and Ned Leonard that the rejected memo subset was totally rejected, and I have it personally confirmed from Fred Lukens of Simmons Advertising that he never saw any memo set directing him to ‘reposition’ anything or target any narrow audience, and I have it personally confirmed that none of the scientists involved in the campaign, Pat Michaels, Robert Balling, and Sherwood Idso, ever saw or even operated under the directives in that memo set. Another scientist who stood accused of having some kind of affiliation with the ICE campaign’s sinister operation, the late Dr S Fred Singer, flatly declared that he never had any involvement with it at all, and further stated that if he could afford to do so, he would sue specific individuals for libel for implying that he was a “liar for hire” working for Western Fuels or any other energy company.
I respectfully suggest that all of your defense positions which you say are ‘grounds not to uphold aspects of my complaint’ stem from your incorrect assumption about what I said was ‘never implemented.’
I’m glad you agree that Radio 4 could have been more specific about the manner in which Rush Limbaugh read an ad for prerecorded later local playback, but that is a tangential part of the larger problem The BBC listening audience would have not merely been misled to believe he deceived his nationwide audience, but that there was a deliberate effort on the part of energy company officials to deliberately and maliciously hoodwink dumb old white guys. The evidence of how just how effective this BBC deception was is seen in no less than the late Rush Limbaugh’s Aug 3, 2020 national radio broadcast in which he railed at the specific words about targeting “white males” after directly quoting what Kert Davies and Peter Pomerantsev said at Radio 4:
Why in the world do you think I’m gonna respond to a bunch of klutzes like you who want to try to convey that the problem in America from issue to issue to issue is dumb, stupid, uneducated white males? …. But by the way, this is another great point. In 1991, this is 30 some odd years ago, 28 years ago, and that’s how long white men have been blamed, dumb, stupid white men have been blamed for everything. …
Everyone who heard Limbaugh on that day would be led to believe Davies and Pomerantsev spoke with authority about deliberate industry targeting practices. Without that memo set’s “evidence” for such practices, there is no proof that any malicious disinformation from any energy company officials were aimed at a specific audience demographic. Based on your misunderstanding of the core element of my complaint, I don’t believe you have grounds to dismiss any aspect of my complaint, particularly in light of others who can directly, or have confirmed online, that the specific memo subset falsely attributed to the ICE campaign was never implemented. Book author / former journalist Ross Gelbspan (who otherwise created a second career of accusing the fossil fuel industry of being “criminals against humanity) quoted Fred Palmer as saying ICE never targeted a narrow audience – 5th paragraph here. A 1991 New York Times article quotes Gale Klappa as saying the suggestion for the alternative ICE name choices, including “Informed Citizens for the Environment” was neither solicited in the first place and never implemented – 14th though 17th paragraphs here.
In your response to me, you included a link to the “strategy” of the ICE campaign which led to Kert Davies ClimateFiles page – did you notice that the large logo prominently at that page was for the “Informed Citizens for the Environment,” and did you notice among the ICE ad newspaper ads you saw, more than one of them featured that never-implemented “Informed Citizens” logo, as in the “Chicken Little” ad, and did you further notice that instead of the 800 toll-free number that was commonplace in usage in the U.S. telephone system at that time, the Chicken Little ad instead says at the bottom “call toll-free 701 …“? Research it for yourself, 701 was never a toll-free number in the U.S.
In light of that and Klappa’s NYT statement, do you see a problem with the ‘evidence’ presented by Kert Davies?
Thanks for reaffirming that the 1998 “victory will be achieved” memo set was never implemented, it strengthens rather than weakens my complaint. The question you didn’t answer was why that memo set was brought up if it was not even evidence that disinformation campaigns took place. Why did Radio 4 tell us about something that was no more than a 1-day seminar discussion “plan” instead of providing its audience with smoking gun evidence of leaked memos acknowledging that false information needed to be spread by ‘scientist shills’ paid to conform to such a directive? Is it because no such actual damaging evidence was ever found? What might that suggest to you about the validity of the ‘industry colluding with skeptic scientists to spread disinformation’ accusation? Meanwhile, read that “Action Plan” memo set, there’s nothing sinister within it; the supposedly damaging wording is no more than truisms that Greenpeace and the IPCC could adopt, as in “Victory will be achieved when average citizens understand/recognize and unquestioningly accept certainties in climate science disseminated from proclamations by Greenpeace and the IPCC, and when recognition of those specific certainties becomes part of the conventional wisdom, and also when reporters understand/recognize that the IPCC reports irrefutably settle the climate science issue and that no opposition of any kind is valid.” One more thing about Greenpeace — the link you provided to me for the 1998 Action Plan was to a Desmogblog PDF file page, which is a copy of the original file upload. Where did that original come from? Kert Davies, when he worked at Greenpeace.
To tie together what the massive problem is with the Radio 4 episode featuring Kert Davies as having ‘viable evidence’ proving the energy industry engaged in disinformation campaigns, it must be said that what was implied in this BBC Radio 4 broadcast series is not that the industry promoted doubt out of ineptitude or ignorance, but instead that they did so with malice to preserve their profits. Kert Davies has every appearance of believing that, when he was seen in a leaked email with ex-Greenpeace USA Director John Passacantando in efforts with others to castigate Exxon as a corrupt company. Ross Gelbspan stated that efforts to “reposition global warming” while targeting “uneducated men” and “low-income women” were sinister – see attached 1997 National Public Radio “Talk of the Nation” transcript photo. How are these three tied together? Davies and Passacantando were the two top people at the long-forgotten Ozone Action group (cover page 1 at Greenpeace’s scans of the ICE “docs” collection), and the primary claim to fame for Ozone Action was how they were the first people to give usable ongoing media traction to that never-implemented memo set falsely attributed to the ICE campaign …. which they “obtained” with Ross Gelbspan – 2nd paragraph under the subheading “Case Study #3 Information Council on the Environment” here.
I had hoped in my prior form submitted to the ECU that my 3rd-to-last paragraph fictional illustration of this situation mirror-flipped about ‘leaked memos’ exposing news media disinformation would show you what the fatal fault is here. Allow me to suggest it again in a slightly different form:
- A strangely misguided and unsolicited “plan” to deliberately – in its own words – to reposition false news as genuine news in an experiment, specifically targeting men who never went to college in minority-populated areas of London and women in especially blighted residential areas in order to see how many ignorant people repeat it.
- The BBC rejects it straight away and, by default, never implements any kind of action of that sort.
- But the memo set is leaked to fervently anti-BBC fringe groups as so-called “evidence” of news outlets spreading fake news.
- And in a recent interview, a man named Rolland Davies-Kert, known to have worked at two of those groups “BBC Piece” and “BBC Action” went one step further by saying the disinformation campaigns were so blatant that this disinformation was targeted at “dumb black men.”
If Fox News in the U.S. said all of this is outright proof that traditional long-established news outlets traffic in fake news, you’d respond by saying the mere existence of a rejected “plan” is NOT evidence of any current action, yes? And if someone said the BBC never operated under such a plan while somebody else attempts to defend the accusation with a statement that the plan targeted a minority area, thus the statement about “black men” is technically true, you’d say the racial aspect is still totally irrelevant since that laughable plan was killed before it ever happened, would you not??
To objectively analyze this situation from all angles, I suggest that the question should be asked whether energy industry officials simply engaged in efforts to present the side of the issue that Al Gore and the IPCC does not, and whether it is plausible that particular enviro-activists (whose ozone depletion / whale-saving agendas became largely unimportant in the public eye) may actually be the ones seeking to protect their donation income and personal relevance via malicious character assassination of their critics, when those critics dared to question the new global warming agenda of those activists. In other words, does actual evidence of industry directives to knowingly push disinformation undercutting ‘established science’ actually exist, and do documents exist showing that industry officials expressed significant doubt about global warming models, and are prediction reports the saw which were overly alarmist nonexistent, or do we see enviro-activists pushing disinformation to undercut the credibility of skeptic climate scientists who use empirical data to heavily dispute IPCC climate reports?
In the face of evidence leaning toward the latter situation, I ask that in light of your misconception about a key part of my complaint, that you please accept my appeal, reconsider my complaint and ultimately reverse your decision based on the facts I present and based on your own independent interviews of the people I spoke with. I made the effort to speak with them, including the former Executive VP / COO of the American Petroleum Institute regarding the “victory will be achieved” memo set, and he assures me there was no sinister intent within that discussion seminar. You can make that effort, too, to see if it squares up with Kert Davies’ accusations.
One last thing – I am no more than a private citizen, and can prove that against all potential accusations against me. You are free to ask me any questions about any aspect of my involvement in this issue. Start asking the same kinds of very probing questions about Radio 4’s guest Kert Davies and his associates, and he will likely suddenly accuse the BBC of falling into the hands of ‘Big Oil’ interests …. while not answering any more of your questions. What might that tell you about the solidness of his accusations against skeptic climate scientists?
– Russell Cook