World Bank

Villain: World Bank

Plot: The Global lender that finances large projects to help the economic growth typically for developing countries. The conditions for this financing is that governments that do receive the funding must comply to a set of “safeguard” policies outlined by the bank[1]. These “safeguard” polices are supposed to bring a more humane and democratic system of economic development. For instance governments that receive funding from the bank cannot evict people from their homes without warning. If people are evicted from their homes they must be resettled and their livelihoods restored[2].

 

According to the Huffington Post the World Bank has abused its powers in the following ways[3]

  • Over the last decade, projects funded by the World Bank have physically or economically displaced an         estimated 3.4 million people, forcing them from their homes, taking their land or damaging their livelihoods.
  • The World Bank has regularly failed to live up to its own policies for protecting people harmed by projects it finances.
  • The World Bank and its private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corp., have financed governments and companies accused of human rights violations such as rape, murder and torture. In some cases the lenders have continued to bankroll these borrowers after evidence of abuses emerged.
  •  Ethiopian authorities diverted millions of dollars from a World Bank-supported project to fund a violent campaign of mass evictions, according to former officials who carried out the forced resettlement program.
  • From 2009 to 2013, World Bank Group lenders pumped $50 billion into projects graded the highest risk for “irreversible or unprecedented” social or environmental impacts — more than twice as much as the previous five-year span.

 

One example of the abuses that resulted from a World Bank funded project is the actions from an infrastructure sponsored project in Badia East- Nigeria. The informal settlement of Badia East in Lagos state was chosen to receive increased access to basic services such as drainage, through the investment of infrastructure. However 266 structures that served as homes or business’ were bulldozed on the 23 of February 2013- and have not been adequately compensated by the government for such losses. Furthermore the demolition occurred without genuine consultation or adequate notice and without any plan for compensation. The Lagos state government along with the World Bank agreed to develop and implement a retrospective Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the residents in line with the World Bank’s Policy on Involuntary Resettlement- however this was only done after increased pressure from the public. The RAP and the process by which it was prepared defied international human rights standards and World Bank policy[4]. The RAP did not: provide options for adequate alternative housing or relocation to other sites; ensure that affected people were offered the support needed to restore their livelihoods and standard of living; ensure adequate compensation was given to those affected. Rather the government unilaterally determined the amount of “financial assistance” the victims were to receive- which was considered inadequate by the majority affected. Furthermore the Lagos state government turned back on an agreement reached between a committee it had established and community representatives on compensation[5].

 

 

Amnesty(publish)
Original image from https://www.amnesty.org/en/articles/news/2014/08/nigeria-destitute-victims-forced-eviction-must-be-adequately-compensated/

 

fre.habitants.org(2)
Original image from http://fre.habitants.org/nouvelles/habitants_des_afriques/lagos_thousands_forcefully_evicted_in_badia_east

 

 

[1] How the World Bank Broke its Promise to Protect the Poor, Huffington Post April 16th, 2015
[2] World Bank Website. Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies, Accessed May 12 2015 < http://go.worldbank.org/WTA1ODE7T0 >
[3] How the World Bank Broke its Promise to Protect the Poor, Huffington Post April 16th, 2015
[4] How the World Bank Broke its Promise to Protect the Poor, Huffington Post April 16th, 2015
[5]  Amnesty International: “Nigeria: Destitute victims of forced eviction must be adequately compensated” 19 August 2014, 00:00 UTC

 

 

Posted: May 13th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on World Bank

25th Anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall

Villain: Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev and East German leader Walter Ulbricht.

Plot: 1961 the construction of the Berlin wall. In an attempt to stop the brain drain from East to West Germany. Nikita Khrushchev and Walter Ulbricht conspired to build the Berlin wall. This wall was built on the border of East and West Germany in Berlin and remained until November 9 1989.

Communism a potentially beautiful ideology- by fortifying its own citizens the wall became a symbol of Communism’s shortcoming in practice and the disenchantment with it that spread within the East German population.  Many East Germans died trying to cross into West Germany and the area on the East side of the wall was declared a no man’s land where the East German border patrol can open fire on its own citizens. The wall was eventually torn down on this day 25 years ago and free movement was allowed between East and West Germany.

Today parts of the wall remain in the city.

 

East German border patrol observe construction of Berlin Wall circa 1961

 

 

 

Wall circa 1980, west side of wall covered in graffiti. East side buffered by no man’s land.

 

Death strip observed from Axel Springer Building circa 1984

 

 

 

 

Light installation consisting of light balloons marking the wall 2014

 

 

Release of light balloons 2014

 

Posted: November 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on 25th Anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall

The Robber Barons

Villian: The Robber Barons circa 1880. The Robber Barons included: John D. Rockerfeller (Standad Oil America), Henry Clay Frick (US Steel corporation), Jay Gould (rail such as: Union Pacific rail and Missouri Pacific Railroad) and JP Morgan (banker) among others. The Robber Barons were men who used new technologies of the time such as the railroads, and global systems of finance to make themselves more rich and therefore powerful. For instance Rockefeller controlled almost all the oil industry in America along with the railroads that transported the oil

Plot: In the late 1800’s the Southern and Pacific Railroad in America bought land for very little. Then sold the land to pioneers who dreamed of being farmers for inflated prices. Over time they charged the farmers more to transport their harvest to the ports- until they faced ruin and had to mortgage their land to the financiers behind the railroads.

The pioneers found themselves trapped. Through the control of new infrastructure (railroads and financial systems) the Robber Barons managed to destroy the dream of freedom for the pioneers. Using the infrastructure of the Pacific and Southern Railroad to systematically entrapping and exploiting them. In 1880 a dispute over land titles between California settlers and the Southern Pacific Railroad erupted leaving seven people dead. This tragic event is referred to as the “The Mussel Slough Tragedy”.

And it wasn’t just the railroads trying to make profits. Beyond them was a new financial system that had realized that by making the farmers their servants in this way they could create a mass-industrialized system of agriculture that could both feed the world and also make a few individuals so rich and powerful that they destroyed democracy.

 

Large-scale grant map dated 1893,  showing the alternate sections of public  land granted to the Little Rock &  Fort Smith Railway

 

 

Missouri Pacific Railroad map circa 1885

 

 

Map of Nebraska showing the Union Pacific Railroad Land Grants, 1880

 

 

Northern Pacific Railway Homeseekers Excursions circa 1912

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted: September 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Robber Barons

Eden Project + Rio Tinto Group

Villian: Rio Tinto Group

Plot:Rio Tinto is set to begin mining in Madagascar for titanium dioxide [1] . This will involve the removal of a large section of coastal forest, and may cause extensive damage to the unique biodiversity of the Malagasy flora and fauna. At the same time Rio Tinto Group is one of the partners of Eden Project located in Cornwall UK. The Eden project is a visitor attraction in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom.

Inside the artificial biomes are plants that are collected from all around the world to preserve and celebrate biodiversity. The project is located in a reclaimed Kaolinite pit, located 2 km (1.2 mi) from the town of St Blazey and 5 kilometres (3 mi) from the larger town of St Austell, Cornwall.

The complex is dominated by two huge enclosures consisting of adjoining domes that house thousands of plant species,[3] and each enclosure emulates a natural biome. The first dome emulates a tropical environment, and the second a Mediterranean environment. The Eden project is committed to sustainable practices such as cutting down waste, reducing water use, and cutting energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. All the while collecting money from Rio Tinto Group.

**The Eden project was portrayed as a Villians Lair in “Die Another Day” James Bond no. 20
Madagascar’s unique forest under threat – The Guardian, UK, 7 August 2005

Image stills from James Bond no. 20 “Die Another Day” below
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Posted: September 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Eden Project + Rio Tinto Group

Bechtel + Quantum

Villains: Aguas del Tunari which was owned by U.S. transnational company Bechtel, Italy’s Edison, and Spain’s Abengoa and Dominic Green of Green planet (Quantum of Solace)

Plot: Between 1999 and April 2000 the consortium which owned Aguas del Tunari increased water rates in Bolivia to local water consumers by as much as 200 percent after winning a 40-year concession in closed-door negotiations. This resulted in water bills amounting between 20 percent and 30 percent of the income of poor households of Cochabamba, Bolivia [1]. This is similar to the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace” where Dominic Greene and his company Green Planet are part of an international consortium called “Quantum”. Quantum, is a criminal organization which accrues power and influence through world finance and geopolitics. For instance in the film the organization Quantum helps Greene and his company Green Planet to overthrow the current regime of Bolivia and hand control over to General Medrano (a previous dictator) in exchange for a parcel of land that appears barren on the surface. However this piece of land actually houses a vast amount of fresh water underground which is being dammed by Greene’s company- thus driving the water prices up for the residents of Bolivia. Dominic Green blackmail’s Gen. Medrano into signing a contract granting Greene’s company an overpriced proprietary utilities contract in Bolivia, which will be the only source for fresh water for the country. By damning the fresh water underground Green exasperates the water crisis in Bolivia in order the skyrocket the price of water. He plans to raise the price of water so high that he would in turn become one of the wealthiest and most powerful people on the planet.

Dominic Greene publicises his company Green Planet as caring for the environment- for instance in the film Green’s company hosts an ecological fundraiser in Bolivia to supposedly buy up large sums of land for ecological preservation. Greene also uses sustainable architecture as an advertising tool to deceive his investors. For instance he operates out of an eco-hotel in the Bolivian desert.

1. http://www.coha.org/latin-america-water-politics-coups-and-james-bond/ Bond and Camille discover Greene’s secret underground fresh water reservoir. The members of Quantum and Bolivia’s ex-general waiting for Greene at his eco- hotel in the desert.

Bond and Camille discover Greene’s secret underground fresh water reservoir.

The members of Quantum and Bolivia’s ex-general waiting for Greene at his eco- hotel in the desert.

 

 

 

 

 


The residents of Cochabamba, Bolivia protesting against a 200 percent water price hike circa 1999-2000.

Posted: September 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Bechtel + Quantum