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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 <www.ecoresults.org>, 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
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
Toni Thayer is a researcher, writer, political
activist and consultant. Her website <www.spirithelps.com>
has information on public lands "and the state of the
|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
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
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
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
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
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