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Behind the Lofty SDGs the Reality is People Don’t Trust Governments to Act

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Behind the Lofty SDGs the Reality is People Don’t Trust Governments to Act

By Andrew Cave, Driving Change

Michael Sani is a fervent believer in people casting transformative power with their votes. As chief executive of Bite the Ballot, a program supporting the U.K. Cabinet Office to increase voter registration, he partnered with Starbucks to create “DeCafe” debates, re-invigorating the spirit of the 17th Century coffee shop to inspire participation in elections.

 

The social entrepreneur later took this initiative to France and Colombia to support political engagement in elections and saw its methodology inspire the African Prisons Project, which held events in prisons with key social justice stakeholders.

 

Now CEO of Play Verto, which he says takes a “holistic approach” to accelerating and magnifying social impact through data-led decision-making, Sani’s new target is nothing less than generating the people power to help change the world.

 

The British-born, Egypt-based former business studies teacher recently unveiled The People’s Report, a global poll enabling 17,000 people speaking 43 different languages on the front lines of climate change to submit de-facto annual returns on how it is affecting their daily lives. The aim is for this exercise to act as a flash scorecard on progress toward achieving the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

 

Emanating from discussions in 2019 with Catalyst 2030, a social entrepreneurship policy initiative, and run on a shoestring with a tiny staff reliant on volunteers and funded by friends and supporters, The People’s Report also wants its data to be used to formulate future policies.

 

“Social entrepreneurs want to collaborate in order to achieve the SDGs” says Sani, “but there are many different social entrepreneurs working towards the SDGs in silos across the different thematic areas.

 

“They have the same goals, but collaboration is hard to come by and what often happens is that there’s not enough funding or resources and you end up competing against those you should be working with because of the way the ecosystem has been put together.

 

“A lot of social entrepreneurs are therefore just surviving, rather than thriving, and that’s the piece of the jigsaw that most fascinates me: how do we shift the sector from survive mode and thrive.”

 

A collaboration between Catalyst 2030, the Social Progress Imperative and Play Verto, The People’s Report’s aim is to measure the reality of peoples’ lives in relation to the SDGs. Eleven questions were posed to ordinary people accessed through the partners’ networks. Eleven questions were posed to ordinary people accessed through the networks of Catalyst 2030 and other initiatives including the Social Progress Index.

 

 

 

 

They were answered by people on the world’s front lines: from the townships of South Africa, sex workers in India, Syrians in refugee camps, truck drivers in Australia, rose growers in Bogota, and office workers in Japan.

 

The inaugural survey found nearly two-thirds of respondents stating that they are experiencing the direct effects of climate change in their daily lives. Some 50% said they cannot trust their governmental leaders to address the issue. Asked whether they would choose to raise children in their communities in the current worsening environment, 34% of respondents replied in the negative.

 

The poll found that 34% of respondents under the age of 51 reported worsening mental health since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread evidence that they are living in the climate emergency, with 79% of respondents in the Indian subcontinent and 63% overall saying they had personally witnessed biodiversity loss.

 

The reality of hunger was also evident, with Africa (32%) and the Indian subcontinent (24%) reporting the highest levels, but 15% of North Americans and 14% of Europeans also saying they go to bed hungry. The impact of COVID-19 was clearly seen as 43% of respondents saying they had lost their income.

 

Lack of trust in governments emerged as a real problem, with 57% citing this in the Middle East and North Africa and one-third of all respondents stating that different views were not respected in their communities.

 

Finally, the survey identified a genuine fear for the future, with 42% of people in the Middle East and North Africa expressing little confidence in the future.

 

Sani and his partners are now planning much bigger Peoples Reports over the remaining eight years until the UN’s deadline. “The call to arms was ‘What’s your story?’” he says.

 

“We wanted to get the realities of as many people as possible at a particular point in time, with the goal of taking that back to the UN. It’s not about pointing out where their data is wrong and our data is right, but just to offer up our ideas so we can all work together with fresh and vivid information.

 

“We’ve got nine years to achieve the SDGs and this is the state of our realities according to the people facing them. We hope it can help form a unified voice to help better shape strategies based on need and a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not.

 

“If we’re going to set forth such an ambitious plan as achieving the SDGs, we really need to have our finger on the pulse. Now we have the data to take this forward.”

Source: Driving Change

Andrew Cave

Andrew Cave is a British business journalist who has written for The Daily Telegraph for 24 years in London and New York, rising to be Associate City Editor before switching to freelance writing in 2005. He also penned columns for Forbes Magazine for six years and has written five books on leadership and management.
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Editorials

Lies Kill

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YouTube has decided to take down video channels associated with some of the key anti-vaccine activists on the Internet, people like Joseph Mercola, Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Erin Elizabeth Finn.

This pits two core American values against each other. It pits freedom of speech against saving human lives.

By Howard Bloom

YouTube has decided to take down video channels associated with some of the key anti-vaccine activists on the Internet, people like Joseph Mercola, Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Erin Elizabeth Finn.

This pits two core American values against each other. It pits freedom of speech against saving human lives.

Why the YouTube censorship? Just 12 people generate 65% of the anti-vaccine shares on YouTube. And anti-vaccine beliefs can kill you.

As of October 2, 701,000 Americans have died of covid. That’s more than the total number of Americans who died in all the wars of the 20th century combined. Almost all of those who died were unvaccinated.

Meanwhile Joseph Mercola, according to the New York Times, “has published over 600 articles on Facebook that cast doubt on Covid-19 vaccines.” But Mercola is not an unbiased source of information. He has earned over $100 million selling natural health remedies he says can allow you to “take control of your health”.

Actually YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook started to police covid disinformation at the beginning of the pandemic a year and a half ago. At the end of September YouTube went beyond censorship of misinformation on covid vaccines to shut down misinformation on all vaccines. Including the claim that childhood vaccines cause autism.

At bottom this is something bigger than it seems. It is a battle of our entire society against the big lie. The idea of the big lie was invented by Adolph Hitler in the 1920s and developed as a tool by Hitler’s propaganda tsar Joseph Goebbels. The doctrine of the big lie says that if you invent a lie outlandish enough it will overwhelm your audience’s critical faculties and will trigger belief. Especially if you repeat it over and over again.

An example of the big lie is the original social media posting over a year ago claiming that Anthony Fauci was Bill Gates’ roommate at Cornell. Then, said the posting, Fauci became the first CEO of Moderna, one of the drug companies making a covid vaccine. The posting implied that Fauci stands to make millions from the vaccines.

But that’s not all. Said the posting, “It was at Cornell that Bill Gates designed the RFID (Radio-frequency identification) [chip] and patented it under US2006257852.” And, the posting claimed, Bill Gates is using the covid vaccine to implant his RFID microchips in you.

There was only one problem. None of these facts were true. Not a single one of them.

Bill Gates did not go to Cornell, he went to Harvard. Bill Gates could not have been a roommate of Anthony Fauci. Anthony Fauci left undergraduate school in 1962. Gates dropped out of Harvard in 1975. The two men were 333 miles and over thirteen years apart.

What’s more, Anthony Fauci never worked at Moderna. Moderna was not founded until 2010. By then Dr. Fauci had been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 24 years.

Topping it all off, the patent number the posting gave for Bili Gates’ alleged RFID chip is not for RFID chips. It’s a chemical patent that “relates to nucleic acids and proteins from the SARS coronavirus.” And the patent was not issued to Bill Gates, it was issued to Jens P. Gregersen and David Chien.

In other words, this critical posting on which a massive conspiracy movement has been based was brilliantly written. Persuasively written. But every claim it made was a lie.

But, hey, freedom of speech means freedom to lie, doesn’t it? No, it means an obligation to give the closest approximation to truth you can muster.

Freedom of speech is central to democracy. It’s one of our checks and balances. One of our self-corrective mechanisms. One of the things that has allowed western civilization to produce material miracles like doubling the human lifetime in a mere 150 years, upping the average iq by 35 points in 100 years, and increasing peace in the world by a factor of ten in 350 years.

But the daily use of big lies in our politics can destroy freedom of speech. And it can poison our entire system of democracy.

What’s more, lies can kill. 3,418 Americans died of covid on September 16. That’s far more than died in our 20-year-long war in Afghanistan. Dying of covid in a single day.

A huge proportion of those who died believed that vaccines are filled with microchips. In other words, because of their beliefs, almost all of those who died were unvaccinated.

So which virus really killed them, the microbe or the virus of the big lie?

References:
https://www.npr.org/2021/05/13/996570855/disinformation-dozen-test-facebooks-twitters-ability-to-curb-vaccine-hoaxes

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/24/technology/joseph-mercola-coronavirus-misinformation-online.html,

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/05/21/many-are-worried-about-the-return-of-the-big-lie-theyre-worried-about-the-wrong-thing/

Howard Bloom, The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism, Prometheus Books, 2009,

 

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Howard Bloom has been called the Einstein, Newton, and Freud of the 21st century by Britain’s Channel 4 TV. One of his seven books-Global Brain—was the subject of a symposium thrown by the Office of the Secretary of Defense including representatives from the State Department, the Energy Department, DARPA, IBM, and MIT. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Psychology Today, and the Scientific American. He does news commentary at 1:06 am et every Wednesday night on 545 radio stations on Coast to Coast AM. For more, see howardbloom.institute.

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Editorials

The “Myth” of Independence (When in Reality, We are Interdependent)

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The disastrous burden of exploitation and the plundering of ill-distributed wealth is a historical burden whose influence on backwardness, misery and neglect is an indisputable argument for rejecting the claims of independence and freedom of the ruling castes, who are primarily responsible for the shameful conditions in which the future of the peoples is plunged.

Without sustainable development for all, it is not valid to boast of independence.


The Tale of Independence

Claudia Aranda
(Image by Claudia Aranda)

Independence festivals celebrate the greatest myth in history.

The dates represent only a symbolic reference in the course of history, which is why the Independence festivities, celebrated in these days of September in some countries of the continent, should become a turning point; a turning point in the right direction and the beginning of a new era for the peoples who observe, with a mixture of envy and hope, the advances in other corners of the planet.

Latin America has suffered genocidal dictatorships, foreign invasions marked by economic and geopolitical interests, devaluation and annihilation of its millenary cultures, plundering of its natural wealth and constant intervention in its development plans by financial organisations controlled by the great world powers. However, the moral strength and the yearning for freedom of their peoples are the decisive resources for consolidating that real and concrete independence for which they all yearn.

The examples of economic, industrial and cultural development in some of our nations show how a potential value can become a tangible reality, provided that the political actions of their leaders are underpinned by a firm resolve to fight for their homeland. In this sense, the defense of and respect for the constitutional rule, the consolidation of the rule of law, the recognition of the intrinsic human and cultural values of their communities and the firm purpose of achieving Latin American unity, the only possible way to face the challenges of globalisation, are essential.

To boast of independence when our political castes are capable of negotiating the future of generations with entities whose interests are totally opposed to development – such as the World Bank – and subjected to the arbitrary conditions of powerful governments, focused on making the most of their institutional and political weaknesses, is an insult to intelligence. It is therefore imperative to update concepts and to understand that a country’s freedom to decide on its present and future is a pending issue throughout the third world.

The celebration of national independence has become established as a populist device and needs to be thoroughly revised. Military parades, so typical of the image of strength and power imprinted in the collective imagination, are today one of the most serious offences against peoples who have experienced the cruel repression of military dictatorships, a dark shadow that stains the history of all our countries. Patriotic pride should not rest on weapons or violence, but on culture, traditions and unrestricted respect for human rights.

The disastrous burden of exploitation and the plundering of ill-distributed wealth is a historical burden whose influence on backwardness, misery and neglect is an indisputable argument for rejecting the claims of independence and freedom of the ruling castes, who are primarily responsible for the shameful conditions in which the future of the peoples is plunged.

Without sustainable development for all, it is not valid to boast of independence.

Source: Pressenza

Carolina Vásquez Araya

Journalist and editor with more than 30 years of experience, whose professional achievements in the development of highly successful projects endorse her qualities of leadership, creativity and public relations. She has contributed her knowledge in projects of organizations with interests oriented to the social, cultural and economic development of the country, with special emphasis on the sector of culture and education, entrepreneurship, human rights, justice, environment, women and children. She is Chilean in Guatemala. elquintopatio.wordpress.com

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Ending the Spyware Trade

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An Indian-led initiative is trying to ensure that the scandal surrounding the large-scale use of NSO Group’s Pegasus cyber-weapon does not simply die down (as previous scandals have).

We reproduce this call to organise and continue campaigning around some basic principles.

Dear friends, dear friends,

Warm greetings from India. You all know that we are going through a steady erosion of our democracy led by a right wing (Hindu) government under the leadership of Narendra Modi. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), along with its vast network of ideological supporters in India and abroad, seeks to establish a Hindutva majoritarian state based on the deprivation of its social, religious and other minorities. The groundwork has been laid: citizenship rules have been changed, constitutional protections for minorities are being steadily withdrawn, and hate crimes have become a daily occurrence. Anyone who opposes the supremacist version of this new Indian state regime is being persecuted and punished by legal and illegal means. It is in this context that we write to you today: The Pegasus scandal has revealed that more than 300 Indian journalists, activists, opposition leaders and civilians, the entire top echelon of democratic dissent against the current regime, were being spied on with Israeli cyber weapons bought with public money.

There is something disconcerting about the revelations, though none of us are really surprised. We in India have long been aware that technological collaboration between India and Israel is not just a matter of exchanging security capabilities as many would have us believe. The parent entities of the One India movement have long maintained deep ties with the Israeli apartheid state. The current import of NSO Group’s Pegasus to India, along with many other Israeli policing and warfare technologies, is a direct result of the Indian government’s new policy of positing Israel as an ideological and governance model. Two recent examples are worth mentioning: India’s Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 mirrors the Israeli Law of Return, and the repeal of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir has initiated “Israel-style settlements” in what was once the only province where India’s Hindu population was a minority and for this reason protected.

Ideological exchanges are not new, but the wholesale adoption of security methodologies is, with our new India being the world’s largest importer of Israeli arms, spending about a billion dollars of public money every year. This exorbitant exchange of war and repression technologies has continued unabated, even as India has lost more than half a million people due to Covid-related mismanagement and a severe medical infrastructure deficit. As in other cases of government apathy for people’s lives and rights, people who tried to report on the Covid crisis were criminally prosecuted or beaten by mobs. The story continues: all dissenters are treated as enemies of the state and the worst dehumanising treatment is reserved for them. The recent revelations of the Bhima Koregaon case, have shown that state agencies are going to the extent of planting evidence to incriminate human rights defenders who have spent their entire lives living and defending the voices of the most marginalised sections of the country. The Pegasus project has shown us a glimpse of the enormous technological capacity in the hands of state agencies to violate the privacy of citizens, as well as the lack of moral scruples of those in power to deploy military grade weapons to silence the truth and those who speak it, and that too using public money. We refuse to accept this in silence!

While we resist and do our best, we know very well that we cannot be alone in this struggle. Only a global movement will be able to raise the question of the legitimacy of cyber weapons, in particular those coming from Israel. The question we ask ourselves is: do we want these weapons among us, and can they ever be used for any good? We are also convinced that these weapons, developed in a context of brutal repression and apartheid, can only be used for such purposes.

We therefore call on organisations, concerned individuals and people’s movements to join together in a global campaign to impose a moratorium on the trade in spyware. We invite you to sign the declaration below to build together a convergence of global movements opposing the trade and use of spyware and cyberweapons, including NSO Group’s Pegasus.

Text of the statement:

These are not security products. They do not provide any kind of protection, any kind of prophylaxis. They don’t make vaccines: all they sell is the virus”.

Edward Snowden on commercial spyware

The Pegasus investigation has revealed the extent of Israeli cyber-weapons penetration against journalists, human rights defenders, opposition leaders and heads of state around the world. Contrary to the claims of the creators of these spyware programmes, it is clear that Pegasus was used primarily by authoritarian regimes or such figures within governments, and only for anti-democratic purposes: to weaken the voices of the people and suppress both the truth and those who speak it.

It is no wonder that Pegasus’ presence or instrumental role is found in the most serious violations of current times: symbolised by the brazen murder of journalists Jamal Khashoggi and Cecilio Pineda Birto. Research in 2016 and 2021 reflects that half of the world’s countries have deployed Pegasus against those they considered threats to their authority. Between 2016 and now, despite multiple lawsuits and condemnations from global bodies, NSO Group has continued to thrive, receiving Israel’s endorsement and becoming part of the unicorn startup club with a $1 billion valuation.

But NSO Group is just the tip of the iceberg. The production and export of “intrusion software”, once the preserve of elite state intelligence units and security firms seeking to protect resources and people from hackers, is now an unregulated global industry worth billions of dollars in worldwide commerce. The numbers reflect the proliferation of such weapons that seek to deliver our most intimate thoughts and actions to regimes willing to pay to control them. And the proliferation shows: in recent years, these spying programmes have been instrumental in breaking up protests, deportations, torture and assassinations in Hong Kong, Egypt, Myanmar, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Ethiopia, Libya, Turkey, Hungary and the United States, to name but a few. We cannot forget India, which has not only used Pegasus against all breath of opposition to the current Hindu nationalist regime, but has also used spyware to criminalise activists who have spent their lives working with and for the people, including the 83-year-old Jesuit priest, Father Stan Swamy, who died in judicial custody last month.

The shock of having been duped, all over the world, has yet to sink in: how is it possible that such anti-people spyware could have been developed, exported and bought by governments with public money, and then weaponised against our best voices? As stories emerge of how these intrusions have been used as weapons of attack, here are some ideas of which we are quite sure:

This is not a “misuse” of spyware/cyberweapons: these technologies are designed for repression. Produced and sold in the name of security, these technologies are systematically used for mass surveillance, as well as targeted spying and incapacitation, as has been publicly known since Edward Snowden’s revelations about the US National Security Agency.

It is no coincidence that Israel is the market leader and spearhead of these military products being sold to the world. Like the NSO Group, multiple Israeli cyber-espionage companies are founded and staffed by the Israeli military’s Unit 8200, which is responsible for cyber-espionage. Like NSO, these companies work in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Defence. Sponsored by the Israeli apartheid state and part of its diplomacy, these companies critically assist the Israeli regime’s colonialism in the region. Why are Israeli arms the market leader? Illegal occupation, apartheid and colonialism against the Palestinian people provide the perfect “sample population” for research, development and “field testing” of such technologies of subjugation, particularly cyber weapons such as Pegasus.

The only possible response to the unanimity with which governments around the world are legitimising the use of such weapons is an international solidarity of peoples and popular struggles, especially those who are targeted by these spying programmes for their defence of human rights and for speaking truth to power. What we want is a total halt, a global moratorium on the production and trade of such weapons, echoing the call made by UN experts, human rights bodies, media institutions, academics and civil society groups around the world.

It is time we are able to see through the façade of “security” to clearly see these weapons for what they are: tools of repression, whose sole purpose is to silence peoples’ voices. We must put an end to these weapons!

In the past, these efforts have ended police training exchange programmes with Israel, pressured governments to end contracts with Israeli arms companies, and brought together people’s tribunals over Israel’s aid to militarisation in Latin America. Only a global and intersectional struggle can put an end to the proliferation of the indefensible espionage industry.

Our struggles are connected and together we are stronger.

To sign on with signatures here (page in Spanish)

Source: Pressenza

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