Nestlé and the War on Resources

Nestlé and the War on Resources On May 19th 2011, Nestlé organized the „CREATING SHARED VALUE FORUM“ in Washington D.C., under the title: NUTRITION, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT 2030 THE CHANGING ROLE OF BUSINESS The Forum counted on the participation of people like Ernesto Zedillo – Former President of Mexico – Jeffrey Sachs, Paul Bulcke ‐ CEO Nestlé – and Peter Brabeck – Chairman Nestlé SA – among others. (1) In the Programme the key panel discussions where about Creating Shared Value in Latin America and Africa. The interesting and revealing news however is that the Forum was organized in partnership with THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL. (2) The Atlantic Council is an association of mostly transnational corporations around NATO – a military institution. Not surprisingly, the entire US Defence Department are members of The Atlantic Council. „NATO was established in April 1949 to allow the United States to impose its hegemony – political and ideological – on the West European States, and this has always been a prime factor in all of its calculations“ (3) With the end of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact in 1991, one could expect that NATO would also disappear. Instead, NATO turned more and more to be a key institution in defending and imposing neoliberal agendas worldwide. In other words, to defend and impose the interests of the most powerful transnational corporations in the world, those which actually rule the world’s economy. Since the end of World War II, the United States Foreign Policy has been basically about preventing independent development in other countries, above all when such policies confront the American “free trade” system and American needs of raw material coming mainly from southern countries. Within this framework, we can better understand both Nestlé’s Created Shared Value Forum programme – most of the world’s natural resources are located in Africa and Latin America – and the partnership with The Atlantic Council. Worldwide there is increasing competition for natural resources and moreover, above all in Latin America, several countries are becoming independent of American influence and implementing their own development policies and more and more using their resources for their own needs, as in Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina. Nestlé, as the biggest food and bottled water company in the world, has to make sure its share on those natural resources, like cocoa, coffee, vanilla and
above all, WATER. Through the partnership with The Atlantic Council and therefore with NATO itself and US’s military, Nestlé builds an alliance with the powers most able to defend and guarantee its access to natural resources against the “threat” of independent development posed by those countries. In fact, this has been Nestlé’s policy since long. In 1939 Nestlé helped financing a Nazi Party in Switzerland and got a very lucrative contract to supply chocolates for the German Army during World War II. (4)(5) (6) In the 70’s Nestlé profited from the Military Dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile (7) and it has mostly done well under all Latin American dictatorships during the 70’s and 80’s. It has nothing to do with ideology, just business as usual. It is important to remember that those military dictatorships almost always, like in Chile and Brazil, were the result of direct US intervention against democratically elected governments threatening to take independent economic paths – mostly using the countries natural resources to benefit its own citizens. Nestlé, as any other transnational corporation, is fully aware of the threat posed to their access to natural resources by countries taking an independent path – using their resources for their own development and not for the benefit of transnational corporations. And Nestlé will do whatever necessary to protect its own interests. The partnership with The Atlantic Council is just one revealing way of doing it. Avoiding criticism at “home “, where public opinion could put limits to such kinds of exploitation policies and war on independent development is another need both of the US and transnational companies. Therefore such PR operations like “creating shared value” are necessary. They are fundamental in giving a better image for what is really happening. In fact, the whole thinking behind institutions like the Atlantic Council is an ATTACK on everything we share. The example of water makes it very clear. Nestlé is a powerful lobbyist for water privatization. Water has always been a COMMON GOOD, one of our most precious shared values. Water privatization does not create any „shared value“ – it destroys it. However, it can create SHAREHOLDERS VALUE. Another way of avoiding criticism at home is simply by trying to stop “critical voices”. In 2002 Nestlé and SECURITAS organized a spying operation infiltrating the ATTAC group in Canton Vaud. Later on the whole thing became public and the Swiss press gave much attention to the case. There is very clear evidence that Nestlé is behind the whole operation and
ATTAC opened a law court case against Nestlé and SECURITAS. (9) Nestlé was obviously concerned with a critical group “at home”. Exactly as under the Latin American dictatorships, no criticisms are allowed. And as the military governments infiltrated agents inside students groups in Brazil, Chile or Argentina to collect information that later brought several students to the chambers of torture and death for the “sin” of critical thinking and political dissent, so Nestlé infiltrated security agents inside a Swiss critical group. Fortunately, Switzerland is not a military dictatorship. However, as a compliment to the power of Nestlé in this country, no political Swiss NGO except ATTAC and Multiwatch took any public stand against Nestlé on this case. (10) There is a straight line running from the support to a NAZI Party in Switzerland to the partnership with The Atlantic Council, through the collaboration with Pinochet’s dictatorship and the spying case. Martin Luther King once said: “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamour of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people” Our present period is much more dangerous and challenging than the one Martin Luther King was referring to. Partnerships such as these between Nestlé and The Atlantic Council should alarm all those concerned with justice, peace and the future of the planet. What happened in Latin America in the recent past should be a warning for NOT keeping silence when transnational corporations openly join with military institutions. Now is the time to protect OUR shared values. Franklin Frederick (1) orum2011/Pages/CSVForum2011.aspx (2)‐shared‐value‐forum‐2011‐ nutrition‐water‐and‐rural‐development‐2030 (3) Gabriel Kolko „ The World in Crisis“ , Chapter 7 (4)‐global‐businesses‐that‐ worked‐with‐the‐nazis/ (5)‐ collaboration‐with‐the‐nazis/ (6)össische_Soziale_Arbeiterpar tei
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