British government documents released in January revealed the existence of a secret campaign to sabotage the 1972 Stockholm Conference, the world's first global environmental summit. According to the New Scientist, "the Brussels Group" (representing the interests of Britain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the US) was created a year before the conference to defeat any attempts to establish international environmental standards. "Universal guidelines... could cause moral pressure for compliance with philosophies of doubtful validity or benefit," the document stated. The Brussels Group privately complained that a "new and expensive international organization must be avoided" and even a "small, effective central coordinating mechanism" would be unwelcome. The Brussels Group also conspired to defeat any regulation on the sonic booms produced by France's controversial Concorde supersonic jet.
One Feld Swoop Shortly after a jury in San Jose, California acquitted a Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey animal trainer on charges of animal cruelty, Ringling Chair Kenneth Feld [www.ringling.com] purchased a full-page ad in the New York Times accusing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) of killing 65 percent of the animals it claimed to have saved. Feld demanded to know how much money PETA spent supporting "extreme groups such as the Animal Liberation Front (listed as a terrorist organization by the FBI)." As for releasing endangered species back into the wild, Feld declared, forget it: Wild nature "no longer exists. People need to know the truth. It's disingenuous at best to suggest that endangered animals should be put back in the wild.... They are dying out there." Feld's solution: Move elephants and other endangered animals into protective custody, under the perpetual care of zoo and circus employees.
Greenscam Stephen S. Boynton ushered in the new year with a speech that seemed to possess a familiar environmental stance. "Our human population is expanding. Our land and water masses are not," he declared. But within moments, Boynton was assailing "environmental and animal rights advocacy groups rampaging about the globe destroying field tests of... [genetically modified] crops" and using "the tactics of strong-arm extortionists and thugs against retailers such as Trader Joe's."
Boynton, who is identified as the President of the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources (a name suspiciously close to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature), lambasted so-called environmentalists" who use "tortuous logic" to criticize "agricultural and medical biotech research, consumption of meat or the use of fur, private firearms ownership, capitalism... the demise of economic globalization, etc." According to Boynton, these green-minded zealots push "harsh ideologies calling for strict vegetarian (vegan) life styles" and condemn "modern science's attempts to feed, clothe, shelter and heal an ever more population-strained world."
Why do these enviros take their responsibility for nature "too seriously"? According to Boynton, "evidence exists that many within their ranks thrive on the power, wealth and popularity that comes with the celebrity of posturing as the Earth's and its animals' messiah."
And who is Stephen Boynton? In his speech, he describes himself as "an advocate for the wise and sustainable use of Nature's resources." The phrase "Wise Use" is the tip-off. The EcoMole has dug up the fact that Boynton was one of the two operatives who ran the American Spectator's "Arkansas Project" (which resorted to financial and sexual innuendo in a failed attempt to drive President Bill Clinton from office). The $2.4-million Arkansas Project was funded by billionaire conservative Richard Mellon Scaife.
Spooks in the MediaThe Los Angeles Times reports that the CIA is running an overt propaganda war on America's movie and TV screens. When Tom Cruise starred in Top Gun, Navy recruitment figures went off the scale. Former CIA operative Chase Brandon (described by the Times as the CIA's "first official liaison with Hollywood") explains that it took the agency "a long time to follow what the FBI and the Pentagon have done and engage filmmakers and support projects that portray us in the light we want to be seen in." Brandon's efforts resulted in no less than the debut of three primetime TV shows - The Agency (CBS), Alias (ABC) and 24 (Fox). Brandon also lent a hand on two forthcoming movies - Sum of All Fears (with Ben Affleck as CIA agent Jack Ryan) and Bad Company (a spy-comedy pairing Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock). Brandon refused to assist the producers of Spy Game because "it showed our senior management in an insensitive light." Thanks to Brandon's efforts, today's TV generation was treated to an opening episode of The Agency that showed the benevolent CIA foiling a plot to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro. (Older viewers may recall that the CIA actually undertook many attempts to murder Castro.)
Haunted House When George "Read My Lips" Bush became president, it marked the first time that a former member of the Central Intelligence Agency had (knowingly) risen to elective office. That has changed. The House of Representatives now includes two former CIA operatives, Rob Simmons (R-CT) and House Intelligence Committee Chair Porter Goss (R-FL). Spy bonds between ex-spooks are so strong, the Associated Press reports, that Goss permits Simmons to participate in classified briefings "even though he's not a member of the committee."
Infirmative Action? After an investigation revealed that hundreds of contractors were still being awarded federal contracts despite convictions for defrauding the government, President Clinton signed an order that banned corporate felons from receiving federal contracts. In January, the Bush administration swept that rule aside, reopening the federal trough to companies that had broken environmental, labor, tax and other US laws.
Mole Nip The Mole is morose after learning that Lord Peter Melchert - the executive director of Greenpeace UK who was busted in 2001 for uprooting a field of Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) crops - has left Greenpeace for a job with the PR firm Burston-Marsteller, whose clients include Monsanto, Exxon and Union Carbide. Burston-Marseller says that Melchert will provide advice on how to handle environmental protests over GM foods, toxic waste and child labor. Melchert insists: "I am not going to change my stance. GM food is a technology that has no future."
Mole Nip To Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, who pressured the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to authorize construction of a liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal at Cove Point on Chesapeake Bay. The storage site sits only three miles from the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power station. Senator Barbara Mikulski had raised concerns that terrorists could strike the LNG facility in hopes of disrupting the nuclear power station. LNG, stored at minus 259 F, has an enormous destructive potential.
Mole Nip To Madonna, who has taken to shooting birds near her British countryside home. "I eat the birds," Madonna explains. "You have more of a respect for the things you eat when you go through... the process of killing them."
Journal staff contribution. Can be reprinted for non-profit purposes. Please credit and notify Earth Island Journal.