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Greenpeace Executive Flies 250 Miles to Work

Jun 23, 2014

By Emily Gosden

Environmental group campaigns to curb growth in air travel but defends paying a senior executive to commute 250 miles to work by plane

Greenpeace argues for curbs on “the growth in aviation” which it says “is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate change”. Photo: PA

One of Greenpeace’s most senior executives commutes 250 miles to work by plane, despite the environmental group’s campaign to curb air travel, it has emerged.

Pascal Husting, Greenpeace International’s international programme director, said he began “commuting between Luxembourg and Amsterdam” when he took the job in 2012 and currently made the round trip about twice a month.

The flights, at 250 euros for a round trip, are funded by Greenpeace, despite its campaign to curb “the growth in aviation”, which it says “is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate change”.

One Greenpeace volunteer on Monday described Mr Husting’s travel arrangements as “almost unbelievable”.

Another said they were cancelling their payments to support Greenpeace in the wake of the disclosure and series of other damaging revelations of of disarray and financial mismanagement at the organisation, in documents leaked to the Guardian newspaper.

Greenpeace was last week forced to apologise for a “serious error of judgment” after it emerged that it had lost £3m of public donations when a member of staff took part in unauthorised currency dealing.

Each round-trip commute Mr Husting makes would generate 142kg of carbon dioxide emissions, according to airline KLM.

That implies that over the past two years his commuting may have been responsible for 7.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of consuming 17 barrels of oil, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

But Mr Husting defended the arrangement, telling the Telegraph that while he would “rather not take” the journey it was necessary as it would otherwise be “a twelve hour round trip by train”.

“I spend half my life on skype and video conference calls,” he said. “But as a senior manager, the people who work in my team sometimes need to meet me in the flesh, that’s why I’ve been going to Amsterdam twice a month while my team was being restructured.”

He said that from September he would switch to making the trip once a month by train due to “the work of restructuring my team coming to an end, and with my kids a little older”.

The head of Greenpeace in the UK on Monday denied that funding Mr Husting’s commute showed a lack of integrity.

Writing in a blog, John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “As for Pascal’s air travel. Well it’s a really tough one. Was it the right decision to allow him to use air travel to try to balance his job with the needs of his family for a while?

“For me, it feels like it gets to the heart of a really big question. What kind of compromises do you make in your efforts to try to make the world a better place?

“I think there is a line there. Honesty and integrity to the values that are at the heart of the good you’re trying to do in the world cannot be allowed to slip away. For what it’s worth, I don’t think we’ve crossed that line here at Greenpeace.”

But Richard Lancaster, who said he had been volunteering with Greenpeace since the 1980s, responded: “I volunteer with Greenpeace but work in the commercial world and if I took a job in another country I’d expect to move to where the job is and if I couldn’t for family reasons I wouldn’t take the job – so I find Pascal’s travel arrangements almost unbelievable.”

Another respondent to Mr Sauven’s blog – which also addresses concerns over Greenpeace’s management – wrote: “So disappointed. Hardly had 2 pennies to rub together but have supported GP [Greenpeace] for 35+ years. Cancelling dd [direct debit] for while.”

Greenpeace campaigns to curb the growth in polluting air travel and end “needless” domestic flights. In a briefing on “the problem with aviation”, the group says: “In terms of damage to the climate, flying is 10 times worse than taking the train.”

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace’s top executive director, told the Guardian that while Mr Husting “wishes there was an express train between his home and his office… it would currently be a 12-hour round trip by train”.

“Pascal has a young family in Luxembourg. When he was offered the new role he couldn’t move his family to Amsterdam straight away. He’d be the first to say he hates the commute, hates having to fly, but right now he hasn’t got much of an option until he can move.”

Greenpeace argues that it does not want to “stop people from flying” but does “want to prevent the number of flights from growing to dangerous levels”.

It alleges that flying remains largely the preserve of the wealthy, citing a study showing “cheap flights haven’t created better access to air travel for the poor; they’ve just allowed people with more money to fly more often”.

WHAT IS THE “NON-PROFIT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX”?

ceres-sachs-mckibben

Photo: May, 2013: “CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes, Generation Investment Management Co-Founder David Blood and 350.org’s Bill McKibben have a lively conversation about how investors can influence the transition to a low-carbon economy.” Ehnes also serves on the Ceres board of directors. McKibben opens his Ceres presentation with some welcome honesty, speaking of his long-standing friendships/relationships with many Wall Street darlings. Prior to co-founding Generation Investment Management, David Blood, speaking with McKibben, served as the co-CEO and CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Prior to this position Blood served in various positions at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., including “Head of European Asset Management, Head of International Operations, Technology and Finance, Treasurer of the Goldman Sachs Group, L.P. and Head of Global Private Capital Markets. Mr. Blood was the first recipient of the John L. Weinberg Award in 1990, an award given to a professional in the investment banking division who best typifies Goldman Sachs’ core values.” [Source]

Center for Syncretic Studies

March 19, 2013

by Elliot Gabriel

(This is an excellent outline to understand a phenomenon within the US which is the internal component of the Gene Sharp/NGO model of ‘Human Rights’ Imperialism abroad, as discussed in our article Gene Sharp: From Berlin Wall to Arab Spring or The Politics of Counter-Revolution – JV Capone)

WHAT IS THE “NON-PROFIT INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX”?

The non-profit industrial complex (or the NPIC) is a system of relationships between:

• the State (or local and federal governments)

• the owning classes

• foundations

• and non-profit/NGO social service & social justice organizations

This results in the surveillance, control, derailment, and everyday management of political movements.

The state uses non-profits to:

• Monitor and control social justice movements;
• Divert public monies into private hands through foundations;
• Manage and control dissent in order to make the world safe for capitalism;
• Redirect activist energies into career-based modes of organizing instead of mass-based organizing capable of actually transforming society;
• Allow corporations to mask their exploitative and colonial work practices through “philanthropic” work;
• Encourage social movements to model themselves after capitalist structures rather than to challenge them

Moolah Boodle Lucre Simoleons

July 22, 2014
By Jay Taber

nonprofitindustrialcomplex

Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness is based on five components: ownership of media, fabrication of news, integration of advertising with state propaganda, financing of foundations and brokerages, and co-option of NGOs. While many well-meaning people are channeled into the latter by the concerted collaboration of all the former, the corporate agenda that determines the policies, practices and projects of these NGOs is anything but benign.

Indeed, the distractions, distortions and deceit promoted by the scoundrels, malefactors and curs — working on behalf of Wall Street villains — to mesmerize the naive in order to lead them astray, pose a lethal threat to Indigenous Peoples and their desperate movement of liberation. Pretending otherwise, in order to coddle the credulous, accomplishes nothing noble. Indeed, it only perpetuates misperceptions that urgently need to be shattered.

Two months from now, in New York City, the Wall Street/NGO convergence around climate change, Indigenous Peoples human rights, and corporate derivative philanthropy, promises to be one of the super spectacles of the decade. Shining a light on that shadowy affair is something that simply has to be done. Unfortunately, there is no painless way of doing that, for it is way past time for an awakening.

Bedlam in Gotham, meanwhile, is going to be a three-ring circus:

  1. September 20-21 People’s Climate Change March
  2. September 22-23 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
  3. September 24-26 World Summit on Indigenous Philanthropy

All the Ford and Rockefeller PR puppets from the non-profit industrial complex will be swarming for media attention to keep those grants flowing. Moolah, boodle, lucre, simoleons–a love fest for compromised NGOs, philanthropic brokerages and corporate foundations.

ICs position on the brokerages and foundations undermining the Indigenous Peoples Movement is non-negotiable: IC opposes the philanthropic system of assimilating Indigenous Peoples; this is core IC policy.

These editorials illustrate that policy in more detail:

The following definitions might be unsettling, but nevertheless useful:

CULTURE
Artistic and intellectual customs and achievements of a particular civilization. Refined appreciation of this.

IMBECILE
Person of abnormally weak intellect, esp. an adult with a mental age of about five.

CULTURE of IMBECILES
Ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex. Inability to develop any political consciousness

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

Social Movements Need To Be Aware of Corporate Influence & Opportunists [#OWS]

BAWe have built our consultancy atop a dynamic for-profit contractor model designed to liberate activism from limitations to innovation. Our antecedents are commercial social change consultancies such as CANVAS, founded by the creative team behind Otpor!—the Serbian social movement that toppled Slobodon Milosovic—and Purpose, whose principals created Avaaz and GetUp!. – Boutique Activist Consultancy (BAC), Founder: Micah White

 

” And then there’s the boutique activism firm White’s started. The idea is to train activists and galvanize support for causes similar to online social and political movements like Avaaz.org and Purpose.com. But the difference is, his new venture is unabashedly for-profit.’“Occupy Wall Street generated tremendous money,’ says White. ‘This whole idea that activists should do it for free and all that bullshit is over. Like somehow I’m supposed to be a full-time activist and have zero income from it? It’s ridiculous.’” – April 28, 2014, Grist

 

truthout | Op-Ed

April 1, 2014 

By Anthony Scalise,

It’s been three years since the occupation of Zuccotti park and various other parks, city halls, and commons that were physically occupied by activists across the nation and around the globe. The central theme that has now become a part of national dialogue is the chant frequently repeated in street demonstrations, “We are the 99%” that brought to light the idea that a small wealthy elite, an immensely small fraction of the population, holds a share of wealth and power far out of proportion to their numbers. Occupy was seen as a reawaking of a largely immobile and apathetic public that was becoming more aware of the disconnect between public need and corporate political influence. As the camps began to grow and hold their ground for the initial few months, discussions about political endorsement were taking place. At around the same time as the Republican Party began their endorsement of the Tea Party, the idea was largely supported that Occupy should stay away from the “left” wing faction of the Business Party, otherwise known as corporate Democrats and be aware of its attempts to co-opt the movement.

It’s now 2014, the encampments are gone, but the activists’ message still remains, and issues of corruption and inequality are still being discussed. While there was no formal endorsement of the Obama Administration or the Democratic Party a new endorsement seems to have emerged from a small group of so called Occupy “founders.” In February of 2014, one of the few largely followed Occupy Wall St. Twitter accounts was “taken over” by one Justine Tunney – a software engineer for the Google Corporation. Tunney and others lay claim to being founders of Occupy, which one would assume is a bit late and serves little purpose other than to grant herself and her group of self-described “founders” some sort of legitimacy-yielding leadership role.

Revealing tweets also revealed their intentions to redefine the movement, stating that Occupy was not against any corporations, only against Wall Street – a significant departure considering the apparent anti-corporate stance in the “Deceleration of Occupation of New York city,” outlining the stance and positions of the movement.

As days pass and the tweets keep flowing, the spectacle is on continual display of Tunney and co. making themselves known figures to those watching. Tunney further displayed her true pro-corporate colors by setting up a White House petition calling for Google CEO Eric Schmidt to replace the seat of the president to be “CEO of America” and to turn over all authority to the tech industry.

The Occupywallst twitter account also promotes the links to the BAC or Boutique Activist Consultancy agency fronted by former AdBusters editor Micah White, also a fellow claimant to masterminding the Occupy movement. The BAC is self-described as a “social change consulting firm that serves a hand-picked international clientele of people’s parties, political celebrities, and emergent social movements.” They claim to “liberate” activism from limitations to innovation. One may ask how? Well, unsurprisingly, by providing workshops on how to use Google Glass in social movements.

It appears the forward thinking activists at GreenPeace were approached by Micah White to be the first activist group to use Google Glass, but ultimately denied the offer. Their conversation was apparently secretly recorded by White himself and is available to listen to here[https://soundcloud.com/micahwhitephd], although viewers should be aware White was kicked out of a Greenpeace training camp last week for refusing to stop filming private meetings with his GoogleGlass eyewear and this recording without consent could have been edited.

This brings to question the underlying players in this situation. We have now, three years since Occupy’s formation, a small group of people claiming to have founded a movement which was largely addressing the crisis of democracy in regard to immense corporate power and influence. Promoting a technology that will supposedly liberate the mass of the population from the clutches of the corporate elite and their political puppets, while also allowing a downloadable application that provides facial recognition, according to the creators of an upcoming app for Google Glass, “Utilizing some of the most accurate facial recognition software in the world, NameTag can spot a face using Google Glass’ camera, send it wirelessly to a server, compare it to millions of records and in seconds return a match complete with a name, additional photos and social media profiles.” The situation reeks not only of opportunism, but of Google’s long arm now attempting to embed a pro-corporate, pro-capitalist, and positive surveillance state narrative (with a first person point of view) into the Occupy movement – a narrative that suggests that multinational corporations like Google support peoples’ struggles against injustice and that we can have real social change alongside the profit motive of the capitalist system.

What will result if an active resurgence of the movement or one with a similar, hopefully more direct, perspective pours into the streets once again to challenge the powers that be? Will it be captured underneath Google technology? Allowing names and faces of participants and activists to be easily identified? Will it be more sympathetic to large multinational corporations and the endless quest to profit? Or was this a not so clever scheme of the newly claimed pro-corporate “founders” to divide and confuse those sympathetic away from the anti-corporate message the movement spread? The lesson here is to be aware of those who seek to exploit social movements of the future for their own personal gain and attempt to turn attention away from those who hold real wealth and power in society. This display has shown that not only political parties, but also private corporate power will also attempt to co-opt social justice movements, attempt to benefit from the hard work of activists and put profits over people.

 

HarvardPressRelease

WATCH: Animal Welfare v. Animal Rights Under Modern Capitalism

Uploaded July 16, 2014

“The sense of urgency is rising in proportion to the severity of the crisis. Increasingly, calls for legislative change, moderation, compromise, and taking the slow march through the institutions can be seen as grotesquely inadequate, as growing numbers of people gravitate toward more radical tactics of change. ‘Reasonableness’ and ‘moderation’ in the current situation seem to be entirely unreasonable and immoderate, as ‘extreme’ and ‘radical’ actions appear simply as necessary and appropriate.”- Dr. Steven Best

This is a video recording of the talk given by Dr. Steven Best in the opening plenary panel at the US National Animal Rights Conference, on July 10, 2014. Dr. Best was asked to speak on the meaning of animal rights, and he contrasted it to animal welfare, contextualized both in the setting of modern capitalism, and underscored the subversive and revolutionary nature of animal rights. We hope you enjoy it.

 

 

The Peace Industrial Complex (PIC) and the Failure of Movements

The Soapbox

August 14, 2014

by Cindy Sheehan, Editor in Chief

 

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Dwight David Eisenhower, Farewell Address to the Nation, 1961

Military Industrial Complex: an informal alliance of the military and related government departments with defense industries that is held to influence government policy.

camp casie

Camp Casey II, August 2005

As I write this, it is eight years since I marched up Prairie Chapel Road in Crawford, TX on August 6th to demand a meeting with then (p)resident, George W. Bush. I, a Gold Star Mom, who was, and is still profoundly against war, had heard Bush say that the US troops who died in Iraq, gave their lives for a “noble cause.” Not one of the corporate media present at such an absurd pronouncement asked George, “What is that noble cause,” so I resolved to go to Crawford to ask the War Criminal myself.

Eight years later and with tons of blood passing under the bridge of Imperial doom, I am still asking that question. However, I know now as I probably did back then in 2005, that there is no “noble cause” for Empire expansion and the millions of people and trillions of dollars that are sacrificed on the altar of the Military Industrial Complex. The question that I and others repeatedly ask since then is, “why can’t our movements for peace and justice be effective?”

I think one of the reasons that our people and principle driven movements are ultimately destined to fizzle or fail, is that any movement that is perceived as powerful by the establishment, is immediately channeled into the black hole of US partisan politics. I have written extensively about that, but this political derailment could not be accomplished on the left without the help of the Peace Industrial Complex.

The Peace Industrial Complex (PIC) resembles its counterpart of the Military (MIC) sort by its very alliance with the Democratic wing of the War Party and must bear a great responsibility for the continuing war tactics of the Empire. Language is important, and just because the Democratic wing of the War Party calls its Imperial transgressions, “humanitarian interventions” does not make it right, or the lives lost any less tragically unnecessary and sad.

 

war-party-2008

Why do I tie in the idea of the PIC with my experience at Camp Casey? On one of the last days of the nearly month long peace encampment on Prairie Chapel Road, I was overwhelmed that Reverend Al Sharpton and Martin Sheen both came out, we had a wedding, and I was involved in a photo shoot for Oprah’s magazine. The wonderful activist Eve Ensler had pitched a story to the magazine and was told that she could do it as long as there was no, “Bush bashing.” This is still the problem, when one tells the her truth about the pain of burying her oldest child for absolutely no reason, except the he was killed in another war for profit based on lies, or actually gives facts, that person is perceived as “bashing.” Once the Empire shifted to being “led” by a Democrat, who was also a person of color, my heart truth and facts began to be characterized as “bitterness” by some of the very same people who joined me in “bashing” Bush at Camp Casey.

Oops, I got off the subject. Anyway, on that final Sunday of our first campout in Crawford, I was told by one of the leading members of the PIC, that I was the most “powerful woman on the planet.” Then, I was whisked away on a two-year adventure around the world and throughout the US where I believed I was bringing peace, but looking back, what I was really doing was being used by the PIC to deliver the House of Representatives back to the Democrats. After that was accomplished, and a few of us were still trying to hold the Democrats accountable to end the wars (by ending war funding and investigating the Bush regime), we were kicked to the curb like old garbage and the PIC found the language of the right useful in demonizing me and my cause.

In 2008, for example, for the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I was even told by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) that there would be no mass demo in DC because it would “embarrass” the complicit Democrats and told by another organization that we had helped so much Iraq Veterans Against the War, that I was banned from attending its Winter Soldier event in DC in March of that year. Why? Because not all of the vets who would be testifying were “antiwar” and wouldn’t want to be seen associating with me. I was hurt, but not defeated, and vowed to always be in the principled struggle for peace, and not on the side where war is only wrong if a Republican regime is waging it.

I look back after nine years of very hard struggle and when I remember the power and serendipity of Camp Casey in 2005 I see that we have very little to show for it in regards to policy, or peace.  I recall how naïve I was when I said, “the wars will end and Bush will be impeached.” Heck, at the time, I even belonged to a “peace” organization that forbade us members from saying that Afghanistan was wrong because most Americans supported it because we were “attacked on 9/11.” We won’t end wars or hold USAian War Criminals accountable when we even have to overcome the obstacle of people we think are our comrades who block any kind of relevant action or analysis of Empire.

flag-draped-coffins-airplane

Another example, by October of 2005, the US was going to surpass the horrid milestone of 2000 troops lost in Iraq. Of course, the US troops killed in the “good war” in Afghanistan didn’t count, and the innocent people our troops killed never counted, either. So, an organization that I thought was in favor of peace, but now I know it only wants peace when a Republican is in the Oval Office, MoveOn.org, called for “candlelight vigils” to commemorate that sad number. I was in DC at the time, and I called for civil disobedience in front of the White House. MoveOn.org denounced that action and moved their candlelight vigil so as not to be near to the lawlessness of our action. MoveOn.org raised a lot of money and increased its membership dramatically when I was camped in Crawford and my break with MoveOn.org began while I was still camped there.

One hot Crawford day, two MoveOn.org operatives requested a meeting with me at Camp Casey, so we went to my trailer and they informed me that I should back a bill in Congress co-sponsored by two Democrats and two Republicans that was for a slow, phased withdrawal based on “progress reports” and conditions on the ground. One thing the affiliated organizations at Camp Casey did agree on was demanding “troops out, now,” and I told MoveOn.org that I could not endorse their “troops out, eventually” bill. That’s when MoveOn.org withdrew its support and the “help” of the Fenton P.R. agency, who were only there to try to point our protest only in the direction of the “Rs,” anyway.

Subsequently, when the Ds took over control of the House of Reps in 2007, the question of war funding came up and MoveOn.org polled its members with two questions, and the only alternative was to support the Democrats in continuing the supplemental war funding because MoveOn.org knew that PelosiCo would never stop the funding, so the energy of MoveOn.org is to give Democrats cover for any crimes they want to commit. MoveOn.org’s very livelihood (profit) derives from covering the crimes of the Democrats and diverting our attention away from those crimes and in blaming only one small part of the problem.

During Camp Casey, I had received some support from director/actor/movie producer, Rob Reiner, and his wife, Michelle. After Camp Casey closed up shop for the summer, I was invited to their home in L.A. to meet them and chat. In lockstep with MoveOn.org, Rob informed me that I should stop saying “troops home, now” because all of our troops couldn’t get “home now” and I sounded “loony” saying that. I was stunned because I can’t believe that people would think that the US Commander in Chief was some kind of djinn who could fold his arms and blink his eyes and get all the troops home in a matter of seconds. I presumed, and still do, that it takes planning and logistics and I reminded Rob that during the insanity of Vietnam, an Admiral was asked how the US could remove troops from Vietnam and he said, “by boat and plane, the same way they got there.”

I believe that we always advocate for the greatest good and the highest victory, because the incrementalism of the PIC guarantees failure and more heartbreak,  torture, and death. I was booted to the curb by the Reiners when I refused to support warmonger, Hillary Clinton because they told me she was our “only hope.” However, the Reiners did not mean she was our only hope to end Empire, but for the Democrats to regain the “prize” of the Blight House. Even that sell-out didn’t work out too well for them, did it?

Where would the MIC be without its wars and, similarly, where would the PIC be under the same circumstance?

I work my ass off to make my activism obsolete. I am not interested in perpetuating wars or political loyalty to make a buck, or gain influence with the very criminals that I loathe and protest. Organizations in the PIC seem to have unlimited resources to hire staff and open offices, where organizations like mine try to do the best we can with the limited resources and volunteers that we do have.

I was very new to activism in 2005 and now I know that there are establishment and revolutionary versions of every movement and that’s why movements, by and large, fail. For example, the Environmental Industrial Complex fails when it says, “Democrats, we want you to do X, but if you don’t, we’ll still vote for you.” How about focusing on principles and successful and honest ways to get there? The slimy Democrats deserve your support as much as do the equally slimy Republicans.

Peace and accountability will not happen unless we guard against the “unwarranted influence” of the Peace Industrial Complex.

A Culture of Imbeciles [or, The People's Climate March]

Intercontinental Cry

July 19, 2014

By Jay Taber

SoS

CULTURE
Artistic and intellectual customs and achievements of a particular civilization. Refined appreciation of this.

IMBECILE
Person of abnormally weak intellect, esp. an adult with a mental age of about five.

CULTURE of IMBECILES
Ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex. Inability to develop any political consciousness.

[From the article titled: USA USA USA USA, October 19, 2006]

 

Guy Debord, author of The Society of the Spectacle, once remarked, “There are two parallel counterrevolutionary confusionist tactics: the partial cooption of new values, and a deliberately anticultural industrially facilitated production, the latter being a natural continuation of the imbecilization of young people begun in their schools and families. We have arrived at a stage of ideological absence in which advertising has become the only active factor, overriding any preexisting critical judgment or transforming such judgment into a mere conditioned reflex.”

I thought of this remark when reading that 350.org — the pied piper of pseudoactivism — is promoting a climate change march in New York City on September 21st. Parade of imbeciles would be a better description.

peoples climate march3

Four plus decades later, Debord’s 1967 treatise Society of the Spectacle remains one of the most profound analyses of modern humanity. Oblivious to the deepening separation of industrial civilization from reality, even scholars of ongoing social disintegration rarely mention Debord’s penetrating insights and ideas. As another generation of state-educated children lose the capacity to think for themselves, keeping the intellectual fires burning remains a formidable task.

Producing fantasy in Hollywood and Washington is by now such a prescribed art, that the psychological warfare conducted 24/7 against the minds of all Americans has become child’s play. Few even question their fantasies as such. NGOs like 350.org tap into these fantasies about political power, perpetuate and capitalize on them. Pooh-Bahs of the non-profit industrial complex, like McKibben, become their Messiahs.

Saturday Keynote Address by Bill McKibben at the Guiding Lights Weekend 2011.

Absent coherent analysis based on research, social networks become part of the spectacle. As political researchers know, little of progressive activism is based on research and analysis, and much is based on preconceptions or what is fundable. As any astute observer can see, dependence limits strategies.

Debord’s remarks on the early development of a culture of imbeciles illustrate that revolutions like the one led by 350.org become exercises in silliness. The fact that media brain-damaged Americans are incapable of withdrawing themselves from the spectacle’s spell, is cause for considerable worry.

Allowing oneself to be herded from panicked horror to panicked horror does nothing to end the cycle of destruction; for that one needs to keep one’s cool, and to devise means of disrupting the seamless spectacle that shadows us through our daily lives. Only then, can the awakening begin.

 

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

The Inside Story Of How Greenpeace Built A Corporate Spanking Machine To Turn The Fortune 500 Into Climate Heroes

WKOG editor: In the article Corporate Social Responsibility As a Political Resource published February 22, 2010, author Michael Barker writes:

“In June 2003 Gretchen Crosby Sims completed a vitally important Ph.D. at Stanford University titled Rethinking the Political Power of American Business: The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility. Hardly counting herself as a political radical — Sims’s doctorate thesis was supervised by Morris Fiorina, who is presently a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution — the findings of her unpublicized study provide a critical resource for progressive activists seeking to challenge the mythology of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As the British non-profit organization Corporate Watch states, CSR “is not a step towards a more fundamental reform of the corporate structure but a distraction from it.” Indeed, Corporate Watch advise that: “Exposing and rejecting CSR is a step towards addressing corporate power….

 

As [Weinstein] demonstrated long ago, corporate elites adopted the principles of “cooperation and social responsibility” to sustain capitalism’s inequalities, not to remedy them. To campaign for Corporate Social Responsibility in this present day is akin to demanding the institutionalization of elite social engineering. Capitalist corporations will never be socially responsible, this fact is plain to see; thus the sooner progressive activists identify their enemy as capitalism, not corporate greed or a lack of good-will, then the sooner they will be able to create an equitable world whose political and economic system is premised on social responsibility, not to corporate elites, but instead to all people.” [Emphasis added]

+++

Business Insider

July 4, 2014

by Mike Nudelman

greenpeace_03

“NGOs have become very businesslike,” says a sustainability officer for a major media company, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They’re thinking through the strategy and creating an integrated campaign just like a company would when marketing a product, going through the R&D phase, the development phase, production, and then the retail channels. It’s a corporate approach.”

 

“Indeed, the unlikely romance between Kimberly-Clark and Greenpeace seems to have deepened with time. “The relationship blossomed to the point where we began sharing our five-year plans with them,” Apte says. “We want to know in advance if there are any showstoppers in there from their perspective.”

One day in early March at about 1:00 p.m., a woman wearing conservative business attire and toting a wheeled bag strolled through the front entrance of Procter & Gamble’s 17-story headquarters in downtown Cincinnati. She told security she had an appointment, possibly with one of the businesses that rent space in the building, and was waved inside.

But she never arrived at the office. There was no appointment.

Instead, the woman made her way to an emergency exit door and pushed it open. Eight associates, all pulling bags of their own, swept in and disappeared into a crowd of arriving employees.

Though they too wore business suits and what looked like P&G employee badges, they didn’t work for the consumer-goods giant. They were from Greenpeace, and they’d come to save tigers.

Wordlessly, the nine activists made their way past the security desk and headed for two rendezvous points — one, in a 12th-floor office suite in the iconic building’s north tower, the second, in an office just opposite, in the east tower. There, the two groups jimmied open several windows, attached rappelling gear to the window-washing stanchions, and climbed out into the chilly air.

After a zip line was strung between the two towers and secured, the smallest member of the team, 20-year-old Denise Rodriguez, of Queens, New York, edged out onto the wire, shimmied to center point, then dangled there in the gentle breeze, 70 feet in the air. She was wearing a tiger costume.

Her colleagues unfurled a pair of 60-foot-tall banners on the front of each tower. The banners denounced Head & Shoulders, the antidandruff shampoo, for “putting tiger survival on the line” and “wip[ing] out dandruff & rainforests.”

A rented helicopter hovered overhead as a videographer and photographer captured the unfolding drama.

Arriving on the scene, Capt. Paul Broxterman of the Cincinnati police found the windows had been braced shut from the outside. He knocked on the glass and got one of the activists to call him on his cellphone.

“How long are you guys going to be out there?” he asked.

“We’ll be wrapping up shortly,” came the reply.

 

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Greenpeace’s action at P&G’s Cincinnati headquarters in April.

 

The incursion, which left P&G’s vaunted corporate security force looking uncharacteristically flat-footed, was the latest foray in Greenpeace’s seven-year campaign against the use of improperly sourced palm oil. A highly saturated vegetable fat derived from the fruit, or sometimes the kernel, of the oil palm, it is, in and of itself, a relatively innocuous substance, a common ingredient in everything from laundry detergent and cosmetics to candy bars and ice cream. In recent years, demand has spiked because of its popularity as a replacement for hydrogenated oils and as a source of biodiesel fuel, which, paradoxically, is often promoted as an environmentally sound alternative to fossil fuels.

The problem — what elevated this viscous wonder elixir to the top of Greenpeace’s global agenda — is the aggressive manner in which the world’s biggest palm-oil producers, based in Indonesia, have gone about meeting demand: burning and clear-cutting the nation’s priceless tropical peat forests to the ground, then draining the underlying wetlands to make way for massive oil-palm plantations.

As Greenpeace’s banners made clear, that deforestation is destroying the habitat of the Sumatran tiger, of which there are said to be fewer than 400 left. Also threatened are orangutans, rhinos, elephants, and about 114 bird species.

But truth be told, the animals are really beside the point.

Greenpeace’s tigers are a kind of decoy, a sleek feline metaphor pressed into service on behalf of the broader existential threat that we all face because of the warming of the atmosphere.

It turns out that the results of Indonesian deforestation go far beyond decimating tiger habitats. The critical issue is not even the jungle itself exactly, but the swampy peatlands from which it rises — massive watery bogs up to 50 feet deep containing layer upon layer of fallen vegetal debris.

This peat acts as an immense living storage locker for carbon dioxide, and as the peatlands are drained, the plant matter decomposes, releasing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere at a truly frightening rate. By one estimate, the amount of carbon given off because of deforestation in Indonesia accounts for a whopping 4% of global carbon emissions — from just .1% of the earth’s land surface.

Of course that’s a lot of information to fit on one banner. The tiger is convenient shorthand.

“It’s easy to say, ‘If you’re destroying forests, you’re destroying tiger habitats,’” says Phil Radford, the outgoing executive director of Greenpeace USA (his replacement, Annie Leonard, was announced in April). “It’s harder to say, ‘Do you know that forests store carbon and if we save the peat bogs we will trap all this carbon and methane in the soil?’ We say both, but we start with the place that people are, the thing they care about the most first.”

Says his colleague Nicky Davies, the organization’s campaigns director: “We’re not going to win by telling people what they should care about. And winning is the objective.”

Greenpeace’s strategy, which it calls “market-based campaigning,” has proved devastatingly effective. It goes like this: Pick an area of concern. Identify on-the-ground producers whose actions are contributing to the problem. Follow the supply chain to a multinational corporation that peddles a widely known consumer product. Send an email or two, kindly pointing out the company’s “exposure” and suggesting an alternative. Ask again, firmly but pleasantly. Issue a sober, meticulously researched public report. If the desired response is not forthcoming. roll out a clear, multipronged media campaign, ideally starring a beloved animal species and featuring a hashtag. Climb a building or two.

What seems to happen, inevitably, is the multinational company, eager to remove the stigma from its signature brand, promises to ensure that its products are sustainable and begins cancelling contracts with any third-party suppliers who fail to guarantee compliance. In order to retain the multinational’s lucrative business, the largest suppliers fall into line. Before long, as the cascade effect grows, they begin eyeing their wayward rivals, companies that are still operating in flagrant violation of the new rules and undercutting them with other customers. Eventually, broad new industry protocols are adopted to level the playing field.

Rinse, repeat.

Sailing to Amchitka

They thought of themselves as Hobbits, embarking on a journey to Mordor. Or some did, anyway. The founders of Greenpeace didn’t agree on much. As cofounder Bob Hunter wrote, “We spent most of our time at each other’s throats, egos clashing.”

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Bob Hunter on the original Greenpeace voyage in 1971.

 

 

Emerging from the acid-laced Vancouver hippie scene, the cadre of activists who gave birth to the group were a loose confederacy of draft-dodgers, radicals, mind-expansion mystics, tree-huggers, former beatniks, and Quakers, in addition to a few Hobbit heads like Hunter.

In 1971, after reports surfaced of a planned underground nuclear test on the island of Amchitka, on the far western point of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, a dozen of them chartered a fishing boat, a halibut trawler called the Phyllis Cormack, temporarily rechristened it the Greenpeace, and set sail from Vancouver hell-bent on thwarting the U.S. military.

A few days after they left Victoria Harbor, cowboy icon John Wayne arrived in Vancouver on his private yacht, a retrofitted World War II minesweeper. The star was asked what he thought of the protesters.

“They’re a bunch of commies,” he said. “Canadians should mind their own business.”

A few days later, the group was turned back by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the nuclear test was carried out as planned. But the audacious voyage received worldwide media attention and ignited a firestorm of opposition, leading the U.S. government to abandon its plans for future tests on the island, which eventually became a bird sanctuary.

If the incident proved anything, it was the power of mythmaking and what we now call optics. (It’s worth noting that several Greenpeace founders were fans of media-theory rock star Marshall McLuhan.) The framing of the story — scruffy, daredevil ecowarriors risk their lives in a brave if hopeless stand against the most powerful military in the world — resonated deeply, and the David and Goliath dynamic became the cornerstone of Greenpeace’s identity. Nearly 45 years on, it still works.

In the years that followed, the group expanded its goals, taking on commercial whaling, the dumping of toxic and nuclear waste, seal hunting, arctic drilling, drift-net fishing, PVCs, GMOs, HFCs, and a number of other afflictions, all reasonable objectives, which in retrospect look like dress rehearsals for the big show: the increasingly urgent effort to slow the effects of climate change, a threat that was scarcely understood when the group first set off for western Alaska.

Greenpeace’s confrontational and swashbuckling approach has helped make it one the world’s most powerful environmental NGOs, with branches in 41 countries, 2.9 million donors and more than $350 million in annual contributions.

But increasingly, the organization has begun to temper its intensity with a cool-eyed and disciplined pragmatism, resulting in a string of extraordinary victories. On deforestation, a variety of companies, including big suppliers such as Asia Pulp & Paper and manufacturers like Kimberly-Clark, have been joined by Mattel, Nike, McDonald’s, Yum Brands, Unilever, Ferraro, Coca-Cola, Mondelez, and Nestlé in pledging to end the clear-cutting of precious rain forests. Tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Salesforce have promised to power their data centers with renewable energy, a pledge that led Duke Energy, the nation’s largest power utility and one of the most flagrant emitters of CO2, to begin providing clean energy to win their business. And grocers like Wal-Mart, Safeway, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s have begun selling sustainable seafood.

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YouTube

Footage of beloved animals provokes a response in a way that an abstraction like global warming rarely does.

 

Greenpeace’s achievements have not been accomplished without help. Many have been undertaken in partnership with other environmental NGOs, from the World Wildlife Fund to the Rainforest Alliance, which are also doing important work. And organizations like the Sierra Club and NRDC are doubling down on political activism on the global-warming front.

Greenpeace Loses $5.1 Million On A Bad Currency Trade

Business Insider

June 16, 2014

by Julia Roche

 

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The non-governmental environmental organization said the losses were “a result of a serious error of judgment” by one of its employees in the International Finance Unit in Amsterdam.

“Greenpeace International entered into contracts to buy foreign currency at a fixed exchange rate while the euro was gaining in strength,” the press release said. “This resulted in a loss of 3.8 million euros against a range of other currencies.”

The employee, who has not been identified, has been fired. He wasn’t a trader, though.

“This is not a ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ scenario with young guns with ten computer screens,” Mike Townsley, the international director of communication for Greenpeace, told Business Insider in a telephone interview. “This is a mature, sober finance professional who unfortunately…whose judgment ended up being faulty and bypassed our control systems.”

He said it was a third-party contract that turned out unfavorably. The responsibility lay with the individual, who was terminated in March of this year.

One of the responsibilities of Greenpeace International’s finance unit is to manage funds, Townsley explained. Greenpeace is a global organization in 40 countries, so money comes into the international unit and money goes out in the form of various currencies to support Greenpeace operations around the world.

The individual entered into euro futures contracts for a basket of currencies sometime last year with a third party. The third party matches with someone who wants to buy and sell, Townsley explained.

“We transfer the currency. So again, it’s not like we are trading on the stock market.”

This particular individual didn’t have permission or authorization to enter this contract.

“Given the scale of some of these transfers, he would under our rules need to get approval—that didn’t happen. It should have, but it didn’t. The consequence— We terminated his employment. We’ve strengthened our internal controls.”

Avaaz’s Global ‘Ebay of Seeds’

WKOG editor: Note that Tom Periello, c0-founder of Avaaz , served one term as a U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 5th congressional district, serving from 2009 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Currently, he serves as President and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.In 2013, U.S. president Barack Obama (Democrat) signed the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ written by Monsanto-sponsored senator. More recently, it has been announced that Michelle Obama will be “teaming up with Monsanto to promote children’s food“. Further, MoveOn.org, an NGO serving as a front group for the U.S. democrats, is also a founder of Avaaz. ["In 2006 MoveOn combined its membership list with that of Res Publica (New York City) to launch Avaaz.org." ][Further reading: http://wrongkindofgreen.org/2013/09/18/avaaz-imperialist-pimps-of-militarism-protectors-of-the-oligarchy-trusted-facilitators-of-war-part-ii-section-iii]

The Ecologist

July 16, 2014

by Julian Rose

Already 56,000 people have pledged to support a global ‘internet seed swap’ initiative promoted by Avaaz, writes Julian Rose. Trouble is, the plans are deeply flawed, and have been developed without consultation with major seed saving groups worldwide.

We never asked Avaaz for anything and have never heard about an organization of small farmers in the world that could conceive of such a project.

What happens when a major internet campaigning organisation gets it 100% wrong?

Answer: tens of thousands of people end up pledging donations for something that can’t be put into effect – and the NGO’s motives are called into question.

Such is the position of Avaaz at this time.

In a controversial communication to its supporters the internet campaigns group, on behalf of the Center for Food Safety (CFS, a non profit US public interest and environmental advocacy organization) calls for support for an international ‘eBay’ style portal that will circulate seeds to wherever they are needed, as a counteraction to monopolization of the seeds market by the Monsanto corporation.

Already over 56,000 people have donated or pledged to do so.

A Noah’s Ark to sink Monsanto?

Under the title Let’s build a Noah’s Ark to stop Monsanto Avaaz claims to have been asked by farmers to back their desire to establish this “first ever, non-profit ‘eBay’ of seed” as an online marketplace where “any farmer, anywhere can source a wide variety of plants cheaper than the genetically modified seeds from chemical companies.”

“This global online store could re-flood the market with with all kinds of seeds and slowly break the monopoly that is putting our food future at risk.”

They also make the claim that this would be a “legal” way of getting around current prohibitive seed laws.

At first glance this all sounds pretty worthy. It is critically important that farmers have the ability to save their seeds. Corporate lobbying has caused national governments, the EU, US and other global trading blocks – to severely restrict the free flow of seeds – increasingly outlawing ‘non registered’ seeds completely.

The Avaaz statement concurs on these dangers, but then comes up with an unworkable and downright dangerous way of getting around them.

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