Wenonah Hauter is the founder and executive director of Food & Water Watch and the author of Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America. She said today: “Just a handful of large chemical companies including Dow and DuPont already control most of the seed supply used to grow crops like corn and soybeans, as well as the herbicides that genetically engineered seeds are designed to be grown with. Any merger that consolidates this market into fewer hands will give farmers fewer choices and put them at even more economic disadvantage. And it will make it harder for agriculture to get off the GMO-chemical treadmill that just keeps increasing in speed. The Department of Justice needs to block this merger to prevent the further corporate control of the basic building blocks of the food supply.”
Diana Moss is president of the American Antitrust Institute. She said today: “Any merger on the agricultural inputs side of DuPont and Dow will get antitrust scrutiny. Some of the markets for biotech and seeds are highly concentrated, which has been driven by Monsanto having made so many acquisitions in the past. If you put a new merger in the this mix, it’s going to raise concerns about leaving only two or maybe three firms. That’s a market landscape that doesn’t promote competition, entry, and innovation. Farmers could be squeezed even more and consumers could pay higher prices.”
Below is a statement I wrote for an accuracy.org release on Dec. 3, the day after the San Bernardino attack that killed 14 a week ago. Unfortunately, much of it continues to apply. -- Sam Husseini
Ritualistic denouncements of ‘violence’ are ubiquitous after the murderous shooting Wednesday afternoon in San Bernardino, Calif. They come from many — including U.S. officials in an administration conducting bombing campaigns as well as from grassroots Muslim activists affiliated with groups backing bombing campaigns.
It’s remarkable that Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s notion, which goes back at least to the 1980s, that the U.S. government participates in ‘wholesale terrorism’ is so rarely invoked in progressive, to say nothing of mainstream, discussions of ‘terrorism,’ even as many note hypocrisies like Christian and Muslim suspects being treated quite differently. See: 'Noam Chomsky: Obama’s Drone Assassination Program Is "The Most Extensive Global Terrorism Campaign The World Has Yet Seen,"' and The Real Terror Network, by Edward S. Herman; see below for excepts.
This massive oversight obscures all discussions of terrorism, as the elephant in the room of U.S. government violence is not meaningfully discussed. Under those conditions, discussions are not going to lead to solutions.
As I write, there’s endless media discussion along the lines of ‘Police have not identified a motive for the shooting. They have not ruled out terrorism.’ (NPR) But terrorism is not a motive. It’s a tactic to peruse a political motive or goal, like to dominate the Mideast (an apparent U.S. government motive) or violently coerce the people of the U.S. to stop their government from dominating the Mideast (an apparent al-Qaeda motive).
Nor should the word ‘radicalized’ be demonized. Radicalized can and should mean to gain a greater political understanding, to see root causes of problems; it’s antithetical to someone who decides meaningful solutions lay in slaughtering 14 civilians.
Restrictions on information often seem designed to make officialdom appear prescient, or at least have that effect. For example, a name of one of the suspects, Syed Farook (or, rather, a mangled form of it) was mentioned on Twitter at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday — some seven hours before it was made public by officialdom and major media, but well before President Obama suggested — apparently for the first time — that people on the quite problematic no-fly list should be particularly restricted from buying guns.
A summary of the votes in question on Nov. 3 on the UN's website states: "The text, entitled 'No first placement of weapons in outer space,' reaffirmed the importance and urgency of the objective to prevent an outer space arms race and the willingness of States to contribute to that common goal." The UN summery references a "draft treaty, introduced by China and the Russian Federation. ... The draft was approved by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Ukraine, United States, Georgia), with 47 abstentions." Yet, James, in her remarks painted Russia and China as the aggressors.
This was a rare instance of officialdom didn't seek to "blame the Muslims" after a bombing. And for good reason. The ruling party in Spain, the inaptly named People's Party, had dragged the country into the Iraq war a year before and they feared with good cause that if the attack was shown to be Mideast related, the public would be furious -- and an election was scheduled three days later. In fact, the day of the election, al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.
Paris and London should be looking toward Madrid in taking steps toward shedding their imperial mindsets in stopping their war-obsessed elites. Hollande is clearly escalating the bombing that France has been conducting in Syria for over a year -- calling for "merciless" bombing. British Prime Minister David Cameron is now pushing for Britain to join the bombing in Syria -- in effect adopting a U.S. style of ecumenical imperialism -- and not just in their traditional domains like Iraq.
"Trump said such techniques are needed to confront terrorists who 'chop off our young people's heads' and 'build these iron cages, and they'll put 20 people in them and they drop them in the ocean for 15 minutes and pull them up 15 minutes later.'
"'It works,' Trump said over and over again. 'Believe me, it works. And you know what? If it doesn't work, they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing. It works.'"
Nothing solidifies the establishment more than a seemingly raging debate between two wings of it in which they are both wrong. Not only wrong, but in their wrongness, helping to cover their joint iniquities, all the while engaging in simultaneous embrace and fingerpointing to convey the illusion of seriousness and choice.The truth is that torture did work, but not the way its defenders claim. It "worked" to produce justifications for policies the establishment wanted, like the Iraq war. This is actually tacitly acknowledged in the [Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture, partly declassified last year] -- or one should say, it's buried in it. Footnote 857 of the report is about Ibn Shaykh al-Libi, who was captured in Afghanistan shortly after the U.S. invasion and was interrogated by the FBI. He told them all he knew, but then the CIA rendered him to the brutal Mubarak regime in Egypt, in effect outsourcing their torture. From the footnote:"Ibn Shaykh al-Libi reported while in [censored: 'Egyptian'] custody that Iraq was supporting al-Qa'ida and providing assistance with chemical and biological weapons. Some of this information was cited by Secretary Powell in his speech at the United Nations, and was used as a justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Ibn Shaykh al-Libi recanted the claim after he was rendered to CIA custody on February [censored], 2003, claiming that he had been tortured by the [censored, likely 'Egyptians'], and only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear. For more more details, see Volume III." Of course, Volume III -- like most of the Senate report -- has not been made public....
So, contrary to the claim that torture helped save lives, torture helped build the case of lies for war that took thousands of U.S. lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, helping to plunge the region into astounding violence, bringing al-Qaeda into Iraq, leading to the rise of ISIS and further bloody wars.
Exploiting false information has been well understood within the government. Here's a 2002 memo from the military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency to the Pentagon's top lawyer -- it debunks the "ticking time bomb" scenario and acknowledged how false information derived from torture can be useful:An additional irony is that Trump is putting himself out there as the guy opposed to the Iraq war.
"The requirement to obtain information from an uncooperative source as quickly as possible -- in time to prevent, for example, an impending terrorist attack that could result in loss of life -- has been forwarded as a compelling argument for the use of torture. ... The error inherent in this line of thinking is the assumption that, through torture, the interrogator can extract reliable and accurate intelligence. History and a consideration of human behavior would appear to refute this assumption." The document concludes: "The application of extreme physical and/or psychological duress (torture) has some serious operational deficits, most notably, the potential to result in unreliable information. This is not to say that the manipulation of the subject's environment in an effort to dislocate their expectations and induce emotional responses is not effective. On the contrary, systematic manipulation of the subject's environment is likely to result in a subject that can be exploited for intelligence information and other national strategic concerns." [PDF]
So torture can result in the subject being "exploited" for various propaganda and strategic concerns. This memo should be well known but isn't, largely because the two reporters for the Washington Post, Peter Finn and Joby Warrick, who wrote about in 2009 it managed to avoid the most crucial part of it in their story, as Jeff Kaye, a psychologist active in the anti-torture movement, has noted. One reporter who has highlighted critical issues along these lines is Marcy Wheeler -- noting as the recent report was being released: "The Debate about Torture We’re Not Having: Exploitation."
Below is Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's speech of Nov. 14, the day after the Paris attacks and two days after the Beirut attacks. It's translated by Rania Masri @rania_masri and posted on her facebook page.] I didn't see any report of it in the U.S. media and only learned about it through As'ad AbuKhalil's "Angry Arab" blog.
A few passages bear particular note: "First: We condemn the attacks by ISIS in France. The people in this region that have suffered under the earthquake of ISIS -- including Lebanon -- are the most empathetic to the suffering that has befallen the French people yesterday. We express our empathy and our solidarity with all who have suffered under ISIS. ...
"All that I have said about our Palestinian brothers also applies to our Syrian brothers in Lebanon. If one of the bombers is Syrian, that gives no one any excuse to attack Syrian refugees. We have been responsible in this regard as well, but it bodes repeating. many of the refugees support us politically, and others are opposed to the regime and are opposed to ISIS also. Yes, of course, there are some among the refugees who may support ISIS. We cannot generalize against all the Syrian refugees -- such is an ethical and religious responsibility...
Here's the speech with some very brief comments from Rania:
First: We condemn the attacks by ISIS in France. The people in this region that have suffered under the earthquake of ISIS - including Lebanon - are the most empathetic to the suffering that has befallen the French people yesterday. We express our empathy and our solidarity with all who have suffered under ISIS
"Equally important, and this is a point that must be made – countries in the region like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE – countries of enormous wealth and resources – have contributed far too little in the fight against ISIS. That must change. King Abdallah [of Jordan] is absolutely right when he says that that the Muslim nations must lead the fight against ISIS, and that includes some of the most wealthy and powerful nations in the region, who, up to this point have done far too little.
"Saudi Arabia has the 3rd largest defense budget in the world, yet instead of fighting ISIS they have focused more on a campaign to oust Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Kuwait, a country whose ruling family was restored to power by U.S. troops after the first Gulf War, has been a well-known source of financing for ISIS and other violent extremists. It has been reported that Qatar will spend $200 billion on the 2022 World Cup, including the construction of an enormous number of facilities to host that event – $200 billion on hosting a soccer event, yet very little to fight against ISIS. Worse still, it has been widely reported that the government has not been vigilant in stemming the flow of terrorist financing, and that Qatari individuals and organizations funnel money to some of the most extreme terrorist groups, including al Nusra and ISIS." [emphasis added]