Normally, we keep the content of TheBlaze Mag exclusive to the magazine and you won't it find anywhere else—online or in print. But we're making an exception with this cover story from almost a year ago. (You can still get the original print and/or digital version here.)
The January/February 2012 cover warned of the United Nations' plan to eliminate private property rights. The special report by Mike Opelka, "International Land Grab," takes a look at the two-decade-old U.N. Agenda 21 program that remains relatively unknown to most Americans and exposes the global scheme that has the potential to wipe out freedoms of all U.S. citizens.
Below is the full story from the January/February issue. Be sure to subscribe to TheBlaze Magazine today to make sure you don't miss any more of our in-depth and investigative reports, smart analysis, and powerful commentary.
Imagine waking up in a country where a high-ranking government official stands in front of citizens and rails against personal property rights:
“The American system of justice must be changed to conform to that of the rest of the world, and there must be a shift in attitudes. Individual wants, needs and desires are to be conformed to the views and dictates of government planners. In the process of implementing Sustainable Development, individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective.”
The shocking line that individual rights should be relegated to the rear has actually been attributed to an American high-ranking, public official: Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin.
The powerful Mr. Ruvin reportedly delivered that statement in 2002 at the 10th Anniversary of Agenda 21’s roll out (UNCED Rio+10 Summit-Johannesburg).
Curiously, Ruvin’s profile on the Miami-Dade website says nothing about his association with Agenda 21 or the controversial International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), a collective of local governments and national and regional local government organizations committed to radical environmental policies to eliminate private property rights. However, ICLEI is quite proud of Mr. Ruvin. From the ICLEI website:
“Harvey Ruvin, distinguished member of ICLEI’s Advisory Group, has been named to the Florida Energy Commission. After serving 20 years on the Miami-Dade County Commission, chairing its Environment and Energy Committees, Mr. Ruvin now serves as Miami-Dade County’s Clerk of Courts, where he has implemented technologies that both save money and are good for the environment. Mr. Ruvin helped found ICLEI in 1990, and now chairs the County’s efforts on Climate Change.”
Ruvin was honored to comment about his association with ICLEI—but apparently only on their website: “I am honored by this opportunity to serve. The Florida Energy Commission can be a key player in shaping a climate and energy policy that would put Florida in the forefront as our state, nation and world face up to these critical challenges.”
POWER OF PRIVATE PROPERTY
While Ruvin seems to believe that America and Americans must change to follow the will of the rest of the world, the opinions of the Founding Fathers were very clear on the topic of private property rights.
George Washington stressed the importance of private property when he said, “Private property and freedom are inseparable.”
And John Adams was also adamant on this issue, having affirmed, “Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist.”
Considering the creeping threat to property rights, Americans should ask themselves some practical questions about real-life situations:
Can the government shut off your air conditioning or cut back your heat?
Can you be forced to move from a sprawling property with your own water and enough land to grow what you need into a high-density urban setting where everyone lives and works inside a small area?
Can the government tell you what kind of car to drive and where you can travel on your vacation?
Some would argue that the answer to all three of those questions is already leaning towards a resounding “yes.”
So-called “smart meters” are being installed at a blinding pace around the country with the potential to curtail energy use based on the decision of someone other than the customer. The possibility exists for appointed government officials to impose their standards of power use over individuals based on their perceived view of what is best for the collective.
Restrictions are worming into regulations all around the country via non-elected officials intending to change the way Americans own and use property.
Government-imposed fuel-economy standards and other regulations are forcing car manufacturers to alter the kinds of cars they can build, eliminating the free market and giving the government control over what kind of cars consumer can buy.
And all of this can be tied back to something called Agenda 21.
The seeds for Agenda 21 were planted back in 1987 when the writings of Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, first vice president of the Socialist International, caught the eye of the United Nations.
Brundtland wrote an environmental extremist U.N. report titled, “Our Common Future,” which the global body used as a springboard for using environmentalism as a tool to control the world’s people and establish a global government.
The resulting U.N. program, Agenda 21, is a grand plan for global “sustainable development,” which President George H.W. Bush (and 177 other world leaders) agreed to in 1992. In July 1993, President Bill Clinton brought the global scheme directly into the U.S. government when he signed an executive order creating the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, which avoided any review or discussion by Congress or the American people.
“Sustainable development” sounds like a nice idea—that is, until you scratch the surface and find that Agenda 21 and sustainable development are actually cloaked plans to impose the tenets of social justice and socialism on the world.
The Agenda 21 plan openly targets private property—which should surprise no one. For more than 35 years, the United Nations has made their stance very clear on the issue of individuals owning land. A report from a 1976 U.N. conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, on human settlements contains lays out the position:
“Land … cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market.
“Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.
“The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interest of society as a whole.”
As if the United Nations’ role in creating Agenda 21 weren’t enough, consider also that the major international organization pushing for this radical program, ICLEI, has received millions of dollars from George Soros’ Open Society Institute, including a $2.1 million grant in 1997.
This relatively unknown but massive network has managed to embed itself into cities and counties all across the country, likely because many cities do not understand exactly what ICLEI is and how it operates.
Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, ICLEI is an international organization that offers training and support to municipalities that want to enact Agenda 21’s programs.
A global plan the size of Agenda 21 could not be implemented without the large, well-funded ICLEI. And ICLEI is already quite deeply entrenched in America. They proudly announce their history and plans on websites tied to member cities:
“ICLEI USA was launched in 1995 and has grown from a handful of local governments participating in a pilot project to a solid network of more than 600 cities, towns and counties actively striving to achieve tangible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and create more sustainable communities. ICLEI USA is the domestic leader on climate protection and adaptation, and sustainable development at the local government level.”
Austin, Texas, is one of the hundreds of local governments that seems to have fallen for the ICLEI arguments for Agenda 21 and has been heavily consuming the “Communitarianism” Kool-Aid. An Austin political action committee called Texans for Accountable Government (TAG) saw what was happening and attempted to stop the Austin City Council from adopting some Agenda 21-friendly initiatives.
Prior to a council vote on some of the initiatives, one of TAG’s members, John Bush, delivered a succinct presentation on ICLEI and Agenda 21 that was virtually ignored by the city officials. Bush’s appeal to the council attempted to sway the opinions of the voting members by appealing to a traditional Texas value—land ownership—and showing how that would be threatened by Agenda 21:
“Among the stated objectives of Agenda 21 is the ‘re-wilding of America’ under the Wildlands Project. This project would remove human beings from over half of the land in America and deem these areas core wilderness zones. Regardless of where you’re family farm once was, human beings will not be allowed to set foot in these areas. There would also be highly controlled and monitored buffer zones around these areas where travel would be severely limited.”
Bush’s short argument against the proposed local law was immediately followed by a lopsided 7-0 vote adopting the United Nations-backed plans.
In California, proponents of Agenda 21 are working to implement plans to create schemes for sustainable management of “open spaces.” The definition of what will be considered an “open space” has sparked heated exchanges between those directing the planning meetings and citizens who want private property rights to be respected and protected.
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND AGENDA 21
Agenda 21 also appears to have received a significant endorsement from the Obama administration in early June of 2011.
On June 9, 2011, President Obama signed Executive Order 13575, establishing the White House Rural Council (WHRC) and taking control over almost all aspects of the lives of 16 percent of the American people. The media and the public missed it thanks to the focus on the Anthony Weiner scandal.
Section 1 of E.O. 13575 states:
“Sixteen percent of the American population lives in rural counties. Strong, sustainable rural communities are essential to winning the future and ensuring American competitiveness in the years ahead. These communities supply our food, fiber, and energy, safeguard our natural resources, and are essential in the development of science and innovation. Though rural communities face numerous challenges, they also present enormous economic potential. The Federal Government has an important role to play in order to expand access to the capital necessary for economic growth, promote innovation, improve access to health care and education, and expand outdoor recreational activities on public lands.”
Warning bells should have been sounding all across rural America with the use of the phrase “sustainable rural communities”—code words for the true fundamental transformation of America. And the third sentence also makes it quite clear that the government intends to take greater control over “food, fiber, and energy.” The last sentence in Section 1 further clarifies the intent of the order by tying together “access to the capital necessary for economic growth, health care and education.”
One might expect that the WHRC would be populated by experts in the various fields that might prove helpful to the folks who live and work outside of large urban areas. Well, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will chair the group, but the 25 members appointed to serve on this very influential body are the heads of the executive branch departments, offices, agencies and councils, not leaders in rural development.
Not only was nary a single department in the federal government excluded from the WHRC, but also the administration inserted a wild-card option, leaving a membership spot open to anyone the president and the Agriculture secretary might want to designate to serve on this powerful council.
Within the 25 designated members of the council are some curious ties to Agenda 21 and the structure being built to implement it:
VALERIE JARRETT: From the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, Jarrett served on the board of an organization called Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). LISC uses the language of Agenda 21 and ICLEI as their website details their work to build “sustainable communities.”
MELODY BARNES: The head of the Domestic Policy Council, Barnes is a former vice president at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress.
HILDA SOLIS: Labor Secretary Solis received an award in 2000 for her work on “environmental justice.”
NANCY SUTLEY: White House Council on Environmental Quality chief Sutley served on the board of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District and was one of the biggest supporters of low-flow toilets that are now credited with costing more money than expected while causing some nasty problems.
Is it possible that concerns about E.O. 13575 are just typical anti-big-government paranoia? Consider the “mission and function” of WHRC as laid out by the president:
“The Council shall work across executive departments, agencies, and offices to coordinate development of policy recommendations to promote economic prosperity and quality of life in rural America, and shall coordinate my Administration’s engagement with rural communities.”
“Economic prosperity” and a better “quality of life,” that all sounds fairly innocent and well-intentioned. But continuing deeper into the order, one finds the council is charged with four directives, the first two of which pose the greatest threat of growing federal influence over private property in rural areas.
DIRECTIVE NO. 1: “make recommendations to the President, through the Director of the Domestic Policy Council and the Director of the National Economic Council, on streamlining and leveraging Federal investments in rural areas, where appropriate, to increase the impact of Federal dollars and create economic opportunities to improve the quality of life in rural America.”
The vague language here also sounds non-threatening. There is a hint of a “rural stimulus plan” in the making. Will the federal government start pumping money into farmlands under the guise of “creat[ing] economic opportunities to improve the quality of life in rural America”?
DIRECTIVE NO. 2: “coordinate and increase the effectiveness of Federal engagement with rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, education and training institutions, health-care providers, telecommunications services providers, research and land grant institutions, law enforcement, State, local, and tribal governments, and nongovernmental organizations regarding the needs of rural America.”
Virtually every aspect of rural life seems to now be part of the government’s mission. And while all of the items in the second directive sound like typical government speak, Americans should be alarmed when they read the words “nongovernmental organizations” (NGOs). NGOs are unelected, but typically government-funded groups that act like embedded community organizers. And NGOs are key to Agenda 21’s plans.
In the world of business, Agenda 21 is not a free-market friend, preferring private-public partnerships where the government decides which companies will receive tax breaks and are allowed to stay in business. In light of this, the cozy relationship between the current administration and GE (a company that earned billions of dollars and paid no tax in 2010) should raise eyebrows. Additionally, White House efforts to tell Boeing in which state they can operate bolsters the image that Agenda 21 ideals are already making serious headway in America.
ARE AGENDA 21 AND ICLEI SECURITY THREATS TO AMERICA?
In addition to the potential for restricting personal property rights and removing basic freedoms to choose how and where one lives, Agenda 21 and ICLEI may also present a significant security risk to America.
Charles Winkler, a retired Defense Department analyst who worked as a specialist in Russia and the Middle East, has studied ICLEI and Agenda 21. In November 2011, Winkler publicly discussed the potential national security problems with ICLEI’s presence in America.
At one meeting in Virginia, Winkler offered some surprising information about one high-ranking ICLEI representative, regional officer Jie “Megan” Wu:
- Wu, who as recently as last summer was leading seminars for ICLEI, has a history as an official for the People’s Republic of China, an official member of the Chinese delegation dealing with foreigners in multi-lateral negotiations;
- she studied in a university that was subordinate to the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and where, according to Winkler, linguists are trained for government service;
- she appeared to still be a citizen of China and trained in dealing with foreigners by a state school; and
- at one point, Wu, an apparent Chinese national, was charged with overseeing a territory for ICLEI from Georgia up to Maine and inland.
Winkler explained at the meeting that a retired officer for the Russian GRU (Moscow’s large foreign military intelligence operation) told him that any Chinese national trained in “dealing with foreigners” has a counter-intelligence association or an official link back to the government.
Winkler says that his immediate concern with Wu is related to national security—specifically: Why does ICLEI have a representative for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region that is a citizen of China and one that may be trained in counter-intelligence?
Some claim Winkler is paranoid. But his worries about a Chinese national acting as the main representative for ICLEI and having access to potentially sensitive information about hundreds of Defense locations do not seem far-fetched when one considers:
- The Defense Department operates at least 200 facilities within the territory once covered by Ms. Wu (and still covered by ICLEI);
- ICLEI gathers data on utilities, ports, rail and airport operations, as well as planning for additional development of these areas; and
- the information is compiled locally and sent to ICLEI’s foreign headquarters.
Winkler also reports that within the past two months, Russia arrested a Chinese national trying to get secret government documents on missile systems while posing as an interpreter—just as Wu was doing.
ombine this and the reality that all of ICLEI’s data is sent to the group’s world headquarters with the fact that nobody in our government seems to know who has access to all of the potentially sensitive intelligence being gathered, and security officials in America have legitimate serious concerns about ICLEI.
Curiously, in June 2011, Wu was replaced by a new regional director named Eli Yewdall. Yewdall’s Internet-accessible history shows ties to far-Left groups such as Climate Justice and various other “direct action” climate movement organizations. He has also worked as a local organizer in New York and was arrested in a protest at the IRS. As a student in 2002 he declared that the United Nations is the “only democratic body in existence.”
IS THE TIDE TURNING AGAINST AGENDA 21 AND ICLEI?
In recent months, citizen groups across the country have organized and become involved in the removal of towns and cities from membership in ICLEI. There are several Facebook groups working to illuminate the real purpose of Agenda 21 and ICLEI, including “Wake Up Call to Agenda 21,” “Resist UN Agenda 21” and “Stopping UN Agenda 21”; plus, many city and county Facebook groups have dedicated themselves to dismantling ICLEI’s substantial network.
While the awareness of Agenda 21 seems to have increased significantly in the past year, there is still much work to be done by those interested in blocking the redistributive social-and environmental-justice intentions embedded in both Agenda 21 and ICLEI.
The fight for property rights will continue this summer when advocates for Agenda 21, ICLEI and various global governance schemes will gather to mark the 20th anniversary of the initial announcement of this plan to create a global government through the subterfuge of environmentalism. The event is seeking “to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges.”
Without the continued vigilance of freedom-loving Americans, this movement threatens to overwhelm private property rights that our Founders knew are central to our liberty.
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