Astroturf Intelligence (AI) & Colonization of Sri Lanka by NGOs
Posted on May 12th, 2024

e-Con e-News


Before you study the economics, study the economists!

e-Con e-News 05-11 May 2024

Grassroots? Astroturf!

Foreign aid agencies & their local NGO contractors

have long colonized most areas of public policy & services

– education, healthcare, court reform, rural development, infrastructure, etc.

– ee Focus, Unrest in Georgia over ‘Foreign Influence Transparency Law’

Coyly denying he handed down the US government’s dictat to oust a popularly elected Imran Khan in Pakistan, Assistant Secretary of State for South & Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu is set to case India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh from May 10-15. Banana-2 Lu (US Envoy Chung is Banana-1) is avoiding Pakistan because he may not wish to upset the uneasy calm in the wake of the turmoil he escalated after deposing Khan. What squid ink will he fog the air with in Sri Lanka, after roosting in Chennai?

     Who determines when to overthrow a popular government? Who has usurped &/or overthrown the power to determine & define what ‘independence’ means? The re-entry of such a coup-plotter as Banana-2 Lu reinforces what ‘independence’ can really add up to. Lu has come back to remind us that: There is no greater comeback story than the story of Sri Lanka.” Comeback can be another word for delivering karma…


• This ee reproduces an exposé of the ongoing NGO aragalaya or ‘color revolution’ in action in former-Soviet Georgiaagainst a law long-overdue to control foreign-funded NGOs. This law is not as powerful as the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), yet the US is funding violent opposition to the Georgian legislation.

US citizen WEB Du Bois was indicted as far back in 1951 under the US FARA for failure to register as a ‘foreign agent’ after setting up a ‘Peace Institute’ calling on the US to make peace with Russia & China. Du Bois was then forced into exile into Ghana.

     The US therefore well knows the purpose of such laws. The US after all is funding un-elected NGOs to take over governments seen as too close to the people they are supposed to represent.

     An NGO consultant, who helped fund oppositional ‘civil society’ organizations in Russia, confesses that both governing and opposition parties in post-Soviet Georgia have been greased by foreign aid agencies (see ee Focus). And now unelected NGOs (who have to be more active on Facebook than in real-life), more artificial astroturf than grassroots, are taking over government functions. She also examines the ‘outsized’ role US- & EU-funded NGOs are playing in Georgia: in ‘politics, policy-making, and public services.’

     Her essay also fingers the so-called nationalist opposition to the NGOs. These ‘nationalists’, usually anti-Communist, put forth technocratic solutions that only enhance the rule of corporations. This ee Focus therefore also reproduces an essay on that much-propagandized ideological flavor of the month – Artificial Intelligence (AI). Much of AI depends on human labor (particularly on exploited workers based in Asia & Africa), as well as enormous energy (belying all greenwashing rhetoric against carbon footprints, etc) – The ‘A’ in AI could mean both African & Asian Intelligence, with the new joke being that AI really means ‘Actually Indian’!!)


In Pakistan, the US rules through the army & judiciary. In so-called democratic colonies, they rule through army, judiciary & ‘nongovernment organizations’ – maybe NGO is just a new name for the colonial dupes they have always ruled through. It is no surprise many of these NGOs are led by members of the old merchant compradors. And what is a true NGO anyway? Private Corporations. Unilever claims to be the biggest NGO in the world!

     Asians & Africans are now keeping the toilets clean at European airports. They are also in charge of shepherding immigration line-ups & airport security. And there are fully dressed brown mannequins purportedly in charge of governments. They too tend to be members of old merchant elites who the English & others ruled through in Asia & Africa. Behind these modern gate-mudaliyars, standing behind it all, looking over their shoulders, are the same old import-export colonial plantation ghosts…


• Global Warring is far greater immediate threat to the world than global warming. Indeed! Global whitening is just as great a threat, for it aims to undermine true cultural opposition to its wider economic objectives. ee therefore examines the role recently passed Professor Nalin de Silva played in upholding the legacy of Anagarika Dharmapala, the 20thC prophet of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism & independence. ee also examines the downplaying among so-called nationalists of that part of Dharmapala’s legacy which recalls the role modern industrialization has to play in undergirding any true independence.         


• Professor Nalin & Herr Marx – Where the US government has had erected another huge fortress, another seaside wing to the Colombo Fort, with the Indian High Commission, Galle Face Hotel and Galle Face boxed in between – down from Kollupitiya Junction, 2 roads fork off:  At the ‘Liberty Roundabout’, Liberty Plaza on one arc selling imported goods, Liberty Cinema on another selling Hollywood, one prong snakes north & east and is now named after Ananda Coomaraswamy. The other heads south & east, and named after Anagarika Dharmapala.

     Coomaraswamy is oft-quoted by Englishers, always positively as a ‘Tamil’ who spoke up for Sinhala culture. Coomaraswamy drew attention to the artisanal culture of the Sinhala people, but failed to or could not expose the prevention of a modern industrial culture among the people. None of the major 19th century books in science & technology were ever published in Sinhala, whereas they were translated into Tamil and Hebrew. Coomaraswamy also ignored, displaced or downplayed the Sinhala role in maintaining a historically continuous, contiguous and centripetal nation. He makes Sri Lanka an indispensable appendage of India.

     Dharmapala’s fuller story, meanwhile, is almost fully suppressed. His importance may be gauged by the multi-barrelled missiles still aimed at him from all English quarters, the moment his name is mentioned. The same may be said for Prof Nalin de Silva, who upheld Dharmapala’s role in history and in the nation, his exile in India, being driven away by the English & their house slaves (the Wijewardenes, Jayawardenes, Ponnambalams, Pages, Gardiners, & Coomaraswamys, who also happen to still own major properties along these diplomatic and financial tramways of Colombo). De Silva also wrote of US Colonel Henry Olcott’s exaggerated role in determining the Buddhism of the Moratuwa petit-bourgeoisie (For more on the 2 de Silvas, see Random Notes).


• The power of capitalists behind agribusiness was again exposed this week, with the fingering of Peradeniya Professor Buddhi Marambe as a partner in the ‘fertilizer mafia’ that was involved in undermining the Gotabhaya Rajapakse government’s organic fertilizer policy. Professor in Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Marambe is also a director of the English chemical importer CIC (ICI), and a member of the present government’s agricultural modernization plan (see ee Agriculture). He has been named as being part of the conspiracy to falsely accuse and turn back a Chinese ship allegedly dumping contaminated fertilizer. The failure of the last government’s organic fertilizer policy is cited as a major reason for the undermining of popular support. 

     Who determines when to overthrow of a popular government, and who has usurped the power to determine and define what ‘independence’ means? The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is now ‘independent’ – by an ‘Act’ of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, as demanded by the US government, acting through the IMF. Independent of whom? Independent from public review? Independent of Wall Street? A recent incident involving top capitalist law firm Cleary Gottlieb shows: ‘independence’ is being determined by Wall St. It would be fine if Wall St wishes to determine its own independence from New York or the USA, but it wishes untrammelled access to Sri Lanka’s economy and its productions.

     Capitalist media this week reported that capitalist financier Blackstone – a major owner of Sri Lanka’s ‘debt’ via ‘international sovereign bonds (ISBs) – has taken over the handling of the on-arrival visa handling of the Sri Lanka’s Department of Immigration & Emigration at Bandaranaike International Airport? US buyout firm Blackstone Group was among the at-least-8 parties that showed interest in the 2016 attempt to sell flag carrier SriLankan Airlines.


‘That’s Blackstone’s modus operandi:

to pick up distressed prices at a bankruptcy sale –

but you need to lend money and then crash it

in order to make that work.’ – Michel Hudson

In 2021 US-based Blackstone Capital sued the Sri Lankan government over Hambantota Port, and then grabbed our largest glass factory, the former Ceylon Glass Co (CGC) – which owns silica deposits and our largest glass-bottle manufacturing plant. US Blackstone’s acquisition of Sri Lanka’s glass factory was seen as testing the waters to make greater inroads into the economy. Blackstone is also involved in the privatization of public healthcare, part of 2 Wall St investment firms who own one-third of all US hospital emergency rooms, staffed by doctors on the payrolls of 2 physician staffing companies. Blackstone is one of the top 10 business groups in India and is also part of the capitalist clique who control the US government’s leadership. Blackstone’s CEO Stephen Allen Schwarzman was once chairman of President Donald Trump’s Strategic & Policy Forum, to help implement ‘his plan to bring back jobs and Make America Great Again’. Later Blackstone’s president Jon Gray joined more than 160 top US executives demanding Trump step down and acknowledge Biden as the president-elect.

     Blackstone is found all over the planet where humans suffer in undifferentiated numbers, where capitalist vultures roost. They won’t ask for our forgiveness, for they full know what they are doing: Blackstone, linked to US warmakers, is profiting off the US annihilation of Palestine, salivating at the inevitable reconstruction (they are also major real-estate ‘developers’). BlackRock, Blackstone and Vanguard, top agrobusiness shareholders, have also taken over ‘the lands that really matter’ in NATO-occupied Ukraine.


• Major capitalist US law firm Cleary Gottlieb on May 7 released its so-called ‘independent review’ of charges of sexual harassment at the US government’s Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This charge is being seen as revenge for and a warning to the bank regulator FDIC. FDIC recently approved the moving forward of proposed new rules to significantly raise the capital levels at the megabanks on Wall Street, particularly those holding trillions of dollars in derivatives off their balance sheet. Cleary Gottlieb has represented Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, as financial advisors in various Merger & Acquisition transactions: These 5 Wall St megabanks have the largest derivatives exposures. So the question: ‘In what alternative universe from hell can one call Cleary Gottlieb, independent’?

     Indeed, NGOs were created by corporations & imperialist governments to perform such roles as ‘independent’ actors. Independent of ‘governments’ & popular will perhaps, but not independent of large multinational corporations (MNCs), bigger than most nation-states. Such is the ethereal substance that independence is claimed to be made of.



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress