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Bumper stickers around Grand Staircase Escalante
warn against the Grand Canyon Trust.

I am an activist environmentalist and it just about took
a two-by-four to the head till I believed it.

Story by Toni Thayer. Illustrations by John Bardwell.

Iset out to get a little information, enough to at least disprove the bumper sticker “Don’t Trust the Trust!” Instead, I was led into a worldwide web of names—separate, entangled, and branched. I thought they were environmentalists, but they weren’t. I was finally investigating the Grand Canyon Trust’s Board of Directors.

My boyfriend, Steve Gessig, badmouthed the Trust during our first two years together, blaming them for his town’s demise. He grumbled about the enviros’ connections to the World Bank and United Nations and plans to eliminate American sovereignty.

I, however, am the avid environmental activist and refused to believe his undocumented accusations. I had firsthand experience with the Trust in Flagstaff, Ariz. For years, I worked with their staff on joint projects and committees, attended their workshops, and met in their offices. They were my friends.

Living in Escalante, Utah, Steve’s perspective was different, encircled by the United States’ largest land theft, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. The Trust spearheaded the designation in 1996 with a mission to protect and restore the Colorado Plateau canyon country. The Plateau is, basically, the Colorado River basin—beginning in northern Utah, encompassing all of southern Utah and northern Arizona, and extending into western Colorado and New Mexico. The Colorado River is the giver of life, both water and electricity, to the southwest and the downstream metropolitan regions of Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego.

The Trust made promises back then: “Other existing uses of these public lands are not affected by the proclamation [of the monument], including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and livestock grazing.”

They lied. The 1.9 million acres have been shut down with access allowed in only a few areas. New federal workers moving into town freely come and go, beyond the “restricted” signs that keep locals from their families’ traditional sites. New resource production has ceased even though the area is rich in coal, oil, gas, uranium, and timber. The world’s cleanest-burning coal is located in only two spots—the Monument and Indonesia. The Grand Staircase field is so vast it can’t be accurately valued. It has tentatively been estimated at $1.3 trillion.

The Trust doesn’t want any cattle grazing on the Plateau, an idea that’s backed by federal government intimidation and harassment of the ranchers. The ranchers are feeling the pinch of the oppression, the drought, and their rising debt. They’re selling out and ending centuries-old family cattle careers. Enviro groups are scooping up their grazing permits. Rich second homeowners and large cattle corporations are buying their lands.

A million tourists each year have replaced the resource-based economies and 5,000 cows. They fly by all of the beauty and zoom through the little towns, not spending much, mainly wanting water and sewer services. The 11,000 residents in two affected counties carry the burden of providing infrastructure and services for the increased load.

From tourist-haven Flagstaff, I know tourism does not pay livable wages and that it causes major disparity between the haves and have-nots. I couldn’t understand why the Trust wanted tourism when enviros often cited studies showing its negative impacts and lost community revenues. It didn’t make sense to take such a clean, pristine and remote area, and market it to a million tourists.

I also knew that all profits stem from resource production. It was hypocritical and outright wrong for Americans to consume most of the world’s resources and, at the same time, shut down our resource production. Then what? Go to other countries and rape and pillage their landscapes to fulfill our hungry resource needs?

Rural, southern-Utah towns are reeling from the never-ending limitations and changes put upon them by the “citified” environmental groups. They have few jobs, if any. Houses are put on the market as older generations descended from the Mormon settlers die and their offspring move to the cities for work.

In Flagstaff, no one knew much about the Trust’s board, but everyone knew that current president,

Geoff Barnard, brought his extremely rich contacts when he came to town in 1995. Some said the board changed then, from members who truly cared about the Colorado Plateau to ones who brought their big assets to the table. It turned into a “think tank” with interests other than the environment. (See “The Committee,” p. 26.)

I decided to get the answers myself and I sat down at my internet browser and entered board name after board name looking for key words. Amazingly, there they were with each and every search—international, global, worldwide, United Nations, World Bank.

Only five of the 22 directors resided within their Colorado Plateau scope of interest. The remaining 17 were from all corners of the U.S.—New York City, Fort Worth, Aspen, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque.

Tons of information surfaced. Business and industrial achievements popped to the forefront, not environmental endeavors. There were major news and magazine articles, partnerships and deals, foundation and nonprofit boards, published books and papers, committees and meetings.

These were not your everyday leaders either. Their companies were the oldest, largest, and first in our nation. They were worldwide market leaders, global, the West’s leading authority, the Best in America, and nationally recognized experts and attorneys. The more I looked, the more I found.

There’s more, more, more... United Nations’ committees, World Bank conferences, international seminars, international inventions, economic development, zoning boards, intergovernmental panels, international ecotourism development, and Indian gaming.

I began noticing that some of the Trust’s officers and directors also served on the national boards of other big enviro groups—The Nature Conservancy (TNC), The Wilderness Society, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance,

A barricade of harvested trees outlines the new visitor center at Cannonville, Utah. Toni Thayer

World Wildlife Fund, Defenders of Wildlife. A few of them swapped positions amongst themselves and from group to group. My investigation into the national boards of the largest enviro groups confirmed investigative author Ron Arnold’s findings of similar global, corporate interests and their foundation funding to many enviro groups.

TNC seemed to be a major player in the Trust with president Geoff Barnard working for them for 23 years, office sharing in Flagstaff, and numerous crossover board members and paid staff. Barnard’s wife represented TNC when they moved to Flagstaff. Rumor has it that Jim Babbitt found Barnard and brought him to the Trust.

Most environmentalists are against monster corporate entities, but here they were, sitting on the board of our most “trusted” environmental group. Little ol’ Flagstaff had some real heavy hitters in its midst. I knew this was no ordinary board with its highly influential members and well-thought-out structure. It was a secret hidden in plain sight. We just never thought to look.

A few weeks into my research, I learned that the Trust had rejected a proposal from EcoResults to restore riparian areas on the Plateau with cows and the cattle stomp. EcoResults <>, as previously reported by this magazine, uses “rural land stewards—ranchers and farmers” and a twist on holistic management to bring back barren land. Local ranchers have produced “some of the healthiest riparian areas in the U.S.” and have a multitude of endangered and threatened species moving onto their restored lands.

I thought this was the perfect solution to the grazing problem. President Barnard thought differently, saying they couldn’t be expected to change their minds about cows overnight. This seemed logical enough on the surface, but the Trust had known about Dan Dagget’s restoration techniques for seven years since they funded the printing of his book, “Beyond the Rangeland Conflict.”

Okay, I admit it, I was wrong. I thought they were environmentalists, but they surely aren’t. I thought they were my buddies, but I’ve been used and betrayed. Environmentalists need to realize who their partners are, and land-rights people should know that “worker bee” enviros are unaware of their leaders’ true characters.

My eyes have been opened, but I’ve got to ask, “Have yours?” My research didn’t stop at industrial wolves disguised as enviro sheep. It goes much, much deeper, way down to the bottom of the Rockefeller “think tanks.” This is only one small piece of a much larger pie.

Webster’s defines a legal conspiracy as “an agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action.”

It’s been coming together for quite some time. It’s right before our eyes. We need only look. American leaders have talked about it for decades, authors have exposed it, and the information is readily available. Implementation is accelerating, and we are feeling many of its effects—terrorized citizens stripped of their constitutional rights, economy tumbling out of control, seizure of public lands, killer droughts and forest fires, torrential rains, desperately hungry wildlife, distressed and dying forests.

The Trust’s board members led me straight into the conspiracy. The Rockefeller “think tanks” have different names, but they all have the same board and membership structure. Each works towards the ultimate goal of One World Order, fulfilling their particular piece of the total pie. It’s a pyramid effect, with the top groups planning strategies for their assigned geographical areas and setting timelines for completion. They implement the strategies through their numerous tentacles of lower subgroups that take action, track their progress and report back to the higher groups.

Membership is by invitation only. They supposedly want “the highest level unofficial group possible,” but actually have extensive U.S. government-appointed and elected officials. The U.S. Departments of State, Defense, Security and Treasury are well entrenched with multiple, high-ranking secretaries, ambassadors, trade reps, and chairmen. The remaining membership includes the world’s richest CEOs and financiers, union leaders, media, nongovernmental organizations and educational facilities. Harvard is the predominant university involved. Just like the Trust, the directors hop back and forth from group to group, and members are involved in many groups.

One of the first established was the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). It’s the think tank for U.S. strategies. Marxist Edward Mandell House founded the CFR in 1921, after eight years as President Woodrow Wilson’s chief advisor. House’s dream was to socialize America from the inside out, by taking control of both political parties, using them to implement the socialist government, and by establishing a central state bank.

During Wilson’s first year in office in 1913, the U.S. passed the Federal Reserve Act, establishing our central bank as the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB). This took control of money production and economy away from the U.S. Congress and gave it to an elite group of private bankers. William McDonough, FRB president, is a Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral member.

The Trilateral Commission (TC) is a replica of the CFR in structure and membership interests, but has strategies for broader geographical areas—the Americas (U.S., Canada, Mexico), European Union, Pacific Asia. The Trilateral countries’ “growing interdependence” from the 1970s is today “deepening into globalization” with “the need for shared thinking and leadership.”

The Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Foundation provided the critical initial funding for the CFR. David Rockefeller is listed as the founder, honorary chair and lifetime trustee of both the CFR and Trilateral Commission. Former or current elected Trilateral members are Vice President Dick Cheney; U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein, John D. Rockefeller IV, Charles Robb and William Roth Jr.; U.S. Representatives Jim Leach, Charles Rangel and former Speaker of the House Thomas Foley.

For some interesting reading, check out one of their books, “The Imperial Temptation: The New World Order and America’s Purpose” (CFR) or “21st Century Strategies of the Trilateral Countries: in Concert or Conflict?” (TC).

The world’s government is the United Nations. Just a few months ago, Switzerland finally joined, the last country to do so. The only other member “country” outstanding is the Catholic Church. After it joins, all sought-after, prospective members will have been enlisted.

Here’s a few of their recent happenings: China’s Accession to the World Trade Organization: The Red Work Begins; UN and Decolonization; International Conference on Financing for Development; Millennium Development Goals, New Agenda for the Development of Africa.

The world’s central bank is, of course, the World Bank with the International Monetary Fund (UN groups, both work together and are really the same entity). Developing countries borrow from traditional banks due to deficits. When they can’t meet their repayment schedule, the WB/IMF steps in and pays off their debt. In turn, the country must change its government to a democratic state (countries in transition) and meet standards that are impossible to reach. As government and economy collapse, regional chaos ensues. The WB and UN step in to create peace and take collateral for the unpaid debt. One theory says our federal lands are held by the WB for U.S. debt, but as yet this remains undocumented.

It’s time to wake up and to wake up all of those around you. We’ve run out of time for complacency. Do you care about your kids’ and grandkids’ futures? Do you really approve of the plan lying on the table? It’s time to stand up, exercise our rights and demand an America that works for Americans!

What happened to us—the land of the free and the brave? Free and brave are interlocked. You can’t have one without the other. It’s time to take it back. This whole scenario and Americans’ sleepiness reminds me of the Jews and Hitler. Do you remember what happened to the Jews who didn’t act?

Toni Thayer is a researcher, writer, political activist and consultant. Her website <> has information on public lands "and the state of the Earth."

The Committee: Invitation Only

Trust Director Vincent Mai is Chairman of AEA Investors, the private equity fund of America’s richest industrial families—Rockefeller, Mellon and Harriman. It’s grown to include CEOs from the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia. They are reported as “secretive” and “with an exclusive club-like reputation.” They’ve invested in chemicals, the third biggest global industry, with the purchase of BF Goodrich’s chemical division and Sovereign Specialty Chemicals. Sovereign, one of the world’s largest adhesives manufacturers, grew quickly “through the strategic acquisition of established niche leaders.” AEA has entered the biotech market with investments in genomics.

In his spare time, Mai serves on the board of directors for the Council on Foreign Relations and acts as chair of the International Center for Transitional Justice, a nonprofit to support countries “in transition” to

democratic states in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe. This group is funded by the same industrial names that kept surfacing—Rockefeller Funds, Ford Foundation and Carnegie Corp. Until recently, Mai served on the boards of the Carnegie Corp. (Pittsburgh Steel fortune) and Fannie Mae (largest U.S. mortgage buyer).

Business Week labeled Trust Director (and The Wilderness Society Treasurer) David Bonderman as “deal-hungry” and “globe-trotting” in his favorite investment climate of “rock-bottom valuations and distressed companies eager for saviors.” His Texas Pacific Group, valued at $10 billion, is a leveraged-buyout firm operating in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. The Forbes “Money List” names Bonderman as one of the six most active global investors in 2000.

Bonderman has endless businesses and investments with multi-layered subsidiaries: oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico; Appalachian coal mining; Los Alamos National Laboratory project; U.S., European, and African airlines; microchips for phones and cards; Korean and German banks; disk drives, silicon wafers, semiconductors, transponders; Del Monte food; Beringer Wine; Ducati Motorcycles; real estate; health insurance.

To capitalize on the water industry, Bonderman established Aqua International Partners with Bill Reilly (World Wildlife Fund chair), former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They invest in companies that provide products and services to the water sector.

Bonderman and Richard Blum, husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), partnered to establish Newbridge Capital for Asian and Latin American investments. Our country’s leading newspapers alleged collusion between the senator opening China to trade and Blum investing millions there. Also of interest is Feinstein’s help to China Ocean Shipping, a Chinese government company, to lease a closed U.S. Naval Base at Long Beach, Calif. China Ocean Shipping was a client of Newbridge Capital’s manager at the time. According to The Wall Street Journal, Feinstein denied it all, saying she and her husband don’t share information. Feinstein is a member of the Trilateral Commission.

Trust Vice Chair Carter Bales is head of The Wicks Group of Companies and its zillion operating companies. He specializes in international management buyouts of media, communications, and information businesses. His companies include educational publishers, radio stations, a Reuters’ information company, outdoor advertising, internet transferring and radio broadcasting softwares. His background is with McKinsey & Company where he serviced U.S., European and Japanese companies.

Bales is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and on the boards of The Nature Conservancy President’s Conservation Council and two New York chapters. He has formerly been chair and vice chair of The Nature Conservancy. Other current positions are director of McKinsey Advisory Council and vice chair of the Cancer Research Institute.

Trust Director Bert Fingerhut (The Wilderness Society chair and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance director) is chair of Cortech, Inc., a Delaware corporation working with research for new types of drugs. Fingerhut and Bonderman are instrumental in The Wilderness Society throughout the U.S. Between the two, they are listed on 12 state chapter boards.

Trust Director Jim Freeman was previously on the board of Lincoln Property, the largest privately held property management firm in the nation. Lincoln specializes in high-quality residential communities and commercial industrial real estate in the U.S., Mexico and Europe. One of their joint ventures is with American International Group (AIG) for markets in Spain, Germany, Poland, The Czech Republic, Hungary and Italy. Together they offer “an innovative combination of expertise in global development and an international network of financial resources.” AIG’s chair, Maurice Greenberg, is a member of the Trilateral Commission and is vice chair of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Freeman also served as the construction coordinator for the Arizona Science Center. Was Freeman going to coordinate Canyon Forest Village (CFV), a proposed “model” gateway community for all of our national parks? CFV was a Trust project with Italian investors to build a complete city just south of the Grand Canyon. Luckily, voters soundly defeated it.

Then we have Trust Director Jim Babbitt, brother to former Secretary of the Interior Bruce (former Trust director, CFR and Trilateral Commission member). Congress questioned Bruce about pushing the Monument through by using the Antiquities Act. They thought he might also have a conflict of interest since brother Jim runs cattle in Arizona on federal lands. Bruce told ’em, “Nope, no conflict here!”

Winter 2003 Contents | Git Home!

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