Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek Senior Writer
C-SPAN, “What are some of the conspiracy theories that you think are causing some of the most harm in the country right now?”
“One of the worst is the conspiracy theory about Agenda 21. And, you know, I can tell you right now I said those words and there are people all over the country reaching for their phones. Because what that one is…
Agenda 21 is a non-binding agreement that was signed during the original George Bush Administration in the early 1990s, in the U.N. saying that the countries… were making a commitment, basically to care for the environment. Basically to act in ways that preserved the environment. Allowed for… planning in terms of urban development…
Nothing big. It’s a non-binding commitment.
This has become a belief in an overarching conspiracy of a new world order that is trying to seize private property in the United States to grant trees the rights of humans...There’re actually people saying they’re going to shuffle us all off onto train cars and send us to work camps.
I mean, it’s crazy stuff!
But when you look at it there are zoning commissions in the United States, local county zoning commissions, that can’t get anything done.
You can’t have bike paths built. You can’t get modest normal zoning development done because people come out screaming that it’s about Agenda 21.
And they’re zoning commissions. There’s one I mentioned in the article where no one in the zoning commission knew what Agenda 21 was. They had spent years on a zoning plan. They couldn’t do it. And so they all resigned. Because it was why do this job if we can’t do it because there were people talking about craziness.”
In 2005 I told the Daily Local News editors that the new City of Coatesville city council promoted by Pat Sellers and the Sahas would fire Coatesville Police Chief Dominick Bellizzie. They said that couldn't happen.
I told them that then Chair of the Chester County Republican Committee Area 14 Richard Legree would be put in some sort of controlling position in the Coatesville PD by the city council promoted by the Sahas, Pat Sellers and Andrew Lehr.
The people at the DLN didn't laugh out loud, but they smiled at me.
Richie talked about being Coatesville public safety officer. We discovered by way of a Philadelphia Inquirer article that then Philadelphia Lt. Joel Fitzgerald said Coatesville City Manager Harry Walker wanted Richard Legree as a Lieutenant on the Coatesville PD.
Patrick Henry Sellers was manipulating Coatesville’s government and school district for decades as a Coatesville Area School Board member and prominent Chester County Republican Committee member.
Mr. Sellers is a proud, “John Birch Society Charter Member” and avid reader of American Renaissance Magazine.
I believe almost single handedly Pat Sellers managed to manipulate the editorial staff of the Daily Local News, many Chester County public officials and much of the population of Chester County into believing that he was heroically defending the property rights of a poor Chester County farmer from a despotic Coatesville City government.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The Chester County Planning Commission Landscapes is based on the United Nations Agenda 21. The redevelopment of Coatesville and older Chester County towns is part of the Chester County Landscapes Plan.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
The former editors of the Daily Local News now know what they did-But no public apology to the citizens of Coatesville.
"Conspiracy theories have been woven into the fabric of American society since before the signing of the Constitution. But what was once dismissed as the amusing ravings of the tin-foil-hat crowd has in recent years crossed a threshold, experts say, with delusions, fictions and lunacy now strangling government policies and creating national health risks. “These kinds of theories have the effect of completely distorting any rational discussion we can have in this country,’’ says Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center who recently wrote a report on the impact of what is known as the Agenda 21 conspiracy. “They are having a real impact now.”
Experts say the number and significance of conspiracy theories are reaching levels unheard-of in recent times, in part because of ubiquitous and faster communications offered by Internet chat rooms, Twitter and other social media. “Conspiracy narratives are more common in public discourse than they were previously,’’ says Eric Oliver, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago who has published research on the phenomenon. “We seem to have crossed a threshold.”
The fears about Agenda 21 are a prime example. The name refers to a nonbinding statement of intent signed in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush and 177 other world leaders. The idea was simple: Under the auspices of the U.N., those countries expressed their interest in managing urban development and land-use policies in ways that minimized the impact on the environment. At the time, mainstream conservative and liberal politicians considered the concept to be fairly inconsequential.
No more. Extremist organizations latched on to Agenda 21 as an attempt by the U.N. and the “New World Order” to seize private property to advance the causes of communism and to crush all dissent. Death maps will be created to determine where people will be allowed to live, some of the theories go. Trees will be given the same rights as humans. Electricity companies will conduct surveillance on customers.
By 2012, the Republican National Committee—overlooking that a Republican president had signed Agenda 21—adopted a resolution slamming the document as an “insidious scheme” designed to impose a “socialist/communist redistribution of wealth.” That language was toned down by the time of the Republican National Convention, but wild claims about Agenda 21 survived, saying the barely financed, unenforceable declaration was “insidious” and “erosive of American sovereignty.”
Today, the Agenda 21 conspiracy is raised around the country when local zoning boards—many of whom have never even heard of the U.N. statement—attempt to adopt development plans that control willy-nilly construction while considering environmental impact. That Baldwin County proposal was felled by fears of Agenda 21. A highway construction project in Maine designed to ease traffic congestion was abandoned. Same with an oyster bed restoration plan in Virginia and a high-speed-rail proposal in Florida. The construction of bike paths—bike paths!—has been attacked by locals waving signs about sinister international conspiracies.
Even the recent controversy involving Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who refuses to pay fees required under law for his cattle to graze on federal land, has been linked to the U.N. “You need to investigate U.N. Agenda 21, as this is what the Obama administration is following in order to steal your land and rights via zoning changes,’’ an Idaho resident wrote to her local newspaper, the Coeur d’Alene Press, about the Bundy case. “The U.N. goal is to remove ALL private property rights, as they are considered ’unsustainable.’”
The letter wasn’t tossed into the trash with the other bizarre, conspiracy-laden missives that arrive at news organizations every day. Instead, it was printed in the paper under the headline “BUNDYS: All part of U.N. Agenda 21.” Never mind that grazing fees on public lands were established in 1934, almost six decades before Agenda 21, and that other ranchers hold 18,000 permits without any global intrigue involved.
These kinds of fearful convictions are not limited to one side of the political debates, research shows. “Who believes in these? Everyone,” says the University of Chicago’s Oliver. “Conspiracy theories go across the ideological spectrum.”
Take the theories about the George W. Bush administration. There have been claims and suggestions that Bush used the 9/11 attacks—or even engineered them—as a pretext to engage in wars and increase the state security infrastructure; that his vice president, Dick Cheney, orchestrated the Iraq War to shovel millions of dollars in reconstruction contracts to his former employer, Halliburton; and that the administration rigged the 2004 election through fraud in Ohio. And while these ideas have been put forward by plenty of regular citizens, they have also been advanced by national political figures: respectively, Keith Ellison, a Democratic congressman; Senator Rand Paul, a Republican associated with the party’s libertarian wing; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of Bobby Kennedy, who is now a liberal radio talk-show host.
Indeed, the prominence of some of the conspiracy theorists attacking the Bush administration is a reflection of a more disturbing trend: national political leaders who advance tales of secret schemes and treachery without a scintilla of evidence. Many politicians lent support to the idea that Obama was hiding his birth certificate, a central tenet of the claim that he was born in Kenya. Among those quoted in news articles making those statements are Senator Richard Shelby, then-congressman Roy Blunt, then-representative Nathan Deal and others. Former representative Cynthia McKinney was a proponent of 9/11 conspiracy theories. Senator Ted Cruz has said Agenda 21 involves attempts to abolish golf courses and paved roads."