Wednesday, May 15, 2013

U.S. Tax Dollars Promote Monsanto

(Reuters) - U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for overseas lobbying that promotes controversial biotech crops developed by U.S.-based Monsanto Co and other seed makers, a report issued on Tuesday said.

A review of 926 diplomatic cables of correspondence to and from the U.S. State Department and embassies in more than 100 countries found that State Department officials actively promoted the commercialization of specific biotech seeds, according to the report issued by Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer protection group.

The officials tried to quash public criticism of particular companies and facilitated negotiations between foreign governments and seed companies such as Monsanto over issues like patents and intellectual property, the report said.

The cables show U.S. diplomats supporting Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, in foreign countries even after it paid $1.5 million in fines after being charged with bribing an Indonesian official and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2005.

One 2009 cable shows the embassy in Spain seeking "high-level U.S. government intervention" at the "urgent request" of Monsanto to combat biotech crop opponents there, according to the Food & Water Watch report.

The report covered cables from 2005-2009 that were released by Wikileaks in 2010 as part of a much larger release by Wikileaks of a range of diplomatic cables it obtained.

Monsanto spokesman Tom Helscher said Monsanto believes it is critical to maintain an open dialogue with government authorities and trade groups in other countries.

"We remain committed to sharing information so that individuals can better understand our business and our commitments to support farmers throughout the world as they work to meet the agriculture demands of our world's growing population," he said.

State Department officials had no immediate comment when contacted about the report.

Food & Water Watch said the cables it examined provide a detailed account of how far the State Department goes to support and promote the interests of the agricultural biotech industry, which has had a hard time gaining acceptance in many foreign markets.

"It really goes beyond promoting the U.S.'s biotech industry and agriculture," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "It really gets down to twisting the arms of countries and working to undermine local democratic movements that may be opposed to biotech crops, and pressuring foreign governments to also reduce the oversight of biotech crops."

But U.S. officials, Monsanto and many other companies and industry experts routinely say that biotech crops are needed around the world to increase global food production as population expands. They maintain that the crops are safe and make farming easier and more environmentally sustainable.


The cables show that State Department officials directed embassies to "troubleshoot problematic legislation" that might hinder biotech crop development and to "encourage the development and commercialization of ag-biotech products".

The State Department also produced pamphlets in Slovenia promoting biotech crops, sent pro-biotech DVDs to high schools in Hong Kong and helped bring foreign officials and media from 17 countries to the United States to promote biotech agriculture, Food & Water Watch said.

Genetically altered crops are widely used in the United States. Crops spliced with DNA from other species are designed to resist pests and tolerate chemical applications, and since their introduction in the mid 1990s have come to dominate millions of acres of U.S. farmland.

The biotech crops are controversial with some groups and in many countries because some studies have shown harmful health impacts for humans and animals, and the crops have been associated with some environmental problems.

They also generally are more expensive than conventional crops, and the biotech seed developers patent the high-tech seeds so farmers using them have to buy new seed every season, a factor that makes them unappealing in some developing nations.

Many countries ban planting of biotech crops or have strict labeling requirements.

"It's appalling that the State Department is complicit in supporting their (the biotech seed industry's) goals despite public and government opposition in several countries," said Ronnie Cummins, executive director of nonprofit organization Organic Consumers Association.

"American taxpayer's money should not be spent advancing the goals of a few giant biotech companies."

Source : Reuters

Record dolphins deaths and remaining pollution from the Gulf Oil Spill

“Three years after the initial explosion, the impacts of the disaster continue to unfold,” Doug Inkley, senior scientist for the National Wildlife Federation and lead author of the report, said in a press release. “Dolphins are still dying in high numbers in the areas affected by oil. These ongoing deaths — particularly in an apex predator like the dolphin — are a strong indication that there is something amiss with the Gulf ecosystem. The report, “Restoring a Degraded Gulf of Mexico: Wildlife and Wetlands Three Years into the Gulf Oil Disaster,” found that dolphins were among the hardest hit animals. As of just earlier this year, infant dolphins were dying six times faster than they did before the spill. Scientists aren’t even yet sure of the extent of the massive spill, given that it was impossible to fully clean up the chemical-laden, carcinogenic oil."

Like hundreds, possibly thousands, of workers on the cleanup, Griffin(chief cook for the cleanup workers) soon fell ill with a cluster of excruciating, bizarre, grotesque ailments. By July, unstoppable muscle spasms were twisting her hands into immovable claws. In August, she began losing her short-term memory. After cooking professionally for 10 years, she couldn’t remember the recipe for vegetable soup; one morning, she got in the car to go to work, only to discover she hadn’t put on pants. The right side, but only the right side, of her body “started acting crazy. It felt like the nerves were coming out of my skin. It was so painful. My right leg swelled—my ankle would get as wide as my calf—and my skin got incredibly itchy.”

The image below has been sent to us by an activist from the affected area, showing what BP claims to be sea foam. It is actually the poisonous chemical "Corexit". 

Earthjustice and Toxipedia Consulting Services conducted the first analysis of the 57 chemicals found in Corexit formulas 9500 and 9527 in the summer of 2011. Results showed the dispersant could contain cancer-causing agents, hazardous toxins and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The analysis found "5 chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; 8 are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and 5 are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish”.

More Trees Less Assholes

10 Amazing Illusions That Will Blow Your Mind

25 Most Expensive Things In The World

If you won the lottery would you spend the money? Buying fancy cars? Going on ridiculous vacations? Having $1 million worth of diamonds attached to your cellphone? As you read through this list keep in mind that every day an estimated 16,000 kids die of hunger. That amounts to 1 child every 5 seconds, and as ridiculous as some of the items on this list of the 25 most expensive things in the world are, it's hard not to feel a profound sadness on behalf of humanity by the time you get to the end.


The secret genocide - West Papua

Far away from the attention of the mainstream media, the Indonesian army is slaughtering the native population of West Papua, while making the way for western, Asian and Australian logging companies who are rapidly destroying the second largest rain-forest in the world. Since 1969  when West Papua was unrightfully annexed by Indonesia 500,000 Papuans have killed and many others raped, tortured and dislocated. Most people are unaware that this is happening, so we have to take the responsibility of the media and raise awareness about this disaster.

Papua, the Indonesian part of the island of New Guinea, belongs to the lungs of this world as it contains 31,5 million acres of tropical rain forest.
If the trees were to be cut, it would mean a threat to the livelihood and culture of many Papuan tribes. Deforestation means the destruction of their medicinal and food resources, expelling their ancestors and committing a heinous crime against nature. Deforestation will lead to suffering, disaster and chaos for the Papuans The forests form a part of their heritage.
In West Papua, Indonesia makes no pretense of negotiating with traditional landowners; they are thrown off the land, destined to become refugees or to be shot or forced into slave labor for the Indonesians. Canadian and Australian logging companies have joined the Malaysians and the Japanese in the race to destroy New Guinea's tropical forests. Concurrent with Australia token gesture of giving the rock star Sting US $205,000 to support the protection of Brazilian rain forests, an Australian company announced plans to log a massive area of pristine rain forest in the Mamberamo River area - 600,000 hectares - in partnership with an Indonesian company (Sun Herald 5/28/89). Refugees from this area are exiled in Papua New Guinea camps along with people from every region of West Papua.

This report from Channel 4 News in the UK shows the degrading level of brutality that the Papuan people are exposed to on a daily basis under Indonesian colonial rule.
Foreign journalists are banned from West Papua – the Indonesian Government are desperate to hide the genocide from the outside world. Even NGO groups like Red Cross and Peace Brigades have been expelled in recent times. This disturbing footage was shot on mobile phones by Indonesian soldiers as ‘trophy footage’ for them to show their families.
In West Papua there is no peace, no justice. There is only killing, rape, torture, intimidation, bloodshed, oppression, village burnings, racism and eternal suffering for those living under Indonesia’s colonial occupation.

Please sign the petition to stop the ongoing violence and destruction:

274 US Soldiers Body Parts Dumped In Landfill

Hundreds of pieces of dead American soldiers were incinerated by Air Force officials and then dumped in a Virginia landfill, for the first time putting hard numbers on the grisly scandal that has rocked the military’s largest mortuary, according to a report.

Abercrombie & Fitch Gets a Brand Readjustment

Abercrombie Says It Would Rather Burn Clothes Than Give Them To Poor People

An interview from 2 years ago with an Abercrombie and Fitch District Manager who requested to remain nameless will make the now-viral comments CEO Mike Jeffries made about fat people seem harmless and light-hearted.
The unnamed manager was asked how Abercrombie and Fitch responds to the requests by non-profit organizations to have their clothing donated to the poor.
The manager had no shame at all when admitting that the company downright refuses to send any clothing to those in need.“Abercrombie and Fitch doesn’t want to create the image that just anybody, poor people, can wear their clothing. Only people of a certain stature are able to purchase and wear the company name.”
A company that is actually known for having elegant people flaunt their brand could maybe get away with a comment like this, but we all know that
Abercrombie and Fitch is the preferred retailer for those who only think they have class and elegance, but really they’re a bunch of posers with bad attitudes and fake tans.
It seems like the world is finally figuring out that the glamorous ideals of A&F were really implemented by some of the most hideous personalities known to man. Here at Elite, we understand what truly commands stature, respect and admiration. One of the easiest ways to obtain these sacred qualities is by giving.
It’s people who dedicate their lives to helping those in need who should be endorsed and idolized, not those who don’t value compassion and generosity.
An honorable clothing company would be glad to give as much clothing as possible to the poor. We pray that A&F has changed its policy on the charity issue by now because ,if not, the retailer should be ashamed for not acknowledging the moral duty to serve those in need.
Despite the bad economy and all the people who could use a little help, Abercrombie and Fitch prefers not to sacrifice any bit of their superior, cliquey image in order to help anyone but themselves. This company is completely outrageous.
Think of all the clothing they could have donated to people like the Katrina victims, or for the Haiti relief. In today’s world, consumers are looking for altruistic companies, not those littered with biases and preoccupied with superficiality. This type of bad business will hopefully lead to negative results for this clothing giant.

Rochester Police Beat Up Man in a Wheelchair

The video above depicts two officers beating a man in a wheelchair. The events leading up to the incident are unclear. As the narrator/person filming the incident points out, the officers proceed to mace and kick the man

March against Monsanto May 25th, 2013

On May 25, the world will March Against Monsanto!
Join local Events:

How do I participate on the Online March?
Set this as your profile Picture:
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What can I do to help!?
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Promote the Marches, Help organicing Marches, Ask big Pages to Share MAM, Twitter #MAM, twitter #MarchAgainstMonsanto

The grassroots March Against Monsanto movement is spreading across the nation, and the initiative spells out an increasingly massive number of activists and concerned citizens who will ultimately be responsible for ending the GMO juggernaut through peaceful protest and the spread of information.
It really comes down to the basic understanding that what we want is real food — not chemical-laden junk that is riddled with genetically modified organisms. And of course Monsanto is responsible for the majority of such junk, holding a monopoly over the GM seed market with 90% of staple crop seeds under Monsanto control. Seeds that are sold to ignorant farmers who oftentimes end up killing themselves after they find that the seeds produce decreased yields and milk the farmers financially dry through the enforceable patents that come along with the seeds. Patents that Monsanto goons carefully enforce, preying upon small farmers through devious lawsuits and farm stakeouts.
Even organic and natural farmers are subject to such legal attacks, since it’s possible for the patented seeds (which India calls biopiracy) to blow over to such farms and begin to grow. This is also how widespread GMO contamination begins, to which the USDA simply responds ‘get insurance’. We can even go back decades to find that Monsanto was integral in the creation of the infamous Agent Orange, a Vietnam-era chemical warfare weapon which estimates say killed or maimed around 400,000 people and caused a startling 500,000 birth defects.
But the days where this information could hide as footnotes within the media are over.
March Against Monsanto Is Just The Beginning
The March Against Monsanto, which is a worldwide movement encouraging everyone to start their own local get together (here’s the Google document with all the organization info for every area) in defiance of the GMO juggernaut, is generating massive success. And with this success and media coverage comes awareness, which is absolutely essential. It was back in 2011 that I declared Monsanto be the worst company of 2011 in what became a media blitz campaign to spread awareness. Ultimately, it even led to one of my articles becoming the most highly shared articles of that year — something that I am extremely grateful to readers for.
March Against Monsanto is a lot like that campaign, as it is simple, accessible, and absolutely making waves in the media. Just wait until several thousand protesters converge on major cities demanding that our politicians enact legislation to combat Monsanto — a company which has numerous employees and former employees stationed within government.
But what’s more? Whatever comes after the March Against Monsanto will likely be even larger and more open source. It will likely take what worked with the March Against Monsanto campaign, enhance it, and apply it to more than just Monsanto as well. This is how we get our voices heard, through massive awareness movements like this. I encourage everyone to checkout the Google document and get involved in your area. Be friendly, pass out some articles from NaturalSociety, and spread the word — personable individuals are the most effective in communicating a message of truth to others.
This story originally appeared at Natural Society.

Angelina Jolie Undergoes Preventive Double Mastectomy

Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy puts genetic key to breast cancer in the spotlight.

The developing science of DNA profiling helped the actress decide to have a double mastectomy

Even celebrities are mortal. They share our genes and, like us, cannot escape their inheritance. Angelina Jolie’s graceful and dignified account of her encounter with her own mortality in The New York Times will inspire millions.

It will also shine a light on the developing science of genetic diagnosis and DNA profiling which is increasingly allowing patients at high risk of inherited diseases to be identified so that they can take preventive action.

The Truth About School

Did you ever wonder how it is that kids spend 13 years from kindergarten to high school supposedly being prepared for life, yet when they get out they don't have any real skills?

Amazing boy can see in pitch black with eyes that glow.

A boy has stunned medics with his ability to see in pitch black with eyes that glow in the dark.

Doctors have studied Nong Youhui's amazing eyesight since his dad took him to hospital in Dahua, southern China, concerned over his bright blue eyes.

Dad Ling said: "They told me he would grow out of it and that his eyes would stop glowing and turn black like most Chinese people but they never did."

Medical tests conducted in complete darkness show Youhui can read perfectly without any light and sees as clearly as most people do during the day.

Could Nong Youhui be a Hybrid or Starchild? (A new and growing generation of extraordinary and gifted children are springing up across our planet). Is the human species evolving? Or possibly Extraterrestrial visitors tinkering with our DNA? Is this the beginning of a new cycle of human evolution? As always you decide.

Athlete Shortens Career To Donate Bone Marrow

A University of New Hampshire track and field star hailed as a hero after he quit the team so he can donate bone marrow has given two liters of it to a complete stranger.

Cameron Lyle, a senior, grabbed national attention last week when he said he would selflessly end his collegiate track and field career to give the gift of life to a 28-year-old leukemia patient.
Mr Lyle does not know the patient's name, but was told that he had been given just six months to live.

Jack Andraka's Amazing Cancer Detection Invention

Fifteen-year-old Jack Andraka recently won the world's largest high school science competition for his development of a new, cheap and accurate test for detecting pancreatic cancer.
[Note: We want you to see these talks exactly as they happened! The archive footage might be a little rougher than the usual talk.]

You Won't Believe The Effect The Internet's Having On Your Brain. Actually, You Will.

This first part of this video explores the disturbing effect the Internet has been having on our brain's ability to focus. I didn't get around to watching the second part, but it's probably more things like that about the brain and stuff. 

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