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Big Capitalists and Human Rights NGOs

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August 31, 2013

By Burkely Hermann

I take a paperback book off my bookshelf with a silver background on the covers. The front is emblazoned with the words The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, which is by investigative journalist Naomi Klein. The fifth chapter in the book, while mainly focusing on the Friedmanite ideology that led to a free-market fundamentalist dictatorship led by American puppet General Pinochet, also looks into Amnesty International. Klein write that “the narrow scope is most problematic in Amnesty International’s 1976 report on Argentina…for all its thoroughness, the report sheds no light on why the abuses are occurring…After the evidence is examined, the report concludes that the threat posed by left-wing guerrillas was in no way commensurate with the level of repression used by the state. But was there some other goal that made the violence “explicable or necessary”? Amnesty made no mention of it. In fact, in its ninety-two-page report, it made no mention that the junta was in the process of remaking the country along racially capitalist lines. It offered no comment on the deepening poverty or dramatic reversal of programs to redistribute wealth…It carefully lists all of the junta laws and decrees that violated civil liberties but named none of the economic decrees that lowered wages and increased prices…In another major omission, Amnesty presented the conflict as one restricted to the local military and the left-wing extremists. No other players are mentioned—not the U.S. Government or the CIA; not local landowners; not multinational corporations…Although Amnesty’s reticence can be understood as an attempt to remain impartial amid the Cold War…there was…another factor at play: money…the most significant source of funding was the Ford Foundation, then the largest philanthropic organization in the world…most of Ford’s academic grants did not betray a strong right-wing bias…but there were significant exceptions…the Ford Foundation was the…leading source of funding for the dissemination of the Chicago School ideology throughout Latin America…the Ford Foundation….played [a central role] in indoctrinating the country’s current rulers in a fundamentalist sect of economics.” This article is my investigation into the answer of a question that comes to my mind after reading this chapter: are human rights NGOs spreading capitalist propaganda?

Democracy in Reverse | Non-Profit Disaster Capitalism on the Gulf Coast

July 11, 2013

by Elizabeth Cook 

GulfOilSpill2

The most recent public meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, held in Belle Chase on June 12, was an exercise in democracy in reverse.(1)

It is an undemocratic process that is largely for political theater, in my view, so I used it as such. I was as dramatic as possible in presenting the most important points, in my view, of the reality on the Gulf. People have only three minutes to speak. The funding is a long way off, so why not have round table discussions, that can go on all day, where people wander in and out depending on their schedule? No, in three minutes, you have to state all of your concerns about the gulf, BP, oil, the Corexit (2), bioremediation or the lack thereof in the marshes, the dying marshes (3), the culpability of the government in the use of Corexit (4), the fact that the Feds want to expand drilling to Florida (5) and the Corexit is being stockpiled all up and down the Gulf coast (6). If there another major oil well blowout in the Gulf and the Corexit is used in massive quantities again, then this restoration process will have to start all over. Common sense folks (yes, I did say that). 

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