Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mine Your Own Business first screening in Arizona

Movies on Global Warming and Environmentalism

8034 North 19th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona

Thursday, November 29, 2007
6:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Phoenix Objectivists will host a screening of the movies "Mine Your Own Business" and "The Great Global Warming Swindle" that look at the dark side of environmentalism.

"Mine Your Own Business" showcases some of the world's poorest people and about how Western environmentalists are campaigning to keep people in developing countries in poverty because they think that their way of life is quaint.

"The Great Global Warming Swindle" is a film made in Great Britain that challenges the commonly-held view that mankind is responsible for global warming.

Both films are the first documentaries to ask hard questions about the environmentalist movement and the science they use to make their claims.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

PBS To Broadcast Anti-Progress Propaganda

By Bill Hobbs | August 20, 2007 - 01:04 ET
PBS is scheduled to broadcast nationally Tuesday night a biased documentary about a gold-mining project in Romania. The segment of the PBS series Wide Angle, titled "Gold Futures," looks at the ongoing controversy over a proposed gold mine in the village of Rosia Montana and all indications are that it will follow the anti-mine perspective promoted by a variety of European environmentalists who don't live in the village, an effort now backed by leftwing American financier George Soros, whose Soros Foundation-Romania recently opened an office in Rosia to fight the mining project.

(Soros' history of investment in gold-mining companies raises questions about why he has chosen to oppose the Rosia mining project, but that's a subject for another post some day.)

"Gold Futures" portrays the controversy as a David and Goliath battle with the poor residents of Rosia Montana trying to defend themselves against a giant mining corporation.

PBS describes the film this way:

"Gold Futures is a David-and-Goliath story set in a scenic Romanian village in the heart of Transylvania. At stake: Europe's largest deposit of gold ore - and a 2,000-year-old village community that has existed since the ancient Romans found gold in the mountains. Now, as a Canadian company plans the largest open-pit gold mine in Europe, mineral wealth and badly-needed jobs compete with time-honored rural traditions and concerns about poisoning the environment. Set against the backdrop of Rosia Montana's misty forests, Gold Futures captures the unfolding conflict between villagers who welcome the company's buy-out offers and their neighbors who remain fiercely defensive of their way of life and anxious to maintain the stunning landscape of their homeland."

David and Goliath? The truth, however, is much different. The majority of villagers actually support the project, in part because it would provide jobs for a village that, historically, has depended in mining. Additionally, the Canadian mining company would clean up the decades of horrific environmental damage left behind by now-closed state-run mine of Romania's communist era.

Their story is told in the moving and entertaining documentary Mine Your Own Business, a powerful documentary that exposes how powerful environmental activist groups advance their one-sided, highly self-serving agenda at the expense of the well-being of some of the world's poorest people.

The documentary is a powerful counterpoint to a misleading article in the Jan. 3, 2007, New York Times, "Fighting Over Gold in the Land of Dracula," that was little more than a one-sided piece attacking the proposed gold mine in Rosia Montana, where unemployment has run around 70 percent since the old communist-run state-owned mine was closed.

The NYT portrayed the situation as a struggle between a big, bad mining company and a lone person seeking to stop the mine. The truth is far different, as shown in Mine Your Own Business, directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer and produced by New Bera Media in association with the Moving Picture Institute.

The NYT article reflected the thinking of left-wing Hollywood elitist cause-celebre environmentalism that runs roughshod over the very real needs of people like the impoverished residents of Rosia Montana - needs such as decent jobs and housing that the mine would bring. The NYT never mentions that a majority of the people of Rosia Montana support the mine or mentions that 60 percent of the property owners affected by the mine have already chosen to sell their property to the mining company. The NYT never mentions the abject poverty that would be alleviated by the development of the mine, and the creation of hundreds of new and desperately needed jobs.

Mine Your Own Business exposes the exaggerations and misleading claims of the foreign environmentalists opposed to the development - and to other mining projects in Madagascar and Chile - and presents the amazing spectacle of some environmentalists asserting that the people in the affected villages don't want prosperity but prefer the simple peasant life where they are poor but happy. On film, however, Rosia villagers speak instead about their desire for development that will bring prosperity and clean up the damage from hundreds of years of environmentally unfriendly mining projects.

"Mine Your Own Business is the first documentary to take a hard look at the environmental movement," says the director, "and what we found was not pretty. Activists believe that people in remote areas are 'poor but happy.' They think that development will spoil their idyllic rural existence. But I've been there, and poverty is neither charming nor quaint, nor is it a lifestyle choice."

I have written more than a dozen posts about or referencing MYOB on my personal blog,, which you can see here.

PBS ought to show MYOB in addition to "Gold Futures" in order to give viewers a balanced look at the issue. PBS's Wide Angle show is underwitten by the following:

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation, The Jacob Burns Foundation, Ford Foundation, Josh and Judy Weston, Rosalind P. Walter, and The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Gheorghe Lucian, a resident of Rosia Montana, has some more discussion of the PBS documentary on his blog, Report from Rosia.

"Gold Futures" airs nationwide on PBS at 9 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday - check your local listings for station and local air times in your city.

—Bill Hobbs is author of Who Is Fred Thompson, a blog-centric look at the presidential candidate.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Mine Your Own Business to be screened in Modesto

'MINE YOUR OWN BUSINESS': Modesto Junior College's Civic Engagement Project will present a film and panel discussion on mining in Romania and farming in the Central Valley on Thursday. The screening of "Mine Your Own Business," will begin at 7 p.m. in Forum 110, east campus of MJC, 435 College Ave. Organizers said the film uses examples of environmentalists' attempts to close down mines in Europe, Africa, and South America to make the broader claim that environmentalists' actions unwittingly increase poverty and environmental degradation. A panel discussion that will follow will center on environmental activism with respect to the Central Valley. Among the topics discussed will be whether "environmental activism" increases poverty and even environmental degradation in the central valley. Panelists are Brad Barker, president-elect of the Stanislaus County Sierra Club, Michel Etchebarne, first vice president of the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau and Gary A. Patton, executive director of the Planning and Conservation League in Sacramento. Bill Anelli will be the moderator.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Film Makers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer spoke at the annual State Policy Network in Portland, Maine.

Over 350 people packed a lunchtime talk by McAleer and McElhinney where they also saw excerpts from Mine Your Own Business.

Blogger Dreckless was there:

Mine Your Own Business

While attending a conference here in Maine, we screened a movie entitled Mine Your Own Business. Directed by Irish filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, it looks at the dark side of environmentalism by traveling to some of the world’s most economically challenged areas and talking to some of the world’s poorest people about how western environmentalists are campaigning to keep them in poverty because they think their way of life is quaint.

Without question, it is the hardest-hitting, most effective expose of the hypocrisy, arrogance, condescension, and selfishness of the environmental movement I have ever viewed.

Some of the footage they obtained of liberals from the World Wildlife Fund and like-minded organizations is shocking in what it reveals about the liberal mind.

The directors shared with us the challenges they faced in so effectively exposing the environmentalists – including a number of death threats which were so serious that the police became involved.

Mine Your Own Business asks the hard questions of the environmental movement and exposes it for what it is.

I obtained a DVD of the movie and strongly recommend you do, too. Everyone should see this film.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Standing ovation for Film Maker

Film Maker Ann McElhinney received a standing ovation at a packed Americans For Prosperity summit in Washington DC.

McElhinney was speaking about environmentalism and told of her experiences as a film maker documenting the excesses of the environmental movement.

There was standing room only as over 500 people heard about Mine Your Own Business and the dark side of the environmental movement.

Speaking after most of the Republican Presidential candidates had addressed (and mostly unimpressed) the crowd McElhinney was the only speaker to receive a standing ovation.

"You should run for president," shouted one audience member as Mc Elhinney spoke.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ann McElhinney to speak at prestigious event in DC

Ann McElhinney director and producer of Mine Your Own Business has been invited to speak at Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s 1,000-Strong “Defending the American Dream Summit” other speakers include US Presidential candidates Sen. John McCain ,Sam Brownback, Rudy Giuliani, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson. McElhinney will be speaking on Friday, October 5th 4:00 - 5:30 pm in the the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC (East Room)

Friday, September 7, 2007

New York Sun praises Mine Your Own Business

On August 31 Alicia Colon of the New York Sun states:

"...Mine Your Own Business captures how radical environmentalists were suppressing progress in some of the world's poorest areas. An Irish journalist, Phelim McAleer, filmed the piece with honesty and integrity, allowing viewers to form their own opinion.

Find out for yourself. Order a copy of Mine Your Own Business through the website

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Noted academic praises Mine Your Own Business

The Independent Institute
Mine Your Own Business
September 5, 2007
Alvaro Vargas Llosa

WASHINGTON—One would think only a crazy couple would declare war on environmentalists by presenting them on film as snobs, hypocrites and enemies of the poor. Luckily for those of us who think one-sided debates are boring, Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney are just crazy enough to question the environmentalists' opposition to mining projects in poor countries in a documentary—“Mine Your Own Business”—that is gaining attention.

McAleer, an Irish journalist who covered Romania for the Financial Times, and McElhinney, his wife and co-producer, look at three mining investments: a gold project by Gabriel Resources in Rosia Montana, in Romania's Transylvania region; Rio Tinto's ilmenite project in Fort Dauphin, in Madagascar; and a vast Andean operation undertaken by Barrick Gold in Chile's Huasco Valley.

In the movie, many of the critics who claim to live in the affected areas are less than honest. One, a Swiss environmentalist who leads the opposition to mining in Romania, actually lives in the sort of town to which many of the impoverished peasants of Rosia Montana want to move.

The activists are adamant that the locals should preserve their “pristine” environment. A Belgian environmentalist says the people of Rosia Montana would rather use carts and horses than pollute the air with cars. “She says this to get noticed,” counters a Romanian peasant who looks totally bewildered.

Half a world away, when confronted with the argument that denying the people of Fort Dauphin a chance to obtain jobs would keep them poor, the leading critic of the ilmenite project and the owner of a luxurious catamaran pontificates to Gheorghe Lucian, an unemployed Romanian traveling with the film's crew: “I could put you with a family here and you can count how many times people smile ... and I can put you with a family that is well-off in New York and London and you can count how many times they smile, and then you can tell me who is rich and who is poor.”

You can imagine what this esoteric interpretation of wealth sounds like to Lucian, the Romanian who graduated from Rosia Montana's Technical College and is desperate to find a job. Two-thirds of his fellow villagers lack running water and use outside bathrooms even in freezing winter. For him, as for the other 700 prospective employees of the mining project back home, the choice is literally “between having a job and leaving.”

The film crew also traveled to the Chilean Andes to find out who was leading the fight against Barrick Gold. It turns out—as one local villager explains—that those who oppose the investment are mainly rich landowners who don't want the peasants working on their lands for a pittance to flock to the mines for twice their current wages.

McAleer tells us that the claim the mining project will displace three glaciers that provide irrigation for local agriculture is false. The glaciers will not be affected and the company will build a reservoir to guarantee that local farmers have a decent supply of water.

Will this industrial progress in Romania, Madagascar or Chile pollute the environment? Well, the alternative is much worse. Communist-era gold mining, which was technologically backward, bureaucratic and unaccountable, turned Rosia Montana's river into disgusting filth. In Madagascar's Fort Dauphin, slash-and-burn agriculture—the sort the rural poor resort to in order to survive—has destroyed the rain forest.

It would be naive to think these mining companies are in it for altruistic motives—they obviously want to make a profit. But the truth—one that Lucian, the unemployed Romanian, discovers as he ventures beyond his country for the first time in his life—is that progress involves hard choices. The wealthy nations of today were themselves “pristine” environments in which people gradually gave up traditional ways of life to improve their living conditions. Who are we to deny the poor of today the chance to do well for themselves when an opportunity arises if they decide to take it?

Yes, moving from the traditional to the modern way of life involves costs. But as one British professor at Kent University says: “People need to be trusted to work these things out for themselves.... Environmentalists feel they have the moral authority to tell them what to do.”

Not all nongovernmental organizations are as elitist and unfair to poor people as the many this film exposes. Not every mining project is as respectful of local choices as the ones depicted in this film. But this documentary speaks volumes about the Manichean vision that many bleeding-heart Americans and Europeans have of the dilemma between tradition and modernity in the developing world.

Alvaro Vargas Llosa, author of “Liberty for Latin America,” is the director of the Center on Global Prosperity at the Independent Institute. His e-mail address is AVLlosa(at)

Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Send email

Alvaro Vargas Llosa is Senior Fellow and Director of The Center on Global Prosperity at The Independent Institute. He is a native of Peru and received his B.S.C. in international history from the London School of Economics. He is widely published and has lectured on world economic and political issues including at the Mont Pelerin Society, Naumann Foundation (Germany), FAES Foundation (Spain), Brazilian Institute of Business Studies, Fundación Libertad (Argentina), CEDICE Foundation (Venezuela), Florida International University, and the Ecuadorian Chamber of Commerce. He is the author of the Independent Institute books The Che Guevara Myth and Liberty for Latin America.

More Support for Mine Your Own Business and telling the truth about Rosia Montana

September 5, 2007
Why Does Soros Want to Keep Some Folks Poor?
Yeah, sometimes instead of writing about Tennessee politics, media or the war I go off and write about a mining project in Romania that has caught my interest. This is my a blog, so you get what I'm interested in, and this story is one of those. It's about a the village of Rosia Montana, Romania, a poverty-stricken place that is seeing its best-ever chance at economic progress and a better life for its people blocked by environmentalists and by one very rich billionaire who doesn't lack for things like indoor plumbing and electricity the way many of the people do in Rosia.

I have come into possession of a copy of a letter that famed billionaire and funder of leftist causes George Soros wrote in mid-April to the CEO of Denver-based Newmont Mining, urging the company to not support a proposed gold mine in the impoverished Romanian village of Rosia Montana - a mine proposed by Gabriel Resources of Toronto, Canada.

Now, why would Soros, write such a letter - and address it to the CEO of Newmont rather than Gabriel Resources?

Newmont owns 19 percent of Gabriel Resources. And Soros owns a significant stake in Newmont. That answers the first question. But you'd think Soros, as a stockholder in Newmont, would want Newmont to profit from Gabriel's Rosia Montana mine project. On the other hand, if Soros only made what for him, dollar-wise, is a rather small investment in Newmont stock in order to have the standing to pressure Newmont to work against Gabriel's project, the question is much more serious:

Why does Soros, famous funder of a variety of leftwing causes both in America and around the world, believe that it is vital the people of Rosia Montana be denied a chance at major economic development

And that brings me to the deeper question of why Soros - who has significant investments in gold-mining and other mining operations - has made opposition to the Rosia Montana project a personal crusade, a question that remains unanswered, in part because the world media has not asked it.

Soros' Open Society Institute, which claims to be working to better the lives of people in places like Rosia Montana, recently opened an outpost in the impoverished village, under the name Soros Foundation Romania, ostensibly to help the locals fight off the mine.

The grand opening was booed by the locals, who desperately want the good jobs and wages that the Gabriel mine would bring to the town, which currently has a 70 percent unemployment rate and historically has made its living from mining.

Did the negative reception for Soros's organization in Rosia Montana make it into any of the world media that have covered the Rosia Story?


Recently, however, Gabriel Resources has begun to fight back against the campaign of lies and deceptions that the Soros Foundation Romania has been using to fight the mine. In late August, Allen Hill, CEO of both Gabriel Resources and the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation subsidiary, released an open letter to Renate Weber, the chairman of the board of the Soros Foundation Romania, exposing a slew of lies and deceptions on the foundation's website about the Rosia mining project.

The lies and distortions pushed by Soros regarding the project have become standard fare in major-media coverage of the Rosia project, which almost always portrays the battle as a David-versus-Goliath story, with the village as the David and Gabriel Resources as Goliath.

The truth that is beginning to emerge is that, yes, this is a David-and-Goliath story, but it is Gabriel Resources that is the David, fighting a multi-headed giant comprised of a series of Soros-funded "environmental groups" and NGOs.

Hill's letter is a shining example of, pardon the pun, the gold standard in pushing back against biased and inaccurate media coverage by attacking the lies and distortions at their source. Here is the letter in its entirety:

Dear Ms Weber,
I write to call to your attention the factual falsehoods on your website concerning the Rosia Montana Project – errors that must in fact be known to your organization, as they differ from the project’s EIA report, which (as is evident from citations on various pages of your website) you claim to have studied and analyzed.

As the false statements are too numerous to list in this letter, suffice it to say by way of example that the “case study” appearing on your website contains 10 errors in just 5 paragraphs.

In Soros Foundation shorthand, the Rosia Montana project is defined by “dynamiting four mountains,” “destroying 958 households” and “demolishing the town.”

None are true.

Dynamiting four mountains…
Fact: if the reference is to the four proposed mining pits comprising our project, your web-visitors should know that not one of the sites is pristine – indeed, all four sites bear the ravages of past mining, and one is in fact an abandoned crater, heavily polluted by poor mining practice, which our modern mining practices will clean up. Modern “mining for closure” practices – documented in our EIA – will ensure that when the mine is closed, lands will be reclaimed, revegetated and returned to use by man and wildlife. And in the case of Rosia Montana, our mine will in fact leave the area cleaner than we found it.

Destroying 958 households…
Fact: according to World Bank standards, homes are being purchased on a “willing buyer/willing seller” model, at generous prices unavailable in the natural “real estate market” in impoverished rural Romania – which is why 98% of all local residents have had their properties surveyed by the company. 12 of the 16 sub-commune of Rosia Montana are not affected by the project – and for those families who seek to live nearby, a new village Piatra Alba is being built at company expense, the collaboration of a Romanian and Colorado/USA design team that has developed U.S. resort communities.

Demolishing the town…
Fact: Far from demolishing Rosia Montana, all 41 currently-designated historic structures in the village are preserved under our mining plan, whether they are located in the Protected Zone or outside of it. Two churches must be moved under the mine plan; depending on the congregations’ wishes, the churches will either be moved or rebuilt to the congregation’s specifications. Perhaps this is why the Special Rapporteur from the Council of Europe termed our patrimony programme at Rosia Montana “an exemplary model of responsible development.”

…Although that’s a fact not fit for the posting on the Soros Foundation site.

All of these facts are present in our EIA, whose contents are legally binding on us.

Perhaps you have just copied your case against us from the statements of partner organizations who are opposed to our project, reporting their falsehoods as your own. Indeed, many of the “facts” on your site look to come, cut-and-paste style, directly from statements made by Alburnus Maior and the Hungarian Government.

But we should give credit where credit is due -- and acknowledge falsehoods that appear to be your own organization’s invention.

For instance, your site claims that the Rosia Montana “project violates also the Berlin Convention (10 October 2001), which stipulates the interdiction of the cyanide use in the mining exploitations on the territory of the European Union.”

Of course the Berlin Convention, as you are doubtlessly aware, has no force of law in the EU. Indeed, cyanide use in gold extraction is legal within the EU (and is currently used in a majority of operating EU gold mines), and is subject to even stronger standards as a result of the EU’s 2006 Mining Waste Directive – with which our project complies from Day One. In fact, at the most recent G-8 gathering in Germany, the G-8 nations made a joint statement explicitly endorsing the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC) -- promulgated under the auspices of the United Nations Environmental Programme, outlines strict Standards of Practice governing cyanide use in mining.

Is the G-8 wrong about cyanide?

Are the heads of the world’s foremost democracies violators of the law?

Is the UN a co-conspirator in the lawless use of cyanide?

Or is it the case that the Soros website simply chooses to mislead its visitors, in hopes that they will remain ignorant of the facts?

The Soros Foundation cannot in good conscience post such false statements on its site if it is sincere in its wish to have an honest and open discussion on projects such as ours.

The volume of such statements on your website suggests not random error but rather a concerted campaign -- a suppression of any and all fact-based evidence recognizing that the Rosia Montana Project conforms to the highest international standards. Beyond your web-based campaign, we also call on you to clarify your role in the leaking of the IGIE Report (the so-called “ad hoc report”) in March 2007, whereby fed negative news stories in Romania on what was in fact a positive report. Finally, given community support for our project and your claimed commitment to accountability, we urge you to explain how your anti-mining stance squares with your mission statement “to promote patterns for the advancement of a society based on freedom, accountability and respect for diversity.”

Perhaps we are destined to differ. Still, it is the case that people are entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.

As a publicly-traded company, Gabriel Resources is required by law as well as the regulatory rules that govern security exchanges to conduct itself in an open and transparent manner. The same cannot be said about your “open society” organization. We urge you to remove the false statements from your website immediately, and desist from misleading the interested public about our project.

Alan Hill
President & CEO
Gabriel Resources & Rosia Montana Gold Corporation

Hill's letter is filled with facts, while Soros' letter to the Newmont Mining CEO is filled with unsubstantiated assertions and misleading spin. Just one example: Soros cites "a recent poll organized by a special committee of the Romanian parliament (that) found 90% of respondents rejecting the project," but fails to inform the Newmont CEO that the "poll" was an unscientific Internet poll that collected many votes from people who didn't live in Rosia but, instead, were associated with organizations opposed to the new mine.
One more: Soros charges that the Rosia project will result in "involuntarily resettling hundreds of people," when the truth is the village only has a few hundred people and most favor the mine - and are selling their property to Gabriel for generous prices that are allowing them to resettle in nice new homes in a new village a few miles away.

No one has been involuntarily moved.

Why is Soros attacking - directly and through surrogate groups he funds - the Rosia gold mine project? Only Soros knows for sure, but there is much speculation. Rosia Montana is located in the region known as Transylvania, which once belonged to Hungary. Soros is Hungarian. Could nationalism - and a desire to keep Rosia down as long as it is part of Romania - play a role?

What about Soros' business interests? Soros is not opposed to mining, as his investments show. He's not even opposed to gold-mining using cyanide leeching, as contributor Paul Driessen explains in a piece I'll excerpt below.

Perhaps Soros aims to block the Rosia project, then ride in as the town's savior, buying up the existing abandoned mines and proposing his own gold mine that would, no doubt, be promised to be even more environmentally friendly than Soros and his allies allege, falsely, that the Gabriel project isn't. The Soros-funded NGOs likely wouldn't bite the hand that feeds them.

Just a thought.

But perhaps not totally off the mark.

Driessen, senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death, speculated on Soros' possible financial motives for organizationg opposition to the Rosia mine, in an excellent column at last week:


The radical NGOs simply hate mining, don’t live in the village, have no compassion for these families, and are under no legal obligation to be honest, transparent or accountable for the consequences of their actions. As one foreign activist said in an email:
"Why should any NGO come forward with alternative projects? That is not the job of civil society. We are not a humanitarian organization, but a militant environmental NGO. If the whole community is in favor of the project, we simply put it on the list of our enemies."

They will spend millions to stop development, but not one cent on poor people or the environment. They destroy thousands of jobs, but create no new ones. When someone asked the Alburnus Maior president where his money comes from, he said "It’s not your business!"

George Soros and his Soros Foundation Romania appear to be the principal money behind this campaign. Not only is this support anti-poor, anti-environment and anti-Romania. It's also hypocritical, because Soros has made millions from mining operations that use cyanide – and a silver mine that relocated an entire village. But stopping Gabriel and other Western corporations could certainly benefit his political agenda and provide opportunities to profit from fluctuations in metals prices caused by restrictions on mining in the face of surging demand to meet the needs of new technologies and developing economies.

It also promotes Hungary's desire to assert influence over lands that once were part of its empire, or at least prevent those regions from becoming economic competitors. That desire may explain why its government issued a press release condemning the project, almost immediately after it had submitted 122 questions about the project, but before it had received a single answer.

Twenty-one Romanian NGOs visited Rosia Montana and met with the people and company. Eighteen of them changed their minds and now support the project. The radical activists refuse to have any dialogue.

Read Driessen's whole column.
Meanwhile, I'll take this as one more chance to urge you to see the documentary Mine Your Own Business, which reveals just how disconnected from reality - and from the needs of the people of Rosia Montana - are the various environmentalist organizations and NGOs fighting the Rosia project.

Charleston screens MYOB

Manic Miners

Sick of Sicko? Fuming at Fahrenheit 9/11? For those who like their political filmmaking a little more right of center, help is at hand.

The Bastiat Society is a local organization aiming to "promote that the free market is the most productive, most humane, and most moral form of large-scale social organization." It's hosting the S.C. premiere of Mine Your Own Business, a 2006 documentary that claims to be the first to explore the dark side of the green scene.

Filmmaker Phelim McAleer is worried about environmentalists' "pernicious effects... on the poorest people in some of the poorest countries in the world." The former Financial Times correspondent looks at the impact eco-friendliness can have on miners, who stand to lose their livelihoods thanks to anti-mining campaigns coordinated by foreign environmentalists.

The Bastiat Society is named after 19th century French economist Frédéric Bastiat who once said, "The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."

The one-off screening of McAleer's skillful attack on tree-huggers takes place at the American Theater, 446 King St. on Wed. Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. Tickets won't cost a red cent. —Nick Smith

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mine Your Own Business featured on prestigious Wall Street Journal editorial page


Make Up Your Own Mine
An impoverished town strikes gold. George Soros and foreign environmentalists say, leave it in the ground.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 12:01 a.m.

The recent tragedy in Utah has brightened the spotlight on mining, already under assault by environmental and anti-globalization activists world-wide. These activists have produced several documentaries, and the anti-mining campaign has attracted the attention of billionaire George Soros and actress Vanessa Redgrave--and enough charges of greed or hypocrisy to fill a mine shaft.
Tonight, PBS will air "Gold Futures," a film by Hungary's Tibor Kocsis. The film focuses on residents in Romania's Rosia Montana, a rural Transylvanian town, who are divided over the benefits of a proposed gold mine. It also features Gabriel Resources, the Canadian mining company trying to convince them to relocate so it can dig for a huge gold deposit estimated at 14.6 million ounces, worth almost $10 billion. PBS describes the film as a "David-and-Goliath story."

While the film gives time to supporters and opponents of the mine, it leaves unsaid that half of the villagers voicing opposition have now either sold their homes or will not have to move, because they live in a protected area where the village's historic structures and churches will be preserved. Viewers who see pristine shots of the Rosia valley won't realize the hills hide a huge, abandoned communist-era mine, leaking toxic heavy metals into local streams--or that while the modern mining project will level four hills to create an open pit, it will also clean up the old mess at no cost to the Romanian treasury.

The other side to the controversy is told in a new film that will never be shown on PBS, but is nonetheless rattling the environmental community. "Mine Your Own Business" is a documentary by Irish filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney. They conclude that the biggest threat to the people of Rosia Montana "comes from upper-class Western environmentalism that seeks to keep them poor and unable to clean up the horrific pollution caused by Ceausescu's mining."
Mr. McAleer, a former Financial Times journalist who has followed the mine battle for seven years, says he "found that everything the environmentalists were saying about the project was misleading, exaggerated or quite simply false." He produced his film on a shoestring $230,000 budget largely provided by Gabriel Resources, but says he was given complete editorial control.

The Gabriel funding caused environmental groups to label the film "propaganda" and demand the National Geographic Society cancel plans to rent its Washington, D.C., theater to the free-market Moving Picture Institute for a screening. The Institute notes opponents rarely challenge the film's facts. As for Mr. Kocsis's documentary, his Flora Film corporate Web site lists as its partners Greenpeace, the Hungarian Ministry of Environment and the George Soros-backed Energy Club of Hungary, all of which oppose the Romanian project on either environmental or nationalistic grounds (Transylvania used to be part of Hungary).

High-profile mine opponents such as Ms. Redgrave (who hasn't visited Rosia Montana), have declared undying opposition to the project: "Our planet is dying and we have no right to destroy an ecosystem." In April, Mr. Soros, the chairman of the Open Society Institute and a large funder of groups opposing Rosia Montana, wrote to Wayne Murdy, then CEO of Newmont Mining, the Denver company that owns 19% of Gabriel Resources. He urged him not to invest in "a dubious project such as Rosia Montana," citing "the social costs involved in involuntarily resettling hundreds of people" and "the potential for disastrous environmental impact." Mr. Soros did not respond to an interview request.

Opponents of the mine claim that Rosia Montana residents agree with their stance. "Local opposition to the mine is strong and organized" says a statement signed by 80 environmental groups in January. In his letter, Mr. Soros cites a recent poll organized by some members of Romania's parliament that "found 90% of respondents rejecting the project." But the poll turns out to be an unscientific Internet survey, and one of the environmental groups Mr. Soros funds urged people outside Romania to participate in it. What is clear: Two-thirds of Rosia Montana's people have accepted Gabriel's voluntary offer to buy their homes at above market rates. Most will move four miles away to a less polluted area.

On the other side, Rosia Montana Mayor Virgil Narita supports the mine because it will create 700 permanent local jobs. He was re-elected with 80% of the vote this year. And in late 2004, the Council of Europe sent Eddie O'Hara, a British Labour Party member of the European Parliament, to Rosia Montana to file an official report. Opposition to the mine, he said, was "substantial," but it was "very much fueled by outside bodies, presumably well-meaning but possibly counterproductively. It seems in part at least exaggerated." Mr. O'Hara concluded the opposition "do not take account of modern mining techniques and in fact the Rosia Montana project will help to clear up existing pollution." He also warned that not allowing the mine "would remove any chance of local development for some time."

And there's the rub. Rosia Montana needs a cleanup and development. Three-quarters of its 600 families lack indoor toilets, unemployment tops 70% and the only truly viable crop is potatoes. In "Mine Your Own Business," Andrei Jurca, the local dentist, tells Mr. McAleer "we don't need foreign advocates. We are smart enough to take our own fate in our own hands." Other villagers note that concerns about Gabriel's use of cyanide in gold mining are misplaced. Seven out of nine existing gold mines in European Union countries use cyanide and the allowable limits in Rosia Montana will be lower than all of them.

Perhaps local unemployed miner Gheorghe Lucian says it best: "People have no food to eat. . . . I know what I need--a job." Mr. Soros's Romanian Open Society Foundation is touting "alternative economic activities such as organic agriculture and eco-tourism," unrealistic at best. Stefania Simon, legal counsel for the anti-mine group Alburnus Maior, has no answer for Mr. Lucian. "Unemployment is a problem, but it will not be solved by mining," she told Britain's Guardian newspaper. Noting that Gabriel has only a 17-year lease to mine, she says, "This is a solution for the short term." But right now, even non-permanent jobs and any cleanup of the existing pollution looks like a good deal to people like Mr. Lucian.
"Mine Your Own Business" also contains interviews with leading environmentalists opposing other mining projects who display smug indifference to bettering the lives of poor people. In Madagascar, Mr. McAleer finds Mark Fenn, country director for the World Wide Fund for Nature, who argues that the poor are just as happy as the rich because they smile more and that if Madagascar locals (who now earn $100 a month) get more money "they'll buy cases of beer, invite their friends, they'll throw a party . . . three, four days the money's gone." He then shows off his new $35,000 catamaran.

Mr. McAleer tells me such encounters should wake up people "who, like myself, unquestionably believed environmentalists were a force for good in the world." He still considers himself a liberal but, "it's sad that my fellow left-wingers and environmentalists who often come from the most developed countries are now so opposed to development."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

South Carolina premiere of Mine Your Own Business

South Carolina to learn the truth about Rosia Montana and other environmental campaigns


Charleston, South Carolina- - The Bastiat Society is bringing Mine Your Own Business, by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, to the public, free of charge, to all those interested in exploring the negative consequences of environmental groups working around the world. The film will be shown at the American Theatre, 446 King Street in Charleston on Wednesday, September 5th, 2007 at 5pm.

“Move over Michael Moore. You have competition in the art of political film making…but instead of advancing the cause of smug liberal hypocrisy, he’s [McAleer] debunking it.” – Wall Street Journal Online

To arrange a screening in your area contact Barton Sidles on

Thursday, July 12, 2007

MYOB returns to Seattle

WPC's Center for Environmental Policy Hosts 5th Annual Luncheon on Thursday, July 19th

Join WPC's Center for Environmental Policy for its 5th Annual Environmental Policy Luncheon on Thursday, July 19th from 12:00 - 1:30pm in Seattle. This year the luncheon will welcome Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, both Fellows of the Moving Picture Institute, a not for profit dedicated to advancing liberty through the medium of film. The two speakers are the directors and producers of the film "Mine Your Own Business," (2006) which examines how wealthy western environmentalists are working against the interests of impoverished communities and, ironically, environmental improvement.

Thursday, July 19th
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
The Seattle Red Lion, 1415, 5th Ave.
Price: $35.00 Individual Ticket
Sponsorship Levels Listed Below

Last year's event with Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore sold out and was attended by over 200 business and environmental leaders, policymakers, and interested individuals. Don't miss this year's lunch, which has become the event to attend for networking and learning more about the growing free-market environmentalist movement.

Attendees at the lunch will have the opportunity to ask questions of McAleer and McElhinney about their controversial environmental film.

For more information on sponsorship levels or to register click here or call 206-937-9691 or email

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Little Miss Attila praises Mine Your Own Business

Review: Mine Your Own Business
What an amazing film.

This begins as an intensely personal story: Mine Your Own Business starts with a mini-autobiography on the part of former Financial Times reporter Phelim McAleer, who discusses why he originally went into journalism. Growing up Roman Catholic in Northern Ireland, he saw enough of man's inhumanity to man that he wanted to write, to serve as a witness, to speak for human rights. (He doesn't put it quite that way, of course, but that's how I interpreted his statements.)

While he was working for the FT in Romania, McAleer was approached by a beleaguered Canadian company that wanted to bring modern, environmentally responsible mining techniques to the Transylvanian town of Rosia Montana—which has been in the mining business for approximately 2000 years (yes, since Roman times). The company,Gabriel Resources, wanted him to do a promotional piece on their planned mine in Rosia Montana. McAleer had a better idea: Why don't you help me make a documentary? he asked. He had one proviso: The company would have zero editorial control. Zero.

Either they felt lucky, or they were very secure in their thinking that someone who looked at the actual environmental impact of the project—and spoke with the townspeople in Rosia Montana—would come to the conclusion that the mining project was a good idea, or at least the least-bad idea for saving Rosia Montana. Perhaps, however, the company just likes writing checks to no particular end, which is unusual among big businesses. In any event, they agreed: No editorial control. And they forked over the cash.

They backed McAleer through some very unorthodox filmmaking methods: not only does McAleer speak with a lot of the actual residents of Rosia Montana about the mine, but he develops a bond with one of the locals, an unemployed young miner named George Lucian, who speaks some English (his linguistic skills gets better as the film progresses) and takes on an unexpectedly huge role in the documentary.

Lucian takes McAleer on a tour of the less picturesque parts of Rosia Montana, such as the rusty-looking hyper-polluted river that now runs on the outskirts of town, and the rather, um, geometrical piles of dirt that adorn the surrounding landscape as a result of old-fashioned mining techniques (in fact, it looks like strip mining). Eventually, the two begin researching other controversial mining projects that have also been in environmentalist extremists' cross-hairs.

Then McAleer talks George Lucian—who has never even travelled to Bucharest, much less boarded a plane—into visiting towns on other continents where mining projects are desired by the citizenry, but opposed by environmentalists.

They look at a project in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar, and together get to know one of the "local" opponents, who lives quite far away from the town, and is in the process of building a seaside villa on the far coast of the island. The most hilarious part of the whole movie takes place on the grounds of his estate-in-progress, where he shows his visitors his $35,000 yacht, and then explains that the villagers in Fort Dauphin are rich in things other than trifles such as material possession and "nutrition" (I kid you not: he really said that—and with the camera rolling!). In any event, he assures his guests, if any of the locals in Madagascar ever came into money, they'd squander it on beer; they certainly won't use it to educate their children. (Ever-thorough, McAleer asks Fr. Daupin resident what they would do with any money they might make by working in the mine. With few exceptions, they express a desire to send their kids to school.)

During the hilarious-but-scary discussion with the high-roller watermelon, the camera pans to the horrified look on George's face as he listens to the rich guy who opposes development and claims that he doesn't think money is really that important. We have already been told that many of the villagers in Rosia Montana don't have indoor plumbing, and we've seen pictures of the outhouses its denizens must use in sub-zero weather. For the first-time viewer of Mine Your Own Business, poverty has lost any allure it might once have had—and for good.

I found myself wondering why the unemployed Transylvanian miner didn't go after the rich, self-satisfied environmentalist with a knife, but young George is better-bred than I am, and it shows.

Next, Phelim McAleer heads to London, to discuss the history of ecosystems with a few of the academics there. One points out that Kew Gardens wouldn't exist if the forest that preceeded it had been "saved" by the forbears of those who now want to save poor Africans and Eastern Europeans from the horrors of human progress; another asks who, exactly, we are to tell them that development will create long-range problems for them, and we consider them incapable of solving such problems? After all, the industrialized world has managed to mitigate a lot of the side-effects of development, while enjoying its benefits. (Back to that indoor toilet issue. I feel that an outhouse would be inconvenient here, in Southern California—much less in an environment that plunges 20 degrees below zero every winter.)

Finally, George and Phelim head off to Chile, where a mining project is being planned high in the Andes, on the border with Argentina. The locals desperately want this project, and the money it will bring into the community, but this one, also, is opposed by environmentalists and some NGOs (non-governmental organizations). The enviros and the NGOs are also allied with local agribusiness, which has grown accustomed to using the locals as sources of cheap labor who are willing to work under unsafe conditions because the big landowners are, right now, the only game in town. With a mine nearby, the landowners would have to improve working conditions—and possibly raise pay—to attract labor. It seems they prefer having serfs—and, really, who wouldn't?

The altitude in Chile kicks McAleer's ass; he ends up in a clinic breathing oxygen out of a mask. It is left to his young Romanian friend—the guy who knows high-altitude mining—to visit the site of the proposed mine, and interview the developer about what this might do for the community, and what is being done to preserve the glaciers in the area.

Then we get to listen to the enviros again, and it's the same old story: those who are financially comfortable would like the world's poor to remain that way, as if they were exhibits in a sort of global zoo. All humans are equal, sure. But some are more equal than others. And glaciers, of course, are more equal than people. But you knew that too, right?

If there were a real hierarchy among politically independent filmmakers, I'd be afraid that Phelim McAleer would topple the mighty Even Coyne Maloney right off his throne. (Though it may get interesting this fall at the Liberty Film Festival's main extravaganza in West Hollywood, with Indoctrinate U having to compete with Mine Your Own Business. I'm just glad I'm not on the voting panel; it would be hard to choose between those two.)

Oh, and by the way—there's been some opposition to MYOB by environmental groups and NGOs. What a sir-prize! But I didn't see a rebuttal; just mushy indignation. The images of environmental damage from the existing mining operation in Rosia Montana were awfully hard for me to ignore—as were the pictures from a neighboring town, where mining has been abandoned entirely, and those who remain are reduced to picking through the rubble, looking for scrap metal they can sell in order to survive.

Poverty is not picturesque. It is time for us to get out of the way, and let developing countries . . . you know: develop.

UPDATE: And here's a bonus! A discussion of the film by environmental extremists who clearly haven't seen it, and think the filmmaker is "British," and the Romanian woman quoted therein must be "Russian."

Can we at least pool our resources and get some of these far-left greenies an atlas? Just a thought.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007



This week sees the countrywide launch of Mine Your Own Business in Ghana.

Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney are in Ghana this week to promote the premiere of their film across four Ghanaian television channels. The film, which will be shown at prime time on four consecutive days, means that the whole country will get to see it. Already the filmmakers have had a huge response to their visit and have received hundreds of emails of support. The week will see the filmmakers have a hectic round of media interviews. You can hear them tomorrow morning on Joy FM one of the country’s leading radio stations where they will be discussing the issue raised in MYOB with a panel of distinguished Ghanaians.

McAleer and McElhinney said they are delighted to have arranged such a comprehensive distribution of the documentary in Ghana.

“It is to be broadcast at prime time on four of the country’s main television stations and hopefully it will be seen by most of the population in this country where mining plays such a significant role in the economy.”

We are delighted at the already positive response we have had from people and the media,” they added.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Mine Your Own Business

The Environmental Creed
By Donald J. Boudreaux
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Careful observers often and correctly note that, for many of its adherents, environmentalism is a religion.

Too many environmentalists disregard inconvenient truths that would undermine their faith that calamities are percolating just over the horizon. It might well be that humans' "footprint" on the Earth is larger than ever; it might even be true that this larger footprint creates some health risks for us modern humans that our pre-industrial ancestors never encountered.

But it is undeniably true that we denizens of industrial, market economies live far better and far healthier than did any our pre-industrial ancestors.

Compared to those ancestors, our life expectancies at birth today are about three times higher. Our bodies are cleaner and more free of disease. Our homes are sanitary. We have indoor plumbing and anti-bacterial soap; our ancestors had outhouses. Our clothes are cleaner and, despite recent hysteria, our food supply is safer.

What we almost never hear from self-proclaimed "environmentalists" is recognition of the upside of contemporary life. The commerce and industry that produce all the things that environmentalists ecstatically despise also produce incredible amounts of wealth, health and cleanliness -- not to mention the leisure necessary for modern people to reflect upon and enjoy nature.

Also, too many environmentalists condemn people who don't share their creed. For example, I don't recycle my trash because my time is too precious for me to spend it sorting such items into different containers. I never criticize those who do recycle, but environmentalists point accusing fingers at us nonrecyclers. In environmentalists' eyes, those who unquestioningly disregard the value of one resource (time) in order to spend it on the conservation of other resources (wood, plastic and glass) are righteous while those of us who value and conserve time are sinners.

And just as religious belief sometimes can inspire adherents to commit acts of cruelty against other human beings, so, too, can environmentalism. Such cruelty is vividly revealed in the new film "Mine Your Own Business." This movie is a documentary centered on a small Romanian town, Rosia Montana. A poor mountain village, Rosia Montana was chosen by a western mining company as a site for a new mine -- an enterprise that would have offered higher-paying jobs to the mostly peasant, rural population.

Environmentalists, though, opposed the mine. Among their chief reasons was their insistence that the mine would "destroy" the way of life of residents of Rosia Montana. On this point, the environmentalists were correct: The mine would indeed change the way of life in that town. But as the film documents, that's precisely an outcome that the townspeople wanted.

Their rural way of life -- with chickens scampering along the dirt roads and outhouses rather than indoor plumbing the norm -- was no joy for them. Most of these townspeople welcomed an opportunity to integrate with the modern, industrial, global economy.

The environmental congregation, however, paid no attention. Living in cities far away from Rosia Montana, environmentalists -- against all evidence -- insisted that the townspeople really don't want the industry, jobs and greater prosperity that the mine would bring.

One environmentalist, a Belgian woman, confidently shared her revelation that the people of Rosia Montana prefer to travel by horse rather than by automobile, so the added wealth that the mine would bring to enable the townspeople to afford cars would be pointless.

The townspeople, alas, have very different ideas. Being human, they're capable of thinking for themselves. And when asked if they'd prefer a horse to a car, droves of them looked at the questioner as if he were stupid to ask such a thing. "A car" was the constant and unambiguous answer of each person asked.

In another scene, a local man in his 20s, after expressing his support for the mine, was asked if he shared the environmentalists' concern that the mine would destroy the town's beauty. Looking momentarily befuddled, the young man glanced around his hometown -- at the dirt streets, the shacks, the ever-present farm animals -- and said matter-of-factly that "It is not so beautiful."

I don't know if the mine ever will be built in Rosia Montana; environmentalists are still fighting it. If these environmentalists succeed, it will be yet another example of religious zealotry run amok with sad consequences.

Donald J. Boudreaux is chairman of the department of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. His column appears twice monthly.

Donald J. Boudreaux is chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. His column runs twice monthly. E-mail him at:

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Investors Business Daily recognise the value of debate

Piece that appeared in Investors Business Daily by Roy Innis - the civil rights leader.

If Only Greens Saw The Forest For The Trees
By ROY INNIS | Posted Thursday, May 31, 2007 4:30 PM PT
"People here have no jobs," Mark Fenn admitted, after taking documentary producers on a tour of his $35,000 catamaran and the site of his new coastal home. "But if you could count how many times they smile in a day, if you could measure stress" and compare that with "well-off people" in London or New York, "then tell me, who is rich and who is poor?"
Fenn is coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund's campaign against a proposed mining project near Fort Dauphin, Madagascar. The locals strongly support the project and want the jobs, development, improved living standards and environmental quality the state-of-the-art operation will bring.
People there live in abject poverty, along dirt roads, in dirt-floor shacks, and are hardly able to afford food on their $1,000-a-year average incomes. There is little power, no indoor plumbing. The local rain forest has been destroyed for firewood and slash-and-burn farming. People barely eke out a living.
But Fenn claims the mine will change the "quaint" village and harm the environment. He says he feels "like a resident," his children "were born and raised" there, and the locals "don't consider education to be important" and would just spend their money on parties, jeans and stereos.
Actually, Fenn lives 300 miles away and sends his children to school in South Africa. And the locals hardly conform to his insulting stereotypes. "If I had money, I would open a grocery store," said one. "Send my children to school," start a business, become a midwife, build a new house, said others.
You have to see the film, "Mine Your Own Business," to fully grasp the callous disdain these radicals have for the world's poor. Don Imus' intemperate remarks were insensitive. But Fenn's demeaning, even racist, statements perpetuate misery.
These enemies of the poor say they are "stakeholders" wishing to "preserve" indigenous people and villages. They never consider what's wanted by the real stakeholders — those who live in these communities and must endure the consequences of harmful campaigns waged all over the world.
The WWF, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network and other multinational activist groups battle mines in Romania, Peru, Chile, Ghana and Indonesia; electricity projects in Uganda, India and Nepal; biotechnology that could improve farm incomes and reduce malnutrition in Kenya, India, Brazil and the Philippines; and DDT that could slash malaria rates in Africa, where the disease kills 3,000 children a day.
They harp on technology's speculative hazards and ignore real, life-or-death dangers that modern mining, development and technology would reduce or prevent. They never mention the jobs, clinics, schools, roads, improved housing and small business opportunities — or the electricity, refrigeration, safe water, better nutrition, reduced disease and fewer dead children.
They pervert "sustainable development" to mean no development, and ignore how mines will lay the foundation that will sustain prosperity and better living standards for generations.
Agitators use global warming and "corporate social responsibility" to force companies to acquiesce to their agendas — and ignore human rights to energy and technology, and people's desperate cries for a chance to take their rightful places among the Earth's healthy and prosperous people.
They extol the virtues of microcredit, to support minimal family enterprises, and demand debt forgiveness and more foreign aid for corrupt dictators — but oppose economic development that would eliminate the need for international welfare. They blame Newmont Mining for accidents that killed five people over a two-year period in Ghana, but refuse to admit that their pressure campaigns cause millions of deaths every year.
One could justifiably call it eco-manslaughter — or a racist experiment on powerless, impoverished Third World families.
Yes, there are environmental impacts from mines, dams and other development. There are health and other risks. But the Industrial Revolution also brought those changes. Are we worse off for it? Do we want to return to the jobs, lifestyles and living standards of pre-industrial, pre-electric America, when 95% of Americans were farmers, cholera and malaria were ever-present, and the average life expectancy was 45?
Would any of the greens, politicians and celebrities who clamor to keep the world's poor "indigenous" (and thus impoverished, energy-deprived and diseased) care to live that lifestyle for even one month? Would they exchange their 10,000-square-foot mansions for a hovel, give up electricity and stop globe-trotting in private jets?
Why hasn't the United Nations criticized the institutional racism being perpetrated in the name of "saving the planet"? Where are U.S. civil rights groups, media, churches and these poor countries' leaders? This intolerable situation cannot continue. People of conscience must no longer remain silent.
Innis is national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, a civil rights group that promotes economic development rights for the poor worldwide.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Mine Your Own Business featured on

Fox News has featured Mine Your Own Business in a column detailing how debate about the environmental movement is not being allowed to take place.

Junk Science: Earth-Friendly Greens Camouflaging the Poor's Plight

Thursday , May 31, 2007

By Steven Milloy

Many people are aware that the world’s poor desperately need economic development. Few realize, however, that a major obstacle to overcoming global poverty is the anti-development and anti-human environmental movement that camouflages itself under ubiquitous “Earth-friendly” shades of green.

This lack of awareness is no accident. It's come about through a “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” syndrome, where “evil” refers to the many ills of the modern environmental movement.

The syndrome is borne out by recent events related to the eye-opening documentary, "Mine Your Own Business: The Dark Side of Environmentalism," a film about environmentalist efforts to stop economic development in poverty-stricken regions around the world.

The syndrome’s “see no evil” aspect is exemplified by the efforts of Greenpeace and 80 other environmental organizations to block the movie from being shown in Romania (where much of the film was shot) and Washington, D.C.

A Greenpeace official was invited to be a special guest at the film's Washington, D.C., premiere at the National Geographic Society headquarters.

Instead of accepting the invitation, which included the opportunity to participate in a post-screening discussion panel, Greenpeace sent a letter to the Society expressing outrage at the decision to permit the film’s screening.

A Greenpeace-friendly newsletter demonstrated absurdly warped logic by asking a National Geographic spokesman whether the organization would rent out its facilities for the showing of a pro-Nazi propaganda film or a pornographic movie.

“I’m appalled by their demand to shut down the film,” said Frayda Levy, president of the screening’s co-sponsor, the Moving Picture Institute.

“We invited [Greenpeace], but instead of joining us for a discussion, they display breathtaking narrow-mindedness. Regardless of whether you love or hate 'Mine Your Own Business,' it deserves to be seen. What makes them so afraid of this film?” Levy wondered in a media release.

The “hear no evil” aspect of the syndrome is demonstrated by the recent experiences of "MYOB" filmmakers at the International Finance Corp., the private finance arm of the World Bank.

Though filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney declined comment, the IFC apparently had contacted them about hosting a screening of "MYOB" in the bank. The IFC finances a lot of large infrastructure projects and has had to wrestle with anti-development environmental groups that try to block those development efforts.

Not only did the IFC invite the filmmakers to screen the documentary, it also offered as a form of payment to do what it did with Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” that is, purchase 200 DVDs and distribute them to local schools. McAleer and McElhinney jumped at the offer.

But a rather sheepish IFC official subsequently contacted the filmmakers and said that the bank had rethought its offer. The bank could only find the funds to buy 10 copies of "MYOB" and it had decided it would not distribute them to local schools.

Instead, the bank would lend them internally to bank employees. A final condition was that the filmmakers were not allowed to tell anyone or announce to anyone that the IFC showed the film.

After the screening, World Bank employees, on a one-by-one basis, reportedly commented to McAleer and McElhinney about how true "MYOB" was, but that they were not allowed to say so within the bank.

The syndrome’s “speak no evil” aspect is exemplified by my recent personal experience with consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, which touts its support for “sustainable development” on its Web site.

Concerned that the company was promoting a concept that has become an Orwellian eco-activist term for blocking all development opportunities no matter what the humanitarian costs, a shareholder group with which I am affiliated filed a related shareholder proposal with the company.

In negotiations concerning the proposal, we asked Procter & Gamble to consider distributing copies of "MYOB" to its employees as a way of providing them an alternative viewpoint on “sustainable development” and to make a public statement to the effect that the company thought it was important to hear alternative viewpoints on environmental topics.

But while the company agreed to distribute copies of "MYOB" to its employees, it refused to make the public statement. Procter & Gamble’s position was that it didn’t want to be seen as endorsing a particular organization’s point-of-view — an ostensibly reasonable position except that the company has previously publicly endorsed the viewpoints and mission of the Rainforest Alliance, an anti-development environmental group.

Without the public acknowledgment, we doubted that the company was serious about the need for balanced views on sustainable development. Since negotiations collapsed, we’ll be raising the issue with Procter & Gamble’s CEO, Alan G. Lafley, at its annual shareholder meeting this fall.

The combination of intimidating environmentalists and intimidated organizations has resulted in a tragic absence of debate about the environmental monkey on the backs of the world’s poor.

Until we can at least talk about what environmental policies may be doing to developing nations — let alone debate these policies — we will have little hope of changing the lamentable state of affairs that has blocked life-saving economic development.

Steven Milloy publishes and He is a junk science expert, and advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Proctor & Gamble decline to welcome debate

Filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney were delighted to hear that Proctor & Gamble were considering showing Mine Your Own Business to its employees.

However it seems that their optimism was short-lived. The greatest victory of the environmentalist movement has been to cast its actions and opinions as a moral, non-political stance. Given this who could dare question morality.

Of course this also means there should be no debate about the issues because no one is allowed debate against a moral stance.

However filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney reject this analysis.

"The suggestion that the environment is degrading is a political point of view not based on science and certainly has no moral basis. The suggestion that we need to cut back or reduce or consumption is a similarly flawed political ideology. Right now the rivers and air of the developed world are cleaner than ever and in the developing world development is cleaning up centuries of degradation caused by poverty. Poverty not development destroys the environment," the filmmakers stated.

"This is a debate worth having and we are disappointed that such an influential company as Proctor & Gamble will not acknowledge the need for discussion before we embrace anti-development politics dressed up as apolitical environmentalism," the filmmakers added.

WASHINGTON, May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Action Fund Management, LLC
(AFM), the investment advisor to the Free Enterprise Action Fund (Ticker:
FEAOX), announced today that negotiations over the FEAOX's shareholder
proposal filed with Procter & Gamble (Ticker: PG) have broken down over PG's
refusal to acknowledge that company employees should be exposed to both sides
of the debate over sustainable development.

"We wanted Procter & Gamble to show its managers and employees the new
documentary "Mine Your Own Business: The Dark Side of Environmentalism"
( and to publicly acknowledge the need to
hear from both sides of the sustainable development debate," said Steve Milloy
of AFM. "While Procter & Gamble said it was willing to distribute 100 copies
of the film to its employees, the company refused to publicly acknowledge the
value of debate," added Milloy.

"Without the requested public acknowledgment, we doubt that Procter &
Gamble is really sincere about showing its employees 'Mine Your Own Business,'
or educating its employees about what many view as the dark side of
environmentalism," said AFM's Tom Borelli. "Procter & Gamble's stakeholder
engagement on sustainability apparently is limited only to the voice of
environmental activists. 'Mine Your Own Business' spotlights the human cost of
blind adherence to sustainability -- a message company management needs to
hear," added Borelli.

Negotiations between AFM and PG began after AFM filed a shareholder
proposal with PG requesting a report to shareholders on the actions the
company is taking to promote the general business environment.

"Procter & Gamble touts its sustainable development activities on its web
site, but says little if anything about what it's doing to promote business,
capitalism and free enterprise," said Milloy. "The company offered to meet
with us about our concerns, but our position was that employee-viewing of
"Mine Your Own Business" would be a more productive use of everyone's time.

"We're obviously disappointed, but not surprised," said Borelli.
"Companies like Procter & Gamble have been so intimidated by anti-business
environmental and social activists that they're afraid to be seen as
considering alternative points of view," Borelli said.

"I suppose we'll have to look forward to discussing this issue with
Procter & Gamble CEO Alan G. Lafley at the annual shareholder meeting this
fall," Milloy concluded.

The FEAOX aims to increase shareholder value by advancing free-market
principles in the companies it owns. FEAOX is available exclusively through
BISYS Fund Services Limited Partnership (applications may be obtained at, and through E*Trade
Financial, Scottrade and

SOURCE Free Enterprise Action Fund

Sunday, May 27, 2007

First Canadian Public Screening of Mine Your Own Business

Filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer are delighted to announce that the first public screening of Mine Your Own Business in Canada will take place on May 29.

Date: May 29, 2007, 7 PM

Place: Ottawa Public Library, (Metcalfe at Laurier)

Admission: $6.00

Press passes available upon request

On May 29, 2007, Ottawa will have opportunity to see the powerful new film, "Mine Your Own Business", a film about the dark side of environmentalism.

The film screening, at the Ottawa Public Library, is sponsored by the Free-Thinking Film Society, (formerly the Conservative Film Society), a new organization that plans to regularly bring in films of a Libertarian/Conservative bent.

"Mine Your Own Business" exposes the dark side of environmentalism. The documentary hacks away at the cozy image of environmentalists' as well meaning, harmless activists. *Mine Your Own Business* is the first documentary which asks the hard questions of foreigners who lead campaigns to "save" remote areas from development. Their answers are often disturbing, with racist overtones, but we, in the west, blindly support such campaigns that want to keep people in poverty. Now for the first time "Mine Your Own Business" asks local people about their lives and what they want for the future.

Their answers are very often different from what the foreign environmentalists say and what is reported in the mainstream international media.

"Mine Your Own Business" is a journey through the dark side of environmentalism. It demolishes the cozy consensus that environmentalists are well meaning agenda free activists and shows them to be anti-development ideologues who think the poor are happy being poor and don't want the development that we, in the west, take for granted.

"Mine Your Own Business" goes beyond the voice of the foreign environmentalists that we so often hear in the media and meets those who will be most affected by these projects and the well-run campaigns against them.

"Mine Your Own Business" follows George, a 23-year-old unemployed miner from northern Romania whose life has been put on hold after an anti-mining campaign orchestrated by foreign environmentalists. George explains his hopes and dreams for the future - which are different from those prescribed for him by foreign environmentalists. He then travels to other impoverished communities in Madagascar and Chile who are also desperately waiting for large mining projects. George finds people similar to himself with similar hopes and dreams of a decent job and house and a decent education and better life for their children.

For more information, please visit, or email us at

Contact: Fred Litwin / 613-261-9060 /

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Meagre protest at the Bucharest Film Festival Screening of 'Mine Your own Business'

Alburnus Maior protested the Romanian premiere of Mine Your Own Business in Bucharest. However as usual with their protests it is obvious they do not have the popular support they constantly claim to have. Only three protesters stood together with their banner. When we questioned them they repeatedly attacked George Lucian for wearing a new suit. George was not wearing a new suit he had borrowed a jacket from a friend in Rosia Montana. George is an unemployed miner who lost his job when environmentalists took legal action to stop the drilling at the proposed mine at Rosia Montana
They objected to producer/director Ann McElhinney wearing a gold necklace.

They said the people of Rosia Montana could get by through agriculture and tourism, when George and his sister Ella said this was not true the protesters asked who bought George's new suit.

The hundreds of people who came to see the film engaged in an excellent Q&A with filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney after the screening which ran over time and eventually had to move to the bar because the cinema was needed for another film in the festival.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mine Your Own Business selected for Bucharest Film Festival

MYOB has been selected for screening in the prestigious Bucherest Film Festival,
The film will be screened on Sunday 15th April at 4.00 pm at Cinema Eforie, Eforie St, Bucharest
A very large crowd is expected so get there early.

Monday, March 12, 2007

"A HOT DOC" says Canada's National Post

A hot doc

National Post

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Toronto-based Gabriel Resources has one of the hottest gold prospects on Earth, at Rosia Montana in Romania, but has been having a lot of trouble getting the project moving. It's not that the vast majority of the locals aren't keen to exploit the opportunities (including ripping off Gabriel if they get half a chance). It's that a bunch of international environmentalists have descended on Rosia Montana and made it an anti-development cause celebre.

Gabriel's painful experience is the subject of a brilliant and controversial film, Mine Your Own Business, which was made by the Irish husband-and-wife team of Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney. The two were in Toronto this week to show their work at the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference, where I met them on Monday.

Their movie is a gripping expose of "the dark side of environmentalism." It reveals big international environmental organizations as far more concerned with posturing on behalf of lemurs and "spiritual" mountains than lifting poor people out of poverty.

The campaign against Gabriel was led by a by a Swiss journalist-turned-environmentalist named Stephanie Roth. Ms. Roth dubbed Gabriel and other mining companies "modern-day vampires" (Rosia Montana is in Transylvania). However, the view that she and her colleagues peddle of Rosia Montana as an

idyllic community that would be ruined by Gabriel's development is a pure fantasy, as the film makes clear.

Mr. McAleer decided to make a film after covering the Gabriel story for the Financial Times of London. The fact that he was partly financed by Gabriel (who nevertheless had no editorial control) has inevitably been used against him, but he notes that nobody has ever successfully refuted the facts presented in the film.

Rosia Montana is desolate and polluted, the site of former Communist state-owned mines and a mining history that goes back to Roman times. Its soil is barren. Its streams are polluted. Its inhabitants are 70% unemployed. As Gabriel chief executive Alan Hill points out, "This is a mine to clean up a mess."

Mine Your Own Business goes beyond Romania to examine activist opposition to other proposed mines in Chile and Madagascar, where the story is depressingly similar. The film's undisputed villain is the appallingly smug figure of Mark Fenn, a representative of the World Wide Fund for Nature, who is charged with holding up a mine in Madagascar. He announces that the locals put no value on better housing, nutrition or education and that if they had more money they would just spend it!

One inspired move by the filmmakers was to take along a young miner named George from Rosia Montana to Madagascar. Mr. McAleer says that the main challenge during the sequence in which Mr. Fenn was explaining the joys of poverty was to stop George from pummelling the environmental blowhard!

Mine Your Own Business has drawn wide praise, and been described as "devastating" to "the self-satisfied delusions of the environmental left." The Wall Street Journal declared: "Move over, Michael Moore. You have competition in the art of political film-making ? [but] instead of advancing the cause of smug liberal hypocrisy, [McAleer] is debunking it."

In fact, comparing Mine's film-makers with Michael Moore is an insult. They don't manufacture facts and edit for hyperbole; they let the people of Rosia Montana speak for themselves.

The feisty filmmakers have been doing a good deal of globe-trotting to promote their work, but are having trouble getting it into film festivals, most of whose organizers tend to be sympathetic to radical environmentalism. When they showed their movie at the National Geographic Society in Washington, Greenpeace tried to have them banned.

Mr. McAleer and Ms. McElhinney point out that their film has even cost them friends. They told me of one New York couple who watched their film and immediately started attacking them on global warming, a topic not even mentioned in the film! When they asked the couple what specifically was wrong with the film's message, they were accused of "badgering."

It will be interesting to see if they make the cut at this year's Toronto-based Hot Docs festival, perhaps the leading documentary festival in the world. Their inclusion would seem obviously justified not merely from the quality of their film, but because one of this year's festival themes is "Spotlight on Central & Eastern Europe."

The inclusion of one film about Transylvania has already been announced. It is called Village of Socks, and portrays "The alluring charm of a community practicing a centuries-old tradition while on the edge of the EU behemoth."

While Village of Socks may be a fine and important film, Mine Your Own Business touches on much more critical issues of global development.

Gabriel, meanwhile, struggles on to provide the good jobs and working conditions that the villagers of Rosia Montana so desperately need. The company has devoted millions to preserving local heritage, and has guaranteed the preservation of all the local historical buildings and churches. They are still working on the most rigorous possible environmental assessment. Nevertheless, Gabriel recently had to call a halt to its generous house-purchase program when the locals were discovered to be -- illegally -- building new structures on land where the mine site would be. "They want more mone y," CEO Hill said in a conference call this week, adding: "And who wouldn't?"

Gabriel's mine is the best thing that could possibly happen to Rosia Montana. As Mine Your Own Business demonstrates, the worst thing would be if the radical activists' anti-development jihad were to triumph.

© National Post 2007

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Environmental fascism – Mining facing misinformation and downright lies from anti-mining NGOs
Lawrence Williams
'07-MAR-07 08:00'
TORONTO ( --In an interesting initiative at this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) meeting, the organisers invited film makers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney to show their film – Mine Your Own Business. Following the showing the flimmakers fielded questions about the film itself, as a part of a debate as to how the mining industry should face up to the problems it faces from NGOs who mislead the public with anything from deliberate misinformation to downright lies about the benefits or otherwise that the industry brings to local populations.

The two Irish documentary makers were invited initially by Gabriel Resources, currently trying to develop Romania’s Rosia Montana gold project against strong environmental opposition. McAleer and McElhinney agreed to do this provided they had totally independent editorial control of the film they would produce. Indeed Alan Hill of Gabriel felt initially that he would have preferred a different type of film altogether.

McAleer, takes on the role in the documentary of devil’s advocate looking at the claims and counter claims of the miners and the NGO opponents. In person it is apparent that he now feels extremely strongly from a personal front about what the NGOs seem to be trying to do in stopping mining where it promises, not only to provide jobs and income to poverty-stricken locals, but in Rosia Montana’s case actually help clean up a horrendous environmental legacy of poorly-controlled state mining operations at the site.

He claims to have absolutely no interest in mining per se – his background is journalism with London’s respected Financial Times newspaper – but does have a strong interest in what a developing industry can do for jobless locals living in horrendously primitive surroundings. Thus he and his colleague have ended up producing a Michael Moore-type documentary highlighting the hypocrisy and damage being done by some anti-mining NGOs in their fight to kill new mining operations in various parts of the world.

He admits that the NGOs may believe deeply that what they are doing is justified, as may the people who fund them, but that they are perhaps more than just misguided and that their actions actually harm the people they are supposedly setting out to protect.

At Rosia Montana, for example, the NGOs paint a picture of an idyllic mountain village where villagers live on good income generated from agricultural and sheep raising income, and that the locals almost unanimously oppose the big mining project. In fact it seems to be the reverse that is true. The locals are almost unanimous in their support for the new mine, while the local ground is too poor to support an agricultural alternative. Living conditions in the village are extremely primitive and the mine offers not only jobs, but new modern housing.

The filmmakers did not just rest their case with Rosia Montana – they also looked at two more projects being set up in extremely poor areas of the world – Rio Tinto’s titanium sands mining project in Madagascar – the world’s third poorest country – and Barrick’s Pascua Lama gold mining project high in the Chilean Andes. They found that NGO’s operating largely from a western viewpoint that the locals would obviously prefer living a poverty stricken existence and maintaining their indigenous cultures, when in fact the opposite is true.

In Madagascar the prospective mine life is 60 years, and the project would involve building a decent port there – which would be the seventh largest in Africa and provide long term benefits to the local community that they could currently only dream of. In Chile, the NGOs are supported by local landowners who do oppose the project, but primarily because if the mine is built they will have to compete with the mines for local labour which is currently paid below subsistence level wages.

Here too one of the leading lights in the anti-mining campaign turned out to be an environmental activist living in one of London’s wealthier suburbs who had never been to the Pascua Lama site, yet felt qualified to speak supposedly for the locals who he had never met!

It was apparent from the question and answer session that the two filmmakers both felt that the NGOs seemed, in all three studies examined, in a ‘conspiracy’ to keep the poor in continuing poverty, with all the problems that brings in terms of poor health, poor life expectancy, high infant mortality and the ‘pleasure’ of continuing to live in horrendous conditions.

What is also interesting is what this writer terms environmental fascism. There have been attempts to suppress this film and prevent it being shown. The filmmakers have even received death threats because of it. Documentary TV channels and film festivals won’t screen it, although will happily carry works which try to paint the opposite picture.

What can one do about this. In the subsequent discussion at the PDAC one has to say that not much came to the fore in realistic ways of attacking the problem faced by miners. There wasn’t any real opposition to the findings – but then the film was shown to a highly supportive audience. There perhaps was a consensus that the industry should perhaps be more proactive in putting its case and that the film should be made available to educational establishments – although whether they would actually show it is perhaps another matter.

Phelim McAleer himself, who has inherited a very jaundiced viewpoint about the activities of the NGOs during the making of the film, even feels that mining should not even try and work any of the NGOs at all, although one speaker from the floor did urge caution and pointed to some significant cooperative work between Rio Tinto and some environmental groups.

Combating NGO misinformation is something the industry will continue to have to deal with. Whenever a prospective mine springs up nowadays, special interest groups will almost automatically oppose it. While often local people and politicians will ultimately ensure that the projects do go ahead for the benefits they bring to the local communities, getting to this stage can be a long and costly process for the mining company. Perhaps the McAleer approach of trying to bring the NGOs to account has a lot of merit, but whatever is done, the industry itself has to remain squeaky clean in its dealings and operations so as not to give opponents further sticks to beat it with.

The NGOs, like terrorists, do not seem to abide by the rules of the game. They do need to be brought to account in some way or other, because misinformation and lies once promulgated in the media tend to be considered as fact by the general public – even though they may be withdrawn at some stage in the future. The question is haow can the industry achieve this. The debate continues.

Monday, March 5, 2007



"Michael Moore but with actual research and journalistic skill"

Ian O'Doherty, the Irish Independent's leading columnist, has praised Mine Your Own Business describing it as "revelatory" and "excellent".

Read O'Doherty's comments in full.....

Make it your business
Irish film maker Phelim McAleer's excellent documentary 'Mine Your Own Business' gleefully exposes the stupidity of many of today's professional environmentalists. Their casual disregard for the needs of the people they purport to help really sticks in the craw.

The most unintentionally amusing moment of the film comes when, explaining his opposition to a mining project in Madagascar which would enormously improve the shattered local economy, environmentalist Mark Fenn of the Worldwide Fund for Nature says that giving locals jobs would ruin their culture.

"In three or four days it's (local culture) gone. They'll buy cases of beer and invite their friends. They'll just buy a stereo. In Madagascar the indicators of quality of life are not housing, not nutrition, and specifically not health in a lot of cases. It's not education. A lot of children in Fort Dauphin do not go to school because the parents do not consider that to be important."

Needless to say the unemployed locals held a rather different attitude.

To find out more about this revelatory documentary - think Michael Moore, but with actual research and journalistic skill - check out

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Film makers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney write opinion piece for Mine Your Own Business in the Irish Daily Mail
For full article click here

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Over 100,000 eyes view the trailer on youtube.

Following a recent article on Fox by Stephen Milloy, Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney have received a spike of 400 emails and communications congratulating them and asking them for more information on Mine Your Own Business.

The trailer for the documentary has now been looked at by over 100,000 eyes as the number of people who have viewed the trailer on youtube has reached 54,000

For the full article on Fox News click here

Steven Milloy publishes one of our favourite websites.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sunday Times not convinced

An interesting review of Mine Your Own Business by Mick Heaney of the UK Sunday Times, a former colleague of co-director Phelim McAleer.

Mr Heaney finds Mine Your Own Business unconvincing.

Everyone is allowed their opinions but we would take issue with his comments that we "sideline facts that threaten our thesis".

In particular Mr Heaney claims we gloss over the fact that opposition to the Rosia Montana project was started by Eugene David, a local farmer.

However the facts tell the true story. The Goldman Prize, the Nobel Prize for environmentalists, was not given to Mr David but rather was awarded to Stephanie Roth, the Swiss environmentalist.

In their citation the Goldman Prize stated:

"Since 2002, Roth has been the driving force behind an international campaign to stop construction of Europe's largest open cast gold mine in Romania."

They also later describe the opposition as "Roth's campaign".

Ms Roth is a former journalist for The Ecologist. In a profile they state that:
"Thanks in part to the organizing efforts of Stephanie Roth, a French and Swiss citizen and former environmental journalist, Romanians have staged large public protests and organized an effective coalition of mine opponents."

The Goldman Foundation and the Ecologist believe a foreign environmentalist is the driving force behind the campaign. Who are we to argue?

You can read the full Sunday Times article below.
page 1
page 2

You can see the documentary in full at the Dublin International Film Festival on Feb 18 at 12 noon in the IFI Temple Bar Dublin. The film makers will attend and there will be a panel discussion afterwards.