Marketing Poverty as Green

US Struggles to Keep Asia in Dark Age

US-funded newspapers promote US-funded NGOs in their efforts to halt infrastructure projects that would reduce flooding, produce clean, renewable energy, and provide jobs and development for millions.

 “The Irrawaddy,” which claims to be “a leading source of reliable news, information, and analysis on Burma/Myanmar and the Southeast Asian region,” has doggedly covered efforts by so-called “activists” to prevent the construction of dams all across Southeast Asia – from Myanmar (still called by its British imperial nomenclature “Burma” by the Western media), across Thailand, and in Laos.
Its most recent article, “Thai Power Firm’s Business Tactics ‘Use Burma’s Weak Laws’,” is a typical representation of these efforts. It reports that:

One of the chief financiers of hydroelectric dams planned on Burma’s Salween River is accused of investing in countries where there is “oppression and limited transparency” in order to achieve its objectives.

Having been restricted in its activities at home, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) wants to use Burma and Laos as proxy suppliers of electricity via environmentally damaging river dams, the US-based NGO International Rivers told The Irrawaddy.

Dams are undoubtedly disruptive to the surrounding, existing environment and surely governments and special interests regularly sidestep their responsibility to ensure dam construction results in equitable outcomes for surrounding human populations as well as wildlife. However, to oppose their construction entirely is a regressive, politically motivated agenda peddled by some of the most sociopolitically and environmentally destructive special interests on Earth.

To understand this, one must understand what both The Irrawaddy and International Rivers have in common, and specifically why their agenda has become entwined in the battle against real development across all of Southeast Asia.

US-Funded “Newspapers” and “Activists”
Both The Irrawaddy and International Rivers are creations and perpetuations of the US State Department and several Fortune 500 corporate-financier funded foundations. These include foundations that represent the interests of corporations including Exxon, Chevron, British Petroleum (BP), Total, as well as big-finance and the World Bank. Already, it should be easy to understand why Western energy giants and financiers would be interested in arresting the development of sustainable energy independence across Southeast Asia.

The Irrawaddy is literally a creation of the US State Department via its National Endowment for Democracy (NED). This is revealed in a 2006 report titled, “FAILING THE PEOPLE OF BURMA? A call for a review of DFID policy on Burma,” published by the Burma Campaign UK. In it, it states specifically:

The NED sub-grant program also has fostered the development of three well-known Burmese media organizations. The New Era Journal, the Irrawaddy, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) radio have become critical sources of independent news and information on the struggle for democracy in Burma. …

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