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Greenwashing? The Green Marches are Mute on the “War Factor”

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March 17, 2019

By Nazanín Armanian

[*Translated from Spanish to English via Google Translator.]

 

February 23, 2019: “French president Macron received Swedish climate girl Greta Thunberg (right to Macron) and a delegation from Youth for Climate, including Anuna De Wever (second from the right) and Kyra Gantois (first from the left).” [Source]

On March 15, the Day of the Popular March for Climate, tens of thousands of young people from several countries, followers of the Swedish student Greta Thunberg, showed their indignation at the indifference of world leaders towards climate change. Since last August, 16-year-old Greta demonstrates every Friday before the Swedish Parliament calling for greater commitment in the fight against the alarming deterioration of the oceans and glaciers.

Surprising (or not) that while environmental activists of the stature of the Honduran Berta Cáceres or the Iranian professor Kavous Emami who have been killed for their struggle against the powers that benefit from the destruction of the environment, the Swedish teenager is presented as leader of the fight to save the planet.

According to Global Witness, in 2017, at least 207 environmental activists were murdered in 22 countries. A year earlier, there were another 200, eight more than in 2015. It is unknown why she, a native of one of the world’s top arms sellers, and her fans concerned about the CO2 that seeps into her lungs, have not included the “No to war” and the businesses that revolve around the arms industry in its claims to save the battered planet. It is incomprehensible that they are more afraid of breathing contaminated air, but not of the very real threat of a nuclear war that would kill billions of living beings, and cause long and hard suffering for the survivors. A year ago Trump broke the nuclear agreement with Iran , and last month he did the same with the agreement with Russia, while he ordered to invest 1.2 billion dollars to make new atomic bombs in order to “make the world safer “.

In the slogans the “March” did not see any mention of the consequences of the open wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya (which have destroyed the lives of nearly 150 million people), nor those that imperialism can start against Venezuela and Iran, or the deadly contamination of the Palestinians’ habitat, which besides being bombed almost daily by Israel, they live an ecological catastrophe: millions of their olive trees have been uprooted by the occupiers, the fields of Fruit trees and farms in Gaza have disappeared; its people breathe the asbestos of demolished houses, and untreated sewage pollutes the Mediterranean because of the destruction of infrastructure.

The same “amnesia” happens with television ads, which invite us to recycle to protect the land, but silence the degree of responsibility of large companies always protected by the states, which commit 80% of the aggressions against the environment .

The lack of policies on the part of the capitalist governments to avoid a greater ecological disaster is simply a policy.

Other false environmental heroes

 

Greenwashing “greenwashing” or pseudoecologism is the term created to denounce makeup on the face of a system that continuously generates and reproduces the foundations of the destruction of nature.

Former US Vice President Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 ” for his efforts to build and disseminate on climate change “, despite the fact that the Clinton-Gore administration bombed Yugoslavia, Albania, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq , Haiti, Zaire, and Liberia, using all kinds of destructive munitions including projectiles that contained depleted uranium, causing the death of tens of thousands of civilians and causing irreparable damage to their lands, airs, and waters. He was also one of the promoters of the campaign to expand raw material for biofuel, trying to convert the pancakes of the poorest Mexicans into ethanol from the cars of the well off. It was the fear of the rebellion of millions of hungry people who filed away, in part, this occurrence.

Years later, in September 2014 and on the eve of the UN Climate Summit, Wall Street bankers paid about $ 220,000 to announce the march organized by companies like Avaaz and 300 other organizations against the New York subway. the pollution of the planet. The participation of the World Bank or the Clinton Global Initiative in these initiatives, rather than being due to the “mainstreaming” of the environmental movement, is to take control of it, as well as a marketing operation to “whitewash” the most predatory elites without scruples of the world, the same that presents, for example, to NATO as the sister of charity : if you download tons of bombs on defenseless nations it is because the arms industry goes out of its way for the well-being of the Sudanese lord,the Afghan lady .

The movement for “climate justice” is a very profitable capitalist business line that turns the sensible struggle of people worried about the agony of our planet into a commodity, creating the illusion that the manufacturers of cluster bombs or white phosphorus are going to give up their benefits, at the stroke of “signatures” or demonstrations with music and dance.

One of the examples of the trickery of capitalism is, for example, that 1) the stock markets lower the price of carbon in order to sell the largest amount, 2) the banks do not exclude the most polluting companies from their offers of credits, and 3) governments give incentives to this sector to reduce their polluting emissions. The business of “Saving the Earth” is very all-encompassing.

Devastate the environment with war

It is said that the army of ancient Rome, to ensure the present and future capitulation of its enemies, covered the surface of its arable land of salt; Centuries later, we have witnessed how US aviation sprayed the forests and crops of Vietnam with 20 million gallons of Agent Naranja herbicide (produced by Monsanto). Today, 44 years later, there are 500,000 blind children, without limbs and with other serious malformations. A few years before, Harry Truman’s atomic bombs turned Hiroshima, Nagasaki and 240,000 of his neighbors into ashes.

The wars, in addition, produce massive displacements of the population, erode the soil, desert the forests. Among the scant data on the environmental stress caused by the military aggression of the US and its allies to Iraq, started in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and continues to this day , news like this is showing:

  • In “response” to the fire of 736 Kuwaiti oil wells by Iraqi troops, Anglo-American forces bombed Iraq’s refineries and oil fields that burned for months, producing millions of tons of carbon dioxide, sulfur, mercury, which produced rain Acid on a large surface removed vegetation and animals.
  • The use of 320 tons of depleted uranium by the US, which killed thousands of people, produced strange diseases and malformations in babies born later, in addition to polluting hectares of cultivated land.
  • Tens of thousands of birds died, some by drowning in oil spilled in the waters of the Persian Gulf, and others by falling water temperature, creating a toxic micro-layer on its surface.
  • In 2015, Iraq experienced the highest temperature in the world, because of the destruction in the vegetation cover and the reduction of the water surface. The severe dust storms that are born in this country and spread throughout the area, cause conditions that kill hundreds of people each year.
  • Fishermen and Iraqi kids who bathe in the Tigris River still find bodies in their waters.

 

In Yemen, the “non-televised” bombing of the US-Saudi-led coalition and the planned destruction of crops, farms, and their infrastructure, including wastewater treatment plants and hospitals, has caused the most brutal humanitarian crisis of the world, and an epidemic of cholera that has killed thousands of people, leaving half a million more seriously ill.

In Myanmar, the army uses the “scorched earth” tactic against the Rohinya, burning their homes and crops, in order to make it impossible for the victims to return to their homes.

In Sudan, the war has caused the elimination of thousands of animals, hunted to feed the armed men. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the population of white rhinos, an endangered species, was reduced to 31 in 1996 because of the conflict; 5,000 elephants disappeared, as well as half of the hippos.

With a few open wars in the Middle East, and the US threat to provoke others to seize the natural resources of other peoples, the environmental movement must strengthen the weak movement for peace , and include the reduction of military spending in one of its main demands.

We need you to support critical voices.

 

[Nazanín Armanian: I left half of my life in my Persian lands, and when I landed on this peninsula of welcome, a lovable platform for the reclamation of bread and peace for all, I began to exercise the puzzling office of exile: to know, to learn, to admire, to transmit, to reveal and denounce, the latter taking advantage of the University classes, the media and a dozen books such as ‘Robaiyat de Omar Jayyam’ (DVD editions, 2004), ‘Kurdistan, the nonexistent country’ (Flor del viento, 2005), ‘Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, 40 responses to the conflict in the Middle East’ (Language of Rag, 2007) and ‘Islam without veil’ (Bronze, 2009).]

 

The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex [ACT I]

Building Movement Politics Means Fighting Democrats

Black Agenda Report

March 29, 2018

By Glen Ford

Building Movement Politics Means Fighting Democrats
 

In the absence of a renewed, grassroots street offensive against the armed occupation of Black communities, there will be no relief from the daily slaughter.”

 

Cops “have the right to shoot us, they get away with it every day,” said a despairing Dawnya Walker, one of 300 community residents that descended on Sacramento, California’s city hall to protest the police killing of Stephon Clark in his grandmother’s backyard . The numbers show that Walker is correct: U.S. police enjoy near-absolute impunity to gun down young Black males without any reasonable fear of punishment. Eight years of a Black, Democratic president in the Oval Office made not the slightest dent in that American reality, despite the re-emergence in 2014 of an incipient social justice movement under the heading of Black Lives Matter.

The youthful insurgency lost momentum — waylaid by the inexorable pull of Democratic Party politics and corporate philanthropy — long before Donald Trump entered the White House and installed a pure Dixiecrat as attorney general. Trumpian malevolence cast an orange chill across Black America. “It has been a long time since any victim was given as much attention as Stephon Clark,” writes Margaret Kimberley, in the current of issue of BAR.

“We are enveloped in a toxic miasma of Russia-hate that, by sheer weight and repetition, has infested every aspect of American political thought.”

There is “movement” afoot in the U.S., but it does not “arc towards justice.” Ever since Trump’s electoral victory, the collective national consciousness has been smothered in a maddening fog of manic, industrial-scale propaganda, spewed non-stop by corporate communications conglomerates working hand-in-glove with the most aggressive elements of the surveillance-intelligence “community” and the bi-partisan War Party. We are enveloped in a toxic miasma of Russia-hate that, by sheer weight and repetition, has infested every aspect of American political thought, distorting and subverting even the most progressive-minded “movements” struggling to find a way towards human dignity under late stage capitalism in a profoundly racist country. Voices for peace and social justice are asphyxiated in the pestilential plume — unless they find their own air.

Damn right, there is a conspiracy — possibly the loudest one in history! — megaphoned by a billionaire-owned media screaming “War, War, War” day and night, fouling the public mind with pure reactionary malice. The duopoly contest has devolved into a dance of death between Donald Trump’s raw white supremacist nationalism and Democratic Party corporate imperial warmongering. Only fools claim there is space for progressive maneuver in the interstices between such forces.

“The Democratic Party remains under the firm control of the Clinton/Obama forces that reinforced mass Black incarceration in the Nineties and militarized the police in this century.”

What is needed is clarity among genuine leftists and serious Black liberationists in the face of rampaging reaction. There is no lesser evil in this house of fear and apocalyptic brinksmanship. The Democrats have colluded in a budget whose gargantuan military outlays will inevitably doom what’s left of the U.S. social safety net — that is, if the human race is not annihilated, beforehand. They have replaced and outshouted the John McCain’s and Lindsay Graham’s of the Republican Party in demonizing, not just Vladimir Putin, but every government and movement in the world that resists U.S. lawlessness and aggression.

The Democratic Party remains under the firm control of the Clinton/Obama forces that reinforced mass Black incarceration in the Nineties and militarized the police at unprecedented levels in this century through the Pentagon’s 1033 program. In the absence of a renewed, grassroots street offensive against the armed occupation of Black communities, there will be no relief from the daily slaughter and the accompanying political evisceration of Black America.

Yes, it is certain that Trump’s very presence encourages the most swinish elements of the police. But it is also true that the Democrats — including Black Democrats — have controlled the city governments that maintain the police state in Black neighborhoods and relentlessly disperse our people through gentrification.

“What is needed is clarity among genuine leftists and serious Black liberationists in the face of rampaging reaction.”

And now it is the Democrats that take the lead in purging the Internet of dissenting political views, under the guise of defending fragile American minds against foreign manipulation. Silicon Valley — the big business sector most supportive of Clinton/Obama Democrats — is thus given license to shape reality in ways that make corporate dictatorship appear both logical and inevitable. Trump’s troglodytes could never finesse such a hijacking of fundamental democratic rights, but the Democrats are pulling it off with alarming speed. There’s nothing “lesser” about this evil.

When the Democrats got their wish, that Trump win the Republican presidential nomination, they became the predominant party of the U.S. ruling class and the most aggressive defenders of empire. Into Hillary Clinton’s campaign “Big Tent” slivered the dregs of the national security state, for whom peaceful coexistence among nations is anathema. Bernie Sanders cannot purge them from their central position in the party. The World Socialist Web Site reports that “an extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.” By WSWS’s count, if the Democrats capture a majority of seats in the House this November, “candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress.”

Such a party is incompatible with any domestic social justice agenda — and a threat to the survival of the species. The Left’s job is to disentangle our people from the political clutches of the ruling class and to build independent people’s organizations. The Republicans are a white people’s problem, but Black activists cannot confront the police, the oligarchs or the warmongers without fighting the Democrats.

 

[BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com]

Imperial Social Media: Avaaz and the Arms Merchants

Skookum

December 25, 2015

by Jay Taber

avaaz burundi

Avaaz Hones In On Burundi as Next U.S. Fait Accompli

 

Promoting the imperial social media fad of equivocating on US and NATO invasions that destroy entire societies, ostensibly because the current head of state is ruthless or corrupt, Avaaz apologists neglect the growing list of countries where these invasions have made things worse. Indeed, I am at a loss to find a country in my lifetime (1952-present) where US military aggression — either directly or through proxy mercenaries and US-financed and trained death squads — made things better.

Of course, if you look at militarism as a market-oriented strategy, then making war or creating armed mayhem is just part of doing business. With the crippling financial sanctions available to the US through the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, invasion is just for show — part of the expected social spectacle — that routinely transfers wealth from the U.S. Treasury to Wall Street and the military industrial complex.

Given the US influence at the UN Security Council, any country seeking to conduct its governance, diplomacy and trade independent of the US and EU risks destruction. The evidence can be seen in the chaotic, murderous aftermath reigning in these unfortunate societies, and in the tsunami of refugees seeking asylum. Meanwhile, the revolving door between the arms merchants, the Pentagon and the State Department is now open to NGOs like Avaaz and its PR firm Purpose.

 

obomberandtom

Image: U.S. President Barack Obama with Avaaz co-founder and former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello

burundi map

The Empire’s War against Burundi: War Propaganda in Preparation for an R2P “Humanitarian Intervention”

Power and Kagame

Meeting with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame (R) and Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN- Washington DC, 4 August 2014

Kerry & Tom P

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry releases the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) with USAID Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom, and Special Representative for the QDDR (and Avaaz co-founder) Tom Perriello at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC on April 28, 2015. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Tom P and Kagame

Meeting with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame (R) and Tom Perriello, US Special Envoy for Great Lakes Region- Kigali, 19 August 2015

Kagame Obama

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame (R) walks past US President Barack Obama (2nd R) as US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and National Security Advisor Susan Rice (C) look on during a “Peacekeeping Summit” at the United Nations headquarters on September 28, 2015 in New York. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN

John+Kerry+Paul+Kagame+President+Obama

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gives the thumbs-up to participants in the “Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping” with National Security Advisor Susan Rice (R), U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and Rwandan President Paul Kagame during the 70th annual UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters September 28, 2015 in New York City. Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

Military Capitalism

November 5, 2015

by Maximilian Forte


statemilitarism

Security for US Capitalists: The State Department and its Global Partners

Very much in line in with the idea of “connected capitalism,” the US State Department created the office of advisor for global partnerships, a Senate-confirmed position (Stavridis & Farkas, 2012, p. 17; see also DoS, 2015, 2015/3/12). The Secretary of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, instituted in 2009, is officially described as, “the entry point for collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, the public and private sectors, and civil society” (DoS, 2015). Its programs cover the Americas, scholarships for the Middle East, the training of “young African leaders,” and spreading the US-dominated Internet to “poor communities” (DoS, 2015/3/12). The State Department says its Global Partnership Initiative has spent $650 Million in public and private resources on “diplomacy and development,” reaching 1,100 “partners” from 2009 through 2012, and cultivating 6,500 private sector contacts.1 In its official propaganda, GPI boasts that its method involves starting with one country, 10 cities, 100 investors, 1,000 partnerships—which as much as these are figures too neat to be anything but invented for glossy brochures and happy-looking websites, at least this 1-10-100-1000 progression graphically shows how deeply entrenched the “force multiplier” idea has become in official circles, military and civilian.2

The “partners” listed for the State Department’s GPI include philanthropic foundations, universities, airlines, weapons manufacturers, software companies, Google, Yahoo, soft drink manufacturers, retail giants, entertainment, banks, and oil companies (DoS, 2014, pp. 30-31), the core corporate sectors of the contemporary US economy. Among the US universities working under GPI are, as listed in 2014: University of Kansas, University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Washington, Northwestern University, and the University of California system (DoS, 2014, p. 31).

Since the creation of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) in 1985 under the Reagan administration, the State Department has been involved in “security cooperation” with US “private sector interests worldwide”. Since 1985, universities, churches, and NGOs have been added to the State Department’s list of security partners. This arrangement is directly the result of demands placed on the state by US corporations: “The increase in terrorism over the last 30 years and the continuing threat against U.S. interests overseas has forced many American companies to seek advice and assistance from the U.S. Government, particularly the State Department”.3 This has been the case since OSAC’s conception: “In 1985, a handful of chief executive officers from prominent American companies met with then Secretary of State George P. Shultz to promote cooperation between the American private sector worldwide and the U.S. Government on security issues”.4 More than 3,500 US corporations, educational institutions, “faith-based institutions,” and NGOs are OSAC “constituents”.5 Current members include Northwestern University, the University of California system, McGraw Hill, and a range of the most familiar names in US entertainment, software, weapons manufacturing, financial industries, from Monsanto to Raytheon, Boeing, Microsoft, Walt Disney, Wal-Mart, Target, VISA, joined also by the Pentagon, FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security.6

Similarly, USAID, which established its “Global Development Alliance” in 2001 (see USAID, 2007), has worked with various corporations such as Coca-Cola (on water projects in 13 countries) and with Wal-Mart in Brazil. By 2005, USAID claimed to have established more than 400 such alliances, using $1.4 billion of its own funds with a further $4.6 billion from its partners (Stavridis & Farkas, 2012, p. 11).

The US Military’s Connected Capitalists: Mass Media’s “Military Analysts”

Several years ago, a series of exposés demonstrated US corporate mass media’s use of “military analysts” and “experts” who are retired senior military officers, serving in the private sector and with continued access to the Pentagon with the proviso that they repeat the Pentagon’s talking points on war (Barstow, 2008/4/20, 2009/11/28, 2011/12/24). This program, which bridged the Department of Defense, mass media, and corporations with military contracts, was described by Barstow (2008/4/20):

“The effort… has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air….Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse—an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks”.

A military retiree turned analyst-lobbyist military would gain access to current inside information in the Pentagon, which would be useful for the private weapons contractors they served, and in return they would sell the administration’s talking points to the public. This is “connected” in the same way a totalitarian system is connected. Information presented to the public was often fabricated, exaggerated or otherwise distorted, to boost public support for the war in Iraq. “A few” of these so-called analysts “expressed regret for participating in what they regarded as an effort to dupe the American public with propaganda dressed as independent military analysis” (Barstow, 2008/4/20). Thousands of records that were made public revealed “a symbiotic relationship where the usual dividing lines between government and journalism have been obliterated”—because the mass media had themselves been enlisted as “force multipliers”: “Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as ‘message force multipliers’ or ‘surrogates’ who could be counted on to deliver administration ‘themes and messages’ to millions of Americans ‘in the form of their own opinions’” (Barstow, 2008/4/20).

Notes

  1. http://www.state.gov/s/partnerships/achievements/202394.htm
  2. http://www.state.gov/s/partnerships/achievements/202394.htm
  3. https://www.osac.gov/Pages/AboutUs.aspx
  4. https://www.osac.gov/Pages/AboutUs.aspx
  5. https://www.osac.gov/Pages/AboutUs.aspx
  6. https://www.osac.gov/Pages/AboutUs.aspx

References

Barstow, D. (2008/4/20). Message Machine: Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand. The New York Times, April 20, A1.

————— . (2008/11/29). One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex. The New York Times, November 29, A1.

————— . (2011/12/24). Pentagon Finds No Fault in Ties to TV Analysts. The New York Times, December 24, A20.

USAID. (2007). Global Development Alliance. Washington, DC: US Agency for International Development.

US Department of State (DoS). (2014). State of Global Partnerships Report. Washington, DC: The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships, US Department of State.

————— . (2015). The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships. Washington, DC: US Department of State.
http://www.state.gov/s/partnerships/

————— . (2015/3/12). Department of State Releases 2015 State of Global Partnerships Report—Media Note, March 12. Washington, DC: Office of the Spokesperson, US Department of State.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/03/238833.htm

Stavridis, J., & Farkas, E.N. (2012). The 21st Century Force Multiplier: Public—Private Collaboration. The Washington Quarterly, 35(2), 7–20.

 

[Maximilian C. Forte has an educational background in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Spanish, International Relations, and Anthropology. He lived and studied for seven years in Trinidad & Tobago, for four years in Australia, and for three years in the U.S. He is a dual Italian-Canadian citizen, and had previously achieved Permanent Resident status in Trinidad & Tobago. His primary website is that of the Zero Anthropology Project.]

 


zaniv5smExtracted from:
Force Multipliers: The Instrumentalities of Imperialism
Edited by
Maximilian C. Forte
Montreal, Alert Press, 2015
Available in print, or as a
Free E-book

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