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Operation Condor: For More Than 50 Years the CIA Went Deep into Ecuadorean Society

teleSUR

June 8, 2016

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to declassified documents and testimonies of previous agency officials, had a permanent operation to intervene in political and social decisions of Ecuador.

Starting from the 60s, the CIA infiltrated governments, police, civilian groups, and NGOs to advance U.S. interests in the country, and continues to fight for its power and influence in the region.

Unfortunately, few have knowledge of the political moves that led to the intervention of foreign intelligence forces and the deadly consequences it had for South and Central America, as well as the impact on the new world order.

Background

The Cuban Revolution had succeeded in 1959 and anti-colonial resistance groups began to flourish in Latin America. The Soviet Union maintained its geopolitical strength in part through supporting its new ally, Cuba. It was the beginning of another Cold War for the U.S.

In the early 1960’s, nationalist Ecuadorean President Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra and his later successor, Vice President Carlos Julio Arosemena Monroy, were pressured by the agency to break diplomatic relations with the new socialist government of Fidel Castro in Cuba. When both refused to isolate Castro’s government, both were successively ousted by the country’s military forces, backed by CIA operations.

Ecuador, like other South American countries, was part of the U.S.-backed Operation Condor in the 1970s. This plan endorsed state-sponsored terror to control what was perceived to be the threat of communism and eliminate subversive sectors of society.

Operation Condor’s targets were activists, organizers, and opponents of the dictatorships the U.S. helped set up in the region. Two prominent presidents in Latin America, Panama’s Omar Torrijos and Ecuador’s Jaime Roldos, strongly opposed the U.S. measures.

Roldos and Torrijos were both killed in a plane crash, and according to declassified CIA documents their deaths could have been connected to this plan, as other leftist leaders were also targeted throughout the region.

Investigators continue to believe that Roldos’ death is tied to a CIA operation in the country, since the president wanted to reorganize the hydrocarbon sector, a strong threat to U.S. interests in Ecuador.

CIA Going Deep

Among the agency’s less known activities include the infiltration of hundreds of its agents into diplomatic offices, political parties and military forces in Ecuador.

Agents at airports would report on passengers traveling to socialist countries such as Cuba and Russia, and mail sent to these countries was opened and recorded for the CIA to analyze. Any “special interest” guest in a hotel would be surveilled constantly. Even the medical staff in charge of President Velasco Ibarra reported on their weekly tasks to a CIA station in the country.

Spies kept extensive lists of data on targets such as full name, residences, workplace, phone number, preferred leisure activities and locations, hobbies, the name and dossier of spouses, and the names of schools attended by the children of targets, among other information.

Relevant information of interest to the agency was then passed onto U.S. headquarters.

The agency’s main targets at the time were the young socialist or communist political groups in universities. The Revolutionary Union of Ecuadorean Youth (URJE) was considered the most dangerous organization and the main target for destabilization, along with its parent party, the Communist Party of Ecuador.

Agents would infiltrate social groups and systematically work to discredit their popularity while fabricating or planting evidence to ensure that leaders were falsely prosecuted for crimes such as the bombing of right-wing political headquarters or even churches.

The CIA counted on the support of right-wing media outlets who published false information and didn’t question the sources or veracity of facts.

It was through such methods that the leftist movement lost unity and power in political and social spaces in the country.

Despite the documentation and testimonies verifying these activities, the CIA so far hasn’t acknowledged that its mission in the country also involved infiltrating social movements, radio stations, airlines, hotels and even hospitals.

New Methods, Same Strategy

The current Ecuadorean government has maintained that U.S. financial aid groups linked to the CIA are acting against leftist organizations in Latin American.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are seen by many as tools used by the U.S. government to advance their political, economic and social interests.

Many opposition groups and media networks in Latin America are funded by USAID, the NED or other U.S. based private and public institutions. In addition to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, other leftist presidents have denounced that these institutions are operating to destabilize their governments as was the case with the late Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and NED funding to opposition groups, and more recently the civil liberties groups behind the impeachment process against Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.

According to President Correa, these organizations were acting politically to promote social unrest and opposition towards his government’s policies. In 2012, Correa threatened to kick out the USAID after accusing it of financing opposition groups and of involving itself the country’s internal politics.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are seen by many as tools used by the U.S. government to advance their political, economic and social interests.

Many opposition groups and media networks in Latin America are funded by USAID, the NED or other U.S. based private and public institutions. In addition to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, other leftist presidents have denounced that these institutions are operating to destabilize their governments as was the case with the late Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and NED funding to opposition groups, and more recently the civil liberties groups behind the impeachment process against Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.

According to President Correa, these organizations were acting politically to promote social unrest and opposition towards his government’s policies. In 2012, Correa threatened to kick out the USAID after accusing it of financing opposition groups and of involving itself the country’s internal politics.

He said other progressive governments were analyzing whether or not to take the same actions.

Some reports also indicated that President Rafael Correa could be targeted by the CIA, given his strong opposition to U.S. intervention in the country and region. Since taking office, he has closed a U.S. military base in Manta and expelled two U.S. diplomats who worked for the CIA. He has also given asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to Julian Assange.

As it did 50 years ago, the CIA continues to intervene and infiltrate through new methods and new assets in Ecuador.

Operation Condor: An Era of State Terror Made in Washington, DC

teleSUR

For those who opposed U.S.-backed dictatorships in South America, “Operation Condor” was either a living nightmare or a death sentence — or both.

Officially, Operation Condor was an intelligence-sharing arrangement that was established in 1975 among Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, later joined by Ecuador and Peru. However, it is now widely understood that the notorious Cold War-era “black operations” plan was masterminded, funded, and backed to the hilt by the U.S.A.

Operation Condor was the culmination of a U.S.-orchestrated campaign that entailed the ruthless silencing, murder, torture, and disappearance of tens of thousands of left-wing opponents of U.S. imperialism and the fascistic military dictatorships backed by the CIA and supported by infamous Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

As the U.S. renews its attempts to dislodge democratically-elected governments through various means in a continuation of its historic offensive against the popular movements of Latin America, we look back at the still-fresh memories of Operation Condor and the major human rights abuses perpetrated by Washington and its allies.

The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is shown in the lobby of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Declassified documents have revealed that U.S. security agencies viewed Operation Condor as a legitimate operation designed to "eliminate Marxist terrorist activities."
The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is shown in the lobby of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Declassified documents have revealed that U.S. security agencies viewed Operation Condor as a legitimate operation designed to “eliminate Marxist terrorist activities.” Photo:Reuters
According to the CIA "the consensus at the highest levels of the US Government was that an Allende Presidency would seriously hurt US national interests (in Chile)." In this photo, Supporters of President Salvador Allende are rounded up by General Augusto Pinochet
According to the CIA “the consensus at the highest levels of the US Government was that an Allende Presidency would seriously hurt US national interests (in Chile).” In this photo, Supporters of President Salvador Allende are rounded up by General Augusto Pinochet’s troops following the former’s ouster. Photo:EFE
Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet shaking hands with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1976. Pinochet
Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet shaking hands with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1976. Pinochet’s dictatorship lasted 17 years and claimed thousands of lives. Photo:Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile
Paraguayan dictator General Alfredo Stroessner (L) and Chilean dictator Gen. Pinochet (R) wave to crowds in Santiago, Chile.
Paraguayan dictator General Alfredo Stroessner (L) and Chilean dictator Gen. Pinochet (R) wave to crowds in Santiago, Chile. Photo:Reuters
In Bolivia, a CIA-backed military coup led to the overthrow of leftist President Juan Torres. Following the coup, dictator Hugo Banzer had over 2,000 political opponents arrested without trial, tortured, raped and executed.
In Bolivia, a CIA-backed military coup led to the overthrow of leftist President Juan Torres. Following the coup, dictator Hugo Banzer had over 2,000 political opponents arrested without trial, tortured, raped and executed.
Members of the "Madres de Plaza de Mayo" human rights organization hold a banner demanding information on their missing sons and daughters before marching from the Congress to the Presidential Palace, Oct. 28, 1982.
Members of the “Madres de Plaza de Mayo” human rights organization hold a banner demanding information on their missing sons and daughters before marching from the Congress to the Presidential Palace, Oct. 28, 1982. Photo:AFP
Worker being arrested during a protest against the Argentine dictatorship in Buenos Aires, March 30, 1982
Worker being arrested during a protest against the Argentine dictatorship in Buenos Aires, March 30, 1982 Photo:AFP
Photographs of the disappeared in Argentina.
Photographs of the disappeared in Argentina. Photo:Colección AGRA, Archivo Memoria Activa
Graffiti in Buenos Aires, 2011 demanding justice for victims of the "Dirty War" and a trial for the military junta.
Graffiti in Buenos Aires, 2011 demanding justice for victims of the “Dirty War” and a trial for the military junta. Photo:Wikipedia
One of the cells used during the reign of Paraguayan Dictator Alfredo Stroessner, now a museum in Asuncion dedicated to those murdered under Operation Condor.
One of the cells used during the reign of Paraguayan Dictator Alfredo Stroessner, now a museum in Asuncion dedicated to those murdered under Operation Condor. Photo:EFE
An exhibit of photographs displaying the victims of Operation Condor in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Sept. 23, 2014.
An exhibit of photographs displaying the victims of Operation Condor in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Sept. 23, 2014. Photo:EFE
An exhibit of images relating to human rights violations during Operation Condor in Sao Paolo, Brazil, September 23, 2014.
An exhibit of images relating to human rights violations during Operation Condor in Sao Paolo, Brazil, September 23, 2014. Photo:EFE
Argentine forensic expert Rogelio Agustin Goiburu (r.) of human rights group
Argentine forensic expert Rogelio Agustin Goiburu (r.) of human rights group ‘Verdad, Justicia y Reparacion’ (Truth, Justice and Amends) works with others to excavate human remains discovered in the grounds of a police barracks in Asuncion, Paraguay in August 2010. The skeletal remains of 11 people were found based on information that they were victims of the government of General Alfredo Stroessner, dictator from 1954 to 1989. Photo:Reuters
Flowers are left behind on the memorial of disappeared persons at a general cemetery in Santiago, Chile.
Flowers are left behind on the memorial of disappeared persons at a general cemetery in Santiago, Chile. Photo:Reuters
Former Argentine dictator and general, Rafael Videla (2-R) and other defendants are seen during their trials to investigate crimes committed during Operation Condor, in Buenos Aires.
Former Argentine dictator and general, Rafael Videla (2-R) and other defendants are seen during their trials to investigate crimes committed during Operation Condor, in Buenos Aires. Photo:AFP
Former Argentine military members Santiago Riveros (2-L) and Eugenio Guanabens (C) are seen in Buenos Aires in 2013 among other defendants during their trials over crimes committed during Operation Condor.
Former Argentine military members Santiago Riveros (2-L) and Eugenio Guanabens (C) are seen in Buenos Aires in 2013 among other defendants during their trials over crimes committed during Operation Condor. Photo:AFP
A man holds a sign with the image of Chile
A man holds a sign with the image of Chile’s late former president Salvador Allende during the May Day demonstration in Valparaiso city, Chile, May 1, 2016. Photo:Reuters
A group of victims of the Stroessner dictatorship in Paraguay meet in downtown Asuncion, February 2, 2013.
A group of victims of the Stroessner dictatorship in Paraguay meet in downtown Asuncion, February 2, 2013. Photo:EFE
Protester holds sign listing deceased dictators that notes "One common past, one destination."
Protester holds sign listing deceased dictators that notes “One common past, one destination.” Photo:Reuters
Brazilians take part in an annual national march commemorating the anniversary of the 1964 coup, which overthrew President Joao Goulart from the progressive Labor Party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2016.
Brazilians take part in an annual national march commemorating the anniversary of the 1964 coup, which overthrew President Joao Goulart from the progressive Labor Party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2016. Photo:Reuters
A woman holds up a portrait of U.S. President Barack Obama with the words "persona non grata" during a demonstration to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Argentina
A woman holds up a portrait of U.S. President Barack Obama with the words “persona non grata” during a demonstration to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Argentina’s 1976 military coup in Buenos Aires, March 24, 2016. Under Barack Obama’s tenure, Brazil has seen the installation of a new, unelected, and unpopular right-wing coup government.

Declaration of the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba on Brazil Coup

Cuba MINREX

Sitio oficial del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba

August 31, 2016


The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba strongly rejects the parliamentary and judicial coup d’état perpetrated against President Dilma Rousseff.

The Government’s estrangement from the President, without presenting any evidence of corruption or crimes of responsibility against her, as well as from the Workers’ Party (PT) and other left-wing allied political forces, is an act of defiance against the sovereign will of the people who voted for her.

The governments headed by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff implemented a socio-economic model that made it possible for Brazil to take a step forward in areas such as production growth with social inclusion, the creation of jobs, the fight against poverty, the eradication of extreme poverty among more than 35 million Brazilians who used to live in inhumane conditions and income increase for another 40 million; the expansion of opportunities in the areas of education and health for the people, including those sectors who had been previously marginalized. During this period, Brazil has been an active promoter of Latin American and Caribbean integration.  The defeat of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), the celebration of the Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC) which led to the creation of CELAC and foundation of UNASUR are transcendental events in the recent history of the region which show the leading role played by that country.

Likewise, Brazil’s approach to the Third World nations, particularly Africa; its active membership in the BRICS Group (made up by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa); and its performance at the United Nations Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); and the World Trade Organization, among others, are an acknowledgement of its international leadership.

Equally praiseworthy has been Brazil’s performance under the Workers’ Party governments in crucial international issues for the defense of peace, development, the environment and the programs against hunger.

The efforts made by Lula and Dilma to reform the political system and organize the funding of parties and their campaigns as well as in support of the investigations started against corruption and the independence of the institutions responsible for such investigations are too well known.

The forces that are currently exercising power have announced the privatization of deep water oil reserves and social programs curtailments. Likewise, they are proclaiming a foreign policy focused on the relations with the big international centers of power. Quite a few among those who are impeaching the President are currently under investigation for acts of corruption.

What happened in Brazil is another expression of the offensive of imperialism and the oligarchy against the revolutionary and progressive governments of Latin America and the Caribbean which threatens peace and stability of nations and is contrary to the spirit and the letter of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed at the Second CELAC Summit in January, 2014, in Havana by the Heads of State and Government of the region.

Cuba reiterates its solidarity with President Dilma and comrade Lula as well as with the Worker’s Party, and is confident that the Brazilian people will defend the social achievements that have been attained and will resolutely oppose the neoliberal policies that others may try to impose on them and the plundering of its natural resources.

Havana, August 31, 2016.

 

Further reading: Neoliberal Offensive and the Death of Democracy in Brazil

 

 

The Dark Side of Renewable Energy: The Bottleneck of a Low-carbon Future

China Dialogue

August 25, 2016

by Liu Hongqiao

 

Rare earth metals are essential for wind turbines and electric vehicles but potential short supply may become a limiting factor, writes Liu Hongqiao

Main untreated water flow in rain season meitu 1

When it rains untreated residual chemicals from an abandoned leaching pond flow into Ganzhou’s surface water. (Image by Liu Hongqiao)

Main pre treatment pool at a mine site meitu 4

A pre-treatment pool at a mine site. These pools are a requirement of China’s new environment standards. (Image by Liu Hongqiao)

Main leaching pools meitu 6

A leaching pond in an open-air mining site in Ganzhou. (Image by Liu Hongqiao)

Main pipes pools and the hills in distance meitu 7

Weeds growing over abandoned leaching ponds and PVC pipes at the Zudong mine site. (Image by Liu Hongqiao)

Main abandoned factory meitu 8

An abandoned factory in Zudong mine site in Ganzhou. (Image by Liu Hongqiao)

Main abandoned factory 4 meitu 9

An abandoned rare earth factory at the Zudong mine site in Ganzhou. (Image by Liu Hongqiao)

Main a board saying conserve water and soil is to protect human being meitu 10

A board in Ganzhou saying, “to conserve water and soil is to protect human life”. (Image by Liu Hongqiao)

Rare earth metals, hard-to-find materials, with unfamiliar names such as lanthanum, neodymium and europium, are used in wind and solar energy projects, but dwindling supplies could hinder a roll-out of low carbon technologies and slow China’s shift away from coal power.

These compounds, which are highly toxic when mined and processed, also take a heavy environmental toll on soil and water, posing a conundrum for policymakers in China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of rare earths.

In 2012 the Chinese government named the city of Ganzhou, in the southeastern province of Jiangxi, a “rare earths kingdom”; even though at that time its rare earth reserves were already almost depleted.

According to a rare earths white paper issued by the State Council News Office in 2012, the reserves to extraction ratio for rare earth elements in southern China was 15. In other words, if mining continued at the existing rate, those reserves rich in medium and heavy rare earth elements (MHREEs) would only last for another 15 years.

Three years later and 6,000 miles away in Paris, 190 countries signed the historic Paris Climate Agreement, including plans to introduce a greater share of wind and solar power in a “decarbonised” future. But few of the delegates gathered in Paris seemed to realise how important one small south-central Chinese city would be to achieving this target; as almost all the clean, smart and low-carbon technologies are reliant on rare earths.

This prompts the questions: do we have enough rare earths to build the clean and smart future we’re imagining; can China, supplier of 90% of the global rare earths over the last 20 years, meet expected growth in demand; and what will the environmental consequences be.

Rare earths kingdom

Chinese geologists working in Ganzhou fifty years ago discovered ion-absorbing rare earths; a discovery that restructured the world’s supply of rare earths. China replaced the US as the biggest producer of rare earths and Ganzhou rapidly became the world’s largest producer of MHREEs.

Despite rapidly depleting reserves Ganzhou still accounts for more than half of all MHREEs produced in China.

MHREE: Medium heavy rare earth metald. LREE: Light rare earth metals.

A visit to the mines and industrial parks of Ganzhou gives no sense of a glorious “kingdom”. It’s a scene of devastation: crude open air mines and smelters, and rough muddy attempts at restoring the landscape. It’s a sight hard to associate with the environmental technologies that rare earths are used in.

Water in and around the mining area is severely polluted. According to China Environmental News, the water supply for 30,000 people in the county of Longnan alone has been affected by rare earth mining, with 40,000 mu (6,589 acres) of farmland seeing reduced yields or complete harvest failure.

Over a decade of excessive extraction has left the surface water in the Zudong mining area, China’s biggest source of ion-absorption rare earths, with ammonia and total nitrogen levels far above safe standards; while groundwater is nowhere near up to minimum drinking water standards.

In April 2012 a cross-ministry investigation headed up by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology found 302 abandoned rare earth mining sites in Ganzhou, with 97.34 square kilometres affected. It would take 70 years just to deal with the 190 million tonnes of mining waste left behind.

Industrial profile of Ganzhou

Black market

China’s government says the country “meets 90% of the world’s demand for rare earths, but has only 23% of global reserves.” In the early 1990s China overtook the US to become the world’s biggest producer and exporter of rare earths and since then has virtually become a monopoly supplier, with some rare earth products produced only in China. If you trace them back to the source the vast majority of fluorescent lamps, off-shore wind turbines, electric and hybrid cars, smartphones and personal electronic devices have, thanks to the rare earths used in their components, “Chinese DNA”.

According to the US Geological Survey, at one point China was accounting for 98% of global rare earth output. In 2015 that figure still reached 85%.

China plays an even bigger role in the world’s rare earth trade than is apparent on the surface because of its black market. The main importers who benefit from China’s rare earths production, such as the US, Korea and Japan, as well as the manufacturers and brands who use rare earths in their products, often tap into a substantial black market in rare earths. Every year tens of thousands of tonnes of rare earth ores are illegally mined and traded, leaving China through the black market.

Those higher up the supply chain turn a blind eye to this, and international cooperation on law enforcement is minimal. With no international traceability system, such as that for conflict minerals, companies have no way of monitoring supply chains and we cannot know if the electric cars we drive or the smartphones we use contain illegally mined and smuggled rare earths.

The huge profits to be made means Ganzhou is plagued by illegal mining. The China Rare Earth Industry Association estimates that in 2013 the actual supply of rare earths in southern China was over 50,000 tonnes, and over 40,000 tonnes in 2014. However the Ministry of Land and Resources only permitted output of 17,900 tonnes per year for that period. That means the black market may be two to three times the size of the legitimate market.

And rare earth mining, whether legal or not, entails shocking environmental costs. Research has found that producing one tonne of rare earth ore (in terms of rare earth oxides) produces 200 cubic metres of acidic waste water. The production of the rare earths needed to meet China’s demand for wind turbines up to 2050 (in a scenario of radical wind power expansion) will result in the release of 80 million cubic metres of waste water – enough to fill Hangzhou’s West Lake eight times over. Not to mention the emissions from the rest of the product lifecycle; smelting, separation, processing, transportation.

Business, policy-makers and consumers all need to think again: what actions can we take to ensure we meet our low-carbon goals in a way which is friendlier to both the environment and the climate? It is after all both contradictory and unjust to sacrifice public health and the environment in a resource-producing area for the sake of low-carbon development.

Source: China Water Risk

New challenges in a post-Paris era

In April over 170 countries visited New York to sign up to the Paris Agreement, buttressing attempts at “decarbonisation”.

That means now is the time to look again at the link between China’s rare earth resources and the clean, low-carbon and smart technologies relying on those.

Over the last 20 years the environment has paid the price for China’s economic successes.

The country’s rare earth reserves are much depleted; environmental costs in the trillions of yuan have not been factored into market prices; and a rampant black market in rare earths, both at home and abroad, has exacerbated environmental damage and the loss of resources.

This has left the Chinese government with no option but to cover huge environmental remediation costs, while those living near rare earth mines are directly or indirectly suffering environmental and health problems.

Another issue is that China is no longer simply a supplier and exporter or rare earths as domestic demand for these resources has increased sharply. China is the main driver of global investment in wind power. In a scenario for radical expansion of wind power produced by the National Development and Reform Commission’s Energy Research Institute, China could see installed wind power capacity of 2,000,000 megawatts (2 terawatts) by 2050. A typical 2 megawatt turbine contains 341-363 kilograms of the rare earth neodymium and about 59 kilograms of dysprosium.

The quantities of rare earths needed just to allow for wind power growth are astounding, and this is before the increased rare earth demand arising from the “China Manufacturing 2025” plan, which aims to prioritise development in electric vehicles, marine engineering equipment and astronautic and aeronautic manufacturing, are considered.

China may not even be able to meet domestic demand, never mind increasing demand from other nations. According to UN Conference on Trade and Development estimates, global demand for rare earths will be between 200,000 and 240,000 tonnes annually by 2020, with 70% of that demand coming from China. Even if China makes full use of its entire mining quota, there is still a gap of 35,000 to 63,000 tonnes between new annual output and expected growth in demand. How will that gap be met?

Looking at rare earths throws up other unanswered questions about our low-carbon future. How will all that waste water be handled? Will there be new drinking water safety issues? Will the costs of better technology and management, intended to reduce emissions, be reflected in rare earth prices?

Back in 2014 the Chinese government declared a “war on pollution”, which was followed up by “history’s toughest” environmental protection law and standards for the rare earth industry on emissions and the use of water and energy. This means compliance costs for the industry are bound to rise; low-cost rare earth mining and processing are a thing of the past in China. EU and US research bodies have pointed out that there will be a shortage of light rare earths in the short and mid-term, while the shortage of medium and heavy rare earths will be in the mid and long-term. The combination of increased costs and shortages mean price rises are inevitable.

The world must ask if its low-carbon future may be limited by these “industrial vitamins”.

[Liu Hongqiao is lead author in the China Water Risk report, Rare Earths: Shades Of Grey – Can China continue to fuel our clean and smart future? ]

Cognitive Dissonance Reigns in Louisiana – The Transition from Myth to Reality

WKOG Op-ed

August 18, 2016

By Forrest Palmer with Cory Morningstar

 

flood 3

Residents wade through floodwaters from heavy rains in the Chateau Wein Apartments in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. Heavy downpours pounded parts of the central U.S. Gulf Coast on Friday, forcing the rescue of dozens of people stranded in homes by waist-high water and leaving one man dead who became trapped by floodwaters. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

As the current political nominees pander to their bases over the next few months in hopes of occupying the White House where the next occupant will be in the driver’s seat of the United States as it leads the Western world in destroying the biosphere we depend on for species continuance, there is a deluge of epic proportions happening in Louisiana. Although there are some mainstream news stories concerning this ongoing catastrophe, it has not reached the level of everyday importance that it should considering the ramifications of this being one of an ever increasing amount of climate catastrophes, domestically in the U.S. and globally across the world. As Louisiana is a notoriously conservative state whose elected representatives comprise a who’s who of climate change denial, a cynical individual would have to say that it is poetic justice for this region to now experience the end result of policies supported by the masses collectively by way of its chosen leaders.

Floods 2

A handout picture provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows a flooded area of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Aug. 15, 2016. MELISSA LEAKE/US COAST GUARD/HAN / EPA

Therefore, in an unbiased look at the political extremists that comprise the state house in Louisiana and those in Washington, D.C., it must be asked what has been learned by the residents of Louisiana from the time of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most horrific of ‘natural disasters’ in modern U.S history, to the present day? Even though the truth is that the levee system was faulty due to a crumbling, under maintained, neglected infrastructure and its inevitable collapse caused the New Orleans flooding, the intensity level of the storm was ultimately the catalyst for the levee breach and storms of its kind have increased since that moment in history, all due to climate change. Yet, since that time we have seen the following responses by the inhabitants of that woeful state:

  • Former Louisiana State Representative Lenar Whitney has called climate change a hoax
  • Louisiana senators David Vitter and Bill Cassidy signed a letter asking that FEMA eliminate the requirement that states address climate change in disaster planning to receive federal funding
  • Former Governor Bobby Jindal said that climate change was a ‘trojan horse’ for more government regulation
  • S. House Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) stated that climate change is a myth and doesn’t need to be addressed
  • Congressman John Fleming (R-LA) said that climate change isn’t a threat and is fighting even the toothless White House legislation with a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendment to curtail government spending in this regard

 

What do these people have in common? They are all individuals that were elected in the state of Louisiana AFTER Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Therefore, this has been the response by the masses to the death spiral of their state: open and blatant disregard of the truth by the populace in electing officials such as these. Even among the presumptive more ‘climate change friendly’ Democrats in the state, there hasn’t been much discussion by these party politicians regarding the cause being climate change, as Democratic governor John Bel Edwards has discussed the problem, yet has not come out and placed the flooding at the feet of climate change. Hence, at best, the establishment is sidestepping the issue presently and will continue to act like it is nonexistent by its actions in-between these occurrences, which are becoming shorter and shorter in duration.

This August 14, 2016 US Coast Guard handout photo shows Coast Guard personel evacuating people from a floodwaters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Emergency crews in flood-devastated Louisiana have rescued more than 20,000 people after catastrophic inundations that left at least five dead, news reports said August 15. As many as 10,000 people are living in shelters after a weekend of torrential rains that has prompted the federal government to declare a disaster, according to Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards. Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon GILES / US Coast Guard / AFPThis August 14, 2016 US Coast Guard handout photo shows Coast Guard personel evacuating people from a floodwaters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Emergency crews in flood-devastated Louisiana have rescued more than 20,000 people after catastrophic inundations that left at least five dead, news reports said August 15. As many as 10,000 people are living in shelters after a weekend of torrential rains that has prompted the federal government to declare a disaster, according to Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards. Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon GILES / US Coast Guard / AFP

 

Also among right wing pundits, who are the voice of the primarily conservative citizens inhabiting the state of Louisiana that are underwater now, there is denial of climate change being a factor in this catastrophe or its presence at all. Of course, these pundits offer words, but no resources to address the ongoing disaster, other than more plaudits for the same market economy which is the cause of their undoing.

So, it begs the question:  when will Americans stop being their own worst enemies?  As there is much debate by some people regarding the efficacy of Near-Term Human Extinction (NTHE), it is the modern day American citizens, like those in Louisiana, that continue the behavior which lends the most credence to the argument that we will face species extinction in the not too distant future. The individual actions of the majority of voters in the state of Louisiana and their elected officials is a microcosm of the American mentality as a whole, where it can’t and won’t accept the fragility of our existence on this Earth or digest the ramifications of these set of living circumstances.

Floods 3

This aerial image shows flooded areas in Denhamp Springs, La., on Aug. 13, 2016. (Patrick Dennis / The Advocate)

Hence, these disasters will continue unabated in the near term and definitely continue to grow in ferocity and intensity with the coming years. When will the masses of people begin to take this with seriousness that it needs to be taken is anyone’s guess. Yet as the old saying goes, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  Since that is the case, the future does not bode well for those in Louisiana or any of us in the West or the world as a whole since we continue to be the enemy of the drastic changes necessary to circumvent the ongoing ecocide to any type of appreciable degree.

Although these words are not hopeful or positive, they are honest. This is something that is wholly missing in the mainstream discussion about climate change. Or more importantly, the dialogue regarding what we must do to address it in attempt to stave it off, be it futile at this juncture or otherwise.

As religious faith, especially of the Christian persuasion, is a pillar of the American landscape, what we are now learning is that close to 40 inches of rain are to be feared a lot more than a biblical (or mythical) rain inundation of 40 days and 40 nights. Will we heed the warning? All signs point to this not being the case.

And like any time that faith is put before facts, an open, honest conversation about climate change is literally heresy in these times. Yet, the truth is the truth. And the current washing away of Louisiana is proof of this whether anyone wants to accept it or not.

 

Podcast: Steve Best – The Politics of Total Liberation

Animal Rights Zone

November 17, 2014

steve-best-in-genoa-july-102

Steve Best is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso, but he’s perhaps best known as an advocate for the liberation of the earth and all who live on it – humans as well as other animals.

Steve Best has published 13 books and hundreds of articles and has been active nationally and internationally for more than 3 decades, challenging the conventional wisdom on topics ranging from environmentalism to sexual liberation to animal rights. Dr. Best joined Animal Rights Zone to speak about his new book, The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution in the 21st Century. Audio podcast, approx. 65 minutes.

To listen to the podcast:

http://arzone.ning.com/forum/topics/arzone-podcast-84-steve-best-the-politics-of-total-liberation

The Predictable and Pathetic End of Sanders’ “Political Revolution”

World Socialist Website

July 13, 2016

by Patrick Martin

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, is confronted on the Westlake Park stage by Mara Jacqueline Willaford CQ over "Black Lives Matter" issues.  She and another activist took over the rally at this point leading to the Senator leaving the stage, making his way through the crowd which thanked him for coming, and getting in a car and being driven away. Saturday August 8 2015,

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, is confronted on the Westlake Park stage by Mara Jacqueline Willaford over “Black Lives Matter” issues. She and another activist took over the rally, leading to the Senator leaving the stage. Saturday August 8 2015

Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign Tuesday, not with a bang but a whimper. The Vermont senator formally endorsed his rival in an undignified prostration before the Democratic Party establishment and Wall Street’s favored presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The unity rally featuring Sanders and Clinton in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, had all the spontaneity and enthusiasm of a going-out-of-business sale. The funereal atmosphere was perhaps fitting, because with the demise of the Sanders campaign, the Democratic Party has demonstrated, for the thousandth time, its historical role as the graveyard of progressive movements and efforts to achieve reform through the capitalist two-party system.

The Sanders campaign has provided a major lesson in politics to millions of young people and workers who rallied to support the Vermont senator because he called himself a “democratic socialist” and because he denounced Wall Street and the domination of US politics by “millionaires and billionaires.”

The mass support for a self-proclaimed socialist shocked the US ruling elite, the Democratic Party establishment, and, no doubt, Sanders himself. It demonstrated that, despite decades of incessant media propaganda against socialism and communism, the experiences of masses of working people and youth are driving them to the left.

This was particularly true among the younger generation. Sanders won by huge margins—70, 80, even 90 percent—among primary and caucus voters under 30 years of age. More than 1.5 million people attended his rallies, with college students and youth of college age predominating.

The Sanders campaign did not create the broad radicalization demonstrated in these figures. The Vermont senator’s bid for the Democratic Party nomination rather served to uncover what was already developing, the product of decades of deepening economic inequality, ceaseless war, attacks on democratic rights and the growing realization that the profit system is leading mankind toward catastrophe.

Once the Democratic primary campaign was fully engaged, however, Sanders’ political task—in the eyes of the US ruling elite—became clear. It was his responsibility to put the genie back into the bottle. He had to deliver his millions of supporters, particularly the youth, to the candidate chosen by the Democratic Party establishment.

In the beginning was the end. From the start of his campaign, Sanders understood the role assigned to him. He abandoned his longstanding pretense to being a political “independent,” and pledged to remain within the framework of the Democratic Party regardless of the outcome of the contest for the nomination.

Throughout the Sanders campaign, the Socialist Equality Party has welcomed the broad shift to the left that it revealed in the thinking of millions of working people and youth, while warning that the Vermont senator would inevitably disappoint his supporters.

We drew attention to two key aspects of the Sanders campaign: his silence on foreign policy and the growing danger of war, and his refusal to criticize the Obama administration for bailing out Wall Street and spearheading the corporate attack on the jobs and living standards of working people, beginning with the 50 percent wage cut imposed on new hires in the auto industry at the insistence of the White House.

Tuesday’s “unity” rally with Hillary Clinton demonstrated both these tendencies. Sanders spoke for 30 minutes without ever mentioning foreign policy, only days after Obama announced an extension of the US military intervention in Afghanistan and approved the dispatch of another 560 US troops to Iraq.

In his tribute to Clinton, Sanders never referred to her four-year tenure as secretary of state, where she was consistently the most hawkish member of the Obama cabinet, instigating the US-NATO war with Libya and advocating even greater US intervention in the Syrian civil war.

As for the Democratic Party’s domestic record, Sanders praised Obama’s actions during the 2008-2009 Wall Street crash. “I thank President Obama and Vice President Biden for their leadership in pulling us out of that terrible recession,” he said, although Obama and Biden saved the bankers and billionaires at the expense of the working class.

Similarly, Sanders hailed Clinton’s agreement on several minor and meaningless changes in the Democratic Party platform, on health care, student debt and the minimum wage, claiming that the result was “the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”

Clinton’s own remarks at the rally were equally demagogic and deceptive. She denounced “trickle-down supply-side economics” which were responsible for “30 years of a disastrous Republican philosophy that gave the huge breaks to those at the top.” She conveniently left out that those “30 years” included the eight-year administration of her own husband, who followed the dictates of the financial markets no less slavishly than the Republicans.

She pledged to “open the doors to everyone who shares our progressive values,” although the political careers of both Bill and Hillary Clinton have been based on moving the Democratic Party ever further to the right—abolishing welfare, promoting harsh policing and mass imprisonment, deregulating the banks, and generally distancing the Democrats from any association with policies of liberal reform.

In his remarks Tuesday in New Hampshire, Sanders declared that his campaign would continue, in the form of an all-out effort to elect Hillary Clinton president and elect Democratic majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives. To call such an outcome a “political revolution” is, to say the least, a cynical fraud.

The Democratic Party is, like the Republican Party, an instrument of the financial aristocracy that rules America. While the Republican Party generally expresses the ruling class’s appetite for wealth and power in its most unrestrained form, the Democratic Party has long served as the principal vehicle for neutralizing any challenge to the corporate elite from below.

Despite the best efforts of the media, the Democratic Party and the political establishment as a whole, including Sanders himself, the social and economic opposition that found an initial expression in support for his campaign will not disappear. Whoever wins in November will oversee a society riven by social conflict and will implement deeply unpopular policies, including a sharp expansion of war abroad and the attack on the working class at home.

Workers and young people attracted to the Sanders campaign must draw the necessary conclusions. The Democratic Party cannot be transformed and capitalism cannot be reformed. A leadership must be built to unite the developing struggles of the working class in a revolutionary movement against the corporate and financial elite and the profit system they defend.

 

Does Anyone Really Need Another ‘Political’ Article?

The Soapbox

April 9, 2016

by Mickey Z.

 

documenting photo

 

“I am documenting our collective self-annihilation. I am not writing to change your mind.” (Cory Morningstar)

 

I deeply relate to my friend Cory’s quote above — but to take things further: I often wonder why any of us even bothers with the documenting. This line of thought reminded me of an e-mail I received in 2006 from a man who’d been following my work for quite some time.

“Reading your writing makes me think that expressing your opinions is what helps,” he began, “but I now wonder if it actually does any good.” He states his belief that, yes, the pen is mightier than the sword, but quickly conceded that the pen “takes a lot longer to be effective.”

His e-mail wrapped up: “In a world full of inequalities, I see your writing as an attempt to combat this situation but I wonder what provides the motivation in the face of such daunting odds. I might have it all wrong and that is not what motivates you at all in which case I’d be interested in what does.”

To be blunt, part of what motivates me to document these days is that I very much need the money I’m paid to write such articles. This is not to say I take this work lightly (never do and never will) but it is to say that, given the chance, I might stop writing “political” articles for a while.

Such a break might enable me to gain a valuable new perspective on the issues I write about but in a more immediate sense, it’d also provide me with a much-needed reprieve from the childish name-calling, passive-aggressive stalking, vile slander, and promises of violence (including death threats) I endure due to my endless questioning and evolution. (FYI: Such responses rarely come from outside radical (sic) or activist (sic) circles but rather, almost always from those whom I once called comrade or even friend.)

Trust me, if I could somehow delude myself that my work ever truly mattered and made even a tiny bit of difference, I might at least perceive all the abuse as “worth it.” But if all I’m doing is “documenting our collective self-annihilation” to an ever-dwindling and progressively less receptive (even hostile) audience, well… you know the rest.

So here we are:

The stakes have never been higher.

Accordingly, the distractions have never been louder.

Does anyone really need another “political” article?

 

[Michael Zezima (known as Mickey .) is a writer, editor, blogger and novelist living in New York City. He writes a bimonthly column, “Mickey Z. Says”, for VegNews magazine and he has also appeared on the C-SPAN network’s Book TV program. He is also a regular contributor to Planet Green, ZNet, CounterPunch, OpEdNews, Countercurrents.org, Animal Liberation Front, and other websites.]

La révolution ne sera pas subventionnée ou l’échec absurde de la gauche (une interview avec Cory Morningstar)

 

Nous avons récemment interviewé Cory Morningstar, une journaliste d’investigation canadienne spécialisée dans l’écologie et la politique. Son travail remarquable peut être consulté librement en ligne, sur son site web (en anglais). Nous avions déjà publié deux de ses articles sur notre site, à savoir 350.org, AVAAZ, et la marche mondiale pour le climat — Comment l’Empire nous fait marcher (par Cory Morningstar), et 350.org, Bill McKibben (& Naomi Klein): L’écologie made in Wall Street.

ONG

A quel point notre situation, en tant qu’espèce vivant sur la planète Terre, est-elle grave, et pourquoi?

Cory Morningstar: Elle est si grave que nous sommes incapables — ou que l’on ne le veut simplement pas — d’en comprendre la magnitude. Même ceux qui seraient en mesure d’en saisir la magnitude sont souvent incapables de l’accepter entièrement. J’entends à travers ça que nous continuons à planifier des choses sur le long terme alors qu’il est établi qu’elles ne seront ni plausibles ni possibles au cours de notre existence. Nous sommes tellement endoctrinés et conditionnés à la folie que nous semblons incapables de nous libérer. De plus, même si nous rassemblions le courage nécessaire pour nous libérer, le système qui nous asservit garantit que nous ne le puissions pas. Si l’on observe les données et la science comme le fait Guy McPherson, il est clair que nous avons déjà dépassé les limites maximales (1°C) établies par le Groupe de Conseil des Nations Unies sur les Gaz à Effet de Serre (United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (UNAGGG)) dans un rapport datant de 1990. Un document qui, d’ailleurs, fut délibérément enterré afin que continue la croissance du système économique industrialo-capitaliste. Sans parler du réchauffement auquel nous sommes d’ores-et-déjà condamné en raison de ce que nous avons émis depuis, mais qui n’adviendra qu’au cours des décennies à venir en raison du temps de latence.

Si davantage de preuves étaient nécessaires afin d’apaiser certains doutes persistants, il suffirait d’écouter les avertissements apocalyptiques de Natalia Shakhova sur la fonte du permafrost et des émissions colossales de méthane qui s’ensuivraient. Shakhova, l’une des principales scientifiques expertes des hydrates de méthane, voit ses publications mises au ban sur la liste noire des médias depuis de nombreuses années. Il suffirait également de prendre en compte le fait que d’éminents scientifiques utilisent le terme « Anthropocène » depuis des décennies, afin de décrire cette époque géologique distincte de l’Holocène – une transition/changement causée par les impacts humains. Nous ignorons collectivement cet incroyable point de basculement.

Voici quelques-unes de mes principales observations, mais le plus dramatique, c’est ce que j’observe dans ma vie de tous les jours. Ces simples observations de la façon dont les gens 1) se traitent entre eux, 2) traitent les êtres sensibles, 3) les formes de vie non-humaines et 4) notre mère, la Terre. L’horrible vérité, c’est que les gens traitent les quatre comme des déchets jetables. Mince ! Ils traitent même leurs propres corps comme une poubelle et sont plus que disposés à empoisonner leurs enfants de multiples façons. On ne peut que se demander s’il s’agit purement et simplement d’ignorance ou bien d’une haine de soi. Peu importe, nous continuons à involuer rapidement. L’importance de la dissonance cognitive est manifeste quand on sait que toutes les civilisations ayant jamais existé se sont effondrées, mais que celle qui surpasse toutes les autres en terme de pillage de l’environnement naturel dont nous dépendons absolument est considérée comme exempt de ce même destin prophétique.

En Occident, dans les sociétés industrielles, la principale opposition politique envers la culture dominante, qui n’est peut-être pas autant en opposition qu’elle aime le prétendre ou le pense, et que j’appellerai « la gauche », afin d’être bref, semble n’être qu’un colossal échec, qu’en penses-tu ?

Cory Morningstar: Oui, c’est très vrai. Il s’agit manifestement d’un échec complet. Plusieurs raisons expliquent cela, selon moi. J’en citerai quelques-unes. La majeure partie de notre « gauche » est constituée de blancs issus de la classe moyenne, de privilégiés. Ces mêmes 1% qui qui émettent 50% des émissions mondiales de gaz à effet de serre. Il est incroyablement difficile de persuader quelqu’un de regarder dans le miroir lorsque tous ceux qui l’entourent diabolisent les corporations des combustibles fossiles, comme si l’industrie était, de quelque façon que ce soit, séparée de la société et du système lui-même. [Lorsque l’activisme est redirigé et piloté par diverses grosses ONG, par les médias, par toute la gauche bien-pensante, vers un simplisme comme ce « désinvestissement », cet improbable et incompréhensible « abandon » des combustibles fossiles brandi isolément comme LA solution miracle qui nous sauverait tous, sans aucune compréhension du fait que c’est absurde, impossible et implausible tant que TOUT LE RESTE, TOUS LES AUTRES SECTEURS de la société ne sont pas radicalement changé, avant, qu’avancée toute seule cette injonction à « désinvestir des combustibles fossiles » ne signifie rien, NdT]

Après des années de travaux sur le climat et les problèmes écologiques, j’en ai conclu que l’écologie occidentale était morte, et qu’elle avait été remplacée par l’anthropocentrisme du 21ème siècle. Le mot « activiste » en Occident est un terme qui ne fait plus référence qu’à un anthropocentriste égocentrique — volontairement aveugle aux horreurs de l’impérialisme et du racisme qui sous-tendent le système tout entier. Une partie importante de notre langage a été cooptée par le Complexe Industriel Non-Lucratif (CINL), y compris l’environnementalisme, l’activisme, le mot radical, et même le mot capitalisme — mot vague qui fournit un effet de style dans un discours visant dans les faits à protéger et à propager le système socio-économique même qui nous tue.

La critique révolutionnaire, en Amérique, est morte. Le processus bien entamé de la « nouvelle économie » (la financiarisation de la nature) ne suffit même pas à faire émerger la résistance significative, féroce et nécessaire dont nous avons besoin. Bien que Facebook (et son Deepface !) puisse jouer un rôle dans la transmission d’informations, ces métriques sociale sont, en un sens, de l’argent. 500 000 abonnés n’ont rien à voir avec des actions révolutionnaires, tout comme l’argent qui n’est soutenu par rien. Et pourtant ces deux phénomènes dominent le meilleur-des-mondes moderne dans lequel nous vivons aujourd’hui. Je dirais même que les médias sociaux sont finalement un grand mal pour la société dans son ensemble, car il s’agit là du rêve ultime de tous les oligarques et publicitaires de notre temps. Comme mon camarade de WKOG [Wrong Kind Of Green, en français « la mauvaise sorte d’écologie », NdT] Forrest Palmer le dit, à l’instar du Latin, la vérité est une langue morte dans ce monde — tout comme la pensée critique. Les gens ne veulent pas du changement radical s’il nuit de quelque façon que ce soit à leurs privilèges. Et le changement radical nécessaire pour ne serait-ce que ralentir le changement climatique exigerait le plus radical (et pourtant habilitant [i.e. le réapprentissage de l’autonomie, NdT]) des sacrifices, celui qui démolirait les institutions qui oppressent ceux qui paient le prix pour les privilèges des Euro-Américains. J’ai accepté le fait que le privilège, sous quelque forme que ce soit, ne sera jamais abandonné par ceux qui le détienne — il devra être retiré par la force. Toute tentative légitime de démantèlement des structures actuelles du pouvoir, ou de ralentissement de nos multiples crises et de l’autodestruction qu’elles entrainent, ne peut émaner que de la classe ouvrière.

Pourquoi? Quelles sont les principales raisons de son échec?

Cory Morningstar: Il me semble que nous échouons à reconnaitre le niveau de notre propre endoctrinement. Des questions cruciales mises en avant il y a des siècles dans le discours sur la servitude volontaire d’Etienne de la Boétie demeurent sans réponses à ce jour. Personne, ou presque, ne s’intéresse à cet obstacle majeur qui nous empêche de résoudre notre problème majeur, et qui sert à protéger nos structures de pouvoir actuelles. Les faits ancrés dans la réalité observée par de vrais révolutionnaires, comme Assata Shakur, qui soulignait que « personne dans le monde, personne dans l’histoire, n’a jamais obtenu sa liberté en faisant appel au sens moral de ses oppresseurs », sont ignorés.

Je crois que la principale cause de notre échec collectif est le succès du Complexe Industriel Non-Lucratif (CINL), qui est financé à hauteur de billions d’euros par ceux qui nous oppriment. Ceux qui administrent le CINL font appel aux pires traits de l’humanité, plutôt qu’aux meilleurs. L’individualisme, le narcissisme, l’égo, la convoitise, la soif de pouvoir et la célébrité. Ils nous content les mensonges que nous avons besoin d’entendre pour continuer à vivre avec nous-mêmes, pour continuer à piller voracement. Les mensonges qui nous permettent de nous réjouir de nos privilèges sans culpabilité aucune. Les gens de la « gauche morte » suivent ceux auxquels ils s’identifient, comme Bill McKibben et Naomi Klein de l’ONG 350 — des « leaders » blancs et riches, nommés par les élites. Les Marilyn Bucks ne sont plus de ce monde. Les révolutionnaires comme Omali Yeshitela — avec lesquels la « gauche morte » ne s’identifient pas — sont ignorés. En 1966, le révolutionnaire Stokely Carmichael avait dit que c’était « la vraie question qui divise les activistes blancs d’aujourd’hui. Peuvent-ils démolir les institutions qui font de nous des captifs depuis des centaines d’années ? ». 50 ans après, nous pouvons répondre à cette question par un NON sans équivoque. Les activistes blancs n’étaient pas/ne sont pas prêts à abandonner leurs privilèges, quel qu’en soit le prix. Même au prix de leurs propres enfants. Et comme Forrest Palmer le souligne souvent, aujourd’hui, la bourgeoisie noire cherche à s’intégrer dans ce système oppressif plutôt qu’à le détruire. Utiliser le mot détruire dans la même phrase que le mot activisme est d’ailleurs souvent jugé inacceptable. L’autodéfense n’est pas reconnue comme légitime par ces privilégiés tandis que la violence de l’état policier est généralement considérée comme acceptable. La croyance selon laquelle les plus puissants capitalistes du monde vont abandonner volontairement ne serait-ce qu’une partie du pouvoir ou de la richesse qu’ils détiennent est absolument grotesque.

Il me semble que la gauche est un mélange confus de différentes idéologies, plus ou moins contrôlées et créées par la culture dominante, qu’elles pensent défier, et que nous pouvons de ce fait pointer du doigt plusieurs contradictions majeures qui l’empêche d’être une force efficace de résistance, de changement. Qu’en penses-tu, et quelles seraient ces contradictions ?

Cory Morningstar: J’ai compris que c’était le cas il y a des années. A savoir que si « la gauche » pouvait comprendre qu’elle est perpétuellement réabsorbée dans le système auquel elle prétend s’opposer, nous pourrions militer contre une telle manipulation ; qu’en embrassant pleinement la discipline et la pensée critique, nous pourrions empêcher que cela se reproduise encore et encore. Mais la société occidentale nous a enseigné l’inverse. Elle glorifie l’opposé. Ne pensez pas de façon critique. N’apprenez pas l’histoire. Croyez aux slogans que les superpouvoirs corporatistes vous soufflent à travers la chambre d’écho des medias et du CINL. Lorsque j’ai commencé à écrire à propos de l’horrible réalité des organisations non-gouvernementales (ONG) qui forment le CINL, j’ai découvert que les gens croyaient fermement en ces institutions. Cette croyance est profonde — proche de celle en ce dieu des hommes, blanc et aux yeux bleus.

Lorsque John D Rockefeller a dit que « la capacité à gérer les gens est une marchandise que l’on peut acheter, au même titre que le sucre ou le café, et je suis prêt à payer plus pour elle que pour n’importe quelle marchandise », il savait alors ce que la gauche mettrait des décennies à comprendre. Ce que la gauche n’a d’ailleurs toujours pas compris. L’idée selon laquelle nous pourrions modifier la balance des pouvoirs à l’aide des organisations financées par — et dans de nombreux cas créées par — les plus puissantes institutions du monde est ridicule. Et pourtant cette force surpuissante continue et garantit ultimement notre propre destruction. Et lorsque nous regardons ce que la gauche morte occidentale continue à « demander » (des demandes dont les réponses sont d’ores-et-déjà écrites et attendent derrière des portes closes), à savoir des « solutions » qui n’ont rien à voir avec la protection de la nature ou des formes de vie non-humaines, mais qui ne servent qu’à protéger le mode de vie occidental, on se dit que notre éradication est peut-être bienvenue. [Cory Morningstar fait ici référence, entre autres, aux solutions comme les panneaux solaires et les éoliennes, que le système dominant comptait de toute façon mettre en place au fur et à mesure, et met d’ores-et-déjà en place, ou comme le développement durable, et qui ne solutionnent rien bien au contraire NdT].

Voilà la partie la plus triste de notre histoire, celle du chapitre finale. L’ironie étant que si l’être humain avait placé la vie non-humaine au-dessus de la vie humaine, par défaut, nous nous serions sauvés. Voici la contradiction ultime. Et ce qui nous précipite vers la catastrophe. Il y a cependant une bonne nouvelle. Même s’il semble peu probable que nous parvenions à enrayer le changement climatique, ou à le ralentir, il n’est jamais trop tard pour approfondir nos connaissances et poursuivre la vérité et la justice. Tenter de recueillir ne serait-ce qu’une once de dignité tandis que la nature s’éclipse, voilà ce qui me semble souhaitable.


[1] « la quantité total de méthane (CH4) actuellement dans l’atmosphère est de 5 gigatonnes. La quantité de carbone stockée sous forme de méthane dans le plateau de l’Est Arctique Sibérien est d’approximativement 100 à 1000 gigatonnes. Seul 1% de cette quantité doublerait la charge atmosphérique de méthane (qui est approximativement 23 fois plus puissant en tant que GES que le CO2). Peu de choses suffiraient à déstabiliser ne serait-ce qu’1% de cette réserve de carbone étant donné l’état du permafrost et la quantité de méthane actuellement menacée. Ce qui empêche ce méthane d’être émis dans l’atmosphère est une mince colonne d’eau et un permafrost diminuant et perdant sa qualité de sceau. Cela pourrait se produire n’importe quand ». Natalia Shakhova, une des principales expertes du monde en hydrates de méthane.

[2] L’holocène est le nom de l’ère géologique qui représente les 11 000 dernières années. Correspond à la dernière partie de l’ère quaternaire période la plus récente dans l’échelle des temps géologiques.

WATCH: Biomass – an Ecological Facade | A Massive Threat to the World’s Forests

WKOG disclaimer: Keep in mind while watching this film that while Dogwood Alliance may publicly denounce Enviva’s biomass (the burning of trees) practices, Dogwood Alliance has partnered with Coca-Cola along with other corporations and NGOs to create the Carbon Canopy Group – a coalition “that seeks to leverage markets for ecosystem services” [Source] and “offset” pollution via carbon credits. More false solutions. In fact, one could easily argue that biomass stands to cut into future profits to be made by the expanding commodification and privatization of trees/nature by Dogwood Alliance, Coca-Cola, Staples et al. (You can read more about this is the upcoming segment of the ongoing Divestment series.)

 

 

Exodus To A Brand New World

Wrong Kind of Green

June 8, 2016

by Forrest Palmer and Cory Morningstar

 

Trail of Tears 1

Between 1830 and 1850, the United States committed one of the most genocidal movements in the history of this country, although still unacknowledged as such to this very day.  During the aforementioned time period, the U.S. government forcibly removed all of the major indigenous tribes from their homelands in the Southeast portion of the country to West of the Mississippi  River in the Oklahoma territory and the surrounding areas.  This mandatory migration came to be known as The Trail of Tears. The removal was comprised of the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes” (given this moniker because they were seen to be most equipped to appropriate the traits of Western civilization, such as clothes, customs, economy, Christianity and other signs of being ‘humanized’, i.e. white).  These five tribes included the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muskogee, Creek, Seminole and Cherokee Nations.  Yet for all of these tribes perceived signs of being “civilized”, when the land that they inhabited was needed by the state, their designated ethnic inferiority was the single most reason for them being compulsorily extracted from their only home.  During the migration, these indigenous First Nation members were made to walk the entire length of this most inhuman journey, which was over 1,000 miles. Of the approximately 60,000 total members of the tribes who were expelled from their homelands, anywhere from 8,700 to 17,000 were killed by making this treacherous trek , which is between 14.5% to 28.3% of the victims.

Choctaw_group

Mississippi Choctaw group wearing traditional garb, c. 1908. Photographer unknown. Public document.

Most recently, approximately 2,000 miles to the North of the general vicinity where the natives in the U.S were finally housed in the most deplorable conditions imaginable on the reservations, there was another exodus that happened recently in Alberta, Canada that had similar characteristics.  As a result of a raging, out of control forest fire, there was a mass evacuation out of this region that was reminiscent of what we saw a couple of hundred years ago during the native death march to the south. The primary difference is that this exodus wasn’t done at the barrel of a gun, but at the behest of something much more powerful than any weapon devised by man:  Mother Nature.

A giant fireball is seen as a wildfire rips through the forest 16 kilometres south of Fort McMurray, Alta. on Highway 63 Saturday, May 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A giant fireball is seen as a wildfire rips through the forest 16 kilometres south of Fort McMurray, Alta. on Highway 63 Saturday, May 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

In the energy oasis of northeastern Alberta, Canada where the oil tar sands are found, approximately 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray had to leave their community with wildfires nipping at their heels.  Fort McMurray is the primary residence of the people that work in the Alberta Tar Sands, comprising about 80,000 “permanent” citizens and 40,000 expatriates who came to Great White North seeking fortune in the lucrative yet environmentally  destructive tar sands oil development.  The region is most famous due to the Keystone XL pipeline and the ongoing attempts to run this pipeline from Alberta, Canada to refineries in the United States, primarily located in Houston Texas.  Although the tar sands oil provides millions of barrels of oil today, this effort has still been used as a red herring by the mainstream environmental movement to give the false impression that it isn’t daily business as usual in the fossil fuel industry which is the problem, since this global effort VASTLY outweighs the drop in the bucket contributed by the tar sands, whether or not Keystone XL comes online or not. (Unbeknownst to most, the pipeline is already up and running with the fourth and last phase being the only one under dispute and the other three phases already being used right now, as well as rail moving significant amounts of tar sands oil as I write this).

racism at core of suicides

Image: Racism At Core Of Native Teen Suicides [Source: Red Power Media]

As a testament that the abuse of the natives really knows no end, the indigenous were spared no mercy at the hands of the state yesterday nor the corporations today. Over past fifty years when the first barrel of oil rolled off the assembly line in 1967, there have been harmful effects visited upon the indigenous community in the surrounding region over time due to the amount of cancerous byproducts that are dumped into Lake Athabasca. The tailing ponds (the dumping ground for the polluted water that is used to assist in tar sand extraction and production) measure about 30 square miles (77 square kilometers) and reside in close proximity to Athabasca River.   Although unacknowledged by the industry, the state or the mainstream media, the sediment from the tailing ponds has been leaking into the Athabasca River. This river is a contributory downstream to Lake Athabasca, where the community of Fort Chipewyan uses for fishing and a freshwater source.  This community is comprised of approximately 1,000 people, almost entirely indigenous First Nation. As proof of the deleterious effects of the tar sands pollution, the community has experienced the rarest forms of cancers that belie such a small community somehow logically showing up with such disproportionate illnesses as compared to the general population . Yet, this medical anomaly doesn’t even fall on deaf ears since the people don’t even have a voice.

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tar sands at night

Tar sands at night. Alberta Oil Sands: “Twenty four hours a day the oil sands eats into the most carbon rich forest ecosystem on the planet. Storing almost twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests, the boreal forest is the planet’s greatest terrestrial carbon storehouse. To the industry, these diverse and ecologically significant forests and wetlands are referred to as overburden, the forest to be stripped and the wetlands dredged and replaced by mines and tailings ponds so vast they can be seen from outer space.” [Source]

In relation to this turn of events with Fort McMurray currently, the definition of the term ‘poetic justice’ is experiencing a fitting or deserved retribution for one’s actions.  In destroying the environment and visiting unacknowledged depredations to the people of Fort Chipewyan and the surrounding areas, as well as contributing to the devastation of which they are facing presently since the entire community relies on the fossil fuel industry, it is poetic justice by any honest estimation that these residents had to run fleeing from their comfortable houses  in the middle of the night.  This is even more justified since the people in the Fort McMurray area are indicative of the climate change denier clique as only 33% accept that anthropogenic climate change is real to any degree.  Hence, these people are unwilling to even accept that their own hands were on the trigger that caused their own communal maiming through the most dangerous game of Russian roulette known to humanity.

The reason that this is the case is because the masses were in the region specifically to rape the land and  destroy the environment.  There is no rationally sane debate that wouldn’t admit ecological devastation and the resulting climate disruptions increased the likelihood to something such as this happening to almost a certainty.  Hence, if their actions were  the singular, primary or only a contributing factor to their speedy migration from Fort McMurray, it must be acknowledged that the  mere physical presence of the now fleeing residents in the city was  the reason that they had to run from a hell of their own making.  To be succinct, if the residents wouldn’t have put their economic wants above their environmental needs, they wouldn’t have been in a position of vulnerability since the only reason the population was so large in the area was due to the oil industry.  Ultimately, any impartial assessment of the situation comes to the conclusion that the citizens have no one to blame but themselves for this self-inflected catastrophe.

Therefore, we are now in the beginning stages of seeing a grand change in the migratory patterns of humanity. More times often than not migration was due to the collapse of civilizations by way of a lack of resources, which are the basis of any society.  As Western civilization has been able to move masses of people to whatever area of the world that it needed in order to continue the economic system of capitalism, be it the forced migration of the indigenous in North America to the concentrations camps called the reservation, or the worldwide diaspora of the African through the global slave trade, or the coolie labor system where Southeast Asians were dispersed across various continents, it has fostered a god complex in the Western world that only the system and the people who control it can ever dictate who goes anyplace at a given moment in time.

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As such, the Western world has lived under the delusion that it had conquered nature itself and was the ultimate arbiter of who and what was going to go where and when.  This latest episode is just a single example of many recent ones that are increasing in rapidity in the Western world.   The Westerner embodied in the prototypical anglo male is now being made to do the one thing that he thought he was immune to in this world: forced to go somewhere he didn’t want go when he didn’t want to leave.

Luckily, the Western world still has the resources and the economic ability to move with relative ease when disasters like this occur, although this will not be the case for too much longer.  Soon, the daily movements that are effortlessly accomplished by plane, train, ship, car and automobile will lead to having to hurriedly leave a demolishing area with the only thing that nature has given us to move and will be the last thing we have when the infrastructure isn’t available to utilize the previously mentioned contraptions : our feet.  The same feet that carried the native all those hundreds of miles in the distant past.

no-justice-on1

Illustration by Gord Hill, Kwakwaka’wakw

As our feet will be the thing to carry us to parts unknown as we will have to go to places we have no choice to go for survival in the not too distant future, I would think that poetic justice would include that we be relegated to the same existence that was imposed on the ones so long ago by such a self-designated exceptional civilization such as this.

Poetic justice indeed.