[FTW is really screwed up right now. Everybody knows it and I am not going ignore it. I am in bad shape too. I am not going to hide that either. I have been in Caracas for 14-plus weeks and am facing a serious combination of medical symptoms that were described by Carlos Ruiz in “Living with Mike Ruppert in Caracas." They include sudden drops in blood pressure, blood sugar crashes, dizziness, weakness, paresthesis of lips and fingers, small kidney stones, heavy calcification of the urinary tract and prostate, cloudy urine and chronic fatigue. There have been four seizure-like violent tremors.
Looking back I can see that the first major signs of my illness started appearing about a year ago. The first tremor happened in January before we moved FTW out of Los Angeles. What is happening now erupted in full about two weeks after I arrived in Caracas. We do not have a firm diagnosis yet. I have just had an expensive series of blood tests run but do not have the results. Both FTW and I need your help although I must tell you that our offices are being vacated next week.
My friends and subscribers know that I have never lied to them. My enemies know that I have never lied to my friends and subscribers. That has been an unbroken bond for 104 consecutive months and I am not about to break it now.
FTW’s time of usefulness on this planet is ending. Michael Kane offered his resignation last week. Having already lost Stan Goff (due to cash shortages) and Jamey Hecht. No one person can carry it on their own. Kane made the right decision for personal reasons and I support it completely. We remain close and trusted friends with deep mutual admiration and respect for each other. The article that follows is my personal tribute to him and the entire generation of talented investigators, researchers and writers that has arisen since 9-11.
One of our former writers has expressed concern for his safety in the current political climate of the United States. I know that he is not alone and that many others feel the same. I say to you all, fight the good fight.
There is one other person I must specifically thank and that is the angelic, dedicated, and steadfast Jenna Orkin who has researched, blog-managed, and loved me so unconditionally as to affirm my belief in God when all other evidence of Him seemed MIA. To all who have made FTW and its accomplishments possible, whether we parted as friends or not, I offer a gratitude that will endure throughout all time.
We changed the world a little bit.
My time may be over too and I must now turn my attention to that. One thing we must do, however, is to save the FTW archives as a permanent fixture on the internet for future researchers and try to clean things up before we go. We must also save my personal library of around 250 books.
How this came to pass merits only a brief discussion. There are too many details that I just don’t know. In the first month after I left the states we had our strongest sales month in (I’m guessing) a year and a half. The organization I hastily put in place before leaving was working. Decisions were made in Ashland to upgrade our store and web site for all the right reasons; chiefly to cut costs by outsourcing our product shipment and warehousing. Many glitches made that process take more than two months and during that time our subscriber-only section was free and often orders could simply not be accepted. It was not that people didn’t want to buy. They just couldn’t.
Sales fell by around 60% and cash flow dried up. I was made fully aware of these details only about two weeks ago. I was out of the loop for these decisions and didn’t find out how bad things were until many well-intentioned choices had already been made; choices that could not be changed. The same is true for our long-time agent/publicist Ken Levine. We all owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who wrote for FTW after I left the United States. Some great stories and articles came out between July and November.
There were more problems of human origin. Some were definitely malicious. I won’t go into them here because they just don’t matter anymore. If there are any recriminations to be given for how things turned out I accept them. I was the glue that held FTW together all these years. I am the one who left knowing that I couldn’t continue any longer after our offices were burglarized and our computers were smashed this June. There had been one-too-many battles and, looking back, I knew my health was failing then even though I didn’t want to admit it.
As far as I know, the Ashland staff did the absolute best they could. However, one person who is no longer affiliated with FTW wrote me about a month ago that the decision to close FTW was a “fait accompli” and that it could not be prevented. I had not been consulted before that. I immediately cautioned against painting a rosy picture and continuing to sell subscriptions and products after I was told that the office was being staffed only one day per week, they couldn’t pay for inventory, and there was no money to ship product or pay staff.
I was advised on Nov. 6 that the staff, working without pay, had shipped most, but not all of the remaining orders.
What is important to me is that we try to make our obligations good. Sadly, in my present condition and position I may not be able to have much impact on that. FTW is closing its doors with many angry people who have not received their orders and vendors who never got paid for what they shipped us. I did everything I could possibly think of to prevent that, including considering returning to the States with all the risks and personal anguish that would entail.
We have jointly decided that the FTW store cease all sales of subscriptions and product immediately, remaining available only for badly needed donations. Those will be used to ship remaining back orders, pay staff save the web site and transfer my personal library to an as yet undetermined safe location – in that order.
Those are the facts. It is too soon to glibly say “let the healing begin”. There is too much wreckage scattered about. But it is certainly time to stop creating any more. Healings will inevitably occur. That is the beauty of life.
At the end of this article I will list options for those who want to help me personally and give FTW the decent end it deserves. I know you’re out there. I am nearly broke and am unable to even purchase a plane ticket if I had another country to go to or a bed to sleep in when I got there. Venezuela has kicked my butt as you will soon see. How all of that happened gave me the “inspiration” for this final FTW essay.
This is my tribute to Michael Kane and to all who have learned from FTW, taken the map we have drawn, and are now reading it for themselves. God bless you. The struggle continues. – MCR]
Michael C. Ruppert
© Copyright 2006, From The Wilderness Publications, www.fromthewilderness.com. All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.
Cultural diversity is not only humanity’s hallmark of progress, but an insurance policy against extinction as a species. Diversity gives not only cultural and economic riches derived from different perspectives on natural resources and what it means to be human, but options to problem solving that are stifled in a homogenized society. When such a society is organized around economic goals that are measured by profit margins for private gain by powerful elites, where the demands of those who bear cash as the ticket of admission to the marketplace rule, rather than the needs of people, then those who are deprived – and those who have never been part of such a global economy – must necessarily suffer. The genocide of tribal peoples, therefore, is symptomatic of a deep malaise in the world’s metropolises. Indigenous peoples will suffer the most, but humanity as a whole will suffer the loss of some of its memory, not only of a unique knowledge of the natural world, but of its ability to cope with the future in various, diverse ways.
THY WILL BE DONE, The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil, Gerard Colby with Charlotte Dennett
Harper Collins, 1995, p. 685
November 7th 2006, 4:39PM [PST] – Nature protects itself through diversity. It stands to reason then that when threatened – as it is now on so many fronts – Mother Earth will exert itself aggressively; enforcing rigid boundaries that ignore the lives of individuals – plant or animal – in order to preserve the diversity which protects all life. That human beings as a species also show such characteristics is proof of the connection between man and planet. In some ways this is not unlike the point in time when a child must break with parents in order to fulfill its own destiny, with its own unique life path, thus guaranteeing that the evolutionary process – life itself – is protected; that something better and new might follow.
All individual life ends so that that life as a whole may go on and evolve. As I have said in so many lectures, the human race is now being faced with a choice: either evolve or perish.
Americans tend to think of the Third World as “the frontier”, a place still open to settlement as if it were a divine right just for the willingness to endure a little hardship. With overpopulation and dwindling global resources, the “frontiers” are defending themselves to protect diversity in many ways; ways that are far more effective than any resistance to colonization in previous centuries. Global warming has been characterized as a planet developing a fever to rid itself of an infection. I believe that increasing global tensions might also be mirroring that process.
The human side of this resistance is also organic and, in Latin America, Venezuela is its heart. It has now taken solid root, emerging almost simultaneously in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador. I do not think it can be stopped. It is an anthropological resistance.
Living in Venezuela has been an amazing, brutal, and illuminating lesson. It is a truly alien culture that I find simultaneously beautiful, hard, giving, unfamiliar, uncomfortable and definitely self-protecting to the extreme. That is why I am confident that Venezuela, and most of Latin America, will survive the coming crash of Peak Oil better than any other region of the world. I believe it is already starting to protect itself. It doesn’t need me or any outsider to survive. But as a general rule, only those who are native here will be protected by its blessings.
It is not just that I am blond haired and blue-eyed, which does get me a lot of double takes – some hostile. It is as though I am a fish used to swimming in a different kind of water. The way that I swim affects the other fish here, already swimming too much in a superimposed American cultural blanket that has been enforced by scores of coups, debt enslavement, colonization, exploitation, genocide and war over the course of the 20th century and into today. In order to understand this picture a British citizen trying to drive in super-crowded Caracan traffic where there are few rules. Under stress the Brit might instinctively react in a way that might tie up streets. Now change the image of traffic to a culture adapting to dwindling energy reserves, conflict or panic. The Brit would be singled out quickly and forced off the road so that the rest might “function” in ways they were accustomed to.
However, the powerful lessons and principles of human justice, sustainability, harmony with the land, freedom from the mandate of endless capitalist growth, openness, and localization contained in the Bolivarian Revolution led by Hugo Chavez are powerful survival tools that can and must be studied and adapted to other regions. If one reads Richard Heinberg, Matt Savinar, Megan Quinn, Post Carbon Institute, FTW, or any of the great sustainability writers, one will find those same principles; arrived at through different means.
Forget labels. This is what will work.
The Bolivarian Revolution is different from the main body of sustainability literature in one key respect. It is the practical, hands-on implementation of these principles on local, national and continental levels; something all European and North American sustainability advocates know little or nothing about. How could they? While US and European sustainability advocates write about “shoulds” the Bolivarian Revolution is an evolving process of actual doing. It must be watched closely by all who would learn from it.
The irony is that for the most part, the Bolivarian revolution does not see itself as a sustainability movement but rather as a political and economic one. Now for another of my trademarked quotes: Until you change the way money works, you change nothing. The Bolivarian Revolution is doing just that.
The Bolivarian Revolution and Venezuelan culture inherently knows that it cannot make too many exceptions to the rule that diversity must protect itself or else the rule will have no meaning. That’s exactly what I was asking it to do (though I didn’t know it) when I came here. I am not just one migrating gringo. Mike Ruppert could not be assimilated without changing something here: the Tao of politics.
That is why, after 15 weeks of waiting, after only one interview, a formal petition and a lot of pressure from influential Americans and Venezuelan-Americans (some with direct government connections) I have not heard a word on my request for political asylum. Venezuelans are inherently suspicious, let alone of a blond gringo who is an ex-policeman who came from a US intelligence family. It is possible that within the massive and glacially slow bureaucracy, some who are not loyal to Chavez have buried my request under a pile of papers. In Latin America things take much longer and I can see now that the waiting process, never guaranteed to be successful, is part of a natural selection.
My thirty year record of activism and sacrifice in the US means little in Venezuela. Those deposits were made in a bank belonging to a different ecosystem. There are no ATMs for that kind of withdrawal here.
The first real kindness shown to me by a full-blooded Latin American with government connections, came about two weeks ago as “Tano”, a bearded artist and long-time revolutionary who had worked with Salvador Allende in Chile, looked at me with true compassion and said, “Venezuela will run you through a gauntlet. It will ignore you. It will make promises and never call you back or fulfill them. It will mistrust you even if you have lived here for ten years, twenty years.”
It took me 12 weeks to get to Tano and it was not by a linear, logical path.
Tano is a famed artist and thinker knows Hugo Chavez personally. He has traveled with him. His kindness and sympathy was abundant and visible. Kittens slept on his massive belly as he spoke from behind a desk cluttered with papers. Two dogs gravitated to him as though he was a magnet. He offered to open doors and make some introductions in certain ministries. As opposed to many other unfulfilled promises since I have been here, he meant it. Promises are made quickly here and soon forgotten, even between native Venezuelans. But it was already too late. My health was gone, I could not make one important event and I had already been rejected like an invading organism; rejected by the differences in culture and an environment I had trouble adapting to.
I was introduced to Tano by my young Venezuelan friend Ivan, who, at 27, who had just quit his job as a trader at J.P. Morgan because it was too stressful. He was too Venezuelan to live the life of a Venezuelan posing as an American. Good for him.
It would be embarrassing to many people if I named the names of all of those back “home” who, learning that I had come here, told me that they had been considering the same move. They said that when things got intolerable in the States, or the UK, or Canada, they would just move here; or to Costa Rica, or to New Zealand, or to someplace else. My pains and troubles here will serve as an object lesson for all that the time to relocate in advance of Peak Oil has, for almost everyone, long passed.
The important distinctions about adaptivity are not racial at all. US citizens come in all colors. American culture is the water they have swum in since birth. A native US citizen of Latin descent who did not (or even did) speak Spanish would probably feel almost as out of place here as I do. They would look the same but not feel the same. And when it came time to deal collectively with a rapidly changing world, a world in turmoil, a native-born American’s inbred decades of “instinctive” survival skills might not harmonize with the skills used by those around him.
Another one of my trademarked lines is that Post Peak survival is not a matter of individual survival or national survival. It is a matter of cooperative, community survival. If one is not a fully integrated member of a community when the challenges come, one might hinder the effectiveness of the entire community which has unspoken and often consciously unrecognized ways of adapting. As stresses increase, the gauntlets required to gain acceptance in strange places will only get tougher. Diversity will become more, rather than less, rigid and enforced.
As energy shortages and blackouts arrive; as food shortages grow worse; as droughts expand and proliferate; as icecaps melt, as restless, cold and hungry populations start looking for other places to go; minute cultural and racial differences will trigger progressively more abrupt reactions, not unlike a stressed out and ill human body will react more violently to things that otherwise would never reach conscious thought.
Start building your lifeboats where you are now. I can see that the lessons I have learned here are important whether you arethinking of moving from city to countryside, state to state, or nation to nation. Whatever shortcomings you may think exist where you live are far outnumbered by the advantages you have where you are a part of an existing ecosystem that you know and which knows you.
If the time comes when it is necessary to leave that community you will be better off moving with your tribe rather than moving alone.
Evolution is guaranteed. Useful knowledge gained by ancestors is incorporated into succeeding generations. It may not be used in the same way that it was when acquired. It may lie dormant for years or decades, safely stored in DNA or the collective unconscious. But it is there, and it will always be available should the day come when it is needed.
FOR MIKE RUPPERT MEDICAL CARE AND RELOCATION ONLY:
My trusted attorney Ray Kohlman in New York will be receiving all donations intended for this purpose. I really need help. At present only checks and money orders can be processed. They should be made out to Ray Kohlman and (very important) the Memo section should read, “For Mike Ruppert”.
c/o Ray Kohlman
300 East 71st St.
New York, NY 10021
Those with offers or information on residency in another country should contact Jenna Orkin, Jennakilt@aol.com. These must address three things: Visa and immigration considerations, access to affordable health care, and an initial place of residence. Jenna will screen these offers and forward them to Ray Kohlman for further evaluation. I can only get online for a few hours a day at best by going to an internet café.
TO SAVE THE FTW WEBSITE, RESEARCH FILES AND LIBRARY:
All contributions should be sent to FTW’s agent-publicist Ken Levine by check or money order only. Offers to store (or purchase) my personal library of 250 volumes should be made to Ken Levine (below). If I do make it into another life and recover my health, however, I reserve the right to someday reclaim the 15 or so books that are personally autographed to me by their authors. Again, checks or money orders should be sent to:
c/o Ken Levine
More Than News Productions
13500 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
DIRECT CREDIT CARD DONATIONS, can be made at the FTW website. These will be used to fund immediate operating expenses, salaries, and other essential functions. They will not be used to help me personally.