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Archive for December 13th, 2008

India-China water wars

Posted by Charles II on December 13, 2008

Sudha Ramachandran, ATimes:

The river in question is the Brahmaputra, which begins in southwestern Tibet where it is known as the Yalong Tsangpo

River. It flows eastwards through southern Tibet for a distance of about 1,600 kilometers and at its easternmost point makes a spectacular U-turn, known as the Shuomatan Point, or the “Great Bend”. This is just before the river enters India, where it is joined by two other major rivers; from this point of confluence it is known as the Brahmaputra. It then snakes into Bangladesh, where it is joined by the Ganges River to create the world’s largest delta before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

It is at the Great Bend that China plans to divert water, in addition to its hydroelectric power project that is expected to generate 40,000 megawatts of power. The diversion of the waters is part of a larger hydro-engineering project, the South-North water diversion scheme, which involves three man-made rivers carrying water from the icy Tibetan plateau to the arid north….

With the Yalong Tsangpo’s waters being diverted, the amount of water in the Brahmaputra will fall significantly, affecting India’s northeast and Bangladesh. It will severely impact agriculture and fishing there as the salinity of water will increase, as will silting in the downstream area.

A shortage of water in the Ganges has already affected the lives and livelihoods of millions in Bangladesh, pushing them to migrate to India, especially to its northeast. This migration of Bangladeshis has changed the demographic composition of vast tracts in the northeast (especially in Assam) and triggered serious ethnic conflicts there. A shortage of water in the Brahmaputra will accentuate these problems to dangerous levels.

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Unclear on the concept

Posted by Charles II on December 13, 2008

Glenn Greenwald said many things that I agree with in his interview with Bill Moyers, especially this:

[Greenwald]: Because what happens if you allow serious law breaking to go unpunished is you’re telling political leaders, current and future, that there’s no need for you to abide by the law. There’s no reason for you to consider yourself constrained or limited in what you do. Because even if you commit crimes while in office, we’re going to be too afraid of creating divisiveness, that’s we’re going to allow you to do that. And you incentivize the political class, as they’ve been doing, to break the law at will. And the damage that comes from that is infinitely worse than whatever this divisiveness is that so many people are afraid of when citing why we should let these criminals go free.

and this:

[Greenwald]: Top Democrats were complicit in these crimes and assented to them. I mean, it wasn’t just the warrantless eavesdropping. …

All of the tactics that we’ve always said characterized tyrannies that used torture…. And according to all public reports, and they’re not denied by the participants, every single Democrat in that session either quietly assented to it or actively approved of it.

But I found myself shaking my head over most some of what Greenwald said. It’s as though even now he only sees dimly.

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, if you go back and read the speeches that were given in the immediate aftermath after 9/11, the president that appears in that time period is literally unrecognizable. The emphasis was not on any of what ended up taking place. There was no sense of we are going to go to war with the Islamic world or start invading countries indiscriminately or creating gulags and secret prisons and institute a torture regime….

Really? This is what I heard:

In his speech to the Joint Session of Congress, Bush did not inform the American people of troop movements that he had made, nor of liberties which the Congress at his urging had rescinded or would soon consider rescinding. He did not tell them what the objectives of the “crusade” (for such he had called it) were, nor of the sacrifices that would be expected. He told them what they wanted to hear: that Americans are good people and would have no duties in this battle but live out their values.

I also pointed out that Bush had surrounded himself with Iran-Contra malefactors and that his party was using the occasion of 9/11 to loot the Treasury and strip us of civil liberties. The late Michael Kelly declared those who opposed unlimited war to be “objectively pro-terrorist,” a sentiment that was widely echoed on the right.

It took Greenwald until May of 2002 to figure out that something was seriously wrong.
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