A newsletter from a group calling itself the “Communist Committee for Environmental Preservation” made its way into mailboxes across the Bitterroot Valley last week. The newsletter states that its members were active in a number of local environmental and activists groups, including the Montana Human Rights Network, Bitterroot Human Rights Alliance, Friends of the Bitterroot, Montana Wilderness Association, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Women’s Voices for the Earth, and Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics.
It also honors Ken Toole of the Montana Human Rights Network, John Schneeberger of the Bitterroot Human Rights Alliance and Gloria Flora, former supervisor of the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest who recently came through western Montana speaking about anti-government sentiment, with its “Green Star” awards.
This is the second such mailing in the Bitterroot Valley. A similar newsletter was sent out in the fall of 1998. That letter had a Green River, Wyo., address that proved to be false, and purported to endorse certain local political candidates for their support of causes the so-called “Communist Committee” endorsed. That letter was investigated by the local sheriff and county attorney and turned over to the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, but it was never traced to anyone.
It appears that the latest anonymous mailing—which carries a Helena, Mont., postmark—will have the same fate. It denounces State Rep. Scott Orr of Libby for his sponsorship of a “hate rally” to be held in Libby. That rally did not take place as planned, but the letter, which was apparently written before April 15, states that “Orr and others sponsoring this event have not yet learned the value of global justice and diversity.”
The letter supports a global “earth charter” and offers information on how communism is working toward that goal.
“When I saw it again, I was almost tempted to laugh,” says Larry Campbell of Darby, a member of Friends of the Bitterroot. “But we have to take this seriously. Unfortunately, there will be a handful of people who will believe this and take it at face value. It’s designed to damn these groups by praising them.”
Campbell says he believes the newsletter is produced locally because it names local groups and individuals. And he has a word of advice for the anonymous pamphleteers. “I just wish they’d use time and creativity to take on multi-national corporations,” Campbell says. “That’s a much bigger threat to world homogenization than communism is.”