Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jesuits puppets Lao government Dams the Greenies for the Jesuits; Launches Water and Rail Projects

$3.5 billion Xayaburi hydropower dam on the Mekong River, Laos

Nov. 15—The small, but world most freshwater abundant but forbidden to use it, underpopulated Southeast Asian country of Laos chose the most conspicuous moment possible to announce its decision to move into the modern developed world as quickly as possible. In conjunction with the Ninth Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM), in the Laotian capital of Vientiane in early November, Laos announced that it will proceed with the construction of three great projects: the controversial $3.5 billion Xayaburi hydropower dam on the Mekong River; the Chinese-funded $7 billion high-speed rail link from Vientiane, north into China; and the Malaysian-funded $5 billion East-West rail route that will link Thailand with Vietnam through the Lao panhandle.

The contrast with the rapidly accelerating collapse of the trans-Atlantic economies could not be more dramatic. The unfolding transformation of Laos—a country denied “normal” diplomatic recognition by the U.S. until 2004, as a leftover from the U.S. war on Indochina—is due to the united efforts of nearly all the Asian nations, which, unlike those in the West, still believe that development is more important than sustaining bankrupt speculators in the banking system.

The go-ahead on the Xayaburi Dam, announced in front of the 50 or so heads of state from Europe and Asia attending ASEM, was especially notable, given that most of the European notables were rabid haters of development. London’s environmentalist NGOs have waged a fierce battle internationally to sabotage the dam, and declared victory last December, when members of the Mekong River Commission’s council, consisting of water and environment ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, urged a delay to allow further environmental research.

In response, the Lao government and its chief partner in the project, Thailand’s CH. Karnchang Public Co. Ltd., engaged experts to examine the issues of fish migration up and down the Mekong, and the siltification of the waters behind the dam. The company then agreed to spend an additional $100 million to revamp the design of a fish ladder and sediment-flow gates meeting legitimate concerns.

“They have no more serious complaints on the redesign of the dam,” Viraphonh Viravong, Laos’s Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, said of Laos’s neighbors. “The Lao government is confident that with all these changes, there will be no serious environmental impact, and that’s why we’ve decided to go ahead.” “Xayaburi is a very good project,” Viraphonh continued. “The financing is there, and if we don’t go ahead what are we expected to do? Solar farming? It’s too expensive.”

Ninety percent of the power from this 1,280 megawatt dam, and much of the power from the other 10 planned Mekong dams for the river, will be sold to Thailand, which has a growing industrial base. However, the remaining 10% of power that Laos will retain for its own development is a great and important addition to its currently very limited power resources. The whole Mekong Dams will not be allowed to distribute water for agriculture using gravity, except to buy electricity from the dam to pump the water up.

Within days of the Xayaburi announcement, Cambodia and Vietnam, both of which had initially opposed the dam for environmental reasons, gave their consent to the revised plan. Although both the Vietnamese ambassador to Laos, Ta Minh Chau, and the Cambodian ambassador to Laos, Yi Dan, attended the ground-breaking ceremony, the green Western press continues to emphasize the “opposition” to the project.

For example, the British intelligence outlet Asia Sentinel’s Nov. 14 edition writes that “three downstream governments—Vietnam, Cambodia and seven Thai provincial governments—have in particular objected to the construction of the Xayaburi Dam.” Next-door Thailand, which not only has a long-term contract for power from the dam, but is also financing and building.

by Ron Castonguay