tagged w/ Media blackout
By Glenn Ellis
As I flew in to Buenos Aires to make this film, all the talk was of President Cristina Kirchner’s latest gambit. Her foreign minister had pulled out of a meeting with the British foreign secretary to discuss the Falklands (or the Malvinas depending on your outlook). And for the people I rubbed up against in Argentina’s smart and chic capital, on discovering I was English, this, along with Maradona’s ‘hand of god’ moment, was the topic on everybody’s lips. "We won the war", they would say. "After the fighting we got rid of our dictators but you had another 10 years of Thatcher."
When I explained I was in the country to cover the soya boom, which has given Argentina the fastest growth rate in South America, but also allegedly caused devastating malformations in children, there was a look of disbelief. "Here, in Argentina? Why haven’t we heard about it?"
A good question: why had not anyone heard about it? And when I ventured a little further explaining I also wanted to cover what is best described as a dirty war in the North of the country where campesinos are being driven off their land, and sometimes killed, to make way for soya plantations - the bemusement increased. “That’s historical" people would say, "it’s been going on since the time of the conquistadores." So when I arrived with my crew at Argentina’s second city, Cordoba, 700 kilometres North West of the capital, to meet Alternative Nobel Laureate Professor Raul Montenegro, I was not quite sure what to expect.
Montenegro, a world-renowned biologist, looked the part of a pioneer, in khaki shirt and jungle boots. "I have pesticide in me", he said, almost as soon as he opened the door. "Here we all have pesticide in our bodies because the land is saturated with it. And it is a huge problem. In Argentina biodiversity is diminishing. Even in national parks, because pesticides don’t recognise the limit of the park." Montenegro is a man in a hurry. "You must see for yourself", he said pointing to his Land Rover and taking us a short drive out of Cordoba to a slight rise in the vast plain which surrounds the city. Here, as far as the eye can see, endless acres of soya stretched to the horizon. "More than 18 million hectares are covered by this GMO soya but it’s not solely a matter of soya because over this plant on this huge surface more than 300 million litres of pesticide are used."
More at the link
Some responses removed to keep the thread on topic.
And as far as "blackballing" goes here, perhaps that may not be the word that best fits but nevertheless I and others do see the changes here and the lack of response and caring for these topics/ issues that once had both and it is discouraging to say the least. That is all I will have to say on it here anymore.By Glenn Ellis
As I flew in to Buenos Aires to make this film, all the talk was of... more
One woman's enterprise helps DR Congo's rape survivors find healing and an independent income through farming.
In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, every hour in the day some 48 women are raped. That is around 1,100 rapes a day, leaving many thousands of women and children with broken lives and little hope for their futures.
Desange: 'I wanted to kill myself'
Rachel: 'I feel a lot of emptiness inside me'
Masika: 'It's not the end of the world'
But one woman, herself a rape survivor, is helping to change some of these lives for the better. Masika has set up a place where rape survivors can get support, counselling and, uniquely, start to make a living.
With bits and pieces of money she raises, Masika rents a field where the women sow, tend and harvest crops, giving them an income as well as a sense of purpose and direction after their traumas.
The women, and also their children born of rape, are often hated, abandoned and abused further, but with remarkable compassion Masika takes in yet more abused women and children.
Despite these impossible circumstances, this Field of Hope helps the women find dignity, purpose, economic independence and some power to rebuild their lives.
"We women have something precious that everybody seems to be after," says Masika.
"Here in Congo they go into villages and loot. And after looting, they never leave without raping. That's why I say we've become weapons of war in Congo."
What is happening in the Democratic Republic Of Congo is nothing short of hell on Earth. This woman is a heroine. I was numb after watching this video. Facing a world most of us cannot even comprehend these women find hope in planting seeds and faith in each other. These are the stories of truth and humanity and the evils of this world we need to see. If you don't feel outraged by this you aren't alive.
This is just one story of thousands showing the reality of survival in the DRC and as hopeful as this is we also need to reflect on the US role in foreign policy and aid that precipitates these horrors.
More at the linkOne woman's enterprise helps DR Congo's rape survivors find healing and an... more
Certain people are wondering why the US is so silent on this.The answer seems obvious as this video lays out. I am disgusted with all of this as an American and as a citizen of the world. The Congolese people are the true victims here and where is their help? Well, there will be no help as long as the resources of Africa are really the true reason for the atrocities taking place. Just what are your tax dollars paying for? Do you really want to know?Certain people are wondering why the US is so silent on this.The answer seems obvious... more
WINONA, TX – MONDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2012 7:30 AM – Several protestors with Tar Sands Blockade sealed themselves inside a section of pipe destined for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to stop construction of the dangerous project. Using a blockading technique never implemented before, Matt Almonte and Glen Collins locked themselves between two barrels of concrete weighing over six hundred pounds each. Located twenty-five feet into a pipe segment waiting to be laid in the ground, the outer barrel is barricading the pipe’s opening and neither barrel can be moved without risking serious injury to the blockaders.
The barricaded section of the pipeline passes through a residential neighborhood in Winona, TX. If TransCanada moves ahead with the trenching and burying of this particular section of pipe, it would run less than a hundred feet from neighboring homes. Tar sands pipelines threaten East Texas communities with their highly toxic contents, which pose a greater risk to human health than conventional crude oil. TransCanada’s existing tar sands pipeline, Keystone XL’s predecessor, has an atrocious safety record, leaking twelve times in its first year of operation.
“TransCanada didn’t bother to ask the people of this neighborhood if they wanted to have millions of gallons of poisonous tar sands pumped through their backyards,” said Almonte, one of the protesters now inside the pipeline. “This multinational corporation has bullied landowners and expropriated homes to fatten its bottom line.”
more at the linkWINONA, TX – MONDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2012 7:30 AM – Several protestors with... more
By Riki Ott
All six of Julie Creppel's young children are sick. Vomiting. Blisters all over their bodies, even in their throats. Boils. Severe headaches that wake them up screaming at night. Nausea. Fevers. Diarrhea. Stomach spasms that contort their bodies in pain. Skin lesions. Psoriasis. Nose bleeds that gush unexpectedly. Respiratory infections. Dizziness. Sinus infections. Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. Hair loss. And more.
The Creppels live in Boothville, La., in south Plaquemines Parrish. Area health clinics and hospitals are experiencing an influx of sick children for treatment for a range of symptoms that began after the BP oil disaster. The increase in numbers of sick children coincides with the massive spraying of toxic chemical dispersants into the water and air that began in 2010. More troubling is the fact that the children are still having these symptoms to this day.
The Corexit dispersants used in the Gulf are known human health hazards, causing eye and skin irritation, respiratory problems, harm to liver, kidney, and blood cells, injury and even death to unborn babies, immune suppression, skin disorders, and more.
Not surprisingly, the symptoms Julie's children suffer are epidemic across the Gulf states that were impacted by the BP disaster -- and the secondary disaster, the widespread use of Nalco's Corexit dispersants.
More at the linkBy Riki Ott
All six of Julie Creppel's young children are sick. Vomiting.... more
HOUSTON, TX – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2012 8:00AM –-Longtime Gulf Coast activists Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey Jr. have locked their necks to oil tanker trucks destined for Valero’s Houston Refinery in solidarity with Tar Sands Blockade’s protests of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. Valero Energy Corp. is among the largest investors in TransCanada’s toxic tar sands pipeline that will terminate near the community of Manchester, located in the shadow of Valero’s refinery. Not only are Wilson and Lindsey blockading the Valero refinery, the two lifelong friends have also vowed to begin a sustained hunger strike demanding that Valero divest from Keystone XL and invest that money into the health and well-being of the people of Manchester.
With a 90% Latino population, Manchester’s relationship with the Valero refinery is a textbook case of environmental racism. Residents there have suffered through decades of premature deaths, cancers, asthma and other diseases attributable to the refinery emissions. With little financial support for lawsuits and without the political agency necessary to legislatively reign-in criminal polluters like Valero, the community suffers while Valero posts record profits.
More at the link
Excerpt of two paragraphs from website for Tarsands Blockade.
All applicable copyright rules have been adhered to.HOUSTON, TX – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2012 8:00AM –-Longtime Gulf Coast... more
Twelve people were arrested in east Texas today as they blockaded construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The protesters warn that burning the heavy fossil fuel will emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, warming the planet beyond repair.
Four people locked themselves to heavy machinery used to prepare the route for the pipeline that is planned to carry heavy tarry material called bitumen, diluted with a solvent, from the tar sands of northern Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Blockaders locked themselves to heavy equipment to interfere with construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, November 19, 2012 (Photo courtesy Tar Sands Blockade)
While the trans-border section of the pipeline needs a permit from President Barack Obama, sections of the pipeline within the United States do not.
Those locked to the heavy machinery were joined by several others forming a human chain to block the movement of the machinery, while more than 30 people walked onto the same construction site to halt work early this morning.
Meanwhile, three other protesters put up a new tree blockade at a crossing of the Angelina River, suspending themselves from 50 foot pine trees with life lines anchored to heavy machinery, effectively blocking the entirety of Keystone XL’s path.
Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Organizers of today’s Tar Sands Blockade Day of Action say they are acting in solidarity with local landowners struggling to protect their water and land from pipeline spills.
The Keystone XL pipeline route crosses 16 large rivers in Texas, including the site of today’s tree blockade, the scenic Angelina River. Climbing 50-foot pine trees in forested bottomlands, the tree blockaders arranged their platforms and settled in for a long standoff in protection of fresh drinking and agricultural water.
But within a few hours they were in custody and on their way to jail.
One of the Angelina tree sitters, Lizzy Alvarado, is a cinematography student at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches and a founder of the Nacogdoches Rat Skulls, an all female cycling advocacy organization.
Tar Sands Blockade tree sitter Lizzy Alvarado on a platform near the Angelina River, November 19, 2012 (Photo courtesy Tar Sands Blockade)
“I climbed this tree in honor of all the landowners who have been bullied mercilessly into signing easement contracts and who were then silenced through fear by TransCanada’s threat of endless litigation,” said Alvarado. “That’s not what this country stands for in my mind, and if we don’t take a stand here to secure our rights now, then it will keep happening to everyone.”
“What’s happening isn’t just threatening my community’s drinking water but it will threaten that of all communities along the pipeline’s path,” she said.
Cherokee County sheriffs were caught on tape making multiple threats to cut the support lines of the tree blockaders, which could have been fatal for Alvarado and the other blockaders.
But instead the sheriffs brought in a cherry picker to extract the blockaders. In response, a several dozen ground supporters stood in front of the truck with the cherry picker and pushed up against it in an attempt to stop it. The truck driver refused to stop until the truck hit one of the supporters and almost dragged him underneath the vehicle.
To disperse the blockade supporters, law enforcement officials sprayed people in the face with pepper spray, including Jeanette Singleton, a 75 year old woman with a heart condition.
Eye-witnesses say that Alvarado and another blockader were strip-searched by police after they were arrested. “Lizzy’s flexicuffs were also fastened so tightly that she was brought to tears and begging to have them loosened. When they were finally removed, they left marks on her wrists. Police were also very aggressive about removing Lizzy’s piercings,” said a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson.
All four blockaders locked to the heavy machinery were also arrested after being pepper sprayed and placed in pain compliance positions by Cherokee County sheriffs. Supporters at the ground blockade and at the tree blockade also were arrested.
Those arrested will not be released until after they see a judge in the morning. Their charges are not unknown.
A tar sands blockader is removed from lockdown by Cherokee County sheriffs after he was peppersprayed, November 19, 2012 (Photo courtesy Tar Sands Blockade)
“Tar Sands Blockade stands with all communities affected by the Canadian tar sands,” said Ron Seifert, a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson. “From indigenous nations in Alberta, Canada to the besieged refinery neighborhoods of the American Gulf Coast where the tar sands will be refined, there’s a groundswell of resistance demanding an end to toxic tar sands exploitation.”
While these multi-site actions halted Keystone XL construction this morning, local community members rallied at Lake Nacogdoches to further highlight the threats Keystone XL poses to the community’s watershed and public health.
Environment News Service (http://s.tt/1uaGG)
More at the linkTwelve people were arrested in east Texas today as they blockaded construction of... more
Lee Camp, a rising star comedian who opened for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala at Monday night's NYC Rally to Occupy the CPD, released this video after Stein and Honkala's arrest at Tuesday's presidential debate in Hempstead, NY.
"A Presidential Candidate was arrested last night AT THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE. And as if that's not insane enough, it's not even news?! Is that the kind of country you want to live in?"Lee Camp, a rising star comedian who opened for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala at Monday... more
Farmers talk about the effects of GMO contamination and patents in North America.
Another glaring omission from our corporate politicians in the pockets of multinationals. This pervasive greed and cronyism for profit has now ruined the lives of many farmers in this country. The USDA and FDA through their collusion with Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, Dupont, Cargill, and other big ag companies to patent life and declare war on nature is killing agriculture and our way of life.
No adequate testing, no regulation, no accountability. Superweeds, pests, toxins polluting our waterways, transgenic contamination, decreasing yields all at a time when climate change as well is putting even greater strain on farmers and our planet. A crime of immense proportions has been perpetrated by our own government against us and still they stand with those fighting to even label these organisms in our food by using the "substantial equivalence" myth. Agent Orange in our seeds is not equivalent to natural seeds!
We in the US need to stand with American farmers fighting this toxic takeover of our lives and we can do that. We have the power of the purse and we need to use it as well as our voices and modems. If we let this continue there will be an economic crash in this country to compliment the environmental crash because no other country will take our genetically modified toxic crops. Sustainable agriculture should also be one of the central platforms of any candidate running in this country who cares about our economy, our health, our climate and our biodiversity and we need to support them as well to sweep our government clean of these vipers no matter what side of the aisle they hide on.Farmers talk about the effects of GMO contamination and patents in North America.... more
Paraguay's former president, Fernando Lugo, who was democratically elected in 2008, was forced out of power at the end of June via a swift impeachment process. Almost immediately the unelected government of the new president, Federico Franco, fast-tracked the approval of the planting of Monsanto's GM cotton, without waiting for the preliminary safety studies required by law from Paraguay's environment and health ministries.
Under former President Lugo's administration, Paraguay's National Service for Plants and Seeds Quality and Health (SENAVE) had refused to approve GM cotton, but almost immediately after Lugo was ousted, the president of an agrochemical company was put in charge of SENAVE and he immediately included Monsanto's GM cotton (Bollgard) in the national registry of commercial plant varieties (RNCC).
The former head of SENAVE was Miguel Lovera, who had previously come under attack after his agency destroyed 44 hectares of illegally planted GM corn. Enforcing agricultural and environmental regulations that interfere with the interests of multinational companies and the GM lobby is clearly not on the agenda of the new government.
The strength of Monsanto and the GM lobby in Paraguay comes from the fact that Paraguay has become one of the world's biggest suppliers of GM soy - much of it in the form of animal feed for Europe. Channel 4 in the UK is among those who have reported on how GM soy cultivation has led to violent conflict involving peasants, big landowners and the police, while the pesticides sprayed on the GM soy are causing serious birth defects and other health problems - see item 2.
Some see Paraguay's GM lobby, backed by the likes of Monsanto, as key players in the recent coup.
1.Monsanto, Coup Gov't are Merchants of Death, Says Lugo
Prensa Latina, 19 September 2012
Asuncion - The overthrown Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo said on Wednesday that U.S. multinational Monsanto and the coup d'etat government currently in power in Paraguay are sowing death and destruction.
Lugo took part in the closing ceremony at an agro-ecological fair sponsored by peasant and indigenous organizations as part of the Week of the Seed, which aims at protesting the marketing of transgenic seeds to sow cotton and corn.
During his speech, Lugo emphasized that his administration worked for two years to recover the native seed previously and successfully used, but the June parliamentary coup d'etat put the multinationals, especially that of Monsanto in the driver's seat, to exterminate the native seeds.
Great multinationals like Monsanto have been sowing death in Paraguay's native seed stock since the coup, but we will make our traditional seed blossom again, Lugo assured the crowd.
2.Videos on the devastation caused by GM soy in Paraguay
*Killing Fields: The True Cost of Cheap Meat
*Head of Paraguay's food and agricultural service attacked for destroying illegally planted transgenic corn
*Paraguay: the human cost of GM soy
*Paraguay's Painful Harvest (GMOs)
*Farmers Struggle in Paraguay against GM Soy Cultivation
http://www.gmwatch.org/gm-videosb/26-gm-in-latin-america/12152Paraguay's former president, Fernando Lugo, who was democratically elected in... more
As demonstrators from the Coalition Against Nukes prepare to descend on Washington DC and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the world’s third-largest economy has taken a landmark step toward Solartopia.
A pro-nuclear Japanese government has announced it will phase out all commercial reactors by 2040.
It comes as atomic power continues to plummet and reactors go dark in Germany, France, Quebec, California and elsewhere.
Japan’s announcement has gotten mixed domestic reviews. Powerful industrial leaders say it’s unrealistic. Some reports indicate the government intends to proceed with new reactors already on order. But a burgeoning grassroots No Nukes movement is demanding a faster phase-out of existing reactors and is sure to put up fierce resistance to any new ones being built, whether they’re on the books now or not.
In any event, this latest announcement, coming from an intensely pro-nuclear administration, virtually rules out Japan’s long-standing vision of building a new generation of large commercial reactors. So much for the Japanese edition of the “nuclear renaissance.”
In principle, Japan has joined Germany in moving to end the nuclear age. The world’s fourth-largest economy—the biggest in Europe—Germany has shut 8 of its 19 reactors and will have the rest down by 2022. Like Japan, Germany has been at the core of the global reactor industry, and once harbored plans for many more. Now it has plunged deep into the business of renewables, with heavy emphasis on wind and solar.
All but two of Japan’s fifty-plus reactors remain shut. Its No Nukes movement has soared since Fukushima, with mass marches frequently in the tens of thousands. Despite dire industry predictions, Japan survived a nuke-free summer without major blackouts.
The aggressively pro-nuclear administration of Noda Yoshihiko has met fierce grassroots resistance against forcing open two reactors, and is expected to lose upcoming elections. Its advocacy of a long phase-out was meant to placate both industrial and No Nukes interests, but has angered both.
Japan remains at the center of the global industry. Key heavy components are still manufactured there. But bitter debate about the health impacts of Fukushima has escalated. New reports cast serious doubt on the integrity of safety regulations, and on the wisdom of siting so many reactors near earthquake faults and in coastal areas threatened by tsunamis.
The industry’s decline has been accelerated in France, where the new Socialist Prime Minister Francois Hollande says he’ll shut an embattled reactor at Fessenheim “as soon as possible.” Public opinion polls show substantial support for a shift to renewables.
A new government in Quebec will shut Gentilly II. In California, new reports on the cold San Onofre 2 & 3 indicate deep problems that make a re-start more doubtful than ever. And a whistleblower has warned that flood damage at Nebraska’s Ft. Calhoun reactor may be more serious than previously believed.
Riding the wave of anti-nuclear news is a September 20-22 series of DC events organized by the Coalition Against Nukes. The action starts Thursday with a rally on the Capitol Mall, a Congressional briefing and an evening gathering and concert. Friday opens with a ceremony at the Native American Museum, followed by a demonstration at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Rockville, Maryland, and evening film showings at DC’s Letelier Theater. Saturday concludes with a day-long strategy session. With activists convening from around the US and Japan, the gathering promises to lend the No Nukes movement new focus.
They’ll be dissecting an industry in steep decline. Germany and Japan’s phase-out decisions mean two of the industry’s key players will build no more nukes. The four reactors barely under construction in the US are already plagued with structural and financial problems, and are under intense political fire.
As Germany, Japan, France, Quebec and so many others leap toward Solartopia, the future of wind, solar and a green-powered future looks ever more promising.
By Harvey Wasserman, September 17, 2012. Source: The Free Press
More at the linkAs demonstrators from the Coalition Against Nukes prepare to descend on Washington DC... more
Great interview covering many important points on economy, climate change, healthcare and social justice. What you won't hear in all the other noise and political back and forth. Listening to this you know why the moneyed parties don't want her and others in the debates.Great interview covering many important points on economy, climate change, healthcare... more
Help us break through the media blackout and get this ad in front of millions of Americans!
We hired one of the most famous political advertising firms in the country. We cut the ads. And now we need your support to get on the air.
More at the linkHelp us break through the media blackout and get this ad in front of millions of... more
Warsaw - Around 1,500 beekeepers in Warsaw made a strong point by dumping thousands of dead bees on the steps of the Ministry of Agriculture recently.
On 15 March 2012, a protest was held against genetically modified foods and pesticides, largely responsible for killing bees, butterflies and moths in huge numbers. The loss of these beneficial pollinators is extremely dangerous to the eco-system.
A protest march was held with beekeepers and anti-GMO protesters wearing yellow and black striped jackets and traditional beekeeper costumes. As they marched, the sound of buzzing filled the air and they ran their hive smoke guns as they walked.
The march was organized by the Polish Beekeepers Association together with the Coalition for a GMO Free Poland and the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC). Protesters were targeting Monsanto's MON810, which has apparently produced millions of hectares of pesticide resistant "superweeds" in the U.S.A.
The protesters also called for a complete ban on all genetically engineered crops and pesticides found to be most damaging to the environment (and particularly to bees).
The good news is that later in the day, the Minister of Agriculture, Marek Sawicki announced plans to ban MON810 in Poland.
The Polish Parliament banned GM feed in 2008, which included both the importation and planting of GM crops. However, Food Travels state that "Despite this progressive step, the European Commission has refused to accept regional bans on GMOs, keeping Polish farmers, producers, and activists on the offensive."
Also, says the ICPPC, "None of the nine European Union countries that have already prohibited MON 810 did so by asking the permission of the EU."
They are requesting that Polish residents write to the Minister of Agriculture to demand that he immediately implements a moratorium on GM crops, without awaiting EU approval.
SPECIAL REPORT FROM THE PROTESTERS:
Strong Beekeepers Protest and motion for a ban of the GM maize MON810 in Poland!
A powerful symbolic drama was staged by members of The Coalition for a GMO Free Poland in which thousands of dead bees were laid out on the Ministry steps SEE PHOTOS AND FILMS [at http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/321905 ].
The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Sawicki, never appeared. However he later saw a delegation in his office and, during a public broadcast, announced that he had set in motion a ban of the GM maize MON810...
At first glance this appeared to be a genuine prohibition, however, such is the nature of the modern politician that in the smaller print was the statement that 'this would only be possible with the permission of the European Commission':
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Your help might make all the difference in getting Mr Sawicki to introduce the all important ban of MON 810.
Please do write to him demanding that he does not 'wait for European Commission's approval' but gets on and does the job! This is what the other 9 EU countries have done. Please do it! And do send us a copy of your letter.
The address you need is here:
The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Marek Sawicki
e-mail: email@example.comWarsaw - Around 1,500 beekeepers in Warsaw made a strong point by dumping thousands of... more
Ignacio Chapela will be familiar to readers of Stuffed and Starved. He’s a soil biologist at Berkeley and an outspoken critic of genetically modified crops, a position which has focussed the wrath of the biotechnology industry upon him. Here is a short analysis he penned earlier today on news from Europe that chemical company BASF will be pulling its GMO operations from Europe, where they are unwelcome (because ineffective and dangerous), and moving them to North Carolina.
Will the English-speaking media lose its nerve and write about it? Based on past experience, my wager goes to the habitual policy of silence, and I expect that the news will continue all but unrecorded in English. Most of us will not celebrate as we should.
Other languages do comment and give a little more detail, albeit still briefly. In German, the word is printed clearly: “BASF admits defeat”, while in French: “The number one chemical concern in the world, the German BASF has announced on 16 January 2012 that it gives up the development and marketing of new transgenic products intended for the European Union.”
Clearly put: one of the largest among the few who banked on the GMO route to do agriculture is giving up in its own home turf, defeated by public opposition to its products which evidently do not live up to expectations.
You will find some records in the business websites, mostly deploring the European hostility towards GMOs, the loss of jobs (about 150-170 in Europe, although many are relocated to North Carolina, for an overall loss of about 10 jobs altogether) and repeating again the idea that rejecting GMOs in the environment is tantamount to committing economic suicide and “rejecting the future” as if this was possible.
I say that the future holds very little promise for GMOs altogether, and BASF is only the first to have the capacity to recognize the thirty years of bad investments. They can afford this move, which is not unannounced and forms part of a year-long reconfiguration of the company to navigate tighter economic straits ahead, because they are diversified and have strengths in other fields. Monsanto and Syngenta, for comparative example, have stood in complete dependency of GMOs since their mothership companies shed them off to swim or sink on transgenic markets twelve years ago; Bayer and Dow stand somewhere in between. Where Monsanto’s stock would have floundered if they announced they were closing GMO R & D in St Louis, Missouri, BASF’s stock hardly budged on the equivalent news (it actually ticked upwards in the Frankfurt exchange) – the timing of the news release may well have been a token of deference to BASF’s partner Monsanto, protecting the latter’s stock from the shock on a day when the US stock markets are closed.
The reasons for the failure of BASF’s products in Europe are many and very diverse, but the fundamental truth stands that over the decades no real benefit has offset the proven harm caused by GMOs. It is fine to blame “the European public”, but we know that this public is no better or worse than our own in the US or anywhere else – had there been a GMO equivalent of the iPad, masses would have thronged the streets of Europe clamoring for their use. But it may be just as true that BASF would continue to push GMOs into Europe were it not for the tireless and creative work of many hundreds of thousands, the kinds of numbers needed these days to make a self-evident point which counters accepted official policy. So I say to our European friends: embrace the credit that is hurled at you and loudly celebrate what will not be announced as your victory in the newspapers.
We are left in desolate America, though, land of government by Monsanto, where BASF is relocating its GMO headquarters (some specialty technical BASF outfits remain in Ghent and Berlin). In the North it is impossible to know where the nearest non-GMO plant may be, while in the South and in Mexico the tragedy of GMO soy- and corn-agriculture continues apace, driven by corrupt or willfully ignorant governments and against public opinion much stronger and much more vocal than what we have seen in Europe. Far from recognizing the failure of GMOs altogether, something that should have happened at least a decade ago, BASF identifies the opportunities offered by the brutal realities of the Third World, opportunities which are better capitalized with the centralization, mechanization and property-rights enforcement possible only through GMOs. As we celebrate the lifting of perhaps one third of the pressure upon Europe to give in to GMOs, let’s not forget those places where they will continue to be used as the effective spear-head of corporate biological mining of other lands.Ignacio Chapela will be familiar to readers of Stuffed and Starved. He’s a soil... more
"The presence of Talisman here is causing divisions between those who have accepted the company and those who won't... We are on the verge of genocide."
In Achuar territory in the remote Peruvian Amazon, an already tense situation has taken a turn for the worse over recent months. According to the urgent testimony of two Catholic priests, who have been living in the region for more than 60 years combined, Canadian-based oil company Talisman Energy is fomenting severe divisions between indigenous communities, heightening the risk of imminent bloodshed between neighboring families.
Talisman is drilling exploratory oil wells in Oil Block 64 in a remote area of the Peruvian Amazon near the Ecuador border. The oil block overlaps the territory of the Achuar people, and wells are being drilled in the heart of Achuar ancestral territory, in the middle of critical hunting and fishing grounds in a flooded wetlands ecosystem that drains into Lake Rimachi, the largest lake in the Peruvian Amazon, and the Pastaza River Wetland Complex, a site acknowledged under the Ramsar Convention as one of the most productive aquatic ecosystems in the Amazon rainforest.
Achuar leader Peas Peas Ayui, President of the National Achuar Federation of Peru (FENAP) has just returned from Calgary, Canada where he met with Talisman CEO John Manzoni to demand that the company respect the Achuar people, withdraw from their territory and cease insistent attempts to convince communities to sign agreements. The Achuar previously delivered the same message to Mr. Manzoni in 2008 and 2010, but despite the Achuar people's steadfast opposition to oil drilling, Talisman Energy continues its relentless search for oil, resorting to dangerous industry practices: divided and conquer.
Recent testimony from Padre Diego and Padre Bola highlights signs of oil company bribery, ecological disruption, threats of bloodshed between indigenous communities, and even the first cases of sexually transmitted diseases are part and parcel of a deteriorating situation along the Pastaza and Morona rivers, where Talisman is currently exploring for oil.
The Peruvian government first created Block 64 in 1995 during the Fujimori dictatorship without consultation or consent from the Achuar people who live there. The oil block and Talisman's operations span two river basins: the Pastaza and the Morona. The block directly affects Achuar territory; Shuar-Wampisa and Shapra people downriver on the Morona are also affected.
The Achuar were united and opposed to oil operations since the creation of the oil block and forced successive companies to leave, but since Talisman's arrival in the region in 2004, two new Achuar organizations representing a minority group of eight out of the 50 Achuar communities have broken off and signed agreements with Talisman. The Achuar accuse Talisman of ignoring communities who oppose their operations and creating divisions and conflict through offering high financial incentives to any community or family who signs up with the company.
The testimony from Father Diego underlines the seriousness of this situation, and calls attention to the spread of this conflict downriver in Shuar-Wampisa communities where a peaceful protest in September 2011 almost ended in bloodshed after a group of pro-Talisman Achuar confronted protestors with guns. This was almost an exact repeat of a similar incident in May 2009 when 300-400 Achuar marched in protest to a Talisman well and were confronted by armed pro-Talisman Achuar standing with the company. Talisman is subject to ongoing litigation in Peru over its involvement in provoking this dangerous conflict.
More at the link
Click on double bars to stop video if you wish."The presence of Talisman here is causing divisions between those who have... more
You've heard about the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Berlin, Tel Aviv and elsewhere around the world. But did you know that huge demonstrations have been taking place in Tokyo as well? We certainly didn't until a SOTT forum member sent us the details. The general lack of awareness of the protests in Japan is probably due to the fact that there has been zero coverage of 'Occupy Tokyo' - which has grown out of the country's large (and growing) grassroots anti-nuclear movement - in Japan's mainstream media.
Several large demonstrations have taken place all over Japan in recent months, especially in Tokyo. The general mood is the same as elsewhere: ordinary people in Japan are fed up with their leaders' lies, particularly the lies told by TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, and how the government has handled the Fukushima disaster. Or rather, how it has avoided handling it. This should all be eerily familiar to Americans of course; BP's lies and the US government's enabling role from the moment the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010 has continued to this day, with the tragedy continuing to unfold in deathly silence. What is happening in Japan is almost a carbon copy; denial, smear campaigns, heavy-handed tactics and, of course, total media blackout. Up to one million people may have died as a result of Chernobyl, although we'll never really know the true death toll. Fukushima is many orders of magnitude worse...
People in Japan are very angry. Even though the Fukushima disaster is nowhere near ending (in fact, it is getting worse), Japanese media are simply not covering the fallout of the worst nuclear accident in history. Aftershocks from the Magnitude 9 earthquake which struck off the coast of Japan on March 11th are hardly mentioned in the Japanese media, but the fact is they are still ongoing and people are constantly stressed out by them. The economic aftershock is also beginning to take hold in a big way. The good news, says the SOTT forum member in Japan, is that people are now starting to wake up the fact that the Japanese government, TEPCO, and the media have been lying all this time and that more people are starting to take action to actually deal with the situation rather than wishfully think it will just blow away out into the Pacific Ocean.
Like citizens in other 'democratic' countries, Japanese people have had a crash course this year in learning that their own media is as controlled, if not more so, than those 'less democratic countries' everyone loves to point fingers at. To paraphrase Japanese independent journalist, Mr Uesugi, "In Japan, control of the media is worse than in China and similar to Egypt." An outrageous example of this information blackout was a recent demonstration by over 60,000 people in Tokyo which was never mentioned by the Japanese mainstream news at all. On top of protests focused on the Japanese government's handling of the Fukushima disaster, an 'Occupy Tokyo' movement is gaining momentum as well. Nobody is receiving much information about this either, unless they check out alternative websites. What follows is an overview of some of the events that have taken place in Japan, Tokyo in particular, in the past three months.
Many of the following articles are in Japanese, but we hope to get the important ones translated into English and published on SOTT shortly.
September 2nd: Yoshihiko Noda becomes the new prime minister of Japan and promises to phase out the country's reliance on nuclear power.
September 5th: Typhoon Talas leaves 29 dead and 56 missing as "the worst storm in memory" leaves thousands homeless.
September 10th: The night before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Shinjyuku ward of Tokyo, one of the city's major business and administrative centers, is sealed off, allegedly due to "maintenance". BS! The government was anticipating a mass demonstration which it thwarted by effectively banning anyone from showing up.
September 11th: People gather to form a human chain by holding hands and enclosing the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Tokyo. Also that day, supporters of the Japanese peace and neutrality NGO, 'Article 9 Association', begin pitching tents around the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Among the protesters were four young activists who began a 10 day hunger strike to draw attention to the Japanese government's plans to build more nuclear power stations!
September 19th: 40,000 people attended a 'Get-rid-of-nuclear-power' meeting in Meiji Park, Tokyo. "We cannot help it, so we came"
September 21st: The four activists finish their hunger strike.
September 25th: In New York, Fukushima mothers shouted: "UN has to stop nuclear power"
A delegation of Japanese women from the Fukushima prefecture protested in front of the United Nations building in New York City while Prime Minister Noda attended a UN summit on nuclear safety. As Noda and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shook hands outside the building in front of the press, an organic farmer from Fukushima prefecture, Ms Sachiko Sato, stood in the background and shouted into a megaphone, "You can't even protect the children of Fukushima, how dare you talk about nuclear power safety?" Sato and other volunteers later formed the 'Fukushima 100', a number which has rapidly grown into thousands, organising sit-ins at government offices in Tokyo to demand greater protection for children affected by radiation.
(more @ link, several pictures)
http://www.sott.net/articles/show/237704-Occupy-Tokyo-Mass-demonstrations-go-unreported-by-Japanese-mediaYou've heard about the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, Los Angeles,... more
On 28 September 2011, the scientist at the centre of the global row over glyphosate/Roundup herbicide and birth defects met with representatives of the German government to present his scientific findings that Roundup herbicide and the chemical on which it is based, glyphosate, cause birth defects in laboratory animals.
Prof Andres Carrasco, MD, is head of the Molecular Embryology Laboratory at University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and chief scientist at the National Council for Science and Technology (CONICET), Argentina. Carrasco’s findings gave scientific credibility to reports of people in Argentina who claimed escalating rates of birth defects and cancers after the introduction of genetically modified soy, which is engineered to tolerate being sprayed with huge amounts of glyphosate.
Accompanying Dr Carrasco at the meeting were representatives of the sustainability nonprofit organisation Earth Open Source. The delegation met with representatives from BMELV, BVL, UBA, and BfR. The current approval of glyphosate dates from 2002.
The current approval (in common with all approvals of pesticide and genetically modified crops) is based on studies performed by the very same pesticide companies that stand to profit from an approval of the substance.
Originally glyphosate was due to be reviewed in 2012 but the Commission delayed the review until 2015. Germany has a special responsibility in the Roundup controversy because it is the rapporteur member state for glyphosate, responsible for liaising between the pesticide industry, the EU Commission and the EU member states on the EU approval of glyphosate. Germany will remain as the rapporteur member state for the 2015 review of the substance.
In June 2011, Earth Open Source published a report by a group of international scientists, Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? which examined the original approval documents for glyphosate and found that industry’s own studies from as long ago as the 1980s-1990s (including some commissioned by Monsanto) showed that glyphosate causes birth defects in laboratory animals, specifically rabbits and rats.
Birth defects were found in these industry studies not only at high, maternally toxic doses, but also at lower doses. As the industry studies were supposed to be on pure glyphosate, they show that it is not only the toxic added ingredients in Roundup (called adjuvants or co-formulants) that cause problems, but also glyphosate itself. Earth Open Source disagrees with Germany’s interpretation of these industry studies as laid out in its report to the EU Commission in 1998.
In this report, which formed the basis of the EU Commission’s current approval of glyphosate, Germany incorrectly classified malformations as "rather a developmental variation than a malformation" and dismissed findings of malformations at lower doses.
Earth Open Source believes that as a result of such data being ignored, a potentially unsafe "acceptable daily intake" limit for glyphosate was set by Germany and accepted by the Commission in its 2002 approval. Earth Open Source says that the industry study findings are confirmed by Carrasco’s research, which found birth defects from both Roundup and pure glyphosate.
Carrasco commented that the malformations found in the industry studies were consistent with those found in his own study, as both types of malformations depend on a mechanism called the retinoic acid pathway. Carrasco's findings were not welcomed by some sectors of society in Argentina.
The Argentine government is heavily dependent on the soy economy because it has levied taxes of 35% on soy exports. Earth Open Source believes that the Argentine situation is highly relevant to Europe. Much the soy grown in Argentina is imported into Europe to feed our livestock and it is unclear that these glyphosate-sprayed soy imports are tested for residues.
In addition, there are several applications in the EU approvals pipeline for the cultivation of GM herbicide-tolerant crops, which, if cultivated in Europe, will result in an escalation of glyphosate exposure. Claire Robinson, spokesperson for Earth Open Source, said, "We requested this meeting to bring attention to the inadequacies of the current approvals process for pesticides and other risky substances.
"We asked the German government to conduct a rigorous and transparent review of glyphosate for the 2015 review – taking into account the full range of independent scientific findings as well as the industry studies.
"On the EU level, we are asking the Commission to cease allowing industry to conduct its own studies on risky substances like pesticides, chemicals, genetically modified foods, and food additives. "Instead, industry should pay money into a central fund administered by the EU government and the government should commission independent scientists to do the studies.
The scientists doing the testing could be blinded to the identity of the substance and its manufacturer to ensure impartiality.
"We thank the German government representatives for their willingness to listen to our concerns and hope that together we can move the approvals process in the direction of stronger science and better protection of human health and the environment."
Notes 1. Paganelli, A., Gnazzo, V., Acosta, H., Lopez, S.L., Carrasco, A.E. 2010. Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signalling. Chem. Res. Toxicol., August 9.http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx1001749
2. Antoniou et al. Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? Earth Open Source. June 2011.http://www.earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/17-roundup-and-birth-defects-is-the-public-being-kept-in-the-darkOn 28 September 2011, the scientist at the centre of the global row over... more