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Tagged ‘Bill McKibben‘

Reflections On Power Shift 2013: An Impromptu Interview

Groundwork for Praxis

October 27, 2013

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See Also: “Are Mainstream Environmental Groups Keeping Racism Alive?” By Kat Stevens.

*Notes Via Kat Stevens: “This piece originally appeared as part of a series called, “Millenials Take On Climate Change” on the website, Policy Mic. The title I had wanted to go with for this piece was, “How  Big Green NGOs Are Harming the Environmental Movement”. Only 800 words were allowed. Policy Mic asked me to become a regular contributor after this piece but I declined once they repeatedly told me that a piece featuring an interview with a frontline indigenous organizer fighting tar sands pipelines wasn’t relevant for their readers.”

 

Caravan of Doom

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Intercontinental Cry

October 25, 2013

By Jay Taber

 

As Cory Morningstar writes at Wrong Kind of Green, the evil empire Buffett, Gates and Rockefeller built in the private sector is mirrored in the evil networks of NGOs they — along with Clinton — have constructed to provide cover for widespread environmental devastation, ethnic cleansing and Indigenous genocide committed by their corporate investments. Using bagmen like Tides Foundation in cahoots with magicians like Bill McKibben at 350 dot org, and sleight-of-hand artists like Tzeporah Berman at Tar Sands Solutions Network, Buffett, Gates, Rockefeller and Clinton have become thick as thieves in producing political theatre to distract us from the parade of refugees in their caravan of doom.

 

[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 director of Public Good Project. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

How Tides Canada Controls the Secret North American Tar Sands Coalition

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[photo] Ms. Berman presenting a “Green” Award to former Liberal Party of B.C. premier, Gordon Campbell … the man who privatized British Columbia, sold it to General Electric and other international corporations, who built highways across farmland and called it “green;” who reversed dioxin effluent safeguards that we fought for and instituted in B.C. to protect our water; who sold off the public and natural heritage of British Columbia and opened the doors to General Electric to occupy hundreds of watersheds, devastate riparian ecosystems, and destroy forests for transmission lines to carry expensive power to mines in the north and to sprawling cities in the U.S. - Photo source: BC government.

Repeat This Aloud

Counterpunch

October 16, 2013

By Macdonald Stainsby

Before Tzeporah Berman began her current position as head of the North American Tar Sands Coalition, Tides Canada had already established these structures to create near-total control over budgets– and therefore, most decisions– for staggering numbers of organizations. Berman was around at the time, working for PowerUp pushing forward offsets garnered by river destruction. Some of the participant organizations already had working partnerships with multiple tar sands producers. The over-whelming majority were already greased by primarily high donors and foundations. Thus, joining the NATSC meant, essentially, double dipping.

The Tides Foundation began the NATSC as a project with earmarked funding coming from other large philanthropic foundations. This unelected and unseen structure was created to stand as a vehicle to help forge a similar backroom strategy for and likely negotiation of a “final agreement” to end campaigns against either certain segments or corporations involved in tar sands, likely borrowing from concepts involved in crafting similar deals with forestry corporations.

In 2009, as a part of producing Offsetting Resistance, a full strategy paper document was leaked to myself and Dru Oja Jay. It was an internal paper from a few months prior that outlined the secret nature of the coalition, the internal structures, the over-all short, middle and long term goals of a foundation funded, and foundation directed entity that was earmarked as a project of Tides Canada, and not as a separate NGO.

The pressure applied and leveraged would be out of the hard work of other people. The people who had worked at a community or first nations grassroots level were not only to not be consulted, if deal negotiations were to happen it was without anyone but a select few ever knowing anything about it. Until the press conference.

The documents make this point specifically: “This document is confidential” reads the front page of the strategy paper for the single most important climate campaign of their multi-million dollar philanthropy. But the real kicker is the breakdown of the structures. Under the heading “Enroll key decision makers while isolating opponents” : We will not make the decisions to slow and clean up the tar sands – those in positions of authority will.”

Though there are many problematic proposed solutions contained within the program (carbon offsets, for example), this was written by Michael Marx, then head of Tides’ Tar Sands Coalition in 2008. Specific demands, strategy and more may well have moved on, especially in the face of new coalition partner, Bill McKibben, and the PR group that has brought the world 350.org. Pipeline struggles, in years past, were not as heavily focused upon as now. Keystone (both of them) gets only a whiff in the paper by name; Enbridge Gateway is described but not named. Indeed, how times have changed.

Instead of predictions about the terms of a sell-out, the focus here should be on the structures as they are described. We know automatically the terms will be detrimental to the needs of the climate or of community, simply because the Canadian Boreal Initiative, Environmental Defense, WWF, CPAWS and other organizations who do more than negotiate backroom deals– but publicly embrace and partner with corporations like Suncor, Nexen, Dow Chemical and more– are leading members. The coalition groups are now under the twin auspices of Tides and Pew funding, as well Tides and Pew membership as further “partners.”

This further blurring of foundations who are increasingly “activist” in their own right, speaking and campaigning as “just another green group” is accelerating. In the past few years, new brazen language has come from Tides Canada, previously unthinkable: “At Tides Canada we are working to bridge these two polarized camps (environmentalists and tar sands corporations– MS). As a convener of diverse interests, we’ve played this role before, most notably in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest.1”

The quote above was a letter penned by President and CEO of Tides Canada, Ross McMillan. When the Great Bear Rainforest backroom deal was announced, it was publicized as a triumph of “Rainforest Solutions Project,” then comprising ForestEthics, Sierra Club BC, Greenpeace Canada and the Rainforest Action Network (RAN has since withdrawn support for the agreement). Tides was then, to use their jargon, “invisible to the outside,” but now speaks publicly as both a “stakeholder” and financial lifeblood. Now they advertise prior secretive involvement.

When looking at the real structures of the “North American Tar Sands Coalition” remember that it “shall remain invisible to the outside and to the extent possible, staff will be “purchased” from engaged organizations.”

“Purchasing” staff means that a person who is acting in the capacity of the directives of the paymaster coalition is never to public refer to the actual job, or even the organization. As such, even though someone took a leave from, say, the Pembina Institute to become a coordinator within the Tar Sands Coalition steering committee, and cashed paycheques from Tides referencing this work, they would publicly identify with their former employing organization, the Pembina Institute.

In fact, the above perfectly described the Canadian tar sands coordinator for Tides previously, Dan Woynillowicz. Google his name and he appears only as Pembina. The fact that demands, media, talking points, statements and interviews and paydays all then came from Tides direction was to “remain invisible to the outside.” He stepped aside for Jennifer Lash, who appears publicly as Executive Director of Living Oceans BC. She is, in fact, coordinator of Tides Canadian section.

Michael Marx is the former “lead coordinator” from the tar sands steering committee, above the American and Canadian coordinators. These three, in collaboration with media coordinators, form the power nucleus. Other foundations centralize campaign contributions to the Tides Coalition, and will re-direct appeals for tar sands funding to the national coordinators from this one group. This has effectively narrowed the overwhelming portion of all tar sands funding from foundation sources, leaving astronomical power in the hands of an unseen entity.

How does the final say evolve? According to Marx while he was still coordinator: “While NGOs generally prefer a network structure that allows for maximum communication, and minimal centralized control, foundations investing most heavily in the campaign have a vested interest in exercising some control over the process”(emphasis mine).

Michael Marx has moved on as mentioned, for Tzeporah Berman to become head of the North American Tar Sands Coalition. Marx himself is officially a campaigner once again with the Sierra Club in the United States.

The “Tar Sands Solutions Network” appears to be the vehicle for a public face to negotiate a “win-win” deal. A couple of years ago, the Mediacoop.ca and later on the Globe and Mail reported a leak of an attempted “fireside chat” that was to happen with no fanfare, media or record of its existence. This chat was to involve some of the largest players in energy corporations operating in the tar sands, “with beer in hand” alongside some of the more compromised and right wing environmental organizations.

That particular meeting was aborted after the leak.

There are other secret meetings as well, ones where you have to sign before hand not to release any information about what is discussed. There– without the input of the multiple indigenous communities and other active community resistance movements that target tar sands on both sides of the colonial border– strategy for the short, middle and long terms are drawn up.

Foundations spring for the event, foundations also “influence” talking points, strategy is laid out and so on. Recently, for example, there was such a meeting held off the coast of British Columbia. People who organize in other areas would likely know many of those who attended. Attendees are all sworn overtly not to speak out about its mere existence.

The coalition is the same invisible Trojan Horse that so many “collaborative model” agreements have come from in the past. Berman is simply the public face of capitalism’s last ditch attempt to save itself. The system needs reinvention as it collapses under strain, and the new class of would be green capitalists seek to emerge out of this crisis like Henry Ford did from the Depression. Exploitation of the working class, continued indigenous colonialism at home, war mongering imperialism, permanently expanding growth economics– all with climate effects being transferred onto the over-exploited majority world– this is all “just the way things are,” because “we don’t have time to try and transform the system,” and so on are invoked in defending a strategy of accommodation to capital.

The reality is it results in defeat; the tar sands are a cornerstone– as is all oil– to a growth economy. Fracking, tar sands, offshore, coal to liquids, mountain top removal and the prize of Utah and Colorado’s oil shale, every last bit of it and more must be opposed. Growth is the problem. Green capitalism is a false promise to unite a growth economy with a healthy atmosphere. It is a lie.

If the economic framework of assigning value to land to be converted to resources for dollars is not challenged, oil will continue. It is not a renegade or rogue industry. It is a perfectly normal, capitalist industry.

Big Energy’s power is a reflection of the centrality of energy, leading to influence. It is a logic completely at peace with accumulation of profit and the dominance of capital. More than “not a rogue industry,” it is the flagship, the pinnacle of industries under late industrial capitalism.

Oil exploitation has existed in every industrial society of the last few centuries; however, like the arms industry, the power nexus of its placement in the over-all economic structure of the West makes it absolutely impossible to decouple a dismantling of the power structure with any hope of weakening some falsely labelled “rogue” industry. We need at minimum to declare no right of any backroom negotiation around tar sands. Nothing can green them, nothing can legitimize discussions. Public or private.

Growth is the elephant in the living room we must confront. We must reject a “green shift” that panders to “have your cake and eat it too” eco-populism, the lefty-green rhetoric of a new green bourgeoisie trying to burst forth.

By making capital sacrosanct (“[F]oundations investing most heavily in the campaign have a vested interest in exercising some control over the process.”), the negotiation process cannot do anything about the situation of capital dominance.

Capital is most dominant in the North American political party system. The pro-Obama language of the “Tar Sands Solutions Network” likely indicates a nod to board member Bill McKibben, whose own Rockefeller funded, pro-Obama organizing in 350.org has become stuck on a hamster wheel chasing the Keystone XL. Simply put, the same PR professional thinking below the border that designed the Democrats’ Moveon.org are now more than likely having influence on crafting part of the over-all trajectory of tar sands big money organizing. Brand Obama sells, but the products are made of oil.

Let us ask: Can choreography win the day? In the excellent article “The Climate Movement’s Pipeline Preoccupation” from last week, four Rising Tide community organizers pointed out:

“[T]he mainstream Keystone XL and Northern Gateway campaigns operate on a flawed assumption that the climate movement can compel our elected leaders to respond to the climate crisis with nothing more than an effective communications strategy.”

The people who would negotiate away the work done in other diverse communities are unseen, unelected, unaccountable and have friendly relations with large corporations for a reason. They are not even a large minority of those organizing in opposition to tar sands and the energy industries, however. Those whose resistance have done the most to create this situation?

Some have warm relations with certain facets of Big Green, but all have organized independent of Big Green structures, built separate movements of their own, evolving community directed demands. Through a process of building, what it is that cannot be negotiated has evolved for every different movement in their own manner. There is not just one movement, and there are just as many different sets of principles.

Impacted indigenous communities are building opposition to Line 9 expansion with allies of theirs from outlying communities; People in Utah & Texas are engaged in creative responses of resistance to proposed tar sands mining or pipeline construction; indigenous territory has been reclaimed and rebuilt blocking all energy pipeline construction: Tar sands oil, fracked gas, none of it is being allowed across Unist’ot’en Territory near the Pacific Ocean coastline. There are other paths being walked.

People can now raise a clear voice in opposition to further moves to negotiate a final agreement that no one has any mandate to work on. We must reject the collaborative model succinctly for the tar sands, whether expressed by pipeline deals or in Alberta and Saskatchewan at the source of developments. The impacts globally from setting a North American tar sands collaborative process in motion could irreparably damage resistance to tar sands in places where it is now just getting off the ground around the world.

The current Big Green structures are undemocratic and cloak and dagger in appearance. The participants are organizations and certain individuals with a history of bad democratic practice and serious pro-corporate sympathies.

There comes a time, as has been said, when silence is betrayal. Let this be known as just such a time. Let us celebrate the existing diversity of the movements in opposition to tar sands and fossil fuels, and that have targeted the immediate, essential need to make clear the impossibility of parceling the land as a solution.

We must make certain solidarity is a true bottom line for those who are seen as allies in the battles over tar sands and climate. Solidarity cannot come from secret conversations with the enemy. Let us speak too, of this reality: Big energy is the enemy. Not bad practices within it, but the energy and growth economy itself.

The equivalent of the Canadian Tea Party crowd has filled newspaper columns with stories to frighten you and I about the power of American money. Much of the foundation-led anti-tar sands cash has been coming from the United States, and as such we are supposed to cringe at the origin. Yet it would not matter if the paper trail led one to the moon– resources in and of themselves are not the issue. Were spending resources to be the issue, big energy companies and the federal government within Canada itself have vastly outspent the foundations on both sides of the 49th parallel, promoting unfettered tar sands. The problem is the distortion of active resistance, and the hi-jacking of a public process.

These are battles that determine whether or not we can make a grim situation survivable. Capital has caused this near calamity, we surely need to stop trying to save it from itself any longer. Capital has also polluted our own thinking– and actions– from within. We must reinvigorate a democratic environmental movement through a refutation of back room deals– and organize active resistance to those who would try and negotiate one.

 

[Macdonald Stainsby is an anti-tar sands and social justice activist, freelance writer and professional hitchhiker looking for a ride to the better world, currently based in Vancouver, Canada. He can be reached at mstainsby@resist.ca]

 

The Problem With the Big Green’s Naomi Klein Gripe

1Sky350.orgKlein

Counterpunch Weekend Edition

September 13-15, 2013

by Macdonald Stainsby

Stockholm Syndrome in a Three Piece Suit

A few days ago a minor shizzle storm erupted on the climate-acting internet. Well-known anti-corporate author and researcher Naomi Klein gave an interview where she made some comments that, apparently, made some of the more corporate and right wing members of the environmentalist establishment elite upset. The problem with the comments, in a nutshell, is that Klein responded to questions about how people are able to go about their day-to-day business without screaming in a panic constantly about anthropogenic climate change.

The comments she uttered that caused the most anguish? Well, I’ve been swimming through this rather heated ocean of replies targeting Naomi Klein. This seems to be the lowest common denominator from the angered voices defending “Big Green.”

Well, I think there is a very deep denialism in the environmental movement among the Big Green groups. And to be very honest with you, I think it’s been more damaging than the right-wing denialism in terms of how much ground we’ve lost.1

This has been called variations of victim blaming. Leaving aside whether the very-well paid executives of corporate-partnered environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) are victims of much, it’s tossed about in several different manners. We are told that the people who are making the decisions about policy for such groups believe staunchly in the science, and are not in denial at all. Really?

The Problem With Bill McKibben and John Kerry

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Decisive Indecision

Counterpunch

Sept 3, 2013

by Macdonald Stainsby

Ah, so the Obama administration announced yet another delay in the Keystone XL pipeline review. And what a brilliant decision is this non-decision. If you have been opposed to climate change, tar sands or the oil and gas industry and live in the United States, you now know– thanks to Obama and Bill McKibben– what you are supposed to do for the next minimum several months. Isn’t it wonderful to have strategy handed to you by the US administration, and your so-called leaders?

I hope that I don’t date myself too harshly by referencing Peanuts right off the bat. Hopefully you recall the famous comic strips featuring Snoopy, Linus and the gang. There was that famous routine where Lucy, who had lied and lied many times before on the same promise, would swear to Charlie Brown that if he attempted to kick a football that she was holding, she would not pull it away– despite the fact she had done exactly that countless times before.

Of course, the joke is that we all know Lucy will pull the ball away, and Charlie will miss, falling on his rear after sailing through the air having just whiffed on kicking the ball. His injury, for us apparently, is part of the humour. He gets up, dusts himself off and we all well know it will happen again soon enough.

What we don’t know, since the ball never gets kicked, is if Charlie Brown can actually boot a football in any meaningful sense. Can he get it very far, will it be an effective kick? Since Charlie Brown has never kicked the ball it can’t be said he has failed. The anticipation of what may happen, should he get to kick the damn thing, keeps him coming back. Lucy has him right where she wants him.

New on WKOG: “It’s a White Man’s World” – Your Exclusive Daily Dose of Reality. Raw. Unedited. Uncomfortable.

Video | “God’s Taunt” – Bill McKibben’s Sermon on Job 38: 1-11 and Matthew 19: 16-22 from Sunday, April 28, 2013

by Forrest Palmer, WKOG Collective

July 22, 2013

reality

In this video, it is very fitting that McKibben goes to Riverside Church. The best way to get validation in Amerikkka, still sadly the most powerful nation in the world, is to align yourself with the two most hallowed of individuals: Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus. So, he is in Riverside Church, which is a Christian establishment and it is one where Martin Luther King Jr. made one if his most famous (and at the time he gave it, most infamous) speeches concerning Amerikkka and its continuous use of violence across the globe. So, this speech is most appealing to not just the liberals and leftists in Amerikkka, but also the general Amerikkkan population which is comprised of the bulk of the middle of the road citizenry. This is a sound decision by McKibben since in the pantheon of admired people within the history of this country, King and Jesus are above reproach: one due to his ACTUAL deification and the other through his historical deification. I will let you decide which one is which.

The speech is very reminiscent of King and Jesus because it is very general in terms of the problem whereas the individual doesn’t have to look at his actions. Jesus said that you can basically do whatever you want as long as you accept him as your personal savior and, as the conduit for sacrificing for all your earthly sins, you will be okay. So, the individual behavior never needs to be analyzed because it can always find some type of absolution. In the same vein, King’s speech at Riverside Church speaks of the state violence that is ongoing across the Earth and absolves guilt from the general populace with nary a reference to the number of jobs that are either directly due to the military industrial complex or DEPENDENT upon its continuation. The individual aspect of how the daily lives of Amerikkkans are inextricably ATTACHED to wars of empire isn’t touched by King, which can leave the bulk of Amerikkkans who are for “justice” in alliance with him.

As an illustration of how this can be so delusional in regards to actually dealing with any true solutions without acknowledging or even KNOWING the truth, King once said that how can there not be enough water for everyone when the world is 70% water. It is something that everyone can agree with and feel good about because it is so generalized what kind of heartless individual would be against it since there is enough water for everyone. But you look deeper at the problem and you realize that only 3% of this water is freshwater. And then you dig deeper and you see that we only have access and live off approximately 1% to 1.5% of all the water on Earth. Then you see that this is the amount of water that billions of people need to survive on the planet. Only then, can you start to deal with the problem no matter how overwhelming it may be to the person who is basing his analsyis and possible solutions off the truth.But, this has never and will never play into the narrative of the Amerikkan lifestyle itself being analyzed to ANY degree. Therefore, in the happily every after fairy tale of King’s analysis, Amerikkka’s exorbitant amount of resource usage can continue unabated while ALSO including all the rest of the people on Earth.

Fast forward a little over 40 years and McKibben also cloaks himself in this analysis based off general terms in order to make his message palatable to the masses and also lets the ones who he must answer to (neoliberal capitalist institutions) know that ultimately he isn’t a threat. No mention of the everyday usage of polluting resources at the individual level and how he or she is the culprit as well as the fossil fuel companies.

What is most scandalous in this speech is his use of the non-anglos as a verbal prop to show some type of solidarity between the victims who supply all of the West with resources and the congregation of this church. Thereby he is intimating that the solution is the same for them as it is for the members of this church: curtailing the power of the fossil fuel industries. Notice I said CURTAILING because the resources supplied by the same victims he said are in allegiance with the members of this church will STILL have to be taken advantage of in accordance with the historical legacy of Western domination of the Global South. From the moment these people go up in the morning until they go to bed at night, their lives will be totally fueled off the dehumanization of those where the resource wealth resides, be it non-renewable or renewable resources, which in all honesty are in LESS abundance than non-renewable ones and FAR, FAR, FAR from truly being renewable.

In the speech, McKibben compares the seminal thought of the civil rights movement which is that the arc of history always bends towards justice and the LIMITED amount of time that is necessary to end the practices that are causing climate change. This assumes the supposition that McKibben and the green leaders actually have a plan of any sort that is based on a reality of actually stopping this madness in ANY timeframe, be it short or long term. Most disturbingly, just like King, McKibben and the audience believe that the arc of history can continue to bend towards justice, with justice being defined as the continuation of white privilege and the inclusion of as many other people as possible. It is ludicrous, but as stated previously, the generalities of the problem and lack of discussion on his proposed solutions are done to replicate the physical phenomena of running in place: a lot of movement, but not going anywhere.

The arc of history doesn’t bend towards justice. This is a fallacy to allow those on top to believe they can kick the can down the road and it will one day be taken care of by the next generation who will have learned from our mistakes. Well, the next generation is HERE for climate change. There is no more tomorrow or room for stating of the problem from the leaders with no mention of the solution. The ultimate goal is ZERO CARBON EMISSIONS. Period. This can either be done by CHOICE or by FORCE. Yet, everyday that people like McKibben and the horde of false green prophets continue to lie to the masses, that choice is QUICKLY turning into what will ultimately be done by force. Simple as that.

FP

Video | “God’s Taunt” – Bill McKibben’s Sermon on Job 38: 1-11 and Matthew 19: 16-22 from Sunday, April 28, 2013


 

Under Empire, All Life is Imperiled


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One Year On

Counterpunch Weekend Edition May 24-26, 2013

by JAVIER SETHNESS CASTRO

“After the catastrophes that have happened, and in view of the catastrophes to come, it would be cynical to say that a plan for a better world is manifested in history and unites it.”

– Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics

Channeling Adorno, it would I think prove difficult today to characterize the prevailing world-situation as anything other than highly negative.  Such an interpretation is arguably seen most readily in reflection on environmental matters—specifically, the ever-worsening climate emergency, not to mention other worrying signs of the ecological devastation wrought by the capitalist system.

FLASHBACK | 350.org: Environmental Corporatism

The following excerpts from the article Harnessing People Power Continued – The 99% Spring and the “Professional Left” are written by Edmund Berger. The article,  in its entirety, can be read on Swans Commentary where it was published May 21, 2012.

 (Swans – May 21, 2012)   “Astroturfing” is a term that has entered the popular lexicon of the politically educated, referring to the ability of largely unseen actors to mold and direct grassroots social movement. Awareness of this phenomenon is a direct fallout from the ascendancy of the Tea Party, as it became rapidly apparent that its transition from a protest movement to a legislative powerhouse was guided with the help of the now-renowned Koch brothers. These conservative-minded billionaire philanthropists, working through their interlocking family foundations, had invested vast sums of money into intermediary organizations that helped plan, facilitate, and execute successful protests, rallies, and political campaigns. Yet those who flaunt the term “astroturfing” — namely, those on the left of the spectrum — have shown a certain reluctance to acknowledge the fact that this same method is being applied to progressive grassroots movements as well, re-concentrating disenfranchisement with the dominant institutions of power into a manageable opposition capable of acting as a voting base. This is not a recent development; it dates back to the “Progressive Era” of American political history, and it forms a central apparatus of US foreign policy abroad under the non-descript diplomacy of “democracy promotion.”

350.org: Environmental Corporatism

Hey 350.org: Um, We lost. You lost.

Keystone XL Pipeline Construction Begins

Excerpt:

“The Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has quietly begun construction of the southern leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, installing segments near Livingston, Texas, company officials confirmed Thursday.”

See full story: “Keystone XL pipeline construction begins amid protests” by Kim Murphy, August 16, 2012: LA Times

And then recall the following announcement as found on the 350.org site:

BREAKING NEWS: Keystone Rejected. We Won. You Won. Thank you.

 Posted by The 350.org Team – 11/10/11, 2:18pm

Amazing news — check out the email we just sent out below, and signup for the 350 email list here.

Dear Friends,

Um, we won. You won.

Not completely. The President didn’t outright reject the Keystone XL pipeline permit. My particular fantasy — that he would invite the 1253 people arrested on his doorstep in August inside the gates for a victory picnic by the vegetable garden — didn’t materialize.

But a few minutes ago the President sent the pipeline back to the State Department for a thorough re-review, which most analysts are saying will effectively kill the project. The president explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess. There’s no way, with an honest review, that a pipeline that helps speed the tapping of the world’s second-largest pool of carbon can pass environmental muster.

And he has made clear that the environmental assessment won’t be carried out by cronies of the pipeline company — that it will be an expert and independent assessment. We will watch that process like hawks, making sure that it doesn’t succumb to more cronyism. Perhaps this effort will go some tiny way towards cleaning up the Washington culture of corporate dominance that came so dramatically to light here in emails and lobbyist disclosure forms.

It’s important to understand how unlikely this victory is. Six months ago, almost no one outside the pipeline route even knew about Keystone XL. One month ago, a secret poll of “energy insiders” by the National Journal found that “virtually all” expected easy approval of the pipeline by year’s end. As late as last week the CBC reported that Transcanada was moving huge quantities of pipe across the border and seizing land by eminent domain, certain that its permit would be granted. A done deal has come spectacularly undone.

Our movement spoke loudly about climate change and the President responded. There have been few even partial victories about global warming in recent years so that makes this an important day. We need to let the president and oil companies know that we’re ready to take action should they try to push this pipeline through in a couple of years. There’s a pledge to take bold action against the pipeline up on our site, and I’ll be keeping your names an emails safely stored away so that you’ll be the first to know about anything we need to do down the road.

Please sign the pledge here.

The President deserves thanks for making this call — it’s not easy in the face of the fossil fuel industry and its endless reserves of cash. The deepest thanks, however, go to you: to indigenous peoples who began the fight, to the folks in Nebraska who rallied so fiercely, to the scientists who explained the stakes, to the environmental groups who joined with passionate common purpose, to the campuses that lit up with activity, to the faith leaders that raised a moral cry, to the labor leaders who recognized where our economic future lies, to the Occupy movement that helped galvanize revulsion at insider dealing, and most of all to the people in every state and province who built the movement that made this decision inevitable.

Our fight, of course, is barely begun. Some in our movement will say that this decision is just politics as usual: that the President wants us off the streets — and off his front lawn — until after the election, at which point the administration can approve the pipeline, alienating its supporters without electoral consequence. The president should know that If this pipeline proposal somehow reemerges from the review process we will use every tool at our disposal to keep it from ever being built; if there’s a lesson of the last few months, both in our work and in the Occupy encampments around the world, it’s that sometimes we have to put our bodies on the line.

In the meantime, since federal action will be in abeyance for a long stretch, we need to figure out how best to support our Canadian brothers and sisters, who are effectively battling against proposed pipelines west from the tar sands to the Pacific. And we need to broaden our work to take on all the forms of ‘extreme energy’ now coming to the fore: mountaintop removal coal mining, deepsea oil drilling, fracking for gas and oil. We’ll keep sending you updates; you keep letting us know what we need to do next.

Last week, scientists announced that the planet had poured a record amount of CO2 into the atmosphere last year; that’s a sign of how desperate our battle is. But we take courage from today’s White House announcement; it gives us some clues about how to fight going forward.

And I simply can’t say thank you enough. I know, because of my own weariness, how hard so many of you have worked. It was good work, done in the right spirit, and it has secured an unlikely victory. You are the cause of that victory; you upended enormous odds.

I’m going to bed tired tonight. But I’ll get up in the morning ready for the next battle, more confident because I know you’re part of this fight too.

Onwards,

Bill McKibben for the 350.org Team

P.S. Victories need to be shared. Let’s make this one fly all over the web: share it on Twitter here and share it on Facebook here.


MORE INFORMATION AND LINKS

U.S. to Delay Decision on Pipeline Until After Election – The New York Times

The Hives – “Hate to Say I Told You So” …

The Purpose of U.S. Soft Power Themed Revolutions: Disunity and Power Projection

14.02.2012
Wayne MADSEN
Strategic-Culture.org

A U.S. “alphabet soup” agency-sponsored themed revolution in the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean comprising twenty-six atolls, stands to plunge the nation, heretofore considered a tropical paradise for tourists, into the same kind of chaos and civil unrest now seen on the streets of Libya, Egypt, and Syria. Maldives is smaller in comparison to the nations of the Middle East where the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI), and George Soros’s Open Society Institute (OSI) have sponsored themed revolutions that have all resulted in civil unrest and a entrance of extremist Wahhabi Salafists into political power. However, the small size of Maldives provides a much clearer picture of how the aforementioned Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-sponsored “soft power” aggressors managed to turn paradise into another center of unrest in the Muslim world.

In the case of the Maldives, the road to civil strife began in 2005 when USAID- and OSI-sponsored democracy” manipulation groups took root in the country upon the legalization of opposition political parties by the government of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Serving as president for thirty years, Gayoom was seen by the international human rights network of non-governmental organizations as a dictator ripe for removal. The Western-sponsored NGOs settled on Mohamed Nasheed, a Maldivian opposition leader who had lived in exile in Britain – with the support of the British government — and Sri Lanka and who returned to Maldives in 2005, as their favorite candidate for president.

In preparation for the first direct presidential election for president in 2008, outside “democracy manipulators” descended on Maldives, a country that had become popular with the Soros network because of global climate change. Maldives, which is threatened by rising sea levels, became a cause célèbre for the carbon tax and carbon cap-and-trade advocates.

Nasheed was the 2008 presidential candidate of the Maldivian Democratic Party against President Gayoom’s Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party. In the first round of voting, Gayoom received a little over 40 percent of the vote in the first round to the 24 percent of Nasheed’s and his vice presidential running mate, Mohammed Waheed Hassan. To defeat Gayoom in the second round, Nasheed, obviously with the encouragement of his foreign “democracy” advisers, sought and received the endorsement of four other opposition parties, including the Saudi- and United Arab Emirates-financed Salafist Adhaalath (Justice) Party. Adhaalath is an ideological partner of the Muslim Brotherhoods of Egypt and Syria. In the second round of the election, Nasheed, with the support of the other four opposition presidential candidates, defeated Gayoom 54 percent to 46 percent.

Nasheed was immediately embraced by the world’s glitterati community of NGOs and celebrities, including carbon tax-and-trade advocate Bill McKibben of 350.org and the crowd who gathered at the Sundance Film Festival to view a sycophantic film about Nasheed called The Island President. Nasheed was called the “Mandela of the Maldives” by those celebrities whose knowledge of Maldives did not extend beyond the nation’s Wikipedia entry. In October 2009, Nasheed and his Cabinet pulled off a pre-Copenhagen climate change conference publicity stunt by holding the world’s first underwater Cabinet meeting. Nasheed and eleven of his ministers, wearing scuba gear, convened the meeting twenty feet under the surface of the Indian Ocean. Nasheed was a huge hit among the celebrity contingent at the December 2009 Copenhagen summit.

Nasheed was selected by Time magazine at the top of their “Leaders & Visionaries” list of “Heroes of the Environment.” The United Nations awarded Nasheed its “Champions of the Earth” award. Foreign Policy magazine, co-founded by the late Samuel Huntington, a chief ideologist for the neo-conservative pabulum of a “Clash of Civilizations” between the West and Islam, named Nasheed as one of its top global thinkers.

Nasheed took on as his close adviser and communications assistant Paul Roberts, a British national. In what alienated his Salafist supporters, Nasheed also opened diplomatic relations with Israel, invited Israeli surgeons to Maldives amid fears they would begin harvesting human organs for Israeli clients, met with Israeli government officials, agreed to allow direct air links between Israel and Maldives, invited Israeli trainers into Maldives to advise Maldivian security forces, and failed to ensure that Maldives voted for Palestine’s full admission to the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) during the organization’s general assembly meeting in Paris on October 31, 2011. Maldives was absent from the vote.

Maldivian opposition parties, particularly the Salafist Adhaalath Party which left Nasheed’s coalition, did not buy Nasheed’s government’s weak explanation about the Palestine vote. By the end of 2010, the four other political parties in Nasheed’s Cabinet had left and Nasheed’s government was accused by the opposition of lacking transparency. The trademark yellow neckties and shirts worn by Nasheed and his supporters and the yellow Maldivian Democratic Party flags waved by Nasheed’s supporters were yet another indication that Nasheed’s “revolution” was another “themed revolution” concocted by the Soros/NED network of NGOs and think tanks in Washington, London, and New York.

Just as other Soros / NED-installed regimes began to violate the constitutions of their respective nations, including Georgia and Ukraine, Nasheed was no different. On December 10, 2010, the Maldivian Supreme Court ruled that Nasheed’s cabinet ministers could not serve without the approval of parliament. Nasheed responded by declaring the Maldivian courts were controlled by supporters of ex-president Gayoom and on January 16, 2012, Nasheed ordered the military to arrest Abdulla Mohammed, the Chief Justice of the Criminal Court.

Counter-protests were organized by Maldives opposition parties and were backed by the police. After the military clashed with the opposition protesters and police, several military members defected and joined the protesters.

Faced with the opposition and police/military uprising, Nasheed resigned the presidency on February 7. Later, Nasheed and his British adviser Roberts claimed that Nasheed was ousted in a coup d’etat. The U.S. State Department demanded that Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan, who assumed the presidency and opposed the arrest order of the Chief Justice, form a government of national unity with Nasheed’s supporters. Hassan refused and India, which, in the past, has intervened militarily in Maldives to put down attempted coups, remained silent. The Soros/NED global glitterati, including the Soros-funded “Democracy Now” program hosted by Amy Goodman and partly-funded by Soros, featured Roberts on an interview in which Gayoom was described as a thug and who was trying to re-assume power. Of course, the Soros propaganda program made no mention of Nasheed’s repeated violations of the Maldivian constitution.

As with the destabilization of Iraq, Egypt, and Libya, the first target for alleged Islamist radicals after the ouster of Nasheed was the destruction of priceless museum artifacts. Unknown men broke into the Chinese-built Maldives National Museum in Male, the capital, and smashed the delicate coral and limestone pre–Islamic Maldivian Buddhist statues on display.

The yellow flag of Nasheed’s political party.

The rise of Salafists and Muslim Brotherhood adherents in the new Maldivian government parallels what occurred in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia after their themed revolutions.

The Maldives were destabilized by the West at the same time that the Egyptian government charged 43 CIA-linked NGO personnel, including Americans, Britons, Serbs, and others working for IRI, NDI, and NED, with possessing a secret plan, including maps, to divide Egypt into an Israeli-dominated Sinai state, a Coptic state extending from Alexandria in the north to Asyut in the South, a Berber-dominated Islamic state based in Cairo, and a black African Nubian state in the south.

There now may be an attempt by the West to split up Maldives. In 1957, the British established the Gan airbase on the southernmost atoll of Addu and insisted on 100-year base rights on Seenu Atoll. After Maldives Prime Minister and President Ibrahim Nasir adopted a nationalist foreign policy, the British backed a secessionist movement in the southern atolls where the British bases were located that declared the short-lived United Suvadive Republic in 1959. After the collapse of the secessionist republic in 1965, the British bought the southernmost atoll in the Chagos-Laccadive chain of atolls from Mauritius and established the British Indian Ocean Territory. The inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago island of Diego Garcia were forcibly removed to Mauritius and other Chagos islands and the United States established its strategic military base on the island of Diego Garcia. Maldives never recognized Mauritian claims over the Chagos atolls or the British Indian Ocean Territory. With neo-con interference in Maldives now coming to fruition, secessionist movements in the southern atolls may, once again, gain ground to ensure unfettered U.S. and British control over Diego Garcia and expansion of U.S. and British military facilities to the Addu atoll and, perhaps, further north in the Maldives chain.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal www.strategic-culture.org.