Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wall Street's Water War

Libya revisited

By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times

We don’t hear much about Libya these days. Possibly because after it’s “liberation” it is reported to be a failed state; unceasing violence, tribal and sectarian strife and the collapse of civil life. Sort of like Iraq, which we also don’t hear much about.

Not a good look. Liberate and move on.

Libya, we were told at the time by Washington and the corporate media, was part of the “Arab Spring,” the short lived grab for democracy that took place in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere. But from the start, Libya was different.

In other parts of the Arab world, ordinary citizens rose up spontaneously in the capital cities, where the political and economic action is. In Libya, “rebels” came out of literally nowhere — the Sahara desert — armed, equipped and trained to depose the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Question. Who paid to arm, equip and train that army?

The answer may lie in the first thing they did. They set up a bank. Why a bank? Libya already had one.

But from the point of view of Wall Street, Washington and its NATO allies, it was the wrong kind of bank. It used Libya’s oil revenue to capitalize its own bank and make low-cost credit available to ordinary Libyans — for education and health care, for example.

Libya was funding an African Development Bank, making similar low-cost loans throughout the continent and cutting out the high-interest loans of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, financed by Wall Street and the U.S./U.K global banking cartel.

Well, we can’t have that.

One of the most remarkable projects the Gaddafi government financed is a water project called by some — and unreported in American media — the “Eighth Wonder of the Modern World.” It is a massive project that tapped ancient underground water reservoirs deep in the Sahara Desert to be delivered to the coastal cities of the nation and provide large scale irrigation for agriculture, so that Libya could feed itself.

The “Rivers,” as the project is known, are a 2,500 mile network of lined concrete pipes, over 12 feet in diameter, buried in the desert sands to prevent evaporation. There are 1,300 wells, 500,000 sections of pipe and 2,300 miles of haul roads. More than 327 million cubic yards of earth were excavated. Large reservoirs provide storage and pumping stations control the flow into the cities. Components of the project were manufactured locally and not imported from multinational corporations.

This massive project had cost $30 billion up to the removal and murder of Gadaffi. It was financed at cost by the Libyan government from its own money, without any loans from the IMF, World Bank, Wall Street and the U.S./E.U. banking cartel.

It delivered water to millions for free. Is your water free?

During the “liberation” of Libya this project was bombed. Why? Why would the U.S. and its NATO allies make war on water?

To create a problem. People need water. Now millions don’t have it. But a solution is at hand. This vital infrastructure will be rebuilt: by private business, financed by the Wall Street, U.S./U.K banking cartel.

And every penny of that cost, and the private profit and bank cartel interest on top of it will be priced into what Libyans will now pay for the water they had for free.

Libyans will pay through the nose for the water to wash their faces.

The United Nations Environment Program 2007 has described in reports (that will seldom if ever be reported in American media) a “water for profit scheme” which promotes the privatization and monopolization of the world’s water supplies by multinational corporations. Working hand-in-glove, the World Bank recently adopted a policy of water privatization and “full-cost” water pricing.

In the U.S., cash strapped municipal and state governments still struggle to solve another problem manufactured on Wall Street, the collapse of their economies and revenues. Pennsylvania, for example, has a $1.2 billion deficit to close, despite the jobs and revenue which the fracking boom is said to have created.

But there is a solution to this problem! Public infrastructure and property can be sold off to private owners (below market) and the American people can rent forever what they once owned: highways in California, parking spaces on Chicago streets, parking garages in Harrisburg, a part of the park at Washington’s Crossing and the gas works in Philly.

Watch out below. Wall Street at work.

Public opinion bought and paid for

The American problem

In a previous column I introduced a phrase with which many readers may not yet be familiar: “presstitute media.”

The phrase was coined by Paul Craig Roberts, a highly qualified observer of how America government actually works, who argues that the American national media is now largely a bought and subordinate unit of the corporate interests — Wall Street and finance first and foremost — which dominate the government in Washington.

I offered two examples of what Roberts is talking about. Here is another:

CNN anchor, Christine Amanpour recently interviewed the American diplomat, an assistant secretary of State, who was caught on tape months ago discussing the intended regime change in the Ukraine — which politician the U.S. administration would install as president of that unhappy nation.

In other words, which one would play ball with Wall Street banks, the IMF and World Bank; could be relied upon to stop buying oil and energy from the Russians and buy it instead from freedom loving Exxon Mobile; and which one would put Ukraine’s extraordinary wheat production in the hands of American agribusiness.

The diplomat, a woman who when she thinks she is not on the record, conducts herself in the language of a boys high school locker room, was being rehabilitated after the fallout from her cosmically embarrassing conversation.

She got lots of time to explain what Ukraine is really all about — freedom and democracy and self rule — and the noble assistance being offered by the U.S. and E.U.

Amanpour finally got around to that leaked conversation. And the U.S. diplomat got to explain, again, that her actions and that of the American government had nothing to do with regime change, but were about good U.S./E.U relations, and, of course, freedom, democracy and self rule.

Not self rule for the Ukrainians in the Crimea, who when given the chance, self-ruled themselves right out of the Ukraine and back to Russia. And not for the apparent millions in eastern Ukraine who want to do the same thing. Not that self rule.

Amanpour kept a straight face while this recovering diplomat related how, in the midst of the chaos (which she had helped orchestrate), she took life and limb in hand — and sandwiches. And went out on the street to deliver them to the people “on both sides.”

Diplomat and saint, by her own testimony. Fighting off the urge to laugh out loud, I stayed with CNN.

Amanpour then went immediately into a segment on propaganda. The Russians, we learned, are really good at it. But not so good as were the Nazis, we learned.

The attempt to link the Russian government with the Nazis was too obvious for words.

What explains that editorial decision to vilify the Russian government by association with the Nazis, which is the European equivalent of one American calling another a racist?

It was the desire to lead away from another American embarrassment. “Our side” bungled it in the Ukraine. In the ensuing chaos, the freedom loving Ukrainian leader we wound up with is a guy who fronts modern, honest to God, unrepentant Nazis.

It’s not just that their grandfathers fought with the Nazis against the Russians and Allies in WW II, but that to this day they spew the toxic language of racial and ethnic purity.

So the American corporate media spreads the corporate government line, dutifully directing the attention of the American people away from any information that explains why millions of Ukrainians want no part of the American government’s new friends there.

Which is not to say that the Russian government is not playing the propaganda game. I’m sure it is. And I suppose the Russian media is as manipulated by oligarchs as is the American national media. And maybe most Russians have no more idea what is going on in the Ukraine than most Americans.

But that’s their problem. The American problem is, we need a free press to sustain our democracy; but increasingly, the American national media appears as bought and paid for as everything and everybody else in Washington.