Feb 252012



By Lillina Rizzo, globalpost

Bradley Manning, the US army officer accused of linking information to WikiLeaks, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the group The Movement of the Icelandic Parliament.

Manning is faced with charges that include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet, theft of public property or records, transmitting defense information and fraud and related activity in connection with computers, CNN reported. The former Army private could face life in prison if convicted of these charges.

Despite his long list of charges, the parliamentary group The Movement of the Icelandic Parliament submitted a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize committee for the 2012 prize for his “individual effort to have an impact for peace in our world,” the letter stated. […]

READ @ http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120207/bradley-manning-nominated-nobel-peace-prize-2012



Lies, damn lies, and the war in Afghanistan.

By Douglas Wissing, Foreign Policiy

[…] Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis has traveled over 9,000 miles across Afghanistan to learn a simple lesson: public statements made from podiums in Washington and Kabul bear little resemblance to the reality of the Afghan war. The 17-year U.S. Army veteran spent most of his time in the insurgency-enflamed provinces in the east and south, and was shaken to discover the U.S. military leadership’s glowing descriptions of progress against the Taliban insurgency did not jibe with the accounts of American soldiers on the front lines of the war.

Davis then did a remarkable thing for a U.S. Army officer: He went public. In January 2012, he began a singular campaign to bring his findings to the attention of the American people. Davis wrote two reports, classified and unclassified, that aimed to expose the failures of the Afghan war while not endangering lives in the process. “I am no WikiLeaks guy Part II,” he wrote.

Davis’s reports have become one of the most damning insider accounts of the U.S. military’s handling of Afghanistan. In his unclassified report, he wrote that U.S. officials have so thoroughly misinformed the American public “that the truth has become unrecognizable” and that, during his recent year-long deployment, he saw “deception reach an intolerable low.” In his view, the divergence between the upbeat accounts offered by the top military leadership and the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan has undermined U.S. credibility with both allies and enemies, cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, and inflicted death, disfigurement, and suffering on tens of thousands of soldiers with “little or no gain to our country.”

Davis briefed members of Congress and journalists on his conclusions, and also took his case to the media. In his article, “Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down,” published in the venerable Armed Forces Journal, Davis candidly summarized his charge that military leaders are misleading Congress and the public. He asked: “How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?” […]

READ @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/23/the_juice_ain_t_worth_the_squeeze?page=full



Industrial civilisation’s entire economy is based on a finite resource we treat as infinite.

By Dahr Jamail, Aljazzera

Oil touches nearly every single aspect of the lives of those in the industrialised world. Most of our food, clothing, electronics, hygiene products and transportation simply would not exist without this resource.

There is a reason why oil giants such as ExxonMobile, BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell, year in and year out, generate more profit than most other companies on the planet.

Our current global economy is based on continual growth, and that growth depends on cheap energy.

“Fossil fuels are roughly 84 per cent of what we use, and oil is 35 per cent of the world’s primary consumption energy,” says David Hughes, a geoscientist who studied Canada’s energy resources for nearly four decades. […]

READ @ http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/02/201222051514575294.html



By Richard Schiffman, Truthout

In a match that some would say was made in hell, the nation’s two leading producers of agrochemicals have joined forces in a partnership to reintroduce the use of the herbicide 2,4-D, one half of the infamous defoliant Agent Orange, which was used by American forces to clear jungle during the Vietnam War. These two biotech giants have developed a weed management program that, if successful, would go a long way toward a predicted doubling of harmful herbicide use in America’s corn belt during the next decade.

The problem for corn farmers is that “superweeds” have been developing resistance to America’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, which is being sprayed on millions of acres in the Midwest and elsewhere. Dow Agrosciences has developed a strain of corn that it says will solve the problem. The new genetically modified variety can tolerate 2,4-D, which will kill off the Roundup-resistant weeds, but leave the corn standing. Farmers who opt into this system will be required to double-dose their fields with a deadly cocktail of Roundup plus 2,4-D, both of which are manufactured by Monsanto.

But this plan has alarmed environmentalists and also many farmers, who are reluctant to reintroduce a chemical whose toxicity has been well established. The use of 2,4-D is banned in several European countries and provinces of Canada. The substance is a suspected carcinogen, which has been shown to double the incidence of birth defects in the children of pesticide applicators in a study conducted by University of Minnesota pathologist Vincent Garry. […]

READ @ http://www.truthout.org/dow-and-monsanto-join-forces-poison-americas-heartland/1329933936



Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pZPEGgwSkI



By Jeremy Bloom, Organic Consumer Association

A new report by some top scientists has nailed it down, and Monsanto isn’t going to be happy. The Agri-giant has built it’s entire business model, including genetically modified (GMO) crops that dominate the US market, around its Roundup brand herbicide.

The last thing they want to admit is that it causes birth defects.

But that’s just what a group of scientists from a diverse group – including Cambridge University, the King’s College London School of Medicine, and the Institute of Biology, UNICAMP, São Paulo, Brazil – have found. […]

READ @ http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_23390.cfm



By Stephanie Dearing, Digital Journal

Documents reveal that Blackwater has been busy expanding its corporate reach by providing intelligence services for agencies such as the Canadian Military, Netherlands Police and corporations like Monsanto.

Blackwater is a private, mercenary army. They’ve been called the ‘shadow army,’ and most notoriously worked for the United States in Iraq, where the company courted controversy. Journalist Jeremy Scahill, who wrote a book about Blackwater, wrote an exclusive for The Nation, revealing general details of the extent of the Blackwater business operations. Scahill managed to obtain documents that, according to Scahill, show

“… entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater’s work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater’s owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation.” […]

READ @ http://digitaljournal.com/article/297701



By Dave Lee, BBC

The European Union’s highest court has been asked to rule on the legality of a controversial anti-piracy agreement.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) has been criticised by rights campaigners who argue it could stifle free expression on the internet.

EU trade head Karel De Gucht said the court will be asked to clarify whether the treaty complied with “the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms”.

The agreement has so far been signed by 22 EU member states.

The European Commission said it “decided today to ask the European Court of Justice for a legal opinion to clarify that the Acta agreement and its implementation must be fully compatible with freedom of expression and freedom of the internet”. […]

READ @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17125469



By Peter Crawford, Economy In Crisis

Many politicians and the media make it sound as if the majority of America is in favor of free trade, and support pacts like NAFTA. But the truth is that most Americans do not want any more new, disastrous free trade agreements. The majority of Americans believe that free trade has cost jobs in the United States and that trade agreements have hurt the country overall. So why do our politicians continue to push these disastrous agreements?

Gordon Lafer, former senior adviser to the U.S. House’s Labor Committee, makes the case that our lawmakers have chosen to serve their donors rather than the voters on the trade issue. He uses the case of the pending Colombian agreement as illustration, saying that our lawmakers are ignoring the workers rights issues that matter to their constituents in favor of bigger profits for their donors.

When our politicians are so blatantly ignoring the wishes of the American voter, the justification must lie, as Lafer says, with the loyalty to campaign donors and lobbyists. The campaign cycle has become such that politicians are constantly running for office, never focusing on the best policies for the country. A look at the length of modern presidential campaigns is a good example. As early as two years before the election, campaign developments for candidates will begin to appear in the news virtually every day. […]

READ @ http://economyincrisis.org/content/truth-about-americas-opinion-free-trade



Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TLv1wzCga0Y



By Christopher Petrella, Human Rights

On August 22, 1996 President Bill Clinton signed into law his now infamous Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act thereby “end[ing] welfare as we have come to know it.” The Act replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF establishes a lifetime limit of 60 months (5 years) for federal assistance, mandates that single parents participate in work activities for an average of 30 hours per week, and caps federal block grant contributions to states at $16.6 billion per year. (As a result of inflation the real value of the TANF block grant has already fallen by 28%.)

And despite few fluctuations in the poverty rate since TANF supplanted AFCD, the participation rate among eligible families has plummeted by 52% since 1995. […]

READ @ http://www.nationofchange.org/criminalizing-poor-welfare-cellfare-1330094117

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