Originally published at AlterPolitics
The Guardian recently obtained a confidential strategy plan co-written by John Droz, a senior fellow at conservative think tank American Tradition Institute (ATI), to spearhead a national propaganda campaign against wind farms as a green energy alternative to fossil-fuels.
One of their primary objectives is to “cause subversion” in the message of the wind power industry “so that it effectively becomes so bad no one wants to admit in public they are for it (much like wind has done to coal, by turning green to black and clean to dirty).”
They plan to join forces with the fossil-fuel industries (including oil and coal), as well as with right-wing think tanks (including ALEC and Americans for Prosperity — both funded by the billionaire Koch brothers) to procure financing and to counter findings by the wind industry. Experts will be selected to provide testimony to government agencies, as will key people who are capable of interfacing with the media.
They plan to utilize the tea party, anti-tax groups, business organizations, property rights advocates, and they recommend creating “controversy to spark ideas” and to “get people talking.” The memo states “public opinion must begin to change in what should appear as a ‘groundswell’ among grass roots.” And this appearance of a ‘groundswell’ will “reach the elected officials and policy-makers” in such a way as to compel them to abort their wind power initiative.
It is reminiscent of the national health care reform debates, when the Tea Party stormed Town Hall meetings — shouting, interrupting, threatening — giving the appearance of a serious ‘groundswell’ of opposition to government intervention into health care. Of course, poll numbers, did not substantiate the impression the Tea Partiers and right-wing media left on our intrepid Democratic politicians. A majority of Americans (including the highly coveted Independent voters) were polled as being very much in favor of a public option.
The strategy memo goes further into how they would have hands-on coordination with the tea party and other groups:
The networking committee will be responsible for coordinating the response of networked groups … includ[ing] the tea party, anti-tax leagues and utility rate groups as well as government watch-dog, anti-waste groups. This committee will help spread our message to the network groups and then gather feed-back as to their interests and needs for further information from the organization.
Additionally, they plan on using Youth Outreach (a tax-exempt Christian group whose goal is to bring students and young people into the Church), to help coordinate an anti-wind-power program in public schools and on college campuses. Here is the sneaky way they envision Youth Outreach helping to convince young people that wind power is not a viable energy source:
This will include community activity and participation with sponsorships for science fairs, school activity etc. with preset parameters that cause students to steer away from wind because they discover it doesn’t meet the criteria we set up (poster contest, essays etc).
Other measures in this effort include:
♦ Sending “dummy businesses” into communities that are considering wind power as an energy source, to propose building 400 foot billboards, in order to spark local controversy.
♦ Running ads, funding/distributing signage, bumper stickers, etc., and spreading propaganda across social sites like Twitter.
♦ Commissioning a book ‘expose’ on the wind power industry, to spread negative messages about how it would harm communities and negatively impact people and the environment.
♦ Spearheading boycotts of any company that imprints a wind-turbine seal on the packaging of its products (to inform green-conscious consumers that wind power was used in its production).
♦ Suing developers, zoning boards, etc. all across America, for a whole host of reasons, all while maintaining comprehensive documentation on these suits, so that any successful legal strategies can be reused in other communities.
♦ Create counterintelligence branch.
And to oversee all of this, they propose forming a tax-exempt organization, with $750,000 in seed money, and a paid staff. The organization would be comprised of the following committees: Media, Science, Regional State Coordinators, Networking, Lobby/Political, Group policy.
The strategy memo even goes as far as to provide a case example demonstrating how the group’s committees would respond upon learning that a wind power funding bill had advanced in Congress:
In this example, the group policy committee has identified that a particular bill providing funding for the opposition has been advanced to committee for a hearing. Policy committee has asked for a coordinated effort to stop the progress of the funding measure.
First, the lobby committee uses their contacts to begin a campaign from the inside against the bill with phone calls and private meetings. They meet with several staffers who suggest that the bill is being supported because it has been moved as green legislation and several committee members are afraid to oppose it on that basis. The lobby committee reports this to media and science for further action.
The media committee decides to use a full page advertisement in the Washington Post as a method of communicating the ‘not so green truth’ to congress, and at the same time coordinates a special interview and story from a scientific point of view that illustrates the dirty side of the industry. At this same time, the science committee holds a press conference to announce that the industry is using dishonesty and “greenwashing” as a cover for what amounts to corporate welfare.
The message is also repeated in Wash Times, WSJ, Fox and other sources.
State regional coordinators are tapped at this time to provide a letter writing campaign from the grass roots asking the key legislators to back away from the funding measure. This campaign is also echoed in various directorate groups coordinated from the organization including tea party, anti-tax leagues, etc.
The coordinated effort stretches across multi-channels and multi-voices, and appears to come from as many as a dozen separate sources, but the message is the same and stays on point. The created barrage of voices provides enough cover that the elected officials have a way to vote no because they can clearly see they have support for our position.
ATI, a think tank devoted to discrediting climate science, told The Guardian that its senior fellow Droz worked independently on this plan, though the document does list ATI as a group likely to join the effort.
Droz held a meeting in Washington last February, attended by members from 30 anti-wind-power groups, including the Tea Party Patriots. Since then, the groups have begun pooling their efforts together on this issue, including phone call and email campaigns to Congresspeople.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this memo, is the insight it gives into how the corporatocracy works to maintain the destructive, yet highly profitable, status quo.
Everyone intuitively knows this sort of coordination happens, but this memo actually documents it: the insidious collusion between industry, right-wing think tanks, AstroTurf groups (like the Tea Party), tax-exempt Christian groups, lobbyists, right-wing media — all collaborating, synchronizing their propaganda (so that all remain on message), while pretending to act independently of one another; and thereby giving the grand illusion of a ‘ground swell’ of opposition coming from many different places.