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Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part II, Section I

Part II | Section I of an investigative report by Cory Morningstar

 Avaaz Investigative Report Series [Links]|Further Reading: Part I | Section I | Part I | Section II | Part I | Section III | Part II | Section I

Bread and Circuses

Panem et circenses. A metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement, in Latin. It was the basic Roman formula for the well-being of the population, and hence a political strategy unto itself. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion, distraction, and/or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the common man (l’homme moyen sensuel). In modern usage, the phrase is taken to describe a populace that no longer values civic virtues and the public life. To many across the political spectrum, left and right, it connotes a supposed triviality and frivolity that characterized the Roman Republic prior to its decline into the autocratic monarchy characteristic of the later Roman Empire’s transformation about 44 BCE. [Source: Wikipedia]

Avaaz: The Emperor of the NGO Network 

 

“The banality of evil transmutes into the banality of sentimentality. The world is nothing but a problem to be solved by enthusiasm.” — Teju Cole

Avaaz is the operational name of “Global Engagement and Organizing Fund,” a non-profit organization legally incorporated in 2006.

Avaaz was founded by Res Publica, described as a global civic advocacy group, and Moveon.org, “an online community that has pioneered internet advocacy in the United States.”

Launched in 2007, Avaaz is the fastest-growing online movement in history. The deliberate choosing of the word Avaaz, which translates to “voice” in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages, begs the question of whether the core purpose of Avaaz from the onset was to build influence and “befriend” the populations in the Middle Eastern and Asia.

9 December 2009: Ricken Patel of Res Publica: “Each organization [MoveOn and ResPublica] has roughly equal international memberships that will be invited to join Avaaz (Res Publica has built a list of almost 400,000 at http://www.ceasefirecampaign.org/) … I think it’s fair [to say] that we’re starting with a MoveOn model plus SMS….” [SMS is the acronym for Short Message Service, or texting.]

The Service Employees International Union and GetUp.org.au were also publicly recognized as founding partners of Avaaz: “Avaaz.org also enjoys the partnership and support of leading activist organizations from around the world, including the Service Employees International Union, a founding partner of Avaaz, GetUp.org.au, and many others.”

The silent voice behind Avaaz, that of Res Publica, is, in the public realm, essentially comprised of 3 key individuals: Tom Perriello, a pro-war (former) U.S. Representative who describes himself as a social entrepreneur, Ricken Patel, consultant to many of the most powerful entities on Earth and the long-time associate of Perriello, and Tom Pravda, a member of the UK Diplomatic Service who serves as a consultant to the U.S. State Department.

9 December 2009, Tech President: “The organization is pursuing an ambitious growth path…. It is beginning with 700,000 members spread across 148 countries. It also has an Advisory Board that comprises politicians, diplomats, activists and celebrities from around the world…. Open Society Institute indeed made a one-year grant of $150,000 to Res Publica last summer to help them get Avaaz off the ground.” (Two appreciative comments from Avaaz associates can be found under this article, including one from a lesser publicly credited Avaaz co-founder, Paul Hilder.) (Hilder is discussed further within this report.)

In addition to the $150,000 in seed money from George Soros’s Open Society Institute, Res Publica gave Avaaz $225,000 in 2006. (Form 990, page 18), $950,000 in 2007 (Form 990, page 18), and $500,000 in 2008 (Form 990, page 9). (Form 990 allows the IRS and the public to evaluate nonprofits and how they operate.)

Avaaz states that they take “absolutely no money from governments or corporations…. While we received initial seed grants from partner organizations and charitable organizations, almost 90% of the Avaaz budget now comes [from] small online donations.” The 2009 Form 990 for George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society reports (page 87) $300,000 in general support for Avaaz and an additional $300,000 to Avaaz for climate campaigning.

The Avaaz co-founding team is comprised of a group of “global social entrepreneurs” from six countries: Executive Director Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello, Tom Pravda, Eli Pariser (MoveOn Executive Director), Andrea Woodhouse (consultant to the World Bank) Jeremy Heimans (co-founder of GetUp! and Purpose), and Australian entrepreneur David Madden (co-founder of GetUp and Purpose). “Avaaz is lucky to have the founding partnership and support of leading activist organizations from around the world.” [1]

The 2010 Avaaz Form 990 states: “Avaaz Foundation is comprised of two members: Res Publica (U.S.) Inc. and MoveOn.org Civic Action.”

Both Heimans and Madden were instrumental in forming the vision of Avaaz; the “global online political community inspired by the success of GetUp and the U.S. group MoveOn.org.”

In 2002, MoveOn’s political action committee (PAC) raised and distributed $3.5 million to more than 36 U.S. congressional candidates. Don Hazen (executive director of the “Independent” Media Institute (IMI), as well as executive editor of AlterNet, which is a program of IMI) [2] was quoted as stating: “MoveOn’s member list [is] mostly white, highly educated, computer savvy … and willing to give dough.”

Based on the “success” of Avaaz co-founder, MoveOn, we can safely assume that “mostly white, highly educated, computer savvy … and willing to give dough” should be considered the targeted demographic for Avaaz and the Avaaz network.

On 23 November 2003 it was reported by San Fransico Chronicle that “MoveOn.org reeled in a $5 million matching pledge from currency speculator billionaire George Soros.” This represented the largest-ever individual donation to the five-year-old organization. The model described by The Chronicle was “an organization with six full-time employees, no offices,” which has been successfully replicated by many NGOs within the non-profit industrial complex, including 350.org.

In 2010 Avaaz paid Ricken Patel $183,264 as executive director, and paid Ben Wikler (Avaaz campaign director) $111,384 plus $921,592 in “campaigner fees and consulting” and $182,196 in travel expenses. During 2011, Avaaz did not miss a golden opportunity to set up a live-stream for the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York in order to give a voice to the “99%.” Yes, the rich get richer. The poor get poorer.

In addition to receiving funding from the Open Society Institute, Avaaz has publicly cited the Open Society Institute as their foundation partner. This admission by founder Ricken Patel is found on the www.soros.org website. [As discussed in part I, The Open Society Institute (renamed in 2011 to Open Society Foundations) is a private operating and grantmaking foundation founded by George Soros, who remains the chair. Soros is known best as a multibillionaire currency speculator, and of late, an avid supporter of Occupy Wall Street. Soros is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR is essentially the promotional arm of the ruling elite in the U.S. Most all U.S. policy is initiated and written by the exclusive membership within the CFR.]

Avaaz utilized/utilizes their Open Society Institute relationship to distribute member donations via “Avaaz partners at the Open Society Institute.” [3]

March 2008 – Avaaz co-founder, Ricken Patel explains: “Avaaz is a campaigning organization and not in this business. So we chose a foundation partner with long experience…. That group is the Open Society Institute, one of the largest and most respected foundations in the world. OSI is taking no overhead on the funds we are granting to Burmese groups, and has also increased its own support to this cause in 2008.” [4] In the instance of Burma, all Avaaz campaign donations have been directly funneled through the Soros Open Society Institute Burma Project (website). Although nowhere on the Avaaz website will you find any connection to George Soros, within this statement Patel clearly states that The Open Society Institute is in fact a partner of Avaaz. Why Avaaz chooses to funnel the money through the Soros foundation is not clearly understood, but we might assume Soros insists upon it in order to control which groups in Burma receive funding. Today, Myanmar (Burma) “is eagerly genuflecting before an onslaught of foreign private investors zeroing in to dispossess her” (24 May 2012, Myanmar Learns the Lesson of Libya).

Avaaz partners are many, including one.org [5] [discussed further in this report] and the infamous TckTckTck. The Tcktcktck campaign was launched 26 June 2009 by Havas, one of the world’s largest global advertising and communications firms, in conjunction with the United Nations (Kofi Annan) and Bob Geldof. The stated objective of this corporate-driven advertising campaign was “to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.” It is revealing that the “environmental organizations” listed as partners were, first and foremost, none other than 350.org and Avaaz.org who partnered with the likes of such corporations as EDF Nuclear, Lloyds Bank, MTV, and other multi-national corporations who simultaneously destroy our shared environment. The organizations flourish under the guise and branding of “grassroots,” yet “grassroots” are generally not connected to the dominant global structures that are able to absorb, shape and dominate entire movements such as in the case of Tcktcktck at the climate change talks in Copenhagen.

And while the stated initial goal of Avaaz, according to Avaaz co-founder Madden, was “a web-based campaign against the foreign policy of United States President,” the reality is anything but.

Avaaz’s stance on both Libya (now annihilated) and now Syria is in smooth synchronicity with the positions within the U.S. administration, positions such as those vocalized by the likes of war criminals such as Hillary Clinton (of “We came. We saw. He died. Laughter…” fame). The ugly iron fist of war is gently being spoon-fed to the public by way of a very dark velvet glove – that being Avaaz.

As of July 2011, Avaaz claimed to have more than 9.65 million “members” in 193 countries. Most recently, the Avaaz  campaign, which demands foreign intervention by the Imperialist states in a synchronized effort to destabilize Syria, has resulted in the Avaaz membership skyrocketing to over 13 million members. According to Avaaz, this surge of an additional 3 million members or so was achieved in less than 30 days of an intense campaign against the Sovereign Syrian Government. What’s happening in Syria today is a destabilization campaign in which the terror unleashed upon the population is financed by foreign interests.

In the midst of the Avaaz destabilization campaigns of both Libya and Syria, Avaaz, in unison with other U.S.-funded NGOs, also waged a destabilization campaign against the Morales Government of Bolivia in October 2011. The attempt failed. Unlike westerners, Bolivians are, today, far advanced in their intellectual understanding of global politics and carefully orchestrated propaganda, having been on the receiving end of Imperialism/colonialism and the capitalist economic system itself, for what surely must feel like an eternity.

Did Libya’s Citizens Demand Foreign Intervention? 

A ridiculous question, yet according to Avaaz, the answer is yes.

“The call for a no-fly zone originated from Libyans – including the provisional opposition government, Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN, protesters, and youth organizations.”

Today Avaaz claims 13,649,421 members, 70,432,165 “actions” (taken since January 2007) and 194 countries with Avaaz members according to the information provided by Avaaz, retrieved on 2 March 2012. During the typing of this single paragraph, the Avaaz membership rose by 30 people to 13,649,451. [Avaaz Facts]

The members are primarily citizens residing within Imperialist or wealthy states. Consider the following three examples: (Stats retrieved from the Avaaz global “membership” virtual map.)

Avaaz members situated in United States: 923,968

Avaaz members situated in Canada: 667,592

Avaaz members situated in Libya: 3,167

On 10 March 2010, John Hilary challenged Avaaz in a Guardian article titled “Internet activists should be careful what they wish for in Libya. Calls for a no-fly zone over Libya ignore the perils of intervention. Long-term solutions aren’t as simple as the click of a mouse.”

Hilary writes:

A no-fly zone would almost certainly draw Nato countries into further military involvement in Libya, replacing the agency of the Libyan people with the control of those governments who have shown scant regard for their welfare. As long as the oil kept flowing, western governments have been happy to prop up dictators who kept a heavy boot on their people’s freedom. Libyans are unlikely to be grateful to be bombed by those same western governments attempting to enforce a no-fly zone. Indeed such action would help Muammar Gaddafi by justifying his rhetoric about foreign intervention, not to mention stopping fledgling revolutions across the region in their tracks.

 

Clearly a no-fly zone makes foreign intervention sound rather humanitarian – putting the emphasis on stopping bombing, even though it could well lead to an escalation of violence.

 

No wonder, too, that it is rapidly becoming a key call of hawks on both sides of the Atlantic. The military hierarchy, with their budgets threatened by government cuts, surely cannot believe their luck – those who usually oppose wars are openly campaigning for more military involvement.

Although Hilary knowingly or otherwise dismisses the very real foreign intervention as “rhetoric” while not divulging the fact that the “fledgling revolutions” he speaks of were instigated/infiltrated/financed by foreign interests, Hilary ends with a prophetic note:

Calling for military intervention is a huge step – the life and death of hundreds of thousands of people might hang in the balance. The difference between the ease of the action and the impact of the consequence is vast.

 

In the Spanish civil war many brave people felt so strongly that they sacrificed their own lives to support the struggle against fascism in that country. How incredible it would have seemed to them, less than a hundred years later, that people would be using a click of their mouse to send armies to fight battles that might end in the death of so many others.

Avaaz’s campaign director, Ben Wikler, posted a comment in response to Hilary’s article. Bold emphasis have been added.

“Dear John,

 

“Thanks for this piece. Sorry that you felt we got this wrong. We’re doing our best and of course, people of good will with similar values can sometimes disagree. Here’s a bit more background and explanation for you on our decision on the no-fly zone –

 

Avaaz is people-powered. Our member community makes the calls. We use polls to gauge members’ views; 84% of members supported this campaign, while 9% opposed it. Since launching it, we’ve found intense support for the campaign from around the world.

 

Our staff also play a key role in consulting with leading experts around the world (and most of our staff have policy as well as advocacy backgrounds) on each of the campaigns we run, and Libya was no exception.

 

In some ways, we work a lot like journalists like you do, talking to people and weighing the facts before we form conclusions. However, our staff’s personal conclusions also have to pass the test of our membership being strongly supportive of any position we take.

 

We’re acutely aware of your and some others’ objections to this campaign. Here are the main issues that people have raised, and where we’re coming from regarding them:

 

Would imposing a no-fly zone really be a Western military intervention motivated by oil?

 

If Western powers use the no-fly zone as a pretext for self-interested military action, Avaaz would be among the first groups to campaign against it – just as Avaaz has campaigned to end the Iraq conflict and ensure that Iraq’s oil rights are reserved for the Iraqi people.

 

The call for a no-fly zone originated from Libyans – including the provisional opposition government, Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN, protesters, and youth organizations.

 

The same Libyan groups have strongly opposed any western military presence on Libyan soil. They clearly feel that a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion. Avaaz staff are in close and constant contact with activists inside Libya and have been repeatedly asked to move forward on this campaign.

 

Meanwhile, among governments, Gulf States have demanded the no-fly zone, and the U.S. government, far from itching to move ahead, appears deeply divided on the idea.

 

Furthermore, our advocacy has been for the UN Security Council to authorize a no-fly zone, not any coalition of western nations. You can bet that China and Russia will not sign off on a no-fly zone if they think it’s a cover for a Western oil grab.

 

Would imposing a no-fly zone lead to a full-blown international war?

 

No-fly zones can mean a range of different things. Some analysts and military figures have argued that it would require a pre-emptive attack on Libya’s anti-aircraft weapons. Others, however, contend that merely flying fighter planes over the rebel-controlled areas would ensure that Qaddafi wouldn’t use his jets to attack eastern Libya, because he knows his air force is weaker than that of Egypt or NATO states. The best solution is the one that reduces civilian deaths the most with the least violence. Things might not turn out as expected, but while there are potential dangers to an international war, there are certain dangers to civilians if things continue without a no-fly zone.

 

Is Qaddafi really killing civilians with this air force?

 

Based on reports from our partners on the ground, from the Red Cross, and from a variety of local and international news reports, we believe Qaddafi’s bombing runs are indeed killing civilians. Qaddafi’s air power is a key advantage over those fighting to remove him: as long as he has control of the air, attacks seem likely to continue for months or even longer, with disastrous consequences for civilians.

 

Wouldn’t a UN resolution for a no-fly zone violate national sovereignty?

 

We believe that the international community has a responsibility to protect civilians when national governments threaten their fundamental human rights.

 

National sovereignty should not be a legitimate barrier to international action when crimes against humanity are being committed. If you strongly disagree, then you may find yourself at odds with other Avaaz campaigns as well.

 

All told, this was a difficult judgment call.

 

Calling for any sort of military response always is. Avaaz members have been advocating for weeks for a full set of non-military options as well, including an asset freeze, targeted sanctions, and prosecutions of officials involved in the violent crackdown on demonstrators.

 

But although those measures are moving forward, the death toll is rising. Again, thoughtful people can disagree – but in the Avaaz community’s case, only 9% of our thoughtful people opposed this position – somewhat surprising given that we have virtually always advocated for peaceful methods to resolve conflict in the past. We think it was the best position to take given the balance of expert opinion, popular support, and most of all, the rights and clearly expressed desire of the Libyan people.

 

Respectfully,
Ben Wikler

Let’s break this down. In the Avaaz rebuttal Wikler states:

Avaaz is people-powered. Our member community makes the calls. We use polls to gauge members’ views; 84% of members supported this campaign, while 9% opposed it. Since launching it, we’ve found intense support for the campaign from around the world.”

The question must be asked – why does “intense support of the campaign from around the world” from an organization co-founded by MoveOn that, as stated in 2002, caters to members comprised of “mostly white, highly educated, computer savvy … and willing to give dough” supersede the rights of a sovereign nation and her citizens against foreign interference? How would unleashing a military operation in Libya affect Avaaz constituents attending Harvard? In fact, the Avaaz demographic is one that is being trained to not think – just click. Indeed, critical thinking is a detriment and a very real threat to the entire Avaaz phenomenon. Surely, the “wish” for foreign intervention and no-fly zones (more commonly known as war and bombs) should only be considered by those who will be affected directly by such a military campaign. As Avaaz states, their Libyan membership is a mere 3,167 people – one must ask how Avaaz considers the 3,167 Libyan Avaaz “members” as representative of “the Libyan people” in a country with (prior to the invasion) a population of almost 6 million citizens.  

“This world exists simply to satisfy the needs—including, importantly, the sentimental needs—of white people and Oprah.” — Teju Cole

The fact is that the Libyan people as a society had no representation in the Avaaz campaign calling for foreign military intervention to be inflicted upon the Libyan tribal society. In spite of Wikler’s ridiculous rhetoric, the fact is Libyan citizens were considered by Avaaz to hold little significance. Avaaz, iconic symbol of the white ivory towers of justice, followed in the path of other international NGOs in the racist ideology that the belief system upheld by the “educated” “middleclass” in the wealthy states is far superior to any contrary beliefs and ideologies of tribal/civil societies in African and Arab nations. It is only the people from within these privileged classes whose opinions matter, hence the victorious proclamation of the 84% support. The Avaaz position is even more problematic when you consider the following.

What constitutes becoming an Avaaz “member”? As with the other “online activism” NGOS, Avaaz’s actual membership is open to interpretation. For example, Avaaz affiliate GetUp states, “Join the movement of 589,261 Australians. Become a member now.” However, this figure is derived from the entire database of signed GetUp petitions, whereby each signatory is automatically enlisted as “a member.” [6] As Avaaz is modeled after GetUp and MoveOn, and considering the membership increases rapidly within a 60 second time-frame, one can assume with certainty that an Avaaz “membership” is instantly granted to each and every individual signing a petition. This ruse serves as a brilliant method of disguising where the majority of their largesse (i.e., investment) originated from (i.e., the corporate state) while further reinforcing the false impression that their funding originated from grassroots sources.

(The latest feel-good consumer NGO (first media mention 29 November 2011, first “tweet” on 4 November 2011), yet another thinking person’s nightmare named SumOfUs, already boasts 262,950 members worldwide. Where did these members come from? Affiliated NGO membership lists?)

If one signed an Avaaz petition in 2007, long before realizing whose interests this organization truly represents, is this same individual still considered a member in 2012? If 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members signed an Avaaz petition in 2008 to save elephants in Africa, this does not constitute a Libyan majority demanding military interference in 2011.

Wikler states: “Our staff also play a key role in consulting with leading experts around the world (and most of our staff have policy as well as advocacy backgrounds) on each of the campaigns we run, and Libya was no exception.”

The question is, just exactly who are these experts Avaaz continues to refer to? Nowhere does Avaaz disclose these “experts” nor their affiliations. And which institutions and societies shaped their policy and advocacy backgrounds?

 Wikler states: “If Western powers use the no-fly zone as a pretext for self-interested military action, Avaaz would be among the first groups to campaign against it.”

Yet, there has been a massive amount of evidence demonstrating, unequivocally, that this was exactly what the pretext was. “Self-interested military action” is exactly what happened, which begs the question – what happened to Avaaz claiming they “would be among the first groups to campaign against it”? [Self-interested military action: Madeleine Albright appearing on 60 minutes, Running time 23s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4] Not only does Avaaz contradict this statement, but this organization has done NOTHING to inform the public of any evidence of the deliberate destruction of Libya under the guise of a “humanitarian war.” To this day, not only is there NO EVIDENCE to support this invasion (made possible by the collaboration of yet another 77 NGOs), rather, there is a massive amount of evidence to the contrary. This was a well-planned, deliberate destabilization project that unleashed hell on a sovereign country – a country that had neither attacked nor invaded another nation. Avaaz has never released any material criticizing the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by NATO and the rebel militias that Avaaz was supporting. Nor has Avaaz shared with their supporters the horrific, racist rebel crimes and ethnic cleansing that NATO turned a blind eye to, and that were thoroughly documented throughout the invasion upon Libya. On the shocking racial atrocities filmed and documented in Tawergha, the white ivory towers remain silent. Aside from the evidence, prior to the invasion of Libya, and after, one would think that the “experts” of Avaaz would have vast knowledge of how destabilization campaigns are strategically planned and carried out by Imperialist states as documented in past and recent history. And of course, when one looks at the background of the founders who comprise Avaaz, we can understand they knew full well.

Video below: Humanitarian War in Libya: There is no evidence! (Running time: 19:42)



Wikler states: “he call for a no-fly zone originated from Libyans – including the provisional opposition government, Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN, protesters, and youth organizations.”

As for Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN: “Just a few days after the street protests began, on February 21, the very quick to defect Libyan deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, stated: ‘We are expecting a real genocide in Tripoli. The airplanes are still bringing mercenaries to the airports.’ This is excellent: a myth that is composed of myths. With that statement he linked three key myths together – the role of airports (hence the need for that gateway drug of military intervention: the no-fly zone), the role of “mercenaries” (meaning, simply, black people), and the threat of ‘genocide‘ (geared toward the language of the UN’s doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect). As ham-fisted and wholly unsubstantiated as the assertion was, he was clever in cobbling together three ugly myths, one of them grounded in racist discourse and practice that endures to the present, with newer atrocities reported against black Libyan and African migrants on a daily basis. He was not alone in making these assertions.” [Source: TOP TEN MYTHS IN NATO'S WAR AGAINST LIBYA]

It is an outrageous statement to claim it was the wish of the Libyan people to impose a military zone upon their own country. Further, the defected ambassador was clearly carrying out duties for the Imperialist states. Who were these protestors and youth organizations Avaaz speaks of? Are these the Libyans that comprise the 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members? Are they the youth groups set up by Avaaz funder and partner, the Soros Open Society Institute? Are they connected with the U.S.-funded Otpor or funded by another NGO fed by the U.S. administration? Nowhere is this information disclosed. Further, do the 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members actually live in Libya? Did all 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members sign the Avaaz petition, essentially demanding that their country become a war zone?

Wikler states: “The same Libyan groups have strongly opposed any western military presence on Libyan soil. They clearly feel that a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion. Avaaz staff are in close and constant contact with activists inside Libya and have been repeatedly asked to move forward on this campaign.”

It is beyond obvious that a no-fly zone in an oil rich country would open the door to Imperialist vultures. Who told these so-called “Libyan Groups” (whoever they are we do not know) such a ridiculous thing, “that a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion”? One must assume this information was conveyed to the “Libyan Groups” by the Avaaz “experts” since the Avaaz staff claim they were “in close and constant contact with activists inside Libya.” Further, in response to the proposed no-fly zone, Wikler goes on to say “there are potential dangers to an international war…” One must question why Wikler is aware of the potential of international war in response to a no-fly zone while the “Libyan Groups” believe (according to Avaaz) that “a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion.”

Wikler states: “Meanwhile, among governments, Gulf States have demanded the no-fly zone, and the U.S. government, far from itching to move ahead, appears deeply divided on the idea.”

Yet, as Wikler convinced and assured the Guardian readership that the U.S. was hesitant to “intervene” in Libya, the reality was that two U.S. destroyers and a number of missile-launching submarines were in fact already deployed and headed for the Libyan coast. These destroyers decisively delivered 110 Tomahawk missiles 9 days later on 19 March 2011 as part of the military operation titled “Operation Odyssey Dawn.”

“The Royal Navy bought 65 Tomahawks in 1995 at a cost of $1 million (£650,000) each from U.S. defence firm Raytheon Systems. Two American destroyers, the U.S.S Barry and Stout, have been deployed. According to a Pentagon source, each carries up to 96 Tomahawk missiles.” [Source]

19 March 2011: “Cruise missiles from U.S. submarines and frigates began the attack on the anti-aircraft system. A senior defense official speaking on background said the attacks will ‘open up the environment so we could enforce the no-fly zone from east to west throughout Libya.’” [Source]

Wikler states: “[T]here are certain dangers to civilians if things continue without a no-fly zone.”

Perhaps Wikler was speaking to certain dangers to American and European civilians if Gaddafi were to have succeeded in replacing the U.S. dollar and the Euro with an African Dinar, backed by gold, to build unity and autonomy throughout African nations. Perhaps he was referring to civilians who are living under an economic system that is dependent upon the continued exploitation and stealing of other nations’ vast resources. As Libya was a nation with no debt, interest-free loans, free education, free healthcare, and a state-of-the-art water system and a country that held the highest standard of living in Africa, it is difficult to imagine what exactly Libyans would have been fearing aside from a pending invasion by Imperialist states.

Wikler states: “Based on reports from our partners on the ground, from the Red Cross, and from a variety of local and international news reports, we believe Qaddafi’s bombing runs are indeed killing civilians.”

Wikler is purposely vague. What reports exactly are they referring to? What partners?

March 1st Pentagon Briefing: Q: Do you see any evidence that [Gaddafi] actually has fired on his own people from the air?  There were reports of it, but do you have independent confirmation? If so, to what extent? Secretary of Defence – ROBERT GATES: A: “We’ve seen the press reports, but we have no confirmation of that,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs – Admiral MICHAEL MULLEN A: “That’s correct. We’ve seen no confirmation whatsoever.”

In the following video, General Wesley Clark explains the Libyan invasion, Syria and Somalia, all planned years in advance: http://youtu.be/fSNyPS0fXpU.

Wikler states: “We believe that the international community has a responsibility to protect civilians when national governments threaten their fundamental human rights.”

Here Wikler echoes the current dogma being repeated incessantly by the U.S. administration and their corporate media lackeys. If Avaaz truly had any “experts” on civilian interests trumping those of corporate interests, Avaaz would tell us that this is merely language designed to facilitate societal acceptance of war by presenting it as “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect” (R2P). Prior to this lovely terminology, it was formerly known as “the Right to Intervene.”

Wikler states: “Again, thoughtful people can disagree – but in the Avaaz community’s case, only 9% of our thoughtful people opposed this position – somewhat surprising given that we have virtually always advocated for peaceful methods to resolve conflict in the past. We think it was the best position to take given the balance of expert opinion, popular support, and most of all, the rights and clearly expressed desire of the Libyan people.”

This highlights a very dangerous experiment, and now precedent, set by Avaaz. Wikler openly expresses that they were surprised to find only 9% of their “membership” (based upon their polls) opposed a no-fly zone. Wikler stating that this position was “somewhat surprising given that we have virtually always advocated for peaceful methods to resolve conflict in the past” is, by his own admission, acknowledging that this new direction is one that is not peaceful. One should note that all NGOs use polls and marketing executives to create and lay out most all campaigns and campaign strategies. Avaaz is no exception; rather, Avaaz should be considered the rule.

Avaaz’s integration into militarism can be seen in their continual polling that outlines, in essence, what citizens are responsive to, and what they are willing to tolerate. In the 13 January 2010 global Avaaz poll, participants were asked to rate 6 priorities in order of importance. The stated priorities from which one could choose included human rights, torture and genocide (#2), democracy movements and tyrannical regimes (#3) war, peace and security (#4) and corruption and abuse of power (#5). Incidentally number 1 was climate change, however after the failed Copenhagen climate talks, this issue was no longer considered a hot commodity for NGO branding purposes and thus the campaign on climate was, for the most part, abandoned altogether. All other proposed “choices” are key elements/issues associated with militarism.

How Wikler and his Avaaz cohorts sleep at night, knowing the Avaaz campaign contributed to the annihilation of as many as 100,000 Libyan civilians and unleashed a racial war, is anyone’s guess. Although it certainly must help when one is surrounded by like-minded people who all reinforce your distorted world views while reassuring each other that each is more brilliant than the other and the end justifies the means. This is the beauty and the power of neo-liberalism activism conformity. It allows one to behave like an asshole, while those indoctrinated into the same belief system, including corporate and so-called “progressive” media, portray you as a celebrity. The oligarchy’s willingness to ensure the egos remain plump and well-nourished is strategic. This ensures that the narcissist’s delusions are reinforced while simultaneously ensuring any doubt is cast far away. No one wishes to be ostracized from the champagne circuit. Wikler recently left Avaaz to become Executive Vice President at Change.org, another Soros (for-profit) NGO, while thousands upon thousands of Libyans paid the ultimate price for his campaign, which can be found on the Avaaz website under recent “victories.” Ben Wikler’s compensation as Avaaz Campaign Director in 2010 was a reported $111,384 (990 Form).

Not everyone was so gullible. One reader (“derazed”) comments beneath the Guardian article: “Up until its latest, I had appreciated Avaaz – even gave some money in the direction of providing Arab activists telecommunications equipment. When the no-fly email arrived, I created my own “no fly” zone – by terminating my email relationship with Avaaz. The internet and real-life events have taught me something about warmongers in virtual clothing.”

[28 March 2011: Fortune-500 funded Brookings Institution's "Libya's Test of the New International Order" is reported on – exposing the war as not one of a "humanitarian" nature, but one aimed explicitly at establishing an international order and the primacy of international law.]

The Avaaz Gate-Keepers 

Consider all of the following information within this report as a mere tip of the iceberg. Note that most, if not all organizations discussed in this report are, in part or full, financed by, and in many cases established in partnership with, George Soros’ “Open Society Institute.”

Avaaz Co-Founder and Executive Director: Ricken Patel

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

Snapshot:

  • AccessNow: International Advisory Board
  • Avaaz International: Co-founder
  • Avaaz International: Executive Director/President
  • CARE International: Consultant
  • CeaseFireCampaign.org (discontinued): Co-Founder
  • CeaseFireCampaign.org (discontinued): Executive Director
  • DarfurGenocide.org: Co-director
  • DarfurGenocide.org: Co-founder
  • Faith in Public Life: Board of Directors
  • Faith in Public Life: Co-founder
  • Faithful America: Board of Directors
  • Faithful America: Co-founder
  • Gates Foundation: Consultant
  • Harvard University: Consultant
  • International Center for Transitional Justice: Consultant
  • International Crisis Group: Consultant
  • J Street: Advisory Council
  • Namati: Board of Directors
  • Res Publica: Chairman/Executive Director
  • Res Publica: Co-founder
  • Rockefeller Foundation: Consultant
  • United Nations: Consultant

Education:

  • Harvard University Kennedy School of Government
  • University of Oxford
  • Queen’s University

Compensation from Avaaz (990 Forms):

2006:   $61,650 (Res Publica)

2006: $120,000

2007: $120,000

2007:   $10,000 (Res Publica)

2008: $126,000

2009: $120,000

2010: $183,264

Resides in New York

Ricken Patel is co-founder and executive director of Avaaz International. Patel has served as a consultant for the United Nations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Crisis Group, Harvard University, CARE International, and the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Patel’s consulting to the United Nations should be of little surprise. Like Avaaz, the United Nations has become nothing more than an instrumental tool that serves the interests of the Imperialist states. This too should come as little surprise since it was the oligarchy who founded the UN in the first place. For decades, those states oppressed under the claws of Imperialism have demanded reforms within the UN. This fact is well-documented in a long list of impassioned speeches by leaders of sovereign nations constantly fighting against oppression and foreign meddling. The speeches are rarely, if ever, publicized by either corporate or “progressive” media (funded by the same corporate elites). Not surprisingly, the non-profit industrial complex does essentially nothing to support the states who continue to fight for their autonomy and liberation, only possible by smashing the chains of Imperialist states. This is what Libya was helping Africa achieve before it was targeted and destroyed.

Patel was voted “Ultimate Gamechanger in Politics” in 2009 by the recently acquired Huffington Post (purchased by AOL Time Warner in 2011) and named “a Young Global Leader” by the infamous Davos World Economic Forum. When an “activist” receives accolades from international corporate entities and corporate media, alarm bells should be going off and red flags should be seen waving from those within civil society.

Patel is a graduate of the Kennedy School at Harvard University and Oxford and is considered in elite circles a “Balliol”:

Oxford: “Institutions as diverse as the Workers Educational Trust, the National Trust, Amnesty International, Ashoka (the global association of leading social entrepreneurs), and Avaaz (now the largest online advocacy group in the world) were all established by Balliol people.”

The International Crisis Group, for which Patel has served as a consultant, is also an institution for which George Soros is a trustee. In 2008, ICG helped establish the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, along with Human Rights Watch, Oxfam International and other influential NGOs of the Soros network. As of April 2011, ICG was one of the 31 member organizations belonging to the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect. Operating on an annual budget of $17 million (2011), ICG raises funds from governments, charitable foundations, private companies, and individual donors. Among the organization’s key benefactors are the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Compton Foundation, and the Flora Family Foundation. In 2008 George Soros’ Open Society Institute pledged to give $5 million to ICG.

The International Crisis Group has been a key player in the “revolutions.” In the January 2011 article “All is not what it seems in Egyptian Clashes,” it was disclosed that the Egyptian protest leader Mohammed ElBaradei “was in fact a devoted agent of the West, with a long standing membership within the Wall Street/London funded International Crisis Group” [Source: Land Destroyer].

Patel is also co-founder and executive director of Res Publica, which was formally launched in 2003. Res Publica is based in New York.

Res Publica is a primary co-founder of Avaaz along with MoveOn. Res Publica’s stated goal is to “develop innovative solutions to global justice and security threats.” Res Publica “ran as a pilot project” in Sierra Leone in 2001-2002 and has three full-time fellows, Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello and Tom Pravda. Res Publica is supported by a broader network of “Friends of Res Publica” and a Global Advisory Board. Who the broader network of “Friends of Res Publica” actually are, is anyone’s guess.

29 December 2004: “Over two days in early December approximately three-dozen religious activists met at the Washington office of the Center for American Progress, a recently formed think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. The Res Publica-driven agenda for the closed-door gathering included sessions on ‘building the movement infrastructure’ and ‘objectives, strategies and core issues.’”

Perriello (now President and CEO of Center for American Progress) described Res Publica as an “incubator for social entrepreneurship.”

The Res Publica email address is actually resp...@avaaz.org.

Up to at least 2008, Patel remained a board of directors member with Faithful America of which he was also a principle founder (founded in 2004, launched in 2006) along with former (2009-2011) U.S. Representative Tom Perriello. The aim of “Faithful America” was to create a “religious version of MoveOn.org.” Both Patel and Perriello served as the project’s first co-directors. This NGO was later taken over by Faith in Public Life, where, as of 2008, Patel was also a member of the board. On 13 April 2008, Faith in Public Life, in partnership with the ONE Campaign and Oxfam America, organized the Democratic candidates’ “Compassion Forum” during which corporate media partners CNN and Newsweek hosted an evening with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and a number of faith “leaders.” Faith in Public Life received $400,000 from the Open Society Institute in 2007 and again in 2008.

Patel was co-director of DarfurGenocide.org, an organization he helped establish with Perriello and the U.S. State Department.

Patel also serves on the board of Namati, an organization “that offers technical assistance to development organizations, governments, and civil society actors interested in enhancing legal empowerment aspects of existing work, or launching new legal empowerment initiatives.” Its partners include UKAid from the Department of International Development; AusAid, the Australian government’s Overseas Aid Program; UNDP, the United Nations Development Program; and the Soros Open Society Foundations. Patel also sits on the organization J Street’s advisory council with Eli Pariser, co-founder of Avaaz and the current executive director of MoveOn.

Patel also serves on the International Advisory Board of AccessNow.org, an organization which will be discussed further in this report. [Source: Source Watch]

Patel’s rise to superstardom in the corporate world is due to the fact that he specializes in “E-advocacy” and web-based movement-building – the key to securing control of all “consumers,” all “movements” and essentially all information on the planet.

Avaaz Co-founder: Tom Perriello

Snapshot:

  • AccessNow: International Advisory Board
  • Afghanistan Watch: Analyst
  • Avaaz International: Co-founder
  • Avaaz International: Secretary 2008
  • Avaaz International: Trustee 2006, 2007
  • Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good: Co-founder
  • CeaseFireCampaign.org (discontinued): Co-founder
  • Center for a Sustainable Economy, now part of “Redefining Progress”: Assistant Director
  • Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) — the home of ThinkProgress and the advocacy arm of the Center for American Progress (CAP): President and CEO
  • Consultant on Youth and Environmental Campaigns
  • E-Mediat Jordan: Country Director
  • Faithful America: Co-director
  • Faithful America: Principle Founder
  • International Center for Transitional Justice: Consultant
  • International Centre for Transitional Justice: Employed by
  • J Street: Advisory Council
  • Namati: Board of Directors
  • National Council of Churches of Christ: Consultant
  • National Council of Churches of Christ: Fellow
  • National Security Consultant
  • New York State Bar: Member
  • Open Society Institute: Teaching Fellow
  • Res Publica: Co-founder
  • The Century Foundation: Fellow
  • The Century Foundation: National Security Analyst
  • The Century Foundation: Special Advisor/Spokesperson
  • United Nations: Special Adviser to the International War Crimes Prosecutor
  • U.S. Representative: Virginia Democratic Congressman, 2008-2010
  • U.S. State Department: Employed by
  • Virginia House of Delegates: Legislative Page
  • Yale Law School: Teaching Fellow
  • Yale Scroll and Key: Secret Society Member

Avaaz Compensation:

2006: $48,000

Education: Yale University

Resides in Virginia, U.S.A.

Tom Perriello is a long-time collaborator with Ricken Patel. Together, they co-founded Avaaz.org, Res Publica and FaithfulAmerica.org.

Perriello is a former U.S. Representative (represented the 5th District of Virginia from 2008 to 2010) and a founding member of the House Majority Leader’s National Security Working Group.

Perriello was also co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. He worked for Reverend Dr. James Forbes on “prophetic justice” principles. Many of these organizations were created with the intent of creating a broad-based “religious left” movement.

Indeed, it has been stated by Marx that “religion is the opium of the masses.” In 1974 the late Edward Goldsmith argued that religion must be considered an integral part of a culture; the key control mechanism that ensures the stability of a social system. Goldsmith noted that, indeed, no traditional societies appear to have a word for “religion” while “only when religion breaks away from the rest of a society’s cultural pattern and ceases to be the effective force governing it, that the word ‘religion’ appears necessary.” Goldsmith cautioned in 1974 that contrary to what was being taught, people in Western societies were never more miserable, explaining why they resort to so many different forms of escapism such as addiction and suicide. Goldsmith believed it was essential to urgently create new systems of belief in an effort to “recreate an orderly society held together by a clearly formulated religio-culture.” Goldsmith stated that movements attempting to achieve this have already begun to proliferate. One can assume this was the ideology behind Patel’s and Perriello’s religious groups they began to create. The only problem for Patel, Perriello, Pravda and Soros was that the religious angle did not work. The masses did not buy in.

Perriello and Patel also co-founded and co-directed DarfurGenocide.org which officially launched in 2004. “DarfurGenocide.org is a project of Res Publica, a group of public sector professionals dedicated to promoting good governance and virtuous civic cultures.” Today, this organization is now known as “Darfurian Voices”: “Darfurian Voices is a project of 24 Hours for Darfur.” The U.S. Department of State and the Open Society Institute were just two of the organization’s funders and collaborating partners. Other Darfurian Voices partners include Avaaz, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Centre for Transitional Justice, Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Humanity United, Darfur People’s Association of New York, Genocide Intervention, Witness, Yale Law School, The Sigrid Rausing Trust and the Bridgeway Foundation.

Despite the carefully crafted language and images that tug at your emotions, such NGOs were created for and exist for one primary purpose – to protect and further American policy and interests, under the guise of philanthropy and humanitarianism. Of all the listed partners of DarfurGenocide.org, with the exception of one located in London, England, all of the entities involved are American and based on U.S. soil.

 “Most of us have policy or diplomacy backgrounds, as well as activist, so the hope is that we will be doing these things at key diplomatic moments.” — Tom Perriello on Avaaz, 5 February 2007, speaking to The Nation

Consider the explosive investigative report titled “Burying the Darfur Genocide Myth”, published by Pravda on 16 August 2011. Excerpts are as follows:

“To start with, my investigation has found that the victims of the Darfur conflict were the beneficiaries of the largest, best run relief works in history. This is a fact, demonstrated repeatedly by the situation on the ground in Darfur, and every honest, knowledgeable aid worker in the Darfur relief works will tell you that Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir has played a critical role in the relief works success and that without the leadership and support of President Bashir the Darfur relief works would not have been possible.

 

The charges of genocide laid against President Bashir by, amongst others, the International Criminal Court in the Hague, are based on reports of the most shaky provenance, mainly UN ‘sources’ of very questionable backgrounds….

 

The Darfur genocide myth has been promoted by western ‘human rights’ NGOs who have collected over $100 million under the rubric of ‘Enough’ and ‘Preventing Genocide.’ The claims of genocide are based on estimates of the number of deaths that were rapidly inflated as the dollars started rolling in. First it was 100,000, then 200,000, then 300,000 and finally, in a claim so ludicrous that even the British government media watchdog yanked off the air, 400,000 people were supposed to have been victims of genocide in Darfur….

 

The west, in particular the U.S.A, are hell bent on keeping Africa in a state of crisis, the better to exploit. And the ‘save Darfur’ lobby is all for bringing more violence to Africa under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention,’ while little of the over $100 million they collected ever reached the Darfur people it was intended for.”

Videos: Human rights investigator and award-winning journalist Keith Harmon Snow Speaking on Propaganda and NGOs (Running time: 2:56)



Keith Harmon Snow Discussing Western NGOs and Africa (Running time: 2:54)



The International Criminal Court (ICC) (led by Luis Moreno Ocampo) is widely discredited in Africa. Since its inception in 2002, the ICC has targeted solely African and other developing world leaders. Jean Ping, head of the African Union: “We Africans and the African Union are not against the International Criminal Court. We are against Ocampo who is rendering justice with double standards.” The ICC has had many opportunities to indict Western war criminals/leaders (Bush, Blair, Cheney) since its inception, yet, of course has made no attempts to do so. [Source]

Before co-founding Res Publica, Perriello served as Special Advisor to the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a United Nations Tribunal, and as a Yale Law School/Open Society Institute Teaching Fellow in West Africa. Perriello is a member of the New York State Bar.

Perriello’s 2005 organization “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good” (CACG) stated that the concept of “the common good” reportedly came from the Center for American Progress founded by co-chair of President Obama’s transition team John Podesta, which subsequently helped form alliances between CACG and similar organizations. The chair of this organization is Elizabeth Frawley Bagley: “Bagley is a member of the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. She served as senior advisor to the secretary of state from 1997–2001.” CACG’s listed advisers include/included Clinton’s Paul Begala and John Podesta and Clinton’s former press secretary Mike McCurry.

Perriello has worked for the U.S. State Department, and as a consultant for the International Centre for Transitional Justice, as well as the National Council of Churches of Christ. Perriello has been an analyst for Afghanistan Watch, as well as a Special Advisor/Spokesperson and National Security Analyst for The Century Foundation in which he is a “Fellow.” The URL for Afghanistan Watch now brings up The Century Foundation. Prior to law school, Perriello worked as assistant director of the Center for a Sustainable Economy (now part of “Redefining Progress“) and as a consultant on youth and environmental campaigns.

Perriello has worked as an independent national security consultant in central and southern Afghanistan. In 2005 and 2007, he spent time assessing “the Taliban’s resurgence and strategies (primarily political) for restoring control.” Perriello conducted research in seven different provinces and managed a team of 60 across the country. Under the auspices of his own organization (Res Publica) and others, Perriello briefed embassy leaders in Kabul, UN mission chiefs, and various agencies of the Bush Administration. He also provided background briefings for media, U.S. Representatives, and various think tanks such as the Center for American Progress, of which he is now CEO and President. He has also worked in national security efforts in Sierra Leone (United Nations Special Court), Liberia, Kosovo, and Darfur. Perriello has worked as a humanitarian aid worker national security consultant and is on the board of directors for Namati.

Perriello has had a long relationship with Soros’ Open Society-funded Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, which continue to this day. Amnesty International is also financed by the Soros Open Society Institute. All of these organizations have been instrumental in opening up the doors for foreign invasion into Libya and now Syria.

Excerpts from the 3 May 2011 article “International Crisis Group Sweating over Syria,” published by Land Destroyer Report:

“The International Crisis Group (ICG) has been at the center of the unfolding ‘Arab Spring’ since the very beginning. Mohamed ElBaradei, a member of the ICG board of trustees, was literally leading the color revolution in the streets of Cairo along with his admitted underling, Google executive Wael Ghonim. The ICG has also recently made a heeded call for intervention in the Ivory Coast.

 

ICG includes George Soros and Zbigniew Brzezinski, two men notorious for their extraterritorial meddling and their fomenting of color revolutions in far flung lands. To explain why they are so eager to pry their way into sovereign nations, despoil, topple, and rebuild them, one only has to look at ICG’s corporate supporters. They include such ignoble organizations as Chevron, Morgan Stanley, and Deutsche Bank Group with equally ignoble intentions that are confidently expressed through ICG’s nefarious agenda.”

The International Crisis Group (ICG) was founded in 1995 by World Bank Vice-President Mark Malloch Brown, former U.S. diplomat Morton Abramowitz and Fred Cuny, an international disaster relief specialist who disappeared in Chechnya in 1995. The Crisis Group raises funds from mainly western governments, foundations, corporations and individual donors. In 2006, 40% of its funding came from 22 different governments, 32% from 15 “philanthropic” organizations, and 28% from individuals and private foundations. Soros, who is chairman of the Open Society Institute, is on the Board of Trustees. The ICG Advisory Council includes corporations such as Chevron and Shell.[Source] The Board of Trustees, Executive Committee and the Crisis Group Senior Advisors read like a who’s who of the political elites and banking cartel. The ICG executive committee includes Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Lawrence Summers, Former Director of the U.S. National Economic Council and Secretary of the Treasury, and Javier Solana, NATO Secretary-General and Foreign Affairs Minister of Spain.

In 2007, ICG and Human Rights Watch were key players in the development of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect in cooperation with prominent governments, NGOs and academia. [For background on R2P read The Real Motives behind a Rapacious Imperial Power’s Real Objectives and History and Timeline of R2P.]

Excerpts from the 15 February 2012 article, “‘Human Rights’ Warriors for Empire,” published by Black Agenda Report:

“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are swigging the ale with their fellow buccaneers. These ‘human rights’ warriors, headquartered in the bellies of empires past and present, their chests shiny with medals of propagandistic service to superpower aggression in Libya, contribute ‘left’ legitimacy to the imperial project.

 

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen sides in the Washington-backed belligerency – the side of Empire. As groups most often associated with (what passes for) the Left in their headquarters’ countries, they are invaluable allies of the current imperial offensive….

 

There was great ambivalence – the most polite word I can muster – among purported leftists in the United States and Europe to NATO’s bombardment and subjugation of Libya. Here we are again, in the face of existential imperial threats to Syria and Iran, as leftists temporize about human rights while the ‘greatest purveyor of violence in the world today’ blazes new warpaths.

 

There is no such thing as an anti-war activist who is not an anti-imperialist. And the only job of an anti-imperialist in the belly of the beast is to disarm the beast. Absent that, s/he is useless to humanity.

 

As we used to say: You are part of the solution – or you are part of the problem. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are part of the problem.”

The George Soros Open Society Foundation is the primary donor of the Human Rights Watch, contributing $100 million of $128 million of contributions and grants received by the HRW in the 2011 financial year.

Perriello is a supporter of the “War on Terror,” a fabricated psyops, which was and continues to be an essential component to unleash a new wave of wars, invasions and occupations. Indeed, if people are frightened, they will accept authority.

“As far as America’s war against terrorism is concerned [the] senator provides unequivocal support to Barrack Obama.” — Perriello of Congress website

Perriello’s view of Israel borders on fantasy. He views Israel as one of the most “dramatic and exciting creations of the international community” in the 20th century and believes that a permanent moral and strategic relationship exists between the U.S. and Israel.”

In May 2009, 60 Congress members voted against dumping another $97 billion into the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Perriello voted for it. [Source]

On 16 June 2009, 202 Congress members voted against that same war funding (May 2009) combined with a massive IMF bailout for Eastern European bankers. [This authorized supplements and rescinds appropriations for the Department of Defense totaling $80.93 billion including $29.51 billion for operation and maintenance, including $3.61 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund; and $400 million for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund; $25.3 billion for Procurement; $18.73 billion for military personnel; $2.87 billion for military construction; $1.12 billion for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund; $1.06 billion for the Defense Health Program; $9.7 billion for the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other agencies for costs associated with international assistance, including $4.65 billion for bilateral economic assistance, $2.97 billion for the Economic Support Fund; $2.18 billion for international security assistance, $1.29 billion for the Foreign Military Financing Program; $1.94 billion for Diplomatic and Consular Programs.] Perriello voted in favour of both. (Key Vote | HR 2346)

On 26 June 2009, Perriello voted in favor of the Waxman-Markey bill, a bill which promoted the false solution of cap and trade. This bill was vehemently opposed by many climate justice groups, all while corporate greens unapologetically lobbied for it extensively and relentlessly. In all, six of the world’s 15 largest publicly-traded corporations in 2009 supported cap and trade legislation: JP Morgan Chase (#1), Bank of America (#2), General Electric (#3), Shell (#8), British Petroleum (#10), and Walmart (#14). Three of the six were members of U.S.CAP. During this fiscal year the national environmental groups took in $1.7 billion in revenue. Of the $1.7 billion, $12.8 million was spent on lobbying, with the great proportion of these expenditures focused on cap and trade legislation. [7] (Key Vote | HR 245)

On 8 October 2009, Perriello voted in support of the defense bill for military appropriations in the amount of $681.02 billion. This authorized $639.32 billion in Department of Defense authorizations for fiscal year 2009-2010, $24.75 billion in military construction, $16.94 billion in Department of Energy national security authorizations, $309 million for research and evaluation, procurement, or deployment of an alternative Missile Defense System in Europe and authorization to increase the active-duty number for the U.S. Army to a number greater than otherwise allowed by law up to the 2010 baseline plus 30,000 troops, and $136.02 billion for military personnel for the fiscal year 2010. (Key Vote | HR 264)

In March of 2010, a reception was hosted by two leading corporate greens: the “League of Conservation Voters” and “Environmental Defense” Action Fund to raise funds for Perriello’s re-election campaign for Congress. MoveOn.org raised $100,000 for Perriello’s re-election campaign.

President Barack Obama visited Perriello’s district, the only Congressman for which he did so. (In spite of extensive campaigning, Perriello would fail to win his re-election campaign.)

On 10 March 2010, 65 Congress members voted to end the war on Afghanistan. Perriello voted in favour of keeping it going. [Source]

On 28 May 2010, Perriello voted in support of the defense bill for military appropriations. This included $32.42 billion for the Defense Health Program, $3.42 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles, $3.46 billion for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund and $71.2 million for the operation of the Armed Forces Retirement Home. (Key Vote | HR 5136)

On 1st July 2010, 100 Congress members voted to fund only withdrawal from Afghanistan. Perriello voted against this amendment. Rather, Perriello was in favour of an amendment requesting the President to devise an exit plan (any exit plan) for Afghanistan. The amendment did not call for a date let alone any enforcement. In essence it was nothing more than rhetoric to appease a nation that was beginning to awaken to an increasingly corporatized government: unprecedented debt, home foreclosures, escalating resource wars and corruption – all unparalleled in scale in the nation’s history, while the wealthy became even wealthier. Thus, Perriello voted in favour as he did with the supposed “Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq” – a plan that was weaker than the treaty George Bush had signed. (Key Vote | HR 4899)

On 27 July 2010, Perriello opposed removing the United States Armed Forces from Pakistan. (Key Vote | H Con Res 301)

On 27 July 2010, 115 Congress members (12 Republicans and 103 Democrats) voted against a supplemental bill authorizing $33.29 billion dollars to escalate the war on Afghanistan. Tom Perriello voted in favour of it. When a small group of concerned citizens met with Perriello prior to the vote, Perriello refused to say what, if anything, he thought. (Key Vote | HR 489)

On 30 July 2010, Perriello voted against “Offshore Drilling Regulations and Other Energy Law Amendments” (Key Vote | HR 3534) and voted yes to ending the “Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling Rigs that Meet Certain Safety Standards” (Key Vote | H Amdt 773).

On 6 October 2010, Perriello received the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the race in recognition of his “strong support for veterans, national security and defense, and military personnel issues.”

On 29 October 2010, “War Is A Crime” reported: “136 Congress members have signed a letter promising not to cut Social Security. Perriello has not.”

Yet, in spite of these pro-war positions, the liberal left and their so called “progressive media” continued to shine a glowing light on Perriello and frame him as a stand-out progressive.

Like Orwell’s War is Peace, the liberal left’s demigods were more and more demonstrating “right” conduct all while professional left continued to portray them as “progressive.” However, the changing landscape did not silence everyone. David Swanson, founder of warisacrime.org wrote:

“Do we oppose this? Well, some of us used to. When our congressman was a Republican, we denounced this course of action in the media, phoned his office, picketed his office, and went to jail for sitting in his office. But for the past year and a half, while the military budget and the war budget have both increased, we’ve said almost nothing. A small group of us have begun organizing protests at the new Democratic congress member’s office, but we’re the only ones he hears from. We’ve spent a good deal of time in his office on two occasions, and I think I have heard his phone ring there a total of twice. Nobody’s calling. And everyone who is not calling is communicating their approval of the mass murder of individual and remarkable and precious human beings.”

On 15 December 2011, the Center for American Progress announced new leadership roles for its advocacy arm. Former Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA) became the new President and CEO of CAP Action and Counselor for Policy at CAP.

In the 2012 winter issue of Democracy Journal, Perriello pens a grotesque and delusional article titled:”Humanitarian Intervention: Recognizing When, and Why, It Can Succeed”:

“The use of force always entails grave dangers and human costs, and progressives have been leery particularly since the Vietnam era of supporting it, even to prevent or end mass atrocities, repression, and other systematic human suffering. Wise leaders will always remain wary of war. But wisdom also requires us to acknowledge two dramatic changes in our ability to use force for good. First, in a single generation, our ability to intervene without heavy casualties has improved dramatically. Second, the range of diplomatic and legal tools for legitimizing such interventions has likewise expanded….

 

Operational developments since the end of the Cold War have substantially improved our capacity to wage smart military operations that are limited in time and scope and employ precise and overwhelming force. This presents progressives with an opportunity – one that is too often seen as a curse – to expand the use of force to advance key values….

 

While the UN Security Council remains the most formal standard for international legitimacy, many nations consider it less representative than regional bodies and less responsive than reality sometimes demands. Today, the United States has a range of options to validate such uses of military might for humanitarian concerns….

After highlighting “the success” in Libya, Perriello goes on to say:

“Today, Gadhafi is dead, and the Libyan people have their first chance for democratic, accountable governance in decades…. American casualties were zero. Insurgent fighters and the vast majority of the population have cheered the victory as liberation, and courageous Syrians who face daily threats of death for standing up to their own repressive regime have taken comfort in Gadhafi’s fall. These accomplishments are no small feats for those who care about human dignity, democracy, and stability….

 

Progressives often demand action in the face of abject human suffering, but we know from recent history that in some situations moral condemnation, economic sanctions, or ex-post tribunals don’t save lives. Only force does.”

In closing, Perriello states:

“We must realize that force is only one element of a coherent national security strategy and foreign policy. We must accept the reality – whether or not one accepts its merits – that other nations are more likely to perceive our motives to be self-interested than values-based. But in a world where egregious atrocities and grave threats exist, and where Kosovo and Libya have changed our sense of what’s now possible, the development of this next generation of power can be seen as a historically unique opportunity to reduce human suffering.”

Make no mistake – this is the ideology at the helm of Avaaz.org.

In December 2011, Perriello disclosed that he served as special adviser to the international war crimes prosecutor and has spent extensive time in 2011 in Egypt and the Middle East researching the Arab Spring. Therefore, based on this disclosure alone, there can be no doubt that the deliberate strategy being advanced by Avaaz cannot be based upon any type of ignorance or naïveté.

The 12 January 2012 RSVP event “Reframing U.S. Strategy in a Turbulent World: American Spring?” featured speakers from Charles Kupchan of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rosa Brooks of the New America Foundation, and none other than Tom Perriello, CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Perriello advanced his “ideology” during this lecture.

Indoctrination of the Youth is Essential

On 18 January 2012, Perriello, as the Center for American Progress’s Advocacy Director, joined Mark Schneider, the International Crisis Group’s Senior Vice President and Maria McFarland, Human Rights Watch’s Deputy Washington Director to present a lecture titled: “The ‘Responsibility to Protect’ after the Arab Spring: A Discussion” at Georgetown University in Washington, DC with the synopsis as follows: “Governments’ repressive responses to the social upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa have sparked a shift in international approaches to civilian protection and mass atrocities prevention. The decade-old ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine has figured centrally in international responses to repressive regimes. However, between the tenuous success of NATO’s Libya intervention and the international community’s weak-kneed response to violence in Syria, R2P’s future is far from certain.”

In this video Perriello is introducing himself to the youth involved in a training organization named “e-mediat Jordan” who, Perriello states, are prepared to “sacrifice for their country.” Perriello is listed as director: “E-Mediat Jordan Country Director – Honorable Tom Perriello.” This organization is situated in Jordan, which is located in the Middle East and borders Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq. This NGO describes itself as a “Tools, Technology and Training” Centre. Training youth has become instrumental to advancing the Imperialist agenda. In essence, the exploited youth are the sacrificial lambs of the ruling classes in the 21st century.

Perriello no doubt believes in the myth of American exceptionalism. His patriotic views are reinforced by like-minded individuals from the Bush administration, the Obama administration, and the scores of organizations who “understand” the “need” to expand America’s “democracy” and “economic prosperity” around the globe. And while these myths are pushed forward by Imperialist administrations, the non-profit industrial complex and corporate media, civil rights in America are being stripped away faster than you can say fascism.

 

Up next: Part II, Section II.

Avaaz Investigative Report Series [Links]|Further Reading: Part I | Section I | Part I | Section II | Part I | Section III | Part II | Section I

[Cory Morningstar is an independent journalist /ecological activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change, Political Context and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur]

Resources

[1] Source: http://www.wiserearth.org/group/AvaazDotOrg. Information compiled/created April 7, 2010 and updated Feb 9, 2012.

[2] “Independent Media Institute Funding Funding for AlterNet comes from private foundations, site advertising, and individual donors.” “Several of our additional funders wish to remain anonymous.”

[3] Source: http://www.avaaz.org/en/report_back_2

[4] Source: http://www.anmag.org/issues/25/02/250207.php

[5] “In total with ONE partner organizations Avaaz.org, Jubilee U.S.A and Oxfam International, more than 415,000 signatures in all will be delivered tomorrow to Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, host of this week’s G7 Finance Ministers meeting.” http://www.one.org/c/us/pressrelease/3242/

[6] MoveOn’s annual report for 2008-09, the total number of individual donors (not members, as membership is automatically established upon a citizen “clicking” on a petition) was 17,295.

[7] http://climateshiftproject.org/report/climate-shift-clear-vision-for-the-next-decade-of-public-debate/#convergence-on-cap-and-tradePart II | Section I of an investigative report by Cory Morningstar

Avaaz Investigative Report Series [Links]|Further Reading: Part I | Section I | Part I | Section II | Part I | Section III | Part II | Section I | Part II | Section II

Bread and Circuses

Panem et circenses. A metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement, in Latin. It was the basic Roman formula for the well-being of the population, and hence a political strategy unto itself. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion, distraction, and/or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the common man (l’homme moyen sensuel). In modern usage, the phrase is taken to describe a populace that no longer values civic virtues and the public life. To many across the political spectrum, left and right, it connotes a supposed triviality and frivolity that characterized the Roman Republic prior to its decline into the autocratic monarchy characteristic of the later Roman Empire’s transformation about 44 BCE. [Source: Wikipedia]

Avaaz: The Emperor of the NGO Network 

“The banality of evil transmutes into the banality of sentimentality. The world is nothing but a problem to be solved by enthusiasm.” — Teju Cole

Avaaz is the operational name of “Global Engagement and Organizing Fund,” a non-profit organization legally incorporated in 2006.

Avaaz was founded by Res Publica, described as a global civic advocacy group, and Moveon.org, “an online community that has pioneered internet advocacy in the United States.”

Launched in 2007, Avaaz is the fastest-growing online movement in history. The deliberate choosing of the word Avaaz, which translates to “voice” in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages, begs the question of whether the core purpose of Avaaz from the onset was to build influence and “befriend” the populations in the Middle Eastern and Asia.

9 December 2009: Ricken Patel of Res Publica: “Each organization [MoveOn and ResPublica] has roughly equal international memberships that will be invited to join Avaaz (Res Publica has built a list of almost 400,000 at http://www.ceasefirecampaign.org/) … I think it’s fair [to say] that we’re starting with a MoveOn model plus SMS….” [SMS is the acronym for Short Message Service, or texting.]

The Service Employees International Union and GetUp.org.au were also publicly recognized as founding partners of Avaaz: “Avaaz.org also enjoys the partnership and support of leading activist organizations from around the world, including the Service Employees International Union, a founding partner of Avaaz, GetUp.org.au, and many others.”

The silent voice behind Avaaz, that of Res Publica, is, in the public realm, essentially comprised of 3 key individuals: Tom Perriello, a pro-war (former) U.S. Representative who describes himself as a social entrepreneur, Ricken Patel, consultant to many of the most powerful entities on Earth and the long-time associate of Perriello, and Tom Pravda, a member of the UK Diplomatic Service who serves as a consultant to the U.S. State Department.

9 December 2009, Tech President: “The organization is pursuing an ambitious growth path…. It is beginning with 700,000 members spread across 148 countries. It also has an Advisory Board that comprises politicians, diplomats, activists and celebrities from around the world…. Open Society Institute indeed made a one-year grant of $150,000 to Res Publica last summer to help them get Avaaz off the ground.” (Two appreciative comments from Avaaz associates can be found under this article, including one from a lesser publicly credited Avaaz co-founder, Paul Hilder.) (Hilder is discussed further within this report.)

In addition to the $150,000 in seed money from George Soros’s Open Society Institute, Res Publica gave Avaaz $225,000 in 2006. (Form 990, page 18), $950,000 in 2007 (Form 990, page 18), and $500,000 in 2008 (Form 990, page 9). (Form 990 allows the IRS and the public to evaluate nonprofits and how they operate.)

Avaaz states that they take “absolutely no money from governments or corporations…. While we received initial seed grants from partner organizations and charitable organizations, almost 90% of the Avaaz budget now comes [from] small online donations.” The 2009 Form 990 for George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society reports (page 87) $300,000 in general support for Avaaz and an additional $300,000 to Avaaz for climate campaigning.

The Avaaz co-founding team is comprised of a group of “global social entrepreneurs” from six countries: Executive Director Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello, Tom Pravda, Eli Pariser (MoveOn Executive Director), Andrea Woodhouse (consultant to the World Bank) Jeremy Heimans (co-founder of GetUp! and Purpose), and Australian entrepreneur David Madden (co-founder of GetUp and Purpose). “Avaaz is lucky to have the founding partnership and support of leading activist organizations from around the world.” [1]

The 2010 Avaaz Form 990 states: “Avaaz Foundation is comprised of two members: Res Publica (U.S.) Inc. and MoveOn.org Civic Action.”

Both Heimans and Madden were instrumental in forming the vision of Avaaz; the “global online political community inspired by the success of GetUp and the U.S. group MoveOn.org.”

In 2002, MoveOn’s political action committee (PAC) raised and distributed $3.5 million to more than 36 U.S. congressional candidates. Don Hazen (executive director of the “Independent” Media Institute (IMI), as well as executive editor of AlterNet, which is a program of IMI) [2] was quoted as stating: “MoveOn’s member list [is] mostly white, highly educated, computer savvy … and willing to give dough.”

Based on the “success” of Avaaz co-founder, MoveOn, we can safely assume that “mostly white, highly educated, computer savvy … and willing to give dough” should be considered the targeted demographic for Avaaz and the Avaaz network.

On 23 November 2003 it was reported by San Fransico Chronicle that “MoveOn.org reeled in a $5 million matching pledge from currency speculator billionaire George Soros.” This represented the largest-ever individual donation to the five-year-old organization. The model described by The Chronicle was “an organization with six full-time employees, no offices,” which has been successfully replicated by many NGOs within the non-profit industrial complex, including 350.org.

In 2010 Avaaz paid Ricken Patel $183,264 as executive director, and paid Ben Wikler (Avaaz campaign director) $111,384 plus $921,592 in “campaigner fees and consulting” and $182,196 in travel expenses. During 2011, Avaaz did not miss a golden opportunity to set up a live-stream for the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York in order to give a voice to the “99%.” Yes, the rich get richer. The poor get poorer.

In addition to receiving funding from the Open Society Institute, Avaaz has publicly cited the Open Society Institute as their foundation partner. This admission by founder Ricken Patel is found on the www.soros.org website. [As discussed in part I, The Open Society Institute (renamed in 2011 to Open Society Foundations) is a private operating and grantmaking foundation founded by George Soros, who remains the chair. Soros is known best as a multibillionaire currency speculator, and of late, an avid supporter of Occupy Wall Street. Soros is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR is essentially the promotional arm of the ruling elite in the U.S. Most all U.S. policy is initiated and written by the exclusive membership within the CFR.]

Avaaz utilized/utilizes their Open Society Institute relationship to distribute member donations via “Avaaz partners at the Open Society Institute.” [3]

March 2008 – Avaaz co-founder, Ricken Patel explains: “Avaaz is a campaigning organization and not in this business. So we chose a foundation partner with long experience…. That group is the Open Society Institute, one of the largest and most respected foundations in the world. OSI is taking no overhead on the funds we are granting to Burmese groups, and has also increased its own support to this cause in 2008.” [4] In the instance of Burma, all Avaaz campaign donations have been directly funneled through the Soros Open Society Institute Burma Project (website). Although nowhere on the Avaaz website will you find any connection to George Soros, within this statement Patel clearly states that The Open Society Institute is in fact a partner of Avaaz. Why Avaaz chooses to funnel the money through the Soros foundation is not clearly understood, but we might assume Soros insists upon it in order to control which groups in Burma receive funding. Today, Myanmar (Burma) “is eagerly genuflecting before an onslaught of foreign private investors zeroing in to dispossess her” (24 May 2012, Myanmar Learns the Lesson of Libya).

Avaaz partners are many, including one.org [5] [discussed further in this report] and the infamous TckTckTck. The Tcktcktck campaign was launched 26 June 2009 by Havas, one of the world’s largest global advertising and communications firms, in conjunction with the United Nations (Kofi Annan) and Bob Geldof. The stated objective of this corporate-driven advertising campaign was “to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.” It is revealing that the “environmental organizations” listed as partners were, first and foremost, none other than 350.org and Avaaz.org who partnered with the likes of such corporations as EDF Nuclear, Lloyds Bank, MTV, and other multi-national corporations who simultaneously destroy our shared environment. The organizations flourish under the guise and branding of “grassroots,” yet “grassroots” are generally not connected to the dominant global structures that are able to absorb, shape and dominate entire movements such as in the case of Tcktcktck at the climate change talks in Copenhagen.

And while the stated initial goal of Avaaz, according to Avaaz co-founder Madden, was “a web-based campaign against the foreign policy of United States President,” the reality is anything but.

Avaaz’s stance on both Libya (now annihilated) and now Syria is in smooth synchronicity with the positions within the U.S. administration, positions such as those vocalized by the likes of war criminals such as Hillary Clinton (of “We came. We saw. He died. Laughter…” fame). The ugly iron fist of war is gently being spoon-fed to the public by way of a very dark velvet glove – that being Avaaz.

As of July 2011, Avaaz claimed to have more than 9.65 million “members” in 193 countries. Most recently, the Avaaz  campaign, which demands foreign intervention by the Imperialist states in a synchronized effort to destabilize Syria, has resulted in the Avaaz membership skyrocketing to over 13 million members. According to Avaaz, this surge of an additional 3 million members or so was achieved in less than 30 days of an intense campaign against the Sovereign Syrian Government. What’s happening in Syria today is a destabilization campaign in which the terror unleashed upon the population is financed by foreign interests.

In the midst of the Avaaz destabilization campaigns of both Libya and Syria, Avaaz, in unison with other U.S.-funded NGOs, also waged a destabilization campaign against the Morales Government of Bolivia in October 2011. The attempt failed. Unlike westerners, Bolivians are, today, far advanced in their intellectual understanding of global politics and carefully orchestrated propaganda, having been on the receiving end of Imperialism/colonialism and the capitalist economic system itself, for what surely must feel like an eternity.

Did Libya’s Citizens Demand Foreign Intervention? 

A ridiculous question, yet according to Avaaz, the answer is yes.

“The call for a no-fly zone originated from Libyans – including the provisional opposition government, Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN, protesters, and youth organizations.”

Today Avaaz claims 13,649,421 members, 70,432,165 “actions” (taken since January 2007) and 194 countries with Avaaz members according to the information provided by Avaaz, retrieved on 2 March 2012. During the typing of this single paragraph, the Avaaz membership rose by 30 people to 13,649,451. [Avaaz Facts]

The members are primarily citizens residing within Imperialist or wealthy states. Consider the following three examples: (Stats retrieved from the Avaaz global “membership” virtual map.)

Avaaz members situated in United States: 923,968

Avaaz members situated in Canada: 667,592

Avaaz members situated in Libya: 3,167

On 10 March 2010, John Hilary challenged Avaaz in a Guardian article titled “Internet activists should be careful what they wish for in Libya. Calls for a no-fly zone over Libya ignore the perils of intervention. Long-term solutions aren’t as simple as the click of a mouse.”

Hilary writes:

A no-fly zone would almost certainly draw Nato countries into further military involvement in Libya, replacing the agency of the Libyan people with the control of those governments who have shown scant regard for their welfare. As long as the oil kept flowing, western governments have been happy to prop up dictators who kept a heavy boot on their people’s freedom. Libyans are unlikely to be grateful to be bombed by those same western governments attempting to enforce a no-fly zone. Indeed such action would help Muammar Gaddafi by justifying his rhetoric about foreign intervention, not to mention stopping fledgling revolutions across the region in their tracks.

Clearly a no-fly zone makes foreign intervention sound rather humanitarian – putting the emphasis on stopping bombing, even though it could well lead to an escalation of violence.

No wonder, too, that it is rapidly becoming a key call of hawks on both sides of the Atlantic. The military hierarchy, with their budgets threatened by government cuts, surely cannot believe their luck – those who usually oppose wars are openly campaigning for more military involvement.

Although Hilary knowingly or otherwise dismisses the very real foreign intervention as “rhetoric” while not divulging the fact that the “fledgling revolutions” he speaks of were instigated/infiltrated/financed by foreign interests, Hilary ends with a prophetic note:

Calling for military intervention is a huge step – the life and death of hundreds of thousands of people might hang in the balance. The difference between the ease of the action and the impact of the consequence is vast.

In the Spanish civil war many brave people felt so strongly that they sacrificed their own lives to support the struggle against fascism in that country. How incredible it would have seemed to them, less than a hundred years later, that people would be using a click of their mouse to send armies to fight battles that might end in the death of so many others.

Avaaz’s campaign director, Ben Wikler, posted a comment in response to Hilary’s article. Bold emphasis have been added.

“Dear John,

“Thanks for this piece. Sorry that you felt we got this wrong. We’re doing our best and of course, people of good will with similar values can sometimes disagree. Here’s a bit more background and explanation for you on our decision on the no-fly zone –

Avaaz is people-powered. Our member community makes the calls. We use polls to gauge members’ views; 84% of members supported this campaign, while 9% opposed it. Since launching it, we’ve found intense support for the campaign from around the world.

Our staff also play a key role in consulting with leading experts around the world (and most of our staff have policy as well as advocacy backgrounds) on each of the campaigns we run, and Libya was no exception.

In some ways, we work a lot like journalists like you do, talking to people and weighing the facts before we form conclusions. However, our staff’s personal conclusions also have to pass the test of our membership being strongly supportive of any position we take.

We’re acutely aware of your and some others’ objections to this campaign. Here are the main issues that people have raised, and where we’re coming from regarding them:

Would imposing a no-fly zone really be a Western military intervention motivated by oil?

If Western powers use the no-fly zone as a pretext for self-interested military action, Avaaz would be among the first groups to campaign against it – just as Avaaz has campaigned to end the Iraq conflict and ensure that Iraq’s oil rights are reserved for the Iraqi people.

The call for a no-fly zone originated from Libyans – including the provisional opposition government, Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN, protesters, and youth organizations.

The same Libyan groups have strongly opposed any western military presence on Libyan soil. They clearly feel that a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion. Avaaz staff are in close and constant contact with activists inside Libya and have been repeatedly asked to move forward on this campaign.

Meanwhile, among governments, Gulf States have demanded the no-fly zone, and the U.S. government, far from itching to move ahead, appears deeply divided on the idea.

Furthermore, our advocacy has been for the UN Security Council to authorize a no-fly zone, not any coalition of western nations. You can bet that China and Russia will not sign off on a no-fly zone if they think it’s a cover for a Western oil grab.

Would imposing a no-fly zone lead to a full-blown international war?

No-fly zones can mean a range of different things. Some analysts and military figures have argued that it would require a pre-emptive attack on Libya’s anti-aircraft weapons. Others, however, contend that merely flying fighter planes over the rebel-controlled areas would ensure that Qaddafi wouldn’t use his jets to attack eastern Libya, because he knows his air force is weaker than that of Egypt or NATO states. The best solution is the one that reduces civilian deaths the most with the least violence. Things might not turn out as expected, but while there are potential dangers to an international war, there are certain dangers to civilians if things continue without a no-fly zone.

Is Qaddafi really killing civilians with this air force?

Based on reports from our partners on the ground, from the Red Cross, and from a variety of local and international news reports, we believe Qaddafi’s bombing runs are indeed killing civilians. Qaddafi’s air power is a key advantage over those fighting to remove him: as long as he has control of the air, attacks seem likely to continue for months or even longer, with disastrous consequences for civilians.

Wouldn’t a UN resolution for a no-fly zone violate national sovereignty?

We believe that the international community has a responsibility to protect civilians when national governments threaten their fundamental human rights.

National sovereignty should not be a legitimate barrier to international action when crimes against humanity are being committed. If you strongly disagree, then you may find yourself at odds with other Avaaz campaigns as well.

All told, this was a difficult judgment call.

Calling for any sort of military response always is. Avaaz members have been advocating for weeks for a full set of non-military options as well, including an asset freeze, targeted sanctions, and prosecutions of officials involved in the violent crackdown on demonstrators.

But although those measures are moving forward, the death toll is rising. Again, thoughtful people can disagree – but in the Avaaz community’s case, only 9% of our thoughtful people opposed this position – somewhat surprising given that we have virtually always advocated for peaceful methods to resolve conflict in the past. We think it was the best position to take given the balance of expert opinion, popular support, and most of all, the rights and clearly expressed desire of the Libyan people.

Respectfully,
Ben Wikler

Let’s break this down. In the Avaaz rebuttal Wikler states:

Avaaz is people-powered. Our member community makes the calls. We use polls to gauge members’ views; 84% of members supported this campaign, while 9% opposed it. Since launching it, we’ve found intense support for the campaign from around the world.”

The question must be asked – why does “intense support of the campaign from around the world” from an organization co-founded by MoveOn that, as stated in 2002, caters to members comprised of “mostly white, highly educated, computer savvy … and willing to give dough” supersede the rights of a sovereign nation and her citizens against foreign interference? How would unleashing a military operation in Libya affect Avaaz constituents attending Harvard? In fact, the Avaaz demographic is one that is being trained to not think – just click. Indeed, critical thinking is a detriment and a very real threat to the entire Avaaz phenomenon. Surely, the “wish” for foreign intervention and no-fly zones (more commonly known as war and bombs) should only be considered by those who will be affected directly by such a military campaign. As Avaaz states, their Libyan membership is a mere 3,167 people – one must ask how Avaaz considers the 3,167 Libyan Avaaz “members” as representative of “the Libyan people” in a country with (prior to the invasion) a population of almost 6 million citizens.  

“This world exists simply to satisfy the needs—including, importantly, the sentimental needs—of white people and Oprah.” — Teju Cole

The fact is that the Libyan people as a society had no representation in the Avaaz campaign calling for foreign military intervention to be inflicted upon the Libyan tribal society. In spite of Wikler’s ridiculous rhetoric, the fact is Libyan citizens were considered by Avaaz to hold little significance. Avaaz, iconic symbol of the white ivory towers of justice, followed in the path of other international NGOs in the racist ideology that the belief system upheld by the “educated” “middleclass” in the wealthy states is far superior to any contrary beliefs and ideologies of tribal/civil societies in African and Arab nations. It is only the people from within these privileged classes whose opinions matter, hence the victorious proclamation of the 84% support. The Avaaz position is even more problematic when you consider the following.

What constitutes becoming an Avaaz “member”? As with the other “online activism” NGOS, Avaaz’s actual membership is open to interpretation. For example, Avaaz affiliate GetUp states, “Join the movement of 589,261 Australians. Become a member now.” However, this figure is derived from the entire database of signed GetUp petitions, whereby each signatory is automatically enlisted as “a member.” [6] As Avaaz is modeled after GetUp and MoveOn, and considering the membership increases rapidly within a 60 second time-frame, one can assume with certainty that an Avaaz “membership” is instantly granted to each and every individual signing a petition. This ruse serves as a brilliant method of disguising where the majority of their largesse (i.e., investment) originated from (i.e., the corporate state) while further reinforcing the false impression that their funding originated from grassroots sources.

(The latest feel-good consumer NGO (first media mention 29 November 2011, first “tweet” on 4 November 2011), yet another thinking person’s nightmare named SumOfUs, already boasts 262,950 members worldwide. Where did these members come from? Affiliated NGO membership lists?)

If one signed an Avaaz petition in 2007, long before realizing whose interests this organization truly represents, is this same individual still considered a member in 2012? If 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members signed an Avaaz petition in 2008 to save elephants in Africa, this does not constitute a Libyan majority demanding military interference in 2011.

Wikler states: “Our staff also play a key role in consulting with leading experts around the world (and most of our staff have policy as well as advocacy backgrounds) on each of the campaigns we run, and Libya was no exception.”

The question is, just exactly who are these experts Avaaz continues to refer to? Nowhere does Avaaz disclose these “experts” nor their affiliations. And which institutions and societies shaped their policy and advocacy backgrounds?

 Wikler states: “If Western powers use the no-fly zone as a pretext for self-interested military action, Avaaz would be among the first groups to campaign against it.”

Yet, there has been a massive amount of evidence demonstrating, unequivocally, that this was exactly what the pretext was. “Self-interested military action” is exactly what happened, which begs the question – what happened to Avaaz claiming they “would be among the first groups to campaign against it”? [Self-interested military action: Madeleine Albright appearing on 60 minutes, Running time 23s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4] Not only does Avaaz contradict this statement, but this organization has done NOTHING to inform the public of any evidence of the deliberate destruction of Libya under the guise of a “humanitarian war.” To this day, not only is there NO EVIDENCE to support this invasion (made possible by the collaboration of yet another 77 NGOs), rather, there is a massive amount of evidence to the contrary. This was a well-planned, deliberate destabilization project that unleashed hell on a sovereign country – a country that had neither attacked nor invaded another nation. Avaaz has never released any material criticizing the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by NATO and the rebel militias that Avaaz was supporting. Nor has Avaaz shared with their supporters the horrific, racist rebel crimes and ethnic cleansing that NATO turned a blind eye to, and that were thoroughly documented throughout the invasion upon Libya. On the shocking racial atrocities filmed and documented in Tawergha, the white ivory towers remain silent. Aside from the evidence, prior to the invasion of Libya, and after, one would think that the “experts” of Avaaz would have vast knowledge of how destabilization campaigns are strategically planned and carried out by Imperialist states as documented in past and recent history. And of course, when one looks at the background of the founders who comprise Avaaz, we can understand they knew full well.

Video below: Humanitarian War in Libya: There is no evidence! (Running time: 19:42)



Wikler states: “he call for a no-fly zone originated from Libyans – including the provisional opposition government, Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN, protesters, and youth organizations.”

As for Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN: “Just a few days after the street protests began, on February 21, the very quick to defect Libyan deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, stated: ‘We are expecting a real genocide in Tripoli. The airplanes are still bringing mercenaries to the airports.’ This is excellent: a myth that is composed of myths. With that statement he linked three key myths together – the role of airports (hence the need for that gateway drug of military intervention: the no-fly zone), the role of “mercenaries” (meaning, simply, black people), and the threat of ‘genocide‘ (geared toward the language of the UN’s doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect). As ham-fisted and wholly unsubstantiated as the assertion was, he was clever in cobbling together three ugly myths, one of them grounded in racist discourse and practice that endures to the present, with newer atrocities reported against black Libyan and African migrants on a daily basis. He was not alone in making these assertions.” [Source: TOP TEN MYTHS IN NATO'S WAR AGAINST LIBYA]

It is an outrageous statement to claim it was the wish of the Libyan people to impose a military zone upon their own country. Further, the defected ambassador was clearly carrying out duties for the Imperialist states. Who were these protestors and youth organizations Avaaz speaks of? Are these the Libyans that comprise the 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members? Are they the youth groups set up by Avaaz funder and partner, the Soros Open Society Institute? Are they connected with the U.S.-funded Otpor or funded by another NGO fed by the U.S. administration? Nowhere is this information disclosed. Further, do the 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members actually live in Libya? Did all 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members sign the Avaaz petition, essentially demanding that their country become a war zone?

Wikler states: “The same Libyan groups have strongly opposed any western military presence on Libyan soil. They clearly feel that a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion. Avaaz staff are in close and constant contact with activists inside Libya and have been repeatedly asked to move forward on this campaign.”

It is beyond obvious that a no-fly zone in an oil rich country would open the door to Imperialist vultures. Who told these so-called “Libyan Groups” (whoever they are we do not know) such a ridiculous thing, “that a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion”? One must assume this information was conveyed to the “Libyan Groups” by the Avaaz “experts” since the Avaaz staff claim they were “in close and constant contact with activists inside Libya.” Further, in response to the proposed no-fly zone, Wikler goes on to say “there are potential dangers to an international war…” One must question why Wikler is aware of the potential of international war in response to a no-fly zone while the “Libyan Groups” believe (according to Avaaz) that “a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion.”

Wikler states: “Meanwhile, among governments, Gulf States have demanded the no-fly zone, and the U.S. government, far from itching to move ahead, appears deeply divided on the idea.”

Yet, as Wikler convinced and assured the Guardian readership that the U.S. was hesitant to “intervene” in Libya, the reality was that two U.S. destroyers and a number of missile-launching submarines were in fact already deployed and headed for the Libyan coast. These destroyers decisively delivered 110 Tomahawk missiles 9 days later on 19 March 2011 as part of the military operation titled “Operation Odyssey Dawn.”

“The Royal Navy bought 65 Tomahawks in 1995 at a cost of $1 million (£650,000) each from U.S. defence firm Raytheon Systems. Two American destroyers, the U.S.S Barry and Stout, have been deployed. According to a Pentagon source, each carries up to 96 Tomahawk missiles.” [Source]

19 March 2011: “Cruise missiles from U.S. submarines and frigates began the attack on the anti-aircraft system. A senior defense official speaking on background said the attacks will ‘open up the environment so we could enforce the no-fly zone from east to west throughout Libya.’” [Source]

Wikler states: “[T]here are certain dangers to civilians if things continue without a no-fly zone.”

Perhaps Wikler was speaking to certain dangers to American and European civilians if Gaddafi were to have succeeded in replacing the U.S. dollar and the Euro with an African Dinar, backed by gold, to build unity and autonomy throughout African nations. Perhaps he was referring to civilians who are living under an economic system that is dependent upon the continued exploitation and stealing of other nations’ vast resources. As Libya was a nation with no debt, interest-free loans, free education, free healthcare, and a state-of-the-art water system and a country that held the highest standard of living in Africa, it is difficult to imagine what exactly Libyans would have been fearing aside from a pending invasion by Imperialist states.

Wikler states: “Based on reports from our partners on the ground, from the Red Cross, and from a variety of local and international news reports, we believe Qaddafi’s bombing runs are indeed killing civilians.”

Wikler is purposely vague. What reports exactly are they referring to? What partners?

March 1st Pentagon Briefing: Q: Do you see any evidence that [Gaddafi] actually has fired on his own people from the air?  There were reports of it, but do you have independent confirmation? If so, to what extent? Secretary of Defence – ROBERT GATES: A: “We’ve seen the press reports, but we have no confirmation of that,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs – Admiral MICHAEL MULLEN A: “That’s correct. We’ve seen no confirmation whatsoever.”

In the following video, General Wesley Clark explains the Libyan invasion, Syria and Somalia, all planned years in advance: http://youtu.be/fSNyPS0fXpU.

Wikler states: “We believe that the international community has a responsibility to protect civilians when national governments threaten their fundamental human rights.”

Here Wikler echoes the current dogma being repeated incessantly by the U.S. administration and their corporate media lackeys. If Avaaz truly had any “experts” on civilian interests trumping those of corporate interests, Avaaz would tell us that this is merely language designed to facilitate societal acceptance of war by presenting it as “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect” (R2P). Prior to this lovely terminology, it was formerly known as “the Right to Intervene.”

Wikler states: “Again, thoughtful people can disagree – but in the Avaaz community’s case, only 9% of our thoughtful people opposed this position – somewhat surprising given that we have virtually always advocated for peaceful methods to resolve conflict in the past. We think it was the best position to take given the balance of expert opinion, popular support, and most of all, the rights and clearly expressed desire of the Libyan people.”

This highlights a very dangerous experiment, and now precedent, set by Avaaz. Wikler openly expresses that they were surprised to find only 9% of their “membership” (based upon their polls) opposed a no-fly zone. Wikler stating that this position was “somewhat surprising given that we have virtually always advocated for peaceful methods to resolve conflict in the past” is, by his own admission, acknowledging that this new direction is one that is not peaceful. One should note that all NGOs use polls and marketing executives to create and lay out most all campaigns and campaign strategies. Avaaz is no exception; rather, Avaaz should be considered the rule.

Avaaz’s integration into militarism can be seen in their continual polling that outlines, in essence, what citizens are responsive to, and what they are willing to tolerate. In the 13 January 2010 global Avaaz poll, participants were asked to rate 6 priorities in order of importance. The stated priorities from which one could choose included human rights, torture and genocide (#2), democracy movements and tyrannical regimes (#3) war, peace and security (#4) and corruption and abuse of power (#5). Incidentally number 1 was climate change, however after the failed Copenhagen climate talks, this issue was no longer considered a hot commodity for NGO branding purposes and thus the campaign on climate was, for the most part, abandoned altogether. All other proposed “choices” are key elements/issues associated with militarism.

How Wikler and his Avaaz cohorts sleep at night, knowing the Avaaz campaign contributed to the annihilation of as many as 100,000 Libyan civilians and unleashed a racial war, is anyone’s guess. Although it certainly must help when one is surrounded by like-minded people who all reinforce your distorted world views while reassuring each other that each is more brilliant than the other and the end justifies the means. This is the beauty and the power of neo-liberalism activism conformity. It allows one to behave like an asshole, while those indoctrinated into the same belief system, including corporate and so-called “progressive” media, portray you as a celebrity. The oligarchy’s willingness to ensure the egos remain plump and well-nourished is strategic. This ensures that the narcissist’s delusions are reinforced while simultaneously ensuring any doubt is cast far away. No one wishes to be ostracized from the champagne circuit. Wikler recently left Avaaz to become Executive Vice President at Change.org, another Soros (for-profit) NGO, while thousands upon thousands of Libyans paid the ultimate price for his campaign, which can be found on the Avaaz website under recent “victories.” Ben Wikler’s compensation as Avaaz Campaign Director in 2010 was a reported $111,384 (990 Form).

Not everyone was so gullible. One reader (“derazed”) comments beneath the Guardian article: “Up until its latest, I had appreciated Avaaz – even gave some money in the direction of providing Arab activists telecommunications equipment. When the no-fly email arrived, I created my own “no fly” zone – by terminating my email relationship with Avaaz. The internet and real-life events have taught me something about warmongers in virtual clothing.”

[28 March 2011: Fortune-500 funded Brookings Institution's "Libya's Test of the New International Order" is reported on – exposing the war as not one of a "humanitarian" nature, but one aimed explicitly at establishing an international order and the primacy of international law.]

The Avaaz Gate-Keepers 

Consider all of the following information within this report as a mere tip of the iceberg. Note that most, if not all organizations discussed in this report are, in part or full, financed by, and in many cases established in partnership with, George Soros’ “Open Society Institute.”

Avaaz Co-Founder and Executive Director: Ricken Patel

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

Snapshot:

  • AccessNow: International Advisory Board
  • Avaaz International: Co-founder
  • Avaaz International: Executive Director/President
  • CARE International: Consultant
  • CeaseFireCampaign.org (discontinued): Co-Founder
  • CeaseFireCampaign.org (discontinued): Executive Director
  • DarfurGenocide.org: Co-director
  • DarfurGenocide.org: Co-founder
  • Faith in Public Life: Board of Directors
  • Faith in Public Life: Co-founder
  • Faithful America: Board of Directors
  • Faithful America: Co-founder
  • Gates Foundation: Consultant
  • Harvard University: Consultant
  • International Center for Transitional Justice: Consultant
  • International Crisis Group: Consultant
  • J Street: Advisory Council
  • Namati: Board of Directors
  • Res Publica: Chairman/Executive Director
  • Res Publica: Co-founder
  • Rockefeller Foundation: Consultant
  • United Nations: Consultant

Education:

  • Harvard University Kennedy School of Government
  • University of Oxford
  • Queen’s University

Compensation from Avaaz (990 Forms):

2006:   $61,650 (Res Publica)

2006: $120,000

2007: $120,000

2007:   $10,000 (Res Publica)

2008: $126,000

2009: $120,000

2010: $183,264

Resides in New York

Ricken Patel is co-founder and executive director of Avaaz International. Patel has served as a consultant for the United Nations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Crisis Group, Harvard University, CARE International, and the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Patel’s consulting to the United Nations should be of little surprise. Like Avaaz, the United Nations has become nothing more than an instrumental tool that serves the interests of the Imperialist states. This too should come as little surprise since it was the oligarchy who founded the UN in the first place. For decades, those states oppressed under the claws of Imperialism have demanded reforms within the UN. This fact is well-documented in a long list of impassioned speeches by leaders of sovereign nations constantly fighting against oppression and foreign meddling. The speeches are rarely, if ever, publicized by either corporate or “progressive” media (funded by the same corporate elites). Not surprisingly, the non-profit industrial complex does essentially nothing to support the states who continue to fight for their autonomy and liberation, only possible by smashing the chains of Imperialist states. This is what Libya was helping Africa achieve before it was targeted and destroyed.

Patel was voted “Ultimate Gamechanger in Politics” in 2009 by the recently acquired Huffington Post (purchased by AOL Time Warner in 2011) and named “a Young Global Leader” by the infamous Davos World Economic Forum. When an “activist” receives accolades from international corporate entities and corporate media, alarm bells should be going off and red flags should be seen waving from those within civil society.

Patel is a graduate of the Kennedy School at Harvard University and Oxford and is considered in elite circles a “Balliol”:

Oxford: “Institutions as diverse as the Workers Educational Trust, the National Trust, Amnesty International, Ashoka (the global association of leading social entrepreneurs), and Avaaz (now the largest online advocacy group in the world) were all established by Balliol people.”

The International Crisis Group, for which Patel has served as a consultant, is also an institution for which George Soros is a trustee. In 2008, ICG helped establish the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, along with Human Rights Watch, Oxfam International and other influential NGOs of the Soros network. As of April 2011, ICG was one of the 31 member organizations belonging to the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect. Operating on an annual budget of $17 million (2011), ICG raises funds from governments, charitable foundations, private companies, and individual donors. Among the organization’s key benefactors are the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Compton Foundation, and the Flora Family Foundation. In 2008 George Soros’ Open Society Institute pledged to give $5 million to ICG.

The International Crisis Group has been a key player in the “revolutions.” In the January 2011 article “All is not what it seems in Egyptian Clashes,” it was disclosed that the Egyptian protest leader Mohammed ElBaradei “was in fact a devoted agent of the West, with a long standing membership within the Wall Street/London funded International Crisis Group” [Source: Land Destroyer].

Patel is also co-founder and executive director of Res Publica, which was formally launched in 2003. Res Publica is based in New York.

Res Publica is a primary co-founder of Avaaz along with MoveOn. Res Publica’s stated goal is to “develop innovative solutions to global justice and security threats.” Res Publica “ran as a pilot project” in Sierra Leone in 2001-2002 and has three full-time fellows, Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello and Tom Pravda. Res Publica is supported by a broader network of “Friends of Res Publica” and a Global Advisory Board. Who the broader network of “Friends of Res Publica” actually are, is anyone’s guess.

29 December 2004: “Over two days in early December approximately three-dozen religious activists met at the Washington office of the Center for American Progress, a recently formed think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. The Res Publica-driven agenda for the closed-door gathering included sessions on ‘building the movement infrastructure’ and ‘objectives, strategies and core issues.’”

Perriello (now President and CEO of Center for American Progress) described Res Publica as an “incubator for social entrepreneurship.”

The Res Publica email address is actually resp...@avaaz.org.

Up to at least 2008, Patel remained a board of directors member with Faithful America of which he was also a principle founder (founded in 2004, launched in 2006) along with former (2009-2011) U.S. Representative Tom Perriello. The aim of “Faithful America” was to create a “religious version of MoveOn.org.” Both Patel and Perriello served as the project’s first co-directors. This NGO was later taken over by Faith in Public Life, where, as of 2008, Patel was also a member of the board. On 13 April 2008, Faith in Public Life, in partnership with the ONE Campaign and Oxfam America, organized the Democratic candidates’ “Compassion Forum” during which corporate media partners CNN and Newsweek hosted an evening with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and a number of faith “leaders.” Faith in Public Life received $400,000 from the Open Society Institute in 2007 and again in 2008.

Patel was co-director of DarfurGenocide.org, an organization he helped establish with Perriello and the U.S. State Department.

Patel also serves on the board of Namati, an organization “that offers technical assistance to development organizations, governments, and civil society actors interested in enhancing legal empowerment aspects of existing work, or launching new legal empowerment initiatives.” Its partners include UKAid from the Department of International Development; AusAid, the Australian government’s Overseas Aid Program; UNDP, the United Nations Development Program; and the Soros Open Society Foundations. Patel also sits on the organization J Street’s advisory council with Eli Pariser, co-founder of Avaaz and the current executive director of MoveOn.

Patel also serves on the International Advisory Board of AccessNow.org, an organization which will be discussed further in this report. [Source: Source Watch]

Patel’s rise to superstardom in the corporate world is due to the fact that he specializes in “E-advocacy” and web-based movement-building – the key to securing control of all “consumers,” all “movements” and essentially all information on the planet.

Avaaz Co-founder: Tom Perriello

Snapshot:

  • AccessNow: International Advisory Board
  • Afghanistan Watch: Analyst
  • Avaaz International: Co-founder
  • Avaaz International: Secretary 2008
  • Avaaz International: Trustee 2006, 2007
  • Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good: Co-founder
  • CeaseFireCampaign.org (discontinued): Co-founder
  • Center for a Sustainable Economy, now part of “Redefining Progress”: Assistant Director
  • Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) — the home of ThinkProgress and the advocacy arm of the Center for American Progress (CAP): President and CEO
  • Consultant on Youth and Environmental Campaigns
  • E-Mediat Jordan: Country Director
  • Faithful America: Co-director
  • Faithful America: Principle Founder
  • International Center for Transitional Justice: Consultant
  • International Centre for Transitional Justice: Employed by
  • J Street: Advisory Council
  • Namati: Board of Directors
  • National Council of Churches of Christ: Consultant
  • National Council of Churches of Christ: Fellow
  • National Security Consultant
  • New York State Bar: Member
  • Open Society Institute: Teaching Fellow
  • Res Publica: Co-founder
  • The Century Foundation: Fellow
  • The Century Foundation: National Security Analyst
  • The Century Foundation: Special Advisor/Spokesperson
  • United Nations: Special Adviser to the International War Crimes Prosecutor
  • U.S. Representative: Virginia Democratic Congressman, 2008-2010
  • U.S. State Department: Employed by
  • Virginia House of Delegates: Legislative Page
  • Yale Law School: Teaching Fellow
  • Yale Scroll and Key: Secret Society Member

Avaaz Compensation:

2006: $48,000

Education: Yale University

Resides in Virginia, U.S.A.

Tom Perriello is a long-time collaborator with Ricken Patel. Together, they co-founded Avaaz.org, Res Publica and FaithfulAmerica.org.

Perriello is a former U.S. Representative (represented the 5th District of Virginia from 2008 to 2010) and a founding member of the House Majority Leader’s National Security Working Group.

Perriello was also co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. He worked for Reverend Dr. James Forbes on “prophetic justice” principles. Many of these organizations were created with the intent of creating a broad-based “religious left” movement.

Indeed, it has been stated by Marx that “religion is the opium of the masses.” In 1974 the late Edward Goldsmith argued that religion must be considered an integral part of a culture; the key control mechanism that ensures the stability of a social system. Goldsmith noted that, indeed, no traditional societies appear to have a word for “religion” while “only when religion breaks away from the rest of a society’s cultural pattern and ceases to be the effective force governing it, that the word ‘religion’ appears necessary.” Goldsmith cautioned in 1974 that contrary to what was being taught, people in Western societies were never more miserable, explaining why they resort to so many different forms of escapism such as addiction and suicide. Goldsmith believed it was essential to urgently create new systems of belief in an effort to “recreate an orderly society held together by a clearly formulated religio-culture.” Goldsmith stated that movements attempting to achieve this have already begun to proliferate. One can assume this was the ideology behind Patel’s and Perriello’s religious groups they began to create. The only problem for Patel, Perriello, Pravda and Soros was that the religious angle did not work. The masses did not buy in.

Perriello and Patel also co-founded and co-directed DarfurGenocide.org which officially launched in 2004. “DarfurGenocide.org is a project of Res Publica, a group of public sector professionals dedicated to promoting good governance and virtuous civic cultures.” Today, this organization is now known as “Darfurian Voices”: “Darfurian Voices is a project of 24 Hours for Darfur.” The U.S. Department of State and the Open Society Institute were just two of the organization’s funders and collaborating partners. Other Darfurian Voices partners include Avaaz, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Centre for Transitional Justice, Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Humanity United, Darfur People’s Association of New York, Genocide Intervention, Witness, Yale Law School, The Sigrid Rausing Trust and the Bridgeway Foundation.

Despite the carefully crafted language and images that tug at your emotions, such NGOs were created for and exist for one primary purpose – to protect and further American policy and interests, under the guise of philanthropy and humanitarianism. Of all the listed partners of DarfurGenocide.org, with the exception of one located in London, England, all of the entities involved are American and based on U.S. soil.

 “Most of us have policy or diplomacy backgrounds, as well as activist, so the hope is that we will be doing these things at key diplomatic moments.” — Tom Perriello on Avaaz, 5 February 2007, speaking to The Nation

Consider the explosive investigative report titled “Burying the Darfur Genocide Myth”, published by Pravda on 16 August 2011. Excerpts are as follows:

“To start with, my investigation has found that the victims of the Darfur conflict were the beneficiaries of the largest, best run relief works in history. This is a fact, demonstrated repeatedly by the situation on the ground in Darfur, and every honest, knowledgeable aid worker in the Darfur relief works will tell you that Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir has played a critical role in the relief works success and that without the leadership and support of President Bashir the Darfur relief works would not have been possible.

The charges of genocide laid against President Bashir by, amongst others, the International Criminal Court in the Hague, are based on reports of the most shaky provenance, mainly UN ‘sources’ of very questionable backgrounds….

The Darfur genocide myth has been promoted by western ‘human rights’ NGOs who have collected over $100 million under the rubric of ‘Enough’ and ‘Preventing Genocide.’ The claims of genocide are based on estimates of the number of deaths that were rapidly inflated as the dollars started rolling in. First it was 100,000, then 200,000, then 300,000 and finally, in a claim so ludicrous that even the British government media watchdog yanked off the air, 400,000 people were supposed to have been victims of genocide in Darfur….

The west, in particular the U.S.A, are hell bent on keeping Africa in a state of crisis, the better to exploit. And the ‘save Darfur’ lobby is all for bringing more violence to Africa under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention,’ while little of the over $100 million they collected ever reached the Darfur people it was intended for.”

Videos: Human rights investigator and award-winning journalist Keith Harmon Snow Speaking on Propaganda and NGOs (Running time: 2:56)



Keith Harmon Snow Discussing Western NGOs and Africa (Running time: 2:54)



The International Criminal Court (ICC) (led by Luis Moreno Ocampo) is widely discredited in Africa. Since its inception in 2002, the ICC has targeted solely African and other developing world leaders. Jean Ping, head of the African Union: “We Africans and the African Union are not against the International Criminal Court. We are against Ocampo who is rendering justice with double standards.” The ICC has had many opportunities to indict Western war criminals/leaders (Bush, Blair, Cheney) since its inception, yet, of course has made no attempts to do so. [Source]

Before co-founding Res Publica, Perriello served as Special Advisor to the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a United Nations Tribunal, and as a Yale Law School/Open Society Institute Teaching Fellow in West Africa. Perriello is a member of the New York State Bar.

Perriello’s 2005 organization “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good” (CACG) stated that the concept of “the common good” reportedly came from the Center for American Progress founded by co-chair of President Obama’s transition team John Podesta, which subsequently helped form alliances between CACG and similar organizations. The chair of this organization is Elizabeth Frawley Bagley: “Bagley is a member of the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. She served as senior advisor to the secretary of state from 1997–2001.” CACG’s listed advisers include/included Clinton’s Paul Begala and John Podesta and Clinton’s former press secretary Mike McCurry.

Perriello has worked for the U.S. State Department, and as a consultant for the International Centre for Transitional Justice, as well as the National Council of Churches of Christ. Perriello has been an analyst for Afghanistan Watch, as well as a Special Advisor/Spokesperson and National Security Analyst for The Century Foundation in which he is a “Fellow.” The URL for Afghanistan Watch now brings up The Century Foundation. Prior to law school, Perriello worked as assistant director of the Center for a Sustainable Economy (now part of “Redefining Progress“) and as a consultant on youth and environmental campaigns.

Perriello has worked as an independent national security consultant in central and southern Afghanistan. In 2005 and 2007, he spent time assessing “the Taliban’s resurgence and strategies (primarily political) for restoring control.” Perriello conducted research in seven different provinces and managed a team of 60 across the country. Under the auspices of his own organization (Res Publica) and others, Perriello briefed embassy leaders in Kabul, UN mission chiefs, and various agencies of the Bush Administration. He also provided background briefings for media, U.S. Representatives, and various think tanks such as the Center for American Progress, of which he is now CEO and President. He has also worked in national security efforts in Sierra Leone (United Nations Special Court), Liberia, Kosovo, and Darfur. Perriello has worked as a humanitarian aid worker national security consultant and is on the board of directors for Namati.

Perriello has had a long relationship with Soros’ Open Society-funded Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, which continue to this day. Amnesty International is also financed by the Soros Open Society Institute. All of these organizations have been instrumental in opening up the doors for foreign invasion into Libya and now Syria.

Excerpts from the 3 May 2011 article “International Crisis Group Sweating over Syria,” published by Land Destroyer Report:

“The International Crisis Group (ICG) has been at the center of the unfolding ‘Arab Spring’ since the very beginning. Mohamed ElBaradei, a member of the ICG board of trustees, was literally leading the color revolution in the streets of Cairo along with his admitted underling, Google executive Wael Ghonim. The ICG has also recently made a heeded call for intervention in the Ivory Coast.

ICG includes George Soros and Zbigniew Brzezinski, two men notorious for their extraterritorial meddling and their fomenting of color revolutions in far flung lands. To explain why they are so eager to pry their way into sovereign nations, despoil, topple, and rebuild them, one only has to look at ICG’s corporate supporters. They include such ignoble organizations as Chevron, Morgan Stanley, and Deutsche Bank Group with equally ignoble intentions that are confidently expressed through ICG’s nefarious agenda.”

The International Crisis Group (ICG) was founded in 1995 by World Bank Vice-President Mark Malloch Brown, former U.S. diplomat Morton Abramowitz and Fred Cuny, an international disaster relief specialist who disappeared in Chechnya in 1995. The Crisis Group raises funds from mainly western governments, foundations, corporations and individual donors. In 2006, 40% of its funding came from 22 different governments, 32% from 15 “philanthropic” organizations, and 28% from individuals and private foundations. Soros, who is chairman of the Open Society Institute, is on the Board of Trustees. The ICG Advisory Council includes corporations such as Chevron and Shell.[Source] The Board of Trustees, Executive Committee and the Crisis Group Senior Advisors read like a who’s who of the political elites and banking cartel. The ICG executive committee includes Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Lawrence Summers, Former Director of the U.S. National Economic Council and Secretary of the Treasury, and Javier Solana, NATO Secretary-General and Foreign Affairs Minister of Spain.

In 2007, ICG and Human Rights Watch were key players in the development of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect in cooperation with prominent governments, NGOs and academia. [For background on R2P read The Real Motives behind a Rapacious Imperial Power’s Real Objectives and History and Timeline of R2P.]

Excerpts from the 15 February 2012 article, “‘Human Rights’ Warriors for Empire,” published by Black Agenda Report:

“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are swigging the ale with their fellow buccaneers. These ‘human rights’ warriors, headquartered in the bellies of empires past and present, their chests shiny with medals of propagandistic service to superpower aggression in Libya, contribute ‘left’ legitimacy to the imperial project.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen sides in the Washington-backed belligerency – the side of Empire. As groups most often associated with (what passes for) the Left in their headquarters’ countries, they are invaluable allies of the current imperial offensive….

There was great ambivalence – the most polite word I can muster – among purported leftists in the United States and Europe to NATO’s bombardment and subjugation of Libya. Here we are again, in the face of existential imperial threats to Syria and Iran, as leftists temporize about human rights while the ‘greatest purveyor of violence in the world today’ blazes new warpaths.

There is no such thing as an anti-war activist who is not an anti-imperialist. And the only job of an anti-imperialist in the belly of the beast is to disarm the beast. Absent that, s/he is useless to humanity.

As we used to say: You are part of the solution – or you are part of the problem. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are part of the problem.”

The George Soros Open Society Foundation is the primary donor of the Human Rights Watch, contributing $100 million of $128 million of contributions and grants received by the HRW in the 2011 financial year.

Perriello is a supporter of the “War on Terror,” a fabricated psyops, which was and continues to be an essential component to unleash a new wave of wars, invasions and occupations. Indeed, if people are frightened, they will accept authority.

“As far as America’s war against terrorism is concerned [the] senator provides unequivocal support to Barrack Obama.” — Perriello of Congress website

Perriello’s view of Israel borders on fantasy. He views Israel as one of the most “dramatic and exciting creations of the international community” in the 20th century and believes that a permanent moral and strategic relationship exists between the U.S. and Israel.”

In May 2009, 60 Congress members voted against dumping another $97 billion into the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Perriello voted for it. [Source]

On 16 June 2009, 202 Congress members voted against that same war funding (May 2009) combined with a massive IMF bailout for Eastern European bankers. [This authorized supplements and rescinds appropriations for the Department of Defense totaling $80.93 billion including $29.51 billion for operation and maintenance, including $3.61 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund; and $400 million for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund; $25.3 billion for Procurement; $18.73 billion for military personnel; $2.87 billion for military construction; $1.12 billion for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund; $1.06 billion for the Defense Health Program; $9.7 billion for the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other agencies for costs associated with international assistance, including $4.65 billion for bilateral economic assistance, $2.97 billion for the Economic Support Fund; $2.18 billion for international security assistance, $1.29 billion for the Foreign Military Financing Program; $1.94 billion for Diplomatic and Consular Programs.] Perriello voted in favour of both. (Key Vote | HR 2346)

On 26 June 2009, Perriello voted in favor of the Waxman-Markey bill, a bill which promoted the false solution of cap and trade. This bill was vehemently opposed by many climate justice groups, all while corporate greens unapologetically lobbied for it extensively and relentlessly. In all, six of the world’s 15 largest publicly-traded corporations in 2009 supported cap and trade legislation: JP Morgan Chase (#1), Bank of America (#2), General Electric (#3), Shell (#8), British Petroleum (#10), and Walmart (#14). Three of the six were members of U.S.CAP. During this fiscal year the national environmental groups took in $1.7 billion in revenue. Of the $1.7 billion, $12.8 million was spent on lobbying, with the great proportion of these expenditures focused on cap and trade legislation. [7] (Key Vote | HR 245)

On 8 October 2009, Perriello voted in support of the defense bill for military appropriations in the amount of $681.02 billion. This authorized $639.32 billion in Department of Defense authorizations for fiscal year 2009-2010, $24.75 billion in military construction, $16.94 billion in Department of Energy national security authorizations, $309 million for research and evaluation, procurement, or deployment of an alternative Missile Defense System in Europe and authorization to increase the active-duty number for the U.S. Army to a number greater than otherwise allowed by law up to the 2010 baseline plus 30,000 troops, and $136.02 billion for military personnel for the fiscal year 2010. (Key Vote | HR 264)

In March of 2010, a reception was hosted by two leading corporate greens: the “League of Conservation Voters” and “Environmental Defense” Action Fund to raise funds for Perriello’s re-election campaign for Congress. MoveOn.org raised $100,000 for Perriello’s re-election campaign.

President Barack Obama visited Perriello’s district, the only Congressman for which he did so. (In spite of extensive campaigning, Perriello would fail to win his re-election campaign.)

On 10 March 2010, 65 Congress members voted to end the war on Afghanistan. Perriello voted in favour of keeping it going. [Source]

On 28 May 2010, Perriello voted in support of the defense bill for military appropriations. This included $32.42 billion for the Defense Health Program, $3.42 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles, $3.46 billion for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund and $71.2 million for the operation of the Armed Forces Retirement Home. (Key Vote | HR 5136)

On 1st July 2010, 100 Congress members voted to fund only withdrawal from Afghanistan. Perriello voted against this amendment. Rather, Perriello was in favour of an amendment requesting the President to devise an exit plan (any exit plan) for Afghanistan. The amendment did not call for a date let alone any enforcement. In essence it was nothing more than rhetoric to appease a nation that was beginning to awaken to an increasingly corporatized government: unprecedented debt, home foreclosures, escalating resource wars and corruption – all unparalleled in scale in the nation’s history, while the wealthy became even wealthier. Thus, Perriello voted in favour as he did with the supposed “Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq” – a plan that was weaker than the treaty George Bush had signed. (Key Vote | HR 4899)

On 27 July 2010, Perriello opposed removing the United States Armed Forces from Pakistan. (Key Vote | H Con Res 301)

On 27 July 2010, 115 Congress members (12 Republicans and 103 Democrats) voted against a supplemental bill authorizing $33.29 billion dollars to escalate the war on Afghanistan. Tom Perriello voted in favour of it. When a small group of concerned citizens met with Perriello prior to the vote, Perriello refused to say what, if anything, he thought. (Key Vote | HR 489)

On 30 July 2010, Perriello voted against “Offshore Drilling Regulations and Other Energy Law Amendments” (Key Vote | HR 3534) and voted yes to ending the “Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling Rigs that Meet Certain Safety Standards” (Key Vote | H Amdt 773).

On 6 October 2010, Perriello received the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the race in recognition of his “strong support for veterans, national security and defense, and military personnel issues.”

On 29 October 2010, “War Is A Crime” reported: “136 Congress members have signed a letter promising not to cut Social Security. Perriello has not.”

Yet, in spite of these pro-war positions, the liberal left and their so called “progressive media” continued to shine a glowing light on Perriello and frame him as a stand-out progressive.

Like Orwell’s War is Peace, the liberal left’s demigods were more and more demonstrating “right” conduct all while professional left continued to portray them as “progressive.” However, the changing landscape did not silence everyone. David Swanson, founder of warisacrime.org wrote:

“Do we oppose this? Well, some of us used to. When our congressman was a Republican, we denounced this course of action in the media, phoned his office, picketed his office, and went to jail for sitting in his office. But for the past year and a half, while the military budget and the war budget have both increased, we’ve said almost nothing. A small group of us have begun organizing protests at the new Democratic congress member’s office, but we’re the only ones he hears from. We’ve spent a good deal of time in his office on two occasions, and I think I have heard his phone ring there a total of twice. Nobody’s calling. And everyone who is not calling is communicating their approval of the mass murder of individual and remarkable and precious human beings.”

On 15 December 2011, the Center for American Progress announced new leadership roles for its advocacy arm. Former Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA) became the new President and CEO of CAP Action and Counselor for Policy at CAP.

In the 2012 winter issue of Democracy Journal, Perriello pens a grotesque and delusional article titled:”Humanitarian Intervention: Recognizing When, and Why, It Can Succeed”:

“The use of force always entails grave dangers and human costs, and progressives have been leery particularly since the Vietnam era of supporting it, even to prevent or end mass atrocities, repression, and other systematic human suffering. Wise leaders will always remain wary of war. But wisdom also requires us to acknowledge two dramatic changes in our ability to use force for good. First, in a single generation, our ability to intervene without heavy casualties has improved dramatically. Second, the range of diplomatic and legal tools for legitimizing such interventions has likewise expanded….

Operational developments since the end of the Cold War have substantially improved our capacity to wage smart military operations that are limited in time and scope and employ precise and overwhelming force. This presents progressives with an opportunity – one that is too often seen as a curse – to expand the use of force to advance key values….

While the UN Security Council remains the most formal standard for international legitimacy, many nations consider it less representative than regional bodies and less responsive than reality sometimes demands. Today, the United States has a range of options to validate such uses of military might for humanitarian concerns….

After highlighting “the success” in Libya, Perriello goes on to say:

“Today, Gadhafi is dead, and the Libyan people have their first chance for democratic, accountable governance in decades…. American casualties were zero. Insurgent fighters and the vast majority of the population have cheered the victory as liberation, and courageous Syrians who face daily threats of death for standing up to their own repressive regime have taken comfort in Gadhafi’s fall. These accomplishments are no small feats for those who care about human dignity, democracy, and stability….

Progressives often demand action in the face of abject human suffering, but we know from recent history that in some situations moral condemnation, economic sanctions, or ex-post tribunals don’t save lives. Only force does.”

In closing, Perriello states:

“We must realize that force is only one element of a coherent national security strategy and foreign policy. We must accept the reality – whether or not one accepts its merits – that other nations are more likely to perceive our motives to be self-interested than values-based. But in a world where egregious atrocities and grave threats exist, and where Kosovo and Libya have changed our sense of what’s now possible, the development of this next generation of power can be seen as a historically unique opportunity to reduce human suffering.”

Make no mistake – this is the ideology at the helm of Avaaz.org.

In December 2011, Perriello disclosed that he served as special adviser to the international war crimes prosecutor and has spent extensive time in 2011 in Egypt and the Middle East researching the Arab Spring. Therefore, based on this disclosure alone, there can be no doubt that the deliberate strategy being advanced by Avaaz cannot be based upon any type of ignorance or naïveté.

The 12 January 2012 RSVP event “Reframing U.S. Strategy in a Turbulent World: American Spring?” featured speakers from Charles Kupchan of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rosa Brooks of the New America Foundation, and none other than Tom Perriello, CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Perriello advanced his “ideology” during this lecture.

Indoctrination of the Youth is Essential

On 18 January 2012, Perriello, as the Center for American Progress’s Advocacy Director, joined Mark Schneider, the International Crisis Group’s Senior Vice President and Maria McFarland, Human Rights Watch’s Deputy Washington Director to present a lecture titled: “The ‘Responsibility to Protect’ after the Arab Spring: A Discussion” at Georgetown University in Washington, DC with the synopsis as follows: “Governments’ repressive responses to the social upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa have sparked a shift in international approaches to civilian protection and mass atrocities prevention. The decade-old ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine has figured centrally in international responses to repressive regimes. However, between the tenuous success of NATO’s Libya intervention and the international community’s weak-kneed response to violence in Syria, R2P’s future is far from certain.”

In this video Perriello is introducing himself to the youth involved in a training organization named “e-mediat Jordan” who, Perriello states, are prepared to “sacrifice for their country.” Perriello is listed as director: “E-Mediat Jordan Country Director – Honorable Tom Perriello.” This organization is situated in Jordan, which is located in the Middle East and borders Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq. This NGO describes itself as a “Tools, Technology and Training” Centre. Training youth has become instrumental to advancing the Imperialist agenda. In essence, the exploited youth are the sacrificial lambs of the ruling classes in the 21st century.

Perriello no doubt believes in the myth of American exceptionalism. His patriotic views are reinforced by like-minded individuals from the Bush administration, the Obama administration, and the scores of organizations who “understand” the “need” to expand America’s “democracy” and “economic prosperity” around the globe. And while these myths are pushed forward by Imperialist administrations, the non-profit industrial complex and corporate media, civil rights in America are being stripped away faster than you can say fascism.

Up next: Part II, Section II.

Avaaz Investigative Report Series [Links]|Further Reading: Part I | Section I | Part I | Section II | Part I | Section III | Part II | Section I | Part II | Section II

[Cory Morningstar is an independent journalist /ecological activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change, Political Context and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur]

Resources

[1] Source: http://www.wiserearth.org/group/AvaazDotOrg. Information compiled/created April 7, 2010 and updated Feb 9, 2012.

[2] “Independent Media Institute Funding Funding for AlterNet comes from private foundations, site advertising, and individual donors.” “Several of our additional funders wish to remain anonymous.”

[3] Source: http://www.avaaz.org/en/report_back_2

[4] Source: http://www.anmag.org/issues/25/02/250207.php

[5] “In total with ONE partner organizations Avaaz.org, Jubilee U.S.A and Oxfam International, more than 415,000 signatures in all will be delivered tomorrow to Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, host of this week’s G7 Finance Ministers meeting.” http://www.one.org/c/us/pressrelease/3242/

[6] MoveOn’s annual report for 2008-09, the total number of individual donors (not members, as membership is automatically established upon a citizen “clicking” on a petition) was 17,295.

[7] http://climateshiftproject.org/report/climate-shift-clear-vision-for-the-next-decade-of-public-debate/#convergence-on-cap-and-tradePart II | Section I of an investigative report by Cory Morningstar

 Avaaz Investigative Report Series [Links]|Further Reading: Part I | Section I | Part I | Section II | Part I | Section III | Part II | Section I

Bread and Circuses

Panem et circenses. A metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement, in Latin. It was the basic Roman formula for the well-being of the population, and hence a political strategy unto itself. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion, distraction, and/or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the common man (l’homme moyen sensuel). In modern usage, the phrase is taken to describe a populace that no longer values civic virtues and the public life. To many across the political spectrum, left and right, it connotes a supposed triviality and frivolity that characterized the Roman Republic prior to its decline into the autocratic monarchy characteristic of the later Roman Empire’s transformation about 44 BCE. [Source: Wikipedia]

Avaaz: The Emperor of the NGO Network 

 

“The banality of evil transmutes into the banality of sentimentality. The world is nothing but a problem to be solved by enthusiasm.” — Teju Cole

Avaaz is the operational name of “Global Engagement and Organizing Fund,” a non-profit organization legally incorporated in 2006.

Avaaz was founded by Res Publica, described as a global civic advocacy group, and Moveon.org, “an online community that has pioneered internet advocacy in the United States.”

Launched in 2007, Avaaz is the fastest-growing online movement in history. The deliberate choosing of the word Avaaz, which translates to “voice” in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages, begs the question of whether the core purpose of Avaaz from the onset was to build influence and “befriend” the populations in the Middle Eastern and Asia.

9 December 2009: Ricken Patel of Res Publica: “Each organization [MoveOn and ResPublica] has roughly equal international memberships that will be invited to join Avaaz (Res Publica has built a list of almost 400,000 at http://www.ceasefirecampaign.org/) … I think it’s fair [to say] that we’re starting with a MoveOn model plus SMS….” [SMS is the acronym for Short Message Service, or texting.]

The Service Employees International Union and GetUp.org.au were also publicly recognized as founding partners of Avaaz: “Avaaz.org also enjoys the partnership and support of leading activist organizations from around the world, including the Service Employees International Union, a founding partner of Avaaz, GetUp.org.au, and many others.”

The silent voice behind Avaaz, that of Res Publica, is, in the public realm, essentially comprised of 3 key individuals: Tom Perriello, a pro-war (former) U.S. Representative who describes himself as a social entrepreneur, Ricken Patel, consultant to many of the most powerful entities on Earth and the long-time associate of Perriello, and Tom Pravda, a member of the UK Diplomatic Service who serves as a consultant to the U.S. State Department.

9 December 2009, Tech President: “The organization is pursuing an ambitious growth path…. It is beginning with 700,000 members spread across 148 countries. It also has an Advisory Board that comprises politicians, diplomats, activists and celebrities from around the world…. Open Society Institute indeed made a one-year grant of $150,000 to Res Publica last summer to help them get Avaaz off the ground.” (Two appreciative comments from Avaaz associates can be found under this article, including one from a lesser publicly credited Avaaz co-founder, Paul Hilder.) (Hilder is discussed further within this report.)

In addition to the $150,000 in seed money from George Soros’s Open Society Institute, Res Publica gave Avaaz $225,000 in 2006. (Form 990, page 18), $950,000 in 2007 (Form 990, page 18), and $500,000 in 2008 (Form 990, page 9). (Form 990 allows the IRS and the public to evaluate nonprofits and how they operate.)

Avaaz states that they take “absolutely no money from governments or corporations…. While we received initial seed grants from partner organizations and charitable organizations, almost 90% of the Avaaz budget now comes [from] small online donations.” The 2009 Form 990 for George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society reports (page 87) $300,000 in general support for Avaaz and an additional $300,000 to Avaaz for climate campaigning.

The Avaaz co-founding team is comprised of a group of “global social entrepreneurs” from six countries: Executive Director Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello, Tom Pravda, Eli Pariser (MoveOn Executive Director), Andrea Woodhouse (consultant to the World Bank) Jeremy Heimans (co-founder of GetUp! and Purpose), and Australian entrepreneur David Madden (co-founder of GetUp and Purpose). “Avaaz is lucky to have the founding partnership and support of leading activist organizations from around the world.” [1]

The 2010 Avaaz Form 990 states: “Avaaz Foundation is comprised of two members: Res Publica (U.S.) Inc. and MoveOn.org Civic Action.”

Both Heimans and Madden were instrumental in forming the vision of Avaaz; the “global online political community inspired by the success of GetUp and the U.S. group MoveOn.org.”

In 2002, MoveOn’s political action committee (PAC) raised and distributed $3.5 million to more than 36 U.S. congressional candidates. Don Hazen (executive director of the “Independent” Media Institute (IMI), as well as executive editor of AlterNet, which is a program of IMI) [2] was quoted as stating: “MoveOn’s member list [is] mostly white, highly educated, computer savvy … and willing to give dough.”

Based on the “success” of Avaaz co-founder, MoveOn, we can safely assume that “mostly white, highly educated, computer savvy … and willing to give dough” should be considered the targeted demographic for Avaaz and the Avaaz network.

On 23 November 2003 it was reported by San Fransico Chronicle that “MoveOn.org reeled in a $5 million matching pledge from currency speculator billionaire George Soros.” This represented the largest-ever individual donation to the five-year-old organization. The model described by The Chronicle was “an organization with six full-time employees, no offices,” which has been successfully replicated by many NGOs within the non-profit industrial complex, including 350.org.

In 2010 Avaaz paid Ricken Patel $183,264 as executive director, and paid Ben Wikler (Avaaz campaign director) $111,384 plus $921,592 in “campaigner fees and consulting” and $182,196 in travel expenses. During 2011, Avaaz did not miss a golden opportunity to set up a live-stream for the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York in order to give a voice to the “99%.” Yes, the rich get richer. The poor get poorer.

In addition to receiving funding from the Open Society Institute, Avaaz has publicly cited the Open Society Institute as their foundation partner. This admission by founder Ricken Patel is found on the www.soros.org website. [As discussed in part I, The Open Society Institute (renamed in 2011 to Open Society Foundations) is a private operating and grantmaking foundation founded by George Soros, who remains the chair. Soros is known best as a multibillionaire currency speculator, and of late, an avid supporter of Occupy Wall Street. Soros is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR is essentially the promotional arm of the ruling elite in the U.S. Most all U.S. policy is initiated and written by the exclusive membership within the CFR.]

Avaaz utilized/utilizes their Open Society Institute relationship to distribute member donations via “Avaaz partners at the Open Society Institute.” [3]

March 2008 – Avaaz co-founder, Ricken Patel explains: “Avaaz is a campaigning organization and not in this business. So we chose a foundation partner with long experience…. That group is the Open Society Institute, one of the largest and most respected foundations in the world. OSI is taking no overhead on the funds we are granting to Burmese groups, and has also increased its own support to this cause in 2008.” [4] In the instance of Burma, all Avaaz campaign donations have been directly funneled through the Soros Open Society Institute Burma Project (website). Although nowhere on the Avaaz website will you find any connection to George Soros, within this statement Patel clearly states that The Open Society Institute is in fact a partner of Avaaz. Why Avaaz chooses to funnel the money through the Soros foundation is not clearly understood, but we might assume Soros insists upon it in order to control which groups in Burma receive funding. Today, Myanmar (Burma) “is eagerly genuflecting before an onslaught of foreign private investors zeroing in to dispossess her” (24 May 2012, Myanmar Learns the Lesson of Libya).

Avaaz partners are many, including one.org [5] [discussed further in this report] and the infamous TckTckTck. The Tcktcktck campaign was launched 26 June 2009 by Havas, one of the world’s largest global advertising and communications firms, in conjunction with the United Nations (Kofi Annan) and Bob Geldof. The stated objective of this corporate-driven advertising campaign was “to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.” It is revealing that the “environmental organizations” listed as partners were, first and foremost, none other than 350.org and Avaaz.org who partnered with the likes of such corporations as EDF Nuclear, Lloyds Bank, MTV, and other multi-national corporations who simultaneously destroy our shared environment. The organizations flourish under the guise and branding of “grassroots,” yet “grassroots” are generally not connected to the dominant global structures that are able to absorb, shape and dominate entire movements such as in the case of Tcktcktck at the climate change talks in Copenhagen.

And while the stated initial goal of Avaaz, according to Avaaz co-founder Madden, was “a web-based campaign against the foreign policy of United States President,” the reality is anything but.

Avaaz’s stance on both Libya (now annihilated) and now Syria is in smooth synchronicity with the positions within the U.S. administration, positions such as those vocalized by the likes of war criminals such as Hillary Clinton (of “We came. We saw. He died. Laughter…” fame). The ugly iron fist of war is gently being spoon-fed to the public by way of a very dark velvet glove – that being Avaaz.

As of July 2011, Avaaz claimed to have more than 9.65 million “members” in 193 countries. Most recently, the Avaaz  campaign, which demands foreign intervention by the Imperialist states in a synchronized effort to destabilize Syria, has resulted in the Avaaz membership skyrocketing to over 13 million members. According to Avaaz, this surge of an additional 3 million members or so was achieved in less than 30 days of an intense campaign against the Sovereign Syrian Government. What’s happening in Syria today is a destabilization campaign in which the terror unleashed upon the population is financed by foreign interests.

In the midst of the Avaaz destabilization campaigns of both Libya and Syria, Avaaz, in unison with other U.S.-funded NGOs, also waged a destabilization campaign against the Morales Government of Bolivia in October 2011. The attempt failed. Unlike westerners, Bolivians are, today, far advanced in their intellectual understanding of global politics and carefully orchestrated propaganda, having been on the receiving end of Imperialism/colonialism and the capitalist economic system itself, for what surely must feel like an eternity.

Did Libya’s Citizens Demand Foreign Intervention? 

A ridiculous question, yet according to Avaaz, the answer is yes.

“The call for a no-fly zone originated from Libyans – including the provisional opposition government, Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN, protesters, and youth organizations.”

Today Avaaz claims 13,649,421 members, 70,432,165 “actions” (taken since January 2007) and 194 countries with Avaaz members according to the information provided by Avaaz, retrieved on 2 March 2012. During the typing of this single paragraph, the Avaaz membership rose by 30 people to 13,649,451. [Avaaz Facts]

The members are primarily citizens residing within Imperialist or wealthy states. Consider the following three examples: (Stats retrieved from the Avaaz global “membership” virtual map.)

Avaaz members situated in United States: 923,968

Avaaz members situated in Canada: 667,592

Avaaz members situated in Libya: 3,167

On 10 March 2010, John Hilary challenged Avaaz in a Guardian article titled “Internet activists should be careful what they wish for in Libya. Calls for a no-fly zone over Libya ignore the perils of intervention. Long-term solutions aren’t as simple as the click of a mouse.”

Hilary writes:

A no-fly zone would almost certainly draw Nato countries into further military involvement in Libya, replacing the agency of the Libyan people with the control of those governments who have shown scant regard for their welfare. As long as the oil kept flowing, western governments have been happy to prop up dictators who kept a heavy boot on their people’s freedom. Libyans are unlikely to be grateful to be bombed by those same western governments attempting to enforce a no-fly zone. Indeed such action would help Muammar Gaddafi by justifying his rhetoric about foreign intervention, not to mention stopping fledgling revolutions across the region in their tracks.

 

Clearly a no-fly zone makes foreign intervention sound rather humanitarian – putting the emphasis on stopping bombing, even though it could well lead to an escalation of violence.

 

No wonder, too, that it is rapidly becoming a key call of hawks on both sides of the Atlantic. The military hierarchy, with their budgets threatened by government cuts, surely cannot believe their luck – those who usually oppose wars are openly campaigning for more military involvement.

Although Hilary knowingly or otherwise dismisses the very real foreign intervention as “rhetoric” while not divulging the fact that the “fledgling revolutions” he speaks of were instigated/infiltrated/financed by foreign interests, Hilary ends with a prophetic note:

Calling for military intervention is a huge step – the life and death of hundreds of thousands of people might hang in the balance. The difference between the ease of the action and the impact of the consequence is vast.

 

In the Spanish civil war many brave people felt so strongly that they sacrificed their own lives to support the struggle against fascism in that country. How incredible it would have seemed to them, less than a hundred years later, that people would be using a click of their mouse to send armies to fight battles that might end in the death of so many others.

Avaaz’s campaign director, Ben Wikler, posted a comment in response to Hilary’s article. Bold emphasis have been added.

“Dear John,

 

“Thanks for this piece. Sorry that you felt we got this wrong. We’re doing our best and of course, people of good will with similar values can sometimes disagree. Here’s a bit more background and explanation for you on our decision on the no-fly zone –

 

Avaaz is people-powered. Our member community makes the calls. We use polls to gauge members’ views; 84% of members supported this campaign, while 9% opposed it. Since launching it, we’ve found intense support for the campaign from around the world.

 

Our staff also play a key role in consulting with leading experts around the world (and most of our staff have policy as well as advocacy backgrounds) on each of the campaigns we run, and Libya was no exception.

 

In some ways, we work a lot like journalists like you do, talking to people and weighing the facts before we form conclusions. However, our staff’s personal conclusions also have to pass the test of our membership being strongly supportive of any position we take.

 

We’re acutely aware of your and some others’ objections to this campaign. Here are the main issues that people have raised, and where we’re coming from regarding them:

 

Would imposing a no-fly zone really be a Western military intervention motivated by oil?

 

If Western powers use the no-fly zone as a pretext for self-interested military action, Avaaz would be among the first groups to campaign against it – just as Avaaz has campaigned to end the Iraq conflict and ensure that Iraq’s oil rights are reserved for the Iraqi people.

 

The call for a no-fly zone originated from Libyans – including the provisional opposition government, Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN, protesters, and youth organizations.

 

The same Libyan groups have strongly opposed any western military presence on Libyan soil. They clearly feel that a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion. Avaaz staff are in close and constant contact with activists inside Libya and have been repeatedly asked to move forward on this campaign.

 

Meanwhile, among governments, Gulf States have demanded the no-fly zone, and the U.S. government, far from itching to move ahead, appears deeply divided on the idea.

 

Furthermore, our advocacy has been for the UN Security Council to authorize a no-fly zone, not any coalition of western nations. You can bet that China and Russia will not sign off on a no-fly zone if they think it’s a cover for a Western oil grab.

 

Would imposing a no-fly zone lead to a full-blown international war?

 

No-fly zones can mean a range of different things. Some analysts and military figures have argued that it would require a pre-emptive attack on Libya’s anti-aircraft weapons. Others, however, contend that merely flying fighter planes over the rebel-controlled areas would ensure that Qaddafi wouldn’t use his jets to attack eastern Libya, because he knows his air force is weaker than that of Egypt or NATO states. The best solution is the one that reduces civilian deaths the most with the least violence. Things might not turn out as expected, but while there are potential dangers to an international war, there are certain dangers to civilians if things continue without a no-fly zone.

 

Is Qaddafi really killing civilians with this air force?

 

Based on reports from our partners on the ground, from the Red Cross, and from a variety of local and international news reports, we believe Qaddafi’s bombing runs are indeed killing civilians. Qaddafi’s air power is a key advantage over those fighting to remove him: as long as he has control of the air, attacks seem likely to continue for months or even longer, with disastrous consequences for civilians.

 

Wouldn’t a UN resolution for a no-fly zone violate national sovereignty?

 

We believe that the international community has a responsibility to protect civilians when national governments threaten their fundamental human rights.

 

National sovereignty should not be a legitimate barrier to international action when crimes against humanity are being committed. If you strongly disagree, then you may find yourself at odds with other Avaaz campaigns as well.

 

All told, this was a difficult judgment call.

 

Calling for any sort of military response always is. Avaaz members have been advocating for weeks for a full set of non-military options as well, including an asset freeze, targeted sanctions, and prosecutions of officials involved in the violent crackdown on demonstrators.

 

But although those measures are moving forward, the death toll is rising. Again, thoughtful people can disagree – but in the Avaaz community’s case, only 9% of our thoughtful people opposed this position – somewhat surprising given that we have virtually always advocated for peaceful methods to resolve conflict in the past. We think it was the best position to take given the balance of expert opinion, popular support, and most of all, the rights and clearly expressed desire of the Libyan people.

 

Respectfully,
Ben Wikler

Let’s break this down. In the Avaaz rebuttal Wikler states:

Avaaz is people-powered. Our member community makes the calls. We use polls to gauge members’ views; 84% of members supported this campaign, while 9% opposed it. Since launching it, we’ve found intense support for the campaign from around the world.”

The question must be asked – why does “intense support of the campaign from around the world” from an organization co-founded by MoveOn that, as stated in 2002, caters to members comprised of “mostly white, highly educated, computer savvy … and willing to give dough” supersede the rights of a sovereign nation and her citizens against foreign interference? How would unleashing a military operation in Libya affect Avaaz constituents attending Harvard? In fact, the Avaaz demographic is one that is being trained to not think – just click. Indeed, critical thinking is a detriment and a very real threat to the entire Avaaz phenomenon. Surely, the “wish” for foreign intervention and no-fly zones (more commonly known as war and bombs) should only be considered by those who will be affected directly by such a military campaign. As Avaaz states, their Libyan membership is a mere 3,167 people – one must ask how Avaaz considers the 3,167 Libyan Avaaz “members” as representative of “the Libyan people” in a country with (prior to the invasion) a population of almost 6 million citizens.  

“This world exists simply to satisfy the needs—including, importantly, the sentimental needs—of white people and Oprah.” — Teju Cole

The fact is that the Libyan people as a society had no representation in the Avaaz campaign calling for foreign military intervention to be inflicted upon the Libyan tribal society. In spite of Wikler’s ridiculous rhetoric, the fact is Libyan citizens were considered by Avaaz to hold little significance. Avaaz, iconic symbol of the white ivory towers of justice, followed in the path of other international NGOs in the racist ideology that the belief system upheld by the “educated” “middleclass” in the wealthy states is far superior to any contrary beliefs and ideologies of tribal/civil societies in African and Arab nations. It is only the people from within these privileged classes whose opinions matter, hence the victorious proclamation of the 84% support. The Avaaz position is even more problematic when you consider the following.

What constitutes becoming an Avaaz “member”? As with the other “online activism” NGOS, Avaaz’s actual membership is open to interpretation. For example, Avaaz affiliate GetUp states, “Join the movement of 589,261 Australians. Become a member now.” However, this figure is derived from the entire database of signed GetUp petitions, whereby each signatory is automatically enlisted as “a member.” [6] As Avaaz is modeled after GetUp and MoveOn, and considering the membership increases rapidly within a 60 second time-frame, one can assume with certainty that an Avaaz “membership” is instantly granted to each and every individual signing a petition. This ruse serves as a brilliant method of disguising where the majority of their largesse (i.e., investment) originated from (i.e., the corporate state) while further reinforcing the false impression that their funding originated from grassroots sources.

(The latest feel-good consumer NGO (first media mention 29 November 2011, first “tweet” on 4 November 2011), yet another thinking person’s nightmare named SumOfUs, already boasts 262,950 members worldwide. Where did these members come from? Affiliated NGO membership lists?)

If one signed an Avaaz petition in 2007, long before realizing whose interests this organization truly represents, is this same individual still considered a member in 2012? If 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members signed an Avaaz petition in 2008 to save elephants in Africa, this does not constitute a Libyan majority demanding military interference in 2011.

Wikler states: “Our staff also play a key role in consulting with leading experts around the world (and most of our staff have policy as well as advocacy backgrounds) on each of the campaigns we run, and Libya was no exception.”

The question is, just exactly who are these experts Avaaz continues to refer to? Nowhere does Avaaz disclose these “experts” nor their affiliations. And which institutions and societies shaped their policy and advocacy backgrounds?

 Wikler states: “If Western powers use the no-fly zone as a pretext for self-interested military action, Avaaz would be among the first groups to campaign against it.”

Yet, there has been a massive amount of evidence demonstrating, unequivocally, that this was exactly what the pretext was. “Self-interested military action” is exactly what happened, which begs the question – what happened to Avaaz claiming they “would be among the first groups to campaign against it”? [Self-interested military action: Madeleine Albright appearing on 60 minutes, Running time 23s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4] Not only does Avaaz contradict this statement, but this organization has done NOTHING to inform the public of any evidence of the deliberate destruction of Libya under the guise of a “humanitarian war.” To this day, not only is there NO EVIDENCE to support this invasion (made possible by the collaboration of yet another 77 NGOs), rather, there is a massive amount of evidence to the contrary. This was a well-planned, deliberate destabilization project that unleashed hell on a sovereign country – a country that had neither attacked nor invaded another nation. Avaaz has never released any material criticizing the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by NATO and the rebel militias that Avaaz was supporting. Nor has Avaaz shared with their supporters the horrific, racist rebel crimes and ethnic cleansing that NATO turned a blind eye to, and that were thoroughly documented throughout the invasion upon Libya. On the shocking racial atrocities filmed and documented in Tawergha, the white ivory towers remain silent. Aside from the evidence, prior to the invasion of Libya, and after, one would think that the “experts” of Avaaz would have vast knowledge of how destabilization campaigns are strategically planned and carried out by Imperialist states as documented in past and recent history. And of course, when one looks at the background of the founders who comprise Avaaz, we can understand they knew full well.

Video below: Humanitarian War in Libya: There is no evidence! (Running time: 19:42)



Wikler states: “he call for a no-fly zone originated from Libyans – including the provisional opposition government, Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN, protesters, and youth organizations.”

As for Libya’s (defected) ambassador to the UN: “Just a few days after the street protests began, on February 21, the very quick to defect Libyan deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, stated: ‘We are expecting a real genocide in Tripoli. The airplanes are still bringing mercenaries to the airports.’ This is excellent: a myth that is composed of myths. With that statement he linked three key myths together – the role of airports (hence the need for that gateway drug of military intervention: the no-fly zone), the role of “mercenaries” (meaning, simply, black people), and the threat of ‘genocide‘ (geared toward the language of the UN’s doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect). As ham-fisted and wholly unsubstantiated as the assertion was, he was clever in cobbling together three ugly myths, one of them grounded in racist discourse and practice that endures to the present, with newer atrocities reported against black Libyan and African migrants on a daily basis. He was not alone in making these assertions.” [Source: TOP TEN MYTHS IN NATO'S WAR AGAINST LIBYA]

It is an outrageous statement to claim it was the wish of the Libyan people to impose a military zone upon their own country. Further, the defected ambassador was clearly carrying out duties for the Imperialist states. Who were these protestors and youth organizations Avaaz speaks of? Are these the Libyans that comprise the 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members? Are they the youth groups set up by Avaaz funder and partner, the Soros Open Society Institute? Are they connected with the U.S.-funded Otpor or funded by another NGO fed by the U.S. administration? Nowhere is this information disclosed. Further, do the 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members actually live in Libya? Did all 3,167 Libyan Avaaz members sign the Avaaz petition, essentially demanding that their country become a war zone?

Wikler states: “The same Libyan groups have strongly opposed any western military presence on Libyan soil. They clearly feel that a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion. Avaaz staff are in close and constant contact with activists inside Libya and have been repeatedly asked to move forward on this campaign.”

It is beyond obvious that a no-fly zone in an oil rich country would open the door to Imperialist vultures. Who told these so-called “Libyan Groups” (whoever they are we do not know) such a ridiculous thing, “that a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion”? One must assume this information was conveyed to the “Libyan Groups” by the Avaaz “experts” since the Avaaz staff claim they were “in close and constant contact with activists inside Libya.” Further, in response to the proposed no-fly zone, Wikler goes on to say “there are potential dangers to an international war…” One must question why Wikler is aware of the potential of international war in response to a no-fly zone while the “Libyan Groups” believe (according to Avaaz) that “a no-fly zone is not equivalent to or a step towards invasion.”

Wikler states: “Meanwhile, among governments, Gulf States have demanded the no-fly zone, and the U.S. government, far from itching to move ahead, appears deeply divided on the idea.”

Yet, as Wikler convinced and assured the Guardian readership that the U.S. was hesitant to “intervene” in Libya, the reality was that two U.S. destroyers and a number of missile-launching submarines were in fact already deployed and headed for the Libyan coast. These destroyers decisively delivered 110 Tomahawk missiles 9 days later on 19 March 2011 as part of the military operation titled “Operation Odyssey Dawn.”

“The Royal Navy bought 65 Tomahawks in 1995 at a cost of $1 million (£650,000) each from U.S. defence firm Raytheon Systems. Two American destroyers, the U.S.S Barry and Stout, have been deployed. According to a Pentagon source, each carries up to 96 Tomahawk missiles.” [Source]

19 March 2011: “Cruise missiles from U.S. submarines and frigates began the attack on the anti-aircraft system. A senior defense official speaking on background said the attacks will ‘open up the environment so we could enforce the no-fly zone from east to west throughout Libya.’” [Source]

Wikler states: “[T]here are certain dangers to civilians if things continue without a no-fly zone.”

Perhaps Wikler was speaking to certain dangers to American and European civilians if Gaddafi were to have succeeded in replacing the U.S. dollar and the Euro with an African Dinar, backed by gold, to build unity and autonomy throughout African nations. Perhaps he was referring to civilians who are living under an economic system that is dependent upon the continued exploitation and stealing of other nations’ vast resources. As Libya was a nation with no debt, interest-free loans, free education, free healthcare, and a state-of-the-art water system and a country that held the highest standard of living in Africa, it is difficult to imagine what exactly Libyans would have been fearing aside from a pending invasion by Imperialist states.

Wikler states: “Based on reports from our partners on the ground, from the Red Cross, and from a variety of local and international news reports, we believe Qaddafi’s bombing runs are indeed killing civilians.”

Wikler is purposely vague. What reports exactly are they referring to? What partners?

March 1st Pentagon Briefing: Q: Do you see any evidence that [Gaddafi] actually has fired on his own people from the air?  There were reports of it, but do you have independent confirmation? If so, to what extent? Secretary of Defence – ROBERT GATES: A: “We’ve seen the press reports, but we have no confirmation of that,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs – Admiral MICHAEL MULLEN A: “That’s correct. We’ve seen no confirmation whatsoever.”

In the following video, General Wesley Clark explains the Libyan invasion, Syria and Somalia, all planned years in advance: http://youtu.be/fSNyPS0fXpU.

Wikler states: “We believe that the international community has a responsibility to protect civilians when national governments threaten their fundamental human rights.”

Here Wikler echoes the current dogma being repeated incessantly by the U.S. administration and their corporate media lackeys. If Avaaz truly had any “experts” on civilian interests trumping those of corporate interests, Avaaz would tell us that this is merely language designed to facilitate societal acceptance of war by presenting it as “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect” (R2P). Prior to this lovely terminology, it was formerly known as “the Right to Intervene.”

Wikler states: “Again, thoughtful people can disagree – but in the Avaaz community’s case, only 9% of our thoughtful people opposed this position – somewhat surprising given that we have virtually always advocated for peaceful methods to resolve conflict in the past. We think it was the best position to take given the balance of expert opinion, popular support, and most of all, the rights and clearly expressed desire of the Libyan people.”

This highlights a very dangerous experiment, and now precedent, set by Avaaz. Wikler openly expresses that they were surprised to find only 9% of their “membership” (based upon their polls) opposed a no-fly zone. Wikler stating that this position was “somewhat surprising given that we have virtually always advocated for peaceful methods to resolve conflict in the past” is, by his own admission, acknowledging that this new direction is one that is not peaceful. One should note that all NGOs use polls and marketing executives to create and lay out most all campaigns and campaign strategies. Avaaz is no exception; rather, Avaaz should be considered the rule.

Avaaz’s integration into militarism can be seen in their continual polling that outlines, in essence, what citizens are responsive to, and what they are willing to tolerate. In the 13 January 2010 global Avaaz poll, participants were asked to rate 6 priorities in order of importance. The stated priorities from which one could choose included human rights, torture and genocide (#2), democracy movements and tyrannical regimes (#3) war, peace and security (#4) and corruption and abuse of power (#5). Incidentally number 1 was climate change, however after the failed Copenhagen climate talks, this issue was no longer considered a hot commodity for NGO branding purposes and thus the campaign on climate was, for the most part, abandoned altogether. All other proposed “choices” are key elements/issues associated with militarism.

How Wikler and his Avaaz cohorts sleep at night, knowing the Avaaz campaign contributed to the annihilation of as many as 100,000 Libyan civilians and unleashed a racial war, is anyone’s guess. Although it certainly must help when one is surrounded by like-minded people who all reinforce your distorted world views while reassuring each other that each is more brilliant than the other and the end justifies the means. This is the beauty and the power of neo-liberalism activism conformity. It allows one to behave like an asshole, while those indoctrinated into the same belief system, including corporate and so-called “progressive” media, portray you as a celebrity. The oligarchy’s willingness to ensure the egos remain plump and well-nourished is strategic. This ensures that the narcissist’s delusions are reinforced while simultaneously ensuring any doubt is cast far away. No one wishes to be ostracized from the champagne circuit. Wikler recently left Avaaz to become Executive Vice President at Change.org, another Soros (for-profit) NGO, while thousands upon thousands of Libyans paid the ultimate price for his campaign, which can be found on the Avaaz website under recent “victories.” Ben Wikler’s compensation as Avaaz Campaign Director in 2010 was a reported $111,384 (990 Form).

Not everyone was so gullible. One reader (“derazed”) comments beneath the Guardian article: “Up until its latest, I had appreciated Avaaz – even gave some money in the direction of providing Arab activists telecommunications equipment. When the no-fly email arrived, I created my own “no fly” zone – by terminating my email relationship with Avaaz. The internet and real-life events have taught me something about warmongers in virtual clothing.”

[28 March 2011: Fortune-500 funded Brookings Institution's "Libya's Test of the New International Order" is reported on – exposing the war as not one of a "humanitarian" nature, but one aimed explicitly at establishing an international order and the primacy of international law.]

The Avaaz Gate-Keepers 

Consider all of the following information within this report as a mere tip of the iceberg. Note that most, if not all organizations discussed in this report are, in part or full, financed by, and in many cases established in partnership with, George Soros’ “Open Society Institute.”

Avaaz Co-Founder and Executive Director: Ricken Patel

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

Snapshot:

  • AccessNow: International Advisory Board
  • Avaaz International: Co-founder
  • Avaaz International: Executive Director/President
  • CARE International: Consultant
  • CeaseFireCampaign.org (discontinued): Co-Founder
  • CeaseFireCampaign.org (discontinued): Executive Director
  • DarfurGenocide.org: Co-director
  • DarfurGenocide.org: Co-founder
  • Faith in Public Life: Board of Directors
  • Faith in Public Life: Co-founder
  • Faithful America: Board of Directors
  • Faithful America: Co-founder
  • Gates Foundation: Consultant
  • Harvard University: Consultant
  • International Center for Transitional Justice: Consultant
  • International Crisis Group: Consultant
  • J Street: Advisory Council
  • Namati: Board of Directors
  • Res Publica: Chairman/Executive Director
  • Res Publica: Co-founder
  • Rockefeller Foundation: Consultant
  • United Nations: Consultant

Education:

  • Harvard University Kennedy School of Government
  • University of Oxford
  • Queen’s University

Compensation from Avaaz (990 Forms):

2006:   $61,650 (Res Publica)

2006: $120,000

2007: $120,000

2007:   $10,000 (Res Publica)

2008: $126,000

2009: $120,000

2010: $183,264

Resides in New York

Ricken Patel is co-founder and executive director of Avaaz International. Patel has served as a consultant for the United Nations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Crisis Group, Harvard University, CARE International, and the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Patel’s consulting to the United Nations should be of little surprise. Like Avaaz, the United Nations has become nothing more than an instrumental tool that serves the interests of the Imperialist states. This too should come as little surprise since it was the oligarchy who founded the UN in the first place. For decades, those states oppressed under the claws of Imperialism have demanded reforms within the UN. This fact is well-documented in a long list of impassioned speeches by leaders of sovereign nations constantly fighting against oppression and foreign meddling. The speeches are rarely, if ever, publicized by either corporate or “progressive” media (funded by the same corporate elites). Not surprisingly, the non-profit industrial complex does essentially nothing to support the states who continue to fight for their autonomy and liberation, only possible by smashing the chains of Imperialist states. This is what Libya was helping Africa achieve before it was targeted and destroyed.

Patel was voted “Ultimate Gamechanger in Politics” in 2009 by the recently acquired Huffington Post (purchased by AOL Time Warner in 2011) and named “a Young Global Leader” by the infamous Davos World Economic Forum. When an “activist” receives accolades from international corporate entities and corporate media, alarm bells should be going off and red flags should be seen waving from those within civil society.

Patel is a graduate of the Kennedy School at Harvard University and Oxford and is considered in elite circles a “Balliol”:

Oxford: “Institutions as diverse as the Workers Educational Trust, the National Trust, Amnesty International, Ashoka (the global association of leading social entrepreneurs), and Avaaz (now the largest online advocacy group in the world) were all established by Balliol people.”

The International Crisis Group, for which Patel has served as a consultant, is also an institution for which George Soros is a trustee. In 2008, ICG helped establish the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, along with Human Rights Watch, Oxfam International and other influential NGOs of the Soros network. As of April 2011, ICG was one of the 31 member organizations belonging to the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect. Operating on an annual budget of $17 million (2011), ICG raises funds from governments, charitable foundations, private companies, and individual donors. Among the organization’s key benefactors are the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Compton Foundation, and the Flora Family Foundation. In 2008 George Soros’ Open Society Institute pledged to give $5 million to ICG.

The International Crisis Group has been a key player in the “revolutions.” In the January 2011 article “All is not what it seems in Egyptian Clashes,” it was disclosed that the Egyptian protest leader Mohammed ElBaradei “was in fact a devoted agent of the West, with a long standing membership within the Wall Street/London funded International Crisis Group” [Source: Land Destroyer].

Patel is also co-founder and executive director of Res Publica, which was formally launched in 2003. Res Publica is based in New York.

Res Publica is a primary co-founder of Avaaz along with MoveOn. Res Publica’s stated goal is to “develop innovative solutions to global justice and security threats.” Res Publica “ran as a pilot project” in Sierra Leone in 2001-2002 and has three full-time fellows, Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello and Tom Pravda. Res Publica is supported by a broader network of “Friends of Res Publica” and a Global Advisory Board. Who the broader network of “Friends of Res Publica” actually are, is anyone’s guess.

29 December 2004: “Over two days in early December approximately three-dozen religious activists met at the Washington office of the Center for American Progress, a recently formed think tank headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. The Res Publica-driven agenda for the closed-door gathering included sessions on ‘building the movement infrastructure’ and ‘objectives, strategies and core issues.’”

Perriello (now President and CEO of Center for American Progress) described Res Publica as an “incubator for social entrepreneurship.”

The Res Publica email address is actually resp...@avaaz.org.

Up to at least 2008, Patel remained a board of directors member with Faithful America of which he was also a principle founder (founded in 2004, launched in 2006) along with former (2009-2011) U.S. Representative Tom Perriello. The aim of “Faithful America” was to create a “religious version of MoveOn.org.” Both Patel and Perriello served as the project’s first co-directors. This NGO was later taken over by Faith in Public Life, where, as of 2008, Patel was also a member of the board. On 13 April 2008, Faith in Public Life, in partnership with the ONE Campaign and Oxfam America, organized the Democratic candidates’ “Compassion Forum” during which corporate media partners CNN and Newsweek hosted an evening with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and a number of faith “leaders.” Faith in Public Life received $400,000 from the Open Society Institute in 2007 and again in 2008.

Patel was co-director of DarfurGenocide.org, an organization he helped establish with Perriello and the U.S. State Department.

Patel also serves on the board of Namati, an organization “that offers technical assistance to development organizations, governments, and civil society actors interested in enhancing legal empowerment aspects of existing work, or launching new legal empowerment initiatives.” Its partners include UKAid from the Department of International Development; AusAid, the Australian government’s Overseas Aid Program; UNDP, the United Nations Development Program; and the Soros Open Society Foundations. Patel also sits on the organization J Street’s advisory council with Eli Pariser, co-founder of Avaaz and the current executive director of MoveOn.

Patel also serves on the International Advisory Board of AccessNow.org, an organization which will be discussed further in this report. [Source: Source Watch]

Patel’s rise to superstardom in the corporate world is due to the fact that he specializes in “E-advocacy” and web-based movement-building – the key to securing control of all “consumers,” all “movements” and essentially all information on the planet.

Avaaz Co-founder: Tom Perriello

Snapshot:

  • AccessNow: International Advisory Board
  • Afghanistan Watch: Analyst
  • Avaaz International: Co-founder
  • Avaaz International: Secretary 2008
  • Avaaz International: Trustee 2006, 2007
  • Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good: Co-founder
  • CeaseFireCampaign.org (discontinued): Co-founder
  • Center for a Sustainable Economy, now part of “Redefining Progress”: Assistant Director
  • Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) — the home of ThinkProgress and the advocacy arm of the Center for American Progress (CAP): President and CEO
  • Consultant on Youth and Environmental Campaigns
  • E-Mediat Jordan: Country Director
  • Faithful America: Co-director
  • Faithful America: Principle Founder
  • International Center for Transitional Justice: Consultant
  • International Centre for Transitional Justice: Employed by
  • J Street: Advisory Council
  • Namati: Board of Directors
  • National Council of Churches of Christ: Consultant
  • National Council of Churches of Christ: Fellow
  • National Security Consultant
  • New York State Bar: Member
  • Open Society Institute: Teaching Fellow
  • Res Publica: Co-founder
  • The Century Foundation: Fellow
  • The Century Foundation: National Security Analyst
  • The Century Foundation: Special Advisor/Spokesperson
  • United Nations: Special Adviser to the International War Crimes Prosecutor
  • U.S. Representative: Virginia Democratic Congressman, 2008-2010
  • U.S. State Department: Employed by
  • Virginia House of Delegates: Legislative Page
  • Yale Law School: Teaching Fellow
  • Yale Scroll and Key: Secret Society Member

Avaaz Compensation:

2006: $48,000

Education: Yale University

Resides in Virginia, U.S.A.

Tom Perriello is a long-time collaborator with Ricken Patel. Together, they co-founded Avaaz.org, Res Publica and FaithfulAmerica.org.

Perriello is a former U.S. Representative (represented the 5th District of Virginia from 2008 to 2010) and a founding member of the House Majority Leader’s National Security Working Group.

Perriello was also co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. He worked for Reverend Dr. James Forbes on “prophetic justice” principles. Many of these organizations were created with the intent of creating a broad-based “religious left” movement.

Indeed, it has been stated by Marx that “religion is the opium of the masses.” In 1974 the late Edward Goldsmith argued that religion must be considered an integral part of a culture; the key control mechanism that ensures the stability of a social system. Goldsmith noted that, indeed, no traditional societies appear to have a word for “religion” while “only when religion breaks away from the rest of a society’s cultural pattern and ceases to be the effective force governing it, that the word ‘religion’ appears necessary.” Goldsmith cautioned in 1974 that contrary to what was being taught, people in Western societies were never more miserable, explaining why they resort to so many different forms of escapism such as addiction and suicide. Goldsmith believed it was essential to urgently create new systems of belief in an effort to “recreate an orderly society held together by a clearly formulated religio-culture.” Goldsmith stated that movements attempting to achieve this have already begun to proliferate. One can assume this was the ideology behind Patel’s and Perriello’s religious groups they began to create. The only problem for Patel, Perriello, Pravda and Soros was that the religious angle did not work. The masses did not buy in.

Perriello and Patel also co-founded and co-directed DarfurGenocide.org which officially launched in 2004. “DarfurGenocide.org is a project of Res Publica, a group of public sector professionals dedicated to promoting good governance and virtuous civic cultures.” Today, this organization is now known as “Darfurian Voices”: “Darfurian Voices is a project of 24 Hours for Darfur.” The U.S. Department of State and the Open Society Institute were just two of the organization’s funders and collaborating partners. Other Darfurian Voices partners include Avaaz, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Centre for Transitional Justice, Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Humanity United, Darfur People’s Association of New York, Genocide Intervention, Witness, Yale Law School, The Sigrid Rausing Trust and the Bridgeway Foundation.

Despite the carefully crafted language and images that tug at your emotions, such NGOs were created for and exist for one primary purpose – to protect and further American policy and interests, under the guise of philanthropy and humanitarianism. Of all the listed partners of DarfurGenocide.org, with the exception of one located in London, England, all of the entities involved are American and based on U.S. soil.

 “Most of us have policy or diplomacy backgrounds, as well as activist, so the hope is that we will be doing these things at key diplomatic moments.” — Tom Perriello on Avaaz, 5 February 2007, speaking to The Nation

Consider the explosive investigative report titled “Burying the Darfur Genocide Myth”, published by Pravda on 16 August 2011. Excerpts are as follows:

“To start with, my investigation has found that the victims of the Darfur conflict were the beneficiaries of the largest, best run relief works in history. This is a fact, demonstrated repeatedly by the situation on the ground in Darfur, and every honest, knowledgeable aid worker in the Darfur relief works will tell you that Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir has played a critical role in the relief works success and that without the leadership and support of President Bashir the Darfur relief works would not have been possible.

 

The charges of genocide laid against President Bashir by, amongst others, the International Criminal Court in the Hague, are based on reports of the most shaky provenance, mainly UN ‘sources’ of very questionable backgrounds….

 

The Darfur genocide myth has been promoted by western ‘human rights’ NGOs who have collected over $100 million under the rubric of ‘Enough’ and ‘Preventing Genocide.’ The claims of genocide are based on estimates of the number of deaths that were rapidly inflated as the dollars started rolling in. First it was 100,000, then 200,000, then 300,000 and finally, in a claim so ludicrous that even the British government media watchdog yanked off the air, 400,000 people were supposed to have been victims of genocide in Darfur….

 

The west, in particular the U.S.A, are hell bent on keeping Africa in a state of crisis, the better to exploit. And the ‘save Darfur’ lobby is all for bringing more violence to Africa under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention,’ while little of the over $100 million they collected ever reached the Darfur people it was intended for.”

Videos: Human rights investigator and award-winning journalist Keith Harmon Snow Speaking on Propaganda and NGOs (Running time: 2:56)



Keith Harmon Snow Discussing Western NGOs and Africa (Running time: 2:54)



The International Criminal Court (ICC) (led by Luis Moreno Ocampo) is widely discredited in Africa. Since its inception in 2002, the ICC has targeted solely African and other developing world leaders. Jean Ping, head of the African Union: “We Africans and the African Union are not against the International Criminal Court. We are against Ocampo who is rendering justice with double standards.” The ICC has had many opportunities to indict Western war criminals/leaders (Bush, Blair, Cheney) since its inception, yet, of course has made no attempts to do so. [Source]

Before co-founding Res Publica, Perriello served as Special Advisor to the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a United Nations Tribunal, and as a Yale Law School/Open Society Institute Teaching Fellow in West Africa. Perriello is a member of the New York State Bar.

Perriello’s 2005 organization “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good” (CACG) stated that the concept of “the common good” reportedly came from the Center for American Progress founded by co-chair of President Obama’s transition team John Podesta, which subsequently helped form alliances between CACG and similar organizations. The chair of this organization is Elizabeth Frawley Bagley: “Bagley is a member of the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. She served as senior advisor to the secretary of state from 1997–2001.” CACG’s listed advisers include/included Clinton’s Paul Begala and John Podesta and Clinton’s former press secretary Mike McCurry.

Perriello has worked for the U.S. State Department, and as a consultant for the International Centre for Transitional Justice, as well as the National Council of Churches of Christ. Perriello has been an analyst for Afghanistan Watch, as well as a Special Advisor/Spokesperson and National Security Analyst for The Century Foundation in which he is a “Fellow.” The URL for Afghanistan Watch now brings up The Century Foundation. Prior to law school, Perriello worked as assistant director of the Center for a Sustainable Economy (now part of “Redefining Progress“) and as a consultant on youth and environmental campaigns.

Perriello has worked as an independent national security consultant in central and southern Afghanistan. In 2005 and 2007, he spent time assessing “the Taliban’s resurgence and strategies (primarily political) for restoring control.” Perriello conducted research in seven different provinces and managed a team of 60 across the country. Under the auspices of his own organization (Res Publica) and others, Perriello briefed embassy leaders in Kabul, UN mission chiefs, and various agencies of the Bush Administration. He also provided background briefings for media, U.S. Representatives, and various think tanks such as the Center for American Progress, of which he is now CEO and President. He has also worked in national security efforts in Sierra Leone (United Nations Special Court), Liberia, Kosovo, and Darfur. Perriello has worked as a humanitarian aid worker national security consultant and is on the board of directors for Namati.

Perriello has had a long relationship with Soros’ Open Society-funded Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, which continue to this day. Amnesty International is also financed by the Soros Open Society Institute. All of these organizations have been instrumental in opening up the doors for foreign invasion into Libya and now Syria.

Excerpts from the 3 May 2011 article “International Crisis Group Sweating over Syria,” published by Land Destroyer Report:

“The International Crisis Group (ICG) has been at the center of the unfolding ‘Arab Spring’ since the very beginning. Mohamed ElBaradei, a member of the ICG board of trustees, was literally leading the color revolution in the streets of Cairo along with his admitted underling, Google executive Wael Ghonim. The ICG has also recently made a heeded call for intervention in the Ivory Coast.

 

ICG includes George Soros and Zbigniew Brzezinski, two men notorious for their extraterritorial meddling and their fomenting of color revolutions in far flung lands. To explain why they are so eager to pry their way into sovereign nations, despoil, topple, and rebuild them, one only has to look at ICG’s corporate supporters. They include such ignoble organizations as Chevron, Morgan Stanley, and Deutsche Bank Group with equally ignoble intentions that are confidently expressed through ICG’s nefarious agenda.”

The International Crisis Group (ICG) was founded in 1995 by World Bank Vice-President Mark Malloch Brown, former U.S. diplomat Morton Abramowitz and Fred Cuny, an international disaster relief specialist who disappeared in Chechnya in 1995. The Crisis Group raises funds from mainly western governments, foundations, corporations and individual donors. In 2006, 40% of its funding came from 22 different governments, 32% from 15 “philanthropic” organizations, and 28% from individuals and private foundations. Soros, who is chairman of the Open Society Institute, is on the Board of Trustees. The ICG Advisory Council includes corporations such as Chevron and Shell.[Source] The Board of Trustees, Executive Committee and the Crisis Group Senior Advisors read like a who’s who of the political elites and banking cartel. The ICG executive committee includes Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Lawrence Summers, Former Director of the U.S. National Economic Council and Secretary of the Treasury, and Javier Solana, NATO Secretary-General and Foreign Affairs Minister of Spain.

In 2007, ICG and Human Rights Watch were key players in the development of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect in cooperation with prominent governments, NGOs and academia. [For background on R2P read The Real Motives behind a Rapacious Imperial Power’s Real Objectives and History and Timeline of R2P.]

Excerpts from the 15 February 2012 article, “‘Human Rights’ Warriors for Empire,” published by Black Agenda Report:

“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are swigging the ale with their fellow buccaneers. These ‘human rights’ warriors, headquartered in the bellies of empires past and present, their chests shiny with medals of propagandistic service to superpower aggression in Libya, contribute ‘left’ legitimacy to the imperial project.

 

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen sides in the Washington-backed belligerency – the side of Empire. As groups most often associated with (what passes for) the Left in their headquarters’ countries, they are invaluable allies of the current imperial offensive….

 

There was great ambivalence – the most polite word I can muster – among purported leftists in the United States and Europe to NATO’s bombardment and subjugation of Libya. Here we are again, in the face of existential imperial threats to Syria and Iran, as leftists temporize about human rights while the ‘greatest purveyor of violence in the world today’ blazes new warpaths.

 

There is no such thing as an anti-war activist who is not an anti-imperialist. And the only job of an anti-imperialist in the belly of the beast is to disarm the beast. Absent that, s/he is useless to humanity.

 

As we used to say: You are part of the solution – or you are part of the problem. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are part of the problem.”

The George Soros Open Society Foundation is the primary donor of the Human Rights Watch, contributing $100 million of $128 million of contributions and grants received by the HRW in the 2011 financial year.

Perriello is a supporter of the “War on Terror,” a fabricated psyops, which was and continues to be an essential component to unleash a new wave of wars, invasions and occupations. Indeed, if people are frightened, they will accept authority.

“As far as America’s war against terrorism is concerned [the] senator provides unequivocal support to Barrack Obama.” — Perriello of Congress website

Perriello’s view of Israel borders on fantasy. He views Israel as one of the most “dramatic and exciting creations of the international community” in the 20th century and believes that a permanent moral and strategic relationship exists between the U.S. and Israel.”

In May 2009, 60 Congress members voted against dumping another $97 billion into the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Perriello voted for it. [Source]

On 16 June 2009, 202 Congress members voted against that same war funding (May 2009) combined with a massive IMF bailout for Eastern European bankers. [This authorized supplements and rescinds appropriations for the Department of Defense totaling $80.93 billion including $29.51 billion for operation and maintenance, including $3.61 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund; and $400 million for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund; $25.3 billion for Procurement; $18.73 billion for military personnel; $2.87 billion for military construction; $1.12 billion for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund; $1.06 billion for the Defense Health Program; $9.7 billion for the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other agencies for costs associated with international assistance, including $4.65 billion for bilateral economic assistance, $2.97 billion for the Economic Support Fund; $2.18 billion for international security assistance, $1.29 billion for the Foreign Military Financing Program; $1.94 billion for Diplomatic and Consular Programs.] Perriello voted in favour of both. (Key Vote | HR 2346)

On 26 June 2009, Perriello voted in favor of the Waxman-Markey bill, a bill which promoted the false solution of cap and trade. This bill was vehemently opposed by many climate justice groups, all while corporate greens unapologetically lobbied for it extensively and relentlessly. In all, six of the world’s 15 largest publicly-traded corporations in 2009 supported cap and trade legislation: JP Morgan Chase (#1), Bank of America (#2), General Electric (#3), Shell (#8), British Petroleum (#10), and Walmart (#14). Three of the six were members of U.S.CAP. During this fiscal year the national environmental groups took in $1.7 billion in revenue. Of the $1.7 billion, $12.8 million was spent on lobbying, with the great proportion of these expenditures focused on cap and trade legislation. [7] (Key Vote | HR 245)

On 8 October 2009, Perriello voted in support of the defense bill for military appropriations in the amount of $681.02 billion. This authorized $639.32 billion in Department of Defense authorizations for fiscal year 2009-2010, $24.75 billion in military construction, $16.94 billion in Department of Energy national security authorizations, $309 million for research and evaluation, procurement, or deployment of an alternative Missile Defense System in Europe and authorization to increase the active-duty number for the U.S. Army to a number greater than otherwise allowed by law up to the 2010 baseline plus 30,000 troops, and $136.02 billion for military personnel for the fiscal year 2010. (Key Vote | HR 264)

In March of 2010, a reception was hosted by two leading corporate greens: the “League of Conservation Voters” and “Environmental Defense” Action Fund to raise funds for Perriello’s re-election campaign for Congress. MoveOn.org raised $100,000 for Perriello’s re-election campaign.

President Barack Obama visited Perriello’s district, the only Congressman for which he did so. (In spite of extensive campaigning, Perriello would fail to win his re-election campaign.)

On 10 March 2010, 65 Congress members voted to end the war on Afghanistan. Perriello voted in favour of keeping it going. [Source]

On 28 May 2010, Perriello voted in support of the defense bill for military appropriations. This included $32.42 billion for the Defense Health Program, $3.42 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles, $3.46 billion for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund and $71.2 million for the operation of the Armed Forces Retirement Home. (Key Vote | HR 5136)

On 1st July 2010, 100 Congress members voted to fund only withdrawal from Afghanistan. Perriello voted against this amendment. Rather, Perriello was in favour of an amendment requesting the President to devise an exit plan (any exit plan) for Afghanistan. The amendment did not call for a date let alone any enforcement. In essence it was nothing more than rhetoric to appease a nation that was beginning to awaken to an increasingly corporatized government: unprecedented debt, home foreclosures, escalating resource wars and corruption – all unparalleled in scale in the nation’s history, while the wealthy became even wealthier. Thus, Perriello voted in favour as he did with the supposed “Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq” – a plan that was weaker than the treaty George Bush had signed. (Key Vote | HR 4899)

On 27 July 2010, Perriello opposed removing the United States Armed Forces from Pakistan. (Key Vote | H Con Res 301)

On 27 July 2010, 115 Congress members (12 Republicans and 103 Democrats) voted against a supplemental bill authorizing $33.29 billion dollars to escalate the war on Afghanistan. Tom Perriello voted in favour of it. When a small group of concerned citizens met with Perriello prior to the vote, Perriello refused to say what, if anything, he thought. (Key Vote | HR 489)

On 30 July 2010, Perriello voted against “Offshore Drilling Regulations and Other Energy Law Amendments” (Key Vote | HR 3534) and voted yes to ending the “Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling Rigs that Meet Certain Safety Standards” (Key Vote | H Amdt 773).

On 6 October 2010, Perriello received the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the race in recognition of his “strong support for veterans, national security and defense, and military personnel issues.”

On 29 October 2010, “War Is A Crime” reported: “136 Congress members have signed a letter promising not to cut Social Security. Perriello has not.”

Yet, in spite of these pro-war positions, the liberal left and their so called “progressive media” continued to shine a glowing light on Perriello and frame him as a stand-out progressive.

Like Orwell’s War is Peace, the liberal left’s demigods were more and more demonstrating “right” conduct all while professional left continued to portray them as “progressive.” However, the changing landscape did not silence everyone. David Swanson, founder of warisacrime.org wrote:

“Do we oppose this? Well, some of us used to. When our congressman was a Republican, we denounced this course of action in the media, phoned his office, picketed his office, and went to jail for sitting in his office. But for the past year and a half, while the military budget and the war budget have both increased, we’ve said almost nothing. A small group of us have begun organizing protests at the new Democratic congress member’s office, but we’re the only ones he hears from. We’ve spent a good deal of time in his office on two occasions, and I think I have heard his phone ring there a total of twice. Nobody’s calling. And everyone who is not calling is communicating their approval of the mass murder of individual and remarkable and precious human beings.”

On 15 December 2011, the Center for American Progress announced new leadership roles for its advocacy arm. Former Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA) became the new President and CEO of CAP Action and Counselor for Policy at CAP.

In the 2012 winter issue of Democracy Journal, Perriello pens a grotesque and delusional article titled:”Humanitarian Intervention: Recognizing When, and Why, It Can Succeed”:

“The use of force always entails grave dangers and human costs, and progressives have been leery particularly since the Vietnam era of supporting it, even to prevent or end mass atrocities, repression, and other systematic human suffering. Wise leaders will always remain wary of war. But wisdom also requires us to acknowledge two dramatic changes in our ability to use force for good. First, in a single generation, our ability to intervene without heavy casualties has improved dramatically. Second, the range of diplomatic and legal tools for legitimizing such interventions has likewise expanded….

 

Operational developments since the end of the Cold War have substantially improved our capacity to wage smart military operations that are limited in time and scope and employ precise and overwhelming force. This presents progressives with an opportunity – one that is too often seen as a curse – to expand the use of force to advance key values….

 

While the UN Security Council remains the most formal standard for international legitimacy, many nations consider it less representative than regional bodies and less responsive than reality sometimes demands. Today, the United States has a range of options to validate such uses of military might for humanitarian concerns….

After highlighting “the success” in Libya, Perriello goes on to say:

“Today, Gadhafi is dead, and the Libyan people have their first chance for democratic, accountable governance in decades…. American casualties were zero. Insurgent fighters and the vast majority of the population have cheered the victory as liberation, and courageous Syrians who face daily threats of death for standing up to their own repressive regime have taken comfort in Gadhafi’s fall. These accomplishments are no small feats for those who care about human dignity, democracy, and stability….

 

Progressives often demand action in the face of abject human suffering, but we know from recent history that in some situations moral condemnation, economic sanctions, or ex-post tribunals don’t save lives. Only force does.”

In closing, Perriello states:

“We must realize that force is only one element of a coherent national security strategy and foreign policy. We must accept the reality – whether or not one accepts its merits – that other nations are more likely to perceive our motives to be self-interested than values-based. But in a world where egregious atrocities and grave threats exist, and where Kosovo and Libya have changed our sense of what’s now possible, the development of this next generation of power can be seen as a historically unique opportunity to reduce human suffering.”

Make no mistake – this is the ideology at the helm of Avaaz.org.

In December 2011, Perriello disclosed that he served as special adviser to the international war crimes prosecutor and has spent extensive time in 2011 in Egypt and the Middle East researching the Arab Spring. Therefore, based on this disclosure alone, there can be no doubt that the deliberate strategy being advanced by Avaaz cannot be based upon any type of ignorance or naïveté.

The 12 January 2012 RSVP event “Reframing U.S. Strategy in a Turbulent World: American Spring?” featured speakers from Charles Kupchan of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rosa Brooks of the New America Foundation, and none other than Tom Perriello, CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Perriello advanced his “ideology” during this lecture.

Indoctrination of the Youth is Essential

On 18 January 2012, Perriello, as the Center for American Progress’s Advocacy Director, joined Mark Schneider, the International Crisis Group’s Senior Vice President and Maria McFarland, Human Rights Watch’s Deputy Washington Director to present a lecture titled: “The ‘Responsibility to Protect’ after the Arab Spring: A Discussion” at Georgetown University in Washington, DC with the synopsis as follows: “Governments’ repressive responses to the social upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa have sparked a shift in international approaches to civilian protection and mass atrocities prevention. The decade-old ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine has figured centrally in international responses to repressive regimes. However, between the tenuous success of NATO’s Libya intervention and the international community’s weak-kneed response to violence in Syria, R2P’s future is far from certain.”

In this video Perriello is introducing himself to the youth involved in a training organization named “e-mediat Jordan” who, Perriello states, are prepared to “sacrifice for their country.” Perriello is listed as director: “E-Mediat Jordan Country Director – Honorable Tom Perriello.” This organization is situated in Jordan, which is located in the Middle East and borders Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq. This NGO describes itself as a “Tools, Technology and Training” Centre. Training youth has become instrumental to advancing the Imperialist agenda. In essence, the exploited youth are the sacrificial lambs of the ruling classes in the 21st century.

Perriello no doubt believes in the myth of American exceptionalism. His patriotic views are reinforced by like-minded individuals from the Bush administration, the Obama administration, and the scores of organizations who “understand” the “need” to expand America’s “democracy” and “economic prosperity” around the globe. And while these myths are pushed forward by Imperialist administrations, the non-profit industrial complex and corporate media, civil rights in America are being stripped away faster than you can say fascism.

 

Up next: Part II, Section II.

Avaaz Investigative Report Series [Links]|Further Reading: Part I | Section I | Part I | Section II | Part I | Section III | Part II | Section I

[Cory Morningstar is an independent journalist /ecological activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change, Political Context and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur]

Resources

[1] Source: http://www.wiserearth.org/group/AvaazDotOrg. Information compiled/created April 7, 2010 and updated Feb 9, 2012.

[2] “Independent Media Institute Funding Funding for AlterNet comes from private foundations, site advertising, and individual donors.” “Several of our additional funders wish to remain anonymous.”

[3] Source: http://www.avaaz.org/en/report_back_2

[4] Source: http://www.anmag.org/issues/25/02/250207.php

[5] “In total with ONE partner organizations Avaaz.org, Jubilee U.S.A and Oxfam International, more than 415,000 signatures in all will be delivered tomorrow to Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, host of this week’s G7 Finance Ministers meeting.” http://www.one.org/c/us/pressrelease/3242/

[6] MoveOn’s annual report for 2008-09, the total number of individual donors (not members, as membership is automatically established upon a citizen “clicking” on a petition) was 17,295.

[7] http://climateshiftproject.org/report/climate-shift-clear-vision-for-the-next-decade-of-public-debate/#convergence-on-cap-and-trade

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