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SYRIA: #AleppoIsBurning Campaign Created by US and NATO to Facilitate a “No Bomb Zone”

The Wall Will Fall

May 4, 2016

by Vanessa Beeley

 

“I would like to point out something, if you open the trending section in Facebook you will see that Aleppo, Syria is trending.  They say the Syrian government is continuing air-strikes on Aleppo. The funny thing is we dont see or hear any planes.” ~ Marianne R Bedoun, Aleppo

The following photo was taken from Soros funded ANA Press director, Deiaa Dughmoch’s Facebook page.  Translated as Aleppo citizens searching the skies for war-planes.  According to Marianne Bedoun, they might be there some time.

aleppo looking for planesMarianne was immediately targeted by hate speech from the followers of mainstream media and the US NATO governed propaganda outlets who are controlling the Aleppo narrative. This from one UK based Facebook responder:

“Its about hiding the truth that Assad is massacring the Syrian people to keep himself in power and the US and NATO are backing him up rather than engaging in any Wahhabi terrorist support operation.  Its really quite racist to call those defending their homes and lives NATO backed terrorists but I guess you are so deep in this shit you cant see.” ~ Dick Gregory. 

Marianne responded from inside Aleppo:

You are right I am so deep in this I cant exit because I am a Syrian living in Aleppo. And please tell me where did you get your facts? Your brain-washing western media? I am telling you what I see every minute. Racist? We are the ones defending our homes against their brutal ways…hell cannons, hand-made missiles etc every day since day one”

Aleppo woman confronts
Professor Tim Anderson

This social media exchange exemplifies the ever widening chasm between the reports from the Syrian people living in areas under siege or occupied by US NATO backed terrorists and the blatant bias from western and gulf funded journalists.

“The Pentagon has now designated “information operations” as its fifth “core competency” alongside land, sea, air and special forces. Since October 2006, every brigade, division and corps in the US military has had its own “psyop” element producing output for local media.

This military activity is linked to the State Department’s campaign of “public diplomacy” which includes funding radio stations and news websites. In Britain, the Directorate of Targeting and Information Operations in the Ministry of Defence works with specialists from 15 UK psyops, based at the Defence Intelligence and Security School at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.

In the case of British intelligence, you can see this combination of reckless propaganda and failure of oversight at work in the case of Operation Mass Appeal.

This was exposed by the former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter, who describes in his book, Iraq Confidential, how, in London in June 1998, he was introduced to two “black propaganda specialists” from MI6 who wanted him to give them material which they could spread through “editors and writers who work with us from time to time”. ~ US Government has Long used Propaganda against the American People

The Aleppo Spin

A very quick look at who has rapidly generated the #AleppoIsBurning campaign that has made red the new black on Facebook and Twitter brings us rapidly to the Purpose Manhattan PR company and their Syria cohorts.  Syria Campaign, the White Helmets are implicated and the actual event has been created by none other than Rami Jarrah of Soros funded ANA Press based in Southern Turkey and operating with the explicit approval of chief terrorism supporter, Sultan Erdogan.

rami and erdogan 2

Rami Jarrah meeting with Erdogan to discuss the “difficulties” in maintaining media coverage of the “Syrian revolution”. 

Note in this image, Erdogan makes no effort to conceal his support for the mythical Syrian revolution.

Rami Jarrah’s connections to Soros and his commitment to promoting the US NATO narrative are discussed in the two following articles:

George Soros: Anti-Syria Campaign Impresario

Oscar Spoiler: The Return of Syria Danny, as Actor Danny Dayem turns up in Rami Jarrah’s Latest Fictional Short

If we go to the Aleppo is Burning event page on Facebook, the producers are clearly visible:

Aleppo rami

Deiaa Dughmoch and Rami Jarrah are co-founders of ANA Press.  Sarah Dadouch works for ANA Press and is based in Istanbul, Turkey according to her Facebook page.

Co-initiator of the #AleppoIsBurning campaign is Lilah Khoja who has been instrumental in promoting the “Worldwide Red Protest”.  Khoja is on the team of the Karam Foundation  as their advocacy co-ordinator. While there is minimal financial information on the Karam Foundation, set up in 2007 by co-founder and CEO, Lina Sergie Attar, Attar is on the board of the Muslim Brotherhood Syrian American Council.

“The Syrian American Council is one of the largest American based Syrian lobbying organizations and key SAC leaders are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood in the US:

The last known SAC President was Talal Sunbulli (aka Talal Sunulle ) who was listed as the Syrian coordinator in the international phone book of Muslim Brotherhood members seized by federal investigators during the Holy Land Foundation investigation.

The last known SAC Chairman was Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of the California office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a part of the Us Muslim Brotherhood.

US Muslim Brotherhood figure Louay Safi is known to have been a leading member of the SAC.” ~GlobalMBWatch

Attar is in fact Chair of the Humanitarian Committee as well as being on the National Board of Directors under one of her many name variations, Lina Segie.

SAC board

According to Attar’s biography on the Karam Foundation site, she is a Syrian-American architect and writer from Aleppo.

“Sergie Attar frequently travels to the Syrian border in southern Turkey to run Karam’s Smart Aid programs.”

Perhaps of even greater interest, Attar “serves on the board of directors” of the Soros and Avaaz/Purpose created Syria Campaign.

“Heimans, the Avaaz front man of Purpose, is a darling of the high-finance corporate world. “In 2011, Jeremy received the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary Visionaries Award. The World Economic Forum at Davos has named him a Young Global Leader, and the World e-Government Forum has named Jeremy and Purpose co-founder David Madden among the “Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of the Internet and Politics.” [Source]

The New York public relations firm Purpose has created at least four anti-Assad NGOs/campaigns: The White Helmets, Free Syrian Voices , The Syria Campaign and March Campaign #withSyria.” ~ Cory Morningstar

Ford and Lina
Lina Attar of Karam Foundation/Syria Campaign/SAC with Ex US Ambassador to Syria and known terrorism supporter, Robert Ford.

In February 2016 Attar appeared with alleged death squad creator and ex US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford at the “War on the Innocents: The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis” conference held at Phillips Exeter Academy. Ford has been singularly involved in the creation of the so called “moderate rebels” in Syria, a euphemism that is rapidly losing all credibility despite his best efforts to shore up their crumbling facade of respectability.

The final member of the #AleppoIsBurning marketing team we will discuss is Noha Kamseh, based in Gazientep, Turkey. Kamseh works for the Syrian Forum.

According to their website, the Syrian Forum is registered in Turkey, Austria and the US. It supports “Local Administration Councils as an utmost priority” and “Aspires to contribute to the rebuilding of a democratic Syria under the Rule of Law.”

“Local Administrative Councils (LACs) are well positioned to take the place of government municipalities, especially in the areas of the north devoid of government services. The SOC [Syrian Opposition Council] should provision funding and resources to the identification, development, and training of civil society groups in watchdog functions so that they can monitor the LACs for transparency and accountability where appropriate.” ~ Local Councils in Syria report.

Are we seeing a US NATO funded Syrian Shadow State creation supported by the Syria Forum? They aspire to “rebuilding a democratic Syria under the rule of Law”, one wonders which law they are talking about as there is no mention of the existing Syrian constitution, nor any reference to the recent widely accepted, reformed and democratic elections.

The Syrian Forum operates with institutionalized, yet dynamic processes that seek out unique and creative initiatives. Its work is supported through private donations from Syrians, and international partnerships with governments, foundations, academic institutions, and other non-profit organizations

So which governments and foundations are supporting the formation of a “Syrian shadow state”?

collage sf2

The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, various UN Agencies and a few other organisations heavily invested economically and geopolitically in “regime change” in Syria.

Qatar has defended Riyadh funded and Al Qaeda affiliate Ahrar Al Sham currently besieging and daily shelling or sniping the Idlib villages of Kafarya and Foua among many others across Syria including the village of Madaya where Ahrar Al Sham terrorist factions are occupying the village and stockpiling humanitarian aid before selling it at extortionate prices to the civilians. This narrative was naturally distorted by many members of the same team, now generating the #AleppoIsBurning reports.

“I am telling you that Ahrar al Sham is a Syrian group, they look for their liberation, and they are working among other moderate groups,” ~ Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al Attiyah

As Canadian peace campaigner and writer, Ken Stone said in 2013, Canada has also been pivotal in the war against Syria and the “regime change” objectives of the US and NATO alliance.

“1. Organizing the covert mercenary war against Syria through the Group of Friends of the Syrian People (“Friends of Syria Group”);

2. Establishing a regime of economic sanctions against Syria and hosting, in Ottawa, the Friends of Syria Group’s International Working Group on Sanctions;

3. Funding and supporting the so-called “rebel” side;

4. Planning for an overt western military action against Syria;

5. Working with Syrian-Canadians antagonistic to the Assad government;

6. Contributing to the demonization of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to the de-legitimation and isolation of his government.”

Aleppo bus Shababeek
Burned out bus in Aleppo. Photo: Shababeek Media

The  Aleppo Narrative from Doctors in Government Held Areas

On the 30th April we received an exclusive report from Dr Nabil Antaki also based in western Aleppo, in which he stated the following facts:

1: The majority of Aleppo civilians are living in the Syrian government held sectors of western Aleppo.  Over 1.5 million in these areas compared to 300,000 in the primarily Al Nusra occupied eastern sectors.

2: The western media lies and distorts the truth.  They do not mention the terrorist blockade of western Aleppo or the constant food, water and electricity shortages.

3: Terrorist bombardment of civilians in western Aleppo is relentless and unreported. Mosques and hospitals are regularly targeted. No sector is spared the onslaught.

The 21st Century Wire report: Aleppo Doctor Attacks Western Media for Bias, Censorship and Lies.

We also asked Dr Antaki to verify the existence of the MSF “supported” Al Quds hospital allegedly bombed by Syrian or Russian air-strikes, consistently denied by both governments. We sent him the Channel 4 video allegedly taken from the hospital CCTV recording of the last moments before the attack.  This was his response:

This hospital [Al Quds] did not exist before the war started. It must have been installed in a building after the war began.  I dont know anyone in the East of Aleppo who could confirm this hospital is Al Quds.”

Aleppo baby

Dr Zaher Hajo who is head of Forensic Medicine in Aleppo also confirmed the deaths of 90 civilians of whom 30 were children from the US and NATO backed terrorist hell cannon and mortar fired into western Aleppo sectors over the last week. 8 of those murdered were targeted as they left the Mosque in the Bab al Faraj area after Friday prayers on the 30th April 2016.

Dr Hajo reported over 500 civilians injured in the ongoing terrorist attacks.

The following report has just come in from Al Masdar News on Tuesday 3rd May 2016:

“The jihadist rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) fired several rockets at the Dubayt Hospital in government controlled Aleppo City on Tuesday, killing and wounding several patients and staff members.

According to local reports from Aleppo City, the Jihadist rebel forces were seen targeting the Dubayt Hospital with multiple rockets; these fighters were from the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat Al-Nusra. The total death toll is unknown at the moment; however, local activists stated the dead and wounded are still being rescued from the burning hospital.”

Aleppo University
3/5/2016 Tweet from Leith Abou Fadel Al-Masdar News

On the 29th April, Al Alam reported: 

“Terrorists targeted al-Razi Hospital with rocket shells and fired others on al-Jamiliyeh and al-Mohafaza (governorate) neighborhoods, leaving 4 people dead and 38 others injured and causing material damage to the hospital and the locals’ houses.”

aleppo 24.4

Aleppo Christian Community Responds to Western Media Lies 

“We have been under continuous bombardment over the past few days in Aleppo with civilian deaths, injuries and destruction.” Last night “in our neighborhoods we had four dead and over 15 injured, in addition to homes and buildings damaged. And these attacks are being carried out by the so-called “moderate opposition groups”. ~ Vicar of Aleppo: Msgr. Georges Abou Khazen

The Vicar went on to say that “foreign jihadists have been given the green light to intensify the bombing of civilians” by the US and NATO in response to recent Syrian Arab Army advances towards the liberation of Aleppo from the occupying and surrounding terrorist factions.

On a recent trip to Canada, Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Melkite Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria spoke about one Christian neighbourhood targeted by the US NATO “moderate rebels”.  The 13 year old son of one family, Fouad Banna, was killed instantly in the attack:

“It was awful: a bomb that the rebels deliberately launched on a Christian neighbourhood, on a popular borough. It has blown everything apart, destroyed countless houses. Such was the case of Fouad’s home” ~ Catholic Herald

Where are the Syria White Helmets and Western Media?

One can be forgiven for asking where the neutral and unarmed saviours of all Syrians are when the US NATO terrorists rain missiles down upon Syrian people living in the government held western sectors of Aleppo. While photos circulating in western media are entirely of White Helmet “first responders” during the bombing of known Al Nusra terrorist zones, they are conspicuously absent from photos & scant reports covering the “moderate rebel” murderous excesses.

However one video released by the Syria White Helmets during the massacres of the Syrian people and targeting of civilian facilities in Aleppo, reveals what they were doing, while on the other side of the demarcation line, Syrians were dying.

The White Helmets are embedded in the eastern, terrorist held sectors of Aleppo. While the western media runs unquestioningly with the US NATO narrative of Syrian and Russian aggression against terrorists portrayed as civilians we have to ask the question, where is their objective reporting? Why are the massacres of Syrian civilians in western Aleppo being ignored?

Why are the White Helmets, icons and heroes for the misled and deceived, busy filming a promo video for the Soros “turn the world red” campaign when the Syrian people they claim to defend and cherish are being maimed and murdered a few blocks away?

white helmets with al nusra2

As Doctor Nabil Antaki said on the 30th April:

“With regards to recent events in Aleppo, I state very clearly that the mainstream media are lying by omission. Since the beginning of the war in Aleppo that began 4 years ago, they have consistently failed to report all the facts.”

In 2013 Al Kindi hospital in Aleppo was targeted by the US NATO “moderate rebels”. Al Kindi was the 4th biggest hospital, specialising in cancer treatment, in the Middle East.

After days of heavy shelling, the terrrorists drove a truck up to the front of the hospital and detonated it. The remaining Syrian Arab Army soldiers defending Al Kindi were executed and this horrific execution was filmed by the US and NATO terrorists.  Their videos are still available but are graphic and not for the faint hearted.

A Syrian tragedy ignored by a western media in the midst of fomenting anti Assad fervour.

Al Kindi 2

The US NATO Media Campaign Objectives

The US NATO campaign driven by this team of Soros funded agents of change depends entirely upon unproven accusations levied against the Syrian & Russian governments of bombing civilians in Aleppo and the alleged bombing of an MSF “supported” hospital in eastern Aleppo, the Al Quds.

 From the German Federal Press conference 29th April 2016

[Germany conducts aerial reconnaissance of Syria with Tornado units and they survey airspace]

“It is not very likely, but we cannot completely rule out the possibility that the anti-ISIS coalition [US NATO] has been responsible for the attack on the MSF hospital.”

collage aleppo burningTaken from campaign organiser, Fahtme Otman’s facebook page.

We have come full circle from the early “No Fly Zone” to the “Safe Zone” and finally to the “No Bomb Zone”.  The objective is clear. This campaign like so many before it,is attempting to re-generate public outrage and support of the implementation of a No Fly Zone in Syria. A No Fly Zone that would ensure the unmitigated devastation of Syria and its reduction to a Libya style failed state in preparation for Imperialist looting and pillaging.

So our media are working as a megaphone for US and NATO propaganda, the Humanitarian NGOs in Syria are embedded in terrorist areas and are not saving lives, rather they are prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people.

The humanitarians who are calling Syrians “racist” for telling the truth should perhaps have more respect for those who are living through hell because they have consciously chosen to remain ignorant of the facts.

***

[Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.]

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

 

 

Impunity International

Wrong Kind of Green

May 4, 2016

by Jay Taber

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Many so-called ‘peace and justice’ centers in the United States are still oblivious to the ongoing betrayal of human rights by Amnesty International (AI), which—like Human Rights Watch– has become increasingly corrupt over the past two decades. This brief overview is intended to help dispel the mistaken notion that AI is sacrosanct, and to prompt the pious poseurs–that comprise the purity networks in the US–to begin basing their policies, programs and associations on facts, rather than on outdated fantasies about the Human Rights Industrial Complex.

In order to transition from these preconceived fantasies to research-based reality regarding human rights, these ‘peace and justice’ centers will need to reorient themselves to doing research related to digital Netwar, rather than reflexively responding to press releases by Amnesty International, or to the social media propaganda by AI public relations associates Avaaz and Purpose. Until these local nodes of ostensibly noble causes do research, they will remain a notably unconscious milieu—infantile consumers, rather than informed and engaged citizens.

AI

In 1991, Amnesty International eagerly acquiesced to the $11 million Wag the Dog public relations campaign–devised for the Pentagon by the Hill & Knowlton PR firm–to generate support for the US invasion of Iraq, and in 2012, AI was an enthusiastic cheerleader in support of the escalated bombing of Afghanistan by NATO.

In 2015, Amnesty International–in one of the most egregious examples of the nihilism that now characterizes the human rights industry–endorsed the organized crime initiative to freely engage in human trafficking of women and children for sex slavery through the decriminalization of the prostitution industry–rather than choosing to support the Nordic model of decriminalizing the victims, but not the perpetrators.

 

Amnesty International Document

Ken Roth Comment

In 2015-2016 Amnesty International supported–and continues to support—US and NATO military aggression in countries like Libya and Syria, which is bolstered by the public relations campaigns of Avaaz and Purpose–Wall Street-funded marketing agencies with deep ties to the very heart of the military industrial complex. By unthinkingly supporting AI, these ‘peace and justice’ centers become complicit in these war crimes and crimes against humanity.

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

Further reading on AI

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/?s=amnesty+international

 

 

 

“The Non-Profit Industrial Complex”, and the Co-opting of the NGO Environmental Movement

Global Research

By Michael Welch

Global Research News Hour Episode 139: A Conversation with Cory Morningstar

 

“Why do people continue to believe that NGOs such as 350.org/1Sky that are initiated and funded by Rockefeller Foundation, Clinton Foundation, Ford, Gates, etc. would exist to serve the people rather than the entities that create and fund them? Since when do these powerful entities invest in ventures that will negatively impact their ability to maintain power, privilege and wealth? Indeed, the oligarchs play the “environmental movement” and its mostly well-meaning citizens like a game of cards.”— Cory Morningstar, Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse

 

“If activists fail to address the crucial issue of liberal philanthropy now this will no doubt have dire consequences for the future of progressive activism – and democracy more generally – and it is important to recognize that liberal foundations are not all powerful and that the future, as always, lies in our hands and not theirs.” — Michael Barker Do Capitalists Fund Revolutions?

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Length (59:23)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

April 22nd , when this episode first went to air, was Earth Day, an occasion when ecologically conscious community members around the globe attempt to channel their energies toward protection of our natural world. [1]

Human generated climate change, of course, is very much top of mind at this time in human history. Indeed, the twenty-first century climate movement has been compared to the anti-war, civil rights, gay rights, and women’s liberation movement in terms of its dynamism and its presentation as a political force to be reckoned with. [2]

Spearheading this movement have been the big environmental Non-Governmental Organizations, including Greenpeace, The Sierra Club and most notably the group 350.org. Tactics employed by these NGOs have involved the mobilization of people in New York City and around the world for the Peoples Climate March in September of 2014, direct actions frustrating attempts to build TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, petitions, divestment campaigns and a 40,000 person protest outside the White House in February of 2013. [3][4][5][6]

It is widely believed that the movement is enjoying success in terms of fundamentally shifting the priorities of political leaders like US President Barrack Obama. We are presented then with a classic ‘David vs. Goliath’ narrative where grassroots activists are pushing the Powers That Be into compliance with the demands of the world’s peoples for a secure future for our children and grandchildren.

But to borrow a term from Al Gore, there is at least one “inconvenient truth” complicating this heroic story-line. Elite funders like the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill Gates, and the Clintons finance and foster these NGOs; or so argues Cory Morningstar.

Cory Morningstar has written extensively on the role of these NGOs in playing into the hands of their Wall Street benefactors.

Morningstar attended the COP15 UN Climate Conference and was on hand to video-record the following press conference by Lumumba Di-Aping, the chief negotiator for the G77 bloc of developing countries. In this conference, Di-Aping blasts the international NGO community for not embracing the ambitious (science-based) reduction targets favoured by the G77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, in favour of the compromise targets restricting global temperature rise above pre-industrial levels to (as much as) 2 degrees Celsius. This goal would mean, in Di-Aping’s words, “certain death for Africa” and “certain devastation of small island states.”

 

 “…and I will say this to our colleagues from Western civil society — you have definitely sided with a small group of industrialists and their representatives and your representative branches. Nothing more than that. You have become an instrument of your governments.”   -Lumumba Di-Aping

On the Earth Day edition of the Global Research News Hour, Morningstar talks about fossil fuel divestment as a flawed climate strategy, the failure of climate activists to address imperialism, a critical UN Advisory Group report which environmental groups conspired to keep buried from public view, and other inconvenient truths plaguing the non-profit industrial complex.

This episode also includes a brief clip from a 2016 Winnipeg talk by celebrated author, journalist, and 350.org Board member Naomi Klein.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Length (59:23)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

Notes:

  1. http://www.earthday.org/earth-day/
  2. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26591-a-change-in-the-climate-the-climate-movement-steps-up
  3. http://2014.peoplesclimate.org/
  4. Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson (February 13, 2013), Washington Post, “Activists arrested at White House protesting Keystone pipeline”; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/activists-arrested-at-white-house-protesting-keystone-pipeline/2013/02/13/8f0f1066-75fa-11e2-aa12-e6cf1d31106b_story.html
  5. Naomi Klein (2014), “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate”, (pg.302-303) Alfres & Knopf Canada
  6. http://350.org/campaigns/

 

 

[Hosted and produced by CKUW News Director and contributor, Michael Welch, in association with the Centre for Research on Globalization, the Global Research News Hour is a one hour analysis of major developments in the world of economics, politics and geo-politics, with researchers and news makers from around the world. If you want to get the story beyond the headlines, strap yourself in for 60 minutes of informative and provocative radio. Global Research News Hour broadcasts every Friday from 1:00pm – 2:00pm.]

Water is More Valuable than Gold

Nacla

April 25, 2016

by Ellie Happel

 

The destructive impact of metal mining in the Dominican Republic has lessons for neighboring Haiti, where activists are seeking a moratorium on all mining projects.

KJM Delegation Looking at Tailings Pond, Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic (Photo by Ellie Happel)

KJM Delegation Looking at Tailings Pond, Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic (Photo by Ellie Happel)

The hill overlooking the tailings pond—a vast, dammed tub of liquid residue—was littered with bones.  Residents from the area said the goats and cattle that once grazed the land had died since mining operations began a few years ago.  They held our hands as we crossed a river, directing us to jump from rock to rock to avoid plunging a foot into the polluted current.  The human settlements tucked in the valley beneath the white smoke snaking into the sky appeared to be the only life remaining in the area.  We were at Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic, one of the largest gold mines in the world.

I am an attorney with the Global Justice Clinic (GJC) of NYU School of Law. Since 2013, GJC has provided technical support to the Kolektif Jistis Min (Justice in Mining Collective or KJM), a group of Haitian social movement organizations formed to support communities in Haiti’s mineral belt and to encourage a national dialogue about the industry.  In March, I traveled with members of KJM to the Dominican Republic to meet with organizations and academics studying the mining sector and with residents from communities directly affected by mining.

The message from residents of communities near Pueblo Viejo to Haitian activist was simple: Do not let a company build a gold mine in Haiti.  Farmers said that their coffee plants failed every year since operations began. The situation has become so dire that they no longer even bother to plant coffee and other crops that previously sustained them.  Parents spoke of rains that fall with such a peculiar stench that they pull their kids out of school and remain indoors with their families, windows closed, for a full twenty-four hours.

During our visit, a man lifted up his pant leg to reveal his calves, pock-marked like a burn.  He explained that the acidic river water had eaten away at his skin.

“We did not know that mining would lead to this,” said a woman, pointing to the wall of the tailings dam in the distance.

Residents showed us shelves of five-gallon jugs of water.  They explained that “the company”— Pueblo Viejo is operated by the Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation (PVDC), a joint venture between the Canadian companies Barrick and Goldcorp— provides four jugs of water to local residents a few times a week, but complained that the water was insufficient to meet their most basic needs.  The sealed, treated water, they explained, is not just the only water safe to drink; it is the only water safe to use for any purpose, be it washing, bathing, or giving to animals.

Unfortunately, few scientific studies that document the contamination and its impacts have been made public.  PVDC claims to regularly test the water and the air quality, but residents told The Economist that they were unaware of such monitoring.  Meanwhile, the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Dominican Ministry of the Environment) conducted water quality sampling that confirmed that the river downstream from Pueblo Viejo was found to be “highly acidic, with copper and other pollutants above legal limits.”  The test results were available only through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request.  There are numerous reported incidents of mine workers falling illalong with local residents.  PVDC claims that pollution in the area was caused decades ago by the previous operators of the mine.

Refinery in Pueblo Viejo, Cotuí, Dominican Republic (Photo by Ellie Happel)

Refinery in Pueblo Viejo, Cotuí, Dominican Republic (Photo by Ellie Happel)

The refrain water is more valuable than gold has rallied Dominicans to declare Loma Miranda, the site of a potential nickel mine and also home to the headwaters of some of the Dominican Republic’s most important rivers, a national park.  Community members and allies maintain a permanent camp near the base of Loma Miranda.  They told the KJM that the water contamination at Pueblo Viejo and the mining industry’s mixed economic impacts to have led a diverse and broad cross-section of Dominicans to oppose the nickel mine.  As in El Salvador, Peru, and Guatemala, the experience of living in the shadow of an open pit mine has created determined resistance to future projects.

KJM is building a national network with the ultimate goal of preventing metal mining in Haiti for the foreseeable future.  “We must learn from these stories,” said a KJM leader who traveled to the Dominican Republic.  “We have an opportunity in Haiti to avoid a disaster.”

+++

There are no active metal mines in Haiti yet.  But the Haitian government has declared the mineral sector key to the country’s economic growth and has encouraged foreign investment.  Between 2006 and early 2013, two Canadian and two U.S. companies reportedly spent more than $30 million on exploration for gold, copper, silver, and other metals.  For the past five years, company activity has been on hold as the industry awaits the adoption of a new mining law, a draft of which was written with World Bank technical support in 2014.  Because the political situation remains uncertain, however, legal changes are in limbo— and so too is the future of metal mining in Haiti.

Byen Konte, Mal Kalkile?  Human Rights and Environmental Risks of Gold Mining in Haiti, a report released in December by the Global Justice Clinic of NYU School of Law and the Haiti Justice Initiative at the University of California, Hastings College of Law, recommends a moratorium on metal mining in Haiti.   As the report concludes, mining projects often perpetuate global inequalities, with companies from the “Global North” extracting resources from the “Global South.”  It has become evident that communities near mining sites often lack the information and resources necessary to demand participation in decisions that affect their well-being, both in the immediate future and for generations to come.  Meanwhile, host governments often fail to equip these communities to assert their rights, leaving them to fend for themselves in the face of encroachment on their land and serious risks to the environment and human rights.  And Haiti is uniquely vulnerable to the consequences of mining.

Water is already scarce in Haiti— less than half of rural households have access to safe drinking water—and too often, its consumption causes illness.  More than half the annual death toll in Haiti is caused by waterborne illnesses, such as typhoid, cholera, and chronic diarrhea.  At least 10,000 Haitians have died of cholera, introduced to Haiti by United Nations’ troops ten months after the 2010 earthquake.  A recent study suggests that the official count of those sickened and killed by cholera far underestimates the actual total.  Cholera could have been avoided if the United Nations had taken simple, affordable precautions.  The environmental devastation that an open pit mine could cause in Haiti is also foreseeable and preventable.

As if Haiti’s pre-existing vulnerabilities did not present enough of a risk, the legal and institutional framework regulating mining in Haiti fails to adequately safeguard human rights and the environment.  As Byen Konte, Mal Kalkile shows, the draft new mining law co-written with the World Bank falls short of protecting rights guaranteed in the Haitian Constitution, including the right to a healthy environment, the right to property, and the rights to information and participation.  One proposed article— dangerously out of step with recent trends toward greater industry transparency— would require all mining-related information to be kept confidential for a period of ten years, effectively foreclosing meaningful public oversight of mining activities and regulatory compliance. As the Haitian proverb goes, Konstitisyon se papye, bayonet se fe— the Constitution is made of paper, the bayonet is made of steel.

Even in countries with more robust governance and oversight than Haiti, industrial-scale mining has contaminated water resources, destroyed livelihoods, increased security threats, forcibly displaced thousands of people, and damaged entire ecosystems for generations. Recent mining disasters in Brazil and the United States provide sobering reminders of the tremendous risks that Haiti faces and the enormous challenge of preventing mining-related harm.

On top of all this, Haiti is one of the countries most vulnerable to natural disasters.  Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and drought regularly ravage the nation, and the government demonstrates a lack of capacity to anticipate or mitigate these disasters.  Haiti is densely populated and mountainous—nearly two-thirds of the land is too steep to till.  In February, the World Food Program declared a food crisis, reporting that over 3.6 million Haitians face food insecurity and more than 1.5 million live with severe food insecurity.

“Maybe, for once, the state of our environment can work in our favor—can help us resist,” explained a resident from the north of Haiti, where a transnational company has explored for gold.  “We understand, maybe more than others, that water is life.  When we hear what has happened in other countries, when we see the videos and see the photos, we understand that our land cannot take one more blow.”

In early May, activists from communities affected by metal mining in Peru, El Salvador, Colombia, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic will converge in Haiti to participate in Kale Je Nou pou Defann Lavi Nou (Open our Eyes Wide to Defend Our Lives), ten days of action and dialogue about the mining sector.  KJM hopes that little by little they can build an alliance to resist metal mining without having to suffer through it first.

 

 

[Ellie Happel is the Haiti Program Attorney with the Global Justice Clinic of New York University School of Law.  She is based in Port-au-Prince, where she has lived for the past four years.  Ellie is also co-author of Byen Konte, Mal Kalkile?  Human Rights and Environmental Risks of Gold Mining.]

Hijacking the Environmental Movement

Just Say No to 350

April 25, 2016

By Jay Taber

 

Introduction

When the oil industry tycoon Warren Buffett poured $26 million into TIDES foundation, he was making a strategic long-term investment in hijacking the environmental movement. Like the Rockefeller Brothers and Buffett’s close friend Bill Gates, they know how important it is public relations (PR) wise to appear as benefactors of humanity, while scheming to cash in on the gullibility of young, impressionable activists.

Financially compromised non-governmental organizations (NGOs), i.e. World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and 350, promise the largest return on investment Wall Street has ever seen. While some international NGOs still take money directly from corporations, it is more effective to launder money through foundations, i.e. NoVo, TIDES, Gates, Ford and Rockefeller.

This investment induces self-censorship and fraud by NGOs that appear genuine to the public, while kowtowing to their Wall Street funders’ agenda. In terms of climate change activism, the funding by foundations like NoVo (Warren Buffett), TIDES (an oil industry money laundry) and the Rockefeller Brothers enables cons like the college campus fossil fuel divestment scam, in which 350 and friends function as ‘grassroots’ front groups.

350 began its dark career betraying the G77 at COP15 in 2009, and continued its shady dealings by sabotaging the 2010 Indigenous peoples’ climate conference in Bolivia, then proceeded to choreograph the KXL PR campaign, with funding from oil train magnate Warren Buffett, laundered through NoVo and TIDES. More recently, 350 has come out with new propaganda to mislead climate activists. As they did with the KXL charade and the fossil fuel divestment hoax, 350 will no doubt promote ineffective disobedience as a means of diverting activist energy from reality-based social change that might threaten the 350 funders’ fossil fuel investments.

As a fossil fuel industry-financed organization, 350 is the most insidious Wall Street Trojan Horse since Avaaz and Purpose. The 350 followers, like most activists, are utterly clueless.

Ten Top Donors to Tides

Just Say No to 350

When 350 targeted Bolivia and The Peoples Agreement on Climate Change for subversion in 2010, it was an act of aggression with roots in the 2009 attempted coup — funded by the U.S. State Department — in reaction to the 2008 constitutional revolution of Bolivia’s Indigenous peoples. The inspiration for the Indigenous uprising, that saw the world’s first Indigenous head of state elected, was the 2005 attempt at privatization of Bolivia’s water by the US-based Bechtel Corporation that foreshadowed the “new economy” promoted by 350 in 2014.

Next System New Economy

That “new economy” builds on other privatization schemes on a global scale; REDD and other carbon-market shell games, like fossil fuel divestment, are the ultimate institutionalization of the theft of public resources by the finance sector. The finance sector – that in 2008-2009 devastated the US and EU economies through loan fraud and bank bailouts – has now set its sights on privatizing all aspects of life on earth.

Cheerleading global privatization — enabled by UN agencies like the IMF and World Bank — are financier-sponsored NGOs like 350, Avaaz and Ceres–all of which have fundamental ties to Wall Street moguls and finance sector criminals. Having hijacked the environmental movement on behalf of Wall Street, these false fronts are currently pressing for changes in international law that would give the finance sector carte blanche in privatizing all of nature.

Global Goals 3 cropped

With the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – a threat to globalization – the finance sector immediately began co-opting the Indigenous peoples movement through foundation grants to compromised NGOs approved by the UN. These compromised NGOs and individuals are paid to legitimize the annihilation of Indigenous nations via UN agencies in partnership with Wall Street.

As Indigenous nations challenge Wall Street and the UN over globalization, compromised NGOs like 350 distort reality through social and mainstream media. The “new economy” they promote is essentially what used to be called fascism. While finance sector puppets like Naomi Klein charm gullible liberals with bromides and syllogisms about sustainability, what they are in reality sustaining is totalitarian corporate control of world governance and human survival.

KXL Hype

better place

The tribes that kept KXL out of their territories are understandably pleased by the momentary suspension of that pipeline project. Their illusory ‘victory’, however, requires that we temper the euphoria around the KXL rejection with a dose of reality. To not do so only sets up the naive to be hoodwinked again.

Delaying KXL does not halt the annihilation of the Athabaskan peoples, whose territory is a carcinogenic wasteland. It merely means the Tar Sands toxic bitumen will make its way to the Gulf of Mexico by other routes, which incidentally are already operating, making KXL redundant for now–the real reason for the celebrated KXL ‘rejection’.

The suspension of KXL coincides with a glut of oil reaching the Gulf, necessitating development of greater storage and terminal capacity there. That, and plans to develop pipeline and oil train terminal infrastructure on the West Coast of Canada and the Northwest US, is why KXL rejection no longer matters to oil exporters, but made Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and their Tar Sands pals a bundle.

The reason for the glut goes back to 2012, when Obama opened up millions of acres for gas and oil in 23 states, ushering in the fracking boom that brought us chemical injection aquifer contamination, and ‘bomb trains’ owned by Obama’s friend Warren Buffett since 2009, when he purchased Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) for $34 billion–the same year Tides Foundation funded 350. In 2010, 350 launched the campaign to reject KXL; by 2014, crude-via-rail in the US soared to 500 thousand car loads per year, up from 5 thousand in 2008, with trains exploding across Canada and the US.

As noted in Railroading Racism, BNSF is embroiled in conflict with the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians that opposes Buffett’s bomb trains and associated oil train terminals in Washington State. BNSF has responded by helping fund Tea Party-led political action committees (PACs) deeply involved in promoting anti-Indian white supremacy.

To refresh readers’ memories, the KXL ‘grassroots’ hoax was funded in large part by Tides (flush with Buffett money) with 350 at the helm. Funds laundered through Buffett’s foundation NOVO and the Tides Foundation — a money laundry used by Tar Sands investors and other elites to control NGOs — helped finance the KXL NGO charade, thus eclipsing any discussion about shutting down the Tar Sands, and making possible the explosive growth of bomb trains and other pipelines.

As noted at Wrong Kind of Green, There Was Nothing Key About Keystone XLExcept Diverting Our Attention For More Dirty Profit. As noted at The Real News Network (TRNN), regardless of Keystone XL, Tar Sands Oil Will Still Flow to the Gulf.

Interestingly, the TRNN cover-up of the Klein/Buffett charade remains for the most part unexposed by all media other than CounterPunch. As I observed in April, Distorting Reality is what liberal gatekeepers like TRNN do. That’s why two-thirds of its ongoing operating revenue comes from the rich, i.e. Ford Foundation. Ford, Rockefeller, and Buffett essentially own the entire ‘grassroots’ KXL NGO milieu.

Charms of Naomi

Klein TIFF

Hypnotic induction — getting a person into a trance or state of increased suggestibility — during which critical faculties are reduced and subjects are more prone to accept suggestions, might help to describe the current fascination with Naomi Klein. While the popularly-expected cultural rituals of celebrity worship in America are familiar to anyone who watches television or reads People Magazine, its application to social media has become a powerful new tool of social engineering by Wall Street. The process of influencing a mass audience to respond reflexively to induced prompts — like marching in parades or flooding financial districts wearing the color blue — requires looking beyond the civil society fad of I-pad revolution, and examining modern social “movements” as cults. Icons like Klein are as interchangeable as Hollywood starlets, but mass hypnosis of social activists by Wall Street titans using foundation-funded NGOs is a troubling development.

When Klein and McKibben herded thousands of college students across America to fight climate change by forcing their schools to divest in fossil fuels, no one stopped to ask if that would make any difference. Using the emotive force of the idea of divestment as people power — based on an intentional association with its use in South Africa and Palestine — 350 inducted hypnotic behavior that omitted any critical judgment. The fact that apartheid was opposed by a combination of boycott, divestment and sanction by national and international institutions in support of armed insurrection was lost on the climateers. Instead, they were hypnotized into believing that colleges selling back fossil fuel shares to Wall Street (where unscrupulous investors could then make a killing) was part of a magical social revolution. The same could apply to the nonsensical demand to end fossil fuels.

The mystery of the KXL distraction, revealed by Cory Morningstar to be a choreographed hoax funded by Warren Buffett, is yet another example of hypnotic behavior absent critical judgment. As noted by Morningstar, the KXL protests and hoopla promoted by 350 made it possible for Buffett to develop an oil-by-rail empire, now threatening communities across North America with bomb trains, like the one that devastated the town of Lac Megantic, Quebec in 2013. As a diversion calculated to lessen effective opposition to fossil fuel export and over-consumption, seductive energy tales and celebrity-laden photo-ops in front of the White House substituted for popular education and political organizing. By the time Klein’s followers figure out they were duped into being Buffett’s pawns, he and his friend Bill Gates will have made a fortune shipping Tar Sands bitumen and Bakken Shale crude. For the present, the climateers have taken up poster-coloring and holding hands.

SusanRockefeller-2066-676x450

Susan Rockefeller, Co-Executive Producer of the “This Changes Everything” documentary film and founding partner of Louverture Films, LLC. Louverture is the production company for the documentary film “This Changes Everything” (with The Message Productions, LLC / Klein Lewis Productions ). Photo: Rockefeller at her home on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York, on Sept. 8, 2015. Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times) Further reading: Financing “The Message” Behind Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything’ Project

Klein’s aura, meanwhile, has taken on a life of its own. Having memorized her mantra This Changes Everything, climateers and other devotees are now all abuzz over her mesmerizing campaign against capitalism. No one asks how that meshes with Klein’s 350 being the darling of Warren Buffett and the Rockefeller Brothers, but suspension of disbelief is nothing new to Klein groupies. As gullible left-wing media begins yet another social media gossip fest over how far left the new incarnation of rhetorical revolutionary fervor might go, 350’s Blue Team and other Klein followers double down on dubious diversions. As Klein and her colleagues work feverishly in creating cover narratives that lefties can flog as insightful op-eds to coincide with the never-ending anti-capitalist revolutionary historic Rockefeller-financed 350 events, it is hard to avoid comparisons with George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in his novel, 1984.

After the groupie chatter and celebrity banalities of climate week subsided, trite starlets like Klein carried on with their Wall Street-backed charades. The question is whether their adherents will reject the fantasy world of vapid luminaries become famous by stating blatantly obvious platitudes, or continue to be wowed by their cult-like mastery. For now, the hoax endures.

Clean Energy

mining2

“Clean” energy. Above: The Tampakan mining project for copper and gold (Mindanao island, southern Philippines). The push for solar and wind will ensure global copper markets (and many other mining projects of rare Earth minerals) will continue to expand – along with the further plundering of the planet. This mining project threatens to displace thousands of people and destroy 10,000 hectares which are home to rainforest and the source of five rivers. Security forces have committed atrocities against local B’laan indigenous communities which oppose the project. 

BDS against Israel, and formerly against South Africa, used the three-part formula of Boycott Divestment Sanction. Divestment, as used by 350, omits boycott and sanction, and limits divestment to meaningless, symbolic acts.

When it comes to the 350 agenda, they leave out the boycott of fossil fuels, and the sanction of fossil fuel corporations, and instead press for divestment by institutions like colleges and universities. All this divestment does is make once publicly-held shares available on Wall Street, which allows trading houses like Goldman Sachs to further consolidate their control of the industry.

BDS, when applied against apartheid states by other states and international institutions, includes cutting off access to finance, as well as penalties for crimes against humanity. What makes 350 so devious, is that they hijack public emotions (and ignorance) using phony “divestment” as a disorganizing tool to redirect activism away from effective work.

The inheritors of the Standard Oil fortune (Rockefeller Brothers) would not be funding 350 were they not thus disempowering their naive followers.

Enchanting as the chimera of clean energy might be, it doesn’t scale to meet energy demand, and its use by marketing agencies like Avaaz, Purpose and 350 is to perpetuate the misbelief that Wall Street — which caused all our social and environmental problems — is our only hope for salvation. Sort of a New Age Ghost Dance.

Consumerism as Activism

Consumption As Religion 5

The cult of consumerism, through which 350, Avaaz and Purpose adherents identify with their brand, is similar to religion, in that becoming a follower is an act of faith. By unquestioningly accepting the propaganda as truth, they form beliefs that comprise the doctrine supporting this ideology of false hope.

It is not unlike hierarchical religion, in that it is patronizing of the believers, who desire to remain infantile in their psychological and financial dependencies. Political illiteracy reinforces this relationship.

It is, to say the least, unhealthy.

YouTopia

The Syria Campaign Facebook PURPOSE Screenshot

Social engineering in the digital age is amazingly simple for those who have the money and media at their disposal. Wall Street’s Mad Men can easily herd millions of progressives via social media to support catastrophic environmental policy, war, and crimes against humanity. Sold as conservation, “humanitarian intervention”, or development, globalization can then be marketed as a progressive choice, albeit leading to totalitarian corporate control of all life.

The driving force behind privatization through social engineering is the non-profit industrial complex, funded by Wall Street derivatives, and disbursed through tax-exempt foundation grants. Hundreds of millions have been invested by these foundations in the last decade to convince progressives that war is peace, conformity is unity, and capitulation is resistance.

Slogans like “350”, “New Economy”, and “Sustainable Capitalism” are promoted by Mad Men via foundation-funded front groups, and echoed by media, thus generating enough noise to overwhelm critical judgement. Symbols that appeal to progressives’ emotional vulnerabilities, like rising sun logos used to symbolize hope and change, are recycled to mean “This Changes Everything”, thus creating the impression that neoliberal reform is socialist revolution.

Privatization Strategy

Global Goals -PrivateProperty

World Business Council for Sustainable Development is part of a Wall Street strategy to dislodge the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations, and prevent enforceable rules governing the operations of multinational corporations.

A partner of WBCSD is Ceres (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies), whose funders are associated with Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Ceres and 350 are funded in part by TIDES, whose largest donor is NoVo–Warren Buffet’s private foundation.

Recently, WBCSD launched another initiative to privatize ecosystems — Natural Infrastructure for Business — and to capitalize on the Breakthrough Energy Coalition boondoggle hyped by the financial elite at COP21.

The privatization of public process and policy — which led to economic collapse in the US, and bank bailouts from the U.S. Treasury that eviscerated the general welfare — is now being enacted at the UN.

The Clean Energy Ponzi Scheme and the ‘new economy‘ — false hope marketed for the financial elite by Havas, Avaaz and 350 — now has its sights set on privatizing the planet.

Fossil Fuel Divestment

Investment Choices

As a Wall Street shell game, the global fossil fuel divestment campaign — exposed by Cory Morningstar in Divestment as the Vehicle to Interlocking Globalized Capital — is a PR masterpiece.

As noted in the November 4, 2014 Harvard Business Review,

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.

As an indicator of the scale of fraud perpetrated by the divestment campaign led by 350, Exxon in 2014 spent $13.2 billion buying up its own stock. As I noted previously,

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.

Using hedge funds and other non-transparent private equity trading firms, the aristocracy – that is heavily invested in fossil fuels – is betting on increasing oil and gas consumption, long into the future. Corporate media rarely discusses the American aristocracy and how their agenda affects society. Consumers blame banks, but they have no idea how financial institutions are used by private equity traders to constantly replenish aristocratic wealth at our expense.

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.

Buying energy assets on the cheap as a result of fossil fuel divestment by universities and pension funds, investors such as Goldman Sachs Capital Partners “wield an immense amount of political influence” that divestment on college campuses helps to increase. While students celebrated divestment at their schools, private equity in 2015 raised $34 billion for oil and gas funds—a 94% rise from 2012.

Meanwhile, 350 promotes its ongoing Wall Street-funded revolution. As someone wise once said, “A half-truth is a whole lie.”

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmentalism is Dead – Welcome to the Age of Anthropocentrism [McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street: Part XIV of an Investigative Report]

April 22, 2016

by Cory Morningstar

 

Part fourteen 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]

 

“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

 

Prologue: A Coup d’état of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

It is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, faux green organizations (in contrast to legitimate grassroots organizations that do exist, although few and far between) and self-proclaimed environmentalists, who consider themselves progressive will speak out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources while simultaneously promoting the toothless divestment campaign promoted by the useless mainstream groups allegedly on the left. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests, (via REDD, environmental “markets”  and the like). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalizing negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

Beyond shelling out billions of tax-exempt dollars (i.e., investments) to those institutions most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (otherwise known as foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger to sell this pseudo green agenda to the people in the environmental movement; the feat is being carried out by a tag team comprised of the legitimate and the faux environmentalists. As the public is wholly ignorant and gullible, it almost has no comprehension of the following:

  1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis
  2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or
  3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – an extraordinary fait accompli of unparalleled scale, with unimaginable repercussions for humanity and all life.

Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is that all corporations on the planet (and therefore by extension, all investments on the planet) are dependent upon and will continue to require massive amounts of fossil fuels to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

The windmills and solar panels serve as beautiful (marketing) imagery and a panacea for our energy issues, yet they are illusory – the fake veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

+++

Divestment Launch Goes Global

 

“The creation of value continues to drive capitalism, yet the meaning of ‘value’ shifts and is reimagined within the context of neoliberal capitalism—Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times”— Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times, 2012

On September 18, 2014, three days prior to the Peoples Climate March, a press release shared by the website Look to the Stars, The World of Celebrity Giving, announced:

“A coalition of endowments and individuals committed to divesting from fossil fuels and investing in clean energy will announce pledges totaling $50 billion in assets and growing at a press conference in New York City on Monday, Sept. 22. The coalition, first launched in January, will announce scores of new domestic and international foundations, hundreds of high-net worth individuals as well as major NGOs, faith groups and health organizations. The next day, commitments will be presented at the UN Climate Summit with many world leaders in attendance including President Obama. Taking part in the press conference will be: Archbishop Desmond Tutu (by video), Mark Ruffalo, actor, Stephen Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, David Blood, formerly Goldman Sachs, co-founder Generation Investment, Agnes Abuom, principal at the World Council of Churches and Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director Wallace Global Fund (moderating)” [Emphasis added]

Three days later on September 21, 2014, the People’s Climate March took place in New York City. This spectacle was overseen/managed in part by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The members only “State of Play on the People’s Climate March” event listed by the Environmental Grantmakers Association Website (posted 08/20/2014 – 1:00pm) stated the following:

“An unprecedented 550 organizations from labor, faith, environment and justice movements are coming together to make the September 21st People’s Climate March the largest ever public mobilization on climate. Join us to learn why such a huge diversity of organizations, networks, and individuals are mobilizing at this key moment, just days before the Climate Leaders Summit hosted by Ban Ki-moon. We’ll discuss how organizations are working together to bridge movements, as this effort not only seeks to raise awareness for climate impacts, but also open a significant political narrative about economic and environmental justice.

 

Speakers:

  • Irene Krarup, Executive Director, V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation (moderator)
    • Emma Ruby-Sachs, Campaigns Manager, Avaaz
    • Jamie Henn, Political and Communications Director, 350.org
    • Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, NYCEJA”

 

“This will be the first of a series of two calls – the second will be a funder-only conversation during the first week of September. If you are unable to make either call and still want to learn more, please feel free to contact Stephanie Bencivenga of Rockefeller Brothers Fund (sbencivenga[at]rbf.org) or Irene Krarup of V.K. Rasmussen Foundation (ikrarup[at]vkrf.org).” [Emphasis added]

One would be naïve to believe that there was not (and continues to be) an intense amount of coordination and concerted effort functioning behind the scenes. A unification of all players woven within the non-profit industrial complex, united in one strategic purpose: To expand, further capture and create new capital markets, with a supportive public under the guise of a “new economy”  to which the divestment plays a pivotal role.

[Here it must be noted that the media circus surrounding the Peoples Climate March effectively eclipsed the first UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples which took place on September 22-23, 2014, planned years in advance.]

peoples_climate_march_poster2

Although it is comforting to most (for reasons difficult to comprehend) that the now global climate marches appear to be led by Rockefeller’s multi-million “scruffy little outfit” 350.org [1], the NGO at the helm of all these machinations is still Global Call for Climate Action (TckTckTck) – an NGO with a slightly damaged patina – damage extensive enough that they obscure their clout from the glare of the public spectacle. This is a simple sleight of hand considering 350.org is a founding partner of GCCA.

“GCCA worked behind the scenes for over a year to prepare for the biggest date in 2014, leveraging every possible asset and contact to rally around the historic Peoples’ Climate March in the run-up to the UN Climate Leaders Summit…. In the preceding months, GCCA convened weekly calls with key partners 350.org, Avaaz, USCAN and Climate Nexus to catalyse activities and identify gaps…. Everything came together on the day as we bore witness to the world’s biggest ever climate march, and inspiring events across the globe, with world leaders, business people, activists, parents and artists walking shoulder-to-shoulder.” — GCCA Annual Report 2014

GCCA, an initiative that began in Bali (2007) with a $300,000 funding commitment from the Quebec government, is a “coalition of twenty key international organizations” including Avaaz, 350.org, Greenpeace , Kofi Annan’s Global Humanitarian Forum, OXFAM, WWF, World Council of Churches, Union of Concerned Scientists, Equiterre, Global Call to Action against Poverty (also co-chaired by Kumi Naidoo), and the Pew Environment Group. [Source]

+++

On February 19, 2015, the co-opted CJN! listserv shared a communiqué in regard to the divestment campaign with the following subject line: “Fossil fuel divestment seems to frighten London financial bourgeoisie.”

This “observation” amounts to willful blindness at its best.

The first question to ask of any campaign is this: What do the oligarchs wish to gain via the financing of this campaign? Aside from the shaping, managing and over-seeing/controlling of (and even the creation of) “movements” – while simultaneously possessing the ability to effectively enforce self-censorship via what amounts to an unspoken, agreed upon alibi – oligarchs are primarily interested in not only maintaining power, but also expanding it. (A quick glimpse into the demise of real movements since foundation funding started flowing like the River Nile in the sixties confirms this to be true, with a prime example being the funding used to counteract and destroy the powerful and revolutionary Black Power movement while using its largess to appropriate any remaining shards after its demise.) The capitalist’s way to expand power is via the pursuit, expansion and capture of capital, furthering profits and market share. Thus, when we ask what oligarchs wish to gain via the financing of particular campaigns, one must always consider not only how the campaign could/will affect capital but also the ideologies surrounding capital.

Using the Keystone XL (KXL) campaign as an example, the billionaire Warren Buffett (financial advisor and close confidant to Barack Obama) legally funneled over 26 million dollars (as of 2011) into the Tides foundation. In turn, Tides doled out the money to NGOs that would campaign against the tar sands pipelines, including the KXL, which became the focal point of not only all tar sands campaigns, but the primary focal point of the “environmental movement” in North America. Hence, while all eyes were on a single pipeline (KXL) for years, Buffet built a billion dollar rail dynasty with zero dissent. Today, more oil is being produced in North America than ever before. In 2013, rail delivered 407,761 carloads of crude (approx. 300 million barrels of oil). This amounts to more than a 4,000% increase from 9,500 carloads in 2008. [Source: The Association of American Railroads.] No one blinked an eye when on July 6, 2013 a train carrying Bakken Formation crude annihilated downtown Lac-Mégantic, Quebec killing 47, 5  of whom were literally vapourized. Many more environmental disasters and explosions due to crude-via-rail derailments would follow, as would more deaths.

Both framing and language is paramount in the social engineering of a global populace. Consider the media headlines for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) Divestment announcement that strategically coincided with the aforementioned “People’s Climate March” and the United Nations climate summit that followed in NYC on September 23, 2014. The words “Rockefellers”, “divest”, “$860 million”, and “$50 billion” flooded the media and social networks. The rash of  announcements were met with admiration by many. Yet upon closer inspection, the RBF (the smaller Rockefeller foundation founded in 1940) divested a portion (7%) of its 860 million-dollar fund, which is the equivalent of $60 million (within a 5-year period). The “50 billion” repeatedly cited was a reference to the multiple “philanthropies and high-wealth individuals” which/whom together owned $50 billion in assets and had pledged to divest from fossil fuels over five years “using a variety of approaches” since the campaign was launched in 2011 – with the RBF comprising part of the 50-group coalition (Global Divest-Invest Coalition) who made the announcement. One question which does not arise is this: why are “philanthropies and high-wealth individuals” (including 650 individuals and 180 institutions) who/which hoard/control/own $50 billion dollars, tolerated by society at all? Considering the divestment campaign sells itself as a “moral” issue, it is revealing that the ethics behind so few people controlling so much monetary wealth never comes into question.

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In 2014, global fossil fuel assets (oil, gas and coal) were valued at approx. $US 5-trillion. In comparison, assets belonging to Rockefeller Brothers Fund amount to approximately $US 860-million while the Rockefeller Foundation (founded in 1913) has assets of approximately $$US 4.2-billion (2014). And although the divestment campaign boasts that hundreds of institutions, local governments and individuals, (which represents over $US 50-billion in assets as of September 2014) have pledged to divest from fossil fuels, one must note that the Rockefeller Foundation— has shown no such desire. Nor have other powerful institutions/foundations such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (with $US 9-billion in assets) or the David & Lucile Packard Foundation (with $US 7-billion in assets).

The heirs of the Rockefeller Family Fund (founded in 1967) maintain ties to the RFB. They also retained their personal stock in Exxon Mobil which made gains in 2014 of approx. 11%. While many believed that Exxon’s rejection of divestment was based upon fear of big money moving against it (i.e. “stranded assets“) – the Rockefeller Foundation and the RFF’s decision to hold onto their Exxon shares (along with the Rockefeller heirs) demonstrated that this premise was largely false.

Fast forward to 2015. How quickly things can change. November 13, 2015, Bloomberg: “OPEC reports the biggest oil glut in a decade.” As oil prices drop, demand/consumption continues to climb (globally by 1.8 million barrels per day to 94.6 million in 2015), while growth for the world economy continues to stand still. On October 1, 2015 it was reported that the according to the International Energy Agency, global oil demand was climbing at the fastest rate in five years. By December 2, 2016, committed pledges to divest from fossil fuels would reach $3.4 trillion. Floating oil storage (tankers), rolling oil storage (rail cars) and oil storage terminals became sought after commodities. On December 2, 2015, Bloomberg reported that the US is ploughing billions into infrastructure (with the various projects well underway) to pump the oil back underground into massive salt calverns, as well as additional storage facilities/terminals. Each calvern will hold 3.5 million barrels of oil.

Why? Not because of the divestment campaign, but rather because of a rare occurrence with a far greater significance. The global economy has become stagnant. Capitalism has reached it’s limits. And under the capitalist economic system, if the economy does not grow, it will collapse. Hence the need for new markets. Hence the need for a third industrial revolution. Hence the need for the global financialization of nature.

The Global Economy is Flying Close to Stall Speed

Oct 22, 2015:

“We are flying at close to stall speed,” Dr Summers said at the Center for American Progress business and economic policy conference.”

Rarely in our history does such a situation – to dismantle capitalism – present itself. Which begs the question – why are “movements” focused on saving the fledgling economic system rather than destroying it? The answer can be found in one word: privilege.

World Bank on Growth

“The expanding crisis is a symptom of capitalism in an advanced state of disintegration…. All of these crises are surface manifestations of something more profound: the crisis of the world capitalist system itself. This crisis brings with it the danger of world war and a descent into barbarism. At the same time, it creates the objective basis for the overthrow of the capitalist system—the radicalization of the working class internationally.” [Source]

So much for Naomi Klein’s primary thesis of “Capitalism vs. the Climate“. Those of you who believed the intent of Klein’s book project (financed by the elites) was to actually dismantle the capitalist system must be sorely disappointed.  With the industrialised economy now essentially on life support, the NPIC, in which Klein is embedded, is doing everything in its power to keep it alive.

Klein Reformist Capitalism 2

Public relations knocks. On March 23, 2016 the RFF (130 million in holdings, 6% of the portfolio in fossil-fuel investments) announced it would withdraw all investments in fossil fuel companies “as quickly as possible” while publicly highlighting concerns/criticisms of Exxon Mobil. Exxon Mobil became engulfed in a PR nightmare when in September of 2016, the corporation was internationally exposed for deliberately covering up critical climate documents decades ago.

The  effective (and well-deserved) slandering of Exxon timed with an historical global oil glut, served as a key opportunity for the insignificant RFF to bask the Rockefeller brand in the bright green spot light of divestment that 350.org et al. would bestow with zeal. A promise to divest “as quickly as possible” (allowing for up to 5 years) painted the ruthless and apathetic Rockefeller brand with one high-gloss, broad, green stroke.

Divest, Invest but Don’t Contest

Intermingled investment portfolios and limited partnerships are not required by law to disclose their investments and trading activities, thus, even large institutions  that may oblige to take divestment as an undertaking, will more often than not, have no comprehension, on any given day whether they are invested in fossil fuels or not. Further still,  for an institution to rid itself of all fossil fuel holdings (keeping in mind the reality that most every traded commodity on Earth is carbon based, carbon dependent or both, from cradle to grave), this would entail great caution presiding over a painfully slow process that ensures board members do not breach their fiduciary trust to keep the said fund solvent. In essence, this legal provision dictates that those who run corporations have a legal duty to shareholders first and foremost – a duty to maximize wealth (at every quarter) – infinitely. Not doing so can leave board directors and officers open to being sued by shareholders. It is telling that although the NPIC spends billions on environmental and climate campaigns, it does not seek/obtain legal council to abolish this outdated, ludicrous (and dangerous) law once and for all.

And while the atrocious act of corporations (protected by law) maximizing their profits for their shareholders, first and foremost, has been completely accepted and normalized, the racket of “interest” (money generating money; which was best described as the “fetishism of capital” by the economist Karl Marx, whose words are becoming more prescient everyday) has been firmly established in western society as an irrefutable fact of life – akin to breathing. And although it is understood by most that the payment of interest causes much hardship, stress and misery for the grossly exploited working class, the collective acclimatization to paying interest (to the rich) is so ingrained, it is difficult to imagine a society without it. And yet this exists in many societies throughout the Middle East (such as Libyan society before it’s grotesque annihilation led by the NATO States) via Islamic Banking Principles. Most American’s are likely unaware that Islam’s prohibition of interest and usury was not unprecedented. Renowned Greek philosopher, Aristotle, condemned acquiring of wealth by the practice of charging interest on money: “Money was intended to be a means of exchange; interest represents an increase in the money itself. Hence of all ways of getting wealth, this is the most contrary to nature.” Aristotle, The Politics, tr. Sinclair, pg. 46, Penguin [Source]

Clean Energy Infrastructure as Stranded Assets

To revisit the concept of stranded assets in regard to conventional fossil fuels, this notion is based upon the premise that conventional infrastructure and the associated commodity will become stranded following governments soon/eventual implementation of specific climate legislation [2] and/or increasingly stringent climate policies that would result in the commodity no longer being able to turn a profit– thus it would become stranded. Yet a stronger argument could be made for “clean” energy” infrastructure becoming stranded since it is also carbon based/dependent although this inconvenient truth remains unacknowledged in environmental circles. Consider the fact that climate science aside, humans are rapidly exhausting all Earth’s natural resources. (October, 2010: “…our demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966 and we’re using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to support our activities. If we continue living beyond the Earth’s limits, by 2030 we’ll need the equivalent of two planets’ productive capacity to meet our annual demands.”) And although this sounds ludicrous to the privileged who take most every aspect of the Earth’s life sources for granted, the warning is taken very seriously by the heads of NASA. Consider the response by Administrator of NASA, Charles Bolden speaking at the Humans to Mars summit:

“If this species is to survive indefinitely we need to become a multi-planet species. We need to go to Mars, and Mars is a stepping stone to other solar systems.” (Note that the quest to place greenhouses on and colonize Mars is well underway.

Thus, let us assume that to start, by 2020, just 4 short years away, the 60 trillion (needed for “clean” infrastructure alone) is raised. The task then becomes the companies creating this infrastructure fulfilling the promise of return on these investments by now building/creating the new global infrastructure. Unparalleled quantities of rare earth metals must be mined (by machines dependent on crude). The steel, copper, glass, as well as the energy required (and fossil fuels) to build infrastructure of this scale will be unprecedented. And it will generate massive growth as our Earth continues to be plundered.

But what of the Earth’s resources being completely depleted by 2030 as predicted by scientists – what then of the sixty trillion dollar investment – with monetary returns no longer insight? These uncompleted infrastructures, due to depleted resources, will be, without doubt, stranded assets. It’s hard to believe we are going to use what little of Earth’s finite resources that remain to fulfil the promise of climate wealth, by building a new “clean energy” infrastructure, rather than radically conserving and attempting to nourish, what remains. Consider that a mere half of 1% of the total energy consumed in the U.S. is generated by wind, solar, biofuels, or geothermal heat. Despite much touted efforts in Germany, Spain, and China, globally, in 2013, 1.1% of the world’s total energy was provided by wind with only 0.2% by solar.[Source | Source] Thus, imagine the magnitude of infrastructure required to increase the world’s total energy from renewables up to even 50%. It is unfathomable. It is this promise of unparalleled growth (under the guise of sustainability) that has the insatiable capitalists circling the climate crisis like voracious vultures. Rubbing salt in the wound is the fact that this new infrastructure will serve the same people that have always had the energy – the same 1% (anyone who can afford to get on a plane) responsible for 50% of the global GHG emissions. To put this into perspective, consider that only 5% of the world’s population has ever flown. [Source]

While many scientists, including NASA, note that the prospect that “global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution”, the fact that sought after renewable systems such as solar thermal panels will not only push us towards this collapse but also, cannot exist outside of an industrialized civilization, appear to non-existent. The proverbial 8000 lb. elephant in the room is documented in a 2009 paper by professor of Atmospheric Studies at the University of Utah, Tim Garrett. Nov. 22, 2009: “In a provocative new study, a University of Utah scientist argues that rising carbon dioxide emissions – the major cause of global warming – cannot be stabilized unless the world’s economy collapses….”

“But most centrally, alternative energy spectacles protect us from considering our own growth, in consumption and population, which could not otherwise come to a peaceful end within the logic of the current expansionist milieu.” — Conjuring Clean Energy: Exposing Green Assumptions in Media and Academia, February 13, 2015

Let’s Pretend

But let’s pretend that Earth’s resources are infinite. It is assumed (foolishly) that fossil fuel power plants will be shut down once adequate solar and wind energy infrastructure is established. To date, there appears to be not a single example of a fossil fuel power plant that has closed, due to solar and wind. Under the industrialized capitalist system, logic conveys that this fact will not change in the future. In real life (not foundation financed campaigns that pander to public) the energy producers understand that all/any additional energy that may be produced via “renewables” will result in more energy to use/sell/waste and feed the engine of industrialized growth. This is the naked truth, which speaks to the very inconvenient truth upheld by the capitalist system. In a world built upon both denial and fantasy, techno-fetish made vogue, is the preferred choice.

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Post-closure coal mine AMD (acid mining drainage) treatment on the East Rand, South Africa (Source: Future Terrains)

All non-ambient energy creates pollution and destruction, including renewables which are carbon based and dependent on carbon resources from cradle to grave – coupled with built-in obsolescence by design. Even when small or local in scale, renewable energy aids and abets growth, accelerates global warming, and contributes to further ecological destruction. Further ecological damage is caused by rare earth mining, as well as the acid drainage type mining for the necessary materials and special metals such as copper and lead. Added to this ecological devastation are the fossil fuels required/used for the mining and manufacturing of the renewable products and infrastructure.  After the manufacturing they are transported using large-scale industrial equipment also dependent on crude. Finally, all these same resources are non-renewable. These very inconvenient facts are ignored. In a perfect world, in another time, perhaps renewable energies will be made of butterfly kisses and rare, precious Earth minerals will fall from the sky.

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Acid mine drainage in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

University of California physics professor Tom Murphy has calculated that “the batteries required to store this electricity in the U.S. alone (otherwise no electricity at night or during cloudy or windless spells) would require about three times as much lead as geologists estimate may exist in all reserves, most of which remain unknown.  If you count only the lead that we’ve actually discovered, Murphy explains, we only have 2% of the lead available for our national battery project.  The number are even more disheartening if you try to substitute lithium ion or other systems now only in the research phase.” [Source]

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Cyanide Leach Mining and Acid Mine Drainage imperils the Futaleufu River Valley. Mine Tailings, Sudbury Ontario, Canada, photo: Edward Burtnyski

To not consider renewable energy infrastructures, global in scale, as equally contributing to growth, ecological destruction and climate change is willful blindness. Such willful blindness is sought after and fervently embraced by the same 1% of the population that creates 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions today. Considering the magnitude of the task before us, it is little wonder we prefer stories, in which we write the script with a storyline of our liking. Our frail egos do not accept there are consequences to having plundered our planet in which the outcome will be dictated by nature.

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La Ventana Drilling Results, Sonora Lithium Project Mexico

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The brine pools and processing areas of the Soquimich lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat. This is the planet’s second largest salt flat, located in the Atacama desert of northern Chile

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Bingham Canyon Copper Mine | © 2005 Mark Gulbrandsen

Chuquicamata copper mine, Chile-Aerial view of Chuquicamata copper mine

Chuquicamata copper mine, Chile

“Debord wrote that “the society which rests on modern industry is not accidentally or superficially spectacular, it is fundamentally spectaclist.” Perhaps he could have spoken similarly about modern energy or modern environmentalism. Debord’s spectacle is a divine deity around which duty-bound citizens gravitate to chant objectives without reflecting upon fundamental goals. It’s all too easy for us to miss the limitations of alternative energy, Debord might say, as we drop to our knees at the foot of the clean energy spectacle, gasping in rapture. This oracle delivers a ready-made creed of ideals and objectives that are convenient to recite and that bear the authority of science. These handy notions of clean energy reflexively work into environmental discourse. And as we have seen here, productivist environmentalists enroll media to tattoo wind, solar and biofuels into the subcutaneous flesh of the environmental movement. In fact, these novelties come to define what it means to be an environmentalist. And environmentalist’s aren’t the only ones lining up for ink.” — Conjuring Clean Energy: Exposing Green Assumptions in Media and Academia

Through the Lens of Deception – Burning Trees & Injecting C02 into Seas

co2 injected into seas

The Sleipner project: The injection rate of almost one million tons per year makes the project one of the largest demonstrations of CCS in the world to date.

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Aerial view of clearcut. Small clumps of trees left during clearcutting for biomass, in compliance with Nova Scotia’s Wildlife Habitat and Watercourse Protection Regulation © ECELAW- jamie Simpson

Divesting from fossil fuels and investing into a “clean economy” (for the wealthy) is predicated on market solutions. One such example is the pursuit of “clean coal”, which translates into the illusory carbon capture and storage technology and therefore ultimately translates into business as usual. The terminology “green energy” is equated with environmental stewardship and sustainability. Yet, behind closed doors, a large proportion of what corporations and states constitute as society’s perception of “green” energy is all but lost. A green energy plan or portfolio, as viewed by industry, investors, states, etc. is predominantly comprised of biomass and bio-fuel—by far two of the most damaging sources of energy. Yet under the guise of “clean energy” and the “new economy”, plans to expand these two deadly sources of energy continue to proliferate with the International Energy Agency (IEA) expecting a five-fold increase in wood-burning power plants and a threefold increase in biofuels by 2035. Another form of “clean energy” already taking place, unbeknownst to most all global citizens is the injection of CO2 into the ocean. Industry is already injecting CO2 on an industrial scale in the sandstone, in the North Sea and also in the Bering Sea in greater water depths. [Source]

Environmentalism is Dead – Replaced by Anthropocentrism

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The acquiescence to the burning of billions of trees under the guise of environmental stewardship is both particularly disturbing—and revealing. Consider that bio-fuel, that is the growing of crops/grains/plants for fuel rather than food, was challenged by many environmentalists in the past. Yet the same argument, with the same key issues when applied to growing grain for direct human consumption, rather than growing grain for industrialized livestock, which is then brought to the market for human consumption, is avoided at all costs. Two questions must be asked. When did “environmentalists” stop caring about sentient beings, and, when did “environmentalists” stop caring about trees?  The answer is 1) long ago, and 2) disturbing. Collectively, postmodern Western society has been acclimatized to believe/accept that anthropocentrism is environmentalism and anthropocentrists are environmental activists. This is an anthropocentrism that believes in, and caters to white supremacy, even if this belief is subconscious or subtle (aversive racism). This must be considered one of the best examples of successful social engineering to date, as financed by the world’s most powerful oligarchs.

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A modern day “radical” movement such as Black Lives Matter™ is a “movement” that would (and perhaps has) make a past revolutionary such as Stokley Carmichael roll over in his grave. Naomi Klein™ has never been and never will be a Marilyn  Buck – to even write the two names together in the same sentence feels sacrilege. The fierce revolutionaries that still exist, such as Omali Yeshitela are a rare, endangered species. Largely invisible behind the blinding light the oligarchs bask upon their chosen “leaders” such as McKibben™, Klein™ et al. The genocide being carried out against Indigenous leaders of warrior/matriarchal Indigenous tribes continues under the global dome of patriarchy. Euro-Americans who identify with those chosen by our oligarchs are more than happy to ignore the revolutionaries on the front lines of the struggle, ” demanding” (clicking) justice for those who toil in mines, while simultaneously demanding a new global infrastructure of “clean” energy absolutely dependent on steel, copper, lithium, rare Earth/precious minerals acquired only by land theft/displacement and  the expansion of mining. The fact that the miners use essentially none of what is mined for their own lives, that all is captured and used for the west, for luxury/lifestyle, doesn’t even cross the mind of the audience targeted by the NPIC. Critical thinking is a largely dead concept.

“If we had as many people fighting for the revolution as we have fighting for useless voting rights and re-enfranchisement we might actually have something going on here. That’s bourgeois democracy in a nutshell: people fighting for the right to be equally fucked by the system, as long as it’s not so flagrant as being denied one’s right to vote.” — Jeff Weinberger

The Sell

The simple answer is that the 1% creating 50% of the all global greenhouse gas emissions must use a radically less amount of everything. Of course this reality is far less exciting than the dream of a consumerist green utopia. Impressing this green utopia as delusional upon the masses is even more difficult when collectively, your target audience has been spoon-fed entitlement, narcissism and privilege, since birth. The necessity to radically and drastically cut back all forms of consumption (which by default reduces demand for energy) flies in the face of a global economy intermarried and dependent upon infinite growth. Under the industrialized capitalist economy – no solutions outside of market solutions will be pursued or campaigned upon. Thus society, with youth as the sacrificial lambs of the 21st century at the forefront, is fed a lie – which is voraciously consumed. The path to “sustainability” is to follow the oligarchs yellow brick road to the “new” economy— paved in foundation dollars. The necessity for a radical contraction of consumption by the privileged is replaced with “solutions” comprised of more infrastructures, more technology, “green” consumption, more mining, more burning of fossil fuels, more growth—all of which will benefit (only in the short-term) the same 1% who have created and continue to accelerate the nightmare. Ask us for the moon. Even for Mars. But don’t ask us to change.

Bearing Witness. The Foundation is Laid. Assigning Monetary Value to Nature.

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“Those who have been raised in the world of conservation may find it hard to adjust to a future where ecosystem assets and services are priced, invested in and traded, but this is an experiment that the world is now embarked upon—and must energetically pursue.” — The Biosphere Economy, 2010

On October 3, 1937 US President Franklyn D. Roosevelt, wrote that he found an editorial published by a “Great Falls Paper” on the “balancing the budget of our resources”, most compelling. Of course it is extremely doubtful (but not impossible) that Roosevelt’s interest was of pathological intent as is the case today. In the same vein as the funding/development of genetically engineered Golden Rice having commenced decades ago, the economic system/infrastructure for the commodification of all nature is not a new idea.

The concept of an ecosystem was first used in 1935. The term ecosystem was coined by British botanist Arthur Roy Clapham, at the bequest of British ecologist Arthur Tansley. In 1953 leading ecosystem ecologists Eugene P. Odum and Howard T. Odum (brothers ) published Fundamentals of Ecology. This publication (one of the most successful ecology textbooks ever published) made the ecosystem concept the central organizing principle of ecology. In 1970 Merton Love, agronomist and range scientist at the University of California, Davis, argued that “in time we would be able to manage wilderness much as we had learned to manage our agricultural systems. His vision was of total human control over ecosystems.” [Source]

The concept/theory of ecosystem services was not fully utilized until the 1980s and 1990s. A milestone in the monetization of ecosystem services (ES) was reached in 1997 when Costanza et al. published a dollar estimate of the value of the ES of the entire planet. [Source: Have Ecosystem Services Been Oversold?] The theory was formalized in 2005 upon the publication of UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report. While the original definition put forward by Gretchen Daily (co-founder of the Natural Capital Project) distinguished  ecosystem goods from ecosystem services, Robert Costanza and colleagues’ later work and that of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment lumped all of these together as ecosystem services. [3]

As an adjunct to more easily enable people to accept this lunacy being pawned off as fact, the NPIC is most adept at co-opting and sanitizing civil rights leaders such as MLK in order to further their brand. They steal the legitimacy and credibility of those now deceased to facilitate the present credibility and legitimacy of their efforts they cannot achieve on their own. Simply because they can truly possess neither by any rationale, unbiased analysis. How grotesque it is to destroy someone’s work, reputation and legacy when they are not even here to defend themselves. Perhaps nowhere has such gross co-optation occurred as what is now underway with the work of E.F. Schumacher. The very thing he strongly opposed – assigning monetary value to nature, is now being pushed forward and implemented by institutions who affiliate themselves with his name and work.

The term ‘natural capital’ was first used by in 1973 by economist and author E.F. Schumacher. There is irony in the fact that Schumacher was very critical of the ideology behind reducing everything in life to a monetary value within a market-based framework, stating that:

“In the market place, for practical reasons, innumerable qualitative distinctions which are of vital importance for man and society are suppressed; they are not allowed to surface. Thus the reign of quantity celebrates its greatest triumphs in ‘The Market’. Everything is equated with everything else. To equate things means to give them a price and thus to make them exchangeable. To the extent that economic thinking is based on the market, it takes the sacredness out of life, because there can be nothing sacred in something that has a price. Not surprisingly, therefore, if economic thinking pervades the whole of society. even simple non-economic values like beauty, health, or cleanliness can survive only if they prove to be ‘economic’.

To press non-economic values into the framework of the economic calculus, economists use the method of cost/benefit analysis. This is generally thought to be an enlightened and progressive development, as it is at least an attempt to take account of costs and benefits which might otherwise be disregarded al- together. In fact, however, it is a procedure by which the higher is reduced to the level of the lower and the priceless is given a price, It can therefore never serve to clarify the situation and lead to an enlightened decision. All it can do is lead to self-deception or the deception of others; for to undertake to measure the immeasurable is absurd and constitutes but an elaborate method of moving from preconceived notions to foregone conclusions; all one has to do to obtain the desired results is to impute suitable values to the immeasurable costs and benefits. The logical absurdity, however, is not the greatest fault of the undertaking: what is worse, and destructive of civilisation, is the pretence that everything has a price or, in other words, that money is the highest of all values.” [Source: Small is Beautiful, 1973]

Further irony arises with Schumacher’s name being co-opted by the NPIC as a key tool to build acquiescence for the assigning of monetary value to nature, with key players assigned to this task such as Bill McKibben (The Next System) who wrote a new forward for the 2010 edition of Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful first published in 1973. In the decade that followed, the recently “killed” (“we’re going to have to kill green,” Jeremy Heimans) term “green economy” was coined in the Blueprint for a Green Economy (paper by Pearce, Markandya, and Barbier (1989). Today the term “natural capital” is identified as the Natural Capitalism economic model of “climate wealth” proponents Paul Hawken [676], Amory Lovins, and Hunter Lovins who  in 1999 released their book: Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. Hawken claimed that the term natural capitalism was misinterpreted adding that while he endorses “the spirit” of commerce and entrepreneurship, he does not endorse the “pathological” qualities inherent in “pure” capitalism.” The Natural Capitalism website states “it seems proper to declare that interest by listing our personal and institutional private-sector clienteles (omitting our larger public-sector and non-profit clienteles) during the past decade, which dates the (public) commencement of the project back to 1989—27 years ago.

“…we’ll build the green economy, but we just won’t talk about it and we won’t say that we’re doing it.” —Jeremy Heimans (Avaaz/Purpose co-founder, B Team), 2012

Natural Capitalism, Creating the Next Industrial Revolution Website:

“Our research and work were partly supported by grants from the Surdna, Columbia, Geraldine R. Dodge, MacArthur, Energy, Joyce, Aria, William and Flora Hewlett, Sun Hill, Charles Stewart Mott, Turner, and Goldman foundations, as well as the Educational Foundation of America, Environmental Protection Agency, G.A.G. Charitable Corporation, Merck Family Fund, J. M. Kaplan Fund, and Wallace Global Fund. Our appreciation for this support extends far beyond the publication of this book. These and other funders are investing in the preservation and restoration of the life on this planet, and are leaders all.”

It must be noted here that many of these same foundations are today at the forefront of the now global divestment campaign with Wallace Global Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the John Merck Fund, and at the forefront.

The full list of those involved/associated with the development of Natural Capitalism is both immense and incomplete. Personal and institutional private-sector clienteles (not including larger public-sector and non-profit clienteles):

Aerovironment, American Development Group, Arthur D. Little, Ashland Chemical, Aspen Ski Co., Atlantic Electric, AT&T, Baxter, Bayernwerk, Bechtel, Ben & Jerry’s, Bosal, Boston Consulting Group, Boston Edison, BP, Calvert, Carrier div. of UTC, Cesar Pelli, CH2M Hill, Ciba-Geigy, Citicorp, Collins & Aikman, ComEd, Continental Office, Daimler-Chrysler, Datafusion, Delphi, Diamonex, Dow Chemical, Emmett Realty, Esprit de Corps, First Chicago Building, Florida P&L, General Mills, GM, Gensler, Global Business Network, Grand Wailea Resort, Herman Miller, Hexcel, Hines, Honda, Hong Kong Electric, HP, IBM, Imagine Foods, Interface, Landis & Gyr, Levi Strauss & Co., Lockheed Martin, Michelin, Minnesota Power, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Motor Sales America, Monsanto, Motorola, Nike, Nissan, Nokia, Norsk Hydro, Northface, NYSE&G, Odwalla, Ontario Hydro, OG&E, Osaka Gas, Patagonia, PG&E, PGE, Phillips Petroleum, Prince div. of Johnson Controls, Rieter, Royal Dutch/Shell, Sage J.B. Goodman Properties, Schott Glas, Schweizer, SDG&E, Searle, Shearson Lehmann Amex, STMicroelectronics, Stonyfield Farms, Sun Microsystems, Sun [Oil], Swiss Bank Corp./UBS, UniDev, Unipart, US West, Volvo, VW, Xerox, and Zoltek.

Prior to the formation and development of Natural Capitalism as an economic model, Natural Capitalism authors Amory Lovins, and Hunter Lovins, co-founded Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) in 1982. In December of 2014 RMI merged with Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room. [“RMI now has approximately 75 full-time staff, an annual budget of $12 million, and a global reach and reputation. RMI advances market-based solutions, engaging businesses, communities, and institutions to cost-effectively shift to efficiency and renewables. We employ rigorous research, analysis, and whole-systems expertise to develop breakthrough insights. We then convene and collaborate with diverse partners—business, government, academic, nonprofit, philanthropic, and military—to accelerate and scale solutions.”]

The predominant terminology that appears today, “ecosystem services”, “natural capital”, the “biosphere economy”, “The Next System“, “regenerative capitalism”, “new economy”, etc. can be viewed as the decided-upon, politically correct terms identified by marketing executives as the terminology most palpable (and non-alarming) to global citizens – ready for public consumption after 27 years of meticulous finesse.

Note that the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) contains the internationally agreed upon standard concepts, definitions, classifications, accounting rules and tables for producing internationally comparable statistics on the environment and its relationship with the economy. Coordination of the implementation of the SEEA and on-going work on new methodological developments is managed and supervised by the UN Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting (UNCEEA). The final, official version of the SEEA Central Framework was published in February 2014. [“The UNCEEA is a body composed of senior representatives from national statistical offices and international organizations. The SEEA Central Framework was released jointly by the UN, European Commission, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.”] Other key organizations behind the commodification of the commons include the Natural Capital Coalition and the Natural Capital Declaration and Roadmap, Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), World Bank’s Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVE) and scores of others (many to be discussed further in this report). Many organizations/institutions/NGOs serve as instrumental in the development and implementation of the financialization of nature/payments for ecosystem services (PES)while most all environmental NGOS serve the over-all goal by providing simple distraction, silence and discourse.

The steadfast work in the goal to commodify the commons is not far off in the future. It is well underway. The ties and organizations to manifest this goal into a global reality are complex and convoluted hidden behind a marketed narrative. A narrative that global citizens will unite behind in the demand for a “new  economy”.

Never has the phrase “be careful what you wish for’ been so apt and prophetic.

“The NPIC’S networked hegemony is propagated with a perversion of bio-mimicry. The complexity of the tangled and institutionalised tendrils make it virtually incomprehensible.” — activist/journalist Michael Swifte

The goal to capture the commons has been heavily financed and under development for at minimum 27 years (the “gradual strategy”).  As previously stated, the schemes, campaigns and ideologies that foundations support via finance (i.e. investment), are always systematic, never haphazard. Thus, it stands to logic that a long-term strategy may well be the complete and total capture/control of the Earth’s remaining water (via privatization), food (via genetic engineering), forests (via REDD), all life (via privatization/financialization of nature/PES), and the Earths remaining fossil fuels (via divestment). Divestment could well be the ultimate long con. The elite give the windmills, solar panels and the “clean energy” portfolios to the liberals and the 1% status quo, (note that this encompasses 90 trillion between now and 2030 that is required for planned mega-infrastructure projects, which is up from initial estimates of $60-70 trillion as of 2015) while behind private investments, hedge funds and closed doors, the global super elite will invest/capture and control the planets most valuable remaining natural resources (all required for the “third industrial revolution”) as we spin into climate chaos.

Although such a hypothesis may seem a bit far-fetched to some, it is not inconceivable considering foundations and think-tanks lead in the intense study of, and shaping of, behavioural change. These same foundations/institutions have not only shaped whole societies, they have designed, thus altered the history of modern man. We are a socially-engineered species; a product of social engineering rather than a process of having evolved naturally. The time involved in commercializing all aspects of society until saturation was achieved amongst the populace (ensuring tomorrow’s ‘consumers’ would submissively acquiesce to an ideology of mass-commodification and privatization) would have been well-understood by foundations and think-tanks alike. Considering the 21st century explosion of land and water grabs that has gone hand in hand with little public interest shown (let alone dissent) in the race to privatize and commodify the Earth’s remaining commons, such a hypothesis is deserving of both consideration and further investigation. One thing is certain: there is nothing in progress today that has not been tactically designed and deployed to quench the desires and expectations of the elite establishment.

iphone-evolution-4-638

To illustrate and give credence to this hypothesis, it is somewhat fascinating to note the following occurrence. In 1996, Public Good uncovered legal papers linking Fortuna Alliance (previously Whole Earth Alliance) to the Constitutionalist movement. The resultant action by the Federal Trade Commission was the largest ever taken involving fraud on the Internet. The white supremacist Christian Patriot pyramid scheme at the time was raking in millions from gullible New Agers who thought they were building “a new world economy“. [Source] The point being, language and framing have long been perhaps the most critical of efficacious strategies exploited by the elites. Media, employing the right language and repetition, can effectively and effortlessly seduce and manipulate an entire populace.

 

Divestment Timeline:

  • 350.org “Do The Math Tour” (lays the foundation for a illusory carbon budget and divestment campaign)
  • McKibben and Klein (350.org board member) create/develop the divestment campaign based on the 2011 Carbon Tracker report (Financial Times)
  • Those inside the 350.org organization, state that the divestment campaign was developed in consultation with their “friends on Wall Street”
  • Divestment campaign launched November 7, 2012
  • Establish framing and language: carbon budget, carbon bubble (coined by Carbon Tracker), stranded assets,
  • Saturate media with carbon bubble/stranded assets and carbon budget articles [Example: The Guardian: Countries most exposed to the carbon bubble – map, April 19, 2013 – The term carbon bubble on The Guardian website generates “about 16,300 results” accessed March 17, 2015
  • The term stranded assets on The Guardian website generates “about 1,890 results” accessed March 17, 2015
  • The term carbon budget on The Guardian website generates “about 8,530 results” accessed March 17, 2015
  • Hype notion that conventional fossil fuels will lose all value in near future despite the fact that the sought-after “clean energy economy” is infinitely carbon based and fossil fuel dependent
  • Ignore fact the fact that 1% of the world are creating 50% of all global GHG emissions (the target audience)
  • Institutions endorse carbon bubble/ stranded assets and carbon budget ideologies
  • The final, official version of the SEEA Central Framework published (February 2014)
  • International media announcement/hype on divestment follows Peoples Climate March (September 2014)
  • Coincides with 350.org’s Klein’s book release This Changes Everything (September 2014)
  • The IMF and World Bank Group, identify a reduction in the growth of the global economy as a primary risk to the world (October 10, 2014)
  • Can long-term global growth be saved? (January 2015, McKinsey and Company)
  • Naomi Klein (350.org) and documentary filmmaker Avi Lewis partner with The Guardian (March 10, 2015)
  • The United Nations endorses the now global divestment campaign (March 15, 2015)
  • 350.org partners with The Guardian (March 16, 2015)
  • Media-industrial complex manufactures super-star influential celebrity status for both McKibben and Klein
  • “The global economy is in serious trouble as emerging markets have basically taken a major turn down. We are flying at close to stall speed.” (Larry Summers, Financial Review, October 22, 2015)

 

End Notes:

[1] 350.org, now international in scope which continues to be referred to as a “grassroots” movement, despite the injection of millions from its nefarious silent partner, the Clinton Foundation (via 1Sky) at its inception and ongoing funding from the oligarchs in the millions.

[2] (by way of an internationally agreed upon carbon price or other policies such as increased regulations and associated costs/fees on issues such as pollution/environment, water consumption, public health, energy efficiency and mandates for renewable energy.)

[3] Brown, Thomas C.; John C. Bergstrom; John B. Loomis (2007). “Defining, valuing and providing ecosystem goods and services” (PDF). Natural Resources Journal 47 (2): 329–376

WATCH: UK Column Talks Live with Vanessa Beeley about UK, US, UN Complicity with Saudi Genocidal War of Aggression Against Yemen

21st Century Wire

April 22, 2016

 

Vanessa Beeley exposes the war criminals on the UN Security Council who are backing the Saudi coalition aggression and collective punishment of the Yemeni people. 

As the Saudi, Yemen “peace talks” finally kick off in Kuwait, Vanessa Beeley spoke to Mike Robinson, host of UK Column LIVE daily news program.  Vanessa Beeley has recently returned from the UNHRC, 31st Session, where she testified on behalf of Yemen against the illegal use of US supplied Cluster Munitions against civilian targets by the Saudi Coalition. In this programme Vanessa discusses the UK, US and UN complicity in a genocidal war of aggression and the crippling economic and humanitarian land, air and sea blockade of 27 million Yemeni people.

 

 

[Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.]

Promoting Interracial Discord

Public Good Project

By Jay Taber

 

Lummi Image 12

Photo: Canoe and Bulk Carrier at Cowichan Bay, B.C. © 2008 klahowya.ca

 

For readers who might wonder why I make a big deal of “the appalling disrespect of Pacific International Terminals and BNSF Railroad toward the citizens of Whatcom County and Lummi Nation over the last five years, as well as the reprehensible behavior of Gateway Pacific Terminal spokesman Craig Cole” in my op-ed at Cascadia Weekly (Apr. 13, 2016 issue), the short answer is my twenty years of experience dealing with violent white supremacy instigated by industrial developers, a.k.a. Wise Use terrorism.

While some might think that “the sinister desecration of the sacred Lummi burial ground at Cherry Point in the dark of night” or “the lavish funding of Tea Party-led PACs run by KGMI hate radio hosts” or “the repeated corruption of elections year after year through money-laundering with the Republican Party” or “the intimidation and libeling of journalists that exposed their ongoing nefarious deeds” or “promoting interracial discord and anti-Indian resentment” is no big deal, allow me to explain why I think it is.

As you can read in my comment on a March 12, 2016 news story at Northwest Citizen, Sandra Robson, a former correspondent to Whatcom Watch, was recently named the Paul de Armond Citizen Journalist of the year for outing Pacific International Terminals and BNSF Railroad, who financed a CERA-promoting, Tea Party led-PAC to attack Lummi Nation for its opposition to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal coal-export facility. CERA, for those unfamiliar with the acronym, is Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, “the Ku Klux Klan of Indian country”.

Paul de Armond, former Public Good Project research director (who passed away in 2013), in the 1990s contributed to the apprehension of people engaged in violent intimidation of Indian treaty proponents and human rights activists. Seven of the white supremacist militia members Paul (and I) helped expose were, in 1997, convicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle for manufacturing bombs and machine guns to commit murder.

The militias had been hosted in Whatcom County by Wise Use organizer Skip Richards, a paid agent of the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County. More recently, Mr. Richards and Minuteman militia member Tom Williams of Lynden were the organizers of the April 6, 2013 CERA anti-Indian conference in Bellingham, Washington.

In February 2014, Sandra Robson was threatened with a SLAPP suit by Gateway Pacific Terminal spokesman, Craig Cole, over her January 2014 Whatcom Watchcover story. In October 2015, Robson came back fighting with an IC Magazinefeature story.

The full story of this injustice, perpetrated by some of the largest corporations in the United States, is told in my April 2016 Wrong Kind of Greenspecial report.

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and communications director at Public Good Project, Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website:www.jaytaber.com]

 

Further reading: Coast Salish Gathering briefing on treaty rights (2013): for-publication-april-2013-protecting-treaty-rights-sacred-places-and-lifeways

EU To Burundi: Regime Change Trumps

Oriental Review

March 30, 2016

By Andrew Korybko

EU To Burundi: Regime Change Trumps Anti-Terror Help

The EU has stepped up its behind-the-scenes role in organizing regime change in Burundi by taking the dramatic step to cut most of its funding for the country’s anti-terror contingent in Somalia, this according to the latest exclusive report from Reuters. Burundi provides nearly a quarter of the 22,000 African Union (AU) troops stationed in the country and is the largest international contributor. Correspondingly, while there’s no official data about the number of AU soldiers who have been killed during the nearly decade-long African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), reliable estimates and official UN data from 2013 indicate that Burundi has borne the brunt of the roughly 3,000 fatalities that are thought to have occurred.

Given Burundi’s dedicated commitment to fighting terrorism in Somalia and the blood that its military has already shed in furtherance of this goal, it’s all the more surprising that the EU would risk undermining its anti-terror effectiveness, especially when Burundi is essentially carrying out its task as a paid surrogate for Western troops themselves. Revealingly, Brussels’ decision adds proof to the convincing allegations that the EU elite are more influenced by US-whispered geo-economic imperatives in overthrowing the leader of a geopolitical pivotal and mineral-rich state than pragmatically assisting its forces in the shared struggle against global terrorism.

Black-On-Black Terrorism

Probably the most immediate reason why the EU elite don’t appreciate Burundi’s anti-terror commitment in Somalia is because Al Shabaab, the primary target of this indefinite mission, only operates in Africa and targets black victims. It’s not that the group is doing this out of any purposeful intent, but simply that its area of operations around the Horn of Africa puts it within range of mostly black targets. In an ironic rebuff to their ideology but in accordance with their unsurprising and typical double standards, the Cultural Marxist EU elite don’t see any pressing need to halt black-on-black terrorism so long as it’s contained to Africa and doesn’t target European-based Africans. Al Shabaab has yet to expand its zone of attack to anywhere directly relevant to conventional EU interests, preferring instead to kill Ethiopians, Kenyans and even fellow Somalians in its crazed pursuit of an irredentist and ethnic Somali-dominated “Islamic State” in East Africa.

Members of Somalia's hardline Islamist rebel group al Shabaab. Photo: The Daily Nation

Members of Somalia’s hardline Islamist rebel group al Shabaab. Photo: The Daily Nation

It’s true that there exist certain grievances that the regional Somali community definitely has towards their respective governments no matter which country they presently reside in, and there was a failed Cold War-era effort at reviving the “Greater/Natural Somalia” that was divided by European and what was perceived to be African (Ethiopian) imperialism, but Al Shabaab has expertly manipulated these preexisting sentiments and historical memory and intertwined it with the violent doctrine of extreme Islam in order to manufacture a semi-appealing terrorist group that masquerades as a pseudo-“resistance” organization. Furthermore, there have been strong suspicions in the West that Qatar is one of the terrorist group’s sponsors, and while no smoking gun has emerged, such a truth would believably mesh with the emirate’s already proven modus operandi in the Mideast.

In contrast to Saudi Arabia’s terrorists, Qatar’s have largely refrained from attacking Western targets, possibly owing to a tacit agreement that they have with the latter’s governments to provide soft support (media sympathy, “refugee” status, etc.) for Doha’s patronized Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated elements in exchange for much-needed and competitively priced energy contracts. Both sides are presently upholding this deal, with the EU continuing to purchase Qatari energy resources while Emir Thani holds off the terrorist hordes from attacking European targets (at least for now), and with Al Shabaab likely part of this arrangement, Brussels sees no urgent need to substantially support outsourced anti-terror activities against a regional African group that only targets local black victims. For this self-interested and ideological inconsistent reason, the “bleeding heart” Cultural Marxists of the EU are eagerly willing to sacrifice the effectiveness of a solid and tested anti-terrorist force in Somalia solely as a means of encouraging regime change in Burundi.

The Geopolitical Hinge

The average observer might be dumbfounded with disbelief that the EU would knowingly hamper anti-terror operations in Somalia in order to pile up regime change pressure on a geographically tiny and landlocked Central African state, but the unspoken geopolitical reality behind all of this is that Burundi is actually quite important in a regional strategic sense. It’s far from being a pivot, but because it plays an integral influencing role on the nearby pivots themselves, it can more accurately be described by the author’s own neologism as being a “geopolitical hinge”. Its strategic disposition one way or the other can impact on regional affairs but not necessarily change them owing to the country’s comparatively lesser influence on its neighborhood, but it nevertheless fulfills an important role in the larger East African paradigm of power. All economic considerations aside about the lust that Western companies have for displacing their expected Russian and Chinese rivals in the country’s largely untapped mineral sector, Burundi occupies an ideal geographic space in one of the most dynamic and gradually focused-on areas of the continent. To place the country into a grander context, East Africa is on the cusp of undergoing New Silk Road-affiliated transnational integrational projects that could dramatically elevate its regional partners’ multipolar status in the emerging world order.

Un-burundiThat said, Burundi is the weak link in this emerging construction due to the potential that its domestic identity-differences, legally subdued but still socially present, could be manipulated from abroad to engineer a disruptive Hybrid War that sabotages an important spoke of the African Silk Road network. To get into the details, Burundi abuts regional giant Tanzania, whose population is expected by the UN to surge to epic and powerful proportions by mid-century to 137 million, making it the fourth-fastest-growing country in the world. Relatedly, while this could potentially be a demographic curse, it could also be an economic blessing, and it’s for this reason why China and other countries have a deep-seated interest in getting involved in the country’s economy now while it’s still relatively early on to do so. However, a prompted Hybrid War in Burundi would inevitably lead to overspill effect across the Tanzanian border, not only in terms of “Weapons of Mass Migration”, but also in armed non-state actors traversing its territory and embedding themselves along the Central Corridor railroad line that’s expect to form a crucial part of the East African Railway Master Plan, itself the New Silk Road infrastructural backbone of the formative East African Federation.

Additionally, any humanitarian/militant crisis in Burundi could easily draw in Rwanda, which is already conspiring against Bujumbura as it is (and even worse, exploiting refugees to do so), and this could offset one of the most economically promising countries on the continent. One should bear in mind, however, that this is mostly a macroeconomic and statistical illusion largely facilitated by Rwanda’s developing hub status and its key role in laundering the eastern Congolese minerals that its affiliated rebel forces have pillaged (despite it being ‘officially’ illegal to do so). Even so, Rwanda does have a lot of minerals in its own right and is the world’s largest exporter of coltan, for example, but the US likely takes issue with the fact that it’s selling some of them to China and diversifying its overall economic relations with Washington’s prime global economic rival. Rwanda’s role vis-à-vis China is increasingly taken on a very strategic nature owing to the importance that its own and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) (illegally transited) minerals have to China’s (overseas) scientific-technological manufacturing base. As much as Paul Kagame has wantonly behaved as an untouchable American proxy since he came to power on the heels of the country’s externally instigated genocide, that does appear to be changing, as Washington signaled its “disappointment” at his ambitions to run for a third term next year, indicating that it now potentially sees him and his county as dispensable scraps of geopolitical “scorched earth” material in the larger New Cold War that it’s fighting against China’s New Silk Road vision in Africa.

To summarize Burundi’s geopolitical hinge relevance in East and Central African affairs, not only could a Hybrid War in the tiny country offset Tanzania and the East African Federation’s broad New Silk Road integrational connective projects, but it could also return the neighboring mineral-rich country of Rwanda to being an unapproachable battlefield that scares away and obstructs all possible Chinese strategic investments there. Tangentially, but no less importantly, Burundi’s location next to the extraordinarily mineral-rich areas of the eastern DRC also means that both its possible Hybrid War problems or the influence of any ‘Western/foreign protector’ can extend into one of the most prized natural resource regions in the entire world, either indefinitely offsetting its export capability (both legal and illegal via Rwanda) or redirecting its market destinations more firmly to the West at the expense of East Asia. Undoubtedly then, after considering these geopolitical and geo-economic imperatives, tiny Burundi begins to take on an outsized significance in the global calculations of the New Cold War.

Rekindling The Hybrid War Conflict

Imbued with a relevant understanding of Burundi’s grandiose geostrategic and geo-economic pivot importance to New Cold War affairs and fresh with knowledge about how the EU (under likely American orders) has betrayed Burundi’s brave anti-terrorist sacrifices in Somalia, it’s now time to investigate the connection between these two seemingly disparate topics and unveil that larger goal that’s being pursued. As is already widely known, the US and its allies have been pushing for a regime change against the democratically elected and legitimate Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, wanting to replace him with a pliant politician that would open the country up to full Western ‘investment’ at Russia and China’s strategic multipolar expense. The ‘normative’ cover for doing so was to allege that the President was constitutionally barred from running for a third term, but the country’s highest court ruled that he can do so on the technicality that his first term was an appointment and not an actual election.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang and the First Vice President of Burundi laid the foundation for the primary school to be built with China's assistance, January 2008

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang and the First Vice President of Burundi laid the foundation for the primary school to be built with China’s assistance, January 2008

No matter the nitty gritty details of the state’s sovereign affairs, it’s evident that foreign powers were involving themselves in this process as a means of acquiring future long-term influence inside what they presumed would quickly become a post-Nkurunziza Burundi. A low-intensity Hybrid War was launched against the country on the grounds that the President’s campaign and eventual election to a third term was unconstitutional, and the UN estimated that a comparatively small figure of 474 people have been killed there since the manufactured turmoil broke out on command in April 2015. While the global body quite rightly recognizes that the conflict could spill over Burundi’s borders and become the spark for a larger regional conflagration (in line with the author’s above-mentioned assessment about the US’ scorched earth Hybrid War tactics in East and Central Africa against China), it’s quite telling that, respectfully speaking, not even half a thousand people have died in a political crisis that captivated the attention of most of the world’s leading international news outlets for almost the past year. This attests not only to the exaggerated importance that the Western media gave to this crisis, but also to the patriotism of the country’s civilian population and the majority of its military leaders, not counting of course the conspirators of the failed May 2015 coup.

Although the attempt at a traditional regime change ploy miserably failed, the fact that it came the closest out of all of the ones that were tried (Color Revolution and Unconventional War included) indicated to the West that this is the method which must be most heavily invested in for possible future success. Returning to the beginning of the article where Reuters’ exclusive report was cited about the EU cutting off funding for the Burundian anti-terrorist forces in Somalia, it must be qualified that this doesn’t translate to the full suspension of funds, but to a significant enough percentage that it will negatively impact not only on the government itself (which takes a 20% cut), but most relevantly on the soldiers themselves who have come to depend on this added income. The goal is to turn the rank-and-file soldiers against the government by essentially blackmailing them into supporting another military coup sometime in the future, but unlike its failed predecessor, any forthcoming one might have a larger supportive cadre of conspirators to draw from and might end up splitting the military forces along ethnic lines. Whether it succeeds or not in overthrowing the government at that point isn’t actually all that vital so long as it can add fuel to the Hybrid War flames of identity violence that the West has been trying to fan for almost a year now.

Concluding Thoughts

It shouldn’t be forgotten that if the US can’t successfully co-opt or change a targeted government, then it will instinctively resort to geopolitical ‘scorched earth’ tactics in taking down the country and the rest of the region that are expected to otherwise play very constructive roles in China’s New Silk Road global multipolar paradigm. Burundi, with its small size and relatively godforsaken geographic location, surprisingly plays a very significant role in affecting the geopolitics of East and Central Africa, especially when this its geo-economic relevance is factored into the overall strategic equation. The West is very cognizant of the Hybrid War vulnerabilities that plague the country, particularly the recent and very bloody Hutu-Tutsi civil war, and it’s adroitly manipulating these factors in order to add increasingly intense pressure on the government.

Thankfully, the people are well informed of the external threat against their country and understand the nefarious plot that’s been deployed against them to return Burundi to ethnic-based civil war, hence why the Hybrid War plan has dismally failed to reach its full and genocidal hoped-for potential that would have then triggered a “humanitarian intervention” by the African Union, the East African Federation, the UN, and/or a unilateral “coalition of the willing” from the West. In light of this ‘inconvenient’ reality, the West now appears to be investing heavily in winning the ‘hearts and minds’ (and pocketbooks) of the rank-and-file soldiers of the Burundian military, obviously in anticipation of a forthcoming military coup redux that represents the best possible chances at overthrowing the government or sparking a renewed civil war.

There’s a possibility that a separate foreign patron (perhaps China) could step in to fill the financial void left by the EU’s withdraw of monetary commitment to the Burundian anti-terrorist forces in Somalia, but if even if this doesn’t eventuate, the proven patriotism of the country’s military and the astuteness of its officer corps should be enough to repel the forthcoming conspiracy against it and ensure that it fails just as badly as its forerunner did. Nevertheless, depending on how the forecasted situation develops, it frighteningly might be destabilizing enough that it exacerbates Burundi’s internal identity-based divisions and noticeably pushes it closer to the brink of Hybrid War, possibly even involving a more robust Rwandan role. The next few months will be decisive, and any major national commemoration or foreign presidential trip might be chosen as the date for launching the latest coup attempt bringing Burundi back to its days of civil war and dysfunction.

 

[Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for the Sputnik agency. He is the post-graduate of the MGIMO University and author of the monograph “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change” (2015).]

 

YEMEN: UN Whitewashing Saudi Coalition War Crimes and International Human Rights Violations

The Wall Will Fall

April 4, 2016

by Vanessa Beeley

 

“If those who support aggressive war had seen a fraction of what I’ve seen, if they’d watched children fry to death from Napalm and bleed to death from a cluster bomb, they might not utter the claptrap they do.” ~ John Pilger

Professor Francis Boyle, distinguished Professor of Law in Illinois and long-time thorn in the side of the Imperial Establishment has publicly expressed his disgust at the UN complicity with the sanctions that engendered starvation on a catastrophic scale in Iraq in the early 1990s.  Over 500,000 children died from malnutrition:

During the summer of 1991 I was contacted on behalf of several Mothers in Iraq whose children were dying at astounding rates because of the genocidal economic sanctions that had been imposed upon them by the Security Council in August of 1990 at the behest of the Bush Senior administration.”

Boyle went on to present his complaint accusing President Bush of committing international genocide against the 4.5 million children in Iraq, “in violation of the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 and in violation of the municipal legal systems of all civilized nations in the world

“My Complaint estimated that since sanctions were first imposed against Iraq in August of 1990, Iraqi children were dying as a direct result thereof at the rate of about 500 per day.”

Boyle expressed his frustration at the UNSC [Security Council] failure to suspend the crippling sanctions against Iraq.

“Despite my best professional efforts working on behalf of my Clients pro bono publico, the grossly hypocritical United Nations Organization adamantly refused to act to terminate these genocidal sanctions and thus to save the dying children of Iraq.”

Professor Boyle’s full speech: Legal Protection of Children in Armed Conflict: The Iraqi Children Genocide

Shortly after Professor Boyle’s attempt to derail the genocide being carried out against an entire generation of Iraqis, endorsed by the UNSC, then US secretary of State, Madeleine Albright made her horrifying statement on CBS TV network.

May 12th 1996 TV presenter, Leslie Stahl posed this question:

“We have heard that a half a million children have died [in Iraq]. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And-and, you know, is the price worth it?”

Albright’s reply is still shocking, 20 years after the first US NATO campaign of extermination in Iraq.

“I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

Is the UN Repeating History in Yemen?

Bani Quis 2
Mona Relief 1/4/2016: Bani Quis, Hajjah, Northern Yemen on border with Saudi Arabia.  

Since the start of the illegal Saudi-led coalition war of aggression against Yemen that began on the 26th March 2015, the UN has appeared to work in lock-step with the lawless aggressor, Saudi Arabia and its allies to exacerbate the widespread suffering of the Yemeni people.

UNSC Resolution 2216 was adopted on the 14th April 2015.  It called specifically for the arms embargo to be imposed against 5 named individuals.

Arms Embargo: All Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to, or for the benefit of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Abdullah Yahya al Hakim & Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi.”

Two other names were included in the Annex to this list, Abdulmalik al-Houthi and Ali Ahmed Saleh.

Basis for Resolution 2216

This resolution was entirely based upon the premise of the legitimacy of the fugitive, former President of Yemen, Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Reaffirming its support for the legitimacy of the President of Yemen, Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and reiterating its call to all parties and Member States to refrain from taking any actions that undermine the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen, and the legitimacy of the President of Yemen” ~ Resolution 2216

On the same day that the UNSC signed off on a resolution of staggering partiality and bias towards one party in the conflict, namely ex President Hadi and his Saudi backers, a letter had been addressed to the UN by Ali AlAhmed, Director of the Gulf Institute. In this letter, AlAhmed clearly states that, legally,  Hadi is NOT the legitimate President of Yemen.

“To reiterate, at present Mr. Hadi is a former president of Yemen. The UNSC has no legal authority to appoint him as president of Yemen, or treat him in such capacity. Although his term ended February 25, 2014, Hadi remained in office until February 2015; one year after his term has expired, in violation of the UNSC-endorsed GCC Initiative. He also failed to call for general presidential elections per the agreement he signed.

Because the Saudi-led war on Yemen was built on the false premise that Hadi is the current legitimate president of Yemen, it must be emphasized that he is, in fact, not a legitimate leader of that country. Legally, Mr. Hadi is the former transitional president of Yemen whose term expired February 24, 2014.”

AlAhmed reminds the UNSC that Hadi had been elected in a one-horse-race election in February 2012 under the terms of the GCC Initiative [Gulf Cooperation Council]. That term of presidency had been set to expire after two years, when new elections would be held in Yemen.

One month prior to the agreed election date, in January 2014 the NDC [National Dialogue Conference] took the decision, to extend Hadi’s term under the pretext that the transition period was incomplete and that a draft constitution would not be ready for referendum until March 2015.

According to Abdulazeez Al-Baghdadi, a former legal advisor for the Ministry of Interior, the extension of Hadi’s term in office and the justification for this action was:

“A fraud that has no legal basis in constitutional terms….the NDC has no legal authority to extend Hadi’s term because NDC members do not represent the Yemeni people,” he said. “Hadi’s term expired when his two-year term stipulated in the GCC Initiative ended in February 2014.”

During the UNHRC [Human Rights Council], 31st Session in Geneva March 2016, Mohammed al Wazir, Yemeni-American Lawyer and Director of Arabian Rights Watch Association testified that:

“UN Security Council Resolution 2216 is about an arms embargo on 5 people, yet its being used as a cover to justify a blockade on 27 million Yemenis. According to the 2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview released in November 2015, 21.2 million people making up 82% of the population are now in need of some form of Humanitarian assistance.  Nearly 2.1 million people are currently estimated to be malnourished, including more than 1. 3 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.”

Bani Quis HajjahMona Relief: Bani Quis April 2016

According to Al Wazir’s statement to the UNHRC, Hadi had in fact resigned on the 22nd January 2015 and despite calls from various political factions, he refused to withdraw his resignation prior to the expiry of his questionable extended term as President of Yemen.

In a bizarre turn of events, perhaps after his Saudi controllers had put pressure on their marionette, Hadi fled Sanaa [Yemen’s capital] for the port city of Aden. Once safely ensconced in Saudi loyalist territory, Hadi plucked up the courage to renew his claim to the Presidency.

Hadi even attempted to relocate the Government to Aden but once he realised this was not a popular decision and with the Yemeni army closing in, Hadi fled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. From there he requested that the Saudi Arabian government launch a war against his own people to reinstate him as President, a post he had resigned from, weeks previously.

So are we seeing the UN endorse and sustain an illegal war without a UN mandate, being waged against the Yemeni people by a known human rights violating, totalitarian, absolute monarchy, Saudi Arabia? And if so, on what basis? To protect an illegitimate, fugitive President who has called for the destruction of his own people?

Is the UN Defending Yemen’s Sovereignty, Independence & Territorial Integrity?

Resolution 2216 states:

“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen, and its commitment to stand by the people of Yemen”

Why then did the UN ignore the statement of their own Special Envoy, Jammal Benomar, made on the 28th April 2015?

“When this campaign started, one thing that was significant but went unnoticed is that the Yemenis were close to a deal that would institute power sharing with all sides, including the Houthis”

Why then did the UN not strongly oppose the Saudi war of aggression that has decimated the Yemeni people or demand that humanitarian aid be allowed entry to alleviate the universal suffering of the already impoverished nation.

Instead the UN flung the door wide open to the Saudi-led war of aggression against Yemen. A war devoid of any legal, moral or ethical justification. A war that would punish the Yemeni people for striving to form their own government without foreign meddling or Saudi corruption and neo-colonialist intent.

Why is the UN not defending the determination of the Yemeni people to create a new government that would guarantee equal citizenship and governmental proportional representation for previously marginalised minorities?

Is the UN Preventing the Deteriorating Humanitarian Situation in Yemen?

Resolution 2216:

“Expressing grave alarm at the significant and rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen, and emphasizing that the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate in the absence of a political solution.

Recalling that arbitrary denial of humanitarian access and depriving civilians of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supply and access, may constitute a violation of international humanitarian law.”

Having allowed the Saudi-led coalition to bomb all hopes of a political solution into smithereens, why is the alarm not being sounded against this oppressive, despotic regime that has the worst human rights record in the region?

Mohammed Al Wazir at the UNHRC:

“So, in summary, the Saudi-led coalition of absolute monarchies and military dictatorships conducted daily airstrikes and imposed a comprehensive land, air and sea blockade for the past year on 27 million Yemenis in order to re-install Hadi, a person whose mandate had expired in Yemen.  Is this what we call defending legitimacy? Collective punishment and terror, inflicted on the entire population in order to deter a group called the Houthis who are less than 1% of the population.  I can say with utmost confidence, there is a major issue with proportionality and a reckless disregard for the principles of distinction and military necessity not to mention international law.”

Taiz bombing driver
Mona Relief: September 2015 KSA bombing of Humanitarian
convoy on the Hodeida to Taiz road. 

The UN is, in reality, actively allowing the denial of human rights to the Yemeni people by the predatory aggressor, Saudi Arabia.  The UN is sanctioning the “depriving of civilians of objects indispensable to their survival”.  When the Saudi Coalition bombs humanitarian supply convoys does the UN not consider this to be “wilfully impeding relief supply and access”? 

Is the UN wittingly allowing these grave violations of humanitarian law or is it an unwilling victim, prey to far more powerful geopolitical players in the region?

What is the UN’s Mandate in Yemen?

“The UN was established to maintain state sovereignty, and both national and international unity.  Instead we appear to be witnessing a process of fracturing society along false sectarian fault lines and the disruption of internal reconciliation and political peace processes within nation states.”

The UN is allegedly seeking a peaceful political transition in Yemen according to the terms laid out in the GCC initiative and its implementation mechanism.

This objective becomes untenable when we consider that effectively, the GCC initiative has expired.  So who precisely is obstructing the peaceful political transition?  The Yemenis or those who launched an illegal war against them and who are destroying their ability to survive let alone decide their political future?

“That is if we take the GCC initiative as a legal document with full force and effect, which is not conceded by any means….but even by its own terms, it has expired.” ~ Mohammed al Wazir

The illegitimate, fugitive President, Mansour Hadi fled Yemen and incited a war against his own people from Riyadh. A war that has massacred over 8000 people and injured tens of thousands more.  A war that has left Yemen without resources, infrastructure, electricity, communication, food and water.

In a logical, rational world all those who supported Hadi’s endeavour should be found by the UN “Sanctions Committee” and Panel of Experts to be “obstructing the peaceful political transition in Yemen” and be considered the main instigators of instability and insecurity in Yemen.

Conclusions

It is almost impossible not to conclude that multiple parties are colluding to starve Yemen into submission to Saudi objectives. Objectives that are aligned with those of the US, NATO and Israel.

“The UN embargo/blockade against Yemen and the Yemenis violates Genocide Convention article II (e):  Deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” ~ Prof. Francis A Boyle

The Arms Trade

The UK has sold over £ 2.8bn in arms to Saudi Arabia since this illegal war began.  The US, a staggering $33bn.  Lockheed Martin, a major player in the Military Industrial Complex announced in January 2016 that they would be opening an “expanded repair capability centre” in Saudi Arabia, the first support centre for their Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod technology outside the US.  To ensure “fleet readiness”.  France has just signed off on a mind-blowing $ 7.5 billion arms contract with Qatar [member of the Saudi coalition].

The Oil Trade

oil map

Saudi Arabia’s annual $10 trillion oil revenue is a major factor. Yemen is essential for the survival of the Gulf States in this market, and by default, pivotal to US and NATO resource needs. If Saudi Arabia lost control of Yemen, the effects would be catastrophic for the Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia is the only Gulf state with the geographic potential of an east-west pipeline which would give access to the west and the Red Sea, if ever a conflict should arise with their arch enemy Iran who controls the eastern Straits of Hormuz, the primary crude oil shipping channel. However that east-west pipeline was converted in 2001 to gas and it would take some time to restore it to suitability for oil. Saudi Arabia has recently replaced Iraq as India’s number one crude oil supplier.

It is no accident that Saudi proxy forces, AQAP [Al Qaeda Arab Peninsula] and ISIS have seized swathes of land in the southern province of Hadramaut and the port of Aden.  According to a 2008 Wikileaks cable, Saudi Arabia’s intent is to lay a pipeline from the oil and gas rich areas of Al Jawf and Marib in Yemen to the southern coastline, enabling them to avoid both the Straits of Hormuz and the Yemen controlled, Bab el Mandeb straits.

“A British diplomat based in Yemen told PolOff that Saudi Arabia had an interest to build a pipeline, wholly owned, operated and protected by Saudi Arabia, through Hadramawt to a port on the Gulf of Aden, thereby bypassing the Arabian Gulf/Persian Gulf and the straits of Hormuz.” ~ Wikileaks

This would liberate Saudi Arabia from the clutches of Iranian logistical control and challenge Iran’s regional hegemony head on. With Japan, India, China and S Korea representing the expanding crude oil markets, the geopolitical and economic significance of Yemen to the Gulf States becomes transparent.

The Human Trade

Finally and perhaps most disturbingly, lets review the actions of known US outreach agent and neo-colonialist battering ram, USAID. In July 2015, USAID announced that it would turn the aid tap off to Yemen.

“Given the current situation in Yemen, USAID is placing most development programs on a full suspension,” spokesman Sam Ostrander told Al-Monitor. “The suspension will allow us to keep programs in place so that we can restart development activities quickly when the situation becomes more permissive.”

Criticism abounded against this decision accusing the US of facilitating Saudi human rights violations in Yemen. However, nothing should surprise us when we learn that almost simultaneously Saudi Arabia established its first, official, international Human Rights NGO..there are so many oxymorons in that one sentence.

“A UN source said he expected it to operate as the Gulf State’s equivalent of USAID – the state aid agency of the United States”

With barely a fanfare, the King Salman Centre was launched to fill the crater left in Yemen,  by the departure of USAID and by the US UK and NATO supplied weapons of mass destruction. The chutzpah of this move is only challenged by the flattening of Gaza by Israel who is then tasked and paid to rebuild it.

During my recent visit to the UNHRC, to testify against the Saudi coalition’s illegal use of US supplied cluster munitions on civilian targets in Yemen, I had the misfortune to attend a Saudi presentation of their Humanitarian flagship. There were numerous UN organisations in attendance.  At the end of the Saudi unveiling, oozing with hypocrisy and inflated claims of universal humanitarianism, the representative of UNICEF raised their hand.  I paraphrase their comment.

We would like to thank Saudi Arabia for their continued efforts to provide humanitarian assistance on a global basis and look forward to many years of continued and increased collaboration” 

So, having appointed Saudi Arabia to chair of a key human rights panel inside the UNHRC, the UN is now fully endorsing an absolute monarchy’s attempt to further whitewash their crimes against Humanity.  One look at King Salman Centre’s partners, denies UN impartiality when dealing with Saudi atrocities against the Yemeni people. Does it implicate the UN in these crimes?  Combined with the unjustified and illegitimate bias of UN Resolution 2216,  it must certainly raise questions that need answering.  The Yemeni people deserve an answer.

partners

Has the UN been bought and paid for by a Monarch? Is this the ultimate spin cycle to rinse the blood of innocent Yemeni men, women and children from the hands of the Saudi monarchy and its allies, including the UN, US, NATO & Israel.

The UN is disproportionately influenced by the 5 permanent members of the Security Council, with particular reference to the helmsman, the US and it includes 3 permanent members who are backing the Saudi-led coalition.  France, the UK and the US.  Maintaining impartiality is virtually impossible under these circumstances and too much is geopolitically at stake if Saudi Arabia loses its grip on Yemen.

“Impartiality does not – and must not – mean neutrality in the face of evil. In the face of genocide, there can be no standing aside, no looking away, no neutrality – there are perpetrators and there are victims, there is evil and there is evil’s harvest.” ~ Kofi Annan,  Rwanda 1998 after UN peacekeeping forces deserted, handing 1 million civilians over to mass murderers. 

It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that Iraq does not happen again.  Yemen does not deserve this level of collective punishment from one of the world’s most oppressive, soulless and malevolent regimes and the UN must answer for its failure to protect Yemen against the Saudi coalition murderous ravages.

Bani Quis 7 Bani Quis 6 Bani Quis 3 Bani Quis 5

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[Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.]