Jennifer Lake's Blog

October 31, 2009

Eco-Village Under Glass

Meet Will Raap, owner/partner in the ‘green’ communities of the Tierra Verde developments on Costa Rica’s Gold Coast. What makes Raap’s communities ‘green’ appears to be the special status acquired by the partnership in securing official cooperation from the Costa Rican government with supplemental funding and planned infrastructure, like roads. We would have to ask him point-blank if having friends in the Debt-for-Nature program is good for business. Clearly trading in Green is good for Will Raap.
http://www.gardeners.com/Meet-Will-Raap/7146,default,pg.html

I wasn’t bothered too much at first by Will Raap as I made my way through his biography and company listings, expecting the usual hyperbole of praises garnered on outstanding citizens; graduate of UCDavis and UCBerkeley who moved to Burlington VT and started an online business –Gardener’s Supply in 1983– and parlayed his successes into environmental politics. From there he organized the purchase of Vermont farmlands in an act of community-spirited preservation which launched him to regional and national fame as a speaker and role-model.

But then, a number of troubling situations appeared as I looked closer. Raap is definitively on-board with Global Warming and Carbon offset trading (which is a multi-faceted ‘credit’ system) and his close partnership with 37-yr-old Matthew Hayden of Hayden Communications International aroused my attention to the gamier side of the Green mountain boys. It occurred to me to check if their mouths were where the money is.

Matthew Hayden,  primary partner in Tierra Verde,  is the owner/founder of HCI, described as “a leading full service investor relations firm exclusively for China based, publicly listed companies”. HCI lists its offices in New York and China http://reuters.com/article/PressRelease/idUS25111+27-Mar-2009+PR… but maintains corporate representation throughout California. Its difficult to tell just how deep HCI goes in the financial and information industries or just how diversified Mr. Hayden is in the numerous business entities he directs. Hayden, on his own behalf, claims an affinity for the beach life, personally signing on to Tierra Verde’s many advertized charms. http://www.tierraverdeuvita.com/news (catch the video on the homepage). A sampling of HCI’s activity and clients is listed below. (By the way, one of the creepy uses of “HCI” is to designate Human-Computer Interface, DARPA darling)
http://www.armcometals.com/news/news_press100808.php , Armco Metals, PRC
http://newsblaze.com/story/2009032504030500028.pnw/topstory.html, China Green Agriculture, Inc., PRC
http://www.bphx.com/en/Pages/default.aspx  , Blue Phoenix Solutions, Inc., Israel
http://blog.chinasecurities.com/category/posts-matt-hayden/
http://www.haydenir.com/newsletters/spring2008newsletter.htm, HCI’s own bulletin
http://www.haydenir.com/

Raap’s company, Gardener’s Supply, with a viewable inventory online looks like a veritable import-export clearinghouse for Chinese merchandise. Some environmentalists that I know would object –the Buy Local types. On the “recalled” products page, I found something truly objectionable –a Flame Weeder. Yes, a mini-flame-throwing weed incinerator that attaches to disposable propane canisters –recalled not for being ungreen, but for a faulty attachment coupling that leaks gas and puts the user at risk for flash-over burns. http://www.gardeners.com/Flame-Weeder-Recall/5210,default,pg.html . For a moment, I enjoyed the joke. This product comes from the UK.

On the loftier side, Will Raap steps out big as the chairman of NGO, The Earth Partners. This is the group that involves itself deeply in the affairs of Costa Rica. One of the Partners, Brinkman and Associates, is in progress converting ‘underutilized’ farmland into teak hardwood plantations. Teak, native to South Asia, is a high-value lumber with natural resistance to weathering making it desirable for flooring and outdoor furniture. The family Raap has developed a teak furniture enterprise to add to the other business ventures in hand. Mrs. Raap comes from Costa Rican coffee-plantation gentility, another huge agricultural growth industry that’s gone green with Fair Trade and niche-market sales, similar to other debt-for-nature nations in the neo-colonial Americas.

The Earth Partners (TEP) “was formed to advance the best forest, wetland, grassland and rangeland EcoSystem Restoration projects in the world”, or more bluntly put, eugenics for Mother Earth. Brinkman is proud to announce that monoculturing teak has replaced the local mismanagement of growing corn and beans. Brinkman operates under the business name of BARCA, S.A. and “its plantations are acknowledged to be some of the best in the world”. The Nature Conservancy is “helping to assemble key land parcels for biofuel production projects” involving TEP and POET, the leading US ethanol producer. TEP’s website explains that “possibilities also exist that these lands being restored for biofuel production may generate multiple entrepreneurial revenue streams (e.g. carbon credits, water credits, wetland credits, biodiversity credits, hunting rights leases, flood damage reduction credits..)” and this is how Green plays on. http://www.theearthpartners.com/ and
http://www.reforestteak.com/Our-Partners-and-Associated-Projects_ep_45-1.html

Meanwhile, back at the beach, where the ‘second home’ market is very hot, the 500 acres of Pueblo Verde has something to offer the low-key buyer who prefers a more ‘integrated’ feel than the other sister developments of Tierra Verde. “The area closest to the highway and parallel to the entrance [lot #1]..we are reserving for 2 or 3 families from the area. Our policy at Pueblo Verde is ‘don’t gate, integrate’. In our valley, the imbalance of wealth is making it hard for locals to own land. We want to be good neighbors. The residents on this property will be available for help in the project and offer a form of community security which is ‘built in’, low profile but highly effective.” http://www.puebloverde.org/Pueblo_Verde_Blog.html, (under “Homesites”)

October 22, 2009

Modern War, 1968

Excerpt from *”The Biological Time Bomb”, author Gordon Rattray Taylor, copyright 1968
[page 184]

“In current thinking, the best way to wage war is to wage it without your enemy even being aware that it is happening. If, for example, you can control the weather so as to ensure poor crops for your enemy and good ones for yourself, in the course of years you will gradually improve the position of your country relative to his. Then perhaps you could quietly introduce a few crop diseases –nothing dramatic which would lead to suspicion, just a slight rise here and there apparently from some natural cause. And why stop at plant or stock diseases? Some minor human epidemics might help. Even the common cold keeps people away from work. It might be ten years or more before it dawned on the health authorities that they were really being too unlucky with minor illnesses. Meanwhile you inflate your own statistics a little, to avoid odious comparisons. And, of course, this is merely the biological side. Industrial disputes, insurance losses, the draining away of brain-power, and a thousand other things will help to undermine the strength of a country. Even a narrow-minded regime, an obfuscating religion, can prevent a country’s progress. And who knows whether this is just a speculation? Perhaps there are nations consciously waging this kind of warfare now.”

..”Or perhaps actual gene warfare. If viruses can be used to carry new genetic material into cells, perhaps one could tamper with the genes of another nation without their ever realizing the fact. History would simply record, as it has so often in the past, that such-an-such a nation rose to power while certain other countries entered a decline.”

*published by the New American Library, Inc. in association with The World Publishing Co., originally published in Great Britain

***************

from my 1961-1980 Timeline:

1968
–Jan., the North Vietnamese VC launch the Tet Offensive
–Robert S. MacNamara, who says US cannot ‘win’ war in Vietnam is replaced as Sec. of Defense by Clark M. Clifford, MacNamara becomes president of the World Bank
–My Lai Massacre of Vietnamese village residents by US troops is reported in a letter to Nixon by ‘Charlie Company’ trooper Ronald Ridenhour
–March, first successful human heart transplant
–April 4, Martin Luther King assassinated in Memphis, TN
–US military dumps obsolete weapons stores off  US coastal waters
Marburg virus infects ‘monkey handlers’ in Germany; monkeys used in vaccine production
–June 6, Robert F. Kennedy assassinated in California
Hong Kong Flu goes pandemic, strains H3N2 (brought from Vietnam) and H2N2 (Japan strain)
1969
–Drs John Gofman and A. Tamplin say ionizing radiation is cause in all cancers
–July 16, Apollo 11 moon landing, 5 more complete crewed landings occur through Dec. 1972 Apollo 17
–major sheep kill from biowar release outside the Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah
–hurricane Camille, category 5
1970
–creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
–launch of the first “Ecology Day” (Earth Day) by Gaylord Nelson
–May 4, students shot and killed at Kent State University, Ohio, by National Guardsmen
–the World Bank initiates a Third World lending program
–George Soros and Jim Rogers co-found the Quantum Fund N.V., offshore banking
***************

In 1968 the Club of Rome was created as a policy think-tank of international science and businessmen that counted heads of State among its supporting members. Two very influential publications define the objectives of the Club; “Limits To Growth” distributed in 1972 and “The First Global Revolution” in 1993. The Club came to define the “new enemy” in its ’93 report prepared by (co-founder) Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider, http://scribd.com/doc/13160503/The-First-Global-Revolution-Club-of-Rome
[page 75]
In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill.
                                                    …The real enemy then is humanity itself
                                                   

Excerpts from “The First Global Revolution” offered in context:

“1968 was the year of the Great Divide. It marked the zenith as well as the end of the long post-war period of rapid economic growth in the industrial countries. But it was also a year of social unrest with the eruption of student uprisings in many countries and other manifestations of alienation and counter-culture protest..”–“Limits To Growth was never intended as a prophecy, but rather as a warning..” 

“The topic of recent [late 80s] Club of Rome meetings has been the ‘Great Transition’: we are convinced that we are in the early stages of the formation of a new type of world society which will be as different from..the Industrial Revolution [was] from the society of the long agrarian period that preceded it.”

[page 29] “The New Plagues”…”that of crime, violence and coercion organized for monetary gain or political power..[like] the well-organized drug trade.”

[concerning the spiral of national debts enhanced by the WB/IMF lending programs of the 1970s, pp.57-58] “The cost of debt service each year is influenced by interest rates and the value of the dollar. This dangerously unstable situation..if unattended, may well undermine the future prospects of the world economy..
   On its own, the debtedness of the developing countries constitutes a serious and growing threat…New resources will also be needed on a substantial scale.
   Developing a viable approach to the debt and development problem will require a far more coherent linkage of policies and institutions concerned with financial management (IMF), with investment and development (the Word Bank), and trade (UNCTAD, CATP)…In spite of institutional reluctance, policy objectives and actions in such interlinked fields as finance, debt management, investment, development policy, human resource development, trade, and environment must be made more coherent.”

[page64] “In general, non-governmental activity has achieved a new order of importance..”
“The Asian Dragons, otherwise known as NICs (Newly Industrialized Countries..Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea) have achieved great prosperity which is based to a large extent on exploitation of the new technologies. There is a lesson here…”
   “(Some of the poorer countries are also showing the results of creative inititative –for example, the recent progress in Botswana and consistent development in Zimbabwe)”

“Through numerous multilateral or bilateral conferences, meetings and telephone calls, personal relationships are being established which enable a better understanding among the human beings behind the official masks.”

[page66] ..”the end of the ‘American Dream’ which lost its credibility with the painful Vietnam War,..Hispanic migration,..poverty within plenty, drugs, violence and AIDS, and the fact that the ‘melting pot’ no longer worked were..factors in its demise.”
   “The need for enemies seems to be a common historical factor. Some states have striven to overcome domestic failure and internal contradictions by blaming external enemies. The ploy of finding a scapegoat is as old as mankind itself –when things become too difficult at home, divert attention to adventure abroad. Bring the divided nation together to face an outside enemy, either a real one or else one invented for the purpose.”

..”the sudden absence of traditional adversaries has left governments and public opinion with a great void to fill. New enemies have to be identified, new strategies imagined and new weapons devised. The new enemies..threaten the whole human race, and their names are pollution, water shortage, famine, malnutrition, illiteracy and unemployment. However it appears as yet insufficient for bringing about world cohesion and solidarity for the fight. Also the failure of many ideologies has removed some of the necessary points of reference.”

[page71]..”f’reedom’ alone cannot reorganize a state, write a constitution, create a market  and establish economic growth, rebuild industry and agriculture, or build a new social structure…This is why the concept of human rights simply ‘initiates’ but cannot implement the process of democratization…The old democracies have functioned reasonably well over the last two hundred years, but they appear now to be in a phase of complacent stagnation”
..”It is hoped..that people will not reproduce slavish copies of existing models that are unable to meet contemporary needs. Democracy is not a panacea… It is unaware of its own limits”..

“In its present form, democracy is no longer well suited for use [in the] tasks ahead…”

“Winston Churchill was right when he quipped ‘Democracy is the worst of all systems, except for the rest’. “..we must be aware of its erosion, its fragility and its limitations…a democracy is particularly damaging at the international level. When..international policing is required, delays on taking decisions can mortally affect the lives of thousands of people.”

[page73] “The problem then is to invent instruments of governance capable of coping with change…we also have to determine the characteristics of the capacity to govern. ‘Global Governance’ in our vocabulary does not imply a global ‘government’ but rather the institutions set up for cooperation, coordination and common action”..
[page74]..”large bureaucracies that spread their tentacles around the centers of power..slow down or paralyze both decision-making and implementation.”

..”a dynamic world needs an effective nervous system at the grassroots level..to make the identification of every citizen with the common process of governance possible.
   In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill.
…The real enemy then, is humanity itself…thus sparing no region, no society.”..”[social] phenomena are setting the stage, on many different levels, for a new upsetting environment where deviant behavior is in general..perceived as being commonplace”..

[page77] “Parents and teachers, the point of reference in most societies, have not been prepared by their education to adjust to the new situation imposed upon them today. As the late sociologist Margaret Mead remarked, “Young people are the native population of the new world in which we adults are immigrants”. Some of us would even go along with her observation that “nowhere in the world do there exist adults who know what their children know…In the past, there were always some elders who knew more..than any child. Today there are no longer any.”

“Thanks to modern information technology, young people are being exposed rapidly to more and more tacts that give them reason to believe that their elders lack responsibility and are unaware of enormous dangers,..shocks that lead to the feeling of generalized disorder.”
..”Children watch television and learn about all aspects of human life. They learn to be persons with individual choices, inclinations and freedom. The conflict between inherited and acquired values is such that if a young person wants to think and act for himself, he must have lots of courage or he will break down. Not having been given the means to distinguish the fundamental meaning…the younger generation is rejecting traditions and values as a whole and sketching out new trends: today, adolescents are the ones who know about and contribute to the major transnational trends, and try to stand firm against the dangers. Their parents now have to seek their consent and negotiate their own former unquestioned authority.”
…”there is only one way out..[for parents to] truly listen to and learn from their children..”

[page79] “Signs of discord have gradually appeared in the global society, inducing fear and bringing young people together despite differences of class, culture and country.”
..”another aspect of this great transition is the felt need to go back to the ancient spiritual principles..or to find solace in cults and pseudo religions..”
..”the Western model of modernization, consumption, economic growth and social progress..has not kept its promise”

“The three worlds –the Industrialized one, the second one mainly constituted by the Communist countries..and the underdeveloped Third World– are no more.”

[page83]”Never in the course of history has humanity been faced with so many threats and dangers…man is sucked into a global cyclone of confusion, swirling with seemingly unrelated factors, the causes of which form an inextricable maze…”
..”mankind is overwhelmed by the range of the difficulties confronting it from all sides; overwhelmed –and the word is not too strong– because the traditional structures, governments and institutions can no longer manage the problems…To make things worse, the archaic and unsuitable structures are themselves in the midst of a true moral crisis. The disappearance of value systems,..traditions,..collapse of ideologies,..absence of a global vision,..practices of democracy — all contribute to the void confronting societies.”

“States with constitutional laws and rights violate international law whenever the matter is solely one of national interest…Religions often serve as an excuse for fraticidal strife…”

“What we observe today is a general malaise which strikes men with stupor, paralysis and unnamed fears…This is the formidable challenge..”
“A global challenge requires a global approach.”

[End of Part I; Part II of this report begins on page 85]

One might ask if the purpose of the Vietnam War was to wake the sleepy “Asian Dragons” and draw out the industrial might of the East. The multi-use objectives of the 60s, 1968 in particular, set American society (and elsewhere) into a fever of dissarray that hastened the Youth culture repudiation of tradition and values that would later ensnare them in mass-media subversion and drugs. In a continuation of the race riots, rechanneled and expanded, the 60s war protests offered the seeding of ‘hope and peace’ in the birth of the Ecology movement.

Two of Hollywood’s blockbusters that year: ‘2001, A Space Odyssey’ (remember the Embryonic Child?) and ‘Planet of the Apes’..
http://www.sixties60s.com/1968movies.htm 

October 18, 2009

Cheeseburger In Paradise


*
“In vitro meat” is coming! Not an imitation ‘mock meat’, but real meat grown in the lab that will hopefully appeal to vegans and vegetarians as well as die-hard carnivores. The purveyors of in-vitro-meat are working hard to overcome the obstacles of scale-production, cost and the biological requirements of animal-like texture and taste. wow…The idea of Dutchman Willem van Eelen, who thought it up languishing in a WWII Japanese POW camp, is now a “dream coming true” with the help of the In Vitro Meat Consortium and the U.S. non-profit ‘New Harvest’ organization. All they need are stem cells and support for the research, and by the looks of it, a lot of research help is going to be needed. It’s not only expensive to re-invent nature, it’s tricky.

Jimmy Buffett surely won’t mind me borrowing the title of one of his most famous songs since he is a dedicated fundraiser for ecological causes. And when Utopia comes, well, we’re all hoping for a luscious menu, aren’t we? Nobody I know is very turned on by the the thought of Soylent Green, but eerily, the problems of in-vitro-meat are more Soylent Green-like than we’re being led to expect. According to this article in Scientific American, critics and skeptics within the science community note that “in the past three decades, scientists have only succeeded in deriving embryonic stem cell lines from two animal species: the mouse in 1981 and the human in 1998.”  Controllable stem cells, because of their rapid growth, are essential to making an industry out of this vision. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=test-tube-pork

Making an industry with in-vitro-meat, however, is a primary and compatible goal of One-Worldism. They know you can’t live on fruit so they’re busily working to solve the problems. “In 2005 the Dutch government granted three universities and a Dutch meat processor owned by Smithfield Foods two million euros over four years to develop Eelen’s idea”, but the leading researcher, Bernard Roelen, has “so far..only produced fat and cartilage” and the only workable nutrient culture-medium is “derived from cow blood” although “alternatives exist but they are far too costly for food production”. So, if the world crises get too pressing and the in-vitro-meat technical problems are solved, but the damned pork/bovine stem cell thing just isn’t happening, what are the chances they’ll choose either ‘mouse’ or ‘human’ and go with a winner?…um, I’d call that an executive business expedient on a need-to-know basis.

In case we forget from day-to-day just how much trouble we’re in, the Scientific American reiterates the U.N.’s position on global warming, “The methane burps of 56 billion farm animals..are a significant contributor to climate change..”

Meet the Consortium, http://www.invitromeat.org
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-vitro_meat

In the mid-1960s, a popular science writer named Gordon Rattray Taylor published a book called “The Biological Time Bomb” aimed at posing the social questions on behalf of the public that advances in science and technology were inevitably to present. If one was suspended in time, the issues appear  contemporary. In other words, the public comprehension is at least forty years behind the technology. This time-gap seems nearly about right in other areas of concern besides biology, like weather control and high-energy physics. Things like in-vitro-meat sound like solution-oriented applications of benevolently motivated activists, but this is last-stage accomplishment in the creation of genuine cyborg and synthetic lifeforms and the public discussion has completely missed the proper communication of micobial intelligence.

Mr. Taylor saw Transhumanism coming, and so did the biologists even decades before him. Knowledge about our general intelligence and the mechanisms of memory and learning have a structure encoded in the genetic matrix. Taylor highlighted the ‘chemical’ nature of memory and the promising researches done up to his publication indicating that RNA is the repository of memory, or its facilitator. Memory, in these terms, is described as a characteristic quality dependent on protein synthesis. RNA injection and interference experiments bore out significant impacts on memory and learning. How this relates to human diet is not directly addressed but he does not skip the issues of cannibalism that were part of this experimental milieu, stating that in a lower species “sensational” results of enhanced learning were displayed by cannibalistic feeding. Ohhh….ecologically responsible Smart Burgers. I can see it now, after the culling of course.

News http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2008347/Test-tube-burger-coming-soon-Lab-grown-meat-needed-feed-world.html

October 10, 2009

The Debt-For-Nature Scheme


“Debt-for-nature” is ‘conservation’ policy of the World Bank and affiliated NGOs around the world who are leveraging individual land-holders and governments to swap their debt with real estate, often prime ecological jewels that then come under NGO management. It’s an amazing ‘protection’ racket taking place under the auspices of global environmentalism, funded by national tax monies and private financial/philanthropic institutions. I started looking into this over a controversy generated by the ‘safety’ of ingesting colloidal silver, believe it or not, when an article I posted here garnered some vehement reactions.

It appears that at least some of the promoters of medicinal colloids are fronting Big Money operations that participate and profit from the debt-for-nature schemes. I was already aware that ‘alternative health’ circulars, particularly on the internet, were a pipeline for disinformation about coming catastrophes like the Bird Flu/Swine Flu Pandemic now upon us. One online magazine in particular that represents this activity is ‘the Natural News’ edited by ‘the Health Ranger’, Mike Adams. Mr. Adams lives in Vilcabamba Ecuador in a paradisical conservation zone that is part of the Andean corridor, an international use-limited area that is quickly maximizing its capacity for private ownership. Adams arranges ‘real estate’ tour trips around Vilcabamba in addition to major eco-tourism enterprises, but if you’re a buyer you’d better hurry up.

The Natural News is owned by Truth Publishing International, Ltd, a corporation chartered from Taichung, Taiwan, that also owns the News Target Network and a radio web, viewable here http://www.islaearth.org/community-action.php?page=49 The material from ‘Truth’ is indicative of interlocking relationships with Agora Publishing (or Agora Group) from Baltimore, Md., a large enterprise for international travel, real estate, investment, and health. Subsidiary, Health Sciences Institute (http://hsibaltimore.com) markets products from Northstar Nutritionals (www.northstarnutritionals.com) that has a few items to sell –like ‘Soothanol X2’ a DMSO/herbal tincture for pain relief, 1 fluid oz. at $49.95– but this appears to be mostly a business of information.  Agora, a name taken from the Greek for ‘marketplace’, is first and foremost about making money with money. The owner/founders of Agora have invested deeply to profit from general and specific disasters like economic collapse and the Swine Flu Pandemic. One associate of Agora founder Bill Bonner, a Mr. Addison Wiggin who heads the multi-million dollar financial research, wrote “The Demise of the Dollar..and Why It’s Even Better for Your Investments” and issues special-reports to its membership like the “Single Best Way to Make Sure You’ll Never Run Out of Money” which appears to be a financial mechanism he calls “The Endless Paycheck Portfolio”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Bonner_(author)
http://www.agora-inc.com/international.htm

I’ve a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg in comprehending the business nature of Agora (see http://webindexnet.wordpress.com ); doubtlessly so in the scope of the debt-for-nature activity. According to the wikipedia, Vilcabamba Ecuador became a haven for international expatriates beginning in the 1960s as a community slowly took root there. By the 1990s, the native Ecuadorans themselves were forced to emigrate for lack of work (or finances), many resettling in Madrid Spain and No. America. Were these engineered real estate turnovers? Vilcabamba is a truly incredible location, poised below the reach of the Podocarpus National Park, one of the most bio-diverse and precious places on earth.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilcabamba,_Ecuador
http://www.planeta.com/planeta/98/0598podocarpus.html
http://www.nature.org/wherewework/southamerica/ecuador/work/art5120.html (site of The Nature Conservancy, $5.42 billion in assets for 2007)

Bill Bonner, noted from the wiki link above, wrote in his book “Mobs, Messiahs and Markets” that “mass delusions are part of the human condition”. Capitalizing on them, after all, must be good business.

…and if you’re considering some Vilcabamba real estate, Mike Adams wants you to “get it”  first by reading this, “Guiding Principles for People Looking for Vilcabamba, Ecuador Real Estate” http://www.greenlivingnews.com/1057_Vilcabamba_Ecuador.html If you ‘pass go’ here are some of the neighbors you’ll have in Vilcabamba http://newparadigmdigest.com/tag/entrepreneurs/ with their own contact info. Btw, I have no problem with ex-pats, I wish them blessed and happy lives. What interests me are the larger forces at work that make these situations appealing in the first place. It’s in everyone’s purview to have a high-quality life wherever and however they choose to live.

Agora Financial publishes a journal called The Daily Reckoning, editor Addison Wiggin, featuring contributions from ‘staff’ such as Lew Rockwell (LewRockwell.com), Gerald Celente (Trends Research) and Dr. Ron Paul (US Congress) http://dailyreckoning.com/cast-of-characters/ This group, and the extended arms of Agora, advocate nation-building investments in developing countries that often include international projects funded by US taxpayers. Non-profit Agora Partnerships USA, for example, uses ‘micro’ venture capital and US tax-paid grants to seed entrepreneurial programs abroad and build ‘sustainable economies’ for other countries. Agora Partnerships USA shares an office in Washington DC with USAID, United States Agency for International Development, and it’s TechnoServe program.
http://www.agorapartnerships.org/press/Press/press-releases/about/contact/contact-us
http://www.usaid.gov/sa/usaidsa/technoservepress.pdf
The same building hosts the Economic Research Services of the US Dept of Agriculture, it’s primary policy, financing and forecasting service for domestic and global planning. Agora appears to be well within the loop, so this is about far more than hiring a Health Ranger to gatekeep for Shangri-la.

USAID: http://www.state.gov/s/d/rm/rls/dosstrat/2004 “August 20, 2003 The Department of State and Agency for International Development (USAID) Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2004 to 2009 sets forth the Secretary of State’s direction and priorities for both organizations in the coming years. The Strategic Plan supports the policy positions set forth by President Bush in the 2002 National Security Strategy and presents how the Department and USAID will implement U.S. foreign policy and development assistance.”….

DEBT-FOR-NATURE, How It Works:

[document excerpt]
“Debt for Nature was developed by Dr. Thomas Lovejoy in 1987 during his work with the World Wildlife Fund. Environmental groups would purchase shaky foreign debt in the secondary market at the market rate, which would be considerably discounted, and then convert this debt at its face value into the local currency to purchase biologically sensitive tracts of land in the debtor nation for purposes of environmental protection. Most of the world’s largest rainforests are located in poor states such as Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and Madagascar. ‘The first swap that happened was in 1987 between the Bolivian government and Conservation International’.
   There are three main parties involved with a Debt for Nature swap: an international conservation organization, a domestic conservation organization, and a developing country’s government….The three most active international organizations, which are all based in the U.S., are Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund. The steps needed don’t vary much from state to state. The conservation organizations provide a proposal to the developing countries government, seeking an agreement. Once an agreement has been reached, they have the World Bank convert the state’s debt into the local currency. The currency is converted into bonds which go into an environmental trust…
   The biggest thing once the agreement’s been reached is then their enforcement. The UN has the United Nations Environment Programme for Environmental Development. Their purpose is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring..informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. They are not an enforcement body, which means there is no international body enforcing the terms of the agreement. No one is there to ensure the developing states will keep their end of the agreement made. And even if there was, once the debt has been paid, the developing country can cut down the rainforests and not have to pay back the conservation organization that paid a portion of their debt…”
 http://www.scribd.com/doc/15074774/Debt-for-Nature   It should be made very clear that despite this last comment about a country cutting down the rainforests, the conservation organization owns the land, and it is they who may cut down trees or sell the property, depending on whatever discretionary agreements are arranged in the acquisition process.

Conservation International, founded 1987
According to http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Conservation_International , ‘CI’ is engaging in eco-imperialism, as are the other NGOs, noting that “In 1997, CI signed a comprehensive bioprospecting agreement with California-based company Hyseq which specializes in genomic sequencing. CI agreed to pre-screen drug candidates derived from flora and fauna samples, and provide regular reports on its research findings to Hyseq. As well as an initial contribution, Hyseq would pay CI on a country basis, and an annual fee. Hyseq is free to pursue intellectual property claims over any results.”

“In Panama, CI worked with Novartis, Monsanto, and others, in ‘ecologically guided bioprospecting’ seeking pharmaceutical and agricultural products….In Surinam it cooperated with Bristol Meyers Squibb with its ethnobotanists collecting plant samples”….”A June 2003 report by Chiapas-based [social activism org] dubbed CI a Trojan Horse of the U.S. government and transnational corporations. It revealed that CI’s program of flyovers –part of their USAID-supported ‘environmental monitoring’ program– flew over areas occupied by Zapatista communities in planes which bore USAID markings…”

Three of CI’s main personalities:
*Peter A. Seligmann, co-founder, CEO and chairman http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Peter_A._Seligmann, merging ecology, banking and philanthropy
*Mr. Seligmann’s uncle, Henry H. Arnhold http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Henry_H._Arnhold, international banker, CFR member, 1937 German emigre who transferred his business to New York City –history of his banking firm here, Arnhold & S. Bleichroeder, Inc. http://www.asbai.com/firm_history.aspx which is a principal holder of George Soros’s Quantum Fund 
*Russell A. Mittermeier, president http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Russell_A._Mittermeier, scientist, World Bank Task Force leader

World Wildlife Fund, founded Sep.11, 1961 in Switzerland
WWF is the world’s largest independent conservation organization, founded by Julian Huxley, Max Nicholson, Peter Scott and Guy Mountfort, who had decades of “experience linking progressive intellectuals with business interests..” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wildlife_Fund. In 1986 it changed its name to World Wildlife Fund for Nature and issues two yearly publications of the “Living Planet Report”.
Listed at http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/board/index.html :
*Chairman, Bruce Babbitt, president of *Raintree Ventures, former US Secretary of the Interior (Clinton Admin) and prior Governor of Arizona. [ “Raintree Ventures and Raintree Strategic Consultancy are subsidiaries within the Westcomb Group which focus on private equity transactions”, founded in 2000 by Mr. Pang Seng Tuong as “one of the first boutique investment banks in Singapore” http://www.westcombfinancial.com/AR/ar2008.pdf and http://www.greenglobal-resources.com/cms/files/ec080429.pdf incorporated in Bermuda.] As of June, 2009, Babbitt took a seat on the Board of the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy which concerns itself with “use, regulation, and taxation of land” http://www.lincolninst.edu [press release http://atlincolnhouse.typepad.com/pressroom/2009/06/index.html
*CEO/president (since 2005) Carter Roberts, formerly worked for The Nature Conservancy
*Vice-Chair, Jared M. Diamond, biologist at UCLA, educated at Cambridge (UK) and Harvard, principal spokesman for the Long Now Foundation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Now_Foundation which is a San Francisco based NGO in the process of ambitiously cataloging everything on the planet and integrating information systems ( former*Vice-Chair, Lawrence H. Linden of Goldman Sachs ) Treasurer, Roger W. Sant, co-founder and Chair of AES Corp/utilities…..and on the Board of Directors, Thomas Lovejoy mentioned above, who was a former US Asst. Secretary for External and Environmental Affairs and ‘Science Advisor’ under the Clinton Admin. to (Sec. of the Interior) Bruce Babbitt. Lovejoy was also the Chief Advisor to the President of the World Bank as well as the World Bank ‘Specialist for the Environment for Latin America and the Carribean’. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=World_Wildlife_Fund_US

The Nature Conservancy, founded 1951
Oldest of the three here, TNC was reformed out of the Ecologists Union by founder Bob Marshall, the son of well-known zionist Louis B. Marshall. It chartered it first chapter in New York in 1954 and made its first acquisition of the Arthur W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary. In 1988 TNC performed a debt-for-nature swap in Costa Rica for $240,000 worth of debt, and in the same year contracted with the US Dept of Defense (DOD) to manage 25 million acres of military lands. The new CEO and president of TNC is Goldman Sach’s Mark Tercek, who took his place in June 2008, following an appointment from The Nature Conservancy’s Chairman of the Board, Hank Paulson, to Goldman Sach’s Center for Environmental Markets in 2006. Tercek joined Goldman Sachs in 1984. http://www.nature.org/pressroom/leadership/art24763.html

“The Nature Conservancy job puts [Tercek] in a position to have a big impact. The Conservancy is by far the world’s biggest conservation group, with an operating budget of nearly $500 million, about 3,600 employees including hundreds of scientists, and chapters in all 50 states and 36 countries…Tercek is looking to build alliances with other NGOs –the Nature Conservancy has joined the US Climate Action Partnership, for example– as well as with business.” http://www.marcgunther.com/2009/09/13/the-nature-conservancys-mark-tercek-sees-redd/

Dubious activities of the The Nature Conservancy are reviewed by author Ron Arnold in his book “Undue Influence”, http://www.undueinfluence.com/nature_conservancy.htm using year 2000 figures which reckoned the assets of TNC worth $2.8 billion –2007 figures show double that amount, and according to answers.com “On average, 1000 acres a day are added to its system of nature preserves, the world’s largest. When TNC cannot buy desired property, it sometimes attains conservation easements restricting use of the land for tax benefits.” http://www.answers.com/topic/the-nature-conservancy

__________________

How Does It Really Work?

These swaps appear to have complex arrangements involved concerning ownership and stewardship. Though I have a whole lot yet to learn and documents to find, for example, the USAID website here describing recent debt-for-nature swaps looks like an incredibly good deal for the conservation NGOs, another stick-it-to-the-US-taxpayer and an Agenda 21 social experiment in affected people who must relocate.  http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/environment/forestry/tfca_descs.html

 A deal made with Costa Rica in September of 2007 has “the U.S. government, Costa Rican government, Central Bank of Costa Rica, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy agree[ing] to reduce Costa Rica’s debt payments to the US by $26 million over the next 16 years. In return, the Central Bank of Costa Rica committed to pay these funds into a debt-for-nature program to support grants to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups to protect and restore the country’s important tropical resources”.

According to this article, http://www.prweb.com/releases/conservation/nature/prweb562087.htm the United States Treasury paid $12.6 million “appropriated by the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA), with Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy providing an additional $1.26 million each to the purchase of the debt at a discounted rate..” So the US actually paid a total of $38.6 million for the deal. IC and TNC bought themselves 16 years of privileged ‘work’ at a combined cost of $2.5 million to run an eco-concession out of Costa Rica. And then what? We have yet to see the conclusion of any one of these debt-for-nature swaps. If you think that’s a bargain for restoration, consider that the ‘prweb’ article assesses the progress already made in Costa Rica without the swap, which had reforested more than 30% of lands previously cleared. The amount of land actually coming under NGO management through the swap is not named; 6 areas are
broadly referred to, however, in this blog item of the Tierra Pacifica community, which appears to reference a reputable media source, the acreage involved is noted to be 1000 acres. Is this possible, or just a local piece? http://tierrapacifica.blogspot.com/2007/10/costa-rica-and-us-trade-debt-for-nature.html Tierra Pacifica is a newly developed master-plan enclave on 220 acres poised between a protected mangrove estuary and the Pacific –fully gated with a guard house, modern amenities, new public paved road that runs directly to the Liberia International Airport– http://www.tierrapacifica.com/ .  Is this the kind of ‘sustainable’ development that USAID and the TFCA approve in determining a mandate that “developing countries with critically important tropical forests meet certain political and economic requirements to be eligible for debt-for-nature swaps.”?

Guatemala 2006 – the U.S.’s first swap

“In the..deal, the United States government contributed about $15 million toward the cancellation of [$24 million of] Guatemalas’s debt, said Clay Lowery, assistant secretary of the Treasury…” (that’s a $39 million start-up cost )…”The bulk of the money generated by the debt forgiveness will go to private organizations…  Eligible countries must have democratically elected governments and a suitable economic reform program in place and they must cooperate with the United States on drug enforcement and counterterrorism efforts.” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/02/world/americas/02conserve.html

Guatemalans in the way:  “Since the Maya Biosphere Reserve..was created in 1990, people have steadily moved in… To stem this flow,..The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Guatemalan government, and [a Guatemalan NGO], experimented with a new strategy in 1996..to see if [people] were open to the idea of small-scale voluntary resettlement. While resettlement is common in the develop realm, it is not we encounter much in conservation. In fact, we generally shy away from it..due to the social stigma it carries. Most resettlement projects..continue to be non-voluntary. The voluntary..Guatemala initiative maes it fundamentally different..and it may be the key to resettlement finding its place among conservation strategies.

“..The idea was to move families to areas more appropriate for development [where non-voluntary relocations tend to occur].. closer to public services. Most of the families..never truly settled down because they were unable to buy land and, therefore, were always squatting and living with..uncertainty… As such, land title is crucial for resettlement.

   “..The thinking behind the plans goes like this. If a community agrees to move, the government and collaborating NGOs find it a piece of legal land.. physically move the community.. give them access to a long-term low-interest loan, and provide technical assistance to help them adapt to the new area… If the families are not satisfied or cannot adapt to the new area, they will return to the protected areas, thus defeating the biological and social objectives of the resettlement… Resettlement is not easy… Ideally, an entire small-to-medium-sized community is resttled as a whole. But that’s not always possible. Land is scarce [which is why people took residence in reserves in the first place].
   “..The typical solution is to settle a smaller community into an already existing community. But predictably, combining different social structures and power relationships can lead to conflict.
   “..Because Guatemala is just coming out of a brutal, 36-year civil war, many people remain cautious about engaging in any type of relationship with the government. Trust is essential…[and] the Guatemalan organizations have made several important changes. For example, in some of the first resettlements, an adequate water supply was provided after the resettlement. Now, knowing that the initial adjustment period is crucial, the agencies look for a natural water source when choosing land for the resettlement… [U]nder the right conditions, people will indeed voluntarily move themselves out of a situation that we..refer to as ‘people versus parks’.” http://www.conservationmagazine.org/2008/07/relocating-people-out-of-private-reserves/  

Blog at WordPress.com.