Sentinel Founder
Copyright 2008

Vanity Fair contributing editor Alex Shoumatoff was arrested this week after he tried to sneak in to the world famous Bohemian Grove, the exclusive getaway of some of the world’s most powerful men who gather there every year in July for two weeks. See San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier and Ross column.

The portly Shoumatoff was ingloriously handcuffed and arrested July 13 for trespassing after only managing to get past the first security checkpoint at the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, Calif.

Shoumatoff probably figured that a fat guy wearing a Pebble Beach sweater would fit right in with the rich, famous and powerful. Boy, was he wrong. He was spotted right away and wrongly answered a series of questions from Grove security guards, many of whom are former CIA and FBI agents. Shoumatoff was so out of his element that he was allegedly captured by one of the Club’s plumbers, who was helping beef-up security that night. You read that right: Shoumatoff was arrested by a guy holding down two jobs, plumber and part-time security guard. No doubt the Bohemian Club has promoted that young gentlemen, who clearly has a great law enforcement career in front of him. How often can you say that you captured a Vanity Fair editor, unarmed and only using a plunger? This kid is going places.

Shoumatoff was then handcuffed, held and questioned by Bohemian Grove security (the ex-CIA, FBI ones). He turned over his notes to Bohemian Club staff and then was carted off to the hoosegow by the Sonoma Sheriff’s Department. Arrested for trespassing, he sat in jail until he came up with the $1,000 bail.

Now, you might be wondering why an overweight New York editor would be trying to make his way—in the dark of night—through the trees around the Northern California retreat of the Bohemian Club.

Well, it turns out that Shoumatoff is writing a story promoted by his college (Harvard) roommate, Jock Hooper, who is a disgruntled former member of the Bohemian Club. Hooper left the club in a pique over the Club’s plans to thin its Douglas fir and diseased oak trees to help prevent the type of forest fires that have swept Big Sur and Northern California. Hooper talked Shoumatoff into writing the story and told Shoumatoff that it would be easy to sneak into the Club’s annual retreat at its 2,700 acre Bohemian Grove. Big mistake.

And, it’s a big mistake for Shoumatoff, who is so close to the story as to be completely biased and thus, inappropriate to be assigned to write the piece by Vanity Fair. Perhaps the magazine is so out of its element these days that it standard-issues Pebble Beach sweaters to the reporters it sends to California and tells them that they’ll “fit right in” if they wear one. The same type of thinking was probably bounced around the New Yorker when it published its terrorist Muslim “Barack Obama and wife” cover this week.

The Bohemian Club has written letters of complaint twice to Graydon Carter, the uber-obnoxious editor of Vanity Fair, asking that Shoumatoff be removed from writing about the story because he has publicly announced that he favors his former college roommate as well as threatened the Bohemian Club that he would make them look bad if they didn’t cooperate with him and the magazine. (Note to east coast editors: perhaps you should feed your reporters less trans-fats, cloth them better, and pony-up cash so that they can attend some fancy journalism school outside of New York, say like Northwestern (hey, that’s to the west of us!), and finally, send them to finishing school so they can be taught good manners—like not threatening interviewees).

Shoumatoff is so biased that he has failed to even establish the basic storyline: Hooper, the disgruntled former Bohemian Club member, has his own forest—just like the Bohemian Grove—and he has his own tree harvest plan. Hooper’s plan calls for him to harvest 5% of his trees every year. The Bohemian Club is seeking approval from the State of California to harvest 1.5 percent of its forest.

So, why is Hooper opposing a plan that thins less timber than his own? Can you spell “SPITE”? Trust-fund babies like Hooper, who have never held a real job in their lives, are constantly stomping their feet and proclaiming that they are only ones with true knowledge. The fact is Hooper is a hypocrite and he has now enlisted another hypocrite, Shoumatoff, into doing his bidding in Vanity Fair. Isn’t nice to know that guys like Hooper and Shoumatoff control what we read? (Speaking of reading, don’t miss Shoumatoff’s Wikipedia entry. He clearly wrote it himself. What a buffoon.

So, the world awaits the story that Shoumatoff and Vanity Fair concoct about the Bohemian Grove and its tree harvest plan. Sadly, Vanity Fair has no journalistic ethics, otherwise it wouldn’t allow Shoumatoff to write the piece, since he has already declared his friend, Jock Hooper, to be in the right—without ever having investigated the issue. But then Shoumatoff has no ethics either—not only is he biased, he used pretexting (computer_security) to get into the Grove, pretending when caught to be something he was not—a guest of a Bohemian Club member. Isn’t this the same sort of behavior that that got Hewlett-Packard in hot water? Well, Shoumatoff is no better than HP when it comes to pretexting. Perhaps this will be his and Vanity Fair’s legal undoing. Unless of course, he succumbs beforehand to the double Big Mac’s, fries and Coca-Cola’s he been feasting on for years.

As to Hooper, the man who is controlling Shoumatoff’s writing assignment for Vanity Fair, he continues to spin his story to anyone who will listen. Unfortunately, in this day and age, with the decline of the news media, few reporters check his outrageous claims and they make their way into print. It’s a sad statement that a disgruntled member of any club can simply make false claims and get them into the news media. It’s also sad to see a guy like Hooper, who by many accounts, used to an eccentric local character, spend his remaining days on earth separated from the group of people he used to call friends—because he went off in a huff. But that is the woeful tale of a man who championed himself as the sole voice of authority on how trees should be harvested.

16 July 2008  

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."   Thomas Jefferson

America the Beautiful

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