ISIS and Multinationals
Among other things : "...the savage murderers of ISIS became part of an imperialist equation in Syria which serves the interests of the monopolies of the states involved in the war". The revelation of the numerous direct and indirect relations between large corporations and the jihadists was a matter of time.

Such an interesting revelation came recently from London's "Financial Times" (FT) which expose the indirect, financing of the Islamic State from LafargeHolcim, the French-Swiss multinational manufacturer of building materials.

Here is what the article of the FT writes:
"Lafarge-Holcim, the Swiss-French cement company, on Thursday admitted "unacceptable" measures had been taken to keep its Syrian plant open, following allegations staff had dealt with armed groups during the country's violent civil war.

The company said an internal investigation found evidence that Lafarge's Syrian unit had paid third parties to work out arrangements with armed groups, including "sanctioned parties", in order to maintain operations at the cement factory in 2013 and 2014. Last November a lawsuit was filed against Lafarge in France by hunnan rights groups, which accused the company of having "business relations" with militant group Isis in Syria, and of financing terrorism in the country. The suit was lodged by Sherpa and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, plus 11 people who were former employees of Lafarge in Syria.

Violent conflict erupted around Lafarge's Jalabiyeh plant in northern Syria in 2013, with armed factions;—including rebel groups tied to radical Islamist organisations—fighting government forces to control parts of the country's border regions with Turkey. The fighting raised questions about the security of the Lafarge factory and the safety of employees, and the plant was evacuated in September 2014. Lafarge-Holcim said that while its investigation had uncovered payments to third parties in Syria, it could not determine 'with certainty' who ultimately received the funds. "It appears from the investigation that the local company provided funds to third parties to work out arrangements with a number of these armed groups, including sanctioned parties, in order to maintain operations and ensure safe passage of employees and supplies to and from the plant..."

Lafarge-Holcim isn't involved only in dealings with the savage ISIS murderers in Syria. According to the FT article, the company's CEO has "highlighted the potential for expansion in the US due to the infrastructure investment programme planned by President Donald Trump, which could include his proposed wall along the border with Mexico". Business as usual for the capitalists...

The involvement of a large corporation like Lafarge-Holcim with the Islamic State in Syria proves once more the dirty role of the monopolies in the imperialist wars and the mounting hypocrisy of western governments.
A Reader, New Delhi

‘Modi’s Muslim Bashing’
This has reference to Shamsul Islam's 'Modi's Muslim Bashing" [Vol 49, No 35, March 5-11, 2017] Modi says or somebody says doesn't matter if it is truthful saying. Here in Hyderabad also several citizens (or denizens) feel that electricity, water, etc. are made copiously available on Islamic festival days but strangely they are cut or supplied in shortage on Hindu festival days. This seems to be a continuing tradition of the old Nizam times' Muslim communal ruling mindset—that continuing in independent India with a Hindu majority. Certainly it is a shame for the Hindu majority to tolerate such discrimination. In India the minority communities seem to be aggressive and belligerent and the majority or so-called majority ones at the receiving end. This writer especially feels that the Muslim problem will be another serious danger in India in the coming decades with Muslim population exponentially growing and nothing done to curtail that growth. In contrast there has been ethnic cleansing in Pakistan and Bangladesh where Hindus have diminished to negligible minority proportions and even in Kashmir valley in India where almost the entire Kashmiri Pandits were driven out and the Muslim population there is about 95% and fast growing. If in the coming 2-3 decades Muslim population becomes even 25% of Indian population it will be a most serious headache and the current level of Islamic terrorism people are witnessing now in India will be nothing before what will happen at that time in future.
I M Sharma, Hyderabad

Power Grid Project at Bhangor
A Group of Environmental Experts, Scientists, Physicians and Health Workers visited Bhangor in January to observe and review the Ecological, Environmental and Safety concerns raised by the local villagers regarding the Power Grid project. The report prepared by that team in the form of a booklet in Bangla, titled "High Voltage Bhangor" is now being released. This is a very preliminary study of a complex problem.

As expert and citizen, Citizens Concerned Over Bhangor [CCOB] are highlighting following key issues:
1)    The Project area chosen at Bhangor is the part a productive wetland, a dynamic ecosystem which is apparently not good for a POWERGRID GIS (gas insulated substation) project, for its own safety and stability.
2)   Environmental and Ecological impact assessment requires a current baseline biodiversity and social data set of project area and natural resource valuation. POWERGRID has not submitted any such data in public domain so far. This obscures future damage calculations.
3)   The project area is densely populated, which is about 4000/sq mile. The number of project affected people (PAP) and Rehabilitation action plan (RAP), if any, are huge and hidden.
4)   POWERGRID self declares it to be the first company in Asia that has an environmental and social policy procedure (ESPP) to ensure sustainable and green developmental agenda. There are some instances, where they have followed that procedure. But, glaring deviation from such practice was previously noted in Western Ghats region, where, in Karnataka high court a PIL has been filed against it. Bhangor, being adjacent to east Kolkata Wetland (EWK) is another blot in its record. National Green Tribunal should investigate this issue.
5)   There is sufficient documented evidence of threat to human health, animal health, birds, and fisheries, from High Voltage power transmission system in scientific literature.
6)   SF6 is an extremely long lasting GHG, and it's by-products and wastes are highly toxic and leaky. Once leaked, they can immensely damage the local ecosystem.

Agriculture and fisheries at Bhangor not only provide livelihood for farmers and fishermen, but also is a vital part of the waste recycling and ecosystem services that extends beyond Bhangor. It helps Kolkata and contributes towards the resilience of the entire earth system. The POWERGRID in this area is actually a kind of Developmental aggression. CCOB requests both the POWERGRID and Government to issue a formal notification, that this project has been withdrawn, and compensation be paid to this abortive project affected people and community.
CCOB, Kolkata

Vol. 49, No.39, April 2 - 8, 2017