US-Funded NGO in Ecuador Accused of ‘Political Meddling’


September 10, 2015


A composite image shows a number of tweets issued by Fundamedios that Ecuadorean official allege show the political nature of the work by the NGO.

A composite image shows a number of tweets issued by Fundamedios that Ecuadorean official allege show the political nature of the work by the NGO. | Photo: El Telegrafo

Ecuadorean officials allege that Fundamedios has engaged in “partisan political activities.”

The U.S.-funded non-governmental organization Fundamedios received notice that a state regulator in Ecuador has begun the process for the dissolution of the organization, saying the organization was not sticking to its mandate.

The National Secretariat of Communication, known as the Secom, claims that Fundamedios has deviated from its stated mission, intervening in political matters; something that is prohibited by Ecuadorean law and the organization’s own internal statutes.

Fundamedios says on its website that its “main task is to support media and journalists through its network of monitoring threats to freedom of expression and association.” The organization began its activity shortly after Rafael Correa took the presidency in 2007.

According to the Secom, Fundamedios engaged “partisan political activities” by sharing material on its social media accounts, publishing articles unrelated to its stated mission and inserting itself into political debates in the country.

On repeated occasions Fundamedios has declared its support for political organizations and personalities opposed to the government of Rafael Correa on matters completely unrelated to freedom of expression.

Decree 16, issued by the Ecuadorean government, states that organizations that deviate from their mission are subject to dissolution. The organization has 10 days to argue its case.

“Fundamedios is a political actor in this era that the country is living in,” Orlando Pérez, director of public newspaper El Telegrafo, told the Andes news agency.

However, in an interview with El Comercio, the organization’s director denied the charges, saying, “We did not deviate a millimeter from our statutes, we are fulfilling our objectives.”

Fundamedios’ Impartiality Questioned

The work of the organization mostly consists of issuing “alerts” regarding alleged attacks against journalists in Ecuador.

The organization is funded in part through a US$84,000 grant from the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy. U.S. Ambassor to Ecuador Adam Namm told El Telegrafo that Fundamedios received US$300,000 in 2012 from USAID, which receives its funds from the U.S. government.

In a press conference called to denounce the decision by the Secom, the director of Fundamedios, Cesar Ricaurte said that the decision to dissolve his organization constituted an “attack against the press.”

However, Ricaurte is openly hostile toward journalists who work for public media outlets, on one occasion calling a journalist an “agent of the state” who was guilty of “persecution” by virtue of her work for a public outlet.

Many of the alerts regarding alleged “attacks” on the press involve directives issued by a state regulatory agency known as the Supercom, which is tasked with ensuring that outlets respect Ecuadorean media laws. The law ensures that sensitive material is broadcast at appropriate times and that outlets report news accurately.

When media outlets contravene the law, Supercom has the authority to mandate the outlet comply by publishing corrections.

Fundamedios is also selective about the cases it chooses to champions, only coming to the aid of journalists who work for private media outlets and declining to support journalists who work for state-run media.

Several journalists were the victims of physical attacks by demonstrators during often-violent opposition protests that took place in Ecuador in August. The situation was so dire that several journalists called a press conference to denounce the attacks, Fundamedios declined to support these journalists and failed to issue any “alerts” regarding these aggressions.

The organization issued an “alert” over alleged attacks against Fernando Villavicencio, a former opposition politician now working as a journalist. Villavicencio was a fugitive from justice for over a year after being found guilty of slandering president Rafael Correa, accusing him of orchestrating the 2010 coup. Villavicencio was caught on camera physically assaulting Jose Luis Quinteros, a journalist with a public TV outlet. Fundamedios remained silent on this issue.

A number of other NGOs hostile to the government of Rafael Correa, such as Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, have come to the defense of Fundamedios.


September 13, 2015:

Journalists in Ecuador Back Decision Against US-Funded NGO

September 16, 2015:

Media Experts Criticize Ecuadorean NGO for Political Posturing

September 26, 2015:

US-Funded Media NGO Given Reprieve by Ecuadorean Authorities

Further reading:

March 12, 2015:

How the US Funds Dissent against Latin American Governments

Financing “The Message” Behind Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’ Project

United States Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works

Minority Staff Report

July 30, 2014

Klein and Lewis
(L-R) Author Naomi Klein, Mrs. Universe Ashley Callingbull and director Avi Lewis attend the ‘This Changes Everything’ premiere during the Toronto International Film Festivival (Crédito: Dominik Magdziak Photography)

Page 66:

“The New York-based Sustainable Markets Foundation (SMF) is another significant fiscal sponsor. Unlike Tides, Inc., it is a relatively unknown quantity. SMF only exists on paper and has zero public presence – no website, no Facebook page, no Twitter account, nothing. Accordingly, only an extensive review of its IRS Form-990s can inform the public of its activities; however, this review was limited to 2010 and 2011 because SMF’s IRS Form-990 for 2012 is not public. Through meticulous research, the Committee identified Jay Halfon, previously discussed in this report, as the director and general counsel of SMF. The group was also the fiscal sponsor of the controversial Moreover, nearly all of the members of the Billionaire’s Club donate to SMF, including Schmidt, Global Wallace Fund, RFF, RBF, Park, Energy, and Tides.

SMF only exists on paper and has zero public presence – no website, no Facebook page, no Twitter account, nothing.”

Page 67:

  1. A SMF Project: “The Message”


Susan Rockefeller at her home on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York, on Sept. 8, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

“The Message” is a multi-platform project on climate change. The first part of the project is a non-fiction book expected for release in fall 2014 by Naomi Klein, to be followed by a documentary currently in production. In 2011 and 2012, SMF received donations for and distributed grants to “The Message.” Specifically, in 2011, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave SMF $50,000 for “The Message,” Wallace Global Fund gave SMF $75,000 for “The Message,”and Schmidt Family Foundation gave $40,000 to SMF “to support development of a film titled, The Message.”

While those donations total $165,000 in 2011, that year SMF gave $112,360 – the difference seemingly represents SMF’s fiscal sponsor fee. The following year, the Schmidt Family Foundation gave SMF $100,000 “to support ‘The Message’ film.”

PDF: chainofenvironmentalcommand

[Production Company: The Message Productions, LLC/Klein Lewis Productions/Louverture Films]


(L-R) Executive Producer Alfonso Cuaron, Producer Pamela Anderson, Journalist Naomi Klein and Director Avi Lewis attend the “This Changes Everything” photo call during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at Ryerson Theatre on September 13, 2015 in Toronto, Canada.


The Message Links:

  •  The Message (The Schmidt Family Foundation):


  • The Message: The (R)evolutionary Power of Climate Change (which became the title of the first chapter in Klein’s book, This Changes Everything):


  • 2014 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Avi Lewis’ The Message:


Note that it is the “impact philanthropists” who determine the strategy behind such books, movements and film formats. Listen to Katie McKenna, web and engagement director for Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein’s book/documentary outreach project, The Message (as it was referred to from 2011 to 2014). McKenna articulates in the video below how funders do their due diligence. The funders ask for proof of social change, but are more than happy to accept metrics as a substitute. Clicks, metrics, are the new currency. In this way, the NGOs are all competing for profits in the form of continued funding as a reward for achieving attention via social media metrics.

Katie McKenna: Does art change the world? Lessons from the emerging field of “impact producing” | Treehouse Talks, April 2015

“so you start thinking about data, data, where am I going to get data to prove social change?”


“you end up using social media metrics as a proxy for social change”

FLASHBACK | Nostalgia for Origins – Miguel Amorós


October 18, 2007

by Miguel Amorós

Translated in December 2012 from the Spanish text obtained from the website of the Spanish journal, Argelaga:

Aeneas and Venus


A 2007 essay on nationalism, whose “most progressive” historical variant “in the human sense” stood for the defense of “old customs and traditions, communitarian institutions, egalitarianism [and] the rejection of the industrialization process”, a tendency that is currently “being jettisoned in favor of an extreme economic modernization” in which “local oligarchies that are intimately linked with world finance” dominate ethnic and regional separatist movements and the real historical foundations of “peoples” in the old sense have been suppressed and replaced with fake “nationalist paraphernalia, neo-folklore, flags, anthems … and subsidized culture”.

Nostalgia for Origins – Miguel Amorós

“Undaunted youths, go, seek that mother earth
From which your ancestors derive their birth.
The soil that sent you forth, her ancient race
In her old bosom shall again embrace.”

Virgil, The Aeneid

The dissolution of all social bonds that are not reducible to transactions that bear within themselves the total reign of the commodity over human life arouses two kinds of reactions: one rational, and the other foreign to Reason. The first reaction was concretized in a radical democratism that broke with bourgeois liberalism to converge with a socialist anti-capitalism, with its first most incisive variant, in our view, being the anarchist naturist school. But the annihilation of memory that goes hand in hand with commodity colonization favors irrationality to the detriment of reflection and historical critique, and therefore it is also prejudicial to legitimate resistance to capital, especially when this irrationality is expressed among rural social groups, and is often manifested in sentimentalism, conservatism and religious traditionalism [de manera … ultramontana]. Although the first tentative expressions of anti-capitalism often speak the language of religion, it is a struggle that only requires the consciousness of what it is actually doing in order to become revolutionary. The local impulse to rally around “the old laws”, tradition or the absolute monarchy, which responded to the same causes as the millenarian peasant revolts or the Luddite riots of the weavers and miners, occurred in various locations on the Iberian peninsula during the 19th century. The deepest roots of regional nationalism were embedded during this era, and in the case of the Basque Country they are quite evident, but nationalism properly speaking is manifested in very diverse ways in accordance with the class interests that use it as an ideological or political umbrella, depending on the specific weight of the proletariat and the degree of capitalist development that has been attained. At the present time, now that the process of industrialization has culminated in the transformation of society itself into one vast global industry, when the standardizing steamroller of mass culture has abolished differences, and when deracination is leading to nostalgia for lost identity, many are those who share the search for their “mother earth”, and nationalism, often mixed with other ideologies, is coming to the fore. The question concerning what relation the nationalist polemic can maintain with projects for social emancipation has different answers depending on the type of nationalism involved and the specific historical moment. To begin with we can say that at the present time almost all identity-based nationalisms and patriotisms are in practice alternative political approaches for carrying out capitalist development, approaches that oppose central State regulation of capitalist development, which is why their relation with freedom and the end of oppression is nil. Precisely the most interesting part of nationalism, and the most progressive in the human sense, that of its romantic origins, that is, the defense of old customs and traditions, communitarian institutions, egalitarianism, the rejection of the industrialization process and, in general, everything that really sets it apart, is the ballast which is being jettisoned in favor of an extreme economic modernization that is supposed to set the standard for and provide the new pattern for development in less developed nations. Most contemporary nationalists do not want to defend their identity by preserving their territory from global financial flows, but instead seek to create a profitable local franchise that will attract those flows. The development of regional metropolitan systems as nodes of the networks of globalized capitalism provide them with the best secessionist arguments: the conurbation-State is the most adequate political form for economic globalization, the form that provides the highest profits. This nationalism therefore defends the interests of the local oligarchies that are intimately linked with world finance; the differences that distinguish various nationalist trends, to the degree that these differences have any meaning, respond to the variable impact of the emerging middle classes in their schemas, which are more or less oriented towards independence depending on the greater or lesser need for or fear of the central State power.

Nationalism is based on the assumption of the existence of a separate, homogeneous, ethnic population with its own interests, which speaks its own language, has its own culture and therefore constitutes a nation. By “historical right” it is supposed to be entitled to the development of its own sovereign institutions, the products of the popular will, in the framework of an independent State, with its parliament, its officials, its police, its army, its judges and its borders. We shall attempt to show that all of this is false. Everything that could define a people has long since ceased to exist and for that reason there is no popular will, either. The need for a national market created the central State, ruined the local non-capitalist economies and abrogated their laws. The rural areas were impoverished, their “historical” institutions were abolished, their popular folklore and traditions were lost together with all social relations extraneous to the economy (relations based on reciprocity, mutual aid, the gift, redistribution, barter…), communal lands were confiscated, guilds were dissolved, classes arose, migratory movements were set in motion and, finally, the individual was uprooted from his community and thrown onto the market. In the transition from a pre-capitalist society to a capitalist society, populations were gradually standardized and homogenized, that is, transformed into a proletarianized social class. Any community or harmony of interests that might have been able to exist among the Estates of the Ancien Régime disappeared, erased by the capitalist intrusion into society. Economic interest dominated every other kind of interest, popular culture passed away and the popular language ceased to be used among the elites. Despite the meritorious cultural renaissances linked to the local intelligentsia or to bourgeois sectors in conflict with the State (due to the unequal development of the ruling classes), the process nonetheless continued, and with the appearance of mass culture, that is, of the spectacle, of generalized entertainment, of the mass media, etc., language lost its validity as a vehicle of culture and means of communication—any language—putting an end to its role as the last sign of surviving identity. The current institutionalization of culture and teaching of regional languages has the same effect as the erstwhile institutionalization of Castilian culture and the promotion of the national language: no language can be used to communicate. The modern conditions of existence prevent any serious communication; language and communication do not go hand in hand.

The uniformity achieved under capitalism means the end of peoples and nations. The real content of popular resistance to the implications of this standardization, that is, the resistance against the creation of a market for money, land and labor, was distorted by the local bourgeoisie and petty bourgeois by way of the contrivance of ethnic stereotypes and national myths, the manipulation of history and the invention of a spurious tradition amalgamated with folkloric residues. The nationalists need a Golden Age whence they can extract idyllic images and fabulous visions that serve as models for the patriotic imagination and their electorate. This is never enough, however, and the active presence of the militant proletariat, a new factor, forced the nationalist movements to define themselves with respect to the proletarian movement. There was no lack of individuals who discovered that the revolutionary working class was the only subject capable of resolving the problem of the national question. The proletariat, as “working people” and social majority, became the depository of the essence of the fatherland. In general, the diverse socialist tendencies reacted against this trend. The anarchists, for example, opposed national independence in the name of the unity of the proletariat, and opposed the formation of a new State in the name of their principles. In its time, the CNT rejected the Catalan statute, despite the fact that the majority of its members had voted for the nationalist party, the ERC (the Catalan Republican Left), because the proposed new State was conceived in accordance with capitalist interests. The social revolution was real independence. Proletarian federalism went even beyond the statist secessionist movement, which diverted the attention of the workers and left exploitation as it was. The CNT recognized the “Catalan people”, but not the Catalan bourgeoisie; Catalonia was a country, but not a nationality. Nation and State were only artificial creations. Catalonia would be free only as a sum of federated municipalities, without borders, rather than as a State. The defense of the oppressed Catalan culture and language was perfectly compatible with the class struggle, for even though the proletariat is internationalist and has no fatherland—its fatherland is the world—it does have a language. Indeed, Catalonia was never more free than during those two and a half months when it was ruled by the Committee of Anti-fascist Militias, but this was not the kind of freedom that was desired by the diverse interests camouflaged under the flag of Catalanism, with the exception of those who were represented by the POUM. These interests were transformed during the civil war into the vanguard of the counterrevolution, excavating an abyss between the workers and Catalan nationalism that has yet to be bridged. The ephemeral resurgence of the workers movement in the sixties and seventies gave way once again to a socialistic nationalism, and even led to a certain type of anarcho-patriotism that hardly made any contribution to the identity debate and even less to libertarian theoretical renewal. The lure of lost roots caused the workers movement to fall into the trap of recovered “identity”, endorsing with greater or lesser enthusiasm the most suspect nationalist paraphernalia, neo-folklore, flags, anthems, [linguistic and cultural] “normalization” and subsidized culture, all of it presented by the local oligarchy as the recovery of national identity, while it is actually nothing but the obligatory supplementary curriculum for the subject who desires to prosper in the new political framework.

Today—in the Iberian peninsula and, more generally, in the countries where modern conditions of production and consumption prevail—there are no peoples, and to prove this we shall note the decline of the birth rate of the native population, the indisputable aging of the population and the flood of immigrants that maintains the level of exploitation that the functioning of the economy requires. Nor are there any specific places or landscapes; unrestricted urbanization has merged the countryside with the city by destroying both and scattering over the surface of the land a single predatory model of territorial occupation. Constant mobility has done the rest. There are no more real roots, or particular ethnicities, or national interests, or any greater identity than the one that is disseminated by the generalized uniform way of life. Under the absolute rule of capital, amidst the full-blown globalization of the economy, what causes people to resemble one another, regardless of their background, is much greater than what sets them apart. The levels of consumption or the degree of repression may vary, but the standardizing tendencies are increasingly erasing any and all differences. In a manner of speaking, everyone will end up either singing along with the “Macarena” or hating it. Even racial mixing and mixed race children are the inadvertent result of the planetary rule of finance. There are more than fifty languages spoken in every conurbation. The national interest is nothing but the interest of international capital represented in the “national” territory by its political-economic oligarchy. Only the oppressed are a nation. Does this mean that nationalist demands are reactionary? Not necessarily; at least not in their anti-capitalist and anti-centralist tendency. Not as the historic reference to a life outside the market and separate from the bourgeois State. It is reactionary, however, as bourgeois mystification and an alibi for leaders. It is reactionary as spectacle. The struggle against the oppression of the tide of globalization is essentially a local struggle and a struggle for the reassertion of local rights, but everywhere it is the same; freedom must start from the bottom, concretizing in local forms, direct relations, communities speaking their own languages, and this, without deviating from the cosmopolitan exigencies, will lead us to the real discovery of the past. This does not involve a return to the past, or disinterring an extinguished society, or giving life to a mummified people, forgetting about the rest of the world. It is not a return of the kind recommended by the god Apollo to Aeneas in our quotation from Virgil. It is rather a matter of recovering memory, identifying the point where society first took its demented turn, discovering in the old wisdom and the old collective practices of the peoples, but not only in them, the forms of a lost freedom, with the intention of availing ourselves of them in our modern anti-capitalist battles. It is in this historical connection between past and present, between local experience and the polyglot reality, that, in order to orient ourselves by real radical struggles—struggles that go to the root—we shall all have to find the signs of our future identity.

Fund-Raising as the World Burns: Shell Drills the Arctic, Takes a Timeout and Big Green Declares “Victory”


September 29, 2015

by Michael Donnelly


“Michael Donnelly drops a dose of reality on the absurd orgy of self-congratulation from Gang Green over Shell’s market-driven decision to post-pone drilling in the Arctic until oil prices rise. In fact, any rational analysis of Shell’s decision would lead one to conclude that the battle is being lost, not won. The price of oil is low because so much oil has flooded the market, with more on the way thank’s to the lifting of the embargo on Iran. More oil at lower prices means less incentive to conserve and more carbon released into the atmosphere. By any standard, this is terrible news for the climate–and polar bears and the Arctic environment. Of course, Gang Green has never been a rational enterprise.” — Jeffrey St Clair


Arctic OffShore Drilling

“Activism is the antidote to despair.”

–Joan Baez


“Claiming false “victories” crushes activism and leads to more despair. ?Claiming false “victories” in order to fund raise is shameless and stupid.”

– The Donnelly Codicils


I awoke this morning to an in-box filled with bleats of “Victory” from all the usual “Climate Campaigner” suspects. The top news story on NPR began, “Environmentalists claim victory…”

“Big oil has sustained an unmitigated defeat. They had a budget of billions, we had a movement of millions. For three years we faced them down, and the people won.´­­”

— Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven


Royal Dutch Shell had announced it was suspending Arctic drilling operations after having found insufficient oil to recoup a profitable Return on Investment given today’s low oil prices. Green Central, in a slew of fund-raising missives capitalizing on Shell’s announcement, would have one believe that Shell saw the light due to the courageous actions of the “kayaktavists” who staged showy, excellent protests, yet failed to stop the deployment of the rigs that conducted the very drilling that has come up so empty.

As with George W. declaring Mission Accomplished in Iraq, the claims of victory emanating from Green Central are beyond premature, they are groundless. Neither Shell, nor the consortiums of other oil companies and governments that have their eye on the Arctic have withdrawn. The Obama Administration has not rescinded any drilling Leases and there is deafening silence from the “victors” on that. Obama’s “all-of-the-above/Drill, Baby Drill energy “plan” is very much alive and on-going. Again, the proximate cause of Shell’s pullback is economic and had nothing whatsoever to do with futile protests.

The Greens unanimously parrot talking point claims that “social pressure” from the fruitless protests caused a huge corporation like Shell to back off, while at the  same time giving Obama a free pass on his own resistance to their rather feeble, if present at all, “social pressure” over the approving the drilling Leases in the first place.

Nope. What we have here is akin to a time out called by one’s opponent for their own reasons – with every intent to resume play once the winter and the era of low oil prices are over and no change at all in a Administration Arctic Drilling Policy; not a “victory,” by any measure – other than fund-raising and self-congratulations … both  unwarranted.

The same Greens declared victory all over social media in June when the Shell icebreaker attempting to leave Portland backed off for a mere few hours after Greenpeace flew climbers in (on Wings of Tar Sands!) from around the planet to dangle off the St John’s Bridge. They claimed then that preventing the icebreaker SS Obama, err, Fennica from leaving port would prevent Shell from doing the exploratory drilling — when Shell was already drilling at the time!

The National Audubon Society, which had next to nothing to do with it, went so far as to immediately send out a fund-raising letter: “Shell didn’t find the oil and gas it expected to find this summer. But make no mistake: The public pressure you’ve helped apply is a key part of today’s victory for birds. Without intense public pressure to keep Arctic waters safe, Shell might have continued pressing ahead.

In spite of Shell’s herculean attempts to drill, you kept up the pressure. And birds won.” —- David Yarnold, President and CEO National Audubon Society

Yep. A major international corporation bowed to public pressure, but not Obama! Somewhat understandable, given the lack of pressure pointed in his direction.

Just as the sole victors in Bush’s Iraq adventure were his weapons manufacturer cronies, the sole “victors” here are the bottom line fund-raising efforts of the corporate Big Greens.

A History of Activist Malpractice

“All of our victories are temporary, and all of our defeats are permanent.

– David Brower

“And, some are far more temporary than others.”

– A Donnelly Codicil

The Environmental Movement is at least 45 years old in the US – the Non-Profit Complex gives the first Earth Day in 1970 as its birthday.  Since that origin, half the terrestrial species on the planet that were around then are now gone forever – extinct. Yet, groups like the panda cash machine World Wildlife Fund have metastasized with an annual budget of over $100 million, while species WWF purports to defend have disappeared across the board.

In that time, billions, yes – tens of billions – of dollars have been spent on environmental groups and issues. The Nature Conservancy alone holds assets worth over $20b. Hundreds have made their living as green professionals. Hundreds today are paid Climate Campaigners. Yet by every habitat-scale measurement, things have been on an increasingly downward spiral all along: every biome on the planet is currently dying. Lots of money raised and spent and little to show for it. By any Gaian-based measurement, it’s devastating failure all around, no matter how much “victory” spin the pros put on it.

Green Groudhog V-Day

We’ve seen this over and over. Over-stated “victories:” “Clinton saves the Ancient Forest” was blared repeatedly when Bill Clinton came to the Northwest and actually restarted Ancient Forest logging, after it was shut down completely by Injunction under Bush the Elder. Every group that peddled that spin was handsomely rewarded by the pro-Democrat foundations of the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGAd). Groups that pointed out the actual state of the emperor’s at the time were ostracized clothing – groups that had a hand in saving vast acreages .

Since then, Pacific Northwest Ancient Forests continue to be logged. Just the other day I saw a loaded log truck that was filled by just three logs. “Baby” old growth (mature and younger forests) is being logged at rapacious rates. The same “Green” professionals have been pimping  the ludicrous idea that “thinning the forests” will make them “less fire-prone” and that  burning the thinnings and other trees in steam boilers for electrons (Biomass – a process  1.5 times more polluting that coal!) instead of coal or gas – is somehow Green.

Already twenty-some years since Clinton “saved” them, the Ancient Forest-dependent Indicator species for the health of the Ancient Forest ecosystem – the Northern Spotted Owls – have declined by over 60% across their range, and continue to decline 2.9% per year, likely well below the point of no return.

Then, when Al Gore ran to succeed Clinton, the Big Greens pulled out the stops. Just prior to the election, we were regaled with the “Clinton saves 60 million acres” toothless Roadless Rule. Not a single tree or acre was set aside inviolate under the now-forgotten Roadless Rule election year scam.

We also had the great Seattle WTO protest “victory.” While it is grand that we can catch the oligarchy off-balance once in a generation like what happened at WTO, what was the follow-up? WTO runs along unimpeded and as rapacious as ever – when was the last time you even heard of it? We now have “Free Speech Zones” err, cages and unaccountable, gladiatorial cops defusing protests and even more Obama Administration infiltration, spying  and repression of activist circles. Seattle WTO is no longer viable in any sense.

The Mythical “Victory” over Coal

Then there is the recent, deadly example. All the time of late, one reads about the “Hard Times for Coal;” the end of Mountain-top Removal (MTR) and the bankruptcy of Big Coal. Yet the mountains of Appalachia continue to be blown up for coal extraction, poisoning the ecosystem and the local population. Coal extraction in Wyoming leads the world. Daily, hundred-car coal trains rumble from Wyoming and down through the Columbia Gorge on their way to the export docks in Washington.

In addition, coal is still the #1 source of the electricity in the grid. 40% of US electricity still comes from coal. Fracked Natural Gas provides 27% Nukes 19% and Hydro dams/dead salmon 6%. Solar is at 0.4% and wind at 4.4% despite billions in subsidies and massive PR campaigns – overstated victories and Democrats aren’t the only things Big Green consistently oversells.

It’s our Carbon Addiction – Big Carbon is merely the pusher. The pusher will always find a way to get the product to the addicts/consumers.

“The environmental movement needs shaming at this point.”

– Denise Boggs

Already, the Big Greens and the Democrats are fully on board with Biomass. In Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and the paid greens are pushing discredited plans to “thin” over 9 million acres of public forest; while, at the same time, arraigning government-backed loans for Biomass companies to build or convert power plants burn the “product.” Local Oregon green groups speak loudly to the need to keep lumber mills open in order to thin the forest, bringing them back to “health” using chainsaw surgery. The biggest timber sale in Southwest history was developed by The Center for Biological Diversity and their cronies!

Germany and Britain import ground-up trees (pellets) from the US southeast, the Amazon and British Columbia. They then burn them and claim Carbon Credits for doing so –said Credits are then used to off-set increased coal use – Yes Virginia, those constant memes about Germany’s “Clean Energy” are false. Germany does not get “all its energy from solar.” Germany has not reduced coal use, much less “Fazed out coal.” In fact, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan and France have increased their coal burning by over 16% from 2009 -2013.

Things are just too desperate for such nonsense. The planet is at Stage Four and we are the cancer. It all boils down to Carbon, Biomass and Collapse.  Unless we drastically reduce consumption, we either burn that “leave it in the ground” carbon or like Europe, we simply switch to burning Nature and trash and calling it Green.

All these false claims from the top-down foundation-dependent “green movement” destroy any ability grassroots citizens may have to hold governments and corporations accountable. Again, Shell is on hiatus from drilling the Arctic for economic reasons. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the “kayatavist” protests – with “public pressure.”

In the past three years, “we’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some.”

Barack Obama, April 17th, 2012

If Obama, the guy who gave the pushers the go-ahead even feels any (again, if there is any) public pressure from those now claiming victory, it certainly hasn’t been an effective strategy, i.e.: producing results. As long as organizations rely on false claim fund-raising – putting institutional and personal success above the successful survival of Gaian species – we will get nowhere positive in our efforts to save our own very life support system.

Whenever an artificial victory is claimed, the “troops” fold their tents and go home – confident that they won. It then becomes next to impossible to get the real activism soufflé to rise again.

The bottom line is: we could power the grid on unicorn farts; but if we keep on consuming at the same, or likely higher rates, we still eat the planet. Addressing and greatly lowering First World Consumption is key. There is no “Green energy” solution. There is only less use. As such, it is well beyond time for Greens themselves to walk the talk – no more gratuitous carbon use; no more enviro groups flying their entire staffs to South America for workshops/retreats, no more flying to conferences around the planet to decry carbon pollution, no more flying guys in polar bear costumes around for photo-ops (I half-expected to see him hugging the Pope), etc. Period. And, no more distractions and insufficient, at best, victories.  There is no time for it. They already have all the pipelines they need. The Methane Plumes are for real. As I noted; every single forest biome and the oceans are dying. Now!

[MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at]

British Collusion with Death Squads in the Muslim World



The British state has long been adept at cultivating fascistic forces in oppressed countries, the most infamous examples of this collaboration being the British open support for the misnamed Mujahideen (‘warriors of the faith’) in Afghanistan during the 1980s and also the British state’s role backing Loyalist sectarian death squads in the occupied six countries in the period of the ‘Troubles’. What was perhaps a slow trickle of events a decade ago has in more recent years turned into a tsunami of revelations alluding to Britain’s seemingly deep and extensive role in supporting death squads in the Muslim world. Having learnt lessons from its experiences in collusion in Afghanistan and Ireland, the British state appears to be applying a more complex and sophisticated strategy towards the current death squads in the Muslim world, some of whom are known more popularly as ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘Jabhat Nusra’, and ‘Isis’/’IS’/’Isil’/’Islamic State’.

The British state’s fundamental role in the bringing to prominence a violent sectarian ideology, which perverts and uses and abuses Islam and Muslims, is well known and goes back centuries when Britain’s was the midwife and senior ally to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. British colonialism backed the vicious religious sectarianism of Ibn Wahhab and the Saud family and brought them to power in the Arabian peninsula, a process which saw tens of thousands of people in that country massacred as part of this supremacist project.

In the late 19th century going into the 20th century, Britain instituted a number of reactionary forces in the Middle East that used and abused Islam as a cover for their monarchical and pro-colonial dictatorships, such as that in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the many monarchical mini-states in the Persian Gulf. The development of such political forces and states was at the same time a strategy against the growing pro-independence, nationalist, left nationalist and socialist struggles and countries gripping the region. Britain’s primary allies in the region are the most sectarian and oppressive regimes, and allying with them supports their common fight against any movements for independence of the people and countries of the region. Most recently, this unholy alliance has been leveled against pro-independence countries of the Libyan Jamahirya and Baathist Syria and also against the leading country in the ‘Resistance Axis’, Iran. Relatedly, the UK, USA and France, Britain’s major allies, are also in direct alliance with similar death squad forces. Mark Curtis in his book Secret Affairs (2010) has thoroughly documented and proven that Britain’s so-called global war on terrorism is predicated on allying with the very states in the Muslim world that are widely seen as propping up these same death squads, which makes the ‘war on terrorism’ more like a neo-colonial war of terrorism against people of Africa and Asia.

The apparent British role in directly fostering sectarianism and terrorism sometimes comes to light, such as during the SAS debacle in Basra in September, 2005. This was when the British undercover SAS dressed as Arabs with heavy weaponry were arrested by the Iraqi police and then forcibly and illegally taken back by the British army. Unfortunately, there was next to no investigative journalism and deeper probing conducted into this incident.

Then we have the case of the so-called Arab Spring in Libya whereby Britain teamed up openly with death squads, such as the ‘Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’. The group’s leader, Hakim Belhaj, was a primary ally for the British and the USA on the ground in Libya during 2011. It was reported recently in the media, and confirmed to me by Libyan journalists, political leaders and analysts that Belhaj’s organization is tied to ‘Isis’ in Libya. The SAS were also caught out in covert operations near Benghazi in Libya during early 2011. None of these issues has seen any serious investigation by British-based analysts and journalists.

Eyebrows were raised when former British Guantanamo and Bagram detainee Moazzam Begg traveled first to Libya and met Hakim Belhaj in 2012, and then went openly and illegally into Aleppo, Syria to openly support a death squad by the name of Katiba Muhijareen, which in its modus operandi and ideology is very similar to other more infamous armed gangs in Syria. Begg’s trial earlier this year collapsed as MI5 convinced the judge to drop the case when it came out that Begg’s visit to Syria was green-lighted in at least one secret meeting with MI5:

“In a subsequent blog [now deleted online – SC] “Begg said […] he had been approached by an MI5 officer “who said they wanted to talk to me about my views on the situation in Syria”.

““I told them that they must be aware that I was investigating several leads regarding British and American complicity in rendition and torture in Syria. They called back after consulting with their lawyers and said they understood that and would still like to meet. I agreed to speak to them and meet at a hotel in East London. Both MI5 and me had our lawyers present.”

“In the meeting Begg said MI5 were concerned about “the possibility of Britons in Syria being radicalised and returning to pose a potential threat to national security. I told them that Britain had nothing to worry about, especially since British foreign policy, at the time, seemed in favour of the rebels.”

“Begg then says he was “assured by MI5” that he could return to Syria and continue his work “unhindered””. (Guardian, 02/10/2014)

This seems to indicate that the British state is more than willing to facilitate even well-known public political figures in Britain to support their common aims in places like Syria. More indirect and circumstantial evidence points to possible British collusion, connected to Begg’s organization ‘Cage’, with one of their former clients, the so-called ‘Jihadi John’ (AKA Mohammed Emwazi), who before disappearing and apparently reappearing as an infamous ‘Isis’ butcher and propagandist complained of many instances of harassment and meetings with MI5. In addition to MI5’s outreach to Emwazi, MI5 has also admitted to trying to recruit the killer of Lee Rigby Michael Adebalajo.

More recently there has been a stunning public admission by Abu Muntasir stating he was a senior, if not the most senior, British-based recruiting sergeant for death squads in Chechnya, Kashmir, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Myanmar for some 20 years with de facto impunity from the British state: “I came back [from war] and opened the door and the trickle turned to a flood. I inspired and recruited, I raised funds and bought weapons, not just a one-off but for 15 to 20 years. Why I have never been arrested I don’t know.”” (Guardian, 13/06/2015)

While there is a growing number of articles recently, including in the British mainstream media, exploring possible USA state and government collusion with these death squads, there is in still little to no work digging into the nature and breadth of British collusion. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps one of the central reasons is that sections of and leading personalities in the British left have been and remain in open alliance with organisations and individuals in Britain who supportthese death squads, in some cases even giving them leadership platforms and positions in anti-war and other progressive organisations.

Three more factors complicate the issue: 1, the same sections of the British left have also themselves supported directly and in some cases indirectly these same death squads as ‘rebel’ or even ‘revolutionary’ forces in the ‘Arab Spring’. This seems to have pushed back on any possibility for certain people to make self criticisms and develop their position in light of the growing and overwhelming evidence that these armed gangs are not pro-people in anyway way but are depraved and profoundly sectarian and are in an overt and covert relationship with Western states in a common project to divide and ruin regions of Africa and the Middle East and Asia.

The final complicating factor is borne out of fear of not falling into anti-Muslim racism and prejudice or Islamophobia when engaging critically with these issues. It is of utmost importance that one exercises cigilance as to not to fall into the Western imperialist trap of internalizing anti-Muslim prejudice in countering collusion. There are a number of forces on what one can say is broadly on the left who have fallen into this trap and have fallen victims to the ruling classes strategy of Islamophobia. However, those who are mistakenly thinking they are supporting Muslims by backing  death squads perhaps fail to appreciate that these death squad forces and British state collusion with them is designed exactly against Muslims who are, in terms of being targeted and in a quantitative sense the overwhelming victims of this joint enterprise between leading Nato countries, reactionary states and sectarian armed gangs. It is an integral part of British racist policy to on the one hand punish all Muslims for a situation of the British state’s making in allying with the very regimes who are espousing basically the same ideology as Al Qaeda and ‘Isis’; ensuring over the decades that Saudi Arabia is in control of most of teaching in mosques in Britain and oppose and overthrow all tolerant forces in Islam that are tied to different levels of independence struggles against imperialism. Having developed this grand neo-colonial entrapment strategy towards Muslims, the British state deceitfully blames Muslims for extremism, when the British state itself is by far the biggest culprit in developing this extremism but white washes this situation and instead hides its own covert and overt strategies in this field and engages in the promotion and inculcation of anti-Muslim racism amongst peoples of all communities but focused especially on white communities. If one looks back to the history of the Loyalist paramilitaries, like with the death squads in the Muslim world, both these forces were on the surface in contention with the British state, however similarly in both these situations having spats here and there with these death squads only hides and befuddles the actual relationship between them.

In the West increasing numbers of people, writers and analysts are uncovering the USA’s role in collusion with death squads in the Muslim world it is only amount of time before the levee breaks as it were on this issue and people who live in Britain will be asking more questions and demanding accountability and justice. However, we are nearly into the fifth year after Britain openly teamed up death squad forces in Libya, the very forces it has been saying it has been opposing in the ‘war on terror’, and for all this time there has been a great amount of resistance and avoidance of this growing scandal. For the few who have been trying to raise these issues, the response has too often been at best avoidance or more often attempts at shutting down any mention of the subject.

As our comrades in the Irish freedom struggle said in relation to the British state’s covert and not so covert operations in supporting the Loyalist gangs: “collusion is no illusion, it is state murder”. The Irish people’s demands and struggles were listened to and acted upon by leading sections of the British left, and the latter supported and continue to support the Irish struggle in their on-going campaigns against collusion. It is high time that the British left similarly listened to the people of Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, Mali and many other places and campaign to end this sordid relationship which is collapsing whole countries and regions into veritable living nightmares borne out of the policies of imperialism in an increasingly desperate and barbaric crisis mode.

[Sukant Chandan is a London-based decolonial anti-imperialist activist and analyst. He advocated justice for Libyans in visiting Libya three times during the Nato onslaught in 2011 and reports frequently on English-language news channels based in Russia, Iran, China and Lebanon on which he discusses issues pertaining to the challenges of the struggle to end neo-colonialism. He can be contacted at]

The Propaganda war against Syria led by Avaaz & the White Helmets

The Wall Will Fall

October 1, 2015

by Vanessa Beeley

Propaganda is the spreading of information in support of a cause. It’s not so important whether the information is true or false or if the cause is just or not — it’s all propaganda.

The word propaganda is often used in a negative sense, especially for politicians who make false claims to get elected or spread rumours to instigate regime change [my edit]. In fact, any campaign that is used to persuade can be called propaganda.”

Russia’s involvement in Syria has caused a flurry of “cold war”, Assad/ISIS co-dependency propaganda, all being produced by the usual suspects and all with the primary objective of invoking a No Fly Zone in Syria and stoking the “Russian Bear threat” fires that have been smouldering for some time.

I am going to attempt to dismantle this propaganda edifice one brick at a time.

Russia Attacks Moderate Rebels in Syria 

In a Telegraph article dated 1st October 2015 with the headline British Troops Head to Saudi Arabia to train Syrian rebels it was stated:

The FSA is considered the most moderate of factions fighting Bashar al-Assad’s government, but has been increasingly side-lined on the battlefield by more extremist Islamist factions. It has also been riven by leadership disputes.

American-led attempts to train up moderates to hold ground against Isil are months behind track because of the difficulty of finding groups which were not linked to the extremists.” 

The term “moderate rebels” has become one of the most significant misnomers of this coming up to five year conflict.  The hijacking of any semblance of a legitimate opposition to the Syrian Government by NATO, the US and regional allies including Israel in order to achieve their desired regime change has been well documented.

Who are these elusive “moderate rebels”?  You may well ask. Traditionally it is the FSA that has been marketed as the cuddly, viable alternative to the Assad government which incidentally is the internationally recognised government of Syria, supported by the majority of the Syrian people. However we don’t have to dig too deep to reveal the hard line Islamist, Salafi affiliations of this so-called moderate group of brigands.

Journalist Daniel Greenfield puts it most succinctly:  “Few media outlets are willing to say that out loud, but it’s quite true. There is no Free Syrian Army. It’s an umbrella for providing Western aid to a front group run by the Muslim Brotherhood.”  He deplores the shaky Pentagon math that Obama and Congress have used in an attempt to downplay the reality that even in 2013 Pentagon sources were reluctantly admitting that extremist groups constituted over 50% of Syrian “opposition” and that these numbers were steadily increasing.

This map clearly shows the weakness of this “moderate rebel” argument as it unequivocally demonstrates the minor FSA presence at the frontline of Syrian opposition.  They compose of fragmented mercenary groups largely unable to operate without extremist logistical support.

Syria forces map
















So this rather dispels the “moderate” myth and leads to the conclusion that in reality Russia was targeting areas north of Homs that contained few civilians and is an area controlled by a number of combined Muslim Brotherhood, Jihadist opposition fighters supported by the US alliance. It must also be remembered that the majority of civilians will flee an area infested by such mercenaries and seek refuge in government held areas.  This is another fact conveniently omitted from most mainstream media reports. 90% of IDPs are in Government held areas.

It also makes a mockery of Defence Secretary Ashton B Carter’s claims in the New York Times yesterday:

“By supporting Assad and seemingly taking on everybody fighting Assad,” Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Wednesday, Russia is “taking on the whole rest of the country that’s fighting Assad.” Some of those groups, he added, are supported by the United States and need to be part of a political resolution in Syria.

“That’s why the Russian position is doomed to fail,” Mr. Carter said.

Russia is effectively exposing US policy in Syria as naked hegemony and America is not happy. While the US has been supplying TOW missiles and a variety of arms/equipment to extremists and deliberately funding any group that will secure regime change, Russia is actively deploying its military to target the nests of terrorist mercenaries and opportunists waiting eagerly for the political vacuum that would be created by the “removal” of Assad, in order to inflict their extremism upon the Syrian people.  They may not be technically called ISIS but they are cut from the same cloth of US/Israeli proxy terrorism and should be eliminated from any sovereign nation. Failure to do so has catastrophic results as seen in Libya and Iraq.

The Propaganda Trail

Now let’s examine the unsavoury marketing aspect of the propaganda campaign being waged by a frustrated and increasingly infuriated US alliance.  Of course the usual triad has leapt into action. HRW, Avaaz and the White Helmets.  Avaaz has produced one of its most poisonous and misleading petitions to date.  The inevitable eyewitness statements claim that Russia targeted civilian areas utterly free of ISIS operatives.  These statements are already rendered questionable by the evidence I have submitted above.

When we watch the videos, particularly the longer Liveleak version, it is hard to detect the women and children that are being described.  The majority of protagonists appear to be male and of fighting age.  There is no evidence of “civilian” life among the deserted buildings, the only movement is of males, some on foot, some on scooters and presumably some taking the time to film events even as the bombs are falling.  Not the actions of terrified, innocent civilians.

Live Leak Video of Russian bombing of Homs

There is one other video that does show about 2 seconds of a young boy crying and obviously injured.  However this video must be questioned as to its authenticity as the claims are that the initial shot of planes overhead is not even of Russian planes. The quality of the video is poor and apart from the footage of the one child, again demonstrates that the majority of people involved are men of fighting age in a deserted built up area to the north of Homs.

In this disgusting display of blatant propaganda calling for the long sought after no fly zone, Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz makes the extraordinary statement “Russia says it’s bombing ISIS, but eyewitnesses say their brutal attacks targeted areas way outside of ISIS control. This will only sow instability and radicalisation and should be an urgent wake-up call to the US and its allies to enforce a targeted no-fly zone to save lives, counter ISIS and alleviate the refugee crisis. Syrians civilians need protection now, not further attacks from Russian bombs.”

Speaking to one Damascus resident this morning, I asked for their opinion on this statement.  His reply was simple, “I am just relieved that the Russian Air Force is in action”.  The hypocrisy of this statement from Ruby-Sachs perfectly mirrors the hypocrisy of Congress, Obama’s Teflon speech at the UNGA, Pentagon’s barefaced obscurantism over the US role in creating exactly this instability and radicalisation in Syria and bringing misery, terror and bloodshed to the people of Syria with the sole aim of securing their interests in the region [and those of their staunchest partner in crimes against Humanity, Israel]

If we wish to speak of civilian casualties perhaps we should turn the spotlight on the pre- existing Coalition bombing campaign.  The civilian death rates from these strikes is rarely discussed and often concealed by the Pentagon and US/European associated analysts like the SOHR.  Where for example was the Avaaz petition calling for a No Fly Zone when the coalition air strikes resulted in a multitude of non-combatant deaths including children?  This report from Airwars reveals the disturbing numbers:

Screenshot (305)








“ Syria has also seen a number of troubling mass casualty events attributed to Coalition actions. On the first night of bombing on September 23rd 2014, US aircraft killed as many as 15 civilians in the village of Kafar Daryan. On December 28th at least 58 civilians reportedly died when the Coalition struck a temporary Daesh prison at al Bab (see report). And on April 30th 2015, 64 civilians died in a likely Coalition airstrike at Ber Mahli. In these three incidents alone, 106 non-combatant victims have so far been publicly named – 38 of them children. It remains unclear whether any of these events have been investigated by the Coalition.”

Syria’s civilians need a spanner putting in the spokes of this crushing propaganda vehicle that rides roughshod over their genuine needs with devastating consequences. Those needs are simple:  stop lying, stop fabricating and stop creating, funding, arming and incubating the terrorist cancer in Syria.

The White Helmet element.

Now we come to perhaps one of the most insidious and damaging elements of the propaganda machine.  The White Helmets, created by the Soros partnered, Svengali of PR giants, The White Helmets with the debonair, Sandhurst educated James Bond of humanitarianism at its helm, James Le Mesurier, whose CV reads like a NATO regime change itinerary and whose connections delve deep into the Empire’s underworld of media manipulation and strategy cultivation.

The first slick photo campaign was hot off the press almost immediately after the first Russian air strikes in the Homs region:

syria campaign russia

Unfortunately for them, perhaps White Helmets are exhausting their supply of heart string tugging images as their twitter campaign almost immediately came under attack by those who are waking up to this cynical propagandization of human misery.


Quote from ~ “The White Helmets in their haste to point the finger of blame at Moscow, managed to tweet about Russia’s air strikes several hours before the Russian Parliament actually authorized the use of the Air Force in Syria.”

This image was also picked up and run with by RT who accurately pinpointed the deep-rooted deceit that lies at the heart of the majority of White Helmet publicity campaigns.  The flurry of activity on the White Helmet twitter page must have taken, even them, by surprise.  For so long they have enjoyed the fruits of their marketing campaign depicting them as selfless heroes, saviours of humanity, impartial protectors of kittens and Syrians in equal measure.  Unarmed, neutral, demi-saints climbing the “Mount Everest of war zones”.  Unfortunately so many of their masks have slipped that they can no longer bask in their Purpose reflected glory.

Yesterday like HRW before them they were exposed to be the fabricators and deceivers they really are.  Anyone can make a mistake I hear you say, yes sure, one mistake is acceptable, 2 is questionable but a consistent conveyer belt of misleading, perception altering, “nudging” images ceases to be innocent and enters the realm of manipulation on a terrifying scale with horrifying ramifications for the people of Syria who so far, have resisted their country being plunged into the same abyss as Libya or Iraq.

Just one other example of the White Helmet duplicitous image use:

Aleppo White helmet

Another image was brought to my attention this morning that further shatters the high gloss White Helmet image.  Whilst it is well known that far from being neutral, the White Helmets are in fact embedded with Al Nusra [the Syrian arm of Al Qaeda], it is perhaps not so well known that their southern Damascus depot is situated at the heart of ISIS held territory, to the south of the notorious Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp.  This image shows their insignia and emblem clearly on the wall and gates behind the selfie taking ISIS mercenary in the foreground.  It is becoming harder and harder for White Helmets to maintain their veneer of impartiality, a fact that is borne out quite effectively by the fact that the majority of Syrians in government held areas have never heard of them, even unbiased civilians in Aleppo have not come across them.  Their association is exclusively with the extremist elements of the Syrian opposition. Their purpose is to facilitate calls for a No Fly Zone, cue Avaaz, and destabilize the region in the manner demanded by their masters in the US, UK and Syrian National Council.




We can safely conclude that the US, Israel and their allies are furious that they have been out manoeuvred and outsmarted by Russia and Syria.  Their No Fly Zone plans have been consistently thwarted and derailed.  Russia has effectively demanded a US coalition No Fly Zone which is the ultimate insult to US hegemony and self-proclaimed world police status.  Russia, unlike the US IS targeting ISIS in all its distorted guises and nomenclature. And yes Mr Defence Secretary, Russia is bombing US supported “rebels” in Syria for the very simple reason, the US has funded all extremist factions in Syria since they first started down the blood strewn road of regime change.

If we lived in a just world we would see Avaaz and their ilk clamouring for an end to interventionism and demanding diplomatic solutions to support internal, sovereign nation, peace processes [as in fact Russia has unwaveringly called for in Syria].  However we do not live in a world based upon a universal understanding of justice, we live in a world governed by the powerful and the greedy, devoid of compassion, intent only on their geopolitical prowess and humanity exempt colonialism.  For the sake of the Syrian people and all other nations being crushed by this well used, well-oiled propaganda machine we must question, we must demand answers, and we must wake up to our responsibility to reject calls for the destruction of nations and peoples who ask only for their basic human right to determine their own futures.

Avaaz, HRW, White Helmets and their associates have no place in that brave new world.


Kwame Ture – Black Power Speech (1966)

Soon after he was named chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Stokely Carmichael began to tout the slogan and philosophy of Black Power.  In the speech below he explains  Black Power to an audience at the University of California, Berkeley. [Source: (1966) Stokely Carmichael, “Black Power”]


“When the missionaries came to civilize us because we were uncivilized, to educate us because we were uneducated, and to give us some literate studies because we were illiterate, they charged a price. The missionaries came with the Bible, and we had the land: When they left, they had the land, and we still have the Bible. That’s been the rationalization for Western civilization as it moves across the world–stealing, plundering, and raping everybody in its path. Their one rationalization is that the rest of the world is uncivilized and they are in fact civilized.


But the West is un-civ-i-lized. And that still runs on today, you see, because now we have “modern-day missionaries,” and they come into our ghettos–they Head Start, Upward Lift, Bootstrap, and Upward Bound us into white society. They don’t want to face the real problem. A man is poor for one reason and one reason only–he does not have money. If you want to get rid of poverty, you give people money. And you ought not tell me about people who don’t work, and that you can’t give people money if they don’t work, because if that were true, you’d have to start stopping Rockefeller, Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson, the whole of Standard Oil, the Gulf Corporation, all of them, including probably a large number of the board of trustees of this university. The question, then, is not whether or not one can work; it’s Who has power to make his or her acts legitimate? That is all. In his country that power is invested in the hands of white people, and it makes their acts legitimate.”



Must Watch Bulldozing Biodiversity Lecture by Clive Spash

Lecture in English, Bank of Austria, Vienna, 6th December 2010

A guest lecture on the economics of biodiversity management and the problems of the current ecosystems services and market based policy approaches.


“Human Rights” front groups (“Humanitarian Interventionalists”) Warring on Syria

In Gaza

Fall, 2015

by Eva Bartlett



This page will continue to expand as more so-called “Human Rights” groups are outed for propagating anti-Syria war rhetoric and false allegations against the Syrian government and Syrian Arab Army.  As it is, the list of players is quite extensive.  Below, I’ll list the known HR front people and groups (many, if not most, with links to the US State Department and criminals like George Soros). As Rick Sterling wrote in his “Humanitarians for War on Syria” (March 2015):

“A massive campaign in support of foreign intervention against Syria is underway. The goal is to prepare the public for a “No Fly Zone” enforced by US and other military powers. This is how the invasion of Iraq began. This is how the public was prepared for the US/NATO air attack on Libya.


The results of western ‘regime change’ in Iraq and Libya have been disastrous. Both actions have dramatically reduced the security, health, education and living standards of the populations, created anarchy and mayhem, and resulted in the explosion of sectarianism and violence in the region. Now the Western/NATO/Israeli and Gulf powers, supported by major intervention-inclined humanitarian organizations, want to do the same in Syria.”


The Players:

Avaaz: “Avaaz is an online lobby organization founded in 2007 by Jeremy Heimans (now CEO of Purpose) and others. Start-up funding was provided by George Soros’ foundation. …they have been prominent in promoting neoliberal foreign policies in keeping with the U.S. State Department. …Avaaz very actively promoted a No Fly Zone in Libya. They are now very actively promoting the same for Syria. In-depth research and exposure of Avaaz can be found here. The titles give some indication: “Faking It: Charity Communications in the Firing Line”, “Syria: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire”, “Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps for Militarism”. Avaaz justifies its call for No Fly Zone in part on White Helmets. Given the close interconnections between Avaaz and Purpose, they are surely aware that White Helmets is a media creation. This calls into question their sincerity.” [citation from: Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone]

“Avaaz is the operational name of “Global Engagement and Organizing Fund,” a non-profit organization legally incorporated in 2006. Avaaz was founded by Res Publica, described as a global civic advocacy group, and, “an online community that has pioneered internet advocacy in the United States.”…The silent voice behind Avaaz, that of Res Publica, is, in the public realm, essentially comprised of 3 key individuals: Tom Perriello, a pro-war (former) U.S. Representative who describes himself as a social entrepreneur, Ricken Patel, consultant to many of the most powerful entities on Earth and the long-time associate of Perriello, and Tom Pravda, a member of the UK Diplomatic Service who serves as a consultant to the U.S. State Department….In addition to receiving funding from the Open Society Institute, Avaaz has publicly cited the Open Society Institute as their foundation partner. This admission by founder Ricken Patel is found on the website.  The Open Society Institute (renamed in 2011 to Open Society Foundations) is a private operating and grantmaking foundation founded by George Soros, who remains the chair. …Avaaz’s stance on both Libya (now annihilated) and now Syria is in smooth synchronicity with the positions within the U.S. administration, positions such as those vocalized by the likes of war criminals such as Hillary Clinton (of “We came. We saw. He died. Laughter…” fame). The ugly iron fist of war is gently being spoon-fed to the public by way of a very dark velvet glove – that being Avaaz.” [citation from: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I]

Amnesty International: “Amnesty does take money from both governments and corporate-financier interests, one of the most notorious of which, Open Society, is headed by convicted financial criminal George Soros (whose Open Society also funds Human Rights Watch and a myriad of other “human rights” advocates). Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, for instance was drawn directly from the US State Department …Amnesty International’s website specifically mentions Nossel’s role behind US State Department-backed UN resolutions regarding Iran, Syria, Libya, and Cote d’Ivoire… Nossel’s “contributions” then are simply to dress up naked military aggression and the pursuit of global corporate-financier hegemony with the pretense of “human rights” advocacy.” [citation from: Amnesty International is US State Department Propaganda]

Hand in Hand for Syria: “The UK Charity Commission’s website states that Hand in Hand for Syria exists for “the advancement of health or saving lives”.  Until July 2014 the Facebook banner of Hand in Hand’s co-founder and chairman Faddy Sahloul read “WE WILL BRING ASSAD TO JUSTICE; NO MATTER WHAT LIVES IT TAKES, NO MATTER HOW MUCH CATASTROPHE IT MAKES”.  The image was removed shortly after it was commented on publicly. Also on Hand in Hand’s executive team is Dr Rola Hallam, one of the two medics featured in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’.  …On 30 August 2013, the day after the BBC’s initial report on the alleged Aleppo incendiary bomb attack, Dr Hallam appeared on BBC’s Newsnight programme expressing her profound disappointment at parliament’s rejection of a military strike against Syria. Dr Hallam’s father is Dr. Mousa al-Kurdi.  According to a 2013 article by Dr Saleyha Ahsan – the other Hand in Hand for Syria volunteer medic featured in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ [3] – Dr al-Kurdi is “involved politically with the Syrian National Council”.” [citation from: UK Charity Which Shares Syrian Opposition “Aims and Objectives” Benefits from Alan Kurdi Tragedy]

Human Rights Watch: “Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an integral part of the West’s propaganda machine. HRW shapes the narratives of conflicts, narratives which become solidified through repetition, and which eventually become regarded as undeniable facts. Moreover, the language HRW employs, far from being simply stylistic choices, is deliberately utilized to obscure the reality of war zones in the service of the Empire. This is undoubtedly the case with the Israel/Palestine conflict where Israeli actions are never outright war crimes, while Palestinian ones are. It is equally true of Ukraine. This is also the case in Libya, Syria, and Venezuela, countries where HRW has played a critical role in constructing narratives in the interests of its financier and corporate paymasters, not to mention of course the US foreign policy agenda. In both Libya and Syria, HRW has played a critical role in propagandizing the western public against the governments of those countries, thereby justifying the imperialist assault on them. More than simply “collecting the facts,” HRW cobbled together a completely distorted, and in many cases utterly dishonest and factually wrong, narrative which has buttressed the case for “intervention” in Syria, as it did in Libya….Human Rights Watch is undeniably an appendage of US foreign policy. It is in many ways part of the “soft power” arm of US power projection, a means of delegitimizing, demonizing, and otherwise destabilizing countries that do not play ball with the US.[citation from: HRW: Human Rights Watch or Hypocrites Representing Washington (Part 2)]

Ken Roth: “Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, has been vocal in his support for a full scale war on Syria in the name of humanitarianism. Roth has repeatedly called for intervention against the legal government of Syria, having recently tweeted statements such as “Like Sarajevo, could Douma market slaughter finally force Assad to stop targeting civilians?” (@KenRoth, Aug 16). The implication of the statement is quite clear: there should be military intervention, such as the US-NATO war on Yugoslavia and later Serbia, in order to stop the “slaughter” of civilians. It should be noted that this tweet was posted within hours of the news of the incident in Douma long before any investigation. Roth, and by extension his organization Human Rights Watch, further discredits whatever vestiges of impartiality he and HRW might have had with inane tweets such as “Douma market killings show how Assad chooses to fight this war: deliberately against civilians,” (@KenRoth, Aug 16), an obviously biased, and utterly unsubstantiated allegation. Roth could have absolutely no knowledge of either the identities of the dead, or the Syrian government’s motives, when he released the tweet the same day as the attack. He reveals himself here to be little more than a lackey for imperialism, a war hawk masquerading as a human rights defender.” [citation from: The Douma Market Attack: a Fabricated Pretext for Intervention?]

“Last week we found that Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth used an image of destruction in Gaza caused by Israel to accuse the Syrian government of indiscriminate use of “barrel bombs”. We wrote: “This is thereby at least the third time HRW is using a wrongly attributed pictures to depict current enemies of U.S. imperialism as having causing the damage the U.S. empire and/or its friends have caused.That is not mere bias by HRW. It is willful fraud.”[citation from: HRW’s Kenneth Roth Continues Unfounded Accusations With Another False Picture]

Medecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders: “Doctors Without Borders is fully funded by the very same corporate financier interests behind Wall Street and London’s collective foreign policy, including regime change in Syria and neighboring Iran. Doctors Without Borders’ own annual report (2010 report can be accessed here), includes as financial donors, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, and a myriad of other corporate-financier interests. Doctors Without Borders also features bankers upon its Board of Advisers including Elizabeth Beshel Robinson of Goldman Sachs. Complicating further Doctors Without Borders so-called “independent” and “aid” claims is the fact that their medical facilities are set up in terrorist held regions of Syria, especially along Syria’s northern border with NATO-member Turkey. In an interview with NPR, Doctors Without Borders’ Stephen Cornish revealed the nature of his organization’s involvement in the Syrian conflict, where he explains that aid is being sent to regions outside of the Syrian government’s control, and that his organization is in fact setting up facilities in these areas….In other words, the Wall Street-funded organization is providing support for militants armed and funded by the West and its regional allies, most of whom are revealed to be foreign fighters, affiliated with or directly belonging to Al Qaeda and its defacto political wing, the Muslim Brotherhood. This so-called “international aid” organization is in actuality yet another cog in the covert military machine being turned against Syria and serves the role as a medical battalion.” [citation from: “Doctors” Behind Syrian Chemical Weapons Claims are Aiding Terrorists]

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR): “They make bold but sometimes inaccurate assertions….A recent PHR press release is headlined “New Map shows Government Forces Deliberately Attacking Syria’s Medical System.” It looks slick and impressive but is inaccurate. For example, one of the most dramatic attacks on a Syrian hospital was the suicide bombing of Al Kindi Hospital in Aleppo. Yet the PHR map shows the attack having been carried out by “government forces.” Readers are encouraged to look at the 3 minute rebel video of the suicide attack which leaves no doubt who was responsible.” [citation from: About Those Chlorine Gas Attacks in Syria]

PURPOSE Inc.: “This is an international PR firm. CEO is Jeremy Heimans, a co-founder of Avaaz. President is Kevin Steinberg, previous CEO of World Economic Forum USA (antithesis of World Social Forum).  Their website describes their goal: “Purpose builds and accelerates movements to tackle the world’s biggest problems.” In this case the “problem” is reluctance to take over Syrian skies and land. For a hefty fee, “Purpose” will dupe the public and break down that reluctance. Toward that end,  Purpose created “The Syria Campaign”.”” [citation from: Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone]

Purpose Inc. (with its co-founders) is a favourite of high-finance websites such as The Economist and Forbes and sells its consulting services and branding/marketing campaigns to Google, Audi, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many others that comprise the world’s most powerful corporations and institutions. In 2012, it raised $3m from investors. “Ford Foundation, which has given Purpose’s non-profit arm a grant, reckons it is shaping up to be “one of the blue-chip social organisations of the future.” Purpose, like many other foundations, such as Rockefeller (who initially incubated 1Sky which merged with in 2011), also serves as an “incubator of social movements.”” [citation from: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire]

“The Syria Campaign”: “The Syria Campaign began in spring 2014…The Syria Campaign is managed by Anna Nolan,  who grew up in northern Ireland and has very likely never been to Syria. In addition to promoting the White Helmets,  Syria Campaign promotes a new social media campaign called “Planet Syria”. It features emotional pleas for the world to take notice of Syria in another thinly veiled effort pushing for foreign intervention and war. According to their website, The Syria Campaign received start-up funding from the foundation of Ayman Asfari, a billionaire who made his money in the oil and gas services industry. …One of their first efforts was to work to prevent publicity and information about the Syrian Presidential Election of June 2014. Accordingly, “The Syria Campaign” pressured Facebook to remove advertisements or publicity about the Syrian election.  Since then Syria Campaign has engineered huge media exposure and mythology about their baby, the “White Helmets” using all sorts of social and traditional media. The campaigns are largely fact free. For example, the Syrian election was dismissed out of hand by them and John Kerry but taken seriously by many millions of Syrians.” [citation from: Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone]

White Helmets/”Syrian Civil Defence: “This is a new organization, highly publicized as civilian rescue workers in Syria. In reality the White Helmets is a project created by the UK and USA. Training of civilians in Turkey has been overseen by former British military officer and current contractor, James Le Mesurier. Promotion of the program is done by “The Syria Campaign” supported by the foundation of billionaire Ayman Asfari. The White Helmets is clearly a public relations project. …White Helmets work in areas of Aleppo and Idlib controlled by Nusra (Al Queda).” “White Helmets primary function is propaganda. White Helmets demonizes the Assad government and encourages direct foreign intervention.  A White Helmet leader wrote a recent Washington Post editorial.  White Helmets are also very active on social media with presence on Twitter, Facebook etc.  According to their website, to contact White Helmets email The Syria Campaign which underscores the relationship.” [citations from: About Those Chlorine Gas Attacks in SyriaSeven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone]


UPDATED to include a different type of front “group” (one-man show) that purports to present information on Syria:

The SOHR (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights): “In reality, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has long ago been exposed as an absurd propaganda front operated by Rami Abdul Rahman out of his house in England’s countryside. According to a December 2011 Reuters article titled, “Coventry – an unlikely home to prominent Syria activist,” Abdul Rahman admits he is a member of the so-called “Syrian opposition” and seeks the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad…One could not fathom a more unreliable, compromised, biased source of information, yet for the past two years, his “Observatory” has served as the sole source of information for the endless torrent of propaganda emanating from the Western media….The New York Times also for the first time reveals that Abdul Rahman’s operation is indeed funded by the European Union and a “European country” he refuses to identify…Abdul Rahman has direct access to the Foreign Secretary William Hague, who he has been documented meeting in person on multiple occasions at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.” [citation from: EXPOSED: Syrian Human Rights Front is EU-Funded Fraud]


Important Articles:

*listed alphabetically

– About Those Chlorine Gas Attacks in Syria: Humanitarians Pushing for Intervention, Apr 3, 2015, Rick Sterling, Counter Punch

-Amnesty International is US State Department Propaganda, Aug 22, 2012, Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer Report

-Amnesty International, War Propaganda, and Human Rights Terrorism, Aug 8, 2013, Gearóid Ó Colmáin, Dissident Voice

-Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars, Jun 18, 2012, Ann Wright and Coleen Rowley, Consortium News

-Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War, Sep 20, 2013, Cory Morningstar, Wrong Kind of Green

-Avaaz: manufacturing consent for wars since 2011, Mar 20, 2015, Wall of Controversy

-Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire, Sep 17, 2014, The Art of Annihilation

-Avaaz: the World’s Most Powerful NGO, Feb 11, 2015, Wrong Kind of Green

-Avaaz’s war on Syria: Soros Sponsored Sorrow Pleads for Foreign Intervention, June 26, 2012, Wrong Kind of Green [see also their Avaaz tagged articles]

-“Doctors” Behind Syrian Chemical Weapons Claims are Aiding Terrorists, Aug 25, 2013, Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer

-Doctors Without Borders Aiding Globalists in Syria, Oct 17, 2013, Brandon Turbeville, Activist Post

-Eight Problems with Amnesty’s Report on Aleppo Syria, May 14, 2015, Rick Sterling, Counter Punch

-EXPOSED: Syrian Human Rights Front is EU-Funded Fraud, Apr 12, 2013, Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer

-Humanitarians for War on Syria, Mar 31, 2015, Rick Sterling, Counter Punch

-“Human Rights” Warriors for Empire, Glen Ford, Feb 15, 2012, Black Agenda Report

-Human Rights Watch FAIL: Uses Photo of American Bombing Destruction To Condemn Assad, Mar 11, 2015, Syria Solidarity Movement, Dissident Voice

-HRW: Human Rights Watch or Hypocrites Representing Washington (Part 1), Aug 1, 2014, Eric Draitser, New Eastern Outlook

-HRW: Human Rights Watch or Hypocrites Representing Washington (Part 2), Aug 6, 2014, New Eastern Outlook

-HRW’s Kenneth Roth Continues Unfounded Accusations With Another False Picture, May 15, 2015, Moon of Alabama

-Mythology, Barrel Bombs, and Human Rights Watch, Jul 21, 2015, Paul Larudee, Counter Punch

-Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators  White Helmets, Avaaz, Nicholas Kristof and Syria No Fly Zone, Apr 9, 2015, Rick Sterling, Dissident Voice

-Syria: Amnesty International, Regime Change and an Ambassador, Nov 3, 2011, Felicity Arbuthnot, Dissident Voice

-Syria: ‘Human Rights Watch’, Key Player in the Manufacture of Propaganda for War and Foreign Intervention, Feb 1, 2014, Tim Anderson and Mazen al-Akhras, Global Research

-Syria: ‘White Helmets are Soros sponsored anti-Assad propagandists’- Vanessa Beeley, Sep 2015, Sputnik Radio

-The Douma Market Attack: a Fabricated Pretext for Intervention?, Aug 21, 2015, Eric Draitser, Counter Punch

-The Imperial-Left and the Syrian Conflict The Campaign for Peace and Democracy Champions the Proxy War Against Syria, Jul 27, 2013, Jay Tharappel, Dissident Voice

-UK Charity Which Shares Syrian Opposition “Aims and Objectives” Benefits from Alan Kurdi Tragedy, Sept 10, 2015, Robert Stuart, Global Research

-Welcome to the Brave New World – Brought to You by Avaaz, Sep 13, 2013, Cory Morningstar, The Art of Annihilation

-‘White Helmets’: New Breed of Mercenaries and Propagandists, Disguised as ‘Humanitarians’ in Syria, Sep 1, 2015, Vanessa Beeley, 21st Century Wire

Is Vice President Garcia Cracking Down on Dissent in Bolivia?


September 11, 2015

by Federico Fuentes


While respecting their right to criticize government policies, Garcia said foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations needed to understand their place within Bolivian society.

Recent statements by Bolivia’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia regarding nongovernmental organisations in Bolivia have triggered off a heated debate on the left.

At an Aug. 11 media conference, Garcia accused NGOs of acting like political parties seeking to interfere in Bolivia’s domestic affairs. While respecting their right to criticize government policies, Garcia said foreign-funded nongovernmental organisations needed to understand their place within Bolivian society.

The former guerilla and left-wing academic said: “Does this group of comrades have the right to form an NGO and produce and publish what they want? Of course they have the right, but foreign NGOs do not have the right to come to Bolivia and say they support Bolivia’s development while they do politics and defend the interests of transnationals.”

He highlighted the fact that foreign companies and governments were the biggest backers of NGOs.

“What do we say to them?” he asked. “Finance in your own country, there is no need for you to come and interfere in our country. Our relationship with foreign governments and companies is very clear: service in function of our policy and usefulness in function of a sovereign state; but not for the purposes of covert political action …”

Garcia Linera said foreign governments were using NGOs to push policies that sought to stunt Bolivia’s development under the guise of protecting the environment. The vice-president singled out four NGOS that have been among the loudest critics of his government’s environmental policies.

In response, more than 200 academics from across the world signed an open letter expressing concern for what they viewed as “threats, which if they became a reality, would imply a grave blow in terms of restricting civil rights, among them, freedom of expression and association”. They said Garcia Linera’s real issue with the four NGOs was their criticisms of his government’s shortcomings.

Others have defended these nongovernmental organisations on the basis of their role in promoting environmental struggles.

Contributing to the debate with an article on, Carmelo Ruiz said Garcia’s comments come at a time when falling commodity prices are exacerbating the contradictions of his government’s “progressive extractivist model”. Furthermore, he argued the Morales government was facing the threat of a rise in social and environmental protests.

Faced with this dilemma, Ruiz said critical voices had chosen to point out that “protest and repression is inevitable in extractivism”, while government spokespeople have preferred to blame discontent on “imperialist manipulations.”

Like Ruiz, many have tried to portray Garcia’s comments as something relatively new. However, his criticisms of NGOs predate his election to office or recent conflicts with certain indigenous and environmental groups.

For example, Garcia criticized the role of NGOs in Sociology of Social Movements in Bolivia, a book many of his current critics still hold up as the most authoritative studies of its kind.

In a chapter focusing on the highlands indigenous organisation CONAMAQ, Garcia notes that nongovernmental organisation financing resulted in the organisation taking on certain “bureaucratic-administrative characteristics”. It also in part explained CONAMAQ’s propensity to act less like a social movement and more like a lobby group that sought to “negotiate and reach formal agreements with government institutions and multilateral support organisms.”

The book noted how in certain communities, NGOs had artificially propped up “ayllus” (which make up CONAMAQ’s base) to compete for local influence against more radical peasant unions.

Criticism of nongovernmental organisations’ role in co-opt and dividing social movements is also present in another book he co-authored, “We Are No Ones Toys.” Notably, they appear in a chapter dedicated to the conflict between indigenous groups and coca-growers in the Isiboro-Secure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS).

In 2011, conflict between these sectors over a proposed highway through the TIPNIS boiled over to become an issue of national, and even international significance for the Morales government.

Throughout the chapter, a number of references are made regarding the heavy influence NGOs had over indigenous communities.

Commenting in the book on the role of nongovernmental organisations in TIPNIS, local coca-grower leader Feliciano Mamani makes many of the same criticisms Garcia Linera made more than half a decade later in his book Geopolitics of the Amazon.

Mamani said: “NGOs and other interests that come for our natural resources, control indigenous people through money… where ever there are natural resources there are hundreds of NGOs confusing indigenous peoples and making false declarations….”

Since coming into office, Garcia’s criticisms of nongovernmental organisations’ relationship with social movements have not change, however his public critique of NGOs has broaden out to encompass other issues.

Garcia has argued that nongovernmental organisations had a huge influence over government ministries prior to Morales election. He recounts: “When we came into government in 2006, we found an executive carved up and handed over to embassies and [NGOs]… We could not do anything without authorization either from the embassies… or certain NGOs.”

This was in large part due to the fact that international loans and aid made up about half of the state budget for public investment.

The Morales government was able to quickly assert its control over state institutions as a result of its policy of nationalizing natural resources. Increased revenue from resource extraction put the government in the position where it could set its own policies, free of dependency or interference by foreign governments or NGOs.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nongovernmental organisations’ hostility towards the Bolivian government has paralleled its loss of influence over state policies.

All this is also part of the context within which Garcia’s comments need to be placed.

Framing the debate however, as though it is simply about a government hiding behind the rhetoric of national sovereignty to crackdown on opponents – or alternatively, viewing all government critics as stooges for imperialism – will only lead to a dialogue of the deaf.

For starters, it should not be too hard to defend free speech at the same time as respecting Bolivia’s sovereignty.

The left has always opposed attempts by governments to crackdown on free speech, and should continue to do so when this occurs. But this is separate to the issue of allowing foreign governments and corporation to do as they please on Bolivian soil.

It is one thing to shut down an nongovernmental organisations or jail opponents for what they say. Garcia has made it clear in his response to his critics that his government will not be closing down any NGO.

But it is quite another thing to deny the right of a sovereign government to control the flow of funds from hostile governments into its territory. Or is the left now going to argue that, in the name of “free speech”, foreign governments and corporations should be able to fund whoever they want in Bolivia?

We should use this opportunity to seriously discuss the various issues the debate has already thrown up. This includes, among others, the role of nongovernmental organisations in the Global South, how extractive industries have helped loosen foreign control over the Bolivian state, what alternative sources of funding might exist to enable this situation to remain, and what it would really take for Bolivia to overcome extractivism.