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Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 19,679
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APRIL 19, 2016 BY 21WIRE
One difficult aspect in analyzing this battle of ‘perception management’ is that there’s a real risk of wrongly demonising the entire NGO sector. The reality is that most human rights and aid organizations are staffed and run by good, hard-working and extremely well-educated individuals, many of whom carry out their roles with an altruistic heart and with the best of intentions. For the most part, many remain unaware or uninterested in who actually funds their organisations and what those financial strings mean in terms of the what a given organisation’s stance will be on any range of geopolitical issues or military conflicts. It’s certainly true that over the years, sincere and dedicated campaigning by organisations has helped to free individuals who where unjustly imprisoned and achieved due process and justice for the dispossessed. It’s also true that many of these same organizations have helped to raise awareness on many important social and environmental issues.
Due to increased funding from corporate interests and direct links to government and defense policy think tanks in recent years, these organisations have become even more politicised, and more closely connected with western ‘agents of influence.’ As a result, an argument can be made that, on many levels, these ‘human rights’ organisations may be contributing to the very problem they profess to be working to abate: causing more suffering, death and instability worldwide through their co-marketing of the foreign policy objectives of Washington, London, Paris and Brussels.
The problem is both systemic and institutional in nature. As a result, many of the western world’s leading human rights organizations based in North America and Europe have become mirror reflections of a western foreign policy agenda and have become virtual clearing houses for interventionist propaganda.
Writer Stephanie McMillan describes the new role of the non governmental organizations in the 21st century:
“Along with military invasions and missionaries, NGOs help crack countries open like ripe nuts, paving the way for intensifying waves of exploitation and extraction.”
The Human Rights Industry
What was once a 20th century adjunct to an emerging international progressive movement has since mushroomed into a 21st century multi-billion dollar, internationalised ‘third sector’ concern – underwritten by some of the world’s leading transnational corporations. This impressive labyrinth is led by organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the Worldwide Human Rights Movement (FIDH). Each of these organisations has well-developed links leading directly into central governments, and perhaps more surprisingly, links leading straight into the heart of the military industrial complex. Safely cloaked under the official guise of ‘charity organisation’, many of these entities push a political agenda and effectively serve as public relations outlets for US and NATO forward military planning.
Working behind the public-facing human rights industrial complex is another key component which helps set the geopolitical agenda. Leading western governmental efforts are the White House and the US State Department. Behind the political facade, however, is where the real work takes place; a myriad of think tanks which serve as an unofficial academic-like support structure for managing policy planning, rolling out grand strategies and other big ideas. Some recognisable names in this industry are the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Brookings Institute, Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and Foreign Policy Initiative (the heir apparent to PNAC). These think tanks and foundations are also referred to as ‘policy mills’ because of their ability to churn-out volumes of policy ‘white papers’, surveys and strategic studies which are then disseminated through various industry journals and at functions, conferences and events in Washington DC and New York City. Certain think tanks, like the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, were set-up in the 1990’s to push through specific foreign policy objectives – like kick-starting the war in Iraq. Where you find a war, you most certainly will find a think tank advocating behind it.
Follow the Money
To find the common thread between think tanks, foundations and human rights charities, one needs only to follow the money......
Full article: http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/04/19/an-introduction-smart-power-the-human-rights-industrial-complex/
Posted by polly7 | Tue Apr 19, 2016, 04:00 PM (0 replies)
by Paul Craig Roberts / April 16th, 2016
The New York Times lied, characteristically, that the elections, which seem to demonstrate nationwide solidarity against the Western-backed overthrow of the Syrian government, “highlight divisions and uncertainty.” The Washington Post added its lies and misrepresentations to the propagandistic reporting.
The Western governments are far out on a limb with their lies that the Syrian people prefer to be governed by the Washington supported terrorists who were overrunning their country and conducting with Western supplied weapons mass murder on the Syrian people until Russia put a stop to it. Now the Western liars are exposed yet again by election results, and so the liars must pretend that the election lacks validity.
Contrast the reports coming from the Western conspirators against Syria with the news report by Vanessa Beeley in 21st Century Wire.
Washington’s propaganda onslaught against the Syrian elections is clear evidence that Washington has no commitment to the peace accord and simply used the “peace process” in order to prevent the liberation of Raqqa and Idlib from ISIS.
Putin and Assad should take note that Washington still intends to overthrow the Syrian government and to install either a puppet or chaos as in Iraq and Libya.
Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/04/syrian-elections-prove-again-that-washington-and-its-presstitutes-lie-through-their-teeth/
Posted by polly7 | Tue Apr 19, 2016, 03:04 PM (0 replies)
by Denis A. Conroy / April 18th, 2016
If “the medium is the message” — a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan — existentialism could be the means of delivering grist to the psychic mill in order to contextualise sovereign identity. To embed or implant acceptance of myths that have the power to embed and implant compliance is where it all starts. The Founding Fathers of the American constitution struggled mightily with the gremlins in the system, but some of their warnings ‘foretold’ might have to be revisited — observe how the Fat Cats of Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex have grown ever more obese on a diet of propaganda and deception, while the 99% existentially wilt.
For instance, observe how the ubiquity of aggression is evidenced in our experience of reality. After decades of aggression involving the USA and Israel in regime change throughout the Middle East, we were surprised and caught off guard when blow-back occurred. The new threat is from the resistance fighter and he might not even wear a uniform. Muslims in general, their countries and sovereignty in particular, were held in contempt, in spite of the fact that aggression was something we, The West, took to them. Permanent war became the new normal in response to permanent resistance by the inhabitants of these countries; emotionally driven cri de coeur served up as Homeland Security pap now envelopes us all in surveillance at the behest of the propaganda mandarins, revving up the propaganda-machine ever more for the purpose of vilifying the ethnicity of the OTHER.
Will future archaeologists have images of the great killing machines let loose on civilians across the global arena as referred to by Madeleine Albright, “What’s the point of having this superb military if you can’t use it?” Will rediscovered graffiti in some burnt out Washington with Hillary Clinton’s ebullient words as uttered upon hearing of the death of Muammar Gaddafi, former Prime Minister of Libya, have any meaning, “We Came, We Saw, He died”?
But the problem with America’s pursuit of regime change is that its foreign policy has become tainted, if not engulfed, by obsessive compulsive disorder in obedience to the deals hatched in the oligopolistic marketplace. Deals to remove some ‘HE’ or other for the purpose of expropriating territory or resources abroad are recognised as the transactions of the credibility-lite elites, elites ‘hooked’ on violence. Here the relationship between cause and effect, medium and message, disappears into the nether regions of shady deals done in the name of shady business practices…capitalism recognizing no borders.
Hillary’s “WE CAME”, says it all and the world has come to recognize the actors in the oligopoly and how they dispatch the forces that “COME” to take and destroy. The etymology used to disguise aggression vis-à-vis propaganda has become predictable and threadbare. The deals done by the Military-Industrial-Complex, Wall Street, The Media, are done for no other purpose than to increase the power of these latter-day mammoths. The deal done to destabilize Brazil and Ukraine, demonize Russia, sell-out Palestine, demolish Libya and Iraq, are all done by dealers who share a common interest in lucre, and always with palms open to receive the thirty pieces of silver, and guess what? There are plenty more of them in the wings; some of them are fronting up as presidential wannabes in this election year in the land-of-the-free.
Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/04/propaganda-as-a-weapon-of-mass-destruction/
Posted by polly7 | Tue Apr 19, 2016, 03:00 PM (2 replies)
By Pete Dolack
Source: Systemic Disorder
April 14, 2016
To the north, El Salvador is still awaiting the decision of another secret tribunal in a case heard in September 2014. An Australian mining company, OceanaGold, sued El Salvador for $301 million because it was denied a permit to create a gold mine that would have poisoned the country’s biggest source of water.
Under “free trade” agreements (which have little to do with trade and much to do with enhancing corporate power), governments agree to the mandatory use of “investor-state dispute mechanisms.” What that bland-sounding phrase means is that any “investor” can sue a signatory government to overturn any law or regulation it does not like because the law or regulation “confiscates” its expected profits, with no limitations on who or what constitutes an “investment.” These cases are not heard in regular judicial systems, but rather in secret tribunals with no oversight, no public notice and no appeals. The judges who sit on these tribunals are corporate lawyers whose regular practice is representing corporations in these types of disputes.
Environmentalists rally for sensitive wetlands
In the latest Colombian case, that of Eco Oro Minerals, the company sued one month after the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled that a government plan to permit mining in some portions of the country’s sensitive high-altitude wetlands is unconstitutional. Eco Oro’s original plan was for an open-pit mine, which was denied by the environmental ministry thanks to an organized campaign by environmentalists. Denied a permit, Eco Oro then began plans for an underground mine, and received $16.8 million in financing from the World Bank to fund a new study. The environmental ministry subsequently declared the area a protected region, rendering illegal any mine. The final chance to open a mine was ended when the Constitutional Court ruled in February 2016.
The mining company has declared Colombia “in breach” of its obligations and notified Bogotá of its intention to sue if a negotiated settlement can’t be reached. Eco Oro issued a public statement that said, in part:
Among other decisions handed down, Canada was forced to reverse its ban of the gasoline additive MMT and pay compensation to a U.S. chemical company; Mexico was forced to grant a permit to a U.S. metal company that wanted to site an environmentally dangerous waste dump and pay compensation; and Canada was required to reverse a transport ban on PCBs that had conformed to environmental treaties. In this last case, for good measure, the secret tribunal ruled that, when formulating an environmental rule, a government “is obliged to adopt the alternative that is most consistent with open trade.”
That last ruling provides the essence of “free trade” agreements — the accumulation of corporate power to override all democratic controls over health, safety, environmental or labor safeguards. And as awful as these decisions are, worse is what would await us should the Trans-Pacific or Transatlantic partnerships go through as those agreements promise even more draconian rules than the ones already in place.
Full (long) article and links: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/theres-no-place-for-clean-water-under-free-trade/
Posted by polly7 | Sat Apr 16, 2016, 11:16 AM (6 replies)
By Vijay Prashad
Source: The Hindu
April 15, 2016
Old familiar dangers lurk in the corners of Latin America. More than a decade of hope — enshrined in the experiments in Venezuela — now seems extinguished. The “pink tide” of electoral victories from Venezuela to Bolivia and upwards to Nicaragua appears to have receded. The Old Right has rejected the stentorian tones of the military for the mellifluous language of anti-corruption. Venezuela’s Bolivarians — the current face of its Left — lost the parliamentary elections, while Bolivia’s Evo Morales failed to amend the constitution to give him a fourth presidential term. Argentina’s electorate rejected the Peronist Left in favour of the Banker’s Right, while Brazil’s government of Dilma Rousseff suffers from the outright hostility of the media conglomerates and the conservative establishment.
Bleakness does not define the continent. In Peru, Verónika Mendoza of the Broad Front did credibly in the first round of the presidential contest, while in Colombia the Revolutionary Armed Forces prepare to sign a peace agreement and bring their politics to the ballot box. Institutions set up during the high point of the “pink tide”, such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (a regional trade platform), teleSUR (a regional media network), as well as various energy alliances (such as Petrocaribe and Petrosur), remain alive and reasonably well. New political currents and these institutional alignments suggest that the “pink tide” is not going to be easy to dismiss. It has established itself in the imagination of the people of Latin America and through the institutions set up over a decade ago.
Iraq distracts America
When Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Mr. Morales of Bolivia set in motion the Bolivarian alliance in 2004, the United States had its eyes on Iraq. The Global War on Terror, which now falsely included Iraq as a battlefield, absorbed the administration of President George W. Bush. An attempted coup against Chavez’s government in 2002 had failed as a result of the popular outpouring of support for the Venezuelan government. Latin America’s Left took advantage of this opening — as well as high commodity prices and demand from China — to build an alternative platform, which they called Bolivarianism. Named after Simón Bolívar, the liberator of Latin America from Spanish rule, Bolivarianism produced institutions for regional development. Trade within the region denominated in local currencies allowed the regional states to produce a new ethos.
The U.S., which sees Latin America as its backyard, continued to seek opportunities to undermine Bolivarianism. In 2006, U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield developed a strategy for “dividing chavismo” (the followers of Chavez) and “isolating Chavez internationally”. Plots and schemes appear in the U.S. State Department cables, with the ambassadors offering their own plans to destabilise governments loyal to the Bolivarian process. Nothing much came of it in the Bush years. South America’s economy enjoyed China’s voracious appetite for high-priced commodities whose profits allowed the countries to build up social welfare schemes to improve the livelihood of their populations.
Obama goes South:
Old elites of Latin America maintained their authority throughout the period of the Leftist ascendancy. They are closely linked to the military and to U.S. embassies. U.S. State Department cables — released by WikiLeaks — provide a window into the intrigue inside the embassies. In Bolivia, a U.S. diplomat met with opposition strategist Javier Flores and opposition leader Branko Marinkovic, both of whom talked about blowing up gas lines and engineering violence to destabilise the government of Mr. Morales. To help the Right-wing opposition in Nicaragua, the U.S. embassy hoped to encourage “funds to flow in the right direction”. These conspiracies built up the confidence of the elites and their associates. They waited to strike.
Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/a-chill-wind-from-the-north-the-us-returns-to-latin-america/
Posted by polly7 | Sat Apr 16, 2016, 11:11 AM (12 replies)
By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
Source: Defend Democracy Press
April 16, 2016
Bernie Sanders represents a great hope for Greece and for the whole world. We do not know if he can win against Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination. What’s more, we don’t know if he could ever be elected US president or what he would do if he is ever elected. Sanders, unlike our own Greek politicians – those unbelievable hijackers of the values Left has proclaimed and of the heritage of heroic struggles its partisans have given – has repeatedly said that he will not be able to do anything unless the people help him to do it. In fact, only the people can do something, with his help!
But, in any case, the emergence, for the first time in many decades, in the United States, of a strong public opinion current, opposing the omnipotence of the financial capital and the neoliberal economic model, a model already evolving into a kind of “destructive capitalism”, is something that should attract the attention of any thinking person on the planet. This is even truer for Greeks in Greece, in Cyprus and throughout the world, given that we are at the forefront of the attack launched by the forces of the Finance and that our nation’s very existence and dignity are threatened by them. I wonder what we are waiting for, like the Rayahs of our history, before we finally decide to react. Are we going to wait until we become another Syria (in our case, by the use of economic and political methods) or until Greece is totally “squashed” and Cyprus is fully taken apart through a new Annan plan (as they already plan to do right after the Cypriot parliamentary elections)? It will be very late by then.
And yet, here we have, in the most powerful country in the world, a politician who, repeatedly and of his own accord, guided only by his political ideas and beliefs, has defended Greece in a way that no Greek politician has ever done, without expecting anything in return. By exposing the international financial system and the dreadful attack it unleashed against Greece, first directly and then by manipulating, in partnership with the German government, the rest of Europe to follow suit (1). But we, on our part, we remain simply indifferent to what is happening in the States with Sanders. Is there any chance that we will manage to save ourselves in this way? Absolutely no chance!
Henry Kissinger – the “killer” of Cyprus
A particularly ironic and tragic aspect of the story is that Sanders strongly criticised Hillary Clinton for her statement characterising Henry Kissinger as her mentor. Kissinger is one of “the most destructive figures in American history” said Sanders (5).
Kissinger is not just any random person in the history of Cyprus. He is in fact the perpetrator of the crimes committed against Cyprus, the organiser of the coup there in 1974, of the attempted murder of Archbishop Makarios and of the ensuing Turkish invasion which ensued. (4) How could it ever be possible that Greeks would support the self-proclaimed student of Kissinger against the one who criticises him? We are lost for words..
Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/greece-cyprus-sanders-and-dignity/
Posted by polly7 | Sat Apr 16, 2016, 11:04 AM (0 replies)
Is the Clinton Foundation the Dulles Brother’s Sullivan and Cromwell?
by John Stanton / April 14th, 2016
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton instigated and legitimized the overthrow of the Honduran government in 2009 not all that unlike the 1954 Guatemala Coup engineered primarily by CIA Director Allen Dulles, supported by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and with the glowing approval of President Dwight Eisenhower.
In a March 2016 interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, Greg Grandin, a professor of Latin American history at New York University, discussed the fallout from the 2009 Honduran Coup.
I mean, hundreds of peasant activists and indigenous activists have been killed. Scores of gay rights activists have been killed. I mean, it’s just—it’s just a nightmare in Honduras. I mean, there’s ways in which the coup regime basically threw up Honduras to transnational pillage. And Berta Cáceres , in that interview, says what was installed after the coup was something like a permanent counterinsurgency on behalf of transnational capital. And that was—that wouldn’t have been possible if it were not for Hillary Clinton’s normalization of that election, or legitimacy.
It’s a Good Day for Someone Else to Die Hard
According to Consortium News, when Hillary Clinton was asked about the death of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s deposed ruler, at the hands of a mob, she said, “We came, we saw, he died.” That’s a comment Allen Dulles–or a psychopath–might have made. That’s worrisome in a world in which President Hillary Clinton may become a reality. Her penchant for war, secrecy and cover-up, Yale pedigree and alumni network, corporate connections from Wall Street to London, fealty to Israel, shapeshifting Republican/Democrat persona, and the use of the Clinton Foundation as a sort of non-profit, quasi-government, global intelligence/networking agency makes comparing her with the Dulles brothers — and their public/private lives — not as crazy as it first seems. The Clinton Foundation has initiatives in dozens of countries throughout the world. Its connections in international corporate board rooms and the principals of foreign national and local governance give it access to information/intelligence. It is also involved in US domestic political campaigns indirectly through its donors.
For example, one of the Clinton Foundation’s board members is Frank Guistra. According to a 2013 Huffington Post article:
Clinton was borrowing to begin a four-day speaking tour of Latin America that would pay him $800,000…Frank Giustra was forming a friendship that would make him part of the former president’s inner circle and gain him introductions to presidents of Kazakhstan and Colombia… Giustra’s self-serving philanthropy also took him and Clinton to Kazakhstan in September 2007, as documented in a January 2008 New York Times investigation… Within two days , corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom,”…The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra….Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra… Within a year and a half, Giustra sold off his stake in the Kazatomprom joint venture for $3.1 billion, which he had originally purchased for $450 million.
Full (long) article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/04/hillary-clinton-channels-allen-and-john-foster-dulles/
Posted by polly7 | Sat Apr 16, 2016, 10:52 AM (5 replies)
Syria Bloody but Unbowed by Western-backed Terror Campaign
by Eva Bartlett / April 14th, 2016
The recent liberation of Syria’s Palmyra (a UNESCO world Heritage site) by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and allies is an important victory for numerous reasons. Not only does it send yet another message to the different Western-backed terrorist factions (which Syria has been fighting for the past five years) that they will eventually fall, but it also sends a message to the West and their gang of anti-Syrian states and actors – who have been fuelling this savage war on a sovereign Syria – that Syria and Syrians remain resilient, the SAA and allies remain relentless in their fight against terrorism, and that Syria’s political allies continue to support her.
Further, the victory once again dispels the myth of “Assad’s army brutalizing the people”: footage from inside the liberated city of Palmyra shows residents &feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">praising President al-Assad and praising the Syrian Arab Army (a reported 200 of whom were killed in the battle to liberate Palmyra), much like footage from the liberated villages of " target="_blank">Nubl and al Zahra’a earlier this year, and every area, in fact, which the army has secured.
During Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists’ occupation of Palmyra, they blew up and destroyed numerous historic sites and brutally decapitated 82-year-old archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad. Ironically, while corporate media now twists the facts and alleges Syrian responsibility for the entry of Da’esh into Palmyra, they turn permanently-blinded eyes to the fact that the US-led coalition supposedly fighting Da’esh somehow, with all of their state-of-the-art technology, missed the convoy of Da’esh terrorists moving through vast stretches of open desert to reach Palmyra.
In a December 2015 meeting, Tourism Minister Besher Yazji spoke to me of Palmyra, the overall situation in Syria, and MOT initiatives to not only boost the Syrian economy – devastated by sanctions and war – but also the morale of Syrians and the image of Syria, which has been transformed by events over the past five years, and the corporate media’s distorted reporting:
The heart of many civilizations is Palmyra. It’s not surprising that Saudi (Arabia) and Gulf states do not care about the destruction of Syria’s ancient ruins, because they don’t have civilizations in the first place. But what is sad is that Europeans, or other countries which have civilizations, they are not doing anything to help us. Politicians like François Hollande are purchased with Gulf money.
After over five years of this bloody war on Syria, Syrians defy all projections and instead of collapsing as per Western commentators’ expectations, Syrians continue to find creative means to support themselves, keep Syria’s heritage alive, and not be cowed by foreign intervention.
• The original source of this article is SOTT
Eva Bartlett is a Canadian freelance journalist and activist who has lived in and written from the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Lebanon. Read other articles by Eva, or visit Eva's website.
Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/04/the-liberation-of-plamyra/
Sorry for the links I can't get to work here, but they do in the article itself.
Posted by polly7 | Sat Apr 16, 2016, 10:42 AM (2 replies)
by Binoy Kampmark / April 15th, 2016
It sounds tedious, but the point is no less awful. Nauru has ceased being a country, a state of any worth. It has assumed value as only one thing: a (non)processing centre for asylum seekers and refugees Australia does not want. A camp designed for criminalising rather than exempting; for condemning rather than assessing, has become the cruellest exemplar of modern treatment and disposition to the refugee.
The result of animalising humans has predictable outcomes. Disturbance and desperation is sowed. In June 2015, news emerged from the Nauru detention centre of “suicide pacts” made by various individuals. According to Natasha Blucher, a social worker engaged at the centre, “There was a single adult female… there was a group of teenage girls, there was a group of fathers, there was a group of mothers.”
Along with fellow social worker, Michelle Groeneveld, reports were made about conditions of profound dehumanisation. Inmates, noted Blucher, tended to be identified by their boat IDs. In other cases, a grotesque overfamiliarity was exhibited by camp guards keen for sexual quarry and congress. “They would say things like, ‘hey baby, come and sit on my knee’.” The overall strategy in this environment, argues Blucher, is one of conscious cruelty, one of not wanting to extend the hand of comfort.
Another tactic has also been used of late to crush the refugee spirit. In one particular case, an individual was charged for having attempted suicide. A statement from the Nauru government of April 12 revealed the dark, even anachronistic absurdity:
Noting that the charge is uncommon but nonetheless remains a criminal offence, the defendant pled guilty after being charged with Attempted Suicide contrary to section 312 of the Criminal Code 1899 following a disturbance at Nibok Lodge on January 21, 2016.
Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/04/nauru-suicide-and-punishment/
Posted by polly7 | Sat Apr 16, 2016, 10:35 AM (0 replies)