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The Oligarchs Behind the “Humanitarian” Regime Change Network Now Exploiting Jo Cox’s Death to Push For UK Labour Split

Mint Press News

October 22, 2018

By Vanessa Beeley and Whitney Webb

 

Nick Grono at the Concordia Summit in September 2016 – The Power of Partnerships

LONDON — Jo Cox, the late Labour MP whose tragic death in 2016 shocked Britain and the world, has recently become a rallying cry for forces within the U.K. Labour Party who seek to weaken Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and to return the party to the pro-intervention Tony Blair era. As this article (the final installment of our three-part series) will show, this effort to manipulate Jo Cox’s death is the latest move in a wider effort to turn Cox’s legacy to the advantage of pro-intervention interests in Britain and abroad, particularly with regard to foreign intervention in Syria. While these moves — from support for “humanitarian” intervention in Syria to the drive to split the U.K. Labour Party — are cast as people-driven objectives, they are in fact oligarch-driven.

Previous reporting on Jo Cox and her legacy revealed that the Jo Cox Fund, set up soon after Cox’s death, was created by a group of four pro-interventionist “humanitarians” — Mabel van Oranje, Gemma Mortensen, Tim Dixon and Nick Grono — all of whom have a history of involvement, either directly or indirectly, in past regime-change operations. They are all also connected to some of the world’s most ardent imperialists, as well as to the Not for Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC).

The NPIC is effectively the money-laundering operation of the world’s most powerful industrialists. By creating a socially appealing “not for profit” NGO that serves to influence public opinion in the direction of the industrialist agenda, the global elite ensure a monopoly over the chosen market. The oligarchy uses the NPIC to manufacture public consent for the schemes and campaigns that will maintain their power, privilege and wealth. Why would they create an entity that would be detrimental to their survival and success?

The NPIC gives an unsuspecting public the illusion of choice and a stakeholding in resolving our world issues. The reality is that we are being persuaded to “choose” the options that benefit only the world’s most powerful influencers and ensure the exploitation of humanity to secure supremacy for the very few.

The four founders of the Jo Cox Fund, referred to in this article as the “Jo Cox Four,” have used this fund to promote — among other causes — the U.S. coalition-financed White Helmets, whose primary purpose has been to escalate unlawful NATO state-proxy and direct military intervention in Syria.

In addition, these individuals behind the Jo Cox Fund have used that foundation to apply strategies aimed at promoting foreign military intervention that were first perfected during the NATO intervention in the Balkans, as several of the creators of the Jo Cox fund promoted that military intervention to great effect.

In applying those strategies to the current conflict in Syria, these players have helped develop a massive public-relations machine with the White Helmets at its center, and programmed that machine to use Cox’s death to sanctify the controversial group and shield it from scrutiny. Now, they are using her death to justify the creation of a new Labour party to prevent the ascendency of the anti-intervention platform of current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

As this article will reveal, this NGO pro-Syrian-regime-change network — of which the Jo Cox Fund is part — is being promoted by powerful oligarchs with connections to the U.K., U.S. and Canadian governments. In the context of the call to partition U.K. Labour, the efforts driven by these billionaires show that they are hardly “people driven” and are instead being pushed by the same pro-intervention, monied interests that have long supported regime change in Syria and have since helped to weaponize Jo Cox’s death.


This is Part III of a three-part series on the life and legacy of Jo Cox and the posthumous fund set up in her honor. Read part 1 here and part 2 here. In this final part of the series, we focus on exploring the oligarchs who are driving the NGO and PR nexus aimed at manufacturing consent in Western nations for regime change in Syria, with a particular focus on how these oligarch-driven efforts are now fueling an effort to divide the U.K. Labour Party in order to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-war policies. Notably, those efforts within U.K. Labour are using Jo Cox and her highly manipulated legacy as a rallying cry.


 

The eBay billionaires and the Syria regime-change PR machine

As previous reporting has detailed, the Jo Cox Fund — the posthumous fund created soon after the late MP’s death — was formed by a group of four individuals who have long been involved in manufacturing consent for foreign “regime change” wars, first in the Balkans and now in Syria, and have been aided in this effort by massive funding from governments and elite billionaires. Yet, of those elite billionaires, some have promoted the Jo Cox Fund founders — and, with them, their pet projects such as the White Helmets — more than others.

One billionaire in particular stands out. One of the “eBay billionaires” who amassed a fortune as the online auction company’s first employee, Canadian billionaire and “philanthropist” Jeffrey Skoll not only shares past connections to the Jo Cox Four but has continuously used his massive wealth and his “charitable” foundation to promote them and their causes.

Indeed, the Skoll Foundation — a partner of USAID, a NPIC-leading U.S. government organization that has a reputation for funding U.S.-friendly subversive forces in foreign countries — has provided funding to the groups directly linked to Jo Cox founders, such as Crisis Action and Global Witness. And the associated Skoll World Forum has promoted the cause of Western-backed regime change in Syria — hosting the founder of the White Helmets, James Le Mesurier; the current leader of the White Helmets, Raed Saleh; the program director of the White Helmet parent organization Mayday Rescue, Farouq Habib; as well as all four of the founders of the Jo Cox Fund: Mabel van Oranje, Gemma Mortensen, Tim Dixon, and Nick Grono.

 

Who is Jeffrey Skoll?

Following on from his success at Ebay that ensured Skoll’s meteoric rise to the ranks of the billionaire elite, Skoll has capitalized upon that success to garner multiple awards from within the monied elite circles that he now inhabits.

Skoll has been awarded the Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy, which is considered to be the equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize for philanthropy. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a big-business club that is described as a “foreign policy think tank” with centers in Washington, New Delhi, Moscow, Beirut and Beijing. Former President Jessica Matthews said that her aim was to make Carnegie the place where world thinking can be incorporated into thinking about U.S policy and to transmit that thinking to the global audience.

On the Carnegie board of trustees is Syrian oil magnate Ayman Asfari, a U.K. resident and financial contributor to the Conservative government that has been at the forefront of the U.S. Coalition war effort in Syria. Asfari has been instrumental in financing much of the PR industry, including the White Helmets, that builds the “regime-change” narratives that criminalize the Syrian government and its allies, an effort detailed in Parts 1 and 2 of this series.

Skoll established Participant Media (PM) in 2004. As with so many of the social-consciousness documentary production sites that have sprung up in recent times to alter our perception with beautifully crafted storylines designed to mobilize bias in a particular direction, PM claims to combine the “power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact.” PM joins the throng of billionaire-funded and -founded media and PR agencies of power.

Diane Weyermann is PM’s president of documentary film and television. Weyermann previously worked with Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute, which has played a pivotal role in promoting the White Helmet Oscar-winning “documentaries.” For seven years Weyermann was the director of the Open Society Institute New York’s arts and culture program. Weyermann also launched the Soros Documentary Fund which later became the Sundance Documentary Fund in 1996.

Skoll has been made an Officer of the Order of Canada “for his generous commitment to social causes and for his innovative practice of philanthropy.” Very often the bridge between big business and government agencies is made by such ostensibly “philanthropic” activities of the capitalist entities and individuals.

The Canadian government reportedly led the organization of the recent evacuation of alleged White Helmet operatives out of southern Syria via Israeli occupied Syrian territory in the Golan Heights, before they were transported to Jordan and on to their countries of resettlement, which include Canada, the U.K., France and Germany.

The Canadian government has been a consistently staunch supporter of the White Helmets, backing their multiple bids for the Nobel Peace Prize despite protests from groups and individuals who campaigned against Canada joining with the France-U.K.-U.S. (FUKUS) alliance that has strongly pushed for the downfall of the Assad government. Canadian foreign policy has effectively aligned itself with the Syrian-linked philanthrocapitalist sector led by individuals like Skoll.

Skoll slots into the billionaire complex that underpins the White Helmet structure with ease. In 2015, Skoll had a “conversation” with Mabel Van Oranje on “Belief in a Collective Future.” Skoll has donated heavily to the Clinton Foundation and met with Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state during the early days of the conflict in Syria. The Skoll Foundation has partnered in at least 21 commitments to programs designed by the Clinton Global Initiative. In April 2012, Clinton met with Skoll and Sally Osberg of Skoll’s charity during a U.S State Department-sponsored forum on government-business partnerships. The same month, USAID, the State Department/CIA contractor for expanding U.S global influence, announced a partnership with the Skoll Foundation to invest in health, energy, governance and food-security innovations. USAID has also provided at least $31m in funding to the White Helmets in Syria via one of its preferred subcontractors, Chemonics.

Skoll united with British business tycoon Richard Branson and Mabel Van Oranje in the funding of The Elders. Van Oranje resigned from her position as CEO of The Elders in 2012. It was Skoll’s Participant Media that produced Al Gore’s 2006 apocalyptic movie An Inconvenient Truth. Gore was Bill Clinton’s Vice President from 1993 – 2001. Skoll’s investment management firm, Capricorn Investment LLC, also received a $35 million investmentfrom Gore following the film’s success, which the firm invested into hedge funds and private partnerships, helping to grow Gore’s now sizeable fortune. Skoll co-founded Capricorn Investment LLC with former Vice President of Goldman Sachs Stephen George.

 

Skoll Foundation and Forum

When we start to look more closely at the “storytelling” partners of the Skoll Foundation, we draw even closer to the White Helmet PR industry. Skoll partners with the Sundance Institute, the BBC, NPR and Doc Society–Flex Fund, among others. The Sundance Institute, the BBC and Doc Society are central to the production and promotion of the White Helmet movie campaigns, including the Netflix White Helmet documentary that won the Oscar in 2016 and then Last Men in Aleppo that was nominated for the Oscar in 2017.

These organizations are literally the architects of “humanitarian war” and the White Helmets are their centerpiece, the ultimate “story” that, if told well, will draw Western nations deeper into the quagmire of a failed regime-change war in Syria. As Vanessa Beeley wrote in Architects of Humanitarian War:

I believe it’s safe to conclude that there is a vast, well-financed PR machine operating behind the scenes of the White Helmet organisation, whitewashing their discredited image and mapping out their political, media and Hollywood trajectory – in lock-step with the PR campaign is a media defence force headed up by Channel 4, The BBC and The Guardian. The hub of the film and PR sector is Doc Society.”

Listed among the Skoll Foundation “awardees” are Crisis Action and Global Witness — again linking to the White Helmet PR apparatus. Crisis Action brings together Brendan Cox, Gemma Mortensen and Tim Dixon of the Jo Cox Four. Crisis Action’s role in the White Helmet marketing complex was explored in detail in Part 2 of this series. Global Witness connects back to Mabel Van Oranje, who is on the advisory board with Alexander Soros.

The annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship is organized by the Skoll Foundation in partnership with the Said Foundation, or more precisely the Said Business School. The Forum convenes 800 social entrepreneurs, influencers, policy makers, philanthropists and students to “learn, problem solve and build community.”  The Said Foundation is “partnered” by Ayman Asfari, previously mentioned in connection with the White Helmet marketing team, headed up by the Syria Campaign.

The Skoll World Forum (SWF) was established in 2004. One of the sessions in the 2018 Forum was on “The Art of Co-creation: a Storytelling Model for Impact and Engagement.” As we have mentioned previously, almost the entire White Helmet PR team and White Helmet leadership have been listed as contributors to the SWF. These include James Le Mesurier, former British MI6 agent who established the White Helmets in Turkey and Jordan while employed by ARK Group; Raed Saleh, former mobile-phone salesman, now leader of the White Helmets; Tim Dixon MD, of Purpose; Farouq Habib, project manager at Mayday Rescue; and Brendan Cox, Mabel Van Oranje, Gemma Mortensen, and Nick Grono. CEO and president of the UN Foundation Kathy Calvin is also a contributor alongside the White Helmet team, and her role in promoting the billionaire-supported “humanitarian” group is further investigated later in this article.

In 2017, the SWF brought together Brendan Cox, Tim Dixon and Gemma Mortensen in a session entitled “Mobilizing a Movement: More in Common,” which focused on the Jo Cox-inspired movement to enable more “inclusive societies that look past our differences and embrace our common humanity.”

During this talk Dixon alludes to the iconic image of Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach in Turkey, which launched the refugee “crisis” in September 2015. The timing of this campaign, so rapidly adopted by the Jo Cox four and their associated PR agencies and billionaire network, was curiously in lock-step with the timing of the Russian intervention in Syria at the behest of the elected Syrian government. During the televised talk, Dixon describes the image of Kurdi’s body as “a defining moment for the More in Common impetus.” Dixon’s cynical exploitation of Kurdi’s death to promote the causes of the Jo Cox Four, including the White Helmets, was exposed by a statement given by Kurdi’s aunt, Tima Kurdi, in February 2017, in Canada:

Regime-change policy has destroyed my country and forced my people to flee. [U.S. Congresswoman] Tulsi [Gabbard]’s message was exactly what I have been trying to say for years, but no one wants to listen. [..]If the West keeps funding the rebels, we will see more people flee, more bloodshed, and more suffering. My people have suffered for at least six years.”

Tima Kurdi established very quickly that the furor over the refugee crisis, generated by the shocking images of her drowned nephew, was nothing more than a marketing campaign designed to facilitate a reaction and military push-back against the Russian intervention that threatened to derail the U.S. Coalition plans to topple the Syrian government.

Watch TEDXSkoll video showcasing a female White Helmets operative:

 

The many hats of Pierre Omidyar

Undeniably a formidable force in the promotion of the “Jo Cox Four” and the White Helmets, Jeffrey Skoll is not the only eBay billionaire involved in manufacturing consent for Syria regime change or in promoting the activities of the founding members of the Jo Cox Foundation. Indeed, Pierre Omidyar — the founder of eBay who was responsible for hiring Skoll and allowing him to amass his fortune — also shares many of the same connections to these individuals and the “humanitarian” regime change network currently exploiting the death of Jo Cox.

Like Skoll, Omidyar is also increasingly well-connected to the U.S. political establishment and was directly involved in promoting regime change in Ukraine alongside the Obama era U.S. State Department. Omidyar has a close relationship to Obama, having attended the same elite Hawaii school and having made more visits to the Obama White House between 2009 and 2013 than Google’s Eric Schmidt, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, or Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. He also donated $30 million to the Clinton Global Initiative and directly co-invested with the State Department, funding groups – some of them overtly fascist – that worked to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected government in 2014.

Even after Obama left office, Omidyar continues to fund USAID, particularly its overseas program aimed at “advancing U.S. national security interests” abroad. Omidyar’s Ulupono Initiative, a venture-capital fund that operates in his home state of Hawaii, cosponsors one of the Pentagon’s most important contractor expos, a direct connection between Omidyar and the military industrial complex that profits from U.S.-backed regime-change wars.

However, Omidyar’s very clear connections to the U.S. political establishment and U.S.-led regime-change efforts have often been obfuscated by reports on Omidyar’s “philanthropy.” Indeed, Omidyar has been heavily promoted as an “entrepreneurial” philanthropist, having won the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy and received accolades in the mainstream press for his unique “way of giving.”

One of Omidyar’s charitable groups, the Omidyar Network, has given large grants to George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (where Jo Cox Fund founder Mabel van Oranje once worked) and the Tides Center, and has collaborated with the U.K. government and the Ford Foundation. Notably, another arm of Omidyar’s charitable network, Humanity United, provided a considerable portion of the funds that established the Clinton-promoted Freedom Fund, whose inaugural CEO was Nick Grono, one of the founders of the Jo Cox Fund.

Another “philanthropic” project of Omidyar’s is the New York-based publication, the Intercept. That publication was largely founded with the intent of publishing the leaked U.S. government documents provided by Edward Snowden, but over 90 percent of those leaks have yet to be made public  over five years after the Intercept’s founding, leading critics to accuse Omidyar of seeking to “privatize” those leaks.

Yet, of the documents that have been published, one published last year exposed the opposition paramilitary group, the Free Syrian Army, as taking marching orders from the Saudi royal family. However, that document was published by the Intercept only after the U.S. State Department itself began to report more honestly on the nature of these so-called “rebels,” even though the Intercept had the document in its possession since 2013.

Furthermore, Intercept writers covering Syria frequently promote Syrian “rebels” and the opposition while also promoting pro-regime change talking points. For instance, Murtaza Hussain – a long-time writer at the Intercept – has written numerous stories downplaying the terrorist and Wahhabist elements of the Syrian “rebels.” In the last three years, Hussain has written pieces portraying known Al-Qaeda propagandists, such as Bilal Abdul Kareem, and Al-Qaeda-linked organizations, such as the White Helmets, in an overwhelmingly positive light — failing to mention in both cases the significant evidence tying these entities to known terrorist groups.

In another piece, published in August 2016, Hussain gave voice to al-Nusra Front leadership in a lengthy interview that largely whitewashed the group’s Wahhabist leanings and links to terrorist acts in Syria. In September 2016, on Twitter, Hussain asserted that Saudi Arabia’s funding of armed factions was not necessarily “good” but that “there is little to indicate they contribute to terrorism.”

Hussain is by no means the only Intercept writer who has taken such a pro-opposition stance regarding Syria. A now infamous Intercept piece on Syria, published last September, committed glaring factual errors on basic facts about the war, while also mistranslating a speech given by Assad so as to link him to American white nationalists. In addition, last year, the paper hired Maryam Saleh, a journalist who has called Shia Muslims “dogs” and has taken to Twitter in recent months to downplay the role of the U.S. coalition in airstrikes in Syria. Saleh also has ties to the U.S.-financed propaganda group Kafranbel Media Center, which also has close relations with the terrorist group Ahrar al-Sham.

Even “anti-interventionist” Intercept journalists like Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald have come under fire this past year for allegedly promoting inaccurate statements that supported pro-regime-change narratives in Syria, particularly in regard to an alleged chemical-weapons attack in Douma. That attack is now widely believed to have been staged by the White Helmets.

Given Omidyar’s connections to the political establishment, his past efforts aimed at affecting Western-backed regime change, and the way in which the publication he owns has peddled misinformation on Syria, Omidyar — like Skoll — is very much a part of “humanitarian” regime-change complex that uses billionaire “philanthropy” as a disguise for the manipulation of public sentiment in order to justify foreign military intervention to a Western audience.

 

UN Foundation, Concordia Summit and the White Helmets

Image result for Nick Grono Concordia Summit

Nick Grono also attended the Concordia Summit in September 2016 – The Power of Partnerships

Three months after Jo Cox’s murder in September 2016, two of the Jo Cox Fund originators — Tim Dixon of Purpose and Nick Grono, CEO of the Freedom Fund — took part in the annual Concordia SummitDixon was a key participant in the Private Sector Forum on Migration and Refugees, with a focus on the Purpose-”incubated” refugee and migration hub. Their objective? To change hearts and minds in Europe in relation to the refugee “crisis” — a Syria-centric “crisis” that has been largely manufactured and sensationalized with the aim of criminalizing the Syrian government. The reality is that Syrian refugees are returning to Syria as vast swaths of Syrian territory is liberated from Western-backed terrorist occupation.

Brendan Cox was also a speaker at the 2016 event, as were many other supporters of U.S. Coalition intervention in Syria: Lina Attar, of the Karam Foundation; President and CEO of International Rescue Committee, David Miliband; Lara Setrakian of News Deeply, a “rebel”-partisan media outlet funded by Ayman Asfari; George Soros; Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner; and Hans Vestberg, UN Foundation board member —  to name a few.

Tim Dixon attends the 2016 Concordia Summit. (Photo: Concordia Summit website)

This is taken from the Purpose website in 2015:

Purpose is proud to have served as a first time programming partner for the 2015 Concordia Summit. Now in its fifth year, the Summit convenes the world’s preeminent thought leaders and decision makers to address the most pressing global challenges by highlighting the potential that effective cross-sector collaboration can have in creating a more prosperous and sustainable future.”

Jeremy Heimans, the co-founder and CEO of Purpose, spoke at this event. Their session, “IntroducingNew Power in a Multi-stakeholder World,” featured an exciting line-up of speakers, each pioneering change in their respective industries in innovative ways. The focus was on the “civil society” sectors and their ability to implement transformation via peer-driven participation campaigns. Tapping into global energy and human agency was order of the day. One of the panelists, Scott Heiferman, promoted his model “Meet Up,” which harnesses the power of people-to-people networking: “How can you empower people to turn to each other – how can you unlock that most beautiful phenomenon?”

Jeremy Heimans is also co-founder of an organization, Avaaz, that “unlocks that phenomenon” and harnesses the power of peer participation in influencing public opinion — particularly on Syria, as covered previously in our series of articles.

True to form, Purpose produced a report in May 2017, “Understanding the Conflicted Middle: European Public Opinion towards Refugees,” shifting hearts and minds on refugees and migrants in Europe. While this report presented a number of symptoms and remedies, it does not investigate the root cause of the global refugee crisis, which is due, to a great extent, to the U.S. policy of military intervention globally that results in the mass exodus of peoples from war-torn nations into Europe. There, these refugees are weaponized to manufacture consent for further Western military intervention by organizations that claim to be protecting their interests.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations H.E. Filippo Grandi; Founder and Chair, Soros Fund Management, and the Open Society Foundations, George Soros; and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, John McCallum attend 2016 Concordia Summit – Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 20, 2016 in New York City. (Ben Hider/Getty Images North America)

Concordia’s annual report in 2016 described this summit as the “largest and most ambitious event to date, bringing together over 2000 thought leaders from across sectors, including General David Petraeus and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright … and philanthropist George Soros.”

Albright rose to notoriety with her dismissal of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children as being “worth it” when the U.S. imposed punishing and lethal economic sanctions on Iraq leading up to the first Iraq war in 1991 — sanctions that have, in part, persisted until today.

The Concordia Summit was established in 2011, just as the questionable “Arab Spring” was causing shock waves across the Middle East region. It was designed as an establishment intersection, a hub of global elite influencers and transformers. Cory Morningstar, an expert on the “smart power” complex, noted that the Concordia Summit was modelled on the success of initiatives such as the Wall Street Journal CEO Council and the Clinton Global Initiative: “Mathew Swifte (Chairman and CEO) and Nicholas Logothetis founded the Concordia Summit in February 2011 […] Swifte studied under global ‘leaders’ such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright..”

“The 2011 keynote address for Concordia (‘Cross-sector collaboration as a means of combating extremism and terrorism’) was given by U.S. President George W. Bush; followed by former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 2012; and Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman & CEO of The Dow Chemical Company in 2013.” ~ from article by Cory Morningstar, Purpose Goes to Latin America

The 2018 Concordia Summit just took place in September at the Grand Hyatt, New York, describing itself as “The largest and most inclusive nonpartisan forum alongside the United Nations General Assembly.” The line-up of soft-power magnates and establishment political and capitalist moguls was impressive. The summit featured the cross-fertilization of influencers, decision-makers and opinion-formers across a multitude of sectors, who came together to ensure the “next generation of partnership-builders” would be shaped in their image with their agenda indelibly imprinted upon the future. In its own language, from the Concordia Annual Summit 2018 overview“The 2018 Concordia Annual Summit will provide a powerful forum to catalyze action through shared value approaches and social impact objectives.”

In 2018, UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) joined forces with Concordia as a “programming partner.” This was not the first time they had collaborated. In 2016, UNHCR also took a central role at the Concordia Summit. In the words of Matthew Swift, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Concordia:

The mission of UNHCR is truly one of the core values of Concordia’s work. The commitment to ensuring that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home is a subject we’ve heavily focused on in the past, and we look forward to continuing these calls to action at the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit.”

Other “programming partners” in 2018 included the NATO-aligned think-tank, the Atlantic Council; the George W. Bush Institute; Open Society Foundation; U.S Chamber of Commerce; U.S State Department (Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships); U.S Global Leadership Coalition; and the Wilson Center, a Washington-based global issues research center. The Concordia Annual Summit appears to be a thinly disguised cartel established to promote U.S private- and public-sector interests far into the future, with potentially devastating consequences for the countries where such policies will be implemented by the world’s elite “philanthro-capitalists.”

Perhaps more remarkable is how Concordia gathers together so many of the players in the decades-long campaign to destabilize Syria and topple its elected government from power. Players who would capitalize upon the assassination of Jo Cox to appropriate public funds and direct them into financing elements of the regime-change project in Syria such as the Al Qaeda-linked White Helmets.

 

Kathy Calvin and the UN Foundation

The UN connection extends beyond the role of the UNHCR, with the attendance of Kathy Calvin at the 2016 Concordia Summit. Calvin is the CEO and president of the United Nations Foundation. Calvin, Mabel Van Oranje and Jeffrey Skoll intersect on the Advisory Council of the Elders — alongside British entrepreneur and billionaire Richard Branson and Sally Osberg, who is the president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. Once more, we see how the star-studded cast of the movement-building and social-change engineering world overlap and circulate in the ever expanding and interwoven spheres of influence.

In a 2011 interview with Forbes, Calvin laid out the objectives of the UN Foundation:

[The UN Foundation is a construct designed to bring together] some of the brightest entrepreneurs under 40 through the Global Entrepreneurs Council to take the UN and the UN Foundation – and our campaigns, partnerships, and programs – to the next level of innovation and impact. They are the next generation of entrepreneurs who understand that working with the United Nations is good for the world and for business. These innovative thinkers will help us engage with new generations to help the UN create 21st century solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems.” (emphasis added)

It would appear that Calvin is suggesting that the influence of the UN be exploited to expand U.S. private-sector business interests worldwide.

The UN Foundation came into existence in 1998 with a $1 billion commitment from former vice chairman of Time Warner and founder of CNN Ted Turner. His investment in the UN Foundation was described as his “gift for the future of Humanity.” Turner believed that the UN Foundation would “catalyze a new movement in philanthropy.”

The list of UN Foundation’s partners is another glittering array of the world’s most powerful foundations and individuals. The Skoll Foundation is on that list alongside AOL, Google, Royal Dutch Shell, Walt Disney, Unilever, and the governments of the U.S, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, UAE, U.K. and the World Bank. UN Foundation is the heavyweight of philanthropy, backed by billionaires from a vast spectrum of market sectors and political backgrounds.

 

Ted Turner and Calvin’s connections to Clinton

Ted Turner endorsed Hillary Clinton’s election campaign in 2016. Time Warner was among the myriad of media moguls who financed the failed Clinton campaign to the tune of $50,000 – $100,000, according to statistics published by Politico. CNN reporter Larry King was once caught on open-mic in the early 1990s telling Bill Clinton that “Ted Turner would serve” him. A report in the Washington Times cited Turner as saying “Hillary Clinton is one of the smartest and most powerful people in the world.” Turner praises Clinton uncritically, ignoring her record as one of the most malevolent war-hawks of our generation. It is Clinton’s gleeful celebration of Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi’s sodomization and murder by the U.S.-supported “rebels” that has come to symbolize the moral vacuum of the U.S. neocon foreign policy — policy that also serves the billionaire corporatocracy presided over by moguls such as Ted Turner.

Calvin’s connections to the Clinton clan also run deep. In 2013, the UN Foundation and its Global Entrepreneurs Council announced the “MY World Global Initiative” at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. According to the UN Foundation website:

MY World looks beyond 2015 – the endpoint for the current Millennium Development Goals – to engage people from all parts of the world and ensure their views will be part of the global conversation about the post-2015 global development agenda. To date, approximately one million people from 194 countries have contributed to MY World, and the UN Foundation is committed to helping secure one million more.” (emphasis added)

United Nations Foundation, Michael Bloomberg, Kathy Calvin on far right with Chelsea and Hillary Clinton. New York 2014. Signalling new initiative between Clinton Foundation, UN Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. (Photo: Zimbio)

In 2014, Hillary Clinton, Kathy Calvin and Michael Bloomberg formed a new partnership to “close gender gaps.” Bloomberg is reported to be the eighth richest man in the U.S., with a net worth of $48.9 billion (2018) — a “philanthrocapitalist” whose causes range from gun control to climate change. The event, which took place on December 15, 2014 at Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York, sought to:

[H]ighlight the work of Data2X – a partnership launched by Secretary Clinton in July 2012 to identify and spur efforts to fill gender data gaps – and unveil new partnerships to improve data collection and use for women and girls. Better gender data are needed to guide policies, set targets, and monitor progress for women and girls.” (emphasis added)

Calvin’s links to the PR and media industries pre-date her appointment as CEO of the UN Foundation. Listed in Fast Company’s “League of Extraordinary Women,” before joining the UN Foundation in 2003, Calvin was President at AOL Time Warner Foundation, responsible for its “philanthropic” activities. Immediately prior to joining Time Warner, Calvin was Senior Managing Director at Hill and Knowlton. Hill and Knowlton is perhaps best known for its production of the hoax “incubator baby” story that provided the “humanitarian” pretext for the first Gulf War — later exposed, as recounted in The Diabolical Business of Global Public Relation Firms, as an elaborate staged event:

Before the first Gulf War, a fake news propaganda spectacle took place courtesy of WPP’s Hill & Knowlton. They were hired by Citizens for a Free Kuwait and eventually received nearly $10.8 million to conduct one of the most effective public relations campaigns in history. Hill & Knowlton helped create a national outrage against Iraq by publicizing the horrifying events supposedly caused by Iraqi soldiers during Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.”

Interestingly, this connection then extends to Tim Dixon and Purpose New York. In September 2014, Purpose welcomed Josh Hendler as Chief Technology Officer. Just prior to joining Purpose, Hendler had held the same position at Hill and Knowlton Strategies.

Hendler’s mission was to “… develop the next-generation of tools to empower people across the globe to build movements…” (emphasis added).

Promotional image taken from the B-Team website.

Kathy Calvin has recently teamed up with billionaire Richard Branson on the Virgin Unite Foundation-incubated B-Team. Calvin is one of the 23 leaders whose mission is to “deliver a Plan B that puts people and planet alongside profit.”  The B-Team is managed by none other than Purpose. 

Branson, the Virgin tycoon, paid tribute to Jo Cox on his website in 2016. In this message, Branson presented a thinly veiled political message alluding to the “More in Common” movement that would shortly be established by Brendan Cox. Cox resigned from his position as director of More in Common in February 2018, following allegations of sexual harassment.

Branson also supports Nick Grono’s Walk Free Foundation, alongside Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and Bill Gates. Grono is one of the Jo Cox Four. Branson has also promoted the Netflix White Helmet documentary, describing it as offering “real insight into the horror and humanity, happening right now in Syria.” Many of the 20 documentaries promoted by Branson as must-watch reports have been produced by Skoll Foundation’s Participant Media. Another example of the reach and power of the billionaire PR industry.

In a separate report, Vanessa Beeley mapped out the intricate PR and film production processes that propelled the White Helmet movies to international acclaim and award ceremonies. She writes, in Architects of Humanitarian War:

White Helmet propaganda has seduced droves of human beings with a genuine humanitarian reflex that has been exploited by this “centre-piece” perception-changing construct. The story told by the White Helmet media and PR agencies has elevated this Al Qaeda support group to celebrity cult status. The world has fallen in love with what should most horrify it, while the people of Syria have their voices asphyxiated by Hollywood glamour and transformational mass communication.”

Yet again, we see how the web of billionaire philanthrocapitalism functions and how it builds its platforms of influence and behavioral-change power base. The components of this web are interchangeable — mobile and flexible, able to move swiftly and effectively, powered by billionaire resources and financial monopoly of the desired market sectors. It is a formidable force for change in this world, but accountable to none. Thus questions must be asked as to who benefits most from the changes their apparatus will impose upon some of the poorest nations in this world and their poverty-stricken or war-displaced citizens.

The White Helmets benefit from the Billionaire Network

The Social Good Summit (SGS) is held annually during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) week. A gathering of elite change manufacturers and global policy makers who desire to shape the future we apparently want to live in by 2030:

A dynamic exploration of the world we want to live in by 2030, the Social Good Summit will focus on how we can unlock technology’s potential to make the world a better place.”

The SGS is organized in partnership with the UN Foundation, the UNDP (UN Development Programme), Ted Turner-funded media website Mashable, multinational investment bank UBS, Zionist cultural non-profit 92Y, and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

The 2017 SGS was clearly a vehicle to further promote and iconize the White Helmets, combining political elite with celebrity cult elements that reinforced the stellar, Oscar-winning status of the faux “humanitarian” group.

Connie Britton with Khaled Khatib and Moustafa Munir at the Social Good Summit 2017. (Photo: Instagram)

Connie Britton, actress and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, uncritically promoted the group’s carefully cultivated reputation as “civilian do-gooders” during an interview conducted at the summit. The White Helmet representatives Britton interviewed were Khaled Khatib and Mounir Mustafa. We have spoken about Mustafa’s links to armed groups in Syria in Part 2 of this series.

Despite having the term “social good” in the name, the organizations behind the SGS, as well as its promotion of weaponized “humanitarian” constructs like the White Helmets, again reveal a powerful billionaire-driven PR industry which seeks to manipulate the innate human desire to “do good” and benefit the collective into supporting policy moves — such as regime change abroad — that benefit only the global monied elite.

 

Using Jo Cox to divide the Labour Party

A more worrying development that has emerged from the exploitation of the murder of MP Jo Cox is the apparent attempt to divide the already beleaguered Labour Party and to undermine its leadership, in particular Jeremy Corbyn.

Cox herself turned against Corbyn shortly before she was killed in 2016 and was forced to apologize after a newsletter had been circulated by one of her aides with the headline “Why I knifed Corbyn.” Two weeks prior, Cox had co-written an article with Neil Coyle in the Guardian, expressing regret over nominating Corbyn and dissatisfaction with his leadership.

Shortly after Cox’s murder, billionaire Branson came into conflict with Corbyn over the privatization of the rail services in the U.K. Corbyn was pushing for public ownership and this came into direct confrontation with the business objectives of Branson’s Virgin empire.

On many fronts Corbyn is challenging the establishment paradigm. As journalist Jonathan Cook explained, “Corbyn is being destroyed, like blowing up a bridge to stop an advancing army.” Part of the advancing army is Corbyn’s apparent determination to investigate and bring an end to military intervention by the British government and its allies. This has set the cat among the Syria “regime-change” pigeons, who have striven towards the destabilization of Syria for at least eight years, many for longer.

When the Labour MP and close ally of Corbyn, Chris Williamson, tweeted his support for the co-author of this report, Vanessa Beeley, the NATO-aligned twittersphere was outraged. Oz Katerji, long-time supporter of the Syrian “revolution” and vocal detractor of the Syrian government, rose to blow up the bridges in an article for the New Statesman.

Katerji has close ties to NATO-aligned “research” website Bellingcat, which has been instrumental in maintaining international pressure upon the Syrian government by supporting the chemical-weapon narratives generated by the White Helmets. Bellingcat’s founder, Eliot Higgins, is employed by the Atlantic Council, which is funded by the U.K., UAE, and U.S. weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, among others. Katerji is closely involved with the refugee “crisis,” on the “frontlines” as a team member of the Help Refugees NGO. The common factors that link all members of the war-for-peace-in-Syria cartel become more blatant as we delve deeper into their activities and connections.

Help Refugees is supported by none other than Soros’s Open Society Foundation and the Radcliffe Foundation, led by by philanthro-capitalist billionaire Frank Giustra, among other influential foundations. (Giustra’s connections to the billionaire network were covered in Part 2 of this series)

Katerji is also a dedicated promoter of the White Helmets, often seen attacking comments on Twitter that provide evidence of the White Helmet affiliations to extremist groups, including Nusra Front and ISIS. Katerji has been hosted by the Fabian Society in the House of Lords to discuss the refugee “crisis” in relation to Syria. Jo Cox’s connections to the Fabian Society are examined in Part 1 of this series.

In the New Statesman article, Katerji invoked the name of Jo Cox to effectively divide the Labour party along clearly defined lines. On one side, those Labour MPs who will not swing into war on the coat-tails of the Conservative Party, on the other those who would align themselves with the Blairite policies of “intervention at all costs.” Jo Cox is being used as a banner under which the Blairites can renew their campaigns to “do more” in Syria, which effectively signals greater military and economic pressure upon the Syrian people and perpetual war. For the Blairites, war can be prevented only by the departure of the Syrian Government and its replacement with an Islamist regime that would signify the end of Syria’s secular culture. This is an agenda that is not aligned with the wishes of the majority of the Syrian people, a fact that is apparently of no consequence to the “Jo Cox party.”

Oz Katerji delivering ambulances to Raed Saleh, leader of the White Helmets, in terrorist-occupied Idlib. (Photo: Raed Saleh Twitter)

The title of Katerji’s hit piece, indirectly aimed at Corbyn, was “Labour can be Jo Cox’s party or Chris Williamson’s – it cannot be both.” His article ends with the claim that there is a “war for the heart of the Labour party underway; ultimately Labour cannot be both the party of Jo Cox and the party of Chris Williamson. If Williamson’s latest endorsement receives no censure from the Labour leader’s office, the answer to that question will be heard loudly and clearly all the way from Westminster to Damascus.”

Watch Oz Katerji heckle Corbyn at a Stop the War Coalition conference in London in 2016:

Katerji is right in one way, but what is happening is a much bigger war. It is a war against humanity. A war during which we must connect ourselves even more closely to the peoples of nations under attack by the perpetual war industry sustained by the billionaire network. The powers that be are exploiting every possible avenue to demonize those who would challenge their agenda. From “anti-Semitism” to “genocide denial,” they are weaponizing tragedy and history to serve their own purposes. As Jonathan Cook puts it:

The corporate elites have no plan to go quietly. Unless we can build our ranks quickly and make our case confidently, their antics will ensure the paradigm shift is violent rather than healing. An earthquake, not a storm.”

 

Chuka Umunna’s new think tank

Beyond Katerji’s invocation of Jo Cox as a justification to divide U.K. Labour and return it to the pro-intervention party it once was under the leadership of former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, there is considerably more evidence that the same billionaire-led “humanitarian” regime-change network working to promote regime change in Syria is also intimately involved in the effort to divide the party. Look no further than Labour MP Chuka Umunna.

Umunna has long been a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, whom he has likened to “nasty trolls” for opposing war abroad. Umunna has long staunchly supported U.K. military adventurism, consistently supporting the deployment of U.K. military forces abroad as well as supporting regime change in Syria and the bombing of that country. Indeed, Umunna’s pro-intervention stance is so well defined that former U.K. Prime Minister and pro-interventionist Tony Blair once promoted Umunna to be the future leader of the Labour party.

More recently, Umunna has played a critical role in the anti-Semitism smear campaign targeting Corbyn, calling Corbyn’s Labour “institutionally racist” despite Corbyn’s long past as an anti-racism campaigner. The anti-Semitism issue was also used by Umunna to cast doubt on Corbyn’s ability to lead the party, and to promote a split of that party if Corbyn continued on in his current role as leader.

Given Blair’s past endorsement, Umunna seems poised to lead a new Blairite Labour spin-off if efforts to divide the party are successful. In this context, it is important to note that Umunna himself is directly connected to the same billionaire-led nexus that includes the humanitarian “regime-change” network that has been the focus of this series.

On October 15, Umunna announced via a column in the Independent that he would be chairing a new “progressive” think tank, Progressive Centre UK. However, as Umunna’s own column reveals, the Streatham MP repeatedly conflates “progressivism” with the “centre-left,” which Umunna defines as the politics of neo-liberal corporatists like Tony Blair, Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau.

While Umunna’s new think tank does not yet describe its funding or its partners, it does openly note that it is proudly part of the “Global Progress” network, which is an outgrowth of the Global Progress Initiative (GPI). GPI was created in 2009 by the Center for American Progress, a U.S. think tank led by John Podesta, long-time Clinton associate and chair of Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, as well as another Clinton confidante, Neera Tanden. GPI promotes former neo-liberal leaders like Tony Blair of the U.K., Bill Clinton of the U.S., Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark, Justin Trudeau of Canada, and Ricardo Lagos of Chile as “progressives.”

Notably, Umunna’s ties to John Podesta and the Clintons precede the creation of this new think tank, as Umunna reached out to Podesta, then chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and offered to advise Clinton campaign staff on how to beat the “American Jeremy Corbyn,” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

Umunna’s Progressive Centre UK makes it clear that is the U.K. branch of the Global Progress network, as it promotes its partners as the Global Progress network’s other branches in Canada (Canada2020), Italy (Volta) and France (Terra Nova). The Progressive Centre UK’s Italian partner, Volta, does not have a single Italian on its advisory board, despite being an Italian political think tank. Its advisory board includes former Senior Adviser for Innovation to Hillary Clinton, Alec Ross; former U.K. Labour politician and minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, David Miliband; French-born Murdoch lobbyist, Frederic Michel; and former Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Notably, David Miliband was once promoted as the “stand-in” for Jo Cox’s seat in Parliament following her murder and encouraged by Blairites within the Labour Party to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for leadership of the party.

Thorning-Schmidt’s inclusion in this network is also important given that she is currently CEO of Save the Children, where Jo Cox once worked, as did Brendan Cox until his “inappropriate behavior” was exposed. Thorning-Schmidt is a board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations alongside Mabel van Oranje. She is also a member of the board of the International Crisis Group (ICG) alongside George Soros; former Treasury Secretary under Clinton, Larry Summers; and Frank Giustra, among others.

As mentioned in Part 2 of this series, ICG and Save the Children — which both are intimately linked to Thorning-Schmidt — are part of the Crisis Action network, which is directly connected to the Jo Cox Four through Gemma Mortensen, Brendan Cox, and Tim Dixon, as well as Mabel van Oranje. Thorning-Schmidt’s connections are even more notable in the context of the push to divide the U.K. Labour party, given that she is married to Stephen Kinnock, a U.K. anti-Corbyn Labour MP who led the original efforts to split the Labour party following concern over Corbyn’s rise.

Like Volta, the Global Progress Network’s Canadian branch, Canada2020, is similarly problematic. While casting itself as an “independent” and “progressive” think tank, it proudly lists its partners as multinational corporations including Facebook, Google, Amazon, General Electric, massive multinational mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, Mastercard, and Shell Oil. Canada2020 recently hosted the Global Progress summit that Umunna promoted in his column announcing Progressive Centre UK. Umunna attended that summit, which was also attended by Tim Dixon of the Jo Cox Four, as well as Ben Scott of the Omidyar Network and John Podesta himself.

Though the newly-minted Progressive Centre UK has yet to host an event or make its donors and partners public, the other branches of the Clinton-linked Global Progress Network make it clear exactly what this new Umunna-led group will support and with whom it will associate.

 

Conclusion: Much exposed, much delving yet to do

The Jo Cox Fund, set up following the MP’s sudden and tragic death, formed the basis for the oligarch-backed NPIC network that would weaponize Cox’s death in order to promote pro-intervention policies and to attack actual progressive politicians in the U.K. Labour party who would oppose such British allied intervention abroad.

In their efforts to promote and enact regime change abroad, particularly in Syria, the Jo Cox Four have used their connections to the global elite and elite-funded “humanitarian” organizations to exploit the sympathy and outrage provoked by her death in order to manufacture consent for the pro-intervention policies that are the hallmark of the Blairite wing of U.K. Labour.

However, as the myriad connections between this “humanitarian” regime-change network and elite billionaires show, these policies are supported and designed not by the people but by oligarchs and the political elite. Only by masking their otherwise unpopular policies in the cloak of Jo Cox’s tragedy, and humanity’s natural empathy for good samaritans and the downtrodden, has this small group of powerful individuals been able to launder disastrous wars and military adventurism as “the right thing to do.” The Jo Cox Fund and the four individuals behind it truly exemplify the group of “middlemen” who engineer this manipulation at the behest of some of the world’s richest and most controversial figures.

Though over two years have passed since Cox’s murder, her death continues to be weaponized to suit this same agenda. Now, the global elite continue their fight to oust Jeremy Corbyn from power, fearful that the political triumph of a pacifist will greatly complicate their plans to keep the U.K. embroiled in endless wars abroad, serving their ever expanding economic and global power ambitions.

Yet they can succeed only by hiding their true role in their efforts to oust Corbyn and weaken Labour by dividing it. That is the precise reason that these oligarchs, through their vast fortunes, have constructed a massive inter-connected network of “humanitarian” organizations to convince us that their policies are “people-driven” when they are really “oligarch-driven.”

However, such efforts can bear fruit only under cover of darkness. Only by shining light on this nefarious network, as we have begun to do here, can the public be warned that they are being deceived. No one knows better than the oligarchs that a well-informed public is the greatest threat to their neoliberal policies, their wars, and their ultimate goal of global market monopolies and resource supremacy.

While this investigation has revealed many aspects of this oligarch-driven network, it has only scratched the surface. More work in this field is needed and we encourage any and all inquiring minds to delve deeply into this billionaire-built “humanitarian” regime-change network, exposing its true motives and its manipulative bias mobilization techniques that threaten all our futures.

 

 

[Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist, peace activist, photographer and associate editor at 21st Century Wire. Vanessa was a finalist for one of the most prestigious journalism awards – the 2017 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism – whose winners have included the likes of Robert Parry in 2017, Patrick Cockburn, Robert Fisk, Nick Davies and the Bureau for Investigative Journalism team. You can support Vanessa’s journalism through her Patreon Page.]

[Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.]

From the End of History to the End of Truth

TeleSUR

March 11, 2018

By Tortilla Con Sal

 

 

Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. | Photo: Reuters

Non governmental organizations play a role in the Western elites’ offensive against resistance to them.

Making nonsense of Fukuyama’s premature triumphalist screed, it is commonplace now to note that the United States corporate elites and their European and Pacific country counterparts are increasingly losing power and influence around the world. Equally common is the observation that these Western elites and the politicians who front for them have acted over the last twenty years to reassert their control in their respective areas of neocolonial influence. The European Union powers have done so in Eastern Europe and Africa, most obviously but not only, in Ukraine, Libya, Ivory Coast, Mali and the Central African Republic. Likewise, the United States has acted to reassert its influence in Latin America and the Caribbean, effectively declaring war on Venezuela, maintaining its economic and psychological warfare against Cuba and intervening elsewhere with varying degrees of openness.

Before they died, among the main Western media bogeymen were Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Muammar al Gaddhafi. Now Vladimir Putin and Bashar al Assad have been joined by Xi Jinping and Nicolas Maduro. Along with these and other world leaders, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega has also constantly been the object of endlessly repetitive Western media hate campaigns. This longstanding, plain-as-day media strategy, regularly and blatantly prepares mass opinion to facilitate Western government aggression against the latest target government. No one following these processes with any attention will have failed to notice the leading role played by non governmental organizations in the Western elites’ offensive against resistance to them by political leaders and movements around the world.

In almost every case of recent Western provoked interventions, from Venezuela in 2002, through Haiti in 2004, Bolivia in 2008, Honduras in 2009, Ecuador in 2010, Ivory Coast, Libya and Syria in 2011, Ukraine in 2014, Western media have used deliberately misleading and downright deceitful reports from Western NGOs to support their own false misreporting of events. In Nicaragua’s case, the usual untrustworthy NGO suspects like Amnesty International, Transparency International and Global Witness constantly publish misleading reports and statements attacking or undermining President Daniel Ortega and his government. In general, their reporting is grossly biased and disproportionate given the regional context of incomparably horrific events and deplorable conditions elsewhere in Latin America, but, as often as not, it is also downright untrue.

In a recent example, Global Witness stated that Nicaragua’s proposed interoceanic canal “wasn’t preceded by any environmental impact reports, nor any consultation with local people”. Both those assertions are completely untrue. But this Big Lie repetition is the modus operandi of the Western elites who fund outfits like Global Witness, Amnesty International, and other influential NGOs like International Crisis Group and Transparency Intenational. For example, Amnesty International claims “We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion”. But it bears constant repetition that many of Amnesty International’s board and most of its senior staff responsible for the organization’s reports are deeply ideologically committed with links to corporate dominated NGO’s like PurposeOpen Society InstituteHuman Rights Watch, and many others.

Also worth repeating is that Global Witness in 2016 received millions of dollars from the George Soros Open Society Foundation, Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, the Ford Foundation and NATO governments. The boards and advisory boards of these NGOs are all made up overwhelmingly of people from the Western elite neocolonial non governmental sector. Many have a strong corporate business background as well. All move easily from one highly paid Western NGO job to the next, serving NATO country foreign policy goals. Cory Morningstar has exposed the pro-NATO global political agenda of organizations like US based Avaaz and Purpose, noting “the key purpose of the non-profit industrial complex is and has always been to protect this very system it purports to oppose”.

Back in 2017 it was already a truism to note that Western NGOS “operate as the soft, extramural arm of NATO country governments’ foreign policy psychological warfare offensives, targeting liberal and progressive audiences to ensure their acquiescence in overseas aggression and intimidation against governments and movements targeted by NATO. To that end, they deceitfully exploit liberal and progressive susceptibilities in relation to environmental, humanitarian and human rights issues.” What is now becoming even more clear in the current context is that these Western NGOs and their media accomplices are confident enough to publish downright lies because reporting the facts no longer matters. Western public discourse has become so debased, incoherent and fragmentary that the truth is almost completely irrelevant. All that matters is the power to impose a version of events no matter how false and untruthful it may be.

This sinister media reality is intimately related to the politicization of legal and administrative processes in the national life of countries across Latin America. The spurious legal processes against Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva in Brazil, against Milagro Sala and Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, against Jorge Glas and, no doubt very soon, Rafael Correa in Ecuador are all based on the same faithless virtual association and complete disregard for factual evidence as Western media and NGO propaganda reports attacking Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua. It is imperative to overcome the ridiculous liberal presupposition that the region’s elites, with the advantage of designing and controlling their countries’ legal systems and communications media for over 200 years, are somehow going to respect high falutin’ avowals about “separation of powers”.

Note: this article borrows from previous articles here and here.

 

 

[Tortilla con Sal is an anti-imperialist collective based in Nicaragua producing information in various media on national, regional and international affairs. In Nicaragua, we work closely with grass roots community organizations and cooperatives. We strongly support the policies of sovereign national development and regional integration based on peace and solidarity promoted by the member countries of ALBA.”]

Global False Witness – Targeting Nicaragua

Tortilla con Sal

August 2, 2017

 

“Models attend Alexander Soros Foundation’s Global Witness ‘Unmasked’ Gala on July 7, 2012 in Bridgehampton, New York.” Source: Getty Images [Further reading].

Global Witness is a well-established environmental and human rights non-governmental organization based in Britain. As with many other similar organizations, its reports often figure in news media as authoritative sources on international issues. Ever since the 1980s and, increasingly so, after the turn of the century, the status of NGOs as trustworthy information sources on foreign affairs has become increasingly untenable as they have been more and more co-opted by corporate interests and governments to promote the Western elites’ neocolonial global policy agenda.

In the case of Nicaragua, in 2016 Global Witness produced a brief, flawed and unreliable account of land conflicts in Nicaragua’s Northern Caribbean Autonomous Region in a report called “On Dangerous Ground”. In June 2017, they produced a report called “Defenders of the Earth”, with a section on Nicaragua even more poorly researched and false than the previous one.Three main reasons stand out to dismiss the latest Global Witness report on Nicaragua as unreliable and in bad faith.

Firstly, the report itself is clearly biased and flawed, from even a cursory analysis of its references and their sources by anyone familiar with Nicaragua. Secondly, the organization’s human and material resources all come from a very narrow managerial class and corporate funding base, overwhelmingly advocating the foreign policy positions of the United States government and its allies. Thirdly, the history of Global Witness clearly indicates its categorical bias in favor of NATO country governments’ policy positions in the countries that figure in its reports and too its systemic defense of the very corporate capitalism whose destructive effects Global Witness superficially and selectively criticizes.

Global Witness sources on Nicaragua

Before looking at the text of the false Global Witness attack on Nicaragua, it is worth looking at the sources they identify in their footnotes, of which there are 23, composed of a total of 44 references. For anyone familiar with Nicaraguan politics and society since the war of the 1980s many of the sources are wearily familiar and readily identifiable as anti-Sandinista, for example, the virulently anti-Sandinista La Prensa newspaper. Some of the references are duplicates and some disguise the fact that while apparently distinct, ultimately the information they provide comes from one single source. (Here’s a link to the relevant spreadsheet for anyone interested in a more detailed analysis.)

Of the 44 references, some of which are duplicates, not one represents the view of the Nicaraguan authorities or others criticized in the report or any source sympathetic to them. 16 references are to sources inside Nicaragua politically opposed to the Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. 25 of the sources are external to Nicaragua but with a long record identifying them as ideologically opposed to the Sandinista government. Of those 25 sources, one might argue that the Washington-based Interamerican Commission for Human Rights or the EFE Spanish language news agency are impartial, but their record is indisputably biased against Nicaragua’s Sandinista authorities.

For all but imperialist ideologues, the Paris based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has been discredited in particular, most recently, by its flagrant partisan bias in favor of NATO country government policies attacking the populations of Libya and Syria. One source, a reference to the law authorizing Nicaragua’s Canal, is completely neutral. Only one media source, El Nuevo Diario, is generally independent. Two references are to sources within the Western environmental scientific lobby, which has its own set of highly questionable biases, prejudices and neocolonial hypocrisy.

Methodology”

As if by way of justifying this desperately unfair selection of sources, Global Witness also offer an account of what they call their “methodology”. They aver, “We have recorded data about the cases using the HURIDOCS Event Standard Formats and Micro-Thesauri, an approach which is widely used to manage and analyse material of this nature.”

That Global Witness claim is demonstrably untrue. Whatever their aspirations they certainly did not use the HURIDOCS approach.

HURIDOCS (Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems, International) is a European NGO established in 1982 to facilitate networking between human rights organizations around the world. HURIDOCS says its ?specific role in this capacity-building process lies in improving access to and the dissemination of human rights information through more effective, appropriate and compatible methods and techniques of information handling. HURIDOCS recognises that we live in an age of tremendous advances in information and communication technologies. There is the need to master these technologies to aid us in our human rights work. At the same time, we must be conscious of the fact that the technologies to be applied should be appropriate and responsive to the main focus of the mandates of human rights organisation”

HURIDOCS exposition of their approach includes the following definitions:

Fact-finding is the process of identifying the violations in one event, and establishing the facts relevant to these violations. Fact-finding and investigation are terms that are used interchangeably.

Documentation is the process of systematically recording the results of an investigation or fact-finding in relation to an event or number of events. Fact-finding and documentation are organically related and should not be viewed as separate processes.

Monitoring is closely observing a given situation in society over a long period of time to see whether human rights standards are met. To carry out monitoring, investigation and documentation of a large and/or representative number of events are conducted.”

Global Witness are not in compliance with the HURIDOCS approach because their practice in their reporting on Nicaragua demonstrably violates all of these definitions.

Their fact-finding or investigation is so heavily biased as to make it impossible for them to establish the facts. Consequently, thanks to this gross fact finding bias, their documentation is partial, often inaccurate and categorically incomplete. Nor do they show any sign of having done due diligence in monitoring consistently over time via ” investigation and documentation of a large and/or representative number of events” or the context of those events in Nicaragua.

Other theoretical considerations

Apart from these chronic procedural failures, other theoretical considerations cry out for clarification.

Global Witness say, “This report is based on research on killings and enforced disappearances of land and environmental defenders, who we define as people who take peaceful action to protect land or environmental rights”.

But in a bitter property dispute between competing communities, clarifying who is defending whose rights becomes a fundamentally important question. Certainly in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast, unscrupulous Miskito community leaders are themselves involved in provoking these property disputes by illegally selling land to rural families migrating in search of a better life. Miskito gangs have attacked and murdered many such people, a factor not even mentioned by Global Witness. They completely evade the issue of identifying in a responsible, proportionate way whose rights are being violated.

Similarly, Global Witness state, “cases were identified by searching and reviewing reliable sources of publicly online information”. But  Global Witness obviously used heavily politicized criteria for deciding what is a reliable source, because not one single reference in their report on Nicaragua gives the Nicaraguan authorities’ side of the story and only one reference can fairly be described as ideologically independent. That renders completely incredible the phony Global Witness claim to systematic research.

They claim their investigation is systematic because “We set up search engine alerts using keywords and conducted other searches online to identify relevant cases across the world.” However, in the case of a small country like Nicaragua, a genuinely systematic search can readily be done covering a much wider range of sources than those accessed by Global Witness without recourse to modish, geeky “search engine alerts”. The poverty of sources evident in the report’s footnotes make Global Witness’s procedure look ridiculous.

Global Witness claim they “verify” the results of their investigation because “Where possible, we checked with in-country or regional partners to gather further information”. But they only cross-checked with ideologically and politically biased organizations, apparently using the same highly questionable, politically compromised sources they cite in their report.

Karl Popper, philosophical darling of the Open Society ideology embraced by Global Witness, explained over 50 years ago in “Conjectures and Refutations”  that verification is essentially authoritarian. He argued that a truly scientific investigation requires conjecture and falsification, a search for errors rather than for  justification.

If one goes along with Popper, it should surprise no one that Global Witness uses an essentially authoritarian methodology. Self-evidently, their job is not to discover the facts or to impartially establish the truth via a hypothetic-deductive Popper-style process , but to project a manipulative version of events justifying ideologically loaded interpretations favored by their corporate funders, an inherent bias understandably unacknowledged by Global Witness.

Nor is it surprising to learn from their account of their methodology, “While we have made every effort to identify and investigate cases in line with the methodology and criteria, it is important to add that our research mostly relies on public information and that we have not been able to conduct detailed national-level searches in all countries.”

That is not true either. Global Witness did not make “every effort” to investigate cases in line with their alleged methodology and criteria because they are flagrantly out of compliance with the definitions advanced by HURIDOCS.

A broader range of sources

Nor is is true that they were unable to conduct a detailed national-level search in the case of Nicaragua, because they could easily have included references from sources that contradict much of the information in the Global Witness report. The following is a brief sample of many other relevant sources, gleaned in a few hours searching on the Internet :

 

Even this very limited sample of sources, put together from just a few hours searching on the Internet, gives a very different picture to the one presented by Global Witness. So it is false of Global Witness to suggest they lack the resources to be able to stress test and falsify the version of events they have published in their report. Given the tremendous resources and the numerous skilled, experienced, talented people working at Global Witness, only abject intellectual dishonesty explains their failure to report faithfully on Nicaragua

Incoherent claims

Be that as it may, based on their cynically biased sources and their absurdly deficient methodology, Global Witness proceed in their report to make the following claims:

* 11 defenders killed in 2016 – making Nicaragua the most dangerous country in the world per capita

But, as independent journalist John Perry and others have pointed out, none of those people killed can fairly be described as having being killed for defending the environment. They were in property disputes and all of them were killed either directly or indirectly  in the course of those property conflicts. This is true in particular of the case cited by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (CIDH) , that of Bernicia Dixon Peralta, her husband Feliciano Benlis Flores and their 11 year old son Feliciano Benlis Dixon. Perry mentions some of the context. More context of the property disputes in the RAAN can be found herehere and here. Not a single person mentioned by Global Witness died in Nicaragua for defending the environment in the way that someone like Berta Cáceres did. Even so Global Witness have tended disingenuously to implicitly compare the situation in Nicaragua with that in Honduras, in particular with Berta’s murder.

The bad faith with which they do so is clear from the second claim in their report on Nicaragua:

* 10 of those murdered were indigenous people, with most killed in conflicts with settler communities over land. Meanwhile rural ‘campesino’ defenders faced threats, harassment and attacks, including for opposing the construction of an inter-oceanic canal.

Global Witness fails to make clear that groups from the indigenous Miskito people, whom Global Witness inaccurately portray as defenseless environmental defenders, are themselves guilty of murderous attacks against migrants settling land which in many cases the migrants apparently believed they had bought legitimately. Furthermore, the Global Witness report deliberately and falsely confuses the very specific situation of these property conflicts in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast with protests over the possible displacement of communities along the still to be exactly defined route of the proposed Inter-oceanic Canal 300 kilometers to the south. Global Witness unscrupulously frame their distorted version of events in the two regions to give the impression that in both cases the Nicaraguan authorities may in some way be directly or indirectly responsible for the violence.

In fact, even the New York Times has acknowledged in their otherwise generally hostile anti-Sandinista reporting that the Nicaraguan authorities do what they can with limited resources to protect the rights of indigenous peoples in the Northern Carribean Autonomous Region.

The situation along the route of the Canal is very different from that in the RAAN. Protests against the Canal are exploited by Nicaragua’s political opposition and groups participating in the protest demonstrations have damaged property and attacked police officers. In relation to this situation, completely separate from the property disputes more than 300km to the north, Global Witness claims:

* Activists were increasingly criminalized: foreign environmentalists were expelled, community leaders arrested and legislation passed restricting freedoms of speech and association.

However in the very next paragraph, the report quotes anti-Canal activist Francisca Ramirez saying, ““We have carried out 87 marches, demanding that they respect our rights and we have had no response. The only response we have had is the bullet.”

Thus, the Global Witness allegation that rights to freedom of association are restricted is immediately contradicted by Francisca Ramirez declaring her group has organized over 80 public demonstrations to express their views.

Similarly, Ramirez claims “The only response we have had is the bullet.” But, in the next paragraph, we learn “a member of her community lost an eye and another was shot in the stomach”.

Thus, after 87 demonstrations, some of which supposedly involved many thousands of participants and in which “The only response we have had is the bullet”, Ramirez cites precisely two people suffering serious injury and only one of them with a gunshot wound. Ramirez omits that the protesters on the marches she organizes go armed with machetes and home-made mortars. They block highways, intimidate ordinary people going about their business, damage property and attack police officers.

In no Western country would that be tolerated without, to put it mildly, a robust response from the police and security forces. Even so, Global Witness promote Francisca Ramirez’s account as if she and her movement were non-political and non-violent, which they are not. But Global Witness excludes those facts.

Likewise, as John Perry has pointed out, the foreign environmentalists expelled from Nicaragua were involved in a suspicious incident involving a small explosion. Again, a reasonable question to Global Witness is why they excluded this highly relevant information given that in Britain or the United States any foreigner, especially any non-white foreigner, involved in such a suspicious incident would face prosecution and a potential jail term under those countries wide-ranging anti-terrorist laws.

Inaccuracies and falsehoods

Mixed in with these disingenuous, incoherent claims, Global Witness also allege, presumably as supporting context, that the proposed Canal “would force up to 120,000 indigenous people from their land”. This outrageous falsehood is sourced from the pro-NATO, right-wing dominated European Parliament, but is categorically contradicted by the relevant multi-million dollar Environmental and Social Impact report by the extremely prestigious ERM company based in the UK. The falsity of that claim is further confirmed by the Canal concessionary HKND company’s representative Bill Wild who argues that the route of the Canal has been altered to take local concerns into account in such a way that fewer than thirty indigenous families will be directly affected.

Overall, ERM reckons that up to 7210 families or around 30,000 people are likely to be displaced along the whole route of the Canal, over 270 kilometres. The scandalously untrue figure quoted by Global Witness is propaganda from Nicaragua’s political opposition who are exploiting Ramirez’s quasi-celebrity status among Western environmentalists to amplify overseas the marginal support for their unpopular position against the Canal in Nicaragua. That fact is reflected in the incoherence of the arguments set out by Ramirez and her backers in Nicaragua’s political opposition.

If 120,000 people were really going to be displaced by the proposed Canal then the figure of 30,000 protestors from around the country the same political opposition regularly quote to describe national opposition to the Canal just does not add up. Quoting that same opposition figure, Global Witness state, “Francisca has rallied campesino groups from around the country who will be adversely affected by the canal to call for a meaningful say in its development. In June 2015, 30,000 people gathered for an anti-canal protest – Francisca organized 40 trucks so her community could attend.”

In Nicaragua, the cost of hiring a truck or a bus to carry 60 people or a similar amount of material goods on a round trip of 100km is around US$120, while a round trip of 300km costs about US$175. So hiring 40 diesel-guzzling trucks and buses with their drivers will have cost a minimum of US$4000. But Ramirez is an impoverished mother of five from a similarly impoverished community. Even if only one quarter of the more than 80 protests Ramirez says she has helped organized involved similar costs, the total amount involved runs into tens of thousands of dollars just for Ramirez’s community. Whatever the exact financial accounting, Ramirez is clearly supported by a great deal more than her own resources and those of her community.

Even so, Global Witness completely evade the obvious conclusion to be drawn from that incoherence implicit in their report. Namely, that Francisca Ramirez, far from being a simple altruistic community organizer defending her home is in fact a savvy political opposition activist promoting an inaccurate image of herself as well as concealing her real political agenda. Ramirez alleges that she and her family have been attacked and harassed. Supposing those accusations are true, no convincing evidence points to involvement of the government or the security forces and certainly not the HKND company in charge of planning and building the Canal. That contrasts with the situation of activists in Honduras or Guatemala who can in most cases offer reliable details with corroboration from witnesses to identify their assailants.

The press report cited by Global Witness contains no credible evidence from Ramirez except her say so, no corroborating evidence, no witnesses. Likewise the report’s reference to Frontline Defenders’ advocacy for Ramirez links to a summary profile including the false opposition propaganda, repeated by Global Witness, that the proposed inter-oceanic Canal has been imposed without consultation. But in fact preliminary consultations took place in July 2014 and subsequently a continuing consultative process has developed both before and after the publication of ERM’s Environmental and Social Impact Study, which recommended improvements to the consultation process which both HKND and the government accepted.

The Study did also criticize the handling of the expropriation issue and recommended that international standards be applied to any expropriation of land (reckoned to total 1359km2 of dry land out of Nicaragua’s total  area of 139,375km2) that may eventually be decided. Those ERM recommendations were accepted by the  government and HKND, and the subsequent consultative process has led to several important changes in the precise route of the Canal and to more detailed environmental studies which have been one reason for the delay in the Canal’s construction.

Frontline Defenders’ advocacy of Ramirez, cited by Global Witness, is based on her own account of events with no apparent attempt at corroboration despite the role of Ramirez as a front person for an anti-government campaign openly supported and facilitated by Nicaragua’s political opposition. In the course of framing their benign, heroic account of Francisca Ramirez, Global Witness present an account of the Canal’s origins and procedural progress which repeats virtually word for word the extremely hostile and systematically disingenuous interpretation of Nicaragua’s political opposition.

Garbage in – Garbage out

Winding up their version of the falsehoods, disinformation and propaganda copied from Nicaragua’s political opposition, Global Witness assert, “Resistance to the canal takes place against a terrifying backdrop of multiple murders in indigenous communities elsewhere in the country which have stood up against the arrival of agricultural settlers and demanded the government guarantee their land rights. Even requests by the Inter-American human rights system haven’t spurred the government into protecting community activists from being disappeared, mutilated and murdered.”

But, as is clear from reviewing a wider selection of sources of information in relation to the complicated land situation in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast, indigenous people themselves are responsible for murderous violence and their own leaders are implicated in corrupt land dealings. It is simply untrue to label the murders as being generically the result of attacks on community activists in the sense in which that term is commonly understood. The general consensus is that the Nicaraguan government has done more than any government in the region, with the possible exception of Venezuela, to protect indigenous people’s land rights with almost a third of the national territory designated as indigenous peoples’ communal land. Global Witness’s allegations on that score are demonstrably inaccurate and grossly unfair.

Similarly, the suggestion that the Canal protest movement is vulnerable to the kind of murderous violence prevalent in Nicaragua’s Northern Caribbean Autonomous Region is egregiously false. The protesters themselves have used violence and intimidation against the general population to carry out their protest actions, so far, thankfully, with no fatalities.

In summary, the Global Witness report in its section on Nicaragua uses politically and ideologically prejudiced sources which could readily have been supplemented with sources offering a contradictory account. The sources used themselves do not always corroborate the claims made in the report. Apart from the ideological bias, various substantive inaccuracies render the report extremely unreliable. The report’s conclusions are flawed because its initial premises are false – Garbage In, Garbage Out.

It remains true that there are serious property conflicts in Nicaragua’s Northern Caribbean Autonomous Region which the government is attempting to address despite a lack of administrative, judicial and security resources, against an intricate social, economic and political context and also the constantly changing opportunistic interaction of corrupt business interests with local indigenous peoples’ leaders, and unscrupulous local officials.

In the case of Nicaragua’s proposed Interoceanic Canal, it is true various issues, including the issue of expropriation, have to be clarified. Protestors claim they want dialog, but Francisca Ramirez sets the precondition that the Canal be scrapped.

The Canal’s critics never acknowledge that Nicaragua is already suffering chronic environmental degradation. The government and many environmentalists argue that the Canal will provide Nicaragua with the resources it needs to reforest deforested areas, better manage its water resources and reverse the current deterioration in Lake Nicaragua, while at the same time helping to reduce poverty.

Foreign and national environmentalists offer no viable proposals to enable Nicaragua to reverse the socio-economic and climate processes already driving accelerating environmental degradation in the country.

Protestors against the Canal exaggerate the number of people likely to be displaced by its construction and often dishonestly claim people affected by displacement will not be compensated. Meanwhile, they themselves are among those responsible for the environmental degradation that will definitely get progressively worse without the resources the Canal is projected to provide.

Corporate funders and the elite NGO revolving door

Featured photo in the Washington Life Magazine (“The insider’s guide to power. philanthropy and society since 1991”) by Tony Powell. Global Witness CEO Gillian Caldwell (far right) sits beside Manana Freyre. Freyre is the 20th General Counsel and Senior Vice President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. [Source] Berim Fellows Program. Hendi Residence. November 21, 2014.

Manana Freyre, Gillian Caldwell. Photo by Tony Powell. Berim Fellows Program. Hendi Residence. November 21, 2014. “WASHINGTON LIFE is the premier luxury-lifestyle magazine in the National Capital Region, published since 1991 by well-connected life-long Washingtonians who have exceptional insight into the community. Through our established social networks, loyal readership base and long standing relationships, WASHINGTON LIFE offers its advertisers a unique way to target discerning consumers.”
 

Few plausible explanations except intellectual dishonesty offer themselves for the desperate failure of Global Witness, firstly to adequately research the issues involved or, secondly, supposing they in fact did so, to acknowledge the complexity of the issues they examine. Global Witness frankly explain in their financial statement for 2016, they had income of over US$13 million. So they do not lack resources. Similarly, their Board, their Advisory Board and their CEO are all very experienced, smart, talented people. So even if they depend on younger inexperienced staff to do the research, their senior staff presumably review the product before publication. Lack of experience is not a reasonable explanation for the report’s glib dishonesty and inaccuracy.

A review of Global Witness funders reveals that for 2016 the two biggest funders were the Open Society Foundation of George Soros associated with the numerous so called color revolutions in support of NATO country government foreign policy objectives and the Omidyar Network of Pierre Omidyar whose links with US intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton are well known. Less well known is Omidyar’s support for NGOs that fomented the successful right wing coup in Ukraine. The complete list of Global Witness funders is available in the financial statement for 2016 on their web site. That document reports that in 2016 Global Witness received US$3.4 million from the George Soros Open Society Foundation, US$1.5 million from Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, US$840,000 from the Ford Foundation and over US$3 million from various European NATO governments plus Sweden.

All of these funding sources are unrelenting ideological opponents of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. A broad pro-NATO bias is very clear in the composition of the Global Witness Board and Advisory Board and CEO. Their profiles make clear they are almost all luminaries from the Western elite neocolonial non governmental sector, while many have a strong corporate business background as well. Just as there is a revolving door between government and corporate business and finance in North America and Europe, so too there is also a revolving door within that region’s elite NGO sector, a sector very clearly serving NATO country foreign policy goals.

Cory Morningstar has exposed the pro-NATO global political agenda of organizations like US based organizations like Avaaz and Purpose. In the case of Global Witness, their Board member Jessie Tolka is also a board member of Purpose and too of 350.org: Current Global Witness CEO Gillian Caldwell was also a very successful Campaigns Director of Sky1, now merged into 350.0rg. Cory Morningstar argues, “the most vital purpose of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) has not been to destroy the ecocidal economic system that enslaves us while perpetuating and ensuring infinite wars. Rather, the key purpose of the NPIC is and has always been to protect this very system it purports to oppose from being dismantled. Hence the trillions of dollars pumped into the NPIC by the establishment.”

Confirmation of Cory Morningstar’s argument can be found in the history of Global Witness itself. For example on Libya, despite their superficial anti-corporate gloss, Global Witness relentlessly apply NATO country government criteria here and here. Also on Ukraine, Global Witness project the same anti-corporate message while simultaneously reinforcing NATO country government propaganda. Global Witness has also received US National Endowment for Democracy grants in Cambodia and in Liberia.

Also, a decade ago, writers Keith Harmon Snow and Rick Hines questioned Global Witness’ corporate links in relation to the “Blood Diamonds” controversy and the organization’s role in relation to De Beers and also Maurice Templesman’s diamond companies. No doubt more thorough research would reveal information casting similar doubt on Global Witness’s integrity and independence.

Conclusion

This latest Global Witness report in relation to Nicaragua is  important because it is so readily falsifiable. It thus presents a clear litmus test : no news and information media can use the Global Witness report’s material in relation to Nicaragua without compromising their credibility.

The bias and inaccuracies in the section on Nicaragua in the Global Witness 2017 report call into doubt the integrity of the whole report. No news or information media interested in accuracy or honest reporting can conscientiously rely on Global Witness as a source without thorough cross checking and systematically comparing, contrasting and evaluating information from sources giving a different account of the events and issues in question.

Global Witness is neither independent nor trustworthy. It clearly has a strong but unacknowledged neocolonial political agenda promoting the regional policy goals of NATO country governments, while, conversely, attacking governments and other regional actors opposed to those goals.

NGOs like Global Witness, International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch, Transparency International and so many others, self-evidently fabricate psychological warfare inputs serving NATO country government policy, itself shaped by the same corporate elites that fund the class of NGOS of which Global Witness is a part.

They operate as the soft, extramural arm of NATO country governments’ foreign policy psychological warfare offensives, targeting liberal and progressive audiences to ensure their acquiescence in overseas aggression and intimidation against governments and movements targeted by NATO. To that end, they deceitfully exploit liberal and progressive susceptibilities in relation to environmental, humanitarian and human rights issues.

Their psychological warfare role supporting the NATO government’s aggressive destabilization of Ivory Coast, Libya and Syria in 2011, of Ukraine in 2014,  and the NATO country government’s low intensity war against Venezuela ever since 2013, as well as the campaign against Cuba over five decades, has been unmistakable.

More broadly their systemic ideological role is very obviously to protect and defend global corporate capitalism while superficially and selectively questioning and criticizing some of its worst abuses. Cory Morningstar’s insight bears repeating “the key purpose of the non-profit industrial complex is and has always been to protect this very system it purports to oppose”.

The coverage of Nicaragua in the latest 2017 Global Witness report is a text book example of that sinister fact.

The Pygmalion Virus in Three Acts [2017 AVAAZ SERIES | PART II]

August 3, 2017

By Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

 

Avaaz Investigative Report Series 2012 [Further Reading]: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VI

Avaaz Investigative Report Series 2017 [Further Reading]: Part I

 

Act One

In Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a sculptor who carved a statue of a beautiful woman out of ivory. A statue so beautiful, that Pygmalion fell in love with it. The symbolism in the play by George Bernard Shaw is premised on Henry Higgins falling in love with his own creation. [Source]

+++

According to The B Team report, Keith Tuffley manages the day-to-day operations of The B Team.

In his LinkedIn profile Tuffley states he is “Managing Partner & CEO of The B Team, a not-for-profit initiative headquartered in New York.” (Here, we must again recall that the headquarters as spoken of by B Team affiliates is that of the PR firm Purpose.) He is the former Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs in Australia with over 25 years experience in investment banking, finance, and capital markets. Tuffley is founder & chairman of NEUW Ventures, an impact investing company based in Switzerland. He also serves as Director or Governor on various NGOs including WWF-Australia.

Tuffley is a member of the Corporate Advisory Panel of the World Forum for Natural Capital[Full bio] and is identified as belonging to the “wider project team” of co-founders Polman and Malloch’s Business and Sustainable Development Commission. [Source: BETTER BUSINESS BETTER WORLD, the report authored by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, January 16, 2017]

The B Team executive committee [1] is comprised of the executive chair (Jochen Zeitz), three senior partners (Jean Oelwang, Joanna Rees and Keith Tuffley) and Managing Director Rajiv Joshi, who “oversees the organisation’s strategy”.

Where White Polar Bears Meet White Helmets

“Ultimately, this is a cultural challenge—linked to our own culture and to wider cultural dynamics. In the good old days, we saw NGOs as leading indicators of change, but today it’s the Millennials, whatever NGOs or networks they may belong to.” — The Stretch Agenda, Breakthrough in the Boardroom [Source]

“Mikael Fraenkel, Rajiv Joshi, Arianna Huffington, Shalini Mehan, Felix Stellmaszek during DLD15 FOCUS Nightcap at Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère in Davos on January 21, 2015.” Foto: Hubert Burda Media / BRAUER PHOTOS. Flickr

From the aforementioned Better Business Better World report:

“Rajiv Joshi is a Managing Director and has been with the organisation since its inception. He previously served as Executive Director for the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. Joshi served six years as a Trustee of Oxfam and as a Board Member of CIVICUS. He is currently on the Board of the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, and has served on the Equality and Human Rights Commission and as chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament.”

Joshi has an extensive background pushing forward both the UN Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs/”Global Goals”). He has been groomed by the United Nations, Skoll (2017 Skoll Awardees Convening, 2017 Skoll World Forum) and Branson. From the Skoll website:

“During this time he led global action towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), mobilizing over 173 million people as part of the ‘Stand Up: Take Action’ initiative. He also supported ‘The Elders’ with their Every Human Has Rights campaign and helped spearhead citizen participation in creating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as co-founder of ‘The World We Want 2015’ platform and founding Chair of the Post-2015 Policy and Strategy Group.”

Let this section serve as an introduction to where 21st century environmentalism (which today is, in reality, anthropocentrism) meets the 21st  humanitarian industrial complex. [Further reading: The Humanitarian Industrial Complex School of Thought | A Fish Analogy] Where white polar bears (the emotive veneer for economic growth, land and resource theft, privatization, the financialization of nature) meet white helmets (the emotive veneer for economic growth, land and resource theft, privatization, war). This is the intersection where today’s anointed “thought leaders” cut their teeth.This is the intersection where today’s anointed “thought leaders” cut their teeth. Akin to the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, today’s so-called environmental leaders and human rights activists are not (yet) genetically engineered, rather they are socially engineered experiments decanted from Harvard, Yale, Rockwood Leadership Institute and other institutions of indoctrination that serve and expand the global hegemony. One could theorize that today’s 21st century activism is a new process of mimesis – the millennial having assimilated into spectacle – far removed from both nature and reality.

“TEDxSkoll on Twitter: #TEDxSkoll TALK: ‘White Helmets @SyriaCivilDef: The Power of Trained Volunteers'”[Source]

Indicative of the accolades and tutelage showered down upon the aforementioned millennial Joshi, today’s thought-leaders are groomed, molded, and managed – specifically to manufacture and mobilise/engineer world views as desired and designed by the world’s most powerful hegemons. Ego, celebrity fetish, access, wealth, luxury are all Western desires that are fostered and cultivated in today’s assembly-line “activists”. Together, these desires, when nurtured, are an opiate that lures, beguiles and hooks the freshly-engineered plastic “activists” that today flourish like cells within the walls of non-profit industrial complex. The complex is the vehicle for the continued expansion of capital markets (infinite growth) and the protection of existing power structures.  Today we witness the world’s richest 300 people having more monetary wealth than the bottom 3 billion people. The same ruling elite invest trillions into the NPIC to ensure this existing power structure not only stays firmly intact, but expands. This is not “philanthropy”, a word created by and utilized by the rich to make theft of labour and commons not just acceptable, but illustrious. Rather, this is the best investment money can buy.

The aforementioned Stand Up and Take Action is an annual global mobilization coordinated by the United Nations Millennium Campaign and the Global Call to Action against Poverty. In addition, the Elders is another Richard Branson NGO, a person who has his tentacles wrapped around an innumerable amount of NGO endeavors owned and sanctioned by the global elite. “The World We Want” is a United Nations SDG campaign.

“Most funding and direction come from the wealthy nations. Often the donors form a conglomerate creating mutual responsibility and considerable ambiguity. CIVICUS, a partnership to promote “civil society” worldwide, is funded by, among others, American Express Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Canadian International Development Agency, Ford Foundation, Harvard University, Oxfam, and United Nations Development Programme.” — Joan Roelofs [Source]

 

As the grooming is underscored by the collaboration of mentors and mentees in private and public endeavors, it is of course no surprise to find Rajiv Joshi in the company of Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimens in a We Mean Business video series (since We Mean Business is an NGO founded by The B Team registered to Heiman’s Purpose). However, the following excerpt from the book The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough  demonstrates the unity and alliances of multifarious NGOs that prosper in a highly centralised manner outside of the public spectrum (see excerpt below). Public perception is critical for the brand. Thus, NGOs that serve on the forefront of the manufactured movements make a concerted effort to not publicly align with NGOs openly chasing capital and economic growth. The reality is this: the cherry-picked and highly groomed “leaders” of the world’s most influential NGOs, the ones with the faux radical veneer such as 350.org, Avaaz and Greenpeace, run in the same circles as the openly capitalist NGO models such as the B Team – which run/operate in the same circles as the International Crisis Group. NGOs that publicly promote and accelerate market-based solutions that will only further perpetuate our multiple ecological crises. NGOs that perpetuate the myth of “humanitarian interventions” and spontaneous popular revolutions.

Above: Screenshot from The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough By Alex Evans

Here we witness the social-organizational psychology experts grooming tomorrows “new champions“, “global shapers” and “new power” “thought-leaders” as determined and ultimately dictated by the world’s most powerful elites. In the 21st century, psychology is not only an extremely important tool in influencing public opinion, it is now considered to be perhaps the single and most important tool. The necessity to comprehend the mental processes, desires and social patterns of the populace at large cannot be understated. Working in lock-step with controlled media and the best marketing executives foundation money can buy, today’s faux activists, thought-leaders and media lapdogs are the very mechanisms of modern-day perception.

Consider the following claim by Avaaz that “BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera reported that at one point 40% of the images that were used in their coverage of the Arab Spring were generated by the Avaaz-supported citizens’ journalist network”. (See below screenshot.)

If this claim is verifiable, it is indisputable truth that the establishment is able to use its resources to maneuver, influence and control untold portions of protests. Thus, it is critical to question what is a legitimate protest versus what is a protest  orchestrated by outside influences.

“We’ve trained them. That translates into diplomatic leverage.”— Supremacy by Stealth, Robert Kaplan

As an example of the opacity prevalent in these various movements, the race to implement the financialization of nature (payments for ecosystem services) under the guise of UN’s “Global Goals” is nothing less than frenetic. Yet for all of the ongoing activity, this corporate triumph is being conducted in the background, with zero dissent, due to the fact that at the forefront of the manufactured movements – there is complete silence. Zero opposition. The non-profit industrial complex being the wall that protects and insulates the coup d’état of nature itself.

“Surveying this new landscape, it is clear that the true role of the thought leader is to serve as the organic intellectual of the one percent—the figure who, as Gramsci put it, gives the emerging class “an awareness of its own function” in society. The purpose of the thought leader is to mirror, systematize, and popularize the delusions of the superrich: that they have earned their fortunes on merit, that social protections need to be further eviscerated to make everyone more flexible for “the future,” and that local attachments and alternative ways of living should be replaced by an aspirational consumerism.” — The Rise of the Thought Leader – How the superrich have funded a new class of intellectual, June 28, 2017

[Further reading: From Stable to Star – The Making of North American “Climate Heroes”]

Establishing New Norms: Future Stewards, Pathfinders and Deep Practitioners

Perhaps there is no better snapshot of the congregation of all this grooming of the next generation of NGO leaders than the 2015 Avaaz retreat. This retreat finds The B Teams Joshi in the company of his peers and “movement builders”. Those identified in the aforementioned book excerpt are as follows:

Robert Gass: co-founder of the Rockwood Leadership Institute, former President of ARC International, a global consulting and training company specializing in transformational change with Fortune 500 companies. Robert has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Organizational Development from Harvard University. [2]

Judith Ansara:  A former facilitator for the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s The Art of Leadership trainings, she has facilitated organizations and leaders Avaaz, Witness and UNICEF. She has taught Transpersonal Psychology at Naropa University and Strategic Communications at the University of Massachusetts. [3]

Maura Bairley: Leads the Organizational Development Team for Move to End Violence, a project of the NoVo Foundation. [4]

Rachel Bagby: A Stanford Law Degree in Social Change and  leadership consultant whose clients include leaders from organizations such as Google, the Sierra Club and Rockwood Institute. [Source]

Radhika Balakrishnan: Faculty director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University. Past experience includes working for the Ford Foundation as a program officer in the Asian Regional Program.

Ian Bassin: Former Associate Counsel to President Obama, General Counsel and Campaign Director at Avaaz, Current director of United to Protect Democracy [“United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off…] Signatory to the Economic Security Project. [5]

Dalia Hashad: Attorney and a campaign director at the global advocacy group Avaaz.org. Prior to Avaaz Hashad worked for Amnesty International UK (Director, USA Program) and ACLU  American Civil Liberties Union.

Jamie Henn: 350.org co-founder, Strategy and Communications Director.

“I thought I’d never live to see the day when you could strap on a rocket pack and fly through the air… but then I met Avaaz. They supercharge work across the world, sending campaigns and movements soaring to new heights.” — Jamie Henn, co-founder, 350.org, Avaaz website

Paul Hilder: Avaaz co-founder Paul Hilder is the former Vice President of Global Campaigns for Change.org, a for-profit social venture started in 2006. He is co-founder and Chief International Officer of Crowdpac, “the platform for new politics”. He cofounded 38 Degrees and openDemocracy.net. He played leadership roles at Oxfam, Purpose, Here Now (Purpose) and the Young Foundation. His background in the NPIC and the Middle East is extensive. [6]

Joanna Kerr: Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada. Former Chief Executive of ActionAid International, Policy Director at Oxfam Canada. [7]

Adauto Modesto Junior: Brazil Student Ambassador, Lemann Fellow, at David Rockefeller Center for Latin America Studies, Brazil (Harvard). Served on the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic and the Ministry of Finance in Brazil. [Source]

Luis Morago: Campaign Director at Avaaz (Spain). Former head of Oxfam International’s EU Office (2007: “EU institutions are in a unique position to promote the R2P principle and give leadership,” Source] Previously worked on “the concept of rights-based approach in an emergency context” with British Red Cross Society and ActionAid (Research and Programme Learning Officer). [Source]

Heather Reddick: Avaaz Chief Operating Officer, Avaaz. Former Director of Finance & Administration at Let’s Get Ready, International Operations Director at Students for a Free Tibet, and National Operations Director at League of Young Voters. (Avaaz salary in 2014: USD$148,323.00 & USD$5,736.00 misc. expenses)

Carolina Rossini: Coordinates the Brazilian Open Educational Resources Project: Challenges and Perspectives funded by the Open Society institute. [Source] [Source]

Esra’a Al-Shafei: Bahraini civil rights activist, founder and executive director of Mideast Youth and its related projects, including FreeKareem.org  and CrowdVoice.org. Featured at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative University. Featured in Forbes’ 2014 “30 Under 30” list of social entrepreneurs making an impact in the world. Listed by the World Economic Forum as one of “15 Women Changing the World in 2015.”[8]

Theo Sowa: An independent advisor and consultant, specialising in international social development. An international consultant for NGOs such as as UNICEF, The Stephen Lewis Foundation, The African Union, Department for International Development, and UNDP. Awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in June 2010. [Source]

Tristram Stuart: English author and campaigner.

Farhana Yamin: International lawyer specializing in global climate change law and policy. Founder and CEO of Track 0, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, Visiting Professor at University College London. [Source]

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For further proof of strategic and highly organized grooming, consider the We Mean Business, Leaders’ Quest and Mission 2020 (under the direction of The B Teams Christiana Figueres) document Future Stewards – The Case for Partnership and Investment 2016-2020. The document outlines the desired behavioural change strategy to implement the “new economy”. The term “Deep Practitioners” is applied to a cohort of “30 senior leaders of influential private, public and civil society organizations, who are willing to collaborate across sectors and change their own patterns of behavior.” The budget thus far to train “future stewards” is 10 million. In the sample list of participants from the document outlining the “Pathfinders and Deep Practitioners Programs from 2017, we find recognizable names such as Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications Director, 350.org, former co-director of Greenpeace International’s Global Climate and Energy Program and corporate pet Tzeporah Berman, Grant Advisor, New Venture Fund and Rajiv Joshi, Managing Director of The B Team. As the machine works to churn out the next generation of leaders more beholden to the system than their predecessors yet with better and increased obfuscation, the following quote from the document best summarizes the goals and aspirations of gatherings such as the Avaaz retreats: “Global Influencers will create public and private opportunities for influential leaders to join the collective movement. Committed leaders will increase pressure on their peers to engage – establishing a new norm.”

Here, in these circles, there is no conscious belief in American imperialism, but only American “exceptionalism”, a description that is beyond debate and unquestionable in mainstream circles. Trees, whales and bees no longer exist except as a means of achieving sought metrics. All/any remaining anti-war sentiment having been replaced with the pathological cheerleading of  “coloured revolutions”, exporting “American democracy” and “greening” the military. The NPIC is the vehicle of “transformational change” which can only be honestly described as that which is designed, sought and financed by the world’s most powerful elite. The ideologies underpinning the dream of “ethical globalization” (a term utilized by the group Res Publica),  a globalized “deliberative democracy” has been the said driving force of Avaaz co-founders since their founding of Res Publica. Here, in these circles is where the myth of American exceptionalism is perpetuated. This faux belief, is the tie that binds. Here, in these circles, the power of conformity takes hold.

Nowhere is the role of Avaaz more apparent in the advancement of the Nations Sustainable Development Goals (the financialization  of nature, global in scale) than in the following paragraph written by Patel in 2014:

“The vision put forward by the UN High-Level Panel on the Post- 2015 Development Agenda is a beautiful one, and one I believe the vast majority of people share. But now comes the hard part: getting our governments to get behind this plan, first rhetorically, and then with actual budgets and political will. And to stay behind it until the job is done. To make that happen, we need one of the largest, most comprehensive and sustained political campaigns the world has ever seen. One that captures public imagination like never before. It won’t be a single campaign or coalition that does this, but a vibrant network of governments, NGOs, businesses and individuals that come together around this shared vision and coalesce into fit-for-purpose groups as needed, to seize opportunities and meet threats. These groups will need to use every tactic in the book, because that’s what entrenched interests who oppose progress will be doing. The threads that tie all this together likely won’t be a single brand, but memes and narratives that define and embody the zeitgeist. One popular meme, often offered tongue-in-check, is the idea of saving the world. It’s a narrative deep in our psyche, the theme of many of our most popular epics. But if ever there were a time to use this meme and its power in all seriousness, it’s now. It’s time for a movement to save the world.” —  p. 17, Ricken Patel, Global Development Goals, Partnerships for Progress, 2014

 

Act Two

 

“Establishing “heroes” and “villains” adds a moral element that will advance advocacy efforts.” — “Mobilizing Climate Action, To Paris and Beyond” retreat, March 4–6, 2015, New York

Here it is critical to highlight the “Mobilizing Climate Action, To Paris and Beyond” retreat held March 4–6, 2015, in Tarrytown, New York. As it is here that the hierarchy is laid bare and cannot be contested. The organizer of the retreat was the United Nations [9] with the retreat itself being financially facilitated by foundations (in this instance, the Clarmondial Foundation and The Stanley Foundation). The congregation consists of numerous participants that all play a vital role: corporate financiers that rule the corridors of power by way of their purse strings, public relations and media, and the institutions and NGOs that reside at the helm of the socially influential non-profit industrial complex: the United Nations, World Bank, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, We Mean Business (represented by co-founder Callum Grieve [10]), 350.org (represented by co-founder Jamie Henn) Upworthy (co-founded by Avaaz co-founder Eli Pariser), Avaaz, Here Now (Purpose, sister for-profit arm of Avaaz) World Economic Forum, GCCA (TckTckTck), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (chaired by Unilever CEO Paul Polman), Greenpeace, Unilever, and The Climate Reality Project (founded by Al Gore, co-founder of Generation Investment).

Mobilizing Climate Action, To Paris and Beyond retreat participants:

  • Emad Adly, General Coordinator, Arab Network for Environment and Development
  • Susan Alzner, Officer in Charge, Non-Governmental Liaison Service, United Nations
  • Robert Bisset, Senior Communications Officer, Climate Change, The World Bank
  • Roberto Borrero, UN Programs Coordinator, International Indian Treaty Council
  • Karl Burkart, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
  • Patty Carnevale, Senior Account Strategist, Upworthy
  • Joel Finkelstein, Communications, Climate Advisers
  • Nick Gaylord, Data Scientist, Idibon
  • Rhys Gerholdt, Communications Manager, Climate and Energy Program, World Resources Institute
  • Callum Grieve, Director of Communications, We Mean Business
  • Michael Hanley, Editorial Director, World Economic Forum
  • Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith
  • Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications Director and Co-Founder, 350.org
  • Antonio Hill, Executive Director, Global Call for Climate Action
  • Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director, Climate Action Network
  • Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, College of the Marshall Islands, Co-Founder, Jo-Jikum
  • Ruth Jones, Head of Leadership Programme, The Climate Group
  • Iain Keith, Campaign Director, Avaaz.org
  • Amy Keller, Strategic Partnerships, Live Earth
  • Ann Kobia, Advocacy Team, Secretariat, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance
  • Kate Lappin, Regional Coordinator, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
  • Carina Larsfälten, Managing Director, Global Policy and Strategic Partnerships, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • Patricia Lerner, Senior Political Advisor, Greenpeace International
  • Marie L’Hostis, Global Hub Coordinator, action/2015
  • Thomas Lingard, Climate Advocacy and Sustainability Strategy Director, Unilever
  • Tracy Mann, Consultant, MG Limited, and Project Director, Climate Wise Women
  • Michael Mathres, Director, World Climate Ltd.
  • Nelson Muffuh, Head of Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement, Post-2015 Development Planning Team, United Nations
  • Margaret Novicki, Chief, Communications Campaigns Service, Department of Public Information, United Nations
  • Nicholas Nuttall, Coordinator, Communications and Outreach, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Jonathan Rich, President, JCR Communications
  • Mila Rosenthal, Director of Communications, Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, United Nations Development Programme
  • Naysán Sahba, Director of the Division of Communications and Public Information, Office of the Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
  • Peter Sargent, Campaigns Director, The Climate Reality Project
  • Dan Shepard, Information Officer, Development Section, Department of Public Information, United Nations
  • Robert Skinner, Executive Director, New York Office Operations and UN Relations, United Nations Foundation
  • Sean Southey, Chief Executive Officer, PCI Media Impact
  • João Talocchi, Campaign Director, Here Now
  • Denise Young, Head of Communications, International Council for Science
  • Stanley Foundation Staff [10]

 

Par for the course, the report includes the standard disclaimer: “Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only. Participants attended as individuals rather than as representatives of their governments or organizations.” This rhetoric is standard across most (if not all) boards that serve non-profit industrial complex. It is best understood as protectionist rhetoric. In reality, participants are absolutely representative of their governments or organizations. Otherwise, they would not have been chosen for, nor would they retain, these lucrative positions.

The purpose of this retreat was preparations for COP21, Paris. 2015 was chosen by the elites as the year to formally implement the necessary policies that would accelerate growth and create new markets. This will be achieved via the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) under the guise of environmental protection and poverty eradication. From the report: “Progress on climate change negotiations will take place within the context of broader efforts to establish a sustainable development agenda that addresses the differentiated needs of all countries and provides adequate financing for development projects that will enable growth without negatively impacting the environment and humanity. Therefore, efforts to address climate change will be enhanced by integrating them with the post-2015 development agenda also being negotiated this year.” [Source]

“The retreat will bring together communications and advocacy leaders to discuss how best to communicate about and inspire climate action as an accelerator of sustainable development in the context of the post-2015 agenda.” Mobilizing Climate Action: To Paris and Beyond, Stanley Foundation Website

The “global goals” of the elites requires approx. 90 trillion dollars (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). The Ceres (partner of the “We Mean Business” project, as well as a partner and advisor of the 350.org divestment scheme) “Clean Trillion” campaign “encourages investors, companies and policymakers to invest an additional $1 trillion per year globally in low-carbon energy alone.” The development projects are contingent on furthering extractive industries (all of which are dependent on fossil fuels from cradle to grave). The most important items to note here are the following:

1) the “global goal” to unleash developments projects that “enable growth without negatively impacting the environment and humanity” is a proven and irrefutable oxymoron, and

2) most critically, the main pillar of the “new economy (“global goals”) is the financialization of nature. That is, privatizing and assigning monetary value to all services on the planet that nature provides. Make no mistake, the financialization of nature is the unspoken, yet absolute key goal of the United Nations (in servitude the oligarchy) that today is being implemented behind closed doors.

“Paris is not the end point. It’s a launching pad”, said Robert C Orr, principal policy advisor to the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.” — Paris Meet will be a Launching Pad: UN official, March 8, 2015

 

“Nick Henry, CEO of Climate Action, said: “Climate change not only presents the single largest threat to mankind, it also creates the greatest economic opportunity since the industrial revolution. ” —  Businesses and Investors Pioneering the Green Economy Highlight Multi-trillion Dollar Opportunity in Tackling Climate Change, December 7, 2015

The emphasis at the retreat was the building of societal consensus for the Paris outcome by establishing new climate “leaders” and “subgroups”, the incorporating of “storytelling”, and the further targeting of youth, as identified in the highlights:

Climate change messaging should be reframed and rebranded. Messages of despair ought to be transformed into scenarios for hope and opportunity, particularly in the context of sustainable development.”

 

Increasing mobilization and amplification are critical leading up to COP21. This will include new media strategies as well as outreach to new audiences and advocates.”

 

“Identifying leaders of all kinds in their respective spheres of influence will heighten awareness for newly acknowledged subgroups of climate change actors as well as political leaders; storytelling will incorporate a personal, emotional element of climate change that has been missing from the narrative.”

 

“It is widely agreed that engaging youth is of central importance to encourage future constructive climate action—for the youth of today are the decision makers of tomorrow.”

For anyone who believes local grassroots groups are not prone to be influenced, led or even manipulated by international organizations, the following “broader approach” highlighted in the report demonstrates otherwise: participants acknowledged that the agreed upon broader approach “can then be tailored at the local level so that the varied campaigns are connected”.

To further the continuous targeting of youth, the retreat participants identified key targets “to deepen the pool of activists by mobilizing leaders across the world in their respective spheres of influence and reaching out to even more groups of stakeholders”. The two key “international actors” identified to achieve this goal were trade unions and public-private partnerships. [12]

One particular campaign strategy identified in the report was the shared aspiration to develop a “ribbon symbol” (“create a climate change symbol that is equally pervasive and can be used broadly across all public campaigns to escalate collaboration and solidarity.”) Here, one can recall the “Climate Ribbon Campaign” of the People’s Climate March and Cop21 Paris. Although the document identified blue as the sought colour for the ribbons, the end result was red as outlined in the 350.org “Redlines for Climate Actions Manual Draw the Line for Climate Justice” document. [13]

“Symbols are powerful, inspirational and instantly recognizable. When harnessed effectively by companies, symbols can have a strong impact on corporate culture, recruiting, morale and brand longevity.” — Forbes

 

“No matter what action you do, please also share your action on social media?so the rest of the world can see it. Take a photo or video and post on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (if it’s on Facebook, please make sure it’s public) ­­and then use make sure you add #D12 or #redlines. You can also send an email to socialmedia@350.org

[COP21 – Wear Red. Further reading on the Climate Ribbon Campaign: Standing Rock: Profusion, Collusion & Big Money Profits [Part 3]]

“We perceive, understand, and negotiate the world around us by investing meaning in all manner of signs and symbols.” — The History of Logos and Logo Design by Dan Redding

“As people interact with a symbol — whether brand, religious, or otherwise — it gets packed with meaning. It becomes a heuristic of what’s to come.” — Make Your Brand Iconic: The Power of Symbols in Branding, Sticky Branding website

United Nations Development Programme, A Look at the Sustainable Development Goals, 2015

Other essential tasks as highlighted in the report are to “identify business leaders who are willing to take the spotlight and reveal their support for climate change efforts up to and beyond COP21”. This is more than simply greenwashing. Short-term, this is the growing strategy to bring corporate power into the fold of “activism”. The Avaaz partner, Ben & Jerry’s, owned by Unilever and a client of Purpose, is a prime example of this mind-fuck. Long-term, as the  financialization of nature is implemented at a global scale, financial markets and business will be assigned as the new “stewards of national natural capital.” Hence, the transformation (in appearance only) of corporations from psychopathic institutions into our future “stewards of nature” has already commenced.

Here, it is of special interest to note the role of media. Journalists are simply to be trained. From the report:

“Train media and establish a rapid response team: Spend time with media organizations to train them on climate change messaging.”

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC at launch of ‘We Mean Business’ at the Climate Week NYC 2014

The report identifies specific language that can be utilized by all NGOs. Repetitive language has long been key to successful social engineering. Consider the “de facto slogan”, agreed upon by the participants: “together we can, together we must, together we will“.  Examples of the agreed upon terminology have been utilized by the NGOs and can be found in the following excerpts:

“I believe that with clear leadership together we can, and we must, continue to deliver multilateral breakthroughs time after time after time,” — Christiana Figueres, July 18, 2016, former UN climate chief, B Team leader

 

“It will take all of us. But together, we can — and we will — blaze a bright path through this dark day.” — May Boeve 350, November 9, 2016

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Here it is critical to reflect upon the “leadership void”, a concern highlighted by those in attendance at this retreat and their allies, such as The B Team. To this end, there are no limits on who or what the elite and market forces are prepared to exploit in order to fill the niches that will further advance their desired agendas. As par for the course for the further expansion of industrial civilization, Indigenous People will, as always, be on the front lines of those most impacted by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hence, in regard to the aforementioned need of the NPIC to “reach new audiences and advocates”, to have an Indigenous face as an exotic veneer to one’s brand is a marketing achievement of such grandeur, it is fetishized by those that comprise the non-profit industrial complex. An Indigenous face to brand/market the SDGs – is the ultimate acquisition.

Activism is the New Sex – But Sex Still Sells

Photography Dan Martensen, “Xiuhtezcati wears Jeans, belt and bracelets (worn throughout) model’s own.”

“That’s the crux of successful marketing today: activism is in. ‘Our activism is currently mediated by brands,’ says Will Fowler, creative director of Headspace. ‘Brands are allowing people to pat themselves on the back without them personally having to sacrifice anything.'” — Sex Doesn’t Sell Any More, Activism Does. And Don’t the Big Brands Know It, February 3, 2017

Today, selling “environmentalism” utilizes the same successful formula utilized to sell designer blue jeans decades ago – as well as the same formula used to promote white superiority in the mid-1800’s.

“This childish figure, outfitted in a short skirt, with pretty moccasins on its dainty feet and a single feather in its long, flowing hair, represents a quintessential, sexually undifferentiated Indian—although the bare breasts and the bow and arrows strewn along the ground reveal this to be a nonthreatening male Indian. The woman is pointing at a map in a book held open in her lap. Following her gaze, the Indian is also looking at the book, and his posture, more than the unreadable expression of his face, suggests that he is open to, if not exactly eager for, the instruction about to be dispensed.” — White Women’s Rights, evolution, woman’s rights, and civilizing missions, page 23

Consider the case of the 17-year-old Indigenous youth Xiuhtezcatl Martinez made famous by the media, who made his debut in the “environmental movement” at age six. Today, Martinez is the youth director of Earth Guardians, a worldwide conservation organization – an NGO which at COP21 shared the stage at the United Nations with international NGO “leaders” including Al Gore (The Climate Reality Project) and 350.org’s May Boeve. Martinez has been sought by, coddled and courted by those most powerful and influential including Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, The United Nations, Mark Rufallo, Bill McKibben, etc. etc.

At the tender age of 15, Martinez was photographed for a VICE feature (July 11, 2016), with images that deliberately seek to invoke a suggestive, hip prowess. One may recall a very contentious 1980 Calvin Klein ad featuring a 15-year old Brooke Shields (shot by photographer Richard Avedon). What was controversial in 1980 is today lost in a system where sexualisation is used to sell most everything including so-called environmentalism. Jeans yesterday. Faux environmentalism today – both in servitude to capital. The sexualization of children and teens is not so much problematic as it is sought, idolized, and even worshipped by a culture in decline. With almost four consecutive decades of social engineering and conditioning, this exploitation and sexualisation is not only of very little interest, it is rarely, if ever, noticed at all.

“His work has been featured on PBS, Showtime, National Geographic, Rolling Stones, Upworthy, The Guardian, Vogue, Bill Maher, Skavlan, CNN, MSNBC, HBO, VICE, and more. In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President’s youth council. He is the 2015 recipient of the Peace First Prize, recipient of the 2015 Nickelodeon Halo Award, 2016 Captain Planet Award and the 2016 Children’s Climate Prize in Sweden. Bill Mckibben of 350.org calls Xiuhtezcatl ‘an impressive spokesman for a viewpoint the world needs to hear.'” —  Earth Guardians Website

“Viewing sexualized images tend to elicit a variety of sensations that lead one to making an association of possible pleasurable outcomes for him/herself.” (Adams 1916)

Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, Earth Guardians speaks at UN Climate Reception – 21 April 2016

 

“Now that you’ve been denied your former way of life, and can only play at being Indian, let me teach you some geography in accordance with our remapping of a wilderness that once was yours.” — White Women’s Rights, evolution, woman’s rights, and civilizing missions, page 23

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Rebranding Capitalism. Above: The future is here: Corporations as the new “stewards of national natural capital.”

 

The Final Act

 

At this juncture, we must take a moment to circle back to 2014. In the report (Towards a Plan B for Business, June 2013-June 2016) on page 32 we find the section titled Fostering Collaboration by Joshi. Here, we can examine exactly why the This Changes Everything project (strategically launched in September of 2014 in unison with the People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit) was financed by The Rockefellers, Ford, etc. and how they’ve successfully utilized it.

“We can achieve great things when unlikely bedfellows come together, like last December at COP21 when the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, joined leading CEOs, including The B Team, to call for an ambitious, long-term goal in the Paris Agreement, standing in solidarity with low-lying island communities in calling for ‘1.5°C to stay alive’.” — The B Team Progress Report June 2013 – June 2016, p. 11 [Source]

The 350.org/Klein slogan This Changes Everything (“to change everything we need everyone”) launched simultaneously with the hype surrounding the 2014 People’s Climate March, served as the foundation to merge corporate ideology with modern day activism – which is now reduced to nothing more than anthropocentrism. This pathology, which has gone largely undetected, is today completely normalized. Full collaboration (and even adoration) of those at the forefront of environmental devastation and exploitation of the most vulnerable, is gradually becoming “the new normal“. This is a prime example of successful social engineering and behavioural change – the foundation of public relations firm Purpose.

“Today’s leaders increasingly recognize that we are all in this together. Transforming the economic system is impossible without enlightened consumers, innovative progressive companies, brave politicians, and visionary civil society leaders working together, putting individual interests aside for collective gain.” — The B Team Progress Report June 2013 – June 2016, p. 11 [Source]

Here we can also reflect on how those that funded Klein’s This Changes Everything Project – formerly marketed as “The Message” – is successfully utilized by the elites to rebrand capitalism. Following the 2014 People’s Climate March, in which Klein’s book served as an integral part of the “new economy” launching pad, “caring capitalism”, “breakthrough capitalism”, “ethical capitalism”, “compassionate capitalism” and a host of other grotesque and paradoxical phrases sanitizing the word “capitalism” came pouring out of the floodgates. By far the brand with the most money behind it (those present represented one-third of the world’s investable assets, approx. £18tr.) is the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism (the coalition held its first conference on May 27 2014, just ahead of the release of Klein’s book and The People’s Climate March that would follow approx. 4 months later). This highly orchestrated strategy by the global elite is unsurprising since after all, what brand could be more inclusive to build on the motto of the People’s Climate March “to change everything, we need everyone” than the idea of “inclusive capitalism”? Not sure? Perhaps ask 350.orgs Jamie Henn, “deep practitioner” for We Mean Business, or Klein herself. After all, Klein, deep in the pockets of 350.org, (which merged with 1Sky, a Rockefeller incubator NGO in 2011, when Klein joined the board) has clearly stated: “But I have never said that we need to “slay” “ditch” or “dismantle” capitalism in order to fight climate change.”

It was never about “inclusive capitalism” or other “compassionate forms of capitalism, it was always about saving the global capitalist economic system, which is hovering close to stall speed. With nowhere else to go. Hence, the financialization of nature (natural capital/payments for ecosystem services) that very few within the NPIC speak of (although most are fully aware), is achieving its goal of creating and reaching new untapped markets. This task is at the front and centre of most all institutions, foundations, corporations, investment firms, banks and governments on Earth.

“The Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism was founded in 2014 by Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild. Beside her in this noble task are, according to the Coalition’s website, a Working Group comprised of such luminaries of social justice as Sir Evelyn de Rothschild of E.L. Rothschild, Dominic Barton from McKinsey and Company, Ann Cairns of MasterCard, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles of HSBC, Paul Polman of Unilever, along with CEOs of various pension plans and philanthropic foundations, like the eponymous Ford and Rockefeller foundations.” — Cynthia McKinney, September 15, 2015

 

“Prince Charles, Mr Clinton and Mr Carney will make speeches, along with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, and Larry Summers, the former US Treasury secretary, who is now a Harvard professor. Panellists include the chief executive of Unilever, Paul Polman; the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, Sir Andrew Witty; Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt; Prudential chief executive Tidjane Thiam; Sergio Ermotti, group chief executive of the investment bank UBS; and Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership.” — London hosts world leaders in debate on ‘fairer’ capitalism, May 26, 2014

Should we be surprised that Klein’s book slogan would be used to advance capital? Should we be surprised that key funders of The Inclusive Capitalism, the Ford Foundation and The Rockefeller Brothers Funds also financed “The Message” project and the This Changes Everything film? [14] Don’t be. It’s all par for the course. This is how the system is designed. This is why today’s “leading activists” are 6-figure jet-setters if not multi-millionaires, or even billionaires. This is why the NPIC exists. It’s not a coincidence that Klein’s book was released in the year that the re-branding of capitalism by the world’s most powerful oligarchs took centre stage. The scripts are written years if not decades in advance by those we pretend to oppose, to advance or implement what we pretend to oppose. Or at least what we would have opposed in another lifetime. Behavioural change works wonders on the collective psyche.

And to illustrate how the next generation of leaders have been schooled in the proper rhetoric, consider Joshi’s vision for the Ford Foundation on “reimagining  capitalism.” Even the task of re-branding capitalism is instead re-framed as redesigning capitalism.

“We believe there is a bright future for business—an inclusive model of capitalism that could really drive sustainable prosperity. It looks like a world in which business has the right aspirations, where we’re celebrating the right kind of leadership and where there’s true accounting.” — Rajiv Joshi on Reimagining Capitalism for the Ford Foundation

In a desire to elicit converts to this project of “redesigning” capitalism,  the “to change everything we need everyone” image accompanying Rajiv Joshi’s “Fostering Collaboration” article (highlighted in The B Team 2013-2016 report) speaks volumes in regards to the propaganda being utilized to appropriate converts to this ultimately benign message of impossible reformation:

Photo Courtesy: Alisdare Hickson, entitled To change everything we need everyone.

Narcissus Redux – To Catch A Glimpse Of Our Beautiful Self No Matter The Cost

In an interview with Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel, December 9, 2011, it is noted that Avaaz was embarking on a 20-year planning cycle. In the same interview, Patel also disclosed that “Avaaz is also studying organizational models not typically followed by civil society organisations – such as Apple and Walmart.”  Note the last sentence cited in the paragraph below: “…thus its potential to influence politics and opinion at a global level is completely unprecedented.”

Interview with Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel, December 9, 2011 [Source:  Pathways to Systemic Change]

The B Team is a shining example of what could be described as a “shell NGO”. A virtual construct with its “headquarters” in the real world, better known as the Purpose public relations firm. An office where the architectural drawings for the further destruction and privatization of nature, are drawn up by The B Team and carried out by the groomed “up-and-comers”. The main institutions that propel the desires of hegemonic power can be recognized throughout reports, founders bios, boards, advisory and executive committees. In the previously mentioned B Team report (2013-2016) honourable mentions include Heather Grady who works at the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and also serves as advisor to The B Team. One of the original founders of The B Team, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the former Minister of Finance of Nigeria and Coordinating Minister for the Economy. She was also Managing Director of the World Bank and Finance Minister and of Foreign Affairs Minister in Nigeria. Currently, she is chair and member of boards including the UN’s Post 2015 Millennium Development Goals High-level Panel, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the ONE Foundation (the brainchild of singer Bono and Microsoft owner Bill Gates). The same report boasts glowing reviews/endorsements for The B Team from those such as Gillian Caldwell, (p. 18) [15] co-founder of 1Sky (A Rockefeller incubator NGO that merged with 350.org in 2011) and current CEO of the elite financed Global Witness. Over and over, we see this interlocking directorate which essentially creates the “ties that bind”.

Perhaps the most sobering analysis and insight as to what drives the non-profit industrial complex itself comes from The B Team’s Joshi himself, as highlighted by the Ford Foundation:

“We live in a world where most of the world’s population doesn’t have the ability to participate in the economy. The opportunity to market your services to the 3.5 billion people who are not currently participating actively in the economy is the biggest economic opportunity of our generation.” — Rajiv Joshi for the Ford Foundation

And this fact is vital.

Although the global economy is nothing less than sacrosanct in the west which is in direct contrast to the 3.5 billion people at the bottom of the food chain, the global economic system, the capitalist economy, the green economy, the new economy – regardless of whatever lovely term is assigned to rebrand it, is completely irrelevant to the well-being of at least half the planet’s human population. They have everything to lose – and nothing to gain. Further, to non-human life, the global economy has zero benefit whatsoever – but only the severest of repercussions. Hence, we are sacrificing all life on Earth, including our own, to serve an economic system that benefits a very small percentage of people (a mere 1-5%) – the same people responsible for the bulk of ecological devastation and the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions. (The approx. 45% that do actively participate do not so much as reap benefit, but are merely and most effectively trapped.)

In the Ford Foundation interview series “#InequalityIs”, Rajiv Joshi speaks to “how inequality hurts business.” This statement is inane – yet in a world now completely conditioned to steady-state insanity, such a ludicrous statement is not only questioned, it is even presented as genius. The capitalist system is built upon, and dependent on the exploitation of those most vulnerable. Exploitation & capitalism – one cannot exist without the other. Joshi’s corporate ideology is so strong, he views short life spans of those most disenfranchised not as unjust in a social justice context, but rather as an impairment to corporate profit. His observation that business cannot thrive in a planet whereby those most affected by inequality have life spans that “are so short that they’re not able to provide the value companies need” is refreshing in its brutally honesty although chillingly cold. Note that in the same Ford Series we find other alleged luminaries, such as May Boeve (Avaaz, Res Publica, 350.org, ), Richard Branson (B Team), and Paul Polman (Unilever, The B Team, We Mean Business, chair of The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), co-founder of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission), and Gloria Steinem (C.I.A.) in amidst Hollywood celebrities and global institutions.

The Ford Foundation (incidentally, one of the main financiers of Naomi Klein’s documentary film This Changes Everything) and the hegemonic realm it resides in, does not give a flying fuck about environmental protection, ecological preservation, mitigation of climate change or social justice. What they care about is creating new avenues whereby they can successfully exploit those not yet fully exploited – under the guise of sustainability and alleviation of poverty. Targeting and preying upon those not living up to their “free market potential” in a global economic system in crisis – a system that continues to barely sustain itself as it is on the brink of collapse.

This “new economic paradigm” extolled by the NPIC is also the very reason for the recent and feigned new “concern” over equality for women – and the manufactured movement designed to access women’s labour for global economic growth and new markets for the expansion of consumer goods. [“Keeping women out of the workplace costs the global economy around US$17 trillion, the head of a leading NGO in Canada has told the International Monetary Fund.” Source] Women represent another source not yet tapped to their full exploitation potential. Another recently identified and now sought solution to expand a suicidal economic system so intertwined and dependent on infinite growth, it will eventually fail at the very moment such growth comes to a grinding halt.

“Furthermore, it seems there exists a significant cognitive dissonance between liberal universalism proclaimed through cosmopolitan humanitarianism, and liberal imperialism expressed through high-sounding principles of humanitarian intervention that, in reality, functions as a vehicle through which all forms of life that do not conform to liberal ideals are eradicated or expelled (McCarthy, 2009: 166).” [Source]

Further, and perhaps even most important, is the recognition that 3.5 billion people “are not currently participating actively in the economy”. This means that all the hype for so-called “green” consumerism, eco-tourism, electric cars, wind turbines, solar, etc. etc. – serve only half the global population –  with only 1% of this population (anyone that can afford to get on a plane) creating 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. Meaning – our race to “save” the Earth today, must be considered “anthropocentrist economics”. We give a fuck about no one and nothing if it should interfere with our privilege in any way, shape or form. The economic system, for which a tiny portion of people are willing to trade nature, all sentient and biological life, and the lives of entire non-Anglo populations – inclusive of children – is sacrosanct. Appointed, falsely labeled environmental leaders that assure us more growth is necessary and can also be “green”, are our gods who conveniently cleanse away the guilt. Those who dare speak out against a fourth industrialization are divisive iconoclasts. In the age of acquiescence and apathy, our collective priorities constitute phones, cars and flat screen televisions . Eco-luxury homes and wood-fired Jacuzzi tubs for everyone. We want it all and more. We want shiny, beautiful, and perfect at any and all cost. Plastic opulence for plastic people. We stare hypnotically into the gleaming screens, in love with our own reflection. Fuck nature, fuck the Congolese, fuck the Earth’s last vestiges of sand and the sand wars we hear nothing about.

Payback is going to be a bitch.

 

End Notes:

[1] “Co-chaired by Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, the Board of 20 Leaders provides the overall governance for The B Team and sets the high-level strategic direction. An Executive Committee, comprising the Executive Chair Jochen Zeitz, three Senior Partners, Jean Oelwang, Joanna Rees and Keith Tuffley, and Managing Director Rajiv Joshi,

oversees the organisation’s strategy. The Managing Partner & CEO, Keith Tuffley, manages the day-to-day operations of The B Team.”

[2] Robert Gass is co-founder of the Rockwood Leadership Institute, where he designed and delivers “Leading from the Inside Out,” a year-long leadership training for top social change leaders. Graduates of this program form the core of STP’s network. He is the former President of ARC International, a global consulting and training company specializing in transformational change with Fortune 500 companies. Robert has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Organizational Development from Harvard University. [Full bio]

[3]Judith Ansara:  A former facilitator for the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s The Art of Leadership trainings, she has facilitated organizations and leaders including Search for Common Ground, Center for Community Change, Global Fund for Women, Avaaz, Witness, Just Vision, Spitfire Strategies, UNICEF, the University of Colorado and the City of Boulder. Judith has taught Transpersonal Psychology at Naropa University and Strategic Communications at the University of Massachusetts. [Full bio]

[4] Maura Bairley: Leads the Organizational Development Team for Move to End Violence, a project of the NoVo Foundation and serves as a Plan Consultant with Flexible Leadership Awards Program of the Haas Jr. Fund, the 21st Century Fellows Program of the Pipeline Project, and on CoreAlign’s consultant design team for the Speaking Race to Power Fellowship. [Bio]

[5] Ian Bassin Former Associate Counsel to President Obama, Ian Bassin is General Counsel and Campaign Director at Avaaz, Current director of United to Protect Democracy [“United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months. They’ve incorporated as both a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), allowing them to operate as a nonprofit but participate in some forms of political advocacy as well.”][Source] Signatory to the Economic Security Project. “[M]ost recently a member of the education policy working group for the transition team. He earlier served as the Florida policy director for the Obama Campaign for Change.”[Source]

[6] Paul Hilder bio: Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section III

[7] Joanna Kerr: Greenpeace Canada (GPC) as Executive Director. Former  Chief Executive of ActionAid International, a global development organization based in South Africa and operating in 45 countries. Policy Director at Oxfam Canada. Executive Director of the Association of Women’s Rights in Development. Senior Researcher at The North-South Institute. [Source] [Source]

[8] Esra’a Al-Shafei is a Bahraini civil rights activist, blogger, and the founder and executive director of Mideast Youth and its related projects, including CrowdVoice.org.  Recipient of the Berkman Award for Internet Innovation from Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in 2008 for “outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society.” In 2012, she received a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship for her work on the open source platform CrowdVoice.org.Recipient of the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity. In 2014, she was featured in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list of social entrepreneurs making an impact in the world. The World Economic Forum listed her as one of “15 Women Changing the World in 2015.” That same year, she won the “Most Courageous Media” Prize from Free Press Unlimited.Selected as a 2017 Director’s Fellows at the MIT Media Lab. [Wikipedia]

[9] [Tracy Raczek, Climate Policy Advisor, Secretary-General’s Climate Change

Support Team, United Nations and Dan Thomas, Senior Communications Officer, Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team, United Nations]

[10] Elaine Schilling, Program Assistant, Jennifer Smyser, Director of Policy Programming, Richard H. Stanley, Chair, Board of Directors

[11] Callum Grieve is global director of communication for The Climate Group (co-founder of We Mean Business) and Communications Director at Sustainable Energy For All – ?Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).

[12] “Participants agreed they could expand their current partnerships, reaching out to an increased variety of international actors (e.g., trade unions). They recognized that public-private partnerships in particular can leverage a great deal of influence in the decision-making process to affect policy change.

[13] “Ribbon Tree: What is your red line? We all have things we are not willing to compromise on, we all have things we love too dearly to let be lost to climate change without putting up a fight. Inspired by the Climate Ribbon Project, organize an event where you invite people to answer the question: “What do you love and hope to never lose to Climate Chaos?” Invite them to write their response on a strip of red fabric and hang them on a tree in a public space. Invite people to read out what others have written out loud, to share the sense of what we risk losing if our planet’s ecological limits are crossed. People can also tie the ribbons around their wrist as a reminder of their commitment to organise for climate justice. Invite press, and invite kids ­ they often have the best sense of how big this crisis is and the details we risk losing. Be sure to upload your photos to TheClimateRibbon.org” [Source.]

[14] “This film was supported by major grants from: JustFilms|Ford Foundation, The Seth MacFarlane Foundation, The Schmidt Family Foundation, 11th Hour Project, The Park Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Wallace Global Fund, Vivienne Westwood, Pamela Anderson Foundation, Chorus Foundation, Oak Foundation.” [Source]

[15] “The B Team has played a lead role in making the business case for beneficial ownership transparency, and their strategic interventions have bolstered international efforts to combat corruption at a critical time. Their leadership has been a vital element of our combined efforts to ensure transparency and accountability become the guiding standards for business and  governments around the world.” — Gillian Caldwell, CEO, Global Witness