Politics & Policy


Putin on the disinformation.

The following telephone transcript came into my possession recently through methods that should not be disclosed:

Receptionist: “Goood Morning! Fructose And Trans-fats Tempt Treat and Transform You! To whom may I transfer your call?”

Russian voice: “Thees is lobby group called FATTY?”

Receptionist: “Yes indeed. We here at FATTTTY are pleased to represent the crucial fructose and trans-fats industries for their Congressional and public information program. Are you interested in ordering shipments of products that will tempt treat and transform your customers? If so, you can go right to our web site at ww….”

Russian voice: “Nyet. Nyet. My boss, Presid… er… Prime Minister Putin of Russia, wish me to pay his respects your boss.”

Receptionist: “Oh my, then you definitely want to talk to FATTTTY’s Executive Director Mr. Dolce N. Porterhouse. One moment, please, he’s just getting off a call with the Executive Director of OPEC.”

Porterhouse: “Hello, how may I help you?”

Russian voice: “You are boss of– FA-Tuh-Tuh-Tuh- Tuh-Y? Hard to say all those T’s.”

Porterhouse: “Executive Director, that’s right.”

Russian voice: “You may call me Dmitri. Now that our peacekeepers are in position to cut that oil pipeline through Georgia that aggressively bypasses Russia, prime minister has asked me to talk to you about another threat to Russian oil sales, one that he believes you dealing with most creatively.”

Porterhouse: “Delighted to help you, Dmitri, and please call me Dolce.”

Dmitri: “My boss say he never seen such professional disinformation as yours at FATTTTY. He wonder if you have background with intelligence service, but he say he never seen disinformation this bold out of CIA — he think maybe you British, from MI-6, or maybe a Jew from Mossad.”

Dolce: “Well, uh, thank you… I think. What part of our information program particularly interests him and why?”

Dmitri: “We are worried Americans may want to move away from use of gasoline; if they do we will sell less oil in world market and be less rich, so we very worried about ethanol.”

Dolce: “How can we work together? We have other clients who are worried about ethanol too.”

Dmitri: “We make it also in Russia — call it 200-proof vodka. We don’t waste in autos. But we study your ethanol debate. Your group’s disinformation very good, but I need to understand better some of what you say so I can explain to prime minister — OK?”

Dolce: “Sure.”

Dmitri: “Big majority of your American corn is growing to feed animals, right?”

Dolce: “Yes indeed.”

Dmitri: “And we need to ask — we think when you switch land from growing corn for cattle feed to growing it for ethanol, you still get the same protein for feeding the animals. It comes out of ethanol plant as, you call it, dried distillers grain and the animals still eat it, Da?”

Dolce: “That’s right. Indeed about half the energy used in the process of making ethanol goes to produce what, as you say, we call DDG for animal feed. ”

Dmitri: “So although the corn is used for ethanol the animals still get the protein, right? They just don’t get the starch — that is turned into sugar and fermented?”

Dolce: “Very few people understand that — that the protein still goes to the animals. But of course we still need the starch for the cattle feed as well.”

Dmitri: “Yes. And we think reason you want starch is that if your can make cows eat starch too, what will happen is that their meat will be much fatter than if they graze on range like in cowboy movies. So by not using corn for ethanol you can raise cattle in big cow factories and stuff them with cheap starch to make lots of cheap fat in beef, right?”

Dolce: “I’m not sure where you’re going with this, my Russian friend.”

Dmitri: “So main thing you doing by fighting ethanol is you helping American people get, how you say, cholesterol in arteries?”

Dolce: “Now wait a min…”

Dmitri: “What I telling you — we are all admirations of you!”

Dolce: “Well…”

Dmitri: “And we are two times admiring because we think other main thing you can do by not making ethanol is you can use starch to make fructose sugar. We read fructose is four times cheaper than other sugar. With fructose you can make many dollars by adding much to American obesity: twice as much sweethoodness at half the cost!”

Dolce: “Well, you have a point in a sense, but….”

Dmitri: “Bravo! In hockey this called ‘hat trick’ — you score three goals! One, you get many dollars for making cheap fat meat, with more cholesterol! Two, you get many dollars for making cheap sweet fructose, with more obesity and diabetes! Three, you help us get many rubles because with less ethanol we can sell more oil to make gasoline. Thank you! Three great goals for our team! Hat trick!”

Dolce: “Well, I’m glad you’re pleased. OPEC just said they were pleased as well. I’d have to admit you may have a small point there about some arguably unfortunate side-effects — which we would deeply regret — of the fat and the fructose, but we’re just satisfying our customers’ demand for affordable nicely marbled meat and tasty sugary treats and drinks.”

Dmitri: “I love it when you talk that way. We have much to learn from you.”

Dolce: “Maybe I can help by explaining how this works: our high tariff on foreign sugar and our wonderful American corn subsidy have kept fructose comparatively cheap as a sweetener — this is especially profitable when it’s used in our critical snack food industry. But now that oil is so expensive, we need to stop this insidious reaction of people making ethanol to replace gasoline so we can keep using the starch to make fructose and keep the fructose cheap. Actually, at today’s oil prices ethanol would do quite well against gasoline in a free market for fuel with no subsidies of any kind, but we really don’t want to head down that dangerous track toward free markets. No telling what might happen.”

Dmitri: “Oh, Da, Da, Da. The prime minister will be very sympathetic for you. He doesn’t do free markets either!”

Dolce: “And although technically perhaps I can’t disagree about the added cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes, in our information campaign we feel it would just confuse people to go into that. Anyway, only one-third of American children are obese so we have plenty of room in the business plan for double-digit growth, so to speak.”

Dmitri: “The prime minister would understand you very well. For you to block ethanol by helping make diabetes epidemic for American children is like our peacekeepers blocking oil pipeline through Georgia by making bullet epidemic for Georgians (I speak, of course, of our Georgians, not yours, for now). Necessary sometimes that we both help certain groups such as children and Georgians do duty for their motherlands, for greater good. prime minister learned that very well in his first career.”

Dolce: “Since you’re so happy with our work may I take it you may possibly be interested in being a financial sponsor of FATTTTY like your OPEC friends?

Dmitri: “Based on my discussions with him prime minister will definitely be interested. You realize I’m sure that our transfers of funds to you will be via certain indirect routes. ”

Dolce: “Then if you’re coming on board I’ll let you in on a little secret. Do you know how we do the calculations to show that more energy goes into producing ethanol than you get out of it, and to show what huge amounts of water are needed to grow the corn to produce it?

Dmitri: “We have talked about that and we don’t understand how you do these numbers. But we have seen these conclusions of yours and we think they are most helpful to our common objective.”

Dolce: “Well, we count the sun that makes the corn grow as an energy cost and we count the rain that falls on the fields as a water cost.”

Dmitri: “But they’re free!”

Dolce: “Well, picky, picky, picky, Dmitri. They’re used aren’t they?”

Dmitri: “You count the SUN and the RAIN as COSTS of producing ethanol the same as the other things like fertilizer that you must PAY for? Tovarich, Comrade, that is just genius! Who would have thought that the American junk food lobby people could make big profits from clogged arteries and diabetes, help us and OPEC increase use of gasoline, and sell whole package to Americans by counting SUN and the RAIN as COSTS of producing ethanol! I worked with prime minister in his first career and I must say I stand in awe of your tradecraft and, as the Jews say, your chutzpah. Borzhemoi!”

Dolce: “So can we definitely expect a contribution from the prime minister to help us defray the expense of our information campaign?”

Dmitri: “Oh, Da! As your president says, you can trust Prime Minister Putin’s soul! A thousand times Da! Marvelous disinformation. I’m glad your CIA didn’t have the help of FATTTTY lobby for their propaganda operations in Cold War — the prime minister’s and my beloved Soviet Union would never have lasted so long!”

Dolce: “I’ll send the wiring instructions to you for the payment of our retainer, my friend. Our best to your prime minister. We feel a certain…kinship with him.”

Dmitri: “And he with you, Tovarich, he with you! When our peacekeepers march to cut the Georgian oil pipeline, Tovarich, we will sing in your honor your old American Civil War song — Marching through Georgia! Dosvidanya!”

 – R. James Woolsey, a former director of Central Intelligence, is a venture partner with VantagePoint and the Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

R. James WoolseyRobert James Woolsey is a national security and energy specialist and a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.


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