Archive | October 11th, 2016

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the Mentality of Propaganda Control

NOVANEWS
gmo

The evidence for genetically modified organism (GMOs) safety for human consumption and its environmental risks remains one of the nation’s most contentious, controversial and debated subjects. Throughout the world, governments, national health ministries and their populations have been led to believe that there is no reason to critically object to GMOs. American mainstream media, which have now been fully absorbed into the agendas of large multinational corporate chemical and food sponsors, claim GMOs are completely harmless. We are sold a promise that they are urgently needed for feeding the world. Consequently, in the absence of critical journalism, aside from independent media, the spread of GMOs has become widespread.

Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, and Bayer dominate the global GMO market.

Corn is the US’ number one crop with eighty-nine percent being genetically modified. Ninety-three percent of American soybeans are GMO. GM sugar beets, certain squashes, canola, alfalfa, papaya (77% of Hawaii’s crop), and new apple strains are genetically engineered.

Many more GM vegetables and fruits are in the pipeline.

Only during the past 15 years have voices within the environmental and public health movements, and free-thinking scientists and researchers in molecular biology, genetics and agriculture turned vocal to publicly challenge GMO safety and their exaggerated promises. One especially unfounded promise, often promulgated by Monsanto and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the GMO revolution’s ability to feed the world. Yet as a senior economic analyst at the Environmental Working Group in Washington DC has reported, “this is simply a myth adopted and deployed by US agribusiness to distract the public from reality.”[1]

Every leading opponent and critic of GMOs is well known to the chemical industry and its army of public relation provocateurs and internet trolls. Many have been mercilessly attacked, libeled and slandered through a sophisticated network of PR hacks, industry special interest groups, educational and pseudo-scientific organizations and projects, and the mainstream media, publications and lobbying firms. In the wake of the agri-industry’s PR efforts to bolster erroneous favorable images of GMOs and chemical based agriculture, careers have been destroyed. For example, FOX journalists Jane Akre and her husband Steve Wilson were destroyed by Monsanto for providing scientific evidence about the dangers of genetically modified bovine growth hormone in milk.[2] Mainstream media willingly provides a red carpet for GMO advocates to promote the promises of genetic engineering but denies equal time to its scientific critics. So effective have been the chemical industry’s attacks that even peer reviewed research showing GMO risks has been retracted.

Perhaps the most important and damning case of retracted science is that of Eric Gilles Seralini’s studies. Seralini and his colleagues at the University of Caen in France reproduced Monsanto’s own safety trials for GMO maize. However, Seralini continued the study for the entire lifespan of the laboratory animals. Monsanto only published studies conducted over a three month period. Seralini discovered a direct correlation between GM maize consumption with kidney and liver diseases, hormonal disturbance and cancer. Later investigations revealed that a sustained effort by Monsanto lobbyists and the food industry influenced the study’s retraction from the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. Subsequently, the study was republished by another journal and now remains on the scientific record. Recently, a French court uncovered the original author behind the fraud allegations against Seralini’s research, which led to the retraction. He was identified as Forbes Magazine journalist and former FDA official, Henry I Miller, a former tobacco lobbyist with a history of denying smoking’s association to cancer and heart disease.[3]

Again, on September 22, 2016, a criminal court in Paris found another pro-GMO advocate and former president of the Biomolecular Engineering Commission, which assesses GMO safety in France, guilty of forgery in order to defame and even frame Prof. Seralini of criminal activity.[4]

The entire pseudo-scientism behind corporate sponsored GMO and pesticide trials to twist data results to support Big Ag’s version of safety is an illusion. Even when their own research is proven faulty and corrupt, no explanations are given. Intellectual honesty, courage and integrity are completely absent from not only the large chemical and food companies but from all their supporters in the universities, academies, the scientific blogosphere, and public relations firms and quasi think tanks relied upon for lobbying efforts on behalf of Big Ag.

Today the lesson is clear that money, power and influence sustain the lies and deceit of private industry. Take on any powerful interest and Big Ag will come after you.

Big Ag has turned the clock back to the era of the tobacco industry’s legacy. Decades ago, regardless of how many lawsuits were filed showing tobacco’s causal relationship to cancer, emphysema, heart disease and nicotine addiction, none were won. Years later, and only with the emergence of an executive within the tobacco industry turned whistleblower, Jeffrey Wigand, did the government learn that the heads of the tobacco corporations had lied before Congress. Even the FDA possessed proprietary information from the tobacco industry itself proving smoking’s health risks yet refused to educate the public.

During the past six decades, corporations and their hired lobbyists and PR firms have launched multi-million dollar public campaigns, largely organized and funded in the shadows, to attack critics and activist opponents of DDT, dioxin, saccharine, aspartame, the industrial meat industry, fluoride, psychiatric drugs, hydro-fracking, sugar, vaccines, alcohol, nuclear power, and other toxic substances. Regardless of the health concerns and risks of these chemicals and activities, offensive corporate behavior designed to ridicule, demonize and systematically marginalize opponents is similar and taken from the same playbook. Yet in every case it has been the independent scientific research relied upon by the critics that have been proven correct. Over the decades corporate funded science, the media and the private industries themselves have been proven wrong consistently. The agri-industry’s science is faith based and full of contradictions and unsound claims. Unfortunately government regulators are slow to act on the facts. Dangerous products remain for public consumption for many years before resolute action is taken to ban them. In the meantime, millions of people have been directly harmed or killed by pervasive scientific fraud. Worse, no one in private industry who is caught for perpetuating scientific and medical deception and fraud is held accountable. Corporations settle out of court, pay fines that are a fraction of their revenues, and remain in favor with Wall Street and investors. And those at the federal level are protected and concealed from prosecution altogether.

The history of bad science propagated by private firms has always shown to be profit over health. Inevitably it is self-educated citizens and the victims of corporate greed and profit, not the federal government, who unveil the lies. It wasn’t the federal agencies who raised alarm over DDT’s dangers but a marine biologist, Rachel Carson, acting upon her own convictions, who uncovered the plot in her seminal book Silent Spring. Over the years, many advocates for public safety—Ralph Nader, Jim Turner, Sydney Wolf, Michael Jacobson, Ronnie Cummins, Andrew Wakefield and many others—have battled the righteous struggle to protect consumers against dangerous and unsafe drugs, chemicals and products that the federal government more often than not defends and protects on behalf of corporate interests.

In all such cases, proponents of consumer safety and health have had to struggle against an army of lobbyists, consultants, think tanks, public relations firms and a complicit media with the wealth and influence to convince people that their fears are unfounded and they should wholeheartedly embrace toxic substances. Not unlike the medical establishment, the industrial food industry has created a vast network of allies in all walks of life and within government to promote its cause. Realizing the sheer depth and breadth of this network and the endless money pumped into its public relations machine to keep the myths of GMOs alive and front and center is not only deeply disturbing but also rather impressive. It is a leviathan of enormous scale and influence. And there is little wonder that even with the most damning scientific evidence to discredit anything of long-term value regarding GMOs, virtually nothing is done at the federal level to protect the public.

After reviewing hundreds of research studies and articles, dozens of interviews, and numerous conversations, we are convinced that science overwhelming supports a cautionary position about the safety and promises of GMOs. This research is all in the public domain which begs the questions, why is the federal government reluctant to take action? And why is the chemical agricultural and Big Food industry in complete denial to accept the risks of its products, many which are known carcinogens?

For example, last year, we were made aware of a mother lode of formerly sealed Monsanto documents the EPA was forced to release through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request only after considerable political pressure was applied. The documents, over 10,000 pages worth, provide clear and unequivocal proof that Monsanto has known for many years the serious carcinogenic risks and environmental dangers associated with glyphosate (Roundup) before any GMO seed ever reached the market. Today, approximately 80% of all products with corn and soy on grocery shelves are laced with glyphosate. Monsanto, similar to the tobacco industry, concealed and covered up the health risks about their flagship product for several decades. And even more egregious, the federal EPA has known this for years and still sat on the damning documents.

Our thorough summary about the release of these Monsanto documents was published in The Ecologist. However mainstream media has completely ignored and denied the public urgency in this treasure trove of data that damns practically everything positive Monsanto and the USDA has ever stated about glyphosate’s safety for animal and human consumption and the environment.[5]

Whatever scientific integrity these people may have once held, it has been compromised in a Faustian deal with private financial interests. GMO science has become a mad science, a form of pathology that hides behind the illusion of being objective.

Instead, independent researchers, their citizen supporters and anti-GMO activists are venomously attacked by every means available. Conveniently anonymous Wikipedia editors are clearly advocates of the health and food industries as any alternative doctor or health practitioner can attest when she or he attempts to change false information on their profiles. And now many otherwise independent liberal, independent media sources, such as Mother Jones and Alternet, are increasingly following suit. It pays to play the game with the powers that have money.

So who are these people behind the efforts to suppress opposition? Who are the real trolls doing agribusiness’ dirty work? When we pull back the curtain, the wizards behind the chemical food industry who control the message through the media through a well-oiled public relations network are exposed.

The Genetic Literacy Project and University of California at Davis

The chemical agricultural industry relies upon American universities in many ways. Collaborations between corporations, such as Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont, and university agricultural departments are common place and this has been the increasing trend in the academic community since the 1980s and the emergence of biotechnology. What is more recent has been a new trend whereby universities across the U.S. participate directly or indirectly in the marketing promotion of GMOs. In effect, some universities now act as private industry’s lobbyists. And this becomes a greater scandal when the university is a public institution receiving public funding. Such is the case of the University of California at Davis and its prestigious agriculture department.

To date, US Right to Know has filed seventeen public records requests, per the California Public Records Act, to receive information about the funding of questionable activities that go beyond serving public education and only benefit private interests such as Monsanto.[6]

Among these lobbying groups operating on the UC campus is the Genetic Literacy Project (GLP).[7] Over the years GLP has gained recognition as a credible and reliable source of information about GMOs. It is one of the most frequently quoted sources of information by pro-GMO advocates and journalists. However in our opinion, GLP is perhaps one of the most spurious, financially compromised and scientifically illiterate organizations, founded and funded for the sole purpose of disseminating false pro-GMO propaganda that distorts peer reviewed literature in order to prop up public support for GMOs and genetic engineering in general.[8]

The Project has become the GMO industry’s clearing house for public relations to spin science into advertising, propaganda and character assassination of GM opponents. It is also the primary site now sourcing the review of 1,700-plus studies favoring GMO safety. This review of over 1,700 studies, also known as the Nicolia Review, is the most cited source making the broadest claims for GMO safety. Yet over the years, many independent, industry free and unbiased researchers have reviewed the Nicolia Review and their conclusions are far from what private industry wants us to believe. Many of these studies are tangential at best and barely take notice of anything related to crop genetic engineering or GMOs. Many are also completely irrelevant from a value-added perspective because they have nothing to do with GMO safety whatsoever. Furthermore, other studies in this collection conclude the exact opposite and prove GMOs environmental and animal and human health risks. When Nicolia published his review, heintentionally omitted and ignored scientifically sound research that directly investigated GMO safety as a prime target that found convincing evidence supporting GMOs risks. For example, one peer-reviewed publication by over 300 independent scientists declared that there is no scientific consensus that GM crops and food are safe. Curiously, there is no mention of this study in the Nicolia Review.[9]

The Genetic Literacy Project is not a scientific project in any proper sense of the term. Its founder and head Jon Entine has no formal academic scientific background. Nor has he ever worked in an academic or corporate research driven environment before crawling up the top of the ladder to become one of the GMO industry’s leading PR gurus and propagandists. GLP will not release its exact funding sources but Entine repeatedly claims that 97% of its funding derives from non-partisan, independent foundations.[10]

This might sound impressive, but lobbying and the channeling of funds has changed dramatically during the past decade. A new and more popular generation of lobbying practices and ways to avoid K Street regulations, has reshaped the means by which public relations, propaganda, and economic and political pressures are enacted. This new model of lobbying has become an ever-spreading fungus of think tanks, foundations, associations, and nonprofit entities, often with impressive names, that serve no other purpose aside from steering funds between various entities as lobbying payoffs. For an excellent understanding about how this new form of shadow lobbying network operates, I would recommend George Mason University Professor Janine Wedel’s publication Unaccountable: How Elite Power Brokers Corrupt Our Finances, Freedom and Security.

It is no secret that Monsanto and Big Ag, and more recently the USDA, have significant undue influence over all of UC-Davis agricultural department and divisions. The bogus economic studies trumped up by the Big Ag cartel to defeat California’s GMO labeling bill Prop 37 were performed at this university. Gary Ruskin who has been filing FOIA requests has publicly expressed deep concerns that UC Davis has been acting as a financial conduit for private corporations and interests to develop and launch PR attacks against academics, professors, activists and other institutions who oppose those same corporate interests. Agro-ecologist Dr. Don Lotter, who was interviewed for our documentary Seeds of Death in 2011, was an employed scientist at UC-Davis’ agriculture school. In 2009, Dr Lotter published a paper in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food that presented a “damning case against genetically modified foods, saying the technology is based on obsolete science, that biotechnology companies such as Monsanto have too much influence on government regulators and “public” universities, and that university scientists are ignoring the health and environmental risks of GM crops.” Lotter was subsequently forced out of the University for his truth telling.[11]

Like many plant scientists who have awakened to the serious risks GMO crops pose to the future food security of the nation and planet, Lotter advocates for agro-ecological methods in farming recommended by the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). Some 60 governments signed IAASTD’s final report in April 2008, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The IAASTD report, the first of its kind ever produced, calls for a fundamental change in farming practices, in order to address soaring food prices, hunger, social inequities, and environmental disasters. It acknowledges that GM crops are highly controversial. IAASTD director, Robert Watson, chief scientist at the UK food and farming department DEFRA, said much more research was needed to prove whether GM crops offer any benefits and do not harm human health and the environment. Biotech companies Monsanto, Syngenta, and BASF withdrew from IAASTD because it did not back GMOs as a solution to reduce poverty and hunger. The comprehensive report was produced by over 400 scientists from around the world over a 3-year period. The study was sponsored by a number of major international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, and UNESCO.Not surprisingly and conspicuously, the United States was one of only three nations present at the IAASTD conference that refused to sign the accord.[12]

Jon Entine

Jon Entine is a perfect choice to head up the GLP’s well-funded propaganda operations that specializes in distributing disinformation. He is a former TV news writer and producer for ABC and NBC. Currently this non-scientist is also senior fellow at University of California at Davis’ Institute for Food and Agriculture Literacy (IFAL). IFAL is another entity that has remained secretive and non-transparent, refusing to reveal its funding sources. Freedom of Information Act requests were filed to force the University to reveal its sources. But these FOIA requests continue to be thwarted.[13]

Entine is a shameless hack for mainstream big industry as is demonstrated by his record of being paid to protect dangerous and controversial products. An investigative report in the Boston Globe revealed that Monsanto executives recruited prestigious professors to write favorable papers about their products, namely GMOs and chemical pesticides.[14] Entine publicly admitted to Bloomberg that he has helped edit their work in the past. Yet, Entine doesn’t limit himself to GMOs. He has viciously attacked a prestigious Harvard scientist and climate change expert, Naomi Orestes, who opposes nuclear power. He supports, without reservation, the use of neonicitinoid pesticides that have been repeatedly shown to contribute to honeybee colony collapse. In fact, Entine has written that neonics benefit bees in his attack on European nations that have formally banned neonics. He denies that phthalates, an endocrine hormone disrupter banned in Europe, are health hazards. He has supported another endocrine disruptor BPA, also partially banned in Europe. Entine defends hydraulic fracking and has consistently attacked Cornell University scientists who are perhaps the world’s experts in hydro-fracking’s risks and its most harsh critics. This list goes on and on.[15]

A Case Example of Public Deception about GMOs

In June 2016, 108 Nobel laureates signed a letter against Greenpeace and the international organization’s opposition to genetically engineered Golden Rice. This rice, which has yet to be brought to market, was formulated in the belief that it would significantly reduce illnesses associated with Vitamin A deficiency which is primarily a problem for the poorest people on the planet, primarily Africa and Southeast Asia. There has been considerable criticism s of the letter. On the one hand, the argument doesn’t follow that every one of these laureates supports all GMOs in general. Nevertheless, the Nobel letter has become the gold standard of agribusiness’ industry’s PR machine which propagandized the letter as it fed the letter to the mainstream media. Consequently, the news blared that the laureates are in agreement that all GMOs are safe. But nothing could be further from the truth.[16]

Looking at this more deeply, the Nobel laureates’ letter has an interesting gensis. Its originator was Sir Richard Roberts, who received the Nobel Prize for discovering genetic sequences known as introns. Sir Roberts currently serves as Chief Science Officer at New England Biolabs which is involved in GMO research. Roberts also happens to have earned a somewhat controversial reputation as a leading promulgator of GMOs in India and has been accused of unfounded exaggeration of food shortage threats to the lives of millions of people unless there is wholesale, uncritical adoption of GMOs.[17] At this moment, lawsuits remain pending against Monsanto for violating India’s regulations and the national government is in session to possibly ban Monsanto’s GMO cotton. GMOs have been a nightmare for the Indian subcontinent; Monsanto knows this and is already making efforts to step further away from India as a market for its genetically engineered seeds. Forbes magazine recently profiled Sir Robert’s most recent mission to promulgate GMOs to the world religious leaders including Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama.[18]

For many academics possessing actual experience in agricultural sciences and developmental conditions in third world nations, the laureates’ letter was an outrage. According to professor Devon Pena at the University of Washington, and an expert in indigenous agriculture, the laureates’ letter is “shameful.” He noted that the signatories were “mostly white men of privilege with little background in risk science, few with a background in toxicology studies, and certainly none with knowledge of the indigenous agro-ecological alternatives. All of you should be stripped of your Nobels.” In fact one “signatory”, Alfred Gilman, was already dead. And none of the Nobel signatories have any background in agriculture, which led a professor of physical sciences and statistics at UC-Berkeley to write “Science is supposed to be ‘show me’, not ‘trust me’… Nobel Prize or not.”[19]

So, how did Sir Roberts, gather 107 signatures from Nobel laureates? The press conference that first announced this PR achievement was directly connected to Monsanto’s former PR man, Jay Byrne, now head of the biotech industry PR firm v-Fluence. In addition, the laureates’ letter was originally housed at the website, supportprecisionagriculture.org. Curiously its sister website, supportprecisionagriculture.com finds its home with the Genetic Literacy Project. Jon Entine is a close associate of Byrne, having been the editor of Byrne’s book “Let Them Eat Precaution,” published by the pro-business and conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute.[20]

And there is one further caveat to the Nobel laureate letter. According to the International Rice Research Institute, Golden Rice is not ready for release. It has yet to be tested for toxicity and has yet to prove efficacy in combating health conditions related to vitamin A deficiency.[21] This was the primary reason behind Greenpeace’s opposition to its release on the market. Greenpeace adopted a precautionary stance. Nevertheless the GMO industry with the assistance of the GLP turned this into an opportunity for a publicity misinformation stunt to silence one of GMOs largest critics.

American Council on Science and Health

The Genetic Literacy Project is a key collaborator with another food industry front organization, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). But ACSH has very little do with actual science of health. It has been described by the independent corporate financial watchdog organization Sourcewatch as a thinly veiled corporate front that holds “a generally apologetic stance regarding virtually every other health and environmental hazard produced by modern industry, accepting corporate funding from Coca-Cola, Syngenta, Proctor Gamble, Kellogg, General Mills, Pepsico, and the American Beverage Association, among others.”[22] ACSH is also in favor of toxic pesticides, the use of biphenol A in products and hydrofracking. It is also closely aligned with pseudo-medical front organizations that criticize alternative and natural health modalities. Among ACSH’s board of scientific advisors is controversial Quackbuster founder, Steven Barrett.

The extremist Koch Brother’s American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has also been associated with the ACSH. This information was leaked to Mother Jones and subsequently, ACSH’s executive director Dr. Gilbert Ross did not deny the veracity of the leaked information. Remarkably, Ross was convicted of scamming Medicaid for $8 million in 2005, had his medical license revoked, and served half of a 46 month prison. He now has his license back and is heading one of the more powerful food lobbying organizations in the nation.[23]

Ketchum and GMO Answers

Ketchum is the principle public relations firm for Monsanto, Dow Chemical and mega grocery manufacturers such as Kraft. The GMO and food industries are among Ketchum’s special focus areas. Ketchum is owned by the corporate giant Omnicom and has a checkered history that includes unsavory clients and engaging in questionable legal activities. It spearheaded the public relations efforts to improve the image of Honduras following the Obama administration’s backed coup in 2009. A Mother Jones investigative report in 2010 uncovered Ketchum’s espionage activities targeted against Greenpeace on behalf of Dow Chemical.

In 2013, Ketchum launched GMO Answers, an interactive, personalized website to convince the public to accept GM foods and produce. According to Gary Ruskin’s investigations at US Right to Know, GMO Answers claims the public’s questions and concerns about GMOs are answered by qualified scientists and professors. However it was uncovered that much of the pro-GMO materials is ghostwritten by Ketchum employees or independent contractors.

In an interview with US Right to Know founder, Gary Ruskin, Ketchum was identified as recruiting an army of journalists, trolls and private industry compromised scientists and academics to defend GMOs, pesticides and processed foods containing GMO ingredients.[25]

Cornell Alliance for Science

Many pro-GMO front organizations frame themselves as scientific organizations to seduce people into believing they are engaged in an actual scientific inquiry. In fact, these groups are nothing more than well-funded propaganda machines devoted to the distribution of misinformation and faux research in order to promote the GMO agriculture agenda. Such organizations are now commonplace in the corporate scientific community and medical establishment.

One such GMO public relations front is the Alliance for Science at Cornell University (AFS). As reported by GM Watch, AFS does not conduct any agricultural research, yet its tentacles reach far and wide largely to attack GMO opponents. Similar to the Genetic Literacy Project at University of California at Davis agriculture department, the AFS makes the unfounded claim to represent “balanced” research about genetic engineered products. One of its missions is to influence the next generation of agricultural scientists to embrace GMO science. For AFS, as for Bill Gates, GMOS are the only food solution for Africa in the future. Recently, organic farmers in New York mobilized to pressure the Trustees of Cornell University to evict AFS’ presence and influence over the school’s prestigious College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.[26]

Several incidents of protest against anti-GMO organizations and activists now reveal that AFS is nothing more than a propaganda campaign to attack and discredit opposition. Two of its most notable targets have been the non-profit organization US Right to Know in Oakland CA and the public appearances by the international organic food activist Vandana Shiva. US Right to Know is devoted to exposing what the food industry and Big Agriculture corporations such as Monsanto don’t want the public to know. AFS waslaunched in 2014 after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation granted AFS $5.6 million in start-up money.[27]

Conclusions

GMO tobacco science aside, what is most disturbing is that the public has become the victim of one of the greatest deceptions that will have untold detrimental consequences upon future generations. The public has blindly trusted the statements of our government agencies — particularly the FDA and USDA — that have been headed by former Monsanto personnel since the Clinton White House. Our legislators and mainstream media profit from the industrial food firms and their commercial associations, that GMOs are healthy, pose no environmental risks and are saving the planet by reducing hunger. Nothing can be further from the truth as we witness more and more nations, particularly in the developing world, rejecting the GMO agricultural paradigm.

Whenever the truth is told, no matter the amount of prevailing documentation and expert witness presented, there is enormous push back by agriculture industry spin doctors, hired professional PR firms, and internet trolls paid to promulgate lies, misinformation and character assassination of all anti-GMO advocates. There is no honor, no responsibility to accept reliable and trustworthy data or any science contrary to agribusiness interests. These corporations make every effort to reduce the urgency of their products’ health risks in order to protect the guilty.

So far, the war of facts about GMO safety has had little impact on altering or shifting national policy. This is because of the overarching economic interests that must be protected by perpetuating scientific lies by any means possible. The success of Big Agriculture’s public relations strategy and operations has been fear, intimidation, and slander. It has never been a campaign based upon scientific facts, but only scientific deception, spin and outright falsehoods. Unfortunately, mainstream media continually laps up this misinformation while ignoring any contrary independent research.

There must be a public debate, on a nationally recognized level, of independent GMO research, not compromised by commercial or ideological interests, to commence and lay to rest GMO safety issues once and for all. This is the only way that the truth will finally come out and the propaganda control by GMO agribusiness will be broken.

Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio and a former Senior Research Analyst in the biotechnology and genomic industries. Dr. Gary Null is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on nutrition and natural health and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including Seeds of Death about GMOs and Poverty Inc. More at the Progressive Radio Network

Notes

[1] “Despite ‘Cloak of Moral Necessity,’ Report Shows Big Ag Can’t Feed the World”http://commondreams.org/news/2016/10/05/despite-cloak-moral-necessity-report-shows-big-ag-cant-feed-world
[2] “The BGH Scandals” PR Watch. Volume 7, No. 4, 2000.https://www.organicconsumers.org/old_articles/rbgh/akrepart1.php
[3] http://www.gmoseralini.org/seralinis-team-wins-defamation-and-forgery-court-cases-on-gmo-and-pesticide-research/
[4] “Seralini wins again in court against his attackers” GM Watch, Sepetmber 26, 2016. http://gmwatch.org/news/latest-news/17236
[5] Gale R, Null G. “Monsanto Knew All Along. Secret Studies Reveal the Truth of Roundup Toxicity,” The Ecologist. September 18, 2015.http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2985458/monsanto_knew_all_along_secret_studies_reveal_the_truth_of_roundup_toxicity.html
[6] https://usrtk.org/news-releases/uc-davis-sued-for-failing-to-release-public-records-on-gmos-and-pesticides/
[7] https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org
[8] Katherine Paul, “How Monsanto solicited academics to bolster their pro-GMO propaganda using taxpayer dollars,” Alternet. October 15, 2015. http://www.alternet.org/food/monsanto-scandal-biotech-giant-solicited-academics-fight-their-pro-gmo-war
[9] Antoniou M, Fagan M, Robinson C. “GMO Myths and Truths” 2015 second edition.http://earthopensource.org/gmomythsandtruths/download/
[10] Heyes JD. “Who’s funding Jon Entine’s Genetic Literacy Project’s pro-GMO propaganda?” Natural News, April 6, 2016. http://www.naturalnews.com/053565_Jon_Entine_character_assassin_funding_sources.html
[11] see documentary film Seeds of Death. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6OxbpLwEj
[12] “Scientist jeopardizes career by publishing paper criticizing GM foods”. The Organic and Non-GMO Report, 2009.http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/nov09/scientists_criticizing_gm_foods.php
[13] http://www.truthwiki.org/Jon_Entine/#exactline
[14] Laura Krantz. “Harvard Professor failed to disclose connection.” Boston Globe. October 1, 2015.https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/10/01/harvard-professor-failed-disclose-monsanto-connection-paper-touting-gmos/lLJipJQmI5WKS6RAgQbnrN/story.html
[15] US Right to Know. http://usrtk.org/hall-of-shame/jon-entine-the-chemical-industrys-master-messenger/
[16] http://www.gmwatch.org/news/latest-news/17077-pro-gmo-campaign-exploits-nobel-laureates-to-attack-greenpeace-and-fool-the-people
[17] Ibid.
[18] “Nobel laureate Sir Richard Roberts to ask religious and government leaders to support GMOs” Forbes. September 21, 2016. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kavinsenapathy/2016/09/21/nobel-laureate-sir-richard-roberts-to-ask-religious-and-government-leaders-to-support-gmos/#695a848e5cc8
[19] http://www.gmwatch.org/news/latest-news/17077-pro-gmo-campaign-exploits-nobel-laureates-to-attack-greenpeace-and-fool-the-people
[20] Ibid.
[21] “Who is to blame for the failure of GMO golden rice?” Independent Science News. August 10, 2016.https://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/millions-spent-who-is-to-blame-failure-gmo-golden-rice/
[22] http://www.truthwiki.org/jon_entine/
[23] Bill Hogan. “Paging Dr. Ross,” Mother Jones. November 2005.http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/11/paging-dr-ross
[24] James Ridgeway. “Black Ops, Green Groups” Mother Jones. April 11, 2008.http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2008/04/exclusive-cops-and-former-secret-service-agents-ran-black-ops-green-groups?
[25] Interview with Gary Ruskin. Progressive Radio Network. September 27, 2016. http://prn.fm/progressive-commentary-hour-09-27-16/
[26] Ibid.
[27] “Gates Foundation Backed Pro-GMO Cornell Alliance for Science on the Attack,” Corporate Crime Reporter. March 5, 2015. http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/news/200/gates-foundation-backed-pro-gmo-cornell-alliance-science-attack/

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Indigenous Peoples Demand “Deeds, Not Words” from Justin Trudeau in Actions Across Canada

NOVANEWS
indigenous day of action

Today, Indigenous communities in rural areas and cities across Canada and the United States are rallying to demand that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal commit to real action and respect for Indigenous rights.

More than a dozen actions are happening around the country alongside others in the United States, including a round-dance in Toronto, a picnic for the Peace River in Vancouver, a healing ceremony at the site of Muskrat Falls in Newfoundland/Labrador, and rallies in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and northern Ontario.

The actions come on the heels of Trudeau back-tracking on a pledge to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), approving mega-projects like the Site C dam, the Petronas LNG terminal, and promoting tar sands pipelines, maintaining discrimination against First Nations children on reserves, and continuing policies that deny the land rights of Indigenous peoples.

“Justin Trudeau has made big promises on Indigenous issues, but his actions have revealed an agenda that continues violating our rights. It’s time for Indigenous peoples to demand not just pretty words from this government, but deeds,” said Russ Diabo, a member of the Defenders of the Land organizing committee.

The demands of the national day of action include that the Liberal government implement UNDRIP in Canadian law, respecting Indigenous Peoples’ right to say no to development on their land; stop pipeline, gas, and oil mega-projects without Indigenous consent; introduce a bold climate plan that respects the 1.5-2 degree temperature target that Canada helped negotiate in Paris; and fully fund Indigenous-owned and controlled renewable energy projects.

“Indigenous women are spiritually connected to the water and we take that role very seriously. Indigenous grandmothers are standing up and will continue to stand with our allies against the destruction of our water sources,” said Cheryl Maloney, president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association and a member of the Defenders of the Land women’s committee.

The national day of action was initiated by the Defenders of the Land women’s committee, a network of rural Indigenous activists fighting for land rights. The action is supported by a broad network, including Idle No More, Greenpeace, 350.org, No One is Illegal groups, and the Leap Manifesto.

“We don’t want a share of the profits from pipeline, oil, and mining projects that are devastating vulnerable communities, our lands, and all living things on this planet. We reject endless extraction because we know that the ground beneath our feet is not a commodity – this is our home,” said Erica Violet Lee, a spokesperson for Idle No More.

This network of activism by Indigenous communities builds on years of protest against destructive resource projects, and the Idle No More movement.

Media contacts:

Stop Alton Gas/Defenders of the Land Women’s Committee: Cheryl Maloney clmaloney@eastlink.ca or902.751.0077

Defenders of the Land: Russell Diabo, 613-296-0110 (can speak to federal policy on land issues, UNDRIP, funding)

Idle No More: Erica Violet Lee – Erica.lee@usask.ca

Eriel Tchekwie-Deranger, member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, can speak on pipelines, climate change, and Indigenous Peoples:  780-903-6598

Pam Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance, Ryerson University (can speak to federal policy on land, UNDRIP, funding) – ppalmater@politics.ryerson.ca

For more information, and contacts for communities and organizers of events happening nationwide, please contact: indigenousdayofaction@gmail. com or see: http://tiny.cc/zddrfy or http://www.idlenomore.ca/ deeds_not_words

Posted in CanadaComments Off on Indigenous Peoples Demand “Deeds, Not Words” from Justin Trudeau in Actions Across Canada

Leaked Email Reveals Potential Collusion Between State Department And Clinton Election Campaign

NOVANEWS
 
clinton H

One of the major email “leak” stories to emerge last week courtesy of the WSJ, was that the White House had intervened on at least one occasion to suppress the story surrounding Hillary’s “Secret Server” scandal, through backdoor channels with the State Department. This is what we noted as per the original piece:

Ten days after the story broke, White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri emailed State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki to ask, “between us on the shows…think we can get this done so he is not asked about email.” That apparently referred to Mr. Kerry, who appeared in an interview on CBS ’s “Face the Nation” three days later.

“Agree completely and working to crush on my end,” wrote back Ms. Psaki.

A day later, Ms. Psaki added, “Good to go on killing CBS idea.” She continued, “And we are going to hold on any other TV options just given the swirl of crap out there.” Mr. Kerry wasn’t asked on CBS about the email server, though it isn’t clear how Ms. Psaki could have guaranteed that.

Teased by Ms. Palmieri about her use of the phrase “swirl of crap,” Ms. Psaki wrote back: “Ha I mean—the challenging stories out there.”

While we are confident there were many other interactions between the White House and the State Department meant to boost the winning odds of the Clinton presidential campaign, this was sufficient evidence to confirm that on at least one occasion, the two entities had colluded.

Now, courtesy of the latest leak by Wikileaks, which earlier today released another 2,000 emails by Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, we may have stumbled on evidence of collusion between the State Department and the Clinton Campaign itself. In an email from close Hillary’s confidant Heather Samuelson, also known as the Clinton insider who screened Hillary’s emails, we learn the intimate details leaked by Samuelson regarding a FOIA request submitted previously by Judicial Watch regarding Bill Clinton speeches, which shows that virtually entire process was being “translated” over to Hillary’s campaign.

By way of reminder, here is a quick Politico primer on who Heather Samuelson is, from September 2015:

Hillary Clinton chose a former campaign staffer who followed her to the State Department to make the initial determination about which of her emails should be preserved as federal records, according to closed-door testimony by Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills, a GOP source told POLITICO.

Heather Samuelson, a lawyer and 2008 Clinton campaign staffer, worked under Mills and Clinton’s attorney David Kendall to sift through her ex-boss’ messages. She helped separate those that were purely personal, which were not turned over to the State Department, from those that were work-related.

THe Daily Caller adds the following:

A longtime Clinton campaign staffer who worked for as White House liaison at Clinton’s State Department and, later, as her lawyer.

As a lawyer, Samuelson led up the 2014 review of Clinton’s emails to determine which ones were work-related and which were personal.

Most importantly, as we reported previously, Samuelson received DOJ immunity in exchange for turning over the laptop she used during the review of Clinton’s emails in 2014. 

Finally, as the NRO wrote over the weekend, “The more information that drips out about the Clinton e-mail investigation, the more we learn that two key subjects, Hillary confidants Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, got extraordinarily special treatment — concessions that would never be given to subjects in a normal investigation. The primary reason for this is that the Obama Justice Department was never going to charge Hillary Clinton and her accomplices with crimes.

The guise under which Mills and Samuelson got the kid-glove treatment was their status as lawyers. Crucially, this status was the Justice Department’s pretext for resolving that potentially incriminating evidence against them, and against their “client,” Mrs. Clinton, had to be shielded from investigators pursuant to the attorney-client privilege.

Except neither Mills nor Samuelson was eligible to represent Clinton in matters related to the e-mails, including the FBI’s criminal investigation. Moreover, even if they had arguably been eligible, attorney-client communications in furtherance of criminal schemes are not privileged.

* * *

Mills and Samuelson were given immunity in exchange for surrendering their laptops not because searching lawyers’ computers is complicated, but because the Justice Department had no intention of prosecuting them. That is also why Justice severely limited the FBI’s search of the laptops, just as it severely limited the FBI’s questioning of Mills. Mills and Samuelson were given immunity because Justice did not want to commence a grand-jury investigation, which would have empowered investigators to compel production of the laptops by simply issuing subpoenas. Justice did not want to use the grand jury because doing so would have signaled that the case was headed toward indictment. The Obama Justice Department was never going to indict Hillary Clinton, and was determined not to damage her presidential campaign by taking steps suggestive of a possible indictment.

Today, we may have stumbled on the real reason why Samuelson got immunity.

In the following email dated March 17, 2015 disclosed today by Wikileaks, we find troubling details of the internal State Department process, which somehow made its way to Samlueson with details so nuanced it may only have come as a result of direct communication between the State Department (or DOS as Samuelson calls it) as Hillary’s young confidant, and which in turn she promptly conveyed to her team, regarding the FOIA request, in what appears to be a material breach of confidentiality. This is what she said :

DOS is soon releasing another round of documents and email traffic (not hers) in response to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request on DOS’s process for reviewing WJC’s speaking engagements.

It’s 116 pages with approx. 50 sponsor/subsponsor requests. No objections by DOS in this batchbut some lengthy internal discussions among DOS officials that I highlighted below.

There is one request where speaking fee would have been paid by Turkish govt — WJC’s office declined this.   And one speaking engagement with fee from Canadian government, which he did do.

Let me know if you have any questions.

We have one question, Heather: is this legal, and are emailed exchanges such as this one why you received DOJ immunity in exchange for “turning over your laptop”?

From the original email, bolding ours.

* * *

From: Heather Samuelson [mailto:hsamuelson@cdmillsGroup.com]

Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 10:53 AM
To: Maura Pally; Craig Minassian; Philippe Reines; Nick Merrill; Jennifer Palmier I
Cc: Cheryl Mills; Tina Flournoy
Subject: JW FOIA | WJC Speeches

All –  DOS is soon releasing another round of documents and email traffic (not hers) in response to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request on DOS’s process for reviewing WJC’s speaking engagements.   

It’s 116 pages with approx. 50 sponsor/subsponsor requests.   No objections by DOS in this batch, but some lengthy internal discussions among DOS officials that I highlighted below.  

There is one request where speaking fee would have been paid by Turkish govt — WJC’s office declined this.   And one speaking engagement with fee from Canadian government, which he did do.  

Let me know if you have any questions.

[Jen — happy to give you more background on prior releases since it’s your first go around]

Thx

1) UNIQFEST/Turkey:  There are 20 pages of internal, heavily redacted email traffic among DOS officials on request for WJC to speak at UNIQFEST in 2009 — a climate change conference sponsored by the Turkish government with Turkish officials as featured speakers.  According to the traffic, WJC would receive compensation from “government and non-government sources.”

– WJC’s office decided to decline the invitation.  There is no final determination in the materials by the Department.

–  Some of email traffic has subject line  “Clinton Foundation” and refers to this as request from “Clinton Foundation.”  I only flag as may be twisted to say DOS did not even understand what they were reviewing for, blurred lines between personal and BHCCF etc…

2)   Canadian National Exhibition:  Email traffic indicates WJC’s compensation for this speaking engagement would come from the Canadian government via their program to promote tourism, “Industry Canada.”  There is heavily redacted email traffic between DOS officials, including our Embassy in Canada, with several emails from WJC’s office asking for status update, at one point saying they only have “about more 30 minutes before we lose the offer.”

— Jim Thessin (Deputy Legal Advisor) responds: “I do not have a problem with this so long as President Clinton is not serving as a U.S. government at the time of his appearance and when he is paid an honorarium.   If not an employee, he may accept reimbursements of expenses and an honorarium for his speech/talk, but he may not receive any gifts from the Canadian government.”

— HRC’s financial disclosure form indicates that WJC received $175,000 from Canadian National Exhibition for this speech on 8/29/09.

3)  CISCO:  Request is submitted for WJC to speak at CISCO two months before HRC awards CISCO the State Department’s Award for Corporate Excellence, holding a ceremony featuring the CISCO’s CEO.    According to HRC’s financial disclosure form, WJC received $255,000 for this speech.

4)  Other notable requests:  

  1. Local foreign govt:  Terife Island Council (local government of largest island in Canary Islands)
  2. Private Equity Firms/Banks:   ICE Canyon LLC, VISTA Equity, Harris Private Bank, TD Bank Financial, Whitton Investment Groups (London)
  3. Foreign Based Organizations:  Etisalat (UAE based telecomm co); Egyptian Junior Business Association; Friends of Cystic Fibrosis (Irish non-profit); Essex Regional Conservation Authority (Essex, Ontario); Wilbros Entertainment (Philippines, event to raise funds for Philippines charity); Miaor Entertainment Ltd (division of Grupo ABC based in Brazil); London Business Forum; Aditya Birla Management (Indian multinational conglomerate)
  4. Universities:  Southern Methodist, Tufts, American Jewish University

5)  GWB:   Two requests are for events with Deloitte and Radio City Music Hall that are a joint appearance between WJC and George W. Bush.  WJC did the event with Deloitte, but not Radio City.

In light of the ongoing speculation that there may have been collusion between the DOJ and Bill Clinton (and thus Hillary), following the infamous “tarmac encounter”, where Bill and Loretta Lynch spoke for 40 minutes about “Bill’s gold game and grandchildren”, the discovery that there was collusion between the State Department and Hillary Clinton, who formerly headed it, seems like a potential conflict of interest to us.

Posted in USAComments Off on Leaked Email Reveals Potential Collusion Between State Department And Clinton Election Campaign

“Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD): The Nuclear Debate America Should be Having

NOVANEWS
 
US-Nuclear-War

M.A.D. The concept of ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’ which posited the prospect of a global catastrophe in the event of a nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union was one which permeated the popular consciousness of the people of both nations as indeed it did the rest of the world during the era of the Cold War.

The realisation of Armageddon beckoning, replete with apocalyptic imagery of modern cities being turned into vast swathes of wasteland and of mass human annihilation, informed the policies of the respective superpowers.

Although severely divided by diametrically opposed ideological standpoints and ranged against each other via the military alliances respectively of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact, the leaders of America and the Soviet Union were nonetheless consistently united in the idea of diffusing tension.

While they may have fought proxy wars in far-flung theatres such as Vietnam, Angola and the Ogaden region of the Horn of Africa, the desire to maintain a state of coexistence as well as the prolongation of human existence spurred them to making a succession of treaties which sought to ban or reduce forms of nuclear testing, weapon capabilities and stockpiles of arsenal. Deterrent strategies such as related to ‘first-strike’ and ‘massive retaliation’ doctrines became modified by a flexible response doctrine. However, since the ending of the Cold War, there appears to be little by way of public debate about a clear departure from the modus operandi of the past. Battlefield doctrines of both United States and Russian militaries now permit the deployment of nuclear munitions. Contrary to public perception and even the words uttered during a recent debate between the present contestants for the US presidency, both countries refute a ‘No First Use’ policy and reserve the right to initiate a pre-emptive strike using nuclear weapons.

The period elapsed since the ending of the Cold War has witnessed significant developments that have had an impact on nuclear policy: the expansion of NATO towards the borders of Russia, the abrogation of anti-ballistic missile treaties as well as the development and deployment of so called ‘missile shields’ by the United States around Russia. Yet, these matters have not been made issues of public concern and subjected to a level of scrutiny which they arguably should be. The American public, it appears, remains blissfully unaware or unconcerned about the possibility of nuclear warfare even as tensions between the United States, seemingly resolute in its policy of preserving the unipolar world which succeeded the Cold War, and a resurgent Russia, have steadily increased. This is an unsatisfactory state of affairs; one which given the current tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine and Syria surely invokes the cautionary adage of death being always present wherever ignorance dominates.

The recent presidential debate held in New York between Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton and her Republican opponent Donald Trump contained an interesting exchange which followed Clinton’s expressing her concerns about Trump’s judgement and temperament in being able to deal with the pressures incumbent on any serving president.

“A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes” said Clinton. She claimed that Trump’s public statements on the matter had indicated that he was unconcerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons among nations in the Middle East and Asia. Trump denied this and at one point replied that “nuclear is the single greatest threat that this country has.”

Then turning to the last segment of the debate which he referred to as “securing America”, the moderator, Lester Holt, a news anchor for NBC News, said the following:

“On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s longstanding policy on first use. Do you support the current policy? Mr. Trump, you have two minutes on that.”

What followed was a rambling response with references to old B-52 bombers, China’s potential influence on North Korea and a criticism of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Still, Trump did manage to assure the audience that he “would certainly not do first strike”.

For her part Clinton’s response, which contained reassurances to Japan and South Korea on America’s continued commitment to mutual defence treaties and critique of Trump’s allege lack of strategic thinking, did not directly answer Holt’s question. She did however end with the statement that “we cannot let those who would try to destabilize the world to interfere with American interests and security to be given any opportunities at all.”

What was striking in the first place was the limited period of discussion given to both candidates to discuss the matter of nuclear policy. The question lacked the proper degree of scope for an issue of such importance. Further, Holt’s query did not have sufficient clarity. It assumed that the American public was aware of the specificities of the present doctrine on nuclear strategy.

In a 2010 survey conducted by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (CCFR), just over half -55%- responded that the United States should only use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack. Those who felt that in certain circumstances their country should use nuclear weapons even if it has not suffered a nuclear attack amounted to 21%.

America’s new B61-12 tactical nuclear weapon

A ‘first strike’ may be defined as the initiation of a preemptive surprise attack by one nation upon another by a concentrated and comprehensive utilisation of nuclear weapons. The object of such an action is to destroy the nuclear offensive capability of the opponent to the extent that a response would be either impossible or ineffective. The attacker would thus be put in the position of surviving a war.

It is important to note that the American-led NATO alliance has never adopted a ‘No First Use’ policy. The ‘massive retaliation’ doctrine developed in the 1950s under the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, allowed for the use of nuclear weapons as a response to any form of military aggression including that of a relatively minor attack using conventional forces. The doctrine succeeding it, namely that predicated on ‘flexible response’, although a modification, did not preclude the United States-NATO from being the first to introduce nuclear weapons into a conflict including one initiated by the use of conventional weapons.

This has continued to be the state of affairs. President Kennedy, who in March of 1961 had raised the issue of a ‘No First Use’ strategic doctrine, dropped the idea after the Cuban Missile Crisis. A call on the eve of NATO’s 50th anniversary summit in 1999 by Germany, Canada and the Netherlands for the alliance to consider a ‘No First Use’ policy was roundly rejected by the administration of Bill Clinton. And when President Obama announced in 2016 that he was considering making good on a pre-election promise in 2008 of adopting the policy, he was met with vociferous opposition by his national security advisers who persuaded him to nix the idea.

On the Russian side, Vladimir Putin in 2000 announced a new military doctrine that replaced the previous one devised in the Soviet era which was committed to ‘No First Use’. This has since been modified. Russia’s official military doctrine published in the latter part of 2014 states that it will not use nuclear weapons in a first strike. Some in the West are quick to doubt the sincerity of the doctrine much in the manner that many refused to believe similar no first strike doctrines announced by China in the 1960s and by the old Soviet Union.

Nonetheless, it is clear that there is much more involved in reassuring national populations than the mere enumeration of nuclear military doctrine. For if the nuanced distinction between having a ‘first strike’ capability and a ‘no first use’ policy may not be readily appreciated by the layperson, what should be apparent to anyone whether of the political classes or of the masses is the importance of the tone of the relations between competing nuclear powers. Mutual security for both is ensured not merely by the expression of doctrine but critically, through the words and deeds of the political and military leaders of the potential antagonists. The quality of diplomacy together with the strategy employed both in the development and the deployment of nuclear weapons is the ultimate guarantor of peace no matter how severe the differences existing between both.

Using this as a standard, it is clear that the contemporary circumstances of the relationship between the United States and the Russian Federation falls short. And dangerously so.

This state of affairs, so markedly different to that which existed during the Cold War, is largely the doing of the policies undertaken by successive administrations of the United States since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent dismantling of the Soviet system in Eastern Europe. But before providing the reasons for this shift, it is useful first to explain the position which previously existed.

Starting with the administration of President John F. Kennedy, and lasting up until the ending of the Cold War, successive American governments consistently sought to achieve the means by which tensions with the nuclear armed Soviet Union could be lessened if not totally diffused.

The potential global catastrophe which could have ensued from the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 served as a catalyst in enabling years of talks to finally conclude with the signing of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty the following year. A secret protocol accompanying the withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba was the withdrawal of US Jupiter ballistic missiles from Turkey. The United States also gave an undertaking not to attempt to invade Cuba in the future.

The following decade, Richard Nixon signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABMT) as well as the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) in 1972. In 1979, Jimmy Carter signed the SALT II treaty. Although not ratified by Congress because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the United States nonetheless abided by it terms until its expiration. The next major agreement was the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INFT) of 1987 signed by President Ronald Reagan just before the Cold War came to an end.

However, there came a shift. The Clinton administration decided on pursuing a policy of absorbing former Soviet satellite states into NATO. Starting in 1997 with Poland, Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia, NATO inaugurated a policy of expansion into eastern Europe, reneging on an agreement, the Russians allege, that had been reached by American and Soviet leaders at the end of the Cold War. This was that in return for allowing a re-unified Germany to join NATO, the American-led alliance would not extend itself “an inch” towards the east.

Then in 2002, the Bush administration withdrew from the ABM treaty and adopted a missile shields policy. It was under President Barack Obama that the first of the anti-ballistic missiles began to be deployed in countries close to the Russian border. The result has been a consistent ratcheting of tension between the Russians and NATO.

To understand the basis of these developments and the attendant antagonisms developed between the United States and the Russian Federation, recourse needs to be made to understanding the guiding canons which have shaped American foreign policy since the ending of the Cold War. These are, respectively, known as the Wolfowitz and Brzezinski doctrines. Each is the creature of the belief that American political and economic global hegemony must remain unassailable.

In 1992, the then secretary of the US Department of Defence, Paul Wolfowitz authored a policy document named the ‘Defense Planning Guidance’, which was to cover the fiscal years of 1994 to 1999. It explicitly called on the present and future political leadership to enforce a global American imperium which would if necessary involve the abrogation of international treaty obligations. It was a call to embrace a new age of American militarism.

Earlier in 1988, Zbigniew Brzezinski’s work, ‘The Grand Chessboard’ theorized in detail a geo-strategy fixated on preventing the rise of a Eurasian power or combination of powers which could challenge the global dominance of the United States. The focus of this doctrine when applied is that the United States needed to militarily intimidate a post-Cold War Russia while working to dismantle it for the purpose of using it as a pliant source of Western energy needs.

Both doctrines reflect a hybrid of the thinking behind the neoconservative philosophy which has been consistently influential on the policies of successive American administrations dating back to that of Bill Clinton.

The notion that the ending of the Cold War was the ‘end of history’, the resultant synthesis of a Hegelian-like dialectical chain, through which the American system had emerged victorious and thus anointed as a nation to impose its will on the rest of humanity resonated with those already imbued with a belief in the messianic aspect of ‘American Exceptionalism’ as well as those of the neoconservative stripe who believe in the aggressive export of American ideas and values.

Thus, America’s embrace of militarism which has been the major stimulant in destroying countries such as Iraq, Libya and Syria, has also put it on a confrontational course with the nuclear armed China. China, with whom Richard Nixon sought a rapprochement in the early 1970s is today being challenged by the United States through its military and diplomatic pivot to Asia. One aspect of this is its insistence on what it terms “freedom of navigation” which the Chinese not unreasonably interpret as a euphemism for American control of the sea lanes which are vital to its trade.

Added to the aforementioned expansion of NATO as well as the withdrawal from the ABM treaty have been the conflicts the United States has encouraged or fomented on Russia’s borders. In Chechnya, NATO provided covert support to Chechen rebels as part of a strategy geared towards controlling the pipeline corridors transporting oil and gas out of the Caspian Sea region. NATO also encouraged Georgia under former president Mikheil Saakashvili to attack South Ossetia which prompted the Russo-Georgian War of 2008. The United States was also behind the coup of February 2014 in the Ukraine using far-Right militias to depose the democratically elected leader under the guise of a popular people’s uprising. Russia’s reaction in annexing the Crimea after a plebiscite, an invocation of its ‘Black Sea doctrine’,  was a measured response to the threat posed by NATO encroaching on its only warm sea port which grants part of its naval fleet access to the Mediterranean Sea.

The coup in Ukraine and the belligerence of the succeeding regime whose leaders were handpicked by the United States has provided a means by which tensions between both powers have been escalated. The United States installed a nationalist government which was quick to demonstrate its antipathy to the Russian-speaking eastern part of the country. It is worth reminding how the United States felt threatened by a Soviet backed regime in Cuba and how this led to a crisis which brought both superpowers to the brink of a nuclear showdown. The question then is how would an objective observer appraise the Russian view about a rival power installing a hostile regime right on its border? A useful analogy may be of the Russians or the Chinese instigating a coup in Quebec and installing an FLQ-type regime which was hostile both to English-speaking Canadians and the United States.

While the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has provided the basis for a potential conflict between Russia and NATO, the present Syrian Civil War, the fruits of an American-initiated insurrection to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad currently presents the basis through which an all out war between the United States and Russia may ensue.

The formal Russian intervention that commenced in September of 2015 is based on Russian interests in preserving its naval base in the sea coast town of Tartus and also in putting down the American-sponsored Jihadi militias that are being used as proxies to effect Assad’s overthrow. Russia has a vested interest in preventing the spread of Jihadi militias such as Islamic State and Jabhat al Nusra to the Muslim populations within it and in neighboring states. The Russian action which has enabled the Syrian government to reconquer swathes of territory from Jihadi militias exposed the United States the insincerity behind America’s professed actions against these Islamist groups some of which it disingenuously refers to as ‘moderate’ rebels.

The breakdown of the US-Russian ceasefire over the besieged town of Aleppo as a result of an attack on September 17th by United States and NATO forces on Syrian Army placements in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour has presented another deliberate provocation to the Russians. It is doubtful that the quality of United States intelligence could be so poor as have mistaken Syrian soldiers for Islamic State guerrillas. Rather, it is more believable that the attacks were deliberately carried out to put Islamic State insurgents in a position to mount a ground offensive against the Syrian Army and was aimed at sabotaging the ceasefire worked out by United States Secretary of State John Kerry and the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on the 9th of September.

It fits into the pattern of the United States covert support for Jihadi militias. It also, raises the question of whether high-ranking civilian and military officials within the American government are keen to start a war with Russia and risk the full weight of the consequences that may ensue. Recent developments point to what effectively is a mutiny on the part of Ash Carter, the US Secretary of State for Defence, and senior generals including General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Chief of Army Staff, Mark Milley. The fatal attack on Syrian Army positions which lasted for over an hour could only have been sanctioned at the highest echelons of the Pentagon.

Russian air power has been instrumental in enabling the Syrian Arab Army to reclaim Syrian territory lost to jihadi groups such as Islamic state and Jabhat al Nusra. Therefore calls by administration figures such as Carter and politicians such as Senator John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine and Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence for a ‘No Fly Zone’ are an invitation to war with Russia. On September 22nd, while giving evidence under oath to the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on US strategy in the Middle East, General Durnford explicitly stated that the imposition of a ‘No Fly Zone’ in Syria “will mean war with Russia.”

But while the general mentioned that the actions of the US military would depend on the instructions they received, he gave an extraordinary reply to a question put to him by a senator. Asked if he would support the proposal on intelligence sharing which Russia agreed upon by John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov on the 9th of September, Dunford responded “We don’t have any intention of having any intelligence sharing arrangement with the Russians.” Durnford did not stop at stating that it would be “unwise” to share intelligence with Russia. He stressed that it would not be one of the military’s missions if Washington and Moscow were to ever work together against Islamist militants in Syria.

The threat of a war between the United States and Russia can only be increased if a disobedient faction of the military and government is acting independently of instructions of a serving president. Such a situation is not unheard of in American history. Arthur Schlesinger Jr., a member of the Kennedy administration, would once admit “we did not control the joint chiefs of staff”. It was in the prevailing atmosphere of fervent anti-communism that a group of Right-wing, high-ranking military officers at the Pentagon openly defied Kennedy and constantly called for war against the Soviet Union. Most notable among them were Army General Lyman Lemnitzer, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Air Force Generals Curtis LeMay and Tommy Power. All called for the invasion of Cuba at the height of the missile crisis – a decision which would have almost certainly led to a war and a nuclear catastrophe.

If army generals such as Durnford and Milley are wilfully acting against the instructions of the White House, this would amount to mutinous conduct as defined under the United States Uniform Code of Justice. Barack Obama has in the past removed generals who disagreed with him; General Stanley McChrystal being a case in point. However, it is uncertain as to whether his inaction is due to the ‘lame duck’ status  all presidents acquire in the last months of their time in office or if he tacitly approves of this aggressive course while maintaining a facade of wishing to reach an accommodation with Russia in Syria.

The aggressive tone being struck by senior American military figures is worrisome. On October 4th, General Milley issued a warning that the United States would “destroy any enemy, anywhere and anytime”. His reference to a belligerent statement made by a London-based Russian official along as well as his mentioning of China, Iran and South Korea identified the presumptive foes while his references to tackling enemies both possessing large conventional capabilities or using guerrilla tactics in dense urban populated areas indicate that the United States is preparing for a large scale war.

The Russian leader has raised the issue of the danger of a nuclear conflict in several interviews over the past months. In an impassioned monologue delivered to a gathering of various world news agencies in July of this year, Putin referred to the prevailing mood of insouciance in the Western media and public.

Your people…do not feel a sense of impending danger -this is what worries me. How do you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? While they pretend that nothing is going on. I don’t know how to get through to you anymore.

Putin had reminded the gathered of the expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders, the positioning of missile shields in Europe under the pretext of being a defensive shield to an attack from Iran.

But while Russia’s actions have been demonstrably reactive, it has shown that it is prepared to go on the offensive. While John McCain has suggested a “new strategy” in Syria with a “necessary military component” which would involve attacking the Syrian military and shooting down Russian aircraft, Major General Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defence, warned in early October that Russia will shoot down NATO jets over Syria if airstrikes are launched against the Syrian Arab Army.

Syria currently presents the greatest danger of a full blown conflict developing between the United States and Russia. But the security challenge presented by Ukraine is still ongoing as indeed are the policies respectively of an expanding NATO and encircling Russia with missile shields from Eastern Europe through to Asia and Alaska. Meanwhile, there has been no thorough public examination of the legality of American military involvement in Syria, no public debate on the reasonableness of NATO expansion or the efficacy of the development of a missile shield system.

Those who dispute the veracity of an undertaking by US leaders not to expand its military alliance eastwards because of the absence of an official written document forget that many important bilateral international agreements of the past were undertaken orally and respected by successor governments. For example, the United States undertaking not to mount an invasion of Cuba was never officially reduced to writing. Yet it was respected by succeeding American administrations.

So far as missile defence systems are concerned, the American Union of Concerned Scientists, a non-profit science advocacy organisation, argue that they are “fundamentally ineffective”. Their development, it is further argued, “may actually undermine national security by impeding deep cuts in nuclear weapons, complicating important international relationships and engendering a false sense of security among policy makers.”

Again those who think nothing untoward about the expansion of America’s network of nuclear missile shields should be aware of what it implies. It is sending out a message to potential adversaries that the shield will insulate the owner from nuclear attack thus presenting the United States with a viable first strike option while removing the balance of terror guaranteed by mutual assured destruction. This is why the Soviet Union reacted with alarm at the Reagan administration’s announcement of its Strategic Defence Initiative.

At the same time, a country which is increasingly surrounded by missile defence systems is likely to feel ‘locked in’. And the more it feels that it is reaching the point where its own arsenal will no longer be able to serve as a deterrent to an attack, the more likely that such a country would feel compelled to use a first strike option during an episode of crisis.

This was alluded to back in 2012 by the then Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolay Marakov who stated that Russia would consider a preemptive strike under certain circumstances:

Considering the destabilising nature of the (American) ABM system, namely the creation of an illusion of inflicting a disarming (nuclear) strike with impunity, a decision on preemptive deployment of assault weapons could be taken when the situation gets harder.

The Russians are responding by a programme of modernizing their weapons delivery systems. It is developing a new generation of long-range nuclear bombers and truck-mounted ballistic missiles. Missiles have been placed closer to NATO countries accepting United States shield technology and its ageing Pacific nuclear submarine fleet which is mostly stationed at the Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is being upgraded with the addition of the new Borei-class submarines.

While the role of its Asian fleet is part of what the Russians refer to as one of ‘strategic deterrence’, soldiers on the Western alliance are prone to interpret these measures as evidence of aggressive intent. Arguing against any modification of NATO’s doctrine to one of ‘No First Use’, General Sir Richard Shirreff, a British former deputy supreme allied commander, told the BBC in 2014 that Russia has hardwired “nuclear thinking and capability to every aspect of their defence capability”.

Comments such as Shirreff’s as well as those by United State’s government officials chiding Russia for allegedly being in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty fail to take into account Russian grievances related to the United States abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty by NATOs development and deployment of missile shields. At a meeting in November 2015 with high-ranking generals, Vladimir Putin accused the United States of attempting to “neutralize” Russia’s nuclear arsenal through its missile shield project. Russia’s response, he said, would be to “strengthen the potential of its strategic nuclear forces”, including the deployment of “attack systems” capable of nullifying any missile shield.

The global management of nuclear arsenals has always been played as a game of sorts. Within it are strategies and counter-strategies that have taken into account matters such as political gamesmanship, shifting international alliances, geo-political developments and advances in technology. But while the American-Soviet Cold War has long ended and statistics such as those released by the Peace Research Institute Oslo indicate a steady and marked decline since the end of the Second World War in the overall number of deaths sustained globally through wars, the world is a more dangerous place when there are rising tensions between the nuclear armed superpowers.

The recent acrimonious breakdown in US-Russian efforts at cooperating  in Syria as well as Russia’s withdrawal from a nuclear security pact offer clear illustrations of this drift as do the planned extensive troop buildups and massive military exercises on NATO’s eastern flank. Meanwhile in Russia, where public opinion polls suggest the average person believes that a war with the West is inevitable, the government has launched a nationwide civil defence training exercise involving 200,000 emergency personnel and the co-operation of 40 million civilians to ensure that the country is prepared in the event of a nuclear, chemical and biological attack from the West.

Unlike during the Cold War, there are no large, vocal anti-nuclear campaign groups organising demonstrations and making public appeals. While there is a press, the American mainstream media has failed to put these issues squarely into the public domain. The coverage of dangerous Russo-American confrontations such as Ukraine and Syria which ultimately should bring the wider issue of nuclear strategy to the fore is edited, biased and highly compartmentalized. Among America’s political leadership there is silence and incoherence. This state of affairs has resulted in a misdirected discourse and a cruelly misinformed public.

It is a debate which America continues to bypass at its own peril.

Posted in USAComments Off on “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD): The Nuclear Debate America Should be Having

Inventing Reality in the Great White North: Indigenous Rights and Media in Canada

NOVANEWS
Conversations with John Schertow and Yves Engler on Media in Canada Global Research News Hour Episode 154
 
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“Just as this country’s obsession with professional hockey does not just happen, Canadians’ opinions about their country’s role internationally is not a historical accident or ‘natural’ occurrence. Rather, it reflects the work of numerous institutions designed to influence public opinion, which together represent a powerful propaganda system.” Yves Engler, from the 2016 book A Propaganda System

“The question is whether privileged elites should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely to impose necessary illusions to manipulate and deceive the stupid majority and remove them from the public arena.” Noam Chomsky [2]

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Length (59:26)

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Major capitalist societies like the U.S. and Canada are political democracies couched in economic plutocracies. That is, the means of production and the levers of economic control over vast resources lie in the hands of a wealthy elite.

However, the common people have the freedom to organize in their own interests and elect one of their own to high office. There is no totalitarian ruler holding a bludgeon over the heads of the masses controlling what they do, and restricting what they say.

As prominent political dissident and linguistics professor Noam Chomsky has pointed out, however, under such conditions “when the State loses the bludgeon, when you can’t control people by force, and when the voice of the people can be heard…it may make people so curious and so arrogant that they don’t have the humility to submit to a ‘civil rule’ and therefore you have to control what people think.” [3] This is why a propaganda system of national myths and necessary illusions is a consistent and vital component of what is seen as modern democracy.

Chomsky, together with co-author Edward Herman wrote at length about this phenomenon in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. That analysis, however, mostly focused on the mass media communication system within the United States.

This week’s episode of the Global Research News Hour focuses on the system of thought control as it has manifested itself within Canada.

In the first half hour, we hear from John Ahniwanika Schertow, the editor and founder of Intercontinental Cry. Since 2004, IC has been highlighting stories of Indigenous struggle and resistance not just on Turtle Island (North America) but in South America, the African continent, Asia and points around the globe. As Schertow explains in this twenty minute interviewer with special guest host Kimlee Wong, Canadian media, including so-called alternative media, systematically ignore the realities confronting the world’s 5000 Indigenous Peoples. Such omissions have consequences not only for the lives, Indigenous cultures and languages, but also for the ecosystems they fight to protect for future generations.

Intercontinental Cry, like Global Research, depends on donations to carry on its important work. The media platform has just begun a fund-raiser. Please consider an on-line donation at this site:

https://www.patreon.com/indigenousjournalism

In the second half hour, we hear from Yves Engler, prominent Montreal-based writer and Canadian foreign policy critic. In previous books, such as The Black Book on Canadian Foreign Policy, and Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid, Engler confronted the mistaken impression a lot of Canadians have about their country as a positive influence on the world stage. His latest book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s government, corporations, media, and academia sell war and exploitation details exactly how numerous institutions within the nation have been so successful generating this mythology. Yves Engler elaborates on his analysis in the second half hour.

As of Tuesday October 11, Yves Engler is partaking in a cross- Canada book tour. Details available here. 

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Length (59:26)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at www.caperradio.ca  

Notes:

  1. Yves Engler, 2016: “A Propaganda System: How Canada’s government, corporations, media, and academia sell war and exploitation”, p.186. Fernwood Publishing
  2. Excerpt of a speech in the film Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992) by Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHa6NflkW3Y
  3. ibid

Posted in CanadaComments Off on Inventing Reality in the Great White North: Indigenous Rights and Media in Canada

South Africans Rise In Support Of The Monsanto Tribunal

NOVANEWS
Crimes Against Humanity, Human Rights Violations And Ecocide
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Over the Weekend of 14 – 16 October, South Africans will be joining their voices in a call against Agro chemical Giant Monsanto and others like them, in support of the international Tribunal in the Hague.

With organic markets, seed swaps, garden project initiatives, celebrating organic farmers, talks by doctors in the field, environmental lawyers, practicing permaculture implementers, environmental activists, parents, teachers, farmers, farm workers who have either been drastically effected, seen the effects of or who are working on the solutions to the problems which these agro chemical companies have caused in our country.

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The following areas will be holding peoples assemblies as one voice for South Africans who are in want and need of drastic change in our environment, health and food system

Public trial of Monsanto for ecocide and violation of farmers rights at the Monsanto Tribunal and the People’s Assembly in the Hague

Navdanya, the organization founded and led by Vandana Shiva, is co organizing, along with multiple civil society organizations, the Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly to take place at The Hague from 14 to 16 October 2016. The Monsanto Tribunal will hold Monsanto accountable for their crimes against humanity, human rights violations and ecocide, in tandem with the People’s Assembly, a gathering of leading movements and activists working to defend our ecosystem and food sovereignty, to lay out the effects of industrial agrochemicals on our lives, our soils, our atmosphere and climate. Over 800 organizations from around the world are supporting and participating in this process while over 100 people’s assemblies and tribunals are being held across the world.

In the last century, giant agribusiness interests which came out of the war industry, have poisoned life and our ecosystem, are destroying our biodiversity and the lives of small farmers, appropriating their land, in an attempt to control and profit from these essentials for life on earth. The risks keep increasing as these multinationals diminish in number as a result of aggressive takeovers and mega-mergers – such is the case with the recent 66 billion Bayer-Monsanto merger. A merger which serves to further extend the control of these multinationals over agricultural and food production systems. There is only one way to translate this process: maximum focus on potential profit, and a minimal concern towards the environment, to the quality of our food, to consumers and to workers in the sector.

Large multinationals are lobbying democratically elected governments to take on neoliberal policies and international‘free’ trade agreements such a TTIP and TPP: the race towards deregulation is an unprecedented attack on biodiversity and to life itself on Earth. Multinationals like Monsanto have already expanded their control over our seeds, our food and our freedom, depriving us of our basic human rights and our right to democracy. With patents and international property rights (IPRs) as their tools, they have established monopolies and threatened the rights of farmers and consumers.

Participating at the People’s Assembly will be leading representatives of movements and associations, seed custodians, farmers and journalists from all over the world. The aim of the Assembly is to shine the light on crimes against nature and humanity of mega chemical and biotechnological industrial corporations which through patents on seed have opened the doors to the invasion of GMOs. Based on the ecocide and genocide of the past century, the Assembly will lay out the necessary actions for a future based on the rights of small farmers to save and exchange seed, on food sovereignty, on agroecology, the rights of consumers and workers in the sector, on the commons and a sharing economy, as well as on the rights of nature and a true Earth Democracy.” Seed Freedom

Posted in AfricaComments Off on South Africans Rise In Support Of The Monsanto Tribunal

The Syrian War And The Question Of An American Mutiny

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 A recent press conference given by US Army General Mark Milley, the present serving army chief of staff reminded me of the fictional character played by Burt Lancaster in the 1964 movie ‘Seven Days in May’. That film posited the scenario of James Scott (the Lancaster character) as a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who, disgruntled about the serving president’s perceived weakness in seeking a treaty with the Soviet Union, plots to overthrow the civilian government.

‘Seven Days in May’ was based on a book that drew its inspiration from real life American political and military figures in the early 1960s during the Cold War. At that time Right-wing, verging on fascist-leaning generals such as Army General Lyman Lemnitzer the supremo at the Pentagon and Air Force Generals Curtis LeMay and Tommy Powers dominated the Pentagon. A Major General named Edwin Walker actually tried to indoctrinate troops under his command with the teachings of the Right-wing John Birch Society.

It was in the prevailing atmosphere of fervent anti-communism at the time that these generals sought to undermine and even plot to overthrow the government of President John F. Kennedy. This view was not limited to a few senators and journalists of the time. The Kremlin apparently believed this to the extent that it is claimed to have influenced Nikita Khruschev’s decision to reach the settlement that he did with Kennedy over the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviets feared a US military government would make the issue of a nuclear war not merely a possibility, but one of absolute certainty.

Lemnitzer is said to have believed in the theory espoused by military strategist Herman Kahn that the United States could win a nuclear war by a first strike attack.

LeMay, who in 1949 drew up plans to destroy 77 Russian cities in a single day of bombing, was on record as inviting a war with the Soviet Union and admitted that Tommy Powers, to whom he had variously referred to as “not stable” and a “sadist”,  was even more hardline than he was.

All three felt that Kennedy was weak in failing to invade Cuba and giving the Soviets the secret undertaking not to invade the island in return for the removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.

Arthur Schlesinger Jr., one of JFK’s team would later admit that “we did not control the Joint Chiefs of Staff”.

That appears to be the situation today.

There is evidence that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are being undermined by not only by figures in the present Pentagon such as General Milley and General Joseph Durnford, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but also by the Secretary of Defence, Ash Carter.

For much of the available evidence points to the recent bombing by United States and NATO forces of Syrian Army placements in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour which killed over 60 and wounded over 100 Syrian soldiers as being far from the officially announced accident, and instead was a deliberate action designed to destroy the Kerry-Lavrov ceasefire and also to enable Jihadist forces to mount an offence against the Syrian Arab Army.

It is a longstanding policy of the United States to use Jihadist groups as proxies against their enemies. This was successfully achieved in securing the withdrawal of Soviet armies from Afghanistan as well as in overthrowing the regime of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. The government of the United States has been applying the template of this policy in Syria despite its official anti-Jihadist stance and anti-ISIS propaganda. The Russian intervention has shown this to be disingenuous. This is why Russia is an enemy and the United States does not want Aleppo to fall to the Syrian Arab Army.

The US generals are hardly likely to be ignorant of this cynical geo-strategic policy of US covert support for ISIS, Jabhat al Nusra and virtually all the Sunni rebel militias. The ridiculous notion of the existence of ‘moderate’ rebels; one which has been roundly discredited at various intervals since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, was resuscitated recently and formed the basis of US arguments against Russia targeting all rebel positions in the vicinity of Aleppo.

Russian air power has been instrumental in enabling the Syrian Arab Army to reclaim Syrian territory lost to Jihadi groups such as Islamic State and al Nusra. Therefore calls by administration figures such as Carter and politicians such as Senator John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine and Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, for a ‘No Fly Zone’ are an invitation to war with Russia. This was confirmed by General Durnford’s unambiguous statement before a Senate Committee that such a declaration “will mean war with Russia.” It would also serve the interests of Jihadist groups.

But a crucial point which has not received much focus in the American mainstream press is the import to be taken from words uttered America’s most senior general at the aforementioned Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on US strategy in the Middle East which took place on the 22nd of September.

A report by Reuters of the congressional hearing noted that Durnford had stated that it would “be unwise” to share intelligence with Russia, and further, that Durnford had stressed that it would not be one of the military’s missions if Washington and Moscow were to ever work together against Islamist militants in Syria. When asked if he would support the proposal on intelligence sharing with Russia agreed upon by John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov on the 9th of September, Dunford responded “We don’t have any intention of having any intelligence sharing arrangement with the Russians.”

Both Durnford and Carter openly contradicted the official policy at the hearing and General Milley’s recent sabre rattling press briefing which included a not so veiled threat to Russia when he promised to “destroy any enemy, anywhere and anytime”, provides ample illumination on the attitude of US military leaders towards the notion of cooperating with the Russians in Syria or elsewhere. It certainly opens serious questions about the purportedly accidental attack on the Syrian Army which is said to have lasted for over an hour.

If army generals like Durnford and Milley are disobeying orders and policy instructions from the White House, both should be dealt with under the provisions contained within the United States Uniform Code of Justice as pertain to the usurping or overriding of military authority. A strict application of military custom should have had both reprimanded and instructed to disavow their words failing which they should be demoted, court martialed and dismissed from the service. In fact, mutiny is technically punishable by death; presumably in this case execution by firing squad.

Barack Obama did in the past remove generals who disagreed with him, a notable example being that of General Stanley McChrystal. His inaction on this matter may be due to the lame duck status all presidents acquire in the last months of their presidency. While Obama’s policy remains the American position on using Islamist militias to overthrow Arab regimes which do not act in accord with the wishes of the United States and Israel, it is difficult to believe that he would want to go down in history as the president who started World War Three.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on The Syrian War And The Question Of An American Mutiny

Alternative Power Centers Running the World

NOVANEWS
The Role of Think Tanks, Foundations, Councils, NGOs 
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In every period of history, there have been secondary governmental structures parallel to primary governments. These alternative power groups, which are also called “deep states” in our time, sometimes act alongside the government, supporting it but sometimes they raise difficulties for the government. In Ancient Rome, the Senate was comprised of nobles and balanced the imperial reign of the Emperors. In the United Kingdom, the Privy Council, which acts above the monarch, has been the highest level of administration since the 12th century.

There are examples of such structures in holy books as well; Pharaoh’s close circle by whom he was advised about his decisions and the Queen of Sheba’s administrators that she consulted about military matters, are examples of this. Throughout history many secret or open societies possessed these traits. There was a period when the Knights Templars or the Rosicrucians, who had the power of sanction over kings or even the Vatican, were influential. With the coming of the 18th century, these parallel governments started to wield constitutional authorities.

Starting with the second half of the 20th century, supranational organizations emerged. For example, countries shared their administrative power with multinational organizations such as the United Nations, NATO, the Warsaw Treaty Organization or an era later, the European Union. The decisions made in Moscow, Brussels, or New York were imposed upon the most of the world.

Following the Cold War, a new model was developed where think tanks came into prominence. It appears that the 21st century will be a period where governments will be directed by think tanks and non-governmental organizations, which are their field branches.

In fact, the CIA is now known to be almost controlled by Stratfor and the Rand Corporation. The UK’s Chatham House or its little American brother, the Council on Foreign Relations, have become the places where the foreign policies of nations are determined. Economic policies are shaped by rating corporations like Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s.

These so-called independent and non-profit organizations are self-authorized. They attained power without any accountability. The Heritage Foundation, which is considered as one of the ten most effective think tanks of the world, develops policies for the Republican governments of the USA. With its Washington, Brussels, Moscow, Beirut, Beijing and New Delhi offices, the Carnegie Endowment is in a position as a worldwide center of influence. Generating ideas was not the only thing think tanks were doing.  Along with the Open Society Foundation in particular, many think tanks have expanded their operations to the field through non-governmental organizations. They exerted actual pressure on governments.  The first activity of OTPOR, the field group supported by foundations as well as the  CIA, was to overthrow Milosevic’s government in Serbia. After that, countries like Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Moldova experienced so-called public movements named “color revolutions”. The Arab Spring which started in Tunisia and spread quickly had a similar foundation.

Through these rebellions, the ideas generated by various think tanks were put into practice in the field. Think tanks also became supranational powers in terms of military capacity. For example, the Atlantic Council became the headquarters where the military strategies of NATO, the organization that has 28 member nations, is determined. NATO, which was initially a defensive pact, is now proceeding to become an offensive power under the Atlantic Council’s guidance. Recently, under the pretense of defense against Russia, NATO has started to deploy offensive forces in the Black Sea and Ukraine regions. In this new military framework, NATO has established new bases in Eastern Europe and redeployed thousands of soldiers. Ariel Cohen from the Atlantic Council, the architect of this new strategy, explained the necessity of NATO’s endeavors to assume control in the Black Sea with the following words:

“The Alliance must focus on a range of actions to address Russia’s rapidly escalating offensive posture in the Black Sea and protect its allies —including reinforcing air, naval, and ground assets; improving space capabilities; cyber security; reconnaissance; intelligence; and creating credible deterrence strategies.

This aggressive attitude seems like it aims to transform the Black Sea region into a new area of conflict. This kind of mobilization policy will force Russia to take urgent measures, which in turn will turn the Black Sea into a region of tension, or maybe even into a region of hot conflict. In order to understand the influence of the Atlantic Council over the USA’s and NATO’s military policies, it will be enough to look at the key assignments President Obama made after he became the president in 2009. The Chairman of the Council, James Jones, became the National Security Advisor to President Obama. Council member Susan Rice became the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Richard Holbrooke became the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Council member Anne-Marie Slaughter was appointed as the Director of Policy Planning for the US State Department. Chuck Hagel, who replaced Jones as the Council’s chairman, became the Secretary of Defense after four years.

After the Council’s policies replaced the policies of the US government institutions, civil wars broke out in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine. The intensity of the wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan escalated and ultimately, ISIS emerged. A coup attempt was carried out in Turkey. The list can go on for pages.

Today in Washington, D.C., a part of Massachusetts Avenue is called “Think Tank Row”. An unsupervised group of people, who act with ambiguous capacities and is subject to no accountability, has now become the center of world politics. Since these individuals operate with a ‘clash of civilizations’ mindset, they think that solutions can only be achieved through conflict, fragmentation, and causing general disturbance.

A large part of the problem is this flawed mentality. Such global governance can be restructured in a perfect way for the sake of cementing world peace, love and friendship. However, the fact that the aforementioned organizations’ mentality is focused on conflict and war documents that they do not consider it possible yet. Nonetheless, assuming that the power of the deep powers is self-contained can be deceptive; these organizations became successful and took control of many nations only because they look “invincible”.

However, in truth, those who shape their goals upon love and peace are always more powerful. Their ideals are bigger and their goals are righteous. Righteous goals will ultimately prevail. The important thing is that people of peace should unite and act in an alliance. Then those who believe that solutions can only be achieved through conflict will witness the absolute power of peace, change their perspective, and work towards making the world a better place.

Posted in USAComments Off on Alternative Power Centers Running the World

German Government Urges Tougher Action Against Russia And Syria

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As the Syrian army advances in the east of Aleppo with support from Russia, and with the conflict between the US and Russia intensifying dramatically, the German government has hardened its attitude towards Moscow. On Friday, leading German politicians called for fresh sanctions against Russia, the massive arming of the Islamist opposition and even the use of German ground troops.

On the same day, leading German business daily Handelsblatt,reported that Angela Merkel advocated “the withdrawal of Russian troops” from Syria in a speech in Magdeburg. Directly addressing the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, the chancellor declared, “I can again only appeal to Russia, Russia has a lot of influence on Assad: We must end this horrible crime as soon as possible.”

Given the “truly appalling situation” in Aleppo, the German government considers new sanctions against Russia a possible reaction. The German government was “considering all the options,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin.

Beforehand, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag (parliament), Norbert Röttgen (CDU, Christian Democratic Union), had called for tougher sanctions against Moscow. He told the Süddeutsche Zeitung, “A war crime that had no consequences or sanctions would be a scandal.” At the same time, he also complained that European governments had only done what absolutely needed to be done under their “obligations”.

Speaking on ARD television, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Elmar Brok (CDU) also called for sanctions, to “put pressure on” Russia and “punish” her. In particular, he called for technological sanctions that inhibited the development of weapons—“as we have done during in the Cold War”.

Brok provided an insight into the far-reaching, aggressive plans that are being discussed in government and military circles behind the backs of the population. “The only option to do something would be to go in,” said Brok. “But who in Germany would be willing to send the army in there?” One must ask, “Are we ready to do something ourselves and go in with the army?”

He added: “Perhaps the only way—if that is possible technically, from the logistics—is to provide some of the rebels […] with ground-to-air missiles”. It had been shown that Russia herself was not prepared to engage in “selective cooperation”. For Russia, it was “just a matter of power, of ruling this country”.

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) is supporting the aggressive war policies of the Christian Democrats. For example, in the Rheinische Post, SPD foreign policy expert Niels Annen said, “Instead of dispatching warships to the region and terminating agreements, for example concerning the destruction of plutonium, Russia should finally assume its responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council and respect international humanitarian law”.

In September, Social Democratic Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had already demanded a no-fly zone to advance the West’s objective of regime change in Syria. Such an action would be the exact opposite of promoting “international humanitarian law”. In March 2011, the establishment of a no-fly zone in Libya was the prelude to a massive NATO bombing campaign against the oil-rich country and the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime by Western-backed Islamist rebels.

Unlike the Libyan war, Germany has been in the vanguard of the imperialist powers against Syria from the beginning. In 2012, the German foreign ministry in cooperation with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and parts of the Syrian opposition, brought to life the so-called “The Day After” project to outline its “vision for a post-Assad regime” in Syria. Since the end of 2015, Germany’s Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) have been a direct party to the war in Syria, operating with tornado jets, reconnaissance technology and a warship.

To the extent that the Russian intervention in Syria is thwarting the plans of the German government and has brought the Western-backed Islamist militias to the brink of defeat, the German media has beaten the drum for war and militarism ever more hysterically.

A commentary in the current issue of news weekly Die Zeit, headlined “Can Europe really just look on in Syria”, warns that currently “some 10,000 pro-Assad fighters” are preparing “to storm East Aleppo”. Should the city fall into the hands of the Syrian regime in the next weeks, “this would be a strategic success for Bashar al-Assad”.

The counter-strategy advocated by Die Zeit: “The delivery of weapons with which the insurgents can prevail against the permanent air onslaught”, as a “first military step”. The author of the article, Andrea Böhm, who in an earlier comment had defended Al Qaeda, openly says who should be supported. “The pro- Al-Qaeda Jabhat Fateh al-sham” is “as strong as ever” and has “established itself as the most effective faction defending civilians against IS and against Assad”.

In an editorial in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday, Tomas Avenarius mused: “Finally delivering to the rebels the weapons they had long called for after years of reluctance: anti-aircraft missiles, which can bring down Russian jets from the sky. In the Afghanistan war 30 years ago, such US missiles had helped the jihadists inflict a defeat on the Red Army”.

If German politicians and media representatives are now beating the drum for sanctions against Russia, for the massive rearmament of Al Qaeda and the deployment of ground troops to Syria, they do so not as followers of the US government, which is also constantly fuelling the conflict, but as representatives of European and, above all, German imperialism.

“The second step must take place in Brussels and especially in Berlin”, Böhm emphasized in Die Zeit. The war in Syria must “be understood as a matter of supreme national security”. Avenarius is incensed that the US was not able to guarantee “a Russian defeat in Syria”. “Thanks to earlier hesitancy”, the US “no longer” had the power “to prevent” the cementing of Russian power aspirations.

To defend Germany’s geo-strategic and economic interests against Russia, but also increasingly against the United States, the German elites are prepared to foment a conflict which they themselves know could trigger a third world war. The current edition of news magazine Der Spiegel appears with a front page headline reading, “World power struggle: trouble spot Syria—Putin’s work, Obama’s contribution”, and speaks of a “world war for Aleppo”.

Posted in Germany, RussiaComments Off on German Government Urges Tougher Action Against Russia And Syria

US’ Destruction of Syria Will Take UN With It

1280px-United_Nations_Flags_-_cropped

The United Nations has never looked more impotent, irrelevant and politically motivated in its actions than it has regarding the ongoing conflict in Syria.

It has categorically failed to take an impartial stance on the conflict which has raged for over 5 years now. This includes a failure to properly identify the conflict as a foreign-funded and backed proxy war rather than a “civil war,” as well as identify and hold accountable those nations fueling anti-government hostilities within and beyond Syria’s borders.

By failing to do so, the UN has undermined its own credibility, credibility required to ensure the Syrian government and its allies adhere to international law and observe human rights as they execute security operations aimed at restoring order and stability across the country.

Quest for “Veto Limits” is Politically Motivated

The most recent and perhaps severe collapse of the UN’s credibility revolves around US-backed calls to “limit veto power” upon the UN Security Council, effectively allowing the council to green-light without opposition any war the US wills predicated on its well-practiced “humanitarian war” rhetoric.

The US State Department’s Voice of America would publish an article titled, UN Official Calls for Security Council Veto Limit to Halt Syrian Bloodbath,”  which claimed:

The United Nations’ top human rights official has called for limits on the use of the veto power by the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members to halt the tragedy unfolding in east Aleppo in northern Syria. 

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein has called the situation nothing short of calamitous and likened the horrors being inflicted on the citizens of Aleppo to those that occurred in cities such as Warsaw, Stalingrad and Dresden in World War II.

It is no coincidence that Zeid hails from Jordan, one of several nations directly involved in harboring, training, arming and refitting militant groups along Syria’s borders, belying claims that the conflict is a “civil war” rather than a foreign sponsored proxy war.

VOA also claimed:

Russia, often backed by China, has used its veto power in the Security Council to block resolutions it deemed unfavorable to its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The high commissioner’s spokesman, Rupert Colville, said Zeid was calling for bold leadership to end this practice.

And indeed, Russia’s veto is all that prevented a recent French-sponsored resolution aimed at establishing a no-fly-zone and thus impunity for terrorists trapped in the city of Aleppo and surrounding it, prolonging the conflict and suffering of those trapped amid it, not ending it.

It was a US-European sponsored no-fly-zone implemented through the UN Security Council (that Russia failed to veto) that transformed Libya from a functioning nation-state into a divided and destroyed failed state.

The ability for Syria and its allies to continue security operations aimed at reclaiming eastern Aleppo from militant groups admittedly affiliated with terrorist organizations is essential in reestablishing peace and stability and normality for the civilian population of Aleppo, the majority of which already live in relative peace and stability in government-held western Aleppo.

Qatari state media, Al Jazeera, in an article titled, Syria’s war: UN Security Council votes on Aleppo,” would claim:

Western governments and Russia have clashed at the UN Security Council even while the Syrian government presses ahead with its military offensive against rebel-held areas of Aleppo. 

The UN Security Council voted on Saturday on two rival resolutions on the fighting – one drafted by France calling for an end to air strikes and a second by Russia that urged a ceasefire but made no mention of halting the bombings.

In reality, US and European efforts to end the bombings is based on a necessity to preserve the fighting capacity of militant groups operating in Syrian territory, thus perpetuating the conflict, not ending it — at least not until US and European terms are met regarding regime change and the division and destruction of Syria as a functioning nation-state.

As in Libya, So to in Syria 

Observers should note that similar claims by the US and its allies were made regarding the conflict in Libya in which its UNSC proposals were meant to prevent a “humanitarian crisis” resulting instead in a devastating US-led war that ultimately created by far a vastly larger humanitarian catastrophe than it was allegedly aimed at preventing.

A US-led air campaign destroyed essential infrastructure across Libya, eliminated Libya’s security forces and helped propel extremist militant groups the US and its European and Arab allies armed and supported, into power across the remnants of the North African nation-state.

The collapse of Libya as a nation-state has led to racially motivated attacks and ethnic cleansing by US-European-Arab backed militants, transforming Libya into one of now several epicenters fueling Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis.

It is clear that the US knew its actions would lead to Libya’s collapse, the creation of chaos within Libya and the creation of a refugee crisis that would compromise regional security far beyond Libya’s borders. There is absolutely no reason to believe the US and its political allies vying to push forward yet another resolution within the UN Security Council, are unaware that Syria will suffer a similar, if not worse fate than Libya, should they succeed.

The UN, willfully serving as a medium through which the US openly pursues its self-serving politically objectives behind the letter of international law, cripples its own credibility, preventing it from fulfilling its role as the impartial mediator required to resolve global conflicts, including the Syrian conflict.

It is clear that no solution will be found within the halls of the UN, and instead, it will continue to serve as a stage upon which nations perform public relations stunts rather than carry out genuine diplomacy.

Syria’s fate will ultimately be decided on the battlefield either through continued combat operations, or direct negotiations with those bearing weapons, face-to-face, far from the halls of the impotent and ultimately compromised United Nations.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on US’ Destruction of Syria Will Take UN With It

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