Frederick Douglass

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them..." Frederick Douglass

Monday, March 12, 2012

Warren Buffet Odisha Land Grab Update, March 12

Lost track of the situation in the Indian forest of late. What interested me from the start was that the entire enterprise--the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between POSCO and the government, the attempted clearing of the people from the coveted land, the tactics employed--was incontestably illegal. The MoU violated national and regional law, but it went ahead without even so much as a prevaricating lie to justify the project.

Heroically, the people resisted, and persevere.



Dear Shareholders,

We, the villagers of Dhenkia, Nuagaon, and Gobindpur share our concerns and grief with you. Your company POSCO is behaving like a medieval marauder in our villages.

POSCO has influenced the Indian Government, the Odisha Government, and the local police and civilian administration to acquire our lands forcibly and destroy our homes and livelihoods. They have terrorizing our villagers over the last four years.

The local police has slapped false criminal charges against peaceful protestors-men, women and even minor children as young as 12.

Many have been beaten, tortured and jailed.

People can’t live a normal life in our villages; children can’t go to school; patients requiring serious medical attention can’t go to a hospital.

The entire area where POSCO wants to establish a port and steel plant illegally has been garrisoned. Please note that unless the landowners want, under Indian law, lands can’t be forcibly acquired from us. POSCO management knows these Constitutional Rights.

Effectively, your company has declared a war on us. An illegal war in which they are using paid mercenaries to kidnap and torture protesters.

Our struggle will go on. We want to ensure peaceful life and secured livelihoods that our forefathers gave us for our children, and their children.

We are as proud people as you are. We care for our women and children just as you do.

Please don’t support POSCO whose management is behaving like a bunch of criminals. Please withdraw your investments in POSCO.

Thank you.

The people of the villages of Dhenkia, Nuagaon, Gobindpur

Abhay Sahu [From jail]
Narayan Reddy [From Jail]
Prashant Paikray
Shirish Mahapatra

Meanwhile POSCO signs more MoU.

Korean steel producer, POSCO (NYSE:PKX - News) of late has been involved in signing memorandums of understanding with a Chinese carmaker and an African miner with a clear goal of expanding its operations.

The first understanding was reached with Great Wall motor company, which is considered to be China’s third largest automaker in the year 2011, producing upto 0.48 million cars. The company, progressing rapidly with a growth rate of 28% in 2011, aims to produce a million units by the year 2015.

Look out Africa, China.

So far the native resistance hasn't hurt Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway too much.

Warren Buffett bought into POSCO, the largest steel marker in Korea, in 2006. Berkshire paid $768 million for about 4 million shares. The share reduction of POSCO has increased the position Berkshire owns to 5.1% of the company. Regarding POSCO, Buffett said, "It's a great company. And great companies get worth more and more all the time." Indeed, Buffett is sitting on 122% of profit with this investment.

In October of 2007, right at the recent peak of the stock market, Buffett visited Korea and said that the Korean market was modestly cheaper than most markets around the world. He said, “…but I am just looking at price earnings ratios, and you have a flourishing economy here with 50 plus million people that seem to be working very hard. So, ah, I would think that the Korean market would do as well over the next 10 years ... not 10 weeks, 10 months ... but 10 years, as most markets, and perhaps a little better.”

More than three years have passed since he spoke, and the Korean stock market experienced an even worse crash than its U.S. counterpart, losing 70% at its bottom. It has since recovered more dramatically and had similar performance to the U.S. market for the three and half years.

Berkshire is sitting on a 69% profit as of Dec. 31, 2011.

Still it's not enough I guess, Buff' just has to have these people's land because there is never enough profit to suit billionaires like Warren.