The complex world of militant NGOs and their impact on the national and economic security of countries they operate in has long been a subject of discussion for the academia, the media, and the intelligentsia. The debate often descends into an emotional one.
Transnational NGOs do not qualify as civil society groups. Transnational NGOs are not organic national groups despite a large number of local activists that have joined these NGOs. Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the U.S. Rainforest Action Network, FERN and the Forest Peoples Programme, as well as The Forest Trust, are foreign, are often profit-oriented entities.
The Indian Intelligence Bureau went so far as to declare Greenpeace and its American, German, and Dutch funders a threat to the country’s national security. These NGOs are estimated to be impacting the Indian GDP by a negative two to three percent, which correlates to a significant $108-162 billion US dollars in annual state losses.
The threat of economic warfare carried out by an organization that claims, according to a Malaysian website, to bring U.S. corporations to their knees, has a direct, measurable impact on the national economy and people. According to Greenpeace propaganda, Asian Pulp Paper (APP) lost 75 percent of its U.S. market share.
Recent studies have shown that costs of the negative campaigns for Malaysia will be substantial. A similar study’s key findings demonstrated that Malaysia is experiencing a considerable economic loss conservatively estimated at USD $11.5 billion or 3 to 3.5 per cent of its GDP per annum, as the direct result of negative transnational NGO campaigning.
Last month, global ratings agency, Moody’s, placed on review for downgrade IOI Corporation Berhad’s, Baa2 issuer rating, Baa2 senior unsecured bond rating of IOI Investment (L) Berhad, and Baa2 senior unsecured bank credit facility rating of IOI Ventures (L) Berhad.
The move came in after uncertainty about IOI’s operating performance, particularly on its downstream business, after its entire oil palm production was suspended by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the subsequent announcements by several customers.
In 2010, in report from Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) and Friends of the Earth Europe, it was alleged that IOI Group was not following through on its sustainability commitments as a founding member of the RSPO. The report went on to form the basis of the formal complaint against IOI Group to the RSPO, lodged by Amsterdam-based Aidenvironment in March 2015.
Following the revocation of IOI’s certification, corporate biggies Unilever, Kellogg’s and Mars dropped their business with IOI.
NGOs estimate if the action against IOI is successful, the company will be faced with the possibility of losing its overseas holdings in Indonesia valued at an estimated 75 million Ringgit.
Today, the campaigns against Malaysian interests include a more extensive and daily collaboration between the transnational environmental NGOs targeting interests in Kalimantan, Sabah and Sarawak.
The 1998/2001 campaign against Malaysian timber producers has resulted in the stagnation of a once growing and prosperous industry. Transnational environmental NGO documents reveal that the Malaysian company, WTK, lost 75 per cent of its UK market due to actions by Greenpeace.
In 2011, a report for the World Bank found the loss of the Indonesian palm oil market share was mainly caused by the negative campaigns initiated by NGOs in European countries. The report made a convincing scientific argument between the economic loss and hostile NGO actions against Indonesia.
A 2011 study shows the Indonesian market lost 33-50 per cent of its competitiveness as a result of “mainly negative campaigning” by European militant action groups. Indonesia has associated activism with proxy wars and as a latent threat to society.
Examining the root causes in detail, loss of foreign currency exchange, loss of market share and unemployment in the formal and informal labor sectors are the result of NGO actions and hold serious implications for governments in the region.
The UN report states, “They found [a] developing culture of defensive and secretive practice among NGOs, which have become uncritical of their won and donor practices.” The UN also states, “Looked at baldly, this is an unhealthy scenario in which a hierarchy of power is brought about by control of funds, creating a culture of resentment and secrecy.”
While giving a speech, the embattled Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo told a stunned audience that NGOs are “cheap labor” for governments in places they cannot go, even though Greenpeace always claims it does not work for governments.
A European Union study on the funding of civil society groups once again dispelled the myth that Greenpeace and others like it do not get money from governments. For example, since 2012, the Ford Foundation has funneled $1.4 million dollars into the U.S. Greenpeace Fund, Inc. for campaign actions across Indonesia.
In September 2013, the ClimateWorks Foundation granted $1 million to Greenpeace “to support continued work on campaigns and commodity market pressure to end deforestation caused by palm oil expansion in Indonesia.” So did the Rainforest Action Network. Many experts argue the actual number is higher but Greenpeace has always manage to shun the limelight. The Resolute case argue to examine the the public available. Greenpeace wants the case dismissed.
In June 2012, Greenpeace declared war against “environmental criminals” and “commodity traders” to bring the green war to a complete new level of “waves of disobedience.” By December 2012, funding was provided by the ClimateWorks Foundation, which gave Greenpeace $400,000 US dollars “to further Greenpeace’s campaign to stop deforestation and peat land clearance for palm oil expansion in Indonesia.” It also gave another $400,000 to “scale up development of an integrated global campaign.”
The Ford Foundation funneled $467,500 US dollars to a Norwegian NGO to be filtered into Indonesia. In April 2013, the Ford Foundation granted another $400,000 US dollars to Hollywood star Harrison Ford in support of his remarks against the Indonesian government, which aired on Showtime in April 2014.
The Ford Foundation grant specified the grant was “to produce a film segment on deforestation and community rights in Indonesia for a television show about climate change called “The Years of Living Dangerously,” alluding to a similarly-named Mel Gibson film that portrayed the overthrow of President Sukarno.
Such throwing good money after bad is evidence of the extent of the funding of the radical “green” agenda.
The goals of NGOs are also not defined as economic growth but forcing policy changes favoring the Green political agenda. The aim is to isolate, undermine and halt the Malaysian dominance of its strategic assets, palm oil and palm oil products, and to maintain a cartel-like grip on the industry.
In late May, Greenpeace learnt a lesson out of its own notebook when Resolute Forest Products, a Canadian pulp and paper manufacturer, filed a lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in a federal district court in Georgia, U.S., alleging a pattern of defamatory and fraudulent behavior by Greenpeace and allied organizations.
According to the complaint, Greenpeace and its affiliates are a RICO “enterprise” that have waged a deliberately defamatory campaign against Resolute, misrepresenting the company’s practices and environmental record in order to raise funds and promote Greenpeace’s environmentalist agenda.
In December 2015, Greenpeace urged the U.S. government to investigate oil companies and organizations that dispute the risks of climate change under the RICO Act. Today, Resolute, the leader in the forest products industry and the largest producer of newsprint in the world, stands alone, akin to its name, in an unwavering show of courage against Greenpeace et al.
Displaying the rare mettle to stand up to the archetypal extremist and militant campaign of misinformation and shaming designed to shut it down, Resolute Forest Products has counter punched Greenpeace by taking a leaf out of its very own militant rule book.
The highly structured and well-funded campaigns implemented by a range of foreign transnational NGOs employ a number of belligerent tactics, such as product boycotts and divestment campaigns, as well as attempts to discredit the Malaysian state and palm oil companies.