Confronting Godzilla (Corporatocracy) – Part B
Written October 2, 2017 rev, Oct 3-17
Posted February 5, 2018.
(C) Futurescapes21C, 2018 All rights reserved
“Governments come and go, candidates come and go, and political movements come and go, but the Corporatocracy remains in charge.” – Charles Smith1
In Part A, we examined the birth and growth of the corporatocracy and the means of its conquest of government. It also revealed the enabling role that governments themselves play in the invasion of corporatocracy and the latter's darker tendencies. But we have yet to consider the depths of the corporatocracy’s lust for power and destructive capabilities. One needs a greater understanding of how the criminality of corporatocracies endangers citizens, customers, employees, organizations and the world before taking them on. And only when that understanding in turn generates sufficient outrage to mobilize an informed resistance, is there any chance of countering the creature I’ve dubbed “Godzilla.”
The implications of the corporate coup described earlier have been enormous. Author, Marianne Williamson contends that the result of corporate totalitarianism is “total control by corporate interests.” And she explains what the alarming consequences of “total control” are.
If they want a war, they get a war. If they want GMOs, they get GMOs. If they want fracking, they get fracking. If they want big banks to control our monetary policy, big banks control our monetary policy. If they want a tax break, they get a tax break. If they want the TPP, they get the TPP. If they want to deregulate to the point of complete irresponsibility to our children and to the earth, they deregulate as much as they care to. And if they see a way to profit from the vulnerability of the old, the disadvantaged, the poor, the young, or the sick, then they are given the right to do so. 2
If Williamson has it right, total control predictably degrades into something else. As the maxim goes, Absolute power corrupts absolutely.3 And there’s certainly no shortage of evidence that many of the best known of the transnational corporations (TNCs), the real super powers of the 21st century, are chronically corrupted.
The Hall of Shame (HOS) -- Corporate corruption and criminality
Corruption and abuses of power take many forms. Author, Robert Gore charges that large corporations, with the cooperation of the government, routinely abuse the public trust and skirt the law. It’s one thing to be found guilty of one-time ethical lapses or errors in judgment. A pattern of continuing and systematic corporate deceit, bullying cheating and abuse of the public trust is a sign of something else, however. It points to a soul sickness, a corrupted culture with a criminal predisposition. So, to be clear, Gore isn’t talking about isolated instances then; he’s talking about a modus operandi, a way of doing business. He describes it this way:
In the quiet obscurity they relish, regulators and regulated get down to doing what they do best: bending the law to their joint benefit. Business, whose P&L’s can be powerfully affected by regulations, hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers in a never ending effort to tilt the playing field in their direction, and improve bottom lines, stock prices, and executive bonuses. The return on such investment is far higher than on old fashioned expenditures like research and development, plant and equipment, and job-creating expansion.4
Graham Verbergen’s criticisms of the corporatocracy are no less serious. Verbergen cites rampant banking criminality (fraud, rate rigging, insider dealing and money laundering); epic financial crimes monumental tax evasion, industrial scale ecological damage and endless illegal wars.5 In response, I propose the creation of a Hall of Shame where miscreants (of either corporate or government parentage) can be recognized for their crimes and abuses of the public interest.
Undoubtedly, I will be accused of being subjective and arbitrary, so in the case of individual organizations, I invite the reader to apply an important test of integrity. It’s simply this: Did the company act in ways consistent with its stated values and vision? Did it, in effect, walk its talk? Beautifully crafted mission and values statements can be uplifting to read and at the same time, disarming. But they are not enough. The high moral tone and stated commitments are only meaningful when borne out in corporate policies and practices day to day, in what is both seen and unseen by the public eye.
Finally, one can only view this research as exposing the surface of something much bigger and more complex. It is merely illustrative of a growing, dangerous and powerful phenomenon intent on remaking the government-corporate relationship in its own image. It's course will not be easily reversed.
I alluded earlier to Matt Taibbi’s indictment of Goldman Sachs (“the squid”) itself worthy of a Hall of Fame nomination. In 2012, he provided his assessment of the record of the Bank of America. Here Taibbi provides sufficient bases for nominating on the B of A for Hall of Shame recognition. (Rolling Stone, March 14, 2012)
In sum, Bank of America torched dozens of institutional investors with billions in worthless loans, repeatedly refused to abide by contractual obligations to buy them back, evaded hundreds of millions in local fees and taxes, pushed tens of thousands of people into foreclosure using phony documents, ignored multiple court orders to stop its illegal robo-signing, and exploited President Obama's signature mortgage-relief program. The bank fixed the bids on bonds for schools and cities and utilities all over America, and even conspired to try to game the game itself – by fixing global interest rates! 6
Consider that one of Bank of America’s values or guiding principles is: Act responsibly. This is explained as follows:
We believe that integrity and the disciplined management of risk form the foundation of our business. We are aware that our decisions and actions affect people’s lives every day. We strive for decisions that are clear, fair, and grounded in the principles of shared success, responsible citizenship, and community building.7
It sounds reassuring – disarmingly so, doesn’t it? But the question must be asked, “What does Taibbi’s indictment tells us about the banks commitment to act responsibly?
My next nominee is HSBC. A Reuters headline reads: HSBC to pay $1.9 billion U.S. fine in money laundering case. In terms of background, HSBC Holdings Plc agreed to pay a record $1.92 billion in fines to U.S. authorities for allowing itself to be used to launder a flood of drug money flowing out of Mexico and for other abuses. The US Treasury Department said that Mexico's Sinaloa cartel and Colombia's Norte del Valle cartel combined were able to launder $881 million through HSBC and a Mexican unit. Rolling Stone notes that despite the monstrous criminality involved, not one executive paid a single dollar or spent a single day in jail.8 9 It’s time for the HSBC values test.
Stated HSBC values: We believe in acting with courageous integrity (This statement is broken down into three elements: “dependable, open to different ideas and cultures, and connected to customers, communities, regulators and each other.”)10
Well’s Fargo has also earned Hall of Shame nomination honours. Rated the world’s second largest bank by market capitalization, the bank is reported to have charged 500,000 customers for auto insurance they didn’t need or ask for. Last year it admitted to creating 2.1 million unwanted customer accounts without customer consent. It seems that the actual number of fake accounts is 3.5 million. The part that frustrates affected customers is that while the bank has paid fines, no member of the executive has been held accountable. A coalition of 33 groups is demanding new Congressional hearings to hold the company accountable.11
Wells Fargo’s values statement is particularly pertinent. Would it surprise you to learn that one of Wells Fargo’s core values is: Ethics -- What’s right for customers. The statement reads, “Honesty, trust, and integrity are essential for meeting the highest standards of corporate governance.”12
As I noted earlier, this writing represents just a sampling of corporate misdeeds in selected sectors. A thorough evaluation of the entire Big Finance sector is likely to find an entrenched criminal predisposition. And its record is more than sufficient to justify an industry nomination to the Hall of Shame for Big Finance.
Big Pharma is a strong contender for Hall of Shame honours. Consider that Delaware County, the SE Pennsylvania constituting some of Philadelphia’s western suburbs filed a lawsuit on September 21, 2017 against 11 pharmaceutical companies “regarding the overwhelming opioid epidemic…” The County’s law firm filed the suite against the companies and medical doctors who advised the companies regarding misinformation provided by the drug makers to physicians and others. Delaware’s attorney says the lawsuit will show Big Pharma funded companies which created disinformation to hoodwink and convince doctors that opioids weren’t addictive. In the Philadelphia suburb of Bensalem, township leaders are working on filing a “huge” civil lawsuit against four pharma companies. Nuisance, fraud, negligence and breach of contract will be some of the charges filed.13
It appears that a Hall of Shame nomination for Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, is overdue. The company was caught illegally marketing Bextra, a pain killer taken off the market in 2005 because of safety concerns. In short, promoting drugs for unapproved uses or “off-label” promotion is against the law. Internal company documents reveal that Pfizer and Pharmacia used “a multi-million dollar medical education budget to pay hundreds of doctors as speakers and consultants to tout Bextra.”14 Integrity is one of Pfizer’s core values. In Pfizer’s words, We demand of ourselves and others the highest ethical standards, and our products and processes will be of the highest quality.15
Joachim Hagopian, former clinical psychologist and mental health therapist, describes the distinction that sets Big Pharma apart from its counterparts in the constellation of super power industries in the US. The distinction is it outspends all others on lobbying to keep government (and parliaments) and its US federal regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on side. Between 1998 and 2013, it’s reported the industry poured $2.7 billion into its lobbying activity. That’s 42% more than the next biggest spender, the insurance industry.
It takes a lot of lobbying to cover over Big Pharma’s crimes and abuses of the public interest. Hagopian’s list of abuses, a lengthy one, more than qualifies its for an industry nomination.
Hagopian’s conclusion is that big pharma is a criminal racket.16
Big Ag and Food
Big Ag and Food has also produced some serious contenders for Hall of Shame recognition. Monsanto may be in a class by itself. Its notoriety is such that it has inspired an annual public March Against Monsanto 17around the world for the last five years. Its performance also inspired the establishment of an international tribunal, described as an “international society initiative” to hold the company accountable for human rights and environmental abuses. Judges heard testimonies from victims and experts and rendered a decision in the Hague on April 18, 2017. The tribunal concluded:
Monsanto’s activities have a negative impact on basic human rights. Besides, better regulations are needed to protect the victims of multinational corporations. Eventually, international law should be improved for better protection of the environment and include the crime of ecocide.18
While Monsanto supporters sneered at the exercise and its findings, accusations of corporate bad behaviour are many and frequent. Colin Todhunter alleges in Soil, Monsanto and the Agribusiness Giants that the history of Monsanto and a Big Ag peer demonstrates a pattern of bribery, smear campaigns, faking data, co-opting agencies and key figures, subverting science and other abuses.19
Space limitations mean that I must restrict this look at Monsanto’s candidacy to a couple incidents. In September 2012, Food and Chemical Technology (FCT) journal published a study conducted by G. E. Seralini. It found that rats fed Monsanto’s GM corn small doses of Round-Up herbicide and corn soaked in its pesticide Round-Up developed liver and kidney toxicity and tumours. Monsanto set out behind the scenes to secure retraction of the study. In 2013, following the appointment of a former Monsanto scientist to the editorial board and following what was described as a “non-transparent review process by unknown individuals,” the journal’s editor retracted the study.
Internal Monsanto emails subsequently revealed the furtive efforts by Monsanto to have the study retracted, including leveraging an employee’s relationship with the editor of the journal. It did this while feigning complete independence from the process.20 This is the kind of behind-the-curtain manipulation that has helped Monsanto earn the on-line title of world’s most hated corporation on more than one occasion.
More recently, the agribusiness giant went to battle with the state of California. The issue is the finding by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that glyphosate used in it best-selling herbicide, Round-Up, is carcinogenic. Under Proposition 65, the State of California is required to list those substances identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Monsanto argued that adding glyphosate to the state list based on the World Health Organization’s decision was unconstitutional.21
The courts have given the public a rare glimpse of Monsanto’s behind-the-curtain machinations to discredit unfavourable analysis and criticism. Take some time to review The Monsanto Papers: MDL, Glyphosate, cancer case, documents and analysis. It is very revealing when it comes to exposing the lengths Monsanto is prepared to go to keep the cracking veneer on its image intact. The introduction to the site in itself suggests how difficult this task is. It reads in part:
More than 250 lawsuits are pending against Monsanto Co. in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, filed by people alleging that exposure to Roundup herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and that Monsanto covered up the risks. … Additionally, at least 1,100 plaintiffs have made similar claims against Monsanto in state courts.22
To get a better sense of how Monsanto operates, you could start with a couple interesting articles posted at the site including: Monsanto was its own ghostwriter for some safety reviews. The subtitle explains: Academic papers vindicating its Roundup herbicide were written with the help of its employees. The story, Why Forbes deleted some Kavin Senapathy articles is equally interesting. Overall, the court-driven exposure of the Monsanto Papers provides unique insights into the behind-the-curtain fakery Monsanto is famous for. Do you understand it plays the game? It’s basically about manipulating people and regulatory institutions and buying fake advocacy from so-called experts prepared to pimp their credentials on behalf of the company while feigning independence. For more on the dubious history of Monsanto, see: The complete history of the world’s most evil corporation.23
And now the Monsanto values test…
Stated Monsanto values: Integrity, respect, and transparency are core values, and acting as good corporate citizens in each country where we operate is at the foundation of our work.24
So, is what integrity, respect and transparency look like? If that’s your philosophic foundation, it is apparent that your organizations has wondered far from it.
Another ill-behaved member of the Big Ag family has also been making headlines. According to an article by D. Steve Pieczenik (MD), Mosaic Mines of Minnesota has earned a figurative nomination for its performance in the category of gross mismanagement of natural resources. Legal actions taken against the company are revealing. Mosaic Mines is required to pay a $2 billion penalty to settle a federal lawsuit in order to clean up hazardous waste in six Florida and two Louisiana sites. The EPA has accused Mosaic of “improper storage and disposal of waste from the production of phosphoric and sulfuric acids, key components of fertilizers at Mosaic facilities in Bartow, New Wales, Mulberry, Riverview, South Pierce and Green Bay in Florida and two sites in Louisiana”.
An outraged Pieczenik reports that, as a result, desperate homeowners have been forced to take action in an effort to preserve their life and health.
Central Florida homeowners have sued over TOXIC RADIATION. The Lanier Law Firm has filed a class-action Lawsuit on behalf of the homeowners of Central Florida, charging that operations of phosphate mines failed to warn them about dangerously high levels of radiation” [Dr. Terry Brant, MD,JD]. There is clear evidence from scientists, environmentalists, physicians that the poor inhabitants of various Florida counties were exposed to such toxic contaminants that they developed all types of cancers, goiters, genetic malformation and specifically increased cancers in children.
Pieczenik suggests Mosaic’s conduct meets the Patriot Act definition of a terrorist and labels the company an American Corporate Terrorist. Pieczenik’s is equally outraged by the seeming indifference of Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar. It’s axiomatic that a corporatocracy thrives when both the citizen-government and government-corporatocracy links in the chain of accountability fail. This case is a classic illustration of the pathology of a corporatocracy.25 I’ll have more to say about the Big Ag fraternity later in this chapter.
Big Telecoms and Big Info Search
The new stars of the corporate super power universe are the big telecoms like Apple and Facebook and information search giant, Google. These companies and their peers occupy the position of corporate oligarchs in the global communications universe. So, it’s deeply troubling when Facebook or Google for example is found to be tilting the playing field or table in favour of the politics du jour, something I described in Part A of this chapter.
Tony Cartalucci outlines his concerns with state-sanctioned censorship under the guise of fighting “fake news” in an article entitled: “The West’s war on free speech”. Facebook installed its fact-checking tool before the Dutch election in March and the first round of the French presidential election in April. It also removed 30,000 accounts in France that had shared fake news. Cartalucci contends that if foreign government-linked tech companies were purging tens of thousands of accounts before elections, in Thailand or Russia for example, Western media would be shouting “censorship.”
As explained in the New York Times article, the filtering system will compare the content in question to the content of a database of “verified articles.” Carlucci sums up the problem this way. In other words, “fake news” is determined by comparing it directly to narratives presented by establishment media platforms like the New York Times, the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and others who have notorious track records of “serial deception, false reporting, and even war propagandizing.”
Nowhere does the New York Times explain how these “verified articles” have been determined to be factually accurate, and instead, it appears that all these algorithms are doing is ensuring all media falls in line with Western narratives.
If media in question coincides with Western-dominated media platforms, it is given a pass – if not, it is slated for expunging…26
Once again, Big Brother happily partners with corporate oligarchs to shape our reality as they see fit. Aren’t you relieved to know that the foxes will be guarding the chickens once again. It’s classic Orwellian 1984 redux. As to its core values, the closest Facebook’s comes to an ethical principle is implied in build social value 27 while Google’s Value No. 6 reads:
For their on-going efforts to curtail freedom of thought and expression, I am nominating Facebook and Google for joint Hall of Shame recognition.
Big Disease Management
Cronyism, rule bending and data fakery aren’t limited to private sector TNCs. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has been accorded god-like status by corporate media when it comes to matters concerning disease control. And, with such status comes big responsibility to employees and the public. It appears that CDC scientists have, in effect, nominated their employer for an HOS award. One on-line headline reads: CDC – Scientists on the inside slam agency for selling out to corporate interests.29
On August 29, 2016, a group called SPIDER, an acronym that stands for CDC Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research, submitted a letter to the office of the Director of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta). The letter listed a litany of lapses in professional conduct within their agency including efforts to hide unfavourable data from Congress. The letter also cited the cooking of data to make results look better than they are, suppression of findings from an internal review, attempts to obstruct an inquiry and the inappropriate ties of a staff member to Coca Cola and ILSI representatives. The authors added that they are often directed to do things they know are not right.30
And now for a look at CDC’s vision: To create a workplace environment that reflects diversity, inclusion and equity and that ensures (our) employees are valued, respected and supported in their efforts to accomplish the Agency’s public health mission.31
The text speaks directly to the matter of respect for employees and support for their work. And yet, CDC’s own scientists are protesting its unethical and unprofessional conduct.
At first glance, you may have wondered if the criticisms levied by Williamson, Gore and other critics of rapacious corporations and co-opted governments were overstated. I suggest that they don't. In fact, this brief review and analysis understates the "iceberg" proportions of criminality of the corporatocracy.
So, it clearly remains the fashion of the day is to advertise your organization's committment to transparency, integrity, fair play, respect, responsible corporate citizenship, world peace and the protection of puppies (satire). What is less clear is the how the leaders and organizations cited can justify the abandonment of their stated vision and values. Is it a case of defective or damaged corporate consciences? Or is it simply an implicit "understood" feature of their corporate cultures. How else can you justify subordinating the interests of customers, citizens, suppliers, the environment, and even their employees to the interests of shareholders, friends, investors, and top management?
These are not victimless crimes. We all pay for the crimes of the corporatocracy. Consider the implied costs in the oft-cited ability of the banksters to privatize profits while socializing risks. The next time you are tempted to give credence to a beautifully-crafted statement of corporate values, remember that the distance between values stated and values lived can be immense. So, as the Brits often say in a physical context, mind the gap.
I have a finishing touch for my Hall of Shame. It is a slogan to be prominently displayed over the entrance to these hallowed halls. It is one that I’ve borrowed from the world of professional league baseball, but couldn’t be more appropriate. It reads: If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’...
Government as enabler and collaborator
One would have thought that by now, vigilante political leaders and governments would have awakened to the devastating outcomes of the corporate coup and set about reversing course. They haven’t. In fact, they remain willing collaborators and enablers. Governments themselves, in many ways, invite corporate abuses. Sometimes, it’s a matter of looking the other way or neglecting to enforce regulations. In the US political context, the government permits elected federal representatives to leverage revolving door careers.
In Washington, there is an established pattern wherein Congressional member leapfrog from government service to lucrative jobs in the global banking sector or other corporate sectors. Today’s Congressman or women with their store of insider knowledge is tomorrow’s high paid lobbyist working diligently to advance the interests of the X, Y or Z industry. Critics often cite the example of Monsanto’s chief lobbyist, Michael Taylor, who ping-ponged between Monsanto, the Food and Drug Administration where he served as Deputy Commissioner, and the USDA.32 Another example cited by critics is the career move of Monsanto’s corporate lawyer, Clarence Thomas, to the U.S. Supreme Court bench where he has presided over Monsanto cases on more than one occasion.33
Politically colonized and compromised governments in the US, UK and EU continue to surrender power to Godzilla. There's a pattern of handing the chicken house keys over to the proverbial foxes. Christine Berry, principal director of Policy and Government with the New Economics Foundation laments the UK government’s surrender to corporate control. Like Ralph Nader, she points to the corporatocracy’s inversion of accountability. Berry offers some examples illustrative of how the public interest is being subordinated to those of big business.
Corporate lobbyists and trade associations have been given public money to ‘review’ how enforcement operates in their area – including a review of livestock farm inspections led by the National Farmers’ Union, and a review of imports of fresh produce led by the Fresh Produce Consortium.
Government departments seeking to introduce new rules must have estimates of the cost to business ‘validated’ by the Regulatory Policy Committee – an unelected body dominated by business interests whose members include an Alderman of the City of London Corporation and a chairman with extensive paid interests in the energy industry.
Whole areas of regulation have been taken out of the hands of independent watchdogs and replaced with ineffective voluntary schemes overseen by industry-dominated bodies – such as the ‘public health responsibility deal’, which has handed efforts to reduce salt and sugar in food to a group including Tesco, Mars and the Advertising Association.
Berry concludes: “This is the ultimate privatisation – that of policymaking itself. Just as with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), democracy is being made accountable to corporations, rather than the other way around.” 34
American citizens have expressed growing concern regarding the excessive power and influence wielded by elites and large corporations. A January 2013 issue of HuffPost reported a Pew Research Center finding that 77 percent of Americans agreed that too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations. The same article reported the results of a poll by Time Magazine, indicating that 86 percent of Americans said Wall Street and its lobbyists have too much influence in Washington. It added that 80 percent of Americans spread across the political spectrum opposed Citizens United, the pro-corporate Supreme Court ruling.35
And yet, despite public concerns, John Light of Moyers and Company reports on the quiet efforts to further weaken campaign financing rules in the August 3/17 issue of Truthout.
And so it is with the House's appropriations bill, which includes riders that would further pare back campaign finance rules that have already been decimated over the last decade, in large part through Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United and McCutcheon v. FEC.…
The riders attached to the appropriations bill take aim at how the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) enforce campaign finance law. 36
It should be clear by now that the towering TNCs and their friends in government can’t hear the voices of the Plebs. And if they can, they aren’t concerned about the reservations of citizens, British or American, regarding their growing influence over electoral politics or regulatory systems. The Godzillian Corporatocracy has even bigger things on its mind. World conquest isn’t beyond its imagination.
In pursuit of global dominance
The corporatocracy’s fusion of geopolitics and geo-economics is what makes it the most devastating force threatening the world. In 1935, Major General Smedley Butler warned in his book by the same name, that war is a racket. In his post-military life, his public reflections made it very clear that it was the corporatocracy that he had been serving.
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.37
The old axiom about the cost of failing to learn from history is borne out once again in our generation. It is as if, the world has never grasped the painful truth of Butler’s confession. The corporatocracy wage wars through a variety of means of course – some subtle and some not so subtle. John Perkins, a self-described former Economic Hit Man (EHM) offers a personal perspective on how the Corporatocracy wages economic wars in the international arena.
Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder.
Perkins, believes that the corporatocracy’s grip on the world today is even tighter today than it was during his days in its service in the 80’s. Look beneath the veneer of corporate responsibility and you’ll find a variety of covert schemes that characterize the “real globalization.”
“…subterfuges range from money laundering and tax evasion in luxurious office suites to activities that amount to economic war crimes. Real globalization is based on a system of deception, extortion, and rampant violence—from IMF officers slashing education and health care programs to mercenaries defending European oil interests in Nigeria to executives financing warlords in Congo to secure supplies of coltan ore.38
My parents used to say, Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. The finger of shame now clearly points at America's gullible citizenry. How many times has it bought into the lies justifying America’s foreign aggressions? No, these wars were never primarily about exporting democracy or providing humanitarian protection nor, in the vast majority of cases, even acts of self-defense. Godzilla had bigger things in mind. The US-backed Ukraine coup was a planned undertaking to fulfill the political and economic interests of the American Empire.39 40 41
Freelance writer, Madonna Gauding described the dual motivations behind the Ukraine coup.
For some time, the U.S. has had Ukraine in its crosshairs with the intention of installing a corporate friendly government that would boost bottom lines, while serving to further isolate and weaken Russia. Toward that end, the Obama administration has spent $5 billion of your taxpayer money to fund a Ukrainian, anti-Russian opposition…
What is happening in Ukraine is not about supporting “freedom,” “independence,” or democracy.” It’s not about making the lives of the people in Ukraine better. It’s not about furthering world peace. It’s about making Ukraine another profit center for Wall Street.” 42
Freelance journalist, JP Sottile, states that the economic interests of giant corporations from Cargill to Chevron were behind the US-backed coup. According to Sottile, they viewed the country as a potential gold mine of profits from agricultural and energy exploitation.” He concludes:
In the end, the U.S. meddling in the affairs of Ukraine, its financing of a coup to overthrow a legitimately elected government, and its support of a neo-nazi regime in order to serve the interests of Cargill, Monsanto and Chevron, is yet another sordid, and dangerous, chapter in U.S. foreign policy. 43
Some observers see an ag tech element in Monsanto’s investment in the Ukraine s pointing to the fact that while the law of Ukraine forbade GMO production. Canadian freelance researcher/writer, Joyce Nelson quotes the president of the Ukrainian Grain Association Volodymyr Klymenko. In a Nov. 5 (2014) press conference in Kiev, Klymenko states that, “We could mull over this issue for a long time, but we, jointly with the [agricultural] associations, have signed two letters to change the law on biosecurity, in which we proposed the legalization of the use of GM seeds…”.44
Yes, the TNCs like Cargill, Dupont, Monsanto, John Deere and Chevron have all staked out their claims in the Ukraine, but the matter of how much of the wealth they generate will benefit average citizens of the Ukrainian or the country as a whole is an open question. Paul Craig Roberts, the former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury believes that it’s a case of “Greece all over again.” In a March 2014 article entitled, The looting of the Ukraine has begun, Roberts points out that the 11 billion euros the Western media calls “aid” from the EU is really a loan. And one of the strings attached is an IMF austerity plan bringing cuts to services, education, layoffs and devaluation of the currency, thus raising the price of imports. Ukraine’s agricultural lands, he adds, will pass into the hands of American agribusiness.45
Jim Dean, managing editor of Veteran’s Today struck a similar tone in an August 3, 2016 article in the New Eastern Outlook.
Ukraine has joined the growing list of Western rape and pillage victims, intended victims or collateral damage ones under the guise of spreading freedom and democracy…like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. The recent NATO meeting in Warsaw saw the lipstick being handed out as party favors in the continuing attempt to paint Ukraine’s problems on “Russian aggression”.46
If the critics have it right, the outlook for the Ukraine and its people is grim indeed. Candidly, it is now caught between the political rock and a hard place of competing global powers. It appears the country is likely to remain a sickly ward of the American Empire in a perpetual state of economic and political dependency. And its citizens are likely to suffer the interminable fate of the Greeks, living in the despair of poverty and perpetual government austerity.
Godzilla’s appetite is insatiable, and the Ukraine will not suffice. There must be new conquests. It looks like Venezuela is next, and the charge is being led by Exon-Mobil. (a global leader in the production and export of natural gas.)
The goal has both geopolitical and geo-economic dimensions aimed at forging a fundamental pillar of a new political, economic and financial configuration of the continent.
… the U.S. oil company aims to make the Caribbean dependent on the United Sates both politically and in terms of energy by using its natural gas surplus while at the same time lining up its batteries against Petrocaribe to regain geopolitical control of its key maritime and commercial position, placing a barrier to stop Chinese and Russian capital from investing in areas not only in the energy sector but also infrastructure and transport. 47
Let's not forget Afghanistan. Some observers may wonder why, after sixteen years, the US and its NATO partner aren’t yet ready to withdraw their troops. It’s because the corportocracy isn’t yet finished feeding on that country. Michael Chossudovsky at Global Research suggests the real reasons can be found in the Corporatocracy’s overlaid geopolitical and economic objectives. Chossudovsky describes the Empire’s geopolitical posturing and real motives. The publicly stated mandate of course is counter terrorism -- pursuing the terrorists du jour -- Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS. At the same time, one needs to keep in mind that the US covertly supports these groups.
Under the Afghan-US security pact, established under Obama’s Asian pivot, Washington and its NATO partners have established a permanent military presence in Afghanistan, with military facilities located within proximity of China’s Western frontier. The pact was intended to allow the US to maintain their nine permanent military bases, strategically located on the borders of China, Pakistan and Iran as well as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
This analysis lends some clarity to the geopolitical motivation behind bolstering the US presence is Afghanistan. The US has its sights firmly fixed on China and Iran in particular. Chossudovsky turns to the US’ multiple economic motives for negotiating a permanent presence in Afghanistan.
In addition to its vast mineral and gas reserves, Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the World’s supply of opium which is used to produce grade 4 heroin.
US military bases in Afghanistan are also intent upon protecting the multibillion narcotics trade. Narcotics, at present constitutes the centerpiece of Afghanistan’s export economy.
The heroin trade, instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 and protected by the CIA, generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year.48
So, peel back the layers of PR-coated propaganda regarding its noble commitments to delivering democracy to the world and fighting terrorism and what do you have? It’s the naked self-interest of the American Empire. Fighting terrorism is a convenient pretext for invading and setting up camp in any region of the world, it should be clear why terrorism will never be defeated. For the Empire at least, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. General Smedley Butler must be tossing in his grave.
Our look into the dark nature and ambitions of corporatocracy reveals a deep-seated pathology. It’s one rooted in ruthless ambition, narcissism, greed and an insatiable desire for global control. As the saying goes however, power doesn’t cede power willingly. So we’re left with the question of how to re-capture Godzilla before it brings about complete planetary destruction. It’s time to face the monster.
Speaking out against a monster of his day, slavery, Frederick Douglass stated: “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”49 The central question of our time then is, how much are we prepared to endure? Some resistors focus attention on the failures in accountability inherent in Corporatocracy. Carolanne Wright, for example suggests that when it comes to sustainable development, two vital links, corporate accountability to the government and government accountability to the public, are broken. She suggests that until we have accountable governments, unrestrained corporations will on the environmental front, “pillage local economies and ecosystems”, stripping resources and selling them to the highest bidder. For Wright, Trump’s decision regarding Standing Rock confirms that the will of the people is meaningless.50
David Korten also focuses attention on the matter of the people-government-corporation chain of accountability. Korten argues that any entity created by government should properly be considered a public entity accountable for serving a public purpose and obeying the law while staying out of electoral politics. In fact, Korten declares that the “purely private purpose corporation is an “illegitimate entity”.
… it is the sovereign right — and obligation — of we the People to demand that stateless corporations be broken up and the pieces restructured as national public-purpose legal entities prohibited from engaging in electoral politics and each owned by and accountable to living people who are citizens of the country in which it is chartered to do business.51
The ETC Group, in a paper entitled “Who Owns Nature” (November 2008) reveals that in developing world settings, peasant farmers are leading the resistance to corporate hegemony and developing strategies for social control of technology.
At the same time, there is vast and growing resistance to the dislocation and devastation caused by the agro-industrial food system. Millions of people are struggling for locally controlled and socially just food systems (“Food Sovereignty,” as defined by Via Campesina, is what others have called a global repeasantization movement). Peasant farmers, civil society and social movements are actively creating alternative food and health systems built on resilience, sustainability and sovereignty.
The article outlines some important truths that often elude my former colleagues serving the industrial agriculture industry. They are:
The paper also calls attention to the stifling invasiveness of technological imperialism, something with practical implications for both of the above.
And, as it was with biotechnology, the new technologies don’t need to be socially useful or technically superior (i.e., they don’t have to work) in order to be profitable. All they have to do is chase away the competition and coerce governments into surrendering control. Once the market is monopolized, how the technology performs is irrelevant.52
This could certainly be said of Monsanto’s GMO-glyphosate system of crop production. Monsanto continues to pursue what appears to be an objective of global domination even as the negative environmental and human consequences of widespread adoption become clearer and public resistance grows. In the larger scheme of things, TNCs appear intent on securing monopoly control of nature itself or what the paper terms “the commoditization of life.”51 In light of this, the goal of the Resisters, acquiring social control of major technologies for the well being of the planet, becomes all the more important. In the inverted world of corporatocracy, however, government becomes the servant of corporations, not the people. And even questioning the value of dominant technologies, as I have pointed out, can be career limiting for government employees. Such is the nature of technological imperialism.
Bruce E. Levine, writing in AlterNet, offers his 10 steps to defeat the corporatocracy. Levine begins by saying that simply knowing we are ruled by a corporatocracy isn’t enough to free us from its grip. Too many of us, he argues, “have become pacified by corporatocracy-created institutions and culture.” Interestingly, his first proposal is: Heal from corporate abuse and battered people’s syndrome to gain strength. Moving beyond denial and admitting we are subjugated people is one aspect of this. My sense is that while for many it is unconscious, increasing numbers of citizens of the Empire are awakening to this tyranny.
Among his other proposals, Levine suggests that populists unite in rejecting corporate media’s political divisions. He concludes with the observation that every truly transformative revolution demands “guts” and “solidarity.”53
Ralph Nader’s book sees hope in elevating political consciousness and action:
…it takes one percent or less of the people to be politically conscious and engaged to change conditions or policies, so long as they represent a majority opinion.
He also sees the possibility of a left-right alliance on several fronts.
Citizens need to expand and refine what they want from Congress, keep the focus very personally on each Senator or Representative, and strive to build a left/right alliance on as many contemporary redirections as possible.
Nader lists 24 area of convergence in his book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left/Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.54
Sarah van Gelder proposes a variety of means whereby American citizens could hold the Corporatocracy accountable. Her list of measures includes:
Gelder strikes an optimistic note with her assertion that the Corporatocracy is losing its legitimacy.55 While I hope it’s true, it can be difficult at times to maintain a positive outlook given the immensity of the forces arrayed against the public and the Resistance.
David Korten’s assessment rings true. The fusion of the interests of mega corporations and government has produced a dangerous and destructive monstrosity. And it has impaired every aspect of the healthy functioning of our society. We have, in my view, reached something of a pivotal “Martin Luther” moment in history. The crimes and abuses of a tyrannical corporatocracy stink to high heaven. Resisters may find some encouragement in Gelder’s reminder that the monstrosities of South Africa’s apartheid and the Soviet Union, memories today, once appeared unbeatable. They may also take some encouragement from the fact that that bloated tyrannies often die of their excesses, and this one is clearly characterized by excess. But we can’t count on it.
The critics of a dangerous and destructive Godzilla-like Corporatocracy have ignited the sparks of revolt. But they have not yet been fanned into flames capable of a revolution. The heat of growing public outrage is required to ignite a sustainable revolution. Are you at least mildly outraged by the betrayal of the public interest by your leaders and successive governments? Are you angered by the criminality of your subjugation to Godzilla? If not, I must ask the pivotal question: how much are you prepared to endure?
1 Charles Smith, Of Two Minds, Governments change, the Corporatocracy endures, July 5, 2016, http://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly16/corporatocracy7-16.html
2 Corporate totalitarianism, or not, HuffPost, Marianne Williamson, March 2, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marianne-williamson/corporate-totalitarianism_b_9361826.html
3 Brainy Quote, Lord Action, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/power_corrupts.html
4 The Corporatocracy, Robert Gore, The Daily Coin, April 29, 2017, https://thedailycoin.org/2017/04/29/the-corporatocracy/
5 The rise of the corporatocracy, Graham Vanbergen, Information Clearing House, June 21, 2016, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44929.htm
6 How Occupy Wall Street plans to take down Bank of America, and how you can help, Truthout, April 9, 2012, http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/8418-how-occupy-wall-street-plans-to-take-down-bank-of-america-and-how-you-can-help
7 Bank of America website, Our company, our values, https://about.bankofamerica.com/en-us/who-we-are/values-and-principles.html - fbid=IgvrqjFHGxY
8 HSBC to pay $1.9 billion U.S. fine in money laundering case, Reuters, December 11, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-hsbc-probe/hsbc-to-pay-1-9-billion-u-s-fine-in-money-laundering-case-idUSBRE8BA05M20121211
9 Gangster Bankers: Too big to jail, Rolling Stone, February 14, 2013, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/gangster-bankers-too-big-to-jail-20130214
10 HSBC, Our Values, HSBC website, http://www.hsbc.com/our-approach/our-values
11 Wells Fargo caught with another 1.4 million fake accounts, will anyone ever get jailed, Blacklisted News, September 6, 2017, http://www.blacklistednews.com/Wells_Fargo_caught_with_another_1.4_million_fake_accounts,_will_anyone_ever_get_jailed%3F/60717/0/38/38/Y/M.html
12 The vision and values of Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo, https://www08.wellsfargomedia.com/assets/pdf/about/corporate/vision-and-values.pdf
13 Will opioid lawsuits by county officials against Big Pharma set legal precedent to sue vaccine makers?, Activist Post, September 22, 2017, https://www.activistpost.com/2017/09/will-opioid-lawsuits-county-officials-big-pharma-set-legal-precedent-sue-vaccine-makers.html
14 Feds found Pfizer too big to nail, CNN, April 2, 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/02/pfizer.bextra/
15 Pfizer’s core values, Pfizer, https://www.pfizer.com.cn/(S(i2hqxz45buqpynva52xhe355))/about/pfizer_s_core_values_en.aspx
16 The Evils of Big Pharma exposed, Joachim, Hagopian, Global Research, April 20, 2017, https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-evils-of-big-pharma-exposed/5425382
17 March against Monsanto, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_Against_Monsanto
18 International Monsanto Tribunal, http://www.monsanto-tribunal.org/
19 Soil, Monsanto and the Agribusiness giants: Conning the world with snake oil and doughnuts, Colin Todhunter, Global Research, August 24, 2017, https://www.globalresearch.ca/soil-monsanto-and-the-agribusiness-giants-conning-the-world-with-snake-oil-and-doughnuts/5605487
20 Monsanto secret documents show massive attack on Seralini study, Sustainable Pulse, August 1, 2017, http://sustainablepulse.com/2017/08/01/monsanto-secret-documents-show-massive-attack-on-seralini-study/ - .WbaoHdOGOlM
21 Monsanto attempt to block glyphosate from California cancer list tossed by judge, Blacklisted News, March 13, 2017, http://www.blacklistednews.com/Monsanto_attempt_to_block_glyphosate_from_California_cancer_list_tossed_by_judge/57319/0/38/38/Y/M.html
22 The Monsanto Papers: MDL Glyphosate cancer case key documents and analysis, US Right to Know, https://usrtk.org/pesticides/mdl-monsanto-glyphosate-cancer-case-key-documents-analysis/
23 The complete history of Monsanto, the world’s most evil corporation, E. Hanzai, Waking Times, June 22, 2014, Global Research, September 15, 2016, https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-complete-history-of-monsanto-the-worlds-most-evil-corporation/5387964
24 Our pledge, Monsanto, https://www.monsanto.ca/whoweare/Pages/monsanto-pledge.aspx
25 Mosaic Mine is a big loser and a predator in Florida!, Dr. Steve Pieczenik, Pieczenik Talks, August 26, 2017, http://stevepieczenik.com/mosaic-mine-is-a-big-loser-and-a-predator-in-florida/
26 The West’s war on free speech, Tony Cartalucci, Global Research, June 6, 2017, https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-wests-war-on-free-speech/5593606
27 Facebook’s five core values, http://blog.deliveringhappiness.com/blog/facebooks-5-core-values-for-success-at-work
28 Google Core Values, SCRIBD, https://www.scribd.com/doc/44700112/Google-Core-Values
29 CDC corruption: Scientists on the inside slam the agency, ANH USA, October 25, 2016, http://www.anh-usa.org/cdc-corruption-scientists-on-the-inside-slam-the-agency/
30 August 29, 2016 letter to Ms. Carmen S. Villar, Chief of Staff, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, https://usrtk.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/CDC_SPIDER_Letter-1.pdf
31 Mission, Vision and Goals, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/eeo/aboutus/mission.htm
32 Michael R. Taylor, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_R._Taylor
33 Monsanto, big guy on the block when it comes to friends in Washington, OpenSecrets.org, February 19, 2013, https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2013/02/monsanto/
34 Revealed: How corporations captured our democracy, Christine Berry, Sodium Haze, October 12, 2015, http://www.sodiumhaze.org/2015/10/12/revealed-how-corporations-captured-our-democracy-christine-berry/
35 Corporate rule is not inevitable, HuffPost, March 24, 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-van-gelder/post_2881_b_1220463.html
36 House spending bill would decimate campaign finance rules, John Light, Truthout, August 3, 2017, http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41491-the-latest-sneaky-attempt-to-increase-corporate-political-power
37 War is a Racket by Major General Smedley Butler, ratical.org, https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html
38 Rise of global corporatocracy: An interview with John Perkins, Monthly Review, Vol 64, Issue 10, March 2013, https://monthlyreview.org/2013/03/01/rise-of-the-global-corporatocracy-an-interview-with-john-perkins/
39 New video evidence of America’s Coup in the Ukraine -- -and what it means, Washington Blog, February 8, 2015, http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/02/new-video-evidence-americas-coup-ukraine-means.html
40 “The Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine, Ivan Katchanovski Ph.D., School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Presented at the Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association, San Francisco, September 3-6, 2015, https://www.academia.edu/8776021/The_Snipers_Massacre_on_the_Maidan_in_Ukraine
41 Ukraine’s president Poroshenko admits overthrow of Yanukovych was a coup, Zero Hedge, June 22, 2015, http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-22/ukraine’s-president-poroshenko-admits-overthrow-yanukovych-was-coup
42 Corporate interests behind US backed coup in Ukraine, Madonna Gauding, Occasional Planet, March 24, 2014, http://occasionalplanet.org/2014/03/24/corporate-interests-behind-u-s-backed-coup-in-ukraine/
43 Exposing the corporate interests behind the Ukraine coup, JP Sottile, Alternet, March 19, 2014, http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/exposing-us-corporate-interests-behind-ukraine-putsch
44 Monsanto and Ukraine, Joyce Nelson, Blacklisted News, August 27, 2014, http://www.blacklistednews.com/Monsanto_and_Ukraine/37544/0/38/38/Y/M.html
45 The looting of Ukraine has begun, Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for political economy, March 6, 2014, http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/03/06/looting-ukraine-begun/
46 Western Coup in Ukraine an on-going disaster, Jim Dean August 3, 2016, https://journal-neo.org/2016/08/03/western-coup-in-ukraine-an-ongoing-disaster/
47 US occupation has already begun and is being conducted by ExonMobil, Mission Verdad, June 27, 2017, http://misionverdad.com/mv-in-english/us-occupation-has-already-begun-and-is-being-conducted-by-exxonmobil
48 “The war is worth waging”: Afghanistan’s vast reserves of minerals and natural gas, Michael Chossudovsky, June 16, 2010, https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-war-is-worth-waging-afghanistan-s-vast-reserves-of-minerals-and-natural-gas/19769
49 Frederick Douglass, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress,” BlackPast, http://www.blackpast.org/1857-frederick-douglass-if-there-no-struggle-there-no-progress
50 How the power imbalance between corporations, governments and people prevents sustainable solutions, Carolanne Wright, The Event Chronicle, March 27, 2017, http://www.theeventchronicle.com/news/north-america/power-imbalance-corporations-governments-people-prevents-sustainable-solutions/
51 Forget more regulation: Make corporations serve the public interest, David Korten, Yes Magazine, November 2, 2016, http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/forget-more-regulation-make-corporations-serve-the-public-interest-20161102
52 Who owns nature? Corporate power and the final frontier in the commodification of life, ETC Group, November 2008, http://www.etcgroup.org/sites/www.etcgroup.org/files/publication/707/01/etc_won_report_final_color.pdf
53 10 Steps to defeat the corporatocracy, Bruce E. Levine, Alternet, May 20, 2011, https://www.alternet.org/story/151018/10_steps_to_defeat_the_corporatocracy
54 Breaking through power: It’s easier than we think, Ralph Nader, The Nader Page, March 1, 2017, https://blog.nader.org/2017/03/01/breaking-through-power-its-easier-than-we-think-2/
55 7 signs the corporatocracy is losing it’s legitimacy and 7 tools to help shut in down, Sarah van Gelder, Alternet, January 29, 2012, https://www.alternet.org/story/153933/7_signs_the_corporatocracy_is_losing_its_legitimacy--and_7_tools_to_help_shut_it_down
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For the better part of the last four decades, I have been encouraging people and organizations to anticipate the shape of their futures and plan accordingly. It can be daunting, but it can also be immensely practical. It can be as practical as using a set of binoculars to scope out a distant slope when hiking or winterizing your car before winter’s onslaught. Organizations that develop foresight capabilities are, among other things, creating a kind of organizational radar. This enables them to integrate discernible elements of tomorrow into today’s strategies and decisions.