Op-Ed by Neenah Payne
“How Bottled Water Became America’s Most Popular Beverage” explains the switch from soft drinks to bottled water — now the leading growth industry for the beverage market. Americans buy over half a billion bottles of water each week when water flows virtually free from the tap! Yet, tap water is often superior and all those plastic bottles are trashing the planet! A few years ago, buying bottled water would have seemed as absurd as buying air! So, what fueled this dramatic shift – and whom does it really benefit?
That shift is much more damaging than it seems. It includes the World Bank’s global plan to privatize water. That hidden agenda also explains one of the primary motives for NATO’s unprovoked attack on Libya in 2011 which destroyed one of Africa’s richest countries. It also destroyed Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s Man-Made River Project which would have provided fresh water for Libya and two other African countries.
Libyans called the project the “eighth wonder of the world”. It was not a military target. Yet, NATO bombed and destroyed it — a war crime under the Geneva Conventions of 1949. That affected Europe as well. The article “Climate-driven migration in Africa” shows that lack of water is driving tens of thousands of African refugees into Europe now. I will go into more detail later about the significance of this project and how it offers context for the wider move toward water privatization.
Note: It’s important to use a water distiller, reverse osmosis, or a filter on most tap water. I use the electric WaterWise Distiller 9000 and add pink Himalayan salt to the water because distillation removes all the minerals. I also use the Clearly Filtered filter.
Bottled Water: Plan to Privatize The World’s Water
Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water documents this growing global crisis. Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water further explains the choices. Bottled water depends on water privatization and is bad for the environment for multiple reasons. It also gives corporations focused only on profit control of municipal water supplies.
The state of Michigan has reportedly issued preliminary approval for bottled water behemoth Nestlé to nearly triple the amount of groundwater it will pump, to be bottled and sold at its Ice Mountain plant, which lies roughly 120 miles northwest of the beleaguered community of Flint.
Meanwhile, the report notes that company representatives defended the need to expand the facility because “U.S. market for bottled water in general is driving the bid for more Michigan groundwater.”
What’s more, Nestlé, the biggest food company in the world, gets to pump that water at no cost.
Stop Nestlé From Privatizing Our Water points out:
At the World Water Forum in 2000, Nestlé successfully lobbied to stop water from being declared a universal right — declaring open hunting season on our local water resources by the multinational corporations looking to control them.
For Nestlé, this means billions of dollars in profits. For us, it means paying up to 2,000 times more for drinking water because it comes from a plastic bottle. Now, in countries around the world, Nestlé is promoting bottled water as a status symbol. As it pumps out fresh water at high volume, water tables lower and local wells become degraded. Safe water becomes a privilege only affordable for the wealthy.
In our story, clean water is a resource that should be available to all. It should be something we look after for the public good, to keep safe for generations, not something we pump out by billions of gallons to fuel short-term private profits. Nestlé thinks our opinion is “extreme”, but we have to make a stand for public resources. Please join us today in telling Nestlé that it’s not “extreme” to treat water like a public right.”
World Bank’s Privatization of Water
The 2014 video World Bank’s Takeover of Water shows that the World Bank wants to privatize water! It includes the head of Nestlé ridiculing the idea that access to water is a right! In 1992, Swiss food conglomerate Nestlé purchased Perrier and began purchasing other bottled water companies. Now, Nestlé, a transnational corporation, is the biggest bottled water company in the world.
The truth about the World Bank’s water privatization plans explains what’s at stake.
World Bank wants water privatized, despite risks says: “Efforts endanger access to and pricing of life’s most precious resource.”
Research shows that the tide of water privatisation has now turned. Many cities that rushed to sign 20-year or longer concessions with water companies in expectation of clean water at a socially acceptable cost have chosen to terminate agreements and return urban water provision to public control.
The 2016 article “Tell the World Bank to stop promoting water privatization” says:
Last month, U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D. Wisconsin) released a hard-hitting letter condemning the World Bank’s water practices. Representative Moore plays a powerful role on the U.S. congressional committee with oversight of the World Bank and has significant influence over U.S. funding to the World Bank.
Unbottle Water: Americans Fight Water Privatization
The site Unbottle Water says:
Fights around public water are popping up throughout the United States and around the world. Everyday people are working to preserve clean water access in their communities and to secure public water sources, systems, and infrastructure against privatization.
The Story of Stuff Project is a firm believer in safeguarding the commons for public good. Our Unbottle Water campaign supports communities around the United States and Canada. We’re fighting to protect public water resources from the aggressive privatization efforts of companies like Nestlé Waters as they push to secure new sources of water for bottling. We promote efforts to expand water affordability programs, rebuild aging water infrastructure, and counter industry attacks on clean water regulations.
The short film The Story of Water explains how corporations are taking over municipal water supplies across America.
A Tale of Two Cities, a shocking film, tells the story of two communities in Michigan whose futures are linked by a threat to their access to water.
The must-see film The Story of Bottled Water explains how “manufactured demand pushed what we don’t need and destroys what we need most”. The film shows how Americans are seduced into buying more than half a billion bottles of water every week when tap water is almost free. The film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water and its use of environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film calls on viewers to make a personal commitment to avoid bottled water and to support public investment in clean tap water for all. It shows that the tide is beginning to turn now as the sale of bottled water is beginning to drop.
Sign the petition Stop Nestlé From Privatizing Our Water. It has over 678,000 signatures now!
Sign the petition Stop Nestle from draining 1.2 million gallons/day from Ginnie Springs. The petition is close to the goal of 150,000 signatures now.
Also see US water campaigns.
Colonel Gaddafi’s Great Man-Made River Project
The Great Man-Made River was designed to deliver fresh water to Libya – as well as to Chad and Sudan. It was funded by the Libyan government of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The largest construction project in history! The project was so well recognized internationally that in 1999, UNESCO accepted Libya’s offer to fund an award named after it, the Great Man-Made River International Water Prize, the purpose of which is to “reward remarkable scientific research work on water usage in arid areas”.
The article “Libya’s ‘Water Wars’ and Gaddafi’s Great Man-Made River Project” says:
It was Muammar Gaddafi’s dream to provide fresh water for all Libyans and to make Libya self-sufficient in food production. Libyans called it the eighth wonder of the world. Western media called it a pet project and the pipe dream of a mad dog. The “mad dog” himself in 1991 prophetically said about the largest civil engineering venture in the world: ‘After this achievement, American threats against Libya will double. The United States will make excuses, but the real reason is to stop this achievement, to keep the people of Libya oppressed.’
In the light of the current world developments, there is more to the NATO destruction of the Great Man-Made River Project than being an isolated war crime. The United Nations Environment Program 2007 describes a so-called “water for profit scheme” which actively promotes the privatization and monopolization for the world’s water supplies by multinational corporations. Meanwhile the World Bank recently adopted a policy of water privatization and full-cost water pricing, with one of its former directors, Ismail Serageldin, stating: “The wars of the 21st century will be fought over water”.
Why NATO Destroyed the Great Man Made River
The documentary Pipeline to Paradise (Gaddafi’s Gift to Libya) provides insight into the project to provide water to Libya which the West distrusted and opposed from the beginning.
In July 2011, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization not only bombed the Great Man-Made River water system and pipelines near Brega, but additionally eradicated the plant that created the concrete pipes that were used as replacements during repairs. They justified their actions by claiming that the pipeline factory was used as a warehouse for the military.
When NATO forces bombed that pipe building plant, more than five security officers were wiped out, along with the water supply system that supplied the general public with water for personal consumption and agricultural purposes – hitting Libya’s essential infrastructure.
The development of the final two stages of the river project were set to be finished within the next 20 years, but thanks to NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ war on Libya, the projects’ future is in great peril.
The article says the Great Man-Made River took 30 years to build – but was destroyed by NATO in just two days. It points out:
However, there is more to the NATO ‘humanitarian’ bombardments of the Great Man-Made River Projects. In 2007, the United Nations Environment Program mentioned the water for revenue program, which earnestly encourages water to be a privately owned business. And, on the other hand, the World Bank implemented a strategy for privatizing water.
See the 2011 article “NATO bombs the Great Man-Made River.”
The 2015 Ecologist article “War crime: NATO deliberately destroyed Libya’s water infrastructure” says:
The military targeting of civilian infrastructure, especially of water supplies, is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.
The Multi-Faceted Vision of Col. Muammar al-QADHAFI
The video Ten Things About Gaddafi They Don’t Want You to Know says:
For 41 years until his demise in October 2011, Muammar Gaddafi did some truly amazing things for his country and repeatedly tried to unite and empower the whole of Africa. So, despite what you’ve heard on the radio, seen in the media or on the TV, Gaddafi did some powerful things that are not characteristic of a “vicious dictator” as portrayed by the western media.
The price of dignity (part two): The destruction of Libya says: “King Idris’ Libya was underdeveloped, inhabited by starving people, mostly illiterate and under colonial rule. Gaddafi was able to instill a dream and make it real.” Gaddafi made education and medical treatment free. In addition, Libyans who could not find suitable education or medical care in Libya were funded to go abroad! Under Gaddafi, 25% of Libyans earned university degrees! My Vision traces Gaddafi’s political and ideological journey.
The 2014 article “Libya: Ten Things About Gaddafi They Don’t Want You to Know” says:
- Under Gaddafi, a home was considered a natural human right.
- Education (through college) and medical treatment were all free
- Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project
- Free land, seeds, tractor, livestock, and farm house for anyone to start an organic farm
- The equivalent of US $5,000 was given to mothers at the birth of a child
- Electricity was free
- Cheap petrol: gas was US 14 cents per liter
- Gaddafi raised literacy levels from 25% of to 87%
- Libya had its own state bank which provided loans to citizens at zero percent interest
- Gaddafi proposed a gold dinar so African nations could get out of debt and poverty. It has been said that the gold dinar was the real reason for the NATO-led rebellion.
Imagine if Americans could go to college for free and have no college debt! Imagine if every American had a right to a home—so there were no homeless and no mortgages! Imagine if you didn’t have to pay for electricity! Imagine if American banks lent money with no interest! Imagine if every American mother received $5,000 at the birth of a child. Imagine if gas cost just 14 cents a gallon. Imagine if America had no national debt!
Gaddafi was setting an example that could have inspired the world!
15 Things Gaddafi Did For Libya
The 2017 video 15 Things Gaddafi Did For Libya shows why under Gaddafi, Libya would have been the envy of the world if other nations had known about the vision he implemented there.
The video THE TRUE STORY OF THE GREAT MAN-MADE RIVER IN LIBYA provides insight into Gaddafi’s vision for Libya and north Africa.
NATO Destroyed One of the Richest African Nations
Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when they were defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951.
Following a 1969 bloodless military coup, Colonel. Muammar al-QADHAFI assumed leadership and began to espouse his political system at home, which was a combination of socialism and Islam. His name is spelled several ways, including “Gaddafi”.
The video 10 Things About Libya Under Qaddafi’s Dictatorship explains how empowering Gaddafi’s philosophy was for Libya and Africa. The 2016 video Libya 5 years after NATO intervention: From one of richest nations in Africa to most troubled discusses the impact of the NATO assault.
The video Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown? interviews Horace Campbell, professor at Syracuse University and author of Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya. Campbell says NATO caused many civilian deaths and destroyed Libya’s infrastructure. He explains that NATO is the instrument the capitalist class of North America and Europe use to impose their increasingly-outmoded neoliberal form of capitalism on the rest of the world. He says the assault killed 50,000 people! Compare that to the 3,000+ deaths on 9/11 at the World Trade Center for which the decades-long War on Terror has been waged on the Middle East.
Libya: Before And After NATO Bombs
President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize shortly after taking office in 2008. However, in 2011, he joined NATO in destroying Libya in an unprovoked attack – which is defined as a war crime in the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Obama never received congressional approval for the attack – a violation of the US Constitution as well as the 1973 War Powers Resolution.
Obama’s father was from Kenya, but he showed no compassion for Gaddafi who was uniting Africa through his leadership in the African Union. Gaddafi’s plan to have Africa adopt the gold dinar as the continental currency would have empowered Africa – but threatened the dollar. Gaddafi’s Man Made River Project was an incredible vision and achievement.
We can build United States of Africa, Gaddafi says discusses Gaddafi’s ultimate goal. The 2017 video Libya suffers severe water shortages shows Libya’s current state after NATO’s destruction of the country in 2011.
So, why did Obama and NATO attack and destroy Libya? One reason is that the Man-Made River Project was an obstacle to the World Bank’s plans to privatize water worldwide.
The International Monetary Fund and Bechtel Corporation tried to privatize Bolivia’s water in the late 1990s, but were kicked out by massive protests. Americans need to be aware of these steps to privatize water around the world because we are not immune to them here.
Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya
In a video interview, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State in the Obama administration, triumphantly joked about the murder of Muammar Gaddafi by paraphrasing Julius Caesar’s famous statement “Vini, Vidi, Vinci” meaning “I came, I saw, I conquered”. Hillary laughingly gloated. “We came, we saw, he died!”
The 2015 book Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya is by Peter Hoekstra and Teri Blumenfeld.
Pete Hoekstra, the former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, tells the real story behind the tragic events in Benghazi and the Obama Administration’s disastrous foreign policy catastrophe in Libya. ARCHITECTS OF DISASTER documents the role played by an inexperienced president and a politicized US State Department under Hillary Clinton in turning a stable North African country into a failed jihadist state spreading terrorism throughout the Middle East and releasing a flood of fearful immigrants onto the Mediterranean and into Europe.
In his new book, Pete Hoekstra cuts to the core in identifying how a radical Islamist agenda left to its own devices cannot reconcile with Western ideals of tolerance and acceptance. Architects of Disaster creates the necessary framework in which future administrations can apply lessons learned to better inform critical foreign policy decisions.” — Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and 2012 Republican Presidential nominee.
“A graphic autopsy of what went wrong in Libya and why.” — James Jay Carafano, Heritage Foundation
“Pete Hoekstra’s thorough examination of how the Obama Administration’s misguided policies contributed in the past few years to Libya’s disintegration is must reading. This insightful history and analysis is worth careful study, especially as America’s citizens debate what policies should come next after President Obama leaves office.” — John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN.”
Putin: Who Gave NATO The Right to Kill Gaddafi?
The video Putin: Who gave NATO right to kill Gaddafi? reports that Putin said the Western powers wanted to get rid of Gaddafi and install people who are more favorable to the European Union so the European companies can control the oil reserves. He pointed out that the bombing was destroying Libya’s infrastructure built over generations.
The 2011 NY Times article “Legal Acrobatics, Illegal War” explained why the attack on Libya was illegal: “It has now been over three months since the first NATO bombs fell on Libya, yet President Obama has failed to request Congressional approval for military action, as required by the War Powers Act of 1973.”
The video Gaddafi dead – Barack Obama reaction says: “US President Barack Obama says Gaddafi’s death ‘marks the end of long and painful chapter for people of Libya’. He said it was a momentous day in the history of the country and the Libyan people now had a great responsibility ahead.”