Saturday, July 07, 2007


Undue Influence

On the recommendation of Harpers columnist Ken Silverstein, we recently read (and enjoyed) David Ignatius' novel Agents of Innocence, a story of the experience of the CIA Beirut station in the 1970s. One of the more interesting aspects of this tale of intrigue, in our opinion, is the description of revolving relationships between agents, operators, managers, planners, and provocateurs. It reminded us in many respects of our own experience in uncovering the layers of cut-outs involved in building the Wise Use Movement in the US, a domestic criminal enterprise invented by industry lobbyists in the 1980s.

While some of the Wise Use operatives in government -- Watt, Norton, Cheney, et al -- are known for such felonies as money-laundering and obstruction of justice, it is rare to read an accurate and coherent overview of their network--especially one that includes an analysis of how they incorporate grassroots fronts, militias, and other vectors of violence into their overall structure of political control.

Lately, with news of fraud, extortion, and conversion of funds exposed in US Department of Interior scandals that lead to the Vice President's office, it seemed like an opportune time to recount how these people obtained such undue influence. We hope some of you'll take the time to review some of our articles and reports on this topic.


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