Atlas Group

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The Atlas Network/Group (formerly known as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation) was founded in 1981 by Antony Fisher (Antony George Anson Fisher) who had introduced battery chicken-farming techniques to Europe and made many millions of dollars through his Buxten Chicken business. He had smuggled special quick-fattening, highly selected eggs into post-war Britain. These had been bred for battery-hen breeding and could survive without exercise of foraging which allowed intensive farming. So he turned chicken from a luxury to a staple food in war-impoverished Britain.

He became a disciple of Friedrich von Hayek, the guru of libertarianism and, along the way, he also established the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, which provided economic support for Margaret Thatcher. (The IEA eventually earned him a knighthood which went down well with the wealthy American establishment.) He sold his chicken business, tried large-scale dairy farming -- but the enterprise was wiped out by foot-and-mouth disease (probably imported by a smuggler bringing in illegal dairy products). He then tried turtle farming on the Cayman Islands (the tax haven) but he lost a fortune and his wife divorced him.

Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Atlas Network
Atlas Group - member orgs. timeline
Antony Fisher - founder
State Policy Network (SPN)
SPN Funding   &   SPN Agenda
Thomas Roe   &   Byron Lamm

He migrated to the USA and found a wealthy American wife who was politically even further to the right than he was. They set about founding a number of think-tanks along the lines of the IEA. The Atlas Economic Research Foundation, was designed in 1981 to serve the incoming President Ronald Reagan in the same way that his Institute for Economic Affairs had provided policy direction to Margaret Thatcher.

Sir Antony Fisher funded the establishment of some other think-tanks himself, but others were created at his urging and direction among the millionaire culture in which he moved -- initially by a cabal of wealthy Reagan supporters and their more "progressive' corporate conservative Republican associates. Most of the new organisations were closely associated with lobbyists because almost all need on-going funding from industries with regulatory problems.

Reputedly at the urging of President Ronald Reagan, one of his kitchen cabinet, Thomas A. Roe began creating a subsidiary network known today as the State Policy Network which generally consists of smaller state-based think-tanks with local influence. (This was originally known as the Madison Group)

Another group were formed in the Mid West and Western States under what became known as the Wise Use Movement which was a more comprehensive form of the Sagebrush Rebellion which helped Ronald Reagan into power. This was an anti-environmental/climate denial network under the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise (CDFE) launched by Ronald Arnold (timber industry PR) and Alan M. Gottlieb in 1988 [2] this came under the influence of the oil companies, the National Rifle Association, Consumer Alert, American Freedom Coalition (Moonies). This group concentrated on linking existing organisations, rather than creating new ones.

Main national think-tanks, foundations, and policy institutes

The Manhattan Institute, which promoted the "junk-science" mantra, was established at much the same time as Atlas Economic Research Foundation by Antony Fisher and William J Casey. Casey was the campaign director for Reagan during his 1980 primaries and presidential campaigns (and later became Reagan's CIA director). The Manhattan Institute became a key part of Reagan's policy supporting network.

The Institute for Humane Studies came along shortly after as a think-tank training institute, and this IHS helped establish many international organisations. The Cato, Heritage and Heartland were created with a US focus by the Koch brothers and other money -- all maintained (and dependent on) by regular corporate funding to keep them alive.

The Coors input

Conservative Colorado brewer Joseph Coors, the family patriarch of the Adolph Coors Co fortune, hired Jack Wilson to find the right people to create a right-wing conservative think-tank that could match the (then) 'liberal' Brookings Institute in terms of the influence it had in Washington DC among (mainly, but not exclusively) the Democrats. Wilson found Paul Weyrich, Edwin Feulner and Lyn Nofziger. They created a string of think-tanks, foundations and institutes which eventually merged with the Atlas Network operations, although never formally seeing itself as part of the Group.

  • The Analysis and Research Association (No 1.) $250,000 of Coors money (1971-72) but not a success.
- became the Robert M. Schuchman Memorial Foundation
  • The Heritage Foundation


The Fraser Institute in Vancouver had extended the network's reach into Canada very early, as did the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne Australia. Later they added down-under the Centre for Independent Studies, and the Tasman Institute to form the core Australian-New Zealand branch of the network  Almost all of these institutes received regular tobacco industry grants according to the tobacco archives. The tobacco document archives show that the Atlas Network itself received annual large tobacco grants from Philip Morris, British-American Tobacco and RJ Reynolds, and many member think-tanks independently received grants for specific tobacco industry lobbying projects.

The Atlas Network/Group of think-tanks and policy/advocate organisations now link together about 2-300 member-organisations around the globe according to some estimates -- but this may be a gross underestimate. The network is still closely affiliated with the UK-based IEA, and with the Mont Pelerin Society (Switzerland based), and with various US and European foundations, institutes and organisations using the name of their gurus Friedrich von Hayek or Ludwig von Mises. Some elements of the University of Buckingham also have ties to Atlas and to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (they are climate deniers). And there is also an international analogue, the International Policy Network (formerly known as Atlas Economic Research Foundation (UK)).

These think-tanks plays a role today which is similar in nature to that of the old Rotary and Freemasons networks, and to Opus Die and the Knights of Malta in the Catholic world. The institutions appear on the surface to be non-partisan, independent and membership-based, but the power and influence network operates at an autocratic level beneath. The Mont Pelerin Society, which sits like an ideology umbrella over these organisations, is said to now been a subdivision of the Paneuropa Union.

The network is still closely affiliated with the UK-based IEA, with the Mont Pelerin Society (Switzerland based), and with various European foundations, institutes and organisations using the name of their guru Friedrich A von Hayek.

Atlas Staff

  • Alejandro Chafuen - president
  • Brad Lips - fellow

Atlas Institute 'Colleagues'

North America

PERC in Bozeman was originally Property & Environmental Research Center
(Also note) Private Enterprise Research Center of the National Center for Policy Analysis (Dallas Texas) - Koch brothers funding

Miscellaneous US/tax - different focus

State Policy Network

There are probably hundreds of small think-tanks and local institutions created under the State Policy Network projects. These are only a few of the most obvious:

Wise Use Movement Promote by S Fred Singer and Newt Gingrich


Documents & Timeline

1931-45 Friedrich Hayek was influenced in his anti-socialist ideology by Ludwig von Mises in the 1920s and von Mises in return became both a promoter and a disciple. Later in the decade Hayek established and directed the Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research. In 1931 he joined the London School of Economics where he was seen as the antidote to the prevailing economics of John Maynard Keynes (which he regarded as socialistic). He became a British subject in 1938. [3]

1938 The American Enterprise Association was established in New York by Lewis H Brown the CEO of Johns-Manville Asbestos. It enrolled other corporations in funding economic overviews.

1943<?b> The American Enterprise Association (Later the AEI) was moved to Washington [2] It was funded by Johns-Manville, General Mills, Bristol-Meyers, Chrysler and Chemical Bank. Lewis Brown died in 1951. It claimed to be an educational institution.

1943 Ayn Rand publishes her first successful novel "The Fountainhead" in the USA (previously published in England to no effect) which begins to establish her philosophy of "Objectivism." It is a dystopian novel attacking communism as 'totalitarian collectivism. It sold 3.5 million copies. Warner Brothers bought the rights of The Fountainhead as a movie made the following year.

1944 Mar Hayek's book "The Road to Serfdom" (the title appropriated from de Tocqueville's "the road to servitude") suggested that the world was descending into a socialist morass. It was published in the USA in September of the same year, by a disciple at the University of Chicago.

1945 Apr: An abstracted version of Friedrich Hayek's famous book "The Road to Serfdom" was published in the Reader's Digest. Fisher read, absorbed and approved its anti-communist, anti-welfare, small-state message. He was 30 years old - a Battle-of-Britain Hawker Hurricane pilot with a depressive illness after witnessing his brother being shot down in flames in their first German encounter. He was relieved of flying duties and at the end of the war he was still working at Whitehall for the Royal Air Force as a gunnery trainer and advisor to new pilots.

1947 This is the year known as the Second Red Scare when the US House Un-American Activities Committee (McCarthy) held its hearings. Ayn Rand gave evidence.

1947 Apr 8 This is the claimed foundation date for the Mont Pelerin Society (MPS), It happened at a conference organized by Hayek in Switzerland. It was originally to be called the Acton-Tocqueville Society. The founding economist were Friedrich Hayek, Frank Knight, Karl Popper, Ludwig von Mises, George Stigler, and Milton Friedman and another 30 lesser-known academics signed up to combat '"state ascendancy and Marxist or Keynesian planning sweeping the globe." It was primarily a political rather than economic organisaton.

1950-62 Hayek transfered to the Chicago University to a chair for the "Committee on Social Thought". This position was funded by an outside foundation (he not accepted by the University economics department). Hayek developed a following with a group led by Milton Friedman and George Stigler and they worked together to create the Mont Pelerin Society and the International Studies Institute.

1951 Ayn Rand shifted from Los Angeles to New York and created "The Collective" - a group of admirers which included Alan Greenspan and Nathan Branden. [4] 1952 On a trip to the United States, Antony Fisher visited the still-new Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). F. A. Harper of the FEE introduced him to former colleagues from the Agriculture Department of Cornell University, who showed him intensive chicken farming techniques. They had developed a quick-fattening, big-breasted bird which didn't require energy-wasting foraging activity and could survive relatively immobile in cages and small pens. He smuggled some eggs back to England (prohibited because of various fowl diseases) and set up Buxted Chickens which made his fortune.

1954 Allan D Marshall (US Chamber of Commerce) took over the American Enterprise Association and brought in William J Baroody (also US CofC) as Executive Director.

1955 With the encouragement of Hayek and the help of his friends Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, Antony Fisher set up the Institute of Economic Affairs in London. Harris was a good PR man and they made an immediate impact in the post-war political scene with Harris as the 'Director'. Arthur Seldon was nominated 'Research Director'. Fisher concentrated on behind-the-scenes fundraising. They were helped in their fund-raising by Keith Joseph, an economics advisor to Margaret Thatcher.

1956 The American Enterprise Association, then the most successful of US think-tanks, closed its New York Office to concentrate on Washington lobbying. It now had funding of $80,000 a year. Baroody hired Milton Friedman and other Nixon economic advisers.)[3]

1957 Ayn Rand published her most successful novel "Atlas Shrugged" which promoted extreme libertarian economic views together with suggestions of authoritarian political control (but not totalitarianism) which rejected any elements of the welfare state, unionism, ultruism, collectivism etc. and promote laissez-fire capitalism, individual rights (extended to corporations), and elements of rule by the most powerful. This book introduces the "Atlas" term into the libertarian lexicon; it becomes a 'dog-whistle' term which only the believers understand. (Man as Superman -"uber menchen") Rand became a close friend at this time with Ludwig von Mises (and probably Hayek)

1958 The Nathaniel Branden Institute was established to promote Randian 'Objectivist' philiosophy by a devoted disciple (and probably her lover) [5]

1959 An ex US Army officer, businessman and ex-Dean of the Golden Gate University School of Law, George N. Crocker, publishes an anti New-Deal polemic "Roosevelt's Road to Russia" accusing President Roosevelt of being a sycophant to Joseph Stalin and a closet communist. [6] It struck a chord with the Goldwater Republicans.

The New York Times reviewer said "“There is plenty to be said against the Russian regime under Stalin and later. But to write of the Nazi butchers and the Japanese overlords as though they were friends with whom we had a minor difficulty is neither history nor scholarship—it is sheer nonsense.”"[7] The book was reprinted several times and is still on sale in 2010 for $25.

1962 In addition to his legal practice and businesses, Crocker now became a regular columnist for the San Francisco Examiner.

1962 The American Enterprise Association, changed its name to American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research [4] William J Baroody became President. It had $80,000 pa.

1964 Barry Goldwater makes his run for President with the backing of Ayn Rand and many others from the anti-communist far-right perspective. William Baroody and the American Enterprise Institute were "Goldwater's brain trust". Three of the AEI's top economist staffers joined the Goldwater campaign staff.

1965 Aug 31The far-right wing George N Crocker published an article in the San Francisco Examiner - which was republished under the heading: Roosted Chickens. [Just a coincidence]

He is attacking the threat to public order of the Watt's race riots (and the indulgence of the blacks). The Hon James D Martin has read it into the Congressional all may consider what appeals to mob action and the extension of the welfare state is doing to America. It follows a previous Crocker column titled "Plan of Revolution", and he is unhappy with President John F Kennedy and the Democrats:

The chickens are coming home to roost.

The country asked for what It is getting. In 1960 it installed in power LIberal ideologues, who have a faulty conception of man and his nature; and it entrenched them more deeply in 1964. They believe that man Is a product of material forces, that external environment Is to blame for his errant ways.

And the more they attempt to legislate us Into Utopia, the more incapable they are of preventing rampant increase of crime, growing contempt for law and those who enforce It, and the disintegration of the moral and legal codes which permit society to function in an orderly way.

Blackmail by mob action has been recklessly encouraged, even though It Is a beast whose appetite will prove insatiable and whose unchecked rapacity can only lead to the end of the American republic. {SNIP]

For a generation, the main thrust of Liberal policy has been to pulverize moral and legal guidelines and to drain from the American consciousness the meaning of free will and personal responsibility. This Is the virus that afflicts black and white alike, and blocks any realistic approach to the race problem. Barry Goldwater had the courage to say this last fall. The country was not listening.

George Crocker died a few years later (1970) and his wife Dorian's chickens came home to roost in the form of Antony Fisher, the Buxted Chicken king from London, who met and married her. He had shifted to the USA when his turtle-farm venture failed in the Cayman Island tax haven.

1970-72 Milton Friedman has his two year stint as President of the Mont Pelerin Society. He also works through the Cato Institute. and was a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution funded by a tobacco grant.

1970 The American Enterprise Foundation, the most influential of all, now had an annual budget of about $1 million. It went on a fund-raising spree.

1971 Antony Fisher sets up the International Institute for Economic Research following Hayek's suggesting that he concentrate of founding think-tanks rather than entering politics. 1971-72 Joseph Coors with Paul Weyrich, James Lucier and Jack Wilson establish the first of the Coors-funded think tanks -- the Analysis and Research Association (ARA) -- (with $250,000) specifically to generate policy for film-star/Governor Ronald Reagan

1972-73A memo written by a Virginia Democratic attorney, Lewis F Powell for the US Chamber of Commerce (and widely circulated) is credited with inspiring Paul Weyrich and [Edwin Feulner]]. It urged American business executives to take "effectiive action" against the "socialist threat". This 'crisis' stirred Joseph Coors to take action to counter Nixon's "new economic policy" with its freeze on wages and prices, and its "Cost of Living Council" designed to create wage and price stability:

1972 Coors is not satisfied with the ARA, and Wilson and Weyrich soon found a dormant tax-exempt organisation that could be taken over - the Robert M Schuchman Memorial Foundation. This was restructure and emerged in Washington DC as the Schuchman Foundation. Coors then brought in other multimillionaires like Richard Mellon Scaife and William Brady of Milwaukee to help fund it.

1973 Jan The new organisation began to factionalise and eventually it was decided to split it into:

1973 Feb 16 The law center becomes known as the Heritage Center/Institute, with Edwin Feulner and Paul Weyrich,

1973 Sep The Nixon-Republican high-level corruption becomes obvious when Vice-President, Spiro T Agnew is forced to resign, and Gerald Ford becomes Vice President.

1973 Dec The Heritage Foundation gets its own tax exempt status and splits formally away from the Schuchman Foundation. It now has the exclusive backing of Coors and it took over the 9 employees (and funding of $300,000 pa.) leaving the Schuchman group with only moderate funding from other sources.; it lasted less than two years.

With Heritage were Hugh Newton, Jeffrey B. Gayner, Herbert Berkowitz, and Burton Y. Pines, and it quickly began to overtake the American Enterprise Institute in influence.

1974 Ayn Rand is now being treated in the press as a Hollywood celebrity. [9]

1974 Mar It is now obvious to the Republican Conservatives that Nixon would soon be forced to resign over the Watergate scandal and they became convinced that the fall elections would be a disaster for the Republican Party. Paul Weyrich resigned from the Heritage Foundation and started the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress.

1974 Aug President Nixon resigns over Watergate. Vice President Gerald Ford takes over.

1974 Dec The Heritage Foundation now had an annual budget of $413,497.

1975Fisher had sold his chicken business, started a dairy farm, then tried turtle farming on the Cayman Islands tax haven ... then lost almost everything including his first wife. He spent most of his time in the USA.

Fisher is invited to become the co-director of the Fraser Institute in Vancouver which had been established by the Canadian businessman Pat Boyle in 1974. Dr Michael Walker, the director, ran the intellectual output of the Institute

1975 June 9 Frank J Walton (ex aide to Governor Reagan in California) becomes the new President of the Heritage Foundation.

Weyrich and Feulner were now funded to:

1975 The American Enterprise Institute was now well integrated into the Ford Republican Administration, and had an annual budget of $4 million. However it is relatively uninspiring and conservative in distributing its publications and promoting its ideology.

1975 May 5 President Gerald Ford's Administration is noted in the Congressional Record as being "economically steered by an Ayn Rand disciple." (a quote from Ralph Nader) [10] and the Boston Globe reports that Rand has "a big local following". [11]

1975 Nov Ronald Reagan announces that he will run for President against the more moderate Gerald Ford. He has already endorsed the Heritage Institute and this gives them additional status.

1976 Antony Fisher met Dorian Crocker again at a Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) meeting at Hillsdale College in Michigan, and then for a second time at an international MPS meeting at St Andrews Scotland in 1976. Her ex-husband, the far right-wing propagandist George N Crocker, had died in 1970.

1976 Paul Weyrich establishes the Free Congress Foundation

1976 Nov Reagan narrowly lost the nomination to Gerald Ford.

1976 Dec The Heritage Foundation under Frank Walton had more than doubled its income. Now they had a $1 million annual budget. He had introduce direct-mail fund raising - which was successful in recruiting several thousand donors. (eventually to reach 200,000)

1977 Jan President Jimmy Carter inaugurated.

1977 The Manhattan Institute which promoted corporate causes (including the tobacco industry's "junk-science" mantra), was established this year (initially as the International Center for Economic Policy Studies (ICEPS) by Antony Fisher and William J Casey. The Manhattan Institute became a key part of Reagan's supporting network.

1977 Paul Weyrich and Jerry Falwell create the Moral Majority
1977 May: The Cato Institute is established

1977 May 15 A Forbes magazine article complains that "except for Ayn Rand and Little Orphan Annie (the comic strip character), Americans don't like businessmen." She has become the pin-up-girl of big business. [12]

1977 Oct Anthony Fisher married the extremely wealthy Dorian Crocker at Pebble Beach in San Francisco.

He then moved to San Francisco. Dorian made it possible financially for him to build an international network of free-market oriented think-tanks. She was a most fervent ideologue and she worked with him on a daily basis.

1979 William J Casey was the campaign director for Reagan during his 1979-80 primaries and presidential campaigns who later became Reagan's CIA director. His associate in the Manhattan Institute, Antony Fisher was Casey's international adviser and provided the Reagan link to Margarette Thatcher.

1980 The campaign year of Ronald Reagan. A total of 22 of the 76 economic advisers to Reagan's campaign were members of the Mont Pelerin Society. [13] Eleven members of Reagan's transition team were from the Heritage Foundation. [5]

William J Baroody (AEI) dies. The American Enterprise Institute is now at the peak of its power in Washington DC.

1971 Jan President Ronald Reagan and VP HW Bush inauguration 1981Fisher sets up the Atlas Economic Research Foundation

1982–84 Fisher's old associate Ralph Harris (co-founder of the IEA) as now the 'Lord Harris of High Cross and he has a two-year stint as President of the Mont Pelerin Society

Date??The Institute for Humane Studies came along shortly after, as a think-tank training institute. 

The Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation and Heartland Institute were created with Koch and other money -- all maintained by (and dependent on) regular corporate funding which was easy because these organisations all promoted a small-government, less regulation message.

The Fraser Institute in Vancouver extended the network's reach into Canada, and it was one of the earliest (if not the first in North America)

The Institute of Public Affairs, the Centre for Independent Studies, and the Tasman Institute were recruited later to form the Australian branch of the network They all received regular tobacco industry grants, according to the tobacco archives.

1983 The Heritage Foundation is the most influential think-tank in the Reagan Administration. This year it celebrated its 10th Aniversary by moving into a new $9.5 million building on Capital Hill and set about raising a $35 m operating reserve.

1984-86 James M. Buchanan of George Mason University; occasional tobacco lobbyist and guru of the Cash-for-Comments Economists Network has a two-year stint as President of the Mont Pelerin Society. Also Cato Institute.

1984 Friedrich Hayek appointed to the Order of Companions of Honour on the advice of Margaret Thatcher. By this year Fisher had sway over 18 institutions in 11 countries {check needed}

1985 Establishment of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) in Irvine California as a result of Rand's legacy to Leon Peikoff. It is mainly educational.

1988Fisher was knighted on his deathbed. Dorian Fisher took his seat on the board of trustees of Atlas Economic Research Foundation from August 1988 to January 1997. Her legacy was that in 1988 there were 40 groups or institutes in 20 countries affiliated with Atlas. When she stepped down the network had over 100 institutes in 60 countries.

1988-90 Antonio Martino has his two year stint as President of the Mont Pelerin Society. He is an Italian politician and tobacco lobbyist. He was on the advisory board of IEA (London) and was enlisted by Philip Morris into its Libertad scam.


1989Dorian Fisher met Canadian entrepreneur John Adams shortly after Fisher's death, and they married and settled in Bermuda. Her new husband also played a major role in promoting the Atlas Group and network until his death in 1999.

Dorian Fisher/Adams retires from the Atlas board.

1996-98 Edwin J Feulner who is close to Richard Mellon Scaife (Sarah Scaife Foundation) has a two year stint as President of the Mont Pelerin Society. His credentials are ... (Pres/founder. Heritage Foundation]]; Vice Chm.Manhattan Institute; Advisor on IRET; Ex.Dir Republican Study Committee; Chairman Institute for European Defense and Strategic Studies (London);
MEMBER of: Center for Security Policy; {[Knights of Malta|SMOM]]; Ops Dei; President's Commission on White House Fellowships (Bush Cheney); Philadelphia Society; Club for Growth; America's Future Foundation; Union League (New York City); Metropolitan Club, Reform Club (London); Bohemian Club and Bohemian Grove regular. [And at least another dozen or two organisations/positiongs]

2006 Libertarian theorist and Austrian School economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe founded the Property and Freedom Society after breaking away from the Mont Pelerin Society over what he perceived to be the drift towards "socialism.


  1. Think Tanks and Production of Policy-knowledge in America
  2. Think Tanks and Production of Policy-knowledge in America
  3. Think Tanks and Production of Policy-knowledge in America
  4. Think Tanks and Production of Policy-knowledge in America
  5. Think Tanks and Production of Policy-knowledge in America