Archive for the ‘Real Truth’ Category

https://desultoryheroics.com/2019/06/11/democracy-vs-the-putin-nazis/
Posted By Luther Blissett By CJ Hopkins: Consent Factory 6/11/19

As predicted, the global capitalist ruling classes have been using every weapon in their arsenal to marginalize, stigmatize, delegitimize, and otherwise eliminate any and all forms of dissent from neoliberal ideology, and in particular from their new official narrative … “Democracy versus The Putin-Nazis.” 

Back in January 2018, I wrote this piece about The War on Dissent, which, in case you haven’t noticed, is going gangbusters. 

For over two years, the corporate media have been pounding out an endless series of variations on this major theme, namely, that “democracy is under attack” by a conspiracy of Russians and neo-Nazis that magically materialized out of the ether during the Summer of 2016. 

The intelligence agencies, political elites, academia, celebrities, social media personalities, and other organs of the culture industry have been systematically reifying this official narrative through constant repetition. 

The Western masses have been inundated with innumerable articles, editorials, television news and talk show segments, books, social media posts, and various other forms of messaging whipping up hysteria over “Russians” and “fascists.” 

At this point, it is no longer just propaganda. 

It has become the new “truth.” It has become “reality.” 

Becoming “reality” is, of course, the ultimate goal of every ideology. An ideology is just a system of ideas, and is thus fair game for critique and dissent. “Reality” is not fair game for dissent. 

It is not up for debate or challenge, not by “serious,” “legitimate” people. “Reality” is simply “the way it is.” 

It is axiomatic. 
It is apothegmatic. 
It’s not a belief or an interpretation. 
It is not subject to change or revision. 
It is the immortal, immutable Word of God … or whatever deity or deity-like concept the ruling classes and the masses they rule accept as the Final Arbiter of Truth. 

In our case, this would be Science, or Reason, rather than some supernatural being, but in terms of ideology there isn’t much difference. 

Every system of belief, regardless of its nature, ultimately depends on political power and power relations to enforce its beliefs, which is to say, to make them “real.” 

OK, whenever I write about “reality” and “truth,” I get a few rather angry responses from folks who appear to think I’m denying the existence of objective reality. 

I’m not … for example, this chair I’m sitting on is absolutely part of objective reality, a physical object that actually exists. 

The screen you’re probably reading these words on is also part of objective reality. 

I am not saying there is no reality. 

What I’m saying is, “reality” is a concept, a concept invented and developed by people … a concept that serves a variety of purposes, some philosophical, some political. 

It’s the political purposes I’m interested in. 

Think of “reality” as an ideological tool … a tool in the hands of those with the power to designate what is “real” and what isn’t. 

Doctors, teachers, politicians, police, scientists, priests, pundits, experts, parents — these are the enforcers of “reality.” 

The powerless do not get to decide what is “real.” 

Ask someone suffering from schizophrenia. 
Or … I’m sorry, is it bipolar disorder? 
Or oppositional defiant disorder? 

I can’t keep all these new disorders psychiatrists keep “discovering” straight. 

Or ask a Palestinian living in Gaza. 
Or the mother of a Black kid the cops shot for no reason. 
Ask Julian Assange. 
Ask the families of all those “enemy combatants” Obama droned. 
Ask the “conspiracy theorists” on Twitter digitally screaming at anyone who will listen about what is and isn’t “the truth.” 

Each of them will give you their version of “reality,” and you and I may agree with some of them, and some of their beliefs may be supported with facts, but that will not make what they believe “reality.” 

Power is what makes “reality” “reality.” 
Not facts. 
Not evidence. 
Not knowledge. 
Power. 

Those in power, or aligned with those in power, or parroting the narratives of those in power, understand this (whether consciously or not). 

Those without power mostly do not, and thus we continue to “speak truth to power,” as if those in power gave a shit. 

They don’t. 

The powerful are not arguing with us. 

They are not attempting to win a debate about what is and isn’t “true,” or what did or didn’t “really” happen. 

They are declaring what did or didn’t happen. 

They are telling us what is and is not “reality,” and demonstrating what happens to those who disagree. 

The “Democracy versus The Putin-Nazis” narrative is our new “reality,” whether we like it or not. 

It does not matter one iota that there is zero evidence to support this narrative, other than the claims of intelligence agencies, politicians, the corporate media, and other servants of the ruling classes. 

The Russians are “attacking democracy” because the ruling classes tell us they are. 

“Fascism is on the march again” because the ruling classes say it is. 

Anyone who disagrees is a “Putin-sympathizer,” a “Putin-apologist,” or “linked to Russia,” or “favored by Russia,” or an “anti-Semite,” or a “fascist apologist.” 

Question the official narrative about the Gratuitously Baby Gassing Monster of Syria and you’re an Assad apologist, a Russian bot network, or a plagiarizing Red-Brown infiltrator. 

Criticize the corporate media for disseminating cheap McCarthyite smears, and you’re a Tulsi-stanning Hindu Nazi-apologist. 

God help you if you should appear on FOX, in which case you are a Nazi-legitimizer! 

A cursory check of the Internet today revealed that “far-right Facebook groups are spreading hate to millions in Europe” by means of some sort of hypnogenic content that just looking at it turns you into a Nazi. 

Our democracy-loving friends at The Atlantic Council are disappointed by Trump’s refusal to sign the “Christchurch Call,” a multilateral statement encouraging corporations to censor the Internet … and fascism is fashionable in Italy again!” 

This post-Orwellian, neo-McCarthyite mass hysteria is not going to stop … not until the global capitalist ruling classes have suppressed the current “populist” insurgency and restored “normality” throughout the Western world. 

Until then, it’s going to be pretty much non-stop “Democracy versus the Putin-Nazis.” 

So, unless you’re enjoying our new “reality,” or are willing to conform to it for some other reason, prepare to be smeared as “a Russia-loving, Putin-apologizing conspiracy theorist,” or a “fascism-enabling, Trump-loving Nazi,” or some other type of insidiously Slavic, white supremacist, mass-murder enthusiast. 

Things are only going to get uglier as the American election season ramps up. 

I mean, come on … you don’t really believe that the global capitalist ruling classes are going to let Trump serve a second term, do you?

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Oscar Platt – Tue, Feb 26, 2019 https://russia-insider.com/en/putin-explains-detail-why-his-mach-20-missiles-change-world-balance-power/ri26377

Russia’s new Avangard (Fr. “Avant-garde”) missile system is a technological wonder. Scientists and engineers managed to overcome a number of technological hurdles, like how to keep a vehicle from disintegrating while traveling at mach-20, with temperatures reaching 3000 degrees Celsius. 

In light of the US’ withdrawal from the INF treaty, this is a big development.

It is also alarming, because Sunday evening Dmitry Kiselyov, TV personality and Kremlin confidant, listed Russian targets inside the US, including the Pentagon and Camp David, Maryland.


Transcript 1:https://youtu.be/NvXiO_iItGg

But our American friends invented the anti-ballistic missile defence system to safeguard against these ballistic missiles.

Therefore, we had to provide an adequate, asymmetrical but serious response. What kind of a response is this?

The Avangard system is our response.

A winged glider vehicle moves at Mach 20-plus inside dense atmospheric layers; it was difficult to imagine this in the past.

In terms of our defense capability, this amounts to the same landmark achievement as the launch of the first space satellite.

This is because that launch implied ballistic missiles, and we are now talking about a new strategic weapons system that moves along a flat trajectory inside dense atmospheric layers.

This is another delivery vehicle?

Yes, of course, this amounts to another delivery vehicle. But this is an absolute breakthrough in terms of modern technologies and materials.

This winged glider vehicle’s nose section heats up to almost 3,000 degrees Celsius. Can you imagine this? What does 3,000 degrees feel like?

The Sun’s surface heats up to 6,000 degrees, and here we are talking about 3,000 degrees.

I have already mentioned the chocolate-coated ice cream effect, when the vehicle flies along and melts away as it goes.

It is coated with a plasma layer, and its sides heat up to 1,900–2,000 degrees. At the same time, the vehicle is controlled accordingly.

You know, when I attended the latest tests and when I watched them, the operator said “Acknowledge message” which means that the vehicle had hit the bull’s eye, the target.

The Russian science, engineering school and defense sector have scored an amazing success. Indeed, this is absolutely tremendous.

Therefore, a comparison with the first near-Earth satellite is quite adequate and appropriate.

Komsomolskaya Pravda Editor in Chief Vladimir Sungorkin: Mr President, you have compared the Avangard system with the first near-Earth satellite today.

Does this not seem to be an overstatement because the first satellite is a far cry from the Avangard system?

What happened? Why did you use such a powerful comparison?

President Vladimir Putin: I see, thank you for your question.

As you can see, I have made a reservation.

This system absolutely compares with the first near-Earth satellite in terms of maintaining our security.

I will explain.

The launch of the first space satellite implied, in terms of ensuring security, that the Soviet Union had received systems, or ballistic missiles, for delivering nuclear warheads to the territory of the potential enemy.

In effect, that launch ushered in an entire missile programme.

Of course, that programme had been developing before that event, but, in effect, it began with that launch.

This implies ballistic missiles.

Transcript 2: https://youtu.be/nT9hYgO9X1s

Now, let’s discuss the military part of the address. Experts are commenting on the most advanced weapons which the president spoke about yesterday, such as Zircon the hypersonic missile.

Elizaveta Khramtsova has the details of its combat specifications.

It’s like a knife through butter. That’s how experts describe the capacities of the new Russian hypersonic system Zircon. It’ll outperform any anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system of a potential adversary. The high-precision cruise missile Zircon will have a range of over 600 miles. Its hypersonic speed of Mach 9 is also impressive. The Zircon will pose a treat not only to the intermediate-range missiles deployed in Europe; it’ll help destroy the key elements of the control system of their decision-making units which are located outside of the European continent.

Vsevolod Khmyrov, Rear Admiral (Retired): “Given the fact that the missile systems belong to the Americans, it’s clear that they’ll be controlled from the decision-making units located in the territory of the American continent.”

This type of weapons plays a special role, given the situation with the INF Treaty, which Washington decided to ruin. If the treaty is terminated, the American partners will be able to deploy shock troops onto the European continent. In the framework of the American anti-missile defense system, Aegis Ashore systems with MK 41 systems have already been deployed in Romania. The same systems will be in Poland soon. Not only defense missiles but also strike Tomahawks with a range of 1,500 miles can be launched from them.

The experts stress that the Zircon can destroy the Pentagon’s illusion that in the case of an escalation, American servicemen will be safe. Anti-missile defense systems won’t help the opponent.

Vsevolod Khmyrov: “If a vehicle carrying Zircon missiles is 300 miles away from the coastline, it’ll take the missiles five minutes to reach the targets in the coastal zone at a distance under 300 miles. What can be done during this period of time? At best, one can detect the missiles flying to the target but not intercept them. A hypersonic system as such as the Zircon practically pierces any anti-missile and anti-aircraft defense system. There’s no defense against it.”

The number of Zircons which can be put in service leaves no doubt that decision-making units will be destroyed. According to experts, there can be 2-3 surface ships and submarines carrying Zircons which are on combat duty in the Western Atlantic Ocean or the Eastern Pacific Ocean on each direction. Each vessel can carry about 40 missiles.

Vladimir Putin mentioned the projects to create a promising novelty in his previous address to the Federal Assembly. The president stressed that today, the work on the hypersonic missile Zircon is successfully progressing according to schedule. The new missile is supposed to be launched from sea-based carriers, follow-on surface ships, and submarines. Some of them either have already been made or being made to carry the high-precision missile system Kalibr. This means that the development of the new type of weapons won’t affect the budget.

The sea-based system Poseidon also undermines all of the Pentagon’s efforts to create a naval anti-missile defense system. The president also mentioned this system in his address. The system is automated and compact. The unmanned underwater apparatuses of Poseidon are extremely hard to detect and harder to intercept. Vladimir Putin noted that the first nuclear submarine carrying the Poseidon unmanned vehicle will be launched this spring.

Blog Copy: https://randrewohge.wordpress.com/?p=3626

via The most perilous time in world history got worse

The Most Perilous Time In World History Just Got WORSE! Posted By Luther Blissett: By Stephen Lendman: Intrepid Report 03/19/18: https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/03/19/the-most-perilous-time-in-world-history-got-worse/ Or: https://randrewohge.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/the-most-perilous-time-in-world-history-just-got-worse/

Events ongoing should terrify everyone—things likely heading for greater war than already.

Most Americans, Brits, and others in NATO countries are unaware of the danger posed by hardline Western extremists in charge of policy-making—notably in Washington, London and Israel, the Jewish state an alliance Mediterranean Dialogue member.

Businessman Trump was co-opted to be a warrior president—neocon generals in charge of geopolitical policies, their agenda hardened by Mike Pompeo replacing Rex Tillerson at State, along with torturer-in-chief Gina Haspel appointed new CIA director.

An unholy alliance of US extremist policymakers allied with like-minded ones in partner countries risks war winds reaching gale force, a terrifying prospect if confrontation with Russia, Iran or North Korea occurs—the possibility increased by recent events.

Earlier this week, US Defense Secretary Mattis and UN envoy Haley threatened Russia and Damascus.

Russia vowed to retaliate against US attacks on Syrian forces in East Ghouta or elsewhere endangering its personnel in the country.

Anti-Russia hysteria in Britain over the Sergey Skripal poisoning affair, most certainly Moscow had nothing to do with, soured bilateral relations more than already.

In response to British PM Theresa May demanding swift Russian answers to questions posed about the incident, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman (speaking for her government) replied sharply saying, “One does not give 24 hours notice to a nuclear power,” adding the “Skripal poisoning was not an incident but a colossal international provocation,” adding not a “single international legal mechanism [exists] to probe the Skripal case.”

Russia’s embassy in London said “Moscow will not respond to London’s ultimatum until it receives samples of the chemical substance to which the UK investigators are referring.”

“Britain must comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention which stipulates joint investigation into the incident, for which Moscow is ready.”

“Without that, there can be no sense in any statements from London. The incident appears to be yet another crooked attempt by the UK authorities to discredit Russia.”

“Any threat to take ‘punitive’ measures against Russia will meet with a response. The British side should be aware of that.”

“Not only is Russia groundlessly and provocatively accused of the Salisbury incident, but apparently, plans are being developed in the UK to strike Russia with cyber weapons.”

“Judging by the statements of the prime minister, such a decision can be taken at tomorrow’s meeting of the National Security Council.”

Given the gravity of the situation, the above comments by Russian diplomats were uncharacteristically strong.

Sergey Lavrov warned Washington that “[i]f a new [US] strike . . . takes place [against Syrian forces], the consequences will be very serious,” adding, “I simply don’t have any normal terms left to describe all this.”

What’s coming remains to be seen. Hostile rhetoric from US and UK officials, along with hawkish extremists Pompeo in charge at State and Haspel appointed new CIA chief likely signal more war, not less.

What’s ongoing assures no possibility of improving dismal bilateral relations with Russia, China, Iran and other sovereign independent countries.

Talks with North Korea could either be scuttled or confrontational if they take place.

Given very disturbing ongoing events, the perilous state of world conditions reached a new low.

Be scared about what may follow—be very scared!

via Shocking victory for proponents of alternative medicine

Shocking Victory For Proponents Of Alternative Medicine
By Jon Rappoport 03/08/18: https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/shocking-victory-for-proponents-of-alternative-medicine/ https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3581

Breaking: In Australia, an effort to label all alternative (traditional, complementary) medicine products as “based on pseudoscience” has failed.

Traditional remedies (much older than mainstream medicines) are defended as appropriate, and can include health claims.

The Crazz Files, a major defender of health freedom in Australia, reports: “In a major win, the Federal Government has ignored the Australian Greens and anti-complementary medicine activists like Doctor Ken Harvey…and passed a reform package that protects traditional medicine.”

“The Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2017 Measures No. 1) Bill, which passed Parliament on February 15, supports positive claims for complementary medicines based on traditional evidence, and abolishes the current complaints system.”

“Greens voters were shocked to learn Greens Leader and General Practitioner, Senator Dr Richard Di Natale was aligned with skeptics, whose platform is: ‘There is no alternative to [modern] Medicine’.”

“One of his [Dr. Di Natale’s] ‘concerns’ was that people were being ‘misled’ by traditional claims about the effectiveness of complementary medicine.

He, and the skeptics, wanted labels on complementary and traditional medicines to state: ’this traditional indication is not in accordance with modern medical knowledge and there is no scientific evidence that this product is effective’.”

“The Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie, told Di Natale: ‘I think it is offensive and disrespectful to those who practice traditional medicine’.”

“’For some, particularly those using Chinese medicine, the history of practicing in that traditional medicine paradigm goes back thousands of years.

It’s been extensively refined, practiced and documented and in many cases incorporated into mainstream medicine.

So, a statement required by the Australian Government that the indication is not in accordance with modern medical knowledge and that there is no scientific evidence will be seen as arrogant and insensitive to those practicing and using traditional Chinese medicines,’ Senator McKenzie said.”

Boom.

All right.

Now I want to treat readers to a brief analysis of “modern medicine,” the so-called scientific system that is the “only valid system.”

It is the system employed in Australia, America, and virtually all countries in the world.

People who watch the news or read mainstream news have the impression that “scientific” medical research is remarkably valid and always progressing.

Doctors and medical bureaucrats line up to confirm and ceaselessly push this view.

But they are concealing a dark truth.

Let’s go to the record.

Here are two editors of two of the most prestigious and respected medical journals in the world.

During their long careers, they have read and scrutinized more studies than any doctor, researcher, bureaucrat, or so-called medical blogger.

And this is what they have written:

ONE: “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.

I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” (Dr. Marcia Angell, NY Review of Books, January 15, 2009, “Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption)

TWO: “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.

Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness…

“The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world.

Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data.

Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too.

We aid and abet the worst behaviours.

Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals.

Our love of ‘significance’ pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale…Journals are not the only miscreants.

Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent…” (Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief, The Lancet, in The Lancet, 11 April, 2015, Vol 385, “Offline: What is medicine’s 5 sigma?”)

There are many ominous implications in these two statements.

I will point out one.

Incompetent, error-filled, and fraudulent studies of medical drugs—for example, published reports on clinical trials of those drugs—would lead one to expect chaos in the field of medical treatment.

And by chaos, I mean: the drugs cause widespread death and severe injury.

Again, if a person obtains his news from mainstream sources, he will say: “But I see no evidence of such a vast scandal.”

That is a conspiracy of silence.

Because this widespread death and grievous harm HAS been reported.

Where?

In open-source medical literature.

For example:

On July 26, 2000, the US medical community received a titanic shock, when one of its most respected public-health experts, Dr. Barbara Starfield, revealed her findings on healthcare in America.

Starfield was associated with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

The Starfield study, “Is US health really the best in the world?”, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), came to the following conclusion, among others:

Every year in the US, correctly prescribed, FDA approved medical drugs kill 106,000 people.

Thus, every decade, these drugs kill more than a MILLION people.

On the heels of Starfield’s astonishing findings, media reporting was rather perfunctory, and it soon dwindled.

No major newspaper or television network mounted an ongoing “Medicalgate” investigation.

Neither the US Department of Justice nor federal health agencies undertook prolonged remedial action.

All in all, those parties who could have taken effective steps to correct this ongoing tragedy preferred to ignore it.

On December 6-7, 2009, I interviewed Dr. Starfield by email.

Here is an excerpt from that interview.

Q: What has been the level and tenor of the response to your findings, since 2000?

A: The American public appears to have been hoodwinked into believing that more interventions lead to better health, and most people that I meet are completely unaware that the US does not have the ‘best health in the world’.

Q: In the medical research community, have your medically-caused mortality statistics been debated, or have these figures been accepted, albeit with some degree of shame?

A: The findings have been accepted by those who study them. There has been only one detractor, a former medical school dean, who has received a lot of attention for claiming that the US health system is the best there is and we need more of it. He has a vested interest in medical schools and teaching hospitals (they are his constituency).

Q: Have health agencies of the federal government consulted with you on ways to mitigate the [devastating] effects of the US medical system?

A: NO.

Q: Are you aware of any systematic efforts, since your 2000 JAMA study was published, to remedy the main categories of medically caused deaths in the US?

A: No systematic efforts; however, there have been a lot of studies. Most of them indicate higher rates [of death] than I calculated.

Q: Did your 2000 JAMA study sail through peer review, or was there some opposition to publishing it?

A: It was rejected by the first journal that I sent it to, on the grounds that ‘it would not be interesting to readers’!

—end of interview excerpt—

Physicians are trained to pay exclusive homage to peer-reviewed published drug studies.

These doctors unfailingly ignore the fact that, if medical drugs are killing a million Americans per decade, the studies on which those drugs are based must be fraudulent.

In other words, the medical literature is suspect, unreliable, and impenetrable.

WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THE TWO ESTEEMED MEDICAL EDITORS I QUOTED ABOVE—MARCIA ANGELL AND RICHARD HORTON—ARE SAYING.

If you know a doctor who enjoys sitting up on his high horse dispensing the final word on modern medicine, you might give him the quotes from Dr. Angell and Dr. Horton, instruct him to read them, and suggest he get in touch with Angell and Horton, in order to discover what has happened to his profession.

As in: DISASTER.

via The Military Industrial Complex Strikes Again: War Spending Will Bankrupt America

The Military Industrial Complex Strikes Again: War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Posted By Luther Blissett By John W. Whitehead: The Rutherford Institute 03/06/18: https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/03/06/the-military-industrial-complex-strikes-again-war-spending-will-bankrupt-america/ OR: https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3574

“Why throw money at defense when everything is falling down around us? Do we need to spend more money on our military (about $600 billion this year) than the next seven countries combined?

Do we need 1.4 million active military personnel and 850,000 reserves when the enemy at the moment-ISIS-numbers in the low tens of thousands?

If so, it seems there’s something radically wrong with our strategy.

Should 55% of the federal government’s discretionary spending go to the military and only 3% to transportation when the toll in American lives is far greater from failing infrastructure than from terrorism?

Does California need nearly as many active military bases (31, according to militarybases.com) as it has UC and state university campuses (33)?

And does the state need more active duty military personnel (168,000, according to Governing magazine) than public elementary school teachers (139,000)?”— Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times

Mark my words, America’s war spending will bankrupt the nation.

For that matter, America’s war spending has already bankrupted the nation to the tune of more than $20 trillion dollars.

Now the Trump Administration is pushing for a $4.4 trillion budget for fiscal year 2019 that would add $7 trillion to the already unsustainable federal deficit in order to sustain America’s military empire abroad and dramatically expand the police state here at home.

Trump also wants American taxpayers to cover the cost of building that infamous border wall.

Truly, Trump may turn out to be, as policy analyst Stan Collender warned, “the biggest deficit- and debt-increasing president of all time.”

For those in need of a quick reminder:

“A budget deficit is the difference between what the federal government spends and what it takes in.

The national debt, also known as the public debt, is the result of the federal government borrowing money to cover years and years of budget deficits.”

Right now, the U.S. government is operating in the negative on every front: it’s spending far more than what it makes (and takes from the American taxpayers) and it is borrowing heavily (from foreign governments and Social Security) to keep the government operating and keep funding its endless wars abroad.

This is how military empires fall and fail: by spreading themselves too thin and spending themselves to death.

It happened in Rome.

It’s happening again.

Not content to merely police the globe, in recent decades, America has gradually transformed its homeland into a battlefield with militarized police and weapons better suited to a war zone.

Since taking office, President Trump—much like his predecessors—has marched in lockstep with the military.

Now Trump wants $716 billion to expand America’s military empire abroad and billions more to hire cops, build more prisons and wage more profit-driven war-on-drugs/war-on-terrorism/war-on-crime programs that eat away at the Fourth Amendment while failing to make the country any safer.

Even the funds requested for infrastructure will do little to shore up the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, railways, highways, power grids and dams.

No matter how your break it down, this is not a budget aimed at perfecting the Union, establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting general welfare, or securing the blessings of liberty for the American people.

No, this is a budget aimed at pandering to the powerful money interests (military, corporate and security) that run the Deep State and hold the government in its clutches.

So much for Trump’s campaign promises to balance the budget and drain the swamps of corruption.

The glaring economic truth is that at the end of the day, it’s the military industrial complex—and not the sick, the elderly or the poor—that is pushing America towards bankruptcy.

As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card, “essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

The illicit merger of the armaments industry and the Pentagon that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us against more than 50 years ago has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation’s fragile infrastructure today.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour)—and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars.

That does not include the cost of maintaining and staffing the 1000-plus U.S. military bases spread around the globe.

Incredibly, although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.

In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

War is not cheap.

Although the federal government obscures so much about its defense spending that accurate figures are difficult to procure, we do know that since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $1.8 trillion in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (that’s $8.3 million per hour).

That doesn’t include wars and military exercises waged around the globe, which are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

Mind you, these ongoing wars—riddled by corruption, graft and bumbling incompetence—have done little to keep the country safe while enriching the military industrial complex—and private defense contractors—at taxpayer expense.

Just recently, for example, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon’s largest agencies “can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending.”

Just consider the fact that it costs American taxpayers $2.1 million per year for each soldier deployed in Afghanistan.

Imagine what you could do with that money if it were spent on domestic needs here at home.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen anytime soon, not as long as the money interests in Washington keep calling the shots and profiting from the spoils of war.

War has become a huge money-making venture, and America, with its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers.

Not only does the U.S. have the largest defense budget, it also ranks highest as the world’s largest arms exporter.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

For example, while erecting a security surveillance state in the U.S., the military-industrial complex has perpetuated a worldwide military empire with American troops stationed in 177 countries (over 70% of the countries worldwide).

In the process, billions have been spent erecting luxury military installations throughout the world.

For example, the U.S. Embassy built in Iraq, dubbed “Fortress Baghdad,” covers 104 acres and boasts a “city within a city” that includes six apartment buildings, a Marine barracks, swimming pool, shops and 15-foot-thick walls.

Camp Anaconda in Iraq, like many U.S. military bases scattered across the globe, was structured to resemble a mini-city with pools, fast food restaurants, miniature golf courses and movie theaters.

While most Americans can scarcely afford the cost of heating and cooling their own homes, the American government spends $20 billion annually just to provide air conditioning for military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In essence, what we’re doing is “we’re air conditioning the desert over there in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places,” noted retired brigadier general Steven Anderson, a former chief logistician for Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq.

Think about that for a minute.

There’s a good reason why “bloated,” “corrupt” and “inefficient” are among the words most commonly applied to the government, especially the Department of Defense and its contractors.

For instance, a study by the Government Accountability Office found that $70 billion worth of cost overruns by the Pentagon were caused by management failures.

To put that in perspective, that equates to one and a half times the State Department’s entire $47 billion annual budget.

Fraud is rampant.

A government audit, for example, found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:

$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents;

$644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price.

$1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase.

$71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.

Price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire.

And if you think gas prices at home can get high, just consider what the American taxpayer is being forced to shell out overseas: once all the expenses of delivering gas to troops in the field are factored in, we’re paying between $18-30 per gallon for gas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Incredibly, despite reports of corruption, abuse and waste, the mega-corporations behind much of this ineptitude and corruption continue to be awarded military contracts worth billions of dollars.

The rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, but the one that remains constant is that those who run the government are feeding the appetite of the military industrial complex.

What began in 2001 as part of an alleged effort to root out al Qaeda has turned into a goldmine for the military industrial complex and its army of private contractors.

Just consider: the Pentagon in 2008 spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earned in a year.

Yet Congress and the White House want taxpayers to accept that the only way to reduce the nation’s ballooning deficit is by cutting “entitlement” programs such as Social Security and Medicare?

As Martin Luther King Jr. recognized, under a military empire, war and its profiteering will always take precedence over the people’s basic human needs.

Simply put, we cannot afford to maintain our over-extended military empire.

“Money is the new 800-pound gorilla,” remarked a senior administration official involved in Afghanistan.

“It shifts the debate from ‘Is the strategy working?’ to ‘Can we afford this?’

And when you view it that way, the scope of the mission that we have now is far, far less defensible.”

Or as one commentator noted, “Foreclosing the future of our country should not be confused with defending it.”

Inevitably, military empires collapse.

As Cullen Murphy, author of Are We Rome? and editor-at-large of Vanity Fair writes:

A millennium hence America will be hard to recognize.

It may not exist as a nation-state in the form it does now—or even exist at all.

Will the transitions ahead be gradual and peaceful or abrupt and catastrophic?

Will our descendants be living productive lives in a society better than the one we inhabit now?

Whatever happens, will valuable aspects of America’s legacy weave through the fabric of civilizations to come?

Will historians someday have reason to ask, Did America really fall?

The problem we wrestle with is none other than a distorted American empire, complete with mega-corporations, security-industrial complexes and a burgeoning military.

And it has its sights set on absolute domination.

Eventually, however, all military empires fail.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military.

Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise.

As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways.

Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy.

Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire.

Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

I would suggest that what we have is a confluence of factors and influences that go beyond mere comparisons to Rome.

It is a union of Orwell’s 1984 with its shadowy, totalitarian government—i.e., fascism, the union of government and corporate powers—and a total surveillance state with a military empire extended throughout the world.

As we have seen with the militarizing of the police, the growth of and reliance on militarism as the solution for our problems both domestically and abroad affects the basic principles upon which American society should operate.

We must keep in mind that a military empire will be ruled not by lofty ideals of equality and justice but by the power of the sword.

Those in the military are primarily trained to conduct warfare, not preserve the peace.

Here’s the kicker, though: if the American empire falls and the American economy collapses—and with it the last vestiges of our constitutional republic—it will be the government and its trillion-dollar war budgets that are to blame.

Of course, the government has already anticipated this breakdown.

That’s why the government has transformed America into a war zone, turned the nation into a surveillance state, and labelled “we the people” as enemy combatants.

For years now, the government has worked with the military to prepare for widespread civil unrest brought about by “economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters.”

Having spent more than half a century exporting war to foreign lands, profiting from war, and creating a national economy seemingly dependent on the spoils of war, the war hawks long ago turned their profit-driven appetites on us, bringing home the spoils of war—the military tanks, grenade launchers, Kevlar helmets, assault rifles, gas masks, ammunition, battering rams, night vision binoculars, etc.—and handing them over to local police, thereby turning America into a battlefield.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America:

The War on the American People, this is how the police state wins and “we the people” lose.

More than 50 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us not to let the profit-driven war machine endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

We failed to heed his warning.

As Eisenhower recognized in a speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, on Apr. 16, 1953, the consequences of allowing the military-industrial complex to wage war, exhaust our resources and dictate our national priorities are beyond grave:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people…

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.

Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

via Bill Gates vs. freedom

Bill Gates Versus Freedom-You DO NOT Want To Skip Reading This…You NEED To Know What It Is Warning You About
By Jon Rappoport 03/06/18: https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/bill-gates-vs-freedom/ OR: https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3571

“Under the surface of this global civilization, a great and secret war is taking place.

The two opponents hold different conceptions of Reality.

On one side, those who claim that humans operate purely on the basis of stimulus-response, like machines; on the other side, those who believe there is a gigantic thing called freedom.

Phase One of the war is already over.

The stimulus-response people have won.

In Phase Two, people are waking up to the far-reaching and devastating consequences of the Pavlovian program.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

“From the moment the first leader of the first clan in human history took charge, he busied himself with this question:

‘What can I say and do that will make my people react the way I want them to.’

He was the first Pavlov.

He was the first psychologist, the first propagandist, the first mind-control boss.

His was the first little empire.

Since then, only the means and methods have changed.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

A thought-form is a picture-plus concept in the mind that tends to guide behavior.

A dominant thought-form in Earth civilization today is: universal rule through gigantic, highly organized structures; e.g., mega-corporations that owe no allegiance to any nation.

Imagine a few thousand such corporations with interlocking boards and directorates; colluding with super-regional governments and their honeycombed bureaucracies; combined with regional armies, intelligence agencies and technological elites; hooked to a global surveillance operation; in control of media; cooperating with the largest organized religions on Earth.

Imagine all this as essentially one organization—and you see the thought-form in its wide-screen version.

Top-down as top-down has never been before.

Functions and compartments defined and specialized at every level, and coordinated in order to carry out policy decisions.

As to why such a thought-form should come to dominate human affairs, the simplest explanation is: because it works.

But beneath that answer, for those who can see, there is much, much more.

Individuals come to think that “effective” and “instrumental” and “efficient” are more important than any other issues.

Keep building, keep expanding, keep consolidating gains—and above all else, keep organizing.

Such notions and thought-forms replace life itself.

The Machine has come to the fore.

All questions are now about how the individual sees himself fitting into the structure and function of The Machine.

Are human beings becoming social constructs?

Populations are undergoing a quiet revolution.

We can cite some of the reasons: television; education; job training and employment requirements; the Surveillance State; government organizations who follow a “zero tolerance” policy; inundation with advertising.

Yes, it’s all geared to produce people who are artificial constructs.

And this is just the beginning.

There are a number of companies (see, for example, affectiva.com) who are dedicated to measuring “audience response” to ads and other public messages.

I’m talking about electronic measuring.

The use of bracelets, for instance, that record students’ emotional responses to teachers in classrooms, in real time. (Bill Gates shoveled grant money into several of these studies.)

Then there is facial recognition geared to the task of revealing how people are reacting when they sit at their computers.

Push-pull, ring the bell, watch the dog drool for his food.

Stimulus-response.

It’s not much of a stretch to envision, up the road a few years, whole populations more than willing to volunteer for this kind of mass experimentation.

But further than that, we could see society itself embrace, culturally, the ongoing measurement of stimuli and responses.

“Yes, I want to live like this. I want to be inside the system.

I want to be analyzed.

I want to be evaluated.

I want to accept the results.

I want to be part of the new culture.

Put bracelets on me.

Measure my eye movements, my throat twitches that indicate what I’m thinking, and my brain waves.

Going to a movie should include the experience of wearing electrodes that record my second-to-second reactions to what’s happening on the screen.

I like that.

I look forward to it…”

In such a culture, “Surveillance State” would take on a whole new dimension.

“Sir, I want to report a malfunction in my television set.

I notice the monitoring equipment that tracks my responses to programs has gone on the blink.

I want it reattached as soon as possible.

Can you fix it remotely, or do you need to send a repair person out to the house?

I’ll be here all day…”

People will take pride in their ongoing role as social constructs, just as they now take pride in owning a quality brand of car.

The thought process behind this, in so far as any thought at all takes place, goes something like:

“If I’m really a bundle of responses to stimuli and nothing more, then I want to be inside a system that champions that fact and records it…I don’t want to be left out in the cold.”

Here is a sample school situation of the near future: for six months, Mr. Jones, the teacher, has been videotaped, moment by moment, as he instructs his class in English.

All the students have been wearing electronic bracelets, and their real time emotional responses (interest, boredom, aversion) have also been recorded.

A team of specialists has analyzed the six months of video, matching it up, second by second, to the students’ responses.

The teacher is called in for a conference.

“Mr. Jones, we now know what you’re doing that works and what you’re doing that doesn’t work.

We know exactly what students are positively reacting to, and what bores them.

Therefore, we’re going to put you into a re-ed seminar, where you’ll learn precisely how to teach your classes from now on, to maximize your effectiveness.

We’ll show you how to move your hands, what tone of voice to use, how to stand, when to make eye contact, and so on…”

Mr. Jones is now a quacking duck.

He will be trained how to quack “for the greater good.”

He is now a machine toy.

Whatever is left of his passion, his intelligence, his free will, his spontaneous insights, his drive to make students actually understand what they’re learning…all subordinated for the sake of supposed efficiency.

Think this is an extreme fantasy?

See the Chicago Tribune, June 12, 2012, “Biosensors to monitor students’ attentiveness”:

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has poured more than $4 billion into efforts to transform public education in the U.S., is pushing to develop an ‘engagement pedometer.’

Biometric devices wrapped around the wrists of students would identify which classroom moments excite and interest them — and which fall flat.”

“The foundation has given $1.4 million in grants to several university researchers to begin testing the devices in middle-school classrooms this fall [2012].”

“The biometric bracelets, produced by a Massachusetts startup company, Affectiva Inc, send a small current across the skin and then measure subtle changes in electrical charges as the sympathetic nervous system responds to stimuli.

The wireless devices have been used in pilot tests to gauge consumers’ emotional response to advertising.”

“Gates officials hope the devices, known as Q Sensors, can become a common classroom tool, enabling teachers to see, in real time, which kids are tuned in and which are zoned out.”

“Existing measures of student engagement, such as videotaping classes for expert review or simply asking kids what they liked in a lesson, ‘only get us so far,’ said Debbie Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Gates Foundation.

To truly improve teaching and learning, she said, ‘we need universal, valid, reliable and practical instruments’ such as the biosensors.”

“The Gates Foundation has spent two years videotaping 20,000 classroom lessons and breaking them down, minute by minute, to analyze how each teacher presents material and how those techniques affect student test scores.”

“Clemson received about $500,000 in Gates funding.

Another $620,000 will support an MIT scientist, John Gabrieli, who aims to develop a scale to measure degrees of student engagement by comparing biosensor data to functional MRI brain scans [!] (using college students as subjects).”

When you boil it down, the world-view represented here has nothing to do with “caring about students.”

It has everything to do with the Pavlovian view of humans as biological machines.

What input yields what response?

How can people be shaped into predictable constructs?

As far as Gates is concerned, the underlying theme, as always, is: control.

In this new world, the process of thinking and comparing and independently judging, and the freedom to make individual choices…well, for whatever that was worth, we can’t encourage it for a whole society.

It’s too unpredictable.

We don’t have time for that sort of thing.

No, we have to achieve reduction.

We have to seek out lowest common denominators.

This is what universal surveillance is all about; the observation of those denominators and the variances from them—the outlying and therefore dangerous departures from the norm.

“Well, we’ve tracked Mr. Jones’ classroom for a year now, and we’ve collated all the measurements of reactions from the students.

It was a wonderful study.

But we did notice one thing.

All the students showed similar patterns of reactions over time…except two students.

We couldn’t fit them into the algorithms.

They seemed to be responding oppositely.

It was almost as if they were intentionally defecting from the group.

This signals some kind of disorder.

We need a name for it.

Is it Oppositional Defiance Disorder, or is it new?

We recommend attaching electrodes to those two students’ skulls, so we can get a better readout of their brain activity in real time.”

You see, everything must be analyzed on the basis of stimulus response.

Those two students are suffering from a brain problem.

They must be.

Because if they aren’t, if they have the ability to choose and decide how to respond, then they have free will, and that can’t be measured.

Much deeper, that also suggests an X-factor in humans, wherein the flow of chemicals and atoms and quarks and mesons and photons don’t tell the whole story.

The rest of the story would imply the existence of something that is…non-material…above and beyond push-pull cause and effect.

The gatekeepers of this world are obsessed with ruling that out.

They guard Reality itself, which is to say, their conception of Reality.

They are willing to spend untold amounts of money to make that Pavlovian conception universally accepted and universally loved.

Because they own that conception.

They are the self-appointed title holders.

They are the kings of that domain.

I feel obligated to inform them that their domain is much, much smaller than they think it is.

And in the fullness of time, which is very long, the domain is going to fall and crack and collapse and disintegrate.

And all their horses and all their men won’t be able to put it back together.

Eventually, a man like Bill Gates will be forgotten.

He’ll be a small footnote on a dusty page in a crumbling book in a dark room on a remote island.

A morbid venal fool who chased, for a brief moment, fool’s gold.

There is an irreducible thing.

It’s called freedom.

It is native to every individual.

Sometimes it rears its head in the middle of the night, and the dreamer awakes.

And he asks himself: what is my freedom for?

And then he begins a voyage that no device can record, measure, or analyze.

If he pursues it long enough, it takes him out of the labyrinth.

Pavlov wrote:

“Mankind will possess incalculable advantages and extraordinary control over human behavior when the scientific investigator will be able to subject his fellow men to the same external analysis he would employ for any natural object…”

Basically, Pavlov was promoting the idea that whatever an individual perceives and feels about his own experience is a confused mess and an obstruction.

Rather, the individual should ignore all that tripe, and instead, allow himself to be a “natural object,” see himself as a clean and simple response mechanism, as planned inputs cause him to behave in various ways.

In other words, then he will have no life.

Bill Gates and other elite planners are working toward this end.

When Ray Kurzweil talks about hooking brains up to super-computers, he is envisioning a process of downloading that goes beyond choice.

Somehow, automatically, the brain and the individual (he apparently believes they are the same thing) will receive inputs that translate into knowledge and even talent.

This is another fatuous version of Pavlov.

In Brave New World, Huxley wrote:

“Hot tunnels alternated with cool tunnels.

Coolness was wedded to discomfort in the form of hard X-rays.

By the time they were decanted the embryos had a horror of cold.

They were predestined to emigrate to the tropics, to be miner[s] and acetate silk spinners and steel workers.

Later on their minds would be made to endorse the judgment of their bodies.

‘We condition them to thrive on heat’, concluded Mr. Foster.

‘Our colleagues upstairs will teach them to love it’.”

Stimulus-response.

If researchers developed this technology, who could doubt that elite planners would push it forward?

It would be the culmination of their dream.

The freedom of the individual, his innate capacity to make wide-ranging choices, is the monkey wrench in the program.

It is anti-stimulus-response.

This is why you would have to search far and wide to find, in one school, anywhere, on any level, a course that examines and promotes individual freedom.

It is anathema to the plan.

It is the silver bullet for the vampire.

Freedom comes from Within the individual, not from Without.

On the level of political control, freedom emerged and broke through during centuries of struggle.

Now, and in the future, every individual carries that torch.

So it is incumbent on the individual to understand the scope and meaning and power of his own freedom, and to decide for himself what his freedom is FOR.

What will he choose to launch from that great space?

via Ecuador Endangered

Ecuador Endangered
Posted By Luther Blissett By John Seed 03/05/18: https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/03/05/ecuador-endangered/ Or: https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3569

The tropical Andes of Ecuador are at the top of the world list of biodiversity hotspots in terms of vertebrate species, endemic vertebrates, and endemic plants.

Ecuador has more orchid and hummingbird species than Brazil, which is 32 times larger, and more diversity than the entire USA.

In the last year, the Ecuadorean government has quietly granted mining concessions to over 1.7 million hectares (4.25 million acres) of forest reserves and indigenous territories.

These were awarded to transnational corporations in closed-door deals without public knowledge or consent.

This is in direct violation of Ecuadorean law and international treaties, and will decimate headwater ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots of global significance.

However, Ecuadorean groups think there is little chance of stopping the concessions using the law unless there is a groundswell of opposition from Ecuadorean society and strong expressions of international concern.

The Vice President of Ecuador, who acted as Coordinating Director for the office of ‘Strategic Sectors’, which promoted and negotiated these concessions, was jailed for 6 years for corruption.

However, this has not stopped the huge giveaway of pristine land to mining companies.

From the cloud forests in the Andes to the indigenous territories in the headwaters of the Amazon, the Ecuadorean government has covertly granted these mining concessions to multinational mining companies from China, Australia, Canada, and Chile, amongst others.

The first country in the world to get the rights of Nature or Pachamama written into its constitution is now ignoring that commitment.

They’ve been here before. In the 80’s and 90’s Chevron-Texaco dumped 18 billion gallons of crude oil there in the biggest rainforest petroleum spill in history.

This poisoned the water of tens of thousands of people and has done irreparable damage to ecosystems.

Now 14% of the country has been concessioned to mining interests.

This includes a million hectares of indigenous land, half of all the territories of the Shuar in the Amazon and three-quarters of the territory of the Awa in the Andes.

Please sign the petition and contribute to the crowdfund which will help Ecuadorean civil society’s campaign to have these concessions rescinded.

As founder and director of the Rainforest Information Centre (RIC), I’ve had a long history of involvement with Ecuador’s rainforests.

Back in the late ‘80’s our volunteers initiated numerous projects in the country and one of these, the creation of the Los Cedros Biological Reserve was helped with a substantial grant from the Australian Government aid agency, AusAID.

Los Cedros lies within the Tropical Andes Hotspot, in the country’s northwest. Los Cedros consists of nearly 7000 hectares of premontane and lower montane wet tropical and cloud forest teeming with rare, endangered and endemic species and is a crucial southern buffer zone for the quarter-million hectare Cotocachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve.

Little wonder that scientists from around the world rallied to the defense of Los Cedros.

In 2016 a press release from a Canadian mining company alerted us to the fact that they had somehow acquired a mining concession over Los Cedros!

We hired a couple of Ecuadorean researchers and it slowly dawned on us that Los Cedros was only one of 41 “Bosques Protectores” (protected forests) which had been secretly concessioned.

For example, nearly all of the 311,500 hectare Bosque Protector “Kutuku-Shaimi”, where 5000 Shuar families live, has been concessioned. In November 2017, RIC published a report by Bitty Roy, Professor of Ecology from Oregon State University and her co-workers, mapping the full extent of the horror that is being planned.

Although many of these concessions are for exploration, the mining industry anticipates an eight-fold growth in investment to $8 billion by 2021 due to a “revised regulatory framework” much to the jubilation of the mining companies.

Granting mineral concessions in reserves means that these reserves aren’t actually protected any longer as, if profitable deposits are found, the reserves will be mined and destroyed.

In Ecuador, civil society is mobilising and has asked their recently elected government to prohibit industrial mining “in water sources and water recharge areas, in the national system of protected areas, in special areas for conservation, in protected forests and fragile ecosystems”.

The indigenous peoples have been fighting against mining inside Ecuador for over a decade.

Governments have persecuted more than 200 indigenous activists using the countries anti-terrorism laws to hand out stiff prison sentences to indigenous people who openly speak out against the destruction of their territories.

Fortunately, the new government has signalled an openness to hear indigenous and civil society’s concerns, not expressed by the previous administration.

In December 2017, a large delegation of indigenous people marched on Quito and President Moreno promised no NEW oil and mining concessions, and on 31 January 2018, Ecuador’s Mining Minister resigned a few days after Indigenous and environmental groups demanded he step down during a demonstration.

On 31 January, The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, CONAIE, announced their support for the platform shared by the rest of civil society involved in the anti-mining work.

Then on 15 February CONAIE called on the government to “declare Ecuador free of industrial metal-mining”, a somewhat more radical demand than that of the rest of civil society.

But we will need a huge international outcry to rescind the existing concessions: many billions of dollars of mining company profits versus some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth and the hundreds of local communities and indigenous peoples who depend on them.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TO SUPPORT THEIR DEMANDS: http://www.rainforestinformationcentre.org/save_ecuadors_forests_from_mining

From 2006, under the Correa-Glas administration, Ecuador contracted record levels of external debt for highway and hydroelectric dam infrastructure to subsidize mining.

Foreign investments were guaranteed by a corporate friendly international arbitration system, facilitated by the World Bank which had earlier set the stage for the current calamity by funding mineralogical surveys of national parks and other protected areas and advising the administration on dismantling of laws and regulations protecting the environment.

After 2008, when Ecuador defaulted on $3.2 billion worth of its national debt, it borrowed $15 billion from China, to be paid back in the form of oil and mineral exports.

These deals have been fraught with corruption. Underselling, bribery and the laundering of money via offshore accounts are routine practice in the Ecuadorean business class, and the Chinese companies who now hold concessions over vast tracts of Ecuadorean land are no cleaner.

Before leaving office Correa-Glas removed much of the regulation that had been holding the mining industry in check.

And the corruption goes much deeper than mere bribes.

The lure of mining is a deadly mirage.

The impacts of large-scale open pit mining within rainforest watersheds include mass deforestation, erosion, the contamination of water sources by toxins such as lead and arsenic, and desertification.

A lush rainforest transforms into an arid wasteland incapable of sustaining either ecosystems or human beings.

Without a huge outcry both within Ecuador and around the world, the biological gems and pristine rivers and streams will be destroyed.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Civil society needs an open conversation with the state.

Ecuador has enormous potential to develop its economy based on renewable energy and its rich biodiversity can support a large ecotourism industry. In 2010 Costa Rica banned open-pit mining, and today has socioeconomic indicators better than Ecuador’s.

Costa Rica also provides a ‘Payment for Ecosystem Services’ to landholders, and through this scheme has actually increased its rainforest area (from 20% to just over 50%).

Ecuador’s society and government must explore how an economy based on the sustainable use of pristine water sources, the country’s incomparable forests, and other natural resources is superior to an economy based on short term extraction leaving behind a despoiled and impoverished landscape.

For example, studies by Earth Economics in the Intag region of Ecuador (where some of the new mining concessions are located) show that ecosystem services and sustainable development would offer a better economic solution let alone ecological and social.

The Rainforest Information Centre is launching a CROWDFUND to support Ecuadorean NGO’s to mobilise and to mount a publicity and education campaign and to help advance a dialogue throughout Ecuador and beyond: ‘Extractivism, economic diversification and prospects for sustainable development in Ecuador’.

We have set the crowdfund target at A$15,000 and Paul Gilding, ex-CEO of Greenpeace International is getting the ball rolling with an offer to match all donations $ for $ so that every $ that you donate will be matched by Paul.

Donations are tax-deductible in Australia and the US.

When you sign the PETITION you will reach not just to the President of Ecuador and his cabinet.

The petition is also addressed to the other actors who have set the stage for this calamity, being:

The World Bank who funded a project which collected geochemical data from 3.6 million hectares of Western Ecuador including seven national protected areas and dozens of forest reserves thus doing the groundwork for the mining industry.

The international governments and NGO’s who funded the creation and upkeep of these Bosques Protectores and indigenous reserves and other protected sites and who now need to persuade Ecuador to prevent their good work from being undone.

The governments of the countries whose mining companies are preparing this devastation.

Australian senator Lee Rhiannon (who was part of helping us create Los Cedros 30 years ago) wrote to the Canadian Environment Minister on our behalf and the Canadian Embassy has expressed concern about the bad name Cornerstone is giving the other Canadian mining projects.

They have asked us for a meeting to discuss the reports of bad business practices by the company.

Likewise, the Chinese government is beginning to develop some guidance which will come into effect in March 2018.

We are lobbying the Australian government to put pressure on BHP, Solgold and other Australian companies preparing to mine protected forests and indigenous reserves in Ecuador.

Visit Ecuador Endangered for more links to the history and causes of Ecuador’s mining crisis: https://ecuadorendangered.com/

There you will find research, detailed reports and news updates.

Contact information can be found for those wanting to be involved in the campaign, which is being run entirely by volunteers.

To let the Ecuadorean Government, World Bank and mining companies know you want them to invest in a sustainable future for all, a petition can be found here: http://www.rainforestinformationcentre.org/save_ecuadors_forests_from_mining