Archive | May, 2010

News from the GMO Front

31 May

Russian scientists have proven that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are harmful to mammals in a recent announcement to kick off the Days of Defence against Environmental Hazards

Using lab animals to prove that science is evil (oh! the humanity!), the scientists discovered such genetic abnormalities as loss of reproductive ability and hair growth in the mouth. France and Austria have found the same problems in recent tests, prompting France to place an immediate ban on GMO maize.

In other GMO news, Bayer admitted last month that contamination of local Missouri farmers’ crops with GMO rice. According to experts, over 30 percent of all rice cropland in the United States is contaminated with Bayer’s unapproved rice. In their defense, Bayer explains that there is no possible way of preventing this from happening, that they followed the best possible safety practices and obviously things like this are just going to keep happening until GMOs are completely off the market. Thanks for that, Bayer. You really made our day.

Finally, an entire crop of weed-resistant corn from Monsanto has utterly failed as of April, leaving farmers in South Africa totally desperate. Some farms have suffered 80% failure, as the crops, which are terrible for the soil and environment anyway, simply failed to produce seeds, due to insufficient laboratory fertilization.

Hands Across the Sands

31 May

Although we disagree with their stance on legislative change via tax incentives, we have to admit that this is still pretty cool. People are planning a Hands Across the Sands event in 20 states for June 26th. The following is from their facebook page:

Hands Across the Sand is a movement made of people of all walks of life and crosses political affiliations. This movement is not about politics; it is about protection of our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife, fishing industry and coastal military missions. Let us share our knowledge, energies and passion for protecting all of the above from the devastating effects of oil drilling.
Mission:
To organize a national movement to oppose offshore oil drilling and champion clean energy and renewables. These gatherings will bring thousands of American citizens to our beaches and cities and will draw metaphorical and actual lines in the sand; human lines in the sand against the threat oil drilling poses to America’s coastal economies and marine environment.

To convince our State Legislators, Governors, Congress and President Obama to stop the expansion of offshore oil drilling and to adopt policies encouraging clean and renewable energy sources. America needs legislation that creates tax incentives and subsidies to encourage the growth of clean energy and renewable industries for America’s future.

Hands Across the Sands facebook page

This video is from a February Hands Across the Sands event in Florida…

The Great Climate Game, and more news from around the world

31 May

A 500 person-strong protest in New Orleans against BP on Sunday as efforts for a “top-kill junk shot” (which sounds like another term for a heroin overdose) failed miserably.

As if you already didn’t know that Australia was a political quagmire of environmental devastation and racial discrimination, two more recent actions have shown the ugly side of Australian forest and industrial policy. A “fuel reduction burn,” where the Department of Sustainability and Environment burns down important patches of forest for ‘safety purposes,’ went out of control recently, prompting conservationists to express concerns about biodiversity and protecting endangered species. Out of the 150 Masked Owls in the Victoria province, for instance, 100 are located in the area that was burned. Meanwhile, the Australian government has given approval to Rio Tinto to process up to 180 tonnes of iron ore a year at their western Australia port. In spite of Rio Tinto’s claims of being a green and diversified industrial powerhouse, they have come under fire from various groups, including countries like Norway, for environmentally heinous pursuits. Here’s an article from Counterpunch about the industrial scene in Australia: enjoy!

A roadless moratorium instated by the President has been extended, causing conservationists to breath a sigh of relief. Even the Tongass is supposed to be protected from the timber industry’s compulsive and pathalogical desire to “thin out” forests to “protect them” from fire damage and bugs. We hope that people realize that you can only cut off your nose to spite your face once, and then no nose.

Finally, the latest sham-climate conference is convening in Bonn. We know it’s a sham, because it centers around the so-called “Copenhagen Accord” that Obama signed with a few other countries. So yes, out of the 182 participating countries, at least 2/3 have been left in the dust of China, the EU and the US’s imperial “Great Climate Game.” What’s to come? Probably some overtures to make some NGO’s happy (the compromisers). Probably some empty rhetoric about reducing CO2 emissions at some point and to some amount that still wont save the planet. All told: Total Waste of Time!

ALF Monthly Report: A Busy Month Indeed

30 May

The month of May included an outstanding 41 actions around the world in furtherance of animal liberation.

Among the most brazen of these actions were
* 5 bombings in Mexico of fast food chains, vivisection supporters and eco-destructive banks
* 214 hens rescued in Sweden
* 9 hunting towers destroyed in Germany.
* Vivisection financier’s office building attacked with stones, smoke bombs and paint in Russia
* Glued locks and paint bombs at army recruiting center, meat market and horse betting office in Chile

See the whole list at the Bite Back website

CORRECTION: Not all actions listed above were claimed by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).

Massive Resistance Movement Ignored in Japan, US Military Presence to Increase

30 May

In spite of a huge resistance movement, the Prime Minister of Japan has decided to maintain a marine corps base in Okinawa called Futenma.

On May 17, a huge protest took place where 17,000 protesters joined hands and circled Futenma. On April 25, 90,000 people gathered to protest the Futenma base and the military’s presence. In spite of this huge movement, the Prime Minister moved on May 27 to keep the base in Futenma, leading the Socialist Party of Japan to completely abandon the ruling coalition today.

There are 14 military bases on the small island of Okinawa, housing half of the US soldiers in Japan. Protesters have staged sit-ins and massive protests on an escalating campaign in order to shed light on the environmental impacts of the military’s presence. Many are concerned by the escalating animosity between South Korea and North Korea after the South Korean government officially blamed the North Korean government for sinking the ROKS Cheonan, a ship in the South Korean Navy. In spite of this somewhat dubious conclusion, tension is building with Japan right in the middle of it.

The ignorance of the issue of militarization and dissent has shed light on the US’s presence in the Pacific – particularly in Guam and Hawaii, as can be seen in an exclusive interview that activists from the region gave to Democracy Now! last week.

BP’s OTHER Spill this Week

29 May

by Greg Palast for
Buzzflash.com
Friday, May 28 2010

With the Gulf Coast dying of oil poisoning, there’s no space in the press
for British Petroleum’s latest spill, just this week: over 100,000 gallons,
at its Alaska pipeline operation. A hundred thousand used to be a lot. Still
is.

On Tuesday, Pump Station 9, at Delta Junction on the 800-mile pipeline,
busted. Thousands of barrels began spewing an explosive cocktail of
hydrocarbons after “procedures weren’t properly implemented” by BP
operators, say state inspectors “Procedures weren’t properly implemented”
is, it seems, BP’s company motto.

Few Americans know that BP owns the controlling stake in the trans-Alaska
pipeline; but, unlike with the Deepwater Horizon, BP keeps its Limey name
off the Big Pipe.

There’s another reason to keep their name off the Pipe: their management of
the pipe stinks. It’s corroded, it’s undermanned and “basic maintenance” is
a term BP never heard of.

How does BP get away with it? The same way the Godfather got away with it:
bad things happen to folks who blow the whistle. BP has a habit of hunting
down and destroying the careers of those who warn of pipeline problems.

In one case, BP’s CEO of Alaskan operations hired a former CIA expert to
break into the home of a whistleblower, Chuck Hamel, who had complained of
conditions at the pipe’s tanker facility. BP tapped his phone calls with a
US congressman and ran a surveillance and smear campaign against him. When
caught, a US federal judge said BP’s acts were “reminiscent of Nazi
Germany.”

This was not an isolated case. Captain James Woodle, once in charge of the
pipe’s Valdez terminus, was blackmailed into resigning the post when he
complained of disastrous conditions there. The weapon used on Woodle was a
file of faked evidence of marital infidelity. Nice guys, eh?

Two decades ago, I had the unhappy job of leading an investigation of
British Petroleum’s management of the Alaska pipeline system. I was working
for the Chugach villages, the Alaskan Natives who own the shoreline slimed
by the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker grounding.

Even then, a courageous, steel-eyed government inspector, Dan Lawn, was
hollering about corrosion all through the BP pipeline. I say “courageous”
because Lawn kept his job only because his union’s lawyers have kept BP from
having his head.

It wasn’t until 2006, 17 years later, that BP claimed to have suddenly
discovered corrosion necessitating an emergency shut-down of the line.

It was pretty darn hard for BP to claim surprise in August 2006 that
corrosion required shutting the pipeline. Five months earlier, Inspector
Lawn had written his umpteenth warning when he identified corrosion as the
cause of a big leak .

BP should have known about the problem years before that … if only because
they had taped Dan Lawn’s home phone calls.

BP: Red, White and Bush

I don’t want readers to think BP is a foreign marauder unconcerned about
America.

The company is deeply involved in our democracy. Bob Malone, until last year
the Chairman of BP America, was also Alaska State Co-Chairman of the Bush
re-election campaign. Mr. Bush, in turn, was so impressed with BP’s care of
Alaska’s environment that he pushed again to open the state’s arctic
wildlife refuge (ANWR) to drilling by the BP consortium.

You can go to Alaska today and see for yourself the evidence of BP’s care of
the wilderness. You can smell it: the crude oil is still on the beaches from
the Exxon Valdez spill.

Exxon took all the blame for the spill because they were dumb enough to have
the company’s name on the ship. But it was BP’s pipeline managers who filed
reports that oil spill containment equipment was sitting right at the site
of the grounding near Bligh Island. However, the reports were bogus, the
equipment wasn’t there and so the beaches were poisoned. At the time, our
investigators uncovered four-volumes worth of faked safety reports and
concluded that BP was at least as culpable as Exxon for the 1,200 miles of
oil-destroyed coastline.

Nevertheless, we know BP cares about nature because they have lots of photos
of solar panels in their annual reports – and they’ve painted every one of
their gas stations green.

The green paint-job is supposed to represent the oil giant’s love of Mother
Nature. But CEO Tony Hayward knows it stands for the color of the Yankee
dollar.

In 2006, BP finally discovered the dangerous corrosion in the pipeline after
running a “smart pig” through it. The “pig” is an electronic drone that BP
should have been using continuously, though they had not done so for 14
years. Another “procedure not properly implemented.”

By not properly inspecting the pipeline for over a decade, BP failed to
prevent that March 2006 spill which polluted Prudhoe Bay. And cheaping out
on remote controls for their oil well blow-out preventers appears to have
cost the lives of 11 men on the Deepwater Horizon.

But then, failure to implement proper safety procedures has saved BP, not
millions but billions of dollars, suggests that the company’s pig is indeed,
very, very smart.

Oil Protest Draws 200 in NYC while Untold Devastation Continues

29 May


A protest in NYC drew some 200 theatrical protesters to a BP station in SOHO. Although the protest got media coverage from ABC and FOX, the police had found out about it ahead of time, and the intended protest area had been cordoned off. Also, the FOX report seems to indicate that Nuclear Power is the safer alternative to oil, which is outlandish.

Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard declared that the Deep Horizon spill is 5 times worse than they originally thought. And that doesn’t count the spill in Singapore. Singapore’s oil spill, caused by a ship colliding with a tanker, has caked the eastern coast with oil. 81 oiled animals have been rescued thus far, but we are not certain how many have died.

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