Ted Turner's money helped fund WTO protests

By Tom DeWeese
web posted December 6, 1999

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is not about free trade. One doesn't need a truck full of regulations to explain free trade. One simply knocks down the barriers and allows commerce to take place. No protections for those who venture into unknown and dangerous trade waters. No subsidies for those who make bad deals. No regulations to make the playing field "fair." Such risks come with real free trade. Consequently it regulates itself. It's called a free market.

The WTO does the opposite. It creates the "rules of engagement" for commerce between nations. It sets up elaborate environmental regulations and tax incentives for those who want to play in a well-protected game. The WTO stands as little more than a world regulator of the market.

So why the protests? And who were those rabble rousers? For the most part, the demonstrators were radical environmentalists. They seek to use the WTO as their own tool to inflict worldwide restrictions on industry that will drive up costs and decrease production. Of course the regulations they demand are based on the same fuzzy and flawed science that's driving the global warming scare.

However, producing fifty thousand demonstrators takes a lot of coordination and, well, money. Who's behind such a massive undertaking? And who funds it? For at least part of the answer take a trip on the information superhighway to a web page called ruckus.org. There you will find the culprits who trained many of the demonstrators and helped plan much of the well-organized street action. The Ruckus Society is connected to the nation's most radical environmental terrorist group, Earth First.

The Ruckus Society has been training thousands to stir up trouble over the past several years. To date, Ruckus alumni have tested their new disruption techniques in small demonstrations in rural areas of the nation. Their actions are usually directed toward logging companies and ranchers. There is evidence that Ruckus-trained terrorists were responsible for the 1997 attack on the district offices of former Congressman Frank Riggs when a gang of Earth First'ers swarmed into the office carrying a 400 pound tree trunk which they chained themselves to in order to delay arrest.

It's about mass media and public images. One of the leaders of The Ruckus Society is Mike Roselle, an Earth First radical and self-proclaimed revolutionary who, in 1995, said of his radical environmentalism, "this is Jihad, pal. There are no innocent bystanders, because in these desperate hours, bystanders are not innocent. We'll broaden our theater of conflict." By 1995, Roselle claimed to have trained over 1000 American and Canadian youth to commit illegal acts through "civil disobedience."

Financial records of media mogul Ted Turner's "Turner Foundation" show hundreds of thousands of dollars going into the coffers of Earth First front groups which undoubtedly have made their way into the training schools of The Ruckus Society, and consequently effected the streets of Seattle. An article in the March 20, 1997 Missoula Independent, (a pro-Earth First publication in Montana), Ted Turner is referred to as "Daddy Greenbucks." The article quotes Mike Roselle giving credit to Turner and his wife Jane Fonda for funding the Ruckus Society's Action Camps.

In 1994 and 1995, Turner gave $85,000 to the Rainforest Action Network, one of the major players in the Seattle disturbances. Also in 1994, Turner gave at least $20, 000 to The Ecology Center. Other Earth First related groups receiving Turner funds include The Wildlands Project ($15,000), Road Rip Road Removal Implementation Project ($3,000) Biodiversity Legal Foundation ($5,000), Forest Guardians ($25,000), and at least 12 more in 1994 alone. After 1995 The Turner Foundation stopped listing amount of donations it gives.

Now that Ruckus has felt the great success of Seattle, where more than fifty thousand of its brethren gathered and basked in the international media limelight, look out. As we enter the new millennium, look for more violent outbreaks in communities nationwide. Seattle was more than likely the Ruckus graduation exercise for its radical training school. Graduates will now fan out across the country and stir up "green" rabble where ever possible.

Though the WTO stands as an international threat to American industry and ranching, the immediate danger growing out of the WTO gathering in Seattle is an energized radical environmental movement that now sees street action as an immediate way to enforce policy that can't be won at the ballot box. They see it as the sixties all over again. And they could be right.

Tom DeWeese is president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think thank headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It maintains an Internet site at americanpolicy.org.

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