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Street Protests Erupt as Spain Accused of Stomping on Democracy in Catalonia

Protests erupted in Catalan cities as well as Madrid on Wednesday after Spanish authorities ramped up their efforts to thwart the northeastern region's upcoming...

The Paradox of Cyclical Ingenuity and Virtual Democracy

In Hellenic times, theatre was regarded as the institution that held all other institutions up to public examination and scrutiny. Its’ function was to...

The Decline From Democracy to Tyranny

The decline from democracy to tyranny is both a natural and inevitable one. That’s not a pleasant thought to have to consider, but it’s a...
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Video: Deerhoof: Live in the Democracy Now! Studio

https://democracynow.org - The critically acclaimed independent rock band Deerhoof stops by the Democracy Now! studio to perform five songs and talk about ... Via Youtube

Texas Is Flooded Because Our Democracy Is, Too

“It’s flooding down in Texas,” goes the old song. “All of the telephone lines are down.” With apologies to Stevie Ray Vaughan, there’s a lot...
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Video: Hard Pressed: Swedish media label government critics as ‘threat to democracy’

Sweden is usually considered a beacon of media freedom worldwide. However, growing numbers of disturbing cases are coming out which appear to put that...

Is British democracy broken? Election monitors issue damning verdict on 2017 vote

British democracy needs a dramatic overhaul following this year’s “hold your nose” general election that...

To Combat Trump's Attacks on Democracy, We Must Understand Precedents Set by Obama

President Barack Obama speaks at Prince George's Community College on March 15th, 2012. (Photo: Daniel Borman / Flickr) Seven months into the Trump presidency, many...

Governors Are Stiffing Workers — and Democracy

The governors of many states are boldly stepping forward these days to stop grassroots democracy. Yes, noting that local citizens and officials have been passing...
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Video: Las Cafeteras in Conversation & Performance on Democracy Now!

https://democracynow.org - The Los Angeles-based Chicano band Las Cafeteras recently stopped by the Democracy Now! studio to perform and talk about their ... Via Youtube

Venezuela Elections: Resurgent Chavismo and “Unrecognised” Democracy

Voting queues in the Caracas Poliedro, where residents from the neighbourhoods in Eastern Caracas that have been plagued by violent opposition protests voted (photo...

Blocking Tony Blair’s prosecution for Iraq War ‘an attack on democracy’

The High Court’s refusal to prosecute Tony Blair over the war he launched in Iraq...

A Despot in Disguise: One Man's Mission to Rip Up Democracy

Complete freedom for billionaires means poverty, insecurity, pollution and collapsing public services for everyone else. Because we will not vote for this, it can...

Protests in Poland as Right-Wing Ruling Party Dismantles Democracy

Tens of thousands poured into the streets in Poland Thursday night, condemning proposed laws that would dramatically weaken the nation's judicial system, just two...

Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy

A dominant issue at the Green Party 2017 Annual National Meeting was inclusion of and leadership by oppressed communities. The Green Party began as...

Outrage Mounts as Saudi Arabia Plans Imminent Executions for 14 Accused Pro-Democracy Protesters

As President Trump vows not to let human rights concerns interfere with US relations with Saudi Arabia, the country is set to execute 14...
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Video: Outrage Mounts as Saudi Arabia Plans Imminent Executions for 14 Accused Pro-Democracy Protesters

https://democracynow.org - As President Trump vows not to let human rights concerns interfere with U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, the country is set to...

Undermine American Democracy?

Scott Hamann’s anti-Trump rant, I believe, reveals not only his own beliefs and feelings but also those of many other people. I believe that...
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Video: A Further Blow to Democracy in Brazil? Glenn Greenwald on Conviction of Lula...

https://democracynow.org - Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to nine-and-a-half ... Via Youtube
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Video: Former FCC Commissioner on How Greater Media Consolidation is a Threat to Democracy...

https://democracynow.org - As the Trump administration weighs the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger, we talk about the risks of greater media consolidation ... Via Youtube

Tillerson honors ‘victims & defenders of Turkish democracy’ during failed coup attempt

The US Secretary of State has lauded the courage of the Turkish people who defended their...

On Direct Democracy and Demarchy

The following is an interview by Jana Turk (from Moniheli) to Pedro Aibéo, on Direct Democracy, Demarchy, political activism and Architectural Democracy. ***** Jana Turk: in your opinion,...
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Video: Srecko Horvat on “Democracy in Europe Movement” & Uniting Leftists Against Failed Policies...

https://democracynow.org - As President Donald Trump meets with world leaders at the G20 in Hamburg, Germany, European activists held a G20 alternative ... Via Youtube

Democracy Dies in Darkness

So says the banner of the Washington Post.  Democracy also dies when the people are fed lies and nonsense; then again, democracy dies when...

American Judge Says "Democracy Is Broken” as Court Declines to Oversee Drone Killing

A senior judge has today described American democracy as "broken" and Congressional oversight a "joke" in failing to check the US drone killing program. In...
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Video: Mexican Singer Lila Downs in Conversation & Performance on Democracy Now!

https://democracynow.org - One of Mexico's most acclaimed singer-songwriters, Lila Downs recently stopped by the Democracy Now! studio to perform four new ... Via Youtube
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Video: Russia interfered in US election in decades-long plan to ‘undermine American democracy’ –...

CIA chief Mike Pompeo claims Russian meddling in the US presidential elections was part of a decades-long effort to “undermine American democracy.” Russia ... Via...
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Video: Full Extended Interview: Arundhati Roy on Democracy Now!

https://democracynow.org - Extended interview with Indian writer Arundhati Roy talking about her new novel "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness," Kashmir, ... Via Youtube

Two-Fisted Democracy Power Revisited

Slightly over a year ago I went on record claiming that America was an “endangering and endangered ruination” with ruinous domestic conditions and destructive...

Rev. William Barber: "Voter Suppression Hacked Our Democracy"

Although alleged Kremlin connections may ultimately sink Trump's Presidency, Rev. William Barber II contends that homegrown voter suppression poses a greater threat to US democracy...

From Pseudo-Democracy to Real Participation

Imagine a country run along truly democratic lines. In such a mythical land, what would be the role of the politician, and the nature...

Democracy As Reality TV

Coming to a bar near you: The Comey Show! Aka the Super Bowl of Washington or...

‘This Is the Only Way to Restore Democracy in Brazil’

Janine Jackson interviewed Maria Luisa Mendonça about Brazil’s presidential crisis for the June 2, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.       1. CounterSpin170602Mendonca -...
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Video: Painful Silence: State Dept stumped over why US criticizes Iran on democracy, but...

During a press conference about US President Donald Trump's recent trip to the Middle East, AFP journalist Dave Clark asked a department official why...

Strip and Flip: Democracy in a Cage

The wound burst open in November. History, suddenly, could no longer be avoided. Reality could no longer be avoided. American democracy is flawed, polluted,...

“The Venezuelan Opposition does not want Democracy or Elections”

Chavista march on April 19th, 2017 (photo by TeleSur) The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela is facing its most challenging times. The right-wing opposition, backed by...

State Dept stumped over why US criticises Iran on democracy, but not Saudi Arabia...

  This could be the most uncomfortable State Department press briefing moment yet. During a press conference about US President Donald Trump’s recent trip to the...
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Video: Iran & Western elections compared: democracy not a choice between two maniacs

Western style democrathic parties have been bought and subverted by Rothschild and Goldman Sachs Iran has chosen 'path of engagement with world': ... Via Youtube

You Cannot Afford Democracy

You think you can afford it, but it will bury you. Democracy is what happens when selfish people gather in a group...

Pro-Democracy Activists Arrested at Pennsylvania Capitol Demanding Reforms

After marching 100 miles from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, a group of activists demanding that the Pennsylvania state government "get big money out of the...

Forty-Five Blows Against Democracy: How US Military Bases Back Dictators, Autocrats and Military Regimes

Service members from countries participating in Cobra Gold 2010 salute during the exercise's opening ceremony at Utapao Naval Air Base in Thailand February 1,...

‘We went to Iraq to overthrow Saddam, not bring democracy’ – ex-State Secretary Condoleezza...

The primary US objective during the 2003 invasion of Iraq was not bringing democracy to the...

European Union’s Democracy Dilemma

Exclusive: The European elites want the European Union as a means for controlling the Continent’s economies, but that often requires...
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Video: WikiLeaks is about intelligence porn, Russia greatest threat to US democracy – FBI...

The FBI chief, James Comey, has vented his anger at Wikileaks - saying the whistle-blowing organization's not about good journalism, but simply undermining ... Via...
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Video: Is North Carolina Still a Democracy? How Unfettered Conservative Rule Reshaped Tar Heel...

http://democracynow.org - It has been nearly six months since voters in North Carolina elected Democrat Roy Cooper as governor. Republican lawmakers ... Via Youtube
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Video: ‘Democracy flourishes in conditions of security, US can’t march in & tell people...

Martin Luther King famously said that the arc of history is bending toward justice – a statement sometimes dismissed as too idealistic, but that...
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Video: We should listen to Syrian people, this is democracy of the new world...

As the conflicts in Syria and Yemen intensify, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament has held talks with the Saudi king about...
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Video: Rojava: An Experiment in Radical Direct Democracy Within a War-Torn Country

Janet Biehl discusses the significance and the achievements of the political project in Northern Syria that's led by the Kurds Help support The Real...

Making Democracy Unsafe for the World

This originally appeared on USA Today. This week is the 100th anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson’s speech to Congress seeking a declaration of war against...
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Video: ‘Designed to undermine democracy’: US senator seeks to revive anti-Nazi bill to counter...

US Senator Jeanne Shaheen even compared RT and Sputnik to Nazi propaganda while promoting her bill entitled 'Foreign Agents Registration Modernization ... Via Youtube

WWI Anniversary: 100 Years Of ‘Making World Safe For Democracy’

One hundred years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson went to Congress seeking a declaration of war on Germany. Thus started...

The GOP Has Declared War on Democracy

Many in the media are portraying the Republicans’ move to invoke the nuclear option to confirm Neil Gorsuch as a mere squabble over Senate...

Economic Update: Capitalism and Democracy

This week's episode discusses the economy of Puerto Rico, worsening inequality in the UK and the decision by Girl Guides of Canada to cancel...

The Erosion of Dutch Democracy

As the Dutch election campaign, swayed by far-right leader Geert Wilders, draws to a close, parties set to gain a near-majority in parliament have...

How SCOTUS Campaign Finance Rulings 'Distorted' US Democracy

With the pending confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch shaping up to be a referendum on the role of money in politics, a...
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Video: No evidence Russia trying to disrupt UK democracy, but they can – FM...

Russia is planning to use “all sorts of dirty tricks” to meddle in the political life of European countries, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson...

‘No evidence’ Russia trying to disrupt UK democracy, but they can – Boris Johnson...

Published time: 12 Mar, 2017 13:33Edited time: 12 Mar, 2017 14:22 Russia is planning use “all...
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Video: Full Interview & Performance: Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra on Democracy...

http://democracynow.org - Full 35-minute interview & performance by Hurray for the Riff Raff's Alynda Segarra in our Democracy Now! studio. Over the past ... Via...

Harnessing 'Power of the Purse to Demonstrate Power of Democracy,' NAACP Calls for N.C....

The NAACP on Friday called for what it described as "the first steps of an international economic boycott" of North Carolina over the state's...

Democracy, the God That’s Failing

When Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe made his famous argument against democracy back in 2001, the notion that voting was a lousy way to organize society...

Planting Seed for Strikes in the Trump Era, #Strike4Democracy Sweeps Nation

Planting the seed for future large-scale walk-outs, hundreds of events are taking place coast-to-coast on Friday as part of a national "strike for democracy." Heavy...

Greenwald: Empowering the "Deep State" to Undermine Trump Is Prescription for Destroying Democracy

Some supporters of Trump, including Breitbart News, have accused the intelligence agencies of attempting to wage a deep state coup against the president. Meanwhile,...
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Video: Greenwald: Empowering the “Deep State” to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy

http://democracynow.org - Some supporters of Trump, including Breitbart News, have accused the intelligence agencies of attempting to wage a deep state coup ... Via Youtube

80,000 March in Raleigh for Voting Rghts, Democracy & #MoralResistance

Outrage over the Trump administration helped bring tens of thousands of marchers to downtown Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday. Trump and the policies he will...

NYT: Unlike Russian Wars, US Wars ‘Promote Freedom and Democracy’

The New York Times defends its country’s innocence. The New York Times, in its recent rebuff of comments President Donald Trump made about Russia, seems...

‘Absolutely violation of our democracy’: Jill Stein encourages DAPL & travel ban protests (VIDEO)

Green Party leader Dr. Jill Stein has called for more demonstrations, saying democracy is “under attack”...

Democracy in Exile and the Curse of Totalitarianism

Photo by Diego Torres Silvestre | CC BY 2.0 With his white supremacist ideology and racist contempt for Muslims on full display, President Trump has...

British MPs launch ‘fake news’ inquiry to examine ‘threat to democracy’

The “growing phenomenon of fake news,” which has been labeled a “threat to democracy,” is to be the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. The Culture,...

The Drone Assassination Assault on Democracy

What do Reyaad Khan, Ruhul Amin, Samir Khan, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, Junaid Hussain and Micah Xavier Johnson have in common? All of these young, brown-skinned...
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Video: ‘Democracy a la francaise’: Marine Le Pen blocked from entering refugee camp in...

French presidential hopeful and leader of the right-wing National Front Marine Le Pen has been denied entry to a refugee camp outside Dunkirk. RT...
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Video: Jay Z Calls for Rikers Jail to be Closed in Exclusive Interview with...

http://democracynow.org - Today marks the first anniversary of President Obama ending juvenile solitary in the federal prison system. Obama took the action in ... Via...
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Video: A Complete Disregard for Democracy: Greenpeace Condemns Trump’s Move on Pipelines & Silencing...

http://democracynow.org - In addition to issuing presidential memos to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, President Trump and his team ... Via...

US no longer ‘full democracy’ – Economist Group report

The US has been downgraded from a ‘full democracy’ to a ‘flawed democracy’ for the first...

America in Need of ‘Democracy Promotion’

The U.S. government lectures other countries about “democracy” – and  finances internal opposition in the name of “democracy promotion” – but its own behavior...

Did Trump Kill ‘Liberal Democracy’?

Donald Trump’s victory has spurred commentary about the “death of liberal democracy,” but the seeds of that demise were planted...

Obama’s ironic farewell: US must fight for democracy, not be ‘just another big country...

In his final official remarks to the American people, President Barack Obama explained "why we cannot withdraw from global fights." He returned to Chicago...

Liberal Democracy

“As we begin 2017, the most urgent threat to liberal democracy is not autocracy,” writes William Galston of The Wall Street Journal, “it is...

Lynch Mob Democracy

The dark, infamous days of American lynch-mob rule and burning witches at stakes are back as never before. But not in backwater enclaves of...

Democracy and Hacking

By Anomaly UK The New York Times has published a long analysis of the effects of the hacking of Democratic Party organisations...

Phantom Democracy in the Age of the Internet

After the Electoral College vote, the Trump presidency is now official. As denial and blame games continue, it becomes clear this was not a...
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Video: Report: After Legislative Coup, North Carolina Can No Longer Be Considered a Democracy

http://democracynow.org - In North Carolina, a new report finds the state's democratic institutions are so flawed, the state should no longer be considered a...

After Legislative Coup, North Carolina Can No Longer Be Considered a Democracy

In North Carolina, a new report finds the state's democratic institutions are so flawed, the state should no longer be considered a functioning democracy....

Trump and the Phantom of Democracy

After the Electoral College vote, the Trump presidency is now official. While denial and blame games continue, this was not a foreign government coup...

Democracy Be Damned

With an acknowledgment to Hans Hoppe and his Democracy: The God That Failed, I offer an examination of similar sentiments from Bertrand de Jouvenel’s...

Dare for Democracy: Three Essential Steps

Many Americans remain in shock and outrage, unable to grasp how a man who told bald-faced lies, who ridiculed and defamed others, and who boasted...
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Video: Green Party’s Jill Stein on Obstacles to Vote Recount: “This is Not What...

http://democracynow.org - A Wisconsin judge is set to decide if a recount of the state's presidential vote can proceed. We speak with Green Party...
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Video: Patti Smith & Michael Stipe Perform at Democracy Now!’s 20th Anniversary

http://democracynow.org - The legendary singer, poet and author Patti Smith performed two songs Monday night at Riverside Church celebrating Democracy ... Via Youtube
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Video: Juan González on 20 Years of Democracy Now! & Keeping Dissident Alternative News...

http://democracynow.org - Award-winning reporter and longtime activist Juan González has been a fixture of Democracy Now! since its first broadcast more than ... Via Youtube
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Video: Watch Bernie Sanders’ Full Speech in Philadelphia: The Future of American Democracy is...

http://democracynow.org - Prior to his interview with Amy Goodman on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a speech at the Free Library of Philadelphia talking...

A Media Blacklist, Courtesy of WaPo: Now I’m Afraid for Our Democracy

In most third world societies, when people don’t like the results of an election, they take to the streets. In America, we take to...
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Video: ‘Degradation of democracy’: Putin responds to EU Parliament resolution on Russian media ‘propaganda’

The EU Parliament's resolution to counter Russian media 'propaganda' demonstrates "political degradation" in regard to the "idea of democracy" in the West, ... Via Youtube

Countering Trump: Let's Build a People-Powered Democracy and Economy

Four Season Produce transporter, Jeff Martin looks on as broccoli is inspected by a Glut worker-owner of this cooperative store, that serves the Mount...

The Noose that Obama Had Wanted to Hand to President Hillary to Hang...

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org INTRODUCTION This will be a summary, update, and extension from, a 25,000-word masterpiece of historical writing: the obscure, little-noticed, but...
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Video: US champions global democracy as riots rage in cities at home

'Democracy arguably one of the most used and abused words'. But it's also a principle, in which US represents the 'gold standard'. RT's Miguel...

Democracy could get in the way of war if High Court Brexit ruling stands,...

Former senior military officers are afraid the High Court ruling which allows MPs to vote on triggering Brexit could set a precedent that would...

Creating a National Security State "Democracy"

Donald Trump greets law enforcement officials before boarding his plane at the Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida, November 2, 2016. (Photo:...

Eight Ways to Strengthen Our Democracy Beyond Voting

Throughout this trying election season, we’ve been told how much is at stake with our vote. But the success of any democracy depends on...

Trickle-Up Democracy: State and Local Ballots Give Voters a Say

Even in a presidential campaign where both candidates are speaking out against the influence of big money in politics, it's easy to be cynical...

How Republicans Game the Concept of Democracy Through Disenfranchisement

Polling booths at an early voting location on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, October 12, 2016. Voter disenfranchisement is just...

Education Technology, Surveillance, and America’s Authoritarian Democracy

The NSA has nothing on the monitoring tools that education technologists have developed to ‘personalize’ and ‘adapt’ learning for students in public school districts...
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Video: Josh Fox: Arrest of Journalists and Filmmakers Covering the Dakota Pipeline is a...

http://democracynow.org - Award-winning filmmaker Josh Fox joins us to discuss the arrest of fellow filmmaker Deia Schlosberg, who is charged with three ... Via Youtube
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Video: How Washington’s Money-Machine Stays Ahead of Democracy

Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have created America's largest network of donors and fundraisers, and together they're delegating Wall Street's ... Via Youtube
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Video: ‘Highway to hell’: German stand-up comic lays into NATO policy, Americans & democracy

You might think the subject of NATO and conflict are no laughing matter, but that's not the case for one top-billing German comedian who's...

Extreme Unction: Illusions of Democracy in Vegas

+ Tonight’s debate moderator, Chris Wallace, says his role model is not his father, the frisky Mike Wallace, but PBS’s Jim Lehrer, the human sleeping...

Is Trump's Rise a Result of the US Declaring War on Institutions That Make...

Henry A. Giroux returns with another in-depth analysis of our most pressing problems. America at War With Itself explores the violence at...
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Video: Is Trump’s Rise a Result of America Declaring War on Institutions That Make...

http://democracynow.org - In his new book, scholar Henry Giroux examines "America at War with Itself." From poisoned water in Flint and other cities to...
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Video: First Clinton-Trump Debate: Democracy Now! Post-Debate Roundtable

http://democracynow.org - Democracy Now! hosted special live coverage tonight of the first U.S. presidential debate. We aired the full debate between ... Via Youtube
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Video: First Clinton-Trump Debate: Democracy Now! Pre-Debate Roundtable

http://democracynow.org - Democracy Now! hosted special live coverage tonight of the first U.S. presidential debate. We aired the full debate between ... Via Youtube

Respect Local Democracy and Keep Britain Frack-Free

by Adnan Al-Daini / October 11th, 2016 What is it with this government and fracking? They seem to be obsessed with drilling; the proven safe...
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Video: Reporter Cracks Serial Killer Cold Case After Receiving a Tip Based on His...

http://democracynow.org - Late last month, 77-year-old Felix Vail was sentenced to life in prison for killing his first wife, Mary Horton Vail, who died...

Fracking gets go ahead, as govt overrules locals in ‘denial of democracy’

Fracking will go ahead in the UK despite objections after ministers overruled a local government...

A Process That Makes Democracy Look Bad

The circus-like U.S. political process, with a media that treasures trivia over substance, is giving democracy a bad name in the world...

Plutocracy of Maximums, Democracy of Minimums

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump take the stage for their first presidential debate, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on September...
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Video: Part 1: Jill Stein “Debates” Clinton & Trump in Democracy Now! Special

http://democracynow.org - Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off Monday night in one of the most anticipated debates in U.S. history. The debate was...
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Video: Part 2: Jill Stein “Debates” Clinton & Trump in Democracy Now! Special

http://democracynow.org - Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off Monday night in one of the most anticipated debates in U.S. history. The debate was...
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Video: Part 5: Jill Stein “Debates” Clinton & Trump in Democracy Now! Special

http://democracynow.org - On Monday night, the two major-party candidates squared off for the first presidential debate. It was one of the most anticipated ... Via...
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Video: Part 3: Jill Stein “Debates” Clinton & Trump in Democracy Now! Special

http://democracynow.org - Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off Monday night in one of the most anticipated debates in U.S. history. The debate was...
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Video: Part 6: Jill Stein “Debates” Clinton & Trump in Democracy Now! Special

http://democracynow.org - On Monday night, the two major-party candidates squared off for the first presidential debate. It was one of the most anticipated ... Via...
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Video: Part 4: Jill Stein “Debates” Clinton & Trump in Democracy Now! Special

http://democracynow.org - On Monday night, the two major-party candidates squared off for the first presidential debate. It was one of the most anticipated ... Via...
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Video: Saudi Arabia Bombing Yemen To Quell Demonstrations for Democracy

The Saudi-led coalition is not just trying to deter Houthi leaders; they want to ensure that pro-democratic Yemeni demonstrations don't touch the rest of...

We Have All Won an Oligarchy and Lost a Democracy

Activists display a lit sign in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, on March 20, 2014. (Photo: Joe Brusky) Here's a thought experiment for you. Ask yourself, "When was...

"We No Longer Live in a Democracy": Henry Giroux on a United States at...

To transform our society into a democracy, we first have to dismantle the myth of democracy as currently defined. (Image: Jared Rodriguez...

Insatiable: the Democrats Must Attack Democracy to Serve Corporate Power

You might think that pervasive election fraud, the conversion of mass media into propaganda, and the already insignificant role that everyday people play in...

Open democracy? Brexit negotiations may be kept so secret not even Parliament will be...

Until Article 50 is initiated and Britain officially begins the process of leaving the European...

We, the Plutocrats vs. We, the People: Saving the Soul of Democracy

(Photo: Bob Jagendorf; Edited: LW / TO)Sixty-six years ago this summer, on my 16th birthday, I went to work for the daily...

Media Undermine Democracy by Speculating Wildly About Undermining Democracy

The relentless drumbeat of Trump–as–Russian agent takes hasn’t ceased since the news broke of a likely Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee in...

Arrest warrant for Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman over North Dakota pipeline protest

Democracy Now! journalist and producer Amy Goodman has been issued an arrest warrant for covering the...
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Video: Brazil’s Defiant Rousseff Takes the Stand, But Will Democracy Survive?

The Brazilian oligarchy is on the cusp of achieving its major objectives through the parliamentary coup says James Green, Professor of Brazilian History and...

Promised Democracy: The Future of Iraq

Photo: Iraqi boys listen to instructions from their teacher during a practice session in the Taek Won-Do dojo of the Mujamma Youth Center, Mujamma, Iraq,...

Colin Kaepernick and the Death of American Democracy

Mike Morbeck – CC BY-SA 4.0 The frog of American democracy is no longer boiling, it’s dead.   How do I know?  By observing the public...

Pathology of the Corporate State and Its Charade Democracy

With the rigged Democratic presidential nomination behind us, the US election reality show continues. The mass media is creating sensations around what has become...
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Video: Glenn Greenwald: Rousseff Impeachment Trial Marks Complete Reversal of Democracy

http://democracynow.org - Embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is slated to testify today at her impeachment trial—a trial that many are calling a coup by...

UK surveillance powers have gone ‘further than any other Western democracy’ – MP

Britain has gone “further than any other Western democracy” in its expansion of surveillance powers and its ability to collect bulk data without justifiable...

Military Dissent Is Not an Oxymoron: Freeing Democracy From Perpetual War

Two US Army helicopters blow up dust around a soldier pointing a gun in Samarra, Iraq, on March 3, 2007. (Photo: US...

The Fragility of American Democracy

A top neocon excuse for invading other countries is to spread American-style “democracy,” but – amid all that carnage –...

Cameron ‘cronyism’ symptomatic of Britain’s ‘corrupt & decaying democracy’ – former adviser

Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s rewarding of Tory donors in his resignation honors list symbolizes a “serious type of very British corruption,” a former...

Can #DNCLeak Spark Movement for Real Democracy in America?

The DNC emails released by WikiLeaks showed that the Democratic National Committee has been implementing a coordinated force to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign and...
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Video: Rev. William Barber at the DNC: We Need to Revive the Heart of...

http://democracynow.org - One of the main speakers leading up to Hillary Clinton's historic address to the Democratic National Convention was Rev. William ... Via Youtube

Israeli Expulsion Law “Violates all Rules of Democracy”

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, awarded itself a draconian new power last week: A three-quarters majority of its members can now expel an elected politician...

Roots to Social Democracy/Capitalism, Socialism

Scandinavia on the Skids: The Failure of Social Democracy (Part 2 of a 7 part series on Scandinavia’s “Socialism”) This series sprang from discussions I’ve had...

Mass Shootings Make Sense In A Democracy

In the wake of yet another mass shooting in America – this time, with the added bonus of being a Muslim terrorist...

Is What's Good for Facebook Not so Good for Democracy?

Around the country, thousands have returned to the streets again to protest the deaths of black people at the hands of the police....

Scandinavia on the Skids: The Failure of Social Democracy

(This is the first of seven articles on the reality of Scandinavia’s “socialism”) I first met Denmark’s last truly Social Democratic Prime Minister, Anker Joergensen,...

Some Pundits Think the Solution to Right-Wing Populism Is Less Democracy

The core orthodoxies of neoliberalism are under attack by populist forces, and commentators are scrambling for a response. Some are suggesting more left-wing red...
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Video: Tony Gosling “Super Injunctions Are Sinister And A Threat To Free Speech &...

Please Support The Show – http://richieallen.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow http://www.youtube.com/RichieAllenShowMedia Tune in at ... Via Youtube

We Must Win Democracy, Even If It Takes Revolution

While the banks, elites, and the super-rich have been scrambling to try to hold onto their billions following the UK’s shocking vote to exit...

‘Brexit’ and the Democracy Myth

Exclusive: A referendum like Brexit can be a satisfying moment for an angry populace to vent its frustrations but “yes...

A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe

The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied,...
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Video: An Attack on Democracy Itself: UK Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn Pays Tribute to...

http://democracynow.org - Britain is continuing to mourn the murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox, who was stabbed and shot to death Thursday after...

Commercializing Elections to Destroy Our Democracy

Our political economy – a wonderfully embracing phrase much used a century ago – has three main components: The electoral/governmental powers, the marketplace, and...

'Attack on our democracy': MPs honor Jo Cox in special parliament session

Members of the UK Parliament returned to Westminster for a special session Monday afternoon to...

Action Alert: AP’s Premature Call for Clinton Does Disservice to Democracy

The Associated Press (6/6/16) has unilaterally declared Hillary Clinton to be  “the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for president,” based on the news agency’s own...

The Crisis of Democracy

by subMedia / May 26th, 2016 This week we look at the current turmoil in South America, where the so-called “pink tide” is beginning to...

Blaming ‘Too Much Democracy’ for Trump

The latest lament of the neocon establishment is that America is suffering from too much democracy – leading to Donald Trump...

‘Democracy Spring is a Soros-funded, anti-Trump radical movement’

Americans, at least the enlightened ones, know that the system is rigged. And the organic element that’s here is that the people of America...

'Democracy in the US is a fraud’: Left Forum debates next steps for Sanders...

A rigged democratic system, a “grotesque” military fighting unwinnable wars under the “drone commander in chief”,...
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Video: Activists wash Peruvian flags in ‘democracy’ bucket to protest Fujimori’s presidential campaign

Two groups of angry protesters voice their unhappiness with possible election of Keiko Fujimori as president of Peru. Fujimori continues to deny a news...

Vox’s CIA-Backed ‘Democracy’ Standard Is OK With Slavery and Women Not Voting

Defining democracy is a notoriously difficult thing, but much is revealed by how media outlets choose to do so. One popular metric is called “Polity...
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Video: Dan Berrigan in His Own Words: Antiwar Priest Speaks About 9/11 in Democracy...

http://democracynow.org - The legendary antiwar priest, activist and poet Father Daniel Berrigan has died at the age of 94. Today we are remembering his...
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Video: Jobless Economy and Citizenless Democracy (3/3)

The third and final part of our interviews with Robert McChesney and John Nichols on their new book "People Get Ready" Via Youtube

We Live in a Democracy, Not a Theocracy

It wasn’t so long ago when one of the most powerful justifications wielded in support of segregation was religious belief. Throughout the American South, state-sanctioned...

Democracy Spring

Gathered by the hundreds to make change happen Sanctifying the revolution and revolving what is sanctified Dancing on the edge of a serrated knife Only to make you see that things...

David Swanson: US Wars Are Not Waged Out of Generosity or for Democracy

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally in New York, April 18, 2016. Corporate media have drawn very little attention to US...
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Video: Jobless Economy and Citizenless Democracy (2/3)

Robert McChesney and John Nichols say 2016 is the most volatile political year in modern American history and that young people becoming engaged in...

Breaking Free from Corporate Shackled Democracy

As the 2016 US presidential election approaches, the whole country has once again been transformed into a football stadium, with waves of media frenzy...
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Video: Brazil’s Impeachment Vote a Political Trial to Subvert Democracy

If President Dilma Rousseff is successfully impeached it will shake confidence in the entire Brazilian democratic system, says Maria Mendonça of the University ... Via...
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Video: Democracy Awakening: Mass Civil Disobedience Planned on Capitol Hill to Cap Week of...

http://democracynow.org - More than 900 people have been arrested over the past week on Capitol Hill in a series of unprecedented protests against the...

Arrests made at Democracy Awakens protest against money in politics

Published time: 18 Apr, 2016 14:54Edited time: 18 Apr, 2016 14:57 The first arrests have been made...
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Video: ‘This is what democracy looks like’: 27 000 rally for sanders in NYC...

Almost 30-thousand people marched through Manhattan in support of Bernie Sanders' candidacy before the big primary. RT's Caleb Maupin reports from New ... Via Youtube

The Spirit of Occupy Lives on in France's Emerging Direct Democracy Movement

A discussion moderator at the Nuit Debout activist occupation in the Place de la Republique in Paris stands beside a visual guide...
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Video: “First Amendment Rights!” Two Democracy Now! Journalists Arrested Filming Anti-Trump Rally in NYC

http://democracynow.org - Police arrested more than two dozen people at the anti-Trump rally in Manhattan Thursday night, including Democracy Now!'s own ... Via Youtube
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Video: Democracy Spring Day 5

Via Youtube
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Video: Arrests in Washington: Black Lives Matter activists detained at Democracy Spring protest

There have been fresh arrests on the third day of the Democracy Spring protest taking place in Washington DC. This time around, police detained...
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Video: Democracy Spring Day 4

Via Youtube
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Video: Democracy Spring Day 3

Via Youtube
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Video: Democracy Spring: Over 400 Arrested at U.S. Capitol Protesting Corruption & Money in...

http://democracynow.org - More than 400 people were arrested Monday in a massive sit-in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to protest the influence...
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Video: Democracy Spring

Via Youtube

Arrests made as hundreds of elderly Americans protest at 2nd ‘Democracy Spring’ sit-in

Hundreds of Americans, many of whom are elderly, marched in support of political reform in Washington,...
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Video: Democracy Spring

Via Youtube

Democracy: The Continuing Fight Against Factions

Demonstrators display a lit sign in front of the Milwaukee Courthouse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on July 10, 2014. (Photo: Joe Brusky) On Sunday,...

‘Democracy Spring’ activists to stage sit-in at US Capitol (VIDEO)

Thousands of “Democracy Spring” protesters have arrived in Washington DC, following their 10-day, 140-mile (225km) march...

Democracy Spring: Mass civil disobedience, tech-ins, and rallies heading to DC

Thousands of people concerned about big money in politics, congressional dysfunction, and voter disenfranchisement are expected...
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Video: Amy Goodman Is Inducted Into I.F. Stone Hall of Fame as Democracy Now!...

http://democracynow.org - On Wednesday, Amy Goodman was inducted into the IF Stone Hall of Fame at an event organized by the Park Center for...
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Video: Democracy Spring Protesters Stop in Baltimore En Route to DC

Kai Newkirk and actor Sam Waterston talk to the Real News about why hundreds have promised to be arrested in Washington next week if...
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Video: Media face crackdown while Erdogan lauds Turkish democracy at US summit

While President Erdogan delivers a speech praising Turkish democracy, his security service cracks down on journalists and demonstrators at the same venue. Via Youtube

Barring Plastic Bag Bans, Another ALEC Law Takes Aim at Local Democracy

The pay-to-play model of government advanced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) scored another victory this week. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Senate voted...

Another Way ‘Democracy’ Is Rigged in America

Eric Zuesse Did you know that if a given political party already has an incumbent in a particular political post, it’s standard practice in the...
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Video: Former GOP Congressmember Mickey Edwards: We Don’t Have Democracy in Our Political System

http://democracynow.org - In what's being billed as Super Tuesday 3, Democratic and Republican voters head to the polls today for primaries and caucuses in...

The Trump campaign: A new stage in the collapse of American democracy

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. With the eruption of physical conflict inside and outside rallies of...
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Video: Zaman co-founder: ‘Turkish democracy in dark days, freedom targeted’

Today is the second day people are protesting outside the headquarters of opposition newspaper 'Zaman.' On Friday, police raided their offices and fired tear...
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Video: “A Democracy Problem”: As Debate Brings Attention to Flint, a Look at the...

http://democracynow.org - The Democratic candidates for president faced off Sunday night in Flint, Michigan, which has been in the national spotlight over the ... Via...
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Video: Takeover of Zaman newspaper: End of democracy in Turkey

The latest government takeover of the Zaman media outlet in Istanbul is "not a surprise at all,' a journalist who had been working in...

Democracy Ends in Turkey

Eric Zuesse On Saturday March 5th, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (German Economic News) headlined “Turkish Police Storm Newspaper Office Zaman” and reported that, “Turkish police entered...
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Video: ‘Where’s your democracy?’ Calais migrants sew lips shut in camp demolition protest (GRAPHIC)

Dozens of Calais migrants sew their lips shut in protest against the demolition of the so-called 'Jungle' refugee camp. RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air Subscribe to...
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Video: Keiser Report: Democracy suicide (E881, ft. Boris Johnson wig)

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss democracies committing suicide (as John Adams had warned) and the ominous...

What Trumpism Means for Democracy

(Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr) Whether or not Donald Trump ultimately succeeds in winning the White House, historians are likely to rank him as the...
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Video: Is Mexico a Democracy?

John Ackerman speaks about political violence, corruption, what has made democracy so dysfunctional and how the Obama administration's policies towards ... Via Youtube
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Video: Democracy Now! Turns 20: A Freewheeling Look Back at Two Decades of Independent,...

http://democracynow.org - Twenty years ago today, Democracy Now! went on the air on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. The date was February...
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Video: A Theme Park for Democracy

The first states to caucus in the U.S. primaries are supposed to spearhead a proud American tradition of democratic rule. The Real News went...
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Video: “Thirsty for Democracy: The Poisoning of an American City”: Special Report on Flint’s...

http://democracynow.org - Today, we go to Flint, Michigan, for a Democracy Now! special on the ongoing Flint water crisis. In 2014, an unelected emergency...
Meet the corporations lobbying the EU on TTIP

Meet the corporations lobbying the hardest for TTIP and ending democracy

It is quite incredible that the unelected bureaucrats of the EU Commission are even entertaining such an idea as the deeply unpopular TTIP trade...
Britain's state secrecy

Britain’s new era of government state secrecy challenges democracy

David Cameron nobly declared in 2010 that; “It is our ambition to be one of the most transparent governments in the world” and “Greater...
British public being sold down the river in democracy deception

British public being sold down the river in democracy deception

The longest-running set of polls ever undertaken in the UK, which has been ongoing for over thirty years has been on trust in key...
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Video: Because Democracy! How Bernie beat Hillary but lost New Hampshire

A look into how Bernie beat Hillary but lost New Hampshire and why supercandidates are superimportant. Tired of reading news? RT Play gets it!...

Inequality Against Democracy: 10 Facts About the 1 Percent

Economic inequality inspired Occupy Wall Street, a movement that in a few short months transformed our political discourse with the concept of the “1...

Corporate Interests Take Aim at Local Democracy

A demonstrator displays a flag decrying corporate spending in US political elections in front of the Waukesha Convention Center on July, 13, 2015, in...
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Video: VIDEO: Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Performs “We Shall Overcome” in Democracy Now! Studio

http://democracynow.org - Watch Roger Waters performing "We Shall Overcome" accompanied by Alexander Rohatyn on cello, in the Democracy Now! studio. Via Youtube
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Video: Flint, Atlantic City, and the Destruction of Democracy

Black Agenda Report Executive Editor Glen Ford says city takeovers are about dispossessing black folks and brown folks so that corporations get to put...

Democracy of the Billionaires

Speaking of the need for citizen participation in our national politics in his final State of the Union address, President Obama said, “Our brand of...
TTIP looks to dismantling democracy even further than expected

TTIP Enters New And Dangerous Stage As Democracy Is Dismantled In Secret

TTIP negotiations continue in the shadows in both America and the EU and they enter a new and dangerous stage as existing legal barriers...

In the Keystone Suit, It’s Big Oil vs. Democracy

A few years back, I was one of the hundreds of climate activists arrested while protesting the Keystone XL pipeline outside the White House....

An Oligarchy Has Broken Our Democracy. It Must Be Dislodged.

Each new election year promises change. We will choose a new president and new representatives in Congress; fresh faces will make their appearances in...
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Video: Emergency for Democracy: Unelected Manager Who Caused Flint Water Crisis Now Runs Detroit...

http://democracynow.org - Flint's water contamination crisis began in April 2014 after Darnell Earley, an unelected emergency manager appointed by Snyder, ... Via Youtube

In the Keystone Suit, It’s Big Oil vs. Democracy

(Photo: 350.org / Flickr) A few years back, I was one of the hundreds of climate activists arrested while protesting the Keystone XL pipeline outside...
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Video: Poisoned Democracy: How an Unelected Official Contaminated Flint’s Water to Save Money

In Flint, Michigan, where a growing number of residents are demanding the arrest of Governor Rick Snyder over the ongoing water contamination crisis. Snyder...

America’s Dying Democracy

Democracy, as a noble principle of self-governance, is fading away in big ways and small, with special interests seizing control of both media and...
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Video: Is the DNC Afraid of Democracy? Clinton WH Counselor Says Party a “Dead...

Democracy Now! is your independent media. You count on us to dig deeper and connect the dots between the issues you've cared about for...

Neocons Object to Syrian Democracy

By Robert Parry The Washington Post’s editorial board is livid that President Barack Obama appears to have accepted the Russian position that the Syrian people...
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Video: Bob Herbert on GOP Debate: Democracy Is Being Dismantled Before Our Eyes

Tuesday's debate was held in Las Vegas at the Venetian casino, owned by Republican billionaire backer Sheldon Adelson. Adelson and fellow billionaire ... Via Youtube

U.S. Ends Its Opposition to Democracy in Syria

Eric Zuesse For the first time today (December 15th), the United States has publicly and officially accepted the position that Russian President Vladimir Putin and...
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Video: France infected with Le Pen populism, xenophobia, radicalism – European Democracy Lab founder

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWGzp8sgXYc The values of democracy, freedom, tolerance and human rights are at the ... Via Youtube

Blocking Democracy as Syria’s Solution

Exclusive: The long-cherished neocon dream of “regime change” in Syria is blocking a possible route out of the crisis — a ceasefire followed by elections in which President...

The Use Of Secret Courts Confirms The End Of Democracy In Britain

The use of secret courts is a place where trials take place that is not open to the public, nor generally reported in the...

Dead, Disabled, Displaced or Destroyed — Democracy Delivered

Six months ago, the Washington DC-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a landmark study over the death toll from 10 years of the...

David Cameron Confirms ISIL Is Defeating Democracy In The West

David Cameron told MPs that bombing so-called Islamic State in Syria will “keep the British people safe” as MPs debated the case for military...
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Video: Sanders Defines his Social Democracy

Doug Henwood and Paul Jay discuss the speech by Bernie Sanders explaining his vision of what social democracy means in the U.S. today. Via Youtube

Rohingya and the Burmese Generals: How To Fake a Democracy

Writing in the New York Times in an article entitled, "Myanmar Generals Set the State for Their Own Exit", Thomas Fuller expressed his and...

U.S. Yields to Russia’s Insistence Upon Democracy in Syria

Eric Zuesse The Syrian peace talks in Vienna, over the weekend, produced an agreement between all parties, and it constitutes a major defeat for the...

U.S. Demands There Be No Democracy in Syria

Eric Zuesse All of the available polling that has been done by Western polling firms in Syria has indicated strongly that the current President of...

Democracy Beats Oligarchy

“From coast to coast, conservatives score huge victories,” announced a Washington Post headline after last week’s elections. “Liberals Got Smoked Across the Country Last...

How Technology Kills Democracy

In shutting down whistleblowing and investigative journalism on national security issues, the U.S. government can use its technology to determine who is speaking to whom...
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Video: “How the Other Half Banks”: Author Says America’s Two-Tiered Banking System is a...

Democracynow.org - The nation's financial crisis taught us that when it comes to Wall Street giants, political leaders consider some banks "too big to...
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Video: Putin: Not worried about democracy coming to our borders, but about NATO coming...

FULL SPEECH https://youtu.be/-W923PAexwU The 12th annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Russia's Sochi has focused on international armed conflicts. Via Youtube
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Video: U.S. Ally Saudi Arabia Prepares to Behead, Crucify Pro-Democracy Protester Ali Mohammed al-Nimr

A young Saudi protester is set to be beheaded and crucified for his role in 2012 pro-democracy protests. Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested at...

Democracy In Britain ‘Catastrophically In Decline’

A study by Democratic Audit into the state of democracy in Britain conducted in 2012 that looked at the previous ten years warned that...
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Video: Bernie Ecclestone: No place for democracy in F1 or anywhere else

SophieCo's Interview with Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY3OIDKbSVU Is the Formula One of today the same as it ... Via Youtube

The Politicians That Corrupt Democracy

Back in February this year, a debate about MP’s second jobs dominated Prime Minister’s Questions, after an undercover investigation involving former Foreign Ministers Jack...
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Video: The Global African: The Pope’s Visit & Undermining Democracy in Burkina Faso

Telesur's The Global African will discuss the Pope Francis' recent visit to the United States and the latest in Burkina Faso. Via Youtube

The Decline of Democracy and Capitalism in Britain Advances

Britain is not a democracy any more. The Government is now bowing down to a few extremely powerful organisations that funds their very existence. Extremism...

Democracy Has Departed The West

Paul Craig Roberts (RINF) - Before the West spreads democracy abroad maybe it could get some for itself. The US is an oligarchy in which...
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Video: Greek snap election: New Democracy concedes defeat to Tsipras’s leftist Syriza

Syriza are ahead in the Greek general election — despite the party's previous failure to take on Brussels over austerity. Alexis Tsipras addressed his...

Britain Moves From Democracy to Authoritarian State in Pernicious Veil of Secrecy

One should not forget that “Openness and participation are antidotes to surveillance and control”. When David Cameron won the 2015 election one of the first...

Britain’s Extra Judicial Assassinations Bring Democracy Into Question

Propaganda takes many forms along with twists and turns depending on a narrative of convenience. This is none more demonstrated than by David Cameron...

Palestine’s Crisis of Leadership: Did Abbas Destroy Palestinian Democracy?

The crisis of leadership throughout Palestinian history did not start with Mahmoud Abbas and will, regrettably, be unlikely to end with his departure. Although Abbas has,...

Western Democracy Is An Endangered Species On Its Way To Extinction

Paul Craig Roberts (RINF) -The British Labour Party no longer represents the working class. Under...
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Video: Computer Voting and Stealing Democracy

Larry Wilkerson says, that computerized voting has increased the capacity of cheating with precision, consistency and efficiency without any forensic evidence. Via Youtube

Assange and Democracy’s Future

Democracy rests on citizens getting real facts and applying rational analysis. The ability of governments, including the U.S. government, to suppress facts and thus manage perceptions represents the...

Superrich Donors Turn Our Democracy Into Their Plutocracy

Once upon a time in our Good Ol' US-of-A, presidential contenders and their political parties had to raise the funds needed to make the...
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Video: Will SYRIZA Survive Radical Left Democracy?

Stathis Gourgouris says SYRIZA project is not over yet, leftist must be more realistic about governing Greece. Via Youtube
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Video: Art and Social Change: Creative Time Summit at Venice Biennale Features Artists and...

http://democracynow.org - As part of the Venice Biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international art exhibition, a New York-based group, Creative Time, ... Via Youtube
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Video: GOP Debate: A Mirage of Democracy

Col. Larry Wilkerson and Center for Media and Democracy's Brendan Fisher discuss the debate's true elite audience and what was left unsaid. Via Youtube

The Deceit About Being a ‘Republic’ versus Being a ‘Democracy’

Eric Zuesse One of my recent articles at several sites, "Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy” generated many reader-comments (such as here) saying things like,...

Jimmy Carter Is Correct that the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy

Eric Zuesse On July 28th, Thom Hartmann interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and, at the very end of his show (as if this massive question...

The Failure – and Future – of Democracy In Europe

Europe's proven plenty capable at regulating lightbulbs and vegetables. But it's failed utterly at making democratic decisions about money. By Vojko Volk There’s at least one...
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Video: In Ethiopia, Obama Hails Democracy Despite Recent Election Where Ruling Party Won 100%...

http://democracynow.org - On Monday, President Obama made history by becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ethiopia. But he is facing criticism after...

OPINION: Concentrated Wealth + Widespread Stupidity = End of Democracy

Eric Zuesse Today’s America is not a democracy: “Dark Money Groups Are Funded By Dark Money Groups That Fund Dark Money Groups That Fund…" That terrific investigative news report...
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Video: Greece – Democracy Rising Conference

Debt Causing a Crisis in Democracy. Via Youtube
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Video: The Real News Goes to Greece: Democracy Rising World Conference 2015

Paul and Jay Creston Davis of the Advanced Studies for Global Studies discuss the conference taking place on July 16th that will see leading...
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Video: ‘Leave Euro, retake democracy!’ Far-left & eurosceptic MEPs bash eurozone over Greece

The Greek Prime Minister has presented his latest case to the European Parliament. The MEPs spent around three hours debating the Greek debt crisis....

TTIP in the EU: Rejecting Democracy at Every Turn

Polly Jones (Common Dreams) - After many twists and turns, MEPs decide today what sort of Transatlantic Trade and Investment deal (known as TTIP) they want...
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Video: “Democracy Cannot Be Blackmailed”: Greek Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Creditors’ Austerity Demand

http://democracynow.org - Greek voters have overwhelmingly turned down the terms of an international bailout in a historic rejection of austerity. With a margin of...

How the Media Discredit Greek Democracy

The language the Guardian and all other corporate media have been using about Syriza’s victory at the weekend against draconian EU-imposed austerity is revealing....

TISA Leaks Part Deux: More Evidence of Concerted Attack on Democracy

A WikiLeaks analysis shows how 52-nation Trade in Services Agreement threatens both net neutrality and personal data privacy Deirdre Fulton (Common Dreams) - One day after it...

Greece: No to Austerity, Yes to Democracy

The people of Greece are at a critical moment as the country teeters on the verge of financial default. This is a clear case...

Greek Democracy Is Failing

Paul Craig Roberts (RINF) - The Greek debt is unpayable. It is simply too large...

Is this democracy? Senate ignores wisdespread outrage against Fast Track

Today the Senate voted 60 to 37 to jump a procedural hurdle on the path that will send Fast Track trade promotion legislation to...
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Video: Exclusive: Green Party’s Jill Stein Announces She Is Running for President on Democracy...

http://democracynow.org - In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Dr. Jill Stein officially launches her campaign as a Green Party candidate for the 2016 presidential ... Via...

How Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals Are Designed to End Democracy

Eric Zuesse U.S. President Barack Obama has for years been negotiating with European and Asian nations – but excluding Russia and China, since he is...

Hiding Facts to Thwart Democracy

Over-classification of U.S. government information is a grave threat to the Republic, giving politicians and bureaucrats the power to hide facts that aren’t really sensitive but are vital...

US has ‘democracy problem’: NYC mayor

The United States is confronted with a “democracy problem,” which might be solved through reforming national voting laws, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio...

Britain’s Democracy Is Broken and In Need of Serious Reform

I have always believed, perhaps naively, that in a democracy, if a system is shown to be manifestly unjust and unfair, then those who...

Secrecy and Democracy Are Incompatible

It is obvious, almost by definition, that excessive governmental secrecy and true democracy are incompatible. If the people of a country have no idea...

Stop The Trans-Pacific Trade Deal – Risk To Our Democracy

(Common Dreams) - Conservatives warn us that deficit spending will turn the U.S. into a fiscal basket case, like Greece. No longer truly independent, Greece...

WTO Ruling on Meat Labels Exemplifies Corporate Profits Trumping Democracy

(Common Dreams) - In a decision food safety and consumer advocates are calling a blow to animal welfare, environmental standards, and democracy, the World Trade...

Democracy American Style – Macedonia

Michael Collins (RINF) - Macedonia is about to experience Democracy American Style. The nation’s misfortune is simple. It occupies strategic territory of keen interest to...

Here’s How Your Senators Voted, in the Key Senate Vote to End American Democracy

Eric Zuesse The key vote, in the U.S. Senate, to transfer to international corporate panels America’s democratic national sovereignty over the laws and regulations on...

How America’s ‘News’ Media Killed America’s Democracy: TPP & TTIP

Eric Zuesse As I reported on Wednesday, a deal was worked out in the U.S. Senate on the early afternoon of May 13th to "Fast-Track" through...

Free Trade and Economic Growth instead of Democracy and Ecology

The transatlantic trade agreement TTIP is a concrete litmus test for democracy. Fortunately there are strong public protests against this deal. The EU now suffers...

Democrats’ Cave-In on TPP and TTIP. Good-Bye Democracy.

Eric Zuesse On Wednesday afternoon, May 13th, a catastrophic failure became clear to the few honest Democrats who were determined to stop Obama’s disastrous ’trade...

‘UK democracy run by big business’

The victory of Conservatives in UK general elections has sparked hot debates among experts about the democratic nature of its political system and economic prospect.

One of the main points which is repeated in most debates is that the austerity measures would continue in the next five years.

“Obviously we had a 5 year coalition government where at least some of the extreme right-wing policies of the conservative party was controlled and managed by the Lib Dems. What we are likely to see is that the austerity measures now are taking a full speed,” London-based commentator Shabbir Razvi told Press TV.

He blamed the Conservatives politicians for not briefing the nations over the budgets allocated for various fields saying:” What we have is that austerity measures will continue unabated and really what this reflects is that Britain is very much a democracy, or a form of democracy, which can be bought by money.”

According to Razvi, at the end of last year, the electoral commission found that Tories received the largest amount of donations at 8 billion, the bulk of which came from financial associates in banks, different industries and business.

The analyst said the Tories are now going to follow the agenda of big corporations, big businesses saying what big corporations want is to create a sort of jargon and euphemistically it is called to create a competitive environment.

“What the multinational corporations want is that vast majority of the people in the UK to be working at a very minimum wage so that the corporations make bigger and bigger profits and at the same time cuts and the privatization of the national health service, cuts and the privatization of the police service, the fire service, and so on,” he noted.

 He then referred to the relatively low turnout in the general elections saying out of the 45 million people who were eligible for vote, only 30 million voted.

“That means the largest party that didn’t participate in the elections was the non-voters and the conservative party only got 35 percent of the popular vote, he said.

Razvi slammed the form of democracy in the UK saying that it appears that the form of democracy that is being practiced in the UK, the mother of all democracies, is not really quite democratic as it is run by big businesses, big media tycoons, and the rich and the wealthy.

MTM/MH

Is Democracy As We Know It Unraveling?

 The world’s democracies, perhaps especially our own, face a peculiar set of contradictions that are undermining faith in public endeavor and unraveling old loyalties. There...

When is a democracy not a democracy? When it’s in Britain

SHAUN LAWSON Imagine a country where the views of well over half of the electorate are discounted and treated as an irrelevance. Imagine a government...
Photo of a bridge over Grindstone Creek in Missouri, taken 22 February, 2011. (Photo: KOMUNews)

You Can’t Have a Functioning Democracy Without High Quality Infrastructure

We can't have a strong country without strong infrastructure. Earlier this week, Josh and Vanessa Ellis and their 8-month-old son Hudson were killed after debris...

Don’t Let This Cable Giant Stamp Out Democracy

Mary Alice Crim Comcast’s gleaming tower soars over its hometown of Philadelphia. The cable giant’s presence in the city is palpable. You’d like to believe that...

Science, Democracy and Choice: Responding To A Pro-GMO Scientist

Writer and researcher Colin Todhunter takes apart the arguments of pro-GMO lobbyist Anthony Trewavas below. There’s more about Trewavas here. The following is in response...

Science, Democracy And Choice: A Response To Professor Tony Trewavas’s Open Letter

The following is in response to an open letter published on the AgBioWorld Facebook page by Professor Tony Trewavas of Edinburgh University. This response is also posted on the GM Watch, Global Research, Countercurrents and RINF websites. 

Tony Trewavais wrote his letter after reading my article ‘So You Want to Help Africa Mr Paterson? Then Stop Promoting Ideology and Falsehoods to Push GMOs’. The article originally appeared on a number of prominent websites. On Global Research, the piece appeared under a different title ‘The Propaganda Campaign in support of GMOs’ (read here).

Professor Trewavas is a prominent supporter of GMOs in Britain. His original letter is provided in full below my response.

Dear Professor Trewavas

I find your response to my piece disappointing. You failed to address many of the issues I discussed (not least that the world can feed itself without GMOs and that hunger and poverty are due to structural factors and not a lack of food, which GMOs have merely exacerbated) and have decided to indulge in the same type of smear-scare tactics that Owen Paterson employed in his Pretoria speech.

You forward the baseless assertions that GMOs are safe, even though there has not been one long-term epidemiological study conducted to show this.

While condemning Greenpeace and other groups for somehow being authoritarian and anti-choice, you say nothing about agribusiness corporations whose financial clout has brought them political influence that allows them to exert huge control over the WTO and capture regulatory bodies and public research institutions. These corporations have had a key role in driving trade policies from India to Europe, not least in terms of the secretive Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture and the world’s largest secretive, pro-corporate trade deal, the proposed TTIP. 

Where is the choice and democracy here? 

You have nothing to say on that but proceed to lecture me on the virtues of choice and democracy.

In your opening paragraph alone, you make four fallacious assertions.

First of all, I did not say GMOs would be a disaster for "any" farmer. In India’s Punjab state, for example, some farmers have done quite well from the introduction of petrochemical farming (‘green revolution’). But water tables are falling drastically, pesticides have contaminated the water supply, there is a big cancer problem and many farmers are experiencing economic distress. In Punjab, this form of agriculture is unsustainable. There is now an agrarian crisis and it is a health, environmental and social disaster. My point is that GMOs would similarly be bad for agriculture in general and would have a systemic, detrimental impact on the environment and human health.

Second, you claim that I fear GMOs will not be a disaster for African farmers but a success. Not true. You have ignored the fact that a number of GMO projects in Africa to date have indeed been failures and in my article I provided a link to a report to highlight this (which you go on to conveniently dismiss as a ‘biased’ source).  

Third, you say that the word ‘choice’ is conspicuously absent from my article. Any objective reader would appreciate that the concept is central to it, not least where I discuss the ‘choices’ imposed on Ethiopia via the West’s ‘structural adjustment’ of agriculture (which I refer to at the end of the article). That was not a case of farmers ‘choosing’ to restructure their agriculture, but a case of policies being forced on them at a macro policy level. And this is one of the issues that I have with GMOs.

Although you conveniently do not mention that part of my piece, Michel Chossudovsky’s analysis takes account of the way by which agribusiness conglomerates can and do set rules at the WTO, manipulate market forces and restructure agriculture in foreign countries for their own ends. That is very much related to ‘choice’ and its denial. You talk a great deal about ‘democracy’ but fail to address how this situation fits with your ideas of giving choice to farmers and not imposing authoritarian agendas on people.

You say I should buy a farm and exert my choice to farm as I wish. Talk about exercising such a choice to the people in South America who Helena Paul wrote about (described in my piece). They are being driven out as agribusiness and the planting of GMOs (mainly for export) takes hold. She describes this as ecocide and genocide. Tell it to the peasant farmers who are being forced from their lands by speculators and corporations as described by reports by GRAIN and the Oakland Institute last year. These are the people who feed 80 percent of the ‘developing world’, without GM technology, yet are being squeezed out. Where is choice and democracy?

Certain words are used cheaply by some.

The issue of choice not only concerns the options made available to people, but those which have been closed off. Owen Paterson’s claims that “primitive, inefficient” farming techniques would condemn “billions” to hunger, poverty and underdevelopment is ridiculous. He engages in hyperbole in order to denigrate credible alternatives that are forwarded by the groups he is attacking and thus trying to deny those alternatives.

Fourth, nowhere do I say that only agroecological farming should be implemented to feed the world, as you claim I do. However, there are many studies and official reports that demonstrate the efficacy of organic and agroecological approaches that are well publicised. In my article, I referred to some of these studies and reports. But rather than regurgitating references, I would say that no matter what data is presented, certain people seek to marginalise agroecological approaches and prefer to focus on external input intensive ‘solutions' and proprietary technologies, such as GMOs.
I find it strange that supporters of GMOs talk so much about choice when the GMO biotech industry has spent $100 million in the US to deny choice by preventing labelling of GM food.

Where is the choice for the farmer who uses non-GM crops but has his field contaminated by GMOs? Where was the choice when parts of the US wheat crop were contaminated as a result of open-field trials or when contamination took place because of Liberty Link 601? Where is the choice in West Bengal where GMOs from Bangladesh have been found?

Where is the choice for farmers when the only ones that end up on the market are company seeds, or where thousands of varieties have been reduced to a relative handful?

In my piece, Daniel Maingi and Mariam Mayet mentioned the squeezing out of alternatives as a result of the impact of Western agribusiness in Africa. Are they to be dismissed as ‘biased’ sources too?

You say the following: 

“Most objectors in this area have a political programme not a scientific one but they like to bend science to their own political point of view. Science is by its nature not politics or political propaganda or anything like it. It deals with evidence not superstition, or political or social philosophies. If you have a political programme then please stop trying to justify it by claiming it has scientific support; it does not.”

First of all, I provided valid references which referred to peer-reviewed science in the article (and have again below), but all you can say is that my ‘political programme’ has “no scientific support”. I say to you: please stop justifying your own pro-GMO stance by smearing critics and rejecting any evidence because it does not fit your own agenda. Please do not talk about ‘choice’ and ‘democracy’ when your own agenda is to support powerful corporations who via the distortion of science and the capture of strategic national and international bodies deny choice.

Your view of science is either deliberately misleading or simply naïve. And for someone in your position, I find it difficult to believe it could be the latter. From acquiring funding and formulating the questions to be addressed, to conducting research, interpreting findings and peer review, politics are present in science throughout. The manufacture of scientific knowledge involves a process driven by various sociological, methodological and epistemological conflicts and compromises, both inside the laboratory and beyond. Writers in the field of the sociology of science have written much on this. I refer you to the following link, which contests your lofty view of science and scientists: ‘Monsanto wants to know why people doubt science’.

The very fact you have responded to me in a certain manner discredits your view of scientists, not least because it becomes difficult to appreciate where the line between science and lobbying is in your case.

There is an authoritarian, political agenda behind the GMO project – not set by some environmental group (as you say) that you like to use as a whipping boy – but by the agribusiness concerns behind GMOs and petro-chemical industrial agriculture. Focusing on Greenpeace with its supposed agenda serves as a convenient diversion.

It is not NGOs, groups, activists and campaigners that have failed to provide convincing arguments. And, by the way, to conflate such groups with intolerance, authoritarianism and killings by brutal regimes or groups is ludicrous and smacks of desperation on your part. You are a scientist but are using all the cheap smears and tactics of a lobbyist!

When peer-reviewed science is provided by critics to support their claims, the onslaught by the GMO agritech industry and its mouthpieces against those who legitimately and scientifically contest the claims about the efficacy of GMOs is relentless. Just ask Arpad Pusztai, P. M. Bhargava, Judy Carman, Terje Traavik, Andrés Carrasco, Ignacio Chapela, Allison Snow, Marc Lappé, Britt Bailey, Bela Darvas and G. E. Seralini.

These scientists have all either been threatened, smeared or hindered in their work because their research called into question the safety and/or efficacy of GMOs or associated products.

The hypocrisy of those from the pro-GMO lobby who call for sound science to inform the debate on GMOs is glaringly obvious. Those who argue against GMOs are accused of not having science or facts on their side and of engaging in propaganda, while it is clear the pro-GMO lobby that hurls such allegations is itself guilty of all such things. This tactic goes hand in glove with a strident populist agenda whereby the pro-GMO lobby portrays itself as on the side of the people, while its opponents are ‘elitists’ and are ‘stealing food from the bellies of the poor’.

If you really do value democracy as much as you say and wish to call to account those who show contempt for it, you would do better by reading Steven Druker’s new book ‘Altered Genes, Twisted Truth’. Instead of attacking Greenpeace and other groups, you should be more even handed (and employ just a little ‘scientific objectivity’ in your approach) by looking at the fraudulent practices and processes in US government departments that led to the commercialisation of GMOs in that country.

As far as your point on there being a scientific consensus is concerned, it has been well established in recent months by over 300 scientists in a peer reviewed journal that there is no consensus. Furthermore, you bring the issue of climate change into the debate. If I am to accept your claim that there is overwhelming consensus on climate change then I certainly reject your assertion that the same applies to the GMO issue.

What you claim to be ‘biased’ sources have demonstrated that the claims made on the back of many studies on GMOs are not supported by the evidence and that in many instances certain findings are marginalised as not being significant when they actually are (I supply these two links which provide reference to support my claims, the first of which you have already dismissed as being from a biased source, without addressing the issues raised therein:  'An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of GM crops and food' and 'Adverse impacts of transgenic crops/food: a compilation of scientific references with abstracts').  

Moreover, climate change is fundamentally different to the GMO issue. Climate change may or may not be anthropogenic, but scientists are deliberately genetically engineering food and adopting a wait and see attitude towards the impact. Wouldn’t it be better to prove safety beforehand?

But let’s get one thing clear, as Druker shows, GMOs were placed on the commercial market due to political arm twisting and official bodies in the US ignoring science that pointed out the dangers of this technology. The decision to commercialise GMOs was not based on scientific evidence; in fact, it ignored such evidence. Yet you are still placing the onus on scientists to prove that GMOs are unsafe – and when they show that they are, these scientists are attacked. It seems science is only called on when it suits.

Releasing GMOs onto the commercial market is not like boarding a plane, as you suggest. The genetic engineering of food affects every member of the population. It presents a widespread, systemic risk to the human population. Most planes are safe and have been tested. Moreover, we have a choice to board a plane. We have no other choice than to eat (unlabelled) food. GMO food has not been proven safe.

The GMO biotech industry carries out inadequate, short-term studies and conceals the data produced by its research under the guise of ‘commercial confidentiality’, while independent research highlights the very serious dangers of its products. It has in the past also engaged in fakery in India, bribery in Indonesia, smears and intimidates those who challenge its interests and distorts and censors science by restricting independent research. If science is held in such high regard by the GMO agritech sector, why engage in such practices and why in the US did policy makers release GM food onto the commercial market without proper long-term tests?

Despite its claims to the contrary, the sector cannot win the scientific debate, so it resorts to co-opting key public bodies or individuals to propagate various falsehoods and deceptions. Part of the deception is based on emotional blackmail: the world needs GMOs to feed the hungry, both now and in the future. This myth has been blown apart. In fact, the organisation GRAIN highlights that GMOs have thus far have actually contributed to food insecurity!

You say:

“If agroecological approaches can currently match yield that can be attained by using modern farming methods then by all means use it.”

Why doesn’t Paterson adopt this attitude? He denigrates such alternatives, and you deem it necessary to jump to his defence by responding this way.

“But if not and my understanding is that currently it cannot, then they should not be the farming method of recommended choice at present.”

Perhaps you need to do some more reading and consult a few more UN and scientific reports.   

You say that:

“No-one with any concern for humanity or the welfare of its population should currently consider any other alternative. The groups that campaign for this kind or that kind of farming method and destroy crops to try and bounce others into their point of view have lost that fundamental concern for their own species.”

What a ridiculous assertion. Why do you persist in attacking those who clearly do have compassion? Environmental groups have not engaged in decades of massive criminality, in decades of cover ups and serious environmental pollution. You would do better by focussing on one particular leading company whose record clearly shows that it has no regard whatsoever for humanity, yet which claims it wants to ‘feed the word’ with altruistic intent.

If you really do believe in dispassionate, objective discourse, then adopt an even-handed approach. You talk so much about democracy and choice yet there is no mention whatsoever of the crimes, cover ups and decades of environmental pollution that a certain company that forms part of the pro-GMO lobby has been involved in.

You talk about choice and democracy but say nothing about how big agribusiness has at international and national levels captured policy making bodies to effectively impose ‘choice’ on US consumers and poorer nations and devastate local economies. Where is your condemnation? Where is your condemnation of ‘big list’ studies and fallacious claims made by the likes of Jon Entine about safety and efficacy on the back of them? Or are your condemnations, attacks, misrepresentations and ridiculous assertions reserved for those who flag up such things?

While powerful corporations have instant access to policy makers who work closely together, ordinary people and groups have to resort to Freedom of Information legislation to ascertain what happens behind closed doors. They have to rely on whisteblowers or leaked documents or must go through the courts to gain access to studies that formed the basis of regulatory bodies’ approvals for commercial agribusiness products. And you talk to me about democracy and of how I or some campaign group have scant regard for it?

Your response is full of warm sounding notions about democracy and choice and some high-minded words about science and scientists (of course, only the science that fits your paradigm). Rhetoric, platitudes and clichés do not constitute a considered response. Projecting the pro-GMO lobby’s deficiencies onto its critics is not valid. It’s disappointing from a scientist.

You indulge in cheap, fallacious attacks on critics, which is symptomatic of a very transparent and predictable propaganda campaign aimed at critics.  

In finishing, I would like to make clear that I do not belong to any environmental or campaign group. I received no payment for the article you responded to. This is why I refer to myself as in ‘independent’ (not freelance) writer.

I wonder how many scientists can claim such a level of independence from for-profit corporate entities.

With kind regards,

Colin Todhunter


Open letter from Professor Trewavas

Dear Mr Todhunter

I read your article against GM crops (So You Want to Help Africa Mr Paterson? Then Stop Promoting Ideology and Falsehoods to Push GMOs; http://rinf.com/alt-news/editorials/want-help-africa-mr-paterson-stop-promoting-ideology-falsehoods-push-gmos/) but I searched in vain for one small word, ‘choice’.  It seems never to enter the commentaries of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth or WWF or the other odd environmentalist/activist groupings that appear now and again. Your claim is that Africa can do very well just on agroecology. Well, put your money where your mouth is. Buy a farm in Africa and farm it in the way that you want. But allow others to farm as they wish and if they wish to use GM crops that is their right to do so just as it yours, not to. According to you any African farmer using GM crops will be a disaster so in that case they will stop using them. If it’s not a disaster, which I suspect is what you fear most, then they will reap the benefit and perhaps persuade you in due course to farm like them. Do you want to impose your opinions on others without allowing them to make their own minds up and choose how they wish to farm?

It is an unfortunate situation that in our present world many environmentalist groups have become typically authoritarian in attitude. Greenpeace notably decides its opinions must prevail regardless of others, so it arrogates to itself the right to tear up and destroy things it doesn’t like. That is absolutely typical of people who are unable to convince others by debate and discussion and in the last century such attitudes, amplified obviously, ended up killing people that others did not like. But the same personality type the authoritarian, ‘do as I tell you’, was at the root of it all. Such groups therefore sit uneasily with countries that are democracies. It would be nice if you could say you are a democrat and believe that argument is better than destruction but argument that deals with all the facts and does not select out of those to construct a misleading programme. Misleading selection of limited information is causing considerable problems in various parts of the world that leads some into very violent behaviour, particularly in religious belief. I am sure you agree that this is not a good way forward.

There is a consensus amongst scientists, at least those that have made themselves aware of all reasonable scientific facts, that GM is both safe for consumption and with appropriate regulations for the environment too. Do you agree with that consensus or not? There is another scientific consensus over climate change that is impelling governments to take action. The consensus over GM food safety is stronger amongst scientists than that over climate change, according to a current survey. I assume you accept the one over climate change, most do. But science and scientific fact is not a pick and mix situation, if you accept a scientific consensus on one than you have to accept it for the other. I am sure you will be aware that there are minorities of scientists, different in both cases, that object to both. But I have found that those that do object to the consensus on GM crops always fail to provide an acceptable balance of information in their objections. They select out only the very limited data they consider supports their view and neglect everything else that does not. That is not science that can be used to construct policy. It’s like claiming flying is unsafe because several planes a year crash whilst ignoring the hundreds of thousands every day that haven’t. If you want unbiased information on GM crops go to the many university personnel who can provide it for you. But please do not quote the so obviously-biased publication which you have, as though it were scientific fact.

Most objectors in this area have a political programme not a scientific one but they like to bend science to their own political point of view. Science is by its nature not politics or political propaganda or anything like it. It deals with evidence not superstition, or political or social philosophies. If you have a political programme then please stop trying to justify it by claiming it has scientific support; it does not.

All human activities have costs and benefits, that will include agroecological approaches that you apparently favour, but at the start both costs and benefits have to be drawn up to see what is appropriate to the particular circumstance. Given the rapidly increasing African population I would say that currently yield is crucial but that can change just as farming methods are changing in Europe towards increasing environmental concerns. Farming methods that do both such as no-till or integrated farm management currently offer the best compromise. Malawi, I understand, subsidizes minerals for crop growth and has turned the country from a food importer into a food exporter. That seems an excellent approach at present to solve a pressing problem.

If agroecological approaches can currently match yield that can be attained by using modern farming methods then by all means use it. But if not and my understanding is that currently it cannot, then they should not be the farming method of recommended choice at present.

When Africa has got its population increases under control and producing sufficient to feed everybody then alternatives like agroecology may come to the fore. No-one with any concern for humanity or the welfare of its population should currently consider any other alternative. The groups that campaign for this kind or that kind of farming method and destroy crops to try and bounce others into their point of view have lost that fundamental concern for their own species.

I am not dogmatic about the methods that farmers use since I consider that decision is the province of individual farmers themselves. Whatever their choice is their right in the framework of their country but they must be allowed to make that decision in full knowledge of all the scientific information and advice, not the tiny amount available to support alternative points of view. That is the nature of every democracy that I hope all will finally live under.

Good science is not set in stone or concrete, the current view on GM crops is simply based on the wealth of the factual and reproducible evidence that all good scientists recognise. But if the evidence indicates change then scientists change with it. Why not join those whose job it is to provide farmers and the populace with unbiased evidence constructed by independent university personnel? You have nothing to lose but the constraints of closed thinking and everything to gain that comes from reasoned and open scientific debate.

With my best wishes
Professor Tony Trewavas FRS
University of Edinburgh
Professor Anthony Trewavas FRS. FRSE
Institute of Molecular Plant Science
Mayfield Road
Edinburgh EH9 3JH



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There are disputes over his career depending on whether the source is ISIS itself, US or Iraqi intelligence but the overall picture appears fairly clear. He was born in Samarra, a largely Sunni city north of Baghdad, in 1971 and is well educated. With black hair and brown eyes, a picture of al-Baghdadi taken when he was a prisoner of the Americans in Bocca Camp in southern Iraq between 2005 and 2009, makes him look like any Iraqi man in his thirties.

His real name is believed to be Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, who has degrees in Islamic Studies, including poetry, history and genealogy, from the Islamic University of Baghdad. He may have been an Islamic militant under Saddam as a preacher in Diyala province, to the north east of Baghdad, where, after the US invasion of 2003, he had his own armed group. Insurgent movements have a strong motive for giving out misleading information about their command structure and leadership, but it appears al-Baghdadi spent five years as prisoner of the Americans

The US has offered a $10 million reward for leads that can either capture or kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2011. That offer still stands. The US has destabilized Iraq, and now terrorist organizations threaten all nations across the Middle East, including Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Iran and Syria. It is no coincidence that the Obama administration is taking advantage of Iraq’s situation. Last month, Obama gave a speech in a commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. It signified how Washington is planning to topple the Syrian government. He said:

A critical focus of this effort will be the ongoing crisis in Syria. As frustrating as it is, there are no easy answers there, no military solution that can eliminate the terrible suffering anytime soon. As president, I made a decision that we should not put American troops into the middle of this increasingly sectarian civil war, and I believe that is the right decision. But that does not mean we shouldn’t help the Syrian people stand up against a dictator who bombs and starves his own people. And in helping those who fight for the right of all Syrians to choose their own future, we are also pushing back against the growing number of extremists who find safe haven in the chaos.

So with the additional resources I’m announcing today, we will step up our efforts to support Syria’s neighbors — Jordan and Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq — as they contend with refugees and confront terrorists working across Syria’s borders. I will work with Congress to ramp up support for those in the Syrian opposition who offer the best alternative to terrorists and brutal dictators. And we will continue to coordinate with our friends and allies in Europe and the Arab World to push for a political resolution of this crisis and to make sure that those countries and not just the United States are contributing their fair share of support to the Syrian people

Syria is part of the US Imperial agenda. Now with ISIS expanding its base and launching attacks across Iraq creating an uncertain future for the war torn country, Syria will experience the same fate if President Bashar al-Assad is removed from power. The Syrian government and the people will prevent ISIS and Washington’s so called “moderate rebels” from destabilizing their country. ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are all Western backed terrorist groups seeking to gain power across the region. The consequence of the US invasion has destabilized Iraq with no hope of re-establishing itself as a united country as it once was under Saddam Hussein. The US, Turkey, Israel and the Gulf states are attempting to do the same to Syria by funding terrorist organizations in hopes of installing a puppet regime that will remain loyal to Western interests. Iraq is a failed state because of Western intervention, so why would they attempt the same policy towards Syria knowing what happened to Iraq? Do they believe this time would be successful? I certainly doubt it. But then again do they really want success? Or do they want to divide the region in order to control all sides?

                               

JOHN CHUCKMAN ESSAY: UNDERSTANDING ISRAEL’S CORROSIVE INFLUENCE ON WESTERN DEMOCRACY

                UNDERSTANDING ISRAEL’S CORROSIVE INFLUENCE ON WESTERN DEMOCRACY John Chuckman   Something troubling is quietly underway in the Western world, that portion of the world’s governments who style themselves as liberal democracies and free societies. Through a number of avenues, people’s assumptions about the role of government are […]

Understanding Israel’s Corrosive Influence On Western Democracy

John Chuckman Something troubling is quietly underway in the Western world, that portion of the world’s governments who style themselves as liberal democracies and free societies. Through...

How Elites Hijack Democracy

Sonali Kolhatkar Mass street protests are usually seen as a hallmark of democratic aspirations. And elections are meant to be a culmination of such aspirations,...

Can a coup repair Thailand’s toxic democracy?

After months on the sidelines of the country’s grinding political crisis, Thailand’s military boldly intervened and declared a coup, dissolving the senate and the lower house of parliament, and suspending the constitution.

Under the name of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the junta has taken full control of the country, detaining key political figures, protest leaders, and academics; they have assumed total control of all lawmaking powers.

In a move to suppress dissent and any potential opposition to the coup, the military has banned critical reportage of their takeover across the airwaves and newspapers. Demonstrations both against and in support of the coup have sprung up around Bangkok, while the military has issued an ultimatum threatening protestors with lengthy jail sentences if they continue rallying.

Thailand’s ailing monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, has endorsed the military takeover, formalizing coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha as the head of government. The military takeover came in response to over six months of protests and counter-protests between the country’s rival political factions, which prompted outbreaks of violence and seizures of public buildings.

General Prayuth justified the coup by highlighting the need to prevent factional infighting and violence on a wide scale, urging the restoration of order as the country teeters on the brink of recession, after prolonged political frictions battered the economy. The junta will now establish an interim constitution, legislative and reform committees. Thailand’s political crisis is complex, and the issue of royal succession is a fundamental dynamic to the multidimensional power struggle unfolding.

Read the full story on RT.com

Nile Bowie is a Malaysia-based political analyst and a columnist with Russia Today. He can be reached at [email protected].

Surveillance, Cyberspying, and the Fig Leaf of Democracy

NSA deservedly takes its place with the CIA (like the New Deal in one respect, there are a number of agencies in the alphabet...

India’s Sham Democracy

India's Sham Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

India is like America. Democracy is fantasy. Two major parties dominate. 

In India most often. Others compete. At most, some become junior coalition partners.

Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governance control things. They take turns. They're largely two sides of the same coin.

Indian elections ran in nine phases. From April 7 to May 12. The longest election in Indian history. Over 800 million were eligible to vote.

Over 8,000 candidates competed. They did so for India's Lok Sabha. It's House of the People. Its lower house. Parliamentarians represent 543 constituencies.

Turnout exceeded 66%. Highest ever for general elections. On May  16, results were announced. 

Ruling Congress party candidates were trounced. They won 44 of 554 seats. BJP aspirants won a majority 282 seats. The BJP National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 336 seats.

Money power triumphs no matter who wins. Like in America. In Europe. In Israel. Most elsewhere . Democracy is fantasy.

Narendra Modi is India's new prime minister. He's no democrat. Or agent of change. 

He's pro-business writ large. He's notoriously anti-populist. He's neoliberally one-sided. He represents strongman rule. His Gujarat tenure was ruthless. 

He was responsible for its 2002 massacre. Up to 2,000 Muslims were slaughtered. Thousands more were injured. Hundreds went missing.

Children were burned alive. Rape and other atrocities were committed. Widespread looting occurred. Property destruction was vast.

Modi initiated what happened. He condoned it. He remains unaccountable. In 2012, a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team cleared him of involvement.

Muslims justifiably were enraged. Cold-blooded mass murder was whitewashed. State terrorism triumphed. Perhaps more of the same ahead with Modi in charge.

Not according to New York Times editors. They headlined "With Narendra Modi, a Change in India."

They praised what demands denunciation. They lied claiming Modi's victory "reflects a changing country more willing to extend governance to those outside the established elite."

Obama congratulated him. He invited him to Washington. Modi promised "economic revival."

"He set a good tone…(He) promised to work for the good of all Indians," said Times editors. He omitted explaining which ones he means.

Wall Street Journal editors headlined "India's Modi Moment," saying:

"(H)e has a rare mandate to enact (greater) market-opening reforms" than already. "Indian equities soared…"

"Mr. Modi's record offers reason for optimism." He's an "archetypal energetic executive…(He) welcomes foreign investment."

"He has a gut sense of the economic aspirations of ordinary Indians."

"Picking (men) of ideas to balance his own strength as a man of action would be a winning combination."

Washington Post editors called Modi "a compelling alternative as a leader with a record of overseeing a decade-long boom in the state of Gujarat, primed by aggressively tackling infrastructure and energy bottlenecks, paring excessive regulation and attracting private investment." 

"He has promised to do the same for the country at large, sketching ambitious plans for new cities linked by bullet trains."

Arundhati Roy calls India's model one "designed to uphold the consensus of the elite for market growth" at the expense of fairness. 

It "metastasized into something dangerous." High-level corruption reflects it. So does hardline rule.

Roy compared Hindu persecution of Muslims to Hitler's treatment of Jews. "What kind of India do they want," she asked earlier?

She described a "limbless, headless, soulless torso left bleeding under the butcher's clever with a flag driven deep into her mutilated heart?"

She commented on India's election, saying:

"…"(W)e're always told there's going to be a trickle-down revolution."

"You know, that kind of opening up of the economy that happened in the early '90s was going to lead to an inflow of foreign capital, and eventually the poor would benefit."

"Well, trickle down hasn't worked, but gush up has. After the opening up of the economy, we are in a situation where…100 of India's wealthiest people own 25 percent of the GDP."

"Whereas more than 80 percent of its population lives on less than half a dollar a day."

Roy noted horrendous malnutrition, hunger and human misery.
India's growing middle class comes at the expense of a "much larger (permanent) underclass."

Small farmers among others suffer. Around 250,000 committed suicide. "If you try to talk about (it) on Indian television channels, you actually get insulted…"

Roy's new book is titled "Capitalism: A Ghost Story." It explains well. It makes a strong case. It shows globalized capitalism created unprecedented inequality, violence, racism and ecocide.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian/journalist/sharp critic of New Delhi policy.

He called BJP candidates winning decisively a clear mandate. He's not encouraged. He expects worse of what voted rejected ahead.

He commented on Hinduism's strong pro-Israeli sentiment. "Hindutva and Zionism shared a muscular nationalism that developed - because of their context - a programmatic apathy to Islam and Muslims," he said.

In 1884, BJP candidates won two seats. This year "the tide turned," said Prashad.

It did so despite Modi's genocidal legacy. Anti-Congress sentiment mattered more.

India has "a powerful Hindu Right government with a very weak opposition," Prashad added. "It is the worst of all worlds."

Congress prioritized neoliberal policies. They combined "liberalization, privatization and globalization."

Prashad calls it "an explosive mix that brought India in line with the planet's rising inequality."

It's grown steadily for years. Especially so in the new millennium. Extreme depravation affects around "680 million Indians."

Congress policies exacerbated things. Inequality escalated during its tenure. Voters reacted.

Its candidates were rejected. BJP ones replaced them and then some. Both parties represent monied elites. Corruption is deep-seated.

BJP and Congress largely govern the same way. Prashad said Modi's Gujarat "malnutrition rate is so high that it is worse than the average…in sub-Saharan Africa."

Its development model is exclusively pro-business. Modi family-controlled companies profit handsomely.

He "ran as a development candidate with a carefully calibrated argument," said Prashad.

He turned truth on its head. He claimed neoliberalism didn't create inequality. He blamed corruption. He "tied it to the mast of Congress."

He rode an anti-ruling party wave. He did so successfully. He reflects hard right Hindu nationalist extremism.

He'll form his government going forward. He'll have to decide whether it's "the ideology he concealed in plain sight or from the campaign rhetoric…he delivered," said Prashad.

Election results showed India's left considerably weakened. Its alternative is rebuilding "strength outside parliament through popular political struggles," Prashad stressed.

Did ordinary Indians get what they wanted, he asked? Was it "good governance or Hindu nationalism?"

On the one hand, they get what they voted for, good or bad.

On the other, they're stuck with the worst of both worlds they deplore. Hardline pro-business Hindu nationalists are empowered for the next five years.

For hundreds of millions of deeply impoverished Indians, it'll feel like a lifetime.

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. 


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

Democracy is Not For Sale in the European Union

Colin Todhunter RINF Alternative News Protest Movement in Brussels against European Business Summit Corporate Lobby On Thursday 15 May, farmers, trade unions and citizens belonging to the...

Democracy In Europe Is Not For Sale!

Countercurrents 16/5/2014 and Global Research 17/5/2014

On Thursday 15 May, farmers, trade unions and citizens belonging to the D1920 Alliance (1) and Alter Summit (2) tried to shut-down Brussels ' biggest corporate lobbying event in protest at big business dictating European policy. The surrounding of the European Business Summit (3) marked the beginning of a period of action across  Europe  (4) against austerity policies and the corporate hijack of decision and policy-making processes within the EU.


The  Summit  is regarded by many as a corporate lobbying event where future policies are decided prior to upcoming regional, national and European elections.


In response to the police arresting innocent citizens en-masse during the protest, Pascoe Sabido from Corporate Europe Observatory said:

"Once again we have seen that the priorities of big business are placed above those of  Europe 's citizens. It's simply not acceptable to arbitrarily arrest peaceful protestors for trying to make their voices heard above the billions of dollars spent by multinational corporations on lobbying. Democracy is truly broken and it doesn't appear like our political leaders are in any hurry to fix it.”

The reasoning behind the protest was explained by Rudy Janssens from Belgian public services trade union CGSP:
“Citizens have had enough of a  Europe  made for high profits and social misery. Shutting down this lobbying jamboree is sending a clear message that democracy is not for sale at any price. We demand a  Europe from below.”

In the run up to the European elections in ten days' time, citizens, social movements, trade unions, migrants, youth, women and precarious workers will be taking to the streets in protest in  Italy , France ,  Spain ,  Greece ,  Germany ,  Denmark  and elsewhere.


Noemi Costa from the Coalizione Centri Sociale and the Blockupy International Coordinating Committee said:

“By being here today we've shown that solidarity beyond borders is necessary and possible. This is another step in building a trans-European movement to fight back against the neo-liberal crisis policies coming out of  Brussels . Up until the elections we will be in the streets, demanding the  Europe  that we really want.”

The protests come on the back of a report that declares the European Commission to be a “disgrace to the democratic traditions in  Europe .” (5) The report's authors looked at policy areas across the board, including free trade agreements, finance, climate change, food and agriculture, water privatization and economic policy. In all areas, the authors note that  the Commission has eagerly pursued a corporate agenda and has pushed for policies in sync with the interests of big business.


The report flagged up various issues that have been highlighted in recent months, such as secrecy, lack of transparency and unaccountable lobbying and policy making (6,7), attempts to bypass democratic institutions to institute economic plunder by powerful corporations (8,9), the implementation of corporate-driven agendas concerning free trade negotiations (10), massive conflicts of interests within regulatory bodies (11), the corrupt austerity agenda (12) and the huge, insidious presence and influence of finance-sector interests in Brussels (13).   


Felipé Van Keirsbilck from Belgian trade union CNE added:

“Why are we still letting those who caused the crisis decide how we respond to it? Banks and big business, rather than taking responsibility for wrecking the economy, have passed the cost on to ordinary citizens who have watched as compliant governments demolish public services and people's ability to earn a living. We don't owe so why should we pay? We need an alternative to austerity.”
Luc Hollands from Belgian milk producers cooperative MIG said:

“Rather than looking for solutions to the crisis in the interest of citizens, our so-called political leaders like EU trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht are trying to make big business even richer through secretly negotiated transatlantic trade deals. And again its citizens and producers who will suffer, with deregulation seeing public services sold off while dangerous foods make their way to a plate near you. Who wants to eat hormone-filled beef or chlorine-washed chicken?”

Images of the protest can be viewed here: 



Notes


1) D1920 Alliance is a non-partisan alliance of citizens, farmers and trade unions who fight against the neo-liberal policies of austerity and free trade.


2) Alter Summit a coalition of numerous trade unions and social movements across  Europe fighting for a democratic, social and feminist  Europe .


3) The European Business Summit 2014, organised by the European employers' association, BusinessEurope, is  Brussels ' biggest lobbying event where corporate CEOs enjoy unrivaled access to European Commissioners and political leaders. A few of this year's speakers include Commission President José Manuel Barroso, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, FlemishMinister-President Kris Peeters, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders, alongside the CEOs from General Electrics, Accenture and Marcegaglia, Presidents of the Federation of Belgian Employers (FEB), L'Oreal and Bristol-Myers Squibb.


4) The European Week of Action is happening across the continent between the 15-25 May. For information on any of the actions see www.mayofsolidarity.org .













Democracy Landslide in Eastern Ukraine

Democracy Landslide in Eastern Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

On Sunday, Donetsk and Lugansk regional referendums were held. Democracy triumphed overwhelmingly.

Almost 90% of Donetsk residents voted for self-determination. For local autonomy. For self-rule. Accounting to Central Election Commission head Roman Lyagin:

"Counting the ballots proved to be surprisingly easy. The number of people who said 'no' was relatively small, and there appeared to be only a tiny proportion of spoiled ballots, so we managed to carry out counting quite fast." 

"The figures are as follows: 89.07 percent voted 'for' (self rule),10.19 percent voted 'against' and 0.74 percent of ballots were rendered ineligible."

"The region is witnessing the escalation of violence," he added. "(L)ots or armed people have come to the region. Sometimes it is impossible to say whom these people represent."

Ballot deliveries were impeded. They were "beset by the danger to the life and health of members of election commission" members.

Final Lugansk results showed 96.2% for self-rule. Election Committee deputy chairman Alexander Malykhyn announced it.

A celebratory 5-6PM Monday rally was held. Thousands participated. They did so under hazardous conditions. 

They came anyway. New rules apply. Self-determination is official. Kiev putschists have no say.

Residents in both regions live under virtual war zone conditions. Fundamental rights matter more. Freedom is too precious to sacrifice. Near unanimity affirmed it.

Turnout under dangerous conditions was extraordinary. It was unexpectedly high.

In Lugansk it was 81%. In Donetsk 74.87%. Residents in some areas risked life and limb to vote.

They did so anyway. In Krasnoarmeysk, special National Guard forces and Right Sector thugs opened fire on unarmed civilians.

Two deaths were reported. Others were injured. Fascist regimes operate this way. Kiev acts on direct orders from Washington.

Donetsk Region People's Governor Pavel Gubarev said:

"The referendum for us is about creating a new state paradigm." It's "everything for us. It is our independence."

"It is formation of a new entity - The Donetsk People's Republic. But this new entity is only the first step to our forming a bigger entity of Novorossia." 

He referred to 18th century Russian empire territory. In 1922, it included Southeastern Ukraine.

Slavyansk People's Mayor Vyacheslav Ponomaryov said closer ties with Russia will follow.

It's "our brotherly nation," he explained. He hopes for "full interaction…including entering (into) a Customs Union."

RT International's Paula Slier tweeted:

"#Lugansk leader says it's probable that after independence, the rgn'll form a unit govt w/#Donetz. Acc. to him, other rgns'll follow them."

A Kremlin press service statement said:

"We have taken note of high voter turnout despite attempts to derail the voting and we condemn the force used, including military hardware, against civilians, which lead to fatalities."

"Moscow respects the will of the people in Donetsk and Lugansk and hopes that the practical realization of the outcome of the referendums will be carried out in a civilized manner, without resorting to violence, through dialogue between representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk."

"In the interests of establishing such a dialogue all mediation efforts will be welcome, including by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe."

Russia condemned the use of force, "including with the use of heavy armaments against peaceful citizens that caused human losses."

Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said his views on what happened Sunday depend "on the strength of their results."

He'll make them known at an appropriate time. He recommended postponing Sunday's referendums.

"(I) was difficult" for area residents to comply. "Taking into account real combat conditions, (they) had to act according to their own plan and proceed from the actual situation."

Peskov called Western accusations against Russia "absolute folly."

"Why could not the West prevent the use of armoured personnel carriers in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk and avoid the gunning down of civilians," he asked. 

"They did not use their influence, and they do not give a hang while Russia is blamed for everything."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov closely followed events.

"We have taken note of high voter turnout despite attempts to derail the voting, and we condemn the force used, including military hardware, against civilians, which lead to fatalities," he said.

Russia's lower house State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said:

"The referendums show(ed) (the will of the people) to defend their rights, essentially, their wish to be free."

They believe "their rights are massively violated in the current state system."

Russian upper house Federation Council member Sergei Tsekov said Donetsk and Lugansk regions demonstrated real choice. World nations should recognize it, he added.

"Unfortunately, the self-proclaimed authorities of Ukraine did not let (both regions) hold their referendums in a calm atmosphere, but, clearly, the vote demonstrated the will of people…"

"The referendums have totally convincing results: we saw how enthusiastic people were about the referendum and how many of them came to polling stations."

"If the world unwaveringly supports democratic values and wishes peace and accord in Ukraine, it should recognize the referendums and do its best to assist Ukrainian regions and the center to sit down and agree on their future."

On Monday, EU foreign ministers met in Brussels. They discussed Sunday's referendums. They considered policy options going forward.

They include possible sanctions on 15 more Russian officials and five Crimea-based companies.

On Monday, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy visited Kiev. He came to support its coup-appointed government.

He discussed preparations for May 25 sham presidential elections. They'll be illegitimate when held. EU nations support them. So does Washington.

Western countries endorse what demands condemnation. They criticize real democracy. They deny their own people fundamental rights. They want other nations denied theirs.

On Monday, Sergey Lavrov said no new meetings on Ukraine are planned. Efforts to resolve crisis conditions so far accomplished nothing.

"I have heard statements by Ukraine's Acting Foreign Minister (Andrii) Deshchytsia and While House spokesman (Jay) Carney to the effect that the four-party format of the talks should be preserved, but I shall say once again that, without including the regime's opponents into the direct dialogue over ways of settling the crisis, the efforts will go nowhere," he said.

"Russian channels are being blocked in Ukraine," he added. "The West is seeking to fill them with their interpretation of events." 

"But ambassadors in Moscow watch what Russian television shows and should say the truth about current events in Ukraine to their governments."

Lavrov commented on flagrant Western lies relating to Donetsk People's Republic statements he made. He hopes implementing referendum results going forward will proceed smoothly.

Washington and rogue EU partners reacted to Sunday's referendums as expected. They denounced real democracy. 

They called it illegal. They might try adopting some themselves. They consider it verboten. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki lied saying:

Sunday's referendums "violate(d) international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The United States will not recognize the results of these illegal referenda."

Rogue EU nations march in lockstep. Foreign policy chief Katherine Ashton's spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic lied saying:

"The so-called referenda in…parts of Lugansk and Donetsk regions were illegal, and we do not recognize the outcome. Those who organized the referenda have no democratic legitimacy."

Hostile public statements won't change things. Donetsk and Lugansk residents spoke. They did so courageously. 

They affirmed their legitimate rights. Their democratic ones everyone deserves. 

They did so overwhelmingly. They reject Kiev fascists. They acted responsibly. They deserve universal support.

On Monday, Kiev troops attacked Andreevka village. It's about 100 kilometers from Slavyansk.

"There was an artillery attack," a self-defense spokesperson said. It began pre-dawn.

"Houses have been destroyed. Cars are on fire. There are casualties, but the numbers aren't yet known."

"The enemy started the artillery attack…using heavy mortars and howitzers. Also we have data on…using helicopters for covering operations."

RT's Paula Slier tweeted:

"Communication between #Andreevka and #Slavyansk - as well w/other cities around it - reportedly affected. It's difficult to get info."

Repeated explosions were heard. Firing came from Karachun Mountain's TV tower vicinity.

Checkpoints were attacked. So were residential areas. Kiev tried disrupting Sunday's referendums. It failed to do so.

Assaults on self-defense forces and noncombatants continued on Monday. It bears repeating. Fascist regimes operate this way.

On Monday, the Moscow Times headlined "Russia Recognizes Outcome of Self-Rule Referendums in Eastern Ukraine," saying:

Kremlin authorities urged implementing it peacefully. People spoke. They did so overwhelmingly. Their will matters. 

It bears repeating. It deserves respect. It merits universal support. It's polar opposite Washington's way. 

It's the right way. It's a model for people everywhere to follow.

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. 


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

Bashing Real Democracy

Bashing Real Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

Media scoundrels reacted as expected. They didn't surprise. They march in lockstep with official Washington policy. 

They bashed Sunday's legitimate Donetsk and Lugansk referendums. They reflect real democracy. 

They exposed America's sham process. Perhaps they'll inspire people everywhere to follow their courageous example.

Not according to The New York Times. It twists important truths daily. It does so irresponsibly. On May 11, it headlined "Ukraine Vote on Separation Held in Chaos," saying: 

"Separatists in two provinces of eastern Ukraine conducted chaotic and sometimes violent plebiscites on Sunday that offered voters just one question about self-rule, while raising many more about where events in the region were headed."

"Opponents appeared to be staying away from the polls, as many had said they would." 

"The ballot papers that could be seen in transparent ballot boxes in two cities, Donetsk and Slovyansk, were almost all marked yes."

"But the voting took place in such a raw state of lawlessness that no one other than the organizers and perhaps their Russian patrons seemed likely to accept the results as a democratic expression of the voters will."

"The interim central government and many leaders in the West have said that the separatists in eastern Ukraine were proxies for the Russian intelligence services, and were trying to destabilize the country after mass protests drove Ukraine's former pro-Russian leader from power."

"Referendums offered no reliable gauge of (popular) support."

"Despite their slapdash nature, the referendums in the east risked escalating the smoldering conflict in Ukraine by entrenching the political wings of pro-Russian militant groups, giving them a chance to claim at least the semblance of a popular mandate, while facing the authorities in Kiev with the awkward problem of appearing to defy voters."

Coup-appointed presidential chief of staff Sergiy Pashinskiy was quoted, saying:

"The so-called referendum in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions is an attempt by the terrorists to cover up their crimes."

"In fact, there is no referendum taking place." Voting went on only in about one-third of the region, he claimed. Organizers will be prosecuted, he added.

Fact: Times managed news misinformation rubbish substitutes for accurate reporting.

Fact: It does so systematically.

Fact: It does willfully.

Fact: It does daily.

Fact: Eastern Ukrainians aren't separatists.

Fact: They're not terrorists.

Fact: They're not militants.

Fact: They're factory workers, miners, farmers, shopkeepers, and store clerks.

Fact: They're freedom fighters.

Fact: They're Ukraine's best and bravest.

Fact: Like-minded residents support them.

Fact: They include ordinary people of all stripes, doctors, lawyers, academics, accountants, other professionals, students, mothers, grandparents, and religious figures.

Fact: They share one common trait.

Fact: They're democrats.

Fact: They support the real thing.

Fact: They reject illegitimate Kiev putschists.

Fact: Everyone everywhere should.

Fact: Voting was well organized.

Fact: It wasn't "slapdash."

Fact: So-called "chaos" was state-sponsored.

Fact: Donetsk and Lugansk regions are virtual war zones.

Fact: Residents risked life and limb to vote.

Fact: Turnout was huge.

Fact: It was unprecedented.

Fact: Nearly 80% of eligible voters overall.

Fact: They left no doubt where they stand.

Fact: Near unanimity chose democracy.

Fact: So-called "opponents" were near non-existent.

Fact: So-called "raw state of lawlessness" was state-sponsored.

Fact: So-called "Russian patrons" don't exist.

Fact: Voters acted on their own volition.

Fact: They're "proxies" for no one.

Fact: They want real democracy.

Fact: They want the real thing.

Fact: They want peace, law and order. 

Fact: They want stability nationwide.

Fact: They deplore fascism.

Fact: They reject what no one should tolerate.

Fact: Referendum results showed clear popular self-rule sentiment.

Fact: Voters inspired other Ukrainians to follow their example.

Fact: They inspired people everywhere to do so.

Fact: They exposed Kiev's dark side. 

Fact: State-sponsored terrorism reflects it.

Fact: Fascist regimes operate this way.

Don't expect Times correspondents, commentators or editors to explain. They support wealth, power and privilege exclusively. 

They deplore social justice. They oppose real democracy. They're on the wrong side of history. They disgracefully back wrong over right.

On May 12, The Times headlined  "Kiev Condemns Separatist Vote as Russia Offers Tepid Support," saying:

"Ukraine's interim president, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, on Monday dismissed weekend referendums in the country's restive east, calling them 'a farce' with no legal basis…"

He accused Moscow of trying to overthrow Kiev's government. He bashed Kremlin officials irresponsibly. 

He said they aim to disrupt May 25's election. It reflects stage-managed illegitimacy writ large.

Claiming tepid Russian support doesn't wash. Expect future Kremlin comments to leave no doubt about backing what deserves universal recognition.

Coup-appointed Kiev security chief Andriy Parubiy called Sunday's referendums "Putin propaganda."

"Europe needs to understand that because Hitler was not stopped at the beginning, it led to a huge war and millions and millions of victims," he claimed. 

"If Russia recogniszes (the results), Ukraine will defend its territory."

Washington denounced the referendum results. It's unwilling to recognize them.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said they "have zero credibility in the eyes of the world. They are illegal by anybody's standards."

It bears repeating. Sunday's referendums were legitimate. Claiming otherwise doesn't wash.

Self-determination is a universal right. Comparing legal self-rule to Hitler on the march shows how far Kiev putschists sunk. They'll go to any extremes to denounce real democracy.

To conceal lawless rule. To pretend illegitimacy is proper. To continue waging aggressive war. To keep killing civilians. 

To crack down hard on nonbelievers. To harden fascist rule. To crush legitimate opponents. To do it no-holds-barred.

The Washington Post headlined "Eastern Ukrainians vote for self-rule in referendum opposed by West," saying:

Results threaten "to deepen divisions in a country already heading perilously toward civil war."

It quoted Kiev's self-appointed foreign ministry calling Sunday's referendums a "criminal farce." Run by a "gang of terrorists."
Reflecting its view about Russian agents backing them. 

"Many residents who oppose the separatist movement boycotted the vote," said WaPo. But it did appear that turnout was relatively high.

"Relatively" grossly understates reality. At nearly 80%, it was unprecedented. So-called "opposition" was practically non-existent.

WaPo couldn't get its facts straight. Fantasy substitutes for truth. Distortion for reality. Bald-faced lies for legitimate journalism.

The Wall Street Journal headlined "Pro-Russian Separatists Declare Victory in East Ukraine," saying:

Doing so "ratchet(ed) up tensions between the West and Moscow, which by recognizing the results could push the country toward a break-up."

Results suggest "weeks of instability and violence" to come.

"Amid an absence of electoral observers and a heavy presence of separatist gunmen patrolling the streets, the government in Kiev said the results of the vote were certain to be rigged."

"(F)igures (released) are certain to arouse skepticism, since polls last month showed only 30% of voters in the Donetsk region supported independence from Ukraine." 

"Pro-unity activists said that many opponents of splitting from Ukraine simply stayed at home and that long lines were caused by a restricted number of voting stations."

The Journal blamed victims for Kiev's aggression. It said they "began armed confrontations in Mariupol" and elsewhere.

Twisting facts to fit Washington's imperial agenda is longstanding scoundrel media policy. Calling freedom-fighting activists terrorists shows how far they've sunk.

Equating real democracy with separatism reveals more. Near self-rule unanimity showed alleged pre-election 30% support flat wrong.

Sunday's record turnout belied claims about many self-determination opponents staying home. Hard facts expose scoundrel media Big Lies.

The Chicago Tribune headlined "Rebels declare victory in East Ukraine vote on self-rule."

It called a historic triumph "makeshift…Potentially grace implications may follow."

"Ballot papers…were printed without security provision…(V)oter registration was patchy…(T)here was confusion over what the vote was for." 

Not based on voter turnout. None on what they support. Scoundrel media post-mortems reflect sour grapes grousing. Taking issue with real democracy shows how strongly they oppose it.

Eastern Ukrainians spoke loudly. It bears repeating. Self-rule affirmation was near unanimous. 

So was opposition to illegitimate Kiev fascist rule. The struggle for Ukraine's soul continues. It just began. It remains to be seen what follows.

Regular updates will keep explaining the most significant geopolitical issue of our time. 

Stay tuned for regular updates. Learn what everyone needs to know.

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. 


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

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


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




Kiev-Style Democracy

Kiev-Style Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

Kiev putschists have total control. They usurped it illegitimately. Challengers aren't tolerated. Democracy is pure fantasy. Police state lawlessness replaced it.

Dissenters are targeted. So are Russian nationals. Sham May elections will be farcical when held. Fascism operates this way.

Thought control is official policy. Aleksandr Panteleyonov learned the hard way. He was National Television Company of Ukraine (NTU) acting CEO. A previous article discussed him.

Last month, neo-Nazi thugs stormed his office. He was accused of airing anti-Ukrainian programming. He was threatened, bullied and beaten.

He was forced to resign. He's lucky to be alive. "Write your resignation," he was told. "Sit down. I told you, sit down."

"You are feating in my Ukraine…Here is a paper (and) pen. Write the resignation now quickly, you animal…You are Moskal garbage." It's a Ukrainian ethnic Russian slur.

Panteleymonov said he's Ukrainian, not Russian. Putschists called him "sh.t!"

"You campaigned for Moscow," they said. "You lied to Ukrainians for our money. NTU is Ukraine's largest state broadcaster.

Putschists want their message alone aired. They want dissenting views silenced. Independent voices are prohibited. 

So are Russian TV channels. RT International said its former satellite service provider was "threatened by unknown gunmen."

Days earlier, radicalized masked elements stormed a Kiev city council meeting. They came armed with bats and hammers. 

They forced anti-regime members to resign. Lots more disturbing incidents followed. Democratic governance is gone.

Oleg Tsarev is a presidential aspirant. A previous article discussed him. He's a former Yanukovych-led Party of Regions people's deputy. 

On April 7, he was lawlessly expelled. During months of US-manipulated violent Maidan protests, he forthrightly opposed them.

He participated in a Svoboda Slova talk show. He paid dearly for doing so. Neo-Nazi Right Sector thugs attacked him. 

He was brutally beaten. He was seriously injured. His candidacy stands. He won't withdraw. He's barred from presidential debates.

"I am the sole presidential candidate who has been stripped of the right to use government-provided bodyguards," he said. 

"I agreed to participate in the TV debates via a video channel. In response, I was told that the national television company (NTU) is unable to arrange for this." 

"Too bad. It would be a good chance to explain the way the people in the country's southeast feel to the authorities and to the whole of Ukraine." 

Presidential candidate Mikahil Dobkin participated on the same talk show as Tsarev. En route, Right Sector thugs confronted him. 

They blocked his car. They damaged it. His aides were attacked. Dobkin explained on air. He was doused with flour and green antiseptic solution.

He and Tsarvev are independent candidates. He vowed to revive diplomatic relations responsibly with Moscow if elected. 

Putschists intend having one of their own become president. Unchallenged rule is planned.

Violent incidents aren't isolated. Tsarev was attacked in Odessa. His press service reported him missing.

Possible kidnapping was suggested. Later he resurfaced. Earlier, he and presidential candidate Sergey Tigipko were pelted with eggs.

These type incidents are "being carried out by the fighters, hired by local (pro-Kiev) authorities," said Tsarev.

"In all areas of the south and the east, these questions are supervised by first deputies newly appointed by the governors." 

"Everyone has around 200 fighters on their allowance," he added. Right Sector neo-Nazis and "local small criminals" are enlisted. 

"Present day authorities in Kiev with their Right Sector and the National Guard, consisting of former militants, have not invented anything new," Tsarvev added.

They use "language of threats and individual terror." They enforce hardline rule. They aim to "discourage not only historical memory, but also very fresh memories of 'Eurorevolution.' "

Putschists "ignored adopted laws which they passed themselves, for example, an amnesty for all participants in the riots."

They call Eastern Ukrainian protests "separatist." They call participants "terrorists (and) bandits."

Obama's new friends are militant fascist thugs. He calls them democrats. One fascist regime supports another. 

Ukrainians nationwide have much to fear. So do peace-loving people everywhere. Escalating crisis conditions threaten much worse ahead.

Russian journalists are persona non grata. Over 20 were denied entry to Ukraine. Reasons given were spurious. 

Moscow expressed outrage. So did the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), saying:

"Democratic governments have no business barring journalists from working based on nationality."

"Restricting media access only increases suspicion and misunderstanding."

Russian TV channel Avezda correspondent Maksim Dodonov explained his ordeal, saying:

"I spent nearly seven hours in a room they called either a hotel or a lounge." 

"It was a small, very hot stuffy room with nothing but a bed and a table there." 

"There are no people there. They just lock you in and leave."

Crews from a dozen other Russian news agencies were blocked. They included Russian business daily Kommersant, RT International and Forbes Russia.

Forbes journalist Pavel Sedakov said "(w)e showed our press cards, but that only made things worse."

"They told us we’re being denied entry for three years. They interrogated us for quite a long time and then filmed all the equipment we had with us."

A joint CPJ Europe/Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ornianova statement said:

"We call on Ukrainian authorities to ensure that all journalists, foreign and domestic, are able to report freely and without obstruction on the unfolding events in Ukraine."

OSCE Media Freedom representative Dunja Mijatovic called on Kiev to stop attacking Eastern Ukrainian journalists violently.

She ignored Kiev-imposed thought control nationwide. Russia's Foreign Ministry denounced her, saying:

"The emphases are often put in the anti-Russian mood. Dunja Mijatovic focuses attention on the developments that took place around the buildings of television companies in Kharkov, Donetsk and Lugansk on April 7." 

"But she says nothing about the fact that the actions of the protesters were triggered by the limitations of their right to receive information after the closure of Russian television channels."

Last month, Kiev blocked four Russian TV channels. Doing so violated internationally recognized media freedom standards.

Moscow's Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights Konstantin Dolgov said banning Russian content violated "every (one's) right to watch television and have access to media in Russian."

A Reporters Without Borders statement said:

"Since Crimea's incorporation into Russia, several Russian media have reported cases of their journalists being turned back at the Ukrainian border."

"When Kommersant reporter Andrey Kolesnikov and photographer Dmitry Azarov tried to visit Kharkov on April 8 to cover the events there, border guards denied them entry on the official grounds that they did not have enough money on them."

Anti-regime figures are targeted. In early March, Donetsk's people's governor Pavel Gubarev was arrested.

He's charged with "organizing mass disorder (and) infringing the territorial integrity and independence of the state." 

He's a political prisoner. He's isolated. He's on hunger strike for justice. 

According to his wife, Ekaterina, his lawyer said it's "in solidarity with guys who are on the barricades now, defending our land and people."

"He would really want to be with them, but he is a hostage of the Kiev junta."

Russia's Foreign Ministry human rights commissioner Dolgov said his deteriorating health "causes concern."

His lawyer, Aleksandr Groshinsky, said he acted following the "shooting of civilians" in Slavyansk.

"This way, he wants to demonstrate that he is with those who are fighting for their civil rights and civil position."

"When Pavel learned that on Easter the Right Sector shot our militia men at the checkpoint, he voiced his discontent," his wife added.

His Facebook people's governor page said a dispute between him and Ukrainian Security Force (SBU) personnel occurred in detention.

In response, "the jail keepers took away his mattress and bed linen, so that he permanently feels uncomfortable."

On March 7, he was detained for two months. On May 7, rubber-stamp regime judges may order his term extended. Maybe indefinitely.

Geneva four-party agreement terms mandate freeing all political prisoners. It doesn't matter. 

Fascists say one thing. They do another. Perhaps they want Gubarev dead. He's very much endangered. So are others like him.

Hundreds of political prisoners languish in Kiev's gulag. They're denied all rights.

Sergey Lavrov expressed concern about Ukrainians "arrested and thrown into prison because they participated in political actions."

Moscow wants immediate access to Gubarev and other political prisoners. It filed an official document with the OSCE and Red Cross demanding it.

Four-party officials discussed Gubarev in Geneva. According to Lavrov:

"He has never taken part in the seizure of administrative buildings, never carried arms." 

"He simply spoke at a meeting and said that he was ready to work in interests of reforms and would speak up for a referendum on the federalization of Ukraine."

Lavrov and Kerry discussed Gubarev by phone. On Friday, Lavrov said they'd "do so again today."

"Every time I remind John Kerry about the necessity to address the problem, but he cannot say anything clear."

"Yesterday we received information that Pavel Gubarev is seriously ill, and that he has been beaten and tortured."

Police states operate this way. Kiev putschists threaten fundamental freedoms. They intend eliminating them altogether. 

It bears repeating. They enjoy full US support. Two fascist states march in lockstep. Democracy is strictly verboten. 

It's pure fantasy. Police state harshness gives no quarter. Dark side politics rules.

A Final Comment

G-7 partners plan new sanctions on Russia. Washington bullied its allies to do so. They'll target Putin "cronies." Perhaps Russian companies. On Monday, they're expected to be announced.

Imposing them follows Russia's failure to implement four-party agreement terms, they said.

"Instead, it has continued to escalate tensions by increasingly concerning rhetoric and ongoing threatening military maneuvers on Ukraine's border," they added.

"We have now agreed (to) move swiftly (against) Moscow." 

"We have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia's actions."

"We underscore that the door remains open to a diplomatic resolution of this crisis."

They duplicitously "praised" Kiev putschists. They claimed they implemented agreed on terms. Straightaway they violated them egregiously.

Russia's Foreign Ministry calls sanctions "inappropriate and counterproductive."

EU politicians and businessmen fear negative blow back. Various banks and energy related companies deplore sanctions. 

They want them eased. They want them eliminated. They're bad for business.

According to BASF Wintershall subsidiary chairman Rainer Seele:

"Neither in energy terms, nor politically, should we turn away from Russia. Sanctions will not help anybody, they would not just hurt Russia, but also Germany and Europe as a whole."

Austrian energy supplier OMV has longstanding Gazprom relations. CEO Gerhard Roiss said:

"You cannot talk about sanctions if you don't know the outcome of sanctions Europe has developed over the last 50 years into a region where we have a division of labor and a division of resources, and this means in concrete terms that energy is imported from Russia and products automotive or machinery are exported from European countries into Russia."

Other EU executives feel the same way. Sanctions cut both ways. Targeting Russia harms their companies. In some cases more-so.

Politics trumps reason. Washington rules apply. EU partners are bullied to accept what harms their interests. 

Expect heightened tensions to escalate. Unpredictable dire consequences may follow.

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 three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


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

Democracy Is Dead According To New Study

The signs are all around us. America is becoming a plutocracy. The rich get richer and have more influence over those who govern. That's a nice way of seeing that politicians, judges and media are becoming like hookers. They are for sale, and the johns are billionaires like David Koch and Sheldon Adelson. Even the Supreme Court no longer looks out for the greater good. Its recent decisions make it easier for money to corrupt the political process. What does it mean for democracy? It is on its death bed, according to a study released by Princeton University.

Political science researchers and academicians Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page used data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002 to conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

"The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy," they write, "while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government--whether Republican or Democratic—-more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first.

If we stay on the present course, all of America--its institutions, its government agencies, its land, its telecommunication companies, its media outlets, its transportation modes, its very essence--will be controlled by a few wealthy elites, to whom we will all be beholden. What kind of a nation would you call that? Fascism.

Jack Ruby predicted this in 1964 when he was asked who was behind the JFK assassination and why it took place. He uttered the now frighteningly prescient words, "So that a whole new form of government will take over America."

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming/dp/098882907X

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Ukrainians Denied Democracy

Ukrainians Denied Democracy

by Stephen Lendman

Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Moscow called Kiev events "an illegitimate fascist coup and a military seizure of power." Western-supported putschists seized it.

At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urges deescalating crisis conditions. It's completely possible, he said.

It requires replacing putschists with democratic governance. It involved instituting responsible policies. Ones that protect fundamental legal rights and freedoms of all Ukrainians. Ones that guarantee them.

Russia is on the right side of history. It promised help. It set four conditions. It wants legitimate Crimean independence recognized.

It wants Ukrainian democratic constitutional reform. It wants Eastern Ukraine's crisis conditions resolved responsibly. It wants Russian speakers' rights guaranteed.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said:

"If Ukraine fulfills these four conditions, then Russia will be able to propose further steps on additional help both on financial and gas issues."

He urged deescalating Eastern Ukrainian crisis conditions peacefully. He said doing so "without discrimination against Russian-speaking population, without victims and bloodshed" is fundamental.

He stressed holding legitimate May presidential elections. Early indications suggest they'll be polar opposite.

Moscow rejects Kiev putschists. It wants legitimate governance "with which one may negotiate," said Siluanov. Vladimir Putin addressed 18 EU leaders. He did so by letter. He did it responsibly.

He called for urgent cooperation. He said Ukraine's gas debt reached a "critical" level. It's been unpaid for three months. He wants addressing it prioritized. 

At issue is cutting off supplies. Gazprom wants advance payments going forward. Putin's letter was forthright. Ukraine's economy is "plummeting," he said.

Its industrial and construction sectors "declin(ed) sharply." Conditions head from bad to worse.

"Its budget deficit is mounting," said Putin. "The condition of its currency system is becoming more and more deplorable." 

"The negative trade balance is accompanied by the flight of capital from the country. Ukraine's economy is steadfastly heading towards a default, a halt in production and skyrocketing unemployment."

Russia and EU nations are major Ukraine trading partners. They agreed to consult on ways to develop its economy.

"(A)ll attempts on Russia's part to begin real consultations failed to produce any results," said Putin.

Plundering Ukraine for profit takes precedence. Western nations plan unrestrained looting. Corporate interests matter most. Human needs don't count.

Washington wants Russia shut out entirely. Western partners share blame. They want unfettered freedom to control Ukraine their way.

They want their interests alone served. Putin said they "want to unilaterally blame Russia for the consequences of Ukraine's economic crisis."

"Right from day one of Ukraine's existence as an independent state, Russia has supported the stability of the Ukrainian economy by supplying it with natural gas at cut-rate prices."

(U)ninterrupted transit through" its territory was guaranteed. Russia fulfilled its contractual obligations. It did so "to the letter and spirit" of what was agreed on.

It "granted Ukraine a whole string of unprecedented privileges and discounts on the price of natural gas," Putin added.

From 2009 to today, they total $17 billion. Plus "another 18.4 billion US dollars incurred by the Ukrainian side as a minimal take-or-pay fine."

Russia subsidized Ukraine's economy. It provided $34.4 billion since 2009. It helped preserve "stability and credibility." It saved jobs.

"No other country provided such support except Russia," said Putin. "What about European partners?"

They deny support. They "talk about a declaration of intent." Actions don't follow promises. EU nations take full advantage.

They want Ukrainian resources. They want its "raw foodstuffs, metal(s) and mineral(s)." They want free market access on their own terms. They want it for their own products and services.

They want unlimited profits. They want them at Ukraine's expense. They created a huge trade imbalance. It exceeds $10 billion. It's two-thirds of Ukraine's 2013 deficit.

It negatively affects Ukraine's ability to fulfill "its contractual obligations to pay for deliveries of natural gas supplied by Russia," said Putin.

Moscow won't "unilaterally bear the burden of supporting Ukraine's economy by way of providing discounts and forgiving debts…"

Ukraine's unpaid gas Gazprom debt grows monthly. In November/December 2013, it was $1.451.1 billion.

"(I)n February 2014, it increased by a further 260.3 million and in March by another 526.1 million US dollars."

Gazprom deserves payment. It intends "switch(ing) over to advance payment for gas delivery, and in the event of further violation of the conditions of payment, will completely or partially cease gas deliveries," said Putin.

"In other words, only the volume of natural gas will be delivered to Ukraine as was paid for one month in advance of delivery."

It's "an extreme measure." It's coming. Businesses don't provide products or services free. For sure, not Western ones.

"In order to guarantee uninterrupted transit, it will be necessary, in the nearest future, to supply 11.5 billion cubic meters of gas that will be pumped into Ukraine's underground storage facilities, and this will require a payment of about 5 billion US dollars," said Putin.

EU nations "unilaterally withdr(ew) from the concerted efforts to resolve" Ukraine's crisis responsibly. They shut out Russia entirely. It leaves "no alternative," Putin stressed.

Resolving things requires "consultations…without delay," he said. He urged them "at the level of ministers of economics, finances and energy…"

At issue is stabilizing Ukraine's economy. It's ensuring uninterrupted Russian natural gas deliveries.

Doing so requires fulfilling contractual obligation terms to the letter. Putin emphasized Russia's considerable "investments, contributions and expenditures…"

It "shouldered" the burden "alone" long enough. It's time for Western nations to step up to the plate and help.

"(O)nly such an approach can lead to success," Putin stressed. He did so forthrightly. He showed responsible leadership.

He shames his Western counterparts. Major ones lack legitimacy altogether. Especially Obama. Hegemonic US ambitions trample on fundamental freedoms.

White House press secretary Jay Carney's comment didn't surprise." He outrageously said "(w)e've made clear in the past that it is wholly inappropriate to use energy exports to achieve diplomatic or geopolitical objectives."

Maybe he wants Russian gas supplied free. Maybe he supports what he'd denounce if US corporations were affected.

Angela Merkel got Putin's message. She responded differently, saying:

"(T)here there are many reasons to seriously take into account this message…and for Europe to deliver a joint European response" straightaway.

She and other EU foreign ministers plan meeting on Monday. Other talks will involve Russia, Washington, and Ukraine.

"When we take all these steps, we can be sure that we have reached a joined response for the countries that encounter this problem because they get natural gas from Gazprom," she said.

"We want to be good clients, but it means that we can base ourselves on the supplies, and Ukraine knows this and should understand it," she added.

It remains to be seen what follows. Putin showed extraordinary patience. He deserves praise, not irresponsible treatment.

Instead endures unconscionable bashing. He's vilified for doing the right thing.

Sohrab Ahmari is a Wall Street Journal Europe editorial page writer. He substitutes lies for truth. On April 11, he headlined "Waking Up to the Russian Threat."

None whatever exists. He lied claiming otherwise. He called NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen "one of Europe's most serious thinkers on defense matters."

He's a convenient US stooge. He supports Pentagon policy. He's an unindicted war criminal. He spoke to Ahmari. His comments didn't surprise.

He lied saying Putin wants "to restore Russian greatness by re-establishing a sphere of influence in the former Soviet space."

His strategy, said Ahmari, involves "(d)estabilizing Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus."

According to Rasmussen, "(i)ts in Russia's interest to see frozen, protracted conflicts in the region, such as in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, Transnistria in Moldova, and Crimea."

He's alarmed, he said. "(W)e have seen an incredible development of (Russia's military) to act determinedly and rapidly."

He ignored US-NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. He was silent about its killing machine. 

He said nothing about its responsibility for millions of deaths. Their corpses bear testimony to lawless US-led NATO policy. Ahmari didn't challenge Rasmussen responsibly.

He lied claiming 40,000 Russian troops are massed on Ukraine's border. Calling them an imminent threat rings hollow. 

Rasmussen's claims are polar opposite truth. He expressed concern about increased Russian military spending. It's a tiny fraction of NATO member expenditures. 

Moscow isn't belligerent. It poses no threat. Putin prioritizes peace and stability. US-led NATO threatens humanity.

Not according to Rasmussen. He bashed Putin irresponsibly. He considers NATO a threat. "He can't seriously" think so, Rasmussen said. 

"We have never had an intention to attack Russia," he claimed. He left unexplained why NATO wants all former Russian republics and Warsaw Pact countries incorporated into its alliance.

Why it's deploying hostile forces close to Russia's borders. Why it irresponsibly lies about its threat. Why it's poised perhaps to strike belligerently if it chooses.

Rasmussen lied claiming NATO members and others on Europe's periphery share basic people-friendly values.

They include "individual liberty, democracy, the rule of law and on top of that economic opportunities, because our community of nations also represents economic freedom," he said.

He turned truth on its head saying so. He's militantly anti-Russian. He lied claiming otherwise. 

Ahmari let him comment without challenge. Doing so showed complicity with NATO lawlessness. 

It showed support for war. It showed disdain for peace. It showed contempt for growing thousands across Eastern Ukraine.

They're protesting for fundamental rights too important to sacrifice. They continue in Kharkov (Ukraine's second largest city), Donetsk (its largest industrial city), Dnepropetrovsk, Lugansk, Odessa and Nikolayev.

They spread to Slavyansk and elsewhere. Government and police headquarters buildings were seized.

Activists reject Kiev putschists. They urged local authorities join them. What's ongoing is spreading. 

Maybe Western Ukrainians will rally the same way. Obama's new imperial trophy looks insecure. It may slip-slide away. 

His entire tenure reflects failure. It reflects lawlessness writ large. 

Mass protests reflect people power. Ordinary Ukrainians want better. They deserve it. They're putting their bodies on the line responsibly. 

They're role models for freedom fighters everywhere. Resisting tyranny is a universal right. It's a moral obligation. 

Ukrainian protesters take their role seriously. Perhaps others may follow. Defeating hegemonic ruthlessness depends on it. Hopefully activism will grow when most needed.

A Final Comment

On Saturday, Chicago activists held a Ukraine teach-in. Speakers included Stop NATO's Rick Rozoff, Anti-War Committee member Holly Kent-Payne, and International Action Center's Sara Flounders, among others.

Advance information expressed outrage over US hegemonic ambitions. Anti-Russian sentiment exceeds the worst of Cold War days. Putin is public enemy number one.

Obama ousted Ukraine's democratic government. He elevated illegitimate putschist fascists to power.

He sanctioned Moscow for rejecting them. He did so for embracing lawful Crimean reunification. 

He deployed US military forces close to Russia's borders. He did it belligerently. He risks a potential East/West confrontation. 

He threatens global conflict. Stopping him is top priority. Ordinary people have power to do it.

Protests work when sustained. The more disruptive the better. Jefferson's opposition to John Adams' repressive 1978 Alien and Sedition Acts is relevant. He commented saying:

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles." 

Ordinary people have power when they use it. Collective defiance works when sustained. It's essential for real democracy.

Eastern Ukrainians can teach Americans a thing or two. They deserve worldwide support. Humanity stands to benefit. It needs all the help it can get.


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 three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


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

Zombie Democracy in the USA

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“It is common knowledge among all the [intelligence services] of America and Europe…that the disastrous 9-11 terrorist attack has been planned and realized from the CIA and Mossad.”
--former Italian President Francesco Cossiga, speaking to the Italian press

"An intelligence service is the ideal vehicle for a conspiracy."
--Allen Dulles, Director of the CIA, 1953-61

“In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can't spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can't look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won't be there. We won't build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line. We're not going to wake up one morning and suddenly find ourselves in gray uniforms goose-stepping off to work. But this isn't the test. The test is: What happens to the individual who dissents? In Nazi Germany, he was physically destroyed; here, the process is more subtle, but the end results can be the same. I've learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past year to know that this is no longer the dreamworld America I once believed in. The imperatives of the population explosion, which almost inevitably will lessen our belief in the sanctity of the individual human life, combined with the awesome power of the CIA and the defense establishment, seem destined to seal the fate of the America I knew as a child and bring us into a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act. I've always had a kind of knee-jerk trust in my Government's basic integrity, whatever political blunders it may make. But I've come to realize that in Washington, deceiving and manipulating the public are viewed by some as the natural prerogatives of office. Huey Long once said, ‘Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.’ I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security.”
--Jim Garrison, New Orleans District Attorney, 1967

"But what counter-insurgency really comes down to is the protection of the capitalists back in America, their property and their privileges. US national security, as preached by US leaders, is the security of the capitalist class in the US, not the security of the rest of the people."
--Philip Agee, CIA Counterintelligence Officer, 1975

“Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted. These people attracted and promoted each other. Outside of their duplicity, the o¬nly thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, in looking back o¬n my life, I regret. But I was part of it and I loved being in it. . . Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, Carmel Offie, and Frank Wisner were the grand masters. If you were in a room with them you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.” Angleton slowly sipped his tea and then said, “I guess I will see them there, soon.”

--James J. Angleton, CIA Counter Intelligence-Chief, 1985

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming/dp/098882907X

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Ukraine: The Lies Of Empire And The Smokescreen of Democracy

Countercurrents 28/2/2014, Global Research 1/3/2014 and The 4th Media 3/3/2014

John Herbst, US ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006, this week gave an interview to the RT television channel about current developments in Ukraine. According to Herbst, what we are witnessing is a peaceful uprising against an authoritarian, oppressive regime. He is unequivocal about this. He said that the protests and protesters are being smeared and discredited, and the only ones wanting to portray the opposition in Ukraine as being ultra nationalist, neo Nazis and violent are those who fear democracy on their own doorstep (i.e. Russia).

Herbst says the protests are a reaction to four years of oppressive government. While admitting that Yanokovych won a free and fair election in 2010, Herbst argues since that time he has put increasingly authoritarian strictures on the opposition and asserts that Yanokovych authorised the use of armed snipers against unarmed protesters.


In response to certain reports that state it was the opposition that first started any firing, Herbst says that such a claim is simply a lie. Herbst quotes Orwell to imply that people and sections of the media are not only lying, but are propagandising by using smear words about the protesters, such as ‘ultra nationalists’ or ‘anti-Semitic’


As far as an attack on a Jewish synagogue in Ukraine is concerned, he merely asks who attacked it and answers his own question with “Nobody knows” and that it is quite likely the attackers were “provocateurs.” Despite ‘nobody knowing’ he immediately implies it was carried out by former government forces to discredit the opposition.


For a man who refers to Orwell, his words flow easily with doublespeak and hypocrisy. While he doesn’t appear to know who attacked the synagogue, not wanting to apportion any wrong doings to the people the US has supported in Kiev, he is conveniently adamant that government snipers gunned down protesters, which is highly debatable, if not totally untrue (1).


Fine for him to make his unfounded claims that suit US goals and smear Yanokovych, but when others make claims he doesn’t like to hear, backed up with evidence, they are merely looking for a reason to tarnish the US-backed protesters.


During the interview with RT, he was asked how would it be perceived if Occupy protesters were to take over government buildings or a city hall in the US, as the people he supports in Ukraine have done: would it be labelled as a peaceful protest?


Of course it wouldn’t. The US state has long been involved in the illegal monitoring and subversion of perfectly legitimate democratic groups on home soil. Its security and intelligence agencies have been used to crush genuine democracy. From Martin Luther King and the Occupy Movement to Veterans for Peace, the US state has used the full panoply of resources to infiltrate, monitor or subvert. Today, democratic movements that seek to legitimately question the influence of Wall Street, US military policy abroad and a range of other policies that have serve elite interests are spied on and ‘neutralised’ (2).


But this is not up for debate. Best to move swiftly along, as indeed Herbst did. In order to prevent further analysis of how the US might or does treat dissent on its own soil, the former ambassador continued with his rhetoric (seemingly in the belief that if you keep on repeating something, people will eventually believe it) and went on to state during the interview:


“But let’s acknowledge something… The policies of Yanukovych were authoritarian and oppressive, and it’s natural that people will respond forcibly against oppressive and authoritarian policies. People were finally fed up with the restrictions as well as the massive corruption. … One side was brutal, slaughtering scores of people. The other was merely seizing buildings… You talk about a new election was scheduled for 2015. We all knew Yanukovic was preparing to steal that election.”

By this reasoning, it would mean that we should have pre-emptive action prior to any election based on fears about who might win and the reason for why they might win. Democracy works the other way around. You have an election and then you protest, if you feel it was discredited in some way, for example like when Bush stole the 2004 election.


And, of course, Herbst would not for one moment contemplate that the US authorities are oppressive, authoritarian and corrupt. For him, such traits are only prevalent in places like Ukraine. Don’t expect the likes of Herbst to be lining up in support of Occupy protestors at home who are demanding similar things that he is supporting in Ukraine (or at least says he is supporting). His moralistic bleatings only apply to other countries.


Although Herbst strived to portray the US as a neutral observer concerning events in Ukraine, it is clearly based on a lie (3,4). It is patently obvious that the US has a definite geo-political agenda aimed at weakening Russia (5). When asked about US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nulan appearing inKiev handing out cookies, according to Herbst she was just expressing support for peaceful protest, and it did not imply that the US was taking sides in the situation.


How would that look in the US? How would Herbst feel about Russia’s foreign minister doing that in US at Occupy Wall Street?


In response to such questions, Herbst continued to repeat and deflect by saying:


“I think you have trouble understanding there is a repressive government inUkraine. There is not a repressive government in Washington…. Your problem is that you are a newscaster in a country that is undemocratic and you therefore do not want to see democracy in a country on your doorstep”

 
When the interviewer said that she does live in a democratic country (Russia), Herbst retorted:


“You have to say you live in a democratic country. Just like in the Soviet era journalists had to say that. It was not true then and it’s not true now.”

This comment and many others made by Herbst, displayed all of the arrogance associated with the ideology of US ‘exceptionalism’ in terms of that country being qualitatively different from other states, being a beacon of freedom and democracy and having the right to act in any way as and when it deems fit (6). He also displayed the complete contempt that people like him have for the public with his falsehoods, misleading claims, warped logic and attempts to deceive. Herbst should have realised that he was not talking (down) to a Fox news audience in the US. But, given the US’s role in events in Ukraine, maybe this was the best performance that could have been expected by someone in his shoes whose sole aim is to deliberately mislead.


Herbst, Nulan and others would do well to contemplate their country’s post-1945 record of war mongering and destabilisations of democratic governments (7) and which has led to millions of deaths (8), its global surveillance network exposed by Edward Snowdon that illegally spies on individuals and governments alike and its ongoing plundering of resources and countries supported by militarism, ‘free trade’ or the outright manipulation of markets (for example: 9,10,11).


Such ‘champions of democracy’ would also do well to contemplate the debasement of democracy at home and the US’s transformation into what increasingly appears to be a police state (12).


But, of course, they are already well aware of this. And they know full well that what the US is doing in Ukraine represents more of the same: the brutality and lies of Empire attempting to hide behind the smokescreen of democracy.   


Notes





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The EU is currently negotiating a far-reaching free trade agreement with the USthe Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). There are plans to enshrine extra powers for corporations in the deal as a result of a strong and persistent campaign by industry lobby groups and unscrupulous law firms to allow powerful corporations to challenge regulations both at home and abroad if they affect profits. The watchdog organization Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) states that EU member states could find domestic laws to protect the public interest quite useless as they become challenged in secretive, offshore tribunals where national laws have no weight and politicians no powers to intervene.

It would enable US companies investing in Europe to bypass European courts and challenge EU governments at international tribunals whenever they find that laws in the area of public health, environmental or social protection interfere with their profits. EU companies investing abroad would have the same privilege in the US. This proposed agreement (and others like it around the world) is essentially a charter for the systematic destruction and dismantling of legislation that exists to protect the hard won rights of workers and ordinary people. 

Across the world, big business has already used such investor-state dispute settlement provisions in trade and investment agreements to claim massive sums in compensation. It is often the case that the mere threat of a claim or its submission is enough for legislation to be shelved or diluted. In fact, tribunals, consisting of ad hoc three-member panels hired from a small club of private lawyers riddled with conflicts of interest, have granted billions of Euros to companies, courtesy of taxpayers.

With India and the EU, among others, also currently negotiating a free trade agreement, it all adds up to big companies trying to by-pass legislation that was implemented to safeguard the public’s rights. Kavaljit Singh of the Madhyam research institute in India 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. It constitutes little more than an old-fashioned recipe for imperialist plunder by Western interests (1).

Singh’s concerns should be dismissed at our peril because CEO provides many examples of where and when the by-passing of national legislation has already happened. Through bilateral investment treaties, US tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing Uruguay and Australia over their anti-smoking laws. The company argues that warning labels on cigarette packs and plain packaging prevent it from effectively displaying its trademark, causing a substantial loss of market share.

And then there is the case of Swedish energy giant Vattenfall, which launched an investor-state lawsuit against Germany, seeking €3.7 billion in compensation for lost profits related to two of its nuclear power plants. The case followed the German government’s decision to phase out nuclear energy after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

When Argentina froze utility rates (energy, water, etc.) and devalued its currency in response to its 2001-2002 financial crisis, it was hit by over 40 lawsuits from companies like CMS Energy (US) and Suez and Vivendi (France). By the end of 2008, awards against the country had totalled US$1.15 billion.

On the basis of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada and Mexico, US company Lone Pine Resources Inc. is demanding US$250 million in compensation from Canada. The ‘crime’: The Canadian province