Monday, July 30, 2012

Former Chief Prosecutor at Gitmo to Speak in LA Tuesday

Retired Air Force Col. Morris Davis,a former chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba who is now on the faculty of the Howard University School of Law will participate in a panel discussion entitled:

"RECKONING WITH TORTURE: Memos and Testimonies from the "War on Terror"about torture"

7:30 p.m. in Los Angeles on Tuesday at the Hammer Museum UCLA

Please join PTV as Executive Director Julie Gutman participates in a panel discussion with The Torture Report author Larry Siems, Matthew Alexander, former Guantanamo Chief Prosecutor Col. Morris Davis, and the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer.

Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024

10th anniversary of justifying torture

Waterboarding in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime. Painting by former prison inmate Vann Nath at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - Credit here

"Torture is counterproductive." Professional interrogators — Ali Soufan of the FBI, Matthew Alexander of the Air Force and Glenn Carle of the CIA — have said this clearly. "Torture is always illegal."


How should we mark the 10th anniversary of the effort by the Bush administration to justify torture?

By Morris D. Davis
July 30, 2012

The Bush administration "torture memos" will be 10 years old this week. As the administration developed its interrogation policies, it concealed various forms of torture under the moniker "enhanced interrogation techniques." It consulted with the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice on the legality of these techniques, including waterboarding, walling (slamming detainees against walls), forcing detainees into stress positions and subjecting them to sleep deprivation. Ultimately, the OLC provided legal cover for the use of most of these techniques.

On Aug. 1, 2002, in a memo addressed to the general counsel of the CIA, Assistant Atty. Gen. Jay Bybee wrote: "When the waterboard is used, the subject's body responds as if the subject were drowning…. The subject may experience the fear or panic associated with the feeling of drowning."

I know something about the feeling of drowning. The closest I've come to death was more than 20 years ago, while I was white-water rafting in West Virginia with some Air Force friends. As the raft careened through the rapids, two of us were tossed out. As the current pulled us past a large rock that jutted out into the river, it curled down and took me with it. I could see the surface five or six feet above me, but the water pushed me down harder than my legs could push me up. As I struggled to live, I thought about my wife who was pregnant with a child I might never see.

It was as if time slowed down. I experienced 10 minutes worth of thoughts in the minute I was underwater. Finally, my lungs aching, I pushed away from the rock rather than up toward the surface, and seconds later, I popped up, gasping, terrified.

As the CIA memo makes clear, that is the point of waterboarding. "Any reasonable person undergoing this procedure … would feel as if he is drowning … due to the uncontrollable physiological sensation he is experiencing...," Bybee wrote. "It constitutes a threat of imminent death." Nonetheless, he concludes that such treatment would not be torture because the harm would not be prolonged.

I suspect that Bybee never fell off a raft into white water, and never came close to death by drowning, because if he had, I feel certain he would have had a very different view of whether it causes prolonged harm.

Past administrations, both Republican and Democratic, had opposed torture, but the Bush administration embraced it by renaming it enhanced interrogation techniques and claiming that it was necessary for our national security. Upon taking office, President Obama issued an executive order halting the use of torture.

Torture is counterproductive. Professional interrogators — Ali Soufan of the FBI, Matthew Alexander of the Air Force and Glenn Carle of the CIA — have said this clearly.

Torture is always illegal. The United States ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture in 1994, agreeing to abide by the following proscription: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

Torture is also a moral abomination. As the National Religious Campaign Against Torture — made up of member institutions representing followers of the Bahai faith, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and more — attests, it runs contrary to the teachings of all religions and dishonors all faiths. It is an egregious violation of the human rights and dignity of each and every person and results in the degradation of all involved — the victim, perpetrator and policymakers.

"Any reasonable person" understands that the United States engaged in torture during the Bush administration. And yet members of that administration still defend their actions. They argue that the enhanced interrogation techniques they used or authorized were not torture. Referring to the now discredited torture memos, they claim that the Department of Justice verified that these techniques were not criminal acts.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has undertaken an investigation into the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques allowed by the memos. It is essential that its findings be released to the public so that the American people can know the truth about what was done in their name.

And we should mark the 10th anniversary of the effort by the Bush administration to justify torture, remembering that as a nation founded on religious and moral values, we must work to ensure that U.S. government-sponsored torture never occurs again.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

URL for the above article

Comments under the above article on the LA Times

Today find this article here

READ the Comments to the LA Op Ed here


Corroboration that the US has used and STILL uses torture and injustice in various prisons or cells still under its jurisdiction is widely available. For starters read the articles just below and be sure to read Andy Worthington's books "The Guantanamo Files" and "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo" if you haven't read them yet.

See "Lost boys of Bagram still live in prison's shadow" here

Hear this RADIO interview with Scott Horton Attorney here It's the latest 20-minute interview between Horton and Worthington which came about because Scott had read Andy's article: "Bagram: Still a Black Hole for Foreign Prisoners". Both the article and the interview were about the ongoing injustice of the US prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, the graveyard of the Geneva Conventions and a place from which it is as apparently impossible for cleared prisoners to be freed.

Find more information on related issues on International Justice Network. Here are just a few of the urgent and important info listed and to be found here Then note as well the apparent good news about the recent decision of Judge Bates which may be once again treated as worthless by our current administration here

Torture and imprisonment similar to that used during the violent Middle Ages and in other nations we have considered without human rights has been and is STILL performed by our "land of the just and the free" and in much of the world is STILL clearly connected to the USA. Our America the Beautiful has YET to outlaw torture both on paper and in deed. That ours is a nation which tortures others is still currently true in Gitmo, Baghram and other places where US prisoners are rendered and where torture may well be still "outsourced" and where others can be "legally" blamed.
Surely we are able as individuals and groups to find ways to seek justice on these issues at this crucial time in history?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Franz Kafka Lives (at Guantanamo and Bagram)

" incarceration netherworld that seems likely to persist as indefinitely as the detention of many of the people caught in it."

Paul Pillar

July 24, 2012

Among the legal anomalies and affronts to justice involved in certain things the United States does in the name of counterterrorism is an incarceration netherworld that seems likely to persist as indefinitely as the detention of many of the people caught in it. We didn't seem to have this problem before 9/11. But the popular sense, after that one off-the-charts terrorist event, that America was “at war” led to the problem. The Bush administration obliged by declaring a “war on terror.” Applying the established law of war would not suffice, however; that would have meant giving suspected terrorists the rights of prisoners of war. The response was to handle anyone who came into U.S. hands with some suspicion of possibly having something to do with terrorism as if they were not subject to any system of law and the rights associated with it. People scoffed up in Afghanistan or elsewhere were declared to be “illegal combatants” if they were declared to be anything at all. Most were sent to a newly established detention facility at Guantanamo, the location of which was not chosen so the prisoners could enjoy the mild Caribbean climate. The location was chosen with the intention of keeping detentions there outside the purview of anyone's law, given Guantanamo's special status as a base under a long-term lease that is outside the United States but also not subject to the sovereign control of any foreign country.

The ploy has not worked completely, in that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush in 2008 that Guantanamo detainees have a right to contest their detention in U.S. courts. But the specific practices at Guantanamo continue to reflect the legal vacuum in which the prisoners find themselves. One recent decision by the Obama administration about which the New York Times editorial page appropriately took exception severely limits the right of prisoners to consult their attorneys in confidence. As one of the lawyers involved pointed out, this vitiates the right of habeas corpus that the Supreme Court formally bestowed four years ago.

It is not just prisoners at Guantanamo who are affected. This month a district court heard for the second time a case involving prisoners being held at a detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan. The same court had earlier interpreted the Boumediene decision as applying not only to Guantanamo prisoners but also ones held at Bagram who had been captured someplace other than Afghanistan. That decision was reversed on grounds that a war zone is a war zone—and thus outside the jurisdiction of a civilian court—even if the prisoners in question had been nabbed somewhere else, although the appellate court left a possible opening for rehearing, leading to the current proceedings.

The main trouble-maker in much of this is the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, to which the Supreme Court seems content to give very free rein on this subject. It was the D.C. circuit court that ruled that capturing someone outside a war zone and then moving him into a war zone effectively removes his habeas rights. In another peculiar decision that reversed a district court's order to release a Guantanamo prisoner, the majority on a D.C. circuit court panel effectively said that any documents the government presents in arguing for continued detention should be accepted at face value—even though many such documents reflect questionable and unverified assertions. Near the end of its just-concluded session, the Supreme Court let this appellate court ruling stand without comment, even though the appellate judges who made that ruling barely disguised their contempt for the Boumediene decision.

A problem all along with the “war” formulation as applied to suspected terrorism is not only the twists one has to go through to avoid granting prisoner-of-war status. Since there is no well-defined entity this “war” is being waged against, there is no definable end to the anomalies involved. This problem applies not only to authorizations to use military force but also to detentions.

With no end in sight to the fundamental legal peculiarity involved, at least some of the procedural unfairness should be peeled back, such as that involving the attorney-client privilege. The executive branch's attorneys should also stop challenging the right of prisoners to petition for habeas corpus and instead concentrate on the facts in each case that would warrant continued detention. Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court ought to show the D.C. circuit who is boss by agreeing in its next term to hear one of the detention cases on which a majority at the circuit court seems determined to place its insubordinate stamp.

This article was posted on The National Interest (evidently a middle of the line news medea perhaps leaning slightly toward conservative and the right?) Their July-August 2012 edition has just been posted on line if you want to check it out.

BLOGGER'S NOTE: I was merely collecting information for a conference call to add to my folder and books. I didn't have time to stop for anything else, yet I was caught by this literary and sobering title. Given this journalist's troubling background and the tone of what little else I've seen by him, I was rather surprised that he is bolder here and gives some crucial statements with which to corroborate many other writers and human rights activists on these topics. Surely it's well past time to give pause and to do all we can to help bring back a rule of law in these United States -- United? -- and to become friends to humilty when we see the horrific destruction and suffering which has occurred with just about everything we touched whether leagally in our borders or not -- especially since we declared the
"War on Terror". What have we learned as a nation? What will it take for us to change?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Love is the Ark so Sell Your Cleverness...

Love is the ark appointed for the righteous,

Which annuls the danger and provides a way of escape.

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.

Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition.


Painter bio for image above post

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Well-Wishing during Ramadan and Av (From the Shalom Center)

The Shalom Report

When Ramadan and Av Unite
Dear friends,

Asalaam aleikum, shalom aleichem; Ramadan mubarak, Chodesh Av tov!

Last night, as the New Moon glimmered, the Jewish and Muslim communities both entered a solemn month, known to one as Ramadan and the other as Av.

In both, fasting takes on great importance as a way of focusing spiritual energy.  

During the whole month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. As they do, they turn their attention from material gain and  physical pleasures to the call of God to serve the poor, to work for justice, to meditate on what is deep joy rather than immediate pleasure.

ince Ramadan is a lunar month and the Muslim calendar is a purely lunar calendar, Ramadan moves in a majestic march through the solar year, as the years unfold — sometimes in Spring or Summer or Autumn or Winter.  This year, in the Northern Hemisphere it comes in a scorching mid-summer when the time between sunrise and sunset is longest. So refraining from food and especially from water through the long hot daylight is especially difficult this year. The month can remind us all to connect with compassion not only with the Muslims in our lives but also with the poor who live in hunger through all the year.

 Jews enter the month of Av with an eye toward its ninth day, Tisha B’Av, a day of lament for the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem. On that day, Jews fast for 24 hours, from sunset to sunset of the next day. This year the ninth day of Av falls on Shabbat; so the fast and lamentation are postponed to begin after Shabbat on Saturday night, July 28, leading  into Sunday, July 29.

In our generation, the Av lament can broaden from ancient Temples:  We can all lament the growing dangers to the Earth — which is the Holy Temple of all peoples and all life-forms. Said the ancient rabbis, even broader, more universal, than the Exile from Jerusalem and its Book of Lamentation (called in Hebrew Eicha), was God’s lament “Ayekka” (using the same consonants) as the Exile from the Garden of Eden began.
The Dome of great beauty in the photograph below is an extraordinary Muslim shrine. It stands in Jerusalem where the ancient Temple stood before Imperial Rome destroyed it. Its sacred beauty could bind the Muslim and Jewish communities together. See below for how some have been able to see and portray this possibility

That Exile was the result of the original spoiled relationship between Humankind and the Earth: In an Earth of great abundance, God called on the humans to eat of it but show some self-restraint, not to gobble it up. They failed to restrain themselves and as a result the abundance vanished.   This is a recurring disaster of human history  ----  until our generation, at locale after locale, region after region. (Recall how BP’s refusal to act with self-restraint led to the oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.)  So we can address these dangers to the Earth as the central wisdom of Av this year.

 Jewish wisdom also saw Tisha B’Av (in the afternoon, once through lament and tears we have taken responsibility for what we did to bring on the Destructions) as the day on which Messiah was born/ is to be born. The day of disaster clears away old habits, old structures, and opens up a new possibility — the days of peace and justice, what Dr. Martin Luther King called the Beloved Community. The day when a New Temple, truly a new Home for God, can be built where the old one was destroyed.

 So both Ramadan and Av can call us to turn away from material excess -- to turn toward rebuilding God’s Home throughout our planet, the Home we ourselves have damaged by material excess.

In a small synagogue in the mystics’ sacred city of Safed, there is an unexpected painting on the ceiling — a painting of the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine in the Old City of Jerusalem. (For a sense of the beauty of the Dome, see the
graphic above.)


Because the Dome stands where the Temple stood before Imperial Rome destroyed it. Because that tiny synagogue of passionate Jewish mystics could see a new Home for God arising there -- not to destroy their hopes, not to fulfill their hopes, but to expand their hopes.

May we all join in that greater seeing in this year when Av and Ramadan unite.

Shalom, salaam --  Arthur

Click to our website here for materials on Tisha B’Av today.
For the Rabbis' midrashic connection between Eicha and the Ayekka of Eden, see Midrash Eicha Rabbah, Proems IV.
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

How did the Crusades end...or did they?

REALLY HAVE THEY ENDED IN OUR INNER AND SOCIAL CONSCIENCES? (or our SUBconsciences?) Here are a few more specific conversation starters: What might we learn from both OUR cultural - religious - political versions of The Crusades? What might we learn from OTHER perspectives? What are the lessons of history in this case? What can we do NOW to end our mistaken or violent/revenge-filled/unenlightened thinking? If I am unable to convert the following links/references right now to easy linked form, plz forgive my rush...I will try to do so as soon as able. Yet I don't want to lose these... Ignore the links below if you want to wait for easier use and/or look up your own sources for the responses... None of these in full represent my own opinion nor do I verify the accuracy of any... This one may be a bit more careful with facts than some from a Western point of view that is?? (Although I don't agree with much if anything of this one -- the arguments may shed a little light...I think Todd may be among the most enlightened here...with whom to you find unity?) None of these above have much if anything to do with my personal view yet each may offer a small glimpse of a bit of the puzzle (along with the comments under each. Again, I'd love to hear of your own responses and considerations...)
This painting is called 'First Crusader Leader' while the other painting is simply called 'Saluddin'. The painting on top is called 'Jonathan Embraces David' -- also see the same painter's 'The Beatitudes'(if you can find or view it large enough and the painter is Caspar LUIKEN, Dutch, 1672-1708) Both Luiken's paintings present a theme of reconciliation, liberation and peace. All of these images were found easily in the internet cache and are available as jpg images, if I recall rightly.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

To WHOM is Monsanto Accountable?

IS Monsanto About to Gain Immunity From Federal Law?
By Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins, Alternet
07 July 12 
hile many Americans were firing up barbecues and breaking out the sparklers to celebrate Independence Day, biotech industry executives were more likely chilling champagne to celebrate another kind of independence: immunity from federal law.
A so-called “Monsanto rider,” quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, would require – not just allow, but require - the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do is ask, and the questionable crops could be released into the environment where they could potentially contaminate conventional or organic crops and, ultimately, the nation’s food supply.
Unless the Senate or a citizen’s army of farmers and consumers can stop them, the House of Representatives is likely to ram this dangerous rider through any day now.
In a statement issued last month, the Center For Food Safety had this to say about the biotech industry’s latest attempt to circumvent legal and regulatory safeguards:
Ceding broad and unprecedented powers to industry, the rider poses a direct threat to the authority of U.S. courts, jettisons the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) established oversight powers on key agriculture issues and puts the nation’s farmers and food supply at risk.
In other words, if this single line in the 90-page Agricultural Appropriations bill slips through, it’s Independence Day for the biotech industry.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) has sponsored an amendment to kill the rider, whose official name is “the farmers assurance” provision. But even if DeFazio’s amendment makes it through the House vote, it still has to survive the Senate. Meanwhile, organizations like the Organic Consumers AssociationCenter for Food SafetyFoodDemocracyNow!, the Alliance for Natural Health USA and many others are gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures in protest of the rider, and in support of DeFazio’s amendment.
Will Congress do the right thing and keep what are arguably already-weak safeguards in place, to protect farmers and the environment? Or will industry win yet another fight in the battle to exert total control over our farms and food supply?
Biotech’s ‘Legislator of the Year’ behind the latest sneak attack
Whom do we have to thank for this sneak attack on USDA safeguards? The agricultural sub-committee chair Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) – who not coincidentally was voted "legislator of the year for 2011-2012" by none other than the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto and DuPont.  As reported by Mother Jones, the Biotechnology Industry Organization declared Kingston a "champion of America's biotechnology industry" who has "helped to protect funding for programs essential to the survival of biotechnology companies across the United States."
Kingston clearly isn’t interested in the survival of America’s farmers.
Aiding and abetting Kingston is John C. Greenwood, former US Congressman from Pennsylvania and now president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. No stranger to the inner workings of Congress, Greenwood lobbied for the “farmers assurance provision” in a June 13 letter to Congress, according toMother Jones and Bloomberg, claiming that “a stream of lawsuits” have slowed approvals and “created uncertainties” for companies developing GE crops.
Greenwood was no doubt referring to several past lawsuits, including one brought in 2007 by the Center for Food safety challenging the legality of the USDA’s approval of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa. In that case, a federal court ruled that the USDA’s approval of GMO alfalfa violated environmental laws by failing to analyze risks such as the contamination of conventional and organic alfalfa, the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds, and increased use of Roundup.  The USDA was forced to undertake a four-year study of GMO alfalfa’s impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). During the four-year study, farmers were banned from planting or selling the crop – creating that ‘uncertainty” that Greenwood is so worried about.
The USDA study slowed down the release of GMO alfalfa, but ultimately couldn’t stop it. As Mother Jones reports, in 2011, the USDA deregulated the crop, even though according to its own study, the USDA said that “gene flow” between GM and non-GM alfalfa is "probable," and threatens organic dairy producers and other users of non-GMO alfalfa, and that there is strong potential for the creation of Roundup-resistant "superweeds" that require ever-higher doses of Roundup and application of ever-more toxic herbicides. The report noted that two million acres of US farmland already harbor Roundup-resistant weeds caused by other Roundup Ready crops.
In another case – which perhaps paved the way for this latest provision now before the House - the USDA in 2011 outright defied a federal judge’s order to halt the planting of Monsanto’s controversial Roundup-Ready GMO sugar beets until it completed an Environmental Impact Statement. The USDA allowed farmers to continue planting the crop even while it was being assessed for safety on the grounds that there were no longer enough non-GMO seeds available to plant.
Who loses if Monsanto wins this one?
Among the biggest losers if Congress ignores the DeFazio amendment and passes the “farmers assurance provision” are thousands of farmers of conventional and organic crops, including those who rely on the export market for their livelihoods. An increasing number of global markets are requiring GMO-free agricultural products or, at the very least, enforcing strict GMO labeling laws. If this provision passes, it will allow unrestricted planting of potentially dangerous crops, exposing other safe and non-GMO crops to risk of contamination.
As we’ve seen in the past, farmers who grow crops that have been inadequately tested and later found dangerous, or whose safe crops become contaminated by nearby unsafe crops, risk huge losses and potentially, lawsuits from their customers. Ultimately, the entire US agriculture market and US economy suffers.
We have only to look back to the StarLink corn and LibertyLink rice contamination episodes for evidence of how misguided this provision is. In October 2000, traces of an Aventis GM corn called StarLink showed up in taco shells in the U.S. even though the corn had not been approved for human consumption because leading allergists were concerned it would cause food allergies. The contamination led to a massive billion dollar recall of over 300 food brands. The 'StarLink' gene also turned up unexpectedly in a second company's corn and in US corn exports, causing a costly disruption to the nation’s grain-handling system, and spurring lawsuits by farmers whose crops were damaged.
A similar disaster occurred for US rice farmers in 2006. In august of that year the USDA announced that mutant DNA of Liberty Link, a genetically modified variety of rice developed by Bayer CropScience, a then-German agri-business giant, were found in commercially-grown long-grain rice in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Missouri. LibertyLink rice, named for Bayer’s broad-spectrum herbicide glufosinate-ammonium, was never intended for human consumption. Following the announcement of contamination, Japan banned all long-grain rice imports from the U.S., and U.S. trade with the EU and other countries ground to a halt.  Rice farmers and cooperatives were forced to engage in five long years of litigation against Bayer
CropScience in an attempt to recoup some of their losses.
All the other ways this provision is just plain bad
There’s a reason we have laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Plant Protection Act of 2000, which was specifically designed “to strengthen the safety net for agricultural producers by providing greater access to more affordable risk management tools and improved protection from production and income loss . . .”. The ‘farmers assurance provision” is a thinly disguised attempt by the biotech industry to undermine these protections. Worse yet, it’s an affront to everyone who believes the US judicial system exists to protect US citizens and public health.
Why should you be outraged about this provision? For all these reasons:
·      The Monsanto Rider is an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. Judicial review is an essential element of U.S. law, providing a critical and impartial check on government decisions that may negatively impact human health, the environment or livelihoods. Maintaining the clear-cut boundary of a Constitutionally-guaranteed separation of powers is essential to our government. This provision will blur that line.
·      Judicial review is a gateway, not a roadblock. Congress should be fully supportive of our nation’s independent judiciary. The ability of courts to review, evaluate and judge an issue that impacts public and environmental health is a strength, not a weakness, of our system. The loss of this fundamental safeguard could leave public health, the environment and livelihoods at risk.
·      It removes the “legal brakes” that prevent fraud and abuse. In recent years, federal courts have ruled that several USDA GE crop approvals violated the law and required further study of their health and environmental impact. These judgments indicated that continued planting would cause harm to the environment and/or farmers and ordered interim planting restrictions pending further USDA analysis and consideration. The Monsanto rider would prevent a federal court from putting in place court-ordered restrictions, even if the approval were fraudulent or involved bribery.
·      It’s unnecessary and duplicative. Every court dealing with these issues is supposed to carefully weigh the interests of all affected farmers and consumers, as is already required by law. No farmer has ever had his or her crops destroyed as a result. USDA already has working mechanisms in place to allow partial approvals, and the Department has used them, making this provision completely unnecessary.
·      It shuts out the USDA. The rider would not merely allow, it would compel the Secretary of Agriculture to immediately grant any requests for permits to allow continued planting and commercialization of an unlawfully approved GE crop. With this provision in place, USDA may not be able to prevent costly contamination episodes like Starlink or Liberty Link rice, which have already cost farmers hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. The rider would also make a mockery of USDA’s legally mandated review, transforming it into a ‘rubber stamp’ approval process.
·      It’s a back-door amendment of a statute. This rider, quietly tacked onto an appropriations bill, is in effect a substantial amendment to USDA’s governing statute for GE crops, the Plant Protection Act. If Congress feels the law needs to be changed, it should be done in a transparent manner by holding hearings, soliciting expert testimony and including full opportunity for public debate.
If we allow this “Monsanto Rider” to be slipped into the FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, consumers and farmers will lose what little control we have now over what we plant and what we eat.
If you would like to join the hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens who have already written to Congress in support of the DeFazio amendment, please sign our petition here.
Alexis Baden-Mayer is Political Director of the Organic Consumers Association.
Ronnie Cummins is founder and director of the Organic Consumers Association. Cummins is author of numerous articles and books, including "Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers" (Second Revised Edition Marlowe & Company 2004).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Who Would Jesus Kill?

One version of crusader mentality and it's disastrous effects today was posted March
in (note 443 plus comments)
The following is merely a table of possible historical facts & concerns about the terrible
Crusades-- a most bloody unfortunate affair. As I understand by repeated research,
the Crusades were started by one of the most violent of leaders. (Who unfortunately was quite a a very misled pope. We have had popes of peace and popes of war.  What does are current
pope have in mind?) 

Have Christians en masse ever apologized deeply with hearts of genuine remorse for 
having inflicted such an horrific tragedy onto humanity and the planet?  Isn't it about

For one possible list of questions on the inhumane Crusades & proposed two perspectives for 
each answer go here (you may need to put
this url into a google search if it doesn't come up easily)

Find this famous painting with notes here:

What still haunts me to this day is a question I had as a young child -- I believe this
question started when I was about twelve years of age. During the course of my life
my wording of this question varied only slightly until I gave up.

I gave up because no Christian from whom I sought an answer had one.  Then I found out
there were others who believed in Jesus who did not have the same beliefs in
judgement belonging to people.  Nor did the Peacemakers I began to follow believe
that Jesus (or any leader or prophet or true son of God) called us to start war on earth.

Here's the question I began to ask when a child:

If our religion believes God will put people in hell if they "don't believe in Christ as
their Savior"-- then why on earth do we believe it's right to hurry that process in other nations
where fewer people believe this by killing off so many before they die a natural death?

NO ANSWER was ever forthcoming...

So this experience was the beginning of my journey to seek out the Peacemakers everywhere. 

Perhaps readers of this blogpost would offer other references experiences or reflections
on this matter..