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    War Gives Way to Plunder

    By Manuel Yepe

    Resembling the starting shot for any of the recently concluded Olympic competitions, in Washington, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced what can be seen as the starting signal for plunder in the war of the United States against Afghanistan.

    The DOD informed that U.S. "foreign aid" agencies are now ready to guarantee comprehensive tasks to locate and identify potential deposits of copper, gold, iron and other high value minerals in Afghanistan.

    On July 30, the US Armed Forces Press Service released via the Internet that DOD officials and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) had met at the US Embassy in Afghanistan to reveal what was identified as "a treasure map" of the mineral resources in the Asian nation.

    At the meeting, the representative of the DOD's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) shared the rostrum with USGS Director Marcia McNutt, who described the new technology that made possible the study of more than 70% of the country's surface and the identification of potential high-value deposits of copper, gold, iron and other minerals.

    Since 2009, TFBSO has been financing USGS works including the operation --with the help of NASA--of an airborne hyperspectral image reproducing instrument that maps on the surface the mother lodes of natural resources under the rough and mountainous geography of Afghanistan.

    It was explained that "TFBSO is a DOD organization charged with helping to spur and grow the private-sector economy in Afghanistan and clearly, the mineral and oil and gas extractive areas are critical to that effort."

    A work by journalist Brandon Turbeville, published on the alternative digital publication Activist Post, explains that such geological mapping of the "hidden" treasure - one of the main reasons for the invasion, occupation and death of so many thousands of people – "opens up the bidding process for private companies who are no doubt salivating as they wait in the wings for their opportunity to gobble up the natural wealth of the impoverished and war-torn nation."

    However, according to Turbeville, the term "hidden" is only a matter of perspective because "while the mineral, oil, and gas reserves might have been hidden from the vast majority of the world's population, they were anything but that to the major governments that rule over them.

    Evidence of this is in the DOD press release which admits that the US obtained data about the work of a Soviet mission that was "helping" the Afghan government with geological investigations that took place over 10 years in the1960's.

    With the argument that the information obtained from the Soviets is too outdated, the US justified its interest and expressed urgency to obtain new geological information.

    Turbeville offers abundant information about the state-of-the-art technology the USGS and other US agencies are using to map the Afghan treasure trove.

    He explains that hyperspectral data uses the reflectance of light and is based on the fact that different minerals reflect light in different wavelength bands. Every mineral has its own signature or fingerprint.

    He says that modern hyperspectral instruments "can be used in a place where there's no vegetative cover, and Afghanistan happens to have almost no vegetation and this technology can be applied advantageously to reveal at the surface the mother lode of resources."

    As for what has been found, the USGS stated that, "We have identified world-class copper, gold, iron ore and rare earth deposits that no one knew were there." (Turbeville says the reader would be well-advised to ignore the "that no one knew were there" part of the statement).

    Positing that the corporations that gather for the feast will have to invest billions of dollars before a single pound of mineral is extracted, Washington --always the arrogant occupier-- imposes conditions on the Afghan government that will burden the country's economy with huge expenditures on roads, power lines and other infrastructural works. At the same time it demands legal, labor and revenue systems to meet the expectations of Western investors.

    A CubaNews translation.

    Edited by Walter Lippmann.

    * Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana. He was Cuba's ambassador to Romania, general director of the Prensa Latina agency; vice president of the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television; founder and national director of the Technological Information System (TIPS) of the United Nations Program for Development in Cuba, and secretary of the Cuban Movement for the Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples.

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