21st Century Science & Technology
Return to top How Telling the Truth Defeated Greenpeace in Brazil

by Marjorie Mazel Hecht

Note: The full interview with Guilherme Camargo (7 pages) appears in the Spring 2001 issue of 21st Century.

Brazil is now enjoying a rejuvenation of nuclear energy, with the completion of its second nuclear plant, Angra 2, and the defeat of the anti-nuclear Greenpeace—in the population, in the media, and in the political arena. This dramatic turnaround, from Brazil’s greenie-engineered nuclear retreat of the early 1990s, was the result of a head-on war against Greenpeace waged by the Brazilian Nuclear Energy Association (ABEN).

How ABEN reversed course, went on the attack, and won is most instructive for the wimpy nuclear associations in the industrial nations, which kowtow to the greens. Like ABEN, these organizations would have to shed their traditional defensive behavior and fight.

The director of the Brazilian Nuclear Energy Association, nuclear engineer Guilherme Camargo, tells the fascinating story of how the truth won out over Greenpeace’s lies, in an interview with Dr. Jonathan Tennenbaum which will appear in a future issue of 21st Century Science & Technology magazine. Camargo describes how the Brazilian nuclear industry was flattened in 1993. Greenpeace had spread so many lies, with the aid of the media, that the nuclear community was in despair.

Then, he and his colleagues decided to do something totally unorthodox. Inspired by articles in Executive Intelligence Review and 21st Century magazines, Camargo got in touch with the Icelandic journalist Magnus Gudmundsson, who had made two films documenting in graphic detail the lies of Greenpeace. He was stunned by what the films showed of the self-righteous Greenpeace group. Greenpeace had even staged the grisly killing of a baby seal just to make a fundraising film that purported to show how bad fishermen were killing baby seals.

Camargo put this information together with the EIR documentation of Prince Charles’s influence in Greenpeace, and Prince Philip’s control over the World Wildlife Fund, and their anti-population agenda. Then ABEN brought this information to the Brazilian press. At the same time, ABEN arranged a visit of Gudmundsson to Brazil. As Carmargo said, “We spent almost eight months, hitting Greenpeace in the liver, very carefully and very sharply.”

At first, there was opposition to this campaign among the engineers and scientists in the nuclear ranks, who were used to apologetically defending the safety of nuclear plants, saying things like “the probability of an accident is 10 to the minus so-and-so”—true, but ineffective in the face of irrationality. Camargo said that ABEN was persuaded “that there was a war, and that war must be taken on, and that there was no other way. That we had to defeat the enemy in order to succeed in our aims.”

“The whole nuclear sector in Brazil—because they are not idiots, they just needed somebody to wake them up from this psychotic trance—this woke them up to the real fight. The real fight has nothing to do with technical issues; it is purely political, and mainly emotional and psychological warfare. As a matter of fact, we used the same tactics as the anti-nuclear people used against us,” Camargo said.

The ABEN campaign expanded from using the truth to defeat Greenpeace, to using the truth to attack the rest of the green groups and non-governmental organizations, which in Brazil are funded almost entirely by international organizations like WWF. “I wrote a very strategic article in O Estado de Sao Paulo, one of the most important newspapers,” Camargo said, “stating the truth about the NGOs and the whole grand strategy about using them to eliminate the sovereignty of the country.”

Although Greenpeace has dropped its anti-nuclear campaign—Brazil is probably the only country in which this has happened—the ABEN is continuing to fight on the sovereignty question. And in the transformed political climate, there are now plans to build two more nuclear plants at the Angra site.

A Lesson for the U.S.A.
Now, let’s look at the U.S. situation, where the anti-nuclear disinformation and outright lies dominate. Just how stark the contrast with the fighting spirit of Brazil, can be seen from two vignettes from the annual meeting of the American Nuclear Society, held in Washington, D.C. Nov. 13-17.

At a session Nov. 14, Angie Howard, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s lobbying group, did the opposite of the successful Brazilian method: She gave a speech defending nuclear energy’s record, from the standpoint of how nuclear energy fulfilled all the criteria for “sustainable energy” laid out at the 1992 United Nations environment summit in Rio de Janeiro. When questioned on the wisdom of this approach, Howard replied, “We have to play with the hand we are dealt.”

She refused to acknowledge that this is the very strategy—playing by the enemy’s rules—that has stopped nuclear growth in the United States and crippled its future prospects. In fact, the title of this special session at the week-long conference, “Long-Term Sustainable Energy Options,” makes this point. “Sustainable” is an enemy term, a euphemism for no-growth, or population control. Its very use as a positive term, advertises one’s capitulation to a no-growth, no-progress, no-new-technology future.

The second example of the nuclear community’s suicidal behavior is this: During the second part of a session on low-level nuclear reactions (cold fusion), at which 21st Century Science & Technology magazine had two reporters, two American Nuclear Society officials rushed in and spoke to one of the participants, saying they were from the “Program Committee,” and had heard there were some disturbances in the room caused by the “anti-nuclear” people from 21st Century! (The person they spoke to, assured them there was no such disturbance.)

It is not clear who planted such an idea in these ladies’ heads, but the fact that they could blithely make this ridiculous characterization of reporters from the nation’s only pro-nuclear popular magazine indicates why the American Nuclear Society, and the U.S. nuclear community in general, is in such bad shape. The forceful battle for nuclear energy waged by 21st Century, its predecessor, Fusion magazine, and other publications associated with the ideas of Lyndon LaRouche, is seen as “anti-nuclear” by a nuclear community too scared to stand up and tell the truth.

The American Nuclear Society needs to take a lesson from Brazil.

Marjorie Hecht is Managing Editor of 21st Century.

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