From the January 2008 Idaho Observer:
Nature Conservancy or nature conspiracy?
While the Democrat Clintons were in the White House, the erosion of private property rights through the congressional passage and executive enforcement of federal acts was one of our most front-burning issues. Since the Republican Bush took up residency in the White House, our attention has been diverted, to say the least. While we have been preoccupied with 9/11, diminishing civil liberties, perpetual war, anticipation of new attacks, pandemic diseases and economic collapse, the land grabbing by GOs in cahoots with NGOs has been ongoing. You are about to understand why government is recklessly racking up public debt and how the bankers have managed to gain control of about one-third of the world’s land mass and a disproportionate amount of its resource wealth.
By Anne Wilder Chamberlain
In his new documentary End Game, Alex Jones claims that environmental groups are working in cahoots with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bilderbergers to buy up wilderness areas for the sake of forcing the people into urban areas where it will be difficult for them to raise their own food, drink clean water and where they can be easily poisoned by aerial spraying for "West Nile virus," the "light brown apple moth," chemical toxins for weather control or some other unspecified reason. In the documentary, the logos of certain environmental groups popped up, including those of the World Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club—and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
Finding this hard to accept and believing it possibly to be a "conspiracy theory," I put it in the back of my mind. Over Thanksgiving, I was handed a Nature Conservancy magazine in which I found a story about how TNC is planning on "Conserving the World’s Largest Intact Forest...In Canada, an alliance of Industry, First Nations and conservation groups is working to set aside half of the largest intact [oil, gas and resource-rich] forest in the world."
The forest to which TNC refers includes most of Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territory, Manitoba, Ontario and about half of Quebec, Alberta and Saskatchewan, covering 1.4 billion acres.
TNC forest management practices
In the same edition of Nature Conservancy (Summer 2007) , is an article entitled "The War on Weeds," where Scott McMillon explains how TNC contractors are spraying the thistles growing in Hell’s Canyon, Idaho, with herbicides. They fly over the canyon with helicopters and then land and spray the weeds. It’s apparently not important how the weedkiller affects the rest of the environment TNC is "conserving."
In 1995, Mobil Oil gave TNC a 21,300-acre piece of low-producing land because it was "one of the last known breeding grounds for the endangered Attwater prairie chicken."
Instead of saving the bird, TNC went to work restoring oil and gas production on Mobil’s field, sinking new wells and grazing "Conservation Beef." TNC has earned $5.5 million from the field and so far hasn’t spent any of it "saving" the prairie chicken.
In New Hampshire TNC continues to log its million acres of acquired timberland.
The birth of "nature’s landlord"
Range Magazine,in the article, "Nature’s Landlord" (Spring 2003) covered this issue well: The founders of TNC discovered in the ‘50s that really big money from charitable organizations like "Sun Oil," the Rockefeller Foundation, General Motors, the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Packard, Pew Charitable Trust (sugar and banking industries) rarely, if ever, goes to poor people. Rather it finances secondary groups that produce seemingly altruistic results without altering the imbalance of power between the wealthy and the poor. TNC provided a perfectly useful purpose, not only "saving" stretches of nature, but then transferring the land to the government for "public" purposes.
Soon the TNC governing board consisted of bankers, investors and foundation heads themselves. Less than half a century later, TNC would be the most powerful environmental organization in history, capable of manipulating governments, including that of the United States. Key members have held posts in the Clinton administration’s Council for Sustainable Development and Council on Environmental quality. Trustee members have included former Attorney General Janet Reno, General Norman Shwartzkopf (Ret.) and Gerald Levin, head of Time Warner, Inc.
TNC has held $750-a-plate dinners to entice the cream of national media. Endowed with assets of nearly $3 billion and an annual income of over $780 million, TNC controls 90 million acres worldwide, 12 million of those in the U.S. They are exempt from paying taxes but receive over $6 million in tax dollars from the U.S. government annually.
In 50 years of "protecting the last great places," the organization cannot legitimately claim to have saved anything that was facing certain extinction.
At what price?
As TNC "saves" land with your money, communities perish.
Virginia. Along Virginia’s eastern shore lie 18 barrier islands that used to provide seafood and sea vegetable industry livelihoods for 45,000 people. The beaches were unspoiled and only reachable by boat. In the 1970s, the "Smith Island Development" corporation threatened to build a bridge connecting the mainland and the 18 islands. TNC stepped in to "save" them from the threatened development.
The first place "rescued" was the seafood processing plant on the big island, putting many people out of work when it was shut down. To replace it, expensive homes "compatible" with nature (as defined by the Virginia Coast Reserve and duck hunting clubs) began to appear.
The Virginia Coast Reserve was created by TNC, as was Offshore Islands, Inc., a supposedly independent company that bought parcels of land from the increasingly impoverished locals and sold it to TNC.
TNC then "fixed" the self-created economic disaster on the islands by infusing $2.25 million into the eastern offshore economy for "compatible" businesses in tourism. This also failed as $millions were lost in bad investments. The locals got poorer and TNC ended up owning 14 of the 18 islands, which now serve as opulent showplaces for the rich; they are unaffordable and, therefore, off limits to most people in the region.
Nevada. The U.S. Congress voted in 1997 to support Nevada Senator Harry Reid’s bill to protect 25,000 acres of the Carson River sink, a wetlands and duck-hunting ground, at the expense of the water rights of local farmers. TNC sent in a smooth young operator, whose doctorate was in political science—not conservation or biology—who convinced the failing farmers to sell their land. TNC was not interested in the land, just the water, which was funneled down to Las Vegas to support the building of Bugsy Siegal’s next hotel. Pale, lifeless fields are all that is left of once beautiful farms.
Washington/Oregon. In 1986, President Reagan signed the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Act into law. The act administratively dissolved 85 miles of the Oregon/Washington border between Troutdale and Biggs Junction and created the Scenic Gorge Commission to oversee all land use issues in the 292,500 affected acres.
As the federally-managed Scenic Gorge was taking shape in the early 90s, the spotted owl controversy was also raging. Property values plummeted because the land could not be used; owners were going broke and the field of potential buyers was limited to groups such as TNC and the Trust for Public Lands (TPL). Desperate to sell, property owners, hamstrung by the Gorge Commission, sold out to TNC/TPL for pennies on the pre-gorge act land value dollar. County records show in dozens of cases that, within 10 minutes of "buying" properties from desperate families, TNC/TPL "sold" them to the U.S. Forest Service for a 10 percent to 30 percent profit.
Since the 90s, government has been building roads, restaurants, camping and interpretive areas, museums and other structures in the Scenic Gorge area with unregulated abandon to attract revenue-generating tourists. In contrast, private pursuits such as living, farming, ranching, logging and mining in the area have been regulated into near extinction.
Private property owners, what few remain in the region, must ask permission from the Gorge Commission before painting their house, putting a light on their garage, planting a garden or pasturing livestock.
Tropical paradises. TNC’s spin-off corporation, Conservation International, has acquired tropical forests under exclusive agreements with Starbucks’ international operations. Private real estate, including farms, are available from "Nature’s Landlord," at the right price. TNC has apparently determined that the best way to preserve nature is to price it so common people can’t afford any of it.
Unless we as a people are willing to accept the continued loss of not only private property and individual rights, but of large portions of our national culture and customs as well, the Nature Conservancy must be brought to heel. Right now, it is a well-fed and generally admired beast leading us in a wild run that is as destructive in its seemingly friendly character as it is in its seldom-seen attacks. This is no errant clumsy puppy we can finally calm. It is a runaway predator that will turn on us in defense of its territory. The Nature Conservancy is the wolf we raised ourselves, the grizzly we fed from the table. The monster we made with indifference. If it is left to go on growing, it will be the master and we the obedient slaves.
~Tim Findley, Nature’s Landlord
With the help of the National Park Service, TNC developed "The Network," a sophisticated biodiversity data system that would manage continually updated inventories of biological information using all current available data collecting systems. It grew to include environmental impact assessments and endangered species management. It is used by federal, state and local natural resource agencies, corporations and, of course, environmental organizations. It was originally financed by the Mellon, Hewlett and MacArthur foundations and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Network data centers use aerial photography and current GPS tracking systems to gather information to be coordinated with traditional methods of collecting, storing and retrieving information on specific tracts of real estate. The intent is to identify "critical areas" in need of "protection" in setting land acquisition priorities. TNC targets specific locations of plants, animals and ecological communities. TNC states, "How rare? How threatened? We answer those questions ...so we can decide which pieces of land to buy."
In one 1995 example called the "Davis Mountains Ranch Conservation Project," TNC selected a parcel in Texas and recorded specific information on this parcel, including:
Tract files—Location, ownership, legal access, rights, history, value and biological importance.
Transaction files—Sales leases, licenses, mortgages, agreements and easements.
Tax files—Tax assessments, payments and exemptions filed.
TNC mined all this information without the knowledge or consent of the owners of these properties, and posted that information to The Network.
The landowners were outraged—especially those with property targeted for acquisition and who had dealt with the National Natural Landmarks (NNL) program, established in 1962 and administered by the National Park Service (NPS). In the 1970s, NPS was using NNL as an environmental espionage and land-targeting program. Before the 1989 moratorium on its NNL activities, the NPS, coordinating with TNC files, evaluated thousands of sites—any privately owned—and successfully identified 587 "outstanding examples" of the nation’s natural landscape.
Texans fought TNC. When the corrupt activities of the Texas National Heritage Program came to light in 1995, Texans appealed to then Governor George Bush, who signed HB 2012 into law requiring the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. (TPWD) to maintain the confidentiality of information collected on private land. A second bill, HB 2133, limited the use of biodiversity information on private land to "the purposes of scientific investigations and research" and then only if authorized in writing by the landowner. Today TPWD may not enter into the "Network" any data collected during a landowner-authorized investigation and may not compile the data in such a way as to identify the individual parcels.
TNC Chairman Steve McConnick told The Sacramento Bee he wouldn’t waste more
effort on mailings, trolling for $25 members but would instead fish in the deep water with personal appeals to the real high rollers in American business. "It’s just a greater return," he said.
The stakes are so high in this land acquisition campaign that murder is an option. On October 2, 1992, Malibu, California millionaire Donald Scott was shot to death inside his own home during a raid by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and agents from five federal law enforcement agencies. The Scotts were awakened by the sound of the police breaking down their door. Scott’s wife, Frances, ran downstairs to find her house swarming with men with guns aimed at her. She screamed "don’t shoot me, don’t kill me."
Donald Scott, recovering from recent cataract surgery, got his gun and ran to the defense of his wife. When he emerged at the top of the stairs, holding his gun over his head, the officers told him to lower the gun. As he did, they shot him to death. The warrant was for evidence of the cultivation of marijuana, but no illegal activity was discovered at the Scott ranch.
The incident report of former Ventura County District Attorney Michael Bradbury concluded that the police lied to obtain the search warrant, that there had never been any marijuana cultivation on the property and that the raid was motivated by an NPS desire that the Scotts forfeit their multi-million dollar ranch home. The ranch was adjacent to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which is administered by the National Park Service (NPS). Despite the DA’s dramatic conclusions, no officer was ever indicted, or even lightly disciplined for the lies or the killing (See the full story at www.fear.org).
(Note: Though the Scott’s house burned in 2002, Frances has refused to sell and has lived on the property—in a tent—for six years).
The do-gooder myth
To think TNC is a dedicated group of idealistic scientists rescuing imperiled habitats and endangered species who are funded by the quarters of schoolchildren and donations from well-intended members of the middle class is a myth conveyed by the national media through the impassioned pleas of celebrities. TNC is a multi-billion dollar organization that only sends requests for donations to the public in order to lead them to believe it is working in the public interest. In fact, TNC is not really an environmental organization at all, but a land acquisition scheme, dedicated to its own enrichment of wealth and power. Its 39-member board includes four scientists and some of the wealthiest and environmentally exploitive, GMO-promoting and chemical-contaminating corporations in the United States: ConAgra, Cisco, Cargill, General Mills, Georgia Pacific, Goldman Sacks, General Motors, Discovery Communications, American Electric Power and the Orvis Company. Harvard, Stanford, Rockefeller and Columbia universities are also aligned with TNC. Together they represent the most powerful real estate cartel the world has ever seen. TNC expands its holdings at the rate of one per day—like military conquests.
In the hopper
2008 could be the colossal "Year of the Land and Water Grab." A mass of federal bills and other initiatives dealing with environment are awaiting the 110th Congress.
HR 3998. The National Park Service is in position to acquire extensive new lands this year. Final passage of HR 3998, with an unrevealed total acreage, would cost over $5 billion, not including the $2 billion Rim of the Valley (near Santa Monica, CA) portion of that bill (HR 1835) which would include 500,000 acres of national forest land and 170,000 parcels of private property, including farms and ranches. A recent vote sent the bill to the House Committee on Natural Resources for debate.
By converting almost a half million acres of mountain range in the Los Angeles area from U.S. Forest Service management to National Park Service management, the so-called "Rim of the Valley Corridor" would encompass heavily populated urban areas surrounding five valleys. Land use and reduced property values would result from aggressive regulation, road closures and restricted access.
Encompassed in this same Omnibus Parks bill are thousands of acres along the Mississippi for a proposed River Trail Park extending from Minnesota through Texas, along with 10 other "National Legacy" sites.
HR 1975. The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (HR 1975), would add over 25 million acres in five northwestern states to current designated wilderness. The largest commitment would be nearly 10 million acres in Idaho, 8 ¼ million in Montana, and over 3 ¼ million in Wyoming. This bill, currently with 117 co-sponsors predominantly from eastern and other heavily populated states, contains misinformation that the timber industry has been heavily subsidized by government and timber revenues are now being replaced by a sustainable tourist and recreation economy. Both claims are untrue.
The above constitutes only a segment of the current legislative activities facilitating the continent-wide "Wildlands Project." Planned behind closed doors by government agencies and "environmentalist" organizations decades ago, the Wildlands Project seeks to link parks, forests and other government-controlled lands throughout the U.S. and Canada, then control or eliminate human access and activity in many areas.
In 2006, Canada closed down a 4.4 million-acre, 250-mile stretch of coastline from Vancouver to Alaska.
An additional 25 million acres of new park wilderness was recently announced, as part of the Arctic Boreal, a Biosphere Reserve occupying approximately 53% of Canada. Could this be the same Boreal Reserve being sought by the Nature Conservancy?
Mining, drilling and most lumbering have been curtailed in government-restricted lands throughout both Canada and the U.S. All of these bills are extremely significant as they would impact the economic and social well being of every citizen. They address the management, virtually the ownership, of all land and the natural resources of our country. For bill information, refer to: http//thomas.loc.gov, or check out TNC’s latest acquisitions by going to www.nature.org.
Preparing to collect collateralized debt
In 1982, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development was created to set the stage for unlimited enactments to take over ecology and pollution laws throughout the world; to create a "Mother Earth Comes First" mentality among the people and to prepare for a World Conservation Bank (WCB). The WCB was proposed during the Fourth World Wilderness Congress in 1987. This congress was attended by 2,000 people from 64 countries, including conservationists, ecologists, UN bureaucrats and world banking heavyweights David Rockefeller and Edmond de Rothchild.
The bank came to life in 1991 as the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The GEF is funded by members to finance projects in keeping with the goals of the conventions. Then U.S. Treasury Secretary James Baker stated the goals of projects financed by a "conservation bank" in 1987: "No longer will the World Bank carry (their) debt unsecured. The only assets we have to collateralize are federal lands and national parks [including Heritage sites]."
In essence, through the GEF, countries are placed in debt and their wilderness lands are held as collateral.
There are 851 such properties in 141 countries, comprising over one third of the earth’s land mass.
The difference between premise and property
In addition, any property labeled as a "premise" by the National Animal ID System (NAIS) is defined as a "place or conveyance" by the International Criminal Court Act of 2002, the law referred to as binding to us by Secretary of Agriculture, Bruce Knight, on June 8, 2007.
A "premise" has no protection under the Constitution of the United States.
The world bankers are in the process of accumulating the wealth of the world, defined in scripture as land, cattle, silver and gold. They already have the silver and gold. The United States’ current debt is $9.2 trillion. Foolish government spending and wartime military expenditures are facilitating the transition of land and cattle into the bankers’ hands.
We can no longer be oblivious to the impending possibility of losing our way of life to powerful forces determined to gain control of our land, water and natural resources. If private property ownership is extinguished, we lose.
The full text of "Nature’s Landlord" may be viewed online at www.rangemagazine.com or purchased for $3 each from Range magazine, PO Box 639, Carson City, NV 89702; 775-884-2200. Other sources for this article: "Our Land, Collateral for the National Debt," by Derry Brownfield, American Family Voice, Jan., 2008 and; "Federal Legislation in Place for Initiating Control" by Clarice F. Ryan