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Top British educational advisor insists achievement is genetically determined

By Jo March31 October 2013 In an effort to justify the destruction of any vestiges of a comprehensive education system in the UK, a...

RINF VIDEO: How The British Government Destroys Children’s Education

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British Lord joins political onslaught against RT’s ads with Twitter rant — RT UK

Published time: 18 Oct, 2017 14:02 Another British politician, this time the improbably named Lord...

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Published time: 27 Sep, 2017 10:12 Edited time: 27 Sep, 2017 11:00 An Islamic fighter...

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British Army must stop recruiting child soldiers, veteran tells RT

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Exclusive: Teacher speaks to RT about her viral ‘rant’ against Tory education cuts

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Immigrant pupils do well at school because their parents are more ambitious for them than...

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Thousands of students, teachers and university staff took to the streets of the British capital...

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Would you have sex on film for £400? One British university would like to...

A British university is offering to pay young couples £400 to be filmed having sex...

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson refers to Africa as ‘that country’ (VIDEO)

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Funding for Malawi charity stopped amid claims British govt cash was paid to ‘cult’

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Male refugees starting a new life in the UK should be taught about women’s equality...

Brexit already a catastrophe for British scientists, survey finds

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Rise in transgender children puts British primary schools under pressure

UK primary schools are attempting to enforce “trans-inclusive environments and curricula” as the number of...

Sex education ‘unfit’ for Britain’s ‘smartphone generation’

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What if it happened here? Hard-hitting video casts British child as fleeing refugee (VIDEO)

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Gender segregation in Muslim schools ‘undermining British values’ – chief inspector

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British Conservative Breaks Ranks, Opposes TTIP

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org It’s as if, say, during the Republican Administration of U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, the person who had...

Children ‘systematically criminalized’ in British care homes over minor incidents

Boys and girls living in care homes face a greater risk of criminalization than other...

Stressed, drunk & feeling fat: British teens suffer poor life satisfaction – WHO

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Genetic weapons, human swarms & angry youth pose future threats to British security –...

(RT) - Swarm attacks, angry global youth and genetic weapons are among the futuristic threats...

UK students to hold fresh protests against education reforms

British students are planning more protest rallies against the government’s planned reforms in the higher education. According to a report by the Guardian, the student...

British authorities plan to release prisoners who study behind bars

Prisoners who study hard whilst imprisoned could be eligible for early release under new plans by justice secretary, Michael Gove. In what is being described...

British govt. scraps target for child poverty eradication ahead of tax credits cut

The British government has announced plan to scrap measures aimed at eradicating 2020 child poverty target before the cut in tax credits. The official measure has...

Cyber-attack leaves millions of British students without access to online resources

Millions of staff and students at over 150 centers of further education were left without access to their online resources following a cyber-attack on...

British Health Workers Urged To Take Strike Action

Annette Mackin Britain’s biggest health union today named Monday 13 October as the day for England’s first NHS strike over pay in 32 years. Unison health...

Scottish Independence: British Establishment In Full Throttle Panic Mode

Deirdre Fulton With less than 48 hours before historic vote, pro-independence leader calls promise of extra powers a "last minute desperate offer of nothing" With less...

British university system faces collapse

Joe Mount Half of Britain’s 150 universities must close down if the system is to remain viable, according to a senior academic. Sir Roderick Floud has...

British public sector workers strike over ‘poverty pay’

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Austerity forces British children into record levels of poverty

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Education Secretary Removes Classic Literature From Schools

RINF Alternative News In what is looking increasingly like a long running campaign of destruction against children's learning, controversial Education Secretary Michael Gove has caused further outrage...

British government cuts funding for poorest university students

Ben Trent  RINF Alternative News Last week, the Conservative/Liberal-Democrat coalition government sent the annual letter to the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) demanding cuts...

The UK education curriculum and propaganda

Lenin Nightingale  RINF Alternative News I began to jot down thoughts on the rapid infiltration of the UK's education system by those espousing right wing dogma,...

British government attempts to stamp out student protests

Zach Reed  RINF Alternative News A wave of student protests has been met with vicious state attacks. The protests are in defence of university staff threatened with...

Surveys of British youth find growing anger and despair

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Conservatives Plan 2014 Assault on Education, Healthcare, Workers’ Comp and Environment

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams: According to internal documents obtained by the British newspaper and published online Thursday, the Guardian reports that more than...

Israel – Just Another Hapless British Colony

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Administrators demand additional fee hikes in British universities

By Joe Mount7 November 2013 Calls are being made for tuition fee hikes at British universities, as part of the drive towards a privatised...

David Petraeus as Equity Firm Education Ambassador

Petraeus. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)In April, David Petraeus, a former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and leader of coalition forces during the...

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Piers Morgan Gets an Education

Kurt NimmoInfowars.comMay 18, 2013 Photo: Nan Palmero. It took the IRS scandal for British anti-Second...

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1.5m British kids need food, care daily

A new research into child neglect has found that up to 1.5 million children across Britain go without food, care and education every day, local media reported.

The research commissioned by YouGov and the University of Sterling asked some 40 percent of teachers, police officers and social workers in 27 Local Authorities around the country about child poverty, to which they answered they regularly came into contact with deprived children, but felt powerless to help, the daily The Independent said in a report.

The government, itself, defines “neglect”, as a “persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological need”.

According to findings, neglect is “now a factor in 60 percent of infant deaths or serious injuries”.

The shadow Children’s minister, Lisa Nandy, described the probe, part of an ongoing project by Action for Children, as shedding light on a constant failure to protect vulnerable families.

“It’s a really shocking statistic, but it’s not a surprise given that there’s been a sharp increase in the stress on families, combined with cuts to local authorities,” she said.

“With all the focus being on free schools and academies, it leaves very little room for child protection. The Department for Education’s priorities are absolutely in the wrong order and a report like this should act as a wake-up call to ministers. They are creating a perfect storm; the situation for the most vulnerable children looks really bleak”, Nandy added.

Some 6,000 front-line workers and parents were polled between June and October last year as part of The State of Child Neglect report.

Dame Clare Tickell, CEO of Action for Children, said of the findings: “Vulnerable children are falling through the cracks of a protection system that is failing some of those who need it most - sometimes with tragic consequences.”

MOL/HE

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British ‘brain drain’: Young talent quits UK for warmer economic climes

Unemployed young people stand in line outside a job centre in central London. (AFP Photo / Leon Neal)

Unemployed young people stand in line outside a job centre in central London. (AFP Photo / Leon Neal)

Millions of people have emigrated from the UK over the last 10 years, most of whom seek to find a job in a more favorable economic climate. Graduate immigration is on the up as well in what’s been dubbed as the ‘talent drain’ by the British press.

According to statistics accumulated by the Office of National Statistics in the UK, over 3.5 million people have fled the country in the last decade.

The number has increased sharply over the past decade, going from 363,000 a year to a peak of 427,000 in 2008. However, during the past four years statistics have plateaued again, averaging off at 350,000 a year.

The principle motivation for leaving the UK is the search for a job, with 89 per cent of long-term immigrants being of working age, says the UK Home Office.

“Over the last 10 years, more than a third of British, EU and non-EU citizens who emigrated left to take up definite jobs but a much smaller proportion [18 per cent] of British citizens compared to the other two groups [34 per cent of EU citizens and 42 per cent of non-EU citizens) left to look for work,
” wrote the Home Office report published at the end of 2012.

Australia has traditionally been the most coveted destination for British nationals of working age over the past two decades, with the US following closely behind. Emigrants of retirement age tend to prefer destinations within the EU, such as France and Spain.

Those British citizens who chose to leave are more often than not highly-educated professionals seeking to work for pharmaceutical, aerospace, engineering and creative companies that are based abroad.

Conservative MP Nick de Bois told the Daily Telegraph that the growing rates of emigration were indicative of a talent drain that is dealing “enormous damage” to the UK economy.

In addition, last year a record amount of graduates quit the UK in search of employment in more favorable job climates.

Government statistics showed that in 2011, an average of one in 10 students looked for jobs abroad after graduating. The UK’s most successful higher education institutions were looked at in the report, including Cambridge, Durham, Exeter and Oxford.

Concerns have been voiced in British society that the departure of newly-graduated young professionals may leave a skill vacuum that will cause significant problems for the UK economy in the future.

Director of The Emigration Group, Paul Arthur, told the Yorkshire Post “there has never been a better time to emigrate.”

“The UK is continuing to experience a ‘brain drain’, with many Brits in professional or managerial positions emigrating to pursue careers abroad.”

British expat John Lucas, who moved to Australia three years ago, told the English publication “he had no plans to return to England.”

“With the 2008 global recession, the UK market was slow. But in Australia the market is still booming and there remains a great deal of opportunity for a construction business,” the 32-year-old said.

At present unemployment in the UK stands at almost 8 per cent, and the government is introducing sweeping economic cuts with a view to curtailing national deficit. Graduates have suffered the most in the economic crisis with unemployment at 9 per cent, and over 8 per cent still jobless six months after graduation.

British armed forces at risk of cyber attack

The UK’s military and economic and industrial assets are at risk of being “fatally compromised” by cyber attack because the government has not fully grasped “the opportunities and vulnerabilities that” the cyber world presents, say MPs.

­The potential vulnerability of vital UK assets must be urgently addressed, a report compiled by the Commons Defense Select Committee, released Wednesday says.

Some recent examples of high profile cyber attacks on British interests include the leaking of thousands of email addresses and encrypted passwords, including 221 military officials, 242 NATO staff, and staff from the Joint Intelligence Organization, as well as the loss of 800 million pounds (US$1.28 billion) in revenue by a British company following cyber attacks by a foreign state.

The MPs also highlighted worrying gaps in strategy saying it was unclear exactly who would be in charge if the UK came under sustained cyber attack.

They also expressed alarm that the MoD and the British military were now totally reliant on cyber systems for communication and that the technology upon which they rely has no proven back-up.

“The evidence we received leaves us concerned that with the armed forces now so dependent on information and communications technology, should such systems suffer a sustained cyber attack, their ability to operate could be fatally compromised,” the committee warned.

An unmanned official told the Independent in December last year that the Ministry of Defense (MoD) was under almost daily attack.

The MPs delivered a scathing attack on the government’s cyber-crime strategy, concluding, “The government needs to put in place –as it has not yet done – mechanisms, people, education, skills, thinking and policies.”

While they said the MoD had done a lot to secure its own systems, they expressed concern that other companies and organizations which work with the military on a daily basis, such as the firms that overhaul fighter jets, were often vulnerable to cyber-attack and this gave a “backdoor” route into the MoD.

Witnesses that the MPs talked to seemed to give “the impression that they believed an admission of the problem took them close to resolving the problem, it does not,” the report stated.

“It is not enough for the armed forces to do their best to prevent an attack…the government should set out details of the contingency plans it has in place should such an attack occur. If it has none, it should say so – and urgently create some,” the MPs said in a withering critique of the status quo.

Culprits hard to prove

Professor Paul Cornish, a professor in international security at the university of Bath and a contributor to the report, believes the nature of the cyber threat has, “blurred between military and civilian, and between the physical and the virtual; power can be exerted by states or non-state actors, or by proxy. Cyberspace has made it possible for non-state actors, commercial organizations and even individuals to acquire the means and motivation for warlike activity.”

The UK government has refused to publicly blame the countries it considers to be most likely responsible for carrying out cyber attacks, but MP’s drew on evidence given by the Security Community and GCHQ.

They said that, “The greatest threat of electronic attack continues to be posed by state actors and of those, Russia and China, are [suspected of carrying out] the majority of attacks. Their targets are in government as well as in industry.”

Although the report notes that the main purpose of these attacks is espionage and the acquisition of information, rather than to disrupt activities.

Aleksandr Gostev, chief virus analyst at Kaspersky Labs, told RT that such practices are commonplace amongst the major global powers, although all the evidence points to China as the most active player in this field.

“There are two main types of Chinese hackers, freelance teams who sell their information to anyone including the government, and specifically-assembled government operations, who have a specific task and target,” said Gostev.

He explained that as well as stealing technology one of the main targets of these cyber attacks is “ ‘mapping’ – finding weak spots in an existing security network, so that a serious attack can be carried out at a  later time.”

The UK’s Cyber Security Strategy admits that the nature of the “borderless and anonymous nature of the internet, [makes] precise attribution difficult and the distinction between adversaries is increasingly blurred.”

But Jim Murphy, the shadow defense secretary, warned the report was worrying.

“Policy progress is falling behind the pace of the threat the armed forces face. Vulnerabilities must be tackled urgently and minsters must respond in detail to the demands in this report,” he told The Guardian.

Taxpayer cash funneled into cyber wars

The government, however, insists it is not being complacent.

“The MoD takes the protection of our systems extremely seriously and has a range of contingency plans to defend against increasingly sophisticated attacks,” Andrew Murrison, the minister for international security strategy at the MoD, told The Guardian.

As a result of the strategic defense and security review (SDSR) the coalition made cyber security a priority, setting aside 650 million pounds ($1.04 billion) to bolster the UK’s defenses, support online safety campaigns and boost investment at GCHQ, the government’s electronic eavesdropping center.

The MPs’ report draws on observations of former US Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn, who wrote that in cyberspace it is always the offense that has the upper hand.

“The internet was designed to be collaborative and rapidly expandable and to have low barriers to technological innovation; security and identity management were lower [priority] policies.”

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UK Elections: Business As Usual Triumphs

UK Elections: Business as Usual Triumphs

by Stephen Lendman

May 7 general elections approach. Britain is like America. It's all over before polls open. Monied interests win every time.

Ordinary people lose out more than ever in modern memory. It shows in opinion polls. 

Only 16% of voters trust politicians. Why anyone besides well-off Brits do they'll have to explain.  

It doesn't matter who wins on Thursday. Torries and New Labour are even in polls. They're like Republicans and Democrats in America - two sides of the same coin, not a dime's worth of difference between them.

Neither major party is expected to win a majority. Expect coalition government with smaller parties to follow. They largely support the same regressive policies.

All politicians lie. Nothing they say can be believed. New Labour leader Ed Miliband maintained the standard saying Britain's "clear choice on Thursday (is) between a Labour government that will put working people first or a Tory government that will only ever work for the privileged few."

Britain's "clear choice" is none at all. Monied interests run things. Bankers top the pecking order.

Politicians come and go. One major party or the other wins. Things stay the same.

Neoliberal harshness, financialization, weak unions, offshoring manufacturing, privatizing state enterprises, deregulation, and disappearing social justice characterize Britain's economy.

London's Guardian warned of a "hit list of (more) welfare cuts" coming.

Voltaire once explained British society saying its people "are like their own beer; froth on top, dregs at bottom, the middle excellent."

Today's froth never had it better. Poor Brits are enduring their hardest times since post-WW II recovery.

Middle class society is fast disappearing - like in America. Britain's weekly Spectator magazine says it's "shrinking and sinking."

"The lifestyle that the average earner had half a century ago -  reasonably sized house, dependable healthcare, a decent education for the children and a reliable pension - is becoming the preserve of the rich." 

"Middle-class pensioners look on amazed at how their children, now into adulthood, seem to have a far harder time."

Rich elites run things more than ever. They doubled their wealth since 2009. The average worker earns less when adjusted for inflation and wage cuts.

Former Bank of England governor Mervyn King said middle class society is enduring the longest squeeze in living memory. Rich folks never had it better.

London is unaffordable to live in. House prices average over $750,000. The average wage is less than $50,000.

In January, thousands participated in a March for Homes rally. They demanded solutions to unaffordable housing prices - worsening as they escalate.

They carried banners saying "People before profit." Build council homes (reasonably priced ones for working class people)." "Take the wealth of the 1%."

Rents surged an average 13% annually since 2010. So have repossessions and evictions. Britain increasingly is unfit to live in - just like America.

New Labour claiming "Britain can be better" rings hollow for millions enduring increasing hardships.

They're "all the same," growing numbers of voters say about a system increasingly ignoring their needs.

They promise one thing. They do another. Serving monied interests and allying with Washington's war machine matter most.

Respect Party Bradford West MP George Galloway is running for reelection. He calls himself "your traditional, much-loved black cab."

"You don't know what you've got until it's gone. There are not a lot of us black cabs around any more."

His constituency is one of Britain's poorest. It's struggling to reinvent itself. Despite his best  best efforts, he's up against a corrupted, uncaring system.

He's one of 650 House of Commons members. "Recovery, what recovery," he asks?

"We keep hearing that the economic recovery is better in Britain than in any other European country."

"Well it may be in London and the Home Counties, but it certainly isn't here" and most other places in Britain.

Millions are suffering. Food banks are proliferating, Galloway explained. "Can you imagine what the country will look like by 2020 if these barbarians are returned" to power, he stressed.

"We need investment in jobs and infrastructure…But it won't come under the Tories or this miserable local Labour administration." Or New Labour if it bests the Torries nationwide.

Social justice is fast disappearing. Force-fed austerity is official UK policy. 

So is growing wealth inequality. It's risen four times faster since 2008 compared to the seven preceding years.

It bears repeating. Britain is like America - governed of, by and for its privileged elites alone.

It's corrupt, fundamentally unfair and ruthlessly anti-democratic. Young people have no futures.

An entire generation is lost. Social welfare cuts hits Britain's most disadvantaged hardest.

Inequality is booming. Politicians able to make a difference don't care. Increasing amounts of public wealth in private hands is a slippery slope to third world status.

Margaret Thatcher escalated inequality. She oversaw one of the greatest ever transfers of wealth to British society's most well-off.

David Cameron is worse. New Labour's Ed Miliband is no better. Robbing poor Peter to pay rich Paul is official bipartisan policy.

It's endorsed by Liberal Democrats, Britain's third ranked party. It's neither liberal nor democratic. It's hard right like the rest.

On Thursday, voting options are death by hanging or firing squad. Ballot choices exclude government serving everyone equitably.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 
Microphone surrounded by crowd at Trafalgar Square.

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Countering The Lies Of The Mainstream Media

 The site you are reading this article on is part of the ‘alternative’ or ‘independent’ media. Many of these sites do not take advertising...

Countering The Lies Of The Mainstream Media

Global Research, The 4th Media, RINF, Countercurrents

The site you are reading this article on is part of the ‘alternative’ or ‘independent’ media. Many of these sites do not take advertising and are run on the basis of donations from readers. Many of the authors whose articles appear on these sites write for no or little financial remuneration. 

Contrast this situation with the so-called ‘mainstream’ print and TV media.

The corporate mainstream media with its well-paid journalists and increasing concentration of ownership bows to the concerns of advertisers. It tends to be privately owned and its owners have a vested interest in maintaining an economic system based on private ownership and in manufacturing consent for it. Moreover, such outlets these days are increasingly part of major conglomerates, which may include armaments manufacturers, banking or industrial concerns, and will not therefore adopt stances or report on stories that are harmful to the interests of the wider organisation.

The public is thus given access to a world view that is distorted in favour of state-corporate interests. Such interests have succeeded in getting across the message that, for example, the ‘free market’ is the best way to deliver goods and services to people, state provided welfare is bad and ‘individual responsibility’ is good, ‘austerity’ is necessary, privatisation increases efficiency, an endless ‘war on terror’ must be waged on designated enemies, well-being is measured in terms of a never-ending quest for GDP growth, the US and NATO are the 'world's policemen', giant agribusiness must displace peasant farmers to secure food security and gross inequalities and unregulated corporate power are both necessary and legitimate.

Over the past 15 years, numerous 'alternative' news websites have sprung up that challenge these assumptions and the belief that ordinary citizens should be passive consumers of a predetermined news agenda. There are now dozens of popular news sites that inform people of issues the mainstream media has deliberately failed to tell people the truth about. There are also many more sites with global reach that exist to scrutinise specific sectors, hold practices to account and counter corporate propaganda (for example, GMWatchCorporate Europe ObservatoryFood & Water WatchCampaign Against the Arms Trade, etc.).

The existence of ‘alternative’ independent sites has led the European Union to express concerns about the ‘damaging’ effects of people having access to these sources of information. The EU argues that societal consensus is being eroded as people are being ‘led astray’ by dissenting voices on the internet. In the report ‘A free and pluralistic media to sustain European democracy’, the EU feels there is a danger that people are being misguidedly radicalised. It advocates EU funding for ‘responsible’ journalism, getting the EU’s viewpoint across regularly and prominently in the media and placing controls on the net. The EU perceives this to be ‘pluralism’.

What is ‘responsible journalism’?

An article by Annie Day indicates that as a result of its destabilisations, coups, mass bombings and death squads, the US military and the CIA have been responsible for a figure of an estimated ten million deaths since 1945. Yet the corporate media never describes any of this as constituting a form of mass terror. Through the cynical hijacking of the concept of ‘terror’, the US now attempts to justify its ongoing tyranny through a ‘war on terror’, which goes unquestioned on a daily basis by the mainstream media.

Ukraine is the latest example of a US-backed terror campaign, which the corporate media has consistently failed to question. As the world edges ever closer to nuclear war, the mainstream media merely parrots the official lie coming from Washington that the situation is all due to ‘Russian aggression’.

You can also add to that ten million, countless others whose lives have been sacrificed on the altar of corporate profit, which did not rely on the military to bomb peoples and countries into submission but on the IMF, World Bank and WTO. It begs the question how many lives have been cut short across the world because of the inherent structural violence or silent killing of the everyday functioning of predatory capitalism? 

The appropriation of wealth through a system that funnels it from bottom to top via a process of accumulation by dispossession is celebrated by the corporate media as growthprosperity, and freedom of choice, despite evidence that, from Greece to Spain and beyond, the reality for the majority has been falling wages, increasing poverty, the stripping away of choice and misery.

So where is the ‘responsible journalism’ that the EU calls for?

Does it lie with those journalists in the corporate media whose claim to respectability is their rigid professionalism, their accountability, their objectivity?

If you can call professionalism, accountability and objectivity being in the pay of and not wishing to offend advertising interests, officialdom and powerful corporate interests then they are paragons of absolute responsibility.

Peddling their high salaried deceptions, they have failed and continue to fail the public and genuinely hold power to account. By shining their ‘investigative’ light on ‘parliamentary procedures’, personalities, the rubber stamping of policies and the inane machinations of party politics, they merely serve to maintain and perpetuate the status quo and keep the public in the dark as to the unaccountable self-serving nature of power broking and the unity ofinterests that enable Big Oil, Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big Agra and the rest of them via their secretive think tanks and policy initiatives to keep bleeding us all dry. 

But that’s the role of the media: to help reinforce and reproduce the material conditions of a divisive social system on a daily basis. It’s called having a compliant, toothless media. It’s what the corporate media itself calls part of ‘liberal democracy’
And in this type of 'liberal democracy', it is people like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange who expose the wrongdoings of the political-corporate elites that are hounded. 

It was George Orwell who said that journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed and everything else is public relations. Orwell was correct. Former CIA boss General Petraeus stated in 2006 that his strategy was to wage a war of perceptions conducted continuously through the news media, while John Pilger observes that the role of respectable journalism in western state crimes - from Iraq to Iran, Afghanistan to Libya - remains taboo. Its role has been to serve as first-choice cheerleader for illegal wars.

Intelligence agencies secure media compliance

There are of course some good journalists working in the corporate mainstream media. But if you think this article mounts to little more than a one-sided attack on the ‘mainstream’ media, you may need to think again.

Many readers will be aware of a recent story about the former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, who claimed that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. 

This revelation came as a shock to many. But it should not have because  in the UK, for example, the British intelligence agencies along with the CIA has for decades strived to ensure that the mainstream press and TV complied with the interests of the Establishment. In addition to making sure that the British left was subverted, infiltrated and made toothless, the mainstream media was molded by the intelligence agencies to parrot the Establishment’s viewpoints and aims.


The article reveals the tight-knit relationship between senior journalists and MI5:

MI5 targeted labour correspondents in both newspapers and broadcasting right up to the 80s; they were recruited in droves for their contacts with a wide range of trade union officials and with each other. According to Peter Wright, MI5 always had about twenty senior journalists working for it in the national press. “They were not employed directly by us, but we regarded them as agents because they were happy to be associated with us.”

As the national public service broadcaster funded by the state, special attention was paid to the BBC:

At the BBC, Brigadier Ronald Stonham liaised with MI5 and Special Branch and advised the corporation on whether or not to employ people. Names of applicants for editorial posts in the BBC were similarly ‘vetted’ by MI5.

From the article, it becomes clear were the elite thinks journalism’s loyalty should ultimately lie:

“There should be times when the journalist, when he’s examined all the facts and tested all his sources, should come down on the side of the government of the day, the established order and the Establishment as a whole.” - Chairman of the Radio Authority

And the working class in particular should certainly know its place (Toxteth is an urban district and is used here to signify the social unrest that gripped a number of British cities in the early eighties):

“We are in a period of considerable social change. There may be social unrest, but we can cope with the Toxteths… but if we have a highly-educated and idle population, we may possibly anticipate more serious conflict. People must be educated to once more know their place.” – from a secret Department of Education Report.

The article makes clear who the British Establishment regards as the ‘enemy within’ and what it perceives the role of the much-heralded ‘free press’ (much heralded by people belonging to this ‘free press’) to be.

With massive decreases in readership, however, the print media seems to be in terminal decline. The Establishment's grip on the control of information has been in danger of slipping as the internet has become a major vehicle for the dissemination of information.

The state-corporate-financial elite has presided over a bought and paid for mainstream media for some time. Now it is engaged in an ongoing strategy of global mass surveillance and a clamp down on internet freedom. The goal is to eventually have a fully controlled internet that mirrors the shackled ‘free press’ that the Establishment has for so long cherished. 

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Countercurrents and RINF 23/2/2015, Global Research and The 4th Media 24/2/2015, Il Cambiamento 25/2/2015, London Progressive Journal 21/3/2015

According to Mathew Holehouse in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper (here), former UK Environment Minister Owen Paterson will this week accuse the European Union and Greenpeace of condemning people in the developing world to death by refusing to accept genetically modified crops. Speaking in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday, Paterson will warn that a food revolution that could save Africa from hunger is being held back and that the world is on the cusp of a green revolution, of the kind that fed a billion people in the 1960s and 1970s as the world’s population soared.

After talking about a growing global population and the pivotal role of GMOs in feeding it, Paterson will assert:

"This is also a time, however, of great mischief, in which many individuals and even governments are turning their backs on progress. Not since the original Luddites smashed cotton mill machinery in early 19th century England, have we seen such an organised, fanatical antagonism to progress and science. These enemies of the Green Revolution call themselves ‘progressive’, but their agenda could hardly be more backward-looking and regressive… their policies would condemn billions to hunger, poverty and underdevelopment. And their insistence on mandating primitive, inefficient farming techniques would decimate the earth’s remaining wild spaces, devastate species and biodiversity, and leave our natural ecology poorer as a result.”

Instead of parroting the corporate spin of the pro-GMO lobby, Paterson would do better to consider more viable options that he likes to denigrate as 'backward-looking and regressive' by listening to what Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated in April of last year: 

“We don’t have a goal of developing GM products here or to import them.  We can feed ourselves with normal, common, not genetically modified products.  If the Americans like to eat such products, let them eat them.  We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.” (see here)

Or maybe Paterson would benefit from heeding a Statement signed by 24 delegates from 18 African countries to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in 1998:

“We strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly nor economically beneficial to us. We do not believe that such companies or gene technologies will help our farmers to produce the food that is needed in the 21st century. On the contrary, we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia, and that it will thus undermine our capacity to feed ourselves.”

Perhaps he should also listen to Viva Kermani (here - supported by data) when talking about the situation in India:

“… the statements that they [supporters of GMOs] use such as “thousands die of hunger daily in India” are irresponsible and baseless scare-mongering with a view to projecting GM as the only answer. When our people go hungry, or suffer from malnutrition, it is not for lack of food, it is because their right to safe and nutritious food that is culturally connected has been blocked. That is why it is not a technological fix problem and GM has no place in it.”

Paterson has a history of engaging in the type of emotional blackmail and smearing of critics that comes second nature to the pro-GMO lobby. Anyone (usually portrayed as affluent Westerners – which is not true, given many of the critics are not ‘Western’, affluent or reside in ‘developed’ countries) who opposes GM crops or food is painted as an enemy of the poor because they take food from their bellies (see this). Paterson is using a rhetorical device deliberately designed to mislead and stir up emotion. His tactics are based on spurious claims about the efficacy of GMO technology and are intended to divert attention away from the true nature and causes of hunger and food poverty.

Proponents of GM crops constantly claim that we need such technology to address hunger and to feed a growing global population. We are told by the GMO biotech lobby that GM crops are essential, are better for the environment and will provide the tools that farmers need in a time of climate chaos. They claim that GM crops provide higher yields and higher incomes for farmers around the world. All such claims have been shown to be bogus.

For example, let us take one report from the many that could be cited to show the fallacious nature of these claims. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) last year released a report that concluded hunger is caused by poverty and inequality and that we already produce enough food to feed the world’s population and did so even at the peak of the world food crisis in 2008. The report went on to say that current global food production provides enough to feed ten billion people and the recent food price crises of 2008 and 2011 both took place in years of record global harvests, clearly showing that these crises were not the result of scarcity.

CBAN also noted that the GM crops that are on the market today are not designed to address hunger. Four GM crops account for almost 100 percent of worldwide GM crop acreage, and all four have been developed for large-scale industrial farming systems and are used as cash crops for export, to produce fuel or for processed food and animal feed.

The report also stated that GM crops have not increased yields and do not increase farmers’ incomes. GM crops lead to an increase in pesticide use and cause further harm to the environment. Pesticide reduction was the primary selling point for Bt cotton adoption in India, but overall pesticide use has not decreased in any state that grows Bt cotton, with the exception of Andhra Pradesh. Read the full report that contains over 100 references in in support of these claims.

Hunger, food security and ‘feeding the world’ is a political, social and economic problem and no amount of gene splicing is capable of surmounting obstacles like poor roads, inadequate rural credit systems and insufficient irrigation.

Paterson's talk about backward, regressive, primitive farming practices that would condemn millions to hunger and decimate the ecology is again playing on fear and emotion. What he says has no basis in reality.

Numerous official reports have argued that to feed the hungry in poorer regions we need to support diverse, sustainable agro-ecological methods of farming and strengthen local food economies: for example, see this UN report, this official report, this report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food and this report by 400 experts which was twice peer reviewed. 

See also see this report that indicates GMOs are not necessary to feed the world.

So from where and from who is Paterson getting his information from? I think we know the answer.

It is after all small farms and peasant farmers (more often than not serving local communities) that are more productive than giant industrial (export-oriented) farms and which produce most of the world’s food (see this report from GRAIN). The experience with GM crops shows that the application of GM technology is more likely to actually undermine food security and entrench the social, economic and environmental problems created by industrial agriculture and corporate control (see this other report from GRAIN and this article by Helena Paul documenting ecocide and genocide in South America due to the imposition of GM crops there).

“The problem is that the poor have no money to buy food and increasingly, no access to land on which to grow it… GM is a dangerous distraction from real solutions and claims that GM can help feed the world can be viewed as exploitation of the suffering of the hungry. GM crops do not increase yield. Nor are there any GM crops that are better than non-GM crops at tolerating poor soils or challenging climate conditions. Thus it is difficult to see how GM can contribute to solving world hunger… The two major GM crops, soy and maize, mostly go into animal feed for intensive livestock operations, biofuels to power cars, and processed human food – products for wealthy nations that have nothing to do with meeting the basic food needs of the poor and hungry.”

This above quote is from the Open Earth Source report GMOs Myths and Truths. The report provides specific details about GM crops that have been specifically promoted as helping small-scale and poor farmers in Africa. However, the results were the opposite of what was promised and all these projects failed.

Owen Paterson is a staunch supporter of GM technology, so staunch in fact that fellow Conservative Party MP Zac Goldsmith stated Paterson was little more than an industry puppet (see this in the UK’s Independent newspaper that quotes Goldsmith).

Paterson is ignorant of or at least content to side line the devastating, deleterious health, environmental, social and economic impacts of GMOs, which are outined in the 'GMO Myths and Truths' report. He acts as a mouthpieces for the GMO biotech sector and has made numerous false claims about the benefits and safety of GMOs that fly in the face of research findings.

In the recent past, he was keen to reassure the British public that safety concerns over GMOs are based on "humbug" and that GM food is completely safe to eat. See this article, which outlines Paterson’s stance and critiques his claims. 

When Paterson talks about 'enemies' of the 'green revolution' as being fanatical Luddites, he may also like to consider that the ‘green revolution’ was not the resounding success he likes to portray it as. Raj Patel provides some revealing insight into how the ‘green revolution’ took credit for many gains in Indian agricultural that were due to other influences (see this). And, of course, the ‘green revolution’ was based on, among other things, massive external inputs, violence, severe environmental and human health degradation and debt (see this – the entire text of Vandana Shiva’s book ‘The Violence of the Green Revolution’ - and this and this, which both highlight the current agrarian crisis in Punjab, the original ‘poster boy’ of the ‘green revolution’).   

It comes as no surprise that Paterson would state the things he does. As Environment Minister, his support for GMOs was being carried out in partnership with a number of pro-GMO institutions, including the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), which is backed by GM companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer CropScience. Last year, despite government attempts to throw a veil of secrecy over meetings and conversations it had with the industry, GeneWatch UK uncovered evidence that GMO companies are driving UK government policy in this area (see here). 

So if you were still wondering from where and whom Paterson is getting his information from, it should by now be clear. 

His attacks on Greenpeace and others who advocate a shift away from petrochemical/GM agriculture towards sustainable farming are part of the wider media campaign to demonize scientists and prominent anti-GMO campaigners. A number of hatchet pieces have in recent months branded Vandana Shiva a liar and a charlatan and the GMO lobby has assembled all the ingredients (not least a massive amount of money) of a classic yet predictable propaganda campaign (see this and this). From the UK, to Ghana (see this) and India (see this), there is a concerted campaign by the GMO lobby and its political handmaidens to demonize critics of GMOs. 

Paterson plays his role well.

Such tactics are used because the pro-GMO lobby has a big problem. It cannot provide a convincing case for GMOs. It therefore resorts to populism, intimidation, character assassination, emotional blackmail, falsehoods, panic mongering and unfounded claims (see this to see how its rhetoric about ‘sound science’ and dispassionate reason informing the debate on GMOs contradicts how it acts in reality). In fact, it goes above and beyond such things by tightening its grip on countries on the back of coups, war and conflict (see this to understand how big agritech concerns benefit from and fuel the situation in Ukraine).

Yes, it is a time of great mischief as Paterson says – but not because of what his critics say or do – but because of what he and his backers do by turning their backs on the type of sound science and progress in the way that he falsely he accuses GMO critics of doing. 

Paterson belongs to the pro-big business Conservative Party which champions the type of privatisation, public expenditure reduction, deregulation, tax avoiding and ‘free’ trade policies that have ceded policy decision making to powerful corporate players. This has in turn led to a concentration of wealth (see this) and imposed ‘austerity’ and drives hunger, poverty, land grabs and the disappearance of family/peasant farms (see this analysis of food commodity speculationthis description of the global food system and this report by the Oakland Institute on land grabs) – the very bedrock of global food production (see this).

What Paterson and the agritech cartel offer is more of the same by tearing up traditional agriculture for the benefit of corporate entities. Paterson talks of critics of GMO as being Luddites, fanatics and condemning billions (yes, he does say billions!) to poverty and underdevelopment with regressive policies. He should look closer to home.

He should realise that elite interests in the West have condemned tens of millions to hunger and poverty in Africa by enslaving them and their nations to debt and that agriculture has for many decades been an important means by which US foreign policy creates dependence and subservience (see here). But such things are not to be debates by Paterson. Like all good (or should that be bad?) politicians, he twists the truth and turns deception and hypocrisy into an art.  

The current global system of chemical-industrial agriculture and World Trade Organisation rules that agritech companies helped draw up for their benefit to force their products into countries (see  here) are a major cause of structural hunger, poverty, illness and environmental destruction. By its very design, the system is meant to suck the life from people, nations and the planet for profit and control (see  here). Blaming critics of this system for the problems of the system is highly convenient. And forwarding some bogus technical quick-fix will not put things right. It represents more of the same.

So you want to ‘help’ Africa Mr Paterson?

Daniel Maingi works with small farmers in Kenya and belongs to the organization Growth Partners for Africa. Maingi was born on a farm in eastern Kenya and studied agriculture from a young age. He remembers a time when his family would grow and eat a diversity of crops, such as mung beans, green grams, pigeon peas, and a variety of fruits now considered ‘wild’. Following the Structural Adjustment Programmes of the 1980s and 1990s and a green revolution meant to boost agricultural efficiency, the foods of his childhood have been replaced with maize, maize, and more maize. He says:

 "In the morning, you make porridge from maize and send the kids to school. For lunch, boiled maize and a few green beans. In the evening, ugali, [a staple dough-like maize dish, served with meat]… [today] it’s a monoculture diet, being driven by the food system – it’s an injustice.” (see here  and here for the sources that quote Maingi and other commentators mentioned below).

As much of Africa is so dry, it’s not suited for thirsty crops, and heavy use of fertilizer kills worms and microbes important for soil health. Maingi therefore argues that the model of farming in the West is not appropriate for farming in most of Africa and that the West should invest in indigenous knowledge and agro-ecology.

Growth Partners Africa works with farmers to enrich the soil with manure and other organic material, to use less water and to grow a variety of crops, including some that would be considered weeds on an industrial farm. For Maingi, food sovereignty in Africa means reverting to a way of farming and eating that pre-dates major investment from the West.

Mariam Mayet of the African Centre for Biosafety in South Africa says that many countries are subsidizing farmers to buy fertilizer as part of the chemical-industrial model of  agriculture, but that takes money away from public crop-breeding programmes that provide improved seeds to farmers at low cost:

“It’s a system designed to benefit agribusinesses and not small-scale farmers.”

She adds because so many institutions, from African governments to the World Bank, have ‘embraced’ the ‘green revolution’ so much that alternative farming methods are getting short shrift.

Elizabeth Mpofu, of La Via Campesina, grows a variety of crops in Zimbabwe. During a recent drought, neighbours who relied on chemical fertilizer lost most of their crops. She reaped a bounty of sorghum, corn, and millet using what are called agro-ecological methods: natural pest control, organic fertilizer, and locally adapted crops.

There is also concern about the increased reliance on expensive inputs and the dramatic drop in price of crops. This has resulted in poverty for the small farmer.

Daniel Maingi:

“What the World Bank has done, the International Monetary fund, what AGRA and Bill Gates are doing, it’s actually pretty wrong. The farmer himself should not be starving”.

He added that what the Gates Foundation/big agritech backed Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) (see this) is doing is “out of sync with the natural process” by bringing in imported seeds, which are not adapted to the land and require excessive fertilizer and pesticides. 

In effect, giant agritech corporations with their patented GMO seeds and associated chemical inputs are working to ensure a shift away from diversified agriculture that guarantees balanced local food production, the protection of people’s livelihoods and environmental sustainability. The evidence provided by GRAIN and the Oakland Institute shows that small farmers are being displaced and are struggling to preserve their indigenous seeds and traditional knowledge of farming systems. 

Globally, agritech corporations are being allowed to shape government policy by being granted a strategic role in trade negotiations (see this). They are increasingly setting the policy/knowledge framework by being allowed to fund and determine the nature of research carried out in public universities and institutes (see this). They continue to propagate the myth that they have the answer to global hunger and poverty.

… take capitalism and business out of farming in Africa. The West should invest in indigenous knowledge and agro-ecology, education and infrastructure and stand in solidarity with the food sovereignty movement.” Daniel Maingi, Growth Partners for Africa.

Paterson and his corporate associates believe that the poor must be ‘helped’ by the West and its powerful corporations and billionaire 'philanthropists'. It harks back to colonialism. The West has already done enough damage in Africa as Michel Chossudovsky has described:

“The “economic therapy” imposed under IMF-World Bank jurisdiction is in large part responsible for triggering famine and social devastation in Ethiopia and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, wreaking the peasant economy and impoverishing millions of people. With the complicity of branches of the US government, it has also opened the door for the appropriation of traditional seeds and landraces by US biotech corporations, which behind the scenes have been peddling the adoption of their own genetically modified seeds under the disguise of emergency aid and famine relief. Moreover, under WTO rules, the agri-biotech conglomerates can manipulate market forces to their advantage as well as exact royalties from farmers. The WTO provides legitimacy to the food giants to dismantle State programmes including emergency grain stocks, seed banks, extension services and agricultural credit, etc.), plunder peasant economies and trigger the outbreak of periodic famines.” See the full article (‘Sowing the Seeds of Famine in Ethiopia’) from which this extract is taken here


When Owen Paterson accuses critics of GMOs of being elitist and regressive, he is merely attempting to shift the focus from his own own elitist, regressive ideology. 

Hasn't the world had enough of the type of Western 'humanitarianism' that Paterson espouses?

So You Want to Help Africa Mr Paterson? Then Stop Promoting Ideology and Falsehoods...

Colin Todhunter RINF Alternative News According to Mathew Holehouse in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper (here), former UK Environment Minister Owen Paterson will this week accuse the...

Corporate Power Grab: The Wild Claims And PR Spin Of The Pro-GMO Lobby

RINF 21/2/2015, Countercurrents 22/2/2015, Global Research 23/2/2015

A recent report by US Right to Know (‘Seedy Business: What Big Food is Hiding with Its Slick PR Campaign on GMOs’, see here) outlines how agrichemical firms have spent more than $100 million since 2012 on political and PR campaigns to shift the media narrative on GMOs. The non-profit food research group is now calling on media to accurately report that the science on GMOs is contradictory and has been largely controlled by corporations that profit from GMO seeds and the pesticides that go with them.
Stacy Malkan, media director of US Right to Know says:

“Unfortunately, many members of the media, and even some scientists, have been snookered by PR firms about a supposed scientific consensus on GMOs that doesn’t exist.”

Part of the PR campaign takes place on prominent websites that forward the notion that the debate on GMOs has been settled. The claim is based on the premise that there is a consensus on GMO safety within the ‘scientific community’, which has been fuelled by the results of two much publicised ‘big list’ reviews that supposedly give GMOs the green light on safety.

According to the first review by Nicolia and colleagues, some 1,700 studies show GMOs are safe for human and animal health and the environment. The second review is promoted on the claim that trillions of GMO meals eaten indicate that there is no health risk to food producing animals or humans.

Despite the claims, those 1,700 studies do not indicate that GMOs are safe (see here to discover that many even indicate risks: GMO Myths and Truths (pp. 102–126.). Moreover, the methodology, evidence and conclusions from the ‘trillion meal’ review have been deconstructed to reveal that it too shows nothing of what the pro-GMO lobby claims it does (see here). In fact, the review has been described as ‘junk’. 

These ‘big list’ reviews are being used for the purpose of pro-corporate PR spin passed off as sound science by a lobby group that constantly attacks its critics for relying on emotion, ideology and lies. However, as documented here and here, it is the pro-GMO lobby that engages in such tactics by distorting and censoring science, capturing regulatory bodies, attacking scientists whose findings are unpalatable to the industry and bypassing proper scientific and regulatory procedures altogether.

Similarly, US Right to Know’s report ‘Seedy Business’ shows how science can be swayed, bought or biased by the agrichemical industry in many ways, such as suppressing adverse findings, harming the careers of scientists who produce such findings, controlling the funding that shapes what research is conducted, the lack of independent US-based testing of health and environmental risks of GMOs and tainting scientific reviews of GMOs by conflicts of interest.

The pro-GMO lobby is engaged in a propaganda crusade carried out on the web and in the print media by slick media communications personnel or scientists who promote themselves as ‘objective’ when nothing could be further from the truth in certain cases (for example, see this and this).

Making grandiose statements based on gross misrepresentations that are guaranteed to grab media headlines on the back of ‘big list’ reviews are designed to play on the public’s ignorance.

“Assembling big lists of studies supposedly providing overwhelming evidence of the safety of GMOs has become common practice by GMO proponents… The success of the tactic depends on the reading public failing to examine the actual studies and seeing what they say.” Claire Robinson (here).

In challenging the ‘scientific’ claims of the pro-GMO lobby, Claire Robinson adds:

“… authors should re-learn the basic scientific principle of citing a specific data point to support each claim they make about GMO safety. The problem for them is that doing so would cause their entire house of cards to collapse.”

US Right to Know urges people to read a January 24 statement published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, which has been signed by 300 scientists, physicians and scholars that asserts there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs (see here).

This statement says that the claim of scientific consensus on GMOs frequently repeated in the media is “an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated” to propagate the belief that debate on the topic is “over.” That claim “…is misleading and misrepresents or outright ignores the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of scientific opinions among scientists on this issue,” according to the statement.

The statement goes on to make numerous important points, including: 

1) There are no epidemiological studies investigating potential health effects of GMO food on human health. With no epidemiological studies, claims that “trillions of GMO meals” have been eaten with no ill effects have no scientific basis.

2) GMO studies are frequently mischaracterized as showing safety. For example, the EU Research Project, which has been internationally cited as providing evidence of GMO safety, was not designed to test safety and provides no reliable evidence of safety. Another example is the false claim that “hundreds of studies” listed on the biotechnology website Biofortified demonstrate GMO safety. In fact, many of the studies on that list do not address safety concerns at all and several of the studies raise serious concerns.

3) The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and UN’s Codex Alimentarius share a precautionary approach to GMO crops and foods, in that they agree that genetic engineering differs from conventional breeding and that safety assessments should be required before GM organisms are used in food or released into the environment.

4) Claims that government and scientific organizations endorse safety are often exaggerated or inaccurate. For example, an expert panel of the Royal Society of Canada said it is “scientifically unjustifiable” to presume that GM foods are safe without rigorous scientific testing. 

5) A report by the British Medical Association concluded that “many unanswered questions remain” about the long-term effects of GMOs on human health and the environment and that “safety concerns cannot, as yet, be dismissed completely on the basis of information currently available.”

6) There is no consensus on environmental impacts of GMOs, and many concerns have been raised about increased herbicide use, potential health impacts and the rapid spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.

The joint statement concludes:

“…the totality of scientific research outcomes in the field of GM crop safety is nuanced; complex; often contradictory or inconclusive; confounded by researchers’ choices, assumptions, and funding sources; and, in general, has raised more questions than it has currently answered… [Decisions on whether to continue and expand GMO crops should] be supported by strong scientific evidence… obtained in a manner that is honest, ethical, rigorous, independent, transparent, and sufficiently diversified to compensate for bias… [rather than based on] misleading and misrepresentative claims by an internal circle of likeminded stakeholders that a ‘scientific consensus’ exists on GMO safety.”

For a comprehensive overview of the myths and misrepresentations forwarded by the pro-GMO lobby and the actual reality of the situation, consult this report:


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As Malaysia Airlines bleeds out, twin tragedies are still a question mark

Malaysia Airlines has had a profoundly difficult year. Between two harrowing air disasters and the company’s precarious financial woes, the national carrier faces daunting challenges as it attempts to restructure and recover its reputation as a leading regional airline. Despite poor commercial performance in recent years, it maintained a stellar record for decades as one of the Asia-Pacific's safest and most reliable airlines.


Malaysia Airlines has suffered the two worst disasters in modern aviation less than five months apart. Both incidents involved Boeing 777-200ERs, widely considered being one of the safest aircrafts. Over six months have past since flight MH370 disappeared on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A multinational search team has scoured remote southern stretches of the Indian Ocean, unable to find even a trace of debris from the aircraft.


A preliminary report on the demise of flight MH17 released by Dutch investigators has failed to provide a wider understanding of the incident, leaving critical questions of culpability unanswered. The crippling impact of the two air disasters has forced Malaysia Airlines into accelerating a major restructuring effort to rescue the brand and return it to profitably by 2017, with plans to relist the company by 2019.


Nationalize or privatize?


As the flagship carrier, Malaysia Airlines is viewed as a symbol of national prestige and development. The state has played a vital role in using public funds to restructure the airline over the years. The key challenges confronting the carrier are competition from low-cost national and regional rivals, high operating costs, unprofitable long haul routes, and a bloated payroll.


The main question going forward is whether further nationalization or drastic privatization will more effectively resuscitate the airline. Khazanah Nasional, a state investment fund that owns about 70% of Malaysia Airlines, proposed a strategy to recover the national carrier, involving plans to take full ownership of the airline and the most stringent job cuts in the company's history.


Unlike the four previous attempts to restructure the airline, which reneged on plans to scale back the workforce under pressure from politically influential airline unions, the company intends to cut staffing by 6,000 jobs or 30% of the carrier's 20,000 employees. Malaysia Airlines has about 30 percent more staff than comparable airlines, and while the cuts will be painful, the status quo can clearly not be maintained under the prevailing circumstances.


Khazanah Nasional will channel around RM6bn ($2 billion) into reviving the carrier, buying out remaining stock from shareholders, layoffs and other restructuring costs, debt settlement and capital injections. Putrajaya claims these funds are an investment, rather than a bailout, expressing its intention to regain the funds when the airline returns to profitability. One can be forgiven for being skeptical of the carrier’s strategy, taking into account the shortcomings of previous restructuring attempts.


An accumulative sum of RM17.4bn ($5.3 billion) was injected into the airline between 2001 and 2014, and losses of RM8.4bn ($2.6 billion) were incurred nonetheless during that period. Malaysia Airlines reported a net loss of RM443mn ($140.8 million) for the first quarter of 2014. Second-quarter earnings following the unexplained disappearance of MH370 in March saw losses of RM307mn ($97.6 million). The second-half earnings are expected to be even grimmer in the wake of MH17, following reports from the airline that average weekly bookings had declined by 33 percent. The company has lost more than 40 percent of its market value this year and has not made an annual profit since 2010.


Shareholders will be meeting in early November to consider Khazanah’s selective capital reduction proposal plan before the recovery plan can go into effect. Although shareholders will be losing money by selling off their assets for lower prices than they purchased them for, the independent adviser AmInvestment Bank advised that they accept the offer, because without the proposed capital injection from Khazanah, the airline will go under and the share price will collapse. It’s better to lose a finger than to lose an arm.


As budget carriers like AirAsia, which was formally state-owned before being taken private, lead the Southeast Asian market, there are those who will view any further capital injection into Malaysia Airlines as an imprudent use of public funds. Khazanah itself has noted that the RM17.4bn used to restructure the national carrier could have helped improve education or provide water and power to remote villages. It also doesn’t make sense to refer to Khazanah’s move to take full ownership of the airline as a privatization since it is a government investment fund; it’s more like a de-facto nationalization.


At this stage, whether Malaysia Airlines is nationalized or privatized is a periphery concern: the real question is how can it be restructured to viably compete with discount airlines that make up some 58 percent of the air traffic in Southeast Asia? There are concerns going forward that Khazanah lacks the expertise needed to micromanage the airline and implement the kind of solutions needed to shift the balance back toward profitability. Additionally, there will be no minority shareholders to scrutinize the management and provide helpful input under Khazanah’s full ownership of the carrier.


Structural adjustments are needed to make the airline leaner and more efficient if it has any chance of surviving. Long unprofitable routes that require heavy subsidies should be cut with renewed focus on competitively priced medium-haul services within Asia. The fleet of Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s can be sold off and replaced with more fuel-efficient A330s and the A350s designed for shorter distances.


If employees and unions were better informed about the dire ill health of the airline, perhaps they would agree to voluntary pay cuts for a limited period if it meant retaining job security. Under the current circumstances, bonuses should be suspended and the balance sheet should be carefully scrutinized. In addition to rolling out a public relations blitz to repair the image of the company, Malaysia Airlines should emulate some qualities of their rivals’ business models, but differentiate themselves by offering greater value for money to the extent that a full-service airline can provide.


No answers, no closure


As the enquiry continues into the demise of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the skies of eastern Ukraine in July, the preliminary findings of the international investigation have done little to develop a clearer understanding of the incident. The parties responsible for bringing down the aircraft, and exactly what means were utilized to do so, have yet to be firmly established.


The Dutch Safety Board (DSB), which is leading the investigation into the MH17 crash, released a preliminary report in September, which sought to analyze air traffic control and radio communication data, assess the inflight break-up sequences, and conduct a forensic examination of the wreckage. Assigning culpability to any party was not in the report’s mandate; the authors of the text use highly guarded and ambiguous language to explain their findings.


Due to the continued obstruction and contamination of the crash site as a result of military hostilities, it is highly questionable whether further forensic examinations can be carried out under such protracted circumstances. Another barrier is a lack of political will to consider certain findings, due to the politically charged nature of the Ukrainian conflict, which has resuscitated Cold War-era hostilities, bringing US-Russia relations to new lows.


Though Ukraine, the United States, and other countries have accused Russia of supplying the rebels with surface-to-air missiles and orchestrating the shoot-down of MH17, those governments have yet to declassify their intelligence on MH17, refusing even to discuss the sources and methodology behind their findings. Comments by Russian officials at the UN and elsewhere indicate that Moscow feels its side of the story has been neglected and overlooked.


The satellite images and military data made public by Moscow, which suggest a completely different series of events, have been entirely absent from the media’s narrative. The Dutch findings conclude that the aircraft abruptly ended its flight after a large number of “high energy objects”penetrated the aircraft from the outside, but does not identify the nature of those objects.


Dutch investigators have wholly omitted findings from radar data submitted by Moscow that purportedly showed a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet flying in close proximity to MH17 prior to it disappearing from radar.  BBC’s Russian language service broadcasted a report shortly after the disaster where several local eyewitnesses claimed to see a military aircraft in the sky flying in the vicinity of MH17 as it exploded and broke apart. The investigation has a responsibility to address the question of the Ukrainian fighter jet and its possible role in the incident.


The case of MH370 has proven to be the most baffling incident in commercial aviation history and one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries. Despite the largest multinational search and rescue effort ever conducted, not a trace of debris from the aircraft has been found, nor has the cause of the aircraft’s erratic change of trajectory and disappearance been established.


After a fruitless search in the southern Indian Ocean where the plane is believed to have crashed after running out of fuel, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau leading the investigation has admitted that investigators are not entirely sure if the current underwater search is being conducted in the right spot, although Malaysian officials have been more optimistic.


Tim Clark, the CEO and president of Emirates, questioned the methodology used by investigation team to pinpoint the crash site, claiming it was downright “suspicious” that a Boeing 777 could disappear without a trace with its communications being disabled. Clark also raised concerns that the public was not being told the whole truth about the cargo manifest.


The families of the passengers and crewmembers onboard the missing aircraft recently renewed calls for Putrajaya to release the full cargo manifest, which they say was only partially released some two months after the incident, claiming that there were missing gaps in the document. The manifesto claimed that the cargo contained 2.4 tons of lithium ion batteries and radio accessories and chargers consigned for Motorola, and 4.5 tons of mangosteen.


IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar promised the media that authorities would investigate the mangosteen supplier after the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority claimed that the fruit was not in season, nor were there any orchards in Johor where the mangosteen supplier, Poh Seng Kian, is based. The way in which certain information has allegedly been withheld from the public domain has worked to stoke skepticism that investigators must address. 


Inmarsat, the British satellite telecommunications company responsible for analyzing MH370 satellite data, has also come under scrutiny from independent satellite experts and engineers that found glaring inconsistencies in their analysis. The Atlantic magazine published a report in May based on the analysis of Michael Exner, founder of the American Mobile Satellite Corporation, Duncan Steel, a physicist and visiting scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, and satellite technology consultant Tim Farrar.


The team of analysts used flight and navigation software to deconstruct Inmarsat’s analysis, and determined that Inmarsat’s data contained irregular frequency shifts, and even when the values were corrected, Inmarsat’s example flight paths failed to match and proved to be erroneous. In other words, these analysts believe there may be grounds to believe that the search is being conducted on the basis of a false mathematical conclusion.


The authors of the report attempted to reach Inmarsat and other relevant bodies, but they claim that the company did not reply to requests for comments on basic technical questions about their analysis, leading them to determine that “Inmarsat officials and search authorities seem to want it both ways: They release charts, graphics, and statements that give the appearance of being backed by math and science, while refusing to fully explain their methodologies.”


While the investigation teams are doing their level best to establish accounts of the two Malaysia Airlines disasters, there is undoubtedly a dimension of political pressure involved that can create various barriers to understanding. The astonishing nature of these two incidents demand that uncomfortable scenarios and questions be addressed and examined. The media still has an important role to play.

This article was appeared in the October 28 and 29, 2014 print edition of The Malaysian Reserve newspaper.

Nile Bowie is an independent journalist and political analyst based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His articles have appeared in numerous international publications, including regular columns with Russia Today (RT) and newspapers such as the Global Times, the Malaysian Reserve and the New Straits Times. He is a research assistant with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), a Malaysian NGO promoting social justice and anti-hegemony politics. He can be reached at [email protected].


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Recently in a speech regarding Crimea, President Vladimir Putin had said “In short, we have every reason to assume that the infamous policy of containment, led in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, continues today.” There is truth to that statement; according to ‘Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution’ it is a historical fact that the Wall Street elites had planned to undermine Russia’s sovereignty dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries. In the early 19th Century, Western Financiers created a revolution to overthrow Czarist Russia; Professor Sutton makes the connection between the United States and German interests in untapped Russian markets with prominent financiers such as J.P. Morgan, David Rockefeller and Leaders of the Bolshevik revolution Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Sutton explains his methods on how he obtained information:

Since the early 1920s, numerous pamphlets and articles, even a few books, have sought to forge a link between “international bankers” and “Bolshevik revolutionaries.” Rarely have these attempts been supported by hard evidence, and never have such attempts been argued within the framework of a scientific methodology. Indeed, some of the “evidence” used in these efforts has been fraudulent, some has been irrelevant, much cannot be checked. Examination of the topic by academic writers has been studiously avoided; probably because the hypothesis offends the neat dichotomy of capitalists versus Communists (and everyone knows, of course, that these are bitter enemies). Moreover, because a great deal that has been written borders on the absurd, a sound academic reputation could easily be wrecked on the shoals of ridicule. Reason enough to avoid the topic. 

Fortunately, the State Department Decimal File, particularly the 861.00 section, contains extensive documentation on the hypothesized link. When the evidence in these official papers is merged with nonofficial evidence from biographies, personal papers, and conventional histories, a truly fascinating story emerges. 

We find there was a link between some New York international bankers and many revolutionaries, including Bolsheviks. These banking gentlemen — who are here identified — had a financial stake in, and were rooting for, the success of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Who, why — and for how much — is the story in this book

Professor Sutton asks:

“What motive explains this coalition of capitalists and Bolsheviks?”

He explains Wall Street’s intentions on creating the Bolshevik Revolution against Czarist Russia:

Russia was then — and is today — the largest untapped market in the world. Moreover, Russia, then and now, constituted the greatest potential competitive threat to American industrial and financial supremacy. (A glance at a world map is sufficient to spotlight the geographical difference between the vast land mass of Russia and the smaller United States.) Wall Street must have cold shivers when it visualizes Russia as a second super American industrial giant. 

But why allow Russia to become a competitor and a challenge to U.S. supremacy? In the late nineteenth century, Morgan/Rockefeller, and Guggenheim had demonstrated their monopolistic proclivities. In Railroads and Regulation 1877-1916 Gabriel Kolko has demonstrated how the railroad owners, not the farmers, wanted state control of railroads in order to preserve their monopoly and abolish competition. So the simplest explanation of our evidence is that a syndicate of Wall Street financiers enlarged their monopoly ambitions and broadened horizons on a global scale. The gigantic Russian market was to be converted into a captive market and a technical colony to be exploited by a few high-powered American financiers and the corporations under their control. What the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Federal Trade Commission under the thumb of American industry could achieve for that industry at home, a planned socialist government could achieve for it abroad — given suitable support and inducements from Wall Street and Washington, D.C.

In an interesting note, Sutton explains how British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared that there was a “Jewish Conspiracy” to control the world. He believed that the Bolshevik Revolution was a first step towards that goal:

The argument and its variants can be found in the most surprising places and from quite surprising persons. In February 1920 Winston Churchill wrote an article — rarely cited today —for the London Illustrated Sunday Herald entitled “Zionism Versus Bolshevism.” In this’ article Churchill concluded that it was “particularly important… that the National Jews in every country who are loyal to the land of their adoption should come forward on every occasion . . .and take a prominent part in every measure for combatting the Bolshevik conspiracy.”

Churchill draws a line between “national Jews” and what he calls “international Jews.” He argues that the “international and for the most atheistical Jews” certainly had a “very great” role in the creation of Bolshevism and bringing about the Russian Revolution. He asserts (contrary to fact) that with the exception of Lenin, “the majority” of the leading figures in the revolution were Jewish, and adds (also contrary to fact) that in many cases Jewish interests and Jewish places of worship were excepted by the Bolsheviks from their policies of seizure. Churchill calls the international Jews a “sinister confederacy” emergent from the persecuted populations of countries where Jews have been persecuted on account of their race.  

Winston Churchill traces this movement back to Spartacus-Weishaupt, throws his literary net around Trotsky, Bela Kun, Rosa Luxemburg, and Emma Goldman, and charges: “This world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing.” 

Churchill then argues that this conspiratorial Spartacus-Weishaupt group has been the mainspring of every subversive movement in the nineteenth century. While pointing out that Zionism and Bolshevism are competing for the soul of the Jewish people, Churchill (in 1920) was preoccupied with the role of the Jew in the Bolshevik Revolution and the existence of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.

Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution is a must have for those who want to understand how far Wall Street will go to subjugate populations into perpetual slavery. They wanted total control of Russian society which resulted in the deaths of millions of people. The Russian people were victims of a conspiracy, one that Mr. Sutton’s brilliant research proves.

Many universities do not include ‘Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution’ in their syllabus as “required” reading materials. Of course, it can be labeled as “conspiratorial” and not relevant to Russian history especially in the American university system. However, it is a must read for those who wish to understand how Wall Street bankers were involved in funding a revolution to remove the Czars from power.

Every university, public and private schools around the world should include “Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution’ as a requirement for their history classes. Sutton connects the Russian revolution to Wall Street elites who funded the operation. It is an essential chapter in world history that allows you to understand how financial elites manipulate the politics and society so they can control the economy for their advantage. Not only educational institutions should include Professor Sutton’s books as part of their lesson plans, but every man, woman, child,  historian, political scientist, economist or those who are simply looking for the truth, ‘Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution’ is one history book that should be in everyone’s library. It is a history lesson that should not be missed.

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Are Private Banks Unconstitutional?

Ellen Brown RINF Alternative News The movement to break away from Wall Street and form publicly-owned banks continues to gain momentum. But enthusiasts are deterred by...

Are Public Banks Unconstitutional? No. Are Private Banks? Maybe.

The movement to break away from Wall Street and form publicly-owned banks continues to gain momentum. But enthusiasts are deterred by claims that a state-owned bank would violate constitutional prohibitions against “lending the credit of the state.”

California’s constitution is typical. It states in Section 17: “The State shall not in any manner loan its credit, nor shall it subscribe to, or be interested in the stock of any company, association, or corporation . . . .”

The language sounds prohibitive, but what does it mean? Hundreds of state and local government entities extend the credit of the state. State agencies make student loans, small business loans, and farm loans. State infrastructure banks explicitly leverage the credit of the state. Legally, state and local governments are extending their credit to private banks every time they deposit their revenues in those banks. When money is deposited, it becomes the property of the bank by law. The depositor becomes a creditor with an IOU or promise to be repaid. The state or local government has thus lent its money to the bank.

How can these blatant extensions of the state’s credit be reconciled with the constitutional prohibitions against the practice?

North Dakota’s constitution has particularly strong language. Article 10, Section 18, provides:

The state, any county or city may make internal improvements and may engage in any industry, enterprise or business, not prohibited by article XX of the constitution, but neither the state nor any political subdivision thereof shall otherwise loan or give its credit or make donations to or in aid of any individual, association or corporation except for reasonable support of the poor, nor subscribe to or become the owner of capital stock in any association or corporation.

Yet this prohibition has not prevented the state from establishing its own bank. Currently the nation’s only state-owned depository bank, the Bank of North Dakota has been a stellar success and has been going strong ever since 1919. In Green vs. Frazier, 253 U.S. 233 (1920), the US Supreme Court upheld the bank’s constitutionality against a Fourteenth Amendment challenge and deferred to the state court on the state constitutional issues, which had been decided in the state’s favor.

In the nineteenth century, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, and Indiana all had their own state-owned banks. Some were extremely successful (Indiana had a monopoly state-owned bank). These banks, too, withstood constitutional challenge at the US Supreme Court level.

Were the prohibitions against “lending the credit of the state” simply ignored in these cases? Or might that language have meant something else?

The Constitutional Ban on “Bills of Credit”: Colonial Paper Money

Constitutional provisions against lending the state’s credit go back to the mid-nineteenth century. California’s is in its original constitution, dated 1849. There was then no national currency, and the National Bank Act had not yet been passed.

Several decades earlier, the states had been colonies that issued their own currencies in the form of paper scrip. Typically called “bills of credit”, these paper bills literally involved the extension of the colony’s credit. They were credit vouchers used by the colony to pay for goods and services, which were good in trade for an equivalent sum in goods or services in the marketplace.

Prior to the constitutional convention in the summer of 1787, the colonies exercised their own sovereign power over monetary matters, including issuing their own paper money. After the collapse of the Continental currency during the Revolutionary War, largely due to counterfeiting by the British, the framers were so afraid of paper money that they expressly took that power away from the colonies-turned-states, and they failed to expressly give it even to the federal government. Article I, Section 10, of the U.S. Constitution provides:

No State shall . . . coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; . . . .

Congress was given the power “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.” But language authorizing Congress to “emit Bills of Credit” was struck out after much debate.

The Supreme Court ruled in the Legal Tender Cases after the Civil War that the power to coin money implied the power to print money under the Necessary and Proper Clause, legitimizing the Greenbacks issued by President Lincoln. But in 1850, no state government had the power to extend its own credit in the form of bills of credit or paper money, and whether the federal government had that power was a subject of debate.

However, the expanding economy needed a source of freely-expandable currency and credit, and when local governments could not provide it, private banks filled the void. They issued their own “bank notes” equal to many times their gold holdings, effectively running their own private printing presses.

Was that constitutional? No. The Constitution nowhere gives private banks the power to create the national money supply – and today, private banks are where virtually all of our circulating money supply comes from. Congress ostensibly delegated its authority to issue money to the Federal Reserve in 1913; but it did not delegate that authority to private banks, which have only recently admitted that they do not lend their depositors’ money but actually create new money on their books when they make loans. In the Bank of England’s latest Quarterly Bulletin, it states:

Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.

This broad exercise of the money power by private banks is nowhere to be found in our federal or state constitutions, but courts have managed to get around that wrinkle. In Constitutional Law in the United States, Emlin McClain summarizes the case law like this:

A state cannot, even for the purpose of borrowing money, exercise the sovereign power of emitting paper currency (Craig v. Missouri). But this prohibition does not interfere with the power of a state to authorize banks to issue bank notes in the form of due-bills or of similar character, intended to pass as currency on the faith and credit of the bank itself, and not of the state which authorizes their issuance.

The anomalous result is that state-chartered banks are able to issue credit that passes as currency, while state governments are not. But so the cases hold, and they apply to public banks as well as private banks.

Public Banks Held Constitutional

John Thom Holdsworth wrote in Money and Banking (1937) that in the mid-nineteenth century, “several of the states established banks owned entirely or in part by the state. There was some question as to the right of these state institutions to issue circulating notes, but the Supreme Court held that such notes were not ‘bills of credit’ within the meaning of the constitutional prohibition.”

In Briscoe v. Bank of Kentucky, 36 U.S. 257 (1837), the Court observed that the charter of the challenged Kentucky state bank contained “no pledge of the faith of the state for the notes issued by the institution. The capital only was liable; and the bank was suable, and could sue.” The Court “upheld the issuance of circulating notes by a state-chartered bank even when the Bank’s stock, funds, and profits belonged to the state, and where the officers and directors were appointed by the state legislature.”

The Court narrowly defined the sort of “bill of credit” prohibited by Article 1, Section 10, as a note issued by the state, on the faith of the state, designed to circulate as money. Since the notes in question were redeemable by the bank and not by the state itself, they were not “bills of credit” for constitutional purposes. The Court found that the notes were backed by the resources of the bank rather than the credit of the state. Moreover, the bank could sue and be sued separate from the state.

These cases are still good law. A state bank – or city bank or county bank – is not in violation of state constitutional prohibitions against lending the credit of the state.

Other Ways to Avoid Constitutional Challenge

In light of those Supreme Court cases, it hardly seems necessary for a city to become a chartered city before establishing its own publicly-owned bank; but that is another way to circumvent this debate. The California Constitution gives cities the power to become charter cities; and while General Law Cities are bound by the state constitution, cities organized under a charter have broad autonomy. They can bypass large swaths of state law, including asserting their independence from the state’s supposed restrictions on lending.

For county-owned banks, the case is not as clear. In California, Government Code 23005 forbids counties from giving their “credit to or in aid of any person or corporation. An indebtedness or liability incurred contrary to this chapter is void.” But the US Supreme Court rulings validating state banks should be equally applicable to county banks; and in any case, enabling legislation can be crafted to allow public banks at any level of government.

There is another way to bypass this whole legal debate: by pursuing the initiative and referendum process pioneered in California. It allows state laws to be proposed directly by the public, and the state’s Constitution to be amended either by public petition (the “initiative”) or by the legislature with a proposed constitutional amendment to the electorate (the “referendum”). In California, the initiative is done by writing a proposed constitutional amendment or statute as a petition, which is submitted to the Attorney General along with a modest submission fee. The petition must be signed by registered voters amounting to 8% (for a constitutional amendment) or 5% (for a statute) of the number of people who voted in the most recent election for governor.

Before sufficient signatures could be collected, a widespread educational campaign would need to be mounted; but just informing the public on this little-understood subject could be worth the effort. Recall the words of Henry Ford:

It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.

When enough people understand that private banks rather than governments create our money supply, imposing interest and fees that constitute an enormous unnecessary drain on the economy and the people, we might wake up to a new day in banking, finance, and the return of local economic sovereignty.

______________________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

 

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Onward, Christian soldiers

Middle East Report Online - 13 May 2014

For the past 18 months the Israeli government has gradually raised the stakes in its campaign to pressure Palestinian Christians to serve in the Israeli military. In April, Israel upped the ante once again, announcing it would henceforth be issuing enlistment notices to Christians who have graduated from secondary school. This time, the Greek Orthodox patriarch responded, sacking a senior Nazareth priest, Jibril Nadaf, who had styled himself the spiritual leader of a small but vociferous group of Palestinian Christians who back the government campaign.

The enlistment drive began quietly in October 2012 with a clandestine “recruitment conference” arranged by the Defense Ministry to which Christian Scout groups, mostly from the Greek Catholic and Maronite communities, were invited. Then, in the summer of 2013, standing alongside Nadaf, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, went public. He declared at a press conference: “Members of the Christian community must be allowed to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). You are loyal citizens who want to defend the state. I salute you and support you. We will not tolerate threats against you and we will act to enforce the law with a heavy hand against those who persecute you.”

The April announcement was the first concrete step toward fulfilling Netanyahu’s vow, though for the time being the recipient will be able to treat the letter as an “invitation” rather than a formal draft notice. The military said it would begin by sending out 800 letters to Christians who had reached conscription age.

As the campaign proceeds, Israeli officials are watching carefully to see how the local Christian population responds and, more importantly, what reaction this effort provokes from the international community and church hierarchies.

The group of Palestinian Christians led by Nadaf has established a Forum for Christian Recruitment, which is advising the government on how to advance enlistment. Nadaf articulates their thinking: “We have broken through the barrier of fear. The time has come to prove our loyalty, pay our dues and demand our rights. Because the State of Israel is our heart, Israel is a holy state, a strong state, and its people, Jews and Christians alike, are united under one covenant.”

The overwhelming majority of Christians appear unpersuaded by such appeals and oppose military service, voluntary or otherwise. But Israeli officials employ a combination of pressures — arrests, threats of prosecution for incitement and civil suits for financial damages — to intimidate the scheme’s critics.

Meanwhile, church authorities inside Israel and abroad find themselves in uncomfortable territory, pushed by local congregants to act but loathe to antagonize the Israeli government. Both the Greek Orthodox Church, representing the largest Christian denomination in Israel, and the Vatican are heavily dependent on Israeli good will. Israel provides entry permits for priests and nuns to work in religious institutions, and mostly averts its gaze from the churches’ intentionally opaque tax and property affairs.

That may in part explain why appeals from Palestinian Christian leaders to Pope Francis to intervene during his May visit to the Holy Land have so far gone unheeded. For many months, the Greek Orthodox patriarch had also ignored repeated requests from the local community to defrock Nadaf. A spokesman revealed that senior clerics finally agreed to sack the priest. “We warned him before to keep to his priestly duties and not to interfere in matters of the army. When he did not heed our warning we held a meeting of the church court, which decided to sack him,” said ‘Isa Muslih.

Divide and Rule

Palestinian leaders in Israel, representing a minority of the country’s 1.5 million citizens, or one fifth of the population, view the government’s efforts to recruit Christians to the military as an elaboration of long-standing divide-and-rule policies.

Founded explicitly as a Jewish state, Israel has preserved the foundations of the Ottoman millet system, which gave each confessional group’s religious leadership exclusive control over personal status matters, such as marriage, divorce and burial. Having separated these confessional groups, Israel then granted preferential status to the Jewish community in many areas of the law, treating it as a part of a global Jewish nation and consequently entitled to national rights. Members of the Palestinian community are accorded only inferior sectarian or tribal identities: Muslim, Christian, Druze, Bedouin and Circassian.

Conscription has also been structured around these confessional identities. Israeli Jewish men are drafted for three years, and women for two, after graduating from high school, unless an individual is exempted on religious, physical or psychological grounds. Among the Palestinian minority, on the other hand, conscription has always been a hugely divisive issue.

Druze leaders signed an agreement with Israel in 1956 to draft all males from their community, which comprises one tenth of the Palestinian population. The tiny Circassian population followed suit. Both communities, vulnerable to sectarian fighting, preferred to seek the military patronage of the young state of Israel.

It seems there was little enthusiasm among the Israeli political and military establishments for conscripting Muslims. The Sunni Muslim population, today comprising 80 percent of the Palestinian minority, was seen as a potential fifth column, likely to ally with Israel’s enemies, whether Palestinian fighters in exile or neighboring Arab states. Giving the Muslim population military training and equipment was therefore ruled out.

In the state’s first decade, however, there were hopes that the small Christian community might be persuaded to agree to the draft. A key figure was George Hakim, the Greek Catholic bishop for the Galilee. He founded a Christian militia during the 1948 war, and many of his followers were allowed by Israel to return from exile in Lebanon at the end of the fighting. Hakim went on to transform the Greek Catholic Scouts into a Zionist youth movement, as a political counterweight to the joint Jewish-Arab Communist Party, which was the only mainstream non-Zionist movement permitted in Israel.

In 1958 Hakim considered signing an agreement on military service similar to what the Druze leadership had signed, but found little support among Christians. A photograph in Hillel Cohen’s book Good Arabs, on the early collaborators with the new state of Israel, shows Hakim seated next to Druze leader Sheikh Amin Tarif at an IDF parade marking Independence Day in 1959.

Instead, the Christian and Muslim communities received a general exemption from the draft. There is a provision for members of either community to volunteer, though communal leaders actively discourage such service.

The Bedouin, physically isolated from the rest of the Palestinian minority in their separate and heavily deprived villages, often in the semi-desert Naqab (Negev) region, have been among those most likely to volunteer, usually as trackers. Like the Druze, many were persuaded by a discourse that presented military service as proof of loyalty to the state and, consequently, a way to gain benefits and access to jobs. But in recent years the number of Bedouin volunteers has slowly declined, as the Bedouin come to understand that service rarely offers them escape from social and economic marginalization and strengthen their connections to external political actors, particularly the Islamic Movement.

Israel’s Model Christians

Israel’s intention is to end the current arrangement for the Christian community. Like the Druze, Christians account for about one tenth of Israel’s Palestinian population. Christian supporters of the enlistment campaign hope to reach an agreement with the government that would mirror the one between the state and the Druze.

In return for their conscription, the Druze are recognized as possessing very limited attributes of nationhood: Their ID cards identify them as “Druze” rather than generic “Arabs”; and they have their own education system, separate from the Arab one, emphasizing a narrative of Druze history that presents their community — and their allies, the Jews — as oppressed for centuries by Muslim rulers.

In practical terms, the benefits of military service for the Druze are chiefly individual rather than communal. After conscription, many are recruited to the prison service, where most work as lowly warders, or to the Border Police, a much-feared paramilitary force that operates in both Israel and the Occupied Territories. Most significantly, former Druze soldiers get preferential access to the scarce plots of land made available to the Palestinian minority. For many, given discriminatory land allocation and planning systems, it is their only hope of building a home legally.

Shadi Khaloul, a former Israeli paratrooper and spokesman for the Forum for Christian Recruitment, speaks of Christians needing to “live freely [and] rediscover our identity and history.” He highlights the importance of establishing a separate school system for Christians, reviving and teaching in the ancient and near-extinct language of Aramaic, which, like Hebrew, preceded Arabic in the Levant.

Khaloul is the model for the new Christian the Israeli government wants to cultivate. His grandparents were “present absentees,” or internal refugees, expelled in 1948 from the mostly Maronite village of Kafr Bir‘im in the Upper Galilee, one of the hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed during and after the war. Refugees from Kafr Bir‘im — along with those of another Christian village nearby, Iqrit – have battled without success to be allowed to return to their villages, based on a written promise by the army that their “evacuations” in 1948 were temporary. But Khaloul is not affiliated with this effort and indeed bears no obvious grudge over his family’s dispossession. Rather, he believes, exaggerated loyalty to the state is the best route to regaining his rights. He is fiercely proud of what he views as a native Judeo-Christian identity that predates the Arab conquests of the Holy Land.

His family, like many others from Kafr Bir‘im, ended up nearby in the village of Jish. But Khaloul refuses even to acknowledge this village’s Arabic name. For him, it is the ancient community of Gush Halav, and his identity is Maronite-Aramaic rather than Arab. Khaloul argues that the Maronites and Jews share the language of Aramaic and that both communities suffered persecution at the hands of Muslims for hundreds of years. Following pressure from Khaloul, Jish schools became the first in Israel to offer Aramaic classes until eighth grade, paid for by the Education Ministry.

Listening to Khaloul, one can understand why Israel has chosen this moment to push Christian military service. “We are part of Israel and it is important that we keep our country strong, especially when our brothers are being persecuted and slaughtered only a short distance away [in Syria and Egypt].”

The 2011 Arab uprisings and their aftermath provoked genuine fear among many Palestinians in Israel, especially Christians. They believe that these events demonstrate how easily communal relations can break down and turn to violence without strong state structures in place. Given its virile army and its financial and diplomatic support from the United States, Israel seems, at least to some, like the only reliable oasis of calm in the region.

Benjamin Netanyahu is keen to play on these fears. In a Christmas video message to local Christians, he referred to Christians as “loyal citizens” and urged the youth to enlist, adding that the Forum would “grant protection to supporters of enlistment and to the conscripts themselves from threats and violence directed at them.”

Hana Suwayd, a Christian member of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, was among those who read the prime minister’s comments as endorsing the formation of Christian militias. “He is trying to sell this to Christians with the idea that Israel will arm and train you to defend yourself against your Muslim neighbors.”

Suwayd and others are only too aware where such scare tactics could lead, as illustrated by a notorious incident a decade ago in the village of Rama in the central Galilee. There, a knife fight in which a Druze youth was fatally stabbed by a Christian teenager led to a campaign of intimidation of the village’s Christian population, culminating in Druze soldiers firing an anti-tank missile at the local church.

Nazareth Center Stage

Palestinian leaders in Israel regard Netanyahu as the driving force behind the military enlistment campaign. It was on Easter 1999, during Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, that simmering sectarian tensions in Nazareth exploded into street fights between Christians and Muslims.

The conflict had been stoked by a series of cynical government interventions in the run-up to Pope John Paul II’s visit for the millennium. Netanyahu set up two ministerial committees to arbitrate in a dispute over control of a public square next to the city’s main holy site, the Basilica of the Annunciation. In an unprecedented decision, the government overruled the local municipality and backed the efforts of a group of Muslims to build a large mosque next to the Basilica. Planning permission was never granted, and the mosque was never built. But the initial government ruling ensured that sectarian strife mounted for many months, fueling tensions that have not entirely abated to this day.

The latest campaign to recruit Christians to the military is seen as an extension of Netanyahu’s earlier efforts. And again Nazareth, the effective capital of Palestinian citizens of Israel, has been thrust onto center stage. Home to the largest community of Christians in Israel, the city of 85,000 also has a two-thirds Muslim majority. Sectarian conflict here reverberates throughout the Palestinian minority.

The main political parties representing Palestinian citizens of Israel have staged protests in the city, including one in April at which youths dressed as soldiers and carried toy rifles. They declared the area a closed military zone, setting up barbed wire and a mock checkpoint. The “soldiers” then acted out a show in which they harassed other youths as a way to highlight what military service in the Occupied Territories entails. A pamphlet handed out to passersby warned that Israel wanted to achieve “the disintegration of the Palestinian national minority into warring sects.”

The Higher Follow-Up Committee, the main political body representing the Palestinian minority, has also called for a major rally against the enlistment drive on May 17. Other leaders have urged Christian youngsters publicly to burn their call-up papers.

In addition to the Forum for Christian Recruitment, Nadaf’s followers have established in Nazareth the first joint Christian-Jewish political movement, called Bnei Habrit, or Children of the Covenant. It is led by Bishara Shlayan, a former merchant navy captain, whose uncle, Ihab, is the Defense Ministry’s adviser on Christian issues. Ihab Shlayan initiated the October 2012 conference to encourage Christian Scouts to join the military.

The party’s public platform is so far largely restricted to encouraging Christian enlistment and supporting Israel as a Jewish state. It has also launched a plan to erect a 100-foot statue of Jesus — modeled on Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer — on the Mount of Precipice, overlooking the city. The tourism minister, Uzi Landau, is reported to have given the project his blessing. Shlayan says the statue will be a “symbol of love and peace.”

From the start Israeli officials have sought to make examples of any prominent opponents of the enlistment drive.

Leaders from the Christian community in Nazareth heavily criticized the government’s original recruitment conference and Nadaf’s participation after details emerged in late 2012. Abir Kopty, a former Nazareth councillor and prominent blogger, and ‘Azmi Hakim, then head of the Greek Orthodox council, the Orthodox community’s political leadership, were called soon afterward for interrogation by the Shinbet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service. They were accused of incitement to violence and told to sign statements promising not to refer to Nadaf by name again. In what appeared to be an attempt at further intimidation, they were required to provide a DNA sample — in violation of Israeli law, according to Adalah, a legal organization for the Palestinian minority.

Israel’s Palestinian Knesset members have also rounded on Nadaf and his supporters, accusing them of being collaborators. Miri Regev, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party and head of the Knesset’s interior committee, responded by calling the MKs “Trojan horses” and urged the police to investigate them for incitement against Nadaf. The MKs’ parliamentary immunity has so far scotched such efforts. But Hakim and the Greek Orthodox council are now facing a civil action for harassment and defamation from Nadaf, who is suing each for $170,000.

Other protests have also been treated with the “heavy hand” promised in 2013 by Netanyahu. Police broke up a silent protest against Christian enlistment held by students on the campus of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Three students were arrested.

And Ghassan Munayyir, a 44-year old political activist from the city of Lod in central Israel, was arrested in April after posting on Facebook photographs of Nadaf and other Palestinian Christians who met the finance minister, Yair Lapid, to discuss the introduction of a draft for Christians. Munayyir had commented: “For the sake of freedom of speech and transparency, the faces and names of the ‘honorable’ who appear in the following photos are the same ones who want to enlist your sons against your people. Remember this.” According to the police, these words constituted a “threat.” Munayyir was released to house arrest, but only after agreeing to the confiscation of his computer and phone.

Sowing Discord

At the same time that Netanyahu and Nadaf promote enlistment, a political ally of Netanyahu’s is pushing for the creation of a new Christian national identity, echoing the status already assigned to the Druze.

Yariv Levin, chairman of the ruling Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu faction, began by introducing a law, passed in February, that for the first time distinguishes between the rights of Palestinian Christians and Muslims. The measure is a minor one: It provides Christians with separate representation in the national employment advisory council. But it lays the foundations for a much grander scheme declared by Levin to create a Christian nationality, leaving the traditional “Arab” one to refer to Muslims only.

Levin makes no secret of his motives. In a February 14 interview with Haaretz, he said his legislative initiatives were meant to “connect us [the Jewish majority] and the Christians…. They’re our natural allies, a counterweight to the Muslims who want to destroy the country from within.”

Hanin Zu‘bi, a Palestinian MK, believes that the enlistment campaign is a sign of the Netanyahu government’s desperation: “It understands that our Palestinian identity has strengthened over the past decade and is doing everything it can to weaken us as a community. Netanyahu is effectively creating a loyalty test — serving in the army — that is required only of Christians. The implication is that Muslims are, by definition, disloyal.”

Providing additional help is a far-right youth group, Im Tirtzu. It is best known for waging a campaign of intimidation against “leftist trends” in schools and universities, working closely with senior Likud officials. It was involved, too, with the October 2012 recruitment conference and has been providing organizational and financial help to the Forum for Christian Recruitment ever since. Im Tirtzu is reticent about divulging its funding sources. But investigations by the Israeli media show that in 2008 and 2009 it received donations of over $100,000 from Christians United for Israel, a Christian Zionist organization led by US pastor John Hagee, a close ally of Netanyahu’s.

Despite the government’s aggressive promotion of the enlistment drive, the figures for new recruits are not terribly impresssive. According to the IDF, about 2,000 Christians reach the age of conscription each year. Currently, 150 are reported to be serving. The numbers volunteering since the launch of the enlistment campaign have risen marginally, from about 40 per year to around 50.

In another sign of the enlistment movement’s lack of a popular base, Shlayan’s new party avoided fielding candidates in Israel’s 2014 municipal elections, even in Nazareth.

Nonetheless, the success of Netanyahu’s enlistment campaign is probably not best measured in the number of new recruits it secures. His government in the late 1990s had no interest in upsetting the Vatican by building a mosque provocatively close to the Basilica of the Annunciation. Success could be gauged by the extent of the conflict the proposal generated, not the mosque’s realization.

And so it is with the draft of Christians. Netanyahu does not need many Christians to sign up for military service to sow discord, both between the various Christian denominations and more generally between the Christian and Muslim communities. And with the careful use of legislative changes, the government may think it can gradually prise apart Christians and Muslims, whether they approve or not.

Nazareth’s two recent divisive and closely run municipal elections serve as a warning of things to come. In the current climate, it was inevitable that the two main candidates would be seen by some of their followers as representing confessional rather than political identities: The long-time mayor, Ramiz Jaraysi, of the Communist-allied Democratic Front, is Christian, while his challenger, ‘Ali Salam, his former deputy who ran as an independent, is Muslim.

In the first election, in October 2013, Salam won by a handful of votes, a victory that was overturned a short time later after Jaraysi’s party demanded a recount. Jaraysi insisted on counting an envelope of postal ballots that had not been properly signed by election officials. Jaraysi’s win was secured by these votes, which — embarrassingly for him — were mostly from Nazareth’s volunteer soldiers, many of them probably Christian. As claims and counter-claims from both parties mounted, Israel’s supreme court ruled that a new election must be held.

That contest took place in March, and Salam won with a near two-thirds majority in an election in which sectarian sentiments came even more obviously to the fore. Salam has quickly tried to calm Christian concerns, including among his first decisions a declaration of March 25 — Annunciation Day — as a citywide holiday and the naming of a neighborhood as the “Virgin Mary Quarter.”

But as Nadim Nashif, director of Baladna, a youth movement in Haifa that is leading opposition to Christian enlistment, has observed, Salam’s actions are likely to be counterproductive, only reinforcing sectarian politics.

Most of the Palestinian leadership in Israel has interpreted the enlistment drive as primarily a renewed effort at divide and rule. Should Netanyahu succeed, he will have reversed the long-term commitment of Israel’s Christian and Muslim communities to unity. That would have damaging repercussions for the minority’s political institutions like the Higher Follow-Up Committee and its secular parties that cut across the sectarian divide.

‘Clash of Civilizations’

But there are signs that another, deeper goal may be motivating the government’s campaign to enlist Christian soldiers.

For many years Netanyahu and the Israeli right have cultivated ties to Christian Zionist movements in the US. The two sides have found mutual interests in an alliance. For Christian Zionists, Israel’s support is vital to realization of an “ingathering” of Jews to advance the supposed Biblical prophecy of the end of days and the return of the Messiah. For Israel, Christian Zionists have added lobbying clout in Washington and invested usefully in settlement projects in Jerusalem and other religious sites in the West Bank.

But surprisingly, until recently, Christian Zionists had had no visible involvement with or meaningful impact on the Christian Palestinian population in Israel.

Historically, Palestinian Christian leaders, far from adopting Zionist positions, have taken a prominent role in Palestinian national movements, whether through figures like George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or Azmi Bishara, who led the political campaign inside Israel to end its status as a Jewish state. Religious leaders, too, like Elias Chacour, the Greek Catholic archbishop of the Galilee, have had a profound effect on educating Christian communities abroad about the injustices perpetrated by Israel on the Palestinian minority. Books like his Blood Brothers or Anglican bishop Riyah Abu al-‘Assal’s Caught in Between became seminal texts for many pilgrims to the Holy Land.

Christians in Israel are also advocates for international campaigns against Israel, using their connections abroad, for example, to promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement now championed by some overseas churches. Israel has become increasingly unnerved by what it terms “delegitimization,” with some believing this effort could soon be the biggest threat facing Israel.

None of this history fits comfortably with the Manichean thinking of the Israeli right, which presents Israel as sitting on the fault line between a Judeo-Christian west and the barbarian hordes of the Islamic east. Or as Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, explained, a Jewish state should act as “a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.” Better for Netanyahu and the right if Palestinian opposition to Israel is limited to Islamic extremists.

In so far as is possible, the Israeli right may be hoping to reposition Palestinian Christians on Israel’s side of the divide, through a mixture of financial incentives, legislated privileges and mounting sectarian pressures derived from a presumed Muslim backlash. If such is the goal, then Christian Zionist movements in the US may be key allies, not least because of their deep pockets. Christian Zionists have been involved in supporting Israel for some time through organizations such as the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and evangelical broadcasters like GOD-TV. The latter network features Nasir Siddiki, a British preacher who converted to Christianity from Islam, and Benny Hinn, the Jaffa-born, Texas-based evangelist whose regular tours of the Holy Land enjoin participants to “experience Israel.”

But signs of involvement by US Christian Zionists in Nazareth and surrounding communities have also started to come to light. The first group of Palestinian Christian Zionists was recently established in the town of Kafr Yasif, near Acre. They are reported to have ordained a former Anglican priest as their bishop. Rumor has it that they are receiving overseas funds. There is the relationship between Im Tirtzu, Nadaf’s Forum and John Hagee. And Nazareth, after decades of central government opposition to establishing a university in the city, is now in line to be the home of a large branch campus of Texas A&M University, funded by donations raised by Hagee. This deal was dropped on Nazareth following behind-the-scenes negotiations involving President Shimon Peres and reportedly personally approved by Netanyahu. Local officials are not displeased, as the campus will bring an investment up to $100 million. The reality is, however, that the chief local beneficiaries will probably be Christian (as was the case with the massive injection of government funds in advance of the papal visit in 2000). Muslims in Nazareth may therefore resent the project.

It may be that Netanyahu hopes these financial ties will give incentive to some parts of the Palestinian Christian population, or its leaders, to move closer to support for Israel, along the lines of the Druze community. Universal backing from Palestinian Christians is unnecessary; noisy divisions within the community would be enough to underscore the Israeli right’s “clash of civilizations” thesis. With religious leaders like Nadaf at his side, Netanyahu can make a plausible case that brave Christians are speaking out while others are keeping a low profile for fear of retribution from the Muslim extremists among whom they live.

This argument, in the Israeli right’s thinking, could be an important weapon in weakening support among Christians overseas for BDS and other “delegitimization” campaigns. But along the way, such insinuations may intensify sectarian tensions between Palestinian Muslims and Christians to a breaking point. And that may be enough to ensure that Netanyahu’s clash of civilizations thesis becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.

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The GM Sector’s Contempt For Democracy: Don’t Be Fooled By The Propaganda

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Global Research and Countercurrents 6/5/2014 and Deccan Herald 9/5/2014

The majority of the British public who hold a view on genetically modified (GM) crops are against them (1). Yet the push to get them into the country and onto plates is in full swing. Strategically placed politicians like Secretary of State for Rural and Environmental Affairs Owen Paterson and scientists such as Professor Jim Dunwell and Sir David Baulcombe are conveying the message that GM food is both safe and necessary.


Although such politicians and scientists have links to the GM sector (2), which highlights serious conflicts of interest, certain news outlets report their views uncritically (3). And it doesn’t help matters that part of the pro-GM public relations assault on the British public is also being facilitated under the guise of ‘objectivity’ by the Science Media Centre (SMC). As with politicians and scientists who give the impression of being independent, the SMC veneer of independence serves to mask where its real interests lie.


The PRWatch website provides some interesting details about the SMC. It was conceived in 2002 and enjoys close links with the British government. It is now based at the Wellcome Trust, one of the world's largest non-profit foundations. The Trust was founded on the fortune of American-born pharmaceutical magnate Sir Henry Wellcome, whose drug company has since evolved to become GlaxoSmithKline. The Wellcome Trust gives the SMC more than the five percent of annual income at which other institutional funding is capped.


PRWatch goes on to state that the SMC received 34 percent of its nearly £600,000 in funding from corporations and trade groups for the fiscal year that ended March 2013. These figures are based on information provided the SMC’s own website. Its current funders include BASF, Bayer, and Syngenta, three of the world's biggest pesticide and GMO corporations, as well as a number of agrichemical trade groups likeCropLife International.


Given these powerful backers, should we be surprised that the SMC spearheaded attacks on French scientist Gilles-Éric Séralini in 2012 after his research team found serious health problems in rats fed Roundup Ready Monsanto GM corn, as well as in rats fed low doses of the herbicide Roundup itself without the GMO corn (4)? His findings struck at the heart of the GM sector.


According to PRWatch, the SMC fed journalists quotes from other scientists attacking the study. Its director Fiona Fox told Times Higher Education that she was proud that SMC's emphatic thumbs down had largely been acknowledged throughout UK newsrooms. A PR job well done! The publishing journal eventually retracted the study, and a Reuters article on the retraction used two quotes from an SMC ‘expert reaction.’


Later, however, over 150 scientists sent a letter to the journal calling the retraction an "attack on scientific integrity."


According to Connie St. Louis, the president of the Association of British Science Writers, since the SMC's opening in 2002, the SMC


"… has cast biased press briefings such as one on GMOs, funded by Monsanto and invited unwitting and time-starved journalists… The quality of science reporting and the integrity of information available to the public have both suffered, distorting the ability of the public to make decisions about risk. The result is a diet of unbalanced cheerleading and the production of science information as entertainment." (5)

Sociologist David Miller, co-founder of Public Interest Investigations/Spinwatch and editor of Powerbase, says:

“The problem is that SMC pretends it's promoting the best science, but in fact it promotes a certain kind of science; those kinds of science that corporations and governments stand by in the area of science policy and want to see developed in terms of markets, like cloning, GMOs and to some extent pharmaceuticals as well. These are areas where there's a huge amount of potential profit to be made. Once it steps from supporting science to supporting science policy, SMC becomes political, even though it pretends not to be." (6)

Claire Robinson, co-editor of GMWatch has called the SMC


"Extremely dangerous because it manages to convince the public and the mainstream media that it is an independent voice of science, whereas actually it is a small selection of industry-friendly scientists who are hand-picked." (6)


Jack Heinemann from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand noted that various SMCs in different countries do not publish conflicts of interest, listing scientists' public university positions but not their industry ties. For example, an SMC criticism of a peer-reviewed study he published quoted Professor Peter Langridge, a University of Melbourne senior lecturer in food technology and microbiology. It did not note what local newspaper The Press later found out: that his research centre receives significant funding from global GM product developer DuPont, amounting to between A$3 million (NZ$3.66 million) and A$5 million a year. (6)

Heinemann goes on to state that scientists know they have conflicts of interest when they receive large monetary gifts or research contracts from developing technology or have an entrepreneurial stake in technology. He said that if various SMCs can’t find scientists who don't have conflicts of interest, what is their point, apart from being some kind of propaganda channel?

Through the SMC, the Agricultural Biotechnology Council and strategically placed scientists or officials whose pro-GM comments fly in the face of research findings (like those of Owen Paterson and Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Advisor of the European Commission (7)), the GM sector is attempting to control ‘news’ by attempting to confuse commercial self-interest with scientific fact in the minds of the population and to distort the nature of scientific discourse in the both public and academic realms.

Colonising strategic sectors by setting up seemingly ‘neutral’ institutions or funding existing bodies and co-opting figures to do the bidding of powerful corporations is a well-worn strategy used to achieve cultural hegemony and secure material outcomes. This has been true within the area of agriculture (8,9) and throughout all other areas of society too (10).

While mouthing platitudes about democracy and democratic institutions, this type of corporate colonisation demonstrates a sneering contempt for democracy and by implication for ordinary people.

Don’t be fooled - be informed and take action:


Notes


1)      http://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/02/21/many-britain-remain-sceptical-gm-foods/

6)      http://www.prwatch.org/news/2014/04/12442/science-media-centre-spins-pro-gmo-line




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The “Uganda Plan” Revisted? US Congressional Candidate Proposes ‘New Israel’ in Southeast Texas

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News- A congressional candidate named Allan Levene is proposing a solution to Israel’s problem with the Palestinians (since 1948) by creating a second ‘Israeli’ state in Eastern Texas. Yes, you read this right. Eastern Texas. According to the Times of Israel, Mr. Levene’s idea would only work if “eminent domain” is established by the US government and if Israel withdraws to it pre-1967 borders. That would set the stage for a ‘New Israel’ within the United States:

The idea, briefly, is to take (through eminent domain) roughly 8,000 square miles of sparsely populated land bordering the Gulf of Mexico and give it to Israel as a second, non-contiguous part of the State of Israel. Israel would get the land only if it agrees to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders

I would be curious to see how Texans would react to a Jewish homeland in East Texas. Besides one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States is located in San Antonio, Texas called ‘Christians United for Israel (CUFI)’ who wish to educate Christians on why they should support the State of Israel:

While millions of Christians support Israel, there are millions more who do not yet vocally stand up for the Jewish state. It is crucial to educate Christians on the Biblical and moral imperatives to support Israel and to build Christian support for Israel throughout America

If Levene’s plan follows through if he is elected to congress, Will Texans still support a state of Israel in their own backyard? But Levene says “everybody wins” if the US government agrees to partition the state of Texas:

Israel wins because it would gain a new, peaceful territory far from the strife of the Middle East, in a place where, as Levene suggests, “the climate is similar,” and Israel could “have access to the Gulf of Mexico for international trade.” The U.S. wins because it would no longer need to send Israel billions of dollars a year in foreign aid. Texas wins because of all the construction jobs from building an entirely new state within its borders. The Palestinians win because they get the West Bank, and because now Israel, too, gets to see just how fun it is to have a non-contiguous state. Everybody wins!

The father of modern-political Zionism and the founder of the State of Israel, Thomas Hertzl considered a number of locations including Uganda, Argentina and even Alaska to form a Zionist state of Israel. The Times of Israel also stated:

And, in fact, it’s an idea with plenty of precedent. Theodor Herzl temporarily embraced a British proposal to establish a Jewish homeland in Uganda (though the backlash against the idea almost destroyed the Zionist movement). And in 1938-40, various plans were floated to settle European Jewish refugees in the Alaska territories – a notion that later inspired Michael Chabon’s novel, “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.”

This idea of a Jewish State besides one based in Palestine is not new. An interesting event took place in Basel, Switzerland on August 26th, 1903. Before the British government offered the country of Palestine to the Zionist political movement in 1948, a country in Africa called Uganda was on the list of possible future Jewish settlements known as the “Uganda Plan”. Before Palestine was turned into the state of Israel, Uganda was seen as a possible home for the Jewish people who were persecuted in Russia. They were subject to anti-Jewish sentiments among the Russian population. Other areas in the world were also considered for a Jewish homeland including Patagonia in Southern part of Argentina. In Joseph Telushkin’s ‘Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know about the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History’ stated a historical fact that “Britain stepped into the picture, offering Herzl land in the largely undeveloped area of Uganda (today, it would be considered an area of Kenya).” The proposal was controversial to the Jewish community. The idea was rejected at the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905. It is interesting to note that a small number of Jewish families did immigrate to Kenya before and after World War II, mostly in the capital of Nairobi. Today, there are a few hundred Kenyan Jews living in Nairobi.

It is hard to imagine the state of Israel in Africa. Besides, racism in Israel is comparable to Apartheid South Africa in the 1960’s. With Ethiopian Black Jews living in Israel facing unprecedented levels of racism including the forced massed sterilizations on Ethiopian women according to a report conducted by Haaretz in 2012 reported that “Women who immigrated from Ethiopia eight years ago say they were told they would not be allowed into Israel unless they agreed to be injected with the long-acting birth control drug Depo Provera, according to an investigative report aired Saturday on the Israel Educational Television program “Vacuum.” According to IRIN, a humanitarian news and analysis service launched by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 2012, racism against Ethiopian Jews in Israel does exist:

An estimated 125,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, but while they are supposed to be full citizens with equal rights, their community has continued to face widespread discrimination and socio-economic difficulties, according to its leaders. A recent decision – as reported by local media – by 120 homeowners not to sell or rent their apartments to Israeli-Ethiopian families has brought discrimination against Ethiopian Jews in Israel back into the spotlight. 

Hundreds of Ethiopian Israelis took to the streets on 18 January to protest the move by landlords in the southern city of Kiryat Malakhi – Shay Sium’s hometown.

It is an interesting part of history that forces to ask the question: What if Israel did make Uganda, a country in Eastern-Africa their home? If the Palestinians, Ethiopian and Sephardic Jews suffer from racism in modern-day Israel, imagine if Uganda was turned into a Jewish homeland? Would it have been another Palestine? “Shall we choose Palestine or Argentina? Thomas Hertzl wrote.  Argentina? That would have been interesting, but Eastern Texas as the ‘New Israel’? Would Texan’s then be the new Palestinians?  Creating a state through “eminent domain” would treat the citizens of Texas as such.  And it sure won’t be a good start to diplomatic relations.  What is interesting about Allan Levene is that he is running for a congressional seat in two states, Hawaii and Georgia under the Republican Party, but not in the state of Texas. Another very interesting note on Levene’s candidacy is that “He also wants to put conspiracy theories to rest by investigating national catastrophes with not one, not two, but three separate commissions.” I actually agree with his idea for new commissions, perhaps a new “911 commission?” Allan Levene’s proposal would not happen anytime soon, even if he is elected. But the real question we should ask is, would Washington and Brussels consider creating a ‘New Israel’ in Eastern Texas if a war were to take place in the Middle East resulting in the destruction of several countries including Israel?  It does raise a serious debate.

War, Economic Catastrophe and Environmental Degradation. Under the Guise of Progress and Development

Global Research and Countercurrents 27/4/2014
Indian finance minister P.Chidambaram once claimed that his government’s policies were pro growth and pro equity (1). He talked of alleviating poverty in India‘in our lifetime’ by implementing the type of development policies currently being pursued. The minister envisages 85 percent of India’s population eventually living in well-planned cities with proper access to water, health, electricity, education, etc. Based on today’s population size, which is set to continue to rise, that would mean at least 600 million moving to cities. He stated that urbanisation constitutes ‘natural progress’.
The type of urbanisation being pursued in India is not ‘natural’, however, nor does it represent ‘progress’. It has thus far been largely based on unconstitutional land takeovers, the trampling of democratic rights, increasing and unsustainable resource usage and air and water pollution. But for Chidambaram and other supporters of cronyism, cartels and the manipulation of markets (2,3,4), which all go under the guise of economic ‘neo-liberalism’, such processes increase the amount of money flowing around the economy, which therefore increases the GDP figure and thus represent progress. In this respect, chopping down an ancient forest and selling the timber represents progress, and removing people’s access to traditional lands by handing them to corporations to somehow make cash profits from is also positive.
This warped notion of development has seen the poverty alleviation rate in India remain around the same as it was back in 1991 or even in pre-independence India (0.8 percent) (5), while the ratio between the top and bottom ten percents of the population has doubled during this period. According to the Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development, this doubling of income inequality has made India one of the worst performers in the category of emerging economies (6).
This is the type of development being forced through by Indian politicians on behalf of national and international elite interests via the World Bank, WTO, and the G8, etc, and it is based on the idea that shifting people from agriculture to what are a number of already overburdened, filthy, polluted mega-cities to work in factories, clean the floors of a shopping mall or work as a security guard improves the human condition; or, more realistically, to live in slum-like conditions and be unemployed or underemployed, given that hundreds of millions are to be booted from the land to achieve Chidambaram’s 85 percent urbanisation figure.
Urbanisation is being forced through by what Vandana Shiva says is the biggest forced removal of people from their lands in history and involves one of the biggest illegal land grabs since Columbus, according to a 2009 report commissioned by the rural development ministry and chaired by the then minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.
In the West, urbanisation was not ‘natural’ and involved the unforeseen outcomes of conflicts and struggles between serfs, lords, peasants, landowners, the emerging bourgousie and class of industrialists and the state. The outcomes of these struggles resulted in different routes to modernity and levels of urbanisation (7,8).
Similar struggles are now taking place in India. The naxalites and Maoists in India are referred to by the dominant class as left wing extremists who are exploiting the poor. How easy it is cast legitimate protesters together and create an ‘enemy within’. How easy it is to ignore the state-corporate extremism across the world that results in the central state abdicating its responsibilities by submitting to the tenets of the Wall Street-backed ‘structural adjustment’ pro-privatisation policies, free capital flows, massive profits justified on the basis of ‘investment risk’ and unaccountable cartels which aim to maximise profit by beating down labour costs and grabbing resources at the cheapest possible costs. That’s the real nature of extremism. It is the type of extremism that is regarded as anything but by the mainstream media.
Powerful corporations are spearheading the agenda for ‘development’ in India and have been handed the rights to this process via secretive Memorandums of Understanding. The full military backing of the state is on hand to forcibly evict peoples from their land in order to fuel a wholly unsustainable model of development that strips the environment bare and ultimately negatively impacts the climate and ecology.
Moreover, due to the restructuring of agriculture in favour of Western agribusiness, over 250,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997. And yet the corporate-controlled type of agriculture being imposed only leads to bad food, bad soil, bad or no water, bad health and bad or falling yields (9,10,11,12). Unconstitutional land grabs for SEZs, resource extraction, nuclear plants and other projects have additionally forced many others from the land.
With GDP growth slowing and automation replacing human labour the world over in order to decrease labour costs and boost profit, just where are the jobs going to come from to cater for India’s increasing population, never mind hundreds of millions of former agricultural workers?
To push through the type of progress and development Chidambaram wants, it is clear that farmers represent a ‘problem’ to be removed from the land and a problem to be dealt with once removed. Food producers, the genuine wealth producers of a nation, only became a problem when Western agribusiness was given the green light to take power away from farmers and uproot traditional agriculture in India and recast it in its own profiteering, corporate-controlled image. This is who is really setting the ‘development’ agenda. The processes involved constitute the ‘progress’ and ‘natural’ move towards depopulating rural areas that Chidambaram spoke of.
If it can’t be done via mass suicide and making it economically non-viable to continue farming as a result of world trade policies, ‘free’ trade agreements and ‘structurally adjusting’ (plundering) traditional agricultural practices and economies to ultimately ensure petro-chemical farming (and thus oil and the US dollar (13) remains king, let tens of thousands of militia into the tribal areas to displace hundreds of thousands, place 50,000 in camps and carry out rapes and various human rights abuses (14,15).
If anyone perceives that this ‘natural progress’ is not based on acquiescing to foreign corporations, they should take a look at the current corporate-driven, undemocratic free trade agreement being hammered out behind closed doors between the EU and India (16,17,18).It all adds up to powerful trans-national corporations trying to by-pass legislation that was implemented to safeguard the public’s rights. Kavaljit Singh of the Madhyam research institute argues that we could see the Indian government being sued by multinational companies for billions of dollars in private arbitration panels outside of Indian courts if national laws, policies, court decisions or other actions are perceived to interfere with their investments; this is already a reality in many parts of the world whereby legislation is shelved due to even the threat of legal action by corporations (19). Such free trade agreements cement the corporate ability to raid taxpayers’ coffers even further via unaccountable legal tribunals, or to wholly dictate national policies and legislation.
Of course, the links between the Monsanto/Syngenta/Walmart-backed Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture and the US sanctioning and backing of the opening up of India’s nuclear sector to foreign interests (on the back of a cash for votes scandal in parliament (20)) have already shown what the models of ‘development’ being pushed onto people really entails in terms of the erosion of democracy and the powerful corporate interests that really benefit (21,22).
Industrial developments built with public money and strategic assets, such as energy sources, ports, airports and seeds and infrastructure support for agriculture are being sold off. And how is this all justified? By the amount of cash sloshing around the formal economy (notwithstanding the massive amounts of money being siphoned off via corrupt deals and hidden from public gaze) and the reference to GDP growth – a single, warped, narrow definition of ‘development’ – a notion of development hijacked by economists and their secular theology which masquerades as economic ‘science’.
Do people really believe India’s future lies in tying itself to a corrupt, moribund system that has so patently failed in the West and can now only sustain itself by plundering other countries via war or ‘free trade’ agreements, which have little if anything to do with free trade? At best, it shows a lack of foresight. At worst, it displays complete subservience to elite interests at home and abroad.
Finally, if anyone perceives the type of ‘development for all’ being sold to the masses is actually possible in the first instance, they should note that ‘developing’ nations account for more than 80 percent of world population, but consume only about a third of the world’s energy. US citizens constitute 5 percent of the world’s population, but consume 24 percent of the world’s energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as two Japanese, six Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians and 370 Ethiopians (23).
The Earth is 4.6 billion years old and if you scale this to 46 years then humans have been here for just four hours. The Industrial Revolution began just one minute ago, and in that time, 50% of the Earth’s forests have been destroyed (24). Forests are just part of the problem. We are using up oil, water and other resources much faster than they can ever be regenerated. We have also poisoned the rivers, destroyed natural habitats, driven some wildlife species to extinction and altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere – among many other things.
Levels of consumption were unsustainable, long before India and other countries began striving to emulate Western levels and high energy use. The current model of development is based on a totally misguided dream; or, to put it another way, a deceitful ideology that attempts to justify and sell a system that is designed to fail the majority of the global population and benefit the relative few (25).
Capitalism has for a long time succeeded in making most people blind to the chains that bind and which make them immune to the falsehoods that underpin the system. This wasteful, high-energy system is tied to what ultimately constitutes the plundering of peoples and the planet by powerful transnational corporations. And, as we see all around us, the outcome is endless conflicts over fewer and fewer resources. Such conflicts are likely to gather pace as wars are not only fought to grab resources, but are also manufactured in order to destroy states from within by fomenting civil wars and thus destabilize economies and reduce demand for resources (26). The outcome is also environmental destruction and an elitist agenda being forwarded by rich eugenicists who voice concerns over there being ‘simply too many mouths’: those mouths would only take food from their rich bellies – bellies that long ago became bloated from the fat of the land, lucrative wars and the misery brought about by economic exploitation. The super rich who currently run the world regard most of humanity as a problem to be ‘dealt with’ (27).
Finally, it is worth considering that the US as a nation and its oligarchs in particular achieved the level of affluence that they did more by way of ‘gansterism’, not by ‘freedom and democracy’ or ‘free market’ economics as that nation’s leaders like to tell the world. That much was admitted by the late Major General Smedley Butler, the US’s most decorated marine: he listed various corporations on whose behalf he fought for during his various military campaigns (28). Of course, little has changed since Smedley wrote about his experiences in 1935.
Maybe Smedley’s description of this aspect of the US’s route to ‘development’ are what certain Indian politicians really respect, as the strong (and soft) arm of the state works to secure access to the nations resources for powerful corporations.
Notes
7) Robert Brenner (1976), “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe”.Past and Present 70
8) Barrington Moore (1993) [First published 1966]. Social origins of dictatorship and democracy: lord and peasant in the making of the modern world (with a new foreword by Edward Friedman and James C. Scott ed.). Boston: Beacon Press.

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Global Research 28/3/2014

The British government appears hell bent on ramming the GM biotech sector’s poison done the throats of the British people. Food and Farming Secretary Owen Paterson has been called a puppet of the sector and is either ignorant of or is wholly misrepresenting the efficacy and health impacts of GMOs (1), while Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Advisor of the European Commission, has been accused of presenting lies as facts over the GM issue (2).

Now the British government’s Chief Scientist, Mark Walport, has insisted that EU rules banning the commercial cultivation of GM crops have to be changed to feed the world:


“We take it for granted that because shelves in supermarkets are heaving with food there is no problem. But we have limited agricultural land around the world and in the UK.
Climate disruption and population growth are increasing the pressures on food supply. The challenge is to get more from existing land in a sustainable way, or people will go unfed.”


In a recent letter to PM David Cameron, he said:


“We should have confidence in the scientific evidence which concludes that, when properly controlled, GM products are as safe as their conventional counterparts.”

Genetic scientist Jonathan Jones has weighed in by claiming:


“How anyone could think this is a bad thing boggles the mind. We need to better explain that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the GM method.”

Perhaps Paterson, Glover, Walport and Jones would like to turn their minds to a vast body of scientific evidence that serves to make their claims look ridiculous. If Walport places so much faith in scientific evidence, here is some for him to chew on.


GMOs and glyphosate, which is used in conjunction with many GM crops and in increasing quantities as more GM crops are planted (3,4), are associated with birth defects and infertility (5), autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s (6), celiac disease and gluten intolerance (7), Morgollons disease (8) and a wide range of other diseases (9,10).


In terms of solving hunger, his argument is flawed too: more traditional methods of producing food produce lead to greater results and are genuinely sustainable, unlike chemical-industrial agriculture and GMOs which are clearly not (11,12,13,14,15).


Predictably, however, much of the mounting evidence about the negative impacts of GMOs is dismissed by the GM sector as ‘bad science’ appearing in bogus (yet peer reviewed) publications, whereas the ‘independent’ studies that the sector’s mouthpieces choose to quote are carried out, funded or somehow supported by from the industry itself.


GMOs and the imperialist mindset


If Paterson et al really want to address hunger, they need look no further than the type of corporate-driven economic plunder being pursued under the guise of neo-liberalism (16) and the associated nature of the global system of food production and distribution (17), which by creating indebtedness and destroying food sovereignty is skewed to benefit rich nations and creates and sustains hunger and food poverty and unnecessary ‘population pressures’ in parts of the world.


Paterson et al may like to take a hard look at the imperialist policies being pursued by rich nations under the banner of ‘globalisation’ or ‘spreading democracy’ via militarism or ‘free’ trade if they or the corporations they are backing are keen to talk about feeding the world and a world of plenty for all. Those policies, whether applied to Ukraine(18), India(19) or imposed on ordinary people in the EU (20) or elsewhere are aimed at concentrating wealth and power in the hands of a corporate global oligarchy. The type of solution they propose for food poverty is the type of solution that springs from an engrained imperialist mindset, however unwitting that mindset may be. We already live in a world of plenty – appropriated from those who are denied it.


As if to underline that fact, many people in Britainare going hungry, one of the richest nations on the planet, not because of a lack of food, but because they are being impoverished as a result of the very policies outlined above (21). It’s a microcosm of what’s happening throughout the world.  


Such people (Walport, Paterson, etc) could spend their time more usefully by lobbying against such policies as opposed to lobbying for the corporations and the US state that fuel this system and which seek to profit from using tampered with food as a weapon to control food producers, food consumers and nation states.


New pro-GM ‘independent’ report


Walport and Jones’s statements came on the back of a report from a government advisory body released last week. It was presented as an ‘independent’ report in a bid to speed up the use of GM food in the UK, regardless of the fact that British people do not want it (22). However, according to the Mail Online (23), all five authors of the report have a vested interest in promoting GM crops. Little surprise then that they call for GM crops to be fast-tracked into Britain.


The academics who authored the report were selected by the Council for Science and Technology, the body that advises the British Prime Minister on science policy issues. According to Sean Poulter and Ben Spencer of the Mail Online, no information was given during the press conference about the report regarding the five scientists, beyond their names and the institutions they work for.


One is a consultant for Syngenta, which gives his academic department research funding. Syngenta is behind a GA21 GM maize or corn, which could go into farms as early as next spring, making it Britain’s first commercially grown GM crop. Another author works for the Sainsbury Laboratory, which is at the centre of Britain’s GM research. It is part-funded by Lord Sainsbury, who is one of the country’s biggest supporters of the technology. And another author was a founder member of CropGen, which describes its mission as "to make the case for GM crops and foods."


The study suggested GM crops could save the hungry in the developing world from starvation and create new plants resistant to disease and pests - similar to the usual PR that the GM sector spews out in its glossy brochures. The authors argued that current EU regulation should be re-drawn to allow the UKto go it alone and plant the crops, even if the rest of Europeobjects.


Claire Robinson of GM Watch has said:


"By no stretch of the imagination can these people be described as independent scientists. Their views should be treated with the same scepticism we would apply to any sales pitch."

Critics say the timing of the release of the study and a supporting letter from Mark Walport, are highly suspicious. The details were sent to PM David Cameron in November, but Walport and ministers delayed going public until now. Walport claimed that the regulations, which have so far kept commercial GM cultivation out of Britain, are not fit for purpose and need urgent changes.


Owen Paterson, who is little more than a mouthpiece for the GM sector, is trying to convince the EU to allow Britain to plant GM crops even if other states want a ban. The Mail Online says the publication of the supposedly independent study calling for exactly this policy is expected to prove useful in those negotiations.

Director of GM Freeze, Liz O’Neill, asserts:


"A group of scientists with financial interests in the success of GM wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in November, but waited four months to tell the press about it: just in time for EU discussions about regulation. Something certainly smells a bit fishy."

Dr Brian John, of the group GM Free Wales, said:


"This extraordinary report, published very conveniently to coincide with Owen Paterson’s attempts within the EU to dismantle GM regulations and to repatriate powers to the UK, is in turns naive, biased, disingenuous, cynical, and downright dangerous. We find it incredible that five senior scientists can have been so dismissive of the work of  scores of independent scientists who have discovered that GM organisms are directly and indirectly harmful to mammals and to  the environment. In the world of science there should be respect for those whose findings are 'inconvenient."


The Science Media Centre, which released the report, insisted the authors were independent. A spokesman said:


"They are not employed by government or industry, and each works for different publicly funded universities and research institutes. For better or worse, it’s not unusual any more for universities and institutions to get bits and pieces of funding from government, charities and industry – indeed many can only access public money on condition that they raise a proportion of their funds from commercial or private sources. This does not automatically undermine their independence."

One of the authors of the report by the, which advises the government, argued that the debate had been skewed by an anti-GM ‘neurosis’ which has slowed progress.


Soil Association chief executive Helen Browning argued:


"It’s really just not good enough for a group of scientists who have a strong interest, it seems, through their funding sources, in persuading a reluctant public to accept the growing of GM crops in the UK, to be the ones who attempt to write the rule book on how that should happen."

Does Britainor for that matter the world want to hand over its entire food sovereignty to USagribusiness, which wants to control the entire system of food production and distribution (24)? Recent events in Indiaindicate how GM sector puppets in high political office are narrowing our choice (25). People are already dying as a result of the chemicals being inserted into and sprayed onto their food. GMOs offer more of the same and also provide the opportunity for the USto hold virtually every country on the planet to ransom once its corporations own all food, from lab to seed to table.  


Notes




























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Evidence Shows Kiev Putschists Recruited Euromaiden Snipers

Evidence Shows Kiev Putschists Recruited Euromaidan Snipers

by Stephen Lendman

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet confirmed it. On February 25 , he and EU foreign policy Catherine Ashton spoke. 

They were monitored. They didn't know it at the time. Their discussion was leaked.

Paet talked to Ashton after returning from Kiev, he said. "At the time, (he) was already in Estonia," he added. 

On Wednesday, he held a press conference. He issued a statement saying Euromaidan killings demand an independent investigation.

Estonia's Foreign Ministry confirmed the leaked phone call's authenticity.

"We reject the claim that Paet was giving an assessment of the opposition's involvement in the violence," it stressed.

It's impossible reinterpreting what he meant. 

He only commented on what he heard in Kiev. He spilled the beans. Intentionally or not, he confirmed what's been independently believed all along.

Ukraine's legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed. He had nothing to do with Euromaidan killings. 

The operation was a classic false flag. It was staged to blame him. It's now exposed.

Cui bono matters most. Yanukovych's involvement had everything to lose and nothing to gain.

Catherine Ashton's spokesperson, Maja Kocijancic, was silent. "(W)e don't comment on leaked phone conversations," she said.

Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) officials loyal to Yanukovych reportedly hacked phones used by Paet and Ashton. They uploaded what they heard online.

Paet was heard saying "there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition."

"All the evidence shows" they were shooting at people from both sides. They targeted police and protesters. Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed.

Ashton was nonplussed. She was tongue-tied. She was caught red-handed. She's part of the dirty scheme to oust him.

She reacted saying: "Well, yeah...that's, that's terrible. I think we do want to investigate."

"I mean, I didn't pick that up. That's interesting. Gosh." Expect all-out efforts to bury the story. Whether it's possible remains to be seen.

Paet spoke to Kiev doctor Olga Bogomolets. She's a Bogomolets National Medical University professor. 

It's named after her great-grandfather Oleksandr. He founded and served as its Institute of Dermatology and Cosmetology chief.

She said snipers shot protesters and police. Paet called Dr. Bogomolets' evidence "quite disturbing."

She showed him photos. They revealed "the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it's really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don't want to investigate what exactly happened," said Paet.

During weeks of protests, nearly 100 people were killed. Another 900 were injured.

US-linked Putschists were responsible. Perhaps CIA elements were involved. The game is as old as empire. Victims are blamed for perpetrator crimes.

Saddam was accused of having nonexistent WMDs. Gaddafi faced numerous false charges.

Assad repeatedly is blamed for US-supported death squad crimes. 

Media scoundrels regurgitate official lies. They're complicit in imperial lawlessness.

So-called British forensic expects wrongfully blamed Yanukovych for putschist-linked sniper killings.

They refused to reveal their identity. They claimed useful evidence obtained for future prosecutions, they said.

They called what happened politically sensitive. They were part of an elaborate false flag scheme. Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed.

Paet blamed putschists for cover-up. "They don't want to investigate what exactly happened," he said. 

They want it suppressed. Snipers were neo-Nazi hitmen. Yanukovych maintained his innocence.

He gave no orders to shoot, he stressed. He's wrongfully accused of mass murder. He's blamed for US-linked putschists' crimes.

This type information should making game-changing headlines. Expect all-out efforts to keep fingers pointed the wrong way.

Expect little said about Putin's 2014 Nobel Peace Prize nomination. Norwegian Nobel Institute director Geir Lundestad revealed it.

The International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation Among Nations of the World (IASUCANW) nominated him.

He's one of 278 candidates. They include 47 organizations. On Tuesday, Nobel Committee members met. They added their own proposals. 

They focused on recent global turmoil. According to Lundestad:

"Part of the purpose of the committee's first meeting is to take into account recent events, and committee members try to anticipate what could be the potential developments in political hotspots."

Other 2014 nominees include Pope Francis, Edward Snowden, Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, and Malala Yousafzai. 

She's perhaps the world's most famous teenager. She's called one of the world's 100 most influential people. In April 2013, Time magazine featured her on its cover.

She was nominated last year. She's a Pakistani blogger/activist for women's rights and education.

In October 2012, she boarded a school bus. Gunmen targeted her. She was shot in the left side of her forehead.

She was unconscious in critical condition. She survived. She remains threatened.

On October 10, this year's Peace Prize winner will be announced.

Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both are worthy. They collaborate for peace. 

They go all-out for it. They want conflicts resolved diplomatically. They persevere against long odds.

They persist tirelessly. They deserve recognition for their efforts.

Last October, IASUCANW President Georgiy Trapeznikov said its nominating "letter was sent to the Nobel Committee September 16 and it was received September 20."

"Vladimir Putin has proved his adherence to the cause of peace."

"We know very well what peacemaking role our president played in conflict regions, especially Beslan and South Ossetia."

He's very much involved in resolving Syria's conflict peacefully. He supports unity governance resolution in Ukraine the same way.

His press secretary Dmitry Pekov said:

"The primary criterion for the president is satisfaction from a job well done." He seeks no special recognition or awards.

State Duma MP Iosif Kobzon said Putin deserves this year's prize. He's polar opposite Obama.

"Barack Obama is the man who has initiated and approved the United States' aggressive actions in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Kobzon.

He bears full responsibility for Libya, numerous proxy wars and Ukraine violence.

Nobel Committee members deplore peace. They represent powerful monied interests.

They believe war is peace. It shows in their annual selections.

Past winners included Henry Kissinger, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, FW de Klerk, Al Gore, Kofi Annan, and four US warrior presidents.

Announcing Obama's award, Committee members said:

It reflects his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

He's "work(ed) for a world without nuclear weapons."

He "created a new climate in international politics."

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future."

Throughout his tenure, he waged war on humanity. He has new targets in mind. He wants unchallenged global dominance.

He stops at nothing to get it. Putin is polar opposite. He supports peace and stability.

He champions multi-polar world cooperation. He deserves recognition for his efforts. So does Lavrov for his dedicated collaboration.

Expect malicious Russia bashing to deny them. Warriors win peace prizes. Peacemakers are spurned.

Putin opposes imperial lawlessness. He won't rollover for America. Doing the right thing tarnishes him.

He's public enemy number one. Being on the right side of history has a price. Waging war on humanity is rewarded.

A Final Comment: NATO Saber-Rattling

The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is NATO' "principle political decision-making body." On March 4, it met. It did so at Poland's request. It did it under the North Atlantic Treaty's Article 4.

It calls for members to "consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any" is threatened.

Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members, an attack against all. It calls for collective self-defense.

No threat whatever exists. Ukraine isn't a NATO member. Not yet at least. 

Its statement said "Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to violate its international commitments."

"These developments present serious implications for the security and stability of the Euro...Atlantic area."

"Allies stand together in the spirit of strong solidarity in this grave crisis."

"We undertake to pursue and intensify our rigorous and on-going assessment of the implications of this crisis for Alliance security, in close coordination and consultation."

"We continue to support all constructive efforts for a peaceful solution to the current crisis in accordance with international law." 

"We welcome the ongoing efforts undertaken by the United Nations, the European Union, the OSCE and the Council of Europe."

"We will continue to consult with Ukraine within the NATO-Ukraine Commission."

"We will engage with Russia in the NATO-Russia Council. We will hold a meeting" Wednesday. What follows remains to be seen.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Remembering Shulamit Aloni

Remembering Shulamit Aloni

by Stephen Lendman

On January 24, longtime Israeli MK, minister, human/civil/women's rights champion, and outspoken critic of Israeli apartheid passed. She was 86.

Her roots were Polish. Her parents were rabbinical family descendants. She was born in Tel Aviv. 

She was a prominent peace advocate. She opposed occupation harshness. She championed Palestinian rights.

As a youth, she was a socialist Zionist Hashomer Hatzair (Youth Group) member. During the British Mandate period, she was a Palmach brigade member. 

Its mandate was much more than military. It contributed significantly to Israeli culture, values, character and spirit.

After Israel was established, she worked with child refugees. She helped establish a school for immigrant children. She studied law. She taught. She wrote. She spoke out forthrightly.

She held various government posts. She was a longtime MK and Israeli minister. Her portfolios included Education and Culture, Communications and Science and the Arts.

In 1973, she founded the Movement for Civil Rights and Peace (Ratz party). She established the Israel Consumers Council.

She led the Meretz party. She advocated Israeli secularism. She believed religion has no place in politics.

During Israel's 1982 Lebanon war, she established the International Center for Peace in the Middle East.

Ahead of 1984 elections, she aligned with Peace Now and the Left Camp of Israel. She advocated electoral reform. 

She argued for establishing a constitution. Israel has none. Basic laws substitute. They fall way short of what's needed.

She opposed student tours to Nazi concentration camps. She said conducting them helps make Israel a warrior nation. It turns youths into aggressive, nationalistic xenophobes.

She was a Yesh Din board member. It defends Palestinian civil and human rights. It exposes Israeli abuses. It champions long denied accountability.

She believed anti-semitism is misused. It's done to suppress legitimate Israeli criticism. She was outspoken to the end. 

She made fundamental rights her core issue. She was true to her values. She challenged Israel's establishment. 

She stood up against government officials, generals and extremist rabbis against peace, equity and justice. She was fearless. She was unflinching.

In 1985, she received the Kreisky Prize for Human Rights. In 1996, the International Academy of Humanism awarded her a Decoration of Honor. 

In 1998, she received a special lifetime Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award. In 2000, she was awarded the Israel Prize.

It's Israel's highest honor. Aloni won it for her lifetime achievements. It was for her contribution to Israeli society. 

She received honorary doctorates from Hebrew Union College, South Korea's Kon-Kon University, Brussels' Free University, and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

She taught courses at Ben-Gurion University, Tel Aviv University, Princeton University, and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliyyah.

She was often a voice in the wilderness. Israel is more ruthless today than ever.

In January 2007, she headlined "Yes, There is Apartheid in Israel," saying:

"Jewish self-righteousness is taken for granted among ourselves to such an extent that we fail to see what’s right in front of our eyes." 

"It's simply inconceivable that the ultimate victims, the Jews, can carry out evil deeds." 

"Nevertheless, the state of Israel practices its own, quite violent, form of Apartheid with the native Palestinian population."

It "practices a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies."

"Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention camp."

It turned Occupied Palestine into an open-air prison. "Indeed Apartheid does exist here. And our army is not 'the most moral (one) in the world' as we are told..."

Apartheid is "an international crime," she said. Israel "rob(s) (Palestinians) of their freedom, land and water."

"We apply collective punishment to millions of people" and much more.

After Operation Cast Lead (December 2008 - January 2009), she said the disgraced IDF is no longer Israel's Defense Forces.

She keynoted "A Gathering to Protest and to Mourn" Association for Jaffa Arabs program. Standing room only heard her.

She pulled no punches calling the IDF a "brutal and hedonistic army of conquest."

She called Gaza "a giant detention camp...with no way in or out."

"The (Israeli) public unashamedly celebrates the killing and the destruction. They rejoice that we have a large, strong army, but meanwhile Israel has abandoned its values..."

On her 81st birthday, she discussed the condition of the State of Israel. "What we do in (Gaza) and the West Bank is worse than all pogroms done to Jews," she said.

"It's hard for me to say a kind word about the state today. We are in great distress morally and socially, as well as in the realms of politics and law."

"The Right has two left hands. The Left doesn't exist...Since 2000, with the launching of the Second Intifada, we have murdered thousands. We have blood on our hands."

She denounced extremist settler violence and vandalism. "We are a nefarious people," she said.

At age 80, she published "Israel: Democracy or Ethnocracy?" She minced no words criticizing her homeland, saying:

"The state is returning to the ghetto, to Orthodox Judaism, and the rule of the fundamentalist rabbinate is becoming more profound."

In 1994, after Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslims at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, she forthrightly denounced settler violence.

She was a pioneer peace, equity and justice champion. On Friday, allies and opponents praised her. They called her "a moral compass," "a special breed," "an inspiration for all women."

Eighty-eight-year-old former right wing Israeli MK Guelah Cohen said:

"It was impossible not to admire such a combative woman who fought for what she believed in and was prepared to pay the price."

Former Ratz/Meretz MK/minister Yossi Sarid called her "a phenomenon." She feared "absolutely nothing."

"She wanted to change the national and social agenda, and she did so on her own by virtue of her own capabilities, and attained great and unparalleled achievements."

Current Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On called her "trailblazing." She inspires Israeli human rights activists.

"She transformed Israel into a better place to live and never stopped fighting for the values she believed in with which she will forever be associated: peace, absolute equality irrespective of religion, gender and race."

Labor party leader Issac Herzog said she set an example for others. She "instigated significant change in Israeli public discourse."

She "broke down walls that protected antiquated ways of thinking. (A)s a nation, we must respect her. She will be remembered as a courageous fighter for peace, coexistence and minority rights."

Haaretz editors said "Farewell to one of Israel's true fighters on the left." With her death, "one can only hope (Meretz leader) Zahava Gal-On remains true to her opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu's government."

She uncompromisingly supported right over wrong. "(S)he was an undaunted fighter for human and civil rights as well as equality for women, while opposing religious coercion, the occupation and the settlements."

She warned about Israel on a "slippery slope of religious fascism, war crimes, and the silencing of freedom of expression."

Her ideals are more important today than ever. Netanyahu and Knesset extremists "turn(ed) Israel into an isolated fortress, repressing its citizens and threatened by international boycotts."

Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy called her Israel's "first lady." She became a legend in her own time. "(N)o one disputed her honesty, determination or courage."

"She invented Israeli enlightenment." She inspired others to follow her example. She was "a warrior for justice."

"Most of her dreams did not come true. Israel became a worse place - racist, ultranationalistic, occupying, theocratic and bullying."

It's polar opposite what she stood for. "Was she ahead of her time," asked Levy? "Absolutely not. She came at exactly the right time." She's gone too soon. It's when she's most needed.

She was humble. She was one of the least egoistical politicians of her time. She cared only about issues mattering most.

Peace Now mourned her passing. "The pillar of fire has been extinguished," it said.

She was "synonymous with the struggle for peace, security, equality and social justice." She wrote books on civil, women's and children's rights.

She was "a teacher and leading legal and ethical expert on these issues. She was a leading feminist and a courageous liberal voice of progressive values."

She died peacefully at her Tel Aviv District Kfar Shmaryahu home. Family members were with her. 

Cause of death wasn't disclosed. One of her sons attributed it to old age. On Sunday she was laid to rest. An era passed with her.

Her friends called her Shula. She's survived by three sons, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

Her books include The Citizen and His Country; Children's Rights in Israel; and Women as Human Beings among others.

She remained a human rights champion to the end. She's sorely missed. She leaves a huge void to fill. Hopefully others are up to the task.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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