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Archive for April 2011

The Mysterious Deaths of Nine Gulf Oil Spill Whistleblowers

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In the past year, nine vocal critics or potential whistleblowers of the Gulf oil spill all died in extremely mysterious ways. [Ed note: two others are also included here: one missing, one jailed.] Their deaths could be strange, unrelated coincidences. Or they could have been killed as part of a conspiracy to silence those who were speaking out against the worst oil spill in American history.

SOURCE: REAL COASTAL WARRIORS  27 March 2011

Gregory Stone

February 17, 2011 – LSU scientist Gregory Stone, 54 – Unknown Illness

Anthony Nicholas Tremonte

January 26, 2011 – age 31 – Mississippi Department of Marine Resources officer, from Ocean Springs arrested on child porn charge. 

As an officer with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources on the Gulf Coast, he may have known enough to qualify him for membership in this exclusive series of coincidences. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
Dr. Thomas B. Manton

January 19, 2011 – former President and CEO of the International Oil Spill Control Corporation – imprisonment and subsequent murder while jailed

John P. Wheeler II

December 31, 2010 – a former Pentagon official and presidential aide and a defense consultant and expert on chemical and biological weapons – was beaten to death in an assault, body was discovered in a Wilmington landfill

James Patrick Black

November 23, 2010 – an incident commander for BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill response team, died Tuesday night near Destin, Florida in a small plane crash’

Chitra Chaunhan

November 15, 2010 – age 33, worked in the USF Center for Biological Defense and Global Health Infectious Disease Research – Found dead in an apparent suicide by cyanide at a Temple Terrace hotel. She leaves behind a husband and a young child.

Dr. Jeffrey Gardner, Swan Doctor

November, 2010 – MIA Status, of Lakeland, FL – Swan expert who “ran into legal trouble over an expired prescription license has closed his practice” — Was investigating unexplained bird deaths near Sarasota abruptly and immediately closed his practice, and apparently his investigation into the deaths of swans in Sarasota, suspected to have been impacted by the BP Oil Disaster. No one has heard or spoken with him since. Watch this news report covering his investigation before his disappearance:  video

Roger Grooters, Cyclist

October 6, 2010 – age 66, was hit by a truck as he passed through Panama City, Florida. Mr. Grooters had been knocked down and killed close to the end of a 3,200-mile trans-America charity ride to raise awareness about the Gulf Coast oil disaster. He began his cross-country bike ride in Oceanside, California, on September 10th. Grooters’s family and friends will cycle the final stretch of the journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic in his honour, raising cash to support Gulf Coast families. Read more: here

Senator Ted Stevens

August 9, 2010 – Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, 86, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, was among nine people on board when the 1957 DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter, crashed into a brush- and rock-covered mountainside Monday afternoon about 17 miles north of the southwest Alaska fishing town of Dillingham, federal officials said. Stevens was the recipient of a whistleblower’s communication relative to the BP Oil Disaster blow-out preventer, and a conspiracy of secrecy to hide the facts from the public. More here

A 48-year-old veteran oil worker claims “You and your fellow Committee members may wish to require BP to explain what action was ultimately instituted to cease the practice of falsifying BOP tests at BP Prudhoe drilling rigs. It was a cost saving but dangerous practice, again endangering the BP workforce, until I exposed it to Senator Ted Stevens, the EPA, and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.” The cause of the crash is still an OPEN investigation by the NTSB.

Matthew Simmons

August 13, 2010 – age 67 – Simmons’ body was found Sunday night in his hot tub, investigators said. An autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office concluded Monday that he died from accidental drowning with heart disease as a contributing factor – “It was painful as can be” to be only insider willing to speak out against the “officials” during the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

Scientist Joseph Morrissey

April 6, 2010 – age 46 – cell biologist and college professor, a near-native Floridian who chose to return to South Florida after studying at elite universities – was fatally shot during what police say was a home invasion robbery.

Links and video:   Read the rest of this entry »

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Endless War and Empire: Your Tax Dollars at Work

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By Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis 

April 14, 2011 Information Clearing House

—  While our fiscal woes have led Congress to slash food aid this year to the world’s poor — rest assured, fellow Americans — the U.S. government will keep using your tax dollars to kill them. For while John Boehner and Barack Obama might disagree on some things, there’s one area they can agree on: War. And the need for more of it.

“Money for bombs, not bread,” might be a good bipartisan slogan.

And when it comes to dropping its citizens’ tax dollars on flying killer robots and foreign military occupations, no country comes close to the United States. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute ( SIPRI ), the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — more than $150 billion in direct spending this year alone — exceeds what China, the U.S.’s closest military rival, spends altogether on its armed forces. Overall, the Obama administration will spend more than $700 billion next year on the military.

That’s more than George W. Bush ever spent. And figures released this week by SIPRI show that since Obama took office, the U.S. has been almost entirely responsible for the global rise in military spending: $19.6 billion of $20.6 billion since 2008. What a difference a Nobel laureate makes.

And the actual figure spent on war – the fighting of it, the preparation for it and the consequences of it – is substantially higher than acknowledged, with spending on military programs often buried in places like the Department of Energy, which oversees the U.S.’s massive stash of nuclear weapons. Counting those hidden costs, including veterans benefits, aid to foreign militaries and interest payments on defense-related debt, economist Robert Higgs estimates the U.S. government spends more than $1 trillion a year on empire.

But you wouldn’t grasp the enormity of the U.S.’s commitment to militarism if you listened to its politicians. Remarking last week on the deal he struck that slashes $38.5 billion in federal spending, President Obama said the agreement “between Democrats and Republicans, on behalf of all Americans, is on a budget that invests in our future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history.”

Sounds lovely. But the reality, not the rhetoric, is that Obama and his allies in Congress aren’t cutting Pentagon waste and investing in rainbows and unicorns – unless, perhaps, there’s some way to harness their power for weapons. Rather, they’re investing in war at the cost of community health centers, local development projects and Medicare. In Washington, you see, money for killing people is safe from the cutting board; it’s the money that actually helps them that’s not .

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We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution!

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Quote of the Week           We Ain’t Got Time to Bleed


We Ain’t Got Time To Bleed. It’s Time for the Revolution.

“You control our world. You’ve poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You’ve liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You’ve profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit…we are bleeding…but we ain’t got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution! ”

-Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, April 12, 2011

Weed Resistance To Herbicide Increasing

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Wallaces Farmer, 12 April 2011            

Despite the almost universal adoption of genetically engineered crops, specifically those resistant to glyphosate herbicide, weed problems in Iowa continue to be important and actually, they are getting worse.

That’s the observation and latest thinking of Iowa State University Extension weed scientist Mike Owen. He made those comments at the end of the day, as he summed up presentations that were made by weed researchers from the University of Illinois and Iowa State University at a March 31, 2011 conference on weed resistance held at Davenport, Iowa.

Researchers from herbicide companies and seed companies also voiced their opinions and gave their recommendations, regarding the causes of and possible solutions to this increasing problem.

Weeds are continuing to evolve and develop resistance

He says resistant populations of weeds are continuing to evolve and develop resistance to more herbicides. Weed resistance to glyphosate is a growing problem. And other herbicides are being added to the resistance list. For example, resistance to HPPD inhibitor herbicides was documented in seed corn fields. “I suspect resistance to this herbicide group is more widely distributed than most farmers realize,” says Owen.

He says it’s crucial for farmers, chemical dealers, crop consultants and everyone involved in weed mangement to take steps to help prevent further spread or development of herbicide resistant weeds. “In Iowa we now have resistance in waterhemp to triazine herbicides, ALS inhibitors, PPO inhibitors, glyphosate and HPPD inhibitor herbicides,” he adds.

Weeds are most important pest Iowa farmers face each year

Proper weed management will make farmers more money every year than managing any other pest. Diversity of tactics is the key. “Weeds represent the most important and economically damaging pest that Iowa soybean and corn farmers face every year,” Owen says.

Evolved resistance to herbicides continues to escalate in Iowa. Glyphosate-resistant populations of waterhemp are widespread and increasing. Similarly, glyphosate-resistance in giant ragweed and marestail are becoming increasingly important. Last year, resistance to HPPD inhibitor herbicides (products such as Laudis, Callisto and Impact) was documented in seed corn production fields.

“I suspect that resistance to this herbicide group is more widely distributed than most growers realize. Thus in Iowa, we have resistance in waterhemp to the triazine herbicides (atrazine), ALS inhibitors (Pursuit), PPO inhibitors (Phoenix), glyphosate and now the HPPD inhibitor herbicides,” he notes.

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Monsanto is Poisoning Us All: Famous Scientist, Don Huber Exposes Hazards of Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

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Update:  Watch Food Democracy Now’s interview with Dr. Huber

originally published as: Latter-Day Luther Nails Troubling Thesis to GM Farm & Food Citadels ,

March 29, 2011  by Steven McFadden

Don M. Huber, Ph.D.

After trucking across the high plains for five hours, and casting my eyes over perhaps 100,000 acres or more of winter’s still deathly gray industrial farmland, I came face to face with the newly famous Dr. Don M. Huber in the cave-dark meeting room of the Black Horse Inn just outside the American Heartland village of Creighton, Nebraska.

On the morning of March 24, along with about 80 farmers and Extension agents, I listened as Huber discoursed with erudition and eloquence upon industrial farming practices that may be impacting nearly every morsel of food produced on the planet, and that subsequently may also be having staggeringly serious health consequences for plants, animals, and human beings.

Huber is emeritus soil scientist of Purdue University, and a retired U.S. Army Colonel who served as an intelligence analyst, for 41 years, active and reserves. In Nebraska, he stood ramrod straight for three hours with no notes and spoke with an astonishing depth and range of knowledge on crucial, controversial matters of soil science, genetic engineering, and the profound impact of the widely used herbicide glyphosate upon soil and plants, and ultimately upon the health of animals and human beings.

Dressed in a conservative dark suit and tie, Huber set the stage for his presentation by observing that he has been married for 52 years, and has 11 children, 36 grandchildren, and a great-grandchild on the way. He then began his formal talk framed by a PowerPoint slide bearing a Biblical quote: “All flesh is grass.” – Isaiah 4:6. With this he emphasized the foundational reality that the biotech grains we eat, as well as the biotech grains eaten by cows, hogs, and chickens, are grown in vast herbicide-treated fields.

Martin Luther nails his theses to the church door.

For the domineering giants of industrial agriculture — multinational corporations, universities, and governments — Huber’s assertions about the impact of glyphosate, and the mounting scientific questions about GMO crops, may be as significant and disrupting as Martin Luther’s “heretical” act in 1517. That’s when Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany to challenge the systemic problems in the almighty institutions of his era.

Luther disputed the claim that spiritual forgiveness from sins could be legitimately sold for money. Huber and other researchers say they are accumulating evidence that — along with the 2010 report of the U.S. President’s Cancer panel which bluntly blames chemicals for the staggering prevalence of cancers — raises profoundly challenging questions about the chemical and genetic-engineering practices of industrial agriculture. The challenge, if it holds up, has implications not just for agricultural institutions, but also for the primary food chain serving the Earth’s population.

Not an altogether new controversy, the complex matters of industrial agriculture, genetic engineering and the far-flung use of herbicides has been ominously and exponentially accentuated in the last year by virtue of its ominous context: last summer’s epic oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, the nation-ripping 9.0 earthquake in Japan earlier this month, with its subsequent tsunami and nuclear meltdown which is contaminating the nation’s water and food chain, in combination with the statistical reality that on our planet of nearly seven billion people, over a billion human beings — one of every six of us — is hungry.

All of this was brought into prominent public focus — both sharp and fuzzy — in January of this year by the unlikely matter of alfalfa.

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“Walking through walls” — Israeli IDF invasion of Nablus

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“Imagine it—you’re sitting in your living room, which you know so well; this is the room where the family watches television together after the evening meal. . . . And, suddenly, that wall disappears with a deafening roar, the room fills with dust and debris, and through the wall pours one soldier after the other…… The children are screaming, panicking. . . . Is it possible to even begin to imagine the horror experienced by a five-year-old child as four, six, eight, twelve soldiers, their faces painted black, submachine guns pointed everywhere, antennas protruding from their backpacks, making them look like giant alien bugs, blast their way through that wall? ”

Nakatomi Space

While watching Die Hard the other night—one of the best architectural films of the past 25 years—I kept thinking about an essay called “Lethal Theory” by Eyal Weizman—itself one of the best and most consequential architectural texts of the past decade (download the complete PDF).

In it, Weizman—an Israeli architect and prominent critic of that nation’s territorial policy—documents many of the emerging spatial techniques used by the Israeli Defense Forces in their high-tech, legally dubious 2002 invasion of Nablus. During that battle, Weizman writes, “soldiers moved within the city across hundred-meter-long ‘overground-tunnels’ carved through a dense and contiguous urban fabric.” Their movements were thus almost entirely camouflaged, with troop movements hidden from above by virtue of always remaining inside buildings. “Although several thousand soldiers and several hundred Palestinian guerrilla fighters were maneuvering simultaneously in the city,” Weizman adds, “they were so ‘saturated’ within its fabric that very few would have been visible from an aerial perspective at any given moment.”

Worthy of particular emphasis is Weizman’s reference to a technique called “walking through walls”:

Furthermore, soldiers used none of the streets, roads, alleys, or courtyards that constitute the syntax of the city, and none of the external doors, internal stairwells, and windows that constitute the order of buildings, but rather moved horizontally through party walls, and vertically through holes blasted in ceilings and floors.

Weizman goes on to interview a commander of the Israeli Paratrooper Brigade. The commander describes his forces as acting “like a worm that eats its way forward, emerging at points and then disappearing. We were thus moving from the interior of homes to their exterior in a surprising manner and in places we were not expected, arriving from behind and hitting the enemy that awaited us behind a corner.”

This is how the troops could “adjust the relevant urban space to our needs,” he explains, and not the other way around.

Indeed, the commander thus exhorted his troops as follows: “There is no other way of moving! If until now you were used to moving along roads and sidewalks, forget it! From now on we all walk through walls!” Read the rest of this entry »

10 of the Biggest Corporate Tax Cheats In America

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April 5, 2011   By Joshua Holland AlterNet

If you or I were running a small business and we kept one set of books showing how much money we were making and a second set for the IRS that painted a picture of an enterprise on the brink of bankruptcy, we’d end up behind bars.

But that’s standard operating procedure for corporate America. In fact, public corporations have to do it — the law requires that they keep one set of books for their shareholders, and another for the IRS. As tax journalist David Cay Johnston explained, “Many corporations routinely tell investors they incur millions in corporate income taxes, while the financial records they give the IRS show they owe nothing or are due refunds.”

In the records kept by the IRS, corporations cook the books “by using tax shelters, offsetting income with losses from years ago, and employing countless other devices that make them look like paupers to the IRS but money machines to investors.”We got a peek into this process last week, when the New York Times revealed that multinational giant GE is not only avoiding corporate income taxes this year, but is taking a “tax benefit” of $3 billion. According to the Times, the company’s “extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”

But of course, GE is not alone. Here are 10 other big corporate tax evaders (with an assist from an MSNBC analysis of leading corporate tax-dodgers). Keep in mind that neither political party ever actually cuts spending significantly, so every dollar these companies avoid paying is one that will come out of the paychecks of working America.

1. Google

CEO: Eric Schmidt (117 on Forbes list of the wealthiest with a net worth of $6.3 billion in 2010.)

2010 Pre-tax Profit: $10.8 billion

How Google avoids paying US taxes: According to MSNBC, Google reports income in overseas tax havens and then reports its costs here at home. Google also patents its products abroad, licenses its technologies from its overseas subsidiaries and then writes off the costs of the licenses.

Google fun-fact: Google rents 200 goats, complete with goatherd and a border collie, to keep the grass nicely trimmed at Google HQ. Oh, and this week Bloomberg reported that the Federal Trade Commission is considering launching a major investigation into Google’s anti-competitive practices.

2. News Corp

CEO: Rupert Murdoch (Murdoch ranked 53rd on Forbes’ list of highest-paid CEOs and was the 117th richest person in the world last year.)

2010 Pre-tax Profit: $3.3 billion

Taxation strategy: In 2008, the Government Accountability Office issued an analysis concluding that one of the companies with the greatest number of subsidiaries in offshore tax-havens was none other than News Corp., which then had more than 150 of them scattered across the world.

News Corp. fun-fact: Fox “News” devoted significant airtime to hyping the financial ties between Alwaleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, and the developers of the Park 51 Muslim community center planned for downtown Manhattan. Fox implied there was something sinister about the financier, but didn’t mention that he is also News Corp.’s second largest shareholder, with 7 percent of the company’s stock.

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