Welcome to Sott.net
Tue, 27 Jul 2021
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters
Map

People

Organic Versus Monsanto

Image
© Creative Commons/ NatalieMaynor
More than 270,000 organic farmers are taking on corporate agriculture giant Monsanto in a lawsuit filed March 30. Led by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, the family farmers are fighting for the right to keep a portion of the world food supply organic - and preemptively protecting themselves from accusations of stealing genetically modified seeds that drift on to their pristine crop fields.

Consumers are powerful. For more than a decade, a cultural shift has seen shoppers renounce the faster-fatter-bigger-cheaper mindset of factory farms, exposéd in the 2008 documentary Food, Inc. From heirloom tomatoes to heritage chickens, we want our food slow, sustainable, and local - healthy for the earth, healthy for animals, and healthy for our bodies.

But with patented seeds infiltrating the environment so fully, organic itself is at risk. Monsanto's widely used Genuity® Roundup Ready® canola seed has already turned heirloom canola oil into an extinct species. The suing farmers are seeking to prevent similar contamination of organic corn, soybeans, and a host of other crops. What's more, they're seeking to prevent Monsanto from accusing them of unlawfully using the very seeds they're trying to avoid.

Bad Guys

Afghan Civilians Pay Lethal Price for New Policy on Air Strikes

Image

Afghan men carry the bodies of those killed in a coalition air strike on 14 July
Reducing 'collateral damage' is seen as a 'secondary consideration' as the coalition prepares withdrawal.

Civilians are bearing the brunt of the international forces' onslaught against the Taliban as the coalition rushes to pacify Afghanistan before pulling out its troops, it was claimed last night.

Human rights groups warned that civilians are paying an increasingly high price for "reckless" coalition attacks, particularly aerial ones. The Ministry of Defence confirmed last week that five Afghan children were injured in an air strike carried out by a British Apache attack helicopter.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) has found that the rate of civilian casualties has reached a record high, with 1,462 killed in January to June this year. But, while the number of civilian victims of "pro-government action" fell, those who died as a result of coalition air attacks were 14 per cent higher than in the same period in 2010 - despite the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) issuing "tactical directives" designed to minimise risk to civilians.

Arrow Down

Deadly Syrian Crackdown Continues


Syrian activists say at least eight people have been killed after government forces launched fresh attacks in several cities.

Six people were reported killed in Hama on Monday amid shelling by army tanks, with two more killed in Al-Bukamal and Deir ez-Zoor in the east.

Residents of Hama say the military resumed indiscriminate shelling and firing as residents were breaking their daily dawn-to-dusk fast on the first day of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The attacks appeared aimed at preventing mosque gatherings during special evening prayers, which security forces feared could trigger large anti-government protests.

The latest deaths bring the number of people killed since Sunday to at least 150.

A witness in Deir ez-Zor told Al Jazeera that government forces launched fresh attacks on the town early on Monday morning.

"Military forces stormed the city from the west side and 25 people are killed and more than 65 injured," the witness said.

"Artillery and anti-aircraft weapons are being used. The situation in the city is very bad, and medical and food supplies are low."

Deir ez-Zor, Syria's main gas and oil-production hub in the east, has become a rallying point for protests along with Hama.

Activist group Avaaz cited unconfirmed reports on Monday that the resort town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border was also under seige by the army.

War Whore

Lebanese President Blames Israel for 'Renewing Aggression' on Border

Image
© Reuters
Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman inspects the area where clashes between Israeli forces and the Lebanese army took place on Tuesday in southern Lebanon on August 7, 2010.
President Suleiman praises Lebanese Armed Forces for resisting Israeli 'attacks and provocations' after Monday's clash between Lebanese, IDF soldiers.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman blamed Israel on Monday for "renewing its aggression" on the border with Lebanon after Israel Defense Forces troops traded fire with Lebanon's army in the Mount Dov region on the border between the two countries.

Suleiman, who was speaking at a ceremony commemorating the 66th anniversary of the Lebanese Armed Forces, praised the army the army for standing guard against Israeli "attacks and provocations", as well as its resistance during the 2006 Lebanon war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Evil Rays

Australia: Federal Transport Minister Launches Trial of Full Body Scanners at Sydney Airport

Image
© Cameron Richardson
Full body scanner ... Sydney Airport will be the first in Australia to trial the scanner with Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese claiming privacy and health concerns have been addressed.
A full body scanner billed as "the most advanced passenger screening technology available in the world'' has been unveiled at Sydney Airport today as part of a two week trial of the equipment.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese said passengers would be able to volunteer to test the device, which uses low-energy radio waves to detect items concealed under clothing, as of tomorrow.

Despite emitting 10,000 times less radiation than a single mobile phone call, advanced computer software can detect miniscule differences in the radio wave radiation that is reflected from the body, highlighting suspicious objects on a "stick figure" outline of the person.

"We regard aviation safety and security as our most important priority,'' Mr Albanese said.

"It is safe, it is secure, privacy concerns have been addressed.''

While taxpayers will fund the trail and associated research, costing about $6 million dollars, Mr Albanese said the cost of any roll-out of the machines would be borne by private airport operators.

Comment: While government pathocarats are busy trying to assure everyone there is no danger from these scanners, there is abundant evidence to the contrary:

Is Anyone Surprised? TSA Misled Public on Dangers of Airport Body Scanners

Airport Body Scanners "Could Give You Cancer"

Body Scanners May be Emitting More Radiation Than What is Recorded

Cancer Cluster Possibly Found Among TSA Workers


Cult

Pentagon to Use Genetic Code to Identify Perfect Soldier?

Image
Old soldiers never die, they just pass on their genetic code?

A report issued by a defense science advisory panel suggests that the Pentagon may begin collecting DNA from military personnel to identify the genome sequence that defines a good soldier. Findings reported by JASON, an independent group of scientists which advises the U.S. government on matters of science and technology, recommends that the Pentagon take advantage of "the rapidly falling cost of gene sequencing by preparing to engage in the mass sequencing of the genomes" of the men and women of the armed forces.

The physicists, biologists, chemists, oceanographers, mathematicians, and computer scientists that comprise the JASON project, point out that the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have access to an untapped source of valuable genetic information and are "uniquely positioned to make great advances" in the science of genetic research in this crucial field. Specifically mentioned are the decades of archived medical records and DNA samples already on file at the VA.

A commentary on the report published by the ACLU claims:

Radar

Bulldoze: The New Way To Foreclose

Image
© Meredith Jenks / Getty Images
Banks have a new remedy to America's ailing housing market: Bulldozers.

There are nearly 1.7 million homes in the U.S. in some state of foreclosure. Banks already own some of these homes and will soon repossess many more. Many housing economists worry that near constant stream of home sales from banks could keep housing prices down for years to come. But what if some of those homes never hit the market.

Increasingly, it appears banks are turning to demolition teams instead of realtors to rid them of their least valuable repossessed homes. Last month, Bank of American announced plans to demolish 100 foreclosed homes in the Cleveland area. The land is then going to be donated back to the local government authorities. BofA says the recent donations in Cleveland are part of a larger plan to rid itself of its least saleable properties, many of which, according to a company spokesperson, are worth less than $10,000. BofA has already donated 100 homes in Detroit and 150 in Chicago, and may add as many as nine more cities by the end of the year.

HAL9000

What we wish Obama had said

Obama
© Associated Press
President Obama
Does anyone else have a sick sense of déjà vu this morning?

After months of slow-motion capitulation, President Obama has cut an eleventh-hour deal with Republican leaders to raise the debt ceiling. After vowing to heed the public outcry for a balanced approach, he has instead consented to a plan that manages to run rough-shod over the poor and middle-class, coddles those who caused the recession, imperils the government's two most popular entitlement programs, and virtually guarantees that our economy will continue to falter.

In other words, just another day at the office for our 44th president.


Comment: It's a useful exercise now and then to imagine a different, better reality where truth-telling is common. As Robert Kennedy said, "There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

Vader

Israeli and Lebanese troops trade fire

israeli,lebanese,
© Reuters
The last major violent flare-up along the Israeli-Lebanese border was during the Nakba Day protest in May
UN official refuses to confirm if Israeli soldiers crossed Blue Line and prompted warning shots from the Lebanese side.

Israeli and Lebanese troops have exchanged fire along the countries' border, officials say.

The Israeli and Lebanese sides offered different accounts of Monday's incident, which did not appear to have caused casualties.

The Israeli military said its army unit was on a routine patrol within Israeli territory when it received fire on Monday morning from over the border in Lebanon near Ghajar, a disputed village which straddles a strategic corner where boundaries between Syria, Israel and Lebanon meet.

Bad Guys

Britain, Japan warn of disaster if no U.S. debt deal

British and Japanese officials warned Sunday of disastrous consequences for the global economy if last-minute talks among lawmakers in Washington failed to agree on raising the U.S. borrowing limit and averting a debt default.

Governments across the world fear that because of the key role of the U.S. dollar in global banking and trading systems, there could be severe instability when Asian financial markets reopen Monday if a U.S. debt deal is not in sight by then.

In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican who is playing a key role in the debt talks, said "we're very close" to a $3 trillion deal that would raise the debt ceiling while cutting the U.S. budget deficit.

But a senior White House official warned that an agreement was "not there yet."

"If they get this one wrong and there's a default -- we don't expect that, we think that they will sort this out -- but if that were to happen, it has consequences for every family and every business in this country and all across the world," said Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the British Treasury.