Andre Vltchek, Capitalism, Corporate State, Corporatocracy, Empire, Financial Elite, Inverted Totalitarianism, Investigative Journalism, Military Industrial Complex, Noam Chomsky, War for Profit, War on Terror
For a glimpse into the life of someone who is actually doing the dangerous and solitary work of true investigative reporting, exposing the dark underbelly of Western imperialism and global capitalism, please read the recent blog post of Andre Vltchek and support his work.
Richard Falk has said of Vltchek:
Chomsky and Vltchek help us to realize that an array of powerful forces are using their wealth and influence to prevent us from seeing. We are allowed to see only as much as the gatekeepers of the public mind want us to see, and yet we are not relieved from using our capacities for sight. Reading Chomsky and Vltchek removes the scales from our eyes, at least temporarily, as they have managed to elude these gatekeepers, but at considerable risk, with a display of moral courage, civic responsibility, and extraordinary intellectual energy. I learn a lesson in civics from their vigilance: as citizens of constitutional democracies we retain the freedom, and hence possess a heavy responsibility to see for ourselves what is being done in our name…
Andre Vltchek. D.R.
It is late at night and you cannot sleep. Ebrie Lagoon is right behind the window of your hotel, but it is hardly visible at this hour. You are in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa.
You are here because you were informed that the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, also known at ‘Chocolate King’, has been getting his cocoa from the fields of this country. You are also convinced by several of your sources, based all over the world, that his confectionary empire,Roshen, is receiving its basic product from some of the most terrible plantations in Côte d’Ivoire that are still using child labor. You decided to come here, to investigate…
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Johnny Thrush said:
Quick summary: Vilthek’s media product is shelved, and the guy who was couped into power in Ukraine by the West uses plantations in the Ivory Coast for his chocolate.
Let’s speculate. Roshen sounds like a chocolate front, peculiar in ways we would always associate with American industrial empires. Innocous and down home with a wide variety of chocolate sweets, like Dow making aspirin and incidentally, napalm. Roshen’s launch was probably fueled by traditional western mafia investment, undoubtedly documented by neoliberal planning from the 90s – NATO over here, chocolate over there. Who is actually shocked to discover Petro has an Ivory Coast horror to procure his raw material? But we have proof now. Steve Jobs had his Chinese labor camps, Walmart burns thousands of workers at once. Where is change? I hear the usual suspects arguing that at least people have jobs.’ You know what happens when you don’t have one of those, it’s worse.’
Like any executive pressed with a difficult decison – Petro may have to kill more men, women and children in Ukraine, assuming what I read earlier today is removing the scale from my eyes, as opposed to keeping a gate shut.
…The [New York] Times’ presentation of Poroshenko’s bloody offensive as a war for liberation is a political fraud. In a major European country of 46 million, the government is deploying artillery, white phosphorus chemical weapons, attack helicopters, and fascist paramilitaries to attack cities opposed to an illegitimate, far-right government. It is a war to establish Western imperialist domination over Ukraine, in which Washington can be victorious only by inflicting sufficiently high civilian casualties to terrorize into submission regions of the country opposed to the Kiev regime.
This war is also designed to humiliate Russia—giving it the choice of either impotently acquiescing to the installation of an anti-Russian regime in Ukraine or risking a clash with NATO should Moscow seek to politically oppose Poroshenko’s offensive or intervene militarily to halt it.
The question the editorial leaves unanswered is: What exactly is the “new level” now being reached in the Ukrainian crisis? The policies advocated by the Times— a bloody offensive in Ukraine and a cut-off of Russian energy exports that would devastate the Russian economy—make clear that the Times is advocating within Europe the policies of war and regime change it supported in the disastrous US interventions in the Middle East…
…A shameless lie! The type of governance Washington, Berlin and their allies want to promote in Eastern Europe is exemplified by the Kiev regime itself. A neocolonial regime headed by billionaire “Chocolate King” plutocrat Poroshenko, it works out its policies in collaboration with US and German officials and fascist militias such as the Right Sector that are totally unanswerable to the Ukrainian people. As the Times itself has noted, this regime is waging a civil war targeting Ukrainian civilians.
As it published its editorial, the Times mobilized its foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman to write a piece, “People of Influence,” promoting the Ukraine intervention as a struggle for democracy.
“The fate of Ukraine matters—as much, if not more, as Syria and Iraq. We don’t have to search for ‘moderates’ in Ukraine. Millions there have already fought for and voted to align their country with the free markets and free people of the European Union,” Friedman wrote.
It is difficult to know how to answer such incoherent lies. US imperialism did not search for “moderates” in Ukraine, but directly allied itself with far-right forces that glorify the World War II-era Ukrainian fascists who assisted the Nazis in the Holocaust of Ukrainian Jewry. These include, besides the Right Sector, the fascist Svoboda party, which in 2012 was formally censured by a vote of the European Parliament for its racist policies. A few thousand thugs recruited from these forces participated in the February putsch that brought a pro-American regime to power.
As for the election subsequently organized to install Poroshenko and retroactively give democratic credentials to the February putsch, it was an empty and antidemocratic exercise. Fascist thugs beat up the candidates of opposition parties, including the Party of Regions and the Ukrainian Communist Party, to ensure that there would be no competition for the US-designated oligarch Poroshenko. In large parts of the besieged east of the country, there was a near-total boycott…
mike k said:
The world is being destroyed by powerful people determined to enslave or destroy the population of Earth, human and nonhuman. A primary means these people employ is to convince themselves and their victims that what they are doing is actually for the benefit of everyone, and in accordance with the highest principles of ethics and goodness. It is apparent to anyone who is free from their brainwashing, that these protestations of their innocence and good intentions are gross lies, to cover and justify their crimes. The failure of the great majority of humans to understand this is a primary cause of their unconscious enslavement and perpetual victimhood. Only awakening to the realities of our common life yields any chance of altering the fatal process of our near term extinction.
Therefore, however futile our efforts to aid in our fellow beings awakening, we have little choice but to continue, and seek to find better ways to shake them from their trance. After all, if the majority of people are actively cooperating in the nightmare that is unfolding, there is little chance of turning them away from the debacle they are enabling. Robinson Jeffers caught our predicament well in his poems:
Our sardine fishermen work at night in the dark
of the moon; daylight or moonlight
They could not tell where to spread the net,
unable to see the phosphorescence of the
shoals of fish.
They work northward from Monterey, coasting
Santa Cruz; off New Year’s Point or off
The look-out man will see some lakes of milk-color
light on the sea’s night-purple; he points,
and the helmsman
Turns the dark prow, the motorboat circles the
gleaming shoal and drifts out her seine-net.
They close the circle
And purse the bottom of the net, then with great
labor haul it in.
I cannot tell you
How beautiful the scene is, and a little terrible,
then, when the crowded fish
Know they are caught, and wildly beat from one wall
to the other of their closing destiny the
Water to a pool of flame, each beautiful slender body
sheeted with flame, like a live rocket
A comet’s tail wake of clear yellow flame; while outside
Floats and cordage of the net great sea-lions come up
to watch, sighing in the dark; the vast walls
Stand erect to the stars.
Lately I was looking from a night mountain-top
On a wide city, the colored splendor, galaxies of light:
how could I help but recall the seine-net
Gathering the luminous fish? I cannot tell you how
beautiful the city appeared, and a little terrible.
I thought, We have geared the machines and locked all together
into inter-dependence; we have built the great cities; now
There is no escape. We have gathered vast populations incapable
of free survival, insulated
From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless, on all
dependent. The circle is closed, and the net
Is being hauled in. They hardly feel the cords drawing, yet
they shine already. The inevitable mass-disasters
Will not come in our time nor in our children’s, but we
and our children
Must watch the net draw narrower, government take all
powers–or revolution, and the new government
Take more than all, add to kept bodies kept souls–or anarchy,
These things are Progress;
Do you marvel our verse is troubled or frowning, while it keeps
its reason? Or it lets go, lets the mood flow
In the manner of the recent young men into mere hysteria,
splintered gleams, crackled laughter. But they are
There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew
that cultures decay, and life’s end is death.
Fact is, I think, the “populous” is a victim of its own unwillingness or inability to cooperate, share and to value freedom and individuality over materialism and possessing. It may have been this blog where I saw mention of some of Emma Goldman’s last words, something like ” they love their chains and the whip…..”. In my opinion the left never gets it…..the revolution can only begin up close and personal….by creating an appealing alternative and to me that means some sort of communal living. The left thinks that (communal living) means one thing which shows a staggering lack of imagination, initiative and finally reveals its lack of compassion for others and oneself and finally a lack of courage….just my humble opinion.
“The primary responsibility of government is to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.” ~ James Madison
Human extinction? It’s not just science fiction
…In his paper Professor Paik frames Houellebecq’s novel, The Possibility of an Island (2007), in terms derived from extinction theory, and at the end of his presentation observed that he found the scenario sketched by, among others, Houellebecq, “entirely credible”. What is this scenario? First of all, one should note that the novel presupposes that, unless humans can be constitutionally modified through genetic engineering, they will not survive the by now unavoidable cataclysmic climate change set in motion by industrial capitalism — in fact, the spate of papers and books that have lately appeared in what is known as extinction theory was arguably prompted by the realisation that such a catastrophe is now inevitable…
REDHEADS are in danger of becoming extinct as climate change improves the Scottish weather, experts have claimed.
The ginger gene is believed to be an evolutionary response to cloudy skies north of the Border and allows inhabitants to absorb larger amounts of Vitamin D.
However, if predictions of rising temperatures prove correct, the gene may slowly die out, claim researchers at ScotlandsDNA.
Edinburgh has the highest proportion of redheads in Scotland, with around 40 per cent of the population enjoying the ginger gene. Famous gingers include pop star Shirley Manson and former Doctor Who actress turned US sitcom star Karen Gillan.
Today, proud Capital carrot-tops have united to decry the news, including Celebrity Big Brother Hijack winner John Loughton, who said bright haired people were more “exotic”.
“When you’re a kid you are going to get bullied because of your hair but when you get older it becomes a massive asset for the simple fact that if you are at a networking event you stand out,” he said.
“I think for the species of human beings to lose their redheads would be a shame – it makes you different in a world where everyone else is the same.”
Shawn Hitchins, who led a “ginger pride” march in Edinburgh last year, joked: “It seems like people are coming up with new ways to eradicate the gingers.
“I think it is wonderful that people think gingers are going to be the only ones impacted by global warming.
“I understand that less cloud cover would lead to more melanoma, but it would be wonderful if they put more energy into finding ways to save us rather than how redheads are going to disappear.”
Last year it was revealed that red-headed individuals are 100 times more susceptible to developing melanoma, a skin cancer which claims more than 2,000 lives a year in the UK.
A particular gene mutation that colours red hair and gives pale skin leaved DNA in skin cells more prone to be damaged by sunlight.
Dr Alistair Moffat, managing director of ScotlandsDNA, said: “If it was to get less cloudy and there was more sun, there would be fewer people carrying the gene.”
Another leading scientist, who asked not to be named, said: “I think the gene is slowly dying out.
“Climate change could see a decline in the number of people with red hair in Scotland.
“It would take many hundreds of years for this to happen.”
Only one or two per cent of the world’s population have red hair, but in Scotland this figure rises to around 13 per cent – with 650,000 people believed to have ginger hair.
Capitalism encourages the accumulation of capital to deploy large scale technology onto large tracts of land to take advantage of economies of scale. Those that may try to compete on a small scale are not competitive or don’t have access to “credit” and must therefore become an “employee”. Ivory Coast employees are probably payed pennies a day. If each employee were to own their own plot of land to farm cocoa, the price of cocoa might rise around the world, but the “employees” would have enough money for a decent life. Instead the CEO of the mega-conglomerate takes the revenue and turns it into a large annual bonus while employees or independent contractors are kept quiet with violence or threat thereof. Same thing happens on the corporate plantation of the United States where part-time jobs and technology are substituted for full-time jobs and unions are suppressed.
Think you deserve good pay because your smart and have an engineering degree? Think again. China and India will gladly supply as many engineers as are needed at rock bottom prices. In an environment of diminishing resources and capital, employment will become scarce as those claiming ownership to remaining resources find it wasteful to share with “useless eaters” that have lost in life’s competition. Even in the United States we’re asking “them” to share with us and they have no intention of doing so, not that it would make a great difference. Instead they maintain the petrodollar which allows for the creation of more and more debt to finance benefit payments to the unemployed. By the way, the corporations are not responsible for that debt but they benefit greatly from it. I wonder how much fossil fuel inventory is fictitious collateral for debt being issued now? Undoubtedly much of the fossil fuel inventory that is meant to make good on loans coming due in the future, doesn’t exist or isn’t economically recoverable. I’m damned glad we’re going to be the new Saudi Arabia of oil, because with all of the debt we’re issuing, we’re going to need it to retire those loans. Because the human ape is such a competitive and vicious sort, there must be a constant “progress” in technology and development to prevent being eaten by or dominated by another nation. Evolution writ large. Without a doubt it will end soon and nothing shall remain but the Ozymandian technological skeletons of times gone by.
The NSA and other security services around the world are listening for any type of collusion intending to confront the current order of things and such collusion is swiftly countered. They are determined the “little man” remain little and harmless. Andre Vltchek is searching for justice on a planet where competition, deception and injustice are the order of the day and democratic freedom and self-determination are illusions kept alive with debate over contentious issues like abortion, gay marriage, contraceptives and religion.
From George Takei, aka Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek…
While cleaning out my RSS feeds to the left of the screen, I found a nice summary of where the U.S. got its oil in 2013 and how the chaos in the Middle East (Iraq) affects that quotient as well as world supply.
Also, I see that the blogger at ‘The Disaffected Lib’ has closed up shop and Stephen Lendman has been sidelined by health issues.
From Brad Jarvis, scientist and engineer who is looking for work after having lost his job last year…
Options For A Reluctant Planet-killer
…As much as possible, I’ve limited my most active job search to “environmental” organizations, which tend to be either profit-making ventures that try to mitigate the effects of our lifestyles by regulation-inspired cleanup and substitution of more efficient products into our economic pipeline, or low to non-profit advocacy groups that try to educate people about the problems facing us and what they can do to help solve them (including manipulation of political systems to enact stronger regulations and reduce waste and corruption that gets in the way of solutions). I see their net effect as neutral, at best, in dealing with our crisis, mainly because they nibble away at the symptoms and some of the effects of the problem – our fundamental motivation – and depend on the tools and assumptions of the socio-economic system that serves that motivation and enforces the “personal responsibility” of the people embedded in it (to help others meet their needs and wants within that system).
Neutral impact is of course preferable to active destruction, which is what I see resulting from most of the other options. Those options have a spectrum, with fossil fuel and other extractive industries at the damaging end, and local organic farmers at the healthy end. The debt which forces me (through personal responsibility) to use my most marketable skills, which are resource-intensive, is held by a financial industry that largely enables the worst damage due to a fundamental flaw in our economy that encourages people to use more than they would naturally need or want by taking it from others. If I were willing to totally abandon my new-found sense of global responsibility (and my self respect), I would focus entirely on selling my skills to the highest bidders, who are likely on the damaging end of the spectrum. Instead, I tend to gravitate toward the middle of the spectrum while also considering how to get toward the healthier end.
In my ongoing battle between hope and despair, I’ve at least learned some more details about the alternative futures that those feeling represent, and how those futures could unfold. Having indulged the despair and nearly been crushed by it, I’ve chosen to understand and promote the hope, even if the conditions it hinges on are highly improbable. I am a reluctant planet-killer, trying imperfectly, though trying nonetheless, to eventually have nothing to do with killing anything or anyone, as an accomplice and certainly not otherwise. I will continue to share what I learn in order to help others do the same, even as I take detours along the way.
An interesting case; someone with sensitivity and sensibility seeks to earn a living doing good. Yet by his own admission at best this will only hold things as they are. How much does he need to earn? For not all have such abilities…and when others see him needing/wanting xyz in dollars, they will say why shouldn’t I have that too. And possibly earn it in the very ways he will be working against. Its the very need for “jobs” that deliver great gobs of money… in a lifestyle that requires it that is the problem. Do-gooders would do well to create that (low cost) alternative and bring the others along.
Fred Horn said:
What? The guy has an accurate take on things. However, let me see if I can translate what you’ve said:
‘He’s got skills not many people have. He’s the nice guy. What kind of money does he want? Look out, ’cause then comes a bum rush of people wanting that money, that he wanted, then they’ll prolly start attacking the environment. Merit money, it’s how it is. Those gobs of money are needed for the lifestyle. This group of people, like this nice guy, that are the do-gooders…why they ‘ought to do something about the money thing and then bring along more of the do-gooders, so, you know, they get the jobs and the money. ‘ What?
How about forgetting about the money? Just for a while? Our writing might improve.
And now on the lighter side…
Perhaps they ought to worry more about where the oil is going to come from, as well as the money to pay for it…… and everything else as well.
War, famine, drought, floods, heatwaves, but not to worry, because N. Americas economic outlook is positive and that’s all that fucking matters to these people. Lets not pretend otherwise.
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