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Stranger Than Fiction: How to Keep an Antiwar Movement Down

by Emma Quangel

May 9, 2016

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Imagine, if you will, the year 2016. It is a year of war. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ukraine, Turkey – just a handful in a long list – are under attack. Covert operations angling at “regime change” take place in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The African continent is engulfed in conflict, the threat of “regime change” knocking against even South Africa’s door. The BRICs are threatened, destabilizing. Thousands drown every year in the Mediterranean while millions more flood Europe, desperate for refuge from the violence and poverty that plagues their homelands. The right is on the rise across Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. The global economy is sagging under the weight of its own contradictions.

The United States government, that acts as the hired guns of a global class of jet-setting billionaires, imprisons 2.3 million of its own people. 3.2 per cent of its citizens are under correctional control. The descendants of those once kidnapped and enslaved are particularly tormented – one in three black males in the USA will spend some time in prison. 12,000 children in Flint, Michigan are poisoned by lead in the water. 60,000 people in New York City are homeless. Nearly 1,000 people were killed by the police in the United States last year. Thousands more are tortured – even boiled alive – in US prisons. In the state of Louisiana, black men in chains pick cotton for slave wages while overseers toting shotguns monitor them from horseback. The electoral system is rigged, disenfranchises millions, and offers the same solution, year after year: submit or be crushed.

Imagine, if you will, the year 2016 without a revolutionary movement against such conditions.

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The Black Panther Party was possibly the highwater mark for American revolution in the 20th century because it existed in concert with, and gave guidance to, a broad-based antiwar movement. While the labor struggles of the working class at the turn of the century were integral in improving the lives of millions of Americans and providing a platform for revolutionary socialism, it wasn’t until the radical labor movement started to speak out against the First World War that they were persecuted in full by the government, lynched, deported and imprisoned. Likewise, the Black Panthers were most heavily targeted when they developed a line that connected the suffering of the American people to the suffering inflicted on others by the United States abroad. In both instances, the culprit was imperialism, capitalism made flesh in the form of guns and planes that could stamp out challenges to its hegemony.

That the Black Panther Party even existed should one of the greatest points of pride among radicals in the United States. Indeed, Black Panthers are still on the run from the FBI or languishing in prisons, sometimes for decades under solitary confinement. They were able to serve the people while educating them about the world we lived in. To the Black Panthers, to anyone who would call themselves a dialectical materialist, the idea that the United States Government is an institution that can be reformed is simply absurd. The United States Government, to Marxists, does not exist as a faulty waiter failing to bring free health care and universal housing with the check, but rather, to mediate class conflict in favor of the bourgeoisie – not just in the United States, but worldwide. The Black Panthers saw this, and declared themselves in solidarity with the victims of imperialism. They toured the world, meeting with revolutionaries from North Korea to Vietnam. And this, along with organizing among poor black communities in the United States, is what brought down the wrath of the state on their heads.

It is possible to say that a revolutionary movement in the United States can only exist when there is praxis that recognizes the relationship between oppression in the US and imperialism. I would further venture to say that there can be no praxis without the two elements being present concurrently, and that no honest effort at building a revolutionary movement in the US can be made without recognizing that there must be an antiwar movement to join, and that this antiwar movement must be anti-imperialist.

After all, the wars of today differ greatly from the wars of the early 20th century, the wars that threw Emma Goldman and Big Bill Haywood in jail. We no longer have the draft – the popular rage over Vietnam saw an end to that – and the US spends more time launching air strikes from unmanned drones than digging trenches or preparing for bayonet combat. Likewise, imperialism doesn’t always take place at the end of a gun. The IMF and World Bank, created at the end of World War II, helped to exert influence over economies and governments where a heavier, more direct hand was once required. The creation of NATO and the Cold War made imperialism seem a war of ideologies, rather than the ham-fisted grab at resources that it was. Now, it seems that while American bombs and bullets murder so many worldwide, we are encouraged to side with imperialism as socialists. We are expected to take on the reasoning of George W. Bush and Samantha Power so long as it is dressed up and marketed in a way that pleases us, even if we consider ourselves “Left” leaning politically. Like soda and smartphones, we are exhorted to find identity in our positions, to represent ourselves by our consumer choices.

An alarming trend is on the rise in the United States and in the English-speaking world more generally: the ubiquitous Op-Ed. What was once relegated to just one page of the newspaper (the term Op-Ed meaning something that ran on the page opposite to Editorial) now makes up large sections of online news media. I imagine it is cheaper to pay a freelancer $250 (optimistic!) for their opinion than finance a foreign bureau. Whole TV networks run on an audio-visual version of the Op-Ed. It is a form of news that directly tells its reader how to think about the current events. Many gain their information on a topic simply from reading Op-eds. Today’s columnist and pundit is a TV show, someone that we can tune into on a regular basis for entertainment and flattery. If one show is boring, if you don’t like what they’re saying – simply switch the channel. It doesn’t matter, as all are trying to sell you a ruling class agenda. And, above all else, in our 24 hour news cycle, we are never allowed to present news in a boring way. The VICE lifestyle brand turned global news channel, with its correspondents pulled from content marketing’s central casting, is a prime example of the desire to “sex-up” news by letting opinions lead coverage. It is a way to engage the youth, as it boasts openly, to not only consume brands, but also official narratives, with enthusiasm.

A narrative example from the Op-ed world of news could be as follows: In Syria, democratic protesters are fighting against a brutal regime that slaughters them with impunity. These democratic protesters, now called rebels, are always at risk of being annihilated by state violence and torture because the Western Left has “failed” them.We must all support these rebels and pressure our government to do the right thing,whatever that might be.

Some articles might be run in conjunction, many that might contradict this narrative. We might learn from respected journalists with years of experience and lauded professional histories that things aren’t so simple. We might learn from State Department press transcripts that these brave rebels take quite a lot of money from the US Government. But it doesn’t matter if half of the paper contradicts the other half. When we are told how to read the news, through the eyes of these pundits, we are happily oblivious of whatever facts might contradict our chosen authority. After all, Thomas Friedman is far more influential and famous than some no-name stringer for The Times. Anyone who might disagree with the official narrative, even if they are respected journalists, scholars or activists, are now called conspiracy theorists, “hacks” or worse.

But while journalists are still nominally held to professional standards, the pundit owes no such thing to her audience. After all, this is just her opinion, and she is not expected to have thoroughly researched differing narratives – nor is she obligated to present opposing views, or to present anything evenly – when publishing her Op-ed. This is not unexpected, nor is it dishonest to the job description of a “pundit”. It’s up to the publication to decide how much of its material is news, and how much of it is entertainment packaged as Op-eds.

Yet, there is danger when a pundit or entertainer decides to call herself a journalist without having been subjected to the same standards we would expect from the NYT stringer. Facts are not checked and sources are not vetted. So-called journalists, such as Michael Weiss or Molly Crabapple, rely heavily on anonymous sources who slip them scintillating information or photographs. And yet, I am unsure who these sources are, who has vetted them, and how they did so. Indeed, as this new generation straddles the line between journalist and pundit, the means by which they communicate are themselves in question. My own WhatsApp number is from Iraq, though I have not lived there since October 2015. So, I think it’s natural to ask how these sources are processed, especially if the Op-ed writers posing as journalists are writing whole books based on their testimony, appearing on talk shows as experts, and building careers off promoting wars. While the content may be biased and one-sided, laden with marketing copy and convenient omissions, we should be incredibly wary on how we define, protect, but also how we verify the “source”. Indeed, I wouldask how these pundits find, vet and receive information, but as many already tried to have me fired from my last job for asking such questions, it’s pointless to attempt from my position – though I welcome corrections and inputs from editorial.

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As it stands, The Guardian admitted last week that it had been fed stories on Syria by the UK Home Office operating from behind a PR firm that was operating a Syrian advocacy campaign. Breakthrough Media joins its American agency Purpose (via The Syria Campaign) in pushing advocacy for pro-intervention narratives on the Syria conflict. What is left out of the discussion of whether or not public funds are being used to propagandize war to the tax-paying public is the disclosure of who the freelance “journalists” are that are being paid or otherwise lobbied to write on Syria. We would expect that journalists taking money or in kind contributions from campaign staff disclose such information when writing on the election – why not the same expectation from those who write on foreign policy matters? Perhaps it is because, in the long run, such issues are far weightier than whatever new jab a candidate throws on social media or a cable news talk show. One of the more chilling revelations from The Guardian, one seemingly lifted straight from my book, is that some of the journalists reported they were unaware that they were being utilized in this way.

If we knew that Fred Hampton or Emma Goldman were taking money from public relations firms (who may or may not have been receiving marching orders from governments) when speaking or writing on the wars they opposed, wouldn’t that change the way we see their positions? And certainly, if we were to discover that some of our favorite, cherished personalities who regularly tell us how to read the news were taking money from PR firms, to confuse, mislead, attack or threaten activists who might otherwise try and build a case against the US government’s wars abroad and at home, wouldn’t that be a scandal?

There may be no antiwar movement today because we live in a media environment that seeks to destroy it in its nascence. Andrew Bacevich, in his recent instructive essay for Harper’s called “American Imperium”, makes the case that:

The trivializing din of what passes for news drowns out the antiwar critique. One consequence of remaining perpetually at war is that the political landscape in America does not include a peace party.

Indeed, before there can be a peace party, there must be an antiwar critique. And the “trivializing din” that Bacevich speaks of is not simply drowning out antiwar critique, it is merciless in seeking to destroy and discredit ideas such as the fact that the United States enjoys unprecedented military, economic, ideological and strategic domination over the entire world. Such ideas, when voiced publicly, are met with derision and laughter. As if, with dozens of bases and tens of thousands of soldiers surrounding Russia, one could seriously argue that Russia is imperialist, or an equal threat to world peace as the US. There are no Russian bases and no Russian soldiers garrisoned on our borders. We cannot even know, as the numbers are not publicly available, how many US soldiers and bases are currently in the Middle East – indeed, how many are currently in Iraq and Syria, where much conflict is currently taking place. Whereas before, reliable journalists and their supportive editors might have been successful in discovering such figures, they are now too focused on revenue and survival. This opens wide the door for propagandists who wish to deride and discredit any remaining “Left” antiwar sentiment in the US. Until this is resolved, building an anti-imperialist antiwar movement will remain an uphill battle, even among smaller groups, as subjectivity and sophistry continues to be taught and promoted over objectivity, materialism, serious study and clear thinking.

 

[“Emma Quangel is the woman who bravely contributed to the outing of Nazi murderer/”Last Rhodesian” Dylann Storm Roof’s blog, which probably spoiled Roof’s chances at the inexorably successful—for white supremacists—insanity defense.  After Quangel, an insanity verdict for Roof would be an insanity verdict for the U.S. white supremacist system: which is to say, in lieu of Aristotelian-bourgeois justice, Artaudian ritual magic, a self-reparative exorcism.”]

Nigeria: The Persecution of Heroes and the Patent on Terror

Boko Haram: Just another US terrorist brand to suppress Islamic movement in Nigeria

The Wall Will Fall

December 17, 2015

by Vanessa Beeley

We live in a world where those who are honoured are the sowers of discord and the reapers of mayhem, the state sponsored agents of chaos.  We no longer honour the true heroes, we honour an illusion called power and greed.  The state media apparatuses serve only to keep historic Fitna (sedition) wounds festering and the “NGO complex” pied piper plays the tune of stake-holding in human suffering, created in advance by the Empire’s composers of death.

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According to the Nigerian Government forces, a traffic infringement justifies the massacre of over 1000 Muslims who were performing the religious ceremony of ushering in the new month of Maulud, honouring  the birth of the Prophet Mohammed of Islam [pbuh].

In a statement on Sunday the army said: “The Nigerian Constitution guarantees the rights of any group of persons and Sheikh El Zakzaky’s followers to hold a peaceful march or procession unhindered, but it also guarantees other people’s rights of way on public highways.”

Claims of an attempted assassination of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai or even of the alleged attacks by the Islamic sect on the military convoy are rendered questionable by the sheer lack of reported casualties on the military side and the shockingly disproportionate loss of life and bloodshed among the Islamic Sect supporters and leaders.

If indeed, this were a simple fracas over “right of way on a public highway” which resulted in the shooting of unarmed Muslims, why then did the same Nigerian government armed forces attack Hussainiyah, the sect’s headquarters later the same evening, hours after the initial clashes?   Why did they deliberately target high ranking members of the Shi’ite Islamic movement and execute Hamad Zakaky, son of the movement leader Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky.  Why did they attack and wound the Sheikh’s wife, Zeenat?  Why did they shoot the Sheikh himself, four times in his hands, publicly humiliate and arrest him? Why, if this was not a premediated act of aggression and suppression, had the Army ensured the presence of camera teams at both attacks and why were women and children not spared the murderous hail of bullets?

These are all questions that the mainstream media should be asking, yet this massacre has been swept under the carpet of indifference by Western media.

Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky is a man of peace, unity and vision. These qualities alone represent a threat to the hegemony and neo-colonialist strategy of the Axis of Empire in Africa and would justify the repeated attempts to suppress and inhibit the growth of his Shia Muslim movement and his popular, unifying influence that transcended the borders of Nigeria and was taking root in many countries on the continent.

To more fully understand this violent targeting of the Sheikh and the Islamic Movement, we must take into consideration, both the historical and more recent influences upon Nigeria.

China has been an evolving partnership in Nigeria, investing heavily in the development of infrastructure and fixed assets, refineries and factories.  In a role diametrically opposed to the traditional plundering partnerships of the US and other neo-colonialists with sovereign nations, China contrarily seems to have a genuinely vested interest in the stability of Nigeria to support a mutually beneficial economic and trade relationship reliant upon the growth and profitability of Nigeria itself.

This concept adopted by China of a symbiotic expansion & growth, is an anathema to the US neo-colonialism in the region, and particularly in Nigeria.  The presence of China in a country so abundant in oil, uranium, diamond, mineral & timber resources is an acute thorn in the side of the US carpetbaggers who have perceived the Continent’s largest economy & oil producer to be their bread basket and theirs alone.

President Buhari is the US man in Nigeria, brought to power by the familiar US think tanks and “Change” promoters, channelling well researched “public” opinion through slick marketing campaigns and endorsed by the most elite of the US political “casting” directors, the New York Times who raised Buhari to the dizzy heights of a “born-again Democrat!” and deemed his ascent to power a “a turning point in Nigeria’s democratic evolution”.

The democratic suit worn by Buhari has been designed, cut and sewn into place by the corporate & financial elite tailors in Washington to ensure that Buhari remains firmly stitched to the coat tails of their agenda in Nigeria and never extends the threads of true democracy to the people who elected him on empty promises of “change”.

It is logical, rational and reasonable to speculate that Boko Haram is effectively another terrorist trade name, brought into existence, to destabilize a region that is daring to jailbreak from US colonialism and to explore alternative bi-lateral trade pathways that deviate from the US regional “road maps”.

Boko Haram’s presence, has a threefold purpose:

  1. It successfully elevates the Nigerian army to defender of the “meek” against the “terror” threat and provides cover for any violent opposition suppression.
  2. It gives the US justification for “boots on the ground”, military support for anti Boko Haram aka pro US factions,  and the ubiquitous drone strikes against the alleged “terror” strongholds,  a devastating strategy already observed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen to name a few.
  3. It ensures the fragmentation, sectarian division, and fracturing of unity and a state of perpetual chaos which will seismically derail China’s investment in Nigeria’s physical and economic infrastructure essential to their US exclusive growth.

Sheikh Zakzaky had alluded to this very terror “patent” in his reaction to the suicide bomb attack on the Shia Arba’een procession in Kano on the 27th November 2015.  Over 24 died and many were injured in further violent targeting of the minority Shia community in Nigeria.

“We know the names of the contractors and those contracted to commit the massacre, their identity is not hidden from us. Therefore we cannot be cowed by an imaginary Boko Haram tale, let them tell it to the fools and ignorant. They should know that they are dealing with those with foresight, wisdom and intelligence, and above all with the real religion”.

This statement struck at the very heart of the US/NATO, Israeli and GCC strategy in Nigeria and threatened to undermine their architecture of “terror” foundations.  The Sheikh made it clear that Boko Haram were none other than gangs of mercenaries, hired contractual killers, being unleashed to foment sectarian violence and an atmosphere of fear and division where only US appointed, backed and controlled “saviours” would emerge victorious.

When we consider the sheer numbers of gangs and rival gangs, extremist factions and sects emerging inorganically and globally, we can begin to connect the dots. All have as their purpose, the sowing and reaping of rapacious violence, the construct of division, the provocation of turmoil, the incitement of hatred and fear. All are posing as the enemies of Imperialism whilst serving Imperialist agendas.  All fulfil roles of humanity- averse abomination and simultaneous US alliance proxy forces percolating from one target region to the next.

Grey Wolves, FSA, ISIS, DAESH, Al Qaeda, Khorasan, AQAP, Jabhat al Nusra and Boko Haram [to name a few], are they all nothing more than trade names, successfully managed brand images, logos and IDs all emanating from the US/NATO, Israel and Gulf State holders of the patent on terror and their associated marketing agents and concept creators?

Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky also challenges another malevolent bastion of Nigeria’s landscape, the powerful pro- Israel lobby whose growth and expansion in Nigeria had been hugely facilitated by former President and Christian Zionist, Goodluck Johnathan.  Nigeria is now home to Africa’s largest Israeli Jewish community [15, 000 in 2014].

The Sheikh is a steadfast and vociferous opponent of the illegal state of Israel and an uncompromising defender of freedom for Palestine, and the right to return for Palestinians living in Diaspora since the 1948 Nakba. His son Hamad, who was reportedly murdered during the 12/12 attacks had been with us at the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine 3rd Annual Conference being held in Beirut and had only left us on the 11th December, one day before he was to be targeted by the pro-Israel Government forces.

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Hamad’s final recorded speech before his untimely death had been one that supported and celebrated the Al Quds Day rallies and protests particularly in Nigeria and Pakistan where lives have been routinely lost in the battle to honour and protect the core identity of the Palestinian struggle, Al Quds. Hamad had, himself, lost his three brothers, Ahmed, Hamid and Mahmood during one such rally in 2014 when hundreds of the Islamic Movement supporters were also mown down during another Nigerian army attack on unarmed solidarity demonstrators for the Palestinian cause.

“I would like to give a message to Pakistan’s brave nation, especially to those families who have sacrificed the lives of their loved ones and to those whose loved ones were martyred in Quetta during Al-Quds’ rally. I am proud that my brothers were martyred in Al-Quds’ rally and they gave their lives for supporting Palestinians”.

These were Hamad’s last words to the world before the 12/12 bloodbath in Nigeria stripped one more son from the family of Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky, Hamad gave his young life in the service of peace & freedom.  A life that was unrecognised by Western or even Palestinian media on the day he died.

Paul Larudee of Free Palestine had this to say about a young man who impressed all who met him at the Beirut conference with his quiet humility and unassuming humanity:

“Such a sweet and intelligent young man, very quiet and unassuming.  Made me want to know him better.  

 

According to him Boko Haram is just another group of terrorist thugs, thriving like ISIS through infusions of money and arms from both outside and inside Nigeria.  Our tax dollars at work.  Why does the greatest evil always seem to rise to the top of our societies, while the poor and the meek are always ready to help others?  Is evil the only way to rise to a position of strength?”

 

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Hamad Zakzaky with us all at the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine Conference.

Into this maelstrom of lawless and Machiavellian meddling in Nigeria we can add one final component without which the neo-colonialist frontlines would not be complete: the Saudi Wahhabi agents of Islamic “change” who are the subterranean source of Muslim extremism and religious fanaticism;  the funders and suppliers of the brand name proxy forces, deployed to whip up the “terror” frenzy wherever it is required to destabilize or unhinge unity that may jeopardize Empire’s intent.

With ultimate irony, it is Riyadh that is self- appointed to combat the terrorism created in its image, by forming a coalition of 34 predominantly Muslim nations, Nigeria included, with the predictable exclusion of Iran, Syria and Iraq all of whom are involved in battling the Saudi NATO sourced terror hordes on the ground.

In direct contrast with this deliberate policy of divide and conquer,  Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky is a man of religious respect and tolerance, he embraces Christians, Sunnis and Sufis alike despite his Shia centric movement and its ties with Tehran, which naturally represents an additional and perceived monumental threat to US/NATO and Saudi/Israeli regional hegemony.

The Islamic Movement is also renowned for its reformist policies, prioritizing education and establishing Islamic schools incorporating secular subjects in addition to Quranic teaching.  Hospitals and health clinics have been set up where care is free for those without the means to pay for it.  The Sheikh has deterred his supporters from shedding their own blood to commemorate the shedding of Imam Hussein’s blood and redirected them to donate this blood to local hospitals, thus saving lives in memory of their beloved Imam Hussein.

The Western media silence over the Zaria massacre is indicative of their collusion in this mass killing of innocents and proof of the role they play in exacerbating global sectarian division at the behest of their Washington, Tel Aviv and Saudi donors and backers.

The initial silence of the Palestinian community, the media, the NGOs, the solidarity organisations is less expected and more worrying given the Islamic Movement’s steadfast support of the Palestinian cause and opposition to the illegal State of Israel.

This is a missed opportunity for the unity of peoples suffering from the same symptoms of neo colonialism, regardless of creed, sect or religion.  Al Quds represents the identity, not only of Palestinians but of the entire Arab world. Those who defend it from Israeli occupation are those who are enduring their own form of occupation by the patented terror armies: Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen, and Syria. As these nations unite behind Palestine to prise loose Israel’s jaws from the third most sacred site for the Muslim Ummah, Palestine is needed to unite behind those who give their lives for Palestine and thus for Humanity.  It is this unity that will resolve the ancient theological disputes that are permitting the externally induced sectarian fault lines to widen and deepen.

We live in a world where those who are honoured are the sowers of discord and the reapers of mayhem, the state sponsored agents of chaos.  We no longer honour the true heroes, we honour an illusion called power and greed.  The state media apparatuses serve only to keep historic Fitna (sedition) wounds festering and the “NGO complex” pied piper plays the tune of stake-holding in human suffering, created in advance by the Empire’s composers of death.

Leaders, visionaries,  like Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky show us the way to a new world, one that is driven by justice and progress, dependent upon compassion, communication and unification. They show us that courage, universal respect & humility is needed to evade the dystopian future that is being forced upon us by the ruling elite. It is these men of integrity who resist corruption and maintain their morals and fundamental principles despite their own personal suffering and loss, that we should honour and aspire to emulate.

“Reason with this: Who is carrying out senseless killings in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon? They are the same people carrying out attacks here, and we know them. We cannot be cowed” ~ Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaky.

END.

Thanks to:

Dan Glazebrook:  https://www.rt.com/op-edge/323656-deadliest-terror-boko-haram/

WSWS:  http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/05/30/nige-j12.html

21st Century Wire:  http://21stcenturywire.com/2015/12/14/gladio-global-gangs-and-counter-gangs-in-europe-ireland-iraq-and-now-in-syria/

Plfpakistan:  http://www.plfpakistan.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47167:hammad-zakzakys-message-to-pakistani-nation-a-day-before-his-martyrdom&catid=4:general

Elbinawi.wordpress.com:  https://elbinawi.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/why-they-targeted-sheikh-zakzaky/

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The Debate – Massacre of Shias in Nigeria (Dec 14th, 2015):

[Vanessa Beeley is a photographer, writer, peace activist and volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine.  She lived in Gaza during Operation Pillar of Defence and again in 2013.  In 2014 she established the Gaza Smile Project to raise funds for children in Gaza. Since 2011, Vanessa has spent most of her time in the Middle East .  She was recently invited to be on the steering committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement.]

Avaaz – Imperialism’s Willing Collaborator

Middle East Monitor

March 5, 2015

by Ramona Wadi

 

PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ endeavours to obtain symbolic recognition of Palestinian statehood from European countries had, as intended, eclipsed the necessity of developing awareness of the importance of Palestine’s anti-colonial struggle.

With each assertion garnered, mainstream media hype created an additional illusion out of futile gestures. Meanwhile, seemingly on the periphery, international human rights organisations and NGOs continued with their strategy of working alongside the political hegemony advocating for the two-state paradigm.

Avaaz – the “global organization with a simple democratic mission,” which should accurately translate into the imperialist collaborator manipulating activism into diplomacy, has contributed to the agenda of rendering Palestinians subservient to Israel’s colonial demands.

In 2011, the Avaaz petition to UN member states calling for recognition of the state of Palestine contained a simplistic affirmation to “turn the tide on decades of failed peace talks, end the occupation and move towards peace based on two states.” The identical rhetoric was applied to another petition in 2012 prior to the UN’s recognition of Palestine as a non-member state, along with an update declaring the move a huge victory while once again eliminating the reality of settler-colonialism.

Prior to the European Parliament vote on Palestinian statehood, Avaaz urged its community “to support a resolution that calls for clear, urgent recognition of the state of Palestine, as a significant move towards a final agreement on a two state solution.” The European public’s support for Palestine, according to Avaaz, should enable Europe to lead “the way to peace”. The organisation’s tactic is an attempt to separate US and EU political dynamics, in an attempt to induce further oblivion among its global activist community about complicity in Israeli colonialism. The petition’s “success” was heralded with a hypocritical header that stated “Thanks! We’ve sent ripples of hope to Palestine and Israel.”

As expected, Avaaz refrained from explaining to its followers the implications of the two-state compromise; including the obvious seeking of legitimacy from the oppressor should the concept be implemented. Avaaz has maintained the unspoken international agenda – that of prioritising “occupation” over colonisation, in a manner that discards Palestinian history and memory for convenient terminology which lessens the implications of oppression inflicted upon the indigenous population by Israel’s colonial existence.

Avaaz’s global platform, allegedly 100% funded by “small online donations”, has become a principal actor in furthering the imperialist agenda. Its choice of causes, including the advocating of NATO intervention according to US agenda of regime change, are later interpreted as an expression of the global community – a reflection of the massive amount of signatures Avaaz is capable of garnering for their chosen agendas. However, its alleged dedication to fighting injustice and oppression is clearly subject to selective criteria, which is then packaged as an attractive, mainstream cause, divested of implications and disseminated online for people to sign and deem themselves participants in the struggle for Avaaz’s concept of justice. Millions of signatures later, the organisation publishes a congratulatory message on its website to maintain its community and Avaaz remains at the helm, retaining its duplicitous role as alleged activist and collaborator in imperialist oppression.

WATCH: The Do Gooders

Wrong Kind of Green

February 4, 2015

by Lisa Intee

do gooders

‘NGOs are increasingly motivated by self interest, they need money, they need to pay themselves in their jobs and in order to get those contracts they have to keep quiet about what’s going on and that’s really shitty to see. What they are doing is talking about it as a humanitarian crisis, when in fact what we have is a people where every aspect of their lives is being militarily and economically controlled and oppressed,’ said Ruthven.

This documentary was worth watching. The film maker, Chloe Ruthven, seems unclear about her aims in the documentary, nonetheless it is revealing. As one review put it: “As an investigative documentary, The Do Gooders is a failure. As a depiction of an interfering foreigner failing to help anyone, it’s a curiously honest account of the state of the world. The possibility that it doesn’t mean to be is even more revealing.”

Chloe begins by discussing the work her grandparents did as aid workers in Palestine and it seems that she is making a film about retracing their steps and examining the aid workers in Palestine today. It shows a place saturated with ‘internationals’, ranging from gap year style youths to bloggers and journalists, imposing either their ideas or cameras on people. It seems there is a whole industry set up to manage all this- from organisations to manage volunteers to bars and restaurants for foreigners to meet and mingle in after a day’s voluntourism. On a whole other level, there are the large ‘aid’ groups like USAID driving around in fancy cars funding dubious projects.

The direction then changes as the film maker hires Lubna, a Palestinian woman, to drive her and translate for her. Chloe stays in Lubna’s home in her bed, leaving Lubna to sleep on a mat on the floor whilst continually pointing her camera at Lubna. We then get to see the situation from the point of view of a Palestinian. Lubna makes a lot of remarks to Chloe that are insightful. She tells her “You are always interviewing white people” and takes her to interview Palestinian people. Lubna’s insight and comments and Chloe’s reactions are what make this documentary so revealing. Whilst Chloe shows the aid industry to be a self-serving sham for the most part, her own sense of entitlement is also revealing. When Lubna meets other Palestinian people and speaks to them in Arabic, Chloe feels left out and has a temper tantrum and storms off in tears. The comments Lubna has made along the lines of (paraphrasing) “why don’t you learn Arabic if you want to spend time here?” and (again paraphrasing) “I don’t think you see your white privilege” seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Towards the end, there is more questioning regarding the aquifers and road-building, showing the absolute injustices that Palestinians face. Lubna and Chloe then visit a community organisation run by Palestinian women who have refused funding as the funding comes with ties to it. This appears to be a rare example of a grassroots organisation. One reviewer (see below for link) points out: “At the moment there are 144 humanitarian organisations working in Palestine, of which 51 are UN agencies, 78 international NGOs and only 15 local organisations. Any local organisations require a number of internationals on their board to be deemed legit and get funding.”

What particularly stood out for me were two comments Lubna made. The first was along the lines of “Why do you come here to help, we don’t need help – we need Israel to stop occupying our land, why don’t you become activists in your own countries?” The second and most poignant was when Lubna sees a settlement for the first time and the contrast between the dry land and the irrigated and watered land in the settlement is acute. They are in a park in a settlement and the grass is green, there are trees and the houses look like expensive villas. Lubna is clearly in shock, biting back tears and says very simply: “This is apartheid”.

Watch the film: http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/51260/The-Do-Gooders

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aid, Internationalists and Self Interest in Palestine

Just a Platform

Oct 19, 2013

by Sav D’Souza

Chloe Ruthven’s excellent documentary The Do Gooders, which showed at this year’s London Film Festival, shed not an inconsiderable light on how ‘international aid’ works in operation in places such as Palestine.

The concept of “aid”, in its numerous guises, humanitarian, international, overseas, foreign or overseas all invoke a nice altruistic association but the reality as Ruthven found in Palestine is that aid is more about political control, power and influence.

‘NGOs are increasingly motivated by self interest, they need money, they need to pay themselves in their jobs and in order to get those contracts they have to keep quiet about what’s going on and that’s really shity to see. What they are doing is talking about it as a humanitarian crisis, when in fact what we have is a people where every aspect of their lives is being militarily and economically controlled and oppressed,’ said Ruthven.

Two aspects of the “valuable infrastructure” that Ruthven delved into were roads and water in the occupied West Bank.  Roads it seems benefit US construction contractors and people with business and assets and not directed to what local disadvantaged people need or desire. Ruthven highlighted a more sinister aspect too – how when roads are built they cut of Palestinians, effectively by building two roads, an ‘apartheid road system’ as it has been called. ‘By using the main artery roads and preventing Palestinians from using them by this kind of road blocking system. Every time the Israelis build a bit of new road in the West Bank for the settlers, they cut off the village roads that come down and join that central road and so Palestinians can’t actually access it even though it’s in the territory,” said Ruthven. “At the same time USAID are also building Palestinian roads that are taking Palestinians further away from the main artery roads, and yet telling the Palestinians they are coming to help them” added Ruthven.

aid to palestineImage Labour2Palestine via Flickr

Then there is huge amounts of money spent on flashy water pump systems, complete with typical USAID obligatory PR fanfare overdrive, which in practice appear nothing more than a grand vanity project. As Ruthven explained ‘All the engineers know that there is no water, it’s like you can build the flashiest Ferrari engine but if there is no petrol! In my probing it became clear that everyone knows this up front so it’s not like they made a mistake.’ In her movie Ruthven is seen having just such a discussion with an engineer about water in the region, the engineer telling her about the situation resulting from the Oslo agreement which meant that Israel was assigned two aquifers and Palestine one, adding that when Palestinians want to drill or do anything to get more water they have to ask for Israeli permission which is invariably refused. It was at this point in the film that a USAID representative nervously efficiently calls time on the conversation.   In 2009 an Amnesty International report was highly critical of the  “discriminatory water policies and practices are denying Palestinians their right to access to water.”

US AID Palestine Image US Army Africa

One of the main issues around aid to Palestine, but that could also be just as applicable for numerous other countries, is that it comes with strings attached and so is deeply politicised. Current systems of aid provision are carefully controlled and managed and dictated by Western organisations that know best. Not really much democracy at play in the sense of what local people think, want or need.

ngos palestine

Already living in an occupied land which is both restrictive and prescriptive, Palestinians have to deal with “Do Gooders”, the entourage of “internationalists”, NGOs and the likes of USAID, when what Ruthven’s film shows is that want they want is the right to self determination, to work out between themselves how to improve their lives on a daily basis and look to the future. Too much to ask for? Maybe they lack the wisdom of the more sophisticated westerners to achieve this?

women organisations palestine Image www.dalia.ps

A good example of what can be achieved is a grassroots organisation called the Dalia Association. Dalia is a Palestinian community foundation which is addressing and reacting to the problems they face by involving people in the decision making process, using resources to try and achieve their goals and being self accountable as a community and not external bodies.  Ruthven went to visit the organisation  in her film where she interviewed a member of the organisation who told her that they had refused to sign a potential grant application worth $200,000 as it stipulated that there could be no ties to organisations such as Hamas.

palestine and israelImage disbona via Flickr

Although Hamas is seen as a political party that has support all over occupied Palestine and means different things to different people in the region any association to them means that your organisation will not get funded, and individuals will not get a job working with the Internationalists due to Hamas being deemed a terrorist organisation.

At the moment there are 144 humanitarian organisations working in Palestine, of which 51 are UN agencies, 78 international NGOs and only 15 local organisations. Any local organisations require a number of internationals on their board to be deemed legit and get funding.

Palestinians seem to be having a different conversation between themselves about what they need and want than that which are being offered through foreign aid. Tired of the same old status quo which ultimately does nothing than continue the cycle of aid dependence and control, grassroots organisations like Dalia are trying to forge a different way.

 

The Intercept’s Interference: Notes on Media, Capitalism, & Imperialism | Part II: Non-Governmental Force Multipliers

Cats, Not War

April 6, 2014

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In wondering whether Marcy Wheeler could plausibly claim legitimate doubt about the activities of Pierre Omidyar’s NGO in Ukraine, Tarzie asked whether an NGO could ever be anything other than an arm of soft imperialism. The answer to that latter question is actually yes, conceivably and even probably, although I can’t think of any such NGOs off the top of my head. The reason to believe that an NGO can be something other than a soft arm of imperialist power is that there are just so damned many of them. To shine a light on this, we have Eyal Weizman, to whose work I will return several times in this post. He offers specifics on the explosion of NGOs in just a few slivers of the world:

‘While in 1980 there were about 40 NGOs dealing with the Ethiopian famine, a decade later 250 were operating during the Yugoslavian war; by 2004, 2,500 were involved in Afghanistan.’

One must now imagine how many NGOs are operating worldwide. They serve a wide range of purposes, receiving money from a wide range of donors. The question as it pertains to Marcy Wheeler and The Intercept more generally is not about any old NGO; it’s about an NGO funded by USAID, a worldwide organization that shares funding and partnerships with the CIA and the State Department, and, in Ukraine, an oligarch, Pierre Omidyar. Therein lies the proper question: can this specific kind of NGO ever be anything other than the soft arm of imperialism? Of course not, I say.

A ‘transparency’ NGO against a rival regime of the United States plays a very particular role, which is why I mentioned multiple locales of NGOs in my last post about The Intercept. The meaning of an NGO funded by USAID in Ukraine is quite different from the meaning of a humanitarian NGO operating in the West Bank. The first is, in Ames’ words, ‘a force multiplier’ for the goal of regime change; the second is mainly a humanitarian agent, very often nominally aligned against Israel’s military occupation, or at least against the general spirit of it, but nonetheless tolerated by Israel. In both cases, the NGOs, as I mentioned before, obscure class consciousness; the reason is that the fascist state–as an absorber of superfluous capital and, through its police forces, protector of private property–is fundamentally opposed to the emergence of the communistic movements of the societies they are tasked with governing, by which I mean controlling and containing.

I’ll begin with the Israeli case and then work back to Ukraine. In the case of Israel, NGOs exist in lieu of the military policies and architecture that have ghettoized hundreds of segments of society within historic Palestine. Palestinians have been separated from Israelis; Druze have been separated from Palestinians; Palestinians have been separated from Palestinians (think of the distance between Gaza and the West Bank); Palestinians have been separated from Ethiopian refugees, which have in turn been separated from Israeli Jews, and you are beginning to get an idea of the utter fragmentation that Israel’s divide-and-conquer strategies have produced. But one more fragmentation must be mentioned, among the most crucial: class fragmentation, which includes even the strategic placement of the Israeli working and under classes in relation to the upper classes. In physically organizing its society according to relatively modern identities it’s helped to shape, Israel has thus far successfully thwarted communistic threats to its power (albeit not very often with ease), and that success increases if these respective identity groups embrace as political projects in themselves the various identities given to them by power. The political dilemma of identity cannot be ignored, as there are real differences between the marginalization of the Israeli working class and that of Palestinians under Israel’s racializing project. (As the Palestinians experience a more advanced form of alienation, it is the job of the Israeli working class to offer proper solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.) But this is not to say that the procurement of identity makes for a worthy political end goal in itself. Should these groups treat identity formation as a critique and a resistance in itself, they will, as subjects of Israeli power, from Israeli working classes to the Druze to the Palestinians, overlook the demands of their own struggles, as well as the possibilities hinted at by famed Palestinian revolutionary Ghassan Kanafani in a 1972 interview (a possibility again hinted at by the Qassam Brigades on November 17, 2012, as mentioned in the above-linked article by Max Ajl):

‘So you do see contradictions within the Israeli population which can divide them in the future, and provide the Palestinian resistance with allies within Israeli society?

‘Of course. But this will not happen easily. First of all, we must escalate the revolution to the stage where it poses an alternative to them, because up to now it has not been so. It is nonsense to start talking about a ‘Democratic Palestine’ at this stage; theoretically speaking it establishes a good basis for future debates, but this debate can only occur when the Palestinian resistance is a realistic alternative.

‘You mean it must be able to provide a practical alternative for the Israeli proletariat?

‘Yes. But at the moment it is very difficult to get the Israeli working-class to listen to the voice of the Palestinian resistance, and there are several obstacles to this. These include the Israeli ruling class and the Arab ruling classes. The Arab ruling classes do not present either Israelis or Arabs with a prospect of democracy. One might well ask: where is there a democracy in the Arab world? The Israeli ruling class is obviously an obstacle as well. But there is a third obstacle, which is the real, if small, benefit that the Israeli proletariat derives from its colonialist status within Israel. For not only is the situation of Israeli workers a colonialist one, but they gain from the fact that Israel as a whole has been recruited to play a specific role in alliance with imperialism. Two kinds of movement are required to break down these barriers, in order for there to be future contact between an anti-Zionist Israeli proletariat and the Arab resistance movement. These will be the resistance movement on the one hand and an opposition movement within Israel itself; but there is no real sign of such a convergence yet, since, although Matzpen exists, what would be necessary is a mass proletarian movement.’

Within the primarily Palestinian space of the West Bank, countless NGOs have cropped up, which leads to another Tarzie question: can’t the Israeli working class work with NGOs in the West Bank? The answer is, once again, conceivably, but that’s as far as it goes. This has not been the case, and we must account for the reasons. The first question worth asking is, why does Israel, a state that typically gets away with whatever brutality it wishes to exact, tolerate so many NGOs working nominally against it in territories under its direct military control? Answering that question requires another question: what do these NGOs do? There are two primary types of NGOs in the West Bank: humanitarian ones, those which offer general health supplies to the brutalized Palestinian population, and informational NGOs, those which provide the brutalized population with a space for political organization, things like publishing pamphlets and setting up lectures and panel discussions.

The humanitarian NGOs working in Palestine have, according to Weizman, adopted an essentially theological ethos to address the issue of suffering. (This would not be the first or only time social justice movements have adopted monotheistic tenants to meet the world’s problems; I hope to address this in a future post.) Weizman proposes that the main theological presupposition animating humanitarian impulse in an occupation situation is St. Augustine’s principle of lesser evil: lesser evils are to be tolerated when they are deemed unavoidable. More:

‘The lesser evil is the argument of the humanitarian agent that seeks military permission to provide medicines and aid in places where it is in fact the duty of the occupying military power to do so, thus saving the limited military resources. The lesser evil is often the justification of the military officer who attempts to administer life (and death) in an “enlightened” manner; it is sometimes, too, the brief of the security contractor who introduces new and more efficient weapons and spatio-technological means of domination, and advertises them as “humanitarian technology”. In these cases the logic of the lesser evil opens up a thick political field of participation bringing together otherwise opposing fields of action, to the extent that it might obscure the fundamental moral differences between these various groups. But, even according to the terms of an economy of losses and gains, the concept of the lesser evil risks becoming counterproductive: less brutal measures are also those that may be more easily naturalized, accepted and tolerated—and hence more frequently used, with the result that a greater evil may be reached cumulatively.’

So there it lies. A calculation that seeks to alleviate a suffering tacitly accepts the endurability of that suffering and ultimately prolongs it. The Israeli ruling class is, like most imperialists, not stupid; it knows that humanitarian NGOs pose zero threat, and so it tolerates them.

Informational NGOs in the West Bank are more so the hangouts of those foreigners too politically savvy to get caught up in the obvious pitfalls of liberal humanitarianism, which is really just so Daily Show and Obama ’08. Here is where young foreigners of a more radical bent can go to exchange political ideas with Palestinians, perhaps even to set up times and dates for attending demonstrations so that they can make themselves useful by obstructing an IDF’s soldier’s path when he attempts to arrest a Palestinian. And these young internationalist activists will likely help with lectures from guest speakers around the world and will help to publish pamphlets detailing the harsh realities of Israeli occupation. It is telling how these outlets are staffed so overwhelmingly with volunteers from around the world, as opposed to Israeli proles, but not necessarily surprising. This is the class makeup that can be expected in the wake of Israel’s forcible fragmentation of the society underneath it: the class makeup of the propaganda NGO is first of all a function of Israeli structure. After all, who can afford to take up life in the West Bank, an area deprived of water and job opportunities (outside these NGOs, of course) and right to movement? Not Israeli proles, generally speaking, but rather upper class students from the United States and Europe. And Israel tolerates this form of Palestinian political expression because it allows Palestinians a vent for their frustrations without forming the kinds of political bonds that can easily (if at all) upend the Zionist system. In this sense, these NGOs play the same role as state-sanctioned demonstrations in the United States, allowing people the illusion of impact because people are, at the end of the day, ‘doing something.’ There simply is no comparison between a bond formed between a Palestinian and an international student only in Palestine for a semester or two (and with a bright future to lose) and a bond formed between a Palestinian and an Israeli worker condemned to existence in Israeli society for the long haul. Not all bonds are equally dangerous.

The role of NGOs in places where the U.S. desires regime change is markedly different, because the situation is markedly different. Admittedly, when examining the situation in Ukraine, claims about U.S. regime change require more work to prove, because the policy there is less overt than was regime change in, say, Iraq. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is the main dilemma of detailing imperialism in the age of Obama. But it is worth noting still that even in those instances of overt regime change, brought about through land invasion and long-term occupation using ground troops, NGOs played an important role in U.S. policy. To quote Weizman once again, ‘After the fall of Baghdad in 2003, American NGOs funded via USAID were informed by the US Administration that “their cooperation was linked inextricably to America’s strategic goals.”‘ Weizman notes that Colin Powell referred to these NGOs operating in Iraq as a ‘force multiplier,’ which perhaps explains where Mark Ames picked up the phrase.

One way of knowing that Pierre Omidyar knew what he was getting into when he decided to share an investment with USAID in Ukraine is that USAID’s worldwide purpose is openly available knowledge, especially to those money men with a direct financial interest in USAID’s purpose. Powell and the ‘U.S. administration’ acknowledged it. If one fails to be satisfied by the open declarations of the U.S. regime, one can of course consult its ‘private’ correspondences about USAID, revealed in leaked Wikileaks cables. As with open declarations, the private dialogues of the U.S. regime are loaded with euphemism; ‘regime change’ is described as a ‘transition to democracy.’ Over at the Anti-Empire Report, William Blum quotes a cable mentioning USAID’s activities in Venezuela:

‘During his 8 years in power, President Chavez has systematically dismantled the institutions of democracy and governance. The USAID/OTI program objectives in Venezuela focus on strengthening democratic institutions and spaces through non-partisan cooperation with many sectors of Venezuelan society.’

Blum goes on to describe these initiatives as ‘a transition from the target country adamantly refusing to cooperate with American imperialist grand designs to a country gladly willing (or acceding under pressure) to cooperate with American imperialist grand designs.’ These initiatives were to be taken against Chavez and ‘his attempt to divide and polarize Venezuelan society using rhetoric of hate and violence. OTI supports local NGOs who work in Chavista strongholds and with Chavista leaders, using those spaces to counter this rhetoric and promote alliances through working together on issues of importance to the entire community.’ Eventually the cable becomes mercifully frank about the efforts USAID and OTI must take against this hateful rhetoric (also know as class conscious agitation): ‘1) Strengthening Democratic Institutions, 2) Penetrating Chavez’ Political Base, 3) Dividing Chavismo, 4) Protecting Vital US business, and 5) Isolating Chavez Internationally.’ Sounds like a recipe for regime change to me.

As I mentioned in my previous article, NGOs participate in PsyOps. Among the most common forms of PsyOp is the attempt to convince a subject population (or potential subject population) that the United States supports it. One way this is done is by providing aid to underclass populations; the example I provided was the aid Junglas provide to rural Colombians. As these PsyOps are simple and common, one can easily learn about them–and USAID’s role in them–by doing a simple Wikileaks search. Here USAID’s PsyOps efforts in Nigeria are described:

‘Nigerians reacting to Mission-sponsored media reports June – September 2003 on U.S.-Nigeria partnership successes on health, HIV/AIDS, agriculture, education, and conflict resolution, say they are amazed at the level of support given to Nigeria by the U.S. Government.  They expressed similar sentiments on their assessment of media reports on the Ambassador’s Self-Help and the Ambassador’s Girl Scholarship programs, as well as the Widernet’s university interconnectivity program.  The positive impact of the success stories was clearly evident during the recent defeat of stiff conservative northern opposition to the August polio vaccination rounds.  Reactions have been very positive on USAID’s contributions towards revival of agriculture, especially gum arabic trade, and the LEAP program to upgrade primary educational standards in northern Nigeria.  The Basketball for Peace Project is another success story that Nigerians say they value greatly because the program targets jobless youths in the crisis-prone Kaduna State.  Radio listeners, television viewers and Hausa readers in 19 northern States, including conservative Muslim radicals in Nasarawa, Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Katsina, Borno, Plateau, Zamfara, and Jigawa States, say the success stories surprised them because they never knew the U.S. was doing so much for Nigeria. Hopefully, these images may change some of their negative views about the U.S.’

I especially like this example because it includes mention of a basketball program–my Colombia example included mention of basketball courts constructed for poor Colombian youth. So because the function of USAID’s programs is so obvious, it is reasonable to say that Omidyar knew what he was getting into when he decided to collaborate with USAID in Ukraine. So reasonable that it is not necessary to assume anything. USAID’s goals in Ukraine are clearly described in other leaked cables; they are economic goals in which any sensible billionaire would interested–the most salient example being intellectual property rights to be ensured by the World Trade Organization, that is, ‘types of intellectual property rights that will be protected by the State Customs Service… or the customs regimes in which Customs will intervene to protect these rights. Customs reform that is anchored into a modern code consistent with international standards, will be critical for greater market integration.’ In other words, in order for international investors to make profits off of investments in Ukraine, the legal standards must first exist by which corporate conduits can extract those profits and deliver them to individual oligarchs. If you’re wondering how intellectual property accomplishes this, do yourself a favor and read Kevin Carson’s definitive essay on the subject.

Those are just a few examples. I. Could. Go. On. All. Fucking. Day. About. This. USAID. Shit.

We know what kinds of interests Omidyar held in the Ukraine, and we know even more about the means by which he tried to secure them. But even if we didn’t know these matters exactly, we’d have enough information to reach reasonable conclusions about the activities of this billionaire. That some progressive journalists think we don’t seems to me, well, counterintuitive. Either that, or the effect of a billionaire buying progressive journalists is that progressive journalists cease to be skeptical of billionaires, which rather cancels out the ‘progressive’ part. It’s a matter of rich men removing ‘Eat the Rich’ from the political program, for self-explanatory reasons. In addition to that, the employees of rich men are marshaling group acceptance and ostracizing those hungry for the rich. More on that, specifically on our favorite celebrity journalist, Glenn Greenwald, in the next and final post of this series. See you tomorrow for that one, everybody.

 

Further Reading:

Introduction: The Intercept’s Interference: Notes on Media | http://catsnotwar.blogspot.ca/2014/03/the-intercepts-interference-notes-on.html

Part 1: Financial Capital is Destructive Capital | http://catsnotwar.blogspot.ca/2014/04/part-i-financial-capital-is-destructive.html

Part 2: Above

Part 3: A Return to Conspiracy and Its Theories | http://catsnotwar.blogspot.ca/2014/04/part-iii-return-to-conspiracy-and-its.html

 

FLASHBACK 2007 | Hijacking Human Rights | Human Rights Watch

human rights watch logo

August 03, 2007

ZCommunications

by Michael Barker

In our increasingly public relations-driven world, it is of little surprise that cynical political elites regularly use the rhetoric of democracy, peace, and human rights to disguise their overtly anti-humanist policies. Why should we expect less of our leaders in a world where the corporate media wages a relentless war to manufacture our consent for ruling demagogues? Thus it seems a logical assumption that budding mind managers will attempt to pervert the very concepts that their voters/targets hold most dearly. That this doublespeak is rendered invisible in the mainstream media is a given, but the lack of debate about this process in the alternative media is more worrisome.

Suzanne Nossel | PEN America Hypocrisy

Suzanne Nossel

Continuity – A Public Good Project Initiative

Jan 21, 2013

By Jay Taber

When I first joined PEN America ten years ago, I was happy to pay my membership fee to support its work in advancing literature and defending free expression. But over the years, I’ve become disillusioned with the organization–partly due to its selective human rights agenda, and more recently due to its profound lack of judgment in choosing its new executive director.

Capitalism, the Highest Stage of Imperialism

Oct 19, 2012

By Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African Socialist International. Thanks to an Uhuru comrade from Milwaukee for making this piece available.

“Elaborating, Marx declared, “The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation…

Palestine | Letters of Note: When a Real and Final Catastrophe Should Befall Us…

March 4, 2010

Letters of Note

On April 9th, 1948, a month before Israel declared independence, just over one hundred residents of Deir Yassin were massacred by members of two militant Zionist groups – Lehi and Irgun – as part of an effort to cleanse the area of its Arab population. The next day, Albert Einstein wrote the following passionate letter to Shepard Rifkin, a New York-based representative of Lehi who had recently written to Einstein in the hope of garnering some high-profile support for the group’s efforts. His belief that Einstein – a man who publicly backed the creation of a Jewish homeland in the British Mandate of Palestine, but by different means – would agree to such a suggestion was clearly misplaced.

Transcript follows.

Transcript

April 10, 1948

Mr. Shepard Rifkin
Exec.Director
American Friends of the Fighters
for the Freedom of Israel
149 Second Ave.
New York 3,N.Y.

Dear Sir:

When a real and final catastrophe should befall us in Palestine the first responsible for it would be the British and the second responsible for it the Terrorist organizations build up from our own ranks.

I am not willing to see anybody associated with those misled and criminal people.

Sincerely yours,

(Signed, ‘A. Einstein’)

Albert Einstein