Sigaw ng Akbayan Women: RH Law, wag pigilan !

Kasabay ng pagdiriwang ng Family Planning Month ngayong Agosto, nananawagan ang grupo ng Akbayan Women’s Committee sa Korte Suprema na alisin na ang Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) na nagpipigil sa pagbebenta at pamamahagi ng hormonal contraceptive ‘Implanon’ sa mga kababaihan.

Naglabas ang Supreme Court ng TRO para sa Implanon nitong nakaraang Hunyo matapos umapela ang isang grupo na kontra sa Reproductive Health Law. Ani ni Akbayan Representative Angelina Ludovice-Katoh, ang TRO daw na ipinataw ng Supreme Court laban sa implant ay nakakahadlang sa karapatan ng mga kababaihan na makapili ng posibleng option ng family planning.

Sa press conference na isinagawa ng grupo ngayong araw, inihayag nila na muli silang makikipagtulungan sa Reproductive Health Advocates Network (RHAN) upang masiguro ang karapatan ng kababaihan sa pagkakaroon ng Reproductive Health. Mamimigay din sila ng Implanon at iba pang family planiing methods sa mga kababaihan sa mga probinsya na may pinakamataas na pangangailangan sa family planning.

Sa buwan ng Agosto, magsasagawa ang Akbayan Women ng mga fair sa Quezon City, Manila at Rizal. Kapapalooban ito ng mga educational discussion gayundin ang pamamahagi ng na-TRO na contraceptive.

Inaanyahan ng grupo ang mga kababaihan na makibahagi sa kanilang laban at ang kanilang sigaw, wag daw pigilan ang RH Law.

Kasama rin ng Akbayan si Dr. Annabelle Fajardo ng Family Planning Organization of the Philippines at ang mga kinatawan ng Likhaan Center for Women’s Health sa nasabing presscon.

Ang Implanon ay isang uri ng contraceptive na ini-implant sa mga kababaihan (braso). Ito ay nakatutulong sa mga kababaihan na maiwasan ang pagbubuntis sa loob ng tatlong taon. (Freda Migano)


An ‘Enron for Water’? The Threat from Wall Street

By:  Paul Gallagher

April 11—Over the past 30 years, global financial firms have pushed for the privatization of public water supply systems all over the world, and in the past 15 years they have developed exchange-listed “water price indices” to introduce “trading floors” into the world of populations’ water supplies. While doing so, these global capital holders have been preparing for serious water shortages and intense drought conditions to appear, enabling them to play black marketeers, as Enron did so brutally with California’s electricity supplies under deregulation in 2001.

Given that the U.S. Western drought will continue, and likely intensify, until scientific solutions can be mobilized for it, we have to keep the hands of Wall Street and the water privatization lobby off Western water supplies.

The hands of the latest would-be President Bush, for example, Jeb, who told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “We must push privatization [of government] in every area where privatization is possible.”

Or New Jersey governor and Obama pal Chris Christie, who pushed through legislation in January allowing—indeed, almost requiring—any New Jersey municipality that needs serious infrastructure investment, to privatize it.

Water at a Price—of Life Itself

In the midst of the California drought emergency, the huge multinational Nestle, seller of bottled water to the world, is providing one example of what must be stopped. Gov. Jerry Brown, while cutting public water use 25% by order in Sacramento, as in the rest of the state, has placed no limitation on Nestle’s withdrawal of freshwater from aquifer springs nearby. Nestle (alias here: the Arrowhead Mountain Water Company) continues to draw water at an 80 million gallon/year rate, paying 2 or 3 cents/gallon; it bottles the water in Sacramento, and sells it for roughly $16/gallon-equivalent to the city’s population, which has had its tap water use restricted.

This comes under the world overview of Nestle’s Austrian chairman Peter Brabeck, expressed in 2011 at Davos as follows:

“For the sustainability of … humankind, the most important issue is water…. We will be running out of water long before we are running out of oil.

“NGOs, in a simplistic manner, are saying, ‘Water is a human right; therefore, it’s not a commercial utility.’ My answer to this is, ‘Yes, you’re right. Water is a human right. The 25 liters of water [about 5 gallons—ed.] that you need as a minimum in order to live, is a human right. That’s a few liters for cleaning, a few liters for drinking, daily hydration and minimum hygiene…. But beyond that, this is not a human right.

“We need 25 liters of water per day. But we are using—in the United States—400 liters per capita per day. So this 380 liters, I don’t think this is a human right, and this should have a price. Why? Because if you do not put a price, we will not make the investments which are necessary in order to use the most precious of resources in a more responsible manner….

“If you do not give a value to the water, those [infrastructure] investments are not going to be made, because nobody has an interest to invest, because you don’t have an economic return…. If the water has at least a decent price, the investment can be made.”

The clear “smell” emanating from Brabeck’s statement is the basic reason for privatization of water: Raising the price of water (always done in privatization, as shown below) differentially hits poorer water users, some of whom will lose access to water, food, or hygiene, and either become ill, or malnourished, or die.

Population reduction is the raison d’être of privatization. Another Davos regular and 30-year leader of Greenpeace, Amy Larkin, made it equally clear in the April 10 London Guardian: “The sort-sighted approach has failed to properly factor the drought threat into its pricing mechanism…. São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and industrial center, has begun rationing water and is discussing whether or not it will need to depopulate in the near future.”

Brabeck’s monstrous claim—that 1% of current water use is a “right” which should be provided by governments, and the availability of the other 99% of use should depend on its price—has two gross lies embedded in it. The first is being proven by Nestle in Sacramento every day. It is using the natural water supplies of the area, not responsibly, but extremely wastefully, because it can bring a high price in private sale. This, in a word, is the story of privatized water systems all over the world during the past 30 years. The high price cuts off the access and perhaps the lives of lower-income people, while wasting the water.

Brabeck’s second lie concerns the human race. He claims that mankind does not invest time and resources into scientific and technological progress—expressed as new infrastructure—unless tht commands a high money price for private investors. The extraordinary water supply and management infrastructure of the American West—built for the most part through the Bureau of Reclamation, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, Army Corps of Engineers, and continued through the period of JFK’s Presidency, as by then-California Gov. Pat Brown—proves this is false. What we are going to do to revolutionize water management around the Pacific Rim in the future, proves it is false. And water privatization’s history of failures proves it is false.

Once a French Disease

For more than a century, the huge private water companies were in France, and the largest part of France’s water systems privatized. The giants were the companies known as Suez Lyonnais des Eaux (“Suez”) and Vivendi Environmente (now “Veolia”). Here occurred one of the first examples of degradation of public water supplies when they are made price-dependent. This was the city of Grenoble, historically an exception in France in having for many decades a public water supply, well-managed and adequate to the city’s needs. Bribery of city officials led to sale of the water system to Suez in 1987. Scandals of water price gouging, layoffs of water engineers and inspectors, water quality degradation, and large increases in water withdrawals all followed. Grenoble went public again in 1995, and top Suez officials escaped prison because of their financial clout with political parties, like that of Enron with the Bushes.

The private giants’ water rates in French municipalities are generally 15% higher than those of public city water systems.

In 1979-80, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s “revolution” privatized all the water systems in the U.K. by 1988. The giant private water companies started to go global through this development, entering England and Wales as Veolia, RWE Thames Water, Wessex Water, etc. Average U.K. customer water charges then doubled (a 106% increase, according to Public Services International) from 1989 to 1995, and the annual rate of “disconnections” of customers rose by 50%. In the U.K., the companies found they could average 10% profits annually.

Then when they took over Buenos Aires’ water in 1993 (Suez, under the name Aguas Argentinas), they made 20-30% annual profits. Argentina fit the pattern in that water rates were raised 55% in two steps in 1991 and 1992, under the Carlos Menem government, in preparation for the privatization; and another 15% in 1994. Water use indeed expanded in Buenos Aires by the overall expansion of the system; but nitrates in the water supply rose, pressure fell, prices kept rising, until the Néstor Kirchner government made the city’s water a public entity again in 2006.

This was repeated with the largest water privatization deal pulled off in the United States, when Atlanta sold the operation of its water system for 20 years to United Water (Suez) in 1999. The city cancelled the contract just four years later, after a deluge of residents’ complaints of brown water, poor and interrupted service, and a roughly 30% rate increase.

The same process in Baltimore just culminated, in January 2015, in the city’s abandonment of a privatization “consulting” contract with Veolia North America after citywide protests against it. According to the familiar pattern, the city had raised water rates very substantially (40% since 2013) in preparation for privatization. Following defeat of the contract, the city issued 10-day shut-off notices to 25,000 households April 8, which in many cases may also involve eviction.

Detroit is on the same path since the city’s bankruptcy in 2013, with the Water and Sewerage Department having imposed 25% rate increases, attempted to shut off water to thousands of delinquent households, and formed a new corporate structure, Great Lakes Water Authority, ready for privatization. Water rates have been increased by 25% since Detroit’s bankruptcy.

In Ireland, the new “semi-public” entity created, called Irish Water, sparked a nationwide mass protest movement when water rates were increased sharply to cut use. There, Veolia UK has made public its desire to negotiate for privatization of Irish Water.

Close to 50 million customers in the United States had to buy their water from private companies in 2012, with the largest private seller being American Waterworks (of which more below). A state-by-state cost comparison by Food and Water Watch in 2011 found that the average household water bill for a private water utility customer is 33% higher than for a public water utility.

And a full one-sixth of privatized water contracts were cancelled by the municipality between 2007 and 2011, most often because of bad water quality from the privatized system. Private water companies typically get contracts of 10-20 years, and don’t make infrastructure investments which will take longer than that to pay off economically, such as really new water sources. They try to increase water use in order to raise their revenue, rather than trying to conserve it (like Nestle in Sacramento); and they typically keep expert staffs, on which water quality depends, to a minimum.

Gary, Ind. cancelled its contract with Veolia because water costs doubled in a few years. In 2009, Camden, N.J., sued United Water (Suez) for “unapproved payments, high unaccounted-for water losses, poor maintenance, and service disruptions.” In Milwaukee, a state audit found that the same company violated its contract by shutting down sewage pumps to save money, a move reminiscent of Enron’s behavior in California electricity markets; the move resulted in billions of gallons of raw sewage spilling into Lake Michigan.

UN, World Bank, and Wall Street

By 2012, some 7-8% of municipal and smaller water systems in the world had been privatized—overwhelmingly by the companies named above—according to the World Bank.

In fact, the World Bank—whose miserably low infrastructure investment level (ca. $10 billion annually around the world) is one reason so many nations have joined with China in the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank—has pushed water privatization hard since 1992. It has made many water privatization loans to countries and cities, essentially to subsidize the private water companies in whatever infrastructure they were going to build. This practice stems from the so-called (UN) Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development of 1992, which pronounced that “Water is an economic good”—i.e., not a right of human civilization. From that point on, the World Bank has advised Third World countries and cities to sell their water infrastructure to the private companies.

In 1998, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development proposed governments turn to large multinational companies for capital and expertise in water management, requiring an “open market in water rights.”

In came Wall Street. Goldman Sachs, along with General Electric and a high-powered Washington think tank called the World Resources Institute (WRI), established a market index “measuring and hedging water-related risks facing companies and their investors.” This new water index “draws on publicly available data regarding physical scarcity and water quality and overlays factors including the regulatory regime and social and reputational issues in various regions of the world.” Together the financial firms called themselves the Aqueduct Alliance, and their index the Aqueduct Index.

It is, in other words, an index to bet on water as a commodity, even as Goldman Sach has, since 1991, operated the dominant overall commodity price index. There are, in fact, now six such Wall Street/London/Frankfurt water-price betting indices, all of them started since 2000. Bloomberg News reported March 31that California’s water cost index rose 36.7% from 2009 to 2014—compared to supposed general inflation of 8.7%—and that the index for Texas rose 19.8% in the same period.

The Goldman et al. index concentrates on regions of the world where water scarcity is enticing speculators to secure water-rights in a “buy-and-hold” strategy. Its model focuses on recent events in Australia. The government stupidly introduced a private water market for the Murray Darling Basin, its largest water-source region, in the 1990s, with speculators buying land with water rights. Drought hit during the following decade and the speculative market exploded, with the government having to repurchase land/water rights. With prices zooming, hedge funds made several billion dollars in profits.

Even post-drought, the Aqueduct Alliance index remains focused on the Murray-Darling Basin. One hedge fund advisor was quoted by the New Internationalist magazine in 2013: “An emerging worldwide water crisis is creating serious profit opportunities for those in the know. If you play it right, the results of this impending water crisis can be very good.”

Currently, Goldman Sachs uses its index to advise water-rights holders in the United States as well, on when and to whom to sell. Its advice is to sell to “frackers”—hydraulic fracturing oil drillers—obtaining a far higher price than to farmers, ranchers, or even municipalities, for now.

Goldman Sachs itself bought Veolia (formerly Vivendi) UK and Veolia North America in 2012; tried to privatize Reno, Nev.’s water system for 50 years in 2009; teamed with Deutsche Bank in unsuccessful 2007 bids for two other U.K. private water companies; and in 2003, bought Ondeo Nalco, a water treatment technology company with 10,000 employees, from Suez.

Willem Buiter, Citigroup’s chief economist, wrote in 2012:

“Water as an asset class will, in my view, become eventually the single most important physical-commodity based asset class, dwarfing oil, copper, agricultural commodities and precious metals.”

Enron itself was going into privatized water sales when it was exposed for its electricity black marketeering and other speculations, and blew up. Enron had bought Wessex Water (U.K.) and formed Azurix, which then bought half a dozen water companies in South America, Canada, and India. Azurix has now become American Waterworks, with a substantial position in the company by JPMorgan Chase Bank.

Bank holding companies and banks were not permitted to own commodities or commodity infrastructure under the Glass-Steagall Act, and are still prohibited from doing so under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1957—water speculation like this is given to them on waivers of the latter act by the Federal Reserve.

Bush Water Barons

The New York Times on March 31, in a column much like Nestle CEO Peter Brabeck’s pronouncements quoted at the outset, published Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Scott Moore, on the California water crisis. “Water Pricing, Not Engineering, Will Ease Looming Water Shortages,” was the title. The United States, Moore wrote, “needs to move away from engineering solutions in favor of economic approaches.” Water prices are “simply too low,” he argued, “giving users little incentive to conserve.” The solution: Create water markets.

“Under a market approach, regulators set a cap on the total amount of water that can be used in a given area. The right to use a certain portion of this amount is granted to different water users, including farmers and utilities. Water users who use less than their allotted amount can sell the surplus to other water users at a profit, encouraging conservation and investment in more water-efficient technologies and processes.”

The Enron electricity smash-and-grab in California showed that users do not sell to homely “other users,” but to financial brokerages like Enron, creating infrastructural chaos and price hyperinflation for superprofits.

This is what a Wall Street “national water market” would do, on the model of the Australian events on which Goldman Sachs’ Aqueduct Index is focussed. The big winners are the “buy-and-hold” speculators in water rights.

This brings us to the Bush family.

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens owns Mesa Water, which owns the water rights to recover 65 billion gallons/year of water from under the land it owns over the Ogallala Aquifer. Mesa Water was formed to buy up these rights and build a pipeline to Dallas (ca. 250 miles away) to sell the water to the city, into the intensifying drought.

George H.W. Bush said in 1965: “I have decided to give my vigorous support for population control in the United States and the world.” At that time his fellow members of Congress called him “Rubbers” because of his fanatical support for reducing human births in the world.

Obviously, Prescott Bush’s son knows that populations can also be reduced by resource crises, and certainly by lack of water to grow food.

So the Bushes go Pickens one better. The Bush family owns, according to many published reports, 300,000 acres in Paraguay which sit over (and have water rights to) the Guarani Aquifer—the world’s largest single underground water source, largely beneath Brazil. George H.W. Bush bought 200,000 acres in 2005. Then in 2006, while on a trip to Paraguay for UNICEF and presumably directed by her grandfather, “W” Bush’s daughter Jenna reportedly bought 98,840 acres of land in Chaco, Paraguay, near the Triple Frontier (Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay). The two huge parcels are very close together.

posted by: Rhea Razon


To strictly enforce provisions of the Clean Water Act, the Quezon City government is now pursuing stronger actions against owners of industries and commercial establishments that contribute to the city’s water pollution.

Aside from factories and other manufacturing firms, also the target of inspections are city registered funeral parlors, especially those conducting embalming process, to compel them to strictly comply with the provisions of Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act, particularly the requirement that establishment owners must install water treatment facilities.

A strict inspection of all funeral parlors is being conducted by a joint team of the city’s health department, business permit and licensing office (BPLO), department of health (DOH), Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and civil registry department to verify if the embalming parlors have the corresponding sanitary permits and other papers to pursue their business operation.

The inspections are focused on funeral parlors which have morgue or embalming area within their premises. Waste water treatment facilities are recommended to prevent water pollution.

Mayor Herbert M. Bautista strongly believes that business owners have social responsibility to preserve and protect the environment. “These establishments should be well-informed of their corporate social responsibility including compliance with environmental laws and regulations,” the Mayor said.

Funeral establishments had been identified as potential sources of water-pollution, particularly those which have no waste water treatment facilities because the blood and other cadaver waste are being flushed into their drainage during embalming process.

The QC government has partnered with the LLDA and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the implementation of anti-pollution strategies.(Maureen Quiñones, PAISO)


Posted By: Edrillan Pasion



The Quezon City Council is pushing for the inclusion of the city’s informal settler families (ISFs) in the definition of ISFs living in danger and high risk areas under Memorandum Circular No. 57 to the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG).

In a resolution approved by the city council, the DILG is urged to include the 196,818 ISFs living in QC slums in the definition of informal settler families so they could qualify for relocation to decent housing sites under Memorandum Order No. 57. The memorandum from Malacañang directs the DILG Secretary to immediately spearhead the transfer of ISFs to decent relocation sites.

According to majority floorleader and 4th District Councilor Jesus Manuel C. Suntay, author of the resolution, by including the QC’s 196,818 informal settler families to the DILG’s list of families who are prone to danger, the city government can now move on to provide these families the needed help for their safety.

Slum areas due to its dense and overcrowded living quarters are prone to natural and manmade disasters that could be avoided if properly addressed. And rearranging their environment into a decent dwelling community will lead to a healthier living – a life that the city government aims to offer them, Suntay said.

As defined, slum settlements are dwelling areas that cannot provide durable housing that can protect people against extreme climate conditions, sufficient living space, easy access to safe water, access to adequate sanitation and security of tenure that prevents one from forced evictions.

Inaccessibility to one or more of the living conditions will result to a slum living that brings hazards to life, the resolution points out.

Residents of slum sites are more exposed to risks because of their location, faulty electrical connections, overpopulated environment, non-access to adequate and lack of safe water supply, according to the resolution.(Maureen Quiñones, PAISO)

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion


Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista is supporting a city council resolution urging restaurants in QC to join QC Hall’s promotion of Meatless Mondays or consumption of vegetables and other meatless options every Monday.

The council resolution calls for a “Luntiang Lunes, QC’s version of a Meatless Monday advocacy in the United States , in a bid to improve the nutritional requirements of city residents.

The resolution, principally authored by Councilor Jessica Castelo Daza, who is a doctor by profession, noted that there’s a need to strengthen food security and minimize environmental problems attributed to livestock production.

For Councilor Daza, if every QC resident would leave out meat for one day a week in just one year, this could mean a significant reduction in one’s carbon footprint and in the saving of precious resources like trees, water and fossil fuel. “It is like taking 12,800 cars off the road or having 107 million trees planted and grown for 10 years,” said Councilor Daza.

The QC government started its advocacy of promoting Meatless Monday or “Luntiang Lunes” with the approval of Resolution SP-5596 in 2012, which enjoins all QC Hall employees, public schools and barangays to consume vegetables and other meatless options every Monday.

According to Councilor Daza, studies have already shown that Filipinos are one of the lowest per capita consumers of vegetables in the world with only 39 kgs per year.

Based on a report by the American Dietetic Association, reduced meat consumption decreases the risk of various health problems, thus, going meatless even for just one week may reduce one’s risk of chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes and some types of cancer.

Meatless Monday is a global health and environmental awareness campaign launched in John Hopkins University and Columbia University Schools of Public Health in 2003.(Maureen Quiñones, PAISO)

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion

From North Africa to Asia: Making the Deserts Habitable

by: Ramtanu Maitra

April 11—Hussein Askary, chairman of the European Labor Party in Sweden, has for years discussed water development projects across the Mideast and North Africa with engineers, development experts, and political leaders. In an interview with Ramtanu Maitra of EIR today, Askary said, “The existing and expanding deserts are the greatest obstacles to economic development in those regions, [but] there are several interconnected ways to deal with the problem of first limiting the expansion of the desert, and then actually making use of that land for the benefit of the nations of these regions.”The North African, Arabian, and Central Asian deserts are the most formidable “water challenges” in the world. What could have been a process to improve the situation through measures such as seawater desalination—especially nuclear desalination—has not occurred. The new Egyptian government, in particular, is confronting this challenge.

Askary describes the huge problem this poses for human ingenuity—and for China’s Economic Road and Belt development across Eurasia—in a broad geographical sweep which few people see.“This vast desert region can be considered an interconnected and continuous climate system, as each part affects the other. It stretches almost continuously from the Atlantic coast of North Africa through the Arabian Peninsula, across the Zagros Mountains to Iran and Central Asia, and all the way to western China, for about 13 million square kilometers. Large parts of those regions receive less than 250 mm/year, and often almost no precipitation. The semi-desert or semi-arid areas which are partly populated, receive 250-500 mm of annual rainfall.

“These deserts are, at the same time, expanding, not only due to the lack of adequate measures, but also the political destabilization and wars.”But this process can begin to be reversed by the progress of science and application of existing modern water technology. The key measures include:

  • creating new water resources, such as desalinating seawater and brackish water, using nuclear power;
  • river diversion schemes, among the most important of which are the Transaqua Plan—in which the Vatican has been involved—for replenishing Lake Chad through diverting a portion of the extraordinarily large flow of the Congo River.
  • developing the infrastructure systems in the existing river basins, such as the Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates, to make the maximum use of the water and reduce waste of it;
  • better management of the existing vast groundwater potential;
  • development of new methods and technologies for agriculture and irrigation, both to expand the green cover in the desert areas, to improve the traditional agriculture in the river basin areas, and to expand groundwater-fed desert agriculture with effective irrigation systems and reduction of the salinity of the soil.

These, Askary says, are one integrated approach. Desalination and Nuclear PowerMore than two-thirds of the world’s production of freshwater by desalination occurs in Southwest Asia, August 2012. Iran is planning to build several new nu-specifically in the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia alone produces 25 million cubic meters of water per day, which is estimated to be one-half of the world’s total. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) produces around 3 million cubic meters per day. However, these countries will have to more than double the amount of desalinated water in the next decade, and triple it in the decade beyond. Water consumption will rise from 8 billion cubic meters in 2012 to about 11 billion cubic meters in 2016. Massive investments are already projected in this area.

A major problem in these projections is that the desalination of seawater is reliant on thermal power plants run by oil and gas. Saudi Arabia, for example, uses 1.5 million barrels of oil daily to produce the electricity and heat used for desalination. So, tripling and quadrupling that amount of fuel is a major economic and environmental problem.

One of the key solutions to this problem is to use nuclear power for these purposes, and to use fossil fuels as chemical feedstocks. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s studies, medium-sized nuclear reactors are suitable for desalination.

At the moment, Iran is the only country in the region which has an operating large civilian nuclear power plant. The Bushehr plant, which is a product of cooperation between Iran and Russia, was inaugurated officially in September 2011, and reached its full capacity of power production (1,000 megawatts) clear reactors, with the expressed aim of increasing the energy output of the country and desalinating sea- The UAE, through a contract with South Korean Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) is building four 1,400 MW nuclear plants to be completed by by 2020.

Egypt signed an agreement with the Russian atomic energy corporation Rosatom in February, to build the first of a number of nuclear power plants along the western Mediterranean coast of Egypt at El Dabaa. The expressed objective is to use the power for seawater desalination in that remote and dry area of the country, where almost no freshwater exists in sufficient amounts to sustain an urban and industrial center. If successful, Egypt will continue to use the nuclear technology in the Red Sea region too.

Expanding the Desert Cover A great deal of research has been done and is continuing in many countries, Askary reports, to develop new strains and types of crops and plants that are resistant to the high temperatures in these regions and to the increasing salinity of the soil. One type can be planted near existing rivers, canals, and abundant groundwater. These are fruit-bearing trees such as palms, olive trees, eucalyptus, and tamarind trees, for example. These are highly resistant to heat and salinity, but they still need large amounts of water.

Therefore, they are planted, as proposed by many governments, closer to existing water resources and and urban infrastructure systems, because they need a labor force to manage them, and power and water infrastructure to sustain that. These can be used as a barrier to protect the existing agriculture and urban centers against the encroachment of the desert and the frequent sand and dust storms. These, then, can be expanded in the form of “green belts” outwards against the larger desert. In certain areas where there are saline lakes or saline groundwater, such as in western Iraq or Algeria, halophytes can be planted to create another green cover for moderating the air temperature and increasing the moisture in the atmosphere.

The farther you go into the desert, the more you will be challenged by lack of water and infrastructure. Therefore, there are active plans, although on a limited scale, to plant certain types of plants or shrubs that are extremely resistant to drought, and can be sustained on a limited amount of water or even on the scarce natural rainfall. These would a first line of resistance against the desert. These plants can be supported by “dune fixation or soil-stabilizing structures using dry plants or artificially produced materials such as plastics.

Then there is the development of irrigation techniques. Submerging the crops, the traditional method, leads to enormous waste of water through evaporation, and to increased salinity left behind by the evaporated water. Therefore, this is being abandoned in many parts of these desert regions. It is being re-placed by pivot-sprinkler systems and drip irrigation, so that only a minimal amount of water is administered to the roots of the plants through plastic-tube systems.

The most advanced centers for the development of these sorts of techniques are in countries that suffer from desertification, but that are equipped with technological and industrial know-how. An example is China’s Ningxia Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences in China, where many experts from Arab countries are trained, and the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Ben Gurion University in the Negev Desert in Israel.

Space Technology

The crucial question is whether there are possibilities of managing weather change in this vast arid area, and by what means. Askary has discussed this with Egyptian and other experts. “Left to the raw powers of Nature,” he says, “these regions will be subjected to recurring cycles of droughts and wet periods. However, with the creative intervention of human labor, gradual changes can be made to moderate, and finally control the climate systems.”

The scientific frontier work for this purpose, is electrical ionization of the atmosphere—essentially using ground-based electrically powered ionization of the low atmosphere, to cause the formation of low cloud cover somewhat in the same way that cosmic rays from the galaxy have been shown to do. Two of the countries in which experiments with such ionization have been underway, are in the region: Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Askary notes that “the entire infrastructure, agriculture, irrigation projects proposed in this issue of EIR will have a definite positive impact on these regions,but how much impact will depend on the scale and rapidity of action.

“One way of determining that is by using space technology to follow the moisture cycles on Earth from areas of vegetation to other areas, measuring the impact of precipitation [and learning] . . . where this moisture is migrating.

“Creating new green zones in or near the deserts will potentially have a similar impact, he said.”

Press Release: Despicable Attempt to Frame Dr. Natalia Vitrenko Stinks of Nazism in the Bandera Tradition—Victoria Nuland’s Favorite Ideology

April 10, 2015

American statesman Lyndon LaRouche and his wife Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche, today forcefully denounced a Nazi-led campaign being carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) to defame and threaten the prominent Ukrainian economist and former Member of Parliament Dr. Natalia Vitrenko, a heroine and leading intellectual leader of that country.

“There has to be a high suspicion that this is being orchestrated by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland,” said Lyndon LaRouche today, “or by someone else with an affinity for Nazis in the Bandera tradition, such as Nuland is notorious for.”

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who in February 1997 co-initiated with Vitrenko the “Appeal to Convoke a New Bretton Woods Conference,” as a pro-development reorganization of the world economic system, responded to news of the escalated attacks on the Ukrainian economist and politician: “These slanders are all the more despicable, in that they occur one month before the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazism in Europe, in May 1945. The nations said after the end of that war, ‘Never again!’, but the Western governments have forgotten about that pledge. Natalia Vitrenko has had the integrity to expose the neo-Nazi revival, and to give evidence of Banderite atrocities, both historically and in our day, while Victoria Nuland’s chosen Prime Minister Arseni ‘Yats’ Yatsenyuk, on the contrary, had the nerve to say on German television that the Nazi invasion never occurred—that it was only the Soviet Union that ‘occupied’ Ukraine.”

Dr. Vitrenko has twice been interrogated by the SBU for supposedly receiving Russian funds for the purpose of engaging in what some media have maliciously depicted as “propaganda work to discredit the Ukrainian government authorities, to provoke armed conflict between different layers of the population of Ukraine, to incite ethnic hatred, and to provide information support for conducting ‘referenda’ in Ukraine’s eastern regions.” A statement issued yesterday by Vitrenko’s Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU) pointed to stories published this week by the Glavcom news agency ( and other media, which cited SBU “suspicions” about Vitrenko’s receiving money from the Russian Foreign Ministry-run Fund for the Support and Defense of the Rights of Compatriots Residing Abroad.

The allegations date to May 2014, when the accounts of Dar Zhizni (Gift of Life), a women’s NGO headed by Vitrenko, were frozen. According to Ukrainian media, this was done “in the framework of an SBU investigation of funds transfers through Ukrinbank, intended for persons suspected of infringement of the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine.” Headlines in the current flood of media coverage name Vitrenko as “a major sponsor of separatists and terrorists,” which are broad categories being used by the current Ukrainian authorities against their political opponents. Alexander Bondarchuk, head of the small Ukrainian Labor Party, and a colleague of Vitrenko both in the Parliament and as a co-signer on her statements against the violent, neo-Nazi-spearheaded February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev and its aftermath, was arrested March 18 on charges of “infringing the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Translations of the PSPU statement on the renewed threat to Vitrenko, as well as one on the Bondarchuk case, are provided below.


SBU head Valentyn Nalyvaychenko announced in an April 1 interview that the model for his agency is Stepan Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-UPA), which collaborated with the Nazis during their invasion of the Soviet Union. In view of Vitrenko’s biography and her courage in continuing to speak out on the economic and political devastation of Ukraine since last year’s coup, the attacks have the pro-Nazi stench, typical of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s projects in Ukraine. Nalyvaychenko, long associated with the Bandera Trident (Tryzub) organization, a core component of the coup’s Right Sector shock troops, boasted in a May 2014 Atlantic Council conference call of his “intensive” intelligence-sharing and other cooperation with “U.S. colleagues.”

Zepp-LaRouche noted that Vitrenko has spoken frequently in Europe, on both the harm done to Ukraine’s economy by IMF and free-trade policies, and the threat of the revival of fascist ideology in Ukraine, encouraged from the West. “Dr. Vitrenko is well-known and highly respected in Europe,” said Zepp-LaRouche, “and she has had high-level meetings both there and, in earlier years, in the United States. It is important for political figures worldwide to condemn these ludicrous attacks on Natalia Vitrenko, and identify where they are coming from.”

LaRouche and Zepp-LaRouche were Vitrenko’s guests in Kiev in 1995, when she was an MP. An economist specializing on Ukraine’s social services sector and the impact of International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionalities, she ran a strong campaign for the Presidency of Ukraine in 1999, polling 11% even after her campaign was disrupted by an assassination attempt, in which she and 40 others were injured by grenades thrown at a rally. In recent years, Dr. Vitrenko spoke at conferences of the Schiller Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, in April 2013 and October 2014.

In a speech video-recorded for the March 28-29, 2015 conference of the Citizens Electoral Council of Australia, Vitrenko herself recalled that, “From February 23 to March 5, 2014, our delegation of leading representatives of some Ukrainian leftist parties was able to tour Europe, visiting France, German, and Italy,” where they held “dozens of meetings, press conferences, and interviews. Thanks to Members of the European Parliament… I was able on 26 February 2014 to hold a press conference at the European Parliament. … Already then, we warned about the threat of civil war and the disintegration of the country, which could lead to World War Three. And at that time, I called on Berlin, Moscow, and Paris to unite efforts: specifically these three centers—Berlin, Moscow, Paris—to unite their efforts and prevent the Nazis from taking over in Ukraine, and to help institute a ban on all neo-Nazi parties and movements in Ukraine.”

Natalia Vitrenko’s latest video address, posted on her website, is titled “A Military Junta instead of European Values.” She analyzes the law introduced into Parliament April 3 by President Petro Poroshenko, which provides for declaring martial law in Ukraine either in the face of an armed invasion, or “the threat of attack.” The latter formulation, Vitrenko alleges, provides for acting on the basis of “fabricated threats”—just like the SBU’s “bluff, that Vitrenko is threatening the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”