Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Humor: Marine Corps general on the utilitarian imperative

" ... Be Equipped, but...
 
Marine Corps General Reinwald was interviewed on the radio the other day and you'll love his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children.

Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you gotta love this!!!! This is one of the best comeback lines of all time. It is a portion of National Public Radio (NPR) interview between a female broadcaster and US Marine Corps General Reinwald who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military installation.

[Quote]
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

GENERAL REINWALD: We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and shooting.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?

GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerousactivity to be teaching children?

GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see how. We will be teaching them properrifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you're equipping them to become violent killers.

GENERAL REINWALD: Well, Ma'am, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you? The radio went silent and the interview ended.
[Unquote] ... "
 

Musical Innerlube: 'What's this life for?' - Creed

Bremer’s 100 orders: The true scale of Iraq’s rape and destruction

by Whisperwolf ( source )

Bremer's 100 orders destroyed Iraq's economy not just for years but for decades to come. It undid some historical things dating back ten thousand years. I wish that was an exaggeration, but it's not.

Iraq is home to the oldest agricultural traditions in the world. Historical, genetic and archaeological evidence, including radiocarbon dating of carbon-containing materials at the site, show that the Fertile Crescent, including modern Iraq, was the center of domestication for a remarkable array of today's primary agricultural crops and livestock animals. Wheat, barley, rye, lentils, sheep, goats, and pigs were all originally brought under human control around 8000 BCE. Iraq is where wild wheat was once originated and many of its cereal varieties have been exported and adapted worldwide. The beginning of agriculture led inexorably to the development of human civilization.

Since then, the inhabitants of Mesopotamia have used informal seed supply systems to plant crops, suited to their particular environment. The saving and sharing of seeds in Iraq has always been a largely informal matter. Local varieties of grain and legumes have been adapted to local conditions over the millennia. While much has changed in the ensuing millennia, agriculture remains an essential part of Iraq's heritage. Despite extreme aridity, characterized by low rainfalls and soil salinity, Iraq had a world standard agricultural sector producing good quality food for generations.

According to the Rome-based UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), 97 percent of Iraqi farmers in 2002 still used saved seed from their own stocks from last year's harvest, or purchased from local markets.

Source - Global Research

So the scene is set. In 2002 things have been unchanged for centuries. Why break a system that worked? Then Bremer came along with the answer: We'll break a system that works for Iraq, because doing so will generate profit for America.

Bremer wasn't the first choice for the job. In the aftermath of invasion, the Coalition Provisional Authority was originally led by Lt General Jay Garner, who had plans to actually help Iraq by trying to direct the CPA to give control back to Iraqis as soon as possible and hold elections as soon as was practically possible. Alas for Lt General Garner, the Bush administration didn't want this. Lt General Garner was summarily sacked from the role within a month, and Paul Bremer appointed to the job.

Bremer, under orders from the administration and it's corporate masters, began systematically destroying any chance the Iraqis had of putting their country back together, in what has since become known as Bremer's 100 orders. In one hundred orders, Bremer set about the destruction of ten thousand years of working economy in Iraq.

Even now it's extremely difficult for an interested party reading an article like this to get a straightforward list of all 100 orders and what they do, so for the sake of clarity we will focus on a few of the most destructive orders.

Order No. 39 allows for: (1) privatization of Iraq's 200 state-owned enterprises; (2) 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses; (3) 'national treatment' - which means no preferences for local over foreign businesses; (4) unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and (5) 40-year ownership licenses", wrote Antonia Juhasz, a project director at the International Forum on Globalization in San Francisco (LATimes, August 05, 2004).

Now one might argue that quite a number of Western states already do things this way, and that wouldn't be inaccurate. However, Iraq has never done things that way, and neither have any of it's neighbors. The state ran everything prior to 2002. In combination with the crippling sanctions that had been imposed on the Iraqi people by the United Nations when it was accepting as fact the lies the Bush administration was telling about WMD, this meant that suddenly anyone could buy anything in Iraq, but the Iraqi people who SHOULD have been first on the list were broke, and couldn't afford to buy anything. So it was all sold to other countries, on 40 year ownership licenses that prevent this damage from being undone until 2042 at the very soonest. With NO requirement to re-invest in Iraq, no tax to pay and very few limits, this opened up the Iraqi economy to completely unfettered competition from foreign investment. The only block to this Republican Utopia was that the Coalition Provisional Authority granted the licenses, which of course they made sure that they punished the countries unwilling to back them in war, and rewarded those that did back them. Since the "Coalition of the Willing" to all intents and purposes only consisted at that time of the US and the UK this meant that the bulk of these 40 year licenses were granted to US companies. In other words, not only could the Iraqi people see a military occupation, but they could also see their commerce being taken over for the next 40 years by a corporate occupation.

From the same article quoted above:

"Order No. 17 grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq's laws. Even if they, say, kill someone or cause an environmental disaster, the injured party cannot turn to the Iraqi legal system. Rather, the charges must be brought to U.S. courts".

So we not only have foreign companies able to buy all the commerce and 50% of the banks in Iraq, and not being obliged to employ Iraqis to run it, but anyone they DO employ to run it becomes immune from Iraq's laws, owing to being a foreign contractor. And even worse, they can employ their own armed "private security" - which Blackwater USA were immediately offering as a 'service' - which is also immune from any kind of prosecution. This led to the situation we've seen on YouTube where armored vehicles escorting foreign contractors are driving along Iraq's streets smashing any Iraqi car that gets in their way to one side. They don't have to obey the law. It's a two tier society, and they're the upper tier. (and yes, I know that video clip starts with an excerpt from the film "Aliens" but that excerpt just shows the mindset of the drivers). In ANY OTHER COUNTRY, America included, NOBODY would be allowed to just ram vehicles out of the way - yet Bremer has allowed that in Iraq, for the next 40 years, and there's no shortage of Blackwater USA macho Rambo's prepared to do it.

"Orders No. 57 and No. 77 ensure the implementation of the orders by placing U.S.-appointed auditors and inspector generals in every government ministry, with five-year terms and with sweeping authority over contracts, programs, employees and regulations".

There is to be NO change, and these orders reinforce that. There is to be NO going back to having things run by the Iraqis, for the Iraqis. That's not the way corporations want things done. Iraq is to be a safe haven for corporations to do whatever the hell they like, when they like, to who they like. And anyone who gets in their way is a terrorist.

Now we come to the worst order of all. Order 81. Again from Global Research:

Order 81 deals specifically with Plant Variety Protection (PVP) because it is designed to protect the commercial interests of corporate seed companies. Its aim is to force Iraqi farmers to plant so-called "protected" crop varieties 'defined as new, distinct uniform and stable', and most likely genetically modified. This means Iraqi farmers will have one choice; to buy PVP registered seeds. Order 81 opens the way for patenting (ownership) of plant forms, and facilitates the introduction of genetically modified crops or organisms (GMOs) to Iraq. U.S. agricultural biotechnology corporations, such as Monsanto and Syngenta will be the beneficiaries. Iraqi farmers will be forced to buy their seeds from these corporations. GMOs will replace the old tradition of breeding closely related plants, and replace them with organisms composed of DNA from an altogether different species, e.g., bacterium genes into corn. In the long run, there won't be a big enough gene pool for genetic viability.

[ ... ]

Before I close - this shameful state of affairs, although instituted by the Bush administration, was tacitly condoned by the ENTIRE REST OF THE WORLD who have just stood by and let this happen without objection.  They share the blame.  They share the responsibillity.  What has happened to Iraq is not the fault of one nation, but the fault of a failing of nations and nobody should point fingers at other people without accepting some of the blame themselves.  How this blatant illegal occupation has been allowed to rape and destroy a nation is a thing that everyone, everywhere should be disgusted about.

Fact or fiction: Should Bush administration be indicted for war crimes?

 
4. This week, on Chris Matthew's show, in response to Matthews asking the question, "tell me something I don't know," blogger Andrew Sullivan of Atlantic.com said, "this man, these men [Bush and other high level administration officials] will be indicted for war crimes." Though we're not sure they will, this man, these men OUGHT to be tried for war crimes.

Tom Head: FICTION. George W. Bush DESERVES to be indicted for war crimes, but I don't know whether he ought to be. We need to ask ourselves, first, who it is that would be doing the indicting. If it's a future Democratic administration, then it will be seen as a partisan attack writ large and will present no moral victory, even in the event of a conviction. If it's a future Republican administration, then independent counsel--which we do not currently have--would be necessary to ensure that the prosecution has any teeth. If it's an international human rights body, then the precedent set would also necessitate war crimes prosecutions against the heads of state of China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia--but who are we kidding? The United States isn't even a signatory to the International Criminal Court. So I would say, with respect to the brilliant Andrew Sullivan, that George W. Bush will never be indicted for war crimes, and ought not to be indicted for war crimes under the existing war crimes framework--even if he deserves to be.

Robert Zimmer: FACT. Anyone who sat in the White House situation room and consented to war crimes should be tried for them, regardless of their rank, stature, or precedent. In a fine bit of irony, only the breast-averse Attorney General, John Ashcroft, pushed back against the criminal activities and descrecation of the Constitution promulgated by Bush and his top advisors under the rubric of empowering the nation to fight the war on terror. A non-partisan (or bi-partisan) independent counsel panel should be empowered to investigate war crimes and impeachable offenses, and Bush as well as anyone who enabled him should be held accountable. As Ashcroft suggested, history will not view this administration's actions kindly. Ashcroft is too kind—I think history will record the Bush administration as the worst of the 43.
 
1 for 4. Interesting how even in disagreement, the two agree to "string up" Bush and company!

How far is five miles of coffins?

The distance from my house in Antietam to Sharpsburg is almost five miles. I never thought much about that distance until I was recently reading an article on the 4,000th death in Iraq, and someone calculated that those 4,000 coffins laid end to end would stretch some five miles. A peculiar method for measuring our country's dead, I thought.
 
[ ... ]
 
This issue of death is a very personal matter to people. One thing for sure, grieving can be a very difficult part of living.

Drew Gilpin Faust has written a riveting thesis on death in her book "This Republic of Suffering." It is a book that examines every aspect of death, and I mean "every" aspect of death during the Civil War in which some 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died. It seems that this war actually taught us to be concerned about counting our war dead.

Faust provides vivid insight and description of war as soldiers marched into battle, looking and preparing themselves for the "Good Death."

She looks at the soldiers' letters home to loved ones - the horrors of war described first hand by the soldier, those amputations, suffering, pain and the miseries of war.

The many stories of parents, wives, children, and sisters left behind to grieve a lifetime for a loved one. A tale of a father who searched for his son until he found him on the battlefield and actually retrieved the bullet from his son's skeleton which had killed him. The father carried this bullet with him for the rest of his life.

~ source... ~

 

Call for a noborder-Camp in DIKILI close to Izmir, Turkey from August 25 to September 2nd 2008

 
YURTSUZ DÜNYALILARA SINIRDA UMUT KAMPI - Call for a noborder-Camp in DIKILI close to Izmir, Turkey from August 25 to September 2nd 2008.
 

The holiday and skippers' paradise of the Aegean Sea between Greek islands and the Turkish coast has made a name as a passage since the 1980ies. A lot of people escaped the repression of the Turkish military government during the 1980ies using this passage. As an outer border of the EU - sealing off the fortress Europe against unwanted migration, the area turns into a nightmare for people seeking to enter Europe. There are two main-routes for the people coming from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan or from Africa, especially from Somalia and Sudan: the route overland crosses the border between Turkey and Greece or Turkey and Bulgaria, the other one is the sea route, the Aegean coast.

The distance between the coast nearby Izmir and the Greek islands are only a few sea-miles. Especially during the winter months, migrants have been using this route between Turkey and Greece which takes one or two hours. The fisher and holiday villages Kusadas, Seferihisar, Cesme, Karaburun and Dikili are the places to embark on the insecure passage.

The Greek Coast watch executes the order to protect the EU-states' interests of controlled migration of young, skilled, disciplined, but cheap labour. By all ways and means the coast watch tries to prevent any entry and landing at Greek territories: capsizing boats carrying 'wrong load', pulling boats back to the Turkish side of the sea border, exposing people at uninhabitable islands without water, indisposing boats to go on at the open sea, to prevent any return, physical abuse. Even firearms are used.

Unwanted Asylum-seekers are pushed from one side to the other by Greek and Turkish authorities. No side wants to be responsible for them. In towns like Izmir migrant waiting for a chance to leave for Europe have developed communities during the last years. In Greece unwanted Asylum-seekers are kept in custody and deported. In Turkey - in lack of any clear legal provision - they are kept in 'Guesthouses for foreigners' for unclear time and have to wait until they are expelled, too.

Bad weather makes the transfer easier, preventing the landing being recognized by the local coast authorities. On the other hand bad weather means danger for the overloaded boats; some capsized boats are frequently mentioned in the news during wintertime. People often don't know how to swim and are rescued by fishermen or Turkish coast guard. For some of them every aid is too late, local inhabitants often recover dead bodies at the beaches. Official sources talk about 82 dead and 102 missed in 2007, and 20 dead and 53 missed in 2006 in the Aegean district. :: fortresseurope.blogspot.com estimates 410 dead and 402 missed from 1994 up to now. These numbers must be considered as being only the peak of the iceberg.

The non-existence of any legal entry to Europe for Asylum-seekers produces a market of illegal transport facilities, a prospering business at the EU-borders. The closed borders have produced this market and the criminalising the market's actors at the same time. Draconian penalties against - as the border regime calls it - 'people trafficking' increases the prices for transportation on one hand, and makes the market more attractive on the other hand, as well as making a secure arrival at the aimed destination impossible.

Migration from areas which have become impoverished, plundered and unliveable through war and/or through electronic/textile/raw material production and disposals are one way to defy the world order. Our protest's aim is to support the interests of the people who have decided to take this hard and dangerous path.

25th August - 2nd September No-border Camp in Dikili, Izmir
* exchange of experience and practical knowledge of persons concerned with, affected of, interested in migration and activists
* the focus question is, how to prevent more and more deaths at the borders
* to produce public awareness in Turkey and in Europe of the situation of the migrants


We are looking forward for your participation, co-operation and collaboration in work-shops.
For feedback and questions: dikili2008-sinirkampi (at) hotmail.com
Our web-site is in progress.


NO ONE IS ILLEGAL

WE ARE ALL MIGRANTS

'The PEPFAR reauthorization legislation is a sell-out'

 
"We have to ask ourselves if we care more about our UN badges or about taking a stand for the needs and rights of people around the world."

Those words are a paraphrase of those spoken by a committed South African activist who was encouraging civil society at the 2006 U.N. General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) AIDS meeting to risk our badges by protesting the disgustingly weak consensus document reached by member nations. (She was successful in getting us to take action. You can read a blog about that protest here.)

I am reminded of her words as I think about how civil society has responded to the PEPFAR reauthorization bill that has now passed both the House and Senate committees and is headed to the floor of both chambers for a vote. I have been shocked over the last few weeks by the number of organizations and prominent individuals who have responded positively, or even neutrally, to the compromise bill. Some who have been through these processes before eagerly remind the more outraged among us that this is how it works: you simply don't make great leaps forward on these issues.

[ ... ]

When it's time to draw the line in the sand, which side are you on? Are you on the side of a comfortable Washington, D.C. NGO existence that won't push the envelope beyond the agreeable gray area of compromise? Or are you on the side of the billions of people around the world who suffer as a result of (and simultaneously resist) our complacency and tacit complicity in a global system that robs their nations of resources, exploits their labor, prevents access to life-saving medicines and contraceptive supplies, and floods their communities with ideological misinformation about sex and sexuality?

It's time to let go of our delusions about what we continue to permit our world to look like today. It's time that we stand together, knowing that we have let this slide too far, and say in unison: The PEPFAR reauthorization legislation is a sell-out.

You might say I'm overreacting. But give yourself an advocate's reality check. Ask yourself why you do this work - what does it mean for you to be an "advocate"? Then, ask yourself why you are saying that this bill is acceptable (or that it's acceptable for us not to resist it). Maybe you're protecting an organizational position on the issues, Congressional relationships, respectability in the media, or community approval. Or maybe you're protecting your need to believe that the last five years of work to change PEPFAR have paid off.

As the final part of your advocate's reality check, ask yourself what these relationships, this "respectability," approval, or sense of accomplishment are worth if they don't help us challenge the misogynist, racist, nationalist, capitalist, homophobic system that let the AIDS pandemic take hold as it did. Are they worth the lives they cost?

My personal reality check leads me to conclude that it's time to stop deluding ourselves. We need to realize that:

  • An appearance of bi-partisanship is NOT more important than the lives of millions of people separated from us by race, nation, or HIV-status.
  • We will NOT stand by while even the most progressive members of Congress decide to fall into line rather than stand their ground and put up a fight for what's right. We can, and we will, make them accountable for their actions.
  • Money does not solve everything, especially when that money has strings attached, especially when that money ends up lining the pocketbooks of U.S. government contractors and organizations doing the ideological bidding of the Administration, and especially when that money goes to programs that advance U.S. global hegemony.

Japanese Food Maker Starts Buying Genetically Modified Corn

Nihon Shokuhin Kako Co. Ltd., Japan's largest buyer of corn for use in food, is importing genetically modified supplies for the first time this year as high prices deter gene-pure purchases, a company executive said.
The Tokyo-based company plans to process 250,000 metric tons of U.S. GMO corn in 2008, signaling a change in policy on corn procurement, Mikio Shoji, director at Nihon Shokuhin Kako, said in an interview. The company, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp., is the biggest of 11 Japanese corn-starch makers and buys more than 750,000 tons of the grain annually.
Food makers in Japan, the world's largest corn importer, pay a premium for non-modified supplies because of consumer concerns that GMO varieties may not be safe.
 
Corn prices have risen 56 percent in the past year and reached a record $6.16 a bushel in Chicago on April 9.
``We have no choice but to use GMO corn, as the grain is becoming increasingly costly and the price differential between GMO and non-GMO supplies is widening,'' Shoji said April 11.
 
 

US policy has reached 'a point where its global hegemony could be opposed by a multi-polar world'

 
The book by John Quigly puts together the catalogue of America's interventionist adventures and misadventures abroad which has made it hated among the states of the world albeit without lessening its influence.

Exercising the US role of 'master of the situation', President Theodore Roosevelt claimed a right to intervene in any Latin country that defaulted on its public debt. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson sent the Marines to occupy the Dominican Republic, arguing that Germany, which was conducting operations in the Atlantic Ocean, might take it over if the US stayed out. In 1846, the US president asked Congress to declare war on Mexico, telling it that Mexico had invaded US territory and 'shed American blood on American soil'.

In November 1918, when the armistice ending the war was signed with Germany, the allied troops in Russia thought they would be able to go home. But Wilson left them there to fight the Soviet troops. By early 1919, the US had 5,000 troops in the northern Russian theatre. Only in January 1919, six months after the intervention began, Wilson publicly acknowledged that the aim was to overthrow the Bolsheviks.
 
[ ... ]
 
It is this jurisprudence of American foreign policy conduct that compelled its European allies to remove support from America's ultimate invasion of Iraq in 2003. The policy and doctrine of intervention may have finally taken the US in 2008 to a point where its global hegemony could be opposed by a multi-polar world.
 

The Democracy Wars

What is particularly striking about Shavit and what distinguishes him from his colleagues at MR is his worldview - more precisely his take on the Middle East and the West, and on the roots of and solutions to the raging conflict between them. This he spells out in his newly released book - based on his PhD thesis and other writings - The Wars of Democracy; The West and the Arabs from the Fall of Communism to the War in Iraq (published in Hebrew by TAU's Moshe Dayan Center).

- Your book deals with whether the clash of civilizations is inherent or whether it is politically motivated. Is there or is there not a real difference between Arabia and the West?

- There is a difference, but is it inherent? No. Do things have to be in the future as they are now? No.

What I try to show in the book is that the whole concept of "clash of civilizations" was mirrored from Western thought to Arab thought and back again, each time escalating. So, for example, when [Samuel] Huntington wrote [the 1993 article that would become a book in 1996] The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, he quoted only one Arab scholar: [Saudi Sheikh] Safar al-Hawali.

In turn, Hawali draws on the likes of Huntington when he says the West is on the brink of civilizational war against the Arabs. So, Huntington says, "Beware - we have an Islamic civilization that wants to attack us," drawing on Hawali who does the same by drawing on Huntington. And neither, I'm quite sure, read the other in the original.

This whole concept of a civilizational clash became ingrained in Arab thought after the end of the Cold War. It was something that most Western commentators either misinterpreted or completely ignored. The basic idea was that now that the Soviet Union had fallen, and the former opposing Western countries were now friends, the West would now do its utmost to attack the Muslim and Arab world - its last serious opponent. So, while for most Westerners, the liberation of Kuwait during the first Gulf war [in 1991] was a minor local event, for Arab intellectuals it signified an attempt by the West to start the reconquest of the Muslim world. They even cautioned that the whole [precursor to the] war was actually a plot to encourage [Iraqi president] Saddam Hussein to conquer Kuwait, so that the West could install some 300,000 soldiers on Saudi Arabian soil as the first step toward conquering Iraq at a future date, in order to establish Western global hegemony, benefit the little Jewish state, and to gain control over the world's oil reserves.

Hawali in some respects was Osama bin Laden's mentor. And what they both said was: "We must do to the West what the West is doing to us." This view, I believe, is the real root of al-Qaida.

To accomplish this, certain things had to be done, among them purifying the Muslim world of anything not Islamic, and using what they said was a Western technique: utilizing collaborators in the Arab world - regimes and intellectuals supporting Westernization from within. We - they said - must therefore use agents on Western soil to spread our own beliefs. This view was very widespread in Arab intellectual circles. Bin Laden's innovation was to add the word "violently."

~ more... ~

 

Want to Rule the World? Be Male, Go to Yale, Join 'Superclass'

If you want to become as influential as Bill Gates or Stephen Schwarzman, follow these tips:

Be born a male baby boomer, preferably of European stock. Attend an elite college. And don't forget to be rich and lucky.

David Rothkopf offers that facetious yet accurate assessment in ``Superclass,'' a brainy guide to what the subtitle calls ``the global power elite and the world they are making.''

Rothkopf is a Davos diehard. He is fascinated with the people who run governments and corporations, move financial markets, shape opinion through the media and religion, and deploy military forces -- be they NATO soldiers or suicide bombers.

No stranger to the high and mighty, he served as deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade under U.S. President Bill Clinton and later did a stint as a managing director of Kissinger Associates.

The superclass, as defined here, consists of men (and far too few women) who have amassed so much wealth and power that they are driving globalization -- by default, not by conspiracy. This is the cadre of CEOs, bankers, politicians and billionaires whose Gulfstreams flit from one pocket of wealth and power to another --from the Upper East Side of Manhattan to London's South Kensington and on to Dubai.

``Linked together by common interests, a common culture and private aircraft, these islands become a glittering, superpowered archipelago amid oceans of aspirants and of the disenfranchised,'' he writes somewhat breathlessly.

~ read on... ~

Has Kenya joined list of countries contanminated with GM crops?

A Genetically Modified contamination register report by both the Greenpeace International and Green-watch details 39 new cases of GM crop contamination in 23 countries over the past one year.

Most of this contamination involved such stable crops as maize and rice, and included cotton, bananas and papaya.  

According to the report, since 2005 the GM register has recorded 216 contaminated events in 57 countries since GE crops were first grown commercially in large scale in 1996. 

This year's annual report on the register comes against the background of a controversy surround Genetically Engineered seed varieties. 

Kenyan environmentalists and farmers in the country confronted the government and the seed giant Pioneer Company for importing and selling genetically modified maize seed variety from South Africa.  

This followed revelation by the Kenya Biodiversity Coalition (KBioC) that maize seed variety imported and sold to Kenyan farmers by Farmchem, local distributors, was genetically. 

Pioneer's seed maize PHB 30V53 was found to contain MON-810 a GE variety and that it was infused with insect resistant components which were highly harmful not only to the environment but to human being.  

GE has no approval for planting in Kenya and this particular variety is banned in several countries including South Africa.

~ read on... ~

 

French GMO bill passes lower house of parliament - Toughens penalties for deliberately damaging GMO crops

The lower house of the French parliament approved a new law on genetically modified crops on Wednesday after fierce opposition criticism and internal wrangling in the ranks of the centre-right government.

After a vote of 249 in favour of and 228 against the proposed law, intended to bring French legislation into line with European Union directives, the bill will now go to the Senate for a second reading on April 16.

The law is aimed at fixing the conditions under which genetically modified (GMO) crops may be cultivated in France, where many regard them with deep suspicion.

Europe has demanded that member states formulate domestic laws on GMO use since 2001 but France has dragged its feet over an issue that is fiercely disputed by supporters including the main farmers union and environmentalist opponents.

The bill that passed the lower house would toughen penalties for deliberately damaging GMO crops, a favourite tactic of protestors such as veteran environmentalist Jose Bove, setting fines of 75,000-150,000 euros with prison terms of two to three years.

~ source ~

 

The Morgellons, GM Link

 
According to the CDC statement, the etiology of Morgellons is unknown, and the medical community has insufficient information to determine whether persons who identify themselves as having the disease have a common cause for their symptoms. In April, 2006, the CDC recommended an epidemiologic investigation. It was not until January 16, 2008 that the care grant to Kaiser Permanente was announced.

In the meantime, a research team from Oklahoma State University lead by Dr. Randy Wymore, studied some of the fibers sent to them by Morgellons patients. They discovered that fibers from different people looked remarkably similar to each other and yet seemed to match no common environmental fibers.

Ahmed Kilani, a specialist in infectious disease detection, claimed to have broken down two fiber samples and extracted their DNA. He found that they belonged to a fungus.

In an even more provocative finding, Vitaly Citovsky, Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University in New York, discovered that the fibers contained the substance Agrobacterium, a genus of gram-negative bacteria capable of genetically transforming not only plants, but also other eukaryotic species, including human cells.

Anonymous samples were provided to Professor Citovsky by the Morgellons Research Foundation to use in investigating the potential presence of Agrobacterium in biopsies from Morgellons patients. Control reactions included samples provided by healthy donors. Only Morgellons, not healthy subjects, tested positive in these studies.

According to a statement issued by Professor Citovsky, this observation does not imply that Agrobacterium causes Morgellons or that Morgellons is indeed an infectious disease. However, it does encourage future studies to determine (1) statistical significance of data, (2) whether Agrobacterium is not only present extracellularly, but also causes genetic transformation of the infected tissues, and (3) whether infection of laboratory animals with Agrobacterium can recreate symptoms of Morgellons.

Genetically engineered sugar - Soon at an outlet near you

"Franken-sugar" -- or genetically engineered sugar -- will make its way to stores this year, alerts Citizens for Health.

So much for claims made in 2001 by Hershey's, M&M Mars, and American Crystal Sugar that they wouldn't use genetically engineered sugar.

"But now that sugar beets are close to being planted commercially, they have made no such assurances," the citizens group bemoans.

Isn't it bad enough that Americans are over-dosing on regular sugar? Now companies want to get genetically engineered sugar into the marketplace, too?

This is cause for alarm, Citizens for Health warns.

"Unlike traditional breeding, genetic engineering creates new life forms that would never occur in nature, creating new and unpredictable health and environmental risks. Genes from bacteria, viruses, plants, animals - even humans - have already been inserted into common food crops, like corn, soy, and canola, to create `Frankencrops.' Now companies like Monsanto have set their sights on our sugar."

Besides, the consumer organization points out that Monsanto's new Roundup Ready sugar beet was actually "genetically engineered to survive direct application of their own controversial broad-spectrum herbicide, Roundup."

It gets even worse, according to Citizens for Health:

"Studies indicate farmers planting the "Roundup Ready" versions of corn and soy spray large amounts of the herbicide, contaminating both soil and water. Farmers planting GE sugar beets are told they may be able to apply the herbicide up to five times per year. Sugar beets are grown on 1.4 million acres by 12,000 farmers in the U.S. from Oregon to Minnesota.

"Now, at the request of Monsanto, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increased the allowable amount of glyphosate residues on sugar beetroots by an unbelievable 5000%. (Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup). Sugar is extracted from the beet's root, and the result is more glyphosate pesticide in our sugar. This is not good news for those who want to use sugar, or products containing sugar, without the threat of ingesting toxic weed killer."

~ source ~

Danes Investigate Iraq Phone Threats

Denmark's military intelligence agency is investigating whether Iraqi insurgents have used mobile phone records to track down and threaten relatives of Danish soldiers deployed in Iraq, officials said Thursday.

Family members of several soldiers have told Danish media that they received threatening phone calls from unidentified callers in Iraq.

The Iraqi callers may have tracked down the numbers by monitoring private phone calls made by the soldiers to their relatives in Denmark, according to the Danish Defense Intelligence Service.

"Right now, we're mapping the extent (of the threats), after which we will consider whether our guidelines to our staff and their families regarding the use of cell phones and e-mails should be revised," agency spokeswoman Mette Noehr said. "To our knowledge, we're talking about a limited number of cases."

Noehr said the agency was not sure whether insurgents were behind the calls.

"It could also be hoodlums but one thing is sure, we're taking this very seriously," she said.
 
 

9/11 general strike

by chris rice
http://www.opednews.com

If the thought of McCain, Obama, or Clinton being our next president is making you suicidal...
"Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
John Adams, letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814
Every four years we have two options.
1. We can line up like sheep at the voting booth & give our consent to  four more years of corruption, mismanagement, pork & high taxes or
2.  Stay home & complain that our vote doesn't count.
What I am proposing is a third option. Because the rules have changed  & our vote has been hijacked by privilege & special interest.
What I am proposing is that we don't act like sheep on election night &  we don't sit at home & complain. What I propose is that we stand up  like men & say enough is enough!
It would seem that the founding fathers understood the dangers as well as the benefits of a democracy & even left explicit directions:
"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it."
John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
It  is  not  just  our  right  to  abolish  bad  government  it  is  our  DUTY.
So I'm asking my fellow citizens to join me in a GENERAL STRIKE this September 11th 2008 in a series of protest to bring down the two-party hypocrisy.
Like when the Berlin wall came down or Solidarity in Poland removed the Communist without firing a shot: Corrupt governments that have no public support (Congresses approval rating between 10 to 20% depending upon the poll, the presidents around 30%) are easier to remove then we've been led to believe.

www.votestrike.com
I created a website www.votestrike.com for you the voters because whichever party you belong to they have failed you. The website has ambitious goals of how to end the two party system & the third party myth. Modeled after the fall of the Berlin wall, the Polish overthrow of the communist government & the Phillipines removal of Marcos. All accomplished without firing a shot. But we do not rely on the failed tactics of the past instead we use the election system & the very votes & voters this system relies upon. And the site also offers campaign funding sources- who's bought off your candidate? As well as your solutions to education, lobbyist, healthcare, illegal immigration, the war on terror, the war in Iraq, crime, drugs, pedophiles, taxes. And a link page with 1000 links to more on these topics. I'm here to ask you to check it out, it's free. And you can submit content. Thanks for your time, my name is chris.
 
~ source ~
 

Larkin: the apostle of labour solidarity

In Dublin, 61 years ago, March 1947, an immense crowd of people, 200,000 of them, many of the men bare-headed in freakishly Arctic weather, marched behind the coffin of Jim Larkin. Larkin was the founder of the modern Irish labour movement. He is the greatest figure in Irish labour history. James Connolly, Larkin's partner between 1910 and 1914, was far more clever and far better educated, but it was Larkin who touched the workers of the slums with the holy fire of righteous indignation, and ignited them in revolt.

Larkin was a union organiser in Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin and in the USA — where he was jailed in the aftermath of World War One. He was a founder of the US Communist Party and a — none too competent — leader of an Irish communist party in the '20s. A man of contradictions, he was both a practising Catholic and a member of the Executive of the Communist International! He never abandoned revolutionary socialism. Dublin's workers elected him to the Dail in 1944.

The magnificent quality of Larkin and of Larkin's work is best seen in the heroism which the workers he inspired and organised displayed in such abundance during Dublin's Labour War of 1913-14. Let us look at Larkin — and Connolly, and the workers they led — in action. We will see in them what working-class solidarity is and what it can achieve. Larkin's great message of labour solidarity has as much meaning — and urgency — for British workers today as it had in Dublin before the First World War.

In the beginning of 1916, when the British army began to grow desperate for recruits for the imperialist slaughter-house in France, it plastered Dublin with posters conveying the following encouragement: "The trenches in France are healthier than the slums of Dublin"!

The posters were right. Dublin had the highest general death rate of any city in Europe, including Russia. Moscow: 26.3 per 1,000, Calcutta: 27 per 1,000, Dublin: 27.6 per 1,000. The death rate for working class children was 27.7 per 1,000.

~ read on... ~

 

Haitians protest against rising prices

 
Five people have been killed by security forces and another nine have been wounded as Haitians continued protests last week against rising food prices. More than 80 percent of Haitians live on US$2.00 (1.26 euros) a day or less.

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets demanding an end to high prices, corruption, government ineptitude and the presence of foreign troops.

On April 8, protesters attempting to reach the Presidential Palace in Port Au Prince clashed with UN troops. In Port Au Prince, on April 9, police and UN troops were unable to control rioting as people broke into stores and warehouses.

Demonstrators have denounced the government of Rene Preval for destroying the nation's agriculture with liberal free market policies and for standing by while the vast majority of the nation's inhabitants depend on imports from the Dominican Republic.

On Saturday, Preval announced that the government would reduce the price of rice from US$51 to US$43 for a 50-pound bag.

General strike in Burkina Faso

Workers from the public and private sectors throughout Burkina Faso launched a two-day strike April 8 to protest high food costs and demand salary increases. Ouagadougou, the capital, was almost completely shut down. In Bobo-Dioulasso, the second largest city in the west of the country, the central market was closed. Police were out in force in front of banks and government offices.

The unions are pressing the government to increase salaries by 25% in the public sector, and to reduce taxes on fuel and food stuffs. The government has dropped taxes on food imports. But in a joint statement the unions accused the government of "leniency and complicity" with the businessmen. More than 46% of Burkina Faso's 14 million people live below the poverty line. The prime minister (Tertius Zongo) speaking before parliament March 27 dismissed the protests as futile. "The people can march and march but nothing will change." The unions responded in the joint declaration, "We will march, march until the situation does change." (IRIN, April 8)

See our last post on the Sahel and the peak food crisis.

~ source ~

 

Ron Paul slams Federal Reserve as US money printing de-stabilize world

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has slammed the Federal Reserve for printing money to manipulate interest rates and undermining the salaries of workers and savings of older people.

Paper money from pure fiat central banking, backed by nothing other than government debt - a process that was born after the gold standard was lifted by the United States which has led to rampant inflation since then - is a mystery to most ordinary people.

Secretive System

"Few Americans give much thought to the Federal Reserve System or monetary policy in general," Ron Paul wrote in his column this week.

"But even as they strive to earn a living, and hopefully save or invest for the future, Congress and the Federal Reserve Bank are working insidiously against them. Day by day, every dollar you have is being devalued.

"The greatest threat facing America today is not terrorism, or foreign economic competition, or illegal immigration.

"The greatest threat facing America today is the disastrous fiscal policies of our own government, marked by shameless deficit spending and Federal Reserve currency devaluation."

Ron Paul is one of the few politicians of the world who understands the intricacies of fiat money. He is on the House Committee on Financial Services.

[ ... ]

Paul is echoing the words of an earlier generation of elected representatives who tried to stop the Federal Reserve bill being passed into law in 1913.

"The worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking bill," Charles Lindberg said of the proposed Fed bill almost a century ago.

"This is the strangest, most dangerous advantage ever placed in the hands of a special privileged class by any Government that ever existed."

~ read on... ~

"The fate of Bear Stearns was the result of a lack of confidence, not a lack of capital"

 
"Given the exceptional pressures on the global economy and financial system, the damage caused by a default of Bear Stearns could have been severe and extremely difficult to contain," said Bernanke.

Those words should send chills down every spine in America.
I might understand such damage occurring if one of our major commercial banks failed. But an investment bank?
"The fate of Bear Stearns was the result of a lack of confidence, not a lack of capital," continued Christopher Cox, chairman of the SEC, making it abundantly clear the real problem was the lack of confidence in Bear Stearns.
Alan Schwartz, Bear Stearns CEO, echoed the Cox comments by adding that what brought Bear Stearns to its knees was not a lack of capital or liquidity, but a lack of confidence. Schwartz added "unfounded" rumors caused that loss of confidence.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, asserted, "A Bear Stearns bankruptcy could well have touched off a chain reaction at other major financial institutions that would have shaken confidence in the credit markets that already have been battered."
Dimon, while not explaining the degree to which the institutions are connected through the $135 trillion credit and interest-derivative market, knows full well the domino effect a Bear Stearns collapse would have triggered.

Rome's Exorcist Speaks About the Devil

The devil is pleased by the way he is generally represented -- with wings and a tail, horns, as a bat, etc. -- because these images make him seem ridiculous and help people to believe that he does not exist, the exorcist reported.

Medical or spiritual

Father Amorth suggested that diabolic problems be separated from psychiatric ones; and to do so an exorcist is needed in every diocese to help in discernment.

"Normally when a person experiences these conflicts and problems, the first thing he does is see a doctor and psychiatrist," he said. "It is very difficult to distinguish the devil's action from a psychological problem. The person goes to a psychiatrist and after years of therapy obtains no result.

"Then he begins to suspect that the problem is not a natural one and goes to a conjurer from whom he obtains even greater harm. This is what normally happens. At this point, it is possible that someone more experienced in these matters suggests an exorcist."

Our Lady

The exorcist confirmed that Satan's great foe is the Virgin Mary.
 
 

Oxygen levels in River Ganges dip alarmingly

Even though millions have been spent to preserve the sacred River Ganges, the pollution level in the river has reached an alarming level.
The oxygen level in the river water has dripped to alarmingly low levels.

The banks of the river present an ironical picture where on one side religious activities like prayers, recital of hymns and fire-rituals take place and on the other side, heaps of garbage lies unattended to.
 
[ ... ]
 
According to reports, while funds are being allocated for the noble and much required river cleaning projects, the many projects have not seen the implementation stage as yet.
While the pollution data has made the environmentalists pull up their socks, the religious seers in the country have been protesting against the increasing pollution levels for quite some time now.
"The trees are being cut, there is imbalance in the ecology. The glaciers that used to feed the river are melting today. It is an alarming situation. If things don't improve, we are scared that the river might no longer be a perennial one. We hope the water level doesn't drop further and Ganga doesn't dry up," said Swami Swarupa Nand, a seer.
Nearly 88 per cent of the pollution originates in the 27 cities that are located along the river's banks and the banks of its tributaries.
 
 

Bug Man achieves academic recognition

Some people wouldn't give a second thought to squashing them underfoot but entomologist Ruud Kleinpaste predicts a doomsday scenario in a world without bugs.

Known here and internationally as "The Bug Man", Kleinpaste says insects consistently get "bad press" but he can't imagine life without them.

"About 80 per cent of plants are pollinated by insects and imagine if bugs didn't clean up all the crap from cattle, people or whatever.

"Dung removal is a really important job and if you didn't have it, in two months' time you'd be up to your neck in shit."

[ ... ]

Still speaking with a Dutch accent despite migrating here in 1978, Kleinpaste said he never trapped insects in jars as a child nor did he do any experiments involving magnifying glasses and ants. In fact, his foray into the study of insects was "completely by accident".

"I actually wanted to study biology but when I went to university in 1969 we were all given a large frog and a brick and with the brick we had to smash the shit out of the frog," he said.

"That's the way they did things in those days. I studied forestry because you couldn't do those things to trees."

~ more... ~

Duck and Cover: It’s the New Survivalism

"Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food," Mr. Biggs writes. "It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson. Even in America and Europe there could be moments of riot and rebellion when law and order temporarily completely breaks down."

Survivalism, it seems, is not just for survivalists anymore.

Faced with a confluence of diverse threats — a tanking economy, a housing crisis, looming environmental disasters, and a sharp spike in oil prices — people who do not consider themselves extremists are starting to discuss doomsday measures once associated with the social fringes.

They stockpile or grow food in case of a supply breakdown, or buy precious metals in case of economic collapse. Some try to take their houses off the electricity grid, or plan safe houses far away. The point is not to drop out of society, but to be prepared in case the future turns out like something out of "An Inconvenient Truth," if not "Mad Max."

~ more... ~

 

Court affirms religiosity of 12-step program

The court's ruling means that criminal justice officers -- or, arguably, any agents of the state, local, or federal government within the bounds of the Ninth Circuit -- can be sued for damages if they ignore a client's religious or anti-religious objections and coerce the person to attend 12-step meetings or 12-step based treatment programs.

What should prisoners, parolees, and criminal justice officers do in response to this ruling?

(1) Prisoners and parolees who have problems with the religious content of 12-step programs should stand up for their beliefs and make their objections heard, loud, clear, early, and on paper. In this case, Ricky Inouye won in part because he wrote letters and filed suit promptly after he was coerced into 12-step programs. He held to his position consistently, and enlisted legal help as soon as possible. Prisoners and parolees need to make it clear both in words and deeds that they earnestly want to remain clean and sober, that they are willing to participate in alcohol and other drug treatment programs and to attend support groups, but that the religious content in the 12-step programs violates their constitutionally protected beliefs and interferes with their recovery. Prisoners and parolees can match these words with actions by demanding referral to non-religious (secular) treatment options, if they exist, and by taking the initiative to organize secular support groups, such as LifeRing, on their own.

(2) Officials in the criminal justice system (and other government officials with coercive powers over addiction offenders) need to offer their clients a choice between religious and secular treatment programs and support groups. The "choice" between AA/NA or prison offends the constitution, and officers who insist on it need to check their professional liability insurance. Government officials can help themselves as well as their clients by sending the message to treatment programs that the programs must embody a secular track along with the 12-step track, or risk losing referrals. Officials need to inform themselves and their clients about the availability of secular support group alternatives, such as LifeRing. Where clients take the initiative to organize such support groups, officials need to be cooperative and provide a level playing field when it comes to rooms, publicity, literature, referrals, and other resources. In an appropriate case, officials may take the lead in initiating secular support groups themselves.

~ more... ~

 

'The dangers and medical futility of circumcising male newborns'

 
Enter the Jewish Circumcision Resource Center (JCRC), a group so shocked by modern day circumcision you'd think they would have collapsed from some sort of circulatory malfunction by now.

A subdivision of the larger, nondenominational Circumcision Resource Center, the JCRC is one of many online groups currently propagating the dangers and medical futility of circumcising male newborns, and "facilitating [the] healing" process for the estimated 1.2 million Americans still "diminished" every year. At the heart of their argument is the American Academy of Pediatrics dubious policy on circumcision, which states that despite scientific evidence demonstrating potential medical benefits of circumcision, "these data [remain insufficient] to recommend routine neonatal circumcision."

Shedding the borewell dependency

With its capacity of 75,000 litres, Somarpann's roof water harvesting tank at Deralakatte near Mangalore must be one of the biggest in coastal Karnataka. In a farsighted move, Somarpann - the head office of the Christian Education Institution that runs 65 rural schools across the country - had built this tank during the building construction itself two years ago, as a backup. As a result, Somarpann has been able to shed its borewell dependency and is equipped to meet all of its water demands.

With an average rainfall of 3,500 mms, this district gets 1.4 crore litres - highest in the state - on an acre. Yet, there is acute water shortage in some areas. Tanker water has to be provided incurring lot of expenditure. Manjanady Panchayath, just five kilometres away, though a village, has to be supplied with tanker water since February.

~ more... ~

 

Nader supports new independent inquiry into 9-11

 
Ralph Nader, the consumer activist and independent presidential candidate, seems to think that the report of the commission assigned to investigate the events of 9-11 should not be the last word.
 
"There are unanswered questions in the 9-11 investigation, and they should be answered," Nader said at a recent address at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. "How do you go from plausibility to evidence? You have a more independent inquiry."
 
On the morning of September 11, 2001, airliners collided with each of the twin towers of New York City's World Trade Center, after which they and a third nearby office building mysteriously collapsed. Other incidents on the same day at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania were also attributed to aircraft collisions.  All were pitched by the government as the result of a terrorist conspiracy, although it is widely believed that the government may have played a direct role in orchestrating the events.
 
After public cries for an investigation, President George Bush and Congress deputized the 9-11 Commission, which issued its report in 2004. While the report was praised by some, critics contended that it was not much more than a government whitewash.

Why Richard I shared his bed with the king of France

Gillingham's suggestion that this was "an accepted political act, nothing sexual about it" might strain modern credulity - but we should remember that diplomacy has always been intensely personal, if not downright physical. Only this week, Jonathan Powell's account of the Northern Irish peace process has highlighted the significance of Tony Blair's decision to shake hands with Gerry Adams - the press of prime ministerial flesh on republican palm a powerful gesture of political intent.

In centuries past, a wider range of body parts might come into diplomatic play. Medieval rulers, for example, routinely greeted one another with a kiss (the biblically sanctioned "kiss of peace"). Richard's decision to share a mattress with Philip was the ultimate public demonstration of trust in an age when PR had to rely on word-of-mouth rather than the lenses of the international media.

~ more... ~

 

'Oslo's citizens are helping to warm their homes and offices simply by flushing the toilet'

Large blue machines at the end of a 300-metre long tunnel in a hillside in central Oslo use fridge technology to suck heat from the sewer and transfer it to a network of hot water pipes feeding thousands of radiators and taps around the city.

"We believe this is the biggest heating system in the world using raw sewage," Lars-Anders Loervik, managing director of Oslo energy company Viken Fjernvarme which runs the plant, told Reuters. The plant opened this week.

The heat pump, a system of compressors and condensers, cost 90 million Norwegian crowns ($13.95 million) and has an effect of 18 megawatts (MW), enough to heat 9,000 flats or save burning 6,000 tonnes of oil a year.

[ ... ]

In Oslo, a problem is that the flow in the sewers is irregular -- Monday mornings between 4-6 a.m. are especially dry because people go to bed early on Sunday. But at weekends, the flow is good.

"When people have been out to parties there's a lot of beer going into the sewer," said Oyvind Nilsen, the project manager for the Oslo plant.

At the opening ceremony for the plant, Oslo mayor Per Ditlev-Simonsen was given a new toilet seat for his office. "It will be an inspiration," he said.

 

The little village that told the supermarket where to go

It was a sitcom that inspired many a household to live off the land.
 
And although it might not attract the likes of Margo and Jerry to move to the area, an entire village is trying its hand at the Good Life.

In a bid to become less dependent on supermarkets, the residents of Martin are working together to become as self-sufficient as possible.

The Hampshire village is now home to hundreds of real life versions of the characters played by Felicity Kendall and Richard Briers, who lived off the land in the 1970s BBC comedy.

They work on a rota system and raise their own chickens and pigs and grow potatoes, garlic, onions, chillis and green vegetables on eight acres of rented land.

Of the 164 families who live in Martin, 101 have signed up as members of Future Farms for an annual £2 fee, although the produce can be sold to anyone who wants to buy it.

The "community allotment" sells 45 types of vegetables and 100 chickens a week, and is run by a committee which includes a radiologist, a computer programmer and a former probation officer.

~ more... ~

[ via Carolyn Baker ]

 

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