3:13 pm - Tuesday December 17, 0993

IB report, NGOs and the geopolitics of energy

The leaked IB report’s assertion that some NGO’s are stalling India’s economic growth has evoked mixed reactions. Electronic media channels had their field day by calling various stakeholders on the screen and not allowing any of them to speak for more than 1 minute, increasing the confusion at the end. Spectrum of accusations ranged from serious threat by Modi government to the freedom of NGO’s and stifling the voices of protest, to anti-national activities of NGO’s. Newsbharati factsheet on the involved factors and parties will help the readers form their own opinion.

 

The IB report

The report mentions that some NGO’s “have been noticed to be using people centric issues to create an environment, which lends itself to stalling development projects.” Implied is the assumption that there are ulterior motives either of the NGO’s or of the forces behind them. The report mentions “These foreign donors lead local NGO’s to provide field reports, which are used to build a record against India and serve as tools for strategic foreign policy interests of Western Governments.”

The targeted projects are nuclear power plants, uranium mines; coal fired power plants, genetically modified organisms, mega industrial projects [Posco and Vedanta], hydel projects at Narmada and in Arunachal, and extractive industries in North East [oil, limestone].

The report says “Identified foreign donors cleverly disguise the donations as funding for human rights, ‘just deal’ for project affected displaced persons, protection of livelihood of indigenous people, protecting religious freedom etc.”

The report identifies about 75 NGO’s and about 50 persons by name and mentions that “network analysis of all anti-nuclear NGO activity revealed the existence of one superior network [prominently driven by Greenpeace and renowned activists] and five territorial networks”, closely linked to “superior pan-India organizations and imminent persons.”

In spite of this vast coverage, the media discussions remained focused primarily on Greenpeace.

The Green Peace

There is a radical difference between the idea of an ‘NGO’ in the mind of common Indian and the reality of the international NGO’s mentioned in the report.

The Greenpeace is one such NGO. In 2012, Greenpeace received worldwide donations of 260 million Euro, equivalent to 21 thousand Crore Rupees.

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With offices in 40 countries and staff of about 2426 people, Greenpeace maintains its own fleet of vessels on sea. All these figures are more near to a big multinational company than to an NGO in India.

Greenpeace’s strategy, which it calls “market-based campaigning,” has proved effective in case of multinationals who care for their ‘social branding’. It involves imaginative demonstrations, social media campaigns, and effective videos to harm the company’s image as ‘anti environment’. There are serious confrontations of Greenpeace with various governments. According to Business insider report,

“French intelligence agents bombed the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, which was attempting to prevent nuclear tests. A photographer was killed in the explosion, and the vessel was sunk. French officials initially denied involvement in the bombing, but the plot was uncovered by New Zealand police. The Rainbow Warrior II was chased through international waters not long ago by an Indonesian destroyer and warplanes. Just last year, a Greenpeace ship protesting drilling in the Arctic was attacked by armed Russian commandos, who arrested the crew. The activists, called the Arctic 30, were charged with piracy, a crime carrying a 15-year sentence, before being released as part Vladimir Putin’s pre-Olympics amnesty.”

Some of the issues the Greenpeace fights are, so to speak, the bees in there bonnet. They earn a large amount of donations from their ‘save whales’ campaign. The crusade against palm oil in Indonesia stems from their belief that the amount of carbon given off because of deforestation in Indonesia accounts for a whopping 4% of global carbon emissions from just .1% of the earth’s land surface.

Then there is the issue of leftist forces joining environment movements after the collapse of Soviet Russia. Dr. Patrick Moore, one of the key figures in the Greenpeace in its early days, writes in his book ‘Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist’

The collapse of world communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall during the 1980s added to the trend toward extremism. The Cold War was over and the peace movement was largely disbanded. The peace movement had been mainly Western-based and anti-American in its leanings. Many of its members moved into the environmental movement, bringing with them their neo-Marxist, far-left agendas. To a considerable extent the environmental movement was hijacked by political and social activists who learned to use green language to cloak agendas that had more to do with anti-capitalism and anti-globalization than with science or ecology. I remember visiting our Toronto office in 1985 and being surprised at how many of the new recruits were sporting army fatigues and red berets in support of the Sandinistas.

The selection of the issues Greenpeace picks up in any country is always shrouded in mystery. India seems to be its current focus. 278 of 2426, almost 12 % of its global staff strength is in India, while in entire Africa only 38 people are employed by Greenpeace. They have targeted 999 coal fired power plants globally for opposition out of which 455 are from India. [It seems Greenpeace is using the data of world resources institute] That gives ample space for the justification of charge in IB report of suspicious intentions behind raising ‘people’s issues’.

Some studies have suggested that Greenpeace is infected by agents of various multinationals and possibly intelligence agencies. The Center for corporate policy published a report ‘spooky business’ in November 2013 which details many instances of Corporate espionage as well as FBI spying and penetration of NGO’s. One or two examples shall suffice here.

The private security firm Beckett Brown International (BBI) spied on many non-profit organizations. James Ridgeway of Mother Jones, who broke the story of BBI’s espionage operations, wrote that BBI

“Spied on Greenpeace and other environmental organizations from the late 1990s through at least 2000, pilfering documents from trash bins, attempting to plant undercover operatives within groups, casing offices, collecting phone records of activists, and penetrating confidential meetings. According to company documents provided to Mother Jones by a former investor in the firm, this security outfit collected confidential internal records—donor lists, detailed financial statements, the Social Security numbers of staff members, strategy memos—from these organizations and produced intelligence reports for public relations firms and major corporations involved in environmental controversies.

In the evening of December 2, 1984, an explosion at the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, India released clouds of the toxic gas methyl isocyanate, in what was probably the world’s most deadly industrial disaster. No one really knows how many people were killed on that night and subsequently; recent estimates from the Indian government have ranged from 15,000 to 16,000. However, these victims were never adequately compensated. In 2001, Union Carbide became a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical. In February 2012,WikiLeaks revealed emails showing that Dow Chemical hired Stratfor to monitor Bhopal justice activists, including the Yes Men.

Therefore the mention in IB report about Greenpeace India maintaining advanced and secured servers in Bangalore and a team of experts to monitor them is not surprising. In spite of the explanations issued by Greenpeace, why it is focusing on India is certainly a mystery, the answer to which perhaps lies in the global as well as Indian energy scenario and the war of geo-politics.

 

The energy scenario

The report prepared by TERI [The Energy and Resources Institute] for the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India gives a clear picture of India’s energy scenario. Titled

National Energy Map for India: Technology Vision 2030

The report says

“India has recorded impressive rates of economic growth in recent years, which provide the basis for more ambitious achievements in the future. However, a healthy rate of economic growth equalling or exceeding the current rate of 8% per annum would require major provision of infrastructure and enhanced supply of input such as energy.

High economic growth would create much larger demand for energy and this would present the country with a variety of choices in terms of supply possibilities. Technology would be an important element of future energy 23_01_38_10_energy_H@@IGHT_207_W@@IDTH_300strategy for the country, because related to a range of future demand and supply scenario would be issues of technological choices both on the supply and demand sides, which need to be understood at this stage, if they are to become an important part of India’s energy solution in the future.”

 

 

 

 

The report clearly points towards the country’s increasing import dependence of all fossil fuels. It also indicates that coal would continue to play a key role in meeting the country’s energy requirements.23_01_37_18_coal_H@@IGHT_225_W@@IDTH_300

“However, the indigenous availability of coal is expected to plateau in the next couple of decades with the current exploitation plans and technology. The need for energy efficiency in the end-use sectors and radical policy changes in the transport sector is also highlighted.

 

 

 

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Gas is a preferred option for power generation as well as fertilizer production. However, while the domestic availability of natural gas is estimated to plateau at about 44 Mtoe by 2012, imports of gas are fraught with uncertainty. Accordingly, coal and oil are expected to remain the dominant fuels in the next couple of decades. In the BAU [business as usual] scenario, the share of coal in commercial energy ranges between 45% and 55% during the entire modelling time frame, while the share of oil ranges between 36% and 40%.

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By 2031, imports of coal in the BAU scenario are expected to be about 1176 Mtoe. [Metric ton oil equivalent] Even at the current price of 60 dollars/tonne for imported coal, this would translate to a foreign exchange outflow of about 400 thousand crore rupees. With coal demand expected to increase in the Asian market, prices of coal may also increase rapidly, exerting greater pressure on the economy. Therefore, it is extremely important to reduce the import dependency of coal by gearing up the exploration and production activity in this sector with a view to increase the extractable coal reserves.

Therefore it is obvious that for all those powers who want to halt India’s progress, targeting Coal industry is the number one option. Nuclear energy is second target. If Greenpeace is doing that and if IB has enough indications that they are knowingly or unknowingly being used towards this end by some foreign powers, then the report needs to be taken seriously.

USA has 104 nuclear power plants and in addition to that consumes 13% of global coal consumption to generate energy and exports about 100 million short ton coal every year. The Indian Greenpeace activists should answer how the strategic interests of India can match with USA or Europe. We care only about environment and sustainability and rest everything be damned cannot be the approach particularly when China is taking giant leaps in power generation.

The Christian connection

Many other aspects of IB report like some NGO’s mysteriously targeting North East region of India, cannot be explained if we ignore, like the electronic media, the clear hand of Christian organisations in the entire episode. The report mentions Action Aid along with Greenpeace as an important organisation in this network. IB mentions a Dutch organisation CORDAID focusing on North East India. CORDAID is nothing but Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development Aid. CORDAID mentions on its website that it works in team with CARITAS, which is almost an official organ of Catholic Church; The Church describes Caritas as its official voice “in relation to its teachings in the area of charity work”.

CORDAID mentions

We are proud co-founders of Caritas Internationalis, which brings an additional worldwide network of over 160 organizations; we are able to organize responses to disasters even more rapidly in countries where Caritas in represented.

Our local presence in a particular country often results from the fact that our Caritas partners are usually found in fragile and (post-) conflict areas.

The information CORDAID gives about India on its page is filled with bias tending towards hatred. The page says

“India is a country with two faces. While the urban middle classes prosper with the growth of the Indian economy, abject poverty prevails in other parts of the country. Indian society is layered and extremely diverse in its nature. Distinctions are made there on the basis of gender, religion, ethnicity and caste. Some groups are excluded from enjoying basic services and participating in the country’s development and decision making processes.

Income in the agricultural sector lies far below the international average. Small-scale farmers operating in remote communities and those who are excluded on the basis of their caste (Dalits) and ethnicity (tribes) do not benefit from investments made by the Indian government. And despite more progressive legislation, the position of women in India is poor and domestic violence is increasing.

For decades now the people of northeast India have suffered from armed conflict between government forces and guerrilla groups and insurgent organizations. The threat of violence and displacement are never far away and the most vulnerable people are the minorities in disadvantaged areas. India is also susceptible to natural disasters that mainly cause extensive damage in the densely populated areas. And climate change is increasing the likelihood of both droughts and floods.”

It is not surprising that NGO’s with such an attitude towards India will spread enmity in sections of society under the garb of social service. The IB report states

As follow-up, an elaborate training session was held in Shillong, [October 28 to November 1, 2013] to equip activists with skills to use GPS tracking…… Activists of 10 North East NGO’s were trained to map oil wells, mines, dams and forests……..The trainers [2 Dutch and 1 USA] had constantly reminded participants that oil reserves in that area were as large as those in the entire Gulf region and that the precious resources belonged only to the tribals of Manipur and ought to be preserved for their ‘own use’ in the future. It was stated that Government of India, in collaboration with MNCs, was stealing the resources……

The prominent donors from Germany for these agitations mentioned in the IB report ‘Bread for the world’, EED [Church Development Service (Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst -EED) is an association of the Protestant Churches in Germany], MISEREOR [German Catholic Bishops Organisation for Development Cooperation] are declared Church supported Christian organisations.

Similarly the famous Narmada project in Gujarat and Maharashtra was the focus of few NGOs. These NGOs received foreign donations of about 13 Cr. Rupees between 2006 and 2013. The main donors are Katholische Zentralstele Entwicklungshilfe [Catholic central development Aid] of Germany and Xavier Kalyani Mandal, India.

The IB report on anti Kudankulam nuclear project agitation says

“The movement was spearheaded by US educated S. P. Uday Kumar in association with father Ambroise of Tuticorin multipurpose social service, Tuticorin diocesan association, Father Jaykumar of Our Lady of Lourdes Church. 8 out of 11 NGO’s were FCRA registered and received almost 80 Cr. Rupees in the period 2006 to 2011. S. P. Uday Kumar received almost 40,000 dollars from Kirwan institute for study of race and ethnicity at Ohio state university [He accpeted this in a TV debate], as a ‘consultant on Group, race caste and ethnic issues through NGOs’ and for giving fortnightly reports, they were significant in the fact that they were very brief lists of general articles or books purported to have been read in the past fortnight’.”

With such huge grants being doled out and accepted meekly, when so called intellectuals accept sponsored foreign trips funded by NGO’s [the report mentions, “At least 11 activists are frequent foreign travellers with many exiting India on trips bound for Germany or USA.”] with open Church connections, it is really difficult to believe that the mentioned 50 intellectuals are participating in entire innocence. No wonder that many of them are also famous ‘secular crusaders’ of India.

 

Source : News Bharathi

 

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