Vanessa Beeley and Whitney Webb — Mint Press July 30, 2018
Just over two years ago, the senseless and savage murder of British Labour Party MP Jo Cox stunned Britain and much of the world. After her death, families, friends and colleagues pledged that her memory would live on, thanks in part to the memorial funds posthumously set up in her honor.
Among those memorial funds, the Jo Cox Fund is by far the most notable, having greatly surpassed its £1.5 million ($1.97 million) fundraising goal. That money, according to the fund’s GoFundMe page, was divided among three organizations that had been “close to her [Cox’s] heart:” the Royal Voluntary Service, Hope Not Hate, and the White Helmets of Syria, with funds raised in excess of that goal being used to establish the Jo Cox Foundation.
Though Jo Cox was undeniably a vocal supporter of all three of those causes, the past two years have revealed a concerted effort on the part of powerful interests, including globalist billionaires and prominent figures of the Western political elite, to exploit Cox’s death for the purpose of furthering the long-standing Western agenda of effecting regime change in Syria.
These figures – George Soros, Bill Gates and the Clintons among them – have used their influence and their vast resources of capital in order not only to help enact the “humanitarian” regime change model in Syria, but to shield from criticism their assets in the country, including suspected child traffickers profiting from the misery of Syrian children.
The crux of this effort centers around the controversial “humanitarian” group that fraudulently calls itself the Syrian Civil Defense, better known as the White Helmets, whose ties to both terrorist elements within the Syrian opposition and Western governments pushing for Syrian regime change have been well-documented.
Through their receipt of money raised from the Jo Cox Fund and the group’s well-publicized efforts aimed at commemorating Cox’s death, the murdered MP’s posthumous and saint-like reputation has been instrumental in shielding the group from legitimate criticisms both within the U.K. and beyond, preventing genuinely independent inquiries into the group’s dubious activities in Syria and its documented receipt of over £38.4 million ($50.3 million) in U.K. government funds.
Who was Jo Cox?
Prior to her untimely and tragic death, Jo Cox was a “tireless advocate” for the Syrian opposition following the 2011 outbreak of the Syrian conflict, even going so far as to promote Western military intervention to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Indeed, Cox consistently called for the U.K. to unilaterally establish a “no-fly zone” in Syria with U.S. support and argued that the U.K. military could achieve an “ethical solution” to the Syrian conflict by intervening in the war in order to “compel” the Syrian government to negotiate.
Cox was deeply connected to the Fabian Society, the claimed representative of “modern Labour” in the U.K. This society has certainly furthered U.K. imperialist politics, which included the “patriotic funding of war machines,” according to author Dr. P. Wilkinson, who analyzed the impact of Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader in 2015 upon the Blairite factions within the party. While the Fabian Society can lay claim to some good work on child poverty, as an example, more recently it has been instrumental in the expansion of Global Britain’s economic and military interests.
In pursuit of U.K./NATO military intervention, Cox vocally denounced Assad and — throughout her short career in Parliament — had maintained that the Syrian president had “helped nurture ISIS [Daesh] and been its main recruiting sergeant.” She had also asserted that the Syrian government had killed seven times more civilians than the infamous terror group and the hundreds of other militant, extremist groups and foreign mercenaries in Syria at the behest of their backers among NATO member states and Gulf States with Israel as their hospital wing, treating armed militants, including Nusra Front in Israeli medical centres.
Cox’s precarious positioning of facts upon a mountain of misleading information has been discredited over time, as the Syrian Arab Army and its allies have waged a successful and authentic “war on terror” inside Syria and on its borders. All such wild accusations and Coxian theories have been eroded with each liberation of occupied Syrian territory and reintegration of armed militants into Syrian society via the Russian-brokered Amnesty and Reconciliation agreements.
Cox failed to pinpoint the U.K. Government’s involvement in the bankrolling of the various extremist and terrorist factions that invaded Syria from 2011 onwards. Armed militants, who have committed all manner of atrocities against the Syrian people, Cox claimed to defend. Cox, like so many regime-change promoters, had never been to Syria. She relied upon the narratives emerging from Syria produced by the U.K. FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)-manufactured and financed White Helmets and a number of other U.K. state-funded entities on the ground in Syria. The U.K. Government was engineering a shadow state inside the borders of a sovereign nation and Cox supported this blatant violation of international law either deliberately or unwittingly.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Cox claimed that Syria was not another Iraq. This is a familiar mantra often repeated by those who support the regime change war in Syria and one that is verifiably false. It appears that Cox had never perused the Bush/Blair communications revealed in the Chilcot report that demonstrated the progression from Iraq to Iran and Syria in the U.K./U.S. drive towards hegemony in the region. Syria was in Bush’s crosshairs, as described in a TIME article, as far back as 2006 but this was overlooked by Cox. Tony Blair must have been proud of the efforts made by Cox to expand “Global Britain’s” interests inside Syria:
Above is a presentation slide showing just one of the Bush/Blair communiques as revealed by the Chilcot report. Blair suggests offering Syria and Iran a “chance at a different relationship,” one that would be soured by President Assad’s refusal to comply with the conditions of that “different relationship” — conditions included favoring the Qatar/Turkey oil pipeline preferred by the U.S. coalition. Assad said “no,” and he said “no” to abandoning his allies in the region or reneging on his commitment to the Palestinian cause. In 2002, Blair had even included an honorary knighthood in his early sweeteners to persuade Assad to embrace the “different relationship.” Blair soon changed tack when it was recognized that Syria would not abandon its principles so easily. Plan B, which was regime change, was put into effect.
Cox voted against the proposed bombing of Syria in 2015, not because she thought it was a bad idea but because she wanted David Cameron’s government to go further and send British troops into Syria to save the “moderates.”
In October 2015, Cox co-wrote an article with Andrew Mitchell, former Conservative Secretary of State for International Development (2010-12) and Libya war-hawk. The article was published in The Guardian, whose record on manufacturing consent for U.K. state “humanitarian” intervention is legendary. The title said it all – “British Forces could help achieve an ethical solution in Syria” (emphasis added).
Cox and Mitchell argued that Syria was this generation’s moral test, its “responsibility.” With little regard for the reality on the ground in Syria, Cox and Mitchell merged the threat of international terrorism with the perceived threat from the Syrian government and Syrian Arab Army. The Labour and Tory MPs laser-focused on the refugee “crisis.” No context was provided, only emotional humanitarian flag-waving that ignored the fact that the refugee crisis was actually caused by a far greater percentage of non-Syrian refugees driven from Libya, Central Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq by previous NATO “ethical interventions.” Cox and Mitchell erased the U.K. government’s criminal record under international law with customary virtue-signalling.
…[T]here is nothing ethical about standing to one side when civilians are being murdered and maimed. There was no excuse in Bosnia, nor Rwanda and there isn’t now.”
Like so many neocons, Cox fundamentally argued that the only pathway to peace was the removal of Assad and victory for the “rebels.” They gave little or no consideration to the reality that this would inevitably lead to the rise of violent sectarianism under an alleged “moderate” Islamist governance, which would plunge Syria into the same terrorist vacuum that Libya has been dealing with since NATO’s “ethical solution” reduced that prosperous sovereign nation down to a failed state.
Even after Cox’s untimely death, her colleagues insisted that her “legacy” should be Britain going to war in Syria. Just prior to her death, Cox had been working on a paper entitled “The Cost of Doing Nothing.” Posthumously this paper was completed by Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, ex-military chair of the Foreign Affairs committee, and Alison McGovern, a Blairite MP who was elected chair of the all-party parliamentary group “Friends of Syria,” founded and previously chaired by Jo Cox.
According to a report by journalist and academic Paul Dixon, “the report was due to be published on the day of the Chilcot inquiry on 6 July 2016, to counter growing British scepticism about foreign military interventions.” Tugendhat, in particular, had argued (in a 2015 paper entitled “Clearing the Fog of Law”) against the human-rights laws that, in his opinion, curtailed and restricted British military action, he argued that “judicial imperialism should urgently be reversed.”
In an article written for the Telegraph, Tugendhat stated that “his friend” Jo Cox would “never want Britain to withdraw from the world — we must be ready to intervene.” A jingoistic argument was deployed by Tugendhat to justify British imperialism:
We wanted to show that Britain’s history of intervention, military and otherwise, is common to both our political traditions and has been an integral part of our foreign and national security policy for over two hundred years.”
During her life, Cox had been an advocate of war to bring peace in Syria. Furthermore, as this article series will show, her monstrous murder has been weaponized and politicized by the neocon war hawks in British politics in order to further the imperialist ambitions of the U.K. government in Syria and beyond. Significant media coverage, for instance, has been given to Cox’s “compassion,” but little coverage has been given to her pro-interventionist policies — which she often promoted in apparent ignorance of reality and historical context. The use of the “humanitarian” pretext to promote war is hardly a new concept, but the sudden and shocking death of Jo Cox has been exploited in order to elevate it and shield it from honest criticism. Indeed, one could argue that to criticize Jo Cox posthumously is akin to questioning a “Saint.” Who could find fault with her campaign against “genocide,” her pleas for safe havens for refugees, her apolitical stance on the world’s “inhumanity?”
Nevertheless, despite the possibility of being labeled insensitive and cynical, the question that should be asked is who determines the meaning of the terms so liberally used by Cox and her colleagues? What are the implications of this humanitarian hyperbole for U.K. government policy? Indeed, in the past, misplaced or even misleading “compassion” has been used to encourage us not only to betray the principles of international law but also to justify the escalation of armed conflict that has brought only greater inhumanity.
In the case of Syria, such pro-interventionist “humanitarians” have largely promoted policies that have only deepened the suffering for the vast majority of Syrian people. What diplomatic efforts have been deployed? What rational, Syria-centric, political resolution has been proposed for discussion? What respect has there been for the self-determination of the Syrian people?
As an example, both Cox and the White Helmets were committed advocates of a No-Fly Zone over Syria — the White Helmets still are, of course. Despite the very real risk of escalating tensions with Russia, which intervened at the request of the Syrian government in September 2015, Cox argued strongly, in 2015, for a No-Fly Zone, defying even possible UN vetoes:
This is not about escalating a conflict directly to take on Russia. This is about a deterrence effect to stop the Syrian regime targeting their own civilians.”
A “No-Fly Zone” is recognized by many acclaimed journalists and analysts as nothing less than a “declaration of war.” Even Hillary Clinton, neocon warhawk extraordinaire, conceded the certainty that a No-Fly Zone would kill more Syrian civilians:
To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defenses, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk — you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”
The precedent of Libya stands as a horrifying example of the death and destruction that is a consequence of such a policy, yet Cox was willing to endorse such wholesale devastation, which would inevitably affect more innocent lives in Syria and further fragment an already destabilized nation. Notably, she did so by promoting “humanitarianism,” despite the clearly inhuman consequences of such a policy.
Furthermore, Cox campaigned tirelessly for refugee rights. However, she did not highlight the British Government’s role in creating the refugee crisis in Syria by financing, promoting and equipping the “moderate” opposition that drove civilians from their homes and into refugee status. Neither did she highlight the British government’s role in NATO-member-state interventions that further exacerbated the refugee crisis in countries like Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Central Africa.
Beyond the conflict itself, Syrians have endured almost eight years of crippling economic sanctions, sanctions that were imposed by the U.K. and its allies in the U.S. regime-change coalition. As history has shown time and again, sanctions never damage a target government but instead wind up punishing the innocent people who resist any kind of foreign meddling in their sovereign affairs. These particular sanctions have decimated the Syrian state medical sector, by destroying hospitals and reducing the nation’s ability to treat its population for all manner of chronic illness and to counter the trauma of an externally waged war. Why did Jo Cox never argue that these sanctions should be lifted if she truly cared for the plight of the Syrian people? Indeed, why were the solutions she supported largely policies that — in practice — would deepen and prolong the conflict, and why did she invoke the well-being of the Syrian people to promote them?
Jo Cox and the White Helmets
Beyond her public calls for intervention, Cox also founded and co-chaired the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) “Friends of Syria” from 2015 until her death a year later. She was again partnered in this endeavor by Andrew Mitchell, who was also co-chair of the APPG.
During that time, Cox hosted several events on behalf of the group, many of them promoting pro-regime-change speakers from groups like the European Council on Foreign Relations and the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces. More recent events hosted by the group have included speakers from the U.S. think-tank Atlantic Council, largely funded by U.S. weapons manufacturers; and the filmmakers of the second Oscar-nominated White Helmets documentary, Last Men in Aleppo, a revisionist project that attempted to erase from public consciousness the existence of Nusra Front and over 50 other extremist groups that occupied East Aleppo for almost five years.
Watch | Channel 4 tribute to Jo Cox, honoring the White Helmets as “impartial, neutral rescuers”
In promoting the White Helmets, the “Friends of Syria” group was following Cox’s lead, as Cox herself was a vocal supporter of the group and was instrumental in getting the group nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. Indeed, a few months before her death, Cox had written a “heartfelt” letter to the Nobel Prize committee, asserting that “in the most dangerous place on earth these unarmed volunteers [of the White Helmets] risk their lives to help anyone in need regardless of religion or politics.”
Cox’s promotion of the White Helmets to win the Nobel Peace Prize gained the support of several notable celebrities – George Clooney and Daniel Craig, among others – as well as 20 other British MPs. The group was eventually nominated for the prize as a result but failed to muster enough support to win the award, which instead went to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for the FARC peace deal.
Thus, the inclusion of the White Helmets as beneficiaries of the Jo Cox Fund is certainly in keeping with the Syria policy and narratives that Cox had promoted during her time as a public figure. However, what stands out is not only the extent to which the Jo Cox Fund has been posthumously exploited to continue funding the White Helmets. What is perhaps more striking is the history of the fund’s originators and their deep connections to some of the world’s most powerful individuals and influential “philanthropic” organizations.
Within five days of Cox’s murder, the White Helmets PR agency, Syria Campaign, had produced another in a long line of slick marketing campaigns. This time they announced, “8 Reasons why Syrians will never forget Jo Cox.” Those eight reasons tied in perfectly with the U.K./U.S. Coalition “regime change” agenda. They included calls for “real action” to protect the Syrian “people;” not seeing Syria as Iraq; the root cause of killing and extremism in Syria is…. Assad; breaking the ubiquitous sieges (those allegedly created by Assad, not by the extremist factions, naturally); welcoming refugees; lobbying the UN to support unlawful intervention; and ensuring that U.K. foreign policy objectives of toppling the elected Syrian government are not allowed to fall from the parliamentary agenda.
What a perfect example of exploitation of a dramatic and shocking event by an organization established by a Syrian-in-exile oil baron, Ayman Asfari who has also provided financial backing to the Conservative Party in the U.K. Almost £ 700,000 since 2009. Asfari is a member of the Leaders Group, an “elite circle of donors” who are regularly invited to lunch with Tory Party influencers in return for £50,000 per year. Asfari is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Squad (SFO) in the UK on allegations of extensive bribery and corruption in the oil and gas industry for the last three years, according to the Electoral Commission.
Asfari is another elite mover and shaker whose influence over the view of the Syria conflict landscape packaged and presented in the West is considerable, particularly within sectors that will influence UK Government policy or support it.
Andrew Mitchell, perhaps best known in the U.K. for the “plebgate” saga, has systematically used Cox’s untouchable status to counter public concern over the true role of the White Helmets in Syria and their status as a “complete propaganda construct,” as described by eminent journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger.
The ever-increasing evidence of the White Helmets’ allegiance to Nusra Front (Al Qaeda in Syria) and a plethora of other equally brutal extremist groups; their participation in sectarian, extra-judicial executions by the “moderate” armed groups; and their lobbying for war in Congress, the UN and in Parliament are dismissed with the broad brush of Jo Cox’s living endorsement of this very British organization. Cox’s death has been exploited to render any investigation into the White Helmets an inhumane practice. In life and apparently even in death, Cox was and is an integral part of the White Helmet protection cartel.
The seamless transition from Jo Cox to a number of her acolytes and colleagues who have carried her interventionist baton forward has been remarkable. Following glowing tributes from global luminaries — such as former U.S. President, and drone warfare advocate, Barack Obama — significant others have moved into pole position to ensure the longevity of Cox’s policies.
Sara Brown, wife of former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, stepped up to praise the “female” White Helmets who appeared miraculously, shortly after criticism that the group was a sectarian, extremist and fundamental organization that would do nothing to further women’s rights in Syria. At the same time as Brendan Cox (Jo’s husband) was special advisor to Gordon Brown (2009-11), Jo Cox had helped Sara Brown to establish the Maternal Mortality Campaign, which aimed to raise awareness of babies dying needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth.
Move forward to 2017 and the creation of the Jo Cox-inspired centrist campaign group “More United,” which crowdfunds to support “progressive” election candidates across all parties in the U.K. According to Bess Mayhew, chief executive of More United:
We are doing something unheard of in British politics: we want people across the political spectrum to agree and unite around the values we share. We have supporters, we have money, we have a long-term plan, and we’re mobilising a digital disruption of the politics of the status quo.”
Crowdfunding for “ethical” intervention-approved candidates who will ensure the protection of Global Britain’s imperialist roadmap and all its associated constructs, including the White Helmets.
With the Jo Cox Fund, public sentiment has been harnessed and monetized for the benefit of establishment elite “charity” schemes that effectively fund the assets who are enabling a violent regime-change war that has been waged for almost eight years inside Syria.
The billionaires behind the Jo Cox Fund
The Jo Cox Fund was set up, only 24 hours after the MP’s death, by four of Cox’s “friends” in London, who said they had set up the fundraiser in “close collaboration” with Cox’s husband, Brendan Cox. Cox’s “friends” that co-founded the fund are as follows, along with the organizational affiliations they freely provided on the fund’s page: Nick Grono (CEO, The Freedom Fund), Tim Dixon (MD, Purpose), Mabel van Oranje (Chair, Girls Not Brides), and Gemma Mortensen (Chief Global Officer, Change.org). Two of those four, Nick Grono and Mabel van Oranje, would go on to serve on the board of the Jo Cox Foundation.
However, these four figures — upon closer examination — are clearly much more than just four grieving friends of the late MP who just happen to also serve prominent roles on well-known non-governmental organizations and charities. In reality, all four are deeply connected to some of the most powerful interests in the world, many with nefarious agendas, that have long sought to hijack NGOs and other humanitarian organizations and weaponize them in the service of major political goals, including regime change targeting “rogue states.”
Of the four founders of the Jo Cox Fund, there is perhaps no one that epitomizes these types of connections more than Mabel van Oranje, nee Wisse Smit. Though often touted as a human-rights advocate for her role in organizations like Girls Not Brides and War Child Netherlands, a closer examination of van Oranje’s history reveals not only deep connections to some of the world’s most powerful people but also past connections to previous Western-backed regime-change operations.
Van Oranje and Cox were both “recognized” by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Cox was honored posthumously as a WEF Young Global Leader while van Oranje was named a WEF Global Leader for Tomorrow in 2003 and listed among its Young Global Leaders in 2005. The overlap of mutual award ceremonies among the organizations and individual players who form the ever-expanding imperialist network are brought into sharp relief by this examination of the Jo Cox Fund and those who breathed life into it. Certainly, there are very few globalist entities that epitomize the well-heeled financial, economic and corporate mafia sectors more than the WEF.
However, van Oranje is much more notable among the soft-power complex elite — not for her role at Girls Not Brides nor other NGOs — but for co-founding the European Council on Foreign Relations, a globalist pan-European think-tank whose members are a mix of EU politicians and top figures in the European media. However, the ECFR is more than just a think-tank, given that it is essentially an extension of one powerful and controversial billionaire, George Soros, whose Open Society Foundation was largely responsible for providing the ECFR’s initial funding.
The Soros connection only deepens as one examines van Oranje’s past. Indeed, van Oranje was the director of EU Affairs of Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI) beginning in 1997 until 2002, when she became International Advocacy Director for the Open Society Institute’s branch in London. Notably, George Soros is one of the chief funders behind the most prominent NGOs and other “humanitarian” organizations that have consistently promoted Western military intervention in the Syrian conflict.
Furthermore, van Oranje’s private life makes her connections to some of the world’s leading globalists even more clear. In 2004, while working for the OSI, Mabel Martine Wisse Smit (maiden name) married the late Prince Fiso of the Netherlands, son of Queen Beatrix — a regular Bilderberg attendee — and the grandson of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands – the German-born Dutch royal who co-founded the Bilderberg Group in 1954.
Yet, of van Oranje’s innumerable connections to powerful billionaires and the global elite, her most striking connection — in the context of Syria at least — was perhaps one of her first. In 1993, van Oranje — at the age of 25 and just out of university — founded the European Action Council for Peace in the Balkans and served as its CEO until 1997, when she left to join Soro’s OSI.
Despite its name appearing to advocate for “peace” in the Balkans, the group van Oranje founded was instead stocked with powerful U.S. political figures who advocated for anything but peace in the Balkan states. For instance, some of the members of the group’s executive council included Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor under former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; Frank Carlucci, Deputy CIA Director under Carter and National Security Advisor and Deputy Secretary of Defense under former U.S. President Ronald Reagan; Max Kampleman, head of Reagan’s nuclear weapons team; and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Other key members and influencers working within the upper echelons of van Oranje’s council include Morton Abramowitz, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and board member of Human Rights Watch, and Aryeh Neier, co-founder of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in 1978 and long-time president of Soros’ OSI. Human Rights Watch is a prominent NGO that uses its “humanitarian” exterior to push pro-intervention agendas that are promoted by the governments and billionaires who fund and support it. For instance, HRW was awarded $100m to expand its global presence over a 10 year period by Soros and his associated organizations in 2010 and has formed a critical part of the “humanitarian” pro-military intervention lobby since the 1990s. HRW also has close ties to U.S. intelligence and is one of the many CIA outreach agents designed to provide, yet again, cover for the Pentagon’s military fist inside the velvet glove of “humanitarian” concerns.
How van Oranje was able to furnish her newly founded action council with such powerful figures, particularly just after finishing her senior year of college only months prior, is a testament to the strength of her connections, even before she began work for Soros’ elite power-protectionist group or became a member of the Dutch royal family.
Unsurprisingly, the European Action Council for Peace in the Balkans issued a call in 1995, under van Oranje’s leadership, for “an end to the arms embargo against Bosnia, the withdrawal of the UN forces from Bosnia and an effective NATO air campaign.”
Despite being an alleged “council for peace,” the van Oranje-led group demanded that any “air campaign” be both “strategic and sustained,” not “pinprick strikes.” In other words, this group called for an intense, brutal and long-lasting bombing campaign of the country, much like the type of bombing campaign promoted for use in Syria by groups like Crisis Action — with members such as van Oranje and Mortensen of the Jo Cox Fund, as well as Jo Cox herself before her death. At the time, the van Oranje-chaired group on the Balkan conflict had also asserted that “a failure to act will be disastrous for the people of Bosnia, for the U.S., and for our vital interests in Europe” — the familiar clarion call to war in the interests of a “national security” under no threat from the country in the crosshairs.
Nick Grono and the Clintons
Van Oranje is hardly the only Jo Cox Fund co-founder with a well-heeled foothold in the elite camp. Nick Grono, another co-founder of the fund, had worked with Jo Cox at an anti-slavery NGO, the Freedom Fund. Grono, who was appointed the group’s CEO in January of 2014, had also previously served in key posts at the NGO Walk Free, also aimed at ending modern-day slavery. Grono had also been Deputy President and Chief Operating Officer at the cutting edge “conflict resolution and prevention” cartel commonly known as the International Crisis Group (ICG).
The ICG board is comprised of a cadre of well-known elites such as Frank Giustra, longtime philanthropic partner of Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation; Carl Bildt; Emma Bonino; former NATO Chief Wesley Clark; George Soros; Alexander Soros — the list is extensive of those who are immensely influential in the globalist circles. Furthermore, the funding for ICG is paid by the United States government through the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and grants made on behalf of the U.S. Congress to foreign political organizations. Other Western countries, like the Netherlands, also contribute. Notably, Mabel van Oranje is also a past member of ICG. Once encased in such a gilded cage, it is easy to build upon such connections and to expand, as a philanthrocapitalist, into the most lucrative areas of humanitarian need.
The Freedom Fund was first announced by former U.S. President Bill Clinton at the 2013 annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York. It was founded with $30 million provided by three “philanthropic” foundations of powerful billionaires and financial interests: Humanity United, a foundation funded by Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pamela; the Legatum Foundation, the development arm of the Legatum Group, a global private investment firm connected to mega-banks JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs; and the Minderoo Foundation, the foundation of Australian mining oligarch and the country’s richest man Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola.
The Freedom Fund was described as an “ambitious seven-year effort to raise and deploy $100 million or more to combat modern-day slavery.” It was Bill Clinton who announced the fund’s creation, stating that “This is a huge deal and we should all support this.” Nick Grono was given the helm early on in the fund’s voyage, serving as its inaugural CEO. It is worth mentioning that the sincerity of Clinton’s enthusiasm for combating slavery and human trafficking is suspect, given that he was a regular visitor on pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet and has intervened on at least one occasion to protect known child traffickers.
Grono is also on the board of van Oranje-chaired group Girls Not Brides and was the inaugural CEO of the anti-slavery NGO Walk Free, which conveniently interlocks with the anti-slavery movement contained within Freedom Fund. Notably, Tim Dixon, another Jo Cox Fund founder, is co-founder of Purpose Europe, a branch of the Avaaz-fostered behavioral-change experts that market themselves as a “non-profit” while accepting donor contributions from some of the most influential foundations and political “change” drivers, such as Google. According to Cory Morningstar, a pioneer researcher into the NPIC (Not for Profit Industrial Complex):
“Where, under the organization Avaaz, the public hasn’t acquiesced to an airstrike on Syria, the New York public relations firm Purpose Inc. has stepped in.”
Dixon’s connections will be covered in greater depth in Part 2, but it is worth noting here that Dixon also connects into the van Oranje network. Under Dixon’s tutelage and according to his LinkedIn profile, Purpose “incubated” van Oranje’s Walk Free Foundation that is now listed among the high-profile “partners” on the Purpose website.
The flotilla of anti-slavery activists and sponsors who floated Freedom Fund were Humanity Utd, Minderoo, Legatum Foundation who were then joined by the Stardust Fund, the C & A Foundation, and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), which granted $10 million to the Freedom Fund over five years “to scale its anti-slavery work, with a particular focus on tackling the exploitation of children.”
These groups continue to back Freedom Fund, which also receives significant funding from the U.K. government and UBS, the multinational Switzerland-based investment bank.
A seminal paper written by Janie A. Chuang, an American professor of law, highlighted the pitfalls and risks involved in this particular area of philanthrocapitalism, a term Chuang invented in her essay. Chuang argues that “deep financial resources and access to powerful networks” give the philanthrocapitalists tremendous power to “shape the future trajectory of the anti-trafficking movement.” However, Chuang warns that this also gives these soft power moguls the ability to reconfigure and distort the landscape of global anti-trafficking policy-making and to contain it within a very limited power base that will monopolize the “market” and control the outcome.
The more sinister aspect of this overlap is that these capitalist NGO chains depend upon their ability to generate a revenue stream that sustains their positioning at the top of the fundraising pyramid. To what extent is the control they have over sectors of human suffering influenced by their need to meet the pay grade of their directors and board members? To what extent will these foundation-controlled NGOs sacrifice the agendas of their wealthy and powerful sponsors in favor of integrity and genuinely humanitarian objectives? In a nutshell, these anti-trafficking organizations depend upon human trafficking for their success, status and impact in an oversubscribed market.
In the next installment of this series, the role of these NGOs, and the Jo Cox Fund, in particular, will be examined as it relates to the Syrian conflict. As described above, many of the very players involved with the Jo Cox Fund and associated NGOs are much involved with the public-relations campaign to elevate and protect groups like the White Helmets and other dubious elements of the Syrian opposition, an effort that has its origin in the NATO intervention in the Balkan states in the 1990s. As will be explored, the current efforts of those groups and individuals within Syria not only act as a cover for Western intervention but also cover the dark side of these “humanitarian” NGOs, particularly their possible involvement in the trafficking of Syrian children.
Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist, peace activist, photographer and associate editor at 21st Century Wire. Vanessa was a finalist for one of the most prestigious journalism awards – the 2017 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism – whose winners have included the likes of Robert Parry in 2017, Patrick Cockburn, Robert Fisk, Nick Davies and the Bureau for Investigative Journalism team. Support Vanessa via Patreon.
Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.