Mystery illness afflicting US diplomats in Cuba -story gets more bizarre

The mystery illness or illnesses that has stricken North American diplomats in Cuba, causing symptoms ranging from hearing loss and brain injuries have become even more bizarre, with Associated Press reporting that certain symptoms were confined to specific rooms or parts of rooms in the US and Canadian Embassies.

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US Embassy in Havana, Cuba

 

Details surrounding what the White House coyly described as “health incidents” are sparse, and the causes are even less documented. All that is really known is that US diplomatic employees experienced a “variety of physical symptoms” while serving in Cuba. Some experts speculate that the symptoms are consistent with ultrasound attacks.

 

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US States back Laws Gagging Opposition To GM Crops.

With little notice, more than two dozen state U.S.  legislatures have passed corporate – friendly “seed-preemption laws” designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds, including bans on GMOs. Opponents say that there’s nothing more fundamental than a seed, and that now, in many parts of the country, decisions about what can be grown have been taken out of local control and put solely in the hands of the state.

Critics of the GM seed lobby say this move has come as a result of unethical activity by lobbyists employed by a monopolistic cartel of biotech giants whose influence over agricultural policy in the US government is definitely not in the public interest

“This bill should be viewed for what it is — a gag order on public debate,”  Kristina Hubbard, director of advocacy and communications at the Organic Seed Alliance, a national advocacy group, and a resident of Montana said. Montana, along with Texas, Oregon, Californisa and Colorado and many other states passed a seed-preemption bill this year, thus removing from voters the  right to decide what kind of food will be sold in shops they use, and handing it to politicians and indirectly to the corporate lobbyists who bribe them.

“This thinly disguised attack on local democracy can be easily traced to out-of-state, corporate interests that want to quash local autonomy,” Hubbard added

Seed-preemption laws are part of a legislative campaign by industrial agriculture (Big Food), including ag-gag laws passed in several states that legally prohibit outsiders from photographing farms, and “right-to-farm” laws that make it easier to snuff out complaints about animal welfare, and of course the usual demands from corporate business, unthinkingly backed by the university brainfucked humandroids who call themselves the left. The seed laws, critics say, are a related thrust meant to protect the interests of agro-chemical companies, by banning laws which require foods containing material from GM crops to be clearly labelled, so depriving consumers of a choice about whether they eat this shite or not.

Foods containing GM matter are currently banned in the European Union, and though the EU bureaucracy and some national governments have tried to overturn this, strength of public opinion has blocked any change. Politicians, academics and media luvvies have as usual described the mass opposition as being due to the “scientific ignorance of the masses,” who believe eating GM foods will lead to babies being born with two heads.  It is such hubris that has led the complete breakdown of trust between the general population and the establishment. Few people believe eating GM food will be harmful in the short term, but having already seen the effects in increased costs and reduced quality of modern intensive farming techniques, they are very suspicious of any move to hand control of the food supply to global corporations. The derailment of Barack Obama’s two “free trade” policies, TPP and TTIP

Some politicians in the U.S.A. and European Union have even talked of banning the planting of natural seed and only allowing food crops to be grown from GM seed. This would of course hand control of the food supply for humans and animals to a small group of corporate giants whose track records on ethical issues are very dubious. but it gets worse.

Nearly every seed-preemption law so far enacted in the USA borrows language from a 2013 model bill drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The council is “a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists,” essentially “voting as equals” with state legislators on bills, according to The Center for Media and Democracy. ALEC’s corporate members include the Koch brothers as well as some of the largest seed-chemical companies — Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont — which want to make sure GMO bans, like those enacted in Jackson County, Oregon, and Boulder County, Colorado, don’t become a trend.

 In Oregon, the bill blocking anti – GM laws was greenlighted in 2014 after Monsanto and Syngenta spent nearly $500,000 fighting a GMO ban in Jackson County. Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and Syngenta spent more than $6.9 million opposing anti-GMO rules in three Hawaiian counties, and thousands more in campaign donations. (These companies are also involved in mergers that, if approved, would create three seed-agrochemical giants.) Now ask yourselves this question: ‘If GM biotech produce was so good, why would the corporations that profit from it have to work so hard to overcome opposition?’

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Genetically Modified (GM) organisms? The science is setttled right, the only way to feed the world’s growing population is to accept GM foods and hand control of the human food chain to some of the nastiest, most fascistic corporate busineses on earth, right? Well fortunately it is not as clear cut as that, independent research shows GM crops do not give increased yields and do pose very significant risks for humans, wildlife and the environment.

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In the first part of Black Hat Biotech I reported on how a single corporation are close to establishing a monopoly as supplier of seed for the world’s staple food crops. Now we look at how that same corporation either by buying political influence or other, less ethical means (if you know what I mean) has come close to buying the co operation of the U S government in placing itself beyond the reach of the law. A clause in a new bill now going through congress that would have given Monsanto immunity from prosecutions related to problems caused by its genetically engineered products almost slipped through under the radar. Fortunately it was spotted by activists and is now being challenged.

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Do Recent US Naval Disasters Confirm Russia’s Electronic Weapons Claims

Two recent collisions in the South China Sea involving US warships and merchant vessels operating legitimately in the area have led to the US Navy cancelling all operations and standing down its fleet. What could have caused such a dramatic action, you might well ask. We wish we had a definitive answer but governments tend to remain tight lipped on such embarrassing stories.

When the USS John S McCain limped into Singapore, holed on the waterline after colliding with a tanker however, we were reminded of a story that resurfaced concerning a strange incident in 2014 involving a United States warship.

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USS John McCain after collision (Image source: worpress)

The most disturbing part of this story for US military strategy was not the fact that ten American sailors were lost, although that is what grabbed the headlines. More sinister was that the incident came only two months after the US Destroyer The Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship off Japan, with seven deaths resulting from the accident. And in May 2017 the cruiser Lake Champlain crashed into a South Korean fishing boat, fortunately no lives were lost on that occasion.

So what is going on. US Navy ships should have the most advanced naval technology in the world – apart from the British Navy of course 🙂 – and ought to have been aware of other vessels in the area in ample time to take evasive action.

According to a report first published in 2014, the USS Donald Cook experienced a total failure of its electronics systems, disabling weapons, tracking technology and navigation equipment after being buzzed by two Russian air force Sukhoi Su24 aircraft. Now the Su24 is an old design and by today’s standards not a sophisticated warplane. According to Russian sources however, the attack jets carry electronic weapons that can cripple the US Navy’s missile defence system.

Russia-1 television’s Vesti programme claimed an electronic warfare device called “Khibiny” was used by a Russian pilot to completely deactivate the defence systems of the USS Donald Cook in a 2014 encounter in the Black Sea. In the past this blog has reported that we learned from an Iranian nuclear scientist who is a friend of one of our contributors that Iran had jointly developed with Russia and China, a range of Electronic Weapons based on technologies first proposed by the scientist Nikolai Tesla, after whom the Tesla car company was named, whose work was sidelined in the west because of the threat it posed to commercial interests.

Reports coming out of the weapons and military technology industry more recently have suggested there was substance to that claim.

The US’ Aegis system, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, and carried by most modern American ships, is designed to protect a fleet against attacks by aircraft, and cruise and ballistic missiles. Other systems are in place to protect ships against less sophisticated weapons such as a boat pack with explosives being set on course to ram them.

But the Vesti broadcast (on Russian state controlled TV it should be noted) claimed the pilot of a Sukhoi Su-24 jet was able to deactivate “the whole ship’s systems” with “powerful radio-electronic waves” during the fly-by incident three years ago, around the time of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

“You don’t need to have expensive weapons to win [a war], powerful radio-electronic jamming is enough,” the report concluded. At the time this was dismissed as kremlin propaganda in response to Obama’s boasts about US technical superiority.

At the time the US military confirmed the Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer, had encountered a pair of Su-24s that repeatedly flew near it in the Black Sea. But a spokesman, Army Col Steve Warren, said then: “The Donald Cook is more than capable of defending itself against two Su-24s.”

Both President Donald Trump and his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, have hinted that relations between the countries hitting a low point may be in some way connected to these incidents.

During a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, earlier this month, Tillerson said the world’s “two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship”.

And before an off-camera meeting with Tillerson, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin commented in an interview that “one could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved, but rather has deteriorated”.

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Can Britain Dodge Being Dragged Into N. Korean War?

nuclear-war-kim-jong-un-747786

Fat Boy Kim makes his favourite kind of music (picture source)

Britain has been America’s principle ally and shared the role of global peacekeeper since the end of World War Two. With the major powers of east and west closer to open conflict than at any time since the 1960s as US provocation of Russia in the middle east and Ukraine and of China in South East Asia has raised tension to the point at which a small error could trigger some very big bangs, once more there is a strong possibility the USA will call on Britain to legitimize another regime change adventure.

Could Britain’s government formally refuse Donald Trump’s call for help in waging war against North Korea, so long as Kim Jong-un does not strike Hawaii or the US mainland. It is after all not our fight, we have recently responded to calls for support in Syria, Libya, Iraq and South Sudan, even though that support has often taken the form of deploying a token force.

Britain’s membership of NATO does not automatically oblige us to participate in a conflict between Trump’s America and Kim’s North Korea, even if the latter attacks US military bases in the Pacific. Although Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty states that an attack on one NATO member is an act of aggression against the entire military alliance, the application of this provision is limited only to attacks on member states’ territories in North America, Europe and the Atlantic.

Consequently, if Kim’s warheads strike US military bases in the Pacific, the US could ask for Britain’s assistance, but cannot formally compel the UK and other NATO allies to join the military efforts against North Korea.

There is a precedent of course. When asked to support the war in Vietnam, the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson refused, saying he had doubts about the legitimacy of the war that the North Vietnamese had not posed any threat to the USA and under the terms of the United Nations Charter the North Vietnamese had a right to self determination, even if that meant a communist regime taking power, an outcome that was anathema to Washington.

Britain itself suffered from the limited scope of Article 5 in the early 1980s, when the caveat prevented then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from invoking NATO’s collective self-defense provision over the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands.

Article 5 has only been invoked on one occasion: after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on 9/11, 2001.

The US, however, may exercise informal pressure to ensure Britain’s support in the military confrontation with Kim’s regime.

The UK’s impending withdrawal from the EU will, according to some foreign policy pundits,  make Britain more dependent for on its transatlantic partner, as evidenced by British PM Theresa May’s plans for an extensive trade treaty with the US, which may mitigate the negative economic effects of Brexit. However, once unconstrained by suffocating EU bureaucracy, Britain will be free to negotiate trade deals with anybody and many nations including China and India are eager to trade with us. Bullying on trade might not give Washington as much leverage as they would like.

Consequently, Britain may be unwilling to permanently damage the so-called “special relationship” with the US by failing to back up its key ally in the war against North Korea, especially if the latter acts as an aggressor. We can only hope that as previously reported, the intervention of Russia and China may once again avert an escalation of the crisis into full scale conflict.