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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

9 August - Home Truths

 The Wrong Kind of Green

Of Ideology and Philanthropy

In this column (on corporate power), Michael Barker examines the anti-democratic nature of liberal philanthropy. As he notes, many of the organisations that regularly challenge the legitimacy of corporate power are in fact often themselves funded by corporate donors.
December 13, 2011
Ceasefire Magazine
Massive not-for-profit corporations, like the Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller foundations, created by the world’s leading capitalists, have “gone to great lengths to rationalise the contradiction between democratic principles and elite dominance.” Seen through the eyes of their executives, democracy only functions when it is run by the few for the many.[1]
Education thus takes a key place in the successful promotion of elite governance both on domestic and international planes of action; and although not well known, Edward Berman, professor emeritus at the University of Louisville, has written an important book that examines just this subject.
By briefly reviewing Berman’s study The Influence of the Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller Foundations on American Foreign Policy: The Ideology of Philanthropy (State University of New York Press, 1983), this article aims to publicise his vitally important, though oft neglected, ideas on the anti-democratic nature of liberal philanthropy.

Of Pink Ribbons and Philanthropy

In this month’s column (on corporate power) Michael Barker addresses the commercialisation of the breast cancer movement which, as highlighted in Samantha King’s recent book ‘Pink Ribbons, Inc’, has turned a personal tragedy into a “market-driven industry of survivorship”.


A Tear for Africa: Humanitarian Abduction and Reduction

“Inciting hatred and racial fear by spreading false rumours, which then resulted in violence with a genocidal aim? Is that not a crime under international law any longer? Or does the law by implication never apply to the white people who called for it? This is interesting, to see how Amnesty International makes business for itself at both ends of genocide, and never, of course, never, offering as much as an apology or a simple admission to being wrong.
Instead, what accomplished humanitarian elites, whether in the media, NGOs, think tanks…or the Swedish government, like to do when speaking of their favourite topics (such as female genital mutilation…in Africa, not their own kind), is to celebrate themselves
Helpless, pleading, wanting, needing, small, weak, staring at you, black–this is the anti-bogeyman invented by Western humanitarianism, what passes as morality in the ideology of empire (yet again). Past the time of a London Missionary Society, we now have the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the moral dogma of a white, western elite that projects its abusive notion of “protection” everywhere it is not wanted. Hence we have the “smug self-congratulation” marking Obama’s “Atrocity Prevention Board” and empowering the U.S. to undertake global police work. Part of a long history of casting wars as “humanitarian,” the “moral compass” of Western imperialism has an appropriately nautical sound in this commercial that declares the U.S. Navy to be “a force for global good” (nautical or extraterrestrial perhaps: the images are inspired by the opening of Star Wars, and the narration echoes Darth Vader).
we can now help Africans by owning them yet again–as children, in that state of infancy that we have long associated with primitiveness itself. We thus have the perfect therapy for the racial fear of blackness: shopping, that is, shopping for humans. Whole peoples in need of our “protection” (and the military-industrial racket of defense contractors and mercenaries that makes “protection” possible)–finally, our guilt washed away in their gratitude. For just the price of a cup of coffee–and the occasional high-altitude bombing by faceless “heroes” who never confront their victims–you too can buy yourself a piece of Africa, “the new frontier”. Then you can monitor and police its subordination, with AFRICOM.
Owning Africa: These kinds of images are so widespread that few even stop to pass comment or even take notice. Here, a page from an IKEA catalogue shows a white woman lounging in bed, with a faceless black child by her, surrounded by a cloud of prices. Such choices are always deliberate, and IKEA chose to place these human props as much as it chose the layout of the furniture.

Adoption: Abduction

In order for one to presume to “care” for another, that other must be seen as living in a state of some sort of neglect and unfulfilled need. That other thus becomes like an object, that is first seized so that it can be set free. It is an object set low within a hierarchy, one that resembles old cultural evolutionist schemes where Europeans were always on top, and Africans locked far down below, in a Permanent Paleolithic time zone. Western “humanitarianism” thus works as an imperialist ideological framework: 

The websites of Save the Children and Act for Peace similarly offer the same amount of African poverty pornography that remind you that you are the giver and that the power to breathe dignity into these dark objects is all yours. That also helps to numb and distract you from your own powerlessness in your own society, unless of course you happen to be one of the “one percent”. “For just the price of a cup of coffee”…the everyday humanitarian has such lofty sentiments, but they rarely include direct political action to get their own society from intervening in and harming African nations to begin with. If you care that much, cancel the debt, stop the bombing, and you can keep your coffee.that object, “Africa,” needs our “protection” (we are the prime actors, they the recipients). This requires that we do at least two things that one would expect of imperialists. First, we need to construct images of “Africa” as a dark place of gaunt, hungry, pleading quasi-humans, where we effectively open the door to ourselves, and usher ourselves in as their self-appointed saviours. This is not the same thing as abduction in the form of kidnapping (not yet anyway): it is more of a virtual abduction, an imaginary capture that places “Africa” on a lower scale of welfare and self-fulfillment, and implies our “duty” to rescue them by “raising” them “up” to where we are. Second, we can work to ensure that the material conditions of need are effectively reproduced: we can do that with “aid” (see below), with “investment” (an odd word, because in practice it means taking away), with “trade” (where the preconditions are that Africans privatize themselves), and with direct military intervention to bomb back down to size any upstart that threatens to repossess his dignity (Libya). This too then is a capture. And then there is actual capture: seizing children, indicting “war criminals,” or inviting students to come on over and “learn” like we do so that they can become “educated”–or stay there, and let our students examine you. Humanitarians just cannot get over themselves, in other words, and they never tire of telling stories of their own greatness.

Russell is showing himself to be an excellent entrepreneur in the field of abduction: seizing African children, as the victims of a Lord’s Resistance Army that is a mere shadow of its former self, in order to back further U.S. military intervention in Uganda, where the LRA is not present but where U.S. special forces are. Neither AFRICOM nor the International Criminal Court could be more thankful for this viral imperial moralism, and the mindless crowd hype that propelled it. Of course, it’s not just Uganda that “benefits” from #Kony2012, but other nations of central Africa as well that are part of AFRICOM’s hunt for the “big game” that Joseph Kony has become, as official U.S. moralism easily blends with militarism. This has become everything that “Save Darfur” dreamt it could be. A clearer case than “my humanitarianism requires your abduction” could not be made better than the Stop Kony campaign. Or, maybe I speak too soon: “Stuff White People Link n. 135: Humanitarian Intervention”. Amnesty International has been excellent at cashing in on atrocities, reporting rumours of “African mercenaries” in Libya, only to backtrack (after many of us popularized #RacistRebels incessantly in the Twitter news stream): now AI is finding black Libyans and Sub-Saharan Africans targeted for ethnic cleansing, mass displacement, torture, rape and murder–and AI can now announce that there never were any such mercenaries. Either way, Amnesty wins, its budget is ensured as it ensures its relevance to any profitable crisis, not to mention its recent public support for the U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan to “save its women” (an angle ZA covered here, here, here, and here).

 African feminist Ifi Amadiume shared this story of a young, white, female anthropologist:
“I asked a young White woman why she was studying social anthropology. She replied that she was hoping to go to Zimbabwe, and felt that she could help women there by advising them how to organize. The Black women in the audience gasped in astonishment. Here was someone scarcely past girlhood, who had just started university and had never fought a war in her life. She was planning to go to Africa to teach female veterans of a liberation struggle how to organize! This is the kind of arrogant, if not absurd attitude we encounter repeatedly. It makes one think: Better the distant armchair anthropologists than these ‘sisters’.”

27 World Countries Attending Tehran Conference on Syria

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.
Hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed, when some protest rallies turned into armed clashes.
The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

 Syria 360


August 9, 2012
Bill Van Auken Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday issued a warning against anyone “attempting to exploit the misery of the Syrian people, either by sending in proxies or sending in terrorist fighters.” She insisted that such actions would “not be tolerated.” Neither she nor the State Department cared to spell out precisely which… [Read more…]


August 8, 2012
Published on 8 Aug 2012 by PressTVGlobalNews The Israeli spy chief says Tel Aviv supports regime change in Syria, amid ongoing efforts by the anti-Syria governments to oust President Bashar al-Assad. “I hope it (regime change in Syria) will happen, even though I don’t know when or how,” Dan Meridor, who also serves as the… [Read more…]


August 8, 2012

NYPD and Microsoft Launch Surveillance System

Obama campaign, DNC sue Ohio over early voting restrictions 

 The Republican-dominated Ohio legislature eliminated early voting in Ohio's elections this year, a restriction that disproportionately effects minority and low-income voters. Those populations use early voting to counteract the long lines they traditionally face on election day in the traditionally under-equipped and understaffed polling places in the neighborhoods.

Mainstream media fall for yet another Breitbart hoax...

Britain faces legal challenge over secret US 'kill list' in Afghanistan

Truth is Irrelevant to Media

I understand reluctance to believe something that seems hard to believe. I also understand taking the source of information into consideration when considering new assertions of fact. Part of my job as an attorney is to consider the source, consider authenticity of evidence, and be skeptical of sources. However, another part of my job is to verify facts when verification is possible. Anyone that investigates anything as part of their job will recognize that when a new fact has been asserted any investigator will try to verify or debunk the fact.

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