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From: Douglas Grandt answerthecall@mac.

Subject: What makes climate disinformation and Operation Infektion alike, common tactical playbooks?
Date: November 22, 2018 at 8:36 AM
To: Darren W. Woods
Cc: Neil A. Hansen, Theodore J. Wojnar, Suzanne M. McCarron, Max Schulz

Dear Darren Woods,

You have inherited a major headache from your predecessors and their changing
individual idiosyncrasies, but the Corporation persists as designed to do in amoral
callousness. Your Corporation and it’s Foundation allegedly launched a $33 million
Foundation-funded insidious web of organizations and individuals casting climate
doubt, including allegedly $1.2 million to the Manhattan Institute and $2.1 million to
Competitive Enterprise Institute just to name two, Interestingly, the total those two
organizations received from the Foundation is alleged to be $3.3 million, or 10% of the
alleged total. Also interesting is that Max Schulz was employed by those two
organizations and his name appears as the author on a variety of work, specifically
Energy and the Environment: Myths and Facts dated April 1, 2007, which I took great
delight in reading a few years back—so much that I have a digital copy on my laptop
for convenient periodic reference. A Google search for Max Schulz and Manhattan
and Competitive Enterprise brings up a wealth of information. Try it and you’ll see.

Google search is an amazing investigative tool if one does not focus directly on the
perpetrators who cleanse their own presence, the details of activities and operatives
of which are blatantly missing, scrubbed and obvious by their absence in the domain.

The attached New York Times article and the three videos happen to have been
published very recently as a result of investigative reporting by Adam Ellick into the
Russian involvement, strategy and tactics to influence the 2016 elections. As I read
the article and watched the videos, one thing struck me like a brick bat: The strategy
and tactics of Vladimir Putin and the KGB seem to reflect those of the alleged
manufacturers of doubt that were alleged to have been funded substantially, at least in
part, by Humble Oil, Exxon and ExxonMobil over the years.

I challenge you to assign your executive assistants to read and watch these very
carefully, and to consider the noose that is tightening ever so snugly around your
collective necks.

It is time to face the reality that your self-proclaimed moral imperative is wasting away,
and you will sooner or later have a terminal “comeuppance.” The leadership of the
Corporation has woven a tangle that is impossible to escape, and the Corporation will
be forced to terminate its existence, perhaps within the remaining years of you career,
if not within your lifetime, should it outlive your career.

For the sake of your progeny and mine, and of the entire generation of which we are a
part, please initiate an earnest assessment of what it will take to wind down operations
in a just ending of the Corporation, and start the process of shutting down refineries in
a predictable and fiducially responsible schedule until there are none.

Sincerely yours,
Doug Grandt
Too Much Information About Disinformation?
By Adam B. Ellick
Nov. 18, 2018

What started as a one-off opinion video about Cold War-era Russian
disinformation soon became two videos and then three as news of 2016
election meddling flooded in.

Kathleen Bailey watching a video of herself speaking at a news conference in the 1980s about how
Soviet disinformation threatened American democracy. Bailey was the head of a small United States
government task force that exposed anti-American fake news stories concocted by the Soviets.
Jonah M. Kessel, a senior videographer for The Times, films from her home in Texas. Adam B.
Ellick/The New York Times

Times Insider delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how news, features and opinion
come together at The New York Times.

This wasn’t supposed to be a huge project. It began mostly as a curiosity.

In the spring of 2017, a source gave me a State Department report from the 1980s
that had exposed anti-American disinformation campaigns launched by Moscow. At
the time, I was a senior video correspondent in the newsroom, and I started reading
with low expectations.

I had seen similar reports over the years. Many were unreadable and, given the
passage of time, felt irrelevant. But this one read like a movie script — which inspired
me to start reporting.

I quickly hit a roadblock: Many of the people named in the report had died. So I put the
I quickly hit a roadblock: Many of the people named in the report had died. So I put the
project aside.

In the fall of 2017, when I became director of opinion video, I picked it up again, along
with our video archival researcher, Dahlia Kozlowsky. We hired foreign-language
researchers to find the original fake newspaper stories, which had been published in
dozens of countries. We also found old videos of K.G.B. agents who had defected to
the West and divulged incredible details about their careers as purveyors of

It was stunning to watch these videos; it seemed as if the men being interviewed (yes,
they were all men) were describing our 2018 political climate.

Eventually, I located a few retired American government officials who had worked
tirelessly countering Russian fake news in a pre-internet era. I also found a former
Czechoslovakian disinformation director named Larry Martin (previously Ladislav
Bittman) who had taken orders from Moscow. He was thrilled to receive my email
“after several decades of total ignorance” by society toward the subject of
disinformation and “active measures,” the broad Soviet political campaign to demonize
the West and reshape the world order.

Mr. Martin was 87, and he said his poor hearing made a phone conversation
impossible. But he generously invited me to his home in a small town in

By this time, we were a small team that included Jonah M. Kessel, a Times
videographer who had previously lived and worked in China; Leah Varjacques, an
assistant producer; and Adam Westbrook, a co-director.

When we arrived at Mr. Martin’s house, I noticed my LinkedIn profile printed out on his
desk. Clearly, he hadn’t skipped a beat. He said he had taught disinformation at a
college in Boston, but the topic lost appeal around the end of the Cold War, and his
class was canceled. (I was crushed to learn that he died months after our interview,
before our film debuted.)

Landislav Bittman was a director at a notorious Communist disinformation department that
concocted anti-American fake news stories in the 1960s. He later defected to the United States and
changed his name to Larry Martin. The Times interviewed him about his career as a disinformation
agent at his home in Massachusetts. He died in September. Jonah M. Kessel/The New York Times
agent at his home in Massachusetts. He died in September. Jonah M. Kessel/The New York Times

We produced a 12-minute video detailing the Cold War hoax claiming that the United
States military had created the virus that causes AIDS to kill African-Americans and
gay people. Over six years, the Soviets spread this conspiracy theory across 80
countries. A small task force within the American government exposed the lie, and a
largely unreported cat-and-mouse game between Washington and the Kremlin
ensued, ending with a shocking apology from the eighth and final leader of the
U.S.S.R., Mikhail Gorbachev. (Never mind that the Soviets revived the lie again
months later.)

As we put the finishing touches on the video, the special counsel in charge of the
Russia investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, and the Justice Department indicted 13
Russians and three Russian companies, accusing them of conspiring to interfere with
“U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.”

Reading through the indictment gave me goose bumps. It resembled those old State
Department reports chronicling Soviet active measures and disinformation. The
technology had changed, as had the scope and pace of the campaigns. But the DNA
was nearly identical.

“Operation InfeKtion” examines the past, present and future of Russian disinformation. One segment
reveals that up to 15,000 Soviets were involved in spreading disinformation during the Cold War,
including a young agent named Vladimir Putin. Jonah M. Kessel/The New York Times

For example, one email from a defendant included in the indictment contained
awkward English: “So we’re gonna organize a flash mob across Florida to support Mr.
Trump. We clearly understand that the elections winner will be predestined by purple

This mirrored how American officials discovered the AIDS lie, by detecting
grammatical mistakes: An anonymous letter allegedly written by a “well-known
American scientist and anthropologist” in New York, and printed in an Indian
newspaper, claiming that AIDS was “believed to be the result of the Pentagon’s
experiments to develop new and dangerous biological weapons,” referred to the “virus
flu” instead of the “flu virus.”
We felt it would be a major disservice to produce a deep historical account and leave
audiences to connect the dots to indictments in 2018.

So we began producing Episode 2, which outlines the seven time-tested
commandments of Russian disinformation by overlaying the 1980s AIDS hoax with
Pizzagate, a conspiracy theory that falsely claimed that the hacked emails of John
Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, contained coded messages connecting
Democratic Party figures with an alleged child sex ring run out of the Comet pizzeria in

At this point, the public conversation was evolving into a debate about solutions.
Facebook’s C.E.O., Mark Zuckerberg, testified, and the complex challenge of
regulating social media companies was consistently a top story. The Russia story was
moving faster than our production. As Trump clashed with his own generals about
these cyberattacks, interest in the topic spiked.

Again we regrouped, feeling it would be shortsighted to spotlight the crisis over two
episodes without assigning some responsibility for the problem. After all, we are an
opinion journalism department.

There is no silver-bullet solution to this crisis, but I found some hope in Eastern

I previously lived and reported in Lithuania and the Czech Republic, and this summer I
found a striking video of leaders from the Baltic States testifying in Washington about
the realities of disinformation.

When I lived in the Baltics back in 2002, the region deeply admired the United States
and aspired to join the European Union and NATO. We were their mentors. This
recent video startled me, as it was a stunning role reversal. Suddenly, Baltic leaders
were the experts advising American officials, who kept asking elementary if not naïve
questions, at which they shrugged.

For them, this is an old story about a government that has invaded them for
generations — with everything from tanks to ideology to cybercrimes. As a result,
many nations in Eastern Europe have installed progressive reforms to defend against
disinformation, which they agree is a major threat to their young democracies.

So our video team produced Episode 3, which includes solutions from Eastern Europe
and calls on the United States government to consider more urgent and bold reforms.
Because we were also busy covering the news and felt the urgency of this rapidly
evolving story, Andrew Blackwell, an Op-Docs editor, volunteered to join the project as
a co-director on that episode, in which we argue that Western governments are
unequipped to grasp the crisis, let alone defend us from state-sponsored information

After the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, we were on the ground in
Afghanistan in less than a month. When the warfare is digital, we drag our feet in
ignorance, if not denial. The attacks on the 2016 election were first plotted in early
2014, and some of our leaders are still debating who was behind those attacks and if
they were real.
On the other hand, Russian leaders aren’t politicians as we understand them. From
Vladimir Putin on down, many are former generals and intelligence officers who have
made K.G.B. stagecraft, including information warfare, a practice of the state.

Last week, we decided to publish the series before the story takes yet another turn.
Sadly, we are confident this project will remain relevant for quite some time.

Keep up with Times Insider stories on Twitter, via the Reader Center:

Adam B. Ellick is the Director and Executive Producer of Opinion Video at The New York Times. He has
produced Pulitzer Prize and Emmy winning video journalism. Previously, he was a senior international video
correspondent and print reporter at The Times covering human rights. @aellick • Facebook
(Episode 1 of 3) Meet the KGB Spies Who Invented Fake News

(Episode 2 of 3) The Seven Commandments of Fake News
(Episode 3 of 3) The Worldwide War on Truth


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