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In The Great Tradition – Obama Is A Hawk By John Pilger

Dandelion Salad

By John Pilger
06/14/08 “ICH”

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger reaches back into the history of the Democratic Party and describes the tradition of war-making and expansionism that Barack Obama has now left little doubt he will honour.

In 1941, the editor Edward Dowling wrote: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.” What has changed? The terror of the rich is greater than ever, and the poor have passed on their delusion to those who believe that when George W Bush finally steps down next January, his numerous threats to the rest of humanity will diminish.

The foregone nomination of Barack Obama, which, according to one breathless commentator, “marks a truly exciting and historic moment in US history”, is a product of the new delusion. Actually, it just seems new. Truly exciting and historic moments have been fabricated around US presidential campaigns for as long as I can recall, generating what can only be described as bullshit on a grand scale. Race, gender, appearance, body language, rictal spouses and offspring, even bursts of tragic grandeur, are all subsumed by marketing and “image-making”, now magnified by “virtual” technology. Thanks to an undemocratic electoral college system (or, in Bush’s case, tampered voting machines) only those who both control and obey the system can win. This has been the case since the truly historic and exciting victory of Harry Truman, the liberal Democrat said to be a humble man of the people, who went on to show how tough he was by obliterating two cities with the atomic bomb.

Understanding Obama as a likely president of the United States is not possible without understanding the demands of an essentially unchanged system of power: in effect a great media game. For example, since I compared Obama with Robert Kennedy in these pages, he has made two important statements, the implications of which have not been allowed to intrude on the celebrations. The first was at the conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), the Zionist lobby, which, as Ian Williams has pointed out, “will get you accused of anti-Semitism if you quote its own website about its power”. Obama had already offered his genuflection, but on 4 June went further. He promised to support an “undivided Jerusalem” as Israel’s capital. Not a single government on earth supports the Israeli annexation of all of Jerusalem, including the Bush regime, which recognises the UN resolution designating Jerusalem an international city.

His second statement, largely ignored, was made in Miami on 23 May. Speaking to the expatriate Cuban community – which over the years has faithfully produced terrorists, assassins and drug runners for US administrations – Obama promised to continue a 47-year crippling embargo on Cuba that has been declared illegal by the UN year after year.

Again, Obama went further than Bush. He said the United States had “lost Latin America”. He described the democratically elected governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua as a “vacuum” to be filled. He raised the nonsense of Iranian influence in Latin America, and he endorsed Colombia’s “right to strike terrorists who seek safe-havens across its borders”. Translated, this means the “right” of a regime, whose president and leading politicians are linked to death squads, to invade its neighbours on behalf of Washington. He also endorsed the so-called Merida Initiative, which Amnesty International and others have condemned as the US bringing the “Colombian solution” to Mexico. He did not stop there. “We must press further south as well,” he said. Not even Bush has said that.

It is time the wishful-thinkers grew up politically and debated the world of great power as it is, not as they hope it will be. Like all serious presidential candidates, past and present, Obama is a hawk and an expansionist. He comes from an unbroken Democratic tradition, as the war-making of presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton demonstrates. Obama’s difference may be that he feels an even greater need to show how tough he is. However much the colour of his skin draws out both racists and supporters, it is otherwise irrelevant to the great power game. The “truly exciting and historic moment in US history” will only occur when the game itself is challenged.

www.johnpilger.com

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see

Hard right neocons and AIPAC

No, I Can’t! Obama and The Israeli Lobby by Uri Avnery

Only Nader Has Pointed Out the Danger (AIPAC)

Stewart Speaks the Truth About Presidential Pandering to Israel!

Who does AIPAC represent? + AIPAC and the American right

Israel

Israel Lobby

J Street

Shooting the Messenger

Dandelion Salad

Warning

This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

MrLifestyletime

This documentary on the deliberate killing and intimidation of journalists in conflict zones, examines how international reporters became targets. AlJazeeraEnglish

Continue reading

Kristol: McCain & Graham Plan To Introduce Legislation Undermining Supreme Court Decision On Gitmo

Dandelion Salad

atmain

Transcript and more on http://thinkprogress.org/.

h/t: CLG

see

Bush To Detain Supreme Court Justices Who Ruled Against Him On Rights Of Detainees

The McCain Paradox (video)

McCain, You Can’t Have It Both Ways (video)

A Setback for the State of Exception By Scott Horton

Graham: Amend Constitution to overturn court’s ruling + McCain: Ruling One of the ‘Worst Decisions’ in History

Bush Strongly Disagrees With Recent Supreme Court Decision! (Gitmo)

Wiretaps “R” Us: Is the FBI Tracking Your Cellphone?

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, June 14, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

Under broad powers handed the Federal Bureau of Investigation by Congress in 2001 after it passed the Orwellian USA Patriot Act, the rights of ordinary citizens have progressively been stripped away by America’s national security state.

With a history of domestic counterinsurgency operations against the left, and despite bruising attacks after 9/11 on its (undeserved) reputation as the nation’s premier “crime fighting agency,” the FBI nevertheless, remains a formidable organization when it comes to repressing dissent.

In this light, a disturbing report showcased Wednesday by Wired, highlights the grave dangers posed to individual rights and freedoms when secretive and largely unaccountable federal bureaucracies are handed nearly unlimited powers. Ryan Singel writes:

Does the FBI track cellphone users’ physical movements without a warrant? Does the Bureau store recordings of innocent Americans caught up in wiretaps in a searchable database? Does the FBI’s wiretap equipment store information like voicemail passwords and bank account numbers without legal authorization to do so? (“Secret Spy Court Repeatedly Questions FBI Wiretap Network,” Wired, June 11, 2008)

According to Singel, during a series of inquiries in 2005-2006 the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court repeatedly questioned the legality of Bureau electronic surveillance operations that targeted Americans. These revelations came to light in newly declassified documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

The spy court inquired whether the FBI was using so-called “pen register” orders to “collect digits dialed after a call is made, potentially including voicemail passwords and account numbers entered into bank-by-phone applications,” Singel writes.

Title 18 of the United States Code, as amended by the USA Patriot Act, defines a pen register and/or a trap and trace device as

…a device or process which records or decodes dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information transmitted by an instrument or facility from which a wire or electronic communication is transmitted, provided, however, that such information shall not include the contents of any communication, but such term does not include any device or process used by a provider or customer of a wire or electronic communication service for billing, or recording as an incident to billing, for communications services provided by such provider or any device or process used by a provider or customer of a wire communication service for cost accounting or other like purposes in the ordinary course of its business.

Under existing federal statutes, the FBI can compel a telecom carrier to turn over records of whom a “target” has called simply by claiming the information is relevant to an on-going investigation. However, under interpretations of existing case law, Wired reports that “so-called ‘post-cut-through dialed digits’ count as the content of a communication, and thus to collect that information, the FBI would need to get a full-blown wiretapping warrant based on probable cause.”

Coming on the heels of revelations of the FBI’s abuse of so-called National Security Letters to obtain electronic and financial records during “terrorism investigations,” the documents outline a systematic pattern by the Bureau to skirt the law. Wired reports,

Among other things, the declassified documents reveal that lawyers in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel and the Justice Department’s Office of Intelligence Policy Review queried FBI technology officials in late July 2006 about cellphone tracking. The attorneys asked whether the FBI was obtaining and storing real-time cellphone-location data from carriers under a “pen register” court order that’s normally limited to records of who a person called or was called by.

You read that right: real-time cellphone-location data from carriers.

In 2006, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge Coleen Kollar-Kottely ordered the FBI to report how its phone wiretapping network known as Digital Collection System, handled information it obtained illegally and whether it stored them in its centralized data-mining repository known as Telephone Application. Wired further reports that FBI documents show that

the majority of FBI offices surveyed internally were collecting that information without full-blown wiretap orders, especially in classified investigations. The documents also indicate that the information was being uploaded to the FBI’s central repository for wiretap recordings and phone records, where analysts can data-mine the records for decades.

According to EFF attorney Kevin Bankston, this demonstrates that FBI offices had reconfigured their “digit-recording software, DCS 3000, to collect more than the law allows.”

In other words, despite prohibitions on the FBI’s ability to spy on Americans, the Bureau is storing illegally-obtained data in a centralized data-mining “warehouse” for indefinite retrieval purposes, say, during a “state of national emergency” when the “usual suspects” can be “disappeared” under Continuity of Government plans already in place.

Lest there be any question that federal surveillance programs are concerned with far more than wiretapping alleged terrorists, National Security Presidential Directive 59/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 24 (NSPD 59/HSPD 24), “Biometrics for Identification and Screening to Enhance National Security,” should clear up any lingering doubts.

Signed June 5, 2008 by President Bush,

This directive establishes a framework to ensure that Federal executive departments and agencies (agencies) use mutually compatible methods and procedures in the collection, storage, use, analysis, and sharing of biometric and associated biographic and contextual information of individuals in a lawful and appropriate manner, while respecting their information privacy and other legal rights under United States law.

The executive branch has developed an integrated screening capability to protect the Nation against “known and suspected terrorists” (KSTs). The executive branch shall build upon this success, in accordance with this directive, by enhancing its capability to collect, store, use, analyze, and share biometrics to identify and screen KSTs and other persons who may pose a threat to national security. [emphasis added]

As analyst Michel Chossudovsky points out in a scathing critique of Bush’s directive,

NSPD 59 goes far beyond the issue of biometric identification, it recommends the collection and storage of “associated biographic” information, meaning information on the private lives of US citizens, in minute detail, all of which will be “accomplished within the law.” …

The directive uses 9/11 as an all encompassing justification to wage a witch hunt against dissenting citizens, establishing at the same time an atmosphere of fear and intimidation across the land. It also calls for the integration of various data banks as well as inter-agency cooperation in the sharing of information, with a view to eventually centralizing the information on American citizens. (“‘Big Brother’ Presidential Directive: ‘Biometrics for Identification and Screening to Enhance National Security’,” Global Research, June 11, 2008)

In other words, in addition to “known and suspected terrorists,” presumably al-Qaeda and their minions, additional “potential threats” to the capitalist order are named: domestic “radical groups” and “disgruntled employees.”

One needn’t be a “conspiracy buff” to recognize–cooly and rationally–that the national security surveillance state under construction since before 9/11, can trace its lineage back to domestic counterinsurgency operations such as the FBI’s COINTELPRO or “civil disturbance” contingency plans such as NORTHCOM’s contemporaneous “Garden Plot” and “Cable Splicer” projects.

Cellphone and internet tracking, now ubiquitous after the USA Patriot Act, are but two of the repressive bricks shoring-up the decaying edifice of the corporatist American empire. In this light, it would be a fatal mistake to hope for ameliorating the erosion of our rights by relying on the Democratic party, or to believe that “change” in the form of an Obama presidency will somehow, magically perhaps, reverse ruling class consensus on this score.

Over the past decade, the Democrats and their “progressive” critics have stood idly by–or joined in the assault on democracy–as the sinister Bush regime hijacked a national election, launched an illegal war, systematically tortured prisoners, covered-up their criminal negligence, or worse, in the 9/11 attacks, while shredding the Bill of Rights.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9329

see

Bush Executive Order Expands Data Collection – Will Share Data with “Foreign Partners”

“Big Brother” Presidential Directive: “Biometrics for Identification & Screening to Enhance National Security”

Bush pushes biometrics for national security + NSPD-59 & HSPD-24

Cell Phones

The people who make the scanners used by TSA employees at U.S. airports to look at your bottom

Dandelion Salad

By Les Blough, Editor
axisoflogic.com
Jun 13, 2008, 09:36

Our Axis of Logic correspondent from Egypt, Cherifa Sirry, sent us the AFP article below, for republication with the following satirical note:

“If you are planning on travelling to the United States, your picture, visa, finger prints and retina scans are no longer enough. US immigration officers can now also scan your private parts in detail for Weapons of Mass Destruction of course! If you are a person with some sense of privacy… there is no problem: your face won’t show, only your bottom will”.

Considering the absurdity and offensiveness of TSA’s purchase and use of these scanners under the pretext of “fighting terrorism” – We must ask what could be the possible motivation for the installation of these machines in U.S. airports.

Axis of Logic readers make our job as editors easy. We trust the reader’s intelligence and don’t always have to interpret the information we provide. We thought our readers might want to know a little more about the manufacturer of the Millimeter Wave Body Scanner, L3 Communications. This is the corporation that is contracted by the TSA to provide them with the scanners that enable TSA employees to look at your private parts.

L3 Communication Profits

L3 Communications issued their First Quarter 2008 financial report as follows:

  • Diluted earnings per share increased 19% to $1.54
  • Net sales increased 6% to $3.5 billion
  • Net cash from operating activities of $93 million
  • Record funded orders of $4.1 billion and record funded backlog of $10.1 billion

Major L3 Communications Contracts

L3 Communications has contracts with the following companies:

  • Australian defense contractor Tenix selected L-3 to provide integrated communications systems for the Royal Australian Navy’ss two Canberra-Class Landing Helicopter Dock amphibious ships.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded L-3 a blanket purchase agreement to assist with preparedness efforts for all-hazards, including bio-terrorism and pandemic outbreaks.
  • The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) selected L-3 to supply an Integrated Broadcast Service, which will provide real-time intelligence capability to the MoD and its operational forces.
  • The U.S. Army extended L-3’s period of performance on the Linguist contract for three months to June 9, 2008. During March, Global Linguist Solutions (GLS) selected L-3 as a subcontractor to supply translation and interpretation services in Iraq under the U.S. Army’s Translation and Interpretation Management Services (TIMS) contract, and L-3 withdrew its previously filed protest with the U.S. General Accounting Office of GLS’ selection for the TIMS contract. During the three-month contract extension, L-3 will transition its linguist services to GLS.
  • The U.S. Marine Corps awarded L-3 a contract to supply and implement Tactical Video Capture Systems at military training sites in the U.S. and overseas.
  • The U.S. Army awarded L-3 a follow-on order for AN/PSS-14 advanced mine detection systems.

L3 Communications also provides the following “Government Services”:

Aviation, Maritime & Human Intelligence

The businesses in L-3’s Government Services reportable segment provide a full range of communications systems support, engineering services, information technology (IT) services, teaching and training services, marksmanship training systems and services, intelligence support and analysis services. We sell these services primarily to the DoD, U.S. Government intelligence agencies and allied foreign governments.

  • L-3 integrates UAVs, sensors and communications equipment to support a variety of surveillance missions for U.S. warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, L-3 provides full-service training support to the U.S. Coast Guard and provides weapon system, avionics technical and engineering support on programs such as the F/A-18, EA-6B, EA-18G, F-14, Joint Strike Fighter, P-3, H-60, H-1, V-22, E-6 and multi-mission aircraft. To complement its aviation and maritime intelligence capabilities domestically and abroad, L-3 is the largest provider of commercial linguist services to the U.S. Government, providing translation, interpretation and linguist/analyst support to deployed and home-station military organizations.
  • With the formation of the L-3 Services Group, L-3 has significantly expanded its portfolio of enterprise information technology capabilities. L-3 provides world-class IT and related services to the FAA, Department of Transportation and other federal agencies, and delivers a broad spectrum of enterprise network management, information assurance and engineering services to the DoD. In addition, L-3 provides a variety of ballistic missile targets and associated launch services to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
  • Through its Services Group, L-3 provides a host of staff support services, including program coordination, distribution, complete supply chain management and transportation services, as well as strategic communications and public affairs instruction for a variety of military and civil service clients. In addition, L-3 provides critical systems engineering services as well as program management support and training for strategic domestic and overseas initiatives.

We also thought our readers might want to meet a few of the beneficiaries of the contract the TSA is giving to L3 Communications.

Meet the Executive Management Staff of L3 Communications

Michael T. Strianese
Chief Executive Officer, President and Executive Director, L-3 Communications Holdings Inc.
Strianese’ annual salary is $1,000,000 and his annual bonus is $2,500,000, totaling a total cash income of $3,500,000. In addition he receives stock options valued at $19,793,819

Jimmie V. Adams
Senior Vice President,
Washington Operations

David T. Butler III
Senior Vice President
Business Operations

Ralph G. D’Ambrosio
Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer

Steven M. Post
Senior Vice President
, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Robert W. RisCassi
Senior Vice Presiden

Curtis Brunson
Senior Vice President
Corporate Strategy and Development

L3 Communications manufactures the following products:

  • Avionics, Displays & Specialty Products

    With the broadest base of products in the industry, L-3’s Specialized Products segment focuses on sensors, electro-optics, fuzes, guidance and navigation for precision engagement, simulators, power and control systems, propulsion systems, specialty products, avionics, antennas and microwave components. This group supports the US Government, with a focus on the DoD and civilian agencies, as well as a substantial commercial and international customer base.

  • Marine & Power Systems L-3 Marine & Power Systems provides maritime automation, navigation, control and communications, power distribution and conditioning, sensors and simulation, and surveillance products and services to the U.S. Navy and most allied foreign navies, as well as commercial and industrial customers worldwide. From bridge to propeller, L-3 Marine & Power Systems combines the very best in maritime products, services and integrated systems into seamless cost-effective solutions for military, commercial and offshore markets. Additionally, L-3 Marine & Power Systems is a leading global supplier of acoustic underwater warfare systems and has extensive experience that spans a wide range of platforms, including helicopters, submarines and surface ships.
  • Microwave, RF, SATCOM & Antenna Products
    For over 50 years, L-3 has been a top provider of RF components and subsystems through its worldwide recognized Narda brand. These components range from passive catalog RF parts through complex multi-band transceivers and space-qualified channelized amplifiers and assemblies. L-3 also leads the industry in military communications with mobile SATCOM terminals, modems and multi-band tactical radios and is a worldwide provider of ground-based radomes and precision antenna systems.
  • Security & Detection With an installed base of more than 18,000 systems, L-3 is a major supplier of mature and next-generation systems and technology products for aviation, rail and cargo screening; port and border inspection; facility and infrastructure security; explosives and landmine detection and air remediation. L-3 is also a leader in intrusion detection and maritime and port security systems and products.
  • Sensors, Guidance, Navigation & Simulation L-3 is the world’s premier provider of aircraft simulators, offering highly realistic, real-world training for a full range of rotary- and fixed-wing platforms. L-3 also offers unmatched EO/IR, guidance and precision engagement products, including an array of stabilized imaging turrets, thermal imaging systems, advanced weapon sights for the military and law enforcement, fuzing products and sonars.

The TSA is currently spending US tax dollars for 8 scanners at a cost of $1,700,000 ($212,500 per scanner). You can bet that more are on their way.

- Les Blough, Editor

© Copyright 2008 by AxisofLogic.com

BIO AND ADDITIONAL ESSAYS BY LES BLOUGH

This material is available for republication as long as reprints include verbatim copy of the article its entirety, respecting its integrity. Reprints must cite the author and Axis of Logic as the original source including a “live link” to the article. Thank you!

see

Scanners that see through clothing installed in US airports

Behavior Scanners in Airports: WATCH Your Micro-Expressions! (video)

New Body Screeners in use in London

You are undie surveillance (picture) (over 18 only) (Big Brother UK)

Bush Executive Order Expands Data Collection – Will Share Data with “Foreign Partners”

“Big Brother” Presidential Directive: “Biometrics for Identification & Screening to Enhance National Security”

Bush pushes biometrics for national security + NSPD-59 & HSPD-24

Hard right neocons and AIPAC

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

June 14, 2008

Pepe Escobar talks with Jim Lobe about this history of the Israel Lobby in the United States. From Christian Zionists to Neo-conservatives. Part 1 of 2

Continue reading

Will the World Survive GM Cultures and the Damage to the Earth’s Eco-Systems?

Dandelion Salad

by Siv O’Neall
axisoflogic.com
Jun 13, 2008, 04:49

Monsanto and the other major biotech companies – Syngenta, Bunge, Cargill, etc. – are all set on owning the world’s food supply. Monsanto is by far the leader in this nightmare of destroying organic agriculture and millennia-old biodiversity.

They have no respect whatsoever for the lives and the livelihood of farmers or, for that matter, any concern for the people who are exposed to severe health hazards from eating genetically modified foods. Corporate profit is all that counts.

The greatest long-lasting danger from GMOs is the destruction of the earth’s eco-systems – the degradation of the soil, the depletion of water resources and the proliferation of pests that were until now barely known, since they were kept under control by the natural balance of predatory insects keeping those that are harmful to the crops from having their potentially damaging effect. More later about this natural equilibrium.

The bio-tech industries have taken a big and dangerous step towards destroying the earth as it has been known for thousands of years. Organic agriculture, biodiversity and natural pest control have made the earth a place for sustainable farming for millennia. However, at this point of delicate balance for the earth’s survival, bio-tech corporations want to put an end to everything that is natural in order to make short-term profit from huge monocultures of the genetically modified products that they are falsely marketing as our saviors from world hunger and poverty. [1]

India is one country that has been severely hit by the bio-tech industry with accompanying disasters.

What follows after the farmers change over to GMO seeds after millennia of planting and making a livelihood in organic farming is a horror story of bad harvests, huge debts, increased costs for herbicides and fertilizers (in spite of the companies’ promises of lower costs), and the suicides of thousands of farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala – among the Indian states that are hit the worst.

This has been going on for decades and if it were not for a lot of activism being focused on this problem, there is no chance that anything would change, since the corporations are tied in firmly with the governments in the heavy-handed corporatism that rules the world today. The farmers are lured into buying the GM seeds because of low-interest loans and obscene propaganda about giant harvests, less work and lower costs. Bio-tech PR claims there is no need for pesticides and less need for fertilizers, all of which has proved to be inaccurate. Added to this, these seeds are not adjusted to the eco-systems where they are being planted. They frequently need more water than is available and the results are disastrous.

One woman is in the forefront of the fight against the bio-tech industry. Her name is Vandana Shiva and she is based in Delhi.

Dr. Vandana Shiva, a former particle physicist, has for the past three decades done more than anyone else as an activist to attract the attention of the world to the deadly corporate horror story of genetically modified products. She attacks the problem from all angles, educating and organizing protest demonstrations through her organization Navdanya.

Navdanya means “nine seeds”, and is a movement promoting diversity – fighting against the privatization of water, campaigning against Basmati biopiracy and generally leading a fight for the rights of rural farmers to a decent livelihood, uncompromised through biopiracy such as is taking place in India and all over the world. Biodiversity, the way farmers have been cultivating the land for millennia is her central argument and monocultures at the giant industrial farms are her principal enemy. She talks about food fascism and the bio-tech industry see her as their most prominent enemy in their vicious attempt of controlling the world’s food supply.

Vandana Shiva says on her Navdanya website:

“When I found that dominant science and technology served the interests of [the] powerful, I left academics to found the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), a participatory, public interest research organisation.

“When I found global corporations wanted to patent seeds, crops or life forms, I started Navdanya to protect biodiversity, defend farmers’ rights and promote organic farming.

“Navdanya/RFSTE’s journey over the past two decades has taken us into creating markets for farmers and promoting tasty, healthy, high quality food for consumers. We have connected the seed to the kitchen, biodiversity to gastronomy. And now we have joined hands with Slow Food to celebrate the quality and cultural diversity of our food.”

SIU [2] magazine writes about Vandana Shiva:

“In fact, listening to her may make you rethink many of the world’s established social and political paradigms.

“For example, the generally acknowledged argument that the Green Revolution, at the very least, led to an increase in food production is one of them. ‘No, it did not increase production. Wheat and rice production increased, not the overall food production,’ argues Shiva, and launches into a lecture that concludes that whatever increase there was had nothing whatsoever to do with the Green Revolution, and that overall it has been a disaster for agriculture and food security in India.”

The Mealy Bug, the deadly gift from Monsanto

The latest horror news on GMOs is the Mealy Bug that has been said to be “the deadly gift from Monsanto to Vidarbha, set to destroy all crops and plants”. Vidarbha is the eastern part of Maharashtra state, in western India. It is India’s most developed and urbanized state.

In a press note Kishor Tiwari, President of ‘Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti’ – a farmers advocacy group – writes that the Mealy Bug is a virus that is imported with the Bt Cotton sold by multinational corporation Monsanto. In the coming summer season it will have an effect on a larger area covering almost all crops and next year it will be set to destroy not only cotton crops but all other food crops as well.

Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) has urged the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to ban Monsanto Bt. Cotton seeds in the agrarian crisis that has hit West Vidarbha. This is of the most urgent importance in order to save more than 3 million distressed and debt-trapped Vidarbha cotton farmers.

The London based Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) posts the following from Ram Kalaspurkar, organic farmer, Vidarbha Organic Farmers Association, Yavatmal, Maharashtra, India

“I am an organic farmer residing at Yavatmal in the state of Maharashtra. Our organisation, Vidarbha Organic Farmers Association, has been propagating organic farming since 1994. We have been helped a lot by Dr Vandana Shiva. She was the first person to tell us about terminators. Right now, we are working for her organisation Navdanya.”

ISIS on their web site has published a letter from Ram Kalaspurkar who refers to a study where they have found that ‘Organic Cotton Beats Bt Cotton in India’. They firmly recommend a return to organic cotton, saying that Bt cotton is a trap that has to be avoided. In the article published by ISIS there are photos of plants infested by mealy bugs.

All the infested plots had the Bollgard label, which is supposed to control pests. It is made clear that the mealy bugs have never been found in the region before BT cotton seeds were introduced. (The mealy bug had, however, been found in China two years earlier.)

After the death of the cotton plants, the bug goes over to nearby plants and it has already shifted to Congress weed and many other weeds and plants in fields close by.

The Monsanto website claims:

“Bollgard II technology offers cotton growers efficient, effective pest control with fewer pesticide applications than in conventional cotton crops.”

This is just one example of what has proved to be the totally false propaganda pumped out from Monsanto.

Rhea Gala reports from Andhra Pradesh – from VIDARBHA JAN ANDOLAN SAMITI (the following quoted passages are excerpted from the same VJAS source)

“In the fertile regions of Andhra Pradesh ‘white gold’ monocultures of the high-yielding hybrids of ‘Green Revolution’ cotton had turned the state into the pesticide capital of the world even before the advent of genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton. Now, however, the revolution is turning full circle as more and more farmers are opting for low input organic methods that are healthier and economically far more rewarding.”

The message is now

“Return to Organic Cotton and Avoid the Bt Cotton Trap
No more debt, pesticides and suicides for Indian cotton farmers who avoid Bt-cotton and regain livelihood, health, independence and peace of mind with organic methods.”

Several Non-Governmental Organizations are working in many villages promoting non-pesticide management (NPM). The government has until now supported high-chemical-input cotton production at national and state level and this has sent the wrong messages to farmers. GM cotton is falsely promoted as the answer to reducing pesticide use, and it is one of many reasons why farmers are giving in to the pressure to grow GM cotton.

“Farmers initially saw the system of industrial production as timesaving and requiring far less knowledge of soils and pests; however it soon proved to be a relentless treadmill. It degraded the soil, depleted scarce water resources and proliferated cotton pests beyond the farmers’ worst nightmares, as both yield and profit progressively diminished.”

Research backs up the case for NPM and organic cotton.

A report entitled “Bt cotton vs. Non Pesticidal Management of cotton: Findings of a study by the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture 2004-05 compares Bt and NPM cotton in Andhra Pradesh.”

The findings are unequivocally in favor of organic cotton. There are vast numbers of beneficial insects that get killed off from GM Bt cotton. Those insects are predators that attack and kill off most of the harmful insects and pests.

“It reports conclusively that Bt cotton is more prone to pests and diseases and that beneficial insects are more prevalent on NPM cotton. It also reports that the cost of pest management of Bt cotton is 690 percent higher than in NPM farming systems and that seed cost of Bt cotton is 355 percent higher than conventional varieties (‘Organic cotton beats Bt Cotton in India’ SiS 27)”.

Recreating the natural balance of predators and pests

“The skill of managing pests without recourse to synthetic pesticide requires knowledge of life cycle and behaviour, vigilance, an armoury of pest specific deterrents, and a healthy community of natural predators of pests. To control pests such as the spotted bollworm, American bollworm, tobacco caterpillar, pink bollworm, aphids, jassids, thrips, white fly and mites, each of which is capable of causing between 30 and 50 percent damage to a crop, natural predators are the most effective year after year.”

Conclusion

Vandana Shiva [3] by no means limits her activism to Bt cotton. She sets as her goal to recreate natural biodiversity in rice and all the other crops that the bio-tech companies are trying to take over with their GM seeds and products. There exist 100,000 varieties of rice evolved by Indian farmers and the diversity and the ‘perenniality’ have to be kept alive if we want to save our environment. Genetically modified seeds will lead to increased use of agri-chemicals and will thus increase environmental problems as well as human health problems.

Vandana Shiva addresses principally the dangers of GM farming in India, but the danger to the environment and to the livelihood of millions of people is obviously world-wide. Biodiversity represents the sustenance and livelihood base of small farmers all over the world and a sane environment is naturally the key to the continuation of healthy lives for the billions of people in the world.

Footnotes:

[1] The problem is global, but strong resistance to GMO seeds and foods contaminated by GMOs is taking place in Europe. Corporate-friendly governments are trying to follow in the steps of U.S. pro-GM policies. The European Commission is ambivalent on the issue, but the people of Europe represented by numerous NGOs are leading the fight against this scourge of industrial GM farming in order to save the world from the dangers to people’s health and from the destruction of the earth’s eco-systems.

See report from ISIS – “Dr. Mae-Wan Ho warns that further indulgence in GMOs will severely damage our chances of surviving the food crisis and global warming; organic agriculture and localised food systems are the way forward”

2] The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU) is a Norwegian agency that promotes international cooperation in education and research.

[3] For more information on Vandana Shiva and her activism, see Monocultures, Monopolies, Myths and the Masculinisation of Agriculture

© Copyright 2008 by AxisofLogic.com


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