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Bosnia and Herzegovina Genocide Commemorated: Srebrenica Massacre

© Unknown
The Srebrenica massacre was the July 1995 killing of an estimated 8,100 Bosniak males, ranging in age from teenagers to the elderly, in the region of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina by a Serb Army of Republika Srpska under general Ratko Mladic including Serbian state special forces "Scorpions". The same special forces commited war crimes in Kosovo in 1999.

The Srebrenica massacre is considered one of the largest mass murders in Europe since World War II and one of the most horrific and controversial events in recent European history.

Mladic and other Serb army officers have since been indicted for various war crimes, including genocide, at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The ICTY's final ruling was that the massacre was indeed an act of genocide.

Comment: The above article is largely NATO propaganda along the lines of "history is written by the victors (or aggressors)". For a more accurate account of what has come to be called the "Bosnian war" see the articles at this link.


US: Monsanto Protecting Its Turf - Files Suit Against Two Farmers Over Seeds

© The Watchers
Agrichemical giant Monsanto Co. today filed a federal lawsuit against two Erie-area farmers, accusing them of planting seed saved from plants grown from the company's genetically engineered products.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, farmers Harold Wiser, of Carlton, and Steve Wiser, of Girard, bought Monsanto's wheat, soybean and corn seeds. The seeds are genetically engineered to be resistant to Monsanto's pesticides, which "will cause severe injury or death to varieties that do not contain the [pesticide-resistance] technology."

The farmers had signed an agreement in 2003 outlining how the seeds could be used. Not authorized: Saving seeds from plants grown from the Monsanto products, and planting them the next year.

That, though, is what the Wisers did in 2009 and 2010, Monsanto alleged in the lawsuit. That practice infringes on the company's patent, the complaint contended.


US Official Says Choking Off Internet Won't Stop Arab Spring

© AFP/File Louai Beshara
A journalist works at his office in
Damascus in 2010
Regimes that choke off citizens' access to the Internet to try to quash pro-democracy movements in the Arab world are running scared and fighting a losing battle, a US diplomat said Wednesday.

"These are the acts of governments that fear their own people," Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Michael Posner said at a forum that looked at the key role new technologies have played in the drive for democracy in the Arab world.

"In cracking down on the Internet, they expose their own lack of legitimacy," Posner said, using language similar to that used in recent days by the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to describe President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

Syrian security forces have cracked down violently on pro-democracy demonstrators, killing more than 1,300 civilians, activists have said on their Facebook page, which is one of the pro-democracy movement's main links to the outside world.


Monsanto and Gates Foundation Push Genetically Engineered Crops on Africa

© Anne Wangalachi/CIMMYT
Joel Mbithi (left), farm manager of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute's Kiboko Research Station, and Yoseph Beyene, CIMMYT maize breeder, discuss experimental plots. They are developing drought tolerant top-cross hybrids as part of the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project. This is run by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) in partnership with Monsanto and CIMMYT, which supplies germplasm and expertise.
Skimming the Agricultural Development section of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation web site is a feel-good experience: African farmers smile in a bright slide show of images amid descriptions of the foundation's fight against poverty and hunger. But biosafety activists in South Africa are calling a program funded by the Gates Foundation a "Trojan horse" to open the door for private agribusiness and genetically engineered (GE) seeds, including a drought-resistant corn that Monsanto hopes to have approved in the United States and abroad.

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) program was launched in 2008 with a $47 million grant from mega-rich philanthropists Warrant Buffet and Bill Gates. The program is supposed to help farmers in several African countries increase their yields with drought- and heat-tolerant corn varieties, but a report released last month by the African Centre for Biosafety claims WEMA is threatening Africa's food sovereignty and opening new markets for agribusiness giants like Monsanto.

The Gates Foundation claims that biotechnology, GE crops and Western agricultural methods are needed to feed the world's growing population and programs like WEMA will help end poverty and hunger in the developing world. Critics say the foundation is using its billions to shape the global food agenda and the motivations behind WEMA were recently called into question when activists discovered the Gates foundation had spent $27.6 million on 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock between April and June 2010.


Kenya: The Shocking Reality About GMOs

© cleanfoodearth.blogspot.com
Nairobi - The spectre of people developing new and strange allergies, indigenous seeds losing their genetic codes and disappearing altogether, farmers making bumper harvests - or no harvests at all - is in the air.

Two weeks ago on July 1, Kenya became the fourth African nation to permit imports of GMO crops, joining South Africa, Egypt and Burkina Faso.

Supporters of the move say it is essential in helping to stabilize prices and feed millions of hungry Kenyans, but matters are not that straightforward.

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines a genetically modified or genetically engineered organism (GEO) as one "whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques."

These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, explains the encyclopaedia, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are then combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes.


Zuckerberg and Google elite hit Google+ privacy button

Do as we say, not as we do

Mark Zuckerberg, Google founders Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and a whole raft of Google's top brass have suddenly activated the privacy settings on their Google+ profiles.

Even though they want you to expose your entire life to world+dog over the interwebs, they would rather not.

The newly activated privacy settings has made it impossible to see who is following them on Google+.

Zuckerberg, who had been the most adored with 134,328 followers, is now publicly listed as having zero followers.

His place at the top has been taken by Rackspace "chief learning officer" Robert Scoble.


Anonymous targets Monsanto, oil firms

© cnet
This tweet and a separate statement indicate hackers are planning a campaign against Exxon.

Military contractor Booz Allen Hamilton today confirmed that it was the victim of an "illegal attack," one day after hackers posted what they said were about 90,000 military e-mail addresses purloined from a server of the consulting firm. Hackers also today said they were targeting Monsanto and oil companies in their protests.

"Booz Allen Hamilton has confirmed today that the posting of certain data files on the Internet yesterday was the result of an illegal attack. We are conducting a full review of the nature and extent of the attack. At this time, we do not believe that the attack extended beyond data pertaining to a learning management system for a government agency," the company said in a statement after refusing to comment yesterday.


An open letter to Israeli boycott activists

Now that your government has made any calls for boycott illegal, I urge you to comply with the new law rather than risk financial penalties and even imprisonment. After all, Israel is a democracy, and every citizen should respect the outcome of the democratic process.

But I do not suggest you sit idly and abandon your strongly-held conviction that your country must be pressured to end the Occupation and grant freedom and equality to Palestinians. Instead I propose you modify your calls from the prohibited tactic of boycott to measures deemed acceptable by your government

To start, you could demand that foreign military forces seal off Israel completely and reduce the amount of food that enters the country to the minimum deemed necessary to keep the population alive. Anything in excess, including clothing, children's toys and notebooks, should be excluded as "luxury items." Of course, Israel's domestic food production might help to alleviate shortages, so chicken farms and flour mills should be destroyed. Construction materials must be strictly prohibited, because Israelis have been known to use them for shelters to guard against attack, a known military purpose. Israelis also should be allowed enough water to survive, but any surplus should be diverted to provide Palestinians with lush lawns, swimming pools and relaxing baths.

Eye 2

American War Machine: Deep Politics, The CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan: book review

american War Machine
© Unknown
American War Machine: Deep Politics, The CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan. Peter Dale Scott. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2010.

In their 1964 book, The Invisible Government, journalists David Wise and Thomas B. Ross wrote that "there are two governments in the United States today. One is visible. The other is invisible. The first is the government that citizens read about in their newspapers and children study about in their civics class. The second is the interlocking, hidden machinery that carries out the policies of the United States in the Cold War. The second invisible government gathers intelligence, conducts espionage and plans and executes secret operations all over the globe."

In the 45 years since these words were written, we have learned a lot more about how the secret government operates, above and beyond the law, and continues to do so long after the Soviet demise.

Peter Dale's Scott's American War Machine represents an important contribution. Building on the themes of The War Conspiracy (1972) and Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1996), Scott, a professor emeritus of English literature at UC Berkeley and founder of its peace studies program, highlights the influence of right-wing cabals connected to Wall Street and the oil and arms industries in driving American foreign policy in a militaristic direction. Carrying out clandestine operations financed through off-the books channels, including the narcotics trade, they exemplify the crisis of democratic accountability in the United States and have yielded disastrous consequences in contributing to the destabilization of volatile regions and to the growth of international terrorism and drug production.

Scott begins the book recounting an incident in which a Vietnam Special Forces veteran who witnessed opium loaded onto CIA Air America planes had a large hole burned into the door of his car the night before their scheduled interview as a warning to keep silent. For Scott, this small act of terrorism exemplifies the repressive dimension of the American government, which most citizens are loath to acknowledge.


The Strange Silencing of Liberal America

© gwenflickr; Edited: JR / t r u t h o u t
How does political censorship work in liberal societies? When my film, Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia, was banned in the United States in 1980, the broadcaster PBS cut all contact. Negotiations were ended abruptly; phone calls were not returned. Something had happened. But what? Year Zero had already alerted much of the world to the horrors of Pol Pot, but it also investigated the critical role of the Nixon administration in the tyrant's rise to power and the devastation of Cambodia.

Six months later, a PBS official told me, "This wasn't censorship. We're into difficult political days in Washington. Your film would have given us problems with the Reagan administration. Sorry."

In Britain, the long war in Northern Ireland spawned a similar, deniable censorship. The journalist Liz Curtis compiled a list of more than 50 television films in Britain that were never shown or indefinitely delayed. The word "ban" was rarely used and those responsible would invariably insist they believed in free speech.

The Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, believes in free speech. The foundation's web site says it is "dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity." Authors, filmmakers, poets make their way to a sanctum of liberalism bankrolled by the billionaire Patrick Lannan in the tradition of Rockefeller and Ford.

Lannan also awards "grants" to America's liberal media, such as Free Speech TV, the Foundation for National Progress (publisher of the magazine Mother Jones), the Nation Institute and the TV and radio program Democracy Now! In Britain, Lannan has been a supporter of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, of which I am one of the judges. In 2008, Lannan personally supported the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, he is "devoted" to Obama.