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Ted Turner Bankrolls Major Anarchist Group

Luke Boggs | August 22 2004

"Mouth of the South" is a moniker Ted Turner has soundly earned. He has dismissed Christianity as a "religion for losers," ripped Catholic CNN staffers as "Jesus freaks" and, in February, called the Sept. 11 terrorists "brave."

Turner's mouth isn't the only problem, though, because he's putting his (considerable) money where his mouth is. And, like his mouth, his money has been roaming into some pretty irresponsible places, like the coffers of some honest-to-goodness American anarchists called the Ruckus Society.

Documents obtained by Activistcash.com reveal that Turner's foundation has been Ruckus' top sponsor, with donations totaling more than $110,000.

Though claiming to be non-violent, Ruckus teaches demonstrators how to spark confrontations with police and destroy property, all in service to a radical anti-establishment, anti-capitalist, anti-free-trade agenda. Prior to large protests, the group holds "direct action camps" for several hundred recruits. Budding hooligans are trained in "police confrontation strategies," "street blockades" and "urban climbing." They also are taught how to "scout" industrial facilities -- only scouting isn't scouting. It's snooping around and breaking things.

Ruckus spearheaded the most violent protests in recent U.S. history. At the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Ruckus instigated clashes with police that left 15 officers injured and 30 patrol cars damaged. At the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, Ruckus members led rioters in smashing windows, lighting fires, destroying vehicles and trashing a Starbucks and a McDonald's. The group isn't bashful about claiming credit for violence. As Ruckus Director John Sellers told USA Today, "We kicked the WTO's butt all over the Northwest."

Ruckus was founded in 1995 by Howard "Twilly" Cannon and Mike Roselle. Cannon once captained a ship for the mischief-making mariners of Greenpeace. Roselle founded Earth First!, the enviro-Nazi group that rose to infamy in the 1980s popularizing "tree-spiking."

Roselle gave readers of The Earth First! Journal a peek at the big picture in December 1994: "Monkey-wrenching [sabotaging logging equipment] is more than just sabotage, [it's] revolutionary! This is jihad, pal. Everything, every assumption, every institution needs to be challenged. Now!"

If that sounds a lot like a call to anarchy, it is. And Turner's money is backing it.

Violence, according to Sellers, isn't always violence. As he told Mother Jones in 2000, "Violence to me is against living things. But inanimate objects? I think you can be destructive; you can use vandalism strategically. It may be violence under the law, but I just don't think it's violence."

To be sure, Turner is not alone in the Hall of Shame supporting these lawless kooks. In fact, the Ruckus support list is a veritable "who's who" of the crackpot left, from limousine liberals to platinum-bong hippies. Among them:


Anita Roddick, British founder of the relentlessly left-wing Body Shop chain, is a faithful supporter and Ruckus board member.

The Deadhead drips behind Ben & Jerry's sold out to Unilever in 2000, but they keep the money flowing to Ruckus. Unilever -- the multinational behemoth behind ubiquitous household brands -- had to agree, as a condition of buying Ben & Jerry's, to continue funding the duo's wacko-left causes. Total to Ruckus? More than $100,000.

Outdoor gear supplier Patagonia has donated $30,000.
Posing as non-violent, Ruckus grotesquely compares its tactics with those of Martin Luther King Jr., who is featured conspicuously on its website. This is a terrible insult to King and his lieutenants, who pursued a noble and just end through truly non-violent means. Ruckus is as committed to non-violence as Yasser Arafat.

Bernie Marcus was recently second-guessed elsewhere in these pages for financing an aquarium. I figured Ted Turner deserved at least as much grief for bankrolling anarchists.