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(DV) Berkowitz: William Greene's Angry and Mobile Rapid Reponse Machine







William Greene's Angry and Mobile Rapid Response Machine
Greene, a protégé of the "Godfather" of right wing direct mail,
Richard Viguerie, is an Internet "guru" whose star is rapidly rising

by Bill Berkowitz
July 14, 2005

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Shortly after the Senate reached its "compromise" -- avoiding a Republican-imposed "nuclear option" to end Democratic filibustering -- William Greene was angry, yet again. The right wing founder of called on its "base of over one million conservative activists to take action against the Senate 'compromisers' who cut a bad deal."

When Terry Schiavo's parents needed fundraising firepower to keep their daughter's case afloat, they called on Greene. He is currently defending the embattled and ethically challenged House Majority Leader, Rep. Tom DeLay, as well as the beleaguered John Bolton, President Bush's nominee be the next US ambassador to the United Nations.

Last December, Greene was out front defending Christmas from "attacks" by anti-Christians. Recently, Greene gave over his online e-Alert to a fundraising appeal from the right wing European Conservative Union.

In 2002, Campaign & Elections magazine selected Greene as one of its "Rising Stars of Politics," the Washington Times has called him a "conservative Internet guru," and "Who's Who in America" recognized him in 2003 and 2004.

William Greene, the head of and Strategic Internet Campaign Management, is a right-wing activist that launches political campaigns and fundraising appeals at the click of the "Send" key. first came to my attention during the 2004 holiday season, when the organization sent out an "e-Alert" that claimed Christmas -- and Christians -- were under attack. Wrapped in a laundry list of examples of how Christmas had been attacked during the year, the campaign aimed "to STOP groups like the ACLU from removing all mentions of Christmas from the public square!"

Greene's online operation aims to "convince people that there is a 'them' out there -- liberals in this case -- who are out to destroy America's moral fiber and are thus responsible for working-class misery," Thom Hartmann wrote in a late-December 2004 piece called entitled "The Myth of National Victimhood -- All Wrapped and Delivered for Christmas."

Greene also had his fingerprints all over the Terri Schiavo case, the Florida woman that died in late March after being in a "persistent vegetative state" for more than 15 years. Randall Terry, the longtime anti-abortion/anti-gay activist brought to Florida by Terri Schiavo's parents to act as a family spokesperson, asked Greene to help raise money for the case through his organizations. With the help of Greene's fundraising expertise, the Schiavo Case became a huge media spectacle and right wing cause.

Less than a week after Terri Schiavo's death on March 31, however, marched on, to the mother of all judicial battles: Focusing on "the far-leftists at," a progressive online political force, and other liberal organizations, Greene warned that liberals were trying "to stop President Bush from nominating solid conservative judges to the Supreme Court and other federal seats."

More recently, has mounted the barricades in defense of two embattled conservatives, John Bolton, President Bush's nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who the organization calls a "solid conservative icon."

An e-Alert regarding DeLay covered all the bases: it trashed both MoveOn and "radical left-wing billionaire" George Soros, who has donated extensively to progressive causes in the US. And it claimed that the "press played the part of 'lapdog' to the radical leftists every chance they got, with the goal of bringing down [President George W. Bush] the top conservative leader."

In addition to supporting Bolton and DeLay, in late-April, gave over its "Christian Response" e-Alert to Jo Spatgens, the Executive Director of the European Conservative Union. According to Spatgens, Europe is being overrun by the voices of "anti-conservati[sm] and anti-American[ism]," and the European Conservative Union (ECU), an organization that "represents a growing number of individuals calling for a new attitude on the continent, one that values good ties with the United States, supports the Bush Administration's proactive solutions to world problems, and respects the cultural and religious values that gave the West unprecedented freedom and prosperity," can turn things around.

The European Conservative Union has "dared to challenge liberal propaganda like the Kyoto Protocol, the International Court, and the position of Chancellor Schroeder and President Chirac on the globally-raging War on Terror... A voice crying in the wilderness, the ECU is standing up to the left-wing establishment, fighting anti-Americanism in European politics and media, combating anti-Bush rhetoric, and casting a vision for a renewed Europe; strong, peaceful, moral, and conservative."

Greene also presides over the Buford, Georgia-based Strategic Internet Campaign Management (SICM), an organization that provides technical assistance for "nonprofit organizations, corporations and political candidates to achieve a better bottom line by using the Internet for fundraising and grassroots activism." (Its web site advises that SICM be pronounced "sic 'em!")

The company "specializes in online fundraising for political candidates and organizations," and using the Internet to spur political and corporate grassroots activism," confident that, in the words of Michael Gilbert, the publisher of "The Gilbert E-Mail Manifesto," that "E-mail is more important than... a Web site!"

SICM clients include a bevy of hard core right wing organizations: American Vision -- "Equipping & Empowering Christians to Restore America's Biblical Foundation"; Citizen Outreach -- "Putting the Public Back in Public Policy"; the Conservative Book Club -- "Conservatives Serving Conservatives for Forty Years"; -- a operation; National Defense Council Foundation -- "A 501(C)(3) nonprofit think tank [headed by Maj. F. Andy Messing Jr., USAR (Ret.)] serving US national security interests since 1978"; and -- a right wing news service that bills itself as "America's News Page."

Perhaps the most unusual SICM client is Zogby International, an international polling firm founded in 1985 by James Zogby through the Washington, DC-based Arab American Institute (AAI). Zogby is also the founder and president of AAI, which, according to its web site, "serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community." In the late 1970s, Zogby was a co-founder and chairman of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, and he later co-founded and served as the Executive Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

This relationship appears to be an unusual coupling because in one of SICM's "Fundraising" case studies on its web site, it cites work it has performed for the Anti-Islam Apologetics Foundation (A-IAF), which raised money for "an anti-Islam apologetics foundation, and to build a database of names, postal addresses and opt-in email addresses of evangelical Christians on the Internet for future solicitations." SICM "put together a timely post-9/11 appeal and book incentive to "Help Fight Radical Islam.

SICM also lists, the organization where Greene earned his stripes at the side of Richard Viguerie, the 'Godfather' of right wing direct mail. Greene served as the vice president of Internet Marketing & Development prior to starting up SICM.

While working with Viguerie, Greene "spearheaded Internet grassroots efforts such as and the Sixty Second Activist Club, which generated over 1,020,000 faxes, 250,000 petition signatures, 15,000 hand-delivered mailgrams and FedEx's, and 125,000 emails/letters to Congress, the President and other leaders." He also worked with many of Viguerie's clients including the Traditional Values Coalition, the American Conservative Union, the Texas Justice Foundation, Linda Chavez' Stop Union Political Abuse, and the Conservative Leadership Political Action Committee, among others.

In March, Greene was a panelist at the "Politics Online Conference" hosted by the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet. Founded in 2002, and formerly called the Democracy Online Project, the Institute "is funded primarily by grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts." Its mission "is to promote the development of U.S. online politics in a manner that increases citizen participation and upholds democratic values."

Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His column Conservative Watch documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right.

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