Nestle’s Water Privatization in the Aftermath of Flint, Michigan
In the aftermath of the Flint water crisis, residents have gone without clean tap water for over 1,000 days. Every citizen of Flint is given just one case of water per day, about 10 liters, to be used for drinking, bathing, and cooking. Meanwhile, one of the biggest corporations in the world is doing its part to perpetuate the movement toward water privatization, by bottling and selling water from a source two hours away.
Who Benefits from Water Privatization?
That aforementioned company profiting from the water source in Evart, MI is Nestlé, the multinational foodstuff corporation that, among a number of controversies, became notorious for its former CEO’s statement when he basically said he didn’t believe water should be a basic human right. Nestlé is the largest producer of bottled water in the world, reaping nearly $8 billion dollars in profit last year from water alone. At it’s facility in Evart, the company makes between $500,000 to $1.5 million a day, while only paying $200 a year to extract that water.
But now the company has launched a massive PR campaign backtracking on the words of Emeritus CEO, Peter Brabeck, claiming that Nestlé is concerned with the global water supply and the shortage we will soon be faced with if we continue our wasteful ways.
While the company touts the fact it has cut its total water usage by 60 percent, the fact of the matter is that bottling water is a water and energy intensive process. In fact, it requires between 1.2 to 1.4 liters of water to bottle a single liter of water, not to mention the energy required to transport it and the subsequent pollution it generates.
In a video released by the corporation in 2013, Brabeck says that he’s always supported the human right to water, though that contradicts his words in a 2005 documentary, We Feed The World, in which he states that NGOs ‘banging on’ about humans having a right to water is an extreme solution compared to corporate water privatization.
In Brabeck’s more recent 2013 video recorded from Nestlé’s lavish campus in Switzerland, he says his words were misconstrued and that what he really meant was that all humans should have a right to water to meet their daily fundamental needs, but not for superfluous things like watering their lawn or washing their car. He says he believes everyone deserves between 50-100 liters of water per day.
The residents of Flint sure could have used that big of an allowance over the past few years.
Have They Solved the Water Crisis in Flint?
It’s been nearly three years since it became evident that the water in Flint was undrinkable and in some cases nearly three times more toxic than what the EPA considers hazardous waste. When lead was found in the water, after the city’s water source was switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River, the damage had already been done.
The switch was implemented to ‘cut costs’ and balance the budget, even though it was known that large corporations like DuPont and General Motors had been dumping waste in the river for decades. The water was then treated with a chemical that eroded the pipes it was being pumped through, leaching lead into it.
It’s estimated that up to 12,000 children were potentially given lead poisoning, while city and state officials lied about the safety of public water. Not to mention the 12 people that have died due to causes directly linked to the contamination, and the 80 now suffering from Legionnaire’s disease. General Motors even stopped using the water under the fear that it would corrode its auto parts.
To add insult to injury, Flint residents pay eight times the national average for their water utility. Flint water was so contaminated that even using it to bathe gave people horrible rashes.
Last month, a study led by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, MDEQ, claimed that 90 percent of water samples collected in Flint are now well below the federal threshold of lead ppb. But this is also the same agency that initially lied about the safety of the water to Michigan residents, leaving many eternally wary of the state’s claims.
The other good news is that 15 government officials have now been criminally charged for offenses ranging from conspiracy, to obstruction of justice, and involuntary manslaughter, though none of the cases have yet to come to trial. At the same time, Gov. Rick Snyder has somehow evaded any charges, with a million-dollar legal team protecting him from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who has said attempts to interview Snyder were “not successful.”
Filmmaker and political activist, Michael Moore, wrote a petition to have Snyder imprisoned, saying not even international terrorist organizations have figured out how to do something of this magnitude.
It seems stories like these are becoming all too common when government and corporate interests start to merge, choosing profit and money over people’s health, safety, and livelihood. Is this an inevitability in our crony capitalist society, or is there something that can be done to end this kind of corruption?
Privatizing Water Pros and Cons
- Short-term ‘paydays’ that could give cities a financial boost, close deficits, and create a surplus when a significant price is paid for purchase and use of a water utility.
- Some argue that privatization leads to greater efficiency in managing, treating, and distributing water by companies with more resources to do so. These companies may also have the resources to better maintain water infrastructure.
- Rate increases would be common as a corporation’s goal is to maximize profit. A corporation’s success is typically measured as one that continues to increase revenue, therefore rate hikes would be common and often. A corporation shouldn’t be able to hold something that is essential to life at a ransom. This would inevitably affect low-income families disproportionately.
- Reduced control from the public sector. Once we give a corporation the rights to our water, they can do what they want. This could lead to reduced quality and treatment to cut costs.
- Corruption between the corporation and government. We’ve already seen what’s happening in Michigan, if a corporation wants a better contract they could use the essential water source as a leveraging tool with politicians to get their way.
- Paying a public utility bill is untaxed. Private companies have to pay taxes and that burden is transferred to the consumer.
- Private companies can sell the water to whomever they like. If there’s a water shortage somewhere, the company can start selling its water at a higher price to that area in need, draining the local area of its source.
Man vs. Water
Did Nixon Leave Behind Evidence of Aliens in the White House?
If there’s anyone with insight into the existence of extraterrestrials, it’s the President of the United States. But when the topic of disclosure comes up, Richard Nixon’s name appears infrequently compared to other presidents tied to the government’s ufological secrets. But according to the testimony of one confidential informant, not only has the government made contact, but Nixon left evidence of the existence of aliens in the White House.
And it remains there to this day, he says, hidden in a time capsule – its location known only to a handful of people. Though, Nixon claimed it would surface when the time was right.
That informant is Earl Robert “Butch” Merritt, a man with a storied career as a confidential agent for the Nixon administration. A man who participated in a variety of intelligence operations in the nascent years of what would later become the NSA’s COINTEL program used to surveil, infiltrate, and disrupt various organizations and target groups even before Watergate.
And while Merritt’s credibility might seem questionable when discussing alien disclosure, his career as an informant is well documented, as are his high-level government connections. Which is why his revelation of a clandestine conversation with Nixon regarding the existence of alien technology and a living extraterrestrial entity is hard to immediately dismiss.
Evidence of Aliens in the White House?
President Eisenhower is usually the first name that comes to mind when discussing the White House’s knowledge of an alien presence, particularly in regard to an apocryphal program known as MJ-12, or Majestic 12.
Essentially, MJ-12 was an alleged group of high brass military and government officials organized after the Roswell UFO incident to deal with the implications of an alien presence and its subsequent technology.
And it was that technology recovered from the Roswell crash that is believed to have led to exponential leaps in our technological advancements, many of which have been used to bolster the military industrial complex – an industry Ike so famously warned the world about before leaving office.
Though he didn’t immediately succeed him, Nixon was Eisenhower’s Vice President, making the ufological connection all the more intriguing. It was also relatively well known that Nixon believed in the existence of UFOs and extraterrestrials, despite his release of Project Bluebook’s conclusive analysis; an Air Force study known as the Condon Report, which allegedly put the existence of UFOs to rest.
But according to his testimony, Nixon divulged his knowledge of a “sophisticated intelligent being” to Merritt toward the end of his presidency when he realized the Watergate scandal was becoming an imminent threat. According to Merritt, Nixon claimed the being was alive and in government protection.
He says Nixon entrusted this information to him as he considered Merritt one of his only confidantes, asking him to personally deliver a letter on the subject to Henry Kissinger – a copy of which allegedly remains hidden today somewhere in the White House.
A Dark Journalist’s Disclosure
Merritt’s testimony is corroborated by Douglas Caddy, a man who acted as a defense attorney for the parties convicted in the Watergate scandal and who claims he knows where Nixon’s ET disclosure letter is hidden in the White House. The two published a book titled, Watergate Exposed: How the President of the United States and the Watergate Burglars Were Set Up as told to Douglas Caddy.
Interviews with both men, including Merritt’s accounts of meeting Nixon, and his subsequent mission as letter courier to Kissinger, can be found on the website of Daniel Liszt, an investigative reporter on government and alien conspiracies, who goes by the alias “Dark Journalist.”
Liszt’s interview with Merritt is fascinating in that it delves into his history as one of the most notorious informants for the president and for other city, state, and federal government entities, due to his cutthroat and non-conventional tactics.
In fact, a New York Times profile piece on Merritt confirms this history, focusing specifically on his role helping New York authorities reclaim the Kenmore Hotel – a drug-addled building in Manhattan that was one of the epicenters of the city’s criminal activity in the ’90s.
Merritt was an indispensable tool for Nixon’s Huston Plan – the aforementioned intelligence program to infiltrate and disrupt parties he felt threatened by, particularly political opponents and anti-war groups.
While serving as an informant under the Huston plan, Merritt says he was warned by one of his sources, a switchboard operator next to the Watergate Hotel named Rhita Reid, of the impending investigation into the administration. Merritt said he tried to warn Nixon, but that he wasn’t concerned at the time and didn’t foresee it’s major implications.
Despite this dismissal, Merritt claims he was one of Nixon’s most trusted sources and was even given nicknames including “003” – an obvious James Bond reference. So, when the Watergate scandal played out and the days of the administration waned, Merritt claims he was brought into a secret underground room beneath the White House where Nixon revealed the existence of an alien entity and technology housed at the infamous Nevada military base, Area 51.
“We have possessed knowledge and we have in our protection subjects from a planet X,” Nixon supposedly told Merritt. “Knowledge we obtained so vast and powerful, whoever possesses this knowledge would be the most powerful person in the world,” Merritt recounted.
Merritt claims Nixon then wrote out a lengthy letter that included encrypted formulae to be delivered to Kissinger. He also included two cassette tapes, before sealing the letter and writing something on its outer flap, omitting his normal signature. Nixon then strapped the letter to Merritt’s stomach and sent him to deliver it to its intended recipient for unknown reasons.
Now, he claims that letter remains hidden somewhere in the White House, its location known to he and Caddy who say they will only reveal its location if the National Archives allows one of them to be present to read the letter publicly.
What is there to make of this testimony? While incredibly intriguing at first, there are some pretty farfetched and bizarre aspects to Merritt and Caddy’s story that might be questionable.
It seems if Nixon wanted to clear his name in the annals of history, he would have released this information himself, whether at that moment or before his death. Though in every instance of a president’s alleged attempt at disclosure, the truth always seems to be stranger than fiction.
For more on a U.S. President’s attempt at disclosure check out this episode of Deep Space: