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Truth UNFILTERED: The Global South Assessment of Western Imperial Actions Against Syria

Truth UNFILTERED: The Global South Assessment of Western Imperial Actions Against Syria

Sacha Sergio Llorenti Soliz – Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Ambassador of Bolivia. United Nations Security Council, April 14. 2018.

Translations of quotes below have been kindly provided by Francisco Nunes [@fcn_84]. The full transcript in English (added April 16, 2018) is below the video within this post.]

Follow Sacha Llorenti on twitter: @SachaLlorenti  

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT.

MY DELEGATION WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE SECRETARY GENERAL FOR HIS PRESENCE AND HIS PARTICIPATION IN THIS MEETING.

BOLIVIA WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION FOR HAVING TAKEN THE INITIATIVE OF CONVENING THIS URGENT MEETING OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL

TODAY IS A DARK DAY IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNCIL.

THREE PERMANENT MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL HAVE TAKEN THE DECISION TO BREACH THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND TAKE MILITARY ACTION AGAINST THE SOVEREIGNTY AND TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF ANOTHER MEMBER STATE OF OUR ORGANIZATION.

BOLIVIA WISHES TO CLEARLY AND CATEGORICALLY EXPRESS ITS CONDEMNATION OF THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS OR CHEMICAL SUBSTANCES AS WEAPONS, AS THIS IS UNJUSTIFIABLE AND CRIMINAL WHEREVER IT HAPPENS AND BY WHOMEVER. THEIR USE IS A SERIOUS CRIME AGAINST INTERNATIONAL LAW AND INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY.  THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMMITTING SUCH TERRIBLE AND CRIMINAL ACTS MUST BE IDENTIFIED, INVESTIGATED, PROSECUTED AND PUNISHED IN THE MOST RIGOROUS WAY POSSIBLE.

BOLIVIA CONTINUES TO DEMAND A TRANSPARENT AND IMPARTIAL INVESTIGATION TO DETERMINE WHO ARE THE CULPRITS.

BUT, IN ADDITION TO THAT, THE TOPIC OF THIS MEETING IS THE FACT THAT THE THREE PERMANENT MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL AS I SAID HAVE USED FORCE IN BREACH OF THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER. YOU CANNOT COMBAT THE ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW BY VIOLATING INTERNATIONAL LAW. BOLIVIA IS SURPRISED BY THE FACT THAT THE PERMANENT MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL, GIVEN THAT THEY HAVE A GREATER RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAINTAINING INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY HAVE DECIDED TO BYPASS THE UNITED NATIONS WHEN IT SUITS THEM. THEY DEFEND MULTILATERALISM AS LONG AS IT SERVES THEM AND THEY SIMPLY DISCARD IT. WHEN IT IS NO LONGER IN THEIR INTERESTS, THEY ARE NO LONGER ATTACHED TO MULTILATERALISM .

THIS IS NOT THE ONLY CASE WHERE UNFORTUNATELY UNILATERAL ACTION HAS BEEN USED.  LET’S RECALL, AND WE WILL NEVER TIRE OF RECALLING THE EVENTS IN IRAQ IN 2003 AND IN LIBYA IN 2011. SUCH ACTIONS SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED BY THE SECURITY COUNCIL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE  UNITED NATIONS CHARTER — ANY UNILATERAL ACTION  COUNTER TO INTERNATIONAL LAW AND COUNTER TO THE VALUES AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER IS UNACCEPTABLE.  BOLIVIA REJECTS THE USE OF FORCE.  UNILATERAL ACTION NOT ONLY RESPONDS TO THE SPECIFIC INTERESTS OF THOSE WHO CARRY THEM OUT, BUT IN FACT, THERE ARE MEASURES THAT ALLOW ME THE EXPRESSION, ARE IMPERIALIST MEASURES — IT SO HAPPENS THAT EMPIRES AS WE STATED EARLIER CONSIDER THEMSELVES SUPERIOR TO THE REST OF THE WORLD. THEY THINK THEY ARE EXCEPTIONAL.  THEY THINK THEY ARE INDISPENSABLE AND HENCE THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW, ABOVE INTERNATIONAL LAW.

BUT IN FACT, THE INTEREST OF THOSE WHO UNILATERALLY USE FORCE AND VIOLATE THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER IS NOT REALLY TO ADVANCE DEMOCRACY OR ADVANCE FREEDOM OR TO COMBAT THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS.  THEIR GOAL IS TO EXPAND THEIR POWER AND EXPAND THEIR DOMINATION.

WHAT WE HAVE WITNESSED OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS IS AN ATTACK AGAINST THE FACT FINDING MISSION  OF THE OPCW WHICH HASN’T EVEN STARTED THE WORK THAT WAS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN TODAY.

THE UNILATERAL ATTACK IS AN ATTACK AGAINST MULTILATERAL ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS THE OPCW.  IT’S AN ATTACK AGAINST THIS COUNCIL AND ITS MAIN DUTY FOR MAINTAINING INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY. IT IS AN ATTACK AGAINST THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER AND IT IS AN ATTACK AGAINST THE ENTIRE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.

I AM WONDERING WHETHER THE PERMANENT MEMBERS WHO USED FORCE JUST A FEW HOURS AGO, HOW MUCH MONEY THEY INVESTED IN ARMING AND TRAINING THE ARMED GROUPS IN SYRIA?

THEY ARE BEHIND (UNINTELLIGIBLE) NATIONAL RESOURCES AND WITH WHAT KIND OF AUTHORITY CAN THEY INVOKE THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER IN OTHER SITUATIONS? THE HISTORY, UNFORTUNATELY,  OF VIOLATIONS OF THE PRINCIPLES AND PURPOSES OF THE CHARTER IS LONG. WE MENTIONED LIBYA, WE MENTIONED IRAQ, BUT THERE ARE MORE RECENT CHAPTERS. IT HAPPENED WITH THE UNILATERAL DECISION REGARDING JERUSALEM. IT IS ANOTHER CLEAR SIGNAL OF A LACK OF RESPECT FOR INTERNATIONAL LAW. WHO ARE THOSE  WHO SELL WEAPONS TO THOSE WHO BOMB CIVILIANS IN YEMEN? WHO ARE THOSE WHO REJECTED THE PARIS AGREEMENT, OF THE CLIMATE AGREEMENT?  WHO ARE THOSE  WHO STEPPED AWAY FROM OTHER INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS?  WHO ARE THOSE WHO BUILD WALLS?

BUT, WE ALSO BELIEVE THAT IT IS IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT HISTORY IN THE LONG RUN, OVER THE LONGER PERIODS OF TIME.  WE ARE EXPERIENCING THE CONSEQUENCES IN THE MIDDLE EAST OF THE ACTIONS  THAT ARE PROVOKED BY CERTAIN COLONIALIST POWERS DATING BACK TO A CENTURY OR MORE.

AND THE SAME THING WE ARE EXPERIENCING IN SYRIA, A COMPLETE DISDAIN FOR INTERNATIONAL LAW, IS ALSO SOMETHING THAT WE ARE SEEING WHEN, FOR EXAMPLE, THE UNITED KINGDOM REFUSES TO RETURN THE MALDIVES ISLANDS SOVEREIGNTY TO ARGENTINA OR WHEN THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO ISSUE IS NOT RESOLVED. AND WHEN THE ADVISORY OPINION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE ON THIS TOPIC  IS NOT HEEDED.  IN OTHER WORDS, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A WHOLE RANGE OF POLICIES THAT UNDERMINE INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY.

THE DISTINGUISHED PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED STATES SAYS THAT THE UNITED STATES, HER COUNTRY, IS READY, ‘LOCKED AND LOADED’ SHE SAYS. OF COURSE, WE CLEARLY HEARD HER WORDS WITH A GREAT DEAL OF CONCERN AND A GREAT DEAL OF SADNESS.  WE KNOW THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS AIRCRAFT CARRIERS, THAT THEY HAVE SATELLITES, THAT THEY HAVE “INTELLIGENT MISSILES”, SMART BOMBS AND THEY HAVE A HUGE ARSENAL OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS.  AND, WE ALSO KNOW THAT THEY HAVE NOTHING BUT SCORN FOR INTERNATIONAL LAW.

BUT WE HAVE THIS. WE HAVE THE PRINCIPLES AND PURPOSES OF THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER.  AND, ULTIMATELY AS HISTORY HAS DEMONSTRATED MANY TIMES, ULTIMATELY THESE PRINCIPLES WILL PREVAIL. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

 

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.”]

Bolivia’s TIPNIS Dispute: Example of How Liberal-Left Alternative Media Becomes a Conveyor Belt for US Regime Change Propaganda

Counterpunch

December 4, 2017

By Stansfield Smith

 

Pro-road CONISUR march

As has become a standard operating procedure, an array of Western environmental NGOs, advocates of indigenous rights and liberal-left alternative media cover up the US role in attempts to overturn the anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal governments of Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

This NACLA article is a recent excellent example of many. Bolivia’s TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure) dispute arose over the Evo Morales government’s project to complete a road through the park, opposed by some indigenous and environmental groups.

As is NACLA modus operandi, the article says not one word about US and rightwing funding and coordination with the indigenous and environmental groups behind the TIPNIS anti-highway protests. (This does not delegitimize the protests, but it does deliberately mislead people about the issues involved).

In doing so, these kinds of articles cover up US interventionist regime change plans, be that their intention or not.

NACLA is not alone in what is in fact apologetics for US interventionism. Include the Guardian, UpsideDownWorld, Amazon Watch, so-called “Marxist” Jeffery Webber (and here), Jacobin, ROAR,  Intercontinentalcry,  Avaaz, In These Times, in a short list of examples. We can add to this simply by picking up any articles about the protests in Bolivia’s TIPNIS (or oil drilling in Ecuador’s Yasuni during Rafael Correa’s presidency) and see what they say about US funding of protests, if they even mention it.

This is not simply an oversight, it is a cover-up.

What this Liberal Left Media Covers Up

On the issue of the TIPNIS highway, we find on numerous liberal-left alternative media and environmental websites claiming to defend the indigenous concealing that:

The leading indigenous group of the TIPNIS 2011-2012 protests was being funded by USAID. The Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of the Bolivian East (CIDOB) had no qualms about working with USAID — it boasted on its website that it received training programs from USAID. CIDOB president Adolfo Chavez, thanked the “information and training acquired via different programs financed by external collaborators, in this case USAID”.

 

The 2011 TIPNIS march was coordinated with the US Embassy, specifically Eliseo Abelo. His phone conversations with the march leaders – some even made right before the march set out — were intercepted by the Bolivian counter-espionage agency and made public.

 

“The TIPNIS marchers were openly supported by right wing Santa Cruz agrobusiness interests and their main political representatives, the Santa Cruz governorship and Santa Cruz Civic Committee.” In June 2011 indigenous deputies and right wing parties in the Santa Cruz departmental council formed an alliance against the MAS (Movement for Socialism, Evo Morales’s party). CIDOB then received a $3.5 million grant by the governorship for development projects in its communities.

 

Over a year after the TIPNIS protests, one of the protest leaders announced he was joining a rightwing anti-Evo Morales political party.

 

The protest leaders of the TIPNIS march supported REDD (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). The Avaaz petition (below) criticizing Evo Morales for his claimed anti-environmental actions also covered this up. As far back as 2009 “CIDOB leaders were participating there in a USAID-promoted workshop to talk up the imperialist-sponsored REDD project they were pursuing together with USAID-funded NGOs.”

REDD was a Western “environmental” program seeking to privatize forests by converting them into “carbon offsets” that allow Western corporations to continue polluting. That REDD would give Western NGOs and these indigenous groups funds for monitoring forests in their areas.

These liberal-left alternative media and environmental NGOs falsely presented the TIPNIS conflict as one between indigenous/environmentalist groups against the Evo Morales government. (e.g. the TIPNIS highway was “a project universally[!] condemned by local indigenous tribes and urban populations alike”) Fred Fuentes pointed out that more than 350 Bolivian organizations, including indigenous organizations and communities, even within TIPNIS, supported the proposed highway.

CONISUR (Consejo de Indígenas del Sur), consisting of a number of indigenous and peasant communities within TIPNIS, backed by Bolivia’s three largest national indigenous campesino organizations, organized a march to support of the road. They argued that the highway is essential to integrating Bolivia’s Amazonia with the rest of the country, as well as providing local communities with access to basic services and markets.

The overwhelming majority of people in the West who know about the TIPNIS protests, or the Yasuni protests in Ecuador, where a similar division between indigenous groups took place, never learned either from the liberal-left media or the corporate media, that indigenous groups marched in support of the highway or in support of oil drilling.

Therefore, this liberal-left media is not actually defending “the indigenous.” They are choosing sides within indigenous ranks, choosing the side that is funded and influenced by the US government.

The TIPNIS conflict is falsely presented as Evo Morales wanting to build a highway through the TIPNIS wilderness (“cutting it in half” as they dramatically claim). There are in fact two roads that exist there now, which will be paved and connected to each other. Nor was it wilderness: 20,000 settlers lived there by 2010.[1]

 

Anti- highway march leaders actually defended industrial-scale logging within TIPNIS. Two logging companies operated 70,000 hectares within the national park and have signed 20-year contracts with local communities.

 

They often fail to note that the TIPNIS marchers, when they reached La Paz, sought to instigate violence, demanding Evo Morales removal. Their plot was blocked by mobilization of local indigenous supporters of Evo’s government.

If we do not read Fred Fuentes in Green Left Weekly, we don’t find most of this information. Now, it is true that some of the media articles did mention that there were also TIPNIS protests and marches demanding the highway be built. Some do mention USAID, but phrase it as “Evo Morales claimed that those protesting his highway received USAID funding.”

Avaaz Petition Attacking Evo Morales over TIPNIS

The TIPNIS campaign, which became a tool in the US regime change strategy, was taken up in a petition by Avaaz. It included 61 signing groups. Only two from Bolivia! US signers included Amazon Watch, Biofuelwatch, Democracy Center, Food and Water Watch, Global Exchange, NACLA, Rainforest Action Network.  Whether they knew it, whether they wanted to know it, they signed on to a false account of the TIPNIS conflict, placed the blame on the Bolivian government, target of US regime change, and hid the role of the US.

US collaborators in Bolivia and Ecuador are painted as defenders of free expression, defenders of nature, defenders of the indigenous. The US government’s “talking points” against the progressive ALBA bloc countries have worked their way into liberal-left alternative media, which echo the attacks on these governments by organizations there receiving US funds.  That does not mean Amazon Watch, Upside Down World or NACLA are themselves funded by the US government – if it somehow exculpates them that they do this work for free. Even worse, much of this propaganda against Evo and Correa appears only in the liberal-left alternative press, what we consider our press.

The USAID budget for Latin America is said to be $750 million, but estimates show that the funding may total twice that. Maria Augusta Calle of Ecuador’s National Assembly, said in 2015 the US Congress allocated $2 billion to destabilize targeted Latin American countries.

This information, how much money it is, what organizations in the different countries receive it, how it is spent, ought to be a central focus of any liberal-left alternative media purporting to stand up for the oppressed peoples of the Americas.

Yet, as Fuentes points out:  “Overwhelmingly, solidarity activists uncritically supported the anti-highway march. Many argued that only social movements — not governments — can guarantee the success of [Bolivia’s] process of change…. with most articles written by solidarity activists, they] downplay the role of United States imperialism…. Others went further, denying any connection between the protesters and US imperialism.”

Why do they let themselves become conveyer belts for US regime change propaganda?

Why did this liberal-left media and NGOs let themselves become conveyer belts for US propaganda for regime change, legitimizing this US campaign to smear the Evo Morales government?

Some of it lies in the liberalish refusal to admit that all international issues can only be understood in the context of the role and the actions of the US Empire. As if conflicts related to countries the US deems hostile to its interests can be understood without taking the US role into account. Some liberal-left writers and groups do understand this, just as they do understand they may risk their positions and funding by looking to closely into it.

It seems easier to not see the role the Empire plays and simply present a liberal-left “critique” of the pluses and minuses of some progressive government targeted by the US. That is how these alternative media sources end up actually advocating for indigenous groups and environmental NGOs which are US and corporate funded. They even criticize countries for defending national sovereignty by shutting down these non-governmental organizations, what Bolivian Vice-President Linera exposes as “foreign government financed organizations” operating in their countries.

Some of it lies in the widely held anti-authoritarian feeling in the US that social movements “from below” are inherently good and that the government/the state is inherently bad. The reporting can be informative on social movements in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia where the people struggle against state repression. But when these social movements in Ecuador or Bolivia were able to win elections and gain hold of some real state power, reporting soon becomes hostile and misleading. “Support social movements when they struggle against governmental power; oppose them once they win government power,” they seem to say. Their reporting slides into disinformation, undermining our solidarity with other struggles, and covering up US regime change efforts. UpsideDownWorld is an excellent example of this.

Some of it lies in what many who call themselves “left” still have not come to terms with: their own arrogant white attitude they share with Western colonizers and present day ruling elites: we know better than you what is good for you, we are the best interpreters and defenders of your socialism, your democracy, your human rights. They repeatedly critique real or imagined failures of progressive Third World governments – targets of the US.

Genuine solidarity with the peoples of the Third World means basing yourself in opposition to the Empire’s interference and exposing how it attempts to undermine movements seeking to break free from the Western domination.

Some of it lies in deep-rooted white racist paternalism in their romanticizing the indigenous as some “noble savage” living at one with nature in some Garden of Eden. Providing these people with schools, health clinics, modern conveniences we have, is somehow felt not to be in their best interests.

A serious analysis of a Third World country must begin with the role the West has played.  To not point out imperialism’s historic and continuing exploitive role is simply dishonest, it is apologetics, it shows a basic lack of human feeling for the peoples of the Third World.

A function of corporate media is to conceal Western pillaging of Third World countries, to cheerlead efforts to restore neocolonial-neoliberal governments to power. However, for liberal-left media and organizations to do likewise, even if halfway, is nothing other than supporting imperialist interference.

Notes.

[1] Linda C.  Farthing, Benjamin H. Kohl Evo’s Bolivia: Continuity and Change (2014: 52)

 

[Stansfield Smith, Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee, recently returned from a SOA Watch, Task Force on the Americas delegation to Venezuela.]

How the Mainstream Media Whitewashed Al-Qaeda & the White Helmets in Syria

How the Mainstream Media Whitewashed Al-Qaeda & the White Helmets in Syria

In Gaza

January 6, 2018

By Eva Bartlett

 

neil clark tweet

*Neil Clark’s tweet

 

On December 18, 2017, the Guardian issued a shoddily-penned hatchet piece against British journalist Vanessa Beeley, Patrick Henningsen and his independent website 21st Century Wire, Australian professor and writer Tim Anderson, and myself.

Many insightful writers have since deconstructed the lies and omissions of the article, which I will link to at the bottom of my own.

Judging by the scathing comments on the Guardian’s Facebook post, the general public didn’t buy it either. The Guardian, like Channel 4 News and Snopes, whitewashes terrorism in Syria, employs non-sequitur arguments, promotes war propaganda, and simply gets the facts wrong.

+++

As the purported theme of the The Guardian‘s story was the issue of rescuers in Syria, I’ll begin by talking about actual rescuers I know and worked with, in hellish circumstances in Gaza.

In 2008/9, I volunteered with Palestinian medics under 22 days of relentless, indiscriminate, Israeli war plane and Apache helicopter bombings, shelling from the sea and tanks, and drone strikes. The loss of life and casualties were immense, with over 1,400 Palestinians murdered, and thousands more maimed, the vast majority civilians. Using run-down, bare-bones equipment (as actual rescuers in Syria do), Palestinian medics worked tirelessly day and night to rescue civilians.

There was not a single occasion in which I ever heard the medics (in Sunni Gaza) shout takbeer or Allahu Akbar upon rescuing civilians, much less intentionally stood on dead bodies, posed in staged videos, or any of the other revolting acts that the White Helmets have been filmed doing in Syria. They were too damn busy rescuing or evacuating the areas before another Israeli strike, and usually maintained a focused silence as they worked, communicating only the necessities. The only occasion I recall of screaming while with the medics, were the screams of civilians we collected and in particular the anguished shrieks of a husband helping to put the body parts of his dismembered wife onto a stretcher to be taken to the morgue. The medics I knew in Gaza were true heroes. The White Helmets, not a chance. They are gross caricatures of rescuers.

oli 5

A White Helmets member. “Unnarmed and neutral”?

Reply to The Guardian 

In October, a San Francisco-based tech (and sometimes fashion) writer named Olivia Solon (visibly with no understanding of Middle East geopolitics) emailed myself and Beeley with nearly identical questions filled with implicit assumptions for a “story” we were to be imminently featured in. My own correspondence with Solon is as follows:

In brief, I’ll address Solon’s emails, including some of her most loaded questions:

-Who is the “we”, Solon mentions? Her mention of “we” indicates this story isn’t her own bright idea, nor independently researched and penned. Parts of the article—including the title and elements I’ll outline later in my article—seem to be lifted from others’ previous articles, but that’s copy-paste journalism for you.

-It isn’t just that I believe the mainstream media narrative about the White Helmets is wrong; this narrative has been redundantly-exposed over the years. In September 2014, Canadian independent journalist Cory Morningstar investigated hidden hands behind flashy PR around the White Helmets. In April 2015, American independent journalist Rick Sterling revealed that the White Helmets had been founded by Western powers and managed by a British ex-soldier, and noted the “rescuers” role in calling for Western intervention—a No Fly Zone on Syria. (more on these articles below). This was months before Russian media began to write about the White Helmets.

Since then, Vanessa Beeley has done the vast amount of research in greater detail, doing on-the-ground investigations in Syria, including: taking the testimonies of Syrian civilians who had (often brutal) experiences with the White Helmets; establishing that the Syrian Civil Defense exists and has existed since 1953, but are not the White Helmets—which has misappropriated this name; establishing that the international body, the International Civil Defence organisation in Geneva, does not recognize the White Helmets as the Syrian Civil Defence; establishing that men now White Helmets members looted vehicles and equipment from the Syrian Civil Defence in Aleppo—and belongings from civilians; and establishing that White Helmets shared a building in Bab Al Nairab, eastern Aleppo with al-Qaeda and were present as al-Qaeda tortured civilians, among other points.

It is hard to believe that in the span of the two months between her contacting Beeley and myself that Solon, in her certainly deep investigations, has not seen this video, clearly showing uniformed White Helmets members with supporters of Saudi terrorist, Abdullah Muhaysini. Not quite “neutral” rescuers. But then, perhaps she did. She was willing to write off the presence of White Helmets members at execution scenes, standing on dead Syrian soldiers, and holding weapons, as a few bad apples sort of thing.

-As to Solon’s interest in my “relationship” to the Syrian government: No, I have not received payment, gifts or other from any government. To the contrary, I’ve poured my own money into going to Syria (and have fund-raised, and also routinely received Paypal donations or support on Patreon by individuals who appreciate my work). See my article on this matter.

As to how my visits to Syria and North Korea came about, this is another transparent attempt to imply that I am on the payroll of/receive other benefits from one or more of the governments in question.

-One of The Guardian’s questions was regarding my following: “That you attract a large online audience, amplified by high-profile right-wing personalities and appearances on Russian state TV.”

What following I do have began exactly one year ago, after I requested to speak in a panel at the United Nations, as the US Peace Council had done in August 2016. It is as a result of a short interaction between myself and a Norwegian journalist, which went viral, that my online audience grew. In fact, I deeply regret that what went viral was not the important content of the three other panelists and my own over twenty minutes report on conditions in Aleppo which was then still under daily bombardments and snipings by what the West deems “moderates”.

However, given that so many people responded positively regarding the interaction—which dealt with lies of the corporate media and lack of sources—it seems that the public already had a sense that something was not right with corporate media’s renditions on Syria.

The first person to cut and share the video clip in question (on December 10, one day following the panel) was Twitter profile @Walid970721. As I have since met him personally, I can attest he is neither Russian nor funded by the Kremlin, nor any government, and that he shared that clip out of his own belief that it was of interest. Otherwise, on December 10, before any major Russian media had, HispanTV also shared my words. Further, India-based internet media Scoop Whoop’s December 15 share garnered the most views (nearly 10.5 million by now). That Russian media later shared the clip and reported on the incident is neither my doing nor a bad thing: thank you Russian media for doing what Western corporate media always fail to do.

-Regarding The Guardian Solon’s question: “That you think that Assad is being demonized by the US as a means to drive regime change.” Of course I do, as do most analysts and writers not blinded by or obliged to the NATO narrative. As Rick Sterling wrote in September 2016:

“This disinformation and propaganda on Syria takes three distinct forms. The first is the demonization of the Syrian leadership. The second is the romanticization of the opposition. The third form involves attacking anyone questioning the preceding characterizations.”

Boston Globe contributor, award-winning foreign correspondent and author, Stephen Kinzer wrote in February 2016:

“Astonishingly brave correspondents in the war zone, including Americans, seek to counteract Washington-based reporting. At great risk to their own safety, these reporters are pushing to find the truth about the Syrian war. Their reporting often illuminates the darkness of groupthink. Yet for many consumers of news, their voices are lost in the cacophony. Reporting from the ground is often overwhelmed by the Washington consensus.”

Countering corporate media’s demonization campaigns, I’ve written on many occasions—notably including the words of Syrians within Syria—about the vast amount of support the Syrian president enjoys inside of Syria and outside.

In my March 7, 2016 article, I cited meeting with internal, unarmed, opposition members, including Kurdish representative, Berwine Brahim, who stated,

We want you to convey that conspiracy, terrorism and interference from Western countries has united supporters of the government and the opposition, to support President Bashar al-Assad.”

In that same article, I wrote:

“Wherever I’ve gone in Syria (as well as many months in various parts of Lebanon, where I’ve met Syrians from all over Syria) I’ve seen wide evidence of broad support for President al-Assad. The pride I’ve seen in a majority of Syrians in their President surfaces in the posters in homes and shops, in patriotic songs and Syrian flags at celebrations and in discussions with average Syrians of all faiths. Most Syrians request that I tell exactly what I have seen and to transmit the message that it is for Syrians to decide their future, that they support their president and army and that the only way to stop the bloodshed is for Western and Gulf nations to stop sending terrorists to Syria, for Turkey to stop warring on Syria, for the West to stop their nonsense talk about ‘freedom‘ and ‘democracy’ and leave Syrians to decide their own future.”

In my May 2014 article from Lebanon, having independently observed the first of two days of Syrians streaming to their embassy to vote in presidential elections, I cited some of the many Syrians there with whom I spoke (in Arabic):

“’We love him. I’m Sunni, not Alawi,’ Walid, from Raqqa, noted. ‘They’re afraid our voices will be heard,’ he said….’I’m from Deir Ezzor,’ said a voter. ‘ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is in our area. We want Bashar al-Assad. The guy walks straight,’ he said, with a gesture of his hand.”

No one escorted me in a Syrian government vehicle to that embassy, by the way. I took a bus, and then walked the remaining many kilometres (the road was so clogged with vehicles going to the embassy) with Syrians en route to vote.

In June 2014, a week after the elections within Syria, I traveled by public bus to Homs (once dubbed the “capital of the revolution”), where I saw Syrians celebrating the results of the election, one week after the fact, and spoke with Syrians beginning to clean up and patch up homes damaged from the terrorist occupation of their district.

When I returned to Homs in December 2015, shops and restaurants had re-opened where a year and a half prior they were destroyed. People were preparing to celebrate Christmas as they could not do when terrorists ruled. In Damascus, attending a choral concert I overheard people asking one another excitedly whether “he” was here. The day prior, President Assad and the First Lady had dropped in on the pracitising choir, to their surprise and delight. And although the church was within hitting distance of mortars fired by the west’s “moderates” (and indeed that area had been repeatedly hit by mortars), the people faced that prospect in hopes of a re-visit by the President.

These are just some of many examples of the support Syria’s president sees and the attempts to vilify he and other Syrian leadership. Even Fox News acknowledged his support, referring to the 2014 elections:

…it underscored the considerable support that President Bashar Assad still enjoys from the population, including many in the majority Sunni Muslim community. …Without Sunni support, however, Assad’s rule would have collapsed long ago.”

Regarding war crimes, Syria is fighting a war against terrorism, but corporate media continues fabricating claims, and repeating those fabricated, not-investigated, accusations. For example, the repeated claim of the Syrian government starving civilians. In my on the ground investigations, I’ve revealed the truth behind starvation (and hospitals destroyed, and “last doctors”) in Aleppo, in Madaya, in al-Waer, in Old Homs (2014). In all instances, starvation and lack of medical care was solely due to terrorists—including al-Qaeda—hoarding food (and medical supplies). Vanessa Beeley has in greater depth exposed those corporate media lies regarding eastern Aleppo.

Even Reuters later reported on finding stockpiles of food in a “rebel” held building, citing civilians saying specifically that the Army of Islam “rebels”,  “kept all these items, here and there. They did not allow us to eat even a piece of bread. We died out of hunger.”

Regarding chemical weapons accusations, those have long been negated by the investigations of Seymour Hersh (on Ghouta 2013; on Khan Sheikhoun 2017) and the UN’s own Carla Del Ponte who said:

“…there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated. This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.”

Regarding convoys allegedly bombed, see my own article on one such claim, as well as award-winning investigative journalist, Gareth Porter’s article.

Regarding whether the White Helmets have done any good work rescuing civilians: they are working solely in areas occupied by al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorists, so no one can prove whether they have actual done any rescue work of civilians. However, we have numerous on the ground witness testimonies to the contrary, that the White Helmets denied medical care to civilians not affiliated with terrorist groups.

In September 2017, Murad Gazdiev (instrumental in his honest reporting from Aleppo during much of 2016) documented how the White Helmets headquarters in Bustan al-Qasr, Aleppo, was filled with Hell Canons (used to fire gas canister bombs on Aleppo’s civilians and infrastructure) and remnants of a bomb-making factory. The headquarters was in a school.

Gazdiev’s reporting on the headquarters was preceded by French citizen Pierre Le Corf, living in Aleppo for over the past year, who visited the White Helmets headquarters in March 2017 (and again in April), documenting the al-Qaeda and ISIS linked flags, logos, and paraphernalia found inside the White Helmets headquarters, and that the White Helmets’ headquarters was next to a central al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra) headquarters. Le Corf also wrote about his encounters with civilians from Aleppo’s east, and their take on the White Helmets:

“…the last two families I met told me that they helped the injured terrorists first and sometimes left the civilians in the rubble. When the camera was spinning everyone was agitated, as soon as the camera extinguished, the lives of the people under rubble took less importance…. all the videos you’ve seen in the media come from one or the other. Civilians couldn’t afford cameras or 3G internet package when it was already difficult to buy bread, only armed and partisan groups.”

Vanessa Beeley took testimonies she took from civilians from eastern, al-Qaeda-occupied Aleppo, in December 2016 when the city was liberated. Beeley later wrote:

“When I asked them if they knew of the “civil defence”, they all nodded furiously and said, “yes, yes – Nusra Front civil defence”. Most of them elaborated and told me that the Nusra Front civil defence never helped civilians, they only worked for the armed groups.”

Beeley also wrote of the White Helmets’ complicity in the massacre of civilians (including 116 children) from Foua and Kafraya in April 2017.

Credentials, Please: What Is Journalism?

Regarding Solon’s question on my competency as a journalist, I note the following:

I began reporting from on the ground in Palestine in 2007, first blogging and later publishing in various online media.

In 2007, I spent 8 months in the occupied West Bank in occupied Palestine, in some of the most dangerous areas where Palestinians are routinely abused, attacked, abducted and killed by both the Israeli army and the illegal Jewish colonists. There, I began blogging, documenting the crimes in print with witness testimonies, first person interviews, my own eye-witness experiences, photos and videos.

After being deported from Palestine by Israeli authorities in December 2007, in 2008 I  sailed to Gaza from Cyprus and documented not only the daily Israeli assaults on unarmed male, female, elderly and child farmers and fishers, but also the effects of the brutal Israeli full siege on Gaza, Israel’s sporadic bombings and land invasions, and of course two major massacres (Dec 2008/ Jan 2009 and Nov 2012).

In the 2008/2009 war against Palestinian civilians, I was on the ground in northern Gaza with rescuers—actual rescuers, no acting, no staging—under the bombings, and under heavy sniper fire. I was also on an upper floor of a media building in Gaza City that was bombed while I was in it. And otherwise, I remained in Gaza after the slaughter had ended, taking horrific testimonies, documenting Israel’s war crimes, including Israel’s: assassinations of children, widespread use of White Phosphorous on civilians; holding civilians as human shields; and targeting (and killing) of medics.

See this link for a more detailed description of this documentation, with many examples, and my further documentation during the November 2012 Israeli massacre of Palestinians, as well as detailed accounts of my reporting from seven trips, on the ground, around Syria.

While questioning my credentials as an investigative reporter in the Middle East, The Guardian casually assigned the story to a San Fransisco based writer specializing in fluff piecesfashion and Russophobic analysis, who visibly has little to no understanding of what is happening on the ground in Syria.

Addressing “the propaganda that is so often disguised as journalism,”award-winning journalist and film maker, John Pilger, said (emphasis added):

Edward Bernays, the so-called father of public relations, wrote about an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. He was referring to journalism, the media. That was almost 80 years ago, not long after corporate journalism was invented. It’s a history few journalists talk about or know about, and it began with the arrival of corporate advertising.

 

As the new corporations began taking over the press, something called ‘professional journalism’ was invented. To attract big advertisers, the new corporate press had to appear respectable, pillars of the establishment, objective, impartial, balanced. The first schools of journalism were set up, and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around the professional journalists. The right to freedom of expression was associated with the new media.

 

The whole thing was entirely bogus. For what the public didn’t know, was that in order to be professional, journalists had to ensure that news and opinion were dominated by official sources. And that hasn’t changed. Go through the New York Times on any day, and check the sources of the main political stories, domestic and foreign, and you’ll find that they’re dominated by governments and other establishment interests. That’s the essence of professional journalism.

On a publicly-shared Facebook post, journalist Stephen Kinzer wrote:

“I happen to agree with Eva’s take on Syria, but from a journalist’s perspective, the true importance of what she does goes beyond reporting from any single country. She challenges the accepted narrative–and that is the essence of journalism. Everything else is stenography. Budding foreign correspondents take note!!”

In The Guardian’s smear piece, it is interesting that Solon employed a tactic used to denigrate the credibility of a writer by dubbing he/she merely a “blogger”. In her story, Solon used “blogger” four times, three times in reference to Vanessa Beeley (who contributes in depth articles to a variety of online media).

In the latter case, she quoted executive director of the Purpose Inc-operated “Syria Campaign” PR project, James Sadri saying:

“A blogger for a 9/11 truther website who only visited Syria for the first time last year should not be taken seriously as an impartial expert on the conflict.”

Remind me when either Sadri or Solon was last there? Seems to be 2008 for Sadri, and never for Solon. But they are “credible” and someone like Beeley who has since her first 2016 visit to Syria has returned numerous occasions, in the country at pivotal times—like during the liberation of Aleppo, speaking with Syrian civilians from eastern areas formerly occupied by al-Qaeda and co-extremists—is not?

As for bloggers, there are many insightful writers and researchers self-publishing on blogs (for example,  this blog). However, that aside, it is amusing to note that Solon on her LinkedIn profile list her first skill as blogging. Is she a mere blogger?

oli blogging

Regarding Solon’s use of the “truthers” theme, did she recycle this from an article on Wired peddled eight months ago? Her use of “truthers” is clearly to paint anyone who investigates the White Helmets as Alex Jones-esque. Is she capable of originality?

castello

Nov 4, 2016: Less than 100 metres away, the second of two mortars fired by terrorist factions less than 1 km from Castello Road on Nov. 4. The road and humanitarian corridor were targeted at least seven times that day by terrorist factions. Many of those in corporate media had retired to the bus, and donned helmets and flak jackets. I was on the road without such luxuries. Read about it here.

Guardian Uses CIA “Conspiracy Theory” Tactic

In addition to using denigrating terms, The Guardian threw in the loaded CIA term “conspiracy theorists”.

As Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Studies and author, noted in a June 2017 panel (emphasis added):

“Conspiracy theory was not much used by journalist for the decades prior to 1967, when suddenly it’s used all the time, and increasingly ever since.

And the reason for this is that the CIA at that time sent a memo to its station chiefs world wide, urging them to use their propaganda assets and friends in the media, to discredit the work of Mark Lane… books attacking the Warren Commission Report. Mark Lane’s was a best seller, so the CIA’s response was to send out this memo urging a counter-attack, so that hacks responsive to the agency would write reviews attacking these authors as ‘conspiracy theorists’ and using one or more of five specific arguments listed in the memo.”

Guess Solon got the memo.

Professor James Tracy elaborated:

“Conspiracy theory” is a term that at once strikes fear and anxiety in the hearts of most every public figure, particularly journalists and academics. Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events off limits to inquiry or debate. Especially in the United States raising legitimate questions about dubious official narratives destined to inform public opinion (and thereby public policy) is a major thought crime that must be cauterized from the public psyche at all costs.”

Researcher and writer Kevin Ryan noted (emphasis added):

“In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’ appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week.

 

“…Of course, in these uses the phrase is always delivered in a context in which ‘conspiracy theorists’ were made to seem less intelligent and less rationale than people who uncritically accept official explanations for major events. President George W. Bush and his colleagues often used the phrase conspiracy theory in attempts to deter questioning about their activities.”

In her piece for the Guardian, Solon threw in the Russia is behind everything clause.

Scott Lucas (who Solon quotes in her own article) in August 2017 wrote (emphasis added):

“Russian State outlets have pursued a campaign — especially since Moscow’s military intervention in September 2015.”

Solon’s article? (emphasis added):

“The campaign to discredit the White Helmets started at the same time as Russia staged a military intervention in Syria in September 2015…”

But I’m sure this is a mere coincidence.

Initial Investigations Into The White Helmets Precede Russia’s

As mentioned earlier in this article, in 2014 and early 2015, long before any Russian media took notice, Cory Morningstar and Rick Sterling were already countering the official story of the White Helmets.

Morningstar on September 17, 2014, wrote:

“The New York public relations firm Purpose has created at least four anti-Assad NGOs/campaigns: The White Helmets, Free Syrian Voices [3], The Syria Campaign [4] and March Campaign #withSyria. …The message is clear. Purpose wants the green light for military intervention in Syria, well-cloaked under the guise of humanitarianism – an oxymoron if there ever was one.”

This is where the White Helmets step in.

Rick Sterling’s April 9, 2015, article looked at the White Helmets as a PR project for western intervention in Syria. He wrote (emphasis added):

“White Helmets is the newly minted name for “Syrian Civil Defence”. Despite the name, Syria Civil Defence was not created by Syrians nor does it serve Syria. Rather it was created by the UK and USA in 2013. Civilians from rebel controlled territory were paid to go to Turkey to receive some training in rescue operations. The program was managed by James Le Mesurier, a former British soldier and private contractor whose company is based in Dubai.

Since her initial scrutiny into the White Helmets in September 2015, by October revealing their ties to executioners in Syria, Vanessa Beeley has relentlessly pursued the organization, and the lies and propaganda around it, their funding of at least over $150 million, far more than needed for medical supplies and high-tech camera equipment.

As 21st Century Wire pointed out (emphasis added):

“Note that The Guardian and Olivia Solon also claim that the White Helmets are only “volunteers” – a foundational misrepresentation designed to generate sympathy for their employees. One could call this a gross lie when you consider the fact the White Helmets are paid a regular salary (which the Guardian deceptively call a ‘stipend’) which is in fact much higher than the national average salary in Syria – a fact conveniently left out in the Guardian’s apparent foreign office-led propaganda piece:

 

Guardian informationists like Solon would never dare mention that the White Helmet’s ‘monthly stipend’ is far in excess of the standard salary for a Syrian Army soldier who is lucky to take home $60 -$70 per month.”

The Guardian Whitewashes the White Helmets

What are some things The Guardian could have investigated, had Solon’s story not been predetermined and had she approached with an honest intent to investigate the White Helmets?

  • Solon very misguidedly chose to highlight the White Helmets’ “mannequin challenge” video, writing that the video was “stripped of its context”. What was the context? That the White Helmets, supposedly frantically, full-time rescuing civilians under the bombs, took time to make a video simulating a heroic rescue scene? The video reveals the patently obvious point that the White Helmets can clearly stage a very convincing “rescue” video. But Solon ignores this point, it doesn’t fit her factless, Russophobic story. Further, I cannot imagine any of the Palestinian rescuers I worked with wasting a moment of precious time for such an absurd video.
  • That in spite of the White Helmets’ professed motto, “To save a life is to save all of humanity” they willingly participated in executions of civilians. But Solon wrote those extremist-affiliated White Helmets who hold weapons or stand on dead bodies or chant with al-Qaeda off as “isolated” and “rogue” actors, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Best part? It wasn’t Russia which photographed them, it was from their own social media accounts, where they proudly displayed their allegiance to terrorists.

 

In her attempt to defend the “rogue” assertion, Solon brings in White Helmets leader, Raed Saleh, who she doesn’t mention was denied entry to the US in April 2016, and deemed by the State Department’s Mark Toner to have ties to extremists.

Here’s one poignant example of a rogue actor who was dealt with by White Helmets’ leadership:

“Muawiya Hassan Agha was present at Rashideen, and he later became infamous for his involvement in the execution of two prisoners of war in Aleppo. For this rogue bad appleness he was supposedly fired from the White Helmets, although he was later photographed still with them. He has also been photographed celebrating ‘victory’ with Nusra Front in Idlib.”

  • The soldiers which Solon calls “pro-Assad fighters” are actually members of Syria’s national army. Lexicon is important, and by denigrating members of the national army, Solon is playing a very old, and once again lacking in originality, lexicon card worthy of some UN member states who violate UN protocol and in the UN call the Syrian government a “regime” (as Solon also does…) instead of government. In the UN, governments must be called by their official names. The Syrian Arab Republic, or the government of Syria.
  • That it is not the entire UNSC which believes that Syria has committed the crimes Solon repeats, it is some members with an admitted vested interest in toppling the Syrian government.

 

The Chemical Card

In her attempt to validate the White Helmets, and delegitimize those who question them, The Guardian article presented as fact claims that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people in Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017, that the White Helmets provided valuable documentation to the fact, and stated that Beeley and myself were some of the “most vocal sceptics” of the official narrative.

But so was the British and US media:

“The following Mail Online article was published and subsequently removed.

Note the contradictory discourse: “Obama issued warning to Syrian president Bashar al Assad”, “White House gave green light to chemical weapons attack”.

Screen-Shot-2017-04-06-at-21.01.09-768x725

From the horse’s mouth: CNN

Screen-Shot-2017-04-06-at-19.12.35-768x144

Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons

Amusingly, according to the article (by the Qatari-owned channel, Al Jazeera) which The Guardian provided to back up their assertion of the Syrian government’s culpability (instead of providing the September 2017 UN report, itself questionable, and a much longer read for Solon), (emphasis added):

“All evidence available leads the Commission to conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe Syrian forces dropped an aerial bomb dispersing sarin in Khan Sheikhoun.”

Reasonable grounds to believe is not exactly a confirmation of evidence, it’s just a belief.

The same article noted the investigators had not been to Syria and “based their findings on photographs of bomb remnants, satellite imagery and witness testimony.”

Witness testimony from an al-Qaeda-dominated area? Very credible. The White Helmet leader in Khan Sheikhoun, Mustafa al-Haj Yussef, is an extremist showing allegiance to the actions of al-Qaeda. As Vanessa Beeley wrote:

“Yussef has called for the shelling of civilians, the execution of anyone not fasting during Ramadan, the murder of anyone considered a Shabiha, the killing of the SAA and the looting of their property. …He clearly supports both Nusra Front, an internationally recognised terrorist group, and Ahrar Al Sham…Yussef is far from being neutral, impartial or humanitarian.

The initial analysis (of an April 2017 White House statement on Khan Sheikhoun) by Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Theodore Postol, found (emphasis added):

“I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017.

Postol’s analysis concludes that the alleged evidence

“points to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of April 4,” and notes that “the report contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft.”

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh also looked at the official accusations, noting that claims made by MSF contradicted the official accusation of the Syrian government bombing the area with sarin. Hersh wrote (emphasis added):

“A team from Médecins Sans Frontières, treating victims from Khan Sheikhoun at a clinic 60 miles to the north, reported that ‘eight patients showed symptoms – including constricted pupils, muscle spasms and involuntary defecation – which are consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin gas or similar compounds.’ MSF also visited other hospitals that had received victims and found that patients there ‘smelled of bleach, suggesting that they had been exposed to chlorine.’ In other words, evidence suggested that there was more than one chemical responsible for the symptoms observed, which would not have been the case if the Syrian Air Force – as opposition activists insisted – had dropped a sarin bomb, which has no percussive or ignition power to trigger secondary explosions. The range of symptoms is, however, consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.”

The second article to which Solon linked was a NY Times article which called the report a “politically independent investigation”. This should make readers pause to guffaw, as the investigating mechanism includes the questionably-funded OPCW, and among those which the investigators interviewed were al-Qaeda’s rescuers.

Regarding the report, Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli (founder and chairman of Swedish Professors and Doctors for Human Rights) in November 2017, refuted it as “inaccurate” and “politically biased”. Points he made included (emphasis added):

  • “The same JIM authors acknowledge that rebels in Khan Shaykhun have however destroyed evidence by filling the purported impact “crater” with concrete. Why the “rebels” have done that – and what consequences that sabotage would have for the investigation of facts is not even considered by the panel.”
  • “By acknowledging that Khan Shaykhun was then under control of al-Nusra, the JIM report exhibits yet another methodological contradiction: That would mean that al-Nusra and its jihadists allies, by having control of the area, they were also in control of the ‘official’ information delivered from Khan Shaykhun on the alleged incident. This would imperatively call for a questioning of the reliability/credibility (bias) of main sources that the panel used for its allegations.”

 

Twitter user @Syricide picked up on one of the JIM’s most alarming professed irregularity, tweeting:

Syricide

Even the Nation in April 2017 ran a piece stressing the need for actual investigation into the chemical weapons claims, citing the research of Postol, as well noting the following (emphasis added):

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA case officer and Army intelligence officer, told radio host Scott Horton on April 6 that he was “hearing from sources on the ground in the Middle East, people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence that is available, who are saying the essential narrative we are hearing about the Syrians and Russians using chemical weapons is a sham.”

Giraldi also noted that ‘people in the both the agency [CIA] and in the military who are aware of the intelligence are freaking out about this because essentially Trump completely misrepresented’ what had taken place in Khan Sheikhun. Giraldi reports that his sources in the military and the intelligence community “are astonished by how this is being played by the administration and by the US media.”

The same article included the words of the former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, who noted:

“It defies belief that he would bring this all on his head for no military advantage.” Ford said he believes the accusations against Syria are “simply not plausible.”

So, in fact, no, some of the most vocal and informed sceptics were neither Beeley nor myself, but MIT Professor Emeritus Theodore Postol, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, former UK ambassador Peter Ford, and former CIA and Army intelligence officer Philip Giraldi, not exactly “fringe” voices.

Investigative journalist Robert Parry in April 2017 wrote of a NY Times deflection tactic (one which Solon employed), emphasis added:

“Rather than deal with the difficulty of assessing what happened in Khan Sheikhoun, which is controlled by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and where information therefore should be regarded as highly suspect, Rutenberg simply assessed that the conventional wisdom in the West must be correct.

 

To discredit any doubters, Rutenberg associated them with one of the wackier conspiracy theories of radio personality Alex Jones, another version of the Times’ recent troubling reliance on McCarthyistic logical fallacies, not only applying guilt by association but refuting reasonable skepticism by tying it to someone who in an entirely different context expressed unreasonable skepticism.”

That sounds familiar. Solon wrote:

“Beeley frequently criticises the White Helmets in her role as editor of the website 21st Century Wire, set up by Patrick Henningsen, who is also an editor at Infowars.com.”

Infowars is Alex Jones’ site, and Henningsen is for many years no longer affiliated.

Solon followed this with another non sequitur argument about Beeley and the US Peace Council meeting with the Syrian president in 2016, a point irrelevant either to the issue of the White Helmets or the alleged chemical attacks. But irrelevance is what corporate media do best these days.

The Guardian story-writer has done literally zero investigative research into the fallacies she presents as fact in her article. She’s just employed the same, predictable, tired, old CIA defamation tactics.

Integrity-Devoid Sources Solon Cited

In addition to those I’ve already mentioned, it is interesting to note some of the other sources Solon quoted to fluff her story:

  • Scott Lucas, whose allegiance to Imperialists is evident from his twitter feed, a textbook Russophobe, Iranophobe. Lucas relied on the words of terrorist-supporter, Mustafa al-Haj Youssef, for his August article on the White Helmets (the one Solon seemingly plagiarized from). Solon relied on Lucas’ smears to dismiss the work and detract from the integrity of those Solon attacked. That, and being a token professor to include in attempt at legitimacy, was Lucas’ sole function in the Guardian story.

 

  • Amnesty International, the so-called human rights group which as Tony Cartalucci outlined in August 2012, is “US State Department Propaganda”, and does indeed receive money from governments and corporate-financier interests, including “convicted financial criminal” George Soros’ Open Society.

 

It’s not just “conspiracy theorists” like Cartalucci who have written on Amnesty’s dark side. Ann Wright, a 29-year U.S. Army/Army Reserve Colonel and a 16-year U.S. Diplomat serving in numerous countries, including Afghanistan, who “resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war,” and “returned to Afghanistan in 2007 and 2010 on fact-finding missions,” has as well. Her co-author was Coleen Rowley, “a FBI special agent for almost 24 years, legal counsel to the FBI Field Office in Minneapolis from 1990 to 2003, and a whistleblower “on some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures.” Together, in June 2012, they wrote about “Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars”.

Professor of international law, Francis Boyle, who himself was a member of the US board of Amnesty, wrote of the group’s role in shilling for war. In October 2012, he wrote of Amnesty’s war mongering regarding Iraq—endorsing the dead incubator babies story told by the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter—and his own attempts to inform Amnesty “that this report should not be published because it was inaccurate.” He noted:

“That genocidal war waged by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, inter alia, during the months of January and February 1991, killed at a minimum 200,000 Iraqis, half of whom were civilians. Amnesty International shall always have the blood of the Iraqi People on its hands!”

Boyle’s parting words included:

“…based upon my over sixteen years of experience having dealt with AI/London and AIUSA at the highest levels, it is clear to me that both organizations manifest a consistent pattern and practice of following the lines of the foreign policies of the United States, Britain, and Israel. …Effectively, Amnesty International and AIUSA function as tools for the imperialist, colonial and genocidal policies of the United States, Britain, and Israel.”

  • Eliot Higgins, of whom Gareth Porter wrote:

“Eliot Higgins is a non-resident fellow of the militantly anti-Russian, State Department-funded Atlantic Council, and has no technical expertise on munitions.

British journalist Graham Phillips wrote in February 2016 on Eliot Higgins. Answering his question on who is Eliot Higgins, Phillips wrote:

“He never finished college, dropping out of the Southampton Institute of Higher Education. When asked…what he studied at university, his answer was, Media…I think.’ Higgins has always been completely open about his lack of expertise.”

The Guardian’s Russia Obsession

By now it should be clear that the intent of Solon’s December 18th story was not to address the manifold questions (facts) about the White Helmets’ ties to (inclusion of) terrorists in Syria, nor to question the heroic volunteers’ obscene amount of funding from Western sources very keen to see Syria destabilized and its government replaced.

Rather, the intent was to whitewash this rescue group, and to demonize those of us highlighted, and especially to insert more Russophobia (although Russia’s military intervention in Syria is legal, unlike that of the US-led coalition, of which Solon’s UK is a part).

Since our last early October communication until the long-awaited publishing of her slander-filled piece, Solon produced (or co-produced) 24 stories for the Guardian, nine of which were blame-Russia! sort of stories, including such lexicon as “Russian operatives”, “Russian interference”, “Russian trolls”, “Russian propagandists”, and “Russian bots”.

Is Baroness Cox, of the UK House of Lords, who recently spoke in support of Russia’s (invited) intervention in Syria, a “conspiracy theorist”, a Russian operative” or Kremlin-funded? She said (emphasis added):

“And the fourth point that I would like to make particularly to you is the very real appreciation that is expressed by everyone in Syria of the support by Russia to help get rid of ISIS [Daesh] and get rid of all the other Islamist religious groups.”

Cox, who went to Syria, is probably not a Kremlin or Assad agent. She probably just listened to the voices of Syrians in Syria, like the rest of us Russian propagandists who have bothered to go (repeatedly) to Syria and speak with Syrian civilians.

This is the first part of a longer article. Part II is forthcoming.

(*Some small additions are marked in red.)

DRau5UBX4AIcSem.jpg large

 

[Eva Bartlett is a freelance journalist and rights activist with extensive experience in the Gaza Strip and Syria. Her writings can be found on her blog, In Gaza.]

Accomplishments of Eleven Years of the “Process of Change” in Evo Morales’ Bolivia

Chicago Alba Solidarity

January 4, 2018

by Stansfield Smith

 

Evo Morales will soon have been the president of Bolivia for 12 years, heralding the ascent of the indigenous social movements to governmental power. This ended the apartheid system against the indigenous that existed for 500 years in Bolivia. Evo won in 2005 with 53.7% of the vote, followed by re-elections in 2009 with 64.2% and 2014 with 61.3%.

The country has made great strides in economic development, national sovereignty, women’s and Original Peoples’ rights, respect for Mother Earth, raising the people’s standard of living, level of education, and health care.

His presidency, which has brought an era of relative social peace and economic growth, has been the longest in Bolivia’s history. Since 1825 Bolivia has had 83 presidents with 37, almost half, by means of coup d’etats. Previous presidents typically lacked social legitimacy, representing a political system that excluded participation of the indigenous peoples, plagued by social and economic inequality, subjugated to foreign interests, and complicit with the looting of natural resources. By 2002, after years of neoliberal regimes serving foreign, mostly US corporations, the proportion of the rural population living in extreme poverty had risen to 75%.

The election of Evo, a campesino movement leader and head of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), began what his government describes as the “Process of Change” that shifted power away from Bolivia’s traditional elite, the mostly white owners of industry and agriculture, and towards the majority, the mostly indigenous workers and campesinos.

Reflecting on the historic significance of the changes underway in Bolivia, Morales declared: “We are the indigenous blood of Mother Earth. Until now Bolivia has been ruled by a few families that have all the political and economic power. They despise, humiliate, marginalize and hate the majority of the indigenous population.” “After 525 years of colonization, we indigenous peoples are part of the construction of a new Plurinational State and we have full particpation in international political organizations and forums.” 

Why Has Economic Development Been so Successful During the Process of Change

The MAS government undertook an anti-neoliberal  program, which has enabled the economy to grow an average 5% per year since 2006, compared to 2.8% during the years 1951-2005. As a result, the Gross Domestic Product has grown four-fold from $9 billion in 2005 to  $36 billion today.  Bolivia has become the fastest growing economy in Latin America.

Economic strategy focused on regaining national sovereignty over the country’s natural resources and using this wealth not to enrich foreign multinationals but to raise the standard of living of the neglected people of Bolivia. In 2006 Evo Morales asserted public ownership over the country’s gas and oil resources, making foreign companies turn over extractive industry resources to the state. The state now fully controls  sales, transport and distribution as well as key decisions regarding the extraction and refining of raw materials. The nationalization decree also forced foreign oil companies to renegotiate contracts with the new administration. Today, foreign corporations still extract most of Bolivia’s natural gas, but do so as contractors hired by the state, on the state’s terms.

Prior to the nationalizations (not only of gas and oil, but telecommunications, water, electricity, and a number of mines), foreign corporations pocketed about 85% of the profits generated by natural gas production. Morales increased the country’s profit share from gas from about 15% before his presidency to between 80-90%.[i] In 2005, before nationalization, government gas revenues totaled $0.6 billion; in 2015 it was over four times as much, $2.6 billion – in fact down from $4.5 billion in 2014.

In 2015 all gas and oil revenues yielded $4 billion, making up nearly half of Bolivia’s export earnings.

Over ten years, Evo’s Bolivia has gained $31.5 billion from the nationalizations, compared to a mere $2.5 billion earned during the previous ten years of neoliberal policies. This vastly increased revenue, largely used to benefit the people, starkly exemplifies the extent the people have been robbed to serve foreign corporate interests.

By the end of 2013 the state-owned portion of the economy reached 35%, double that of previous neoliberal governments. The state has become the main generator of wealth, and public investment amounted to over $5 billion in 2016, compared to a mere $629 million in 2006.  Much of this new revenue funds the country’s impressive development, infrastructure, community projects, such as schools, gyms, clinics, roads, and subsidies for agricultural production. It is spent on the people’s health and education, on price controls for staple foods, on wage increases, and social security benefits.

This humane redistribution of national wealth away from corporate interests to serving the poor majority has allowed one in five Bolivians, two million people, to escape a life of poverty. Even the World Bank has recognized the country as world champion in income growth for the poorest 40% of its population.

In the US, the government is taking the opposite course, turning its back on the poor. Here the poverty has grown over the same period, from 12.3% to 12.7%.[ii] Vacant homes number 18,600,000  – enough for each homeless person to have 6. The government cut food stamps by $8.7 billion in 2014,  cut 500,000 poor from the program in 2016, with plans to slash $19.3 billion per year for ten years. Yet Washington increases the military budget this year by $80 billion, an amount that could make public college free.

For Bolivia to industrialize and diversify the economy, to move away from dependence on natural resource exports, is a difficult long-term task. The country did create 485,000 jobs in the productive sector between 2006-2010, and developed industries to process natural resources.[iii] It advanced significantly its agricultural production, now providing 95% of the country’s food.  Yet raw materials still account for  90% of Bolivia’s exports.

Big investments are underway in infrastructure construction, hydrocarbon exploration, industrialization of natural gas (for fertilizers and plastics), more lithium production, and electric power for export. “Here we have the presence of China, with cooperation without pre-conditions, with credit without conditions,” Evo Morales said, contrasting Chinese aid to Western aid.

New Social Programs to Eliminate Poverty

In Bolivia under Evo, poverty has declined from 60.6% of the population in 2005 to 38.6% in 2016. Extreme poverty (those living on less than $1.25 per day) fell from 38% to 16.8%. The real minimum wage has risen from 440 bolivars a month to 2,000 a month, (from $57 to $287) Unemployment stands at under 4%, the lowest in Latin America, down from 8.5% in 2005.

Here are some of the measures to combat poverty:

  1. Electricity has been brought to 66% of rural homes by 2015, up from 25% in 2001.
  2. Over 127,000 homes have been created for low income Bolivians who lack housing. Another 23,000 homes will be built in 2018.
  3. The Juancito Pinto program aims to increase school attendance and reduce child labor. It presently reaches 2 million children, who each receive $28 annually upon finishing their school year.
  4. The Juana Azurduy program combats maternal and infant mortality, as well as malnutrition in children under two years old. Mothers can receive up to $266 from the program. UNICEF has pointed out the effectiveness of these social programs. Chronic undernourishment in children under wo has sharply fallen from 27%, when the program started in 2009 to 16% now, and infant mortality has been cut in half just since 2008.
  5. The Renta de la Dignidad is a payment to the 900,000 Bolivians over 60 years old, who would otherwise receive no pension. Incapacitated and disabled people now receive 250 bolivianos ($36) monthly and guaranteed job placement in public and private institutions.

More than 4.8 million Bolivians – in a country of just over 10 million – today benefit from these  programs, progams which not just combat poverty, but  improve public health and education.

Meanwhile in the US the bottom 90% of households are poorer today than they were in 1987.

Bolivia has cut income inequality by two-thirds, with the share of income of the top 10% vis-à-vis the poorest 10% has dropped from 128 to 1 in 2005 to 37 to 1 in 2016.

In the US, after years of neoliberal programs, we have the shocking fact that the three richest US citizens have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the population.

Gains for Rights of Original Peoples

The country, after a national discussion initiated by Bolivia’s five main indigenous campesino organizations, adopted a new constitution. The new document recognized Bolivia as a Plurinational State, with equal status and autonomy for Original Peoples, and also reclaimed control over natural resources. The new government has even established a Ministry of Decolonization (with a Depatriarchalization Unit) to further the uprooting of the previous apartheid system. By 2011, 90 of the 166 elected representatives of the national assembly came directly from the ranks of the progressive social movements. [iv]

Gains in Education and Health Care

Bolivia had an illiteracy rate of 13% when Evo Morales became president. After a mass literacy campaign that used Cuba’s YES I CAN program, 850,000 were educated and by 2008 Bolivia was declared free of illiteracy.  The country is second to Cuba in Latin America in terms of funding education. There are now 16,000 educational establishments in the country, 4,500 of them were built since 2006 with the funds from the nationalized gas industry.

Life expectancy of Bolivians during Evo’s presidency has increased from 64 years to 71 years. This is partly the result of the almost 700 members of the Cuban medical brigade working in the country. Cuba’s Operation Miracle has also enabled 676,000 Bolivians to have had their vision restored. Moreover, around 5,000 Bolivians have obtained their medical degrees in Cuba, going back to their country to provide their services. The country now has 47 new hospitals and over 3,000 health centers being built.

Land Distribution and Food Self-Sufficiency

Before Evo became president, 5% of property owners owned 70% of the arable land.[v] From 2006-2010 over 35 million hectares of land (1/3rd of Bolivia), was handed over to Original Peoples’ peasant communities to be run communally. This included government lands, large estates, and forest. Another 21 million hectares previously occupied illegally by large landowners were declared public lands, mostly protected forests.[vi] The land reform law expropriated underutilized lands, and permitted seizure of property from landowners employing forced labor or debt peonage. In all, approximately 800,000 low-income peasants have benefited. Of those who received titles to their land, 46% have been women. For the first time since the European conquest, smallholders control 55% of all land. The government ensures that these small producers receive preferential access to equipment, supplies, loans, and state subsidized markets, key factors in enabling the country to become self-sufficient in food.

US Interference and Regime Change Attempts

As John Perkins points out in Confessions of an Economic Hitman, any government pursuing anti-neoliberal economic policies or its own foreign policy independent of the US, as the case with Rafael Correa’s Ecuador and Evo’s Bolivia, becomes a US target for overthrow.

Evo Morales has become one of Washington’s most disfavored leaders in the Americas.  Washington continues to be concerned about Evo revolutionizing the indigenous movements in the region, and  tries to tarnish his reputation as an indigenous movement leader.

Wikileaks documents show that the US tried to undermine the presidencies of Evo Morales and Rafael Correa even before they were elected. Right after Evo’s inauguration, the US ambassador made it clear to him that funding by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and IMF depended on his “good behavior,” [vii] that is: back off nationalizing Bolivia’s petroleum resources. When Morales rejected these “orders,” including naming government ministers and military leaders without seeking prior US embassy consent, Washington began financing Bolivian opposition groups seeking to overthrow the indigenous government.

Washington  used USAID, NED [National Endowment for Democracy], IDB, World Bank, and IMF, to take punitive measures such as vetoing multilateral loans, postponing talks on alleviating Bolivia’s foreign debts, and discouraging international loans and grants. US Ambassador Greenlee wrote in a cable, in January 2006, just months after Morales’ election, “U.S. assistance, the largest of any bilateral donor by a factor of three, is often hidden by our use of third parties to dispense aid with U.S. funds.” He noted “many USAID-administered economic programs run counter to the direction the GOB [Government of Bolivia] wishes to move the country.”

US embassy cables showed Washington sought to create divisions in the social and indigenous movements that make up the support base of the country’s first indigenous-led government. Despite recognizing these were “traditionally confrontational organizations” vis-a-vis the US, Greenlee believed that “working more closely with these social sector representatives” who expressed dissent towards Morales “seems to be most beneficial to [US government] interests”.

USAID poured at least $85 million into Bolivia. Initially, the US hoped to destabilize the government by training the separatists in the richer Santa Cruz area in the eastern lowlands. USAID money flowed to groups in these opposition-based areas, as part of “USAID’s larger effort to strengthen regional governments as a counter-balance to the central government.” [viii]

Soon these eastern regions, the Media Luna, were in open rebellion, demanding a referendum on autonomy. Resulting protests led to the killing of at least 20 MAS supporters who had mobilized to crush the rebellion. The separatists’ goal was to divide Bolivia into two separate republics: a poor one governed by an indigenous majority and a much wealthier one run by European descendants in the areas home to the gas transnationals and large agribusiness.

The US never denounced opposition violence, not even after the massacre of the MAS supporters. Moreover, the US Embassy knew in advance of the opposition plans to blow up gas lines, but did not report it, nor even attempt to dissuade the opposition from doing so.[ix]

Evo was soon to expel US Ambassador Goldberg for his interference. Nevertheless, USAID  “still channeled at least $200 million into the country since 2009.”  USAID was eventually expelled in 2013.

Once the Media Luna separatist plan collapsed,[x] USAID switched to courting indigenous communities by using environmental NGOs. The Aymaras – Evo is one — and Quechuas, Bolivia’s two largest indigenous peoples, live mostly in the highlands and central regions. The east is home to the remaining 34 indigenous peoples. In 2011 new anti-government protests in the east again arose, this time around a planned TIPNIS highway.

Protests against the Government around the TIPNIS (Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory)

The Bolivian government planned to build a highway — actually to widen, pave and connect two roads with a 20-40 mile new connector — going through the TIPNIS. Western funded NGOs along with some local indigenous groups organized an international campaign against the MAS government, claiming Evo was repressing the indigenous and destroying untouched nature. This campaign was partly funded by USAID  and received sympathetic reporting in NACLA, UpsideDownWorld, Amazon Watch, and other liberal-left alternative media, which either omitted or discounted the US role. Avaaz [xi] and allied NGOs in solidarity with the protest groups organized international petition of protest. This foreign interference served to exacerbate a resolvable internal Bolivian dispute.

Fred Fuentes and Cory Morningstar wrote several exposés of this Western campaign against Evo, the covering up of the facts surrounding the TIPNIS road and the protests, including the USAID funding.[xii]  Evo Morales even revealed transcripts of phone calls between the anti-highway march organizers and U.S. embassy officials, including calls right before the march set out.

That the TIPNIS protest leaders supported the REDD (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), which would give Western NGOs and these indigenous groups funds for monitoring TIPNIS forests, was also not mentioned by liberal-left alternative media. REDD uses poor nations for carbon offsets so corporations in rich countries can continue polluting.

Many Western solidarity activists uncritically supported the anti-highway march. Many of their articles about the issue downplayed and made no mention of connections between the protest leaders and Washington and the Santa Cruz right wing.

Eventually the issue was resolved through a consultation process, and 55 of the 69 TIPNIS indigenous communities agreed to the road.[xiii]

US Manipulation Helped Cause Evo’s Loss in the 2016 Constitutional Referendum

The US again intervened to influence the February 21, 2016 referendum to change the constitution to allow Evo Morales to run again for the presidency. A smear campaign against him took place, including false stories of his corruption, nepotism, and fathering a child with a lover, which led to him losing the vote. The day is now recognized as the “Day of the Lie.” On the 2017 anniversary, mobilizations around the country backed the Process of Change and rejected the previous year’s vote. Washington is already at work to block his renomination in 2019.

USAID and NED Funding of Oppositional Forces

According to Bolivia’s Cabinet Chief Juan Ramon Quintana, from 2006-2015 NED funded around 40 institutions in Bolivia including economic and social centers, foundations and non-governmental organizations, for a total of over $10 million. For 2013, the combined NED and USAID allocations for Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia totaled over $60 million, with the bulk of these funds destined to Cuba and Ecuador.

The Issue of  “Extractivism” in Bolivia

Linda Farthing notes that in world colonial and neocolonial history,  “the exploitation of [Bolivia’s] considerable natural resources has also been nearly unparalleled.”  It included Spain’s richest gold and silver mine, one the richest tin mines, two of today’s  largest silver and iron ore mines, half of the world’s lithium,  and South America’s second largest gas reserves.  She adds, “It comes as no surprise that Bolivia’s history and environment have been dominated by relentless extraction.”

A central challenge facing Latin American governments is overcoming this dependency on raw material exports to a world market controlled by Western powers. This issue, who some present as “extractivism,” has become one of the main points of liberal-left and environmental NGO criticism of the positive changes in both Evo’s Bolivia and Correa’s Ecuador.

 “Extractivism” is a deliberately politically neutral and ahistorical term that conceals the brutal history that created the present First World-Third World system. “Extractivism” glosses over what has been 500 years of mass murder of Original Peoples, their slavery and semi-slavery for the purpose of plundering their gold, silver and other natural resources.

The Third World remains dependent on raw material exports, with their economies fragmented into specialized extractive industries geared towards a world market controlled by the First World, alongside backward, low-tech domestic industries and a bloated informal sector.

Bolivia cannot compete in industrial production with countries with more modern institutions, citizens with a higher educational level, developed infrastructure, and with access to the sea. To break free from being a low-cost provider of raw materials, whether mineral or agricultural, will be a long process.

As Fred Fuentes notes,  the question of “extractivism” centers on how a Third World country like Bolivia can overcome centuries of colonialism and neocolonialism to provide its people with basic services while trying to respect the environment. The main culprits are not Bolivian, but  the Western governments and their corporations. Defenders of the indigenous and Bolivia  must demand the West pay its ecological debt and transfer the necessary technology for sustainable development to countries such as Bolivia. “Until this occurs, activists in rich nations have no right to tell Bolivians what they can and cannot do to satisfy the basic needs of their people. Otherwise, telling Bolivian people that they have no right to a highway or to extract gas to fund social programs (as some NGOs demanded), means telling Bolivians they have no right to develop their economy or fight poverty.”

Environmental Achievements

Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Linera points out that Bolivia contributes 0.1% of the world’s greenhouse gases, but its trees clean 2% of the world’s carbon dioxide, resupplying that as oxygen. He attacks the Western “colonial, elitist environmental NGOs” for imposing their environmental demands on the Third World, saying they are blind to the Third World’s right to development.

Fuentes called out Western so-called defenders of Bolivia’s environment who attack Evo Morales over extractivism, for not devoting a single article on how the government has drastically cut deforestation 64% between 2010-2013. He asked, “why have media outlets, seemingly so concerned about Bolivia’s environment, failed to investigate what might be the steepest reduction in greenhouse gas emission per capita of any country in the world?”

They also do not mention that in South America, Bolivia has the greatest number of trees per inhabitant. Peru has 1,500, Brazil 1,400, Argentina 1,200, Colombia 1000, Ecuador, 600, Paraguay 2, 500. Bolivia has 5,400. And this year they will plant another 5 million.

Misrepresenting the Morales government’s environmental record often aims to delegitimize Morales’ position not only as a leading spokesperson for the indigenous but  in the global fight against climate change. Evo has rejected the carbon offset REDD schemes many Western environmental NGOs supported and clearly blames global warming on the  First World’s capitalist operations. “I’m convinced that capitalism is the worst enemy of humanity and the environment, enemy of the entire planet.”  He has demanded the Western rich countries repay their climate debt by transfer of technology and funds to the Third World.

Bolivia as a center of anti-imperialist social movements

The Bolivian government has sought to build political alliances with other governments and social movements in order to help strengthen the global forces for fundamental change. Liberal-left critics of Evo Morales, who attack him around TIPNIS, “extractivism,” even for being a neoliberal, so often willing to offer  a checklist of measures for how Bolivian socialism should be built, so often willing to portray Evo Morales as backtracking after he took office,  tend to go mum on his anti-imperialist measures, conferences, and statements.

Evo Morales has become an outspoken world leader against US hegemony and has pushed hard to make Bolivia a center of anti-imperialist social movements. Bolivia organized a number of international conferences: People’s Summit on Climate Change (2010), Anti-imperialist and Anticolonial Summit of the Peoples of Latin America and the World (2013), Anti-Imperialist International Trade Union Conference (2014),  the G77 Summit of 133 Third World nations (2014), the key promotor of the United Nations’ World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (2014), World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Defense of Life  (2015), World Conference of the Peoples For a World Without Borders towards Universal Citizenship (2017).

He has called for rich countries to pay climate reparation to those poorer ones suffering the effects of climate change. Warning of a coming “climate holocaust” that will destroy parts of Africa and many island nations, he called for an international climate court of justice to prosecute countries for climate crimes.

In 2016 he inaugurated a military “Anti-Imperialist Commando School,” saying “We want to build anti-colonial and anti-capitalist thinking with this school that binds the armed forces to social movements and counteracts the influence of the School of the Americas that always saw the indigenous as internal enemies.”

Besides expelling the US ambassador and USAID for their roles in coup plotting, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was expelled in 2009 for its actions against social organizations and for interfering with the actual struggle against narcotrafficking.

Evo Morales’ anti-cocaine program has resulted in land used for coca production being reduced by one-fifth since 2005. [xiv] The OAS considers Bolivia’s program “a best practice…[worthy of] replication”; it is also praised by the UN Office of Drug Control. The DEA’s military base was transformed into the Cochabamba airport and renamed Soberania [Sovereignty].

“I am pleased to have expelled the U.S. ambassador, the Drug Enforcement Administration and to have closed the U.S. military base in Bolivia. Now, without a U.S. ambassador, there is less conspiracy, and more political stability and social stability.” And in reference to the IMF and World Bank, which had served to force Bolivia to divert funds away from social welfare programs, he added “Without the International Monetary Fund, we are better off economically.”

Speaking of the US’ $700 billion military budget, Evo said “”If that money was used for cooperation or to fight poverty, we could solve so many [of the world’s social and environmental] problems.” Instead, “The US creates and perpetuates international conflicts for profit….The capitalist system that [it] represents is not a policy that embodies the people of the United States but a policy of the transnational corporations, especially those that commercialize weapons and push for an arms race…they use any pretext against the anti-imperialist countries to subdue and dominate them politically and rob them economically. They’re after our natural resources.”

Challenges Facing The Process of Change

Evo has said that “the retreat of the left in Latin America is due to the incapacity of progressive governments to face a media war and the lack of political training of the youth”. Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera also pointed out that progressive governments have failed to promote a kind of cultural revolution alongside the political revolution; social programs have successfully lifted many out of poverty, creating a new middle class with new consumerist attitudes, without promoting a corresponding new value system; progressive governments must do more to tackle the entrenched corruption of the neoliberal years; the question of the continuity of leadership remains a challenge; and Latin American economic integration remains a weakness despite considerable advances in political regional integration.

Three factors may cause Bolivia’s Process of Change to stagnate and be partially reversed. It has not moved beyond anti-neoliberalism policies, that have brought great benefits to the people, in a more anti-capitalist direction.  While the MAS government has democratized the traditional Bolivian state, it has modified this bourgeois state but not replaced it with a new one that would be a superior tool for the indigenous campesino and working people to advance their struggle. It has not built an organization of activists committed to leading this struggle with the people.

Now coming on 12 years of the Process of Change, Bolivia is a new country under the leadership of Evo Morales and Garcia Linera. Each passing year is one more of social, political and economic transformation, of opening up national decision-making to the indigenous communities, peasant and worker social movements. Not only have the faces of those who govern radically changed, but the country itself. From one of the poorest countries in Latin America, it has become the leader in sustained economic growth. From a country founded on social exclusion to the point of apartheid, it has become a country of inclusion for all, where more than half the Congress consists of women, where illiteracy is eliminated, where the people have free health care and education, and  have gained much greater control over the wealth of their natural resources.

 

[Stansfield Smith maintains ChicagoALBASolidarity.wordpress.com, produces the AFGJ Venezuela and ALBA Weekly, and is active in the movement against US interference in Latin America. He co-founded the Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban 5 in 2002 and was active in that campaign through their freedom in 2014. He administers the Facebook groups ‘Friends of Evo’s Bolivia/ Amigos de la Bolivia de Evo,” “Stand with Venezuela,””Friends of Ecuador- North America,” among others. His Masters thesis at the University of Chicago was ‘The Development of the Labor Theory of Value in Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Karl Marx.”]

[i]  Linda Farthing gives different figures: “the total government take shot up to about 70 percent of production, making gas its primary income source with annual revenues jumping from $332 million before nationalization to more than $2 billion today.”

[ii] These figures understate the actual figure as they exclude the 12 million undocumented, who are disproportionately poor.

[iii] Federico Fuentes, “Bad Left Government” vs “Good Social Movements”? in Steve Ellner (ed.) Latin America’s Radical Left, Maryland:Rowman & Littlefield (2014) p. 110

[iv]  Federico Fuentes « Bolivia’s Communitarian Socialism », Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions, Halifax, Winnepeg:Fernwood Publishing; London, NewYork: Zed Books (2013) p. 86

[v] Dangl, Ben, “The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia,” California: AK Press (2007) p.95

[vi] Federico Fuentes,  Federico Fuentes « Bolivia’s Communitarian Socialism », Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions, Halifax, Winnepeg:Fernwood Publishing; London, NewYork: Zed Books (2013) p. 85

[vii] The Wikileaks Files: The World According to US Empire, London, New York: Verso (2015) p. 504

[viii] Ibid., p. 507; quote is from a US government cable. See also https://sputniknews.com/latam/201602191035028066-bolivia-wikileaks-us-funding-separatists/

and El informe de 2007 de la USAID

[ix]  The Wikileaks Files: The World According to US Empire, (2015: 508).  “The US had full knowledge of opposition groups’ terrorist plans, and yet did not denounce them,” Eirik Vold [author of Ecuador In the Sights: The WikiLeaks Revelations and the Conspiracy Against the Government of Rafael Correa] told Prensa Latina, adding that the US had prior knowledge of a planned attack on a natural gas pipeline, which resulted in a ten percent decrease in Bolivia’s in gas exports to Brazil.”

[x] The Media Luna attempted coup broke under the pressure of several Latin American anti-neoliberal governments (Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, El Salvador, Ecuador y Nicaragua) issued a declaration in support of Bolivia’s constitutional government. Nevertheless the US continued to maintain constant communication with the leaders of the separatist movement.

[xi] It included 61 signers, only two from Bolivia. US signers included Amazon Watch, Biofuelwatch, Democracy Center, Food and Water Watch, Global Exchange, NACLA, Rainforest Action Network.

[xii] Fred Fuentes, “Bad Left Government” versus “Good Left Social Movements”? in Latin America’s Radical Left  (2014) pp. 120-121

[xiii] Linda C.  Farthing, Benjamin H. Kohl Evo’s Bolivia: Continuity and Change, Austin, University of Texas Press (2014) pp. 52-54

[xiv] Drug seizures have almost tripled under Evo,  Informe Presidencial, 22 de enero 2017 http://www.embolivia.org.br/UserFiles/File/PDFs/emb_inf2017.pdf p. 12

 

AFGHANISTAN: DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS RECOGNIZED AS THE TOP BRAND IN THE MISERY INDUSTRY

Exhibit Abstract

“‘Great Harm Has Been Done to US,’ declared George Bush in a speech thunderously applauded by the U.S. Congress on 20 September 2001. With this disingenuous slogan the United States directed its unaccountable permanent warfare machine at the people of Afghanistan, a place that few U.S. citizens know much about. Our ‘allies’ jumped aboard, unleashing high-tech weaponry and shock-and-awe destruction on a simple people that have been subject to the nasty prerogatives of Empire since ~ 1838.

Civilians bear the brunt of this ugly war: over the past 4 years far more than 33,000 Afghan civilians were injured or killed. The cowardice of our war includes drone strikes, targeted assassinations, ‘dirty tricks’ black operations, snatch-and-snuff kidnappings, torture—all as policy.  The War of Terror has caused millions of direct / indirect deaths since 2001, and millions more displaced persons, and the U.S. has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Dilawar of Yakubi was a young taxi driver tortured/killed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

+++

“Decades of war means destruction of homes and villages, destruction of crops, croplands mined, failed crops, and rising displacement. Starvation and malnutrition were named in a major New York Times ‘news’ article that appears to be more a plug for the UNICEF brand and the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières brand than any serious reportage on the hunger crisis. The disingenuous title of the January 2014 article was: ‘Afghanistan’s Worsening, and Baffling, Hunger Crisis.’ What is baffling? This is a way to diminish responsibility and deflect attention from the obvious causes of starvation, crop failures, starvation, malnutrition, high infant mortality, and other obvious effects of the illegal U.S. war in Afghanistan. Further, the article notes that ‘despite years of Western involvement and billions of dollars in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, children’s health is not only still a problem, but also worsening’ but nowhere does the New York Times probe the massive corruption and outright (advertising & branding) lies of the for-profit humanitarian sector that, obviously, benefits from our permanent warfare economy.”

“Hunger in Afghanistan is a very real problem. These children play at sunset amidst piles of grain being processed—separating the wheat from the chaff using straw brooms on a dirt ground—by their fathers and uncles. To grasp the gross inequity between the level of suffering for children in Afghanistan (the target population that the AID industry preys upon), consider that combined salaries of the top seven Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières executives total $1,169,715 (* 2016 IRS form 990) and they receive $256479 in ‘other’ compensation. Of course, information about Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres corporate sponsors is not easily discoverable from either their web site or their published reports available therein.”

“This father and his son suffer alike after the child was wounded and rests in critical condition in a hospital bed in Kabul.”

“The landscapes in Afghanistan are vast, and the real reasons for the war are for access to the land and its natural resources. In the calculated equations of predatory western capitalism and the profit motives of unconscious demagogues and warmongers the people of Afghanistan are considered in the way: they are expendable, and the depopulation of Afghanistan is underway.”

“Afghan herders often trip unexploded ordnance and land mines while herding domestic donkeys, sheep and goats. Landmines and other battlefield unexploded ordnance (UXOs) contaminate at least 724 million square meters of land in Afghanistan, more than any other country in the world. Only two of Afghanistan’s twenty-nine provinces are believed to be free of landmines. The Northern Alliance and United Front forces have laid mines, while many Russian-era mines remain. According to Human Rights Watch in 2001, the Taliban had stopped using landmines in 1998, declaring it un-Islamic and punishable by death; after 1998 the Taliban were often falsely blamed for using them. Mine clearance teams in Afghanistan still find UXOs from the former Soviet Union but also from Belgium, Italy, the United States and Britain. The United States dropped about 1,228 cluster bombs containing 248,056 bomblets between October 2001 and March 2002 alone; these weapons destroyed the homes and lives of countless civilians.”

“Afghan men discuss war and politics outside a mosque in northern Afghanistan. The people are angry at the U.S. occupation, the corruption of their leaders working with the occupation, and they admit that every U.S. attack redoubles the popular resistance to the U.S. and its goals.”

“Afghan farmers see the profit and value in planting their fields in poppies. The Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. military have their fingers in the Afghan opium/heroin trade: heroin processed in Afghanistan by ‘Taliban’ and ‘Isis’ and other factions backed by the U.S. does not leave Afghanistan on the backs of donkeys. Warlords run the heroin business. The heroin is allegedly shipped by air to Bondsteel Air Base in Kosovo, where it is then allegedly distributed to Western Europe by the Albanian mafia.”

“As Dr. Alfred McCoy pointed out: On 16 November 2017 the United Nations released its opium report for 2017: total crop area up from 200,000 hectares in 2016 to 328,000 hectares in 2017; the opium harvest nearly doubled since 2016 from 4,600 to 9,000 tons, well above the 2007 peak of 8,200 tons.”

“A boy of ten years old—another obvious civilian casualty in the U.S.-led war “to win hearts and minds”—rests awake and immobile and terrified, his wounds still fresh and bloody, in the intensive care section of a hospital in Kabul.”

“The LOVE THY ENEMY sign I posted on my family’s farmland in Williamsburg Massachusetts on September 13, 2001, defaced over night by local people directly connected to the war machine. The people responsible for the war in suffering in Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria and Central Africa are the people of the western nations whose soldiers are fighting and killing there, the populations whose complacency and acceptance make these wars in ‘far off places’ possible. There is little discussion of these wars in popular quarters in the United States, Canada or Europe, as they are hidden and downplayed and obfuscated by the western media propaganda system. The U.S. population is deeply divided between those who favor war and killing and ‘putting America first’ at all costs, and those who see the pointlessness of war, and the profits being made to sustain it, at the expense of all people everywhere, and at the expense of nature, and all of planet earth.”

Photographer’s Statement

View Keith Harmon Snow’s stunning exhibition, in it’s entirety:

http://socialdocumentary.net/exhibit/keith_harmon_snow

[Keith Harmon Snow has worked as a journalist, war correspondent, genocide investigator and/or photographer in 46 countries — often traveling by simple means (mountain bike, raft, horse, foot) to enable a deeper engagement with the land and people.  He is the 2009 Regent’s Lecturer in Law & Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara, recognized for over a decade of work documenting war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.  He is also a certified Holotropic Breathwork facilitator, and author of the non-fiction book: The Worst Interests of the Child: The Trafficking of Children & Families Through U.S. Family Courts.  In July 2016 his SDN exhibit Inside the Company, Down on the Farm (plantations in the DR Congo) won an Honorable Mention in the SDN Call for Entries on The Fine Art of Documentary.  He is available for assignment. You can also visit his website All Things Pass.]

 

HOW U2’S 2017 JOSHUA TREE TOUR ACCLIMATES AMERICAN THEOCRATIC FASCISM

HOW U2’S 2017 JOSHUA TREE TOUR ACCLIMATES AMERICAN THEOCRATIC FASCISM

#U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 Tampa

The Raydiant Labyrinth

November 1 2017

This essay is intended to deal with two elements: it delineates the political agenda of the latest U2 tour, and highlights that there are socio-religious roots introduced in conjunction with that political agenda, which actually present the doctrinal basis for theocratic fascism in the United States as “good”, -and both of these elements are absorbed by the sum audience as “good”. This geopolitical juggernaut was not only put forth to “entertain” the US buying public, but introduced abroad.
Here is Frank Zappa discussing what he viewed to be the greatest existential danger to the United States, -“theocratic fascism”. I’d like to offer this distinction: what Zappa is describing, -when theocratic doctrine becomes legally codified for a nation as its version of morality, is not theocratic fascism. That is the first and most fundamental signifier of a functioning theocracy. Theocratic fascism is when theocratic ideology integrates itself so fully into the prevailing culture (mainly by way of its leadership) that it begins implementing itself in foreign and domestic policy through that leadership, with the domestic public acculturated enough to its tenets and dictates that they are either unconcerned or full believers themselves. The way to innoculate the public is through culture. Below is a more extended clip of the exchange with Frank Zappa that led to this quote:

And now, onto our essay.

Part I: I Never Saw a U2 Tour That I Didn’t Like

Maybe I should have been happy to see U2 do #Canada150 (our 150th birthday). -Nope. And by “do”, I mean the pejorative.

“I like the PR implications of the framing of this performance for impact domestically in Canada even less than I like its intended framework of effect as per the US audience. ONE was a wee bit too deliberate a song selection and this whole intro in that context was tooled as a PR gift to our PM personally to help him domestically, in the light of sanctioning a certain pipeline [and then some] and tacitly supporting military presence to force its construction if need be. We do know how U2’s ONE/RED billionaire sponsors do loathe their indigenous pipeline protests against their investments. It was called #NoDAPL. #askU2 #U2 TheJoshuaTreeTour 2017” – Pamela Williams

Blame it on the Rain“ Bono’s gifted intro to our PM and our country (which was more of a calculated gift to our PM than it was to our country), that was turned into an American political football in the same light, purely in terms of a contrast in leadership (given Bono’s disturbing depiction of Trump the entire #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 for “Exit” every night) is to be found here, segueing at 0:45. That in its own right might not be too much of a problem. But this is #Canada150, -right? And Bono calculated it for all of this effect, in light of his equally calculated effect with the present tour. Given the population ratio, you might say he calculated it for its partisan effect on his American audience by a proportionate population ratio of about 10 to 1. Sounds about right. And its calculated effect domestically? -That I have a bigger problem with. We’re getting the exact same tour in Canada that Americans are getting in the USA, btw, so the calculated effect was equally intended on both sides of the border.

-That’s right folks. U2 and Co. took their partisan-ly political US framed tour cross border complete with all its ode to Americana (with the expected cornucopia of American neuroses), and performed it in full as if it were fully applicable and appreciable to a Canadian audience. Makes perfect sense now. Even the PR inbuilt into #Canada150 was informed by this lexicon and designed to play and convey to both audiences of the paying faithful cross-border. And, -that’s right folks. This is U2?s present current notion of creating an international show based on universal appeal, basically proselytizing America to the world. The Pentagon (or military brass Bono is now thanking live in concert for attending and for their service abroad) must be absolutely jizzing themselves. This is where U2 have ended up to commemorate their 30 years.

I have pulled out the aspects of U2’s #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 that play into the aspects of the Canada150 performance and put them here as a summary dealing solely with that (for the repeat intro I apologise in advance). -Seeing U2 “do” #Canada150 was leavened by the fact that I just saw what they do for the USA every day by seeing them in Tampa. On the scale of patriotic patronage, if you will, this diminishes Bono’s and Edge’s personal effort by appearing in this one-off to commemorate a different country in orders of magnitude of hundreds to one. Having seen the tour in the US, and being aware that it’s being performed this same way in Canada due to the screen montage always being the same, as well as the general formula, (though Bono’s personal touches and twists do doll up the entire thing as an American homage from start to finish when performed in the States), greatly alters your perspective.

This got its start as a comment on U2’s #Canada150 appearance that got waaay out of hand, as it really became all about what it was like to witness them in Tampa. Despite all this negative analysis that I’ll put down to political (and some religious) awareness (I’m in no way remiss to possess), let me state outright that despite having this aspect of awareness, I still really did enjoy the show throughout, and not even this could sink it for me. There’s just no way on earth I would have paid for it. -And then reality began to sink in. To quote the comment:

“So, first flavor of FB censorship is that in viewing this, all negative comments on U2 have been filtered out. I can’t see them for this reason. Bono is a major, invitation only Facebook investor. Facebook’s working overtime for him.

I may appreciate that they showed up and did this, but then I have seen #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 despite boycotting it, (as in friend of a friend got gifted), which throws it into a very different form of relief. -Having seen them perform this tour in the USA is enlightening, semi-automatic machine guns on law enforcement aside. Basically the entire concert is one giant PR BJ for the USA.”

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” which began existence about The Troubles now commemorates the blowback (shout-out for Manchester, London (and Kabul) @3:15)  from Obama and Hillary’s excellent Libyan adventure, but utterly disassociated from the adventure, solidarity evacuated of all culpability. Thus are our military war crimes expiated as opener, the sole lens being that of shared victimhood.

Unsurprisingly, “One Tree Hill” was dedicated to the Orlando Pulse Night Club massacre, again, without any attendant context of how that transpired. –You don’t say.

A Syrian refugee infant washed to shore on the Mediterranean in ‘Pride” (@1:11) who represented hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees, was equally rendered a non sequitur. U2, having so offended the nation that would vote for Trump and having been so offensive as to tell them to vote for the losing side, turn “Pride”, the ode to civil disobedience, MLK’s martyrdom and the Civil Rights movement, into a bread sop bipartisan embrace of the American right and left (sacrificed to polarization to divide a nation election 2016) starting at 2:30, going on to exhort the audience that the Dream (MLK’s, or the American one that executed him?) -is still alive and kicking. [Stuff like this makes me wonder if he might even possibly be right, doubly so as this take-back of the flag will have to be bipartisan.]

U2 have bent over backwards to create a non-stop homage to all things America to woo all those sensitive snowflake consumers back post election, seeing as it was the first time ever they took a side during an election. (‘Pride” opens with “all come, to look for America” ), -can’t upset the money cart. It covers every banality and subverts the band’s spirituality to make it an unadulterated homage to the American golden calf (which they’re actually proselytizing in Canada itself as well as every country).

Above: U2 concert montage featuring Morleigh Steinberg

-The above (hyperlinked) video for the song “Trip Through Your Wires” doesn’t give you this implication sufficiently so let me explain. This song was Bono’s first foray into the notion of a feminine Holy Spirit, but it was nascent rather than articulate at the time; -he delineated this with subsequent releases (proven in my book from public record, –namely the songs themselves). Instead of an open spirituality for this song what we have is an entire big screen video montage dedicated to Edge’s wife Morleigh alternating between her American flag bikini and painting the American flag to provide an object as per the song’s lyrics, -thus the spiritual rescuer is personified not as something Godly/spiritual redemption, but rather, -the band’s rescuer is portrayed as being America in the feminine.

[This is not trying to imply the song wasn’t originally broad enough in its intention that this doesn’t work. It has a scope; like arriving at a rung up or down on a ladder it can go anywhere on, and the idea was merely potential at the time. The Divine Feminine did not become part of this song’s possible scope until Bono indeed wrote songs that were incontrovertibly referencing a feminine Holy Spirit, based on how he cross referenced the Bible to do it. He arrived not at an angel or devil in the end, but the Holy Spirit Feminine, and said so.]

On the other hand there is a word for this type of staged formulation wherein the sacred is substituted for the non-sacred as object as the sum of performance art. It is called sacrilege, but the audience are far too infantilized to be aware of the nature of the merger, which I’m only asserting as being the case because this wasn’t about one song, but was vested by the concert’s entire content, as interspersed with the unending obeisance to America, Bono had the audacity to simultaneously claim that attending the concert was the same as going to Church (at 2:30). That’s only true if God is your object. The sum of the show in no way has God as object. It has America as its object. Basically the waters are so deliberately muddied there is no difference to be had at this point, which is the essence of the problem. In the Old Testament, the substitution of any object in the place of God as an object of veneration or worship is idolatry, and God put it in the top 10 commandments of sins not to commit.

“In God’s Country” is deftly turned into a personification of the United States with one line shift to “she thinks her only gift is gold” at 1:45. The elimination of ambiguity (or inverted shift, depending on your take) is the elimination of all meaning, except the one option to be taken in the literal, -and that’s a problem. God’s country is Heaven, -or God’s Creation, depending on your angle. The lyric shift deftly designates America as God’s country. This belief that America is uniquely God’s country on earth is rooted in its self conception going back to Plymouth; “Manifest Destiny” and American “exceptionalism” are founded on the assertion, which means the invocation is not something akin to asserting the nation as perhaps, uniquely Godly or virtuous, it is accessing a loaded interpretation with a vast body of thought and consequences that lie at the very root of the American psyche.

Americans generally have no clue “exceptionalism’s” present secular incarnation formed its roots in “one nation under God”. Exceptionalism first had to arrive at a religious justification for itself (that was the doctrine of “manifest destiny”). “As originally used in the US, Manifest Destiny was the idea that God had given the United States a mission to expand their territory throughout North America. Three basic ideas underlie the concept of manifest destiny. First is a belief in the righteousness and superiority of the Christian moral values and institutions of the United States. The second is a belief in the responsibility of the U.S. to spread these for the benefit of the world and to fulfill God’s wishes. The third is the faith that God has blessed the country to succeed and every success confirms that blessing. The term Manifest Destiny was revived in the 1890s as a justification for US international expansion.”

For Bono to invoke America as God’s country puts him squarely in the mindset of both the neocon (G. W. Bush -who resurrected manifest destiny, the religious brand of American exceptionalism to invade Iraq) and neoliberal camps of ideological thought (“Obama is likely the most strenuous advocate of American exceptionalism on the left today” (see review that has interview with the author of “American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion”, John Wilsey) and “city on a hill” Hillary). Note that this author has two views of American exceptionalism, with the theological version being the (euphemistic in the extreme) “closed” (dark, supremacist and dangerous) version, which, however lightly he’s treading, is what Bono is invoking. It’s so interesting what territory you have to range in order to be bipartisan in the USA. Both sides believe in American exceptionalism, the question is simply at what latitude. Witnessing the fruits, it appears the differentiation between “closed” (theological) exceptionalism and “open” (secular) exceptionalism are virtually indistinguishable in terms of foreign policy as bloodbath. And when Hillary on the campaign trail invoked American exceptionalism with “shining city on a hill”, it was the equivalent of a wet kiss campaign smack to the “closed” (theological) voter-ship, the true believers. (Bono flirts with the best.)

It has interesting roots: “manifest destiny” doctrine was a reference point for Hitler to formulate an existent justification for “Lebensraum”; -basically, if they can justify illegal land expropriation of other sovereign nations by claiming God destined the land for them and making the mandate essentially unlimited, then why on earth can’t we? (This was not the only ideological justification where the Nazis resorted to the USA as a templatethey also studied and sourced its race and immigration laws, as well as its reservation system in devising concentration camps.) Manifest Destiny was the ideological justification the United States used to genocidally cleanse the West. It went beyond, as it was quoted as justification for the annexation of the Phillipines (loverly -still cluelessly referenced as an outstanding figure in history), as well as to illegally annex Hawaii. It was used to threaten Canada more than once (“54:40 or Fight”), in the argument that the colony had no right to exist in the face of America’s Godly dispensation as the conquistador of democratic ideals for the entire North American continent. While fundamentalist, it is a uniquely American condition, and would by and large otherwise be regarded as (again) sacrilegious in any Protestant reformist movement’s antipathy to the material -apart from those migrating spawn of the Puritans who were, thanks to the evolution of manifest destiny doctrine from their unique “New Israel” Calvinism, more than prone to dispensationalism (and look where that got us).

Now what’s interesting is that the countermanding Old Testament refutations that repeal present day Zionism (which is sanctioned in Christian minds by the doctrine of dispensationalism, and such repeals in the Bible do likewise to Divine mandated American exceptionalism) lie primarily in the female testaments, particularly those of Rahab and Ruth (the above “look where that got us” link references both Rahab and Ruth for the Biblical doctrinal refutation of dispensationalism, but in addition in my refutation there’s Esther and other elements). Even within Zionism itself it is Biblically (Talmud) refuted, as in the manner in which Zionism may have God’s mandate to fulfill itself has been hotly contested, meaning “this country [Israel] is ours by God’s decree because we alone are God’s people” could have moral constraints in its attainment, -and by the argument the Rabbi is alluding to in the above link, -could only be obtained morally.

I’m speculating that perhaps the only nations fundamentalist enough to come up with an equivalent notion to America’s religious version of Manifest Destiny (if more virulently) might be the ISIS Caliphate, the present Jewish State, the Taliban, the Saudi monarchy (if it considers itself a Divine Monarchy) and Iranian theocracy. Hopefully now that I have laid out some of the US’s own doctrinal background and pointed out some of the other entities that presently hold this same brand of belief, -you can begin to register what is actually being accessed by Bono’s invocation of America as “God’s Country”, otherwise put as, just how perilously Bono is flirting when it comes to how he’s defined his ultimate object for this present tour. Present doctrinal implementations of “God’s nation”, namely American dispensationalist doctrine conferring this to Israel, is how you’ve arrived at unconditional support for a form of Zionism that attacks your First Amendment rights; obviously US support for Israel is geo-strategic, but that’s not the basis for the delusion feeding the religious aspect of Christian support, which tips US support. Not exactly good bedfellows to keep with this sort of domestic influence. As for their international influenceprepare to dig your own grave, make that sooner rather than later.

Why would it be considered healthy to unconsciously invoke this sort of underlying doctrine in performance art in the collective psyche of your receptive audience (you could not find a more passively receptive audience in terms of band trust), -when this is their historical (and present -as in NYT bestsellers make their bread and butter on this s***) -resonance? This allegation is made, of course, on the basis that we are dealing with a professing Christian believer, so the question is simply -in the context of this presentation, what sort of belief is he presenting? As you can see the answer has disturbing undertones. Ironically, the doctrine of dispensationalism was conceived by an Irishman, and so by and large were Sheela na Gigs. Bono seems to have a difficulty choosing between the two (pretending to proffer both), -when they are mutually exclusive. This I find even more disturbing about it.

While Bono and U2 made the whole set of #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 climax in the third act on feminism and #herstory, and Bono introduced the tour by stating that we are dealing with the rise of universal feminine consciousness in all of humankind and thus the show is deliberately celebrating that (in this Rolling Stone interview), -his embrace of the notion of “God’s Country” as a nation that exists on earth is utterly in opposition to the feminist elements that appear in the Old Testament itself, whose existence in the Bible provide a direct antithesis to precisely this brand of fundamentalism. (I demonstrate how this exists under my above self-referenced hyperlink.) It’s like he’s literally betraying his own belief system right in front of you, -in the name of America. It’s like inverting the element of feminism found in the two monotheisms (Judaism and Christianity) to force it to embrace its very opposite (literally the opposite of what he himself is professing his combined belief system to be, if his feminism is at all grounded in Christianity) and substituting the Whore of Babylon, not as an removed object, but rather sold to the receptive audience as an internalized self-image that is utterly false. The idol/image exists in terms of themselves as a form of self-worship. Adoration of their false perception of their country is adoration of themselves in terms of their self-regard for what that country is, by the simple fact that their internal perception of their country simply has no bearing on reality.

In fact the show is providing a deliberate substitute for reality. As such, it is purely a figment of their own perception that receives their veneration, -a self created image designed to buttress the self in terms of providing them with a good perception of themselves. In this manner the object of veneration Bono and the band have designed for this tour is not external but interior and purely self serving, for what Bono presented them with as the subject of honour was not God, but America as “God’s Country”, -namely themselves. Moreover feminism in the Bible introduced the very opposite of the notion of any nation on earth asserting itself to be “God’s Country”. The Book of Esther introduced the very concept of secularism, the separation of Church and State, and Rahab introduced the elemental idea of individuals joining God’s people via faith as opposed to being designated by ethnic tribalism, -namely who they descended from or their nationality. The idea of “we and we alone are God’s nation on earth, and it is this earthly nation, and it gives us this dispensation” is of course the ultimate merger of Church and State.

I have one last additional point to make on this, and it is purely anecdotal. The only other place I have witnessed this deliberate muddying of arch-types in order foster a somewhat religious emotional attachment to nationhood (namely the deliberate cross over between Church, State (being by default the US in this instance), and Christ-like Hero mash-ups relayed in terms of Sacrifice (with a healthy dollop of Mother thrown in) is in present Hollywood movie incarnations I would frame as propaganda, and speculate are tooled if not by the Pentagon as such then definitely by someone else at the level of psy-ops. There’s no doubt the Pentagon tools Hollywood movies, and I would speculate heavily on many incarnations of Marvel (I’m referring here to a DC Comics movie), as Marvel script modifications are explicitly referenced in the promotion of this book, by authors that have documented the minutiae management of scripts and production on over 1800 Hollywood films by the Pentagon (not surprised at all).

Part II: Just What, Exactly, are you Hijacking Feminism For?

Wonder Woman is a hero only the military-industrial complex could create – Jonathon Cook

“Is it any surprise that in the Hollywood-Pentagon world of Wonder Woman, the values of a female superhero sound exactly like those of the military men who run the West’s wars?

Now roll on “Wonder Woman 2: Time to Intervene (Humanely).”

That DC Comics productions also provide a platform of this nature is getting obvious, -especially when it comes to co-opting feminism as a platform in presenting “humanitarian intervention“. This is exactly what just happened with Wonder Woman, and is what is being presented for this U2 Joshua Tree Tour, -as the climax of the entire show is the track “Ultraviolet” as a video montage to feminist figures (inaugurated by the #herstory hashtag which featured in Hillary Clinton’s campaign), and featuring Hillary ClintonMichelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush and both her daughters, and Madeleine Albright (“the price is worth it” “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other“) as some of these leading lights, – not to mention the vicechair of (RED sponsor) Bank of America, Melinda Gates (from whom ONE and RED obtain the bulk of their sponsorship), and Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook on ONE’s Board of Directors). Then there’s (climate deaf) Oprah. Basically we’re dealing with the interspersal of neocon and neoliberal politburo figures and First Ladies (banging a war criminal makes you a leading feminist), all of whom exist in tacit sanction of the perpetual war time state under the premise of the “war on terror“, with actual feminists and female activists.

Maybe if I provide an even balder sample of “cred appropriation” al la feminism for Hillary, leading architect in the destruction of Libya, using the exact same concept, it will begin to dawn on you why this is a bad employ of art. (-As in it really is just a bald faced attempt at credibility appropriation, which just happens to serve very well as propaganda; if you don’t think art is utilized for such, you’re daft.) The use of all these leading feminists’ names to form a portrait of Hillary (the above “balder” hyperlink) subsumes these women’s entire legacy as feminists responsible for change as if it has culminated in one individual and they provide her source; they become nothing more than merely a device wholly suborned in service to her in terms of her image. This is especially laughable when you consider Hillary’s latest attempt to blame everyone and anyone over herself for her election loss was to state that her failure to obtain white women’s vote was their fault, in a manner that was deeply sexist. (It’s even more laughable as Hillary stated it was Sheryl Sandberg (one of Hillary’s election campaignenabling prospects for Treasury Secretary) who told her this was the cause; -basically calculus to get away with using sexism, by cred appropriating the author of “Lean In” feminism. (Sheryl couldn’t be sexist!) Sheryl, btw, doesn’t have a clue when Facebook’s advertising is illegally racist.) If you want to know why lauding the philanthropically connected as leading feminists is equally dubious, I’ve provided a decidedly unpleasant list as to why ONE/RED and the largesse they depend upon is deeply problematic (scroll down). Multiplying this concept as providing equivalency for multiple women (for an aggregate that tacitly sanction and/or promulgate the war on terror ideology, to boot), as well as having the audacity to promote members and financiers of your own lobby group/consumer activism charity in the same token (“Lean In” authorship does not a feminist activist/ theoretician who changed society make), in no way improves the situation. It’s the same cred appropriation, just more broadly applied, making the appropriation that much worse. It got decidedly sicker depending on what country you happen to inhabit.

Above: Chrystia Freeland and Mary Robinson (of the Richard Branson and Purpose B Team)  highlighted in U2 montage. Women who serve empire are interwoven with radical feminists in order to reframe what constitutes feminism. Venues such as this serve as unique functions for achieving conformity and acquiescence utilizing the psychology of crowds. #SoftPower

For “Ultraviolet” video montage performances in Canada, U2 featured Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is responsible for these sorts of policies. Stepping up Canada’s defense spending by 70% was lauded as a personal coup for her and Defence Minister Harjit Sanjian, when it was a reflex genuflection to Trump’s public demand that NATO members up their military spending a week earlier. Incidentally this is the same woman who will helm our NAFTA renegotiation with the United States, so perhaps ass-kissing is just how you do business post reality TV presidency. NAFTA’s most fascist aspect is of course, already off the table. Not that this bothers her (nor do the specific resource issues to do with our water and oil that abrogate Canada’s sovereignty; namely the dangers of the proportionality clause Mexico was wise enough to reject, which destroys our energy sovereignty).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, greets Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde during arrivals of G-7 leaders and Outreach guests at the G-7 summit at Schloss Elmau hotel near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany, Monday, June 8, 2015. G-7 leaders, in a second and final day of the conference, were set to tackle the difficult issue of climate change and fighting terrorism. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)/VLM102/741893071685/1506081055

 

It is clear that the resounding silence by Canadian Jewry on her Nazi heritage is a tacit trade off for her unconditional support of Israel, as well as her active policy record mirroring their desires for the Middle East via Canada’s foreign policy, including her absurd public announcement with respects to the arms increase that Canada must make its foray into world stage “humanitarian interventionism”, due to the advent of “isolationist” Trump. Our Prime Minister has been rendered unable to differentiate when he’s using Nazi slogans to greet national leaders (Ukraine’s, so maybe he isn’t).

Chrystia Freeland visited Ukraine to attend the Euromaidan protests, speaking publicly there in March 2014. She continued her unremitting journalistic support for the Ukraine revolution, utterly immune to what happened in both the Maidan and Odessa. Her control of Canadian foreign policy emulates these consequences in terms of utter servility to American interests, to the point of selling out our country (while literally scare-mongering NAFTA negotiators with the historical preludes to WWII to coerce ratifying the deal). As for the results in the Ukraine, they are decidedly predictable.

-Half of Trudeau’s cabinet is women. This was U2’s #herstory political pick for Canada, the biggest militarist to ever hit the post. A better shoe horn to inaugurate Cold War II/WW III could not have been contemplated, and that’s due to her Nazi heritage. In light of the fact that Bono as Mac Phisto used to call Mussolini’s grand daughter while touring Italy (then a party member of the MRI), declaring “I’m back [as in the Devil’s back]”, in much the same vein of antagonism he was calling Bush Sr. at the White House every night in North America (1992/93), -you’ve come a long way, baby.

Jonathon Cook presents the segue way that when Wonder Woman was scripted, it was probably deliberately tooled to parallel and create additional feminist confluence and credo for that incumbent humanitarian interventionist, Hillary Clinton, for whom the presidency appeared assured. Such surety certainly put Trudeau adrift. Not only is the similitude between the ideologically platformed (propaganda scripted) “Wonder Woman” and U2’s set a little too close for comfort, the developments in Hollywood/Marvel/DC Comics show this attempted management of the public psyche via “art” is already a program. The question then becomes, why have U2 lent their entire artistic trajectory to the self-same program for this tour?

The difference between what looked like a DC Comics foray into sublimating arch-types, and Bono’s present foray is that with DC’s apparent effort these notions were being somewhat toyed with, while simultaneously cracking deep insecurities you might call population touch stones that make the audience susceptible and accessible. Bono, on the other hand, has been tooling this operation on America’s crowd-mind as high art for three decades, and has now presented them with their golden calf in full form, -themselves. DC Comics/Pentagon may have absolutely nothing on him but it likewise appeared on cue in almost perfect prep form. Like I said, they must be jizzing themselves. Hollywood’s comparative effort toying with such notions, (if it could be a considered notion, and I don’t know), is child’s play. Bono’s is a perfectly calibrated collective release that follows the redemptive/worship cycle without an iota of culpability, repentance, sacrifice or depth of faith. U2 accesses those collective insecurities about themselves on the plateau of national id at a level of somnolence that is practically unconscious, basing it on a completely false sense of honesty, substituting a panacea for the kind of relief you’re supposed to get from truthful introspection that jars you awake.

To make the point of just how complete this is, near the end of the concert in Tampa Bono pointedly thanked US military servicemen in attendance for their work and service abroad after broadcasting a Syrian refugee, -in the same week American white phosphorus was used on civilians in Raqqa  and civilian deaths due to US intervention there peakedThere’s US bases in a country where no war has been declared in violation of international law. When “humanitarion intervention” was first conceived and began its faulty legal tread, U2 were broadcasting live out of Sarajevo civilian’s eye-witness accounts of NATO bombing during their POP Tour. They were warned to cease in no uncertain terms, and complied. What a reversal in twenty years.

Above: “Jo Cox, an ambitious Labour MP who had fervently lobbied the U.K. Parliament for further British intervention in Syria” [source] highlighted in U2 montage.

Every use of the sublime and sentiment for #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 was banality imbued by what should have been glaring hypocrisy, some were just more lethal than others. Bono claimed that hearing this Syrian refugee espouse America as “civilised”, as her wish of where to live, the American Dream, is some sort of velvet delivered “kick in the balls” for the American audience. So utterly kid gloves he made it completely disassociated by his obeisance to the American military in attendance in the same token, and completely defanged the framed intent of “Bullet the Blue Sky” with this offering to boot, which was presented as being about the militarization of the US population (again, America complete with all of its neuroses was proselytized in Canada, -as if this somehow is our thing or our shared introspection).

-Let’s take a tour tooled solely to and about America on the road and have other nations pay for the privilege of listening to an entire album as an ode to one country that’s completely overbearing on their existence regardless. I mean, it only attains a measure of relevance because America truly is this overbearing upon the world. And gains full tilt irony if not absurdity given U2 lauded Canada’s lockstep foreign minister, (the one who’s completely aping US foreign policy -reliably weighing in on Venezuela; with Canada now implementing sanctions against Venezuela at her behest) as their #herstory political figure for Canada, -with the additional audacity to label a proponent of a Ukrainian nationalist (neoNazitakeover of a democracy “feminist”. (Basically Trump is elected so even those Nazi military supporters have a way to look good, if not be praised for taking control, which they already have. You can condemn Nazism at home and attend their independence day celebration abroad, -and even arm themall in the same week, and no one even blinks. If you don’t think glorification of Nazism was a problem for Ukraine’s government, remember this vote. Yes, it is a problem for them, with national heroes like these. You’d also deserve to be served with the reminder that this s*** is not new, and has more than a little to do with the US being forced to bear Wall Street’sconsequences, which had the usual contrivance of domestic support. It is a salient point that the consequence brought about no correction.)

The support of Neo-Nazis in Ukraine is part of a longstanding relationship.” – Michel Chussodovsky

What is this celebration of independence if you have other people’s troops on your main square?” -apres le parade, the bases.

That Canada’s soldier’s are leading this parade in front of Mattis has a great deal to do with Chrystia Freeland. (US Secretary of Defence Mattis‘s military nick name as a general was “Mad Dog” for a reason (Fallujah war crimes). CIA contractingWaPo owning neoliberal plutocrats have no problem consorting with un-prosecuted war criminals promoted to Secretaries of Defence, effectively normalizing this precedent.) Her position in providing these troops has even more to do with the United States, as it was USA’s orchestration of the Ukrainian coup under the tenure of the Democrats that even puts a Nazi Ukrainian nationalist descendent in the universe of having a “useful” resume for attaining a Foreign Affairs post in a purported Liberal government (with no prior political or diplomatic experience whatsoever; she was a journalist with a stratospheric rise, winning a Liberal nomination in 2013, attaining a Ministerial post in 2015, assigned Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2017). As for Freeland’s adjunct’s counter threats as per Russian disinformation providing her background and the danger of ever airing such speciously sourced information (the obeisant press gave her a lot more than that), it pays to look at the source.

Again, the USA’s ability to leap off the lemming cliff into unreality rather than come to terms with what its own democratic process means about itself is unleashing untold damages across the diplomatic world, which includes, in this instance, a Foreign Affairs Minister with Nazi heritage getting blanket avoidance of any consideration or examination of how her past might be implementing itself through Canada’s present. US machinations abroad affect the entire world. The convenience of U2’s world tour as performance art as ode to the USA abroad at this moment, and that they’d consider it valid to publicly laud Chrystia Freeland as part of that package, cannot be understated, given the Obama/Clinton administration’s involvement in Ukraine. U2 are enabling rather than challenging. They arrived in Canada and tacitly implied we bow to these masters of the universe on foreign policy, -that this is not bowing, -that behaving in this manner on the world stage, surrendering your foreign policy dictates to a foreign power, accepting Nazi backgrounds into your cabinet who provide unconditional tactical support for regimes more virulently racist than the white supremacists who rallied in Charlottesville, is leading “feminism”. Chrystia Freeland represents unconditional support “for a [Ukraine] government that outlawed its country’s third largest political party and that has made it illegal to be critical of Nazi collaborator ‘nationalists’ in its past.”

The Story of Charlottesville was Written in the Blood of Ukraine” – Counterpunch

America’s Ukraine Hypocrisy” – Strategic Culture

Wonder what Omaima (U2’s big screened representative Syrian refugee) would have thought of all this? Bono thanking the US military for their participation while American white phosphorus rained down on Raqqa and over 500 civilians were killed by US forces there and in Mosul in the same period? Could there be a worse euphemism I can use, than “overbearing”? That’s Bono’s notion of a velvet touch that works like a kick in the balls, right there, her outright love of those delivering phosphorus and killing her people -rest assured not one audience member felt it, and it’s framed so they never would. They are viewing it through the optic of “humanitarian intervention”, -viewing her admiration as originating in her recognition they bring salvation via their military, and all introspection stops there. After all he thanked them himself while they were killing her countrymen.

U2 also big screened a token Native American (starts at 1:14). No mention, of course that their ONE/RED billionaire sponsors are majorly invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline and thus invested in the mass use of rubber bullets and tear gas on those Americans throughout 2016. #NoDAPL They certainly weren’t on the side of right with this one. Bear in mind Bono took the opportunity of #Canada150 to bald-facedly brand promote his lobbying organization, ONE, whose financial backbone is provided by these DAPL investors. That is the only purpose the song “One” now serves in being in the #U2TheJoshuaTreeTour2017 set, it’s there to provide a chance for Bono to segue this lobby organization. That connection was lost on no one who’s been watching the band, or indeed our Prime Minister. That was the reason for its choice, a calculated little piece of brand synergy bromance for the faithful.

Call it a win-win, between our PM wearing ONE t-shirts, -and Bono promoting him on the band’s Facebook page for responding financially to ONE. I suppose those with mutual interests in state suppression of pipeline protests bed well together, considering ONE’s financing and our PM’s position towards First Nations is to bring in the Canadian military to enforce pipelines for Texas multinationals shat out of Enron’s carcass (Kinder Morgan, whereas another of these offshootsis responsible for helping to bankrupt our public utility BC Hydro) if their construction is blockaded, -blockades that will be spear-headed by those who’ve inhabited Canada for tens of thousands of years. Welcome to #Canada150.

To have U2 open this “Native American” video montage with the feminine-ly and Revelation-ally loaded red moon as a symbol is just doubly insulting. It’s like a cue signal: we’re going to enter a “spiritual” interlude in this concert, and present you with American Native spirituality to signify our “deep moment” is inclusion and includes one-ness with the Earth; -when this is precisely the element subject to complete and total erasure with this tour. Native Americans “present” in apparent homage whilst U2’s ONE/RED sponsors were in actuality having them brutalized to force through their investment, the Dakota Access Pipeline, when the pipeline has been adjudicated as illegal, -a point I was very clear on (not that this stopped Trumptopia from counter-suing over it, claiming water protectors are terrorists). -I’m not claiming U2’s DAPL investor sponsors were direct orchestrators of this state violence  (nor the adjunct unleashing of the private “surveillance industrial complex“, using private mercenary security contractors outsourced from the occupation of Iraq); -they were merely silent investors who controlled even the #NoDAPL protest itself to protect their financial interest. Who finances your lobby group makes it performance art as lie perpetrating the lie to hide the bodies underneath it all. (U2 usedto know about those, and brought them to light. Now they hide them for their sponsors.)

Both the use of the Syrian refugee and this usage of a Native American are in fact performed inversions that perform no other exercise than to betray the truth in the collective minds of the audience by hiding it utterly, and giving them a feel good substitute in evasion of the existent barbarism being exacted upon these peoples in the name of “America”. America has no place for Native American spirituality invoking protection of an earthly place, they just exacted retribution for the sake of U2’s sponsor’s investments (investments RED and ONE in turn are dependent upon financially) to the tune of over 700 arrests, many of whom they kenneled like dogs, many of whom were injured (as well as being subject to hours of water jets in sub-zero temperatures), to terminate their resistance on this very notion, namely their integrated belief in the sacredness and health of their land and water. (Specifically this was the substance of the court case launched by the Yankton Sioux, that the pipeline’s implementation was a violation of their religion. Of course this was rejected by the court. The issues of endangerment to the tribes’ drinking water and lack of a environmental impact study did stand up in court.)

Having watched U2 fellate America with these bromides for ticket sales sort of blows any national commendation they might make, since they do this in such a spirit of flaming hypocrisy and their obeisance is inversely related, it appears, to the level of of the lie required.

U2 are doing patriotism for the money. Not only will they sell you your self image for the money it’ll make them (when it is this far divorced from reality and the performance is in fact tooled to divorce you this far from its realities, what you are in fact being sold is not patriotism, but your own self-image of patriotism), they’ll do it while utterly immunizing you to your real sins; -their trade on mutual idolatry apparently inversely commensurate to how much you manage to consume the world. And it costs their target market more than it would to purchase either a therapist or a hooker, whereas attending Church is free.

This is what U2 have deliberately reduced themselves to in the effort to maintain their target market, offering them their own brand of personal idolatry in exchange for payment. Idolatry is not an arcane concept in this light. Without it, how would we have arrived at conceptualization that gave us the distinction between love, and love of a false image? Would you recognize that what you’re being sold, and in fact directing your homage to, is your notion of what America means, as opposed to reality, which is the equivalent of having your own self-image, as it attaches and defines itself via your sense of patriotism, -sold to you? That this fake conscience wash is the sum of your purchase? -The worship of a false image is in the top ten commandments of worst sins to commit. In terms of the delusions and complacency being enabled in the minds of literally millions of people with this (deliberately) conflated performance art, this is not a small issue. In other words my perspective on what the commandment may have been meant for has to do with the psycho-social inferences I’d develop from witnessing this; -analysing it in terms of self identity and its manipulation.

U2’s stances are not principled, but rather a sanctioned neoliberal branding process of how many ego strokes they’ll provide -that are in turn a commensurate win-win for the band financially, if not philanthropically. They rewarded Trudeau handsomely with a politically loaded #Canada150 performance for handsomely stepping up Canada’s aid on ONE’s prompt, -and of his own volition, stepping up on Syrian refugees, -curiously a campaign promise he managed to keep. Canada just got officially endorsed for voting the “right” sort of identity politicking, militarist, pipeline/tar sands sanctioning neoliberal to the helm, –a public-private partnership idealogue (-a must), -who’s already inveighed he’ll arrest First Nations’ Chiefs if they dare to engage in civil disobedience against the Trans Mountain pipeline sought by a Texas based foreign multinational (that’s documented in Part IV), you know, the kind that gets a pass despite lying on every significant domestic election platform he ever made (you can scroll to the bottom of this page for a list). You know, the kind perfectly willing to be Trump’s b****. A bit of ONE PR surely helps on that count, -at least if you’re Liberal. So does the cover of the Rolling Stone, -and they’re using precisely the same juxtaposition Bono framed for Trudeau for #Canada150 in announcing “One” (the article, while appearing in the August issue, was actually published online June 26th, five days before #Canada150). -Just in case you remain skeptical that this messaging is being framed across media in concert when it comes to retention of neoliberal power.

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet.” – Bill McKibben

Canada isn’t the sole target. The target is the EU, at precisely this moment, to gloss over the irreparable harm The United States is committing against their allies economically. The target is Macron’s France. (Astonishingly the exact same young neoliberals produce the exact same talking points to destroy western civil liberties that are the product of the sum of our entire history for the sake of nations who choose to define themselves by ethnic tribalism as grounds for brutality, occupation and indigenous displacement, and when their approval ratings are not so sound because they are utter failures as progressives (being the true neoliberals that they are), Bono is there, like magic.) Take a look at the timing of Bono’s visit with Macron with respects to the latest Russian sanctions ratified by Congress with the express neutering of the President, sanctions so severe for the energy sector they could easily be taken as grounds for war (nor were they appreciated by NATO allies -Germany announced they were illegal). The timing of U2’s “ode to America” Joshua Tree European tour, complete with schmoozing the “right” neoliberal heads of state (right when their popularity in the polls was at an all time low), was truly impeccable. Again, NATO/Pentagon could not have asked for a better US PR platform in light of their terrible destabilization of the EU given the flood of refugees out of Syria and their deliberate destabilization of North Africa (Libya, on the EU’s doorstep), not to mention the costs to the EU of their sanctions regime. How opportune to have a entire set that climaxes with the “Miss Sarajevo” appeal to take these refugees in, without any attribution of responsibility for why they’ve come (and therefore who should be providing refuge), but rather an entire setlist dedicated to honouring rather than challenging the architect of such suffering in the global Great Game, at exactly the moment they punish the EU economically to sever energy ties to their dependency, -Russia.

Hillary Clinton poses with members of the anti-Vladimir Putin punk rock group Pussy Riot, 2014.

The greatest target, however, is Americans themselves in the cultivation of complacency; -in light of the social engineering exercises being undertaken by U2’s billionaire sponsors under the guise of philanthropy (scroll down to the questions), -not to mention U2’s philanthrowashing provides cover and avoidance of the (continuedfraud and other nefarious outcomes of their billionaire sponsors’ investments. (The miscreant, Wells Fargo’s shares are a nest egg for RED/ONE due to Gates Foundation’s being 55% bankrolled by Berkshire Hathaway shares.) Who needs to penalize or replace executives when the philanthrowash media fix is already in by direct funding? (ONE/RED funder Warren Buffett has majority control of Wells Fargo at over $28 billion. He could vote for it.) Nor is the financial dependency of ONE/RED to be taken lightly considering the buckets of cash (literally over $100 billion) Warren Buffett has at his disposal to lobby say, for this Republican piece of legislation, considered “the equivalent of Republicans handing out a get-out-of-jail-free card to Wells Fargo and to Equifax”. Wells Fargo was culpable enough in the mortgage fraud that precipitated teh 2008 financial crisis, to have been hit with a consequent fine of $1 billion.

But the graduation here is witnessing U2 embrace not just philanthrowashing for the US elite, but actively enabling its military ambitions as well by conditioning acceptance of “humanitarian intervention”, and acculturating acceptance of the consequent refugee and terrorism crisis. They did this employing a religious ideological root: stealth assimilating George W. Bush’s “Manifest Destiny” brand of faith into their concert and proselytizing it en masse, in inverse and utter violation of their prior presentation of their own professed faith. No wonder Bush is handing Bono awards.

Part III: How to Dog Whistle US Theocratic Supremacy to Millions -And Get Away With It

No one would have dreamed this would be the end of U2’s Joshua Tree trajectory, given “Bullet the Blue Sky” has conveyed opposition precisely to Reagan’s dispatch of US military support to prop up military dictatorships in central America (despite the fact that they were engaged in massacres prior to receiving aid), and the use of domestic military proxies abroad in civil wars that were in fact funded and deployed by the US (the Contras against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua – which begat the Iran-Contra scandal), -a brand of South American intervention neither Obama nor Hillary really graduated from; Canada’s been on board since Aristide. Bono wrote the song based on being in El Salvador at the time of Reagan’s terror campaign by military aid in Central America (again, see this Rolling Stone article, conveniently bereft of any details, like the fact that when Bono conceived the man peeling off dollar bills, he envisioned Reagan). Now he praises the presider in chief, Ronald Reagan, in contrast to Trump, relating his “open door” allusion of America as the city of light on a hill (barf-blat 101 @ 22:40 for those with a memory, or any sense of historical continuity). -If that’s not a direct betrayal of one’s own world view, then what is?

“I have a kind of love-hate relationship with America. I love the place, I love the people. One of the things I hate is that such a trusting people could have put their trust in a guy like Ronald Reagan,” Bono said in a 1987 radio interview. “There is no question in my mind that the people of America, through their taxes, are paying for the equipment that is used to torture people in El Salvador. In my trip… I met with mothers of children who had disappeared. They have never found their children went or where their bodies were buried. They are presumed dead.”

World views of course can change. But when it comes to artistic integrity, the song’s very essence as testament to lives lost all these decades has been utterly inverted in the obfuscation of why, which is a total betrayal of its incarnation. It was born to bear witness; re-contextualizing the song in a setlist framed on total obeisance to America thirty years later is a direct artistic betrayal to the loss of life expressed in it, and so is commending Ronald Reagan for a quote. Ronald Reagan’s policies were directly responsible for that loss of life. How cheapening is it, for example, to reframe this song in terms of who to vote for in an election when it’s about people being murdered by their own governments with American military assistance; -as if who’s at the presidential helm of the United States in any way alters their world wide blood mongering? Doesn’t retooling the song to reflect on the militarization of the US domestic populationeffectively erase the bloodshed being carried out covertly in their name, when that was what the song was about? The song is no longer about those murdered in El Salvador with the aid of US military equipment. It has now been officially Trumpified. By giving the song a villain in the context of a US election, Bono has evacuated the evils committed abroad by the United States in the minds of his collective audience, as well as giving them the misperception they can resist merely by checking a ballot. Were the song shifted in the interest of retaining its relevancy in terms of the bloodshed it actually signifies, it might have been re-tooled to address Libya or Syria (which can’t happen, of course, if your morality compass is now possessed of a partisan filter).

The implications of Bono’s public appreciation of Ronald Reagan’s statement are far worse for someone with the working Biblical knowledge he possesses. Ronald Reagan’s “city on a hill” imagery with all its gates open was a dog whistle to his religious constituents with their fascist religious belief in American exceptionalism, namely manifest destiny. It originates from a speech by Puritan (soon to be Governor of New England (and founder of Boston)) John Winthrop (remember that’s where the Calvinist trajectory that gave us Manifest Destiny took root and disseminated to the rest of the colonies). While it is easy to see that the speech has been turned into a political football by manifest destiny adherents (witness our NYT besteller), it is imbued with the seeds to take it there, as both Matthew 5:14 and Psalm 48 are recognized as the Biblical source of the phrase “city on a hill” (as in, it’s obvious Jesus Himself was self-referencing his own Torah). Psalm 48 invokes Jerusalem (on Mount Zion – very loaded term).

Those with religious knowledge duly take note that the political re-invocation of the phrase is, depending on whether your brand of American exceptionalism is “open” (secular) or “closed” (religious), also deliberately designed to imbue the United States with overtones from Revelations that invoke the New Jerusalem, basically invoking Manifest Destiny for those who read their bible and know how Jerusalem was strategically situated, -and anyone who took the time to bible study with the Shalom group (Bono) knows that. Did the Puritans arriving in the New World believe this about themselves (that they were the “New Israel” or “New Jerusalem”)? –Yes. Yes they did. For the religious manifest destiny American exceptionalist, this is a veiled way of invoking that the “New Jerusalem” of the End Times (i.e., God’s Country) is in fact America. There’s no doubt which side of the exceptionalism coin Ronald Reagan was catering to with this statement. Reagan came to power on the constituency he targeted (then labelled the “new Christian right”, -as if they had gone anywhere, in fact his core base might be better labelled End Times Evangelists), -the exact same constituency that endorsed and gave us Donald Trump, -and tells him his pugilist approach (he’s the first sample for the word’s definition) to North Korea is endorsed by God. It was the exact same constituency that formed GW Bush’s real time Presidential Prayer Team, who were fed topics over an e-mail mailing list to pray for on Bush’s behalf every few weeks.

This deserves a reckoning for Bono, firstly because the pretension of there being such a difference between Reagan and Trump when they targeted the exact same voting base (and Reagan’s ascendancy was integrally related to its political resurgence), is wholly deceptive and puts it in a facetious light (Trump Trumpifies everything, trivializing origins, either by his clownish adoption or by making the originators look so much better), -plus, Bono the Biblical knows full damned well how religiously and politically weighted the phrase actually is, as he’s used it precisely in terms of its religious coinage in his own lyrics. (-Um, a song where Bono uses God’s Old Testament name that’s never supposed to be uttered has the lyric, “Take this city, A city should be shining on a hill”, which means he has explicitly used the exact same phrase in its Jerusalem-Zion religious framework, namely, he’s using the allusion for the ascendency of God’s people in the End Times as a rebirth. In the Christian interpretation, this is the Church restored in the End Times.) Ascribing “shining city of a hill” to the United States is a veiled way of signifying that the true latter day Church on earth is in actuality the United States. This is as far as you can ultimately go in the belief in Manifest Destiny.

Yet in quoting Reagan’s use of it, Bono deliberately treats the “city on a hill” as just being wonderfully transracial (-seriously(?!)), which is true deception of the woefully ignorant, when manifest destiny was the ideological device to expedite an exceedingly brutal form of nationalized white supremacy, and that’s what the phrase was expressly pulled out to cater to in Reagan’s employ (!), -namely its existing adherents.

“In the 1980 presidential election, Falwell’s moral majority helped propel Ronald Reagan into the White House. Reagan knew what his God-fearing demographic really wanted, which is why he kicked off his campaign with a stump speech supporting states’ rights at a fair in rural Mississippi. ‘States’ rights’ had been a rallying cry for Southern segregationists for decades, and in case anyone missed the coded message, Reagan delivered that speech just 7 miles from where three civil rights workers had been murdered in the 1960s. On the campaign trail, and many times while he was in the White House, Reagan also did a lot of grousing about ‘welfare queens.’” – “Does God Believe in Trump?” – Newsweek -What Newsweek found unfit to print when it came to H. W. Bush.

-Yup. In fact what Reagan was doing by explicitly making the statement a transracial one was avoiding how racist it was in its implementation throughout America’s history; he was forced to do so or he’d have no possibility of ever resurrecting it. He had to try and take it back to its first utterance by John Winthrop, detach it from its legacy. This was actually Reagan’s strategy for retaining American exceptionalism (namely if we pretend it was transracial or make it so, perhaps we can manage to justify its use for further bloodletting, and promptly headed for Central America and the Iran-Contra scandal). It’s a have your cake and eat it too win-win, because in doing so he was appealing to and picking up all those fundamentalist religious believers for whom the concept never evolved in the first place. This is the same strategy as attempting to secularize it, when it is simply impossible to whitewash a legacy that bloody, -except of course that it worked. Indeed Ronald Reagan proved serviceable in white-washing and transitioning a great many things, presiding over the transition from covert operations for regime change (which had fallen out of favour due to public opprobrium) to much the same manipulation of the domestic affairs of other nations via foreign aid. (Which is why Bono to this day proves exceedingly useful.)

“Under Obama, the US has extended secret ‘special forces’ operations to 138 countries, or 70 per cent of the world’s population. The first African-American president launched what amounted to a full-scale invasion of Africa. Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments. Africom’s ‘soldier to soldier’ doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.” – “This Week the Issue is not Trump. It is Ourselves” – John PIlger

Secondly, Bono deserves remonstrance because by quoting Reagan to Trump’s religious far right constituency, with their knowledge of Bono’s Biblical awareness, Bono is in fact doing the exact same dog whistle Reagan performed for the “new right”, -namely he’s catering directly to Trump’s Christian (so fundamentalist they’re fascist) constituency himself (the proof of this is how he’s presently tweaking the lyrics live on tour in the US). Beyond that, his lyrics catalogue is public knowledge; -in other words, the problem lies in the fact that with “Yahweh” he used this exact same phrase religiously, -and already transferred something very similar to the city of New York, so the religiously literate can see that he’s actively made this transfer himself by arriving at Reagan’s ascription of this phrase to the United States and agreeing with it, whether the secular audience is too religiously illiterate to notice this or not. I can assure you, the Biblical are not. The evangelical fundamentalists who brought Reagan to power (who Bono used to use the song “Bullet the Blue Sky” to castigate for their appeals for money from their flockare Trump’s fundamentalists. But  today Bono’s hawking the most extreme range of fundamentalism (flirting with graduation into theocracy) those fundamentalists could ever possibly hope to achieve in subverting the nation on tour every night in the US. He considers this bipartisan behaviour, when his public rehabilitation of Reagan (in full knowledge of his deeds, which he used to sing against every night of the original 1987 Joshua Tree Tour) is in fact part of a political media program to justify the current neocon/neoliberal alliance. Not to mention the fact that for Bono this “bipartisanship” is his effort to maintain ticket sales.

This is how you’ll naturally transmogrify if you begin inhabiting the same hemispheres as “Manifest Destiny” George W. Bush in your laudable but wholly hogwash belief that your behaviour is somehow bipartisan bridgemanship. Bono’s now philanthropy smarming “shock and awe” war criminals to rehabilitate their image (participation in the same media project) for inflicting a permanent climate of genetic deformaties in countless women’s wombs, the result of a war whose proponents were directed to lie to get us there, who is culpable in the death of perhaps a million people and responsible for the geo-strategic collapse of the Middle East into ISIS. No matter, his wife is canonized in U2’s current incarnation of “Ultraviolet” as a leading feminist (what the hell did she do for feminism is a fair question -?), and so are his daughters, an especial irony when you consider that regression into such deep fundamentalism means retrenchment of the sexual repression and suppression inbuilt by design into all three monotheistic faiths, the Abrahamic religions. Anyone in service to fundamentalism that transgressive at the top of leadership, whether they uptake its attendant baggage in its entirety (or not), is still serving to regress the entire nation by normalizing such fundamentalism (something Bono should take to heart, especially since its normalization under Bush has now handed us over to the Drumpf).

-You care about feminism? Then you don’t normalize fundamentalism by letting it offer you awards for humanitarianism. I don’t think there could be a more obvious indicator of the consequences of fundamentalism’s normalization than Trump’s subsequent (more like consequent) election as the next Republican victor after Bush. Sexism came out of the closet. The exact same concern can be said about racism: you don’t like it? -Then don’t normalize fundamentalist ideology that historically deliberately muddled religion and nationhood together in a manner that institutionalized white supremacy internationally as a pretext for annexation and colonial enterprise. And bloody hell, don’t attempt to secularize it in the pretension that American “exceptionalism” has somehow transformed itself into something good. Better yet, U2, you don’t take the most basic tenet that historically has been (and would be) used to define US theocratic statehood on a national tour and turn it into a concert experience for your facile paying audience. How’s them apples? (You might think these conclusions aren’t supported yet, bear with me, we have yet to reach the end.)

Yes, and the Clintonistas think Bono’s on their side because he told them to vote for her twice, and Trumpifies “Exit” on tour every night. They should take note that U2’s entire setlist for this tour was tuned to Reagan’s “shining city of a hill” dog whistle to woo the biggest, most extreme religious alt-right sector in Trump’s constituency for the whole #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 tour. Basically Bono’s choice quote of Reagan (who used it more often than that) more or less cinches the deal. How he’s tooling the present setlist shows he knows exactly what he’s doing with this and fully understands the religious/supremacist undertone -he’s employing it himself, -to take money from their pockets. -Clinton adherents should be looking to their pockets likewise. They are only on the same side in the sense that Clinton herself is fully willing to go there, for votes (aka acquisition of power), whereas Bono does it for the money, and the power base manifest destiny/American exceptionalism ideology provides amounts to no more or less at present and throughout history than an exercise in self-deception to exonerate the consequence of wholesale wanton international bloodshed via the dispensation “we’re special”. It is possible Bono is so fully into self-deception he thinks this adoption is a benign one, and holy purposed, -they all do, after all. They all did, even when it was their grounds for embracing genocide via starvation in the name of progress. (And you’d have thought U2 knew all about that one too. Priceless.)

I am not here to argue the point of whether or not the settling of the West amounted, at times, to genocide (think of the big picture). I think the fact that this starvation programme (perhaps more luridly) took place concurrently in Canada (also) for the sake of a railroad (completed in 1885) takes a lot of wind out of US sails in debate, -especially given US foreign influence/intervention with Canada at the time on behalf of Mr. Starvation himself, Sir John A. Macdonald, -who took US military assistance to stop any attempt at integrational parity for the peoples of the West in suppressing the Northwest Rebellion (1885), meaning it was the United States who helped bring to fruition his execution of Riel with their gatling gun invention’s first ever usage on a population. -In all probably this just means that the US is better as a nation at self-deception. (I have yet to see any airing of the recognition that the same policies taking place cross border concurrently heftily increases the probability of genocidal intent since it was done in concert.) Better yet, when it comes to complicity in genocide, the US provided the (first ever) machine gun the size of a small cannon (via US naval support) that put a swift and short end to the Rebellion, which made Macdonald’s western pogrom of starvation assured. -That was why the US supplied military support.

“The more Indians we can kill this year the fewer we will have to kill the next, because the more I see of the Indians the more convinced I become that they must all be killed or be maintained as a species of pauper. Their attempts at civilization are ridiculous…” General William Tecumseh Sherman (-Yes, he was named after a Chief who fought against the United States during the war of 1812, and the above attitude, his value to the US in cleansing the West (as well as in the Civil War), was why the USA named the largest tree in the world (by volume) after him.)

This was not simply a one-off for the sake of settlement/displacement, the United States fully believed manifest destiny meant graduating internationally to water torture. One has only to examine American frolics on the international stage with respects to the PhillipinesPuerto Rico, and Guam (how the US handled the acquisition of Spain’s colonies in war, 1889), Korea (1882), and Japan (1905) to realize the USA’s domestic ambitions of expansion and intervention in that period were in all probability hardly benign either.

The same can be said of aiding and abetting the only Prime Minister who used “aryan” in the Canadian House of Commons in debate as a member during that period, the longest running Prime Minister (who was also the longest running Aboriginal Affairs Minister, and laid the groundwork for basically every institution now blamed for the horrid state of Ottawa-aboriginal relations: The Indian Act, Indian Residential Schools and an over-bureaucratized Department of Indian Affairs”), -with a gatling gun in suppression of a (mixed race and religion, predominantly Catholic) indigenous rebellion, -to force the conditions of the West’s incorporation into Canada along fault lines of religious and ethnic dominance, namely WASP supremacy, -as if this was a good thing.

In terms of land divestment and control this had massive ramifications with respects to Native American disenfranchisement, which had been approached quite differently in terms of Francophone/Catholic -> Metis integration in Canada historically, -as opposed to proceeding in the framework of British property law (the only point of reference in the US), -meaning land ownership was modelled on the architects of “the highland clearances” (which resulted in half of the privately owned acreage in Scotland being owned by 0.008% of the population), -plus Britain’s personal (and brutal, with antiheroes like Kett and Winstanley (the Levellers)) several hundred years campaign of enclosure of the commons (the outcome being that half the country is owned 0.06% of the population), -not to mention they set the colonial trend of genocidal responsibility in both the Irish and Indian famines. -Now check out what land ownership means in Canada thanks to the British, -who’s #1 and why. “Queen Elizabeth II the largest landowner on Earth.” –Canada is by far the biggest reason. Disenfranchisement never lived this large in the history of the planet, and what that’s meant for the hinterland under provincial administration is unhindered continual resource rape carnage so vast it is viewable from space. -And yes, you would think that might make the Crown vulnerable as Canada ratifies UN DRIP. After all, the Crown claims 94% of the Province of British Columbia is public Crown Land, yet the Crown only negotiated Treaties for parts of Vancouver Island and the Peace River Valley – Treaty 8, which is the basis of the court case against the Site C dam. This means the vast bulk of BC Crown land is unceded territory for which there were and are no Treaties ever negotiated with the people who first lived on the land. -Seems like a problem…. -A Treaty negotiations process was initiated in the 1970’s; -only one treaty negotiation has reached conclusion so far. Settling this discrepancy has barely begun.

-A tad more relevant to Canadian existence than who the USA elects in a given election year…. colonization, and what it means for the land to be held in this form of trust (namely the office of Queen, and an interesting bit of legal fiction, namely the Queen not of Great Britain, but of Canada): “Crown land, in its Canadian legal conception, belongs to the Canadian Crown [over 86% of the country]. The Queen of the United Kingdom has had no legal relationship whatsoever to land situated within Canada’s borders for many decades, although the Queen of Canada has, and does. When the Crown sells Crown land, it does not require the Monarch’s signature to effect the conveyance, but instead that of one of her Canadian Ministers, or their designate.” -Talk about the biggest heist of the land from those that lived on it, that the world has perhaps ever witnessed. It bears mention that this form of land monopoly is exceedingly effective for resource extraction in the form of wholesale resource rape, and exceedingly easy to control. –How ironic, but the reason she’s “Governor” of the Church rather than “Head” is because English theologians were not stupid enough to attempt a manifest destiny hijack of the Church where they equated England’s monarch with either Christ or the Pope; -they merely claimed ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the nation itself, rather than the Pope. America in proclaiming its personal Godly dispensation offered no such distinction. In doing so, they led by example.

“We’ll take away its character of an Asiatic steppe, we’ll Europeanize it. … As for the two or three million men whom we need to accomplish this task, we’ll find them quicker than we think. They’ll come from Germany, Scandinavia, the Western countries and America. …There’s only one duty: to Germanize this country by the immigration of Germans, and to look upon the natives as Redskins. If these people had defeated us, Heaven have mercy! But we don’t hate them. That sentiment is unknown to us. We are guided only by reason. …All those who have the feeling for Europe can join in our work.” – Adolf Hitler’s optimistic prospectus on the invasion of Russia, 1941 –  “Columbus Day is the Most Important Day of Every Year” – The Intercept -Compared to the Crown’s, Hitler’s campaigns of land disenfranchisement were not so very different in scope. And he took his tips, and expected accord, because of how the West was won under the auspices of Manifest Destiny, not to mention how the Queen’s colony come Dominion carried it out, and where it stood at the time. It’s not looking very different at present, is it? What does “europeanize” mean, exactly?

I don’t have to haul up history to point out American “exceptionalism” when it trolloped about the globe as an ideological crutch in doctrinal form for these aspirations wasn’t exactly benign. Whenever it was aired, it spoke for itself. Here’s the thing, the very conflation Bono is employing in performance art right now, (invoking America as God’s country) was and is theology so bastardized it beggars contemplation. Bono can offer no excuse that he is simply referencing John Winthrop in a benign idealization of the country as a beacon of Christian virtue that must hold itself to account. That is not what he’s presenting live in concert right now. The man who carried out the conflation of America as the Church to perfection historically (you guessed it, O’Sullivan), was the very man who coined the term “manifest destiny”, setting the stage for the war with Mexico one year later (1846). Check out their national anthem at the time: it sounds no different than a Psalm. It was tooled, literally, to equate “[e]xpanding the territorial domain of the United States [as] an act of homage to the King of Kings [God]”. (The American anthem that came into permanent adoption was not without a racist couplet that is conveniently omitted, and was composed during a battle initiated by a US attack on the colony of Canada, -the war of 1812.)

“Without the slightest apparent sense of incongruity, O’Sullivan adopted language given by Christ to conceptualize the church, and used it to convey divine approval for the territorial expansion of the United States.” (O’Sullivan did this by invoking the United States exclusively as the national manifestation the God’s holy Church on earth, by robbing language by, for and about the Church and using it to personify to America instead. This conflation is the same as believing the entire worldwide Church does not exist. It’s either that or you’re again engaging in another strain of doctrinal BS, on top of what it takes to justify that your nation is actually the true Church on earth manifesting God’s Divine purpose through “democracy” implemented by overwhelming physical force.)

-Bono is invoking his collective, receptive American audience as the Church every evening he performs in the US on this tour, –by virtue of their being American. Not by virtue of their being the Church. It is the exact same act of substitution performed by O’Sullivan and others, with the active potency of applying that live to audiences of tens of thousands where they participate in this as an experience. The substitution takes place in their minds. It is this very act of designating America as the Church, that one simple shift, that shifts the framework and orientation from perceiving the nation as a functioning democracy to orienting it on theocratic fascism. Very participation in that perception is participation in the ultimate merger between Church and State, as an assimilated perception. Yet millions upon millions of adoring US fans identify this tour as a wonderful experience. If any surveys were conducted and you discovered just how high of a quotient of U2’s fan base identify attending their concerts as being a religious experience at times, you’d find this conflation terrifying. Face it, the only way there is to have fascist theocracy doctrine be assimilated (if not quite consciously, and yes, the only rational root for such is an existent doctrine, no matter how screwed up it may happen to be) is through millions of people experiencing it as a good thing. The Devil could not have designed this stealth introduction any better. No one gives a rat-fink if you tell people how to vote when you’re serving the deeper level of proselytizing their ideology so that it’s assimilated by those exact same voters. Call it an end run in an end game. The purpose is better served overall. What better success could you have than to have the most basic tenet of theocratic fascism assimilated as an experience by a bipartisan, irreligious audience, -with the audience being none the wiser? It’s an attempt to baptize those fundamentalist fundamentals in the minds of the younger Democrat voter-ship, using the rejection of Trump to enshrine them at the bipartisan level, thereby retaining them as the Republican party implodes on its own absurdity and the Empire’s nakedness becomes apparent. Again this is active participation in a concerted propaganda campaign to invert what it means to be a Democrat.

To treat the receptive audience as the Church on tour (by saying so, literally, by personifying America as object in repurposed religious oriented songs, and making America the sum object of the performance), is to cross the line between invoking American exceptionalism (the belief that America’s special attainment springs from its inclusive, trans-racial republic and democratic ideals) to invoking manifest destiny (God-given dispensation to the Church as America). The conflation and impact in the minds of his audience is the same and done with intention. When they are not distinguishing the import religiously, they are distinguishing it patriotically, which is the ultimate intention/substitution that manifest destiny set out to perform to begin with. The very intention is to substitute Godhood with the United States as the ultimate interlocutor, in order to sanction “exceptionalism”. If you integrate God with the US by claiming the US is God’s nation exclusively on earth with a Divine mandate to expand globally in the name of God’s purpose, you are not going to God. You have no distinguishable differentiation of purpose. America First. This is literally the last thing the planet needs, and indeed Americans need to see in concert. And exactly like Reagan, this is an all inclusive exercise of having your cake and eating it too where you divest nothing that was previously poisonous in the dispensation, but deliberately take that with you in order to increase the potency and give it strength to buttress the utter faultiness of its conception.

To succeed in secularizing manifest destiny has been the agenda for a long time, namely to arrive at the pretext that their mandate to intervene militarily across the earth is based in their inception as an inclusive democratic republic. To have a concert that elicits what is in fact a religious sourced emotional experience in terms of American exceptionalism in the minds of literally millions of Americans, with the secular audience being none the wiser that this is what they indeed experienced, successfully transfers that emotional power to a secular belief framework for American exceptionalism. Since it must justify itself on the legacy of deeds, secular American exceptionalism has no rational basis. This performance art successfully transfers the plane of experience to being an emotionally based belief precisely when it can no longer succeed morally or rationally in secular form. (It was a doctrinal failure to begin with. They can’t acknowledge the original doctrine was BS, because they’d be forced to question whether it ever had grounds to be evolved rather than rejected.) This is perhaps the pinnacle of what propaganda could ever hope to achieve in terms of disassociating emotion from its idealogical source or framework even while exacting it, putting it at greatest utility. Those conscious of the experience for what it is are nigh in their entirety believers (either the religious or secular varietal) for whom the performance simply provides massive emotional reinforcement of their failed ideologies. The beauty of this ploy is you’re going to assimilate American exceptionalism via U2’s performance art whether you believe it religiously, or secularly, or none of the above. It takes all comers. It was even proselytized internationally (probably in stealth mode, i.e., only the secular varietal of American exceptionalism was readily apparent outside America’s own borders, which is what you’d witness if Bono himself is not doctoring his own lyrics; -yes, this is all subject to what Bono feels empowered to sing on any given night and how he moderates the show in the moment; -ego tripping never had it so good).

Even more disturbing is that Bono is proselytizing the religious mindset of the present leadership, -namely Trump’s cabinet choices of the generals (with the (WaPo) liberals openly advocating for military control of the executive through what are supposed to be civilian cabinet choices to control the military). Bear in mind that we’ve now entered the generation where the furthest career experience embarks on Gulf War I. We’ve entered the generation that has never participated in a legitimate war, and on this foundation of illegitimacy is merely self-perpetuating, assuming daylight robbery of over 50% of the American tax base annually must by all means be increased. As of Gulf War II, these generals were participating in a war initiated by a President due to his belief that the war was Divinely purposed, i.e., his predication was mixed and from his vantage, based primarily on theocratic fascism, -and these generals themselves believed in this war. The three generals’ collective religious/ideological mindset is so analogous that these self-same observations were made at the outset:

“In the process, one radical idea will be pitted against another: American exceptionalism, armed to the teeth and empowered by war-lovers (some deeply involved in an evangelizing Christianity) against Islamic jihadist extremism. Rather than a “clash of civilizations,” it’s a clash of warring creeds, of what should essentially be seen as fundamentalist cults. Both embrace their own exceptionalism, both see themselves as righteous warriors, both represent ways of thinking steeped in patriarchy and saturated with violence, and both are remarkably resistant to any thought of compromise.

Put another way, under Trump’s team of “civilian” warrior-generals [we’ve had the substitution of McMaster for Flynn since this was written], it looks like the crusades may be back — with a vengeance.” – William J. Astore:  “The Crusades Are Back, With a Vengeance

Would the Clintonista, liberal audience be thrilled to learn they were being soft-peddled these religious values, those values resplendent in the soft coup? Trump did not arrive here by choice, but in the effort to prevent an intra-governmental insurrection against his presidency. (How priceless, we have arrived at the killer of democracy’s true face; -it’s the exact same bipartisanface. ) If you think “soft coup” is hyperbole, consider this choice quote by Japan’s Defence Minister: “I think Washington has not decided … The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis … Not the president.” That’s right, it’s Mad Dog who decides if America goes to war with North Korea. There, you see, #fixedit! By the time of his first speech to the UN, Trump had transformed into a raving interventionist. Magic!

With U2 presently at the pulpit, ticket purchasing liberals are not only openly advocating and supporting the soft soup because U2 have presently equated evil in America with the incarnation of President Trump, they’re assimilating the soft coup’s most extreme brand of religious fundamentalism without knowing it, which they absolutely adore so long as it castigates Trump on tour every night. America got a partisan Democrat token slap on the wrist in terms of a re-tooled Trumpian version of “Exit”, (which again, U2 have the nerve to proselytize, as if America’s problems are our problems), -the re-tool of a song that was originally about a suicide. This is spine-snapping in its illogic, in light of catering to the religious fascist aspects of the Trumpian voter-ship (together with the Trumpian leadership), -unless you’re in have your cake and eat it too territory, namely the money to be had in executing a “bipartisan” performance, and you’ve found the perfect solution in exemplifying the infinitely permutating superiority complex, aka American exceptionalism, which is really the trojan horse for American fascism, with the religious variant inarguably existing as theocratic fascism. The liberal Democrat ticket buying public was incapable of registering that the doctrine Bono was flirting with the entire tour in the US (equivocating America as the Church) is more extreme than either G. W. Bush or Trump’s most evangelical generals (or indeed, any of these evangelical ministers, who do not get into what their notion of a return to a being a Godly nation actually means), -could ever dream to dare to air. Even Paula White (who compares Trump to Queen Esther and says Trump is president due to God) could not go that far, and her belief system is considered laughable and subject to mockery by purported liberals, -liberals who had no problem attending this concert.

It is one thing to declare God gave you the presidency, or that God has ordained your war in Iraq (because you happen to believe in Armageddon, (just like Reagan did -see 6); -bear in mind that if you implement a war on the basis of this belief as opposed to moral/geo-strategic necessity for the sake of defence, you have already succeeded in implementing theocratic fascism in terms of international warfare), or to have a pastor endorsing your bluster and asserting God is condoning your destruction of North Korea. We are now opining the values of theocratic fascism in public because enough of a critical mass in the voter-ship are perceived to believe in it; they have the same values enough that the press is not afraid to quote these values, as it was this value system represented that won the presidency. It’s not like these individuals don’t exist when a Democrat happens to win the presidency; -the Democrats are enabling by virtue signaling the same constituency. -Can’t win an election without being an exceptionalist.

“One of the persistent strands in American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism. This was given expression and reinforced during the two terms of Barack Obama. ‘I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,’ said Obama”.

“According to a Council on Foreign Relations survey, in 2016 alone Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day. He bombed the poorest people on earth, in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan.” – “This Week the Issue is not Trump. It is Ourselves” – John PIlger -not to mention he handed Israel the largest military aid deal in US history.

It is another graduation entirely to make the indistinguishable implication of treating America as if it’s God’s implementation of the Church on earth (God’s country on this earth, in substitution of the existing Church). Bono is presenting the final ascendency, the existential basis of theocratic fascism, -literally how the state itself would create its definition and ascribe its powers as a theocratic fascist Christian state. He has hijacked feminism, which is absolutely antithetical to this within the faith to the extent of dismantling it doctrinally, to this end. As per my opening definition, U2 have hijacked feminism in service to theocratic fascism, its very biblical antithesis.

The question should be raised, at the very least, what exactly did Bono himself intend with these deliberate iconic mergers and this ode to America international tour? He should have been duly obligated to clarify his position, and offered the opportunity to tacitly divorce himself from these historical and present realities, were this not a society of somnambulists. It is worthy of scrutiny. Letting this tour pass unnoticed and un-noted puts him in the position of serving as enabler to ideology and policies loathed by bulk of U2’s fanbase. It is a worthy question who appreciates that more, but I doubt the band does in comparison to the powers serviced by what now passes unobserved as perhaps the most effective propaganda art hijack every accomplished. He should at least be offered a last chance to save his own soul.

In other words, Bono would not be performing as a useful tool to this doctrine if anyone had the awareness to take note and question this merger, which would surely put him in the position of articulating his intentions and disavowing it using the path provided by John Winthrop, if people were broadly aware enough to have addressed it in social media. Were it a matter of public record, Bono would have no choice. It is our choice what we adhere to and what does not pass muster. This does not deserve to and it beggars belief that U2 got away with it. That is your greatest indicator of inculcation into the prevailing culture that theocratic fascism has already accomplished. It is already so culturally inoculated that this tour, tooled in this manner, passed without a single eyebrow cock. It may be that U2 themselves are so culturally inoculated they were themselves this foolish, but somehow I doubt it. Bono should be obliged to restore the phrase back to its origin and divorce its attendant baggage, if he’s going to honour it with the sum of a tour. I hope this essay has thrown into adequate relief that the machinations of the right wing are not your sole danger in the US, if such so called Democrat electioneers are getting a pass when the theme for their entire tour can be effectively analysed as active advocacy for the doctrinal foundation of theocratic fascism, which had no problem passing muster providing it identify itself as art to the American public.

U2’s Bono promoting the United Nations “Global Goals” – which in reality is the financialization and privatization of nature, global in scale via payments for ecosystem services. #NaturalCapital #PES

 

Why do you think these litmus tests are performed on the population? Their success, namely that they pass without incident, provides a green light to proceed further over the brink, because they show this level of theocratic fasicm is already tacitly embraced by a paying audience; -whether that’s due to awareness or ignorance does not matter. In the case of U2’s foray, this litmus test as tour was inflicted on the Western world (North America and Europe, and now South America), -and no one blinked. -At least not out loud, an indicator they’re sufficiently cowed and by and large deluded. Europeans should duly take note when they’re attached militarily to a nation so possessed of grandiose delusions en masse. It’s either that or they’re too stupid to notice them played out right in front of their faces when the auteur is a rock band. Instead, the U2 ticket buying fan base in Europe were all too happy to see a setlist dedicated to another country’s “exceptionalism” performed inside their borders, -as if this was perfectly normal, -if it was fed to them by the same rock band.

In the context of their evasions and invasions, for “Exit” U2 might as well have hung an effigy in a ritualized personification of evil within the banal confines the audience was barely prepared to tolerate, let alone contemplate, purely as an exercise of avoiding the real evil, which arguably could be the reason Trump’s in power in the first place, a convenient effigy at which to hurl spite that utterly avoids any culpability for the mechanisms that would deign to give him power, namely how infantilized does a voter-ship have to become to choose a reality TV president (or even better yet, believe that he’s attained this position due to God).

(Paula White was forced to walk that back by saying the same about bipartisan and recent presidential candidates (an option generously provided by WaPo), -which in actuality just broadens the premise to bona fide theocratic fascism, -with “Where do you draw the line on world leaders being assignated by God?”, being the fair question. -Consider the range of answers that are possible here: 1) Godly dispensation of the presidency only applies to America, i.e., she believes in America as a theocratic fascist state, -it’s either that or her answer could be 2) to restrict this Divine dispensation to only what we regard as the Christian West or all Christianized states (Israel is a given, as in Israel First for the bulk of the evangelicals who espouse dispensationalism, with Eastern Orthodox exclusion, naturally, God forbid she have to say the same about Putin), -i.e., the answer is racially bifurcated but only to the extent it is politically expedient, and would actually mirror what the doctrine of dispensationalsm permits as Christian or, 3) does she truly believe globalized theocratic fascism is already in place and applies to every despot on this earth, as in every leader put above us rules by God? -Welcome back to the premise of Divine Monarchy. This theological imbecilism receives hundreds of milllions in donations and meets weekly with the current president. It’s reasonable to surmise not one of the answers she could possibly provide would be sound, but no one asks.)

How ’bout what Bill Clinton did, and the subsequent monopolistic corporate control of private media? Did it actually raise culture? How and why has this been arrived at, if not for the regulatory dismantling of the state for wholesale resource predation and untrammeled pollution, coupled with the rollback of workers’ rights? In other words Trumptopia presents itself as the great external IT (perhaps a juxtaposition of these two images will help throw into relief what he serves to normalize, -yes, see, he normalizes her, the neoliberal who was catering to the exact same constituency as Reagan in the exact same way, the neoliberal who advocated starting WWIII as part of her campaign platform. He normalizes war criminals, and this is because he is tacking foreign policy even further as an Israel first dispensationalist, which is baldly constituency strategic in his case, but this hardly matters; the only hope is that the tail is now out in the open as America embarrasess itself in front of the entire world, but hey, withdrawal from UNESCO was also performed by Reagan. Bear in mind that Trump’s irrational posturingover JCPOA (the joint nuclear accord with Iran, the EU, Russia and China) was emulating Paula White’s personification of Trump as comparable in the present day to Queen Esther, as the dispensationalists are duly serving Israeli foreign policy interests and have hijacked the Biblical story as an analogy for present hostility with Iran. Netanyahu himself used the Biblical history of Queen Esther on Obama in the appeal to have him act the same (framing the attack of Iran by the US as a matter of life or death for state of Israel), literally hijacking the one Bible story that hearkens the development of the first secularized state that allowed more than one faith (Persia). Fundamentalism is now hijacking foreign policy initiatives, though it’s not like this is new (G.W. Bush started an unjustified war on this pretext). It’s just graduating to the level of nuclear.

Trump is literally the best thing that could have ever happened to the neoliberals (who are so little different their alliance is with the neocons, which has including the media effort to whitewash their historic theocratic fundamentalists). Only a raving clown could have diverted from this implacable truth of why they lost, and made them actually look somehow palatable. The pied piper strategy may have failed election 2016, but it gave “Democrats” the capacity to resuscitate themselves for the next grab for power, election 2020, when they should have just crashed and burned. Trump constitutes the perfect Reality TV distraction, conveniently presenting a funnel for a useless array of #resistance (attenuation by anger, russophobia and civil strife), whilst simultaneously providing another complete exorcism of introspection on the nation’s completely bipartisan catalogue of sins (nigh indistinguishable militarism abroad, etc.). Nothing gets done during Hate Week(s). And everyone, it seems, can’t get enough of Hate Week. All this bombast and bluster is so infinitely more important than ecological holocaust.

I’ve always believed in working across the aisle … but there’s a bully on the bully pulpit and silence is not an option” – Bono

Culpability for this state of affairs includes the willingness to adopt a pied piper strategy in order to win; -by an utterly corrupt DNC U2 instructed you to vote for after they deliberately contained and castrated Bernie Sanders. The problem is more rooted in the dual party system’s policy framework at home and abroad’s continuity in either guise, no matter what the cost to national integrity and democracy, -and for what, exactly? Why is it the USA can never, ever have a Corbyn? (Nor Canada, for that matter?)

Why would you continue to ingratiate an audience complacent in a state of affairs that is so patently over the edge it has unhinged itself from reality’s mainframe? When that is the real situation, displacement of culpability can only be achieved in curating a framework of villainy for mass consumption. U2 provides. They do it for no more or less than the money it makes them. This is basically the knee jerk reflex they must now provide indicating they still stand (strongly) with the voting constituency they told how to vote. This is their pass at integrity. Discomfort need not apply.

Happy 4th, oh ye deluded. (This page and the writing were initiated and by and large concluded on the 4th. Silly me, -thought that was it.) U2 now performs to insure you stay that way. This is displacement in totality as art as emotional exorcism, -in a curious way total evacuation of what America meant and what it means to be an American, for theocratic ideology serves in every way and all of its purpose to rob you of your liberties. You might call it the infantilized version passed off as the deep while you’re unconsciously on the brink of losing it forever at the level of ecological suicide, served to you by your very own military. Viva la #resistance! Thirty years ago you attended a U2 show in order to wake up. Now you attend to absorb circumscription of thought. Better yet, without even realizing it, you get a dose of the doctrine behind theocratic fascism that literally desires the End of the World, -and you love the taste. -Maybe it’s time Americans register that when you engage in war within a fundamentalist framework, that single factor above all is what makes you a target of fundamentalist terrorism; -for fundamentalism will identify, correctly, fundamentalism, and inevitably arise more virulenty to embrace combat, for the combat is on those terms. G. W. Bush crossed that threshold. You may have a problem with him, -but this concert is indication that you embrace and enjoy fundamentalism as a religious experience if it means idolizing your own country as a way to feel good about yourself. You will not be aware of the difference; -if fundamentalism’s tenets are introduced to you stealthily in a form you happen to like. If it’s not identifying itself as a raving evangelist you’re too clueless to identify what fundamentalism actually is. And that was the “beauty”, if you will, of this tour’s success.

-With friends like this, who needs enemies -? It is not longer “good” to be in U2’s good books, in other words. Not if you’re aware of the benchmarks of their esteem. But it will always reveal the metrics and calculus of a win-win.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” – Noam Chomsky

U2 provides.

 -As tepid as an election campaign. What a reversal on the umbrella in 20 years.

 All those broken Trudeau electoral campaign promises (not even listing the privatization matter and (continued) roll back of Canada Post):

Justin Trudeau Just Broke a Major Campaign Promise (Electoral Reform) – Time

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: 500 Days of Trudeau’s Broken Promises – desmogcanada -lists six, -including failure to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, Liberal pipeline approvals, failure to improve environmental assessments (this was due to Conservative revocation and weakening of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act), granting indigenous nations veto power over resource projects, and adequately addressing climate targets

Why the appointment of Bill Blair is the harbinger of the New Prohibition – Marc Emery (on marijuana legalization)

Bill C-51 Anti-terrorism law: Why the Liberals aren’t amending it – The Globe and Mail (it got a reboot, not revokation as promised. Why?)

Feds leave 99 per cent of lakes, rivers unprotected – The Council of Canadians – not only did the Liberals fail to restore the Navigable Waters Act, but also the Fisheries Act -significant because the two were just about the only legislation protecting freshwater bodies (i.e., if they were fish bearing)

Change the House of Commons Standing Orders to end practice of using inappropriate omnibus bills to reduce scrutiny of legislative measures. – trudeaumeter – This was huge, second only to electoral reform perhaps. It was how Harper took out the Fisheries Act. -Broken.

Trudeau government on defensive after approving “carbon bomb” – Observer – Trudeau approves Pacific Northwest LNG plant in the Great Bear Rainforest, which was so economically dodgy with such a dodgy foreign multinational it collapsed in its own right.

AVAAZ: The Globe’s Largest & Most Powerful Behavioural Change Network [Part I]

July 27, 2017

By Cory Morningstar with Forrest Palmer

 

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

 

This series builds on Cory Morningstar’s previous writing and research tracking the connecting lines of networked hegemony that exist between the elite funded NGOs that dominate the non profit industrial complex. Here Morningstar sharpens her focus on key individuals involved in rebranding business-as-usual and a particular Fifth Avenue address to expose the roots of the false narratives favored by the financial elites. Ongoing regime change, climate reformism, financialization of nature and the ‘new economy’ come under Morningstar’s lens making very clear that Avaaz is the propagandizing seat of smart power for those who would have us continue, in sweet delusion, consuming the earth to death. — Australian activist Michael Swifte

 

 

Foreword:

In 2012-2013 I wrote an investigative series titled Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War. I introduced the series began as follows:

“The Ivy League bourgeoisie who sit at the helm of the non-profit industrial complex will one day be known simply as charismatic architects of death. Funded by the ruling class oligarchy, the role they serve for their funders is not unlike that of corporate media. Yet, it appears that global society is paralyzed in a collective hypnosis – rejecting universal social interests, thus rejecting reason, to instead fall in line with the position of the powerful minority that has seized control, a minority that systematically favours corporate interests.

This investigative report examines the key founders of Avaaz, as well as other key sister organizations affiliated with Avaaz who, hand in hand with the Rockefellers, George Soros, Bill Gates and other powerful elites, are meticulously shaping global society by utilizing and building upon strategic psychological marketing, soft power, technology and social media – shaping public consensus, thus acceptance, for the illusory “green economy” and a novel sonata of 21st century colonialism. As we are now living in a world that is beyond dangerous, society must be aware of, be able to critically analyze, and ultimately reject the new onslaught of carefully orchestrated depoliticization, domestication of populace, propaganda and misinformation that is being perpetrated and perpetuated by the corporate elite and the current power structures that support their agenda. The non-profit industrial complex must be understood as a mainspring and the instrument of power, the very support and foundation of imperial domination.”

In 2014 I wrote an article titled SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire. This article focused on the Avaaz sister org. Purpose, a for-profit public relations firm in New York City that specializes in behavioural change for many of the largest corporations and institutions on the planet. Specifically it focused on the campaigns Purpose created to foster public acquiescence (and even demand) for a war on Syria following the complete annihilation of Libya in which Avaaz played a vital role for the elites they serve. From that moment, independent journalist Vanessa Beeley (with much assistance from a handful of journalists and ordinary citizens) dedicated her life to exposing the Purpose creation “the White Helmets”, for what they are: a terrorist group operating under the clandestine cloak of humanitarianism, financed by the UK government and USAID. Other journalists and ordinary citizens pursued the truth against a sea of propaganda created in order to foment yet another illegal war and occupation. Women played an extraordinary role in this struggle against imperialism and hybrid NGOs. The goal was for NATO states to destroy and capture Syria at any and all costs.  The non-profit industrial complex has played a vital role in the efforts to achieve this goal, which have failed, in large part to the courageous Syrian Army.  How many countries have succeeded in staving off the most powerful imperial forces in the planet for 6 years? I would like to think those who pursued the truth – in a now dystopian world where the truth is despised – also contributed to empire’s epic fail.

This new series goes further. This research will demonstrate how Avaaz was not only utilized for empire’s illegal destabilizations, but created to provide such a framework for the “responsibility to protect” – Responsibility to Protect (R2P) serving as the doctrine for war under the guise of humanitarianism. This research will demonstrate that the key co-founders of Avaaz and Purpose – must be considered intelligence for both U.S. and Britain – groomed since Harvard (and perhaps even prior to Harvard). This research identifies Harvard as ground zero for the implementation of imperialist foreign policies – to be achieved via war – under the guise of humanitarianism. And what a guise it is. 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.

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Avaaz full page ad in the New York Times. June 18, 2015, Avaaz: “In today’s New York Times, a call on President Obama for life-saving action in Syria. Join the campaign for a targeted No Fly Zone here:avaaz.org/safezone

Those at the helm of Avaaz and its sister NGO, Purpose, continue to froth at the mouth for war on Syria. The February 2017 Oscar win for White Helmets (a Purpose creation) demonstrated we have reached a new level of insanity in the West. Also relevant, on April 29, 2017, a second People’s Climate March took place in Washington, D.C. [Full partner list] which will be brought into the fold at a later point in this series.

Today, drowning within a post-modern spectacle, it is past time to revisit who and what institutions are behind today’s manufactured movements. Thus, a fresh look at both Avaaz and Purpose, and their formidable ties to 350.org, is nothing less than imperative.

At a time in which the global economic system continues to teeter close to stall speed, where Earth’s natural resources are to be depleted by the year 2030 which is less than 13 years away (more than enough reason for lunatics to propose colonization of the planet of Mars as an actual viable solution) and where wars over sand and other scarce commodities are a growing reality, the commerce of hatred is a much sought and growing area of expertise. Hate is a hot commodity. Celebrity fetish, an apparent global contagion exported from the West, is being further utilized to manufacture and distribute hate. The behavioral economics of hatred, in the 21st century, has become a fine-tuned art. Perhaps no NGOs (with exception of Amnesty International & Human Rights Watch) are better at manufacturing the supply of hate than Avaaz and its for-profit sister NGO, public relations firm Purpose.

“Culture of Exuberance: the total complex of beliefs and practices associated with the opportunities for expansive life in the Age of Exuberance; a culture founded upon the myth of limitlessness”  — Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change 

Shifting Baseline Syndrome

The recent Oscar award given to the White Helmets documentary is a simple extension of the growing utilization of celebrity to re-brand wars as humanitarian interventions and the manufacturing of movements. Simply put, celebrity is a deliberate creation for the building of acquiescence, to acquire/expand capital and power. Celebrity fetish also serves as a key tool of distraction and the further devolving of whole societies (via the glorifying/marketing of shallowness, excess and narcissism), while many feature-length films and documentaries are behaviour modification instruments created/financed in order to propagate false narratives for a naïve consumer society that aversively upholds white supremacy, one of many Western ideologies driven into the psyche of the collective citizenry. Today, brands, ideologies, and even invasions of sovereign states, achieve authenticity through association. Thus, celebrity has become as vital a tool for empire as the NGO itself. Together they are akin to nuclear fusion.

The Shifting Baseline Syndrome is a concept formulated by Daniel Pauly in 1995. It results in “a drift away from true natural conditions, and as a consequence a change in perception of ecological change varying from generation to generation.” The digital sphere (social media, celebrity) continues to displace our physical sphere (nature, family, community) while the biological becomes more and more irrelevant in the minds of the conditioned. We become empty vessels to be re-made in the image of corporatism. Today’s shifting baseline has not only made nature irrelevant altogether (of value only if we assign monetary value, “fighting” for “clean energy” replacing fighting to protect nature), it has brought us to the brink of complete collective insanity.

As recognized by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, (2016), “new patterns of consumer behavior (increasingly built upon access to mobile networks and data)… The Fourth Industrial Revolution, finally, will change not only what we do but also who we are.” [Source]

Today’s 21st century powerhouse NGOs have proven successfully that hate can be neutralized, and even be turned into adoration, as demonstrated by Avaaz co-founder, MoveOn.org. In a world of make-believe where lies are preferred over truth, charismatic warmongers of the past (Barack Obama) are embraced while vulgar warmongers in the present (Donald Trump) are crucified among the allegedly “unbiased left”. Branding supersedes reality straight across the board.

In the age of post-modern spectacle and modern-day dystopia, environmentalism and humanitarianism are nothing more than egregious misnomers. In the age of 21st century post-truths –  the capture of the public’s emotions is more than adequate for ensuring truth, logic and reason remain completely irrelevant. Hence, whether it’s selling war or selling the financialization of nature, the art of selling – without ever actually disclosing what it is that you are selling, has become a key strategy for selling the unthinkable. Tapping into hate is today a key marketing ploy for selling everything from “clean energy” (the fossil fuel industry is the enemy rather than parasitic capitalism itself) to payments for ecosystem services (strategically exploit the very real contempt for externalities only to sell the financialization of nature) to illegal invasions, occupations and war (demonize the democratically elected leader of the sovereign state, create falsehoods such as the Syrian army are on a murderous rampage, murdering their own people/families). If you can sell the hate, you can sell the war.

Two Heads of the Same Coin: Avaaz/350.org

But, before we delve into the history of Avaaz in addition to its powerful collaborations and influential allies, it is critical to understand  the incredibly close alliances between many of the most prominent NGOs that comprise the non-profit industrial complex. In many instances the NGOs at the top of the NPIC hierarchy, simply create (or absorb) clone sub-NGOs. They are all essentially one in the same – but utilize different methods to attract different audiences (and cultures) to achieve one shared goal: protection and expansion of the current capitalist economic system. Such is the case of Purpose, which is comprised of/manages The B Team , The Rules and a stream of others. The loyalties and interconnectedness of those at the helm of the empire’s lapdog NGOs are powerful. Thus, you will never witness May Bouve, 350.org’s current executive director, speak out against Avaaz’s push for war on sovereign states in the Middle East, as Bouve herself sits on the board of Res Publica – the co-founding organization of Avaaz. You will never witness Naomi Klein criticize Avaaz nor 350.org (both founding NGOs of GCCA/TckTckTck), for their many crimes against humanity as Klein serves on the board of 350.org, alongside Avaaz co-founder Ricken Patel who serves on the 350.org International Advisory Council. The interlocking directorate serves as an insurance policy for ensured and infinite self-censorship. The fact that many of these positions are given/held with no compensation is all the more telling. The lure (and appeal) for the appointee is strictly to gain further access.

Above – Section A. Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, and Highest Compensated Employees from the 2014 990 form of Res Public (Avaaz/co-founder of Avaaz)

A June 19, 2006 Res Publica job posting (“Senior Staff for Global Version of MoveOn.org”) listed the countries of geopolitical interest that Res Publica’s new NGO (Avaaz) would be focused on. Since this time, many of these countries listed have undergone so-called “coloured revolutions” (Egypt, Tunisia) while others listed by Res Public, are today annihilated (Libya) or under attack (Yemen, Syrian Arab Republic). The starting salary was listed as $60-80,000 per annum plus benefits package. The 2006 description for what would be Avaaz is as follows:

“The organization will begin with 20 full time staff located in 6 countries and a much larger number of volunteers, and will follow an ambitious growth path. It will launch with 700,000 members spread across 148 countries. An Advisory Board for the project comprises politicians, diplomats, activists and celebrities from around the world.”

Of great interest is those who were involved at the inception of Avaaz. At the Thirteenth Session of the United Nations Conference of the parties, which was held in Bali on 14 December 2007, we find the following representatives of the Avaaz foundation on the List of Participants document (p. 5), which include  “Mr. Jonathan Warnow Junior Climate Campaigner, Ms. Gillian May Boeve, Junior Climate Campaigner, Ms. Kelly Blynn, Research Associate and Mr. Jameson Henn,  Research Associate” – all founders of 350.org. [1] [“Observer organizations marked with an asterisk (*) in this document have been provisionally admitted by the subsidiary bodies.”]

From left to right: “Jamie Henn, Communications Director, 350, organizers of the world’s largest climate action on October 24; Ricken Patel, Executive Director, Avaaz, the world’s largest digital campaigning org, with 3.5M supporters; Ben Margolis, Campaigns Director, TckTckTck, an open campaign involving 220+ global NGO partners. At Fresh Air Center facilitated by tcktcktck for bloggers, downtown Copenhagen. 14 December 2009.” flickr, Tcklive

Sustainable Development World Leaders Invited to Paris Agreement Signing Ceremony, April 22, 2016. United Nations, December 10, 2015: Left to right: Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club, Christian O’Rourke, Development Director for Earth Guardians, Ken Berlin, President and CEO of the Climate Reality Project, May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org, UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Al Gore, Chairman The Climate Reality Project, Emma Ruby Sachs, Deputy Director, Avaaz, Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International,  Yoca Arditi-Rocha (back row, right of Naidoo) Our Kids Climate, Usha Nair, Climate Leader, Global Gender and Climate Alliance, and Karuna Singh, Director, Earth Day Network India. Flickr

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Richard Branson’s The B Team is Purpose

“And yet, it is obvious that the opportunities that come from addressing climate change are equally staggering. Research by the We Mean Business Coalition shows that returns on low carbon investments average close to 30%, not only in the cleantech sectors but across all sectors in every corner of the world. These investments will drive growth and employment, spur innovation and reduce the risk of climate disruption. The truth is that economic growth and environmental protection go hand-in-hand, and one is impossible without the other.” — Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group and Board Member, *We Mean Business, World Economic Forum, January 22, 2015

[*The founding partners of We Mean Business are Business for Social Responsibility (full membership and associate members list), CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), Ceres, The B Team, The Climate Group (an Avaaz partner), The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG)(TckTckTck partner) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)]

The B Team was incubated by Virgin Unite, the foundation arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, which had previously incubated such organizations the Elders and the Carbon War Room. In October, 2012, Branson and Zeitz (ex-CEO of Puma) announced the formation of The B Team. It has since grown to include 23 “leaders” [1] which includes Kathy Calvin (President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation), Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, Mary Robinson, Secretary of The Elders and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group, and several others of elite status. [Source] [Full List]  

Although seven co-founders of We Mean Business are identified, We Mean Business is actually a coalition that in 2016 represented 300 corporations:

 “A unified front of leaders came together to demonstrate business demand for progressive climate policy. The B Team joined BSR, CDP, Ceres, The Climate Group, the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to establish We Mean Business, a network of more than 300 companies working within a common platform to amplify business support for bold climate action and policies.” — The B Team Progress Report June 2013 – June 2016, p. 11 [Source]

Today the We Mean Business coalition represents 590 corporations ($1 trillion US total revenue), and 183 investors (representing $20.7 trillion US in assets under management). [Source: We mean Business website]

In addition to this exponential growth, in June 2017, Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010-2016, has joined The B Team.

Here, it is imperative to reflect. The grotesque Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA /TckTckTck) campaign that sabotaged the most vulnerable nations in 2009 at the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) in Copenhagen, was a creation of the global advertsing firm Havas Worldwide for the United Nations. The objective of the campaignwas to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.” The first two NGOs to sign on to the TckTckTck campaign were 350.org and Avaaz. – two of the founding NGOs of the GCCA (with it’s inception dating back to 2006-2007). With an “overall budget of USD 6.8 million – over 95% of which came from foundation funding – the GCCA was undoubtedly the most well-funded global climate campaign of 2009.” [Source] In 2015, Havas and the United Nations, convening partners of the Earth To Paris Coalition, would again partner with select  NGOs (Avaaz, 350, Ceres, We mean Business, Global Citizen, The World Bank group and The Nature Conservatory to name a few) in order to announce and promote the “Paris agreement”.

“Earth To Paris community — There is reason for celebration. At the COP21 United Nations conference in Paris today, officials from nearly 200 countries reached a new agreement to address the threat of global climate change…The afternoon has been filled with hugs, tears, and standing ovations at Le Bourget…”  — COP21 Coup D’état – A Toast to Our Annihilation, Dec 12, 2015

Life in the champagne circuit: In this photograph taken by AP Images for Avaaz, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, center left, accepts the ‘End the War on Drugs’ petition from Avaaz Executive Director Ricken Patel, center right, accompanied by Richard Branson, right, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, left, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Friday, 3 June 2011

Considering that foundations such as Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie, et. al. strategize for the protection/expansion of hegemonic power years and, more often, decades in advance, in addition to the most recent events of 2007-2009 (the creation of GCCA/TckTckTck), one could reasonably hypothesize that the United Nations, in servitude to Annex One Nations, elites and the world’s most powerful corporations, is paramount in the creation of and the fostering of the very NGOs and the liberal left’s beloved “environmental leaders” (whores for imperialism). As this series will demonstrate, those that dominate the NPIC are very deeply embedded in, and very heavily nurtured by, the United Nations. The carefully chosen and groomed sycophants that reside at the helm of the NPIC spoon-feed the citizenry (identified merely as consumers or human capital) exactly what the architects of destruction have longingly prepared for: the perpetual servitude and enslavement of the populace, global in scale. Yet, the necessary acquiescence for such servitude is not given by all. Certainly not the downtrodden, the working class or those that comprise the bottom of the food chain in the global capitalist economic system. The NPIC targets a specific demographic – a privileged, predominantly white, upper/middle-class populace, whose appetite for knowledge has been replaced with an appetite for celebrity fetish and irrelevant prattle.

Further in this series we will explore at length the rebranding of the GCCA/tcktck website which has been redesigned  in the image of Purpose. The new strategy for the “Purpose-esque” re-branding of GCCA is undoubtedly in no small part due to who now serves as  the vice-chair of the GCCA Board of Directors:  Phil Ireland of Purpose Europe, “where he helps shape and implement new progressive movements to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.” [bio]

Ireland serves on the board of GetUp. MoveOn, the US version of the Australian GetUp! is a founding NGO of Avaaz.

The “B Team Experts” include the aforementioned John Elkington, Heather Grady, Senior Fellow, Global Philanthropy for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; Alexander Grashow, Clinton Global Initiative, Jeremy Heimans, co-founder of both Avaaz and Purpose, Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres (350 divestment partner), Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capitalism Solutions, David Jones, co-founder of One Young World, former CEO of Havas Worldwide and creator of the TckTckTck campaign.

On February 23, 2017 The B Team announced its further expansion (and theft) into Africa:

“The launch of The B Team in Eastern Africa kicks-off a broader global campaign, in which The B Team will organise regional platforms around the world to increase the number of company leaders who are willing and able to ‘step up” and lead this transition.

 

The announcement comes on the heels of the release of a new report, produced by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, which provides substantial evidence of the massive global economic opportunities that can be unlocked by new business models focused on addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

The commission reports that achieving the SDGs will be worth at least US$1.1 trillion by 2030 for the private sector in Africa, potentially creating more than 85 million new jobs, with affordable housing accounting for more than 13 million of these jobs…

 

Business – which has contributed to many of these ills – is also an indispensable actor in resolving them.

 

The potential prize for business to align their business goals with the SDGs is significant. The Business Commission identified 60 sustainable and inclusive market “hotspots” in just four key areas (energy; cities; food and agriculture; health and wellbeing) that could create at least US$12 trillion in business value by 2030 – equivalent to 10 percent of forecast GDP – and generate up to 380 million jobs, mostly in developing countries like ours.”

#BeyondDavis

In the following two paragraphs, the two hyperlinks (purpose.us2.list-manage.com…) make clear that both The B Team and #BeyondDavos (“Copyright © 2015 Purpose, All rights reserved”) are campaigns driven/managed by Purpose:

The B Team unveils ‘Plan B’
The B Team unveiled its highly anticipated ‘Plan B‘ for business – a roadmap for creating companies that benefit people and planet – and invites business leaders ready to take on the challenge to join The B Team.

#BeyondDavos Kicks Off
Over 200 thought leaders from a variety of industries and causes united to kick-off the #BeyondDavos coalition to ensure that critical social, economic and environmental opportunities continue to be discussed after the meeting with concerned leaders around the world.

From the same LinkedIn page [Day 3 (Wednesday) #BeyondDavos Daily, January 22, 2015]:

“Purpose CEO, Jeremy Heimans, says, ‘This is a fresh opportunity to continue sharing and learning about each other’s important social campaigns and how they each are already contributing to the new Sustainable Development Goal conversation.'” [Emphasis added]

Here it is important to note Jeremy Heimans (co-founder of both Avaaz and Purpose) concerted effort to not only promote the sustainable development goals (the financialization/privatization of nature), but to also create/lend legitimacy to the Purpose creations, The Syria Campaign and the White Helmets, a UK/USAID financed NGO that works alongside terrorist groups Al Nusra and ISIS:

“Nobody exemplifies the courage needed to protect fundamental human rights better than Syria’s White Helmets. Today, the #BeyondDavos coalition will host them along with other Syrian activists in a discussion about their critical humanitarian efforts in one of the world’s most deadly conflict zones.” — #BeyondDavos hosts Syria’s courageous White Helmets

 

“The discussion brought together leading voices from the international NGO community, including Dr. Ken Roth from Human Rights Watch; Dr. Annie Sparrow; the Syrian Civil Defence (the “White Helmets”), volunteer rescue workers who have saved more than 12,500 lives from under the rubble of barrel bomb attacks; and experts in the field of public mobilization including Tim Dixon from The Syria Campaign. ” — Purpose website

[Further reading: SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for Empire, September 17, 2014]

Above: Excerpt from the book Digital Citizenship and Political Engagement. The Challenge from Online Campaigning and Advocacy Organisations. Chapter six, Entrepreneurial Leadership Styles

Above: Purpose requires storytellers. The art of “storytelling” will be discussed at length further in this report.

From the Purpose website, February 2, 2015: Purpose and Here Now featured in The Guardian:

“In addition to being a participating partner of the #BeyondDavos coalition, a group of leading organizations committed to social impact, including The B Team, Global Citizen, Here Now, Omidyar Network, Purpose, and We Mean Business, Purpose’s senior leadership also added to The Guardian‘s international coverage of the Annual Meeting. Jeremy Heimans, CEO of Purpose, and Paul Hilder, Executive Director of Here Now, were recently featured in a Guardian piece where they discussed the importance of corporate sector commitment towards combating climate change. In Davos, two things were apparent to Jeremy and Paul; 1) The surprising amount of corporations publicly announcing their efforts to curb climate change; 2) How little, if any, participatory involvement they sought from their consumers. In the article, which you can read here, the two advocate for corporations to actively engage their consumer base in this fight, with the hope of simultaneously strengthening their clean-energy message and boosting their respective brands.”

Here it is critical to note that Here Now is a creation of Purpose. Paul Hilder, a co-founder of Avaaz and SumOfUs EU advisory board member, serves as executive director of Here Now. [Hilder background]

Nigel Topping is the CEO of We Mean Business. Topping is Executive Director of CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project), “a global NGO which has brought together 655 of the world’s investors, representing assets under management of over $78 trillion, to engage with over 6000 of the largest public corporations on the business implications of climate change.” [Source]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks as philanthropist Bill Gates looks on during the Global Citizen Concert in Montreal, Quebec, September 17, 2016. / AFP / Geoff Robins

The following address for the #BeyondDavis Coalition on the aforementioned LinkedIn page, has important significance:

Our mailing address is:

Purpose

115 5th Ave

6th Floor

New York, NY 10003

[From the Bloomberg website: “Purpose Global, LLC was incorporated in 2011 and is based in New York, New York. 115 Fifth Avenue. 6th Floor. New York, NY 10003.”]

In May of 2015 the Ford Foundation awarded a 700,000 grant [2] to “The B Team Headquarters Inc.” . The location listed for The B Team Headquarters Inc. is: 115 5th Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10003, United States. This is the address belonging to Purpose.

The #BeyondDavis campaign is included in The B Team Progress Report June 2013 – June 2016, (p. 7, “Our Journey”).

On a separate note, the grant is for work toward appointing corporations as the driving force in society [“General support to build partnerships in fostering leaders to help redefine the role of business in society as a driving force for social, human rights, environmental and economic advancements. Geographic Area Served: Asia/East Asia/China; Middle East; North America”] [Source]

In 2016 The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation awarded 900,000 grant to The B Team for “[F]or A Project To Promote Norms On Open Contracting, Reduce Tax Loopholes, And Track Sustainable Development Goals Progress.”

From the website:

“This grant supports two streams of their work: first, galvanizing the private sector in support of country-level implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; and second, fostering transparent and responsive governance by promoting global norms and standards on open contracting, open governance, and fair international tax practices.”

To be clear, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is the very mechanism to implement the financialization of nature, global in scale.  [Source]

In the “About the Grantee” section:

Grantee Website

bteam.org/

Address

115 5th Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10003

Again, this information identifies The B Team as the address of Purpose.

The Rockefeller Foundation also identifies The B Team Headquarters as the address of Purpose:  115 5th Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10003

https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/grants/b-team-headquarters/

The Rockefeller Foundation address as identified for Purpose to which it granted 1,660,000 in 2016:

The New York State Corporation Search website also identifies The B Team Headquarters as the address of Purpose:

*Further reading on The B Team: McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street [Part XVI of an Investigative Report] [A Revolution of Capitalism]

The April 26, 2017 article #BornB: A Conversation about Leading Businesses with Purpose reported that The B Teams BornB event was to take place at The B Team headquarters (@thebteamhq):

“We’re heading to #London today for @thebteamhq‘s #BornB event! Stay tuned for live updates!”

The B Team event was streamed live on March 30, 2017 at the offices of Unilever: “More than 100 entrepreneurs from the UK and Europe joined us at the Unilever offices for the conversation and thousands more tuned in online via Facebook Live…”

One might question if The B Team has any real life headquarters, anywhere in the real world, at all. The event highly publized to take place at “The B Team headquarters” took place at the offices of Unilever. Yet, this is hardly a surprise if we take into account that The B Team uses the PR firm Purpose (sister org. of Avaaz) for all grant money and legal correspondence. One can safely speculate that The B Team is fully operated by the public relations firm Purpose, after all, this is just one function of Purpose as a public relations firm. This speculation can be given further assurance by the repetitive language of the word “purpose” that absolutely saturates most all B Team materials. Consider that within the aforementioned article the “buzz word” (according to the B Team) “purpose” appears 33 times in a single post.

“Join The B Team for a Conversation About Purpose-Driven Leadership

 

“#BornB: A Conversation about Leading Businesses with Purpose

 

“We are pleased to present, in partnership with Unilever, a conversation that gets to the heart of what it means to be a purpose-driven business leader. ” — Ethical Markets Website

 

Great to be with creative entrepreneurs exploring purpose-driven models to mitigate risks & secure long-term growth” — March 30, 2017, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever

Here, three things are certain. 1) The quintessential goal for both corporations, being assisted by NGOs that comprise the NPIC is to secure long-term growth, 2) that The B Team headquarters in London is actually Unilever (whose CEO Paul Polman is a “B Team leader”), 3) that The B Team headquarters in New York is identified as Purpose. Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Heimans is publicly identified as a B Team expert. Unilever is a key client of Purpose. Here we can use the catch phrase “all for one, one for all” [“Each individual should act for the benefit of the group, and the group should act for the benefit of each individual.”] [Source]

“Under the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever is meeting its ambition of decoupling environmental footprint while increasing its positive social impact. Its sustainable living brands are growing 30% faster than the rest of the business and delivered nearly half its total growth in 2015.” — Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, The B Team Progress Report June 2013 – June 2016, p. 11 [Source]

The Rules – is Purpose

In the October 8, 2015 article, Global Goals – The Party’s Over, The Rules, an NGO with a radical veneer that was founded by Purpose, gives the false impression that they oppose the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):

“Now we want to go straight to the top of the UN with an open letter telling them that their plans [SDG] do not represent the best interests of the world’s majority. Join Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges and others in signing an open letter to the UN and global decision makers below.”

Yet, as disclosed in the aforementioned grant information, The B Team (which is Purpose) received at minimum one grant (700,000) specifically to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Rules also identifies its address as the same one belonging to its founder, Purpose:

 

115 5th Avenue, NY, NY, 10003, USA

Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Jeremy Heimans and Alnoor Ladha, Executive Director of The Rules, founding partner and the Head of Strategy at Purpose | Image courtesy of The Advertising Age

“Successful social initiatives that create real social impact will need a combination of 20th century top-down persuasion—brands that tell the world their point of view through marketing and communications—with the tools of 21st century engagement: movements that provide the tools for advocacy, social involvement, distributed evangelism and self-organization. We hope these rules are a starting point for a greater dialogue about the role of brands in ushering in a new era of social change.” — Advertising Age, The New Rules for Purpose-Driven Brands, How Marketers Can Survive the Cause-Marketing Bubble, Jeremy Heimans, October 14, 2010

Alnoor Ladha is a founding member and the Executive Director of The Rules (/TR). His work focuses onthe intersection of political organizing, systems thinking, storytelling, technology and the decentralization of power.” Prior to co-founding and directing The Rules, Ladha is a founding partner and the Head of Strategy at Purpose. Ladha serves on the board of Greenpeace USA board where its Executive Director, Annie Leonard, has co-founded Earth Economics – yet another NGO to assist and exploit the global financialization of nature (payment for ecosystem services) now well underway behind closed doors:

“Earth Economics, with the support of our Community Partners and Advisors, maintains the largest, spatially explicit, web-based repository of published and unpublished economic values for ecosystem services. With generous funding from our sponsors, in 2012 Earth Economics began porting our internal database to a web-based service. The Ecosystem Service Valuation Toolkit (EVT) portal was launched at Rio +20 in June 2012. The Researcher’s Library and SERVES were previewed at the ACES Conference in December 2012.”

The elites financing The Rules is par for the course:

“We receive financial support from a variety of sources including through crowdsourcing, the Novo Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, the New Venture Fund, the Joffe Charitable Trust (UK), and the Wallace Global Fund. We do not accept money from governments or corporations.” [Source]

Novo Foundation is Warren Buffett, Open Society is George Soros, Joffe Charitable Trust is Oxfam and Order of the British Empire, Wallace Global fund is a product of the Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company. To state ” we do not accept money from governments or corporations” is meaningless.  Very few so-called environmental NGOs receive money directly from corporations . This is what foundations were created for.

If you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled. And this they will do, partly by drugs, partly by these new techniques of propaganda. They will do it by passing the sort of rational side of man, and appealing to his subconscious, and his deeper emotions, making him actually love his slavery. I mean I think this is the danger that actually  people may be in some ways, happy, under the new regime. But they will be happy in situations where they oughtn’t to be happy.”  — Aldous Huxley interview by Mike Wallace, May 18, 1958

 

End Notes:

[1] ” As co-founder and executive director of 350.org, May Boeve … When 350.org started in 2008 we were focused on the [2009] UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen.” [Source]

[2] Grant Period: 10/01/14 – 09/30/16, Duration: 24 months

 

Propaganda: How Neocolonial Progressives Support Western Imperialism

Libya 360 | Tortilla con Sal

January 7, 2017

20 July 1979: Nicaraguan leftist Sandinista rebels exult in Managua after entering the city and overthrowing Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza. General Somoza whose family ruled Nicaragua since 1933, finally surrendered 20 June to the Sandinista rebels. Somoza left a country devastated by civil war, with thousands of people killed in June and July 1979 and half a million, one-fifth of the country’s population, displaced from their homes. Somoza was assassinated in exile in Asuncion, Paraguay in 1980 by a left-wing Argentinian Trotskyst rebel group. Picture: AFP/Getty

 

Across the region, the legitimate struggles of indigenous peoples are being coopted by Western NGOs and media to serve the psychological warfare offensive of the US government and its allies against progressive governments in Latin America.

 

Almost all Western reporting of foreign news constitutes a permanent drip-feed of poisonous disinformation accumulating into a deep, broad, toxic propaganda wave drowning out rational critical analysis. That process has been very clear in reporting of international affairs from Libya to Ukraine, to Venezuela and Syria – anywhere the interests of Western elites encounter resistance. The collaboration of alternative media in that process has been evident in Libya, Syria and Ukraine and is certainly very evident in the case of Nicaragua.

Here, the constant underlying false message is that President Ortega is a dictatorial leader crushing dissent in Nicaragua to impose an anti-democratic regime run by his family. This false message creates a context justifying arbitrary measures by the US authorities and their allies, like the recent NICA legislation, attacking Nicaragua’s economy and intervening heavily in the country’s internal affairs in favor of Nicaragua’s right wing opposition. To flesh out that keynote psychological warfare message, Western media attacks focus on whatever current events they can manipulate to align with the overall falsehood.

All through 2016, the attacks consisted mainly of distorted or downright false reports covering the 2016 national elections. But two other associated media offensive fronts have been established, namely, developments relating to the proposed Interoceanic Canal and also continuing land conflicts in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast. A good example of the complete collapse of conventional reporting standards in Western progressive media is this headline news summary from Democracy Now of a recent protest demonstration against Nicaragua’s Interoceanic Canal:

“In Nicaragua, activists say federal police attacked a campesino caravan heading to the capital Managua Wednesday, opening fire with both live and rubber bullets and throwing tear gas. The caravan was heading to the capital to protest the construction of a $50 billion canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Campesinos say the project could displace up to 120,000 people.”

Democracy Now’s editors ran this classic psychological warfare propaganda beneath a photograph supposedly of a rural worker wounded in an allegedly peaceful protest. Democracy Now omits that six police officers were reported to be wounded after being attacked by violent protesters. The summary report also omits that the “activists” are militant anti-Sandinistas of the misnamed MRS Sandinista Renewal Movement, funded by the US and allied governments and associated NGOs. Likewise, the suggestion that 120,000 people may be displaced by the proposed Canal is completely false, the real figure is under 10,000 people, all of whom are entitled to complete indemnification.

A flurry of reports in corporate and alternative media alleged that the government of Daniel Ortega tried to repress national protests against the Canal timed to coincide with a visit to Nicaragua’s capital Managua by Luis Almagro, right wing Secretary General of the Organization of American States. In fact, it seems that only the incident in Rio San Juan involved violent exchanges between protesters and the police. The national demonstration itself passed off peacefully, with a modest total of several thousand people demonstrating in Managua’s center against the proposed Canal.

The incident in Nicaragua’s south-western Rio San Juan department provoked angry condemnation from the local bishop Socrates René Sándigo, certainly no friend of the Sandinista government. Bishop Sándigo remarked, “The MRS has always been out there manipulating our rural families and non governmental organizations who involve our rural workers in demands that may well be legitimate but they take these rural workers and put them at the head of their attacks...” Given that context, Democracy Now’s headline summary can be seen as all of a piece with its similarly false reporting, for example, of the conflict in Syria, favoring anti-Russian US government propaganda.

Much less prestigious than Democracy Now, the Intercontinental Cry web site purports to represent the views and interests of indigenous peoples around the world. But in the case of Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast its reports are written in the worst neocolonial tradition by North American academics and writers with a very clear anti-Sandinista agenda . One of these writers is the PhD anthropologist Courtney Parker whose widely published inaccurate report in July 2016 carefully omitted relevant information inconvenient to her account. International Cry later supplemented Parker’s July report with a disingenous, misleading attack on us at Tortilla con Sal, evading our criticism that they recycle propaganda of the local Yatama political party, effectively covering up Yatama’s own role in the violent events Parker and others fail to report fairly and honestly.

To make their phony case against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, Intercontinental Cry’s reports consistently omit two essential facts. Firstly, Nicaragua’s Sandinista government under Daniel Ortega is the first administration since the revolutionary Sandinista government of the 1980s to guarantee indigenous people’s land rights. As a result, indigenous peoples in Nicaragua now have statutory land rights to a third of Nicaragua’s national territory. So it is completely counterfactual and deceitful of Intercontinental Cry to publish reports implicitly claiming that the Sandinista government deliberately seeks to deprive indigenous peoples of their land. Intercontinental Cry’s reports are based on allegations of Yatama political party supporters whose leadership themselves have faced serious allegations of complicity in the illegal sale of their own peoples’ land.

The second fact obscured by Intercontinental Cry’s reports is that Yatama is not the only representative of the region’s Miskito and other indigenous peoples. In 2013, a large group of the region’s Miskito population rejected the Yatama leadership and now support the Myatamaran political movement allied with the Sandinista government. That omission indicates just how skewed and neocolonial Intercontinental Cry’s reporting on Nicaragua really is by creating an inaccurate, image of a united Miskito people, hapless victims of relentless alien oppression. The history of the Miskito people itself shows up that kind of account as a ridiculous neocolonial construct. Reports in Intercontinental Cry seem to deliberately omit the fact that extremist Miskito groups have attacked and murdered rural workers’ families in the area in conflict.

Historically, some components of the Miskito people allied with British colonial forces and were themselves cruel oppressors preying on weaker ethnic groups to sell them as slaves to British plantation owners in Jamaica and other British Caribbean colonies. Furthermore, Miskito groups in Jinotega along the Rio Wangki, have a somewhat different history to that of Miskito groups along Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast. So even in historical terms it is false to suggest that the Miskito indigenous people share a uniformly homogenous history and cultural identity. None of that is reflected in the neocolonial accounts rendered by the writers for Intercontinental Cry.

To the contrary, despite the complicated political reality in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast, Courtney Parker’s July report and Brett Spencer’s November 11th report both falsely suggest that Yatama is the only organization representative of Miskitos in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast and the only opposition movement to the Frente Sandinista Front for National Liberation. In fact, the right wing Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC) has always had significant support in the interior of the northern Caribbean region area and won a seat in the legislative elections along with Yatama’s caudillo Brooklyn Rivera. The third seat was won by the FSLN.

Both Courtney Parker and Brett Spencer write essentially as propaganda shills for Yatama, portraying Yatama’s violent supporters as victims. Spencer manages that difficult task even in his report on how Yatama destroyed and looted the offices of the regional authority in Bilwi and violently intimidated local people and businesses. Spencer in particular implicitly tries to justify those attacks by alleging that Yatama caudillo Brooklyn Rivera “was ousted from office in September of 2015, following a rise in violence over an endemic land conflict between the Miskito and Sandinista settlers known to the Miskito as colonos.”

Spencer neglects to mention that Rivera was stripped of his status as a legislator following very serious allegations that he and his Yatama colleagues were illegally selling Miskito land. Spencer turns that reality on its head by alleging that the rural farming families trying to settle Miskito land sold to them illegally are “Sandinista”. Intercontinental Cry have no factual basis at all for publishing that kind of malicious smear which is pure Yatama propaganda diverting attention away from the questionable dealings of their leadership. For her part Courtney Parker published another pro-Yatama propaganda piece exploiting the terrible murder of three members of a family on their isolated farmstead. Parker suggests on the basis of hearsay that the murder was committed by marauding settlers, arbitrarily excluding the possibility of inter-ethnic violence by Yatama extremists or some other sinister interests.

Despite Intercontinental Cry’s very clearly biased coverage of the complex conflict in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast, their team of writers has still managed to co-opt other alternative media so as to broaden the reach of their attacks on Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. Influential progressive Western alternative outlets like Truth Out and the Ecologist published Parker’s flawed reports which break just about every rule of academic rigor and basic reporting. Intercontinental Cry’s editors have finally explicitly acknowledged their anti-Sandinista agenda, overtly attacking Telesur, and openly avowing their sympathy with US and allied government funded Nicaraguan anti-Sandinista NGOs and media like Confidencial and CENIDH.

Given that clear ideological alignment it was perfectly natural for the neocolonial progressives at the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) to publish yet another propaganda attack on Nicaragua’s Sandinista government this time authored by International Cry writer Brett Spencer and US anthropologist Laura Hobson Herlihy. Their NACLA article repeats every main talking point of the US sponsored centre right Nicaraguan opposition as follows:

 

NACLA, Brett Spencer and Laura Hobson Herlihy offer precisely zero evidence for their claims of electoral fraud apart from the claims of Yatama leader Brooklyn Rivera. The apparently authoritiative link by the foreign funded CENIDH human rights outfit leads to a fact-free opinion piece by veteran anti-Sandinista Carlos Tunnerman Bernheim. NACLA’s article alleges inconsistencies in results published in Nicaragua’s official La Gaceta and the Electoral Council’s web site apparently in ignorance of the Electoral Council’s reporting procedures which consists of presenting first preliminary results, then provisional results and, only when all challenges have been processed, the final results.

Here are the final results from the Electoral Council’s web site which enables visitors to scrutinize results right down to those of the local voting centres. The Yatama party for which Laura Herlihy Hobson and Brett Spencer propagandize is a regional party which only participates in Nicaragua’s departmental elections for the National Assembly. The results completely contradict Yatama’s claims of electoral fraud. In the three municipalities where indigenous people predominate, Yatama prevailed easily against a strong minority vote in favor of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation.

But only in Prinzapolka did Yatama get a really overwhelming vote of over 60%. In the region’s interior so-called mining municipalities, Siuna, Rosita and Bonanza, Yatama was wiped out. The main opposition there came from Nicaragua’s national right wing parties led by Maximino Rodriguez’s Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC) which maintained its traditional support, including winning overall in the municipality of Mulukuku. Here are the departmental legislative election results for Nicaragua’s North Caribbean region in which Yatama participated:

Bilwi Waspan Prinzapolka Rosita Siuna Bonanza Mulukuku Average

Yatama

51 57 63 6 0.6 4 1.4 30.26

FSLN

42 38 27 72 68 85 43 55.33

PLC

2.9 2 1 17 29 7 51 9.81

 

In the other elections where the Yatama party was not involved, the Yatama vote went mainly to the traditional right wing parties, especially the PLC, which may or may not indicate Yatama’s broader ideological position:

Presidential elections: FSLN 73%; PLC 19%; Other right wing parties 8%.

National legislative elections: FSLN 65.86%; PLC 15.3%; Other right wing parties 18.89%.

Central American Parliament elections: FSLN 74.3%; PLC 18.86%; Other right wing parties 6.84%.

Yatama claim to have an important presence in the Nicaragua’s Southern Caribbean region but in the municipalities Yatama contested there, they were wiped out by support for the right wing PLC as the departmental legislative election results for the region where Yatama participated clearly indicate:

La Cruz
Grande
Laguna de Perlas Bocana de Paiwas El Tortuguero Bluefields Kukra Hill Average

PLC

65 25.06 62.93 81.77 16.56 20.81 45.35

FSLN

30 52.85 32.61 16.75 59.9 73.54 44.27

YATAMA

0.65 18.89 0.2 0.19 15.46 3.05 6.4

 

That was the reality of the elections beyond NACLA’s vague, hazy propaganda message and the predictable complaints of Nicaragua’s inept, dishonest political opposition parties, duly parroted by Western media.

A look at NACLA’s other anti-Sandinista allegations reveals how disingenuous is the case they are trying to make. The allegation that the National Assembly abolished term limits in 2014 is categorically false. The link in the NACLA article leads to an ill-informed, factually incorrect report from the pro-US government Qatari news outlet Al-Jazeera which writes “The latest reform would allow President Daniel Ortega to follow in the footsteps of his ideological ally, late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and a string of other Latin American nations to give presidents power extending beyond their traditional limits.”

In fact, the term limits for almost all Nicaragua’s institutions, the Presidency, the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Electoral Council and the Auditor General’s office all remain unchanged at five years. Rather than checking their facts, NACLA and Al Jazeera have lazily recycled the false accusations of Nicaragua’s miniscule centre right social democrat movements who have proved incapable of developing a credible political opposition to Nicaragua’s Sandinista government under Daniel Ortega. By linking to this inaccurate Al Jazeera report, NACLA, Laura Herlihy Hobson and Brett Spencer show up the categorical falsity of their argument.

Equally false is their accusation that no foreign observers took part in Nicaragua’s electoral process. In fact, a group of extremely prestigious foreign electoral specialists accompanied the whole process starting in May 2016. Their reportthoroughly vindicated the professionalism and impartiality of Nicaragua’s electoral authorities throughout the electoral process as well as the efficiency and transparency of the elections on November 6th. The neocolonial demand by Western progressives for foreign electoral observers is one not raised in the case of the United States or other Latin American governments like  Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay whose example Nicaragua has now followed by excluding a role for interventionist electoral observation missions.

Similarly, the accusation that Daniel Ortega effectively ran unopposed is belied by the NACLA report itself and the election results too. Nationally the total opposition vote would have been well over 30% if the right wing parties had overcome their petty internecine divisions, thus enabling a much more effective opposition in the legislature. As has been the case for years now, the weakness of political opposition to the FSLN government in Nicaragua resides in the right wing’s own divisions and their inability to mount a credible political program capable of matching the success of President Ortega’s Sandinista government’s National Development Plan.

Turning to the falsehood that President Ortega’s family occupy high governmental positions, the reality is again completely different from NACLA’s mendacious assertion. Four children from Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo’s family work in posts associated one way or another with the government. None of them occupy ministerial positions. Rafael Ortega works as a personal assistant to Daniel Ortega. Daniel Edmundo Ortega heads the Sandinista media outlet El 19 Digital. Camila Ortega is a personal assistant to her mother Rosario Murillo. Laureano Ortega is an executive of Nicaragua’s investment promotion authority ProNicaragua. None of them has an executive position at the head of any central government Ministry. NACLA’s accusation is completely false.

Laura Herlihy-Hobson and Brett Spencer follow up the falsity of their broad accusations against President Ortega’s Sandinista government by repeating the claims made by Courtney Parker and Spencer in Intercontinental Cry’s series of articles through 2016. They even allege that “settlers have invaded and now illegally occupy half of the Muskitia rainforest region”. The link there is to a New York Times article that offers nothing to support the claim in Herlihy Hobson’s and Spencer’s NACLA article.

To the contrary, the New York Times article shows the Nicaraguan government is trying to combat the violent land conflicts in the northern Caribbean Coast but with limited success. Nor does NACLA offer any other support for their article’s false allegation. More clearly than in the Intercontinental Cry series of psy-warfare articles, Laura Herlihy Hobson and Brett Spencer cursorily acknowledge the controversial role of Yatama leader Brooklyn Rivera. But they play down the political opportunism that has marked Rivera’s career ever since his days as a collaborator with the US government funded Contra terrorist campaign in the 1980s.

An interesting point from the NACLA article which will certainly figure in similar future psy-warfare attacks is the effort to link the land conflicts in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast with opposition to the proposed Interoceanic Canal, even though the Canal lies many hundreds of kilometres to the south of Yatama’s strongholds. The NACLA article and its writers studiously avoid noting that the Nicaraguan authorities have already reached agreement with indigenous people’s organizations in the areas likely to be affected by the route of the Canal. But the efforts to connect Yatama to the Canal protests tie in with Democracy Now’s dishonest coverage of the most recent Canal protest, representing a coordinated alternative media agenda similar to that of Western corporate media. That agenda is very clearly one of neocolonial divide and rule, fomenting violence in any countries with a progressive government, not just Nicaragua but in the other Bolivarian Alliance countries like Bolivia, Ecuador and, most notoriously perhaps, Venezuela.

NACLA’s and Intercontinental Cry’s blatant propaganda in defense of Yatama’s repeated aggressive violence promotes Yatama’s sectarian political agenda in a self-serving, sensationalist way evidently calculated to maximize the potential for conflict. This is very much in line with the experience of the Ecuadoran government, faced with vicious attacks from the CONAIE indigenous people’s organization or the experience of the Bolivian government faced with murderous attacks by indigenous mining cooperative organizations.

Across the region, the legitimate struggles of indigenous peoples are being coopted by Western NGOs and media to serve the psychological warfare offensive of the US government and its allies against progressive governments in Latin America. That is why it is entirely correct to characterize as neocolonial the psychological warfare role of supposedly progressive alternative media that recycle propaganda material like that of Intercontinental Cry.

The Green Economy as a Continuation of War by Other Means

CNS Web

February 2, 2016

by Alexander Dunlap

 

NO MEANS NO TO GREEN IMPERIALISM

 

The following essay has been modified from a speech given at the 10th Conference of Critical Justice in Latin America (X Conferencia Latinoamericana de Crítica Jurídica) on April 23, 2015 on a panel titled: “Rights, Dependency and Capitalist Accumulation in Latin America” (Mesa Derecho, dependencia y acumulación capitalista en América Latina). This speech was based on the paper, “The Militarisation and Marketisation of Nature: An Alternative Lens to ‘Climate-Conflict,’” (Geopolitics, 2014) while also building from it, discussing some examples from wind turbine development in the coastal area of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region in Oaxaca Mexico, known as the Istmo.

When we speak about “anthropogenic climate change,” we speak about climate change that is intimately linked to our modern or industrial lifestyles, ones that feel like a routine of jumping through and between boxes: The box shape of the house to the rolling rectangle of the bus, which leads us to work, back to the car, then to the bar, back home, to the computer before bed, and finally, to the rest that anticipates repeating this routine all over again, with hopes of something different for the weekend. In its most simple and basic form, this is the process of anthropogenic climate change. It reeks of the depressing problem of everyday social control and daily confinement within this box system.

What these lifestyles are dependent on are a series of systemic processes: those of industrial waste that result from mining, oil extraction, electricity generation, cars, concrete, asphalt, electronics, and the list goes on. And climate change is really just the result of needing to make this list of resource extraction and technologies grow for the last two hundred years, while intertwining this need with our daily lives.

So when we understand climate change as an issue that is bigger than us, it prevents reflection, inhibits agency, and sends the message that only governments, corporations and NGOs can stop this phenomenon. Yet these institutions’ mitigation and security practices only serve to reinforce global environmental degradation, for the mainstream framework of climate change, while acknowledging a cumulative problem, also projects submission to authority and governing structures that have created new “dystopian markets” with ideas of geo-engineering (see Simon Dalby’s “Geoengineering: The Next Era of Geopolitics?” Geography Compass, 2015).

As I hope to show in the lines that follow, we must acknowledge that climate change has been wielded as a neoliberal weapon to create the idea of the “green economy” in the hopes of maintaining the state and growing economies. These are processes that continue land conflict and pacification through climate change mitigation initiatives and an environmental ethic with various notions of sustainability.

“Green grabbing”

Mainstream notions that seek to address climate change are deeply intertwined with ideas of sustainable development that emerged in the 1970s with the Club of Rome and the 1987 United Nations’ (UN) report Our Common Future, where it was recognized that industrial development had to soften and change its course otherwise it would destroy itself and many of the people dependent on it.

The 1992 Rio+20 Earth Summit recognized climate change and biodiversity loss as critical issues, which would lead to the creation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It would then give way to the 1997 Kyoto protocol that decided market mechanisms would be the principle way forward to mitigate the problem of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Now enters the notion of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) that has sought to integrate market processes into the natural environment to dissect and quantify it, so that corporations and philanthropists can pay to keep forests standing and “natural resources” intact.

For businessmen and stupid environmentalists alike, these proposals have been called a “win-win” solution. These areas have been cordoned off on the false and historically genocidal premise of “pristine” or “wild nature,” which claims that humans but specifically indigenous peoples cannot live in forests if they are to be “saved”, conserved, and maintained as “pristine.” As I hope many know, this is contrary to the historical record as many indigenous people made the pristine forests of the Amazon and the world (see my previous work with James Fairhead: “The Militarisation and Marketisation of Nature,” Geopolitics, 2014.)

These are the same areas that are now the new frontiers of capital investment; these new measures and market mechanisms have now made new markets out of trees, plants, and animal life with notions of “carbon sequestration” and “biodiversity.” These novel and strange terms are used to measure and quantify the natural environment and support the commodification and transformation of larger and “exotic” wildlife into a spectacle for office workers and the wealthy with the rise of ecotourism.

Most recently we have the “green market” as the latest pretext to take over land, displace native groups, and create new sustainable development initiatives while powering the cities and factories with renewable energy, often in the name of slowing anthropogenic climate change. Journalist John Vidal has dubbed this capture of land through sustainable development using an environmental rational as “green grabbing,” gesturing to a shared logic of “land grabbing” Marx once termed to describe the systematic theft of communal property from the 15th to 19th centuries.

It is no surprise that these friendly and environmentally conscious ideas have continued the trajectory of the industrial economy, for there was never once a reflection about slowing this industrial cancer that has become so common.

The green economy as counterinsurgency

We should also remember that the history of state craft, development, and the market has been firmly rooted in waging a war for the submission and acquiescence of people and the natural environment into its organizational structure and growth. Nancy Peluso and Peter Vandergeest have shown how geographical landscapes and towns are built on campaigns of widespread terror against both people and the natural environment, whether in colonial, post-colonial or democratic countries (“Political Ecologies of War and Forests: Counterinsurgencies and the Making of National Natures,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 2011).

Terrorizing unruly people into submission has always been a perquisite for all states to establish a territory and gain a grasp on, and make legible the people, forest, minerals and animals of “the nation”—after all, the kings, empires and states claimed it as their own and because we were their “subjects” this was never a problem, right? This means that if people are not revolting, they are submitting to a claim brought upon them, and this claim was always met with resistance.

The people and the forest worked together to wage every type of insurgency against the colonial, post-colonial and democratic regimes in different times and places in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In general, one can see a pattern that required all states to terrorize and traumatize people through campaigns of counterinsurgency warfare, resettlement campaigns into suburban style villages, cities, and factories with an overall goal to corral and integrate people into “modern” work, national culture and the demands of the economy. Indeed, all states have been at war to subjugate and colonize the people of their “territory” to the imperatives of its organization, which demarcated “Jungles” wild, from “forests” controlled, and forests from agriculture, regimenting every aspect of life and environment to the principle of separations inherent in scientific method. It is under this history of war that the economy and now the green economy stands.

Placing the green economy within the framework of counterinsurgency, the leading theory of state sanctioned pacification, is insightful in this regard. For example, David Kilcullen, Lieutenant Colonel in the Australian Army and a leading counterinsurgency strategist, defines counterinsurgency as “a competition with the insurgent for the right and ability to win the hearts, minds and acquiescence of the population” (“Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-Level Counterinsurgency,” 2006 [PDF]). Here, the term “hearts” is described as “persuading people their best interests are served by your success,” and the term “minds,” as “convincing them that you can protect them, and that resisting you is pointless.” The green economy is thus an advancement in capturing people to rally for the survival of the economy and business imperatives of the state and its corporate partners—and this in both the city and countryside.

Inclusionary control as pre-emptive pacification

By now, most people have formed their identities and habits around this industrial system, and are attracted to ideas about carbon and biodiversity offsetting, participatory conservation, and renewable energy that provide us with illusions that life and the economy can co-exist. But in many ways this is not true.

Taking the Barra de Santa Teresa near where I live as an example, Mareña Renovables/Eólica del Sur wants to build upwards of hundred industrial wind turbines (aerogeneradore), on a scared and rare ecological zone that took 10,000 years to form, but guess what? The Barra is made of sand and vegetation, which means they will have to pour around a kilometer or possibly more of concrete for their foundations—individually for around one-hundred industrial wind turbines. This is an insane amount of concrete that will no doubt destroy the water table, and create an excess of sand, which as I was told by coastal ecologist, Patricia Mora, “will be total ecological devastation.”

The green economy is advancing techniques of “inclusionary control,” which is a way to include more humans and non-human lives into state and market structures. However, the mid-to-long-term interest of people is to not take the money or questionable promises of jobs, but to get rid of these structures and rehabilitate the land with healthy soil, fruit trees, and animals so they can secure food, shelter, and work to build healthy environments.

Inclusionary control is counterinsurgency and the art of preemptive pacification, which is the art of including people to exclude and neglect their structural grievances—no/crap jobs, no/crap education, drinking toxic waste, police violence, and the standardization of life (the box system) and so on— that is inherent in states, economies and capitalism of every brand. It is why the importance of transforming one’s task into improving the environment is multiplied tenfold if people also value their cultures, land, and lifestyles not being entirely dependent on the economy.

Free, Prior and Informed Consent as Inclusionary Control

An interesting mechanism that is being deployed in the Istmo right now, in the struggle over the invasion of thousands of wind turbines, is the UN’s Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) procedure, which is mandatory for signatory nations to conduct when constructing development projects on indigenous lands and communities. This mechanism, a success after years of struggle for indigenous recognition, could be important for stalling and fighting megaprojects.

Nevertheless, if people are not conscious, if they are divided and fighting each other—the goal of all governments, corporations and drug dealers alike—then this mechanism can be used by corporate-state alliances to pacify people with the feeling that they are being heard, included, and consulted. It will then reaffirm the strong mythology of democracy that everyone wants to desperately believe in.

But for some reason, whether democracy or dictatorship, people are never really permitted the simple answer: No, we do not want these projects here. No we do not want a form of development that is our submission to factories, migration, and mechanized labor. Rights create constructs of illusion that will always mediate the power of people through states and as I am watching now, FPIC is in a way similar to a ceasefire that allows the deception and fragmentation of people in resistance, while the state, companies and unions can re-strategize and regroup their forces.

Likewise, as I have argued in another paper about UN-REDD+, FPIC is equivalent to an indigenous Miranda Rights (“The Expanding Techniques of Progress: Agricultural Biotechnology and UN-REDD+,”Crossmark, 2014). Miranda rights in the United States are your rights once you have been arrested—“you have the right to remain silent, seek legal counsel,” and so on. In the case with the FPIC in the Istmo, it tells people that you have the right to be consulted by experts, to voice your grievances, and fight for jobs, but while we talk 18 parks are being constructed, with more planned on top of Ejidos and communal land [Silvia Chavela Rivas, “Eólicas: ocaso o resplandor?” 2015 [PDF, Spanish]).

In short, people are being arrested to the imperatives of economic growth and industrial expansion that will destroy life, make alternatives more difficult and create the collective fate of shuffling papers, pimping plastic and flipping burgers—a fate that is already a reality for many, many who often do not care about wind turbines and whose desires and projectuality tend to mimic what is televised in soap operas and music videos.

FPIC is a way to implicate people and hang them with their own participation and rights, when really people have their best interest in rejecting all mediation by state and corporate structures and coming together to create alternative projects, perspectives and even ‘jobs’—since this is a selling point for wind turbines in the region—to improve their lives, but in the end, the hierarches supported by the state and the powers that they bear will not let them without a brutal fight.

War is complex and the green economy is advancing land acquisition and displacement, claiming to fight environmental degradation, while simultaneously advancing it. It is nothing short than crazy, and it is a type of psychosis built in the fantasies of the American or development dream that either are not true for many, hollow for those who achieve it, or maybe it is the answer to everything. Either way, regardless of the different trajectories everyone will still be working to propel the modern industrial system. Probably in an office or some type of building, losing your vision and breath to a computer, trapped in a toxic environments, when really humans should probably be working for healthy, happier and freer lives and we must acknowledge that freedom is disingenuous when it is capturing and killing the people around you, both human and non-human alike.

 

[Alexander Dunlap is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His current research focuses on the social impact of wind energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico. He can be contacted at a.d.dunlap@vu.nl]