Friday, August 28, 2009
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Common Sense 2009
by Larry Flynt
Publisher of Hustler magazine and free speech advocate
August 20, 2009
The American government -- which we once called our government -- has been taken over by Wall Street, the mega-corporations and the super-rich. They are the ones who decide our fate. It is this group of powerful elites, the people President Franklin D. Roosevelt called "economic royalists," who choose our elected officials -- indeed, our very form of government. Both Democrats and Republicans dance to the tune of their corporate masters. In America, corporations do not control the government. In America, corporations are the government.
This was never more obvious than with the Wall Street bailout, whereby the very corporations that caused the collapse of our economy were rewarded with taxpayer dollars. So arrogant, so smug were they that, without a moment's hesitation, they took our money -- yours and mine -- to pay their executives multimillion-dollar bonuses, something they continue doing to this very day. They have no shame. They don't care what you and I think about them. Henry Kissinger refers to us as "useless eaters."
But, you say, we have elected a candidate of change. To which I respond: Do these words of President Obama sound like change?
"A culture of irresponsibility took root, from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street."
There it is. Right there. We are Main Street. We must, according to our president, share the blame. He went on to say: "And a regulatory regime basically crafted in the wake of a 20th-century economic crisis -- the Great Depression -- was overwhelmed by the speed, scope and sophistication of a 21st-century global economy."
This is nonsense.
The reason Wall Street was able to game the system the way it did -- knowing that they would become rich at the expense of the American people (oh, yes, they most certainly knew that) -- was because the financial elite had bribed our legislators to roll back the protections enacted after the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
Congress gutted the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial lending banks from investment banks, and passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which allowed for self-regulation with no oversight. The Securities and Exchange Commission subsequently revised its rules to allow for even less oversight -- and we've all seen how well that worked out. To date, no serious legislation has been offered by the Obama administration to correct these problems.
Instead, Obama wants to increase the oversight power of the Federal Reserve. Never mind that it already had significant oversight power before our most recent economic meltdown, yet failed to take action. Never mind that the Fed is not a government agency but a cartel of private bankers that cannot be held accountable by Washington. Whatever the Fed does with these supposed new oversight powers will be behind closed doors.
Obama's failure to act sends one message loud and clear: He cannot stand up to the powerful Wall Street interests that supplied the bulk of his campaign money for the 2008 election. Nor, for that matter, can Congress, for much the same reason.
Consider what multibillionaire banker David Rockefeller wrote in his 2002 memoirs:
"Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure -- one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it."
Read Rockefeller's words again. He actually admits to working against the "best interests of the United States."
Need more? Here's what Rockefeller said in 1994 at a U.N. dinner: "We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis, and the nations will accept the New World Order." They're gaming us. Our country has been stolen from us.
Journalist Matt Taibbi, writing in Rolling Stone, notes that esteemed economist John Kenneth Galbraith laid the 1929 crash at the feet of banking giant Goldman Sachs. Taibbi goes on to say that Goldman Sachs has been behind every other economic downturn as well, including the most recent one. As if that wasn't enough, Goldman Sachs even had a hand in pushing gas prices up to $4 a gallon.
The problem with bankers is longstanding. Here's what one of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, had to say about them:
"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation, and then by deflation, the banks and the corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their father's conquered."
We all know that the first American Revolution officially began in 1776, with the Declaration of Independence. Less well known is that the single strongest motivating factor for revolution was the colonists' attempt to free themselves from the Bank of England. But how many of you know about the second revolution, referred to by historians as Shays' Rebellion? It took place in 1786-87, and once again the banks were the cause. This time they were putting the screws to America's farmers.
Daniel Shays was a farmer in western Massachusetts. Like many other farmers of the day, he was being driven into bankruptcy by the banks' predatory lending practices. (Sound familiar?) Rallying other farmers to his side, Shays led his rebels in an attack on the courts and the local armory. The rebellion itself failed, but a message had been sent: The bankers (and the politicians who supported them) ultimately backed off. As Thomas Jefferson famously quipped in regard to the insurrection: "A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
Perhaps it's time to consider that option once again.
I'm calling for a national strike, one designed to close the country down for a day. The intent? Real campaign-finance reform and strong restrictions on lobbying. Because nothing will change until we take corporate money out of politics. Nothing will improve until our politicians are once again answerable to their constituents, not the rich and powerful.
Let's set a date. No one goes to work. No one buys anything. And if that isn't effective -- if the politicians ignore us -- we do it again. And again. And again.
The real war is not between the left and the right. It is between the average American and the ruling class. If we come together on this single issue, everything else will resolve itself. It's time we took back our government from those who would make us their slaves.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Internet warfare team unveiled
Twitterers paid to spread Israeli propaganda
by Jonathan Cook.
Global Research, July 21, 2009
Nazareth. The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitters and Facebook may not be all that it seems.
Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel.
Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilised soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict.
“To all intents and purposes the internet is a theatre in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must be active in that theatre, otherwise we will lose,” said Ilan Shturman, who is responsible for the project.
The existence of an “internet warfare team” came to light when it was included in this year’s foreign ministry budget. About $150,000 has been set aside for the first stage of development, with increased funding expected next year.
The team will fall under the authority of a large department already dealing with what Israelis term “hasbara”, officially translated as “public explanation” but more usually meaning propaganda. That includes not only government public relations work but more secretive dealings the ministry has with a battery of private organisations and initiatives that promote Israel’s image in print, on TV and online.
In an interview this month with the Calcalist, an Israeli business newspaper, Mr Shturman, the deputy director of the ministry’s hasbara department, admitted his team would be working undercover.
“Our people will not say: ‘Hello, I am from the hasbara department of the Israeli foreign ministry and I want to tell you the following.’ Nor will they necessarily identify themselves as Israelis,” he said. “They will speak as net-surfers and as citizens, and will write responses that will look personal but will be based on a prepared list of messages that the foreign ministry developed.”
Rona Kuperboim, a columnist for Ynet, Israel’s most popular news website, denounced the initiative, saying it indicated that Israel had become a “thought-police state”.
She added that “good PR cannot make the reality in the occupied territories prettier. Children are being killed, homes are being bombed, and families are starved.”
Her column was greeted by several talkbackers asking how they could apply for a job with the foreign ministry’s team.
The project is a formalisation of public relations practices the ministry developed specifically for Israel’s assault on Gaza in December and January.
“During Operation Cast Lead we appealed to Jewish communities abroad and with their help we recruited a few thousand volunteers, who were joined by Israeli volunteers,” Mr Shturman said.
“We gave them background material and hasbara material, and we sent them to represent the Israeli point of view on news websites and in polls on the internet.”
The Israeli army also had one of the most popular sites on the video-sharing site YouTube and regularly uploaded clips, although it was criticised by human rights groups for misleading viewers about what was shown in its footage.
Mr Shturman said that during the war the ministry had concentrated its activities on European websites where audiences were more hostile to Israeli policy. High on its list of target sites for the new project would be BBC Online and Arabic websites, he added.
Elon Gilad, who heads the internet team, told Calcalist that many people had contacted the ministry offering their services during the Gaza attack. “People just asked for information, and afterwards we saw that the information was distributed all over the internet.”
He suggested that there had been widespread government cooperation, with the ministry of absorption handing over contact details for hundreds of recent immigrants to Israel, who wrote pro-Israel material for websites in their native languages.
The new team is expected to increase the ministry’s close coordination with a private advocacy group, giyus.org (Give Israel Your United Support). About 50,000 activists are reported to have downloaded a programme called Megaphone that sends an alert to their computers when an article critical of Israel is published. They are then supposed to bombard the site with comments supporting Israel.
Nasser Rego of Ilam, a group based in Nazareth that monitors the Israeli media, said Arab organisations in Israel were among those regularly targeted by hasbara groups for “character assassination”. He was concerned the new team would try to make such work appear more professional and convincing.
“If these people are misrepresenting who they are, we can guess they won’t worry too much about misrepresenting the groups and individuals they write about. Their aim, it’s clear, will be to discredit those who stand for human rights and justice for the Palestinians.”
When The National called the foreign ministry, Yigal Palmor, a spokesman, denied the existence of the internet team, though he admitted officials were stepping up exploitation of new media.
He declined to say which comments by Mr Shturman or Mr Gilad had been misrepresented by the Hebrew-language media, and said the ministry would not be taking any action over the reports.
Israel has developed an increasingly sophisticated approach to new media since it launched a “Brand Israel” campaign in 2005.
Market research persuaded officials that Israel should play up good news about business success, and scientific and medical breakthroughs involving Israelis.
Mr Shturman said his staff would seek to use websites to improve “Israel’s image as a developed state that contributes to the quality of the environment and to humanity”.
David Saranga, head of public relations at Israel’s consulate-general in New York, which has been leading the push for more upbeat messages about Israel, argued last week that Israel was at a disadvantage against pro-Palestinian advocacy.
“Unlike the Muslim world, which has hundreds of millions of supporters who have adopted the Palestinian narrative in order to slam Israel, the Jewish world numbers only 13 million,” he wrote in Ynet.
Israel has become particularly concerned that support is ebbing among the younger generations in Europe and the United States.
In 2007 it emerged that the foreign ministry was behind a photo-shoot published in Maxim, a popular US men’s magazine, in which female Israeli soldiers posed in swimsuits.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.
A version of this article originally appeared in The National (www.thenational.ae), published in Abu Dhabi.
Jonathan Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Jonathan Cook
Friday, August 21, 2009
Gilad Atzmon - The IDF: Israel's Organ GrinderBy Gilad Atzmon • Aug 19th, 2009 at 13:39 • Category: Analysis, Counter-terrorism, No thanks!, Gilad Atzmon, Gilad's Choice, Israel, Newswire, Our Authors, Palestine, Zionism
UPDATE! ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF SWEDISH ARTICLE
In the photo, The IDF's Chief Rabbi, OC Chaplaincy Brig. Gen. Avichai Ronzki and OC Medical Corps Brig. Gen. Nachman Ash both signed up for an organ donation card during a ceremony in the Kirya Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv. One wonders if they are aware that, if the claims are true, their very own IDF has at least on several occasions been involved in obtaining younger organs from Palestinians they have killed, returned to their families after five days and had buried in a regime of a night-time blackout under Israeli-enforced Palestinian curfew.
There is an old Jewish joke that tells the story of a dying Jewish merchant who calls his son to his sickbed just before he perishes. He tells him, “Listen to me Moisha’le, life is not just about money… you can also do gold and diamonds.”
Monitoring Israeli and Jewish news reveals a devastating fact, it is not ‘just’ about money. It may also be about human organs. A few weeks ago we learned about a ring of American Rabbis who had been arrested in New Jersey upon suspicion of human organs trafficking (amongst many other crimes). Rabbi Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, we read, enticed “vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 which he would turn around and sell for $160,000." Not too bad, I thought to myself then. We are living in hard times, financial melt down, credit crunch, Wall Street is licking its wounds, the car industry is evaporating. Seemingly, kidney trafficking is still booming.
In fact, the ring of the Rabbi in New Jersey didn’t take me by complete surprise. For years we have been hearing about Palestinians claiming that Israel is “deep into organ trafficking.” We also learned that the family of Alastair Sinclair, a Scottish tourist who hanged himself in an Israeli jail, “was forced to bring suit for his return with missing body parts."
In 2002 the Tehran Times reported: “The Zionist state has tacitly admitted that doctors at the Israeli forensic institute at Abu Kabir had extracted the vital organs of three Palestinian teenage children killed by the Israeli Army nearly ten days ago. Zionist Minister of Health Nessim Dahhan said in response to a question by Arab member of the Zionist Parliament 'Knesset', Ahmed Teibi, on Tuesday that he couldn't deny that organs of Palestinian youths and children killed by the Israeli forces were taken out for transplants or scientific research.”
But now the news about Israeli trafficking of human organ is spreading to Western mainstream media. Ynet, the biggest Israeli online newspaper, reported today that "Leading Swedish daily Aftonbladetclaimed in one of its articles that IDF soldiers killed Palestinians in order to trade in their organs.”
A few weeks ago we had a debate here on PTT whether Zionism is a colonial apparatus or not. One of the Materialist arguments against the perception of Zionism as a colonial practice was that Palestine has never been too attractive economically; it lacks oil, gold or minerals. However, this may change now. People who specialise in organ theft may find Palestine to be heaven on earth. In the light of the latest vastly spreading accusations, the Jewish national project maybe is colonial after all.
Though the Israeli government denies the accusation, and I myself far from being qualified to know what the truth of the matter is, one cannot deny that we are facing here a shift of consciousness within the Western discourse. At the end of the day, after watching the Israeli army dumping great quantities of white phosphorous on a civilian population in broad daylight, after seeing Israelis gathering gleefully en masse on the hills around Gaza just to watch their military spreading death and physical suffering in a genocidal manner, after reading that 94% of the Israelis supported the IDF military campaign against the elderly, women and children, most of whom were refugees with nowhere to escape and seek further refuge, organ theft seems to be a ‘light crime’.
Whether or not the Swedish paper’s accusations are genuine is yet to be revealed. However, one fact has already been established: after so many years of Western inclination to dance to the relentless crying violin of the Jewish melancholic victim serenade, the Western media is now changing its appetite, it is willing to confront Jewish institutional crime.
Rather than talking about the rise of anti-Semitism, we better discuss the growth of Jewish institutional crime.
"Our sons plundered for their organs”
You could call me a "matchmaker," said Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from Brooklyn, USA, in a secret recording with an FBI-agent whom he believed to be a client. Ten days later, at the end of July this year, Rosenbaum was arrested and a vast, Sopranos-like, imbroglio of money-laundering and illegal organ-trade was revealed. Rosenbaum’s matchmaking had nothing to do with romance. It was all about buying and selling kidneys from Israel on the black market. Rosenbaum says that he buys the kidneys for 10,000 dollars, from poor people. He then proceeds to sell the organs to desperate patients in the States for 160,000 dollars. The accusations have shaken the American transplantation business. If they are true it means that organ trafficking is documented for the first time in the US, experts tell the New Jersey Real-Time News.
On the question of how many organs he has sold Rosenbaum replies: “Quite a lot. And I have never failed,” he boasts. The business has been running for quite some time. Francis Delmonici, professor of transplant surgery at Harvard and member of the National Kidney Foundation’s Board of Directors, tells the same newspaper that organ-trafficking, similar to the one reported from Israel, is carried out in other places of the world as well. 5-6,000 operations a year, about ten per cent of the wworld’s kidney transplants are carried out illegally, according to Delmonici.
Countries suspected of these activities are Pakistan, the Philippines and China, where the organs are allegedly taken from executed prisoners. But Palestinians also harbor strong suspicions against Israel for seizing young men and having them serve as the country’s organ reserve - a very seriouus accusation, with enough question marks to motivate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to start an investigation about possible war crimes.
Israel has repeatedly been under fire for its unethical ways of dealing with organs and transplants. France was among the countries that ceased organ collaboration with Israel in the nineties. Jerusalem Post wrote that “the rest of the European countries are expected to follow France’s example shortly.”
Half of the kidneys transplanted to Israelis since the beginning of the 2000s have been bought illegally from Turkey, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Israeli health authorities have full knowledge of this business but do nothing to stop it. At a conference in 2003 it was shown that Israel is the only western country with a medical profession that doesn’t condemn the illegal organ trade. The country takes no legal measures against doctors participating in the illegal business - on the contrary, chief medical officers of Israel’s big hospitals are involved in most of the illegal transplants, according to Dagens Nyheter (December 5, 2003).
In the summer of 1992, Ehud Olmert, then minister of health, tried to address the issue of organ shortage by launching a big campaign aimed at having the Israeli public register for postmortal organ donation. Half a million pamphlets were spread in local newspapers. Ehud Olmert himself was the first person to sign up. A couple of weeks later the Jerusalem Post reported that the campaign was a success. No fewer than 35,000 people had signed up. Prior to the campaign it would have been 500 in a normal month. In the same article, however, Judy Siegel, the reporter, wrote that the gap between supply and demand was still large. 500 people were in line for a kidney transplant, but only 124 transplants could be performed. Of 45 people in need of a new liver, only three could be operated on in Israel.
While the campaign was running, young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.
Talk of the bodies terrified the population of the occupied territories. There were rumors of a dramatic increase of young men disappearing, with ensuing nightly funerals of autopsied bodies.
I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it. On an assignment from a broadcasting network I then travelled around interviewing a great number of Palestininan families in the West Bank and Gaza - meeting parents who told of how their sons had been deprived of organs before being killed. One example that I encountered on this eerie trip was the young stone-thrower Bilal Achmed Ghanan.
It was close to midnight when the motor roar from an Israeli military column sounded from the outskirts of Imatin, a small village in the northern parts of the West Bank. The two thousand inhabitants were awake. They were still, waiting, like silent shadows in the dark, some lying upon roofs, others hiding behind curtains, walls, or trees that provided protection during the curfew but still offered a full view toward what would become the grave for the first martyr of the village. The military had interrupted the electricity and the area was now a closed-off military zone - not even a cat could move outdoors without risking its life. The overpowering silence of the dark night was only interrupted by quiet sobbing. I don’t remember if our shivering was due to the cold or to the tension. Five days earlier, on May 13, 1992, an Israeli special force had used the village’s carpentry workshop for an ambush. The person they were assigned to put out of action was Bilal Achmed Ghanan, one of the stone-throwing Palestinian youngsters who made life difficult for the Israeli soldiers.
As one of the leading stone-throwers Bilal Ghanan had been wanted by the military for a couple of years. Together with other stone-throwing boys he hid in the Nablus mountains, with no roof over his head. Getting caught meant torture and death for these boys - they had to stay in the mountains at all costs.
On May 13 Bilal made an exception, when for some reason, he walked unprotected by the carpentry workshop. Not even Talal, his older brother, knows why he took this risk. Maybe the boys were out of food and needed to restock.
Everything went according to plan for the Israeli special force. The soldiers stubbed their cigarettes, put away their cans of Coca-Cola, and calmly aimed through the broken window. When Bilal was close enough they needed only to pull the triggers. The first shot hit him in the chest. According to villagers who witnessed the incident he was subsequently shot with one bullet in each leg. Two soldiers then ran down from the carpentry workshop and shot Bilal once in the stomach. Finally, they grabbed him by his feet and dragged him up the twenty stone steps of the workshop stair. Villagers say that people from both the UN and the Red Crescent were close by, heard the discharge and came to look for wounded people in need of care. Some arguing took place as to who should take care of the victim. Discussions ended with Israeli soldiers loading the badly wounded Bilal in a jeep and driving him to the outskirts of the village, where a military helicopter waited. The boy was flown to a destination unknown to his family. Five days later he came back, dead and wrapped in green hospital fabric.
A villager recognized Captain Yahya, the leader of the military column who had transported Bilal from the postmortem center Abu Kabir, outside of Tel Aviv, to the place for his final rest. “Captain Yahya is the worst of them all,” the villager whispered in my ear. After Yahya had unloaded the body and changed the green fabric for a light cotton one, some male relatives of the victim were chosen by the soldiers to do the job of digging and mixing cement.
Together with the sharp noises from the shovels we could hear laughter from the soldiers who, as they waited to go home, exchanged some jokes. As Bilal was put in the grave his chest was uncovered. Suddenly it became clear to the few people present just what kind of abuse the boy had been exposed to. Bilal was not by far the first young Palestinian to be buried with a slit from his abdomen up to his chin.
The families in the West Bank and in Gaza felt that they knew exactly what had happened: “Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,” relatives of Khaled from Nablus told me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin and the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who had all disappeared for a number of days only to return at night, dead and autopsied.
- Why are they keeping the bodies for up to five days before they let us bury them? What happened to the bodies during that time? Why are they performing autopsy, against our will, when the cause of death is obvious? Why are the bodies returned at night? Why is it done with a military escort? Why is the area closed off during the funeral? Why is the electricity interrupted? Nafe’s uncle was upset and he had a lot of questions.
The relatives of the dead Palestinians no longer harbored any doubts as to the reasons for the killings, but the spokesperson for the Israeli army claimed that the allegations of organ theft were lies. All the Palestinian victims go through autopsy on a routine basis, he said. Bilal Achmed Ghanem was one of 133 Palestinians killed in various ways that year. According to the Palestinian statistics the causes of death were: shot in the street, explosion, tear gas, deliberately run over, hanged in prison, shot in school, killed at home et cetera. The 133 people killed were between four months to 88 years old. Only half of them, 69 victims, went through postmortem examination. The routine autopsy of killed Palestinians - of which the army spokesperson was talking - has no bearing on the reality in the occupied territories. The questions remain.
We know that Israel has a great need for organs, that there is a vast and illegal trade of organs which has been running for many years now, that the authorities are aware of it and that doctors in managing positions at the big hospitals participate, as well as civil servants at various levels. We also know that young Palestinian men disappeared, that they were brought back after five days, at night, under tremendous secrecy, stitched back together after having been cut from abdomen to chin.
It’s time to bring clarity to this macabre business, to shed light on what is going on and what has taken place in the territories occupied by Israel since the Intifada began.
THIS IS THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE: http://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article5652583.abTagged as: crimes against humanity, Gilad Atzmon, IDF, Israel, Operation Cast Lead, Organ Trafficking,Palestine, Zionism
Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, composer, producer and writer.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Al Qaeda = the base + 1 arabic word = the data base al qaeda is basically just a database of names of jihads who fought the commies in Afghanistan in the 80s! pass this on.
Finally. God. I was mildly surprised to see this on BBC, as their recent performance over the past decade has been anything but honest in regarding what they've said about 'sensitive' areas of interest... complicity in 9/11 comes to mind... anyway, I learned this very shortly after I started researching and analyzing the treason of 9/11 back in mid-2002.
It was all there, but only a handful of folks have ever really believed me when I told them.
Mr. Bin Laden, a man with strong financial and friendship ties to the notorious Bush family, was, after all, a US asset who they used rather a lot for various things over the years. He is reported to be dead. The most interesting report of Osama's demise came from Benazir Bhutto shortly before she was killed. You can learn more about it here in this old High Strangeness post from December 29, 2007: benazir bhutto named the murderer of bin laden. Gotta pay attention folks... and look stuff up! Like they say, the truth is out there.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
From Fizz Magazine, December 1997
by Skylaire Alfvegren
For eons I have continued gathering strange and esoteric facts, traveling the globe in search of lost archeological wonders and heretical truths; consequently, many moons have passed since my humble words have graced these pages. But a tremendous burden has been laid upon my bosom, and before FIZZ rides off into the sunset, I feel it is my duty to share it with you, dearest reader. [...]
Saturday, August 01, 2009
July 23, 2009
You're Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It's Not So!
The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has just been made the US food safety czar. This is no joke.
Here's the back story.
When FDA scientists were asked to weigh in on what was to become the most radical and potentially dangerous change in our food supply -- the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods -- secret documents now reveal that the experts were very concerned. Memo after memo described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard-to-detect allergens. They were adamant that the technology carried "serious health hazards," and required careful, long-term research, including human studies, before any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be safely released into the food supply.
But the biotech industry had rigged the game so that neither science nor scientists would stand in their way. They had placed their own man in charge of FDA policy and he wasn't going to be swayed by feeble arguments related to food safety. No, he was going to do what corporations had done for decades to get past these types of pesky concerns. He was going to lie.
Dangerous Food Safety Lies
When the FDA was constructing their GMO policy in 1991-2, their scientists were clear that gene-sliced foods were significantly different and could lead to "different risks" than conventional foods. But official policy declared the opposite, claiming that the FDA knew nothing of significant differences, and declared GMOs substantially equivalent.
This fiction became the rationale for allowing GM foods on the market without any required safety studies whatsoever! The determination of whether GM foods were safe to eat was placed entirely in the hands of the companies that made them -- companies like Monsanto, which told us that the PCBs, DDT, and Agent Orange were safe.
GMOs were rushed onto our plates in 1996. Over the next nine years, multiple chronic illnesses in the US nearly doubled -- from 7% to 13%. Allergy-related emergency room visits doubled between 1997 and 2002 while food allergies, especially among children, skyrocketed. We also witnessed a dramatic rise in asthma, autism, obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders, and certain cancers.
In January of this year, Dr. P. M. Bhargava, one of the world's top biologists, told me that after reviewing 600 scientific journals, he concluded that the GM foods in the US are largely responsible for the increase in many serious diseases.
In May, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine concluded that animal studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between GM foods and infertility, accelerated aging, dysfunctional insulin regulation, changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system, and immune problems such as asthma, allergies, and inflammation
In July, a report by eight international experts determined that the flimsy and superficial evaluations of GMOs by both regulators and GM companies "systematically overlook the side effects" and significantly underestimate "the initial signs of diseases like cancer and diseases of the hormonal, immune, nervous and reproductive systems, among others."
The Fox Guarding the Chickens
If GMOs are indeed responsible for massive sickness and death, then the individual who oversaw the FDA policy that facilitated their introduction holds a uniquely infamous role in human history. That person is Michael Taylor. He had been Monsanto's attorney before becoming policy chief at the FDA. Soon after, he became Monsanto's vice president and chief lobbyist.
This month Michael Taylor became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America's food safety czar. What have we done?
The Milk Man Cometh
While Taylor was at the FDA in the early 90's, he also oversaw the policy regarding Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH/rbST) -- injected into cows to increase milk supply.
The milk from injected cows has more pus, more antibiotics, more bovine growth hormone, and most importantly, more insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is a huge risk factor for common cancers and its high levels in this drugged milk is why so many medical organizations and hospitals have taken stands against rbGH. A former Monsanto scientist told me that when three of his Monsanto colleagues evaluated rbGH safety and discovered the elevated IGF-1 levels, even they refused to drink any more milk -- unless it was organic and therefore untreated.
Government scientists from Canada evaluated the FDA's approval of rbGH and concluded that it was a dangerous facade. The drug was banned in Canada, as well as Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. But it was approved in the US while Michael Taylor was in charge. His drugged milk might have caused a significant rise in US cancer rates. Additional published evidence also implicates rbGH in the high rate of fraternal twins in the US.
Taylor also determined that milk from injected cows did not require any special labeling. And as a gift to his future employer Monsanto, he wrote a white paper suggesting that if companies ever had the audacity to label their products as not using rbGH, they should also include a disclaimer stating that according to the FDA, there is no difference between milk from treated and untreated cows.
Taylor's disclaimer was also a lie. Monsanto's own studies and FDA scientists officially acknowledged differences in the drugged milk. No matter. Monsanto used Taylor's white paper as the basis to successfully sue dairies that labeled their products as rbGH-free.
Will Monsanto's Wolff Also Guard the Chickens?
As consumers learned that rbGH was dangerous, they refused to buy the milk. To keep their customers, a tidal wave of companies has publicly committed to not use the drug and to label their products as such. Monsanto tried unsuccessfully to convince the FDA and FTC to make it illegal for dairies to make rbGH-free claims, so they went to their special friend in Pennsylvania -- Dennis Wolff. As state secretary of agriculture, Wolff unilaterally declared that labeling products rbGH-free was illegal, and that all such labels must be removed from shelves statewide. This would, of course, eliminate the label from all national brands, as they couldn't afford to create separate packaging for just one state.
Fortunately, consumer demand forced Pennsylvania's Governor Ed Rendell to step in and stop Wolff's madness. But Rendell allowed Wolff to take a compromised position that now requires rbGH-free claims to also be accompanied by Taylor's FDA disclaimer on the package.
President Obama is considering Dennis Wolff for the top food safety post at the USDA. Yikes!
Rumor has it that the reason why Pennsylvania's governor is supporting Wolff's appointment is to get him out of the state -- after he "screwed up so badly" with the rbGH decision. Oh great, governor. Thanks.
Ohio Governor Gets Taylor-itus
Ohio not only followed Pennsylvania's lead by requiring Taylor's FDA disclaimer on packaging, they went a step further. They declared that dairies must place that disclaimer on the same panel where rbGH-free claims are made, and even dictated the font size. This would force national brands to re-design their labels and may ultimately dissuade them from making rbGH-free claims at all. The Organic Trade Association and the International Dairy Foods Association filed a lawsuit against Ohio. Although they lost the first court battle, upon appeal, the judge ordered a mediation session that takes place today. Thousands of Ohio citizens have flooded Governor Strickland's office with urgent requests to withdraw the states anti-consumer labeling requirements.
Perhaps the governor has an ulterior motive for pushing his new rules. If he goes ahead with his labeling plans, he might end up with a top appointment in the Obama administration.
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Jeffrey M. Smith is the author of Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating and Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods from Chelsea Green Publishing. Smith worked at a GMO detection laboratory, founded the Institute for Responsible Technology, and currently lives in Iowa—surrounded by genetically modified corn and soybeans. For more information, visit Chelsea Green.
Follow Jeffrey Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JeffreyMSmith