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Archive for February, 2014

The accessories to war crimes are those paid to keep the record straight.

By John Pilger  8th February 2014.       Find Article Here:-

The BBC’s Today programme is enjoying high ratings, and the Mail and the Telegraph are, as usual, attacking the corporation as left-wing. Last month, a single edition of Today was edited by the artist and musician P.J. Harvey. What happened was illuminating.

Polly Harvey’s guests caused panic from the moment she proposed the likes of Mark Curtis, an historian rarely heard on the BBC, who chronicles the crimes of the British state; and the lawyer Phil Shiner and journalist Ian Cobain, who reveal how the British kidnap and torture; and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; and myself.

There were weeks of absurd negotiation at Broadcasting House about ways of “countering” us and whether or not we could be allowed to speak without interruption from Today’s establishment choristers.  What this brief insurrection demonstrated was the fear of a reckoning.  The crimes of western states like Britain have made accessories of those in the media who suppress or minimise the carnage.

The Faustian pacts that contrived a world war a century ago resonate today across the Middle East, and Asia: from Syria to Japan.  Then, as now, cover-up was the principal weapon. In 1917, Prime Minister David Lloyd George declared: “If people knew the truth, the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don’t know and can’t know.”

On Polly Harvey’s Today programme I referred to a poll conducted by Comres last year that asked people in Britain how many Iraqis had been killed as a result of the 2003 invasion. A majority said that fewer than 10,000 had been killed: a figure so shockingly low it was a profanity.     Listen Here at 1hour 40mins 20secs

I compared this with scientific estimates of “up to a million men, women and children [who] had died in the inferno lit by Britain and the US”. In fact, the range is from less than half a million to over a million.  John Tirman, principal research scientist at the MIT Centre for International Studies, who has examined all the credible estimates, told me that an average figure “suggests roughly 700,000”. He pointed out that this excluded deaths among the millions of displaced Iraqis, up to 20 per cent of the population.

The day after the Harvey programme, Today ‘countered’ with Toby Dodge from the LSE, a former adviser to General Petraeus, one of the architects of the disasters in both Iraq and Afghanistan, along with Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a former Iraqi “national security adviser” in the occupation regime, the man who led Saddam Hussein to his lynching.

These BBC-accredited “experts” rubbished, without evidence, the studies and reduced the number of dead by hundreds of thousands. The interviewer, Mishal Husain, offered no challenge to their propaganda. They then “debated” who was responsible.  Lloyd George’s dictim held; culpability was diverted.

But for how long? There is no question that the epic crime committed in Iraq has burrowed into public consciousness. Many recall that Shock and Awe was the extension of a murderous blockade imposed for 12 years by Britain and the US and suppressed by much of the “mainstream” media. including the BBC. Half a million Iraqi infants died as a result, according to Unicef. I watched children dying in hospitals denied basic pain-killers.

Ten years later, in New York, I met the senior British official responsible for these “sanctions”. He is Carne Ross, once known in the UN as “Mr. Iraq”. He is now a truth-teller. I read to him a statement he had made to a parliamentary selection committee in 2007: “The weight of evidence clearly indicates that sanctions caused massive human suffering among ordinary Iraqis, particularly children. We, the US and UK governments, were the primary engineers and offenders of sanctions and were well aware of the evidence at the time but we largely ignore it and blamed it on the Saddam government. [We] effectively denied the entire population a means to live.”

I said to him: “That’s a shocking admission.”

“Yes, I agree,” he replied. “I feel ashamed about it…” He described how the Foreign Office manipulated a willing media. “We would control access to the foreign secretary as a form of reward to journalists. If they were critical, we would not give them the goodies of trips around the world. We would feed them factoids of sanitised intelligence, or we’d freeze them out.”

In the build-up to the 2003 invasion, according to studies by the University of Wales and Media Tenor, the BBC followed the Blair government’s line and lies and restricted airtime to those opposing the invasion. When Andrew Gilligan famously presented a dissenting report on Today, he and a director-general were crushed.

The truth about the criminal bloodbath in Iraq cannot be “countered” indefinitely. Neither can “our” support for the medievalists in Saudi Arabia, the nuclear-armed predators in Israel, the new military fascists in Egypt and the jihadist “liberators” of Syria, whose propaganda is now BBC news. There will be a reckoning – not just for the Blairs, Straws and Campbells, but for those paid to keep the record straight.

This article first appeared in the Guardian, UK
Follow John Pilger on twitter @johnpilger

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Why global water shortages pose threat of terror and war.

By   9th February 2014.       Find Full Article Here:-

From California to the Middle East, huge areas of the world are drying up and a billion people have no access to safe drinking water. US intelligence is warning of the dangers of shrinking resources and experts say the world is ‘standing on a precipice’.

An Egyptian farmer on cracked soil

An Egyptian farmer shows the dryness of the land due to drought in a farm formerly irrigated by the river Nile.
Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Corbis

On 17 January, scientists downloaded fresh data from a pair of Nasa satellites and distributed the findings among the small group of researchers who track the world’s water reserves. At the University of California, Irvine, hydrologist James Famiglietti looked over the data from the gravity-sensing Grace satellites with a rising sense of dread.

The data, released last week, showed California on the verge of an epic drought, with its backup systems of groundwater reserves so run down that the losses could be picked up by satellites orbiting 400km above the Earth’s surface.

“It was definitely an ‘oh my gosh moment’,” Famiglietti said. “The groundwater is our strategic reserve. It’s our backup, and so where do you go when the backup is gone?”

That same day, the state governor, Jerry Brown, declared a drought emergency and appealed to Californians to cut their water use by 20%. “Every day this drought goes on we are going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing,” he said.

Seventeen rural communities are in danger of running out of water within 60 days and that number is expected to rise, after the main municipal water distribution system announced it did not have enough supplies and would have to turn off the taps to local agencies.

There are other shock moments ahead – and not just for California – in a world where water is increasingly in short supply because of growing demands from agriculture, an expanding population, energy production and climate change.

Already a billion people, or one in seven people on the planet, lack access to safe drinking water. Britain, of course, is currently at the other extreme. Great swaths of the country are drowning in misery, after a series of Atlantic storms off the south-western coast. But that too is part of the picture that has been coming into sharper focus over 12 years of the Grace satellite record. Countries at northern latitudes and in the tropics are getting wetter. But those countries at mid-latitude are running increasingly low on water.

“What we see is very much a picture of the wet areas of the Earth getting wetter,” Famiglietti said. “Those would be the high latitudes like the Arctic and the lower latitudes like the tropics. The middle latitudes in between, those are already the arid and semi-arid parts of the world and they are getting drier.”

On the satellite images the biggest losses were denoted by red hotspots, he said. And those red spots largely matched the locations of groundwater reserves.

“Almost all of those red hotspots correspond to major aquifers of the world. What Grace shows us is that groundwater depletion is happening at a very rapid rate in almost all of the major aquifers in the arid and semi-arid parts of the world.”

Categories: Environment, Government, Health

Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar by Robert Lustig – review.

February 9, 2014 1 comment

By   25th January 2014.    Find Full Article Here:-

Why eating sweet food is bad for you, but might not be your fault.

A worker checks on sugar beet

A worker at a Turkish sugar refinery is dwarfed by mountains of beet. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters

Here’s a mini-quiz for foodists who pride themselves on their knowledge of obscure consumables: what are diastatic malt, dextran, ethyl maltol, panocha and sorghum syrup? They are all names used on food labels for added sugar. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist who works on childhood obesity, is angry with the food industry and the regulatory capture of western governments by its lobbyists. Added sugar is all around us, disguised under deliberately unfamiliar names, and its sweet molecule – fructose – is, according to Lustig, the prime cause of our ballooning “obesity pandemic”.

Lustig explains the biochemistry of metabolism, and the vicious cycle of obesity, with patient clarity and some alarmingly vivid imagery. (You know the way sugar helps to brown meat while cooking? It’s browning your insides the same way.) He is sceptical about one-shot solutions (miracle diet pills, antioxidants), since there is a complex interdependence between the actions of hormones and food intake. For example: there is fructose in fruit, so why isn’t eating fruit bad? Because the fibre in fruit counteracts the noxious effects of the sugar, which is why it’s better to eat your fruit than to drink it. (A glass of orange juice contains more sugar than the equivalent volume of Coke.) The bitter pill of Lustig’s philosophy is sweetened by an agreeably cute humour: “Naturally occurring fructose comes from sugarcane, fruits, some vegetables, and honey. The first three have way more fibre than fructose, and the last is protected by bees.”

There is no shortage of fad food books blaming one or other “toxin” for all our fleshly dolours. Yet to dismiss every such tract as populist scaremongering would be just as irrational as to believe them all. (The “experts” – whom it is fashionable in some quarters always to dismiss wholesale as a compromised class – did not, after all, turn out to be wrong about the harmful effects of cigarettes.) Recent reports elsewhere, indeed, indicate that there is a growing consensus behind the idea that the fructose factor helps to explain what otherwise looks like a puzzle: why do different diets – Atkins, the Paleo diet, the traditional Japanese or Mediterranean diets – all have notable health benefits? Because, or so this thinking runs, they are all low-sugar and high-fibre regimes.

Fat Chance is a persuasively indignant public-policy manifesto, but it’s also a self-help book; curiously, each strain flatly contradicts the other. The crux is whether people can actually change their behaviour. Of course they can, you might retort, citing friends who have successfully slimmed; but Lustig spends most of the book denying that this is even possible, the better to justify government regulation. (He suggests agricultural subsidies for green vegetables instead of for corn and soy, and taxing foods that have added sugar. This latter would be a regressive tax, he admits, but the benefits would also accrue mostly to those on low incomes.)

Lustig denies personal autonomy for laudably humane reasons – because he wants to deconstruct the prejudice that obese people have merely given in to “gluttony and sloth”. But his insistence on the complete irrelevance of “personal responsibility” leads him to rely on some ropey metaphysics and oversimplified science. “Biochemistry and hormones drive our behaviour,” he writes reductively, assuring us that we are merely slaves to the antic nanoreactions of our neurobiology. And because obesity changes our hormonal balance, “weight loss is next to impossible”.

Also watch Video Here:-  Sugar:The Bitter Truth

Categories: Education, Health

Farmer Reports: GMOs Causing Deformities, Birth Defects in Piglets.

February 9, 2014 1 comment

By   January 28th, 2014.      Find Article Here:-

gm piggy size 263x165 Farmer Reports: GMOs Causing Deformities, Birth Defects in Piglets

Danish pig farmer Ib Pedersen is convinced that GM animal feed and glyphosate impacts negatively on pigs.

Image from TheEcologist.org.

Thanks to Monsanto’s genetically modified crops and creations, one pig farmer in Denmark is sounding the alarm on what he believes are deformities caused by genetically modified feed, crippling the pigs he raises. According to The Ecologist, farmer Ib Pedersen has found piglets born with spinal deformities, visible growths and abnormalities, and even conjoined twins. He blames glyphosate—the herbicide found on genetically modified crops.

A primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, glyphosate is a weed-killing chemical routinely sprayed on crops that have been genetically-modified to withstand it’s killer effects. Glyphosate has been found in staggering amounts in human urine and is not only found in our food, but in the water system.

For farmers like Pedersen, there are multiple problems with glyphosate. Not only does he have to worry about consuming it himself, but he has rising concerns about its effects on his piglets.

Pedersen produces 13,000 pigs each year and is a supplier to Europe’s largest pork producer Danish Crown. When he became alarmed at the deformities among his pigs, he eliminated the genetically modified food sources and switched to non-GM feed. While some of the problems didn’t entirely disappear, improvements were remarkable.

“When using GM feed I saw symptoms of bloat, stomach ulcers, high rates of diarrhea… but when I switched [to non GM feed] these problems went away, some within a matter of days,” said Pedersen.

In addition to making the piglets healthier, the switch also saved Pedersen money and time. “Less abortions, more piglets born in each litter, and breeding animals living longer,” he said among the changes. He’s had to use less medicine and has had higher productivity as a result.

Study: Rats Fed Lifetime of GMOs Develop Tumors, Die Early

When the deformed piglets were tested, Pedersen says they all had glyphosate in their organ tissues.

gm piggy sq2 Farmer Reports: GMOs Causing Deformities, Birth Defects in Piglets

In humans, glyphosate has been linked to hormonal disruptions, sterility and cancer. But it’s long-term effects are simply not known. For the most part, we are all the guinea pigs in this scientific experiment, one that those in charge refuse to pull the plug on.

Farmers in the US have seen similar results with genetically-modified feed. An Iowa farmer said, “There is little doubt based on the results of putting GM feed into a livestock ration and based on results of removing GM feed from a ration that animal health is better on conventional feed and grain.”

Non-GM is better for the animals and better for the people. So who exactly are GMOs better for?

New Study: Meditation Alters Genes Rapidly, Triggers Molecular Changes.

By   January 30th, 2014.          Find Article Here:-

If you are a practitioner of meditation, the results of a new study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology will likely come as no surprise. But for some scientists, the revelation that meditating can actually trigger molecular changes is groundbreaking.

The researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Institute of Biomedical Research in Barcelona, Spain found subjects who partook of 8-hour intensive mindfulness meditation showed significant molecular changes.

A group of experienced meditation practitioners spent an 8-hour day in mindfulness while a control group spent the day in quiet but non-meditative activities. The meditation group experienced genetic changes including reduced levels of inflammatory genes like RIPK2 and COX2, indicating faster recovery from stressful situations.

As Medical News Today reports:

“The extent to which some of the genes were down-regulated was associated with faster cortisol recovery to a social stress test, where participants were challenged to make an impromptu speech or complete mental calculations in front of an audience.”

In other words, the meditation helped participants keep cool under pressure.

Read: Meditation Found to Positively Affect Brain for Weeks

“The regulation of HDACs and inflammatory pathways may represent some of the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic potential of mindfulness-based interventions. Our findings set the foundation for future studies to further assess meditation strategies for the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions,” explained Perla Kaliman, co-author of the study.

Far from the first study on meditation, this is the first to demonstrate molecular changes caused by the age-old practice.

“Our genes are quite dynamic in their expression and these results suggest that the calmness of our mind can actually have a potential influence on their expression,” said Dr. Richard J. Davidson of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds.

Meditation has been used for centuries and longer to assist humankind with their spiritual and health endeavors. In other words, this study is catching up with what many people have known for a long time—that the mind can influence the body.

Other studies have linked meditation practice with stress reduction, IBS and digestive relief, the easing of cold symptoms, and helping to regulate blood pressure. Meditation was even shown to beat morphine in reducing pain in one small study. These studies didn’t explain how the meditation was working, but this most recent one seems to tap a new expanse of potential.

When it comes to the world of science, evidence is king. Anecdotes and surveys that reveal meditation to have physical benefits are not as convincing as genetic proof. Practitioners of meditation may not need that sort of laboratory evidence, but for scientists it provides a foundation of legitimacy for a practice they may have previously doubted.

Vaccines-aluminum-autism: but don’t worry, go back to sleep.

By Jon Rappoport  February 7th, 2014.       Find Article Here:-

Christina England, writing at vactruth.com, has the story: “This Study Reveals Children are Being Vaccinated With Toxic Levels of Aluminum Causing Neurological Damage and Autism.”

Here are quotes from her article:

“A recent study conducted by Canadian scientists Professor Christopher Shaw and Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic revealed that the more vaccines that children receive containing the adjuvant [additive] aluminum, the greater their chance is of developing autism, autoimmune diseases and neurological problems in the future.

“In 2013, in their paper, published by Springer Science+Business Media, titledAluminum in the Central Nervous System: Toxicity in Humans and Animals, Vaccine Adjuvants, and Autoimmunity, they revealed that during a 17-year period, the rates of autism had increased significantly in countries that had the most vaccinations containing the adjuvant aluminum.

“The researchers compared the number of vaccines recommend by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the period from 1991 – 2008 and the changes in the autism rates during the same period. They wrote:

‘The data sets, graphed against each other, show a pronounced and statistically highly significant correlation between the number vaccines with aluminum and the changes in autism rates. Further data showed that a significant correlation exists between the amounts of aluminum given to preschool children and the current rates of autism in seven Western countries. Those countries with the highest level of aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines had the highest autism rates.‘”

Later in the article, we find a list of vaccines whose aluminum content is high: DtaP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis); Hepatitis A; Hepatitis B (given to babies at birth); PedVaxHib (for meningitis); HPV; Pediarix (DtaP-Hepatitis B-polio); Pentacel (DtaP-Hib-polio); Pneumococcus. The list is not presented as exhaustive. Other vaccines may contain high levels of aluminum.

This correlation between aluminum in vaccines and autism is more than disturbing. But vaccine manufacturers and their government allies have a counter-argument ready at all times:

“Correlation alone is not enough. There may be other undiscovered causes for autism. And unless the exact series of events by which aluminum in vaccines causes autism is shown, the anti-vaccine case is dismissed and ignored.”

Then, if researchers provide some details for that chain of causation, the vaccine companies will say: “The chain is still incomplete. It has gaps. We need more details.”

And so forth and so on. Whenever new elements emerge demonstrating a causal chain, they will be rejected on the same basis: “Not enough. Still lacking. Imprecise.”

You should read about a researcher named Tyrone Hayes (twitter), who for years has been making a compelling case against the Syngenta herbicide/pesticide atrazine. At each step of the way, as Hayes exposes more of the toxic story, he’s told, by Syngenta and the EPA, “It’s not enough. You’re not demonstrating the causal connection between atrazine and human illness.”

On the other hand, when it suits them, researchers and government agencies will accept correlation and run with it. A most challenging example is the field of retroviral illness:

“Well, we don’t know everything about which cells in the body the virus is attacking. It’s hiding. It’s clever. It sits there for a long time, quiescent, and then it strikes. We do know that when people harbor the virus, they will eventually get sick…”

Pharma players and governments operate on both sides of the fence, adjusting their positions to mesh with their agendas.

They’ll say, “The correlation is overwhelming. We don’t need to know anything else.”

Or they’ll say, “Correlation is never adequate. You have to show each and every step in the causal chain of events.”

It’s a game. It’s a crime. And people are treated and suffer the toxic destructive consequences.

Oh, and one more thing. Aluminum is known to be toxic to the human body, especially when it’s injected. So whether you call its effects autism or Alzheimer’s or delayed development or a number of other names, what’s the difference?

Poison is poison.

This post originally appeared at www.nomorefakenews.com

Categories: Conspiracy, Government, Health

Bill Gates preaches the aid gospel, but is he just a hypocrite?

By             Monday 6th January 2014.                          Find Article Here:-

The world’s richest man is seen as a secular saint. But he should question the example that Microsoft is setting by avoiding tax.

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates:
‘In Britain, Microsoft reported revenues of £1.7bn in a single year for online sales on which it paid no corporation tax.’ Photograph: Oli Scarff

He made his name as a sharp-elbowed businessman who rode the technology revolution with such style. But these days he is far more famous for his philanthropy, as a saviour of the poor who has made it his life’s mission to change the world for the better. So it was something of a shock to see he is still the richest person on the planet, boosting his fortune by another £9.6bn last year to an astonishing £48bn after a big rise in the Microsoft share price.

It is easy to forget that Gates remains chairman of the software giant he founded in 1975, the largest individual shareholder with some 4.5% of the company’s stock. He may have invested vast chunks of his cash mountains into other companies and may spend much of his time campaigning for poverty relief, but Microsoft remains the rock upon which he built those Croesus-like riches.

This presents a problem given the company’s controversial record on tax. Gates has become something of a secular saint as he jets around the world discussing social justice and disease eradication. The left loves him as a rich man giving away much of his fortune for good causes. The right respects a business brain imposing financial rigour on a spendthrift aid sector. Charity chiefs and celebrities adore him, while politicians jostle to join him in the spotlight.

Clearly, he relishes his latest role, becoming increasingly influential and outspoken. He loves to lecture nations on how they should give away more of their taxpayers’ money, urging them to hit the arbitrary and anachronistic target of handing over 0.7% of gross national income in foreign aid. He has applauded David Cameron for Britain’s embrace of the target, even condemning a Lords’ committee that criticised this cash cascade, while constantly telling other countries to do the same.

But like those other aid apostles Bono and Bob Geldof, he risks being perceived as a rank hypocrite. For he sees nothing wrong in complex tax avoidance schemes while telling nations how to spend their revenues, notwithstanding the growing body of opinion that aid undermines development and democracy by propping up poorly run regimes. The latest expert to highlight this “aid illusion” is Professor Angus Deaton, the leading expert on measuring global poverty and a former true believer, in his fine book The Great Escape.

Gates says he pays his personal taxes. Great. But he made all that money from Microsoft which, like other tax-avoiding technology giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, uses sophisticated systems to shift paper profits around the planet and evade the designs of governments. Indeed, so extreme are its methods the company was used as a case study in a Senate investigation into US corporate tax avoidance, which found one example of offshoring profits through a tiny Puerto Rico office alone saved it $4m a day in taxes.

Moving earnings through low corporation tax countries such as Ireland, Luxembourg and Singapore means the company saved itself, according to one estimate, almost £3bn annually in tax. A Harvard law professor pointed out that Microsoft’s divisions in three low-tax nations employed fewer than 2,000 people, but supposedly recorded about £9.4bn of pre-tax profit in 2011 – more than the 88,000 employees working in all its other global divisions.

In Britain, Microsoft reported revenues of £1.7bn in a single year for online sales on which it paid no corporation tax. This is why if you look at the small print when buying software through its British website, you find you are dealing with a Luxembourg offshoot. A newspaper investigation found a small office there with just six staff handling online sales from around Europe.

None of this is illegal, however absurd it appears. But it is highly unethical, especially when the chairman is exhorting countries to hand over taxpayers’ cash to his pet causes – and it certainly tarnishes that saintly image. According to tax campaigner Richard Murphy, Microsoft avoids a sum in tax equivalent to more than 3% of the global aid budget. Despite this, Gates was star speaker at the IF campaign rally against hunger in Hyde Park last summer – although one of the four central issues was supposed to be corporate tax dodging.

Gates, when pressed on his firm’s tax policies, gave the usual glib response that they play by the rules. “If people want taxes at certain levels, great, set them at those levels,” he said. “But it’s not incumbent on those companies to take shareholder money and pay huge sums that aren’t required.”

Yet we all know these behemoths employ the best accountants and lawyers to engage in financial wizardry, unlike most ordinary citizens handing over their full whack of hard-earned taxes each year. In doing so, these global corporations clearly subvert national governments. Close one loophole and they simply find another, shifting assets around on their spreadsheets. This is partly why congressional researchers have estimated that in less than six decades the share of federal tax revenue coming from corporate income taxes has fallen from 32.1% to 8.9%, forcing a far bigger burden on to other taxpayers.

Governments could do far more to challenge tax-avoiding firms, not least refusing to award them state contracts. But given his status as a development guru, Gates should question the example his own firm is setting. One of the key problems facing the developing world is capital flight, which, according to one report, takes 10 times as much out of poor countries as they receive in aid. It is not just corrupt politicians and their cronies stashing stolen cash in secret accounts, but major companies using tax havens to boost profits at the expense of the poor.

Gates has every right to do what he wants with his wealth. It is to his credit he is giving away so much, persuading other billionaires to do the same and championing causes close to his heart – although as others have pointed out, even this is not immune to tax advantages. His determination to push vaccinations and prevent malaria is laudable. But if he wants to discuss development, preach about poverty and tell nations how to spend taxpayers’ money, he should put his own house in order first.

Twitter: @ianbirrell

 

Categories: Environment, Health, Money