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Archive for September 2013

Colombian Farmers Defeat Monsanto: Win Back Control of Seeds

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Sept. 17, 2013  By Oscar León The Real News – reposted at Food Freedom News

Colombians in Trafalgar Square show their support for the farmers' strike in Colombia. Protesters are demonstrating against the free trade agreement with the US; seed multinationals; GMO crops, and seed patents. Photo by Andres Pantoja

Colombians in Trafalgar Square show their support for the farmers’ strike in Colombia. Protesters are demonstrating against the free trade agreement with the US; seed multinationals; GMO crops, and seed patents. Photo by Andres Pantoja

On Sept. 10 in Colombia, after 21 days of a nationwide strike by thousands of farmers, who were supported by bus and truck drivers, miners, students, and others joining massive demonstrations in cities and towns all around the country in places as far as Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Cauca, Huila, Putumayo, Caldas, Cundinamarca, and Nariño, and blocking more than 40 roads, in an historic moment, protesting farmers forced the Colombian government to negotiate the rejection of a farm bill and the release of detained protesters.

On Sunday, September 8, Vice President Angelino Garzón met with the Strike Negotiating Commission in Popayan and agreed to suspend Law 970, the one that gave control over seeds to the government [which made it illegal for farmers to save seeds, any seeds, forcing them to buy patented ones].

They also were promised the release of the 648 arrested during the strike and the creation of a new mining law.

Under this first and provisional agreement, the government will compensate the farmers for their losses when competing with cheaper products imported under as much as ten free market treaties with countries all around the world. In other cases it will suspend the importation of such products.

The strike was ended and negotiations started to discuss the farmers’ proposals. The process of negotiation, as well as the final agreement and its implementation, will be verified by the United Nations.

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Pesticide-Superweed Treadmill Hot Topic at Chemists Convention

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Rady Ananda 
Activist Post   09/09/2013 

Superweeds are dominating the discussion at the American Chemical Society (ACS) symposium, being held in Indianapolis through Sept. 12. Not surprisingly, the solutions proposed include different toxic brews in tandem with stacked genetic traits in a never-ending chemical arms race with Mother Nature.

Currently, 218 different plant species are herbicide resistant, two dozen specifically resistant to glyphosate, the killing agent in Monsanto’s Roundup, Bayer’s Garden, Syngenta’s Touchdown, and in Dow’s Durango. It’s used ubiquitously on lawns, gardens and farmland. Superweeds infest over 14 million acres in the US.

Though superweeds have been a growing problem for several decades (with the advent of chemical farming), the transition to genetically modified crops and the requisite reliance on glyphosate has turbocharged the problem. Chemist Harry Strek of Bayer CropScience explains:

Beginning in the mid-to-late-1990s, crops containing genetically-engineered glyphosate resistance exploded onto the market and rapidly became the dominant and then the only weed control measure in the majority of American cotton, soybean, and corn crops. The number of alternative products used for weed control dropped significantly and resulted in a high level of selection pressure for resistance.”

ACS member Bryan Young disagrees. “We must remember that herbicides or herbicide resistant crop traits don’t create herbicide-resistant weeds.”

Young must have missed those classes explaining how bio-resistance works. Repeated use of the same class of pesticides to control a pest (whether weed or insect) can lead to artificial selection for pesticide resistance in the gene pool. Those whose genes allow them to survive the pesticide reproduce. It’s simple and undeniable. You wouldn’t have herbicide resistant superweeds without herbicides.

Citing a recent study out of the University of Washington, filmmaker Zofia Hausman told me, “Herbicides do in fact create herbicide resistant weeds!” In the final stages of production, the documentary, The Agtivists, should be released Spring 2014.

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WHO Refuses to Publish Report on Cancers and Birth Defects in Iraq Caused by Depleted Uranium Ammunition

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who
By Denis Halliday
Global Research, September 13, 2013

The World Health Organisation (WHO)  has categorically refused in defiance of its own mandate to share evidence uncovered in Iraq that US military use of Depleted Uranium and other weapons have not only killed many civilians, but continue to result in the birth of deformed babies.

This issue was first brought to light in 2004 in a WHO expert report “on the long-term health of Iraq’s civilian population resulting from depleted uranium (DU) weapons”. This earlier report was “held secret”, namely suppressed by the WHO:

The study by three leading radiation scientists cautioned that children and adults could contract cancer after breathing in dust containing DU, which is radioactive and chemically toxic. But it was blocked from publication by the World Health Organization (WHO), which employed the main author, Dr Keith Baverstock, as a senior radiation advisor. He alleges that it was deliberately suppressed, though this is denied by WHO. (See Rob Edwards, WHO ‘Suppressed’ Scientific Study Into Depleted Uranium Cancer Fears in Iraq,  The Sunday Herald, February 24, 2004)

Almost nine years later,  a joint WHO- Iraqi Ministry of Health Report on cancers and birth defect in Iraq was to be released in November 2012. “It has been delayed repeatedly and now has no release date whatsoever.”

To this date the WHO study remains “classified”.

According to Hans von Sponeck, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations,

“The US government sought to prevent the WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers.” (quoted in Mozhgan Savabieasfahani Rise of Cancers and Birth Defects in Iraq: World Health Organization Refuses to Release Data, Global Research, July 31, 2013

This tragedy in Iraq reminds one of US Chemical Weapons used in Vietnam. And that the US has failed to acknowledge or pay compensation or provide medical assistance to thousands of deformed children born and still being born due to American military use of Agent Orange throughout the country.

The millions of gallons of this chemical dumped on rural Vietnam were eagerly manufactured and sold to the Pentagon by companies Dupont, Monsanto and others greedy for huge profits.

Given the US record of failing to acknowledge its atrocities in warfare, I fear those mothers in Najaf and other Iraqi cities and towns advised not to attempt the birth of more children will never receive solace or help.

A United Nations that is no longer corrupted by the five Permanent Members of the Security Council is what is needed.

Written by laudyms

September 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

Biggest risk to National Security? attacking #Syria

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Want to see a real threat to our national security? Then unilaterally attack Syria.

We seem to have forgotten the entangled alliances and political fumbling that caused the First World War. A local incident spread until more than 30 countries were enmeshed in war.  There are many parallels today with conflicts between US and Russia, West vs Islam, Sunni and Shia, Israel and Iran. The opportunities for escalation in the region are endless; and the US involving itself in a civil war, taking the same side as al Qaeda, is surreal.

Semi-suicidal Israeli interests want the US to drive this conflict into a regional war which will involve Iran. No rational person wants this to happen.

A year ago I thought Romney would blunder us into a World War. It seems the blunders were foreordained however, and the figurehead is irrelevant.  The risks to both US interests and world peace are staggering: we must tell Congress SAY NO

Written by laudyms

September 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

Syrian Chem Gas Attack- what reporters on the ground say

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Which Syrian Chemical Attack Account Is More Credible? Jim Naureckas  9/01/2013 
from Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting  
…One of its two reporters on its Syrian chemical weapons piece, Dale Gavlak, is a longtime Associated Press Mideast stringer who has also done work for NPR and the BBC. AP was one of the few US corporate media outlets to question official assertions about Iraqi WMDs, contrasting Powell’s assertions with what could be discerned from on-the-ground reporting (Extra!, 3-4/06).Mint takes a similar approach to the Syrian story, with a reporter in Ghouta–not Gavlak but Yahya Ababneh, a Jordanian freelancer and journalism grad student–who “spoke directly with the rebels, their family members, victims of the chemical weapons attacks and local residents.” The article reports that “many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out” the chemical attack….
….Mint quotes Abu Abdel-Moneim, described as the father of a rebel killed in the chemical weapons attacks, as saying that his son had described carrying unconventional weapons provided by Saudi Arabia to underground storage tunnels–a “tubelike structure” and a “huge gas bottle.” A rebel leader identified as J describes the release of toxic weaponry as accidental, saying, “Some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions.” Another rebel referred to as K complains, “When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them.”…