‘The alarming decline of monarchs is driven in large part’ by Roundup Ready crops, Center for Food Safety finds’
Monsanto Crops Pushing Monarch Butterfly to ‘Verge of Extinction’
Deirdre Fulton – CommonDreams – 5 Feb.15
Herbicide-resistant genetically modified crops have brought the iconic monarch butterfly to the brink of extinction, according to a new report presented by the Center for Food Safety to Congress on Thursday.
The report, Monarchs in Peril (pdf), is the most comprehensive look yet at how Monsanto’s ‘Roundup Ready’ crops have helped decimate the monarch population, which has declined by 90 percent in the past 20 years.
“This report is a wake-up call. This iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crop system,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety. “To let the monarch butterfly die out in order to allow Monsanto to sell its signature herbicide for a few more years is simply shameful.”
As Common Dreams has reported before, and the new study makes abundantly clear, a critical factor in the orange-and-white butterflies’ decline is the loss of host plants for larvae in their main breeding habitat, the Midwestern Corn Belt. Monarchs lay eggs exclusively on plants in the milkweed family, the only food their larvae will eat.
And the loss of milkweed can be blamed on the proliferation of glyphosate, one of the very few herbicides that kills the perennial plant and a primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. While glyphosate was little used two decades ago, it has become by far the most heavily used herbicide in the U.S. thanks to glyphosate-resistant Roundup Ready corn and soybean crops. According to the Center for Food Safety, corn and soybean fields in the Corn Belt have lost 99 percent of their milkweed since 1999.
“The alarming decline of monarchs is driven in large part by the massive spraying of glyphosate herbicide on genetically engineered crops, which has virtually eliminated monarch habitat in the corn and soybean fields that dominates the Midwest landscape,” said Bill Freese, Center for Food Safety science policy analyst and co-author of the report. “Glyphosate is the monarch’s enemy number one.”
At the end of 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for monarch butterflies. The agency is now conducting a one-year status review on monarchs.
While CFS said endangered species protection is “paramount,” the report lists numerous interim and additional policy recommendations, including that the “U.S. Department of Agriculture should reject applications to approve new herbicide-resistant crops, and EPA should deny registration of herbicides for use on them, unless or until appropriate restrictions are enacted to ameliorate their harms to milkweeds, monarchs and pollinators.”
Our Shitty Situation
subMedia.tv – feb.15
In this sedition we look at the economic clusterfuck enveloping the globe, the mega drop in oil prices and the Greek political party that has the left screaming like Justin Beaver fans, plus some uplifting hip hop to help you pull through from your shitty situation. …more
Freedom Rider: ISIS – A US-Saudi Chicken Come Home to Roost
Black Agenda Rport -Margaret Kimberley – 4 Feb.15
“The Saudis are natural allies because they don’t want democracy in their own country or anywhere else in the region.”
Saudi Arabia is clearly of great importance to the government of the United States. President Obama not only cut short his India trip to visit with newly installed king Salman, but brought along a who’s who of administration officials and congressional leaders for the ride. Secretary of State John Kerry, former secretaries Condoleezza Rice and James Baker, Vice President Joseph Biden, Senator John McCain, Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and CIA director John Brennan were all part on the entourage. All that fire power was devoted to a visit which lasted for just a few hours. The show of force was not coincidental.
The reaction of the corporate media to the death of the late Saudi king Abdullah tells us everything we need to know about the United States/Saudi axis of evil. It is one thing for the president to call Abdullah his friend and for the secretary of state to claim that the absolute monarch was a “man of wisdom and vision” but it is another for the media to parrot the same words. The New York Times called Abdullah a “shrewd force” and a “cautious reformer.” He didn’t reform the policies of beheading and flogging his citizens or creating instability in other countries. Those facts don’t count when our government makes it clear that he was a partner in America’s imperial designs.
It is easy to tell who is and isn’t an American ally just by reading the newspaper. Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela three times but the most positive description from his New York Times obituary referred to him as “a polarizing figure.” Unlike the Saudi royals, Chavez didn’t intervene in the affairs of other nations. In fact he used his nation’s oil wealth to aid neighboring countries. You wouldn’t know any of that from the media which get and obey marching orders that come straight from the White House.
Saudi Arabia gets the kid glove approach from the press because it works hand in hand with Washington. It is now more than thirty years since the Saudis joined the United States in backing jihadists in Afghanistan to drive out a left wing government. The blowback resulted in past allies like Osama bin Laden attacking the United States on September 11, 2001. Similarly, ISIS wouldn’t exist without collusion between the west and the gulf monarchs. Now ISIS makes clear that it wants to rid the region of the same kingdoms that brought it into existence. ISIS is a United States/Saudi chicken that inconveniently came home to roost.
The Saudis backed jihadists in Libya to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and in the process created an ongoing civil war and the destruction of a once prosperous country. They did the same in the as yet unsuccessful effort to dispatch Bashar al-Assad in Syria and now nine million people are refugees. They committed those crimes in full accord and cooperation with the United States.
Saudi Arabia is able to create so much damage because it has the world’s largest oil reserves and decides what everyone else on the planet will pay for energy. It may produce a lot of oil or a little and thus determines whether prices are low or high. Recent Saudi and American machinations have brought prices down very precipitously and caused considerable damage to other oil producers such as Venezuela, Iran and Russia. Because these governments demand their rights as sovereign states they have been declared enemies. The two bad actor nations are willing to forego temporary profits if they think they can rid themselves of troublesome countries that won’t obey their dictates.
The Saudis and the American government are locked in a loveless marriage of convenience. The Americans have military and economic dominance and want to keep it. That means working against the aspirations of any nation that refuses to toe the line. The Saudis are natural allies because they don’t want democracy in their own country or anywhere else in the region. They have become useful in providing support to the jihadists du jour who do their bidding for a brief moment in time but eventually wind up being very ungrateful. ….more
Bahrain is an apartheid regime: Rajab
23 Jan.15 – PressTV
Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab says the Manama regime has created an apartheid system in the Persian Gulf country, Press TV reports.
Rajab told Press TV in an interview on Thursday that the Bahraini government has built an apartheid system by separating Shias and Sunnis.
“Almost half of the country – Shias – can’t… live,” he said.
He also noted that the Manama regime is trying to present the conflict in Bahrain as a “Shia-Sunni” one, while, in fact, the revolution has “got nothing to do with religion.”
The problem is with the violation of rights in the country, Rajab said.
He also criticized the West for turning a blind eye to the rights violations in Bahrain.
He said the Western governments, specifically the UK, “speak two languages,” one about human rights and justice for their own people and one for other countries.
He added that the West considers Shias a “threat because Iran is not in line with the Western governments, [and] Hezbollah [is] fighting Israel.” …more
Bahrain: security forces shoot boy to the face
AlWefaq – 1 Feb.14
Bahrain’s claims of investigations into police human rights abuses are yet again smashed as a picture of a boy’s face, which was covered in blood, emerged last Friday.
Just days after the Interior Ministry’s announcement to open an investigation into a police shooting at a protester, security police opened fire again on protesters calling for the release of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman in Duraz, west of the capital Manama. This time, the victim was 13 year old Mohammed who sustained severe wounds from buckshot in the face. Mohammed’s condition is worrying and he is still under medical observation to save his life.
Such crimes can only indicate that the security forces are following a systematic approach to target the safety and lives of the protesters.
Many teenagers and children were killed by security forces on streets, however, the injustice system in Bahrain has failed to bring perpetrators to justice. …source
Cold War Waste Disposal Stalled Around U.S. as WIPP Reopening Delayed by Months
ICTMN Staff – 19 Jan.15
As the Department of Energy challenges the fines levied against it by New Mexico, new revelations are coming to light on safety lapses and a delay in reopening the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), closed since a radiation leak compromised the nation’s only underground disposal facility for Cold War–related nuclear waste last February.
Originally scheduled to reopen in 2016, the site will be unable to take new shipments of waste until at least 2018, said the Energy Department and Nuclear Waste Partnership, the contractor running the federal repository, last week. Limited operations can resume in 2016, the Associated Press reported on January 15, but officials said the facility needs a new ventilation system and exhaust shaft before it can accept new material. In fact, officials have not even been able to close a storage bunker that was affected by the leak, AP said, even though the deadline was January 1.
“The initial closure of Panel 6 was supposed to be one of the quick and easy things to be done,” said nuclear-waste watchdog Don Hancock to AP after a meeting in Carlsbad to discuss the cleanup efforts from the accident, in which a waste drum from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) that was stored underground ruptured and leaked, contaminating 22 workers and closing the facility. “It’s not done. It’s not quick. It’s not easy. There are going to be risks to workers just to do that.”
The initial leak was followed by revelations that the WIPP and LANL had not followed their own safety precautions and rules, and then had covered up those very lapses. Along the way, kitty litter (organic versus inorganic) and a possible typo were highlighted as potential turning points in the chronicle of the leak.
He spoke after the Wednesday January 14 meeting between DOE officials, the contractor and others working on the cleanup.
“It’s more of a problem than they thought it would be because there’s a significant amount of contamination in the area,” said Hancock, who monitors WIPP for the Southwest Information and Research Center, a watchdog group, to the Santa Fe New Mexican. “They’re behind schedule on that, and they’re going to remain behind schedule.”
Now it has come to light that LANL had changed a procedure without first examining it for safety, the Albuquerque Journal reported on January 16. Moving the focus from whether organic or inorganic kitty litter should have been used in processing waste containing oxidizing nitrates (organic is one of the potential culprits in the explosion that caused the fire and subsequent leak), a December report from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board indicates that nitrates should not have been part of the waste stream at all, with or without organic matter.
“Investigators believe the radiation leak at WIPP resulted when organic, wheat-based cat litter provided fuel for a chemical reaction with oxidizing nitrate salts that were part of the waste stream packaged at Los Alamos. The nitrates were left over from a process used to extract plutonium,” the Albuquerque Journal reported. “But the new disclosure is the first suggestion that oxidizing nitrates—even without the addition of organic material—should have been a cause for concern as waste was packaged for WIPP.”
On December 6 the New Mexico Environment Department fined LANL and the WIPP $54 million for the various breaches, with indications that more could follow, in the biggest civil penalty ever levied by state authorities against the federal government.
A month later, on January 8, the DOE filed a legal response challenging the fines, the Albuquerque Journal reported. The New Mexico Environment Department stood its ground on the fines—$36.6 million against Los Alamos and copy7.7 million against WIPP.
The DOE disputes some of the state’s findings and said the fines were excessive, according to the newspaper. New Mexico’s environmental department said its conclusions were based on the DOE’s own data and that “we will not agree to back down on any of the problematic issues we identified in the compliance orders,” the Albuquerque Journal said. …more
Demz’s Death: Witness, Cop’s Record Raise Questions About Graffiti Artist’s Killing
By Trevor Bach- 10 Dec.14
Hours after Delbert Rodriguez, a 21-year-old street artist known as “Demz,” died last night, the Miami Police Department reiterated its version of what happened: An undercover cop chased Rodriguez after spotting him tagging a building in Wynwood early Friday morning. When the cop turned a corner, police say, Rodriguez was low to the ground in dark clothing; the officer couldn’t avoid hitting him. The death, police say, was a tragic accident.
But an account provided to Riptide by Danny Garcia, a friend who was with Rodriguez that night, raises new questions about the pursuit. “The cop was right behind him, and he had no time to hide,” Garcia says of Demz.
Riptide also reviewed the internal affairs file of the officer involved, Det. Michael Cadavid. It shows the officer has faced civilian complaints for aggressive policing, road rage, and abusing business owners while out of uniform. None of those complaints was substantiated, but Cadavid was sanctioned for his role in an infamous Halloween fight caught on camera. …more
Child suicide bomber kills at least 16 in Nigeria
10 Jan.15 – By Lanre Ola and Isaac Abrak
MAIDUGURI/KADUNA, Nigeria (Reuters) – A bomb strapped to a girl aged around 10 years old exploded in a busy market place in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, killing at least 16 people and injuring more than 20, security sources said.
“The explosive devices were wrapped around her body and the girl looked no more than 10 years old,” a police source said.
Maiduguri, the capital of northern Borno state, lies in the heartland of an insurgency by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, and is often hit by bomb attacks.
A Nigerian security source said the bomb went off at 12:15 p.m. The girl was killed and the bodies of at least 16 victims were counted in one hospital by mid-afternoon, civilian joint task force member Zakariya Mohammed told Reuters.
“Right now, there are 27 injured people in Borno Medical Hospital, while more were taken to other hospitals,” he said. …more
Suicide attack at Lebanese cafe kills at least seven
10 Jan.15 – By Nazih Siddiq – Reuters
TRIPOLI, Lebanon (Reuters) – A suicide bomb attack on a cafe in the Lebanese city of Tripoli killed at least seven people on Saturday, the latest violence to hit a region repeatedly buffeted by violence linked to the civil war in neighboring Syria.
The Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s official affiliate in the Syrian civil war, said it carried out the double suicide attack in the predominantly Alawite district of Jabal Mohsen “in revenge for the Sunnis in Syria and Lebanon”. The statement appeared on a Twitter feed operated by the group’s media arm.
Lebanon’s National News Agency gave the names of two suicide attackers it said were from Tripoli, an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim city whose long-standing sectarian tensions have been exacerbated by the Syrian civil war.
Lebanon’s Health Ministry said the attack killed seven people. Other officials put the death toll at nine. Three dozen people were wounded.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam said in a statement the attack was “a new attempt to spread the seeds of strife” in Tripoli and would not “weaken the determination of the state and its decision to confront terrorism and terrorists”. …more
Car bomb kills 35 people outside Yemen police college
By Mohammed Ghobari – SANAA – 7 Jan.15
(Reuters) – A car bomb exploded outside a police college in Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Wednesday, killing 35 people and wounding dozens in an attack authorities blamed on Al Qaeda militants.
It was the second bombing in Yemen to cause multiple casualties in a week, following a suicide attack last Thursday that killed 26 people at a cultural center in Ibb city.
Police Brigadier Abdulaziz al-Qudsi said a booby-trapped vehicle with a driver and passenger in the front had been parked near where people waiting to register were standing by the college wall at about 7 a.m. (0400 GMT).
The pair then got out and left the scene, then the bus exploded, he said, according to state news agency Saba. A total of 35 people were killed and 68 wounded, Qudsi said.
“The situation is catastrophic. We arrived to find bodies piled on top of each other,” a paramedic at the scene told Reuters as ambulances took casualties away. …more
Who profits from killing Charlie?
By Pepe Escobar – THE ROVING EYE – 10 Jan.15 – Asia Times
Putin did it. Sorry, he didn’t. In the end, it was not Russia “aggression” that attacked the heart of Europe. It was a pro-style jihadi commando. Cui bono?
Careful planning and preparation; Kalashnikovs; rocket-propelled grenade launcher; balaclavas; sand-colored ammunition vest stuffed with spare magazines; army boots; piece of cake escape in a black Citroen. And the icing on the lethal cake; faultless Paris-based logistical support to pull that off. A former top French military commander, Frederic Gallois, has stressed the perfect application of “urban guerrilla technique” (where are those notorious Western counter-terrorism “experts” when one needs them?)
They might have spoken perfect French; others said it was broken French. Anyway, what matters is that they uttered the magic word; “We’re al-Qaeda.” Better yet; they told a man in the street, “Tell the media that this is al-Qaeda in Yemen”, which means, in American terror terminology, al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), which had Charlie Hebdo’s editor/cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier (“Charb”) on a hit list duly promoted by AQAP’s glossy magazine Inspire. Accusation: “Insulting the Prophet Mohammed.”
And just to make sure everyone had the perpetrators implanted on their brain, the killers also said, “Allahu Akbar”; “We have killed Charlie Hebdo”; and “We have avenged the Prophet.”
Case closed? Well, it took only a few hours for French police to identify the (usual?) suspects; French-Algerian brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi. The third man – the driver of the black Citroen, 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad – then turned himself in with an ironclad alibi. So the third man remains a cipher.
They all wore balaclavas. The Kouachi brothers have not been captured. But the police seem to know very well who they are. Because they found an abandoned ID in the black Citroen (oh, the troubles of being a command in a rush …) How come they didn’t know anything before the carnage?
Right on cue, Cherif Kouachi’s bio was splattered all over. He was on a global watch list. Along with six others, he was sentenced in May 2008 to 3 years in prison for “terrorism”; in fact unloading a dozen young Frenchmen via madrassas in Egypt and Syria to none other than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the killed-by-an-American-missile former head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the spiritual father of Daesh/ISIS/ISIL.
Also right on clue, a full narrative was ready for mass consumption. The key point; French police privileges the hypothesis of “Islamic terrorism”. According to their “experts”, this could be an attack “ordered from abroad and executed by jihadis coming back from Syria that have escaped us”, or it could be “suburban idiots that radicalized themselves and concocted this military attack in the name of al-Qaeda.”
Scrap option two, please; this was a pro job. And staying with option one, this points right at – what else – blowback. Yes, they could be Daesh/ISIS/ISIL mercenaries trained by NATO (crucially, France included) in Turkey and/or Jordan. But it might get even false-flag nastier. They could also be former or current French special forces.
Blast Islam, will travel
Predictably, Islamofascism peddlers are already having a field day/week/month/year. For simpletons/trolls/hordes exhibiting an IQ worthy of sub-zoology, when in doubt, demonize Islam. It’s so convenient to forget that untold millions from Pakistan’s tribal areas to street markets across Iraq continue to feel pain devastating their hearts and lives as they are expendable victims of the jihadi mindset – or “Kalashnikov culture”, as it is known in Pakistan – profiting the “West”, directly or indirectly, for decades now. Think ritual droning of Pakistani, Yemeni, Syrian, Iraqi or Libyan civilians. Think Sadr City witnessing carnages over 10 times worse than Paris.
What French President Francois Hollande defined as “an act of exceptional barbarism” – and it is – does not apply when the “West”, France in the front line, from King Sarko to General Hollande himself, weaponizes, trains and remote-controls assorted mercenaries/beheaders from Libya to Syria. Oh yeah; killing civilians in Tripoli or Aleppo is perfectly all right. But don’t do that in Paris.
So this, in the heart of Europe, is what blowback feels like. This is what people feel in the Waziristans when a wedding party is incinerated by a Hellfire missile. In parallel, it’s absolutely impossible that the oh so sophisticated Western intel network had not seen blowback coming – and was impotent to prevent it (how come the scapegoats du jour, the Kouachi brothers, were not in the gallows?) …more
Special Report: Documents from the Reagan presidential library reveal that two major institutions promoting “democracy” and “freedom” — Freedom House and National Endowment for Democracy — worked hand-in-glove, behind-the-scenes, with a CIA propaganda expert in the 1980s, reports Robert Parry.
CIA’s Hidden Hand in ‘Democracy’ Groups8 Jan.15 – By Robert Parry – consortiumnnew.com
Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy stress their commitment to freedom of thought and democracy, but both cooperated with a CIA-organized propaganda operation in the 1980s, according to documents released by Ronald Reagan’s presidential library.
One document showed senior Freedom House official Leo Cherne clearing a draft manuscript on political conditions in El Salvador with CIA Director William Casey and promising that Freedom House would make requested editorial “corrections and changes” – and even send over the editor for consultation with whomever Casey assigned to review the paper.
CIA Director William Casey.
In a “Dear Bill” letter dated June 24, 1981, Cherne wrote: “I am enclosing a copy of the draft manuscript by Bruce McColm, Freedom House’s resident specialist on Central America and the Caribbean. This manuscript on El Salvador was the one I had urged be prepared and in the haste to do so as rapidly as possible, it is quite rough. You had mentioned that the facts could be checked for meticulous accuracy within the government and this would be very helpful. …
“If there are any questions about the McColm manuscript, I suggest that whomever is working on it contact Richard Salzmann at the Research Institute [an organization where Cherne was executive director]. He is Editor-in-Chief at the Institute and the Chairman of the Freedom House’s Salvador Committee. He will make sure that the corrections and changes get to Rita Freedman who will also be working with him. If there is any benefit to be gained from Salzmann’s coming down at any point to talk to that person, he is available to do so.”
Cherne, who was chairman of Freedom House’s executive committee, also joined in angling for financial support from a propaganda program that Casey initiated in 1982 under one of the CIA’s top covert action specialists, Walter Raymond Jr., who was moved to President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council staff.
In an Aug. 9, 1982 letter to Raymond, Freedom House executive director Leonard R. Sussman wrote that “Leo Cherne has asked me to send these copies of Freedom Appeals. He has probably told you we have had to cut back this project to meet financial realities. … We would, of course, want to expand the project once again when, as and if the funds become available. Offshoots of that project appear in newspapers, magazines, books and on broadcast services here and abroad. It’s a significant, unique channel of communication” – precisely the focus of Raymond’s work.
According to the documents, Freedom House remained near the top of Casey’s thinking when it came to the most effective way to deliver his hardline policy message to the American people in ways they would be inclined to accept, i.e., coming from ostensibly independent sources with no apparent ties to the government.
On Nov. 4, 1982, Raymond wrote to NSC Advisor William Clark about the “Democracy Initiative and Information Programs,” stating that “Bill Casey asked me to pass on the following thought concerning your meeting with [right-wing billionaire] Dick Scaife, Dave Abshire [then a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board], and Co.
“Casey had lunch with them today and discussed the need to get moving in the general area of supporting our friends around the world. By this definition he is including both ‘building democracy’ … and helping invigorate international media programs. The DCI [Casey] is also concerned about strengthening public information organizations in the United States such as Freedom House. …
“A critical piece of the puzzle is a serious effort to raise private funds to generate momentum. Casey’s talk with Scaife and Co. suggests they would be very willing to cooperate. … Suggest that you note White House interest in private support for the Democracy initiative.” …more