Skip to content or view screen version

Is Rafael Correa the Haile Selassie of Ayahuasca?

Internationalist Observer | 26.09.2013 20:04 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Ecology | World

The dying empire that has threatened to take the rest of us with it now is in a horrifying condition: In its desperate grasp to continue as if nothing had happened, the hemorrhaging regime is trying to play over mutiny in its inner circles with increased harassment of opponents and allies alike. From a diagnostic point of view, its predictable reaction against the rapid erosion of its imperialist delusion is expressing a monstrously enlarged reproduction of its deepest inner contradictions: Its present incapability to cease its spying even as it becomes a threat to its existence is resulting from the same self-destructive impulse that brought it to this irrational behaviour in the first place. The deceptive assumption that the truth about such crime could be repressed forever has not only enabled its perpetration but now is also fueling the illusion it could be forgiven without even being ceded. At the same time it becomes increasingly difficult to deny that the so-called “democratic project”, as its false idealism describes itself, is headed to end up on the wrong side of history, while no human thought can predict how much more destruction it might pile up before being spent there. In such a situation it makes sense to cease following the narrative details of its death spasm and instead look at what could be offering itself as an alternative. Hence this text.

It was only with the first fissures of the NSA meltdown already having occurred, that the role of Ecuador in South America changed from a random country to the place most adapted to the development, with even the regime purging itself from anything related to imperialist penetration. Arguably this increased awareness towards external whistleblowers has been brought about by Rafael Correa´s own act of whistleblowing in the field of biodiversity conservation. Ecuador happens to be a definition encompassing among other areas the source region of the Amazon, which was unaffected by the climate disruptions that are known as the ice ages, but now could be affected by capitalism. Its president blew the proverbial whistle already some years ago, with an open hand suggesting that with 99% biodiversity sitting on top of 1% of the oil, these who exploit the other 99% might be interested in sponsoring it as a distraction. Presumably as a collateral damage of NSA spying – the term is being used here in both the passive and the active sense, because the scientist´s cat is always dead for real – no sponsoring was obtained and earlier this month Correa announced he would give up to call for any.

Of course it can be questioned whether it is plausible to expect destructive corporations which prefer destructive investment bubbles for that purpose to get at least 1% real. But the counter arguments of neoliberal diplomats alone – that conservation was only for self-interest – were enough to reveal the absurdity: There are not that many territories with such rating. And just that Correa is a whistleblower does not mean that all his aims were sincere. Now with his “ITT Initiative” being over, he might chose to authorise industrial efforts in the Yasuni. This paradox turnaround is possible because this case of whistleblowing is different from others in one fundamental aspect: There is no risk for the whistleblower. Not even the dying empire has threatened to inflict a “regime change” upon Ecuador for mentioning the Yasuni. Presumably it has thwarted the sponsoring as a reaction against the association with Wikileaks and its principle of transparent administration instead of transparent people. As a result, Correa can continue in the apparatus he came from, and use it to pursue what he has warned against, with the irrefutable excuse that no one listened timely (certainly spying does not count as listening in the honest sense of the word).

Yet the metaphorical whistle is never blown merely for consumer choices, but because a fundamental issue of what is right and what is wrong has appeared among them. If it is right to respect the Yasuni, and the international community is wrong to ignore the issue, then the reverse conclusion is also wrong. If the international community ignores and Ecuador exploits the Yasuni, then it is at least at the same fault as if no whistleblowing had occurred. One could argue that it is even worse, because of deceptive fraud as in the case of the ongoing spying, since indigenous people have opposed exploitation even before the whistleblowing. In fact exploration already is exploitation because for the decision that a treasure remains in the Earth it is not necessary to know how much exactly it is. Whether Correa is serious about conservation can be seen in whether exploration is taking place before exploration results from places with less biodiversity are known. The intransparency of the current global exploitation which makes it impossible to know for certain whether the “peak oil” has been passed – although the peaking intensity of exploitation suggests so – should alone be reason enough not to invite financial speculation into places where actual sales must – if any at all, that is the idea – only take place after they have elsewhere, due to the political primacy of conservation.

Before Ecuador does explore the Yasuni it could explore the international markets. If sponsoring is excluded due to ideological reasons, it should at least be known precisely what is the reality of the exploited resources worldwide, which can be reconstructed from corporate data in the same way as political scandals were from the NSA leaks. The regime in Quito has not even thought about arguing how its economic situation would be in failing markets burdened with all the external cost of conservation. It has made offers of political asylum, in a remarkable anti-imperialist gesture, but it has not insisted that the Washington regime take the human rights development aid package it was already offered before the latest big desertion. Even the other South American regimes up to this point seem to have interpreted the Ecuadorian offer merely as a bold move for the view of others, rather than as a substantial contribution that should be invested transparently to help North America achieve the change in its heinous path it is incapable to obtain out of itself. Inside the liquidated nation the regime has left little daylight for any awareness of the fact that this investment, due to its prescribed political purpose, is more important as an economic stimulus than its own distraction packages.

At this point Correa has not yet made clear what approach Ecuador is going to take at the United Nations Security Council in case North America is refusing to take the aid, or how serious the offer has been in the first place. This does not mean the failure of that apparatus over Egypt was to be ignored but that the diplomatic toolbox must be spent in order to provide deescalating context for the distractions launched over the stalemate in Syria. What makes the spying attacks so dangerous for all of humanity, more than any other weapon deliberately misused against civilians, is the fact how their scale can be escalated without any transparency or accountability. When the administration of the communication networks a population depends upon is being corrupted for the weird purpose of oppressing a few individuals honoured with the title of Enemy of the state, that capacity is easily reassigned to oppress entire societies quicker than anyone can pronounce the name of its historical prototype. In the era of digital communication, spying and the ad hominem tailored harassment coming as its entourage once established are the most scalable threat, such as other weapons of mass destruction were in their eras, biological, chemical, atomic and digital.

As a result, the mere existence of the spying capability is an unacceptable danger to humanity because it introduces fundamental risks into situations where they otherwise would not be. Its deconstruction must be the top priority even before nuclear disarmament, chemical disarmament and biological disarmament. Digital disarmament is the declared goal of the development aid and any kind of sanction resulting from complications in it. Once there is individual sovereignty in the digital networks, as it was evolving before becoming a target of spying, all kinds of military “deterrents” can be written off, beginning with the strongest ones. If Ecuadorian laws against digital spying and harassment are meant to be waterproof, the money wasted for Yasuni exploration would better be invested in offering no-spy zones to the internet with the goal of external political debate migrating to Ecuador in order to pursue itself without spying-based harassment. That also costs resources, but they might be considered to be spent more efficiently than for land development, since such no-spy zones would also be a development aid to the effort to raise awareness for conservation of the Yasuni.

With Yasuni exploration resp. exploitation on the other hand, Correa is burdened with the dilemma that rating it down even only a little bit in terms of conservation value could always cumulate in its entire degradation. There is no partial exploitation just like there is no partial pregnancy. It is the entire biodiversity of the Yasuni that must be preserved, as it can be no replacement to extract this or that substance or species as more valuable than others. Without the background of its origin any element taken out for any purpose already is too vulnerable to preserve itself, as can be seen in the failure of the fund raising. The scrambling of jets over Europe should be read as an indication that some support is required against imperialist military occupation – to prevent the negative consequences it has on civilian movements, development aid could be assigned to all European territories still stuck in so-called “nuclear sharing” agreements with the North Americans, in order to help those regimes to rid the places of these false promises and avoid further implication in them.

It is one thing to make an offer of political asylum to a whistleblower, that remains theoretical because there is no safe passage, but it is another to actively contribute to the latter being created. It was another South American president whose plane was intercepted, and even though meanwhile one of the coerced regimes has regretted its collaboration, the natural consequence should be the end of any “nuclear sharing” for all regimes directly or indirectly involved in the interception. They might be in diplomatic roles again once their direct or indirect capability is gone, but up to that they are nothing more than client states that have no relevant say. If there is no military occupation of the place there is no interception, and if foreign regimes regularly remind the European ones to live up to their promises to end it and actively support them to do so, they help ending the military occupation, which is not only in their own interest but in that of all.

The bigger picture of Ecuadorian politics, with the continuing diplomatic crisis over the embassy asylum for Assange in London which was expected to be resolved in the aftermath of Correa´s reelection, and the fresh anti-imperialist spirit in South America, but also reactionary regimes like Paraguay in the neighbourhood and the demons of neoliberalist madness on Correa´s mind, leaves much to be desired. Whether the unlikely ally of the whistleblowers is serious to respect the Yasuni will depend on whether he can use his own political momentum to contribute to ending the situations that require whistleblowing. If there is no spying then there are no leaks. If no evil is being perpetrated then it is not necessary to warn against where it is headed. And there is no doubt that the spying is threatening every inhabitant of the planet in the most heinous and disruptive manner: Digital malware can multiply quicker than any conventional or non-conventional weapon, and once equipped with a payload obtained from spying target vital technologies even more effectively than they can.

The case of the computer worm launched against Persia is a stark reminder that digital disarmament is not only the top priority but also a matter of crass neglect. At this point that regime has not yet even formally asked to extradite the perpetrators of this attack for jurisdiction. And it would be nonsense to try to get them to an international court instead that anyways cannot be expected to be impartial over the influence of ongoing spying. While introducing the issue of digital disarmament and its concrete implementation remains an option on the table for that regime, others ought to focus on the collective diplomatic response against NSA spying. In context of the cases already pending investigation, the proper measure to create the necessary incentive for the perpetrator regime to digitally disarm is the suspension of its membership in the United Nations Security Council. Until the NSA is liquidated and all effects of its spying are entirely compensated by its current targets, whatever its host nation says is meaningless because it only is the hostage of its own greed and evil intent.

When the privilege of the so-called permanent seat was associated with the ownership of atomic bombs it was not taken into account that there was a bigger danger to come, and it is to be assumed that the inventors of the technology have not willingly or knowingly given it to the spies, but the latter have totally empowered themselves against the better knowledge that this should not be in the hands of any regime. This is significantly more likely than the absurd scenario that people who are being paid not to have any ideas of their own actually make an invention. There is no precedent other than that unprecedented situations require unprecedented measures. Such a campaign would have to depend on the stances of regimes in the United Nations General Assembly, so like any general strike in that structure it would have to come from small states which only accidentally might happen to be rotated into the United Nations Security Council and transcend the bloc´s flawed regional grouping system from early on. Suspension should also affect other regimes with permanent or non-permanent seats that have collaborated or collaborate with NSA spying. Only under the condition that such an exclusion takes place to ensure digital disarmament, the United Nations Organisation can avoid to be implicated any further into the imperialist death spasm and succeed to achieve meaningful statements on present disputes involving atomic, chemical and biological disarmament as well.

Why such reform cannot originate from other permanent – in terms of non-proliferation treaty pledge adherence, not in terms of isotope lifetime – members can easily be seen from the situation of Russia: On one hand, that regime is presenting an open door to foreign whistleblowers for the sake of its own triangulation, on the other it is repressing the native ones, such as the group who used the thin-skinnedness of organised religion as their whistle of choice to warn against the ruthless penetration of religious life by spying when it played the emotions of these clerics like one. It took Pussy Riot to make them ask why does this come into here, but as a result certainly the freedom a foreign whistleblower might be granted in Russia is a duplicitous one, built on the oppression of its own whistleblowers. What a farce it is can best be seen contrasted with an even bigger farce, which were to occur if the North Americans retaliated against the offers to Snowden with offers to the Pussy Riot group. Had the latter not put Putin under pressure, it might have been that he had felt no incentive to support foreign whistleblowers in the first place.

To get back to the initial question: Even a head of state can in the current situation of imperialist death spasm and permanence delusion try to be useful to regroup current regimes to avoid the drama of one culture´s collective suicide by means of spying to draw in too many others against their will and knowledge. How far the Ecuadorian whistleblower president might go to try to save the United Nations from its own ignorance towards digital disarmament before sacrificing the place to the same economic forces that also govern the motivations of imperialism he claims to oppose, the destructive greed that is not only the dollar market standard, will certainly be the decisive criterion for the survival of the Yasuni and everything that is in it. And in that it will be highly significant that the prolonged legacy injustice established out of the League of Nations, after the historical prototype failed to save it, is finally healed as well. That is the defining benchmark for the question. To get back at the initial situation: What is happening with the current empire is happening due to its basic impulses. In other words, the symptoms of spying and harassment it is displaying indicate that its pathetic political ideology is not what it seems to be. Or more precisely, conservatism is not a political ideology at all. Conservatism – any flavour of it – is a contagious disease resulting from the mixing of organically separated human body products.

Internationalist Observer