Public opinion is increasingly influenced by mixing politics, business and entertainment with good causes. When Mark Zuckerberg announced he was giving away most of his money, people got excited. But charity and good causes are rarely what they seem.
Politics – as the adage goes – is show business for ugly people.
If by ‘show business’ we mean the implementation of a script worked out in advance by people the public never hears about and dressed up to resemble a spontaneous and passable substitute for reality, then I would agree.
What I see, though, is just as all other norms are being redefined and merged with their polar opposites to form a new mush designed to confuse and debilitate, so the beautiful people are being blended with the ugly ones to form a new compound agent.
The first feet over the line appeared in the 1960s. They belonged to JFK who was the first TV president star, and Muhammad Ali, the first major sports star activist.
Since then, the trickle has turned into a deluge, with a lot of the traffic coming from Hollywood and big business.
Just to be clear: I’m not bemoaning the injection of a lack of purity into the political discourse. I have no time for any politician in power of any stripe who does not actively and openly work to wrest power away from international bankers. Outside of Iceland, I’m still waiting.
But today, it is commonplace – almost expected – for a star or an industrial magnate to get behind a cause.
Charities, philanthropies and foundations
Charities and philanthropies have two attractive qualities if you’re in the business of pushing through an agenda quietly. Firstly, they are tax-exempt. Secondly, they are beyond criticism.
People’s naiveté is staggering. They believe that industrial magnates and investors – men who have spent their lives screwing people over – suddenly and for no reason fall under the influence of benevolent fairy dust.
They want to believe that the Warren Buffetts and George Soroses – men whose careers are characterized by reflex ruthlessness – are suddenly compelled to go out and do random acts of kindness.
What, in fact, is happening is that these men are creating foundations: corporations that will never pay any tax and which will continue to advance an agenda none of us voted for – in perpetuity.
A foundation will hire and retire generations of directors and workers, all of whom will be suborned to the Articles governing that foundation at the time it was created. The DNA of the founder is enshrined in a legal entity, given boundless amounts of money, and then allowed to follow an agenda invariably directed towards ‘change’ – change no one ever heard about, never mind voted for.
What foundations (and charities or so-called philanthropies) do not do is give away money. What they, in fact, do is allow money to be released to persons or organizations, which must then do very specific things with it. In short, they subcontract out the implementation of their guiding Articles to the recipients of their ‘charity’.
If it is still hard for you to embrace the notion that what is termed ‘charity’ or ‘philanthropy’ could be anything but benign, I recommend watching Norman Dodd interviewed by the excellent G. Edward Griffin. Norman Dodd was, in 1954, the Staff Director of the Congressional Special Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations. He knew how they really work.
Mainstream media works hard, generally speaking, to defuse criticism of Agenda 21. Similar to philanthropy, it uses warm, fuzzy terminology. It talks, for example, about ‘sustainable development’ – and who could be against that?
Glenn Beck nailed it when he said: “Sustainable development is just a really nice way of saying centralized control over all of human life on planet earth.”
Bill Gates has gone from knowing how to make computer software (which defies any intelligent attempt to use it and now spies on you), to being an expert on the environment (i.e. how all of us should live), which is at the core of Agenda 21.
He couldn’t make an operating system that didn’t crash and turn blue every time you wanted to do something, but he’s got the solution to the problem which was identified by his buddy Al Gore, who went from almost inventing the internet and almost being president of the United States to almost winning the Nobel Peace Prize (he shared it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and who – like Bill – is an expert on how we all should live.
Bill explains with nerd-like zeal the need to reduce carbon emissions to “almost zero” (which, since humans are carbon-based life forms, would require our virtual extinction), and among his toolkit for achieving this aim is “a really great job on new vaccines.”
Bill Gates also has a tax-free foundation. Knowing how – and, in fact, if – the rest of us should have children is something of a family business for Gates. His father, W. H. Gates, was a director of Planned Parenthood, and also a ‘philanthropist’.
Actors and pop stars get adoration and money – at least the successful ones do. And if you live in a grim area and work in a boring job that can seem like the zenith of all possible joy.
However, the appeal wears off after a while. You don’t just want to speak other people’s words. You want to say something significant yourself. You’ve spent your life scrambling up a greasy pole to get respect, only to find yourself secretly afraid that people don’t take you seriously.
Such people, then, are nothing if not vain. That’s partly why they went into the business in the first place.
So it’s not difficult to utilize both their vanity and their proven skills in delivering dialogue they didn’t write and don’t understand, in order to push forward agendas they could never grasp.
Such people are Bill Gates and Warren Buffett writ small. Very small. Because while they might seem like gods to you, they have no real power. They are only ever one misjudged comment away from never working again, and they are all terrified of having to go back and live with the unwashed masses.
People such as Gates and Buffett and Gore are pretty dull to most people. Joe Public is not accustomed to listening to suits. But he has thousands of hours invested in giving his rapt attention to Hollywood stars and musicians.
This makes them useful to those who really do understand power; who can make where the rubber meets the road – where vanity meets inanity – serve to push forward the agenda the grown-ups came up with.
Pop people are basically used by the system to sell a new weaponized culture to the target audience. It is an obvious move to use those tried-and-tested puppets to sell more of that same agenda.
So Angelina Jolie was gushed over by the Telegraph, in part for her intrepid journey to Darfur and then for lecturing the Council on Foreign Relations (a place where real power resides) on the need to do the things in Darfur – stuff the CFR was planning on doing anyway, but was unable to express in a way that did not send people to sleep.
Bono, for his part, has gone from anthems against the establishment to eulogies in its praise. He is big friends with Bill Gates, for example, and likes to chew the cud with him on the ‘charity’ they are both involved in.
You name the star, they’ll have a cause. From Emma Watson (who at the age of 25 is already an ‘activist’) to George Clooney to Scarlett Johansson – they are all out there treading the boards of seemingly worthy narratives, looking authentic and concerned, and investing dullness with magic.
The fact that few if any of them could write an undergraduate paper unaided on the subject they are supposedly experts in doesn’t matter. People follow the stars. And the people who control the stars know that.
Very occasionally, someone goes off-script; someone claws his way to a position of prominence by sheer grit and talent and then just says what he thinks. Tyson Fury comes to mind.
Then the media is less interested in causes and more interested in damage limitation, wringing its hands at the incongruity of someone capable of Wrongthink being fantastically good at something.
Something tells me Mr Fury isn’t going to be invited to share his thoughts with the Council on Foreign Relations or to hug trees with Bill Gates.
I also wonder how long we’ll have to wait to find a star using the Oscars to speak out in favor of no sex before marriage or tipping buckets of cold water over themselves to highlight the evils of usury.
I’m thinking Hell will freeze over first.
George Clooney is being paid by the world’s top two war profiteers, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing, to oppose war profiteering by Africans disloyal to the U.S. government’s agenda.
Way back yonder before World War II, war profiteering was widely frowned on in the United States. Those of us trying to bring back that attitude, and working for barely-funded peace organizations, ought to be thrilled when a wealthy celebrity like George Clooney decides to take on war profiteering, and the corporate media laps it up.
“Real leverage for peace and human rights will come when the people who benefit from war will pay a price for the damage they cause,” said Clooney — without encountering anything like the blowback Donald Trump received when he criticized John McCain.
Really, is that all it takes to give peace a chance, a celebrity? Will the media now cover the matter of who funds opponents of the Iran deal, and who funds supporters of the wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.?
Well, no, not really.
It turns out Clooney opposes, not war profiteering in general, but war profiteering while African. In fact, Clooney’s concern is limited, at least thus far, to five African nations: Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, though these are not the only nations in Africa or the world with serious wars underway.
Of the top 100 weapons makers in the world, not a single one is based in Africa. Only 1 is in South or Central America. Fifteen are in Western allies and protectorates in Asia (and China is not included in the list). Three are in Israel, one in Ukraine, and 13 in Russia. Sixty-six are in the United States, Western Europe, and Canada. Forty are in the U.S. alone. Seventeen of the top 30 are in the U.S. Six of the top 10 mega-profiteers are in the U.S. The other four in the top 10 are in Western Europe.
Clooney’s new organization, “The Sentry,” is part of The Enough Project, which is part of the Center for American Progress, which is a leading backer of “humanitarian” wars, and various other wars for that matter — and which is funded by the world’s top war profiteer, Lockheed Martin, and by number-two Boeing, among other war profiteers.
According to the Congressional Research Service, in the most recent edition of an annual report that it has now discontinued, 79% of all weapons transfers to poor nations are from the United States. That doesn’t include U.S. weapons in the hands of the U.S. military, which has now moved into nearly every nation in Africa. When drugs flow north the United States focuses on the supply end of the exchange as an excuse for wars. When weapons flow south, George Clooney announces that we’ll stop backward violence at the demand side by exposing African corruption.
The spreading of the U.S. empire through militarism is most often justified by the example of Rwanda as a place where the opportunity for a humanitarian war, to prevent the Rwanda Genocide, was supposedly missed. But the United States backed an invasion of Rwanda in 1990 by a Ugandan army led by U.S.-trained killers, and supported their attacks for three-and-a-half years, applying more pressure through the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and USAID. U.S.-backed and U.S.-trained war-maker Paul Kagame — now president of Rwanda — is the leading suspect behind the shooting down of a plane carrying the then-presidents of Rwanda and Burundi on April 6, 1994. As chaos followed, the U.N. might have sent in peacekeepers (not the same thing, be it noted, as dropping bombs) but Washington was opposed. President Bill Clinton wanted Kagame in power, and Kagame has now taken the war into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with U.S. aid and weapons, where 6 million have been killed. And yet nobody ever says “We must prevent another Congo!”
What does George Clooney’s new organization say about the DRC? A very different story from that told by Friends of the Congo. According to Clooney’s group the killing in the Congo happens “despite years of international attention,” not because of it. Clooney’s organization also promotes this argument for more U.S. warmaking in the DRC from Kathryn Bigelow, best known for producing the CIA propaganda film Zero Dark Thirty.
On Sudan as well, there’s no blame for U.S. interference; instead Clooney’s crew has produced a brief for regime change.
The Central African Republic gets the same diagnosis as the others: local ahistorical spontaneous corruption and backwardness leading to war.
Clooney’s co-founder of the Sentry (dictionary definition of “Sentry” is “A guard, especially a soldier posted at a given spot to prevent the passage of unauthorized persons”) is John Prendergast, former Africa director for the National Security Council. Watch Prendergast find himself awkwardly in a debate with an informed person here.
Clooney’s wife, incidentally, works for U.S.-friendly dictators and brutal killers in places like Bahrain and Libya.
More nations could soon be spotted by The Sentry. The President of Nigeria was at the U.S. Institute of “Peace” this week pleading for weapons. U.S. troops are in Cameroon this week training fighters.
Another is to let The Sentry know what it’s missing. It asks for anonymous tips when you spot war profiteering. Have you ever turned on C-Span? If you see something, say something. Let The Sentry know about the Pentagon.
In March this year Frank S. Jannuzi was named Washington DC office head at Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). Frank, a former staffer with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is Hitachi International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the most powerful foreign policy pressure group in the world. Over the years, CFR’s membership has included 22 US secretaries of state.
Those on CFR’s Board of Directors today include Robert E. Rubin, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton and special advisor to the Obama Administration; Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State who when on 60 Minutes was asked by Lesley Stahl on the effects of U.S. sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Secretary of State Madeleine Albright replied: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it”; Peter G. Peterson, of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, who has been pushing for the destruction of Social Security for over ten years; and Penny Pritzker, Chairman and CEO of PSP Capital, who besides being one of Chicago’s wealthiest women is also on the Chicago School Board closing public schools in the poorest parts of the city.
These are names not typically associated with humanitarian causes.
In taking his new position Jannuzi is quoted on AIUSA’s website as saying: “I am thrilled to be joining Amnesty International and look forward to connecting the passion and expertise of AIUSA with the policy-making community in Washington that I know well.”
And how might that work?
In a CFR moderated discussion George Clooney discussed the plight of the Sudanese in the Nuba Mountains who are caught up in the country’s civil war. Not surprising the area includes a proposed pipeline route that will carry oil to a seaport in the north.
So George gets arrested on Friday March 16th, and on Monday the 19th AIUSA begins an email campaign calling for Sudanese President al-Bashir to be brought to justice with the banner: What was actor George Clooney doing in jail, while Sudan’s president and indicted war crimes suspect Omar al-Bashir runs free?
Interestingly, March 16th was the day AIUSA announced Jannuzi’s new position with the organization.
So is AIUSA, along with George Clooney and Hollywood in general, supporting the CFR in their effort to manage the American peoples’ perceptions of Africa for the purpose of furthering their government’s foreign policy objectives in the region?
Why does AIUSA mount campaigns focused on Africa – Kony 2012, Sudan’s al-Bashir, and the investigation of civilian deaths in Libya – but not promote similar campaigns within the borders of the US calling for the arrest of its known war criminals?
And why doesn’t AIUSA mount campaigns to stop US humanitarian crimes before they occur? The Iran war is the next human rights catastrophe that will be unleashed on the world, but AIUSA isn’t trying to stop it. Why not?
Are AIUSA’s commendable humanitarian efforts being used as a screen for the organization’s work in the service of the American empire?