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Ron Arnold Arnold is considered to be the 'father of the Wise Use movement' and a leading anti-environmentalist, with a no-holds-barred approach to the manipulation of democracy. He is the master of inflammatory rhetoric who lays claim to having invented terms like "eco-terrorist" and "rural-cleansing."
In a May 30, 1993 interview with CNN, he described the role of a Wise User as akin to a warrior wielding a sword. "And that sword has two purposes: to carve out a niche for your agenda, to reshape the American law in your image; and, kill the bastards."
Six-gun totting cowboy of the wild-West from 1950s John Wayne movies has clearly been a strong influence on Ron Arnold , and on many supporters of the Wise Use movement
Academics Ralph Maughan and Douglas Nilsona write that Wise Use is a "desperate effort to defend the hegemony of the cultural and economic values of the agricultural and extractive industries of the rural West", and have "argued that the Wise Use agenda stemmed from an ideology that combined laissez-faire capitalism with cultural characteristics of an imagined Old West."
Some critics of the Wise Use movement claim that the strong rhetoric used has deepened divisions between opposing interest groups, and has created a climate that has led to an increase in violence and threats of violence against environmental groups and public employees.
"Many observers noted that Wise Use activity in some areas overlapped heavily with the 1990s formation and growth of militias, self-styled volunteer paramilitary organizations presciently committed to their own version of homeland security."
The movement is characterised by the strong rhetoric and threats of phyical violence, and it is this that has brought Ron Arnold to the forefront of the anti-environmental movement.
There is such a wealth of material on Ron Arnold that there is little point in us duplicating the material already available at these sites. Below are a few notes, mainly to provide taste of the longer documents.
1981: Arnold co-authored At the Eye of the Storm, a hagiography of the new Reagan Secretary of the Interior, James Watt which Watt himself helped to edit. In 1981 - 83, Watt's attempts to dismantle environmental regulation and open federal lands to logging and mining produced short-term gains for corporate interests; with the long term result public revulsion and the explosive growth of the environmentalism in the late 1980's.
1982: A year before Arnold joined CDFE, he had written a report for Reason magazine on 'EcoTerrorism'. Arnold now claims credit for coining the term 'eco-terrorism'. [It was used before by Lyndon LaRouche]
1983: [Reagan and Watt's choice for EPA Director] Anne Gorsuch enthusiastically gutted EPA's budget by sixty percent, crippling its ability to write regulations or enforce the law.
She appointed lobbyists fresh from their hitches with the paper, asbestos, chemical and oil companies to run each of the principal agency departments. Her chief counsel was an Exxon lawyer; her head of enforcement was from General Motors.
These attacks on the environment precipitated a public revolt. By 1983, more than a million Americans and all 125 American-Indian tribes had signed a petition demanding Watt's removal. After being forced out of office, Watt was indicted on twenty-five felony counts of influence-pedaling. Gorsuch and twenty-three of her cronies were forced to resign following a congressional investigation of sweetheart deals with polluters, including Coors. Her first deputy, Rita Lavelle, was jailed for perjury.
[Crimes Against Nature by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.Published in the December 11, 2003 issue of Rolling Stone ]
1984: Arnold joined the Center for Defense of Free Enterprise's (CDFE's) as Executive Vice President (of the then two-man organisation). It was founded by Alan Gottlieb who held the position of President.
Arnold has also been a consultant to Dow Chemical and the timber industry. He was also the head of the Washington State chapter and a board member of the American Freedom Coalition which is the political arm of the Rev Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church (1989-91). The American Freedom Coalition shares offices and staff with CDFE.
1986: On a visit to New Zealand, sponsored by the Agricultural Chemical and Animal Remedies Manufacturers , Arnold described himself as the "Darth Vader for the capitalist revolution" and defended the use of herbicides which have been identified with the dioxin 2,4,5-T. He maintained that chemical manufacturers wanted to make sure their chemicals were used safely, and he warned New Zealanders that the US was experiencing a dangerous "upsurge in eco-terrorism."
The New Zealand Herald reported him as saying:
"We have had power stations blown up, bridges burned, electrical transmission towers collapsed, forest trails booby trapped with wired shotguns, attacks on forestry pesticide application crews, Forest Service officers shot to death and numerous other acts of violence in the name of the environment." When he was later asked in a law court for his sources, he referred to a government report and claimed the incident occurred in Southern Oregon in relation to a marijuana patch. When pressed about the connection to environmentalism, he referred to an article he had written years earlier for a conservative magazine. This article had no connection with marijuana or to Southern Oregon.
1988: Lyndon LaRouche's tactic of creating friction with environmentalists by painting them as violent and dangerous, as well as his terrorist terminology, were picked up by Arnold, who has been called the 'Father of the Wise Use Movement'. That movement was launched in 1988 by Gottlieb and Arnold.
The Wise Use Agenda was published by CDFE the following year. Among the organisations attending or supporting the 1988 conference that set the Agenda were DuPont, Exxon, the National Rifle Association, Consumer Alert and the Moonie-linked American Freedom Coalition.
CDFE's advisors have included Richard Ichord of the American Freedom Coalition, Barbara Keating of Consumer Alert, and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. (Disinfopedia)
1988: The Wise Use movement is a loose-knit coalition of groups promoting the expansion of private property rights and the reduction of government regulation of publicly-held property  to allow use of the water and air for the benefit of human beings. (eg ranching, oil and mineral extraction)
The Wise Use movement first gained prominence when Ron Arnold helped organize a Multiple Use Strategy Conference in Reno, Nevada in 1988. Arnold, a vice-president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise (CDFE) and advocate of the "right to own property and use nature's resources for the benefit of mankind" helped produce a 25-point Wise Use Agenda.
1988: The Wise Use movement was launched by Gottlieb and Ron Arnold and the Wise Use Agenda was published by CDFE the following year.
Among the organisations attending or supporting the 1988 conference that set the Agenda were DuPont, Exxon , the National Rifle Association, Consumer Alert and the Moonie-linked American Freedom Coalition . CDFE's advisors have included Richard Ichord of the American Freedom Coalition, Barbara Keating of Consumer Alert, and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
[See also Disinfopedia ]
1991 Miscellaneous Arnold Quotes:
"We're going to destroy them, like they're trying to destroy you!"
"Environmentalism is a new paganism that worships trees and sacrifices people."
"Facts don't matter; in politics, perception is reality." [Comment made to a meeting of the New Mexico Wool Growers Association.] (Jon Krakauer, "Brown Fellas", Outside Magazine, December 1991)
" Our goal is to destroy, to eradicate the environmental movement We're mad as hell. We're not going to take it anymore. We're dead serious we're going to destroy them."
[Katherine Long, "His goal: Destroy environmentalism; Man and group prefer that people exploit the Earth," Seattle Times, 2 December 1991]
1991 Dec 2: Arnold told the New York Times,
'We [CDFE] created a sector of public opinion that didn't used to exist. No one was aware that environmentalism was a problem until we came along.' CDFE's previous main focus had been opposing gun controls with Gottlieb; they had establishied two pro-gun foundations.
According to the New York Times, Gottlieb shifted the Center's focus when he realized the fundraising potential of opposing environmentalism,
'For conservative fundraisers like Mr. Gottlieb, the enemies were Senator Edward M. Kennedy and the threat of gun control. But now Mr. Gottlieb has found a better target. "For us" said Mr. Gottlieb... "the environmental movement has become the perfect bogeyman."' (Profile - not now available online)
1993 /E: Many of Arnold's books are published by CDFE's publishing arm, The Free Enterprise Press, which works in tandem with Gottlieb's for-profit Merril Press. The Free Enterprise Press was founded by Arnold in 1987 'to create an outlet for important free enterprise authors' - authors like Paul Driessen.
Paul Driessen is a Senior Fellow at CDFE as well as principal of Global-Comm Partners , a Northern Virginia public relations firm specializing in environmental public policy issues. He is also a senior fellow for the far right Atlas Economic Research Foundation .
In last week's column, Caruba an adjunct fellow at Ron Arnold's anti-environmentalist Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise CDFE) expressed anxiety over our SourceWatch article on his friend Michael Fumento The title of his column was "Smearing Conservative Writers"
1993 May 30: In a CNN interview Arnold described the role of a Wise User as akin to a warrior wielding a sword. " And that sword has two purposes: to carve out a niche for your agenda, to reshape the American law in your image; and, kill the bastards."
|Books by Arnold |
- Ecology Wars (1987) is the 'bible' of the radical wise-use movement activists.
- The Wise Use Agenda, (1989) Arnold & Gottleib's book, brought the "wise use" movement to the center of an anti-environmental, pro-industry nexus.
- EcoTerror: The Violent Agenda to Save Nature, the World of the Unabomber — traces the history of the radical environmental movement and attempts to link Unabomber Ted Kaczynski to mainstream environmentalists
- Trashing the Economy: How Runaway Environmentalism is Wrecking America (1993) with Gottleib also.
2003 Dec 11: Robert Kennedy Article "Crimes Against Nature " in Rolling Stone
The indictments and resignations put a temporary damper on the Sagebrush Rebels, but they quickly regrouped as the "Wise Use" movement. Wise Use founder, the timber-industry flack Ron Arnold, said, "Our goal is to destroy, to eradicate the environmental movement. We want to be able to exploit the environment for private gain, absolutely."
By 1994, Wise Use helped propel Newt Gingrich to the speaker's chair of the U.S. House of Representatives and turn his anti-environmental manifesto, "The Contract With America," into law.
Gingrich's chief of environmental policy was Rep. Tom DeLay, the one-time Houston exterminator who was determined to rid the world of pesky pesticide regulations and to promote a biblical worldview. He targeted the Endangered Species Act as the second-greatest threat to Texas after illegal aliens. He also wanted to legalize the deadly pesticide DDT, and he routinely referred to the EPA as "the Gestapo of government."
In January 1995, DeLay invited a group of 350 lobbyists representing some of America's biggest polluters to collaborate in drafting legislation to dismantle federal health, safety and environmental laws.
2004 Apr: The R/W Capital Research Center published an article by Executive Director of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise , Ron Arnold railing at the prospect that Teresa Heinz Kerry could become the 'first lady' of the United States and still control her philanthropic foundations.
In recent years Arnold, a Wise Use Movement leader and a declared Republican, has found a niche for himself in having articles published in CRC's monthly newsletter, Foundation Watch.
Challenging the use by Heinz personally of two person Heinz Kerry trusts, Arnold argued that "exempt foundations have an obligation to be transparent and straightforward about their revenue and their grants."
One project funded by Heinz foundation money — the Clean Air Task Force — particularly irritated Arnold.... http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Ron_Arnold
2004 April: The "Earth Day Information Center", a project of the National Center for Public Policy Research listed Arnold as one of eight "public policy experts" available for interviews for Earth Day saying:
"Arnold is an expert in eco-terrorism, the funding of the establishment environmental movement, the Endangered Species Act, federal land management and property rights."
2004 May: In Playboy, Arnold complained to writer Dean Kuipers that:
"There is a criminal section of the environmental movement, and it's probably getting money from the above-ground sector. Some of the environmental movement is simply anti corporate; some of it is more ideological."
2004 July 7: Terrorist Tree Huggers: Ron Arnold, Father of the 'Wise Use' Movement, sets his Sights on 'Eco-Terrorists' by Bill Berkowitz.
Ron Arnold — the father of America's "wise use" movement — is back. And this time he's adding accusations of terrorism to his arsenal. Consider the following:
On June 8, the FBI distributed its weekly intelligence bulletin to some 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, warning that eco-terrorists were planning a "day of action and solidarity" that could involve violent actions in a number of U.S. cities.
At the recent BIO 2004 annual conference in San Francisco, Phil Celestini, supervisory special agent assigned to the FBI domestic terrorism operations unit, told attendees that they could be targets of attacks by eco-extremists despite the fact that "they don't conduct animal testing at their own facilities," the San Francisco Business Times reported.
And in early June, Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Wash., introduced the "Ecoterrorism Act of 2004" which intends to "protect and promote public safety and interstate commerce."
All of these stories have Ron Arnold's fingerprints on them. With friends in the Bush administration, a recent Playboy magazine interview under his belt, a series of radio appearances and PowerPoint presentations at industry-association gatherings, and a new anti-terrorism consulting contract, Arnold is back riding high in the anti-environmentalism saddle.
Since 9/11, Arnold, the executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise , has been energetically and enthusiastically revving up his anti-environmental gospel with a new twist to his message: Environmental activists not only are working to stifle America's economic growth, but they are a breeding ground for terrorism in the homeland.