Thousands Suffer After Africa Land Grabs.

by Jerry Alatalo

ocean44Alphabet Executive Director of the Oakland Institute Anuradha Mittal and her team have worked for years on land, food and environment issues in regions around the Earth. Oakland Institute recently joined the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in exposing World Bank actions involving land grabs/acquisitions by foreign investors in Ethiopia which have resulted in tens of thousands of small farmers becoming forcibly evicted from their land.

Ms. Mittal describes the situation with regard to land grabs in Ethiopia as “dire”, with evicted farmers and their families facing persecution, intimidation, and arrest if refusing to leave the land which has sustained them for generations or by protesting. While many around the world are under the impression that colonialism in Africa is long-over and a thing of the past, what the Oakland Institute has discovered is a type of “re-colonization” of the African continent has occurred in recent years through land grabs/giveaways to investors looking to extract natural resources.

The Oakland Institute has become an organization that people in African nations and other regions on Earth go to when such deceptive transactions reach the point where bulldozers begin leveling homes of people who’ve farmed and worked the land to make a living for, as mentioned, generations. Despite a common absence of government transparency making it difficult to produce financial and land area statistics, Ms. Mittal was able to share that in the year 2011 – globally, 56 million hectares (a hectare is the size of a football field), roughly the size of France, became transferred from small-scale subsistence farmers/land owners to international investors.

In the last decade, the amount of land transferred to corporate and individual investors globally was 200 million hectares, of which 70% was on the African continent.  Whether investors were looking for profits from large agribusiness operations, mining, or other types of business opportunities, too often large numbers of small-scale farmers have become displaced. While financial institutions like the World Bank, prospective corporations/investors, along with corrupt government officials in the various nations explain their actions as “economic development, job creation, poverty reduction, food security for the people of Africa” etc., in Ms. Mittal’s view people’s land is being stolen.

So, Oakland Institute’s researchers have exposed the false argument that foreign investors and the World Bank are only interested in “socially responsible, benevolent  investment, meant only for carrying out altruistic goals like improving the people’s quality of life”. Ms. Mittal may uncover the true motives of foreign investors in African nations by pointing out that African lands are being sold at $.50-($7-9) per hectare compared to $7-8,000 per hectare in Malaysia/Indonesia, $26,000 per hectare in the United Kingdom, and $14-17,000 per hectare in the midwest United States  for the same quality land.

Oakland Institute Director Anuradha Mittal believes the land is being stolen and not being paid for, that the practice of land grabs shows the absence in nations of rule of law, and that wealthy corporations/investors are taking the opportunity to re-colonize Africa and get away it.

She points out that the World Bank’s recent creation of “ease of doing business rankings” for developing nations has resulted in a “race to the bottom”, where the less environment, labor, tax, and legal constraints a nation has for investors the better the country’s ranking. This race to the bottom trend has negative consequences for men, women and children living in the various developing nations as related to democracy and governing for the health and well-being of citizens. Combine this with the near unanimous participation of corporations and wealthy individuals in the global tax haven/evasion industry and developing nations are essentially being plundered.

The Oakland Institute has earned much credit for bringing these corrupt practices to the awareness of the world’s people, and has because of their actions – combined with the group’s global recognition and solid reputation for anti-corruption efforts and reasearch – successfully prevented or reversed large-scale land transactions which otherwise would have harmed a great number of people.

Please disseminate The Oakland Institute and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ extremely valuable, important work to honorable leaders everywhere on Earth – and to the attention of contacts/friends you know in developing countries, especially nations on the continent of Africa. It will truly make all the difference in the world.

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The Oakland Institute: www.oaklandinstitute.org

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists: www.icij.org

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(Thank you to SaharaTV at YouTube)

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World Bank Challenged By International Consortium Of Investigative Journalists.

by Jerry Alatalo

whitekeys4-1Alphabet Thus far, more than 50 journalists around the Earth have signed on and are participating in an investigation of the World Bank, sponsored by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The name of the international project is “Evicted and Abandoned: The World Bank’s Broken Promise to the Poor”.

Upon hearing word of this important and revealing global effort by ICIJ, one immediately wondered if the effort will be enough to break the historical chain of events starting 500 years ago in North and South America, when genocide of indigenous people of unimaginable proportions was undertaken for wealth acquisition.

Since 2004 World Bank actions have led to displacement of 3.4 million mostly poor people. How many of those people, forced to flee from the land of their ancestors by violence, hunger, and/or extreme poverty, have become the subject of greater numbers of refugee/migrant media reports – in particular about hundreds perishing while trying to cross the Mediterrean?

Structural adjustment (austerity) programs pushed for decades by the World Bank and other giant, privately owned international financial organizations has resulted in nations of the global south collectively losing 500 billion dollars per year during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Trillions of dollars over the years have become transferred out of poor, developing nations to investors and stockholders outside those nations, mainly through the World Bank’s facilitation of extractive industries, combined with the aforementioned “structural adjustment” programs.

Mr. Alnoor Ladha told the host of the Real News Network during his interview that the World Bank has been “…highly successful at trickle-up economics, not a conspiracy theory because the track record speaks for itself”.

Americans won’t learn from standard school history texts about the genocide of Native Americans – posited by many as the most horrific genocide in human history. “Sanitized” versions of history do not give American high school history students the truth, and they will only find the truth in books by historians who possess(ed) a conscience, such as “People’s History of the United States” by the late Howard Zinn. The men and women journalists collaborating on ICIJ’s “Evicted and Abandoned” project are essentially doing the same work that Mr. Zinn undertook, the only difference being that their intent is bringing the truth about this generation to millions around the world.

Will ICIJ’s noble and moral efforts be enough to stop centuries-old/historical exploitation of human beings by other human beings?

President Barack Obama explained his administration’s decision to improve relations with Cuba – whether one believes in the benevolence of the action or not – by saying “after something hasn’t worked for 50 years, it’s time for a change”.  What over 50 international journalists, well-known media groups, and independent citizen journalists/volunteers working with ICIJ are saying is something close to Mr. Obama, but much more significant and universal: “after something hasn’t worked for 500 years, it’s time for change”.

Instances of genocide since 500 years ago have decreased in direct inverse proportion to humanity’s advancements in the ability to communicate over longer and longer distances at continuously increasing speed. Those generational, ever-present individuals who have shared the same insatiable desire for riches at the expense of others – from genocide, illegal wars, secretive financial dealings, bribery, corruption, manipulations for profit, to massive frauds –  are today finding it much more difficult to operate with malevolent intentions because of nearly instantaneous communication by people the world over on the internet and honorable journalists/media groups like those coordinating with ICIJ.

Humanity’s ability to communicate faster may have reached its zenith. Today’s technology, as it relates to speed and talking to people on the other side of Earth, quite possibly is as good as it’s going to get. So, humanity probably now has achieved the greatest ability to communicate in history, thus enabling the best opportunity ever for ending exploitation of our fellow human beings.

The sole remaining question for consideration is how well men and women the world over are going to exercise that immense ability.

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(Thank you to TheRealNews at YouTube)

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(Thank you to ICIJ at YouTube)

For more information on ICIJ’s ongoing, superb global investigation of the World Bank and its track record of actions negatively affecting the lives of poor people around the Earth, please visit:

http://www.icij.org/project/world-bank

Please share the link widely. Thank you.

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Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Sign Of Major Global Change.

by Jerry Alatalo

cropped-suits-333.jpgAlphabet Like a small city which has had only one bank for decades then a new banking competitor comes to town and sets up operations, the global mega-banking institutions World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and others now have the newly created BRICS Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to compete against.

According to John Perkins, author of the best-selling book “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”, this is a good thing for humanity.

Despite critical opposition by the United States, 27 countries have officially signed on to AIIB, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and others, while Australia and South Korea are seen by analysts as close to joining. Most observers believe the U.S. is not likely to sign on.

Mr. Perkins, who worked as an economist arranging billion dollar World Bank, IMF, and similar large international institutions’ loans to developing nations in his self-described role as a “hit man”, feels that these institutions “blew it” after the fall of the former Soviet Union by taking advantage of their monopolistic, “take it or leave it”, and sometimes deadly business tactics (assassination) when dealing with elected leaders of nations.

The U.S. Congress has avoided approving a package of reforms to the IMF agreed upon in 2010 which would have given China and other emerging economies a greater say in decision-making. AIIB, along with Latin America focused BRICS Development Bank, allow the world’s elected leaders another option when financial resources are necessary for improving their economies.

In other words, because the World Bank, IMF and similar giant international financial institutions ignored the business world’s main maxim “the customer is always right”, top bank management opened the path for AIIB and BRICS to form and compete in the now-transformed market of multi-billion dollar development financing.

Just as the formerly competition-free small city bank’s managers now have to actually earn their potential customers’ business, trust and confidence after the competition set up operations, so, too, will the top management at World Bank, IMF, etc. Given the extreme “service” the world’s leaders and their citizens have endured for decades; that much harm has come to those nations’ populations when leaders signed the debt-crippling, austerity-generating loan contracts arranged by John Perkins and fellow economic hit men, people can find some reason for optimism with these new, world-consequence events.

And God knows the world’s people, after reading or watching their daily disheartening news reports, really wanted to hear some good, optimistic news for a change.

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(Thank you to CCTV America at YouTube)

Hope: The Feeling That Something Desired Is Possible.

Allegorical personification of Hope: "Hop...
Allegorical personification of Hope: “Hope in a Prison of Despair” by Evelyn de Morgan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted November 24, 2013

by Jerry Alatalo

Can there be a general, over-arching statement which sums up what the majority of the human race desires? I suppose the statement would have to do with noble concepts like peace, generosity, sharing, respect, and brotherhood. Perhaps the words contained in the preamble to the United Nations Charter, “to practice tolerance and live with one another as good neighbors” would suffice.

And what exact level of importance, if any, can be attributed to the human quality called hope, a feeling that desires are possible to meet and create? Is there any way that human desires regarding better living conditions for all people on Earth are affected by the sum total of this thing called hope – in the lives of every man, woman, and child in the world? Assuming that hope is a feeling associated with possibility, is hope the prerequisite feeling (or belief) that is necessary before any action(s) are taken to bring about the conditions which are desired?

My guess is that most men and women who write on their blogs want to communicate in such a way that a desired human condition, or conditions, becomes reality. Now, one can reasonably assert that men and women who write, perform music with a certain message, or any of the many forms of communicating, have a feeling, the hope, that their communications will in fact help to bring about a desired reality.

Then, we can ask ourselves if, absent such a feeling of hope, any man or woman would even try to communicate. Absent the inner feeling or belief that a new or better world is possible there would be no effort exerted by an individual to help, in small or large, partially informed or greatly informed ways, create such a possible world.

Philosophy is defined as, “study of truths underlying being and knowledge.” Of all the billions of words devoted to the philosophical is there reason to believe, feel, or hope, that a world where all people acknowledge the highest truth contained in the statement made by the man called Jesus, “this is my commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you”, is possible?

I believe, feel, and hope that such a world is possible.

For whatever reasons, my writings have come to focus on conditions and situations on Earth which have been kept hidden away from the people – private central banking, GMO foods, reasons for war and killing, as well as the personal, internal aspects of spirituality. Perhaps through writing men and women come to a point where a percentage of the motives for writing and communicating is for self-awareness and growth, while part of the motivation is sharing any discovery with others.

Writing could be viewed as both a personal and shared journey through the inner worlds of thought, a journey focused on arriving at a place where one can identify truth, knowledge, and possible, positive actions leading to a better world. A world of human material and spiritual evolution where the problems of Earthly existence – war, greed, hate, separation thinking, ego-based systems on both the personal and collective levels, lack of reverence for all life forms, and all the other problems which cause dis-ease, can become dealt with in the best ways that human thinking can muster.

My first awareness of the historical realities of banking and money creation came with watching Bill Still’s documentary “The Secret of Oz“. Without going into a long essay about the Federal Reserve, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Bank for International Settlements, let me just say that money creation should be in the power of the people as a whole, not in the hands of the very few. Nations around the world should choose to create their own money/currency without interest or debt, thereby experiencing the highest level of human freedom possible.

The reason why issues surrounding international finance, wealth inequality, and national debts owed to private central banks, along with austerity measures leading to negative situations for a great many people around the world, are highly important is that these issues are the most consequential. I have advocated for abolishment of private central banks and establishment of national, state, and county public banks operating as a public utility, based on models such as the Bank of North Dakota. The American people, for that matter the people of any nation, do not need privately owned central bank involvement in their nations’ monetary affairs.

A little known fact is that the founders of America fought to break way from the British colonial system for financial freedom, to take monetary power and place it in the hands of all people, not just a select wealthy few. A select wealthy few control money creation and the quantity of money today. Public banking would resolve this unfortunate imbalance.

So, I found the following video of Mark Novitsky appearing on Russia Today (RT), where he shares his experiences. This is the first interview of Mr. Novitsky I have listened to. I will say that I agree with his sentiments regarding accountability and responsibility, facing punishment for crimes committed, for those in the financial sector whose frauds and corrupt activities led to the 2008 economic crisis. His words about how unfortunate it is that Barack Obama and Eric Holder have not grasped that “crime expands the more we tolerate it” are right to the point.

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Perhaps Mr. Novitsky’s interview will, to some small or large extent, increase your hope, feeling, and belief in what is humanly possible.

(Video source: RT – YouTube)

 

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