Private dick Barry Clausen only allows OUTSIDE magazine to take blurry photos of him, and won’t say where he lives, what his email address is, or his wife’s last name. You see, the environmental movement’s number one enemy tries to keep a low profile, except he can’t resist the fame (or infamy — no publicity is bad publicity) that comes with his notoriety as the establishment’s number one informant on so-called “ecoterrorism.” So he granted the greenish magazine an interview.
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9/29 – Watergate hero gets no respect
9/27 – Russia’s ‘Carnivore’ under fire
9/26 – Perrier trumps local activists Clausen likes to stay hidden, because he’s a professional snoop who feeds information to the FBI and environmentally unfriendly companies about the actions of environmental activists. He legendarily infiltrated Earth First! and some say so effectively distorted the group’s public image that it never recovered. Seems biotech companies are Clausen’s biggest clients lately, nervous as they are about growing protests against bioengineered foods. All of this makes lots of people hate him, and, according to Clausen, his enemies are mostly terrorists with no reservations about getting medieval on his ass.
What makes the OUTSIDE article worth reading is its subtext, exploring how the perception of extremism can breed actual extremism. So Clausen’s power derives from the environmental movement itself: The more radical Clausen characterizes the average conservationist, the more extreme the truly radical enviros are likely to be, should they allow themselves to be provoked. Of course, that’s playing right into Clausen’s hands, proving him right after the fact and giving him greater credibility and clout.