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Why the FBI Focuses on Enviromental and Peace Groups

Right Wing Think Tank set agenda for FBI investigations.
As the George W. Bush administration ratchets up its domestic spying capabilities, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is collecting "research" reports on direct-action environmental groups produced by right-wing think tanks.

The revelations are nothing new. In the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. government spied on a host of civil rights organisations and prominent civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It also scrutinised and infiltrated a number of anti-Vietnam War groups. In the 1980s, Pres. Ronald Reagan's administration spied on groups opposed to its policies in Central America. And during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, government agencies were actively collecting information on opponents of the war.

Recently, the New York Times reported -- albeit more than a year after it had uncovered the facts -- that in the name of the war on terrorism, the Bush administration has been using the National Security Agency (NSA), the nation's most secretive spy agency, to eavesdrop, without a warrant, on the conversations of U.S. citizens and others in the country.

Amid a swarm of criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, Pres. Bush has been criss-crossing the country on another public relations offensive, maintaining that secret electronic eavesdropping is absolutely essential to keep the U.S. safe from terrorists.

"It's important for people to understand that this programme is so sensitive and so important that if information gets out to how we run it or how we operate it, it'll help the enemy," Bush said at a Jan. 26 press conference.

When the Los Angeles Times' James Gerstenzang suggested that the president's justification of his surveillance policy "seem[ed] to sound like something President Nixon once said, which was: 'When the president does it, then that means that it's not illegal,' " Bush responded: "Most presidents believe that during a time of war that we can use our authorities under the Constitution to make decisions necessary to protect us."

He then offered his understanding of the legislation that was passed by Congress after the 9/11 terrorist attacks: "Go ahead and conduct the war. We're not going to tell you how to do it."

"Thirty-five years ago," the San Francisco Chronicle's Bob Egelko recently wrote, "President Richard Nixon claimed constitutional authority to wiretap Americans' phone calls to protect national security without asking a judge..."

The Supreme Court disagreed, unanimously ruling that "the Constitution granted the powers he was claiming to judges, not presidents".

Egelko also pointed out that "presidents have approved wiretaps without court orders since the 1940s, but the legality of the practice was thrown into doubt after the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that electronic eavesdropping was a search, and thus covered by the prohibition on unreasonable searches in the Constitution's Fourth Amendment".

The story of government agencies spying on U.S. citizens apparently has many layers. Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) discovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that the FBI has been collecting information from partisan, ideologically-driven right-wing think tanks that have long had environmental activists in their crosshairs.

A segment of a recent broadcast of National Public Radio's show Living on Earth called "Big Brother" explored the FBI's programme that spies on environmental activists. Guest host Jeff Young introduced the piece by noting that the passage of the U.S. Patriot Act had "expand[ed] the government's power to monitor U.S. citizens in its fight against terrorism".

Young pointed out that he had noticed -- while examining nearly 2,000 pages of documents -- that the FBI had been depending "pretty heavily on research done by a couple of think tanks that are very conservative, pro-business, anti-regulation in their mindset and their mission" for information on Greenpeace, a longtime environmental group involved in peaceful protest activities.

Young's guest, Ann Beeson, the associate legal director of the ACLU, talked about how right-wing think tanks are providing grist for FBI investigations: "Unfortunately, it's another bit of information that might lead one to conclude that the FBI is not just doing this to investigate crimes, but is doing it purposefully to suppress legitimate dissent and criticism of the administration's policies."

Beeson pointed out that another FBI document related to the anti-Star Wars activities of Greenpeace appears to indicate that the agency "is concerned that the protest itself could harm the public image of the missile defense system. Now, to me that sounds very much like the FBI trying to assist the administration in preventing criticism of its positions and programs from getting out there in the public. And that's a very dangerous job for the FBI to be engaged in."

"Amongst the nearly 2,000 pages on Greenpeace were documents from the Capital Research Centre and the Washington Legal Foundation," Deepa Isac, a staff attorney with Greenpeace, told me in a phone interview.

The FBI documents included two issues of CRC's Organisation Trends, which focused on the "radical tactics of ... 'direct action' groups" and a document from the Washington Legal Foundation, titled "Direct action protest groups not above the law," written by Glenn G. Lammi, the Chief Counsel of the Legal Studies Division for the Foundation.

The WLF is a non-profit, tax-exempt public foundation, which was founded in 1977 to "fight activist lawyers, regulators, and intrusive government agencies at the federal and state levels, in the courts and regulatory agencies across the country".

Isac recognised that it was hard to determine how these documents from right-wing think tanks were used, but she pointed out that that the FBI had "no documents from counter-balancing organisations".

"I don't know the full extent of the FBI's work, but Greenpeace has always acted non-violently while working to protect the environment," Isac noted. "It was surprising to discover that it would use counter-terrorism resources to target peaceful groups like Greenpeace."

Right-wing advocacy and "research" groups attacking environmentalists is nothing new. Apparently, however, since the FBI determined that eco-extremists were a major domestic terrorist threat, it has ratcheted up its spying operations.
please forgive me bill blake... 04.Feb.2006 11:02

this thing here

when nations grow old

their arts go cold

and commerce settles

upon every tree

the plainclothesmen

who work the fear

into a power

called fascism

who claim to protect

the laws of men

forget the master

who truly benefits

not religion and spirit

not love nor life

not even family

but money money money

when a nation grows old

it's heart goes cold

and fascism settles

upon all that is free

Cascade Policy Institute, Arlington Club souce of propoganda and dirty money. 04.Feb.2006 11:15

Man on the street

We've experienced this, but it's nice to see someone connect the dots. These are friends of Jeff Meyers, a former CIA liason and current downtown PPB Sgt. They haver been pushing agendas in Portland city hall for several decades. It's time to do some investigating of these groups to see how far the influence pedaling goes and connect the dots with campaign donations and ballot measure funding.

Not Difficult To Show Peltier and Abu Jamal As Environmental Activists 04.Feb.2006 11:23


You know, in so many ways Leonard Peltier and Mumia can be
shown to be environmental activists as well.

AIM has always made the earth come first in most of their
issues. It was their "no compromise" philosophies articulated
that inspired so many people in the "EF" movement as well.

Yes the AIM a and EF circles are not 100% identiacl but
they're by no means congruous either.

And MOVE? Woah, don't get me started. I'll just show you
one example. Philadelphia. Walk in a storefront selling
handmade jewelry. Ask to use the bathroom.

They show you out back where there's a composting toilet.
Spaced a safe distance away is what: organic gardens
which are far and above standards for Philadelphia OR
Untied States organic certifications.

Their goal was to be 100% off the grid someday.

Kind of the mostly non-white, left version of
David Koresh's peeps or Randy Weaver's peeps, huh?

And their biggest crime? The one that terrified
the state gov't the most? The one that got the
Governor AND Reagan's Feds to drop bombs on the
entire cityblock?

Wood fucking windmills.

Mumia and Leonard, if allowed on to their logical conclusions
were going to inspire reds, whites, yellows AND blacks to
be self sufficient, DIY and autonomous.

And that, my friends terrifies the Federal Bureau of Immoral-Entrapment
no matter who you are. What color you are, and no matter how non-violent
or violent your tactics are.

Here's one that deserves the microscope 04.Feb.2006 12:34


The Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise is one of the "think tanks" spreading misinformation against the environmental movement and is part of an interlocking web of related industry-financed wise-use groups. Here is their mission statement from their website(www.cdfe.org) and some of the players involved, including scumbag Ron Arnold-folks who visit their site will notice links to the inter-related spiderweb of wise-use operatives:


Our leaders pioneered the non-profit sector's defense of free enterprise in the public interest. Since its founding in the American Bicentennial year of 1976, the Center has raised public awareness and grassroots support for the American free enterprise system. With equal vigor, the Center has confronted and exposed its opponents. Following the vision of our Founding Fathers, the Center's leaders know that the combination of a democratic form of government and a capitalistic economy gives Americans unprecedented opportunity. Our leaders know that the spirit of CAN DO!, the urge toward innovation and improvement, and the basic goodness of the American free enterprise system is worth defending. In this era of challenges to our democratic rights and the free enterprise system, we know that determination and persistence is essential to America's survival. After the events of September 11, 2001, our vision has taken on even greater meaning. The Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise has been the cutting edge in non-profit defense of the for-profit economy for twenty-five years, and today shines brightly among the many organizations that have come to stand beside us.


Alan M. Gottlieb, President

Alan M. Gottlieb has been President of the Center since its founding in 1976. Alan is a Nuclear Engineering graduate of the University of Tennessee and attended the Institute on Comparative Political Economic Systems at Georgetown University. Alan was born in Los Angeles, California in 1947 and lived there until age 10 when his parents "kidnapped" him to New York City (their home town). He remained there until the legal age of 18 when he escaped to Knoxville, Tennessee to attend college. His college ties remain strong as he is currently a member of the University of Tennessee Alumni Association.

Alan is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Alan edited the book, The Wise Use Agenda: The Citizen's Guide to Environmental Resource Issues and co-authored Trashing the Economy: How Runaway Environmentalism is Wrecking America. In addition, Alan is President of Merril Associates, a nationally recognized direct response advertising agency.

Alan is listed in Who's Who in America. He currently resides in Bellevue, Washington with his wife Julie and daughters Amy, Merril, Alexis, and son Andrew. He holds Honorable Discharges from the New York National Guard, Washington State National Guard and the United States Army.


Ron Arnold, Executive Vice President

Ron Arnold has been Executive Vice President of the Center since 1984. Honored as the "Father of the Wise Use Movement," Ron has gained wide recognition as an effective fighter for individual liberties, property rights and limited government. His projects have been covered by all major media and the magazines of every major environmental group.

Ron is a veteran journalist who has turned in more than 300 assignments for dozens of trade magazines. His 8-part series The Environmental Battle earned the American Business Press Editorial Achievement Award for best magazine series of 1981. His 1983 investigative report for Reason magazine on EcoTerrorism remains the classic in the field. Ron wrote the authorized biography of James Watt and his tenure as Secretary of the Interior (At the Eye of the Storm: James Watt and the Environmentalists). Ron is the author of 7 books, has edited 8 others, and founded The Free Enterprise Press in 1987 to create an outlet for important free enterprise authors.

Ron is listed in Who's Who in America. He is the owner of a consulting firm, Northwoods Studio. Ron resides with his wife Janet in Bellevue, Washington. They have three married daughters.



Paul Driessen, Senior Policy Advisor
Director, Economic Human Rights Project

Paul Driessen, APR, Esquire, is principal of Global-Comm Partners, a Northern Virginia public relations firm specializing in energy and environmental public policy issues, and a senior fellow for the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and Frontiers of Freedom Institute.

His 25 years' experience includes tenures with the U.S. Senate, Department of the Interior, an energy trade association, an international think tank, and a government and public relations consulting firm. He has published articles and opinion pieces on energy policy, global warming, public land management, onshore and offshore petroleum operations, waste management and other topics. He's also written many articles and professional papers on marine life associated with offshore oil platforms, led scuba diving expeditions to study and film marine life beneath California and Louisiana rigs, and produced a video documentary on the subject. Paul also served as editor of Nick Nichols' book, Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to fight and survive attack group shakedowns. His ground-breaking book Eco-Imperialism: Green Power Black Death was published by Free Enterprise Press.

Paul holds a BA in geology and field ecology from Lawrence University, a JD from the University of Denver College of Law, and an Accreditation in Public Relations from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). He is editor of PRSA's National Capital Chapter newsletter.

Nick Nichols, Senior Fellow

Nick is the retired Chairman and CEO of Nichols-Dezenhall Communications Management Group, Ltd., a firm he founded in 1987, specializing in crisis management and risk communications with an emphasis on biotechnology, energy, food, drug, product safety and environmental controversies.

During 2003-2004, Nick developed and taught interdisciplinary, graduate level Crisis Management and Risk Communications courses for Johns Hopkins University. He is a guest lecturer on crisis management and risk communications at Washington, D.C. area universities.

Nick is a widely recognized expert on the topics of crisis management, media and government relations, eco-terrorism, the "precautionary principle," and the political influence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

He is a featured speaker at meetings, seminars and national conferences of state and federal legislators, government officials, international and domestic trade associations, corporate executives, and public policy groups including: the American Legislative Exchange Council, the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the CATO Institute.

Nick has appeared on television network news programs including ABC's Nightline, NBC's The Today Show and the CBS Evening News, and participated as a guest expert on numerous talk shows.

Nick Nichols is author of the book, "Rules for Corporate Warriors," published in October 2001, and has written numerous articles as well as corporate publications that define and examine crisis management strategies and media relations tactics.

Robert Bidinotto, Senior Advisor

Robert James Bidinotto is an award-winning writer and speaker who reports on cultural and political issues from the philosophic perspective of principled individualism.

Bidinotto is editor of Foundation Watch for Capital Research Center in Washington, D.C. He is a former Staff Writer for Reader's Digest, where he authored high-profile investigative pieces on environmental issues, crime, and other public controversies. His articles, essays, book and film reviews have appeared in many other journals as well. In addition, he is a popular public speaker, and has appeared on numerous TV and radio talk shows.

Bidinotto's writings on environmental issues include investigative articles for Reader's Digest on global warming and the 1989 Alar scare, as well as extensive research on the ozone depletion issue. He is author of a widely praised monograph, The Green Machine, which critically examines the environmentalist philosophy and movement. He also runs a Web site focusing on environmental issues, www.ecoNOT.com.

Robert Bidinotto makes his home on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay, where he avidly enjoys the sights and sounds of nature. "The natural world," he says, "is an inspiring setting and inexhaustible resource for the creative work of human beings."

He may be reached by e-mail at  contact@ecoNOT.com


Jon Reisman, Senior Scholar

Jon Reisman is an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of Maine at Machias, where he teaches a variety of courses including Environmental Policy and Political Correctness in American Society. He has a B.A. in economics and environmental studies from Colby College, an M.A. in economics from Brown University and an M.A. in public policy and management from the University of Southern Maine.

Reisman worked for Gov. Angus King in 1995 getting rid of federally mandated car testing in Maine. Upon returning to rural Downeast Maine, he led the effort opposing the endangered species listing of Atlantic salmon. In 1998 he was the GOP congressional nominee in Maine's sprawling 2nd district.

Reisman developed his first-in-the-nation "Political Correctness in America" class after Maine's environmental community tried to have him censored by the state Attorney General and Governor in response to his actions opposing the salmon listing. The course is now offered on the web. Reisman's home page is  http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/jreisman/index.shtml


Diana White Horse Capp, Adjunct Advisor
Born in the traditional Lenape territory of southeastern Pennsylvania in 1952, Diana Capp emerges from a background of generational farm and forest cultures extending since time out of mind. Her views on land ownership and environmental topics are indelibly informed by her heritage both as a daughter of the Indian Nations and the American Revolution, and a family history of enduring relentless government land takings, including those as recent as 1932 and 1969. Residing chiefly in remote areas of Washington state since 1979, this eastern native also possesses deep understanding of rural Western reservation and non-reservation communities.

Capp received her education in liberal arts at two alternative institutions, Washington International College, Washington, DC, and The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. Strongly influenced by traditional native spiritual philosophy and her parents' staunch support of the early civil rights movement, Capp's arts major/psych minor work at Evergreen focused on human rights issues, a theme now illuminated by her writing in the environmental field. Before entering that arena, Capp worked in the arts, social, health and education fields.

Capp's public presentations, including testimony at the Congressional Subcommittee hearing on Forests and Forest Health in February 2000, and her published works on the effect of the environmental movement on traditional rural cultures, commenced in 1998. She has published pamphlets, numerous expository pieces and commentaries, and during her term as Chair of the Upper Columbia Resource Council, initiated and served as editor of the newspaper format publication, Natural Resource Justice Alert.


Alan Caruba, Adjunct Scholar
In 1990, Mr. Caruba founded The National Anxiety Center, using both humor and hard facts to counter the environmental movement's opposition to the use of all pesticides, its global warming claims, and its agenda to undermine property rights.

A popular guest on radio and television, Mr. Caruba was most recently on the Fox News Channel discussing the rapid spread of the West Nile Fever due to the environmental movement's opposition to the use of pesticides to suppress the nation's mosquito population.

A former professional journalist, Mr. Caruba, 65, is a veteran public relations counselor whose firm, The Caruba Organization, is headquartered in Maplewood, NJ where he resides. He has authored several books and has been a contributor to numerous trade and consumer magazines over his long career.

In addition to serving as the Communications Director for the American Policy Center, a grassroots think tank, headquartered in Warrenton, Virginia, Mr. Caruba also serves on the American Policy Foundation's Board of Directors. Mr. Caruba is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Science Writers, and is a charter member of the National Book Critics Circle.

The National Anxiety Center maintains an Internet site at www.anxietycenter.com where Mr. Caruba's column is posted weekly. In addition, Mr. Caruba maintains www.boringinstitute.com as the site of his famed media spoof and clearinghouse for information about boredom, along with www.bookviews.com, his monthly report on the best in new fiction and non-fiction books.

Read Up, and Get Empowered 04.Feb.2006 23:45


There are a number of books dealing specifically with the actions of the FBI and its domestic surveillance/terrorism program, COINTELPRO ("Counter-Intelligence Program"), through its official existence in the 60s and 70s, and its continuance today. Check out your local library (I would recommend searches only, but I'm not sure of the availability of such books on the market, nor am I certain it'd be any safer).

This program has played a part in dismantling all sorts of major efforts, from Black Liberation efforts to Native American Rights and areas of the New Left, including civil rights and environmental groups. Their official implication has them involved in the destruction of the 60s underground media, Black Panthers, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and others. More contemporary efforts are of course seen with the new probe into the ELF/ALF.

We need more Tom Potters who will challenge the Feds... 05.Feb.2006 07:15

Pravda or Consequences

Our revolution will be broad-based and effective.

Conservative think-tank. Now that's an oxymoron (heavy on the 'moron').

The success of any action is how well one focuses on the theme of the action. We must be more than reactionary. We most provide the vision for all, because to do otherwise invites splintering.

GW and the right have thus far kept the sheeple in line with 9/11. Funny how bin Laden who probably couldn't care less about our telephone system picks that day. Maybe he wasn't the only one involved?

GW and the right will destroy public education and any other attempt to get folks to think for themselves and be willing to ask the necessary questions about policy motivations.

Alan M. Gottlieb, Burson Marstellar? 06.Feb.2006 10:55


Hey there ... nice thread here ... I wonder if the Alan Gottlieb (mentioned above) is the same one who is also counted among the founders of Burson Marstellar? Among other things the handled the Exxon Valdez crisis and are famous for "perception management."