By Robert J. Burrowes
There is much that is revolting about the current world and Andre Vltchek, Christopher Black and Peter Koenig are well placed to document it, which they have done in their new book ‘The World Order and Revolution! Essays from the Resistance’.
Using a combination of political, legal and economic analyses, Vltchek, Black and Koenig carefully strip away the façade that the corporate media presents to us, and which the imperial elite wants us to believe, so that we can see some of the ugly, underlying truth about our world.
Investigative journalist, philosopher and film-maker Andre Vltchek, international criminal lawyer Christopher Black and geopolitical analyst and former World Bank economist Peter Koenig each bring many years of deep engagement resisting the US-European empire to provide unusual insight into the depth of its depravity. But if you still believe that politics involves principles, the law is about justice, economics is concerned with the equitable distribution of resources and the military is about defence, then I recommend you avoid reading this book. Having delusions exposed is invariably painful and these three authors show no interest in sparing you this pain. Because, I can assure you, the truth they reveal is painful indeed.
The first section of the book is a series of articles written by Vltchek. He travels from one country to another looking beneath the surface, to tell us how ordinary people are doing. His reports invariably contradict what we have been told to believe by the six corporate media conglomerates that control and disseminate propaganda as ‘news’ in the West.
He describes Cuba in which ‘music and dance are synonymous with life’ and where, despite decades of being under economic and sometimes military siege (instigated and policed by the US government), Cuba continued to send its teachers and doctors to help poor countries all over the world.
Vltchek draws our attention to the genocide committed by Germany in South West Africa a century ago and mentions the interesting detail that the first German governor of the former colony was the father of Hitler’s deputy Hermann Goering. Germany, of course, has never apologised or paid reparations for its genocide, let alone the ongoing segregation that divides the now ‘independent’ Namibia ideologically, racially and socially which even today leaves much of the African population living in wretched poverty.
Vltchek also casts his perceptive eye on ‘cowardly’ France, the collaborationist Czech Republic, Iraqi Kurdistan, Hong Kong and elsewhere, invariably providing a perspective you won’t read elsewhere.
In the second section of the book, Black – that rarest of entities: a lawyer with a conscience and great courage – describes his attempts in ‘international criminal tribunals’ to defend heads of state and other prominent individuals whose primary crime was that they tried to do the right thing by their own people and, in doing so, resisted imperial objectives.
While I have observed the legal system trashing justice on a routine basis and both experienced and witnessed the suffering this can cause, even I was nauseated by Black’s lengthy descriptions of the blatant disregard of the most rudimentary principles of ‘legal process’ that we have been told we can expect since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.
Black spares us no detail in describing one corrupt practice after another, which judges, prosecutors, UN officials and others accepted without question, obviously because they had been carefully chosen for their roles and for which they were very adequately rewarded; for example, Louise Arbour, the chief prosecutor in one case, was later appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Black describes court proceedings against Serb President Slobodan Milosevic who was killed in a NATO prison on 11 March 2006 when it was clear that ‘there had been no crimes, except those of the NATO alliance, and the attempt to fabricate a case against him collapsed into farce’. Since the conviction of President Milosevic ‘was clearly not possible after all the evidence was heard, his death became the only way out for the NATO powers. His acquittal would have brought down the entire structure of the propaganda framework of the NATO war machine and the Western interests that use it as their armed fist’.
Another grotesque legal injustice was perpetrated against General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the most senior ranking military officer in Rwanda in 1994. ‘General Ndindiliyimana was considered a political “moderate” during the Rwandan War of 1990-1994, a Hutu respected by Tutsis and Hutus alike.’ Moreover, as even witnesses for the prosecution testified, his gendarmes did not commit crimes against civilians and tried to protect them where they could. So why was he arrested?
As Black informs us: Ndindiliyimana was a potential leader of his country, he refused to cooperate with the Rwandan Patriotic Front regime installed by the United States after the war, he knew too much about what really happened in Rwanda and who was really responsible for the violence, he knew that UN and American forces (despite Bill Clinton’s denials) were directly involved in the final RPF offensive of 1994 and the murder of President Habyarimana. Most importantly, perhaps, the prosecutor used his arrest to pressure him to give false evidence against former deputy minister of defence in Rwanda, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the prosecution’s ‘big fish’. Ndindiliyimana refused.
If you can stand to read Black’s careful account of corrupt legal proceedings that seem to have no end, you will discover that this eminently decent man, imprisoned in 2000, was at least acquitted but not until 2014!
While Black wrote with equally compelling testimony on other subjects – including drawing our attention to the methane disaster now imminent in the Arctic, with a sudden methane release equal to ten times the existing atmospheric content of this gas now possible at any time according to the Arctic Methane Emergency Group which cites the work of Dr Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semelitov: see ‘Methane Hydrates: interview with Dr Natalia Shakhova (& Igor Semelitov)’ – his conclusion in relation to the use of these international tribunals is what stands out for me: ‘The international criminal justice machine has become a weapon of total war, used not to prosecute the criminals who conduct these wars, but to persecute the leaders of the countries who resist.’
So what of Peter Koenig in this volume? Well Koenig’s background working for the World Bank gives him particular insight into neoliberal capitalism – a ‘euphemism of the empire for the complete and ruthless exploitation of every living thing and every resource on the planet for private profit’ – and the damage it has done.
So how does it work? Well, as I learned from the board game ‘Monopoly’ which I played as a child, in capitalism the aim is to own everything by wiping out the other players. Unlike the board game, however, in the real world the major players – that is, the largest multinational corporations and their compliant governments – use a variety of tools, only some of which are economic, such as ‘austerity programs’ and privatization (justified, as Koenig explains, ‘under the pretext of “structural reforms” to “salvage” poor but often resources-rich countries from bankruptcy’). Other tools for wiping out other players, not included in the board game, include various legal avenues for perpetrating injustice, such as those referred to above, and military violence (in one or more of its various forms).
Among the issues to which Koenig draws our attention are the imperial financial organisations, based in Washington, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the so-called ‘troika’ (the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission) which exercise disproportionate power over most national governments (as recently illustrated by events in various European countries, including Greece). He also highlights economic tools, such as ‘free trade’ agreements like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which are designed to abolish national sovereignty completely and formally enshrine corporate governance of our world.
And what is the outcome for ordinary people of these ongoing economic incursions? Devastated lives: unemployment (or employment on poverty wages), poverty, homelessness, deficient health services, pension and social security cuts. In short, a life devoid of opportunity and security as increasing numbers of people in industrialised nations start to experience life as many know it in other parts of the world.
Koenig, of course, has suggestions. For example, in the case of Greece: it should voluntarily exit the Eurozone. It could look east to the possibilities offered by the Russia-China alliance. He sees significant hope in BRICS.
But Koenig has much more to offer than I have mentioned here and his discussion of false flag operations, such as 9/11 and Charlie Hebdo, will interest many who do not normally look as deeply as they might. I also enjoyed the chapter which mentioned Argentina’s courageous President Cristina Fernandez who has resisted the Empire’s financial terrorism and publicly labelled its military terrorism too.
In essence, what this book demonstrates is that the Empire is coming to get you too. The only question worth asking is what weapons it will use against you? Will it suffocate you politically by destroying your civil rights, will it destroy you economically by taking away your chance to find meaningful work (or just bankrupt your country), will it attack you through the legal system, bury you in propaganda until the truth is impossible to find, kill you militarily or, one I would add, drug you into psychological insensibility? See ‘Defeating the Violence of Psychiatry’.
But the world is in revolt too and the invitation for you to join the resistance is always open. In fits and starts, more people are asking questions, looking behind the façade and perceiving the ugly truth. And there are enough people around who are willing to suggest ways to resist. Here’s a couple of suggestions of my own. Consider participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’ and signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.
The Empire has already taken over our streets and invaded our homes (where even those of us who feel least affected are still bombarded by its propaganda to infest and befuddle our minds). Will you join these three authors and me in resisting the destructive forces of Empire?