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Nov-22-2009 00:41printcomments

Greenscam: Scientific Mass Manipulation in Action

If the goal is to produce a dumb animal that will walk calmly into the slaughterhouse, then providing this animal with information would be grossly counterproductive.

Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia
Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. Courtesy: School of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of East Anglia.

(EUGENE, Ore.) - Recently, a large number of internal documents from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia were posted onto the internet by an anonymous source.

One of the documents from this collection of information is a short pamphlet put out by the “communications agency” (i.e. free-market ministry of propaganda) Futerra Sustainability Communications, which is headquartered in London and has offices in New York. Futerra, according to their website, specializes in propaganda focused on buzz words like “green,” “ethical,” “climate change,” and “corporate responsibility.”

The contents of this pamphlet are not revolutionary in the field of propaganda, but they show very plainly how modern propaganda techniques are employed. Propaganda, also known as advertising, public relations, or communications, is focused on mass persuasion. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that both relies on academic research, and funds academic research into human behavior. The purpose of this intensive study of human behavior is to discover new methods of mass manipulation.

The pamphlet I am reviewing here is focused on “communicating” to the public concerning climate change. This pamphlet is the property of Futerra, and I am sure that they charge an obscenely high price for it, which would typically prevent the public from ever seeing it. Due to copyright laws, I can only present excerpts of the pamphlet, for the purpose of review and criticism.

The title of the pamphlet is “The rules of the game.” It is explained that “The game is communicating climate change; the rules will help us win it.”

The rules are as follows:

“Blowing away myths”


“Don't rely on concern about children's future – Recent surveys show that people without children may care more about climate change.”

Surveys show people really have no humanity at all, so why bother trying to appeal to it. Realpolitik was the seventies, now we have Realpsychotique.

“Don't … criticize – It is unproductive to attack that which people hold dear.”

Dumb animals will never change their behavior, so don't even bother trying to convince them to.

“There is no rational man”

See comment above.

“A new way of thinking”

“telling the public to take notice of climate change is as successful as selling tampons to men.”

Very edgy. Good way to let the reader know that even though you are a tool and a shill you are still hip, and maybe even a bit rebellious.

“Use both peripheral and central processing – direct attention can change attitudes … peripheral messages are just as effective. [example:] snapshot of Gwyneth Paltrow at a bus stop can help change attitudes toward public transport.”

“Central processing” is rational argument, “peripheral processing” is sub-conscious irrational persuasion.

“Link climate change mitigation to … home improvement, self improvement, green spaces or national pride”

Repetitive association is a very common propaganda technique. The principal is to create a linkage in the mind of the target between two otherwise unrelated ideas by continually repeating them together in the same context. This is the majority of television advertising. Think: pretty women and sh#@*y beer, or just about any other product sold to men.

“Use transmitters and social learning – targeting [trendsetters] will ensure that messages seem more trustworthy”.

Who cares if the underlying message is true? Just make sure you convince Rush Limbaugh and Al Gore.

“Beware of cognitive dissonance – Confronting someone with the difference between their attitude and their actions on climate change will make them more likely to change their attitude than their actions.”

Don't point out peoples' hypocrisy, that will only push them into denial. Instead, turn their hypocrisy into righteous indignation and get them to support policies that will force other people to bear the costs of their environmentally destructive behavior.

Linking policy and communications

“Everyone must use a clear and consistent explanation of climate change”

Scientific uncertainty? We've heard of it...

Audience Principles

“Research shows that energy efficiency behaviors can make you seem poor and unattractive. We must work to overcome these emotional assumptions.”

A tiny wealthy elite is responsible for the majority of consumption. The envy and hatred of the rest of the population for this elite must be propagandized out of existence. How else can we convince them to reduce their consumption even more, so that the elite can maintain their grandiose standards of living?

Style Techniques

“Create a trusted, credible, recognised voice on climate change.”

Trusted, credible, recognized voices on climate change don't exist. They must be created by propaganda firms.

“Use emotions and visuals – Classic marketing rule: information doesn't always work … emotions and visuals usually do.”

Information and rational persuasion don't work when you are trying to persuade people to engage in irrational and self-destructive behaviors. If the goal is to produce a dumb animal that will walk calmly into the slaughterhouse, then providing this animal with information would be grossly counterproductive.

Effective Management

“Communications must be sustained over time.”

Persuasion through irrational arguments and sub-conscious manipulation requires mass repetition, which takes persistence.

“Partnered delivery of messages will be more successful.”

Call your friends at the newspapers, tell them you are already backed by several major corporations, and that a handful of up-and-coming/washed-out celebrities are supporting your cause. Once you have a publishing date for the article, call your friends at the television news networks, and offer them your pre-packaged propaganda reel to run on their nightly broadcast. Post it on your Twitter page from your Iphone, because, like, Twitter is so the hot new thing.


This pamphlet is interesting, not because of its sophistication, but because of its audacity. The theories describe here are unoriginal, and many have been in use for decades already. A lot of this pop-psychology is really amateurish, but it reveals the contempt that the authors have for truth, the public, and public policy. The fact that this pamphlet is published by one of the leading propaganda firms advising the government of the UK on climate change “communications” gives you an idea of the attitudes of the elected officials who consume this garbage.

Remember: the future survival, health, and well being of humanity and the planet is a game. The rules of this game can be laid out on a few glossy pages by a team of hack PR shills regurgitating pop-psychology. This must be credible, because it is bought and paid for by major governments, corporations, and universities. As they say, “there is no rational man.”

=================================== Business/Economy Reporter Ersun Warncke is a native Oregonian. He has a degree in Economics from Portland State University and studied Law at University of Oregon. At a young age, his career spans a wide variety of fields, from fast food, to union labor, to computer programming. He has published works concerning economics, business, government, and media on blogs for several years. He currently works as an independent software designer specializing in web based applications, open source software, and peer-to-peer (P2P) applications.

Ersun describes his writing as being "in the language of the boardroom from the perspective of the shop floor." He adds that "he has no education in journalism other than reading Hunter S. Thompson." But along with life comes the real experience that indeed creates quality writers. Right now, every detail that can help the general public get ahead in life financially, is of paramount importance.

You can write to Ersun at:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Henry Ruark November 25, 2009 9:50 am (Pacific time)

Ersun: Your gracious further explanation highly appreciated. The detail summarizing yours previously helps to understand the real issues here. I agree that both sides are bloody-guilty for mutual acts further complexifying the real dangers rational, reasonable exploration, scientifically accomplished, has already well established. I also agree on your statements re need to move for all safe possible actions now, while we learn still more. Point we may have mutually accomplished here, again, is the continuing necessity for intense challenge to all sides for honest, checkable, shared information rather than the dangerous continuing game of political power to be won at any cost to the commonweal we all seek for all those coming generations --so long as Earth may continue...

Ersun Warncke November 24, 2009 7:57 pm (Pacific time)

Henry: I strongly agree that seriously reducing carbon emissions would be the prudent response to current environment on many levels. As I wrote in my article on cap and trade, even if it is claimed that there is no evidence for climate change, you are only left in the position of having to accept total uncertainty as to future climate fluctuations, which I believe is the rational baseline assumption. Uncertainty demands as prudent policy conservation, investment, and savings sufficient to prepare as best as possible for any contingency. As you mention, there is a much higher degree of certainty when it comes to the timeline for depletion of fixed resources, which should be a policy consideration of primary importance. The policy actions that would be prudent in light of resource constraints are probably even more extreme in terms of reductions in carbon emissions than those required by climate concerns. My intention in criticizing some of the climate research is not in any way intended to be a criticism of the goal of reducing carbon emissions, and consequently consumption of fixed resources. My concern is that the parties who are pushing climate research are doing so in a manner that misleads people, and I believe that the intent is to promote policies that do not address the underlying problems. I do not believe in the "means to an end" approach. I point out the weakness of climate predictions with the hope of moving past a dubious solution towards a real solution.

Oregon Reader November 23, 2009 2:03 pm (Pacific time)

It looks like the information that was "released" is from a Colorado University presentation.  See:

I don't understand the scathing response to the release of the information that is the focus of the article.

And, because SOME economist or "expert" indicates that there is no "rational man" does not undermine the assumption that underlies much of classical economics and finance.

Do these detractors argue that people are not interested in improving themselves and their own well-being?  The theory is simple, and although there are exceptions, I would argue that the Utopian economic commune can not replace the assumption that we are self-interested and act with the best information available.  See:

So, in the short run, perhaps we are not all "rational".   But I could not agree with the argument that we are not, as a whole, and over time, rational.

The breakdown in the financial markets was due to market participants who knew better and refused to protect investors BECAUSE they were acting in their own self interests.  The market may have seemed irrational for a period of time, but the eventual shakeout was known by many to be coming.  A major problem was not irrationality, but "sophisticated" products sold to people who did not act in their company's self interest, perhaps because they were afraid to ask, "what are these things".  The lack of information and transparency may undermine the theory of rationality.  But it does not defeat it.

Without writing a whole article, I will leave my comments here.  I hope that, even though there are behavioral economists that will say the markets were irrationally exuberant, what really happened was an underlying faith that the invisible hand would self-correct the markets.  And it did.  It was just slower than an efficient market would presume, due in part to greed and lack of market oversight.

Henry Ruark November 24, 2009 2:30 pm (Pacific time)

Ersun: Yrs re document analysis right on the money...and that's no pun ! Problem, however, is that same symptomatic overkill to protect reputation and work is also extremely evident on the other side in this issue... plus the actual reality of reams of dollars spent to render any realistic approach to a plundered, pilfered Earth a non-starter if possible. With all due regard for your insight,it works in both directions and there is enough and more than enough of solid evidence not attacked by this phenomenon to support the rational, reasonable views now becoming more strongly supported by still further reality, like the heavily increasing loss of ice in key regions and the increasingly evident weaather-changes now reported from nearly everywhere. Nothing last forever, and no physical resource on Earth can possibly reverse that actuality --esp. in the face of what we know without doubt to be supported by factual observation now over centuries, thus erasing any possible cyclical impacts.

Ersun Warncke November 24, 2009 12:24 pm (Pacific time)

On the subject of these CRU documents in general: I have reviewed some of them, and I don't think that they show any pattern of fraud or deception that is outside of the academic norm. I also think that they definitely do not show any conspiracy on the part of the researchers to mislead the public. I think what they do show is people who have an unfounded level of confidence in their own abilities and methodology who believe that they are doing the right thing by vigorously advocating for what they believe to be the correct public policy. As I pointed out in my article on Cap and Trade, there is a great deal of uncertainty in these climate models. The people who designed those models fail to perceive the underlying uncertainty in them because they are blinded by their lack of objectivity. The competitive nature of academics tends to fuel this blindness because it puts people into conflicts where they identify themselves with their work, and then defend their work at any cost in order to bolster their own credibility, ego, and status. The CRU documents show this in action.

Ersun Warncke November 24, 2009 12:09 pm (Pacific time)

Oregon Reader: This pamphlet was originally published by Futerra in 1995. The University of Colorado document you reference is from around 2000 or later (it references GWB as presidential candidate) so it must be copied from the Futerra document in the parts where it is identical. The Futerra document, if you look at the PR campaign for global warming, is pretty much the blueprint for the past 15 years.

Henry Ruark November 24, 2009 9:27 am (Pacific time)

To all: In mine just filed here, I refer to "science". I meant that to include every kind and level of the rational approach set up best perhaps in the physical world, but now far more extensive in meanings and applications in sociology, cognition, formation of languages, and many other aspects --all for us now growing and extending from that rational approach first applied in the physical world, but inevitably then extended everywhere. Perhaps best single example of "results" when rationally applied is the absolute and overwhelming flood of both simple and complex forms of digitalization, now being applied in many areas of sociology, language study, medical technology, et al, et al, led by earlier developments in communication and learning...digitalization as in computer vs awkward film or slide or text. Example: Mine own health well restored via special use of digital instrument guided by tiny telescope for laser application via catheter. Doctor now insists I'm best-drained old geek in this Coastal area !!! (Forgive personal ref. - worth its weight since very rational explanation of the concept of rationality.)

Henry Ruark November 24, 2009 8:48 am (Pacific time)

Never forget "rationality" is a "sometime thing", never completely achieved due to life experience and many other factors at work whether known or not. BUT, unless complete history of world since Reformation and all other "progressive" advances since is to be denied and defeated, we must seek to achieve "rationality", in any definition we can make of it, via simple application of commonsense, experience, and further knowledge of absolutes gained via science itself --surely "rational" and at the root of much we've been able to accomplish. SO, YES, there is a rational man, hard at work somewheres in this irrational world, and continuing to seek the great rewards which accrue to all when any one or any continuing series of rationalists are able to "make it work" and then report their work for all to use and profit by that use. You will recognize the very essential place of honest,open democratic dialog in any such continuing endeavor --esp.when freed of hampering,destructive political pampering driven by irrational fear and similar motivations, including the dismaying lack of cogitation so often seen herein --perhaps the lowest level of irrationality when given the opportunities to share and learn that stem ONLY from the democratic approach honestly applied. That, in an of itself, may well be one of, if not the top level, of rational-test instrument, easily applied by --yes !--some further cogitation.

Henry Ruark November 24, 2009 8:23 am (Pacific time)

See my response to your pretentious, arrogant, unID'd comments under Afghanistan story...they apply here more than equally.
Have nice day, but don't ever forget your password !!

Ersun Warncke November 23, 2009 4:26 pm (Pacific time)

Suppose a man tries to push a nail into a board with his bare hands. He works at this for months and years. His hands becoming cut and bloody and then calloused. He develops great skill and expertise in driving nails with his hands. He then begins to train and teach students in this art in exchange for a fee, and a university is born for this discipline. Another man comes along, who drives nails with a hammer. This takes a few seconds, and requires no significant training, whereas the most highly trained hand nailing experts require days to insert a nail after many decades of training and experience. How should the people who drive nails with their bare hands respond? Should they simply switch to hammers? Or should they decry the the man with a hammer for his lack of skill, dedication, experience, and sacrifice? Since they all get paid by the hour, the man with a hammer is a severe threat to the livelihood of those who push nails with their hands, and their response will likely reflect this.

Mr Hay November 23, 2009 2:30 pm (Pacific time)

I do believe that there is rational man as not everybody succumbs to the lure of modern advertising. Couple this with the fact that most advertising aims to bypass the critical functions of the conscious mind and you are left with the answer that there is rational man, however, a lot of techniques are used to place sub-conscious suggestions in the mind which prevents man from using his conscious rationale.

Just my 2 pence worth

Engle November 23, 2009 10:05 am (Pacific time)

DJ thanks for the heads up advice, I shall give it some rational reflection. In terms of my formal education, I managed to get through a number of degree programs, but it's been practical living experience that has been the best educator. Happy to see you pick out Thomas Hobbes, he has always been a favorite, ditto for several of my children, adults now. To paraphrase a favorite quote of mine from him about man in the state of nature, life is "...poor, nasty, brutish and short." I finished my undergraduate degree before going into the military, so I actually had the experience of living to some degree that life in the state of nature referenced in the above quote, which I was familiar with during my early college years. Intense combat and the brutality it promulgates, has a way of crystallizing your thinking in that regards. Have you ever had that experience Daniel Johnson? Armchair quarterbacking often brings with it imperfect knowledge about the processes one is analyzing, at least from what I detect in many who engage in that behavior. It's like working backwards in an experiment. You have your results/conclusions, then one reverses the experimental process to develop the hypothesis. Sounds easy to the untrained and inexperienced, but not to the experienced. Maybe that's why the best officers in the military were at one time enlisted, or for that matter in most any occupation, where one experiences life in entry level work before moving into management. This process in my opinion is why Americans have been so successful, even exceptional. We are always striving to improve, drawing from accumulative experience, whereas, some just prefer to tell us what is wrong with us, no doubt these are irrational individuals. I suggest reviewing the DSM IV and maybe if qualified to understand, get some practical insight on these latter types I referenced.

Ersun Warncke November 22, 2009 12:01 pm (Pacific time)

Daniel, I am interested in your proposition. To what extent do you take "there is no rational man?" None at all, or just a majority of the population? If there was no rationality at all, that would be easier for me to accept than saying that only a small minority is capable of rational thinking. What interests me in a document like this, is people engaged in a rational process but making the assumption that the people around them are not capable of the same rational behavior. That I find odd. If you are going to assume it about others, why not assume it about yourself

We have to agree on what rationality is. It is a method of thinking using rules of logic based on agreed upon assumptions. Quite often the assumptions are unconsciously held. The rules in modern society are often idiosyncratic. Consider people with a fundamentalist religious orientation.

Douglas Groothuis wrote a book called Confronting the New Age where he argued for biblical inerrancy. Reading the bible, he says, takes a particular psychological orientation:

”You either interpret it correctly or incorrectly. There is a difference between proper interpretation and misinterpretation.…The idea that there are right and wrong interpretations is astonishingly simple. Rational adults live by it in order to forge their way through everyday life. Yet when the Bible becomes the subject matter, New Agers often throw all common sense to the winds of relativism. But we can and must return people to reality by giving them examples of how they read other written documents.”

The point is that as far as Groothuis is concerned it is he and his like minded followers who are rational, not pagans like myself.

Stephen Monroe November 22, 2009 11:16 am (Pacific time)

Hacked files of the Climatic Research Unit [proves] Global Warming a deliberate fraud. "Global Warming is often called a hoax. I disagree because a hoax has a humorous intent to puncture pomposity. In science, such as with the Piltdown Man hoax, it was done to expose those with fervent but blind belief. The argument that global warming is due to humans, known as the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGW) is a deliberate fraud. I can now make that statement without fear of contradiction because of a remarkable hacking of files that provided not just a smoking gun, but an entire battery of machine guns. Someone hacked in to the files of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) based at the University of East Anglia. A very large file (61 mb) was downloaded and posted to the web. Phil Jones Director of the CRU has acknowledged the files are theirs. They contain papers, documents letters and emails. The latter are the most damaging and contain blunt information about the degree of manipulation of climate science in general and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in particular." Read more at

Engle November 22, 2009 10:40 am (Pacific time)

Pretty typical material one gets in an entry level course in the behavioral sciences. Couple that with classes in statistics (the real math courses, not the dumb-downed ones for the social sciences mob), along with some marketing courses, macro/micro economics and it's pretty easy to see how people get away with leading the "uninformed" sheep. I do believe there is such a thing as a rational man. In fact there are millions of us, we are everywhere. In contrast to non-voter DJ's elementary example, it was those who voted against Gore and Kerry, not so much those that voted for Bush. Get it?. Catch Gore recently discussing geothermal power? This is not a rational man.

You need a little more education, Engle. It’s been known since Hobbes that man is not a rational being. If you want to open your mind a bit more, I can give you references. And, if man is rational--explain why advertising is so effective and why, in a so-called democracy, so many people can be counted on to vote against their own best interests. This is a phenomenon well known to political scientists. Just look at the Sarah Palin phenomenon. Only an irrational person would argue that her followers are rational beings. Daniel

Daniel Johnson November 22, 2009 9:08 am (Pacific time)

Ersun: Your last five words are true: “There is no rational man”. That is a mythology that came out of the Enlightenment of the 17th century and has been shown in numerous ways over numerous instances of the last few centuries to be shown to be untrue. It's easy to demonstrate. If man were a rational being, then modern advertising would not work. If man were a rational being George Bush would not have been elected to a second term, probably not even a first. You can surely think of other examples.

eenymac November 22, 2009 8:55 am (Pacific time)

Futerra.... Terra being Latin, I believe, for earth, our planet. So, "F.U. Terra" seems a little unkind, or is this some kind of sick joke the masses are not supposed to get?

Oregon Reader November 22, 2009 8:50 am (Pacific time)

I don't get your indignation. Most of this is common sense in the field of communications. You really think that this is "propaganda"? Your own writing style is similar in the way you convey your opinions. No offense, but this is not a great article. Your interpretation of some of the quotes is improper. So tell us, do you think the theory of climate change is bunk?

stephen November 22, 2009 5:59 am (Pacific time)

Ersun: I visited salem-news website this morning, to post a link of an article I read a few days ago that has not been disputed as of yet. It looks like the real deal. The link posted below is in regards to the CRU and East Anglia also, but a bit of a different tone. Emails were hacked from the CRU/east anglia, exposing the fabrications and manipulations in regards to global warming. What a coincidence that your article relates so closely to exactly what I wanted to post here and share with others. cool.

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