On Wednesday the Vancouver Province published a thought provoking opinion column from Vivian Krause. Her article A vote for Vision is a vote for U.S. interests gives an excellent overview of Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson’s backers at TIDES Canada and Renewal Partners. Krause has written scores of newspaper articles, blog postings and letters outlining her research into the heaps of cash being dumped into Canadian politics and activism from foreign donors- much of it coming from American oligarchs and their influential (and sometimes creepy) foundations.
One of the first signs that the Canadian Occupy movement was corrupted by unions and NGOs came when dissident occupiers began to ask question about the funding and backgrounds of the organizers who were running the show. Suddenly Occupy was no longer about the 99% vs the 1%, reality was reassigned to where certain members of the 1% were acceptable allies. We were told to ignore that George Soros destroys economies for a living, that train barron Warren Buffett is a “common sense mogul”, and how we should forget that the Rockefeller Foundation once funded a Nazi eugenics institute.
When one takes on the oligarchs it should naturally be expected that there will be some kickback. That’s not to say that Soros, Buffett and Mr Burns are behind the curtains pulling strings (though perhaps Newell is). Successful oligarchs are too busy playing real-life Railroad Tycoon and crashing the British Pound to worry about the likes of Vivian Krause. Besides, there’s no need for damage control, the foundations have built a self-healing system- the magic ingredient is greed.
DeSmogBlog Smokes Up The Place With Anti-Krause FUD:
The DeSmogBlog bills itself as a flower growing out of the turd of misinformation about climate change. Their website describes founder and chairman James Hoggan as “one of Canada’s most respected public relations professionals”- a dubious distinction, at best. The website’s “about” page explains how it’s their intention to “go beyond the headlines to cut through the spin clouding the debate”- so, perhaps Hoggan is a “common sense” PR guy? (Hogan has donated significant funds to Vision Vancouver, and is one the board at the David Suzuki Foundation).
DeSmog first graced the pages of this website in late November, 2013. It was the height of the Vancouver Observer’s fake NEB spying “scandal” when DeSmog’s newest employee Emma Gilchrist wrote her story The Day I Found Out The Canadian Government Was Spying On Me. Gilchrist expressed surprise in her article that the name of her previous employer (Dogwood Initiative) was discovered in an NEB security document.
Gilchrist’s story went minorly viral, NGOs and protester-friendly media benefitted from the extra web traffic and attention to their causes.
Of all of the anti-NEB chatter and accusations of CSIS spying emoted from the activist class, Pullman’s story was one of the easiest to poke holes in. The most obvious problem is that Dogwood receives funding from foreign oligarchs intended to influence our country’s policy- it would be incompetent of the government to ignore the obvious risks.
The second, and more blatant, hole in Pullman’s story was that it completely ignored the fact Dogwood has worked with Zoe Blunt and her Victoria BC based group Forest Action Network. Blunt runs with the Deep Green Resistance, a group whose leader openly promotes accepting violent tactics (like blowing up dams and power lines). Once again, it would be irresponsible for the government to ignore these connections.
Pullman’s story failed DeSmog’s goal of “cutting through the spin”. Instead, it added velocity to a thoroughly dubious scandal that could potentially impact the effectiveness of the people working to protect Canada from nutters who want to do bad things like blow up pipelines. This is behaviour is not what one would call “common sense” PR.
One of the most obvious signs one is dealing with a dubious opposition is to watch their behaviour when they’re challenged with facts. A credible rival, one with integrity, will not only welcome the opportunity to debate others with opposing views but will graciously acknowledge any faults in their reasoning. On the other hand, put a weasel into the same position you’ll get a much different result.
This brings us to this week’s DeSmogBlog story about Vivian Krause written by Emma Gilchrist and fellow staff member Carol Linnitt- Convenient Conspiracy: How Vivian Krause Became the Poster Child for Canada’s Anti-Environment Crusade.
A Good Spin Always Begins With A Twist:
The flaws in Gilchrist & Linnitt’s story start on the article’s first paragraph, declaring:
“Today Vivian Krause published an opinion piece in The Province claiming “a vote for Vision is a vote for US oil interests”.
The problem here is that Krause’s article doesn’t make that claim,Gilchrist and Linnitt are twisting her words like licorice. First, the title didn’t include the word “oil”, it only stated that “A vote for Vision Is A Vote for US Interests”. It was a perfectly fair comment, both Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver are deeply influenced by the power of US oligarch funded NGOs.
Nowhere in Krause’s column does she claim that the interests backing Vision Vancouver are oil interests. There might be oil interests in the background, but there’s no clear evidence of of that (yet). Hidden by the magical power of the NGO accounting invisibility shield, there’s a significant lack of transparency where the money comes from and goes to.
But rather than addressing this inconvenient truth the writers instead respond with hyperbole- smearing Krause’s work as a “conspiracy theory”, labelling her efforts as part of a “vendetta”, calling her stories “clandestine tales”, and titling Krause as the “poster child” of “the federal government and oil industry’s plight to discredit environmental groups”.
“Foreign Funded Radicals”- More Hyperbole, or Common Sense?
[Use arrows or mouse wheel to zoom, click circles for more information, lots if information in here on TIDES funding, connections to Robertson and VISION Vancouver]
The story’s sixth paragraph refers to previous Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s 2012 statement claiming that environmental groups are led by “foreign funded radicals” who were “hijacking” the review process for the Northern Gateway pipeline. These statements could easily be framed as overblown, as they were by the opposition at the time, and in DeSmog’s article.
Krause’s research shows very clearly that the environmental groups in question have received foreign funding. DeSmog has too, Krause discovered that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave them $20,000, and the money was routed through TIDES Canada. Gilchrist’s alma mater at Dogwood have benefitted over $1.2 million through TIDES since 2008.
What about those radicals? Well, we’ve already mentioned Zoe Blunt’s radicalism, and how Dogwood supported her work. The next relevant character is Clayton Thomas-Muller, a professional protester who recently got a lot of attention after it was disclosed the RCMP view him as a potentially dangerous radical. Desmog published an article about this revelation on November 11th, it was written by Shiri Pasternak of Defenders of the Land. What DeSmog neglects to tell their readers is that Thomas-Muller was recently her colleague at DotL.
Disclosure? We don’t need no stinking disclosure!
The final part to cover is the “hijacking” of the of the review process- basically, it was the protester’s intention to “flood” the NEB with so many applications they’d slow down the pipeline approval process. It’s an idea straight out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: “If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters”.
Sandy Garossino At 90%: The Larry Craig Of The Anti-Bullying Set
Sandy Garossino first graced the pages of this website in July 2012 when she was observed having a Twitter temper tantrum and using the loudness of her (text) voice to try and discredit a person who criticised TIDES’ funding of militant radicals. Garossino, trigger-happy to protect the oligarchs, jumped all over the other person in the conversation proclaiming their “credibility” was “lost”. Unfortunately the other participant was 100% right- it was Garossino who lost credibility that day.
Garossino never apologized for her brash behaviour. Then, a few months later in July, she published her first story about Vivian Krause in the Vancouver Observer. Garrosino’s attack got personal and nasty– here’s an example:
“Ms. Krause, a very engaging and rather lovely woman who looks much younger than her years, lost her employment in the fish farm industry several years back, and has not had gainful employment since. She is carrying on a lone crusade against the science in favour of wild salmon fishery.”
Rarely content with taking a single attack, Garossino came after Krause again in December– this time with less deeply personal attacks on age and employment status. By this point Garossino was starting to get a reputation, some wondered how far she’d go in her “crusade” (to use a DeSmog word) to smother Krause’s message.
It was right around the time her first story was released that Garossino started attacking Krause through Twitter- repeatedly asking the same question about where Krause has got her funding. There have been almost identical incidents of this pattern in December 2012, March 2013, April 2014, and as recently as about a week ago.
Most of these exchanges were pretty much identical to this one:
Garossino has asked Krause the same question repeatedly- “how much have you earned from industry sources”! Krause always has the same answer- she’s been incredibly transparent and has released all details of money she’s earned. Krause worked entirely for free for the first few years, funding her research using her own personal assets (her home).
But after several years of only earning small honorariums for her articles published in the Financial Post, Krause was asked to share her considerable knowledge at speaking gigs in 2012. Garossino grabbed onto this as an opportunity to “discredit” Krause, claiming that all of Krause’s previous years of unpaid work were tarnished because she took the speaking opportunities years later. A good spin always starts with a twist.
After several almost identical attacks, observers in the Twittersphere began to recognize Garossino’s continuous re-hashing of the same old (already addressed) attacks, Its got so bad that Garossino has actually been told off by people including Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail, and Calgary based political strategist Stephen Carter (who ran Nenshi’s election campaign).
DeSmog has followed in Garossino’s path and focused their article on Krause’s earnings from long after she did the bulk of her research.
Sandy Garossino and her partner Raffi Cavoukian partnered together and started an anti-bullying group called the Red Hood Project. The irony of her behaviour hasn’t been missed, many people in the community have come to realize that Garossino is an unlikely leader for such an endeavour- she’s become the Larry Craig of the anti-bullying set.
You know, the anti-gay marriage senator who got caught having sex with another man in the bathroom stalls at Minneapolis St Paul airport? Only in Garosinno’s case, it’s an anti-bullying advocate acting like a jerk on Twitter…
Why This Matters On The Eve Of Vancouver’s Election:
All of the characters (outside of Krause) in todays story have one thing in-common- they’ve benefitted in some way from TIDES’ sphere of influence. DeSmog’s story about Vivian Krause not only ignores this blindly obvious conflict of interest, but sarcastically spreads FUD about Krause’s transparency at the very same time.
As was we discussed at the beginning of this article, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson is a product- created and funded by the same American foundations and NGOs Vivian Krause’s work helped to expose. Mayor Robertson has been at the heart of this beast for most of his career- he’s no dummy, he knows what’s going on.
If Joel Solomon truly cared about justice he’d have talked with Garossino and the people at DeSmog and asked them to cool their horses. If James Hoggan was as motivated to “cut the spin” as his biography indicates, he would have had this article taken down the moment he first read it. If Robertson was a leader worthy of representing Vancouver, he wouldn’t be standing by silently while his fellow TIDES beneficiaries play dirty tricks against a fellow Canadian.
Vancouver needs new leadership…