Deep State Death Spiral

SUBHEAD: The nation is wallowing self-piteously in a fetid trough of denial and adolescent rage/magical thinking.

By Charles Hugh Smith on 26 May 2015 for Of Two Minds -
(http://www.oftwominds.com/blogmay15/surplus-repression5-15.html)


Image above: Adolescent dream - Captain America -  battered but still heroic in his fight against evil. From (http://bigbmh.deviantart.com/art/Captain-America-Fan-Poster-216119404).

If you type Deep State into the custom search window in the right sidebar, the search results fill 10 pages. I think it is fair to say I have long had a deep interest in the Deep State.

The Deep State is generally assumed to be monolithic: of one mind, so to speak, unified in worldview, strategy and goals.

In my view, this is an over-simplification of a constantly shifting battleground of paradigms and power between a number of factions and alliances within the Deep State. Disagreements are not publicized, of course, but they become apparent years or decades after the conflict was resolved, usually by one faction consolidating the Deep State's group-think around their worldview and strategy.

History suggests that this low-intensity conflict within the ruling Elite is generally a healthy characteristic of leadership in good times. As times grow more troubled, however, the unity of the ruling Elite fractures into irreconcilable political disunity, which becomes a proximate cause of the dissolution of the Empire if it continues.

I recently proposed the idea that Wall Street now poses a strategic threat to national security and thus to the Deep State itself: Who Gets Thrown Under the Bus in the Next Financial Crisis? (March 3, 2014)

Many consider it "impossible" that Wall Street could possibly lose its political grip on the nation's throat, but I suggest that Wall Street has over-reached, and is now teetering at the top of the S-Curve, i.e. it has reached Peak Wall Street.

Have We Reached Peak Wall Street?

Consider what the extremes of Wall Street/Federal Reserve predation, parasitism, avarice and power have done to the nation, and then ask if other factions within the Deep State are blind to the destructive consequences.

Is the Deep State Fracturing into Disunity? (March 14, 2014)

Frequent contributor B.C. recently submitted two working papers from the Deep State network that suggested rampant financialization was harming the real economy. This is powerful evidence that the corrosive consequences of financialization on the stability of the real economy is filtering into the group-think hive of the Deep State Network:

Why does financial sector growth crowd out real economic growth? (Bank for International Settlements) After studying how financial development affects aggregate productivity growth, we concluded that the level of financial development is good only up to a point, after which it becomes a drag on growth, and that a fast-growing financial sector is detrimental to aggregate productivity growth.

Rethinking Financial Deepening: Stability and Growth in Emerging Markets (International Monetary Fund)

Here is a sketch of The Deep State Network, which includes not only the nodes of centralized power but of the institutions that feed and support the Deep State's decisions and policies. These include Ivy League and federally funded research universities, the Mainstream Media, think-tanks, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and the spectrum of institutions that influence the public's ability to frame and contextualize events, i.e. the institutions of propaganda.

A recent interview with Deep State scholar Peter Dale Scott made me wonder if the increasingly repressive policies of the visible state are also being recognized as destabilizing and therefore a threat to the entire American Imperial Project.

Scott's key phrase is surplus repression, which I interpret to mean repression that exceeds the practical needs of the Deep State to maintain public order.

We can anticipate the Deep State fracturing over the question of how much repression is enough: those who believe there is no upper limit on the effectiveness of repression, and those who understand that at some point, unlimited policing and financial repression will unleash a social destabilization that will threaten the integrity of the Empire and the Deep State itself.

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

The American Deep State: An Interview with Peter Dale Scott

Peter Phillips: We’re really happy to have you here. I’ve just finished reading your book, The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy In your new book you talk about the egalitarian mindset culture of America. We believe in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, open government, transparency. And then you say also that there’s a dark side, or a deep side inside America that’s repressive, that is looking to be able to detain people without warrants, warrantless wire tapping and all of that – there’s a repressive side. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you frame this understanding of this culture of repression?

Peter Dale Scott: Actually, I think there’s always been a deep state in America and there have been times when it has been very repressive. We’re in a period of, you might say, surplus repression – repression that doesn’t serve anyone’s interests, not even the interests of the ruling class. (emphasis by CHS)

But it’s not in its essence repressive; it’s just repressive when it wants to be. I think a lot of the trouble we’re in now, actually is – and I say this in my book – that in the 1970s the deep state – the bankers, the lawyers, the people in foundations, all kinds of people – were really quite terrified at the forces in America calling for revolution – the African-Americans, but also, equally and perhaps ultimately even more, the anti-war movement because if you had a successful anti-war movement that would mean America would have to get out of the business of war. And that was, I think, an intolerable thought for them.

I think the Deep State was terrified of more than the anti-war movement--it was terrified of the counter-culture, which threatened the entire status quo of mindless consumerism and obedience to authority.

The Counterculture, which included the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement and the birth/expansion of the feminist movement, Eastern spirituality in the U.S., back-to-the-land self-sufficiency, rock music as a cultural force, the nonviolent anti-war movement, the anti-nuclear movement, experimentation with communal living and drugs, Futurist concepts, and a widespread expansion of freedom of self-expression and experimentation. Many observers believe this era also launched a Fourth Awakening as evangelical denominations expanded and "Jesus freaks" found religious inspiration outside mainline churches.

The book What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer makes a strong case that this era set the stage for the ultimate technological medium of experimentation and self-expression, the personal computer, which then led irresistibly to the World Wide Web (all the foundational technologies of the Internet were in place by 1969-- The first permanent ARPANET link was established on November 21, 1969, between UCLA and Stanford Research Institute.)

Which changed the world, of course. Those darn hippies!

The 40-Year Cycle of Cultural Change (July 14, 2011)

The nation is wallowing self-piteously in a fetid trough of denial and adolescent rage/magical thinking now that the nation's bogus, debt-based "prosperity" has crashed and cannot be restored, though the visible state (Federal Reserve and elected officials) keep trying to glue Humpty Dumpty back back together again.

The Deep State has been busy powering up the immense machinery of full spectrum repression to contain the inevitable disarray that will follow the collapse of the nation's bogus, debt-based "prosperity."

Our best hope for a productive outcome is that the cadre of those inside the Deep State Network who grasp the self-defeating nature of repression will gain influence over their repression-obsessed peers.

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Honeybee Enslavement

SUBHEAD: Honeybee collapse is the result of their enslavement of bees in industrial monoculture farms.

By Allan Christensenon 19 May 2015 for From Filmers to Farmers -
(http://fromfilmerstofarmers.com/blog/2015/may/honeybee-collapse-is-the-result-of-their-enslavement-in-industrial-monocultures/)


Image above: A monoculture of almond trees in California, where 90% of our almonds are grown. Photo by Steve Corey. From original article.

As you may have noticed, last week the media was once again filled with yet another round of collapsing honeybee stories, this time the coverage being about the loss of 42.1 percent of hives in the US over the past year, the second largest die-off on record.

As has been the recurring case though, thanks in part to beekeepers making splits with their hives (creating two hives out of one, in short), hive numbers have actually increased this year in comparison to last year's. This doesn't however mean that the honeybees' health is improving, a quote in the Washington Post giving a bit of the backstory.

What has emerged is a complex set of pressures on managed and wild bee populations that includes disease, a parasite known as the varroa mite, pesticides, extreme weather and poor nutrition tied to a loss of forage plants.

Well, yes and no. While Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is fortunately not being singled out this time as the sensationalist bogeyman, the beating around the bush still goes on, effectively clouding over the overarching issue (their poor nutrition is tied to more than just a loss of forage plants, while the "disease" they must deal with is more than just another checkbox on a list). In short, the core of the problem afflicting the majority of honeybees is that they are confined to living out their lives amongst fields of monocultures in the industrial agricultural system.

For starters, with the creation of monocultures encompassing hundreds and sometimes thousands of acres, farms are no longer able to provide the living environment necessary to maintain honeybee colonies, and in many cases even wild pollinators.


Although, say, a large blueberry "farm" may provide an immense supply of flowers for nectar and pollen, being a monoculture means that there is only one plant, and as this sole plant may only flower for a few weeks or even a few days of the year, this doesn't provide enough time for the honeybees to collect their needed supplies for the barren winter months.

Since these monoculture fields are essentially floral deserts for most of the year, to a large extent various native insects – wild pollinators – are similarly unable to exist amongst the dearth of flowers. In fact, there are now parts of China where bees have already gone extinct, requiring apple orchards to employ between twenty and twenty-five people to pollinate a hundred trees, something wild pollinators or a couple of hives worth of bees would normally be able to do.

But rather than being generally seen as an example of bad farming and something to rectify, these circumstances have resulted in a whole new industry of their own, for honeybee pollination has become big business indeed.

As stated by Jeff Pettis, head of the US federal government’s bee research laboratory in Beltsville, MD, and co-author of the recent beehive survey.

If beekeepers are going to meet the growing demand for pollination services, researchers need to find better answers to the host of stresses that lead to both winter and summer colony losses.

But here lies a large part of the problem. Owing to its status of quasi domestication (I say "quasi" since honeybees aren't really domesticated but rather retain their wildness while inhabiting artificial domains we provide for them), the honeybee has become an ideal pollinator to be shifted around in order to cater to the whims of monocultures. In fact, large beekeepers now make most of their money from "pollination services" rather than from sales of honey or other bee products.

In an area encompassing roughly 17,000 acres in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, approximately one-fifth of the world's blueberries are grown requiring almost 70,000 hives for pollination, coming from all over B.C. and Alberta. That however pales in comparison to the massive mono-forest of roughly 600,000 acres in the central valley of California that grows about 82 percent of the world's almonds.

In three weeks of February every year, more than 1 million hives (of 2.74 million in the US, down from a peak of about 6 million in the 1950s) make their way from as far away as New England and thirty-eight states in total in order to pollinate the crop.


Image above: Beehives being transported by flatbed truck for pollination. Consider the wind and vibration of transporting a hive at 65mph on a worn-out interstate route. Photo by Robert Thomson. From original article.

Added to by hives flown in from Australia on 747 jumbo jets to supplement struggling hive numbers, what results is a massive bee slum where all sorts of microbes and parasites from around the country get passed around, the bees none the better for it all due to their already compromised immune systems. Why might they be compromised?

Stuck on a diet of almond nectar, or blueberry nectar, or whatever the next crop may be, while the individual nectar and pollen from these crops may be healthy forms of food, honeybees are forced to feed on a homogeneous diet – resembling one where humans eat only bananas for three weeks, then broccoli for one week, carrots for two weeks, and so on. The result is a kind of rotational mono diet that lacks the nutrition provided by a well-rounded diet, exacerbating the malnourished and weakened state that leaves honeybees more prone to disease.

As reported in the journal Bee Culture, a decline in plant diversity could very well be causing a... decline in bee populations. Honeybees that pollinate on a wider variety of plants have a more robust immune system than bees which pollinate on monocrops, even when the monocrops had higher protein content.

One result of all this is that honeybees in the industrial system are routinely treated with antibiotics to combat bacterial infections, to the extent that many bees carry antibiotic resistant bacteria in their guts.

As if that weren't all enough, the honeybees' two sources of food, nectar (which they transform into honey for storage purposes, and which provides them with minerals, vitamins and enzymes) and pollen (which is their excellent source of protein and other nutrients), are just as much a victim of the monoculture mind-set.

Because honey and pollen can command a pretty penny on the market, many beekeepers – particularly the larger ones – actually remove all the honeybees' stores of honey and pollen. Since this leaves the bees with nothing to survive on over the winter, their pollen is then replaced with soy patties, while their honey is swapped for a sugar syrup if not high fructose corn syrup.

Having had their wholesome nutrient-rich (albeit monoculture-sourced) honey and pollen supplemented or even taken away from them, the modern honeybee is often forced to live off a diet that not only puts stress on its digestive systems and compromises its immune systems, but whose equivalency for us humans would be called junk food.

On top of all that, not only then must honeybees cope and live amongst the insecticides necessary for monoculture "farms" and golf courses and suburban lawns and such (be they neonicotinoids or not), but because of their poor health, strips of insecticides are also commonly placed inside hives to kill off Varroa mites and other plagues, which honeybees are now too unhealthy to ward off. In case you need me to spell it out, insecticides kill insects, and yes, honeybees are in fact insects themselves.

So while there is no doubt that CCD and other sensationalist news stories have created the awareness that "like, gee whiz, bees are dying," it would certainly be fair to ponder whether they have done all that much to inform us of the greater problem honeybees – and wild pollinators – must attempt to live amongst.

But truth be told, they largely haven't, for what has instead resulted is an audience that has deferred to a phalanx of "experts," who in true superhero style are expected to save the day with an array of techno fixes that will vanquish CCD and other honeybee problems to the dustbin of history.
 
But in reality, CCD and much else that honeybees suffer from are actually symptoms of a much greater problem, the problem of industrial agriculture. As author Rowan Jacobsen put it in his excellent book Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honeybee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis,

Until local agriculture replaces global agriculture, there will always be another parasite, another virus, another mysterious collapse.



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Building the Garden of Eden

SUBHEAD: You will have to build your own Garden of Eden. The sooner you do the better it will be. 

By Juan Wilson on 25 May 2015 for Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2015/05/building-garden-of-eden.htm)


Image above: painting of "The Garden of Eden" by Tomas Cole in 1828. From (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_of_Eden#/media/File:Jan_Brueghel_de_Oude_en_Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Het_aards_paradijs_met_de_zondeval_van_Adam_en_Eva.jpg).

This week I am turning seventy years old. Being born in the spring of 1945 means I have experienced the entire post World War Two era. It has been one hell of a ride. And it seems that in my single lifetime I may see the entire era of what some have call Pax Americana.

That era being the time that the Untied States of America has been the dominant player in the world after dropping atomic bombs on Japan. That era is in the process of ending. At best it will be a difficult transition. Difficult even though Americans have been practicing the experience of defeat since the Korean War.

Our Asian wars in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia through the 60's and 70s; our Central American wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador in the 80's; and our Middle East wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since the 1990s; have (with the aide of the CIA) all created more enemies than they have defeated. See the Mujahideen, Al Qaeda, Islamic State in Syria, etc., for recent kinds of negative feedback loops that seem to get worse with each iteration.

These wars have left countless Americans physically tortured and mentally traumatized for a lifetime. Millions have died and nothing has been accomplished. So much so that as the USA now thrashes to create the  international entities the will supersede today's bankrupt and obsolete nation states with supra-national corporations (See NAFTA, TAFTA, TPP,  etc.).

I believe the thinking goes that nations are not 'Too Big TO Fail" and they will take the hit for the elites and their financial institutions. How the Greek government gets out of its European Union bind in the GREXIT (Greek Exit) will foreshadow how it goes for Spain, Itialy, and ultimately France and Germany.

The Chinese and Japanese are facing their own crises as well. The financial and resource bubbles are will be bursting all around the world. The people with the most money, power and influence are spending what ever is necessary to make sure that you rather than they are stuck with the bill. It's a game of Musical Chairs with poverty and indentured servitude at boobie prizes.

One of the reasons that I dwell on these issues is that I want to know how much time I have to get certain tasks done. I do not think there is much more time available now. So when the nose-bleed-high towers of Ponzi Schemes, made up of  bets-against-bets-against-bets, tumble to the ground, it will be too late to get prepared for what follows. So get what you can get done before the Shit-Hits-The-Fan.

We have spent several years writing and re-posting articles about the failures to be expected and getting prepared to handle them. We have also spent a great deal of time on trying to read the tea leaves on when this financial gizmo we're stuck in will blow a fatal gasket.

In our efforts to walk-what-we-talk we have come to realize that it takes much longer to "master" a single self-reliant discipline than one might suspect. For example: raising chickens for eggs (and occasional meat). We have been working at it for five years and are just beginning to feel confident that we can handle raising generations of birds who will lay for us and survive to reproduce new generations who will do the same.

The same goes for managing a raised-bed garden; providing your own electricity; installing and using a wood burning cook stove; collecting storing groundwater and rainwater; and managing a banana tree, or papaya tree grove through generations. All these disciplines require experienced learning and attention to detail.

Here on Kauai once the refrigeration in the Big Save, Safeway, Foodland and Times Supermarket goes down it will be too late. Once the barges and jets stop supplying Costco, K-Mart and Walmarts are not landing it will be too late. You will be starving and reduced to stealing food from your food growing neighbors.

It's pretty clear that the world governments we have today will be ineffective and useless in averting global warming, climate change, drought, ocean rising, industrial pollution, soil loss, mass extinctions, and host of other Anthropocene Era disasters.

We will have to live within that stinking mess. Hopefully it will be in a place of our own making with as varied and delightful an environment as we can sustain around ourselves. So get used to it. You will have to build your own Garden of Eden. See (http://www.islandbreath.org/2007Year/20-HookahiKauai/0720-03GardenOfEden.html).

Start now! The sooner you do the better it will be.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: The New Game 10/11/13
Ea O Ka Aina: The Titanic or Noah's Ark 3/4/12
Ea O Ka Aina: The Hero's Way 1/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Here's the Deal 7/5/09
Ea O Ka Aina: The American Century 12/31/08
Island Breath: Our Impending Journey Nears 8/24/07
Island Breath: The Garden of Eden 4/18/07

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Yesterday's Tomorrowland

SUBHEAD: Memorial Day is a dreary moment to have to face this onrushing calamity of rocket-propelled medievalism rampant.

By James Kunstler on 25 May 2015 for Kunstler.com -
(http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/yesterdays-tomorrowland/)


Image above: Poster illustration for Disney's utopian Tomorrowland. From (http://www.tomorrowland-movie.com/).

America takes pause on a big holiday weekend requiring little in the way of real devotions beyond the barbeque deck with two profoundly stupid movie entertainments that epitomize our estrangement from the troubles of the present day.

First there’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which depicts the collapse of civilization as a monster car rally. They managed to get it exactly wrong. The present is the monster car show. Houston. Los Angeles. New Jersey, Beijing, Mumbai, etc.

In the future, there will be no cars, gasoline-powered, electric, driverless, or otherwise. Mad Max: Fury Road is actually a perverse exercise in nostalgia, as if we’re going to miss being a nation of savages in the driver’s seat, acting out an endless and pointless competition for our little place on the highway.

The other holiday blockbuster is Disney’s Tomorrowland, another exercise in nostalgia for the present, where the idealized human life is a matrix of phone apps, robots, and holograms. Of course, anybody who had been to Disneyland back in the day remembers the old Tomorrowland installation, which eventually had to be dismantled because its vision of the future had become such a joke — starting with the idea that the human project’s most pressing task was space travel.

Now, at this late date, the monster Disney corporation — a truly evil empire — sees that more money can be winkled out of the sore-beset public by persuading them that techno-utopia is at hand, if only we click our heels hard enough.

Another theme running through both films is the idea that girls can be what boys used to be, that it’s “their turn” to be masters-of-the-universe, that men are past their sell-by date and only exist to defile and humiliate females. That this message is really only a mendacious effort to rake in more money by enlarging the teen “audience share” for the reigning wishful fantasy du jour is surely lost on the culture commentators, who are so busy these days celebrating the triumph and wonder of transgender life.

The reviewers are weighing these two movies on the popular pessimism / optimism scale. These are the only choices for the masses: whether to be a “doomer” or a “wisher.”

Both positions are cartoon world-views that don’t provide much guidance for continuing the project of civilization, in case anyone is actually interested in that. It’s either rampaging id or the illusion of supernatural control, take your pick. I find both stances revolting.


Image above: Promotional still image from the apocalyptic Mad Max: Fury Road movie. From (http://www.chud.com/community/t/146538/mad-max-fury-road-pre-release-discussion/750).

[IB Publisher's note: The votes are in. America has chosen its future. Over the crucial Memorial Day weekend box office Disney's "Tomorrowland" tanked while "Mad Max: Fury Road" soared. So watch out you techno-optimists America wants a more S&M exciting future.]

Anyway, it’s interesting that the real Fury Road of the rightnow runs from Syria into Iraq starring ISIS. There is a growing sentiment in the news media (including the web, of course) of a sickening déjà vu with these developments.

The old familiar talk of air strikes and ground troops infects the wifi transmissions. Maybe we should think about sending Charlize Theron over there with a few vestigial male sidekicks to load her assault rifle. How else to git’er done? Nobody knows.

Memorial Day is a dreary moment to have to face this onrushing calamity of rocket-propelled medievalism rampant — all those poor American soldiers blown up and mangled the past twelve years.  It’s also interesting that the news media is totally out-of-touch with the biggest prize on the great gameboard: Saudi Arabia. You think ISIS overrunning Iraq is bad news?

Wait until the ordnance starts flying around Riyadh. Notice, too, that there’s no news coming out of Yemen on the base of the Arabian peninsula, a failed state with a population nearly equal to its neighbor. If we have any idea what’s going on there — and surely the Pentagon and NSA do — then it’s not for popular consumption.

This is ironic because if the trouble happens to spread into Saudi Arabia — and I don’t see how it will not — then we’ll find out in a New York minute how America’s future is not about monster trucks, cars, dirt bikes, holograms, phone apps, and all the other ridiculous preoccupations of the moment.

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ISIS made in USA

SUBHEAD: Secret Pentagon Report Reveals US "Created" ISIS As A "Tool" To Overthrow Syria's President Assad.

By Nafeez Ahmed on 24 May 2015 for Zero Hedge -
(http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-23/secret-pentagon-report-reveals-us-created-isis-tool-overthrow-syrias-president-assad)


Image above: The unknown man was photographed being killed by a masked executioner in a village just outside ISIS' stronghold and de facto capital Raqqa while a large crowd looked on in February 2015. From (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2945684/Beheaded-WITCHCRAFT-Latest-ISIS-execution-Syria-echoes-Dark-Ages-man-killed-invoking-magic.html).

From the first sudden, and quite dramatic, appearance of the fanatical Islamic group known as ISIS which was largely unheard of until a year ago, on the world's stage and which promptly replaced the worn out and tired al Qaeda as the world's terrorist bogeyman, we suggested that the "straight to beheading YouTube clip" purpose behind the Saudi Arabia-funded Islamic State was a simple one:
Use the Jihadists as the vehicle of choice to achieve a political goal: depose of Syria's president Assad, who for years has stood in the way of a critical Qatari natural gas pipeline, one which could dethrone Russia as Europe's dominant - and belligerent - source of energy, reaching an interim climax with the unsuccessful Mediterranean Sea military build up of 2013, which nearly resulted in quasi-world war.

The narrative and the plotline were so transparent, even Russia saw right through them. Recall from September of last year:
If the West bombs Islamic State militants in Syria without consulting Damascus, LiveLeak reports that the anti-ISIS alliance may use the occasion to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s forces, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Clearly comprehending that Obama's new strategy against ISIS in Syria is all about pushing the Qatar pipeline through (as was the impetus behind the 2013 intervention push), Russia is pushing back noting that the it is using ISIS as a pretext for bombing Syrian government forces and warning that "such a development would lead to a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa."
But it's one thing to speculate; it's something entirely different to have hard proof.

And while speculation was rife that just like the CIA-funded al Qaeda had been used as a facade by the US to achieve its own geopolitical and national interests over the past two decades, so ISIS was nothing more than al Qaeda 2.0, there was no actual evidence of just this.

That may all have changed now when a declassified secret US government document obtained by the public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.

According to investigative reporter Nafeez Ahmed in Medium, the "leaked document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, despite anticipating that doing so could lead to the emergence of an ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
According to the newly declassified US document, the Pentagon foresaw the likely rise of the ‘Islamic State’ as a direct consequence of the strategy, but described this outcome as a strategic opportunity to “isolate the Syrian regime.” 
And not just that: as we reported last week, now that ISIS is running around the middle east, cutting people's heads of in 1080p quality and Hollywood-quality (perhaps literally) video, the US has a credible justification to sell billions worth of modern, sophisticated weapons in the region in order to "modernize" and "replenish" the weapons of such US allies as Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iraq.

But that the US military-industrial complex is a winner every time war breaks out anywhere in the world (usually with the assistance of the CIA) is clear to everyone by now. What wasn't clear is just how the US predetermined the current course of events in the middle east.

Now, thanks to the following declassified report, we have a far better understanding of not only how current events in the middle east came to be, but what America's puppermaster role leading up to it all, was.
From Nafeez Ahmed: Secret Pentagon report reveals West saw ISIS as strategic asset Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to ‘isolate’ Assad, rollback ‘Shia expansion', originally posted in Medium.

Hypocrisy
The revelations contradict the official line of Western government on their policies in Syria, and raise disturbing questions about secret Western support for violent extremists abroad, while using the burgeoning threat of terror to justify excessive mass surveillance and crackdowns on civil liberties at home.

Among the batch of documents obtained by Judicial Watch through a federal lawsuit, released earlier this week, is a US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document then classified as “secret,” dated 12th August 2012.

The DIA provides military intelligence in support of planners, policymakers and operations for the US Department of Defense and intelligence community.
So far, media reporting has focused on the evidence that the Obama administration knew of arms supplies from a Libyan terrorist stronghold to rebels in Syria.

Some outlets have reported the US intelligence community’s internal prediction of the rise of ISIS. Yet none have accurately acknowledged the disturbing details exposing how the West knowingly fostered a sectarian, al-Qaeda-driven rebellion in Syria.

Charles Shoebridge, a former British Army and Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism intelligence officer, said:
“Given the political leanings of the organisation that obtained these documents, it’s unsurprising that the main emphasis given to them thus far has been an attempt to embarrass Hilary Clinton regarding what was known about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in 2012. However, the documents also contain far less publicized revelations that raise vitally important questions of the West’s governments and media in their support of Syria’s rebellion.”
The West’s Islamists
The newly declassified DIA document from 2012 confirms that the main component of the anti-Assad rebel forces by this time comprised Islamist insurgents affiliated to groups that would lead to the emergence of ISIS. Despite this, these groups were to continue receiving support from Western militaries and their regional allies.

Noting that “the Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” the document states that “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition,” while Russia, China and Iran “support the [Assad] regime.”

The 7-page DIA document states that al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the precursor to the ‘Islamic State in Iraq,’ (ISI) which became the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,’ “supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media.”

The formerly secret Pentagon report notes that the “rise of the insurgency in Syria” has increasingly taken a “sectarian direction,” attracting diverse support from Sunni “religious and tribal powers” across the region.

In a section titled ‘The Future Assumptions of the Crisis,’ the DIA report predicts that while Assad’s regime will survive, retaining control over Syrian territory, the crisis will continue to escalate “into proxy war.”

The document also recommends the creation of “safe havens under international sheltering, similar to what transpired in Libya when Benghazi was chosen as the command centre for the temporary government.”

In Libya, anti-Gaddafi rebels, most of whom were al-Qaeda affiliated militias, were protected by NATO ‘safe havens’ (aka ‘no fly zones’).

‘Supporting powers want’ ISIS entity

In a strikingly prescient prediction, the Pentagon document explicitly forecasts the probable declaration of “an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.”

Nevertheless, “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts” by Syrian “opposition forces” fighting to “control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to Western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar)”:
“… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”
The secret Pentagon document thus provides extraordinary confirmation that the US-led coalition currently fighting ISIS, had three years ago welcomed the emergence of an extremist “Salafist Principality” in the region as a way to undermine Assad, and block off the strategic expansion of Iran. Crucially, Iraq is labeled as an integral part of this “Shia expansion.”

The establishment of such a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, the DIA document asserts, is “exactly” what the “supporting powers to the [Syrian] opposition want.” Earlier on, the document repeatedly describes those “supporting powers” as “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey.”

Further on, the document reveals that Pentagon analysts were acutely aware of the dire risks of this strategy, yet ploughed ahead anyway.

The establishment of such a “Salafist Principality” in eastern Syria, it says, would create “the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi.” Last summer, ISIS conquered Mosul in Iraq, and just this month has also taken control of Ramadi.
Such a quasi-state entity will provide:
“… a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of territory.”
The 2012 DIA document is an Intelligence Information Report (IIR), not a “finally evaluated intelligence” assessment, but its contents are vetted before distribution. The report was circulated throughout the US intelligence community, including to the State Department, Central Command, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, FBI, among other agencies.

In response to my questions about the strategy, the British government simply denied the Pentagon report’s startling revelations of deliberate Western sponsorship of violent extremists in Syria. A British Foreign Office spokesperson said:
“AQ and ISIL are proscribed terrorist organisations. The UK opposes all forms of terrorism. AQ, ISIL, and their affiliates pose a direct threat to the UK’s national security. We are part of a military and political coalition to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and are working with international partners to counter the threat from AQ and other terrorist groups in that region. In Syria we have always supported those moderate opposition groups who oppose the tyranny of Assad and the brutality of the extremists.”
The DIA did not respond to request for comment.

Strategic asset for regime-change
Security analyst Shoebridge, however, who has tracked Western support for Islamist terrorists in Syria since the beginning of the war, pointed out that the secret Pentagon intelligence report exposes fatal contradictions at the heart of official pronunciations:
“Throughout the early years of the Syria crisis, the US and UK governments, and almost universally the West’s mainstream media, promoted Syria’s rebels as moderate, liberal, secular, democratic, and therefore deserving of the West’s support. Given that these documents wholly undermine this assessment, it’s significant that the West’s media has now, despite their immense significance, almost entirely ignored them.”
According to Brad Hoff, a former US Marine who served during the early years of the Iraq War and as a 9/11 first responder at the Marine Corps Headquarters in Battalion Quantico from 2000 to 2004, the just released Pentagon report for the first time provides stunning affirmation that:
“US intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a US strategic asset.”
Hoff, who is managing editor of Levant Report — ?an online publication run by Texas-based educators who have direct experience of the Middle East?—?points out that the DIA document “matter-of-factly” states that the rise of such an extremist Salafist political entity in the region offers a “tool for regime change in Syria.”
The DIA intelligence report shows, he said, that the rise of ISIS only became possible in the context of the Syrian insurgency?—?“there is no mention of US troop withdrawal from Iraq as a catalyst for Islamic State’s rise, which is the contention of innumerable politicians and pundits.” The report demonstrates that:
“The establishment of a ‘Salafist Principality’ in Eastern Syria is ‘exactly’ what the external powers supporting the opposition want (identified as ‘the West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey’) in order to weaken the Assad government.”
The rise of a Salafist quasi-state entity that might expand into Iraq, and fracture that country, was therefore clearly foreseen by US intelligence as likely?—?but nevertheless strategically useful?—?blowback from the West’s commitment to “isolating Syria.”


Complicity
Critics of the US-led strategy in the region have repeatedly raised questions about the role of coalition allies in intentionally providing extensive support to Islamist terrorist groups in the drive to destabilize the Assad regime in Syria.

The conventional wisdom is that the US government did not retain sufficient oversight on the funding to anti-Assad rebel groups, which was supposed to be monitored and vetted to ensure that only ‘moderate’ groups were supported.

However, the newly declassified Pentagon report proves unambiguously that years before ISIS launched its concerted offensive against Iraq, the US intelligence community was fully aware that Islamist militants constituted the core of Syria’s sectarian insurgency.

Despite that, the Pentagon continued to support the Islamist insurgency, even while anticipating the probability that doing so would establish an extremist Salafi stronghold in Syria and Iraq.

As Shoebridge told me, “The documents show that not only did the US government at the latest by August 2012 know the true extremist nature and likely outcome of Syria’s rebellion”?—?namely, the emergence of ISIS?—?“but that this was considered an advantage for US foreign policy. This also suggests a decision to spend years in an effort to deliberately mislead the West’s public, via a compliant media, into believing that Syria’s rebellion was overwhelmingly ‘moderate.’”

Annie Machon, a former MI5 intelligence officer who blew the whistle in the 1990s on MI6 funding of al-Qaeda to assassinate Libya’s former leader Colonel Gaddafi, similarly said of the revelations:
“This is no surprise to me. Within individual countries there are always multiple intelligence agencies with competing agendas.”
She explained that MI6’s Libya operation in 1996, which resulted in the deaths of innocent people, “happened at precisely the time when MI5 was setting up a new section to investigate al-Qaeda.”
This strategy was repeated on a grand scale in the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, said Machon, where the CIA and MI6 were:
“… supporting the very same Libyan groups, resulting in a failed state, mass murder, displacement and anarchy. So the idea that elements of the American military-security complex have enabled the development of ISIS after their failed attempt to get NATO to once again ‘intervene’ is part of an established pattern. And they remain indifferent to the sheer scale of human suffering that is unleashed as a result of such game-playing.”

Divide and rule  
Several US government officials have conceded that their closest allies in the anti-ISIS coalition were funding violent extremist Islamist groups that became integral to ISIS.

US Vice President Joe Biden, for instance, admitted last year that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Turkey had funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Islamist rebels in Syria that metamorphosed into ISIS.

But he did not admit what this internal Pentagon document demonstrates?—?that the entire covert strategy was sanctioned and supervised by the US, Britain, France, Israel and other Western powers.

The strategy appears to fit a policy scenario identified by a recent US Army-commissioned RAND Corp report.

The report, published four years before the DIA document, called for the US “to capitalise on the Shia-Sunni conflict by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes in a decisive fashion and working with them against all Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world.”

The US would need to contain “Iranian power and influence” in the Gulf by “shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan.” Simultaneously, the US must maintain “a strong strategic relationship with the Iraqi Shiite government” despite its Iran alliance.

The RAND report confirmed that the “divide and rule” strategy was already being deployed “to create divisions in the jihadist camp. Today in Iraq such a strategy is being used at the tactical level.”

The report observed that the US was forming “temporary alliances” with al-Qaeda affiliated “nationalist insurgent groups” that have fought the US for four years in the form of “weapons and cash.” Although these nationalists “have cooperated with al-Qaeda against US forces,” they are now being supported to exploit “the common threat that al-Qaeda now poses to both parties.”

The 2012 DIA document, however, further shows that while sponsoring purportedly former al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq to counter al-Qaeda, Western governments were simultaneously arming al-Qaeda insurgents in Syria.

The revelation from an internal US intelligence document that the very US-led coalition supposedly fighting ‘Islamic State’ today, knowingly created ISIS in the first place, raises troubling questions about recent government efforts to justify the expansion of state anti-terror powers.

In the wake of the rise of ISIS, intrusive new measures to combat extremism including mass surveillance, the Orwellian ‘prevent duty’ and even plans to enable government censorship of broadcasters, are being pursued on both sides of the Atlantic, much of which disproportionately targets activists, journalists and ethnic minorities, especially Muslims.

Yet the new Pentagon report reveals that, contrary to Western government claims, the primary cause of the threat comes from their own deeply misguided policies of secretly sponsoring Islamist terrorism for dubious geopolitical purposes.


• Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the ‘System Shift’ column for VICE’s Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye. He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award, known as the ‘Alternative Pulitzer Prize’, for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work, and was selected in the Evening Standard’s ‘Power 1,000’ most globally influential Londoners.
Nafeez has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist, Counterpunch, Truthout, among others. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (2010), and the scifi thriller novel ZERO POINT, among other books. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest.

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Women Crossed the Line

SUBHEAD: For world peace these women crossed the DMZ Line from North Korea to South Korea.

By Jon Letman on 24 May 24 for Boing Boing  -
(http://www.islandbreath.org/2015Year/05/150524dmz.jpg)


Image above: A press conference for "Women Call for a Korean Peace Treaty". From original article.

In an historic move, a group of global feminist activists march into the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea to create a space for a new type of conversation about truly ending the Korean war.

At the time of this blog post in Seoul and Pyongyang it’s already Sunday, May 24th, International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament, when a group of more than 30 women are scheduled to cross the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at Kaesong from North Korea into South Korea. Their goal: to draw attention to Korea’s “forgotten” and unfinished war, and move toward a real peace that can reunite families and, perhaps, a divided nation.

The march includes both North and South Korean women marching on their respective sides, and was preceded by a peace symposium in Pyongyang (watch North Korean TV coverage here). It will be followed by a similar symposium in Seoul after they cross the DMZ (Saturday evening in the U.S.).

The Korean War (officially 1950-53) stands out for its bloody toll. Some 4 million people, mostly civilians, perished. Although a “temporary” cease-fire was signed, the last 62 years have been marked by a protracted cold war defined by ongoing threats by both sides of the DMZ, decades of profligate military spending, and what is effectively a permanent state of near-war and the fear of attack.

The idea to walk from North Korea into South Korea began with a dream that lead organizer Christine Ahn had several years ago. The concept grew after Ahn connected with feminist icon Gloria Steinem who took a public stand in 2011 against the militarization of South Korea’s Jeju island.


Activist and feminist Gloria Steinem (C) speaks at a news conference before the WomenCrossDMZ group leaves for North Korea's capital Pyongyang, at a hotel in Beijing, China, May 19, 2015.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Image above: Activist and feminist Gloria Steinem (C) speaks at a news conference before the WomenCrossDMZ group leaves for North Korea's capital Pyongyang, at a hotel in Beijing, China, May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon. In original article.

The movement evolved into WomenCrossDMZ as Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia joined Ahn, Steinem and what has grown to more than 30 women from South Korea, Japan, the US, Britain, Australia--at least 15 countries, in all.

A Different Future
Gwyn Kirk, a founding member of Women for Genuine Security, and one of the DMZ marchers, says WomenCrossDMZ is intended to create a space for a new type of conversation about ending the Korean war once and for all. After more than 60 years of tit-for-tat provocations, costly and dangerous brinksmanship and outright nuclear threats, Kirk says it’s time to create a different future.

That this movement is organized entirely by women is natural, says Kirk, pointing to UN Security Resolution 1325 which reaffirms “the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction…”

As these women mount a brave effort to do what men have failed to achieve (bring peace to the Korean peninsula), they are also receiving criticism for their efforts. One Korea policy commentator went so far as to call the group “naïve, duplicitous, disingenuous, fatuous, and [stupid].”

CNN’s Brian Todd asked if Kim Jong-un was “in league with a women’s group to bring peace between North and South Korea” and played up suggestions Christine Ahn might be “sympathetic” to North Korea. The Monthly Review responded by breaking down why The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer did a “hatchet job” on WomenCross DMZ rather than a serious examination of what they set out to achieve.


NGO activist Choi Ai-young (R) and other members of the WomenCrossDMZ group pose with Korea's traditional patchwork before the group leaves for North Korea's capital Pyongyang, at a hotel in Beijing, China, May 19, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Image above: NGO activist Choi Ai-young (R) and other members of the WomenCrossDMZ group pose with Korea's traditional patchwork before the group leaves for North Korea's capital Pyongyang, at a hotel in Beijing, China, May 19, 2015. In original article.
 
Making history
Independent investigative journalist Tim Shorrock had a different take. In an email from Seoul, he called the DMZ march “an important milestone because it runs against the grain of the militarist approach to Korea taken by the Obama administration and the hostility of the South Korean government.”

Shorrock, who has covered Korea and Japan for more than three decades, said the women’s march and symposia held in Pyongyang and later Seoul, sends a message to the North that peace and reconciliation are possible. He hopes the march will also spur the U.S. to “take measures to defuse the tense situation in Korea and adopt a more flexible approach to settling its differences with North Korea.”

Responding to charges that she and her colleagues are “sympathetic” to North Korea, Christine Ahn says it’s ironic that people who claim to be staunch supporters of human rights are the ones most vehemently opposed to efforts to pursue a real peace agreement.

“You’re not going to see any improvement in North Korean human rights if you continue to isolate them or not engage or have dialogue,” Ahn said by Skype. The universal theme that has united years of international NGO reports, she says, is that there needs to be a peace settlement to improve human rights in North Korea.

Crazy repression, crazy militarization
WomenCrossDMZ, Ahn says, seeks to “get to the root cause of the issue of divided families” and what she calls “crazy militarization” and “crazy repression” of democracy in both North and South Korea.

Ahn says former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea James Laney cut to the core of the Korean issue when he said, “...One item should be at the top of the agenda...that is the establishment of a peace treaty to replace the truce that has been in place since 1953...”

To fully appreciate why North Korea has evolved into a “paranoid, hyper-militaristic society,” Ahn says it’s important to carefully examine history before the 1950-53 Korean war and remember the tremendous losses suffered by the North. “We might have forgotten that history,” she says, “but [North Korea] hasn’t.”

Ahn describes WomenCrossDMZ as “peace women” who want to find a peaceful resolution to the Korean stalemate. To do that, she says, requires listening, understanding, dialogue and a degree of empathy which is absent today. Dehumanizing the other side won’t bring peace, Ahn says. “It’s a tough place to be, but I really believe there is no other alternative.”

Being armed to the teeth (hasn’t worked) 
Gwyn Kirk says that reducing military tensions is more likely to lead to better human rights conditions. “That’s what we’re advocating...more dialogue and more openness.” As long as there’s no dialogue or engagement, nothing will change.”

Kirk points to diplomatic progress between the United States and both Cuba and Iran, saying that “sanctions, being armed to the teeth [and] militarism hasn’t worked.” 
She adds, “So if that’s controversial, I guess [it’s] controversial but it just seems to me that this old cold war stuff is really history...We need to move forward and think differently.

Follow the organization on Twitter or Facebook. Link to announcement from “Women Cross DMZ” (PDF)
Photo, top: Members of the WomenCrossDMZ group attend a news conference before they leave for North Korea's capital Pyongyang, at a hotel in Beijing, China, May 19, 2015. REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON

Jon Letman is an independent freelance journalist and photographer on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. His articles on conservation, the environment, politics and the Asia-Pacific region have been published in Al Jazeera English, Truthout, Inter Press Service, Christian Science Monitor, CNN Traveller, as well as publications in Finland, Iceland, Russia, Japan, Canada, the UK and across the US.  

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Arguements against GMOs

SUBHEAD: GMOs only move us further towards an unsustainable goal of continued growth for a global economy in overshoot.

By Mary Odum on 21 May 2015 for Prosperous Way Down -
(http://prosperouswaydown.com/arguments-gmos/)


Image above: Image of farming in the Dustbowl from the Library of Congress. Also, in original article.

I recently decided to take an epidemiology course to fill in gaps in my knowledge base. The entire online graduate certificate in Environmental Health looked interesting, so I applied for the entire certificate. Environmental Health was the first course that I took online at this flagship Florida university.

The online experience would be a separate post in itself — the online course was mechanically flawless but grossly deficient in interactions and building critical thinking skills.
One of my class assignments was to argue in a paper against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Since the course and the textbook were too reductionist for my tastes, I argued using macroscopic arguments.

I doubt the teaching assistants read it–like all other assignments in this MOOC, it received a grade with no comments. Various friends are asking me what I think of GMOs, and most students in the class and most of my friends think that GMOs are a great solution for our food problems, so I am reposting the paper here.

Corporations promote GMOs as the solution to world hunger through expanded global food sources. That hopeful argument is not based on evidence, and there are many arguments against widespread GMO use. Most science and policy arguments are reductionist.

But Einstein said that we cannot solve problems from the same consciousness that created the problems. We must learn to see the world anew, from a larger scale to see a complete picture of the processes involved. Reductionist science is not the answer to the problems engendered by a finite biosphere with a human population in overshoot.

Therefore, the arguments presented here address macroscopic arguments against GMOS, including the impact of peak oil production on the current developed countries’ system of industrial agriculture, the rapidly expanding pesticide treadmill that accompanies GMOs, replacement of natural biodiversity, water and soil loss or degradation, and expanding corporate domination, with increasing social inequity, loss of small farmers, monopolization and unsustainability of our food system, and the potential link between gut health and inadequately studied GMOs.

Feed the hungry or “cows and cars?”

Cassidy (2015) critiques the argument that GMOs can feed a rapidly growing global population this month in an Environmental Working Group paper. The author contrasts the reported need for a doubling in food supply in the next 50 years with the progress up to now in GMO crops, which primarily feeds “cows and cars” while expanding social inequity through monopolization and profit-making by large corporations.

The expanding social inequity and loss of small farmers contributes to more poverty, which is the real source of hunger. Feeding cows and cars instead of people also puts added pressure on water use and soil degradation, while expanding nitrate pollution in our waters and nitrous oxide pollution in our air. Cassidy also argues that crop yields with GMOs are no better and are sometimes worse than yields of traditional crops.

Holt-Giménez et al. (2012) add a different argument against the claim that GMOs can feed the world. We already grow enough food for a global population of 10 billion people, but because of social inequity and poverty, that food is not distributed evenly. Even if we expand food production faster than population growth, GMOs are not the answer.

High transformity agriculture

The most systemic argument against GMOs is the energy-intensive nature of high-tech agriculture that requires the extraction of profit, not letting Nature do the work through traditional diversity and seeds. Energy/emergy intensity of agriculture has increased many fold during the past century of agricultural industrialization (Rydberg and Hayden, 2006). Global energy production has plateaued and is forecast to decline, with a large discrepancy in available fossil fuels to support our current developed society (US-EIA, 2013).

The Middle East retains about 2/3 of all proven reserves of oil, while the United States oil production peaked in 1970 (BP Statistical Review, 2014). These facts do not bode well for the sustainability of industrial agriculture, which has evolved to rely heavily on natural gas and fossil fuel subsidies for fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, over-sized tillers and harvesters, and now tech-intensive GMOs that are necessary to stay ahead of plant blights that impact monoculture farms.

The research, marketing, law, and other complex necessities of high-tech agriculture each demand more emergy from society, which takes resources from other needed societal supports.

Renewable energy sources have less net energy, so renewables are unable to sustain industrial society in the place of non-renewable liquid fuels (Day et al., 2009). GMOs make us less sustainable, as they make our food system increasingly dependent on fossil fuel inputs and increasingly centralized and high-tech.

The pesticide treadmill

The second controversial argument against GMOs relates to environmental health and the accumulation of increasing volumes of pesticides in the environment as a result of the pesticides treadmill. Annual proprietary seeds that demand concurrent use of changing, untested and expanding mixes of both fertilizer and proprietary pesticides leads to a pesticide treadmill (Tilman, 2002).

The evidence on how much pesticide use is increasing globally varies greatly by report, ranging from a sympathetic meta-analysis report of a reduction in pesticide use by 37% over the past 20 years (Klumper & Qaim, 2014), to an increase of 7% over that same general period (Benbrook, 2012). The information on global pesticide production is proprietary and not widely touted, but the evidence is visible in healthy, growing corporate profits.

Corporate pressure may influence scientific reports through funding and publication bias. Pesticide-resistant super weeds develop, old patents expire, and new GMO seeds are repeatedly developed for new crop categories in hopes of expanding corporate markets and profits, leading to increased costs for farmers and increasing damage to the environment.

What is the relevant endpoint if corporate survival mandates ever-increasing growth of herbicides, which kill plants, insects, and birds in the environment? The loss of creatures who eat crop-eating insects leads to the need for more pesticides, and around we go again.

Monocultures replacing natural biodiversity

How much is too much pesticide for the planet as a whole, given the additive toxicity of many pesticides and non-food uses? The third large-scale argument against GMOs is the loss of biodiversity, water, and soil nutrients/erosion, through expansion of pesticides, replacement of natural systems with industrial-scale agriculture, and over-fertilization and irrigation.

Replacing natural biodiversity and insects with insect-free monocultures hastens the demise of our environmental support systems that we cannot live without—witness dead zones in the ocean, depleting and nitrate-polluted aquifers, and so on.

Rockstrom et al. (2009) name biodiversity loss as our greatest problem, and Rhodes’ excellent recent article describing the linkages between the problems of biodiversity and soil loss with bee declines and other problems illustrates this.

Additionally, chemical and GMO-based agriculture is fertilizer and water-intensive, adding to ocean dead zones and water shortages, which some claim as the biggest problem of the 21st century. In essence, the idea that we can outsmart Mother Nature and replace her biodiversity with a genetically new agricultural system is arrogant.

Unsustainable corporatization and centralization

The fourth large-scale argument addresses expanding corporate domination of seed patents, farm ownership, research, marketing, and so on. Fossil-fuel-based industrial agriculture winnows small farmers and creates a trend towards large-scale production with an inverse correlation between per capital farmers and energy intensity (Bradford, 2007).

Since we are now beginning energetic descent, we will need more small farmers, less intensive methods such as agroecology, and less reliance on technology to become sustainable and avoid collapse of societies.

The loss of small farmers adds to social stratification and inequality within the farming industry, but also in society at large, as regulatory capture by corporations leads to weakened regulations, more GMOS, more pesticides, and so on, in an autocatalytic merry-go-round. Feedback loops for policies favorable to corporations beget more large corporations, which expands unsustainable trends into overshoot.

Poorly studied GMOs and health

The fifth argument is the question of human health and poorly studied GMOs. The United States in particular places the burden of proof for regulation of hazardous chemicals on the Environmental Protection Agency and citizens to defend environmental health based on the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act.

Laws in the last decade in the European Union assume a more precautionary approach by ruling that the proponent of an activity must bear the burden of proof in showing safety. One must wonder whether there is a correlation between the new “disease” of gluten intolerance and the recent rapidly expanding production of GMO foods. We do not know the human health or environmental results of gene manipulation of our food are.

A quick search of the literature suggests that there is much research on genetic treatment of diseases, but very little study of the questioned link between human health and GMO-based diets. The only studies so far consist of 90-day rat-feeding trials.

A small, longer-term study in 2012 of rat health by Seralini et al. (2014) received great criticism and the journal editors retracted the article. Large corporations can pay for biased research, and can control publication and news media. Who will fund neutral research on GMOs and human health?

What is the energy basis of GMOs?

The claim that GMOs exist to feed the world is a false one, derived from corporations’ desire for profit. This post has raised energetic, ecological, social, and health arguments against GMOs.  Other arguments include the unknown, unintended consequences of intentional mutation of the gene pool of our food, and the biased funding and publication of research.

In an era of population overshoot and resource scarcity, being able to fall back on our biosphere’s ecosystem services will be critical for a society that prospers. An industrialized, high-tech food system that requires increasingly complex research, laws, profit-making corporations, and annexation of natural systems into massive fields sowed with machinery, sprayed with poisons, fertilized with fossil fuels, and irrigated with our children’s aquifers while being supported by massive research labs to stave off the next pesticide-resistant insect is not a sustainable model.

In my opinion, the only way to avoid collapse of our food system is to return to agroecological systems which show four systemic properties: productivity, stability, sustainability, and equitability.
The land company—that’s the bank when it has land—wants tractors, not families on the land. Is a tractor bad? Is the power that turns the long furrows wrong? If this tractor were ours, it would be good – not mine, but ours. We could love that tractor then as we have loved this land when it was ours. But this tractor does two things – it turns the land and turns us off the land. There is little difference between this tractor and a tank. The people were driven, intimidated, hurt by both. We must think about this (Steinbeck, 1939, Chapter 14).
As Steinbeck suggests in The Grapes of Wrath, there may be a point at which technology owns us, and takes us to a place from which we cannot return without revolution of the system. We’re going to need a lot more farmers and less technology in a future with less fossil fuel, and more sustainable and ecologically based agricultural practices. GMOs only move us further towards an unsustainable goal of continued growth for a global economy in overshoot.

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DuPont-Pioneer to close in Kekaha

SUBHEAD: Global seed company DuPont Pioneer has shut down its facility in Kekaha.

By Anita Hofschneider on 21 May 2015 for Civil Beat -
(http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/05/dupont-pioneer-shuts-down-one-kauai-facility/)


Image above: Main entrance to DuPont-Pioneer offices in Waimea, Kauai. Photo by Juan Wilson.


Global seed company DuPont Pioneer has shut down its facility in Kekaha, Kauai and plans to consolidate its parent seed operations with another facility in Waialua on the North Shore of Oahu.
Laurie Yoshida, spokeswoman for the company, said that DuPont Pioneer has laid off 23 employees and plans to lay off 11 more once the closure is complete.

That will take time because equipment needs to be transferred and the 3,000 acres of leased land needs to be prepared to return to landowners. The employees will be offered severance packages, she said.

The news comes just 10 days after a federal court jury ruled DuPont Pioneer owes over half a million dollars to 15 residents in Waimea, Kauai, for property damage and other costs associated with red dust generated from the company’s fields.


Image above: Protest against GMO experimentation and pesticide spraying in front of DuPont-Pioneer security gate in by three residents of nearby Waimea Valley in 2013. Photo by Juan Wilson.

Yoshida said Wednesday’s closure is unrelated to the lawsuit and that DuPont Pioneer’s 1,500-acre Waimea operation in west Kauai will be unaffected.

She said the consolidation is due to the softening of the market and the desire to streamline operations. Both the Kekaha and Waialua facilities focused on parent seed operations, growing the initial seeds used to create hybrids.



Fighting GMOs for a Decade

SUBHEAD: Since 2005, Hawaii SEED has been organizing to educate the public about the risks posed by GMOs.

By Jeri DiPietro on 21 May 2015 for Hawaii Seed -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2015/05/dupont-pioneer-to-close-on-kauai.html)

On the occasion of our 10 year milestone as a non profit corporation working to "Raise Awareness and Inspire Change", we ask for your continued support. We mahalo all of GMO Free Kauai for the taking a leading role in food sovereignty and working towards meaningful solutions to the end of the infamous distinction as GMO ground zero.

Hawaii SEED and GMO Free Kaua`i are honored by the support of Dr. Jane Goodall and her quote below. Please consider donating towards our continued efforts to provide free events and educational materials. Mahalo nui loa. What we love we will protect!  Have hope and do what you can to protect biodiversity and avert biodestruction.

"I have learned that some of the most toxic chemicals used in industrial agriculture have been tested on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. I strongly support Hawai'i SEED and the Kauai activists who are working to create a healthy local food system in Hawaii and standing up to the chemical-biotech companies and I congratulate them on passing their local 'right to know' law. Perhaps this will encourage others to persevere in their fight against the giant corporations."  Dr. Jane Goodall

Aloha mai kakou,

Since 2005, Hawaii SEED has been organizing to educate the public about the risks posed by genetic engineering, the associated pesticide use and experimentation, while promoting diverse, local, and ecological food and farming. On the occasion of our tenth anniversary as a non profit corporation, the need for this work has never been greater -- and so too is our need for your support.

Please consider donating to our ongoing educational efforts by clicking the paypal “donate” button at hawaiiseed.org or by check to:
Hawaii SEED
PO Box 1177
Koloa, HI 96756
(808) 651-9603
We value contributions of any amount and your tax-deductible donation will help us to host thought-provoking speaker series, films and other community events, and help distribute our book “Facing Hawaii’s Future”, and Pesticide Action Network's “A Generation in Jeopardy” and other educational resources to the community, free of charge.

Resources for these efforts are key to expanding the reach and impact of what we know are important issues facing Hawaii’s future. We are grateful for your ongoing support.

Lots of exciting news and events coming up!  I did want to mention that my email reply to Stephanie Seneff to plan a speaking tour accidentally got mailed to the list and I apologize for that. A bit of a funny oops, oh well. 

We are firming up dates on that speaking tour, it looks like Kauai dates will be around 7/27 - 7/30.  The only firm date so far is 7/30 at KCC PAC, no time set yet.  We will keep you up to date as the places dates and times for events are made concrete.

\We are supporting a march this Saturday, its the Kauai supporting march for the worldwide march against Monsanto.  Its in two days, this coming Saturday, Noon to 2pm, at the airport intersection on the highway.  More information at the following link, hope to see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/events/478086505674401/

Mahalo nui loa,

The Hawaii SEED Board of Directors
Jeri Di Pietro, MiKey Boudreaux, Walter Ritte,
and Mary Lacques, Oʻahu Outreach Coordinator

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Dupont guilty in Waimea, Kauai Suit 5/8/15


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IMF Half Truth

SUBHEAD: The International Monetary Fund avoids admitting response to Global Warming is deindustrialization.

By Richard Heinberg on 20 May 2015 for Post Carbon Institute -
(http://www.postcarbon.org/the-imf-tells-a-half-truth/)


Image above: A study found that China's export industry is responsible for pollution that blows across the Pacific Ocean and contributes to smog in the United States. (Peter Parks / AFP/Getty Images) From (http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/20/science/la-sci-sn-china-exports-air-pollution-united-states-20140120).

On May 18 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a report titled “How Large are Global Energy Subsidies?

The question is a bit misleading: most readers, when they see the word subsidy, probably tend tothink of tax breaks or cash gifts to specific industries. The report, however, uses the term mostly to refer to environmental externalities—and not ones tied to all energy use, but ones related to fossil fuel combustion in particular.

An economic externality is an impact of a commercial activity that is not reflected in the prices of goods or services traded. There can be positive externalities: if I buy organic, responsibly farmed food, I usually expect to pay more—thus the beneficial impact of my food choice upon the environment isn’t reflected in a price that would reinforce my behavior; just the opposite is true.

But far and away most externalities are negative: companies are always looking for ways to make society as a whole clean up after them so that they don’t have to pay the full costs incurred by their activities.

Indeed, John Michael Greer has convincingly argued that industrial capitalism is, in effect, a negative externality-generating machine: the faster it goes and the bigger it grows, the more externalities it spews out for society as a whole to try to mitigate.

It’s certainly helpful to have an accounting of the externalities of our collective fossil fuel consumption.

But the choice of the word “subsidies” over the more precise “externalities” makes a difference: governments can cancel subsidies in the forms of tax breaks and gifts, but they can’t so easily cancel fossil fuel externalities without curtailing fossil fuel consumption—and that’s a big job, if they’re to do it in a way that doesn’t entail the rapid, uncontrolled collapse of society.

The take-away message of the IMF report for most readers would seem to be, “It costs us so much to burn fossil fuels ($10 million per minute, according to authors David Coady et al.) that we would save enormous sums by transitioning to alternative energy sources.”

But there is a lot of long, hard work involved in actually doing that. An across-the-board energy transition can’t be accomplished with a simple policy declaration (the way a tax break can be rescinded, for example).

The report notes that, of all nations, China has the highest externalized energy costs as a result of burning so much coal. But how else could China produce half the world’s steel and cement—with solar-powered blast furnaces and cement kilns?

In reality, China can substantially reduce its energy-related environmental externalities only by shrinking its industrial output. It can nibble around the edges of the problem by shifting to more renewable electricity, but electricity is only about one-fifth of all energy consumed globally.

And building massive numbers of solar panels and wind turbines would require a ramping up of high-temperature industrial processes (production of glass, steel, aluminum, cement, and silicon wafers) that currently rely on fossil fuels.

The IMF evidently wants policy makers to think fossil fuels are harmful and costly. Good: that’s true, and it’s helpful to know. It would be even better if this prestigious economic organization were to admit that eliminating the local pollution and global climate impacts of our current energy regime will require policy makers to do the very thing they least want to do: curtail and reverse economic growth.

This in turn would probably entail redesigning financial and monetary systems so they do not require growth, supplementing GDP with quality-of-life indicators, rationing energy with a tradable quota system, enacting policies to gradually reduce population, and directing an ever-increasing share of continuing fossil fuel consumption to the industrial processes necessary to build the slower, more localized, renewable energy infrastructure of the future.

Evidently the IMF wants spoon-feed its audience a little truth at a time. Only the easy bits are suitable now. It will save the hard truths for . . . when, exactly?

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