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Divestment as the Vehicle to Interlocking Globalized Capital [McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street: Part XV of an Investigative Report]

April 23, 2016

by Cory Morningstar

 

Part fifteen of an investigative series

 [Part I of this series, McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street, can be found here. Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIII, Part XIV ]

 

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” — Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

 

The Power of Persuasion | The Confidence Men and their Strategies

 

“It is not every generation that witnesses capitalism give rise to an original and apparently vigorous new form. Private equity is one such new form…. Private equity represents one of 21st century capitalism’s most virulent new forms.” — Inside the Dark Box: Shedding Light on Private Equity, March 2007 [Emphasis added]

 

“The natural resources fundraising market has grown substantially over the past few years, reaching record levels in 2015. Energy-focused funds remain the driving force behind the increased activity, securing more investor capital than ever before despite falling commodity and oil prices.” — Preqin 2015 Fundraising Update

 

luther

“Vendors of the bridge not only counted on the gullibility or greed of their targets; they also appealed to their vanity. Buyers could believe, as Mr. Sifakis put it, that “they had become real men of substance, great capitalists.” – For You, Half Price, NYT, November 27, 2005

What most people are happy to dismiss is the fact that the bourgeoisie do not fund and promote what they cannot control and manipulate for their own benefit. It’s incredible how millions of dollars in funding enables those who benefit (those of privilege) to not ask the obvious questions that follow such “philanthropic gifts” (ie. investments). If any person of sound mind truly believes that Rockefeller et al. are united in financing and promoting a global divestment campaign because they simply wish for a clean world, then this author has a bridge to sell them.

“Were divestment ever to succeed in lowering the valuations of fossil fuel companies, an unintended consequence could be a shift from public markets to private markets… Such a shift could hurt transparency; companies that go private have minimal reporting obligations and they typically become very opaque. This could limit everyone’s ability to engage the management of these companies in a discussion around climate change.” — Harvard Business Review, November 4, 2014

Divestment as the Vehicle to Interlocking Globalized Capital

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“The mix of the energy will change with time, and it certainly will not be as dominated by oil and gas,” said BlackRock’s Steenberg. “But rest assured, oil and gas (are) not going away, certainly in this (25-year) time frame, if ever.” — Private equity bets on energy ‘revolution’—in oil and gas, November 17, 2014

 

“According to Palico, some $83 billion in capital has been committed to private equity funds year-to-date, 53 percent more than the amount raised in the same period last year.” — A Record Number of Private Equity Funds Seek Investor Capital, Often for Surprising Strategies, March 9, 2015

Buy low. Sell high. The demand is not going away. The purpose of the above meme is to highlight how irresponsible Exxon is for not investing in renewable energy research. However, it is critical to note the text outlined in blue:”Exxon spent 13.2 billion buying up its own stock in 2014.”

“Discursive monoculture is the result of investment in private equity media, university endowments, and NGOs. The energy industry understands production and consumption cycles, and makes just as much on low prices as high. When the glut from fracking is burned up by frolicking consumers, they’ll double the price again, and make a killing on the divested shares.” — Jay Taber

Hedge Funds

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS ‘Hedge Fund’:

“For the most part, hedge funds (unlike mutual funds) are unregulated because they cater to sophisticated investors. In the U.S., laws require that the majority of investors in the fund be accredited. That is, they must earn a minimum amount of money annually and have a net worth of more than $1 million, along with a significant amount of investment knowledge. You can think of hedge funds as mutual funds for the super rich. They are similar to mutual funds in that investments are pooled and professionally managed, but differ in that the fund has far more flexibility in its investment strategies.” [1]

Make no mistake. Capitalists, oligarchs, plutocrats, monopolies, and oligopolies will preserve and protect their market share and dominance—with every tool they have at their disposal—regardless of consequence. The unsurpassed instrument of choice to facilitate this ideology, has been, and remains today, the foundations (serving as a legal tax-evasion and money laundering apparatus for corporations), and the entities that foundations finance—those being the NGOs and institutions within the non-profit industrial complex, as well as the industrial media complex (both corporate and so-called “progressive”). [2]

“… the ultimate measure of success is the accumulation of capital.” — The Rise of Private Equity Media Ownership, 2009

 

“The capital will go wherever the best risk-return is.” — Ian Simm, founder and CEO of Impax Asset Management Group — Private equity bets on energy ‘revolution’—in oil and gas, November 17, 2014

Considering that foundations such as Rockefeller, et. al. strategize for the protection/expansion of hegemonic power years and, more often, decades in advance:

In the sixty-five years since they began, we’ve funded the work of Golden Rice’s engineers, Dr. Peter Beyer, Dr. Ingo Potrykus, and others for more than fifteen of them… I’m delighted to announce, today, that we will be providing funding to the International Rice Research Institute – which we helped establish almost fifty years ago – to shepherd Golden Rice through national, regulatory approval processes in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. And we hope this is just the beginning.”— Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation, Keynote speech 2008

Thus, one could reasonably hypothesize that divestment has been both developed and incremented as a deliberate stop-gap measure to buy back and seize control of all the planet’s last remaining fossil fuels. Divest publicly and then in turn, invest privately via alternative institutions and hedge funds under the control of elite individuals. Shares could be purchased utilizing private transactions and hedge funds to avoid public trading rules. In a populace which has fully succumbed to celebrity fetish layered upon relentless, irrelevant nonsense, no one is watching. Organizations and those of wealth and power that do not appear on the divestment frontlines, such as the corporations that entities like the non-profit organization Ceres caters to, can openly acquire these shares and further expand on finance capital and monopoly finance capitalism. Although a goal to seize control of all the worlds’ remaining fossil fuels may seem absurd to some, consider that the “new economy” underway is unequivocally carbon based and carbon dependent from cradle to grave. Pretending otherwise does not make this fact any less real.

“PE [Private equity] is barely making a dent given the trillions of dollars the energy industry needs to transform itself,” — Private equity bets on energy ‘revolution’—in oil and gas, November 17, 2014

 

“Wood Mackenzie, the energy consultancy, told the Financial Times private equity funds have currently around $40 billion worth of funds to invest in exploration and production deals.” — Private Equity Fund To Buy Oil and Gas Assets Worldwide, June 10, 2015

Recognizing that the goal to seize control all the worlds’ remaining fresh water is now well underway, makes the aforementioned hypothesis that much more worthy of one’s consideration, when one contemplates all the evidence at hand. For those in need of further evidence demonstrating the race for and capture of Earth’s final remaining resources, consider the Blackstone Group, a key water baron and world’s largest private equity firm. Its private capital fundraising has surpassed phenomenal and unprecedented levels. (Blackstone Capital Partners VII closed in Q4 on $18bn making it the biggest private capital fund closed in 2015 and the fifth largest buyout fund ever. Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII closed in September 2015 on $15.8bn, making it the largest closed-end private real estate fund of all time. [Source] Blackstone has raised $4.5 billion for an energy focussed private equity fund, crossing its initial goals of $4 billion in February 2015, whereas the Carlyle Group LP has raised $2.5 billion for an international energy fund, surpassing a $1.5 billion fundraising target. In 2014, 52 private equity funds raised $39bn for investments in the oil and energy sector, a jump of 20 percent over previous year. [Source] As the oil glut tightens around the throats of producers, private equity managers circle like vultures over their prey. On February 11, 2016, Blackstone announced the formation of Clarion Offshore Partners LLC (“Clarion”), “a new platform to provide strategic solutions to the offshore oil and gas drilling and services sector, with a financial commitment from private equity funds managed by Blackstone.”

“I think this (oil prices falling) is going to be a wonderful, wonderful opportunity for us. It’s going to be one of the best opportunities we’ve had in many-many years.” — Stephen A Schwarzman, Chief Executive of the Blackstone Group, Growing Opportunities for Private Equity in Oil and Gas, April 1, 2015

 

“This trend in media ownership correlates with a larger rise of private equity activity in the economy as a whole since the turn of the century, which itself can be contextualized as a component of the increased prominence of organized finance capital within evolving neoliberal capitalism. The term ‘finance capital’ is employed here, as characterized by Dumenil and Levy (2004), to indicate the elite class of investors and financial institutions that are ‘major owners . . . free from direct management but often still active in the institutions that come to embody ownership’ (p. 208). Finance capital employs investment resources to maximize accumulation via instruments and markets that are detached from the actual production of goods and services. In basic terms, finance capital creates wealth by its own devices, making money from money rather than from direct investment in production.” — The Rise of Private Equity Media Ownership, 2009

 

“The world of private equity investment is a specialized and fairly restricted realm of knowledge. While the term itself may bear a certain degree of familiarity, what these companies actually do is, to a considerable extent, obscured from public view. Fundamentally, private equity firms are exclusive highstakes investment groups that manage and deploy massive amounts of private capital.” — The Rise of Private Equity Media Ownership, 2009

As Jay Taber notes in the February 19, 2015 article Illuminating Private Equity, “Corporate media rarely discussed the American aristocracy and how their agenda affects society. Consumers blame banks [765], but they have no idea how financial institutions are used by private equity traders to constantly replenish aristocratic wealth at our expense.”

Nowhere is this more evident than 350.org’s Naomi Klein in her reference to the orchestrated financial crisis of 2008:

“In 2009, when the financial crisis was in full swing, the massive response from governments around the world showed what was possible when our elites decided to declare a crisis.”

Indeed they did. The United States Government gave Wall Street the keys to the Treasury. Ironically, it was noted at the time, that this “bank bailout” was larger in sum than all the previous government programs combined over our 200-year history, including World War II and the Marshall Plan. And the most egregious irony of all, is that today’s environmental movement, choreographed by the likes of McKibben and Klein,  have given Wall Street the keys to the Treasury again. This time, the Treasury is that which holds our most precious treasures, that being the Earth herself.

Climate change, having accelerated with globalization, has presented the opportunity to restructure capitalism under the guise of corporate responsibility: the ultimate goal being the expansion of and maximization of private gain, via carbon market schemes and the commodification of the commons, at the expense of all life on Earth.

From The Rise of Private Equity Media Ownership, 2009:

  • “Investment minimums are typically set in terms of millions of dollars, which has the dual effect of creating immense blocks of mobile capital while also limiting investment opportunities to elite groups of ultra-wealthy individuals and large institutional investors such as insurance groups, pension funds, and university endowments.”

 

  • “Private equity funds are not openly traded in any public stock exchange system and therefore face considerably less regulatory oversight from institutions such as the Securities and Exchange Commission than their publicly traded counterparts.”

 

  • “Although rates of return fluctuate, private equity firms typically seek to return at least 20%, a considerably higher profit margin than the average rate of return on publicly traded stocks.” “Private equity in the 21st century has wholly eclipsed its lineage in terms of aggregate fundraising power, total number and value of acquisitions, and size of individual transactions. The figures are awe-inspiring. The total number of active buyout firms worldwide has more than doubled in less than five years. In 2006, private equity accumulated a record $459 billion of investment capital worldwide. Fifteen years prior, they raised less than $10 billion. Given the ability to borrow against their current resources, private equity firms in aggregate command an estimated $1 trillion in spending power.

 

  • In the United States, the world private equity leader, a record $215.4 billion entered private equity investment coffers in 2006. Of that, nearly $150 billion was specifically earmarked for buyout purposes, representing a 33% increase over corresponding funds from 2005, the previous record year. One-third of all merger and acquisition deals brokered in the U.S. in 2006 were funded in some capacity by private equity; five years ago this figure was just 3%.”

 

Akin to Emma Goldman’s observation that “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal”, the same logic applies to the divestment campaign: if it were a legitimate threat it would have been stopped at inception. Instead, we see the exact opposite. We witness the campaign being embraced and empowered by corporate capital. Yet why would this be surprising when it was in fact 350.org’s “friends on wall street” that developed the campaign at its inception. The only surprises here are why self-proclaimed environmentalists/leftists are more than eager to follow a path laid out by the very people they blame for our accelerating environmental crisis—the very people who oppress us—the same people and corporations that will reap the rewards from the divest-invest campaigns. The major form of authority that needs challenging, that being the system of private control over public resources, is successfully avoided via multiple and strategically useless discourses orchestrated by the NPIC with 350 at the helm of public influence.

“Figures from Dealogic, a capital markets research company, shows that the total deal value of UK private equity deals has risen fourfold since 2001, jumping from $16.3bn in that year to $68.4bn last year although the number of deals only rose by 66 per cent. The biggest single sector last year was utilities and energy where just four deals were worth $13.9bn. — Inside the Dark Box: Shedding Light on Private Equity, March 2007 [Emphasis added]

 

“There are incredible numbers of ripples that go out from the splash,” the head of BlackRock’s $18.8 billion Private Equity Partners said in a recent interview. “Well the energy revolution right now is the rock. The ripples are all of the things in the economy that support the energy revolution … that provide all kinds of investment opportunity.” — Private equity bets on energy ‘revolution’—in oil and gas, November 17, 2014

 

“Regardless of the exact mix, private equity is excited by the massive amounts of investment needed to keep up with growing global demand. An estimated $40 trillion will be required to satisfy energy needs through 2035…” — Private equity bets on energy ‘revolution’—in oil and gas, November 17, 2014

Thus, more than the divestment campaign simply providing a super highway to the “new economy” (as part of the third industrial revolution, the so-called “climate wealth opportunity”), and serving as a bridge to the ultimate coup, the commodification/privatization of the commons/natural capital is providing an effective discourse to allow economic growth to continue unabated while appearing to be a mitigation tool for climate change. This is nothing more than simply a tool of illusionary revitalization of a stagnant global economy in a  futile attempt to facilitate global carbon trading and carbon taxes (via promotion of the a so-called carbon “budget – even though in reality no budget still exists).  Other than acquiring the means to raise 4 trillion in capital required for the “new economy” (and 90 trillion for infrastructure), it must be considered that the ultimate goal is the capture of all remaining fossil fuels as the world spins into climate chaos. The idea that the pathological corporate entities behind the capture of land, water, forests, and all nature’s remaining wealth, are no longer interested in fossil fuels, which without, there is no “third industrial revolution” would appear to defy all logic—a third revolution which is mystically not carbon based or dependent. A true fairy tale if there ever was one.

“Even though the actual sums of capital put forth by private equity firms may reach billions of dollars, major leveraged buyouts can rely on multiple billions of dollars of debt financing. The result is that private equity firms are able to make phenomenally large acquisitions without committing proportionate amounts of capital. In addition, groups of individual private equity concerns commonly join forces in socalled “club deals” (Sweeney, 2007, p. 34). This collaboration allows consortiums of buyers to pool their resources and borrowing power so that all but the largest of companies are within range of acquisition.” — The Rise of Private Equity Media Ownership, 2009

 

“Regardless of the exact mix, private equity is excited by the massive amounts of investment needed to keep up with growing global demand. An estimated $40 trillion will be required to satisfy energy needs through 2035…” — Private equity bets on energy ‘revolution’—in oil and gas, November 17, 2014

In the 2003 Federal Communications Commission report, Commissioner Michael J. Copps made the statement that we cannot afford to “treat the media like any other big business, trusting that in the unforgiving environment of the market, the public interest will somehow magically trump the urge to build power and profit for a privileged few.” [Source] One could similarly surmise that we cannot afford to believe in the illusion of a “new economy” (designed by the establishment)”trusting that in the unforgiving environment of the market, the public interest will somehow magically trump the urge to build power and profit for a privileged few.”

Dry Powder: Utilizing Non-transparent Trading Entities

“Already, buyout groups’ activity in the oil and gas sector has picked up significantly. They poured US$31-billion into the oil and gas sector in 2014, clearly outstripping the US$8-billion in investments that sponsors have invested in the sector over the five prior years, according to ThomsonReuters data.”— February 24, 2014, New oil rush? Private equity starts to buy into energy assets

Further, via private-equity firms, it is standard that “oil-patch loans” are secured/backed by the debtors’ energy reserves, meaning, that in the event of a default, the creditors actually seize and obtain the valuable fossil fuels. [Source] If this practise lends itself to utilities, land and other “environmental markets” we can assume that these assets too have, can and will also be seized.

“In such a situation, the private equity investor tends to win in almost any scenario. If the company performs, the investor receives attractive loan yields and, if the stock price rises, also realizes additional returns on its warrants. If, on the other hand, the company struggles and ends up in bankruptcy, the investor may be still able to acquire ownership of the company (either in a 363 sale or a plan of reorganization) unless its loans are repaid or otherwise left unimpaired.” — John Sirico, analyst at independent credit research firm Covenant Review [Source: Axial Forum – Grow Companies – Close Deals, March 31, 2016]

Consider that over the past decade within a financial landscape designed, manipulated and controlled by the elites, private equity firms and hedge funds have flourished:

“… as of January 2012, private equity players had raised $186 billion through 276 infrastructure funds and were seeking another $93 billion to take over infrastructure worldwide.” — Private Equity, Public Inequity: The Public Cost of Private Equity Takeovers of US Water Infrastructure, August 22, 2012

 

“North America-focused funds increased their prominence in the private capital industry in 2015, accounting for 60% of total capital raised, up from 56% in 2014.” — Preqin 2015 Fundraising Update

Note that Generation Investment (Blood & Gore) is itself a hedge fund (“In May, Generation Investment Management, a hedge fund co-managed by David Blood and former Vice President Al Gore, filed its 13F for the first quarter of 2013 with the SEC.”). Elite investor portfolios (i.e. Goldman Sachs Capital Partners is the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs) wield an immense amount of political influence.

“According to one report, leading British private equity partners have paid tax of no more than 4 to 5 per cent on multi-million incomes. Executives and partners in private equity funds are able to gain a huge tax break by the treatment of their profits as capital gains rather than income” — Inside the Dark Box: Shedding Light on Private Equity, March 2007

The interlocking directorate, as found thriving in the NPIC is also flourishing in private equity:

“More than half the 83 lobbyists registered last year to work for the industries’ two trade groups, the Private Equity Council and the Managed Funds Association, have served in government — from Capitol Hill to the Treasury Department.” — Hedge Funds Get Free Ride, May 3, 2010

To understand the power wielded by private equity firms which serve the personal financial interests of the elites, private equity transactions are largely exempt from the registration requirement in the Senate bill passed to discontinue the bailouts that have been administered to financial institutions deemed “too big to fail”. Like hedge funds (and foundations), private equity firms invested their money in the nurturing of personal relationships with political sway and influence, ensuring their ability to shape/manage and even control the debate. [Source] Consider four of the past eight U.S. Treasury Secretaries have worked in private equity.

“Since the start of 2013, private-equity firms have locked up $92.4 billion in energy-specific funds, by far the most of any comparable stretch, according to data provider Preqin.” — Feb 22, 2015, Blackstone Brings New Fund to Oil Patch

 

“…private equity raised close to $34 billion for oil and gas funds in 2015—a 94% rise from three years ago—as new transactions continue to be executed.” — PE Increasingly Eyes Distressed Oil and Gas Investments: Here’s Why, Axial Forum – Grow Companies – Close Deals, March 31, 2016 [Emphasis added]

Why We Have to Kiss Off The Non-profit Industrial Complex

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In the January 14, 2015 Rolling Stone article, The Logic of Divestment Why We Have to Kiss Off Big Carbon, the author writes that “This past October, the head of England’s central bank, Mark Carney, declared that “the vast majority of reserves are unburnable.” Carney warned that fossil-fuel investors, focused on short-term profits, were not pricing in this reality – a phenomenon he called a “tragedy of horizons.” No person with a shred of decency would disagree that the vast majority of reserves should not be burned. But you can’t have it both ways. If it cannot be burned for the industrialized “fossil fuel” economy, it cannot be burned for an industrialized, and more importantly, illusory “clean energy” economy either. Illusory as the fantastical infrastructure is fossil fuel based, fossil fuel dependent. Possible only by exhausting Earth’s natural resources that scientists warn will be depleted in their entirety by 2030, even without incorporating a third industrial revolution.

A global infrastructure and the copious technology that comprises it, is designed to become obsolete. The oligarchs wish for nothing more than to have what they’ve always had. That is, to have their cake – and eat it too. That is, full control of Earth’s remaining fossil fuels, as well as the trillions of dollars required to jumpstart the vacuous “new economy” which they pray to their white, blue-eyed God, will save the industrialized capitalist economic system now “flying close to stall speed”. To believe that the oligarchs have lost or will lose their interest in fossil fuels, as illegal wars, invasions and occupations accelerate at an unprecedented velocity in the race for what’s left, is to dismiss the fact we are living under a corporatrocracy, that would never straightjacket itself, or impose any kinds of restrictions or limitations on its own domination or power. This must be considered perhaps the greatest  “tragedy of horizons” of all.

 

End Notes:

[1] “It is important to note that hedging is actually the practice of attempting to reduce risk, but the goal of most hedge funds is to maximize return on investment. The name is mostly historical, as the first hedge funds tried to hedge against the downside risk of a bear market by shorting the market (mutual funds generally can’t enter into short positions as one of their primary goals). Nowadays, hedge funds use dozens of different strategies, so it isn’t accurate to say that hedge funds just “hedge risk”. In fact, because hedge fund managers make speculative investments, these funds can carry more risk than the overall market.” [Source]

[2] “Foundations such as Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie were considered the best and most plausible kind of CIA funding cover. A CIA study of 1966 argued that this technique was `particularly effective for democratically run membership organizations, which need to assure their own unwitting members and collaborators, as well as their hostile critics, that they have genuine, respectable, private sources of income.’ Certainly, it allowed the CIA to fund a seemingly limitless range of covert action programs affecting youth groups, labor unions, universities, publishing houses, and other private institutions from the early 1950s.” — Frances Stoner Saunders from her book “The Cultural Cold War”

 

 

Who Shapes the United Nations Agenda?

“The global institutional machinery of the so-called United Nations is designed to destroy the sovereign will of the peoples. That is where a bureaucracy works in the service of capital and imperialism. We, the peoples of the world, do not accept that international organizations should appropriate to themselves the right of invasion and intervention. The UN has no morality to impose. We, the peoples of the world, do not accept this elitist institutionality of the bureaucrats of the empire.

 

It was in the bowels of the UN that the privatizing green economy originated, which we understand as the black economy of death; from those entrails originate the recipes for privatization and interventionism. The UN seems to be the Organization for the Rich and Powerful Countries; perhaps it should be named the INO, Imperialist Nations Organization. That UN we do not want, we disown it.

 

That neoliberal bureaucracy, the bureaucracy of the green economy and privatization, the bureaucracy that promotes structural adjustments, those functionaries of capital and ideologists of domination and poverty, act with the patriarchal and colonial conviction that the peoples and developing countries are incapable and stupid and that to emerge from poverty we must faithfully follow their development recipes.” — Evo Morales’ historic speech at the Isla del Sol

***

First Phase Digital

“Premier of the Republic of the Congo at Press Conference Premier Patrice Lumumba, of the Republic of the Congo, photographed at a press conference he held at U.N. Headquarters earlier today. Conferring briefly with the Premier is Ambassador Mongi Slim, of Tunisia.” 25 July 1960, United Nations, New York (UN Archives)

Aachen/Berlin/Bonn/New York, November 2015

Excerpts from the paper Philanthropic Power and Development – Who shapes the agenda? by authors Jens Martens and Karolin Seitz

Final Phase Digital

Photo:”President Salvador Allende of Chile paid an official visit to United Nations Headquarters and addressed the General Assembly. He conferred with the Assembly President and the Secretary-General, and also held a press conference. Here, President Allende is seen at his press conference. Seated next to him are Colodomiro Almeyda (left), Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile, and Genichi Akatani (right), Assistant Secretary-General, UN Office of Public Information. 04 December 1972, United Nations, New York (UN Archives)

“On 5 June 2013 a remarkable event took place in the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations (UN) in New York City. Over 150 invited guests met for the second annual Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit. The event was opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, attended by celebrated philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, Bono and Warren Buffett, and sponsored by Credit Suisse. According to Forbes magazine the attendees, who represented “close to half a trillion of the world’s wealth, discussed how they can use their wealth, fame and entrepreneurial talent to eradicate poverty.” As follow up to this summit Forbes released a Special Philanthropy Issue under the headline “Entrepreneurs can save the world.” The event at UN Headquarters was a symbol for the rapidly growing role of philanthropists and their foundations in global development policy and practice.”

UNITED NATIONS PAPER 1
“A large share of the UN Foundation’s revenues from other donors came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Between 1999 and 2014 Gates gave US$231 million in grants to the UN Foundation, mainly for projects in the areas of health and agriculture.”

UNITED NATIONS GATES

In order to broaden its funding base, the UN Foundation has actively explored ways to raise funds directly from governments.In the last decade the UN Foundation received direct funding from a number of governments or governmental agencies, inter alia the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Department for International Development of the Government of the UK (DFID), the European Commission, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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In addition to individual governments, the UN Foundation is now actively exploring opportunities for building so-called “anchor partnerships” with multinational corporations and corporate philanthropic foundations as an important element of its longterm sustainability strategy. This intention caused concerns in some parts of the UN because of the potential reputation risk involved. The UN Foundation lists currently (July 2015) 23 corporate partners, such as Exxon Mobile, Shell, Goldman Sachs, and the Bank of America.

UNITED NATIONS 4
According to the UN Secretary-General the relationship agreement between the UN and the UN Foundation has been reviewed and amended to ensure that it reflects this evolution of the Foundation’s mission and approach. The new agreement was signed in October 2014. But instead of providing a solid basis for effective and transparent governance, the new agreement seems to reinforce the exclusivity of this relationship and the preferential treatment of the UN Foundation by the UN Secretariat. The drafting of the most recent agreement took place behind closed doors without any intergovernmental oversight or transparency, and in contrast to the two earlier agreements, has not been made public.

United Nations 3

 

 

 

Arundhati Roy: Things that Can’t be Said, Tamed Tigers & the Missionaries of the “New Economy”

gates frow rich

“Grow Rich – Help Others” – “Indian Children’s Role Model – Uncle Bill: School children wear masks to celebrate the birthday of ‘Uncle Bill’ , the Microsoft founder and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates on the occasion of his 60th birth anniversary celebration in Chennai.” October 29, 2015  [Source]

WKOG admin: In the May 11, 2015 article Life in the Celebrity Circuit author Jay Taber writes:

“The American aristocracy has long fostered activist charades as a prophylactic against democracy, but the wholesale choreography of fossil-fueled puppets is unprecedented. Arundhati Roy’s blurb on the cover of This Changes Everything is thus particularly disturbing.

I wonder what kind of incentive was provided to Roy. What we know is that Arundhati is bright enough to comprehend Naomi Klein’s fraud, and that her name on the cover of Klein’s book functions as a shield for Naomi, and increases her prestige among the 350 cult.

Roy already has significant prestige herself, so the question is why she would publicly support a vapid sell-out who is undermining what Roy purportedly stands for. Was it bribery, extortion, or a misguided sense that Klein’s Wall Street-funded revolution could be hijacked by socialists? It doesn’t make sense.”

After reading the provocative interview published on November 30, 2015 (excerpts below), Taber’s questions are more compelling than ever. Do “the things we can’t talk about in a civilised society, if you’re a good, domesticated house pet” include discussing the role of appointed “leaders” within the non-profit industrial complex, who ultimately serve to protect both capital and state? We have found that this is a critical issue that no one with far reach on “the left” will touch (Hedges, Pilger, etc.).

“The structure and organisation of the climate cartel can be compared to a toadstool. 350.org is the cap of the fruiting body, very visible, poisonous, and laden with spores, This Changes Everything (TCE); book, social movement, and documentary form the stalk expanding and reinforcing key messages, and TckTckTck/Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) – a coalition of 20 key international organisations including 350.org, Avaaz, WWF, and Greenpeace form the mycelium stretching vast distances and connecting to other fruiting bodies and other vast networks. The soil it has grown from is the NPIC with it’s phalanx of institutes and think tanks feigning care for the earth while plotting the future for the oligarchs.” —Metrics as a Proxy for Social Change: The Climate Cartel, Impact Funding, and the Abandonment of Struggle [Source]

In the interview below Roy states: “When you look around and see how many NGOs are on, say, the Gates, Rockefeller or Ford Foundation’s handout list, there has to be something wrong, right? They turn potential radicals into receivers of their largesse – and then, very subtly, without appearing to – they circumscribe the boundaries of radical politics.”

So what do we make of Roy’s glowing endorsement of Klein’s book (and film) project financed by the very elites Roy so articulately deconstructs?

Consider that Susan Rockefeller is the Co-Executive Producer of the documentary film This Changes Everything and founding partner of Louverture Films, the production company for the documentary film This Changes Everything in partnership with The Message Productions, LLC / Klein Lewis Productions. The fiscal sponsor of this endeavour was New York-based Sustainable Markets Foundation (SMF). SMF is financed by foundations such as Rockefeller Family Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Energy foundation, Park Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Schmidt, Global Wallace Fund, Tides, etc. In addition, Tides receives millions in funding from Warren Buffett laundered through the Buffett family Fund NoVo. [Source: Financing “The Message” Behind Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’ Project]

For now, we will leave the last word to Roy who states in the interview below: “We’re all being managed, and we don’t even know it… They have so much money, they can fund everything, very bad things as well as very good things – documentary films, nuclear weapons planners, gender rights, feminist conferences, literature and film festivals, university chairs…anything, as long as it doesn’t upset the “market” and the economic status quo.”

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animalsindian31

Tiger Approaching a Waterhole, Kotah, c. 1790. Watercolor and opaque watercolor

AlterNet

November 30, 2015

by John Cusack and Arundhati Roy

Excerpt from part 1: John Cusack in conversation with Arundhati Roy.

JC: So, what do you think? What do we think are the things we can’t talk about in a civilised society, if you’re a good, domesticated house pet?

AR: (Laughs) The occasional immorality of preaching nonviolence? (This was a reference to Walking with the Comrades, Roy’s account of her time spent with armed guerrillas in the forests of central India who were fighting paramilitary forces and vigilante militias trying to clear indigenous people off their land, which had been handed over to mining companies.)…

Excerpt from Part 2: “We Brought You the Promise of the Future, but Our Tongue Stammered and Barked” by Arundhati Roy

“Our tragedy today is not just that millions of people who called themselves communist or socialist were physically liquidated in Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, not just that China and Russia, after all that revolution, have become capitalist economies, not just that the working class has been ruined in the United States and its unions dismantled, not just that Greece has been brought to its knees, or that Cuba will soon be assimilated into the free market – it is also that the language of the Left, the discourse of the Left, has been marginalised and is sought to be eradicated. The debate – even though the protagonists on both sides betrayed everything they claimed to believe in – used to be about social justice, equality, liberty, and redistribution of wealth. All we seem to be left with now is paranoid gibberish about a War on Terror whose whole purpose is to expand the War, increase the Terror, and obfuscate the fact that the wars of today are not aberrations but systemic, logical exercises to preserve a way of life whose delicate pleasures and exquisite comforts can only be delivered to the chosen few by a continuous, protracted war for hegemony – Lifestyle Wars….

But seriously – what is one couple doing with that much money, which is just a small percentage of the indecent profits they make from the corporation they run? And even that small percentage runs into billions. It’s enough to set the world’s agenda, enough to buy government policy, determine university curricula, fund NGOs and activists. It gives them the power to mould the whole world to their will. Forget the politics, is that even polite? Even if it’s “good” will? Who’s to decide what’s good and what’s not?…

JC: What is the meaning of charity as a political tool?

AR: It’s an old joke, right? If you want to control somebody, support them. Or marry them.
(Laughter)

JC: Sugar daddy politics….

AR: Embrace the resistance, seize it, fund it.

JC: Domesticate it….

AR: Make it depend on you. Turn it into an art project or a product of some kind. The minute what you think of as radical becomes an institutionalised, funded operation, you’re in some trouble. And it’s cleverly done. It’s not all bad…some are doing genuinely good work.

JC: Like the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)….

AR: They have money from the Ford Foundation, right? But they do excellent work. You can’t fault people for the work they’re doing, taken individually.

JC: People want to do something good, something useful….

bill gates getty

AR: Yes. And it is these good intentions that are dragooned and put to work. It’s a complicated thing. Think of a bead necklace. The beads on their own may be lovely, but when they’re threaded together, they’re not really free to skitter around as they please. When you look around and see how many NGOs are on, say, the Gates, Rockefeller or Ford Foundation’s handout list, there has to be something wrong, right? They turn potential radicals into receivers of their largesse – and then, very subtly, without appearing to – they circumscribe the boundaries of radical politics. And you’re sacked if you disobey…sacked, unfunded, whatever. And then there’s always the game of pitting the “funded” against the “unfunded,” in which the funder takes centrestage. So, I mean, I’m not against people being funded – because we’re running out of options – but we have to understand – are you walking the dog or is the dog walking you? Or who’s the dog and who is you?”

JC: I’m definitely the dog…and I’ve definitely been walked.

tigers

Bengali scroll painting. Painted scroll on paper mounted on cotton. Murshidabad School, Eastern India, 19th C.

AR: Everywhere – not just in America…repress, beat up, shoot, jail those you can, and throw money at those whom you can’t – and gradually sandpaper the edge off them. They’re in the business of creating what we in India call Paaltu Sher, which means Tamed Tigers. Like a pretend resistance…so you can let off steam without damaging anything.

JC: The first time you spoke at the World Social Forum…when was that?

AR: In 2002, I think, Porto Alegre…just before the US invasion of Iraq.

JC: In Mumbai. And then you went the next year and it was….

AR: Totally NGO-ised. So many major activists had turned into travel agents, just having to organise tickets and money, flying people up and down. The forum suddenly declared, “Only non-violence, no armed struggles….” They had turned Gandhian.

JC: So anyone involved in armed resistance….

AR: All out, all out. Many of the radical struggles were out. And I thought, fuck this. My question is, if, let’s say, there are people who live in villages deep in the forest, four days walk from anywhere, and a thousand soldiers arrive and burn their villages and kill and rape people to scare them off their land because mining companies want it – what brand of non-violence would the stalwarts of the establishment recommend? Non-violence is radical political theatre.

JC: Effective only when there’s an audience….

AR: Exactly. And who can pull in an audience? You need some capital, some stars, right? Gandhi was a superstar. The people in the forest don’t have that capital, that drawing power. So they have no audience. Non-violence should be a tactic – not an ideology preached from the sidelines to victims of massiveviolence…. With me, it’s been an evolution of seeing through these things.

JC: You begin to smell the digestive enzymes….

AR: (Laughing) But you know, the revolution cannot be funded. It’s not the imagination of trusts and foundations that’s going to bring real change.

JC: But what’s the bigger game that we can name?

AR: The bigger game is keeping the world safe for the Free Market. Structural Adjustment, Privatisation, Free Market fundamentalism – all masquerading as Democracy and the Rule of Law. Many corporate foundation-funded NGOs – not all, but many – become the missionaries of the “new economy.” They tinker with your imagination, with language. The idea of “human rights,” for example – sometimes it bothers me. Not in itself, but because the concept of human rights has replaced the much grander idea of justice. Human rights are fundamental rights, they are the minimum, the very least we demand. Too often, they become the goal itself. What should be the minimum becomes the maximum – all we are supposed to expect – but human rights aren’t enough. The goal is, and must always be, justice.

BBC answers 4

October 8, 2015, BBC: Can you cost the Earth? Play our fun game and find out.

JC: The term human rights is, or can be, a kind of pacifier – filling the space in the political imagination that justice deserves?

AR: Look at the Israel-Palestine conflict, for example. If you look at a map from 1947 to now, you’ll see that Israel has gobbled up almost all of Palestinian land with its illegal settlements. To talk about justice in that battle, you have to talk about those settlements. But, if you just talk about human rights, then you can say, “Oh, Hamas violates human rights,” “Israel violates human rights.” Ergo, both are bad.

JC: You can turn it into an equivalence….

AR: …though it isn’t one. But this discourse of human rights, it’s a very good format for TV – the great atrocity analysis and condemnation industry (laughs). Who comes out smelling sweet in the atrocity analysis? States have invested themselves with the right to legitimise violence – so who gets criminalised and delegitimised? Only – or well that’s excessive – usually, the resistance.

JC: So the term human rights can take the oxygen out of justice?

AR: Human rights takes history out of justice.

JC: Justice always has context….

AR: I sound as though I’m trashing human rights…I’m not. All I’m saying is that the idea of justice – even just dreaming of justice – is revolutionary. The language of human rights tends to accept a status quo that is intrinsically unjust – and then tries to make it more accountable. But then, of course, Catch-22 is that violating human rights is integral to the project of neoliberalism and global hegemony.

JC: …as there’s no other way of implementing those policies except violently.

AR: No way at all – but talk loud enough about human rights and it gives the impression of democracy at work, justice at work. There was a time when the United States waged war to topple democracies, because back then democracy was a threat to the Free Market. Countries were nationalising their resources, protecting their markets…. So then, real democracies were being toppled. They were toppled in Iran, they were toppled all across Latin America, Chile….

JC: The list is too long….

AR: Now we’re in a situation where democracy has been taken into the workshop and fixed, remodeled to be market-friendly. So now the United States is fighting wars to instal democracies. First it was topple them, now it’s instal them, right? And this whole rise of corporate-funded NGOs in the modern world, this notion of CSR, corporate social responsibility – it’s all part of a New Managed Democracy. In that sense, it’s all part of the same machine.

JC: Tentacles of the same squid.

AR: They moved in to the spaces that were left when “structural adjustment” forced states to pull back on public spending – on health, education, infrastructure, water supply – turning what ought to be people’s rights, to education, to healthcare and so on, into charitable activity available to a few. Peace, Inc. is sometimes as worrying as War, Inc. It’s a way of managing public anger. We’re all being managed, and we don’t even know it…. The IMF and the World Bank, the most opaque and secretive entities, put millions into NGOs who fight against “corruption” and for “transparency.” They want the Rule of Law – as long as they make the laws. They want transparency in order to standardise a situation, so that global capital can flow without any impediment. Cage the People, Free the Money. The only thing that is allowed to move freely – unimpeded – around the world today is money…capital.

JC: It’s all for efficiency, right? Stable markets, stable world…there’s a great violence in the idea of a uniform “investment climate.”

Democracy Masquerade: Uniform investment climate. A phrase interchangeable with Massacre.

AR: In India, that’s a phrase we use interchangeably with “massacre.” Stable markets, unstable world. Efficiency. Everybody hears about it. It’s enough to make you want to be pro-inefficiency and pro-corruption. (Laughing) But seriously, if you look at the history of the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller, in Latin America, in Indonesia, where almost a million people, mainly Communists, were killed by General Suharto, who was backed by the CIA, in South Africa, in the US Civil Rights Movement – or even now, it’s very disturbing. They have always worked closely with the US State Department.

JC: And yet now Ford funds The Act of Killing – the film about those same massacres. They profile the butchers…but not their masters. They won’t follow the money.

AR: They have so much money, they can fund everything, very bad things as well as very good things – documentary films, nuclear weapons planners, gender rights, feminist conferences, literature and film festivals, university chairs…anything, as long as it doesn’t upset the “market” and the economic status quo. One of Ford’s “good works” was to fund the CFR, the Council of Foreign Relations, which worked closely with the CIA. All the World Bank presidents since 1946 are from the CFR. Ford-funded RAND, the Research and Development Corporation, which works closely with the US defence forces.

JC: That was where Dan worked. That’s where he laid his hands on the Pentagon papers.

AR: The Pentagon papers…. I couldn’t believe what I was reading…that stuff about bombing dams, planning famines…. I wrote an introduction to an edition of Noam Chomsky’s For Reasons of State in which he analyses the Pentagon papers. There was a chapter in the book called ‘The Backroom Boys’ – maybe that wasn’t the Pentagon papers part, I don’t remember…but there was a letter or a note of some kind, maybe from soldiers in the field, about how great it was that white phosphorous had been mixed in with napalm…. “It sticks to the gooks like shit to a blanket, and burns them to the bone.” They were happy because white phosphorous kept burning even when the Vietnamese who had been firebombed tried to jump into water to stop their flesh from burning off….

JC: You remember that by rote?

AR: I can’t forget it. It burned me to the bone…. I grew up in Kerala, remember. Communist country….

JC: You were talking about how the Ford Foundation funded RAND and the CFR.

AR: (Laughs) Yes…it’s a bedroom comedy…actually a bedroom tragedy…is that a genre? Ford funded CFR and RAND. Robert McNamara moved from heading Ford Motors to the Pentagon. So, as you can see, we’re encircled.

JC: …and not just by the past.

AR: No – by the future, too. The future is Google, isn’t it? In Julian Assange’s book – brilliant book – When Google Met WikiLeaks, he suggests that there isn’t much daylight between Google and the NSA. The three people who went along with Eric Schmidt – CEO of Google – to interview Julian were Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas – ex-State Department and senior something or other on the CFR, adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. The two others were Lisa Shields and Scott Malcolmson, also former State Department and CFR. It’s serious shit. But when we talk about NGOs, there’s something we must be careful about….

JC: What’s that?

AR: When the attack on NGOs comes from the opposite end, from the far right, then those of us who’ve been criticising NGOs from a completely different perspective will look terrible…to liberals we’ll be the bad guys….

JC: Once again pitting the “funded” against the “unfunded.”

AR: For example, in India the new government – the members of the radical Hindu Right who want India to be a ‘Hindu Nation’ – they’re bigots. Butchers. Massacres are their unofficial election campaigns – orchestrated to polarise communities and bring in the vote. It was so in Gujarat in 2002, and this year, in the run-up to the general elections, in a place called Muzaffarnagar, after which tens of thousands of Muslims had to flee from their villages and live in camps. Some of those who are accused of all that murdering are now cabinet ministers. Their support for straightforward, chest-thumping butchery makes you long for even the hypocrisy of the human rights discourse. But now if the “human rights” NGOs make a noise, or even whisper too loudly…this government will shut them down. And it can, very easily. All it has to do is to go after the funders…and the funders, whoever they are, especially those who are interested in India’s huge “market” will either cave in or scuttle over to the other side. Those NGOs will blow over because they’re a chimera, they don’t have deep roots in society among the people, really, so they’ll just disappear. Even the pretend resistance that has sucked the marrow out of genuine resistance will be gone.

 

Read the full article at Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/world/john-cusack-and-arundhati-roy-things-can-and-cannot-be-said