1995: Bannon at the BioDome
February 6, 2017
I liked Pauly Shore a lot better in this.
For those wondering about the apparent disconnect between the Bannon we know, and the younger Bannon we see above, reading between lines in this Wiki article is helpful.
During the transition period between missions, extensive research and system improvements had been undertaken. Concrete was sealed to prevent uptake of carbon dioxide. The second mission began on March 6, 1994, with an announced run of ten months. The crew was Norberto Alvarez-Romo (Capt.), John Druitt, Matt Finn, Pascale Maslin, Charlotte Godfrey, Rodrigo Romo and Tilak Mahato. The second crew achieved complete sufficiency in food production.
On April 1, 1994 a severe dispute within the management team led to the ousting of the on-site management by federal marshals serving a restraining order, and financier Ed Bass hired Stephen Bannon, manager of the Bannon & Co. investment banking team from Beverly Hills, California, to run Space Biospheres Ventures. Some Biosphere-ites were concerned about Bannon, who had previously investigated cost overruns at the site. Two former Biosphere 2 crew members flew back to Arizona to protest the hire and broke into the compound to warn current crew members that Bannon and the new management would jeopardize their safety.
At 3 am on April 5, 1994, Abigail Alling and Mark Van Thillo, members of the first crew, allegedly vandalized the project from outside, opening one double-airlock door and three single door emergency exits, leaving them open for approximately fifteen minutes. Five panes of glass were also broken. Alling later told the Chicago Tribune that she “considered the Biosphere to be in an emergency state… In no way was it sabotage. It was my responsibility.” About 10% of the biosphere’s air was exchanged with the outside during this time, according to systems analyst Donella Meadows, who received a communication from Ms. Alling in which she explained that she and Van Thillo judged it their ethical duty to give those inside the choice of continuing with the drastically changed human experiment or leaving, as they didn’t know what the crew had been told of the new situation. “On April 1, 1994, at approximately 10 AM … limousines arrived on the biosphere site … with two investment bankers hired by Mr. Bass …. They arrived with a temporary restraining order to take over direct control of the project …. With them were 6-8 police officers hired by the Bass organization…. They immediately changed locks on the offices …. All communication systems were changed (telephone and access codes), and [we] were prevented from receiving any data regarding safety, operations, and research of Biosphere 2.” Alling emphasized several times in her letter that the “bankers” who suddenly took over “knew nothing technically or scientifically, and little about the biospherian crew.”
Four days later, the captain Norberto Alvarez-Romo (by then married to Biosphere 2 chief executive Margaret Augustine) precipitously left the Biosphere for a “family emergency” after his wife’s suspension. He was replaced by Bernd Zabel, who had been nominated as captain of the first mission but who was replaced at the last minute. Two months later, Matt Smith replaced Matt Finn.
The ownership and management company Space Biospheres Ventures was officially dissolved on June 1, 1994. This left the scientific and business management of the mission to the interim turnaround team, who had been contracted by the financial partner, Decisions Investment Co.
Mission 2 was ended prematurely on September 6, 1994. No further total system science has emerged from Biosphere 2 since that date.
Steve Bannon left Biosphere 2 after two years, but his departure was marked by a civil lawsuit filed against Space Biosphere Ventures by the former crew members who had broken in. During a 1996 trial, Bannon testified that he had called one of the plaintiffs, Abigail Alling, a “self-centered, deluded young woman” and a “bimbo.” He also testified that when the woman submitted a five-page complaint outlining safety problems at the site, he promised to shove the complaint “down her fucking throat.” Bannon attributed this to “hard feelings and broken dreams.” At the end of the trial, the jury found for the plaintiffs and ordered Space Biosphere Ventures to pay them $600,000, but also ordered the plaintiffs to pay the company $40,089 for the damage they had caused.