On Thursday, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the secretary-general of NATO, declared that Russia has infiltrated western environmentalist groups. Rasmussen said Vladimir Putin is using them to demonize natural gas fracking in Europe, in order to keep the west dependent on Russia’s state-controlled gas company, Gazprom.
“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engages actively with so-called non-governmental organizations, environmental organizations working against shale gas – obviously to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas,” he said.
It’s not shocking that Putin would use propaganda in the west. He’s a former KGB agent, who uses propaganda against his own people. He’s in the middle of a slow-motion invasion of Ukraine. He’s not the polite sort. He doesn’t believe in rules, except to trap his opponents. It would be shocking if he didn’t undermine fracking in the west, which would liberate Europe from buying Gazprom’s gas.
It’s not just the extortionate prices Gazprom charges – two to three times more than what natural gas sells for in North America. It’s that Putin uses natural gas as a political weapon, like OPEC always has with oil. As part of his invasion of Ukraine, Putin simply cut off the pipeline to Ukraine last Monday. That’s an act of war that Soviet dictators didn’t dare try during the Cold War. But Putin knows he can do it with impunity. What’s Europe going to do, put sanctions on him? One third of Europe’s energy comes from Gazprom and other Russian companies. They’re lucky Putin doesn’t put sanctions on them.
When Putin worked for the KGB, they made use of fellow travellers in the west, typically in the “peace movement,” to try to disarm the west. But also in the labour movement, to foment strikes to cripple western industry, such as Britain’s coal industry. It’s a practice he continues today. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was hired by Putin as a senior Gazprom executive. Is that payment for keeping Germany dependent on Russia today? Or a reward for services rendered when Schroeder was in office? It’s fair to ask, given NATO’s revelations and Putin’s biography.
Environmentalism is dominated by an international, professional cadre of activists. Greenpeace is a $400 million a year multinational corporation. The Hewlett Foundation alone has spent $500 million fighting against western energy companies. Environmental NGOs spend billions fighting our own countries – but never OPEC countries. You’d have to be naïve to think that’s a coincidence.
Do Russia or OPEC fund environmentalists in Canada, too? The Tides Foundation out of San Francisco spends $150 million a year on radical causes, including funding 25 different anti-oil and gas lobby groups in Canada. Their website proudly boasts that their specialty is keeping the identity of their funders a secret.
Do they take money from OPEC or Putin? That’s the thing about secrets – they’re secret.
Last week, I put the question to five leading anti-oil and gas activists in Canada, all of whom take money from foreign foundations. The most vocal opponents of the Northern Gateway Pipeline – Tzeporah Berman, Ben West, Kai Nagata and Mike Hudema – and the most active anti-fracking lobbyists, the Council of Canadians. Did any of their dark money come from Russia or OPEC governments?
Not one of them answered me – though they have all engaged with me before.
Why wouldn’t they just say “no” if they didn’t? Why the coyness? It’s an audacious accusation – but it was made by no one less than the NATO chief.
They kept silent – not that their denials would be credible, in the face of NATO’s report. But their silence speaks volumes.
It’s an outrage that so many anti-oil lobbyists in Canada have charity status with the Canada Revenue Agency – they literally get to give out tax receipts for their war on our jobs.
Even more outrageous is that no mainstream media have any curiosity as to who is paying these meddlers, and are never so rude as to ask.