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Global False Witness – Targeting Nicaragua

Tortilla con Sal

August 2, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

Global Witness sources on Nicaragua

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

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

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

Methodology”

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

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

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

HURIDOCS exposition of their approach includes the following definitions:

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

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

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

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

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

Other theoretical considerations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A broader range of sources

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

 

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

Incoherent claims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inaccuracies and falsehoods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garbage in – Garbage out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corporate funders and the elite NGO revolving door

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legitimacy and False Witness in a Multipolar World

by Tortilla con Sal

July 31, 2017

 

“The crumbling legitimacy of the US government and its allies in the European Union is reflected in the blatant false witness of Western news media and their NGOs.”

 

July 19, 2016: Cuba VP Leads Delegation To Nicaragua For Anniversary Of Sandinista Revolution. Source/Prensa Latina – Del Sur News

The United States government is currently applying sanctions to Cuba, Iran, Russia, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Last week, on July 27th the US Congress moved to include Nicaragua too. Apart from these sanctions, the US is also enforcing a variety of sanctions in relation to Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, former Ukraine and Yemen. Some of those sanctions are supported by the UN but, in any case, US allies cooperate applying sanctions in a selective way to suit their own interests.

At the highest level, Western strategic thinking in general and US policy making in particular is intellectually and morally corrupt, narcissistic and irrational. Corrupt, because it is so deliberately intellectually ingrown and materially self-serving; narcissistic because it cannot engage other legitimate rationalities; irrational because it operates on the basis of “with us or against us” paranoia. The recent US Department of Defense report At Our Own Peril is the clearest expression of that reality.

US planners really believe that following World War Two the US and its allies shaped and controlled a benign world order and that currently the US and its allies abide by and defend international law. They also assert they project a legitimate, truthful account of world events. Given these insane false beliefs underpinning Western strategic planning, actual and potential targets of Western aggression are bound to work out active measures and alliances based on realistic self-defense.

For the foreseeable future, demented Western foreign policy is in a stage of aggravated desperation as US policymakers adapt to what the DoD report says “can only be described as the early post-U.S. primacy epoch…..This new reality has far-reaching implications for American defense policy, strategy, planning, and risk calculation.” Among the factors contributing to the new risk environment, the report highlights “the weaponization of information, disinformation, and disaffection.” US military leaders now believe they are already losing their long taken for granted global ideological dominance.

Bringing together progressive and revolutionary movements from across Latin America and the Caribbean, the recent Sao Paulo Forum in Nicaragua also recognized the fundamental importance of the West’s global psychological warfare campaign against the majority world. The Forum’s final declaration notes,

“We should create an anti-hegemonic cultural and communications front incorporating the initiatives of progressive governments as well as the efforts of progressive political forces and social movements, a true revolution is impossible if not accompanied by a deep cultural and communications revolution.”

In this context, reality has definitely caught up and overtaken the wishful rhetoric of the Western corporate elites, their carefully groomed governments, their inept, dysfunctional financial system and, perhaps most clearly of all, their dishonest, counterfeit media. In all of these arenas, strategic analysis, economic policy, news reporting, financial dealings, across the West Gresham’s Law has operated relentlessly, with bad practice forcing out good, progressively exposing the falsity and corruption of Western society under corporate capitalism. That falsity is most immediately obvious in Western information culture including not just mainstream and alternative media, but also reporting by governments and non-governmental organizations.

The crumbling legitimacy of the US government and its allies in the European Union is reflected in the blatant false witness of Western news media and the non-governmental organizations which have now largely displaced legitimate foreign news reporting. Few dispute that Western monopoly corporate interests, control and shape government policy as well as mainstream and alternative news media. Less self-evident is the way those elites and their proxies in government promote “the weaponization of information, disinformation, and disaffection” via humanitarian and human rights NGOs.

A few writers have exposed the role of NGOs in promoting the psychological warfare agenda of the United States and allied governments. Cory Morningstar, for example, has exposed the pro-NATO global political agenda of organizations like Avaaz and Presence. She argues,

“the most vital purpose of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) has not been to destroy the ecocidal economic system that enslaves us while perpetuating and ensuring infinite wars. Rather, the key purpose of the NPIC is and has always been to protect this very system it purports to oppose from being dismantled. Hence the trillions of dollars pumped into the NPIC by the establishment.”

The campaigns led by NATO powers in 2011 against Ivory Coast, Libya, Syria share the same psy-warfare characteristics used against all the countries targeted by US sanctions. Right now, Venezuela is the target at the most vulnerable stage where a shift could happen very abruptly from current low-intensity NATO country covert, diplomatic, economic and media warfare to outright military aggression either direct or by proxy. Ever since the 2002 coup, opposition non governmental organizations have been key players in destabilizing Venezuela falsely exploiting the motifs of human rights, corruption. They have done so with consistent support from Western NGOs like Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, Transparency International and many others.

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

In Nicaragua’s case the decision to introduce the so called NICA Act applying economic sanctions against the country was preceded a month earlier by publication of a report from the Global Witness organization falsely alleging that Nicaragua is the most dangerous country in the world for environmental activists. In 2016, Global Witness had a budget of over US$13 million, receiving US$3.4 million from the George Soros Open Society Foundation, US$1.5 million from Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, US$840,000 from the Ford Foundation and over US$3 million from European NATO governments plus Sweden. The Global Witness Board and Advisory Board and CEO are all luminaries from the Western elite non governmental sector.

Despite these tremendous material and human resources, the Global Witness report in relation to Nicaragua is inept, poorly researched and downright inaccurate, as occasional Guardian columnist John Perry, among others, has explained. In 2016, Global Witness brought out a similarly false account of problems in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast. But traditional reporting methods, like cross-checking sources or comparing competing accounts of events, are irrelevant for weaponized NATO country news media and the disinformation NGOs they increasingly rely on for foreign news. Now a decision has been taken by the US elites to attack Nicaragua, the campaign may well unfold with sanctions steadily being ratcheted up, damaging the same Nicaraguan people these phony Western advocates of human rights claim they want to protect.

That is what has happened to Cuba for well over 50 years. More recently, those same Western elites and their advocates have supported the corrupt oligarchs and Nazi shock forces who destroyed Ukraine. They supported equipping, supplying and training the organized crime gangs and pseudo-Islamist terrorists that destroyed Libya and Syria. They give support covering up the crimes of fascist Venezuelan paramilitaries setting people on fire and attacking hospitals and preschools, just as they did the massacre in the labor union building in Odessa in May 2014. Morally, intellectually, ethically the Western elites are worthy successors to their genocidal colonialist forebears using the same bogus claims of moral and cultural superiority to justify their crimes. The false witness of their media and their NGOs is a clear signal they know they have no legitimacy.

 

Further reading:

Nicaragua:

https://libya360.wordpress.com/category/world/latin-america/nicaragua/

Global Witness:

BLOOD DIAMOND DOUBLETHINK & DECEPTION OVER THOSE WORTHLESS LITTLE ROCKS OF DESIRE | Rick Hines & Keith Harmon Snow, Part One (June 1, 2007).

DOWNLOAD:

Keith Harmon Snow Global Witness pdf-203BD Combd Final July 21, 2007

 

 

Why it is Time to Move On from MoveOn.org and the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

Black Agenda Report

February 21, 2017

by Danny Haiphong

The revolution will not be subsidized — but well-funded facsimiles of “movements” dominate the political landscape of the U.S. “Left.” MoveOn.org “prides itself for exposing the corporate ties of the Republicans but is perfectly content with the corporate ties of the Democratic Party.” And Black Lives Matter “drew significant interest from a consortium of non-profits after receiving millions from the Ford Foundation and Google in 2015 and 2016.”

The non-profit industrial complex has become an omnipresent feature of US society. Soon after college, it became increasingly clear to me that non-profits made up the majority of employment and activist opportunities for college-educated youth. My first employment opportunity came within the private non-profit LIFT, which partnered with a number of monopoly corporations to provide social service assistance on a volunteer basis. Like Teach for America, LIFT utilized college volunteers with little to no training and gave post-graduate students AmeriCorps stipends to supervise volunteers in place of professional social workers. After three months of grueling hours and little pay, it was time to leave LIFT and try something new.The next stop was a Community Action Program (CAP). CAP agencies have their roots in the first wave of non-profits as legal entities in the United States. They sprouted from federal funds administered by the War on Poverty programs of the Lyndon Johnson era. These agencies provided essential anti-poverty services and were often run by community members themselves. However, the purpose behind CAP agencies was far from benevolent. Johnson and his ruling class masters sought to subvert and break the independent character of the Black liberation and anti-imperialist movements of the period by turning “tax-eaters” (Black Americans) into “tax-payers.” The underlying motivation of non-profits to turn revolutionary movements into lucrative career opportunities has existed since their inception.

This is not to say that non-profits have not gone through significant changes since the War on Poverty. In the last forty years of neo-liberal capitalist crisis, CAP agencies have become nearly non-existent due to a shortage of federal funds. Housing programs have suffered chronic underfunding as a result of consistent reductions in the size of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), beginning in the Reagan era. HUD was stripped of 77 percent of its budget authority from 1978-1983. The CAP agency that I worked for eventually shut its doors due to a default in a private bank loan in 2014. The loan was taken out to keep the agency viable in the midst of dwindling federal and state funds. Hundreds of homeless individuals and families lost vital housing assistance and thousands more lost access to emergency transportation, food, and legal services.

The demise of CAP agencies stems from the shift in federal responsibilities to the private non-profit sector as part of the US capitalist state’s drive to maximize the profits of the ruling class in the neo-liberal era. This can be seen in the massive scab labor force produced by Teach for America, bankrolled by Goldman Sachs. It is also apparent in the correlation between the increase of non-profits in the arena of homelessness and the reduction of available public housing units in cities across the country. Non-profits give corporate donors an avenue to receive additional tax-free privileges with an added public relations boost. Much of the money donated is returned two-fold through tax breaks and further speculation in the housing, education, and healthcare sectors increasingly made possible by an environment of privatization.

Non-profits have also been deployed by their ruling class funders to privatize social movements. An array of tax-exempt organizations has arisen to channel popular resistance into acceptable means of protest. During Occupy Wall Street, the non-governmental organization (NGO) CANVAS took center stage at many of the New York City rallies. The Black Lives Matter movement drew significant interest from a consortium of non-profits after receiving millions from the Ford Foundation and Google in 2015 and 2016. These interventions have blunted the messaging and activities of organizations sucked into the non-profit industry while leaving genuine activists without the resources to sustain consistent political activity.

The influence of the non-profit industrial complex is evident in the protests against President Donald Trump. The non-profit MoveOn.org has taken on a leadership role in the protests. This author attended a local sanctuary city rally where every sign carried by protesters possessed the “MoveOn.org” label. It is clear that the folks at MoveOn.Org have been playing a key role in the resistance against Trump. But who is behind the MoveOn.org brand and whose interests does the organization serve?

A cursory look into the organization’s finances indicates that MoveOn.org is a loyal servant of the Democratic Party. The organization’s finances from 2015 include large donations of over 250,000 from the organization “J Street” and billionaire Cari Tuna. J Street is a Zionist organization dedicated to developing liberal acceptance to the settler occupation of Palestine among college students. Tuna’s fortunes derive from her marital partnership with co-founder of Facebook Dustin Moskovitz. Tuna spends most of her time as a “philanthropist.” Her donations include a hefty 20 million dollars to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, which was distributed among a consortium of Clinton affiliated PACs. In addition, MoveOn.org is also financed by billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. Soros, despite the conspiratorial machinations regarding his political influence, is well-known around the world as a sponsor of “color revolutions” dedicated to the overthrow of governments that resist the penetration of US monopoly capitalism.

Non-profits are ultimately bound by the interests of their funders. MoveOn.org is no different. The organization’s Democratic Party funding sources have one goal and one goal only: to regain Democratic Party control of all three branches of governance in Washington. First, they hope to remove Trump in order to credit the organization with a temporary, albeit symbolic, victory for the Democrats. The next step is to win control of Congress in 2018. The interests of those supplying funds to non-profits like MoveOn.org are not aligned with the interests of oppressed and working people regardless of how the organization is advertised.

In fact, because big corporate donors control the terms and conditions of “social movement” non-profits, any social movements led by these institutions represent a threat to the independent political power of exploited and oppressed people. MoveOn.org’s mission to transfer power back to the Democratic Party is a familiar act, one that is repeated whenever the Republican Party regains Presidential and Congressional control of the state. Their big corporate donors possess zero interest in stopping the bipartisan crimes carried out by Washington. No petitions have been filed by the folks at MoveOn.org for reparations to nations, such as Libya and Syria, which were completely destroyed by the Democratic Party. MoveOn.org prides itself for exposing the corporate ties of the Republicans but is perfectly content with the corporate ties of the Democratic Party.

ObamaMoveOn

The Democratic Party is the party of Wall Street and war. Obama’s two-term Presidency clarified the Democratic Party’s commitment to US imperialism. MoveOn.org had nothing to say about Wall Street’s cumbersome donations to the Obama campaign or how the Democratic Party facilitated the largest wealth transfer to the 1 percent in US history. MoveOn.org didn’t condemn Obama’s war on whistle blowers nor did it advocate for single payer healthcare when the Democratic Party held majorities in Congress. Neither Obama’s “Grand Bargain” to cut Social Security and Medicare nor his national assault on public education compelled MoveOn.org to take any action against its Democratic Party sugar daddies.

The case of the non-profit MoveOn.org provides an in-depth look into the broader function of non-profit industrial complex. While some individual non-profits administer vital services to the poor and working class, the non-profit industrial complex as a whole possesses a parasitic agenda. That agenda is to break the independent character of working class mobilization and organization, not develop it. Non-profits do this by turning resistance into a career opportunity managed and funded by the 1 percent. The development of an independent, working class-centered movement will require a mass rejection of non-profit funds and structures. Let us remember this as MoveOn.org continues to mobilize its base against the increasingly unstable Trump Administration.

[Danny Haiphong is an Asian activist and political analyst in the Boston area. He can be reached at wakeupriseup1990(at)gmail.com]

Further Reading:

Inducing Consent: MoveOn.org

Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II

The “Movement for Black Lives” Unveils Platform Courtesy of $100 million from Parasitic Capitalist Organizations

The Burning Spear

August 23, 2016

By Aaron O’Neal

 

Deray, face of the Black Lives Matter movement, lives in the home owned by a board member of Open Society Foundation.

A coalition of more than 50 black organizations rebranded under the “Movement for Black Lives” (M4BL) released its policy platform on August 1st. Titled “Vision 4 Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice,” it is said to be the outcome of a conference in Cleveland a year prior.

The so-called “Black Lives Matter” movement has faced criticism for its lack of clarity and demands. Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report rightly explained that, “In the absence of radical #BLM demands, all that is left are the petty reform promises that can be squeezed out of Democrats. That’s not movement politics.”

This criticism and even other less cogent criticisms forced the M4BL to create a policy platform.

The platform is centered around 6 points: End the war on black people, Reparations, Invest-Divest, Economic Justice, Community Control and Political Power.

The points of the platform are then broken up into demands, then each demand is expounded upon: the background of the problems and solutions as they see the contradictions.

They then articulate national, state and local actions that can be taken towards policy change. They even list resources, organizations working on the specific policy and even model legislations for some of their demands.

Specifically, its “controversial” demands, according to ruling class media sources, to end the war on the black community and reparations have won praises from the black left and disdain from white ruling class. At first glance, this impressive indeed!

What it does not speak to is that the policy changes advanced and organizations involved are a who’s who of black nonprofits, which are funded by the wealthy foundations in an attempt to lead our movement through funding.

While the proverbial high fives were slapped at the unveiling of the platform, it was also revealed that the Ford Foundation will be funding a whopping $100 million dollars to directly support the Movement for Black Lives.

It has created the Black Lives Matter Fund (BLMF). “The BLMF’s strategy is supported by two other components: the first is the Blackprint Strategy, a collaborative process underway to identify movement needs and resource priorities to bring $100 million in new resources to the Movement for Black Lives.

“The Movement Strategy Center’s Blueprint Philanthropies Project is facilitating this effort. The second component is the BLMF Organizational Development Initiative supported by Benedict Consulting and focused on supporting the organizational capacity building needs of a rapidly-growing movement.”(Ford foundation statement)

If we look further, it just so happens that many of the 50 organizations that are leading for movement for black lives already have received funding from this project.

Some of the policy authors listed in the platform proudly claim the title of Soros Justice fellows. George Soros, billionaire philanthropist and parasitic capitalist, through his Open Society Foundation has bragged about his funding of the BLM organizations from the outset of the resistance in Ferguson. It has just been revealed that Deray McKesson, prominent BLM activist, lives in the home owned by a board member of Open Society Foundation.

We do not have to look any further than the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s where the Ford Foundation played an instrumental role in subverting our struggle for liberation and funded nearly every civil rights organization at that time from SCLC, CORE, NAACP and even SNCC.

SNCC, the bridge between the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movement, is telling. SNCC was funded by the Ford and Rockefeller foundation when their work was centered around establishing voting rights and desegregation.

What these foundations did not expect in funding SNCC was that black activists would be radicalized from the process in organizing the dangerous areas and risking their lives to register to vote.

By 1967, the civil rights movement was becoming more militant, and the “black power” slogan, first used by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, made elites nervous.

The Ford and Rockefeller foundation responded by creating the National Urban Coalition (NUC), to transform “black power” into “black capitalism.” (Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy p. 95)

Foundations and nonprofits are instruments of the ruling class no matter how “progressive” they may seem. Imperialism has always understood that one way to control a movement is to direct its activities through funding.

To have a vision for black lives and demand black power freedom and justice it must be coupled with political and economic independence. The revolution will not be funded.

DeRay Mckesson

DeRay Mckesson at MCON2016 [Source]

The National Black Agenda For Self-Determination Preparatory Conference, Years in the Making!

The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations (BIB) held the National Black Agenda For Self Determination Preparatory Conference on August 13 &14, 2016 in Philadelphia, PA.

This conference was to consolidate the Black Agenda for Self-determination and allow the African community an opportunity to shape, mold and discuss this agenda. The agenda is framed with a declaration that explains the political basis of the document in context of the crisis of imperialism and focuses on 19 demands of the black community toward self-determination.

Of the 19 demands, many are eerily similar to those of the Movement for Black Lives. Unlike the MBL platform, the BIB has been shaping this agenda since its inception and through proxy for decades through the organizing and struggles of its member organizations.

Aspen Institute
Above: “From the Aspen Institute Community Dialogue on Healing the Racial Divide”, March, 2015  [Source] [Aspen Institute history]

End War on the Black Community

The BIB was started in a small apartment in Washington, DC in 2009.

When the white antiwar movement had capitulated to newly-elected U.S. president Barack Obama and the African community was seduced to give their unwavering support to the first black imperialist president, it was a small group of brave activists who understood that our people need leadership and permission to critique the Obama Administration.

The BIB not only wanted to lead the black community to be the loudest antiwar forces to critique imperialism regardless of the black president, our coalition also wanted to redefine the definition of war itself. Namely, it called for an end on the war on the black community.

In November 2009, the BIB was the first organization to protest the Obama Administration and in March 2010 held the conference “On the Other Wars” to expand this definition past Iraq and Afghanistan but the war in the U.S. and around the world against black people.

Reparations

Since its inception, reparations has been a core demand of the BIB, that there can be no social justice or genuine peace without reparations. In fact, one of the member organizations of the coalition is responsible for making reparations a household name by holding the world’s first tribunal on reparation which it held in the 1980s.

Also, coalition member organization, the Amos Wilson Institute, under leadership of the Chair of the Reparations Working Group, Kamm Howard, has advanced the Reparation Enforcers campaign. Unlike many reparations activist who make reparations an academic discussion, their work is centered around holding those corporations and entities that profited from slavery pay reparations for their harm to the black community.

Black Community Control of Police

Since the police murder of Mike Brown which sparked the resistance of black people around the country, BIB has led the call for black community control of police (BCCOP). The BIB understood the significance of the murder and rebellion it sparked and our coalition Chairman, Omali Yeshitela, went on the ground with the call for BCCOP.

In fact, just days after the killing of Mike Brown, on August 16 &17, the BIB Annual conference “Resist U.S. Wars and Occupations in the U.S. and Abroad” featured Zaki Baruti, of the Universal African People’s Organization based in the St. Louis Area.

AIPO, now a member organization of the coalition, was on the front lines of the struggle when the rebellion happened.

It was the BIB that held a National Conference in April 2015 on “Black Community Control of Police.” BIB outlined the police as an arm of the state with its origins in slavery and slave catcher and laid out the practical task of building for BCCOP.

To this end, the BIB adopted an action kit that is available on our website that includes a know your rights card, petitions for local government to adopt BCCOP and model resolutions to be given to local elected official calling for BCCOP. To date, BIB has garnered thousands of signatures from Africans throughout the country calling for BCCOP.

In fact, the M4BL owes its resource document on BCCOP to the work of the coalition and its member organizations.

Political power

Rising Tides

DeRay Mckesson delivers keynote speech at Rising Tide X, August 29, 2015

One of the reasons that made the BIB declaration and agenda necessary was the issue of political power in our community. Since the defeat of the black revolution in the 1960s our people have been pushed to believe that our freedom and independence can be gained from one political party or candidate over the other.

In 2012, the BIB held a conference, “Obama, the Elections and the Struggle for Justice, Peace, a Better Life and Black Power” and adopted a document that gave coherence to how we find ourselves in the political situation of voting for two parties of imperialism.

It also explained to our people that our community should only use electoral politics as a strategy for our ultimate aims of self-determination. The document came at the heels of the 40 anniversary of the Gary National Black Political Convention and the reelection of Barack Obama.

The BIB recently held a conference, “2016 Elections and the Struggle for Self-Determination.” As articulated in the call, “the white rulers of the U.S. are attempting to frighten or seduce black people to accept the idea that the security, well being and happiness of African people should be determined by the Democratic and Republican parties of Bernie Sanders, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump!”

This powerful conference pulled the covers from the socialist Bernie Sanders who does not believe in reparations for African people and he, along with Hilary Clinton, supported the Omnibus Crime Bill that lead to the mass incarceration of black people and the thousands of police who occupy our community now.

The BIB has worked on its black political agenda for self-determination through its work. With all the work the coalition has done in its 7-year history, most importantly, the BIB has never taken money from foundations or corporate sponsors and never will.

This expresses the importance of the task before us not to allow outside entities to dictate the direction of our movement. Like Marcus Garvey and the UNIA before us, we have funded ourselves from membership dues and the generous donation from the black community. The BIB has always paid its own way.

This is not to pit the Black is Back Coalition and its work against the Movement for Black Lives; nor is it a bitter criticism because the BIB is not able to kneel at the trough of the Ford Foundation.

The black resistance is at a critical time now where it can no longer be ignored given the constant resistance to police murders from the heroic acts of Micah Xavier Johnson to the recent rebellion in Milwaukee, WI. Black people must lead our struggle not the ruling class and its surrogates through funding of our movements.

Black lives won’t matter until we get black power!

code -conference-dorsey-elzie-gates-gates-mckesson2.0

Above: Code Conference 2016: “Now, it’s time for five more amazing speakers, all dedicated in some way to changing the world for the better, including: Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey; and activists Johnetta Elzie and DeRay Mckesson.” [Source]

The hashtag #blacklivesmatter was not created in the heat of struggle in Ferguson when the working class community rose up and chanted “kill the police!”

It was created on the internet years before. Black lives matter as a slogan only reinforces the idea that our lives need to matter to white people in order to achieve “equality” when we should be fighting for power.

We want power over our own lives, not for our lives to matter to white people. This is why we understand that, “Black lives won’t matter until we get black power!”

Ironically, 50 years ago it was Stokely Carmichael who popularized the phrase “Black Power.” This has widely been seen as the split that catapulted our movement from the opportunist demands of the Civil Rights Movement to the black power era that that swept the African community with such ferocity.

This movement was militarily defeated by the U.S. government with the killing of MLK 2 years later, Fred Hampton and destruction of our organizations through counterinsurgent attacks like the Black Panther Party.

Private funding sources were part and parcel counterinsurgent attacks on our movement in the 1960s that lead to the defeat of our movement. We cannot relieve the mistakes of the past.

We believe the National Black Agenda for Self-Determination is as critical as the call for “Black Power” a half century ago. This agenda helps separate that those who willing to be lead by Ford, Soros, Gates Foundation and those who want real political independence and self-determination.

The BIB Annual Rally and March on the White House and National Black Political Agenda Conference on Self-Determination November 5 & 6, 2016.

Leading up to the BIB National Conference on the Black Agenda For Black Self-Determination, we will be holding state conferences in New York, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, Florida and Alabama to name a few in order to win our community to the our new black political agenda. From these state conferences we want delegations from throughout the country to come in mass to celebrate our historic agenda.

We are calling on black people to join us on November 5, where we give Barack Obama a proper send off with a Rally and March to the white house to protest against the legacy of the Obama Administration’s war against the black community and push forward our demands in our 19-Point Declaration.

On November 6 at Howard University, we will have our National Conference on the National Black Agenda for Self Determination to celebrate this historic achievement by the African community and to plan on the implementation of these demands.

For more information, please visit www.blackisbackcoalition.org.

Black Power Matters!

Black Lives Won’t Matter until we get Black Power!

 

George Soros: Anti -Syria Campaign Impresario

The Wall Will Fall

January 21, 2016

by Vanessa Beeley

 

“They [the media] are news-as-entertainment professionals – packaging glossy corporate content for maximum distribution and big bucks. The goal is not objective reportage. Their targets are quantifiable and highlighted in a business plan somewhere. Success is based on a simple formula: stay within parameters “understandable” to a wide audience that devours sound bites and familiar storylines on the hour, every hour. Like trained seals whose every desire, instinct and buying pattern has been measured by corporate media’s marketing department for the consumption of its advertisers, the audience demands satisfaction – and western media delivers it.” ~ Sharmine Narwani

THE BBC BAMBOOZLE

The Madaya media circus lumbers on regardless of the multitude of proven anomalies and outright deceit of the mainstream narrative.  Deaf to either public opinion or investigation, institutions like the BBC consider they are above accountability to those who pay for their existence, the British public.  They consider it perfectly acceptable to release footage from Yarmouk 2014 and represent it as Madaya 2016..and when questioned, to remove the offending footage without explanation or responsibility for their obscurantism and misinformation tactics.

Thankfully, Robert Stuart, ardent campaigner against the BBC’s long running, hostile, anti Syria propaganda offensive did raise an official complaint and demanded answers that the BBC has, for too long, been allowed to avoid answering.

Al Mayadeen, Al Manar, Al Masirah TV channels and many others, representing the voices of the oppressed in the Middle East are being systematically excluded from Saudi funded Satellite channels and Israeli biased social media.  Press TV, headquarters in Tehran,  had its licence revoked by Ofcom in 2012

RT has come under relentless attack by the BBC since the “Kremlin launched its international media operation”.  The BBC lexicon never fails to maintain and celebrate the “cold war” terminology or to keep fear of the Russian “indoctrination”  stewing in peoples minds.

“But it [RT] is also coming under increased scrutiny over its lack of editorial balance and accusations that it is deliberately using disinformation to counter and divide the West.” ~ Russia’s Global Media Operation Under the Spotlight

This astounding display of projectionism can only be matched by the Zionist ability to turn their own crimes against Humanity into a neatly packaged accusation that those they are oppressing, the Palestinians, on whose broken bones Israel has built its settlements, are the guilty and that Israel is exempt from judgement for its crimes which are committed in “self defence”.

Is the BBC embellishing the truth in “self-defence” or is it being creative with the truth in defence of our Government’s appalling neo-colonialist foreign policy which is ensuring the fomenting of sectarian divide in the Middle East to facilitate desired “regime change” in Syria & the wholesale slaughter of civilians in Yemen,  obliterated by  made-in-UK missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

These are just two examples of the BBC collusion in global de-stabilization and reduction of sovereign nations to perpetual conflict  or “failed state” status, ripe for economic and pseudo “humanitarian” NGO complex, stealth invasion and occupation and of course the bolstering of the Military Industrial Complex profitability index.

WILL THE BBC BE SOROS-IZED

The following extraordinary statement is taken from a paper produced by the Wilson Center.org. in the section titled “The Role of NGOs in Building Civil Society

“In some countries, local NGOs also have been funded to mount “people power” campaigns. As in the recent “color revolutions,” these campaigns are aimed at opening up political regimes to opposition parties and ousting leaders who were holding onto power through irregular methods. Viewed more broadly, all these programs supporting NGO activities and capacity-building are seen as ways to foster the progressive emergence of a broad civil society, one that both supplements the state in providing for public needs and makes governments more responsive to their populations.” 

The gloves appear to be off.  Here, the Wilson Centre is blithely exposing the NGO’s trojan horse policy with regards to its role as outreach agents for Imperialism in any resource rich or strategically important, prey nation.

It explains perfectly the funding of the people power, time for change campaigns that run in synch with any regional or national schisms that are then piggybacked by imported or locally fostered opposition movements to propel the Imperialist friendly movements towards regime change.

Of course there is never any intention from the behind- the- scenes- string- pullers of allowing the much acclaimed people power.  The goal is the now familiar power vacuum to be filled by an Imperialist compatible ruling entity that will ensure the completion of Empire’s hostile corporate take over bid.

You may be asking why is this relevant to the BBC truth distortion.  As explanation, please consider the inclusion of the BEEB in the Open Democracy website.  Then have a look at the Open Democracy impressive list of funders and donors.  No surprise for many of you that  George Soros, Open Society Foundation is on that list.  In fact, the only “philanthropic” mogul missing is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Then, let us consider who holds the purse strings of the majority of the primary propaganda rings and regime change facilitating NGO elements in Syria.

The yellow brick road of Neocon ambitions and imperialist missions- impossible in Syria leads unerringly to the global chaos strategist,   George Soros, pedalling furiously behind his NGO Humanitarian shield.

First a reminder from The Wrong Kind of Green’s NGO myth shattering article, Syria, Avaaz, Purpose, the art of selling hate for Empire. 

“It should not be considered a coincidence that at the same time, a polished, sophisticated and highly financed “Save Syria” campaign is being created in the board rooms of the Empire’s favourite Harvard boys.

 

Where, under the organization Avaaz, the public hasn’t acquiesced to an air strike on Syria, the New York public relations firm Purpose Inc. has stepped in.”

 

[Purpose’s partnership with Soros, Open Society Foundation is highlighted in same article]

SYRIA CAMPAIGN ~ Latest Campaign: Break the Sieges

This campaign has been launched in conjunction with the #OperationMadaya propaganda storm, itself,  perfectly timed to coincide with the lawless & characteristically brutal execution of Saudi Arabia’s primary campaigner for Democracy, unity and freedom from the despotic House of Saud rule and subjugation, Sheikh Nimr al Nimr.

In true Manhattan corporate branding style, the Break the Siege high profile publicity campaign hit the streets running, just as public outrage was peaking and the Western media, inspired by Qatari governed Al Jazeera,  was rolling out repeat fake photographs. The familiar “Assad is the root of all evil” headlines served very nicely as backdrop for the dramatic, slick,  advertising campaign.  One might also be forgiven for thinking it had been prepared in advance.

Syria Campaign break the sieges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Wrong Kind of Green]

Dr Al Jaafari, permanent Syrian representative at the UN reduced such exploitative drama to the succinct truth with little histrionics & a great deal of dignity despite the ongoing media hostility against the Syrian Government.  This distinguished calm is now a familiar component of the Syrian, Iranian or Russian rebuff of Western hysteria.

Dr Al Jaafari

Included under the Syria Campaign heading are Free Syrian Voices, March Campaign#WithSyria & Medics Under Fire all of whom are creations of Purpose.inc.

AVAAZ

Avaaz petition madaya

 

Yet another polished and unashamedly biased petition from Avaaz with very little relation to the reality on the ground in Madaya.  Click here for What the Media is not telling you About Madaya produced by SyriaGirl.

“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…” ~ Cory Morningstar.

ANA press logo2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAMI JARRAH ~ ANA PRESS

Ah now here we have a really fascinating can of worms, one that will be investigated in far greater depth in the follow up article with a few shock supporting actors..watch this space.

However, for now, a very brief overview of Mr Rami Jarrah.  Previously known as Alexander Page in his heady BBC, CNN days as Avaaz sponsored “citizen journalist”, foreign correspondent smuggler and all round fixer on the regime change battle front in Syria. He and Danny Abdul Dayem, that well known CNN bombs and rockets studio actor were co-conspirators on the Avaaz Democracy band wagon.

Of course ANA Press makes all the usual laudable claims.

“We are an independent organization that will not stand for any political affiliation, as this would affect our neutralism and honesty. We have not and will not accept funding from any political groups.” ~ Rami Jarrah

Interestingly when we take a peep behind that integrity curtain we find all these claims of neutrality are compromised by the Government agency and Corporatocratic investment into these multiple crowd funding and influencing neocon proxies.

With very little effort we can trace ANA Press to HIVOS and SIDA and of course to SOROS.

SIDA: Development Aid agency affiliated to the Swedish Government, the EU, the UN & the World Bank.  George Soros figures most prominently in yet another vehicle for change programme in their portfolio “Making all Voices Count“.

Making All Voices Count’s unique Research, Evidence and Learning component is working to better understand what works – and what doesn’t – in projects using technology to promote transparent, accountable governance.

The fund is financed jointly by Sida, USAID, DFID, the Open Society Foundation and Omidyar Network.

Hivos has worked with the Open Society Foundations (OSF), an initiative of philanthropist George Soros, since 2005. The OSF work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. That mission is a perfect fit with Hivos’s policies.”

jarrah hivos

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Jarrah’s mission – to ensure that the voices of Syrians are heard around the world – embodies not only the spirit of CJFE’s International Press Freedom Award, but also that of the Alternative & Independent Media area of Hivos’ Expression & Engagement programme”

Vibrant and tolerant democracies….

Moving on..or should that be Move On?

“Avaaz was created in part by MoveOn, a Democratic Party associated Political Action Committee (or PAC), formed in response to the impeachment of President Clinton. Avaaz and MoveOn are funded in part by convicted inside-trader and billionaire hedge fund mogul, George Soros.” ~ SYRIA: Avaaz, Purpose & the art of selling hate for Empire. 

WISSAM TARIF ~ AVAAZ CAMPAIGN MANAGER

Wissam Tarif was another one of the original poster boys for the regime change marketing campaign in Syria, launched almost exclusively by public opinion changers,  Avaaz in 2011 with a little help from their friends in CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera.  Again this will be explored in greater detail in a subsequent article.

This is one of Tarif’s early democratization of Syria pitches to the Oxford Research Group in 2011.

Wissam Tarif has since been promoted to senior campaign manager for Avaaz & remains a persistent advocate of global Open Democracy and the NATO US GCC, Israeli,  democratization of Syria.

“WT ~ “Unless the people of Madaya and other besieged towns in Syria get freedom as well as food, children will continue to starve to death. The United Nations has already brokered agreements for these sieges to be lifted, and now Ban Ki Moon must urgently ensure they are implemented to save thousands of lives and build confidence ahead of Syria peace talks later this month.”  ~ Operation Madaya, Avaaz calling.

Wissam Tarif, in the early days of the war on Syria, was a member of the Avaaz fifth column,  with Rami Jarrah/Alexander Page and Danny Abdul Dayem among thousands more, financed by over $ 1.2 million public money raised by the Avaaz petitions.

In 2011 Tarif was described euphemistically as an Avaaz campaign manager but he was also associated with a Spanish based NGO called INSAN, meaning human, in Arabic.

Insan search

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curiously,  when I delved into his connections I had difficulty locating INSAN which was rumoured to be based in Spain yet no such NGO came up with a Spanish address.  Eventually scanning Wassim’s contact page, I noticed his email address was directed to Insan International. wissamtarif@insanintl.com.  The website was listed as Insanassociation.org. 

INSAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the time of my initial investigation, INSAN had listed its partners on its website. Luckily I took a screenshot because when I went back to the website tonight to get the link, the partner link had been altered to patner and threw up an error 404 message.

Also, coincidentally, INSAN now has a brand new web page InsanIntl.com that even more coincidentally no longer displays information on its funding partners.

However, George Soros and the Open Society Foundation are obviously in the frame once more.

THE WHITE HELMETS

White helmet selfie with FAB russian bomb

The White Helmets have perhaps the most diverse array of backers and donors.  The Majority of which have been covered in previous in- depth investigations, but naturally still following the yellow brick road back to Soros.

For a full analysis of the White Helmet’s funding ~ Syria’s White Helmets: War by Way of Deception Part 1 & 2

Madaya White Helmets

 

 

 

 

 

Impartial and neutral saviours of ALL Syrian people regardless of their allegiances..displaying banners calling for the burning and destruction of Kafarya and Foua, two Idlib Shia villages under partial siege from Ahrar al Sham and Jabhat Al Nusra since 2011, full siege since March 2015. An “unbiased” display of naked Wahhabi sectarianism by the Humanitarian heroes, idolised by Western governments, Media and audiences worldwide.

For further insight into the terrifying Ahrar al Sham and Al Nusra siege of Kafarya and Foua, please read Eva Bartlett’s series in Counterpunch:  Untold Suffering in Kafarya & Foua.

white helmet infographic (2)

SNHR

Soros the Puppet Master SNHR

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The SN4HR website has no information on who funds the group, and its website ownership information is hidden from public view but shows that it is hosted in the US. The organisation identifies itself as an outgrowth of “the revolution in Syria” (clearly a partisan organization, see at the very bottom of their home page) claims to be ‘a trusted source’ that supplies information about the Syria Conflict to all leading human rights organisations, charities and government departments including the UN, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and even the US State Department. “The network’s database and archives are considered as a reliable source and reference for international and local media outlets, and international organizations and agencies working in the field of human rights.”

Taken from:  Madaya: West Engineer another Humanitarian Media Hoax in Syria. by 21st Century Wire.

..and in the same article we follow the route markers once more back to Soros..”there is no place like home”

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Ken-Roth-George-Soros

“Soros-financed Human Rights Watch has played a major role in falsely portraying ISIS and Al Qaeda civilian bombings and other atrocities as the work of the Assad regime, building support for military action from the US and EU.”  ~ William Engdahl  Syria Plays Both Ends in the Syrian Refugee Crisis

HRW tim

PHYSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Well hello Mr Soros.

Soros and Mukwege

“Dr. Denis Mukwege and George Soros devote their lives to working on behalf of others and readily tackling the most difficult issues – advocating for the women of the Congo and improving the lives and advancing the human rights of oppressed people around the world,” said Donna McKay, PHR’s executive director. “Their tireless efforts and leadership inspire human rights defenders worldwide and build vital resistance to human rights violators.”

 

Soros, whose philanthropic leadership and dedication to the cause of human rights was honored with the 2015 Physicians for Human Rights Lifetime Achievement Award, has been a PHR supporter since its inception in 1985. “George Soros grasped, early on, that doctors play a vital role in preserving human dignity, a core human rights principle,” said McKay. “His faith in our cause paved the way for other supporters and helped to ensure that health professionals have the opportunity to use their skills as a means towards justice.” ~  PHR Press Release

Soros PHR

MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES & MEDECINS DU MONDE [DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS & DOCTORS OF THE WORLD]

Kouchner-es-Soros-Foto-Tury-Gyorgy-hvghu

MSF have made concerted efforts to distance themselves from their Interventionist advocate,  Co-Founder, Bernard Kouchner, to little avail, as Kouchner was still invited to comment on the US bombing of the MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in 2015.

Once more the sole purpose of this article is to show how the NGOs having greatest impact on the ground in Syria, & in our media,  are connected to George Soros [among a myriad of undeniably biased and very partial-to-a-slice-of -Syria western governmental agencies.]

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) with a membership of over 2,500 organizations worldwide advocating for a fair, effective and independent International Criminal Court

 

The CICC is a project of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP) and has secretariats in New York City, near the United Nations (UN), and in The Hague, The Netherlands. 

Taken from Wikipedia

The CICC steering committee includes Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

The World Federalist Movement is funded in part by George Soros.

Medecins sans Frontieres and Medecins du Monde are both listed as members of the CICC, certainly in France.

NGO Partners

 

Another form of partnership is also of enormous importance to the Soros foundations: the relationships with grantees that over the years have developed into alliances in pursuing crucial parts of the open society agenda. These partners include, but are not limited to the following:

 

Médecins Sans Frontières, AIDS Foundation East-West, Doctors of the World, and Partners in Health for their efforts in addressing crucial public health emergencies that are often connected to abuses of human rights

 

Taken from an Open Society Foundation list of Partners.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

soros-amnesty

“Another Soros-financed NGO active demonizing the Assad government as cause of all atrocities in Syria and helping build public support for a war in Syria from the US and EU is Amnesty International. Suzanne Nossel, until 2013 the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, came to the job from the US State Department where she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, not exactly an unbiased agency in regard to Syria”

William Engdahl for New Eastern Outlook

SYRIA: THE BILLIONAIRES REVOLUTION

Infographic created by Professor Tim Anderson whose book The Dirty War on Syria is now on sale in E Book format at Global Research.

billionaires revolution

IS THE BBC ON THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD?

Open Democracy

OurBeeb. Has the BBC gone into partnership with Soros’ Open Democracy.net?

Certainly when we view the webpage, its hard not to assume there is at least some degree of mutual back scratching going on.

“Funded by 95% of British homes via the licence fee, the BBC belongs to the people, not the government. OurBeeb is independent, non-partisan, and aims to ensure that the discussion about the future of British Broadcasting Corporation is in the hands of the British people.” ~ OurBeeb

Did the British people have a say in the choice of Mr Soros as mentor and campaign manager for their publicly owned media broadcasting flagship whose power to alter public perception is legendary.

How to ensure that the BBC itself is felt to be ‘ours’ by the public who fund it and whose many voices it claims to represent? At a time of cuts in public revenues and rapid technological change, the role of the BBC as overwhelmingly the main source of news towers over traditional party politics. It is time to reshape the debate on the future of the UK’s most important cultural institution.

Then let us consider one of the fall outs from Operation Madaya.  The Open Democracy headline reads..

How is Citizen Journalism transforming the BBC’s Newsroom practices?

“User-generated content offers new ways of covering ‘black hole’ stories such as the Syrian conflict. But how do journalists make sense of what is happening on the ground?” 

How indeed?  There then follows a series of apologies for why the BBC journalists such as Lyse Doucet are not always able to be on the ground in Syria. Various spurious arguments are brought into play. The death of Marie Colvin Sunday Times correspondent in Homs 2012.  No mention that Colvin was smuggled in without permission from the Syrian Government by, among others, Rami Jarrah. The beheading of suspected fifth columnist James Foley.  Not to mention, the danger of “foreign airstrikes” & Islamic State.

And why, might you ask, can the BBC not find the voices in Syria that decry foreign intervention or support their elected Government? Strangely, they are “unwilling to speak”.  Nothing to do with the fact that the BBC are known as anti Syrian propagandists by those people who would not trust them to report the truth as told from the Syrian people’s perspective.

Sharmine Narwani fiercely challenged the Western Media neutral observer status in her article:  Western Journalist: Visa Denied

Because, right now, I honestly cannot think of a group of people less capable of verifying things in Syria than western journalists. And it is not because they aren’t physically there or can’t string together more than two words in Arabic. It is largely because they feast at the trough of their own governments’ narratives on All Things. Western journalists are heady with a sense of righteousness leached from the oxymoronic “western values” shoved down our collective throats. Those same western values that demand “accountability” and “transparency” from all nations – while offering cover for western governments to hack their way through Muslim and Arab bodies in endless “national security” wars.

In hindsight, would we be deemed conspiracy theorists to consider that perhaps all these events have adroitly navigated us to this point of  utter news blackout but for that which serves our government’s globalist objectives?

Are we seeing the placing of the cherry on the regime change cake? Soros has apparently officialised the co-opting of the BBC into the Soros owned and orchestrated Syria propaganda ring and is funnelling their news source outreach operation into his perfectly constructed network of lies and multi headed anti Assad narrative generators.

The yellow brick road leads to Soros and the BBC is off to see the Wizard.  If only they were on a quest for heart, courage and brains.

Soros Sees Spain Seeking Aid

END.

 

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

Controlling Consciousness

Public Good Project

November 10, 2015

by Jay Taber

RobertFuddBewusstsein17Jh

 

The role of public relations (PR) in producing ‘discursive monoculture’ is currently in vogue with communication scholars. As an instrument of social control, the goal of PR is to dominate discourse, and to keep out alternative views.

Using PR, the donor elites in the US — MacArthur, Ford and Open Society foundations — set the civil society agenda. Human rights indicators — set by governments, NGOs and civil society — thus reflect the interests and bias of ‘the power elite’.

Access to communication technology and services is one obstacle to democratic renewal; overcoming the obstacle of communication gatekeepers requires that they be recognized as such. There are no neutral players in the netwar of ideas about privatization.

Consumers remain largely unaware that investigative journalism in mainstream media is extinct. Corporate and government public relations agents have filled the void with propaganda posing as news.

Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness is based on five components: ownership of media, fabrication of news, integration of advertising with state propaganda, financing of foundations and brokerages, and co-option of NGOs and grassroots groups.

 

[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and activists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations. Email: tbarj [at] yahoo.com Website: www.jaytaber.com]

 

 

FURTHER READING

Charms of Naomi: the Mystique of Mass Hypnosis

Communication: the Invisible Environment

A Culture of Imbeciles

Dependence Limits Strategies

Distorting Reality

Illuminating Private Equity

The Point of Protest

Welcome to Netwar

Movement Ferguson, Beware the Nonprofit Industrial Complex

Black Agenda Report (Image & Video courtesy of Libya360)

January 21, 2015

by

Reuters/Stephen Lam

“As our movement evolves and we remain dependent on major donors and foundations instead of building grassroots funding, we will always be hindered and misdirected away from the trek toward fundamental systemic change.”

An article in London’s DailyMail.com about the funding that Billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundation is giving to organizations in the Ferguson and #BlackLivesMatter movement has sparked defense of Soros on social media and speculation that the article is part of an extreme right agenda or mentality to belittle the movement and discredit “funders committed to racial justice.” For sure, a quick web search shows there is hardly a shortage of rightwing extremists disparaging Soros’ bankrolling of liberally progressive organizations and programs.

But applying a more left than liberal analysis to the article and to Soros reveals there is a deeper, dare one say, warning for the left. The DailyMail.com isn’t right wing by any U.S. corporate press standard. More revealing and to the point is that the history of his Open Society funding in all sorts of social justice efforts nationally and internationally (not just Ferguson) can be compared to the strategy used by formations like Stephen Currier’s Council for United Civil Rights Leadership that sterilized the Civil Rights Movement of its Black Power and other more radical elements that were legitimately elevating the struggle for civil rights to a struggle for human rights.

In Malcolm X’s eloquent fashion, he described how white philanthropy and white leadership influenced civil rights organizations at the time of the March on Washington:

“They had a meeting at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City. The Carlyle Hotel is owned by the Kennedy family; that’s the hotel Kennedy spent the night at, two nights ago; it belongs to his family. A philanthropic society headed by a white man named Stephen Currier called all the top civil-rights leaders together at the Carlyle Hotel. And he told them, ‘By you all fighting each other, you are destroying the civil-rights movement. And since you’re fighting over money from white liberals, let us set up what is known as the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership. Let’s form this council, and all the civil-rights organizations will belong to it, and we’ll use it for fund-raising purposes.’ Let me show you how tricky the white man is. As soon as they got it formed, they elected Whitney Young as its chairman, and who do you think became the co-chairman? Stephen Currier, the white man, a millionaire. Powell was talking about it down at Cobo Hall today. This is what he was talking about. Powell knows it happened. Randolph knows it happened. Wilkins knows it happened. King knows it happened. Every one of that so-called Big Six–they know what happened!


“Once they formed it, with the white man over it, he promised them and gave them $800,000 to split up between the Big Six; and told them that after the march was over they’d give them $700,000 more. A million and a half dollars–split up between leaders that you have been following, going to jail for, crying crocodile tears for. And they’re nothing but Frank James and Jesse James and the what-do-you-call-’em brothers.”

“We know in our organizations we have conversations and make decisions about the best ways to make ourselves more ‘attractive’ to funders.”

The Council for United Civil Rights Leadership also advanced the confining and prohibitive nature of to the Non-profit Industrial Complex as we know it today by centralizing donations and then discouraging tendencies toward building independent grassroots funding bases. The Counsel worked to oppose tactics like civil disobedience and boycotts by controlling distribution of funds and using connections to corporate media establishment.

Out of necessity Soros has obviously taken this strategy to a new level to be make it commensurate with today’s evolved political and ideological movement. While, of course, few if anyone may be “getting rich,” no one – particularly those of us working in the non-profit industry – can deny the influence funders have on what not-for-profit formations do or won’t do, what political positions they take or don’t take, etc. Even if, as the director of Soros’s fund disclaims “they have no ‘direct’ control over the groups they give to, and said they are all trying to improve accountability.” “Direct” is the operative word.

If we think of this as funders literally dictating to organizations we will miss how this works. An organization or individual doesn’t have to be told anything directly. Those who do foundation fundraising know the first level of control is “fitting” within funders’ guidelines just to apply. The next level is how radical an organization will dare go after receiving money when they know (no matter if it’s a person who is a major donor or a foundation) funders are generally more politically conservative than those applying for funds and that they will invariably need refunding. We know in our organizations we have conversations and make decisions about the best ways to make ourselves more “attractive” to funders. These are just two ways funders can control social movements.

There is a radical element to the Ferguson movement that realizes the police and the whole judicial system are agents of the state and the power elite, corporate class. They realize this is not merely an issue of “accountability,” as framed by the Open Society Director in the DailyMail.com article. These radical and more politically clear elements see that this is about more than isolated incidents like that of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin. They are calling and working for human rights, peoples’ empowerment which would ultimately threaten the status quo to which funders like Soros belong.

“This is not merely an issue of “accountability.”

Together with historical and political context, the DailyMail.com article affords us an opportunity to more critically analyze the role and influences of the non-profit industrial complex. For example, the article reports that, “One recipient of his funding is the Organization for Black Struggle, which in turned established a group called the Hands Up Coalition, that has helped make ubiquitous the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ slogan.” However, without disapproving of the slogan, the tactic of non-violent civil disobedience, or the Hands Up Coalition, there are also those in this national movement looking at the legitimacy of self-defense as was done in the 50s and 60s. They’ve questioned the “hands up, don’t shoot” slogan and offered an alternative, “fists up, fight back.” While the politically faint of heart may want to reduce such a slogan as foolhardy and irresponsible, they would be reminiscent of those during the Civil Rights movement who denounced, criticized, and mischaracterized armed self-defense as well as the Black Power movement; of those who misrepresented or misunderstood the essence of what was at stake. Many of them today attempt to rewrite that history and sterilize it of its progressive examples and effectiveness of armed self-defense.

It would be naive to think the likes of Soros and his Open Society Foundation/Institute would ever fund an organization like the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement that pulled the covers off of the national epidemic of impunity for police murders with its 2012 report, “Trayvon Martin is All of Us,” showing that every 28 hours a Black person is murdered in the U.S. by agents of the corporate controlled U.S. government and those agents given impunity. We should likewise doubt Soros’ OS would support their follow up resource, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: A Handbook on Organizing New Afrikan and Oppressed Communities for Self-Defense.

The big picture to see are the broad and long term effects of rich people and all those with vested interest in the nonprofit industrial complex controlling the purse strings of our movement. As our movement evolves and we remain dependent on major donors and foundations instead of building grassroots funding, we will always be hindered and misdirected away from the trek toward fundamental systemic change.

Many of us recognize the easier said than done lessons from the Church about building a grassroots funding base. For centuries the Church has done this very well.

The difficult part of creating a grassroots funding base for politically radical action is raising the level of political consciousness among the Black masses such that we embrace the indispensability of funding our own work to realize true empowerment and self-reliance. Too many Black organizers think we need the Black elite but the masses outnumber the elite class by so much that it’s not unreasonable to envision 200 thousand people contributing and average of 5 dollars a year with which we could fund some independent and radical programs to the tune of millions.

This will require revolutionary organization and revolutionary consciousness. Sekou Ture of Guinea taught us, “Without revolutionary consciousness there can be no revolution. Without political education and revolutionary practice there can be no revolutionary consciousness.”

Dependence on the philanthropy of capitalists can never be revolutionary.

 

[Netfa Freeman is a long time Pan-Africanist, human rights activists based in DC and a co-host/producer for Voices With Vision on WPFW 89.3 FM.]

Human Rights Last (Imperialism First)

Human Rights First logo

Human Rights Investigation

March 18, 2013

In an astonishing development, Human Rights First (HRF), a New York and Washington-based NGO, has issued a report and launched a new web site called Atrocity Supply Chain aiming to cut Syria off from any supplies that could possibly be used by the government for military purposes, regardless as to whether these supplies are vital to the economy, for the functioning of sewage and water systems, for hospitals or needed for civilian power or heating in the bitter winter.