Nichols-Dezenhall is the former name of what is now Dezenhall Resources, a PR company whose trademark is its "aggressive" campaigns to counter community activist groups. It has been called "the pit bull of public relations.". The company was founded in approximately 1987 by Eric Dezenhall and Nick Nichols. In September 2003, Nichols retired from the firm, and in January 2004 the company was renamed Dezenhall Resources.
A book published by the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise (CDFE)'s Free Enterprise Press, "Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to fight and survive attack group shakedowns" was written by Nick Nichols and edited by Paul Driessen. Dezenhall's approach to PR is that of CDFE. In a leaked presentation to pork-producers he quoted Al Capone, 'You can get more with a smile, a kind word and a gun than with a smile and a kind word', and George Carlin, 'If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten!' Nicholls advised the pork-producers they should, 'Fight like guerillas' and 'Take no prisoners'.
With the assistance of corporations, PR firms and various right-wing groups, Wise Use Movement tactics and rhetoric have spread around the globe. As early as 1986, the chemical industry sponsored a tour of New Zealand by Ron Arnold. Wise Use groups have sprung up in Australia sporting bumper stickers such as, 'Fertilize the forest, kill a greenie!'
The Wise Use perspective has been strongly promoted in the UK by the Living Marxism (LM) network, which like Lyndon LaRouche back-flipped from extreme left to extreme right. Wise Users were significant contributors to the LM-connected Channel 4 TV series Against Nature , in which environmentalists were portrayed as Nazis and the bringers of death and suffering to the Third World.
Ron Arnold was also among the contributors to LM magazine, penning an article in the March, 1998 issue. According to the article, 'the anti-technology Unabomber who terrorised the USA for two decades, killing 3 and injuring 29 others' took his cue from the anti-technology philosophy of environmentalism which was operating like a self-consuming sickness at the heart of American society. According to the LM archive: 'Ron Arnold, author of "Ecoterror: The violent agenda to save Nature", suggests that society today suffers from a "Unabomber syndrome" - it "seems willing to entertain the notion of abolishing civilisation"...'. A picture caption for Arnold's article read, 'For Unabomber Ted Kaczynski environmentalism was the theory and assassination the practice'.
Thanks to Wise Use, the PR tactic of mobilizing independent-seeming 'third parties' to advocate corporate causes gained a new momentum and a far more aggressive edge. The influence of Arnold and CDFE on the GM debate is all too apparent - from the aggressive use of PR tactics that include the use of fake citizens, fake organisations and fake public protest, to the designation of critics of GM as 'terrorists' and 'eco-imperialists'.
The fake Center for Food and Agricultural Research (CFFAR), for instance, sought to portray mainstream environmental organisations as engaging in, or linked to, violence and 'terrorism' - a message reinforced through the multiple internet postings of the e-mail fronts Andura Smetacek and Mary Murphy. Smetacek, Murphy and CFFAR have all been traced back to Monsanto and its Internet PR company Bivings Group.
CFFAR and Smetacek then used the concerns generated by their smears against organisations like Greenpeace to encourage scientists and others to lobby those organisations' funders to stop their financial backing. It is a tactic that comes straight out of the CDFE 'handbook'. To quote Arnold, 'We want to destroy environmentalists by taking away their money and their members.' (New York Times, Dec 19, 1991, emphasis added)
Nichols-Dezenhall set up a website called StopEcoViolence - very much along the lines of CFFAR's vandalwatch.org - which claimed to be the grassroots' initiative of a citizens' group. On its links page it lists CFFAR and Vandalwatch.org, as well as the Internet front sites of PR firm Berman & Co. Activistcash.com and the Center for Consumer Freedom. The page also has links to CDFE, which it describes as 'a non-partisan education and research organization', and to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). In March 2002 Nichols Dezenhall linked up with CEI to sponsor a conference for journalists and corporate executives on 'eco-extremism'. (You too might be a terrorist. The war on the greens).