Professional Scam Artists – part 29

Here’s an email I got from Beatrice Olivastri, of Friends of the Earth, about my scammy Canadian government:

Dear Rick,

In just two days, November 30, the CPP Investment Board hosts a public meeting in downtown Toronto that makes a mockery of public engagement – one hour of exposure where the Investment Board members take questions from the public – it’s your chance to raise questions by email or in person and confront their lack of action on climate risk.

We see little change at CPPIB that recognizes the urgency of addressing climate change. Their annual report talks about committee work that will be in place in 2021 – three years before measures to address climate change are in place! Meanwhile their reports assessing “Environment, Social and Governance” concerns prior to investments remain cloaked in secrecy.

Here’s a compelling example. We’ve told you before that you have shares in a fracking company courtesy of the CPP. They set up Crestone Peak Resources as a private corporation in 2016 in Colorado and retained a 96% share.

Because it is a private corporation, we don’t know how much Crestone Peak spent in the recent mid-term election. However, we do know it’s a member of the Colorado oil and gas association that lead the campaign to defeat Proposition 112 that would have required fracking operations to be located 2500 feet from homes, schools and hospitals. The oil and gas industry spent more than $30 million to avoid putting public health and safety before profits. We also know the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has large investments in numerous other US oil and gas companies many of which were actively participating in the campaign.

Regardless of how CPP assets were used, it is clear our pension fund, its subsidiary or its senior official did not speak out in support of health and safety or even try to distance itself from the campaign to crush a public safety campaign. This is contrary to statements by the Canada Pension Investment Board that says it is trying to change corporate behaviour from within. They call it “Engagement”.

Colorado Proposition 112 is just one example of the failure of the CPPIB’s policy of Engagement. They continue to hold and make investments in new coal projects, offshore drilling, fracking, pipelines and the tar sands. And don’t forget the early talks about CPP investment in the Trans Mountain Pipeline, rescued with your federal tax dollars to be sold to investors when/if it’s ever built.

It’s time to say enough is enough. Please join us in asking 4 specific questions of CPP’s Investment Board – or feel free to customize your personal message to them. Send by email, or if you can, attend the meeting at the Pantages Hotel 200 Victoria St Toronto at 10 a.m.

I emailed FOE to point out that their use of the phrase ‘climate change’ to describe ‘climate crisis’ doesn’t cut it. Let’s see what their response is. Because to be honest, I don’t trust any enviro org that substitutes ‘climate change’ for ‘climate crisis’.

*edit, December 29, 2018 – Here’s the reply I got (on Dec 24) from Beatrice: “I take your point Rick. Thanks will delete “change”

“The Nobel Peace Prize in Support of War” by Terje Maloy (Off Guardian)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

On December 10, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony will be held in Oslo, the capital of Norway. This analysis will try to look at how the prize fits in the bigger picture, but first, some general background is appropriate:

Norway is a member of NATO and has close ties to the United States and Great Britain. The political, economic and bureaucratic elites are firmly integrated in transatlantic networks, a nexus of economic connections, think tanks, international institutions, media and a thousand other ties that bind. They tend to identify with the liberal wing of the empire, (i.e. the Democrats, not the Republicans), but will work with any US administration. The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are selected by the Norwegian parliament, and the Committee is nominally independent.

Despite being considered – and where the population considers itself – a ‘peace nation’, there are few countries that have eagerly joined more wars than Norway, from the attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan 2001, the occupation of Iraq, Mali, Libya 2011 and the ongoing occupation of Syria. Norway spends large sums of money supporting the joint Western effort to control the rest of the world through comprador intermediaries in non-governmental organizations…

The Nobel Peace Prize gets its prestige and press coverage because it reinforces several big narratives. If it should deviate too much from what the powerful want, it would be ignored. Of prime importance is the notion that we are the good, and we have a monopoly on interpreting reality and to decide what is important. (‘We’ in this context being people in the West, and by extension their governments and leaders). During the Cold War, the prize had a similar function. It would be interesting to take a closer look at it, but for practical purposes this analysis will mostly be limited the last 30 years. Once you start to notice certain basic themes, they are rather obvious. To put it pointedly, the Nobel Peace Prize tries to aid regime changes to achieve the Empire’s aims where it is possible to avoid direct war, but it will aid in confirming the narrative that our troops are good guys.

“Pistachio Wars: Killing California for a Snack Food” by Yasha Levine

An excerpt from the above linked-to kickstarter campaign follows:

=== =
My name is Yasha Levine. I’m an investigative journalist and author. I have covered US politics for more than a decade.

California is on fire right now, but it’s only one part of a bigger catastrophe.

For the past three years, I’ve been working with filmmaker Rowan Wernham on a documentary that investigates how a small group of billionaires have taken control of California’s water — they have used that control to drain rivers, fuel real estate bubbles, build vast plantations in the middle of a desert, and left a trail of abuse, pollution, and environmental collapse behind them.

Pistachio Wars tells a wild and haunting story. It’s not just a California story, but a story of our times.

And we need your help to bring it to the screen.

At the center of Pistachio Wars are two Beverly Hills billionaires — Stewart and Lynda Resnick.
= ===

“Venezuela Joins the Social Credit Club” by James Corbett (International Forecaster Weekly)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

But for those two or three people who have been living under a rock for the past few years and somehow managed to avoid the story entirely, here it is in a nutshell: The Chinese government is planning to assign a “social credit” score to every single citizen by the year 2020. The score is a measure of one’s behaviour. When you follow the rules, obey Communist Party dictates, post government-approved propaganda and generally behave like a “good citizen,” your score will go up. Conversely, if you break the rules or act like a “bad citizen” your score will go down.

So what constitutes a “bad citizen?” Well, if The Corbett Report was provided in Chinese you could better your bottom yuan that “visiting” would be on the list of activities that would get your score docked. Jaywalking, buying too many video games, posting links to sites that promote political wrongthink, even associating with people whose credit score is too low; all of these activities and basically anything else that goes against the Communist Party’s wishes—even (gasp!) walking your dog off its leash—will send your social credit score plummeting.

And what’s the consequence if your score sinks too low? Oh, you’ll be barred from public transit. Your children will be denied access to private schools. You’ll be prevented from obtaining a variety of jobs. You won’t be able to stay at certain hotels. And that’s just for starters. Once the system gets rolling, it’s quite obvious those below a certain social credit score will be a literal underclass, forced to eke out whatever meager existence they can cobble together on the margins of society.

So, as you can imagine, this system is being lusted after by would-be tyrants in every corner of the globe. This month’s case-in-point: Venezuela! That’s right, citizens of everyone’s favorite socialist paradise are about to be treated to a new ID card that will track and database a wide range of information about each citizen, from medical records to political affiliation to social media presence. And all of this information will be sent straight back to the government.

The above entry is one that I didn’t enjoy including in this post. For one thing, I don’t like Corbett’s snarky tone. “everyone’s favorite socialist paradise” feels like he’s not just jabbing at something not very socialist, but at socialism and those who prefer it over capitalism. I prefer real socialism over real capitalism. Corbett also links to the VICE organization. I can’t remember what it is, but I do recall that there’s something off about VICE. But, if the report – the only one like that I’ve come across – is true, then it’s bad news. Betrayal always is.

“Search for Missing $21 Trillion Comes Up Empty as Pentagon Fails First Audit in 71-Year History” by Randi Nord (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

WASHINGTON — Despite being legally required to conduct audits since the early 90s and holding a staggering 2.2 trillion in assets, the Pentagon held its first-ever audit this week — which it, unsurprisingly, spectacularly failed…

At the launch of the audit, which began last week, Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White proclaimed that it “demonstrates our commitment to fiscal responsibility and maximizing the value of every taxpayer dollar that is entrusted to us.”

According to a statement from the Pentagon, the goal of the audit was to reinforce “taxpayer confidence” that their money is spent responsibly…

Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced that $21 trillion of taxpayer money had simply disappeared. The announcement attributed the missing funds to the DoD’s failure to conduct audit trails in sufficient detail…

Justin Trudeau

“Trudeau’s “progressive” trade agenda is anything but” by Michal Rozworski (Canadian Dimension)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

First, Trudeau concluded negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada the EU. The pact has already mostly been in effect since 2017. As with most freetrade agreements, its text is enormous, and goes far beyond simply lowering tariffs, extending to many areas of public policy. It includes greater protections for pharmaceutical patents, thus raising drug prices; it makes it harder for governments to expand public services or bring privately operated services back into public hands; and it places limits on public regulation and procurement. And, while corporations and investors get ironclad legal protections throughout, workers and the environment get flowery platitudes without stringent enforcement mechanisms.

Trudeau also continued negotiations of the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he inherited from Stephen Harper — now called the “Comprehensive and Progressive” TPP (CPTPP), since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the negotiations. The deal, however, is largely unchanged from the old TPP. Yet again, it protects business while containing little in the way of enforceable protections for workers or the environment. CPTPP includes provisions for investorstate dispute settlement (ISDS), a mechanism by which corporations can sue governments if they think that national regulations (say, higher environmental or labour standards) are “unfairly” hurting their business. Comprehensive it may be, but certainly not progressive!

An analysis of the new NAFTA, or USMCA, concluded much more recently, is a bit more mixed…

…While Trudeau’s Liberals were selling the image of a new trade agenda, trade negotiators have been putting in place the same rules meant to hamstring democracy and put the right to profit ahead of the rights of people.

“Der Spiegel Journalist Won Awards For Fake Stories About Syria, Iraq & Other Topics” by ? (South Front)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

On December 19th, der Spiegel reported that Claas Relotius, one of its star reporters, for writing fake stories on a “grand scale.” [sic]

An article, answering the most important questions regarding the situation was also published in English.

Internal evidence and research in recent days mounted the suspicion against Claas Relotius – who has now admitted to falsifying stories and interviews and has left the outlet. Other media could also be affected.

Fernando Villavicencio (middle) and Luke Harding (right)

“The Guardian’s Reputation In Tatters After Forger Revealed To Have Co-Authored Assange Smear” by Elizabeth Vos (Disobedient Media)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Regular followers of WikiLeaks-related news are at this point familiar with the multiple serious infractions of journalistic ethics by Luke Harding and the Guardian, especially (though not exclusively) when it comes to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. However, another individual at the heart of this matter is far less familiar to the public. That man is Fernando Villavicencio, a prominent Ecuadorian political activist and journalist, director of the USAID-funded NGO Fundamedios and editor of online publication FocusEcuador…

Earlier this year, an independent journalist writing under the pseudonym Jimmyslama penned a comprehensive report detailing Villavicencio’s relationships with pro-US actors within Ecuador and the US. She sums up her findings, which are worth reading in full:

“…The information in this post alone should make everyone question why in the world the Guardian would continue to use a source like Villavicencio who is obviously tied to the U.S. government, the CIA, individuals like Thor Halvorssen and Bill Browder, and opponents of both Julian Assange and former President Rafael Correa.”

As most readers recall, it was Correa who granted Assange asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Villavicencio was so vehemently opposed to Rafael Correa’s socialist government that during the failed 2010 coup against Correa he falsely accused the President of “crimes against humanity” by ordering police to fire on the crowds (it was actually Correa who was being shot at). Correa sued him for libel, and won, but pardoned Villavicencio for the damages awarded by the court.

Assange legal analyst Hanna Jonasson recently made the link between the Ecuadorian forger Villavicencio and Luke Harding’s Guardian stories based on dubious documents explicit.

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