Friday, October 19, 2018

Will Trump Trade Deal Force Genetically Modified Milk Down Canada's Throat?

A Time-Line on “Monsanto Milk” (rBGH) reveals . . .

by Sandra Finley - The Battles

October 18, 2018

FURTHER to: 2018-10-12 Here’s how I think we can Keep Monsanto milk out of Canada (bovine growth hormone (rBGH / rBST), NAFTA 2.0

UPDATE: the rBGH Petition to Prime Minister Trudeau, as of Oct 19th noon on the West Coast, is 60 signatures short of 21,000.

Note: to be clear, Monsanto hasn’t owned rBGH (“Posilac”) since 2008. However, the manufacturing plant in Augusta, GA, continues to churn out rBGH. And the new owners after Eli Lilly (as of August 2018), have a large investment in making profits from rBGH.

I was curious as to where Monsanto’s rBGH (“Posilac”) is manufactured. Answer: Augusta, Georgia.

Along the way, I discovered that American activists have been very effective in their battle against rBGH. If I were them, I’d celebrate a win!

If I were us, I’d do what American activists did, to ensure we don’t get rBGH milk products in Canada.

And then, we should all send information to Mexicans, and to Central and South Americans – – they’ve been set up to become the next big market for rBGH.

A large Brazilian pharmaceutical company (“Agener”) now owns the Posilac manufacturing plant in Georgia. Amount paid is not known.

Agener will have a large investment to recuperate. As I discovered in the research below, there are few markets left for Posilac in the U.S., thanks to American activists. Under NAFTA 2.0, is there a market in Canada, where it is so far illegal? We’ll find out.

In addition to the U.S., The product is approved for sale in Brazil and is allowed in other nearby markets such as Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. . . .

If you wonder why we should help send info to Mexicans, and to Central and South Americans about rBGH (Posilac), go to the TIME-LINE below, or back to we can Keep Monsanto milk out of Canada,

… CONTINUING: The Time-Line shows:

Monsanto faced huge resistance to rBGH. Sales in the U.S. were “plummeting”. So what do you do?

Monsanto got rid of “Posilac” and the manufacturing plant. (Time-Line below).

Monsanto sold to Eli Lilly, sub-division “Elanco” (duped?) (2008).

Elanco sold Posilac to “AGENER”, a large Brazilian “animal health” (well, not quite) company. (August 2018)

Union Agener is part of the União Química Farmacêutica Nacional group, which is one of Brazil’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers. This deal provides Union Agener with its first manufacturing facility outside of Brazil.

August 6, 2018

Elanco Sells Posilac Business to Brazilian Firm

Feedstuffs Magazine is reporting Elanco Animal Health has sold its Posilac business to Union Agener, one of Brazil’s largest animal health companies.

The sale also includes Posilac’s manufacturing facility in Augusta, Ga. No purchase price has been released. But the sale makes logistical sense, since Posilac is approved for sale in Brazil and 14 Latin and South American countries.


The product is approved for sale in Brazil and is allowed in other nearby markets such as Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. . . .

Elanco confirmed its intent to sell the Posilac assets last fall. The company entered the agreement with Union Agener prior to revealing details of its upcoming initial public offering.

Sales of Posilac in the U.S. have plummeted in recent years as more and more fluid handlers refused to accept milk from BST-treated cows, citing consumer concerns. But it was also a convenient way for handlers and cooperatives to reduce milk production as plants in the Northeast and Midwest over flowed with milk. Today, just pockets of BST-use remain in the U.S.

Elanco announced last fall that it was seeking a buyer for its Posilac business. For a transitional period, Elanco will continue to support sales of Posilac in markets it currently serves.


(I expect you will see different things than me.)

American activists scored an amazing victory on rBGH. Until I did the time-line, I had no idea.
To understand the seriousness of rBGH, read the early statements (1990’s). By today, the descriptions are watered down.

In the Time-Line (2000’s), you see States that tried to enact legislation to stop dairies from labeling their milk as being free of rBGH (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, Utah . . . ). I remember that time. It seemed that every week there was news that yet another State was serving as an Enforcer for Monsanto. The State didn’t even need civil servants to write the legislation, Monsanto did it for them. I could not imagine that Monsanto and its money could be beaten, with that level of active corruption in place. . . . But! the Resistance in the US met every challenge, even all of that.

The whistle blowers and the Canadian Senate (Senate Agriculture Report 1999) did an admirable job that saved Canadian activists from directly fighting rBGH. However, the cancer was not removed.

RECOMMENDATION #1 from the Senate Report 1999: The Committee recommends that Health Canada ensure full adherence to its conflict of interest guidelines and, in cases of perceived conflict of interest, publicly declare its reasons for accepting the appointment of any individuals for whom a conflict is perceived. (page 10).

That was the NUMBER ONE recommendation. We have made zero progress on it, or on other Recommendations.

Ref: 2004-04-10 Tom Wolf, Health Canada scientist threatens to sue me. Response – the mafia uses threat of broken bones.
The role of Universities, Canadian and American, in supporting Bayer-Monsanto and their brethren is not revealed in the Time-Line.

One day out in a field, I determined to dig out a Canada Thistle. I understood that it would continue to grow from a horizontal root about a foot underground, if I did not get at that part of the plant, too. “The hidden” had to be removed, in spite of all the prickly thistles on top that I didn’t want to touch me. It’s a hard task, to eradicate, so it’s dead.

A Time-Line on “Monsanto Milk” (rBGH) reveals . . .

Samples from a TIME-LINE, not intended to be comprehensive. Constructed from:

– Grace Communications Foundation (

– CRG (Council for Responsible Genetics)

– Info on my blog.

NOTE: In this story, the resistance was underway by 1990. In August 2008, Monsanto dumped rBGH. Not enough. By June 2018, the “Monsanto” company name was forced out of existence. It took roughly 30 years. rBGH was just one of the factors.

Bayer-Monsanto is next. And Agener will pay for its purchase of rBGH, more than it planned on.
It is important to keep some details alive. “The story” gets re-written over time. Paragraphs like “1991” are reduced to “consumer concerns”.

1991: report by Rural Vermont, a nonprofit farm advocacy group, revealed that rBGH-injected cows that were part of a Monsanto-financed study at the University of Vermont suffered serious health problems, including an alarming rise in the number of deformed calves and dramatic increases in mastitis, a painful bacterial infection of the udder, which causes inflammation, Fswelling, and pus and blood secretions into milk. FThese findings are supported by Health Canada’s 1998 report, which concluded that the use of rBGH increases the risk of mastitis by 25 percent, affects reproductive functions, increases the risk of clinical lameness by 50 percent, and shortens the lives of cows. 

To treat mastitis outbreaks, the dairy industry relies on antibiotics. GCritics of rBGH point to the subsequent increase in antibiotic use (which contributes to the growing problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria) and inadequacies in the federal government’s testing program for antibiotic residues in milk. F

Milk from rBGH-treated cows contains higher levels of IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1). While humans naturally have IGF-1, elevated levels in humans have been linked to colon and breast cancer. . . . more on IGF-1 in the bottom-most article below.

1991: Not sure what year (early nineties):

Dr. Richard Burroughs, a senior FDA scientist overseeing the rBGH safety studies, claims he was fired because his concerns about the safety of rBGH delayed the approval process. F

1993: The US FDA licensed rBGH, in spite of the resistance.

The FDA’s approval was based solely on one study administered by Monsanto in which rBGH was tested for 90 days on 30 rats. Although the FDA stated that the results showed no significant problems, the study was never actually published.

The FDA continues to assure consumers that rBGH is safe for cows and humans, despite evidence to the contrary.

1994: FDA prohibited dairies from claiming there is any difference between milk from rBGH-injected cows, and milk produced without the artificial hormone. 

1994: Michael Taylor, the FDA official responsible for writing the labeling guidelines, had worked as a Monsanto lawyer before joining the FDA.

The deputy director of the FDA’s New Animal Drugs Office had been a Monsanto research scientist working on rBGH safety studies, while another researcher in the same office had conducted Monsanto-funded rBGH research at Cornell University, working under a paid Monsanto consultant.

Congress’ General Accounting Office ruled that none of these cases of longstanding connections to Monsanto posed a conflict of interest. F

1994 – March: . . . others at the FDA resorted to writing an anonymous letter to members of Congress, saying they were “afraid to speak openly about the situation because of retribution from our director, Dr. Robert Livingston.” They wrote, “The basis of our concern is that Dr. Margaret Miller, Dr. Livingston’s assistant and, from all indications, extremely ‘close friend,’ wrote the FDA’s opinion on why milk from [rbGH]-treated cows should not be labeled. However, before coming to the FDA, Dr. Margaret Miller was working for the Monsanto company as a researcher on [rbGH].”[5]

(full text at bottom)

1998: an assessment by Health Canada determined that the results of Monsanto’s 90-day study provided reason for review before approval of rBGH. F

1998 – June: Health Canada scientists spoke on Canada AM about rBST. They were officially reprimanded and told that they could not speak in public without permission from the department, for two years.

1998 – : The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture (Senator Eugene Whelan the driving force) looked into rBST. The scientists Hayden and Chopra were subpoenaed and assured that testifying to the Committee would not open them to further reprisals at work. They told of pressure tactics in the department. Hayden revealed that her research files on rBST had been stolen from a locked file cabinet. . . .

Dr. Margaret Hayden, a Health Canada researcher, reported to the Canadian Senate that officials from Monsanto had offered between $1 million to $2 million to Health Canada scientists—an offer she says could only be understood as an attempted bribe. F

(INSERT: I met and talked with Dr. Margaret Hayden at the “Prevent Cancer Now” conference in Ottawa many years ago. She is an unassuming, kind, person who works for the public good.)

Shortly after, Chopra was suspended for 5 days. His supervisor claimed it was for criticizing Health Canada for racism in a public forum. A Senate investigation heard evidence from seven scientists in the department that this action appeared to be in retaliation for his testimony.

The two scientists appealed both the gag order and the suspension.

The European Union, FJapan F, Australia, FNew Zealand Fand Canada F

do not allow the use of rBGH due to animal and human health concerns.

2001: The Canadian scientists won both cases (gag order and suspension). They were eventually fired.

2001: Monsanto aggressively attempted to suppress reports about the health risks of rBGH. Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, two respected investigative journalists at a Fox News television station in Tampa, Florida, were fired after months of controversy surrounding their investigative report on rBGH use in Florida dairies. According to the journalists, the station delayed airing their story and demanded they include inaccurate information about rBGH after Monsanto threatened the station with legal action. 

(more below)

BY 2003: In response to growing consumer concern, some U.S. dairies label their milk as “rBGH-free” or “No artificial growth hormones.”

Monsanto asked the state of Maine to stop issuing an official Quality Seal, which the state only granted to dairies that do not use rBGH. Maine refused.

Monsanto sued Oakhurst Dairy, Maine’s largest dairy operation, over its rBGH-free labels. Ultimately, Oakhurst changed its labels, adding the statement, “FDA States: No significant difference in milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormone.” 

The Fight becomes one of labelling, and across the U.S.

2004 – : The Tillamook County Creamery Association in Oregon, the nation’s second largest producer of chunk cheese, told their members not to give recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH) to their cows to boost milk production. Soon after, Monsanto, which markets rbGH under the name Posilac, applied pressure on Tillamook’s 147 farmers, trying to reverse the decision. The Association described Monsanto’s actions as “an aggressive intrusion.” For those familiar with the history of this controversial drug, this is no surprise. Efforts to promote the genetically engineered growth hormone have been aggressive — or worse — starting with its evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the late 1980’s.

(full text at bottom)

2007 – August:

“The big food chain in the U.S., Kroger, will end its sales of milk from cows injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone….”.

2007: Safeway followed Kroger’s lead.

2007 – October:

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture outlawed hormone-free labeling, claiming the labels are “false” and “misleading” to consumers. (not for long!)

2008 – January:

Pennsylvania: In reaction to public outcry, hormone-free labeling is reinstated.F

2008 – February:

Ohio Agriculture Director, Robert Boggs, approved the use of rBGH-free labeling only if the FDA’s disclaimer, “no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-supplemented and non-rbST-supplemented cows” was also included, in a way that made labeling impossible.

(See 2010 October, court ruled “companies are free to label . . .”

The Indiana legislature considered a bill to make artificial hormone-free labeling illegal, claiming milk would be “misbranded” if “compositional claims cannot be confirmed through laboratory analysis.” F

The bill did not pass the legislature.

2008 – February: a pseudo “grassroots” nonprofit called American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology (AFACT) was formed. FCreated by a public relations firm founded by two ex-Monsanto employees, AFACT received funding from Monsanto before it was dissolved in 2011.  

2008 – March: Walmart prohibited the use of rBGH in its store-brand milk products.

2008 – August: Monsanto sold Posilac to Eli Lilly.

2009 – : The Kansas legislature passed a bill that deemed any milk, milk product or dairy product label with a statement related to milk composition including “No Hormones,” “Hormone Free,” “rBST Free,” “rBGH Free,” and “BST Free” as false and misleading.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the bill. 

Similar labeling controversies took place in Missouri, New Jersey, Utah and Vermont, but ultimately, no state made it illegal to label milk or dairy products as rBGH-free.

2010 – October (related to 2008 – February, Ohio)

a federal court overturned the rBGH labeling rule: the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stated that there is a “compositional difference” between milk from cows receiving growth hormone and those that don’t, and ruled that companies are free to label their products as “rBGH free” and “rBST free.” F

2013 – May:

The March Against Monsanto (MAM), the initiative of a young mother in Utah, was launched. Appeal – international, young. Five years later, the Monsanto name . . .

2018 – June:

The Monsanto name is no more. (The company and its products purchased by Bayer for $66 billion; the Monsanto name immediately eradicated. But its products continue under their Monsanto brand names.)

2018 – August 6:

Elanco Sells Posilac Business to Brazilian Firm, Agener.

Sales of Posilac in the U.S. have plummeted in recent years as more and more fluid handlers refused to accept milk from BST-treated cows, citing consumer concerns. But it was also a convenient way for handlers and cooperatives to reduce milk production as plants in the Northeast and Midwest over flowed with milk. Today, just pockets of BST-use remain in the U.S.

More on the Canadian story: In June of 1998, when neither the department or the Prime Minister had responded to their concerns, Chopra and Hayden were invited to speak on Canada AM about rBST which was by then the center of a public controversy. . . .

Meanwhile, the Standing Senate Committee . . .

Shortly after, Chopra was suspended for 5 days. His supervisor claimed it was for criticizing Health Canada for racism in a public forum. A Senate investigation heard evidence from seven scientists in the department that this action appeared to be in retaliation for his testimony. . . .

The two scientists appealed both the gag order and the suspension. They won both cases. Along the way, the process has revealed a pattern of ongoing problems in the department.

The National Farmers’s Union was one of the organizations which intervened in the Federal Court case which appealed the gag order and reprimand. The NFU’s regional coordinator for Ontario, Peter Dowling stated,

“Through our years of involvement in the milk hormone issue, the NFU has seen the seamy side of the whole regulatory process…If this situation continues, the whole food system will suffer.”
The NFU believes “farmers have a direct interest in ensuring the integrity, transparency, and accountability of Health Canada’s food regulatory processes. The market for the food we produce is heavily dependent on consumer trust in its purity and safety. The precautionary principle, embodied in the Food and Drug Act, is intended to protect that trust and Health Canada must implement that principle.”

The Sierra Club, the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Health Coalition, all of which are non-profit public interest groups, also intervened in the case. They pointed out that freedom of expression must also protect the right of the public to receive information and ideas which make it possible to form opinions, make decisions and participate in public dialogue on an informed basis. They argued that disciplining public servants in situations like this also limits the ability of non-profit organizations to protect public health and the environment, and safeguard the integrity of government processes.

The Federal Court decision is a clear victory for public servants and public safety. Justice Tremblay-Lamer wrote, “The scientists were justified in going to the media…They should not have been reprimanded/restricted for disclosing information relating to the troubled drug approval process within the BVD…” She also ruled “Where a matter is of legitimate public concern requiring a public debate, the duty of loyalty cannot be absolute to the extent of preventing public disclosure by a government official. The common law duty of loyalty does not impose unquestioning silence.”

Behind these disciplinary actions is a major shift in the Health Protection Branch’s role and the standards it applies to determine food safety. Client satisfaction is the new guideline. But departmental memos instruct scientists that their clients are not the public, but food and drug manufacturers looking for product approval. There is also a switch from a precautionary approach to one of “risk management” where food-safety regulators are supposed to “manage the damage” (to human health and the environment) instead of preventing harm from happening.

Health Canada is having trouble keeping these issues behind closed doors. In April 1999 the European Union audited Canada’s meat supply and revealed “serious deficiencies”. It documented widespread use of cancer causing hormones, antibiotics, endocrine disrupters and other hormonally active substances, all of which are banned in Europe. Canada promised that it could provide the European market (but not Canadians) with chemical free beef. Health Canada officials tried to write the audit off as a “trade dispute” but these were the same substances that department scientists had recommended against approving.

WHISTLEBLOWERS, THREATS, AND BRIBES: Short History of Genetically Engineered Bovine Growth Hormone

by Jeffrey Smith

In 2004, the Tillamook County Creamery Association in Oregon, the nation’s second largest producer of chunk cheese, told their members not to give recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH) to their cows to boost milk production. Soon after, Monsanto, which markets rbGH under the name Posilac, applied pressure on Tillamook’s 147 farmers, trying to reverse the decision. The Association described Monsanto’s actions as “an aggressive intrusion.” For those familiar with the history of this controversial drug, this is no surprise. Efforts to promote the genetically engineered growth hormone have been aggressive — or worse — starting with its evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the late 1980’s.

Veterinarian Richard Burroughs, who had a lead role in the review process, was shocked at how few tests the agency was requiring. Burroughs ordered more tests, but was soon fired. He said, “I was told that I was slowing down the approval process.”[1] Burroughs says that the science in the studies was well outside the expertise of FDA employees, but officials “suppressed and manipulated data to cover up their own ignorance and incompetence.”[2] Alexander Apostolou, director of the FDA’s Division of Toxicology, says, “Sound scientific procedures for evaluating human food safety of veterinary drugs have been disregarded.” When he expressed his concerns at the agency, he was pressured to leave.”[3] Chemist Joseph Settepani testified at a public hearing about “a systematic human food-safety breakdown at the Center for Veterinary Medicine.” Prior to his testimony, he was in charge of quality control for veterinary drug approvals. Soon after, he was stripped of his duties as a supervisor and sent to work in a trailer at an experimental farm. [4]

Retaliations against whistle-blowers did not go unnoticed. On March 16, 1994, others at the FDA resorted to writing an anonymous letter to members of Congress, saying they were “afraid to speak openly about the situation because of retribution from our director, Dr. Robert Livingston.” They wrote, “The basis of our concern is that Dr. Margaret Miller, Dr. Livingston’s assistant and, from all indications, extremely ‘close friend,’ wrote the FDA’s opinion on why milk from [rbGH]-treated cows should not be labeled. However, before coming to the FDA, Dr. Margaret Miller was working for the Monsanto company as a researcher on [rbGH].”[5]


The hormone of greatest concern to critics and whistleblowers is not bovine growth hormone, however, but insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which occurs naturally in both cows and humans. IGF-1 causes cells to divide and is one of the most powerful growth hormones in the body. Cows injected with rbGH have higher levels of IGF-1, and elevated levels of the hormone have been linked to cancer.

A Harvard study of 15,000 white males revealed that those with elevated IGF-1 levels in their blood were four times more likely to get prostate cancer than the average man. The report says, “administration of GH [natural human growth hormone] or IGF-1 over long periods…may increase risk of prostate cancer.”[6] Similarly, premenopausal women younger than 50 who had high levels of IGF-1 were seven times as likely to develop breast cancer, according to a study in the Lancet. The authors wrote, “with the exception of a strong family history of breast cancer… the relation between IGF-1 and risk of breast cancer may be greater than that of other established breast-cancer risk factors.”[7] The International Journal of Cancer also described a “significant association between circulating IGF-1 concentrations and an increased risk of lung, colon, prostate and pre-menopausal breast cancer,” and concluded, “Lowering plasma IGF-1 may thus represent an attractive strategy to be pursued.”[8]

Monsanto researchers, however, have long assured the public that increased levels of IGF-1 isn’t an issue with rbGH. In a letter published in the Lancetin 1994, they wrote, “IGF-1 concentration in milk…is unchanged,” and “there is no evidence that hormonal content of milk…is in any way different.”[9] A month later, a letter in the same publication from a British researcher “reminded Monsanto that in its 1993 application to the British government for permission to sell rbGH in England, Monsanto itself reported that “the IGF-1 level went up substantially.” [10]

Even the FDA admits, “rbGH treatment produces an increase in the concentration of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in cow’s milk.”[11] While some supporters of rbGH acknowledge that “it at least doubles the amount of IGF-1 hormone in the milk,” the first study on the subject reported an increase of 360 percent. [12,13] Whatever the amount, IGF-1 in milk is not destroyed by pasteurization, nor is it destroyed in the stomach. Rather, it is absorbed intact, and could have a significant impact. A study that looked at data from more than a thousand nurses who carefully recorded their diet found that the food most associated with high IGF-1 levels was milk. The study’s author said, “This association raises the possibility that diet could increase cancer risk by increasing levels of IGF-1 in the blood stream.”[14] The milk used in the latter study was from cows not treated with rbGH. Milk from treated cows has higher levels of IGF-1 and might raise human IGF-1 levels even more.

Media Blacked Out

This potential link between rbGH and cancer was one of the many controversial topics to be covered in a four-part investigative news series on WTVT-TV, a Tampa-based Fox affiliate. Four days before it was to air, Fox received a threatening letter from Monsanto’s attorney, causing the station to postpone the show. After a review from Fox’s station manager the program was rescheduled for the following week. Monsanto’s attorney then sent a second letter, this time threatening “dire consequences for Fox News.”[15] The show was postponed indefinitely. Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, the award winning investigative reporters who had created the report for WTVT-TV, say that they were offered hush money to leave the station and never speak about the story again, which they declined. So Fox’s corporate attorney led them in a series of rewrites, attempting to soften the language and apparently appease Monsanto.

The reporters were ultimately fired for refusing to report that the milk from treated cows was the same as normal milk. The reporters argued that Monsanto’s own research showed a difference, such as the increased IGF-1 levels, and FDA scientists had acknowledged this. The reporters sued. Akre was awarded $425,000 by a jury that agreed that Fox “acted intentionally and deliberately to falsify or distort the plaintiffs’ news reporting on BGH,” and that Akre’s threat to blow the whistle was the reason she was fired.[16]

This was not the first time pressure was applied to control media reports critical of rbGH. An earlier target was Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, who had cited numerous potential health dangers from rbGH, including risk of cancer.[17] Monsanto’s public relations firm created a group called the Dairy Coalition, which included university researchers whose work was funded by Monsanto and who selected “third party” experts and organizations. Representatives of the Dairy Coalition pressured news editors to limit coverage of Epstein. According to a February 1996 internal Dairy Coalition document, major news sources such as the Washington Post, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press didn’t run stories on Epstein because the Coalition had successfully “educated” the reporters.

Canada’s ban

While Monsanto’s tactics have been fairly effective in the United States, they have tried equally hard north of the border. In 1998, six Canadian government scientists testified that they were being pressured by superiors to approve rbGH. The six were employed by Health Canada — the Canadian equivalent of the US FDA. Their job was to determine if the milk from treated cows was safe to drink. They didn’t think so. In fact, they had compiled a detailed critique of the FDA’s evaluation of rbGH, showing that the US approval process was flawed and superficial. However, senior Canadian officials and Monsanto tried to force the Canadians to approve it anyway.

According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, “The scientists’ testimony before a Senate committee was like a scene from the conspiratorial television show ‘The X-Files.’” They told the senators that government scientists “often feel that their careers are threatened if they stand in the way of a drug they don’t believe is safe,” and “managers without scientific experience regularly overrule their decisions.”[18]
Dr. Margaret Haydon said that when she refused to approve rbGH due to her concerns for human health, she was taken off the study. The Ottawa Citizen reported that Haydon “recounted how notes and files critical of scientific data provided by Monsanto were stolen from a locked filing cabinet in her office,” and that she “told of being in a meeting when officials from Monsanto…made an offer of between $1 million and $2 million to the scientists from Health Canada — an offer that she told the senators could only have been interpreted as a bribe.”[19]

In response, a Monsanto official went on Canadian national television saying that the scientists had misunderstood an offer for research money. This was not the first time Monsanto had been accused of offering bribes, however. In January 2005, Monsanto was fined $1.5 million by the US Department of Justice for offering bribes and questionable payments to more than 140 Indonesian officials between 1997 and 2002 in an attempt to gain approval for genetically modified cotton. According to the BBC, “A former senior manager at Monsanto directed an Indonesian consulting firm to give a $50,000 bribe to a high-level official in Indonesia’s environment ministry in 2002. The manager told the company to disguise an invoice for the bribe as ‘consulting fees.’”20

The Canadian scientists said that, after they testified, their superiors retaliated against them. They were passed over for promotions, given impossible tasks or no assignments at all, and one was suspended without pay. Three of the whistleblowers, who also spoke out on such controversial topics as mad cow disease, were ultimately fired on July 14, 2004.

Their efforts, however, did inspire Canada to join most industrialized nations in their ban of rbGH. Within the US, many school systems ban milk from treated cows and several dairies refuse to use it. Oakhurst Dairy of Portland, Maine, for example, requires its suppliers to sign a notarized affidavit every six months, stating their cows are rbGH-free. The Oakhurst label stated, “Our Farmers’ Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones.” But on July 3, 2003, Monsanto sued the dairy over their labels. Oakhurst eventually settled with Monsanto, agreeing to include a sentence on their cartons saying that, according to the FDA, no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbGH-treated and non-rbGH-treated cows. This contradicts more recent statements by FDA scientists, but the sentence had been written years earlier by an FDA political appointee, Michael Taylor —Monsanto’s former attorney.

Back to Tillamook

In February 2005, another attorney from Taylor’s former firm arrived at the Tillamook County Creamery Association’s offices with two Monsanto representatives. According to farmers, he drafted an amendment to the Association’s bylaws that would reverse the ban on Posilac. During the ten days leading up to the vote on the amendment, Tillamook received letters, calls and e-mails from 8,500 consumers, urging them to stick with their ban. On Monday, February 28, by an 83-43 vote, Tillamook sided with these consumers.

That, of course, didn’t stop the pressuring. One week later, Alex Avery of the Hudson Institute — a think tank which receives funds from Monsanto — wrote an entry on his Web page, “Milk is Milk,” that claimed, “Tillamook knows that there is a liability from both the economic harm this could cause their member dairies as well as a consumer liability if people buy their product because they’ve been misled to believe their product is somehow different based on their non-use of supplemental [rbGH].”[21]

On March 25, the Oregonian published an op-ed piece by Alex Avery and Terry Witt. Witt’s organization, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, has also been funded by Monsanto and has a Monsanto representative on its board. The op-ed is packed with false claims. For example, the authors say that rbGH is a “carbon copy of a cow’s natural milk-production hormone.”[22] In reality, the amino acid sequence of rbGH, created by genetically engineered E. coli bacteria, is not an exact replica of the cow’s version.

Avery and Witt said that the drug “cuts costs,” but according to a study by USDA agricultural economists, using rbGH increases costs to the point where the extra milk production is not profitable for the average dairy. [23] Another study similarly found “there was no statistical difference in net income per cow . . . even if Monsanto provided [rbGH] free to the using farmers.”[24]

Avery and Witt’s op-ed insists that milk from treated cows is “indistinguishable” and according to FDA scientists, rbGH “doesn’t change the milk one bit.”[25] Not only are there hormonal differences already mentioned, milk from treated cows contains about 20 percent more pus due to the higher infection rates and increased amounts of antibiotics used to fight the infections.

Avery and Witt also make the remarkable statement, “Another baseless scare is that [rbGH] harms cows,” when even Posilac’s label warns of “increases in cystic ovaries and disorders of the uterus…decreases in gestation length and birthweight of calves…increased twinning rates,” higher “incidence of retained placenta…an increased risk of clinical mastitis…periods of increased body temperature…an increase in digestive disorders such as indigestion and diarrhea” and “increased numbers of enlarged hocks and lesions (i.e. lacerations).”[26]

Posilac’s label also says that calves have “more disorders of the foot region,” but “studies did not indicate that use of [rbGH] increased lameness.” However, according to a Canadian panel of veterinarians who reviewed and then rejected the drug, rbGH does increase the risk of lameness. The panel further stated that problems from rbGH could be serious enough that farmers might have to destroy up to one fourth of their herd.[27]

Charles Knight, whom Jane Akre and Steve Wilson interviewed for their report, was “one of many farmers who say they’ve watched [rbGH] burn their cows out sooner, shortening their lives by maybe two years.” Knight said “he had to replace 75 percent of his herd due to hoof problems and serious udder infections.” When he contacted Monsanto, Knight said that their representative told him “You’re the only person having this problem so it must be what you’re doing here, you must be having management problems.” Knight was not told that Monsanto had already found in its own research that “hundreds of other cows on other farms were also suffering hoof problems and mastitis.”[28] Furthermore, the law required Monsanto to notify the FDA about any adverse reactions. But after four months of repeated phone calls by Knight and even a visit by Monsanto to his farm, the FDA had not been informed. Monsanto officials claim that “it took them four months to figure out that Knight was complaining about rbGH.”[29]


Finally, Avery and Witt denigrated the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and their “activist” campaign against rbGH in Oregon. In a rebuttal printed in The Oregonian, two PSR representatives, Dr. Martin Donohoe and Rick North, said, “Our dictionary defines an activist as someone who takes ‘positive, direct action to achieve an end’…Activists are more than just watchdogs. They have produced some of this nation’s greatest accomplishments. Without them, 10-year-old children would still be working 12 hours a day in coal mines and sweatshops. Blacks would still be barred from schools, hotels and swimming pools. Women would still be denied the right to vote…When activism is attacked or neglected, democracy itself is in peril. Avery and Witt got one thing right — we are activists. And we’re proud of it.”[30]

Thanks to years of activists, whistleblowers, and investigators, more people are questioning the empty assurances by corporations and government the rbGH is safe. Alex Avery claims that “consumers rarely — if ever — mention production issues like [rbGH]-use as a factor influencing their purchasing decisions,” but actions speak louder than words. Organic farming, which doesn’t allow genetically engineered inputs including rbGH, is the fastest growing agricultural sector, bounding ahead at more than 21 percent growth per year. This year, supermarkets like H-E-B and Whole Foods announced that they will label their own product lines as made without genetically modified ingredients. Tillamook cheese has joined the growing list of more than 160 rbGH-free national and regional brands that are responding to demands from informed consumers. As long as the media still provides venues for unsupported claims by rbGH proponents, there is work to be done. We must take a lesson from the activists in Oregon and share what we have learned.

Jeffrey M. Smith invites fellow activists to join the GM-Free School Campaign, which aims to remove genetically modified foods, including rbGH-milk, from kids’ meals. Smith is the producer of the new video, Hidden Dangers in Kids’ Meals: Genetically Engineered Food, author of the monthly syndicated column, “Spilling the Beans,” and director of the Institute for Responsible Technology. His best-selling book, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating, is a critique GM foods. See

Kamen, Jeff, “Formula for Disaster,” Penthouse, March 1999
2. Canine, Craig, “Hear No Evil: In its determination to become a model corporate citizen, is the FDA ignoring potential dangers in the nation’s food supply?” Eating Well, July/August 1991
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Cohen, Robert, Milk, the Deadly Poison, Argus Publishing, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1998
6. Chan, June M., et. al., “Plasma Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 [IGF-1] and Prostate Cancer Risk: A Prospective Study,” Science, vol. 279, January 23, 1998, pp. 563-566
7. Hankinson, S. E., et. al., “Circulating concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1 and risk of breast cancer,” Lancet, vol. 351, no. 9113, 1998, pp. 1393-1396
8. Torrisi, R., et. al., “Time course of fenretinide-induced modulation of circulating insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-i, IGF-II and IGFBP-3 in a bladder cancer chemoprevention trial,” International Journal of Cancer, vol. 87, no. 4, August 2000, pp. 601-605
9. Collier, Robert J. et. al., “[Untitled Letter to the Editor],” Lancet, vol. 344, September 17, 1994, p. 816
10. T. B. Mepham, et. al., “Safety of milk from cows treated with bovine somatotropin,” Lancet, Vol. 344, November 19, 1994, pp. 1445-1446
11. Juskevich, Judith C. and C. Greg Guyer, “Bovine Growth Hormone: Human Food Safety Evaluation,” Science, 1990, vol. 249, pp. 875-884
12. Daughaday, William H. and David M. Barbano, “Bovine somatotropin supplementation of dairy cows: Is the milk safe?” JAMA, vol. 264, no. 8, August 22, 1990, pp. 1003-1005
13. Prosser, C. G., et. al., “Increased secretion of insulin-like growth factor-1 into milk of cows treated with recombinantly derived bovine growth hormone,” Journal of Dairy Science, vol. 56, 1989, pp. 17-26
14. “Milk, Pregnancy, Cancer May Be Tied,” Reuters, September 10, 2002
15. BGH Bulletin, Target Television Enterprises Inc.,
16. Ibid.
17. Epstein, Samuel, “Growth Hormones Would Endanger Milk.,” Los Angeles Times, July 27, 1989
18. McIlroy, Anne, “Pierre Blais thought it was his duty,” Toronto Globe and Mail , November 18, 1998
19. Baxter, James, The Ottawa Citizen, October 23, 1998, p. A1
20. Monsanto fined $1.5m for bribery, BBC News, 7 January, 2005
21. Avery, Alex, “Oregon Cheese Monger Folds to Anti-Productivity Activist Campaign,” March 7, 2005,
22. Alex Avery and Terry Witt, “Contriving a controversy concerning Tillamook’s milk,” The Oregonian, March 25, 2005
23. McBride, William D., et. al., “The Adoption and Impact of Bovine Somatotropin on U.S. Dairy Farms,” Review of Agricultural Economics, Vol 26, Number 4, pgs 472-488
24. Tauer, Loren, “The Impact of recombinant bovine Somatotropin on Dairy Farm Profits: A Switching Regression Analysis.” Working Paper, Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, September 2003
25.Alex Avery and Terry Witt, “Contriving a controversy concerning Tillamook’s milk,” The Oregonian, March 25, 2005
26. Ibid.
27. “Ottawa bans bovine growth hormone,” CBC, January 15, 1999
28. BGH Bulletin, Target Television Enterprises Inc.,
29. “Milk, rBGH, and Cancer,” Rachel’s Environment and Health Weekly, no. 593, April 9, 1998
30. North, Rick and Martin Donohoe, MD, “Falsities, half-truths and smears marred essay on Tillamook milk,” The Oregonian, March 31, 2005

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Lobbying and propaganda around gene drive technologies threaten to erode public trust in science. By Christophe Boëte

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Dispelling the Fairy Tales Around BC's Proportional Representation Referendum

Fairy tales from the No side in the PR referendum

by Peter Ewart - PGDailyNews

October 15, 2018

As Wikipedia describes it, a fairy tale is a fanciful story that “typically features entities such as dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns and witches.”

And what a collection of strange tales the No to PR BC spokespersons are conjuring up in their attempt to discredit proportional representation (PR) in the upcoming referendum.

One of the most bizarre has to be the claim that the existing first-past-the-post (FPTP) system in British Columbia is a non-party system and that MLAs are non-partisan.

If there is one place in the world where this has to be the least true, it would have to be British Columbia which has had an extreme party-based system ever since 1903 when the big parties took over the process.

Yet this is precisely what the No side spokespersons are claiming in their attacks on proportional representation. For example, former Liberal MLA Suzanne Anton has been telling cozy little tales about how FPTP is, in effect, a non-party system which means MLAs are non-partisan and, like Mother Goose, will welcome constituents into their office no matter what their politics.

On the other hand, she claims that, if proportional representation is adopted, this will all change for the worse and, like the Miller’s daughter in Rumpelstiltskin, MLAs will become beholden to and controlled by the backroom imps of the political parties.

In spinning such tales, Anton is attempting to use the constituency side of MLA work (which would be the same under any voting system including PR) to gloss over the legislative side which in B.C. is extremely party-based.

Instead of a fairy tale, let’s look at the cold, hard reality of politics in B.C. today. 

MLAs are selected and nominated by the political parties, not by the general electorate. Once elected, they are under the thumb of the political parties. They must follow the party line on all major and even most minor issues, otherwise they face repercussions including expulsion from the party. In the last few years that latter fate has happened in the Central Interior to both Liberal MLA Paul Nettleton and NDP MLA Bob Simpson.

To say that MLAs are non-partisan is even more laughable when we look at the MLA voting record. In the last Legislative session, about 100 bills were passed by 87 MLAs from the three parties in the Legislature. That amounts to about 8,700 separate votes. Of those 8,700 votes, it has been calculated that only five did not follow their party lines.

In the Central Interior and North, all the current seats are held by Liberal MLAs in what amounts to be a regional monopoly. When did any of these MLAs speak out against the cancellation of the appurtenancy clause requiring forestry companies to mill logs in or near the communities where they were harvested? Dozens of mills were closed and thousands of jobs were lost as a result, but nary a peep from any of these MLAs.

The same holds true for the sell-off of BC Rail, despite 70 per cent of the population opposing it. Or the imposition of the hated Harmonized Sales Tax. None of these Liberal MLAs in the region spoke out against any of these policies being rammed through despite the many complaints of constituents.

How can the No side claim that this is non-partisan? Only if they would have us believe a fairy tale. Indeed, they are also spreading other fairy tales such as that proportional representation will mean “farewell to local MLAs” and that PR will “eliminate the voice of small communities” (see previous column by Bill Phillips demolishing that claim).

There is a danger when No side spokespersons try to pass off falsehoods as true. Like Pinocchio, their noses grow longer. And they pay a price in credibility.
Peter Ewart is a columnist, writer and community activist based in Prince George, BC. He can be reached at:

Trudeau's Free Ride on Free Trade: CPTPP Breezes Through Canadian House of Commons

CPTPP Breezes through House in Third Reading 

by Council of Canadians

October 17, 2018

Council of Canadians says Senate must assume role of chamber of sober second thought

Ottawa Yesterday afternoon, the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – or the slightly reformed Trans-Pacific Partnership – passed third reading after very limited debate in the House of Commons.

It passed by 236 to 44 votes with the Conservatives and Liberals

The Council of Canadians says that this is a dangerous move.

“Most of what has changed in the CPTPP is the branding. The Trudeau government is now pretending that it is progressive, but it still has the toxic Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanisms that allow companies to sue countries over public interest legislation,” says Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians.
“If this deal comes into force as is, corporations from seven new countries would have the right to sue Canada. Ironically, these are the same provisions that Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland claimed ruined our ability to regulate in the public interest. She erroneously claims that Canada took ISDS out of the new USMCA.”

“Even in Global Affairs consultations, 99 per cent of those writing in said they opposed the agreement,” says Barlow.

“The Liberal government promised that they would do trade differently and listen to people. But instead of listening, they shamefully steamrolled the bill through parliament.”

As a result, the Council of Canadians and its members will be urging the Senate to do the job that the House of Commons failed to do, and conduct proper public consultation and independent analysis before even considering ratification.

“The House of Commons gave a blank cheque to the CPTPP. It is now the Senate’s role to look at it properly and democratically,” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians.

“Giving a free pass to the CPTPP is not what democratic debate looks like. With our farmers, workers, and economy on the line, Canadians deserve better.”


Media Release

For more information or to arrange interviews:
Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of Canadians

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Media Lens and the Mysterious of the Wikipedia Editor

Caught in the Cross Hairs - Media Lens and the Mysterious of the Wikipedia Editor

by Media Lens

October 17, 2018

In June, the BBC reported that someone operating under the name 'Philip Cross' had been extraordinarily active in editing Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit:

'"Philip Cross" has made hundreds of thousands of edits to Wikipedia pages. But in the process he's angered anti-war activists and critics of British and Western foreign policy, who claim he's been biased against them.'

Political analyst and former UK British ambassador Craig Murray described the scale of Cross's activities:

"Philip Cross" has not had one single day off from editing Wikipedia in almost five years. "He" has edited every single day from 29 August 2013 to 14 May 2018. Including five Christmas Days. That's 1,721 consecutive days of editing.

'133,612 edits to Wikipedia have been made in the name of "Philip Cross" over 14 years. That's over 30 edits per day, seven days a week. And I do not use that figuratively: Wikipedia edits are timed, and if you plot them, the timecard for "Philip Cross's" Wikipedia activity is astonishing if it is one individual.'

So who is Philip Cross? The BBC commented:

'BBC Trending has been able to establish that he lives in England, and that Philip Cross is not the name he normally goes by outside of Wikipedia.'

The excellent Five Filters website looked deeply into these issues and noted of the person writing as Cross:

'After George Galloway, Media Lens is his second most edited article on the site. Cross is responsible for almost 80% of all content on the Media Lens entry.'

This is deeply flattering for a two-man organisation run on donations facing some pretty heavyweight competition:

'Cross calls his Wikipedia targets "goons". The list includes anti-war politician George Galloway, former MP Matthew Gordon-Banks, historian, human rights activist and former UK ambassador Craig Murray, investigative journalist Dr Nafeez Ahmed, Edinburgh University professor Tim Hayward, Sheffield University professor Piers Robinson, and media analysis group Media Lens.'

The Canary website reported of Media Lens:

'Its Wikipedia page has had 851 edits by Cross (57.27% of page total) and is the editor's second most active page.'

The Canary has itself fallen under Cross's cross hairs. The website's Wikipedia page was created on 2 June 2016 at 11:41pm. Cross made his first edit at 8:55am the next morning.

Is Cross offering a neutral, impartial view of our work? In May 2018, he tweeted:

'@medialens is two blokes called David who the mainstream usually ignore with good reason, but are of interest because they are so catastrophically wrongheaded.' (Tweet, May 7, 2018; since deleted)

In the Sunday Herald, Ron McKay noted that Cross's targets tend to have two characteristics in common:

'You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that there are common threads here. All of those [targeted] are... prominent campaigners on social media and in the mainstream media vigorously questioning our foreign policy. All have also clashed with Oliver Kamm, a former hedge-fund manager and now Times leader writer and columnist. All have been edited on Wikipedia by Andrew Philip Cross whom the complainants believe, without conclusive evidence, to be Kamm after dark. He denies it.'

Professor Tim Hayward of Edinburgh University asked:

'Does Oliver Kamm have Wikipedia editor Philip Cross doing his bidding in amplifying smears and vendettas? Evidence coming to light suggests serious questions concerning possible misuse of media influence and unethical conduct.'

Cross did not appreciate this and other interventions from Professor Hayward. Two weeks earlier, Cross had sent him this disturbing comment:

'You may be having an uncomfortable conversation with one of your Associate Deans/Deans in the near future & his wife. Pity you blocked me before you had a close look at my followers.' (Tweet, May 12, 2018; since deleted)

As part of its investigation, the BBC interviewed a highly experienced Wikipedia administrator known as Orange Mike, who specialises in dealing with conflicts of interest, asking him:

'One of the people whose pages he [Cross] has been editing, and has edited over 1800 times, is George Galloway, and he says he knows that Philip Cross is being paid to do this. Do you think that's likely?'

Orange Mike replied:

'I would not even be remotely surprised. The people who hate Galloway the most are often powerful and often rich. And the idea that they could find someone to use as their tool would not surprise me in the least. But I have no evidence to prove it and therefore would reserve judgement.'

That is also our position. A tweeter, Malone (now called Read JFK), commented to us on the coincidence that Cross has often edited our Wikipedia page on the same day that Kamm has mentioned us on Twitter:

'kamm's tweets crossreferenced with cross's medialens wiki edits. 82 edits on the exact same days kamm tweeted about you! at least 243 including surrounding days (243 is a severe underestimate).'

We are not alone. Tweeter RLM noted the people Kamm has tweeted about on the same day Cross has edited their page:

'Chris Hedges, Max Mosley, Mark Wadsworth, Peter Oborne, LabourLeave, David Ward, Ken Loach, Nick Timothy, Alex Salmond, Nafeez Ahmed, Owen Jones, Diane Abbott, Tim Hayward, Piers Robinson, Craig Murray, Alex Nunns, Glenn Greenwald, Media Lens, "Douma Chemical Attack", Robert Fisk (edited a day before, not the same day), George Galloway, Jeremy Corbyn, Media Lens, Seumas Milne, Edward S. Herman, Paul Flynn, Afshin Rattansi, Mo Ansar, John Pilger, Andrew Murray, Jim Fetzer (tweeted the day before, not the same day).'

Former UK ambassador Craig Murray described what happened to his Wikipedia entry after he strongly criticised Kamm:

'The very next day, 8 February, my Wikipedia page came under obsessive attack from somebody called Philip Cross who made an astonishing 107 changes over the course of the next three days. Many were very minor, but the overall effect was undoubtedly derogatory. He even removed my photo on the extraordinary grounds that it was "not typical" of me.'

We noted on Twitter:

'The word "Kamm" appears in the @Wikipedia entry for Media Lens twelve times. "Media Lens" appears in Oliver Kamm's entry... zero times.'

The thoroughness of Cross's campaign against us has been impressive. In 2005, then BBC Newsnight editor Peter Barron wrote of how Media Lens had 'prolifically let us know what they think of our coverage, mainly on Iraq, George Bush and the Middle East, from a Chomskyist perspective'. He added graciously:

'In fact I rather like them. David Cromwell and David Edwards, who run the site, are unfailingly polite, their points are well-argued and sometimes they're plain right.'

These were remarkable and important comments. A senior editor who had himself come under intense criticism from us and hundreds of our readers was nevertheless able to recognise that our points were reasonable and well-intentioned, that we were not nasty people pursuing some dark agenda. Quite reasonably, someone added Barron's comments to our Wikipedia page. The addition was noticed by Cross, who replaced the quotation with this:

'Peter Barron, the former editor of the BBC's ''Newsnight'' commented in November 2005 that although Cromwell and Edwards "are unfailingly polite", he had received "hundreds of e-mails from sometimes less-than-polite hommes engages - they're almost always men - most of whom don't appear to have watched the programme" as a result of complaints instigated by Media Lens.'

Notice that in editing the Newsnight editor's quote, Cross had to carefully read through Barron's original article to find less positive comments to patch in. This was meticulous work to remove a positive opinion about us, not a rush job.

The Five Filters website tweeted on a similar intervention:

'This made me laugh. Cross, who is obsessed with Media Lens, removes David Edwards' (Media Lens co-editor) book from Chomsky's Wikipedia bibliography section because "obscure book by obscure writer" ... Unbelievable! @medialens'

Tweeter Leftworks commented on edits made to the Wikipedia page for the Iraq Body Count (IBC) website:

'Guess who's been looking after the IBC page on Wikipedia and removing all references to @MediaLens? The one and only Philip Cross!'

As some of our readers will know, we did a lot of work explaining how media favourite, Iraq Body Count, was recording perhaps ten per cent of the Iraqi death toll. Philip Cross has seen to it that our work on this issue has been completely erased from Wikipedia history.

'Absolutely No Evidence'

Apart from Cross, in the 17 years we have been working on Media Lens, only one other person has subjected us to a relentlessly negative campaign that is in any way comparable. Almost ten years ago, we documented how Oliver Kamm had been pursuing us relentlessly across the internet – writing blogs about us, posting grisly comments about our genocide 'denial' under online interviews with us, and often warning journalists who mentioned our work – or who, god forbid, praised our work - or who interacted with us in any way, that we were blood-drenched 'genocide deniers' and/or seedy 'misogynists'.

In 2013, Mehdi Hasan, formerly senior political editor at the New Statesman, now a columnist with The Intercept, commented to Kamm on Twitter:

'I cant help but be amused at the way you swoop down in at any mention of MediaLens. Got 'em on an alert?'

Despite continuing to seek out and attack us online, Kamm has shown admirable restraint in not extending his campaign to Wikipedia. We are not aware that he has added a single edit to either of our individual pages, nor to our Media Lens page. It seems that, for Kamm, when it comes to Wikipedia, it is always the Christmas truce.

And by the way, we have never edited Kamm's page on Wikipedia. In fact, we have never made any political edits on Wikipedia at all.

Daniel Finkelstein, Baron Finkelstein of Pinner, Kamm's colleague and friend at The Times, sent a flurry of tweets strongly rejecting the idea that anyone was using Cross to target political enemies:

'But literally so far there is absolutely no evidence. My ears are wide open. My fingers aren't in my ears. I am ready, waiting, willing to see or hear this evidence. But there isn't any. Just a bloke called Philip Cross making some edits.'

When Five Filters responded by sending serious evidence relating to Cross's edits, Lord Finkelstein replied:

'I appreciate your interest but really I just haven't got time for studying some blokes Wikipedia edits.'

Wikipedia Intervenes

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, initially dismissed complaints that Cross might be acting as a sockpuppet for politically biased individuals or organisations:

'Because as far as I can tell so far, those complaints are so wrong as to be risible. Look into it further. Or show me some diffs [differences between successive versions of a page]'


'The whole claim appears so far to be completely ludicrous.'

However, public pressure was so great that Wikipedia presumably felt compelled to investigate Cross's activities. In July, the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee delivered a majority on two proposals:

'Philip Cross... is warned to avoid editing topics with which he has a conflict of interest. Further, he is warned that his off-wiki behavior may lead to further sanctions to the extent it adversely impacts the English Wikipedia.'
'Philip Cross... is indefinitely topic banned from edits relating to post-1978 British politics, broadly construed. This restriction may be first appealed after six months have elapsed, and every six months thereafter. This sanction supersedes the community sanction applied in May 2018.'

Leftworks was kind enough to translate this into English for us:

'In short, it means that Philip Cross will no longer be able to edit the Wikipedia biographies of numerous people in the public eye, who have complained that he has edited their biographies in an unfair and misleading manner.'

We are very grateful to leftworks,, RLM, Malone/Read JFK and many others for their work in drawing attention to Cross's campaign against us.

DE and DC

Trump's 'Axis of Evil' Alliance: Body-Choppers, Death Squads, and Child Killers

Trump's Alliance with Body-Choppers, Death Squads, and Child Killers: Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Israel

by James Petras - Global Research

October 17, 2018

In recent weeks the White House has embraced the contemporary version of the world’s most murderous regimes. President Trump has embraced the Saudi Arabian “Prince of Death” Mohammad bin Salman who has graduated from chopping hands and heads in public plazas to dismembering bodies in overseas consulates – the case of Jamal Khashoggi.

The White House warmly greeted the electoral success of Brazilian Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, ardent champion of torturers, military dictators, death squads and free marketers.

President Trump grovels, grunts and glories before Israel, as his spiritual guide Benjamin Netanyahu celebrates the Sabbath with the weekly murders and maiming of hundreds of unarmed Palestinians, especially youngsters.

These are President Trump’s ‘natural allies’. They share his values and interests while each retains their particular method of disposing of the cadavers of adversaries and dissenters.

We will proceed to discuss the larger political-economic context in which the trio of monsters operate. We will analyze the benefits and advantages which lead President Trump to ignore and even praise, actions which violate America’s democratic values and sensibilities.

In conclusion, we will examine the consequences and risks which result from Trump’s embrace of the trio.

The Context for Trump’s Tripler Alliance

President Trump’s intimate ties with the world’s most unsavory regimes flows from several strategic interests. In the case of Saudi Arabia, it includes military bases; the financing of international mercenaries and terrorists; multi-billion-dollar arms sales; oil profits; and covert alliances with Israel against Iran, Syria and Yemen.

In order to secure these Saudi assets, the White House is more than willing to assume certain socio-political costs.

The US eagerly sells weapons and provides advisers to Saudi’s genocidal invasion, murder and starvation of millions of Yeminis. The White House alliance against Yemen has few monetary rewards or political advantages as well as negative propaganda value.

However, with few other client states in the region, Washington makes do with Prince Salman ‘the salami slicer’.

The US ignores Saudi financing of Islamic terrorists against US allies in Asia (the Philippines) and Afghanistan as well as rival thugs in Syria and Libya.

Alas when a pro-US collaborator like Washington Post journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated, President Trump was forced to adopt the pretense of an investigation in order to distance from the Riyadh mafia.He subsequently exonerated butcher boy bin Salman: he invented a flagrant lie-blaming ‘rogue elements’ in charge of the interrogation,— read torture.

President Trump celebrated the electoral victory of Brazilian neo-liberal fascist Jair Bolsonaro because he checks all the right boxes: he promises to slash economic regulations and corporate taxes for multi-national corporations. He is an ardent ally of Washington’s economic war against Venezuela and Cuba. He promises to arm right-wing death squads and militarize the police. He pledges to be a loyal follower of US war policies abroad.

However, Bolsonaro cannot support Trump’s trade war especially against China which is the market for almost forty percent of Brazil’s agro-exports. This is especially the case since agro-business bosses are Bolsonaro’s principal economic and congressional supporters.

Given Washington’s limited influence in the rest of Latin America, Brazil’s neo-liberal fascist regime acts as Trump’s principal ally.

Israel is the White House’s mentor and chief of operations in the Middle East, as well as a strategic military ally.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has seized and colonized most of the West Bank and militarily occupied the rest of Palestine; jailed and tortured tens of thousands of political dissidents; surrounded and starved over a million Gaza residents; imposed ethno-religious conditions for citizenship in Israel, denying basic rights for over 20% of the Arab residents of the self-styled ‘jewish state’.

Netanyahu has bombed hundreds of Syrian cities, towns, airports and bases in support of ISIS terrorists and Western mercenaries. Israel intervenes in US elections, buys Congressional votes and secures White House recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the jewish state.

Zionists in North America and Great Britain act as a ‘fifth column’ securing unanimous favorable mass media coverage of its apartheid policies.

Prime Minister Netanyahu secures unconditional US financial and political support and the most advanced weaponry.

In exchange Washington considers itself privileged to serve as foot solders for Israeli targeted wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia . . . Israel collaborates with the US in defending Saudi Arabia , Egypt and Jordan. Netanyahu and his Zionist allies in the White House succeeded in reversing the nuclear agreement with Iran and imposing new and harsher economic sanctions.

Israel has its own agenda :it defies President Trump’s sanctions policies against Russia and its trade war with China.

Israel eagerly engages in the sales of arms and high-tech innovations to Beijing.

Beyond the Criminal Trio

The Trump regime’s alliance with Saudi Arabia, Israel and Brazil is not despite but because of their criminal behavior. The three states have a demonstrated record of full compliance and active engagement in every ongoing US war.

Bolsonaro, Netanyahu and bin Salman serve as role models for other national leaders allied with Washington’s quest for world domination.

The problem is that the trio is insufficient in bolstering Washington’s drive to “Make the Empire Strong”. As pointed earlier, the trio are not completely in compliance with Trump’s trade wars; Saudi works with Russia in fixing oil prices. Israel and Brazil cuts deals with Beijing.

Clearly Washington pursues other allies and clients.

In Asia, the White House targets China by promoting ethnic separatism. It encourages Uighurs to split from China by encouraging Islamic terrorism and linguistic propaganda. President Trump backs Taiwan via military sales and diplomatic agreements. Washington intervenes in Hong Kong by promoting pro-separatist politicians and media propaganda backing ‘independence’.

Washington has launched a strategy of military encirclement and a trade war against China .The White House rounded-up Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and South Korea to provide military bases which target China. Nevertheless, up to the present the US has no allies in its trade war. All of Trump’s so-called Asian ‘allies’ defy his economic sanctions policies.

The countries depend on and pursue trade with and investments from China. While all pay diplomatic lip service and provide military bases, all defer on the crucial issues of joining US military exercises off China’s coast and boycotting Beijing.

US efforts to sanction Russia into submission is offset by ongoing oil and gas agreements between Russia , Germany and other EU countries. US traditional bootlickers like Britain and Poland carry little political weight.

More important US sanctions policy has led to a long-term, large-scale strategic economic and military alliance between Moscow and Beijing.

Moreover Trump’s alliance with the ‘torture trio’ has provoked domestic divisions. Saudi Arabia’s murder of a US resident-journalist has provoked business boycotts and Congressional calls for reprisal. Brazil’s fascism has evoked liberal criticism of Trump’s eulogy of Brazilia’s death squad democracy.

President Trump’s domestic electoral opposition has successfully mobilized the mass media, which could facilitate a congressional majority and an effective mass opposition to his Pluto-populist (populist in rhetoric, plutocrat in practice) version of empire building.


The US empire building project is built on bluster, bombs and trade wars. Moreover, its closest and most criminal allies and clients cannot always be relied upon. Even the stock market fiesta is coming to a close. Moreover, the time of successful sanctions is passing. The wild-eyed UN rants are evoking laughter and embarrassment.

The economy is heading into crises and not only became of rising interest rates. Tax cuts are one shot deals – profits are taken and pocketed.

President Trump in retreat will discover that there are no permanent allies only permanent interests.

Today the White House stands alone without allies who will share and defend his unipolar empire. The mass of humanity requires a break with the policies of wars and sanctions. To rebuild America will require the construction, from the ground-up, of a powerful popular movement not beholden to Wall Street or war industries. A first step is to break with both parties at home and the triple alliance abroad.
Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Prof. James Petras, Global Research, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, John Helmer, Gregg McElroy, Janine Bandcroft October 18, 2018

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

October 18th, 2018

Early last week the Skripal Affair emerged the Memory Hole just long enough to pique viewer curiosity, and reiterate the anti-Russia meme, naturally.

On October 4th, seven months to the day of the now infamous Salisbury poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Dutch Defence Minister, Ank Bijleveld held a press conference to announce the April 13th arrest of four Russian agents in the Hague, near the offices of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the body investigating the case.

Listen. Hear.

As for why her ministry would make the "highly unusual" announcement, and do so nearly six months after the fact, the minister says it was necessary to:

"[S]end a clear message to the Russian military intelligence service that it must put a stop to its undermining cyber operations."

John Helmer is a long-time, Moscow-based journalist, author, and essayist whose website, Dances with Bears is the only Russian-based news bureau “independent of single national or commercial ties.” He’s also a former political science professor who’s served as advisor to governments on three continents, and regularly lectures on Russian topics. His book titles include: ‘Uncovering Russia,’ ‘Urbanman: The Psychology of Urban Survival,’ ‘Bringing the War Home: The American Soldier in Vietnam and After,’ and ‘Drugs and Minority Oppression’, among others.

His latest article, ‘Tail Wags Dog - Did the Swiss Spiez Laboratory Report Uncovered by Russian Espionage Expose the OPCW, British Government in Faking Skripal Evidence?' questions both the motive and timing of the Dutch announcement.

John Helmer in the first half.

And; the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales are now reduced to only 74 members.

Gregg McElroy is with the Canadian Orca Rescue Society, and the long-time environmental frontline activist says something must be done, and done now to save the Southern Resident Orca and their habitat. With that in mind, he and the Society launched a 17 Day Vigil last week to emphasize the urgency of the situation and marshal support.

Gregg McElroy and standing for the Orca in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and CFUV Radio broadcaster at-large, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with this week's Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, John Helmer and spinning the Skripal tale in the Netherlands.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Picking the Wrong Prince: Khashoggi's Real Mistake

Khashoggi Picked the Wrong Prince


October 16, 2108

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi should be denounced. Professor As`ad AbuKhalil says western media's uncritical praise of Khashoggi is unworthy, he was a loyal member of the Saudi propaganda apparatus and chose the wrong side of the House of Saud.

Visit for more stories and help support our work by donating at

Canada's Venezuela Problemo

Canada Rachets up Intervention in Venezuela with ICC Request

by Yves Engler - VenezuelAnalysis

October 16, 2018

Yves Engler examines Ottawa's escalation of its campaign against Venezuela.

Requesting the International Criminal Court to investigate Venezuela’s government is a significant escalation in Ottawa’s campaign of interference in the domestic affairs of another country.

Supported by five like-minded South American nations, it’s the first time a member state has been brought before the ICC’s chief prosecutor by other members.

In Canada the campaign to have the ICC investigate the Nicolás Maduro government began in May.

I would like to see the states from the G7 agreeing to refer the matter of crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court for a prospective investigation and prosecution,” said Irwin Cotler at an Ottawa press conference to release a report on purported Venezuelan human rights violations. 

The former Liberal justice minister added, “this is the arch-typical example of why a reference is needed, as to why the ICC was created.”

Cotler was one of three “international experts” responsible for a 400-page Canadian-backed Organization of American States (OAS) report on rights violations in Venezuela. The panel recommended OAS secretary general Luis Almagro submit the report to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and that other states refer Venezuela to the ICC.

In a Real News Network interview, Max Blumenthal described “the hyperbolic and propagandistic nature” of the press conference where the report was released at the OAS in Washington. Cotler said Venezuela’s “government itself was responsible for the worst ever humanitarian crisis in the region.”

Worse than the extermination of the Taíno and Arawak by the Spanish? Or the enslavement of five million Africans in Brazil? Or the 200,000 Mayans killed in Guatemala? Or the thousands of state-murdered “subversives” in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, etc.? Worse than the tens of thousands killed in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico in recent years? Worse than the countless US (and Canadian) backed military coups in the region?

Or perhaps Almagro, who appointed Cotler and the two other panelists, approves of the use of military might to enforce the will of the rich and powerful.

He stated last month:

As for military intervention to overthrow the Nicolas Maduro regime, I think we should not rule out any option… diplomacy remains the first option but we can’t exclude any action.” 

Even before he mused about a foreign invasion, the former Uruguayan foreign minister’s campaign against Maduro prompted Almagro’s past boss, former president José Mujica, to condemn his bias against the Venezuelan government.

For his part, Cotler (right) has been attacking Venezuela’s Bolivarian government for a decade. In a 2015 Miami Herald op-ed Cotler wrote that “sanctions” and “travel-visa bans… isn’t enough.” The US government “must increase the pressure on Maduro to respect the fundamental human rights of all of Venezuela’s people.” The next year Venezuela’s obstructionist, opposition-controlled National Assembly gave Cotler an award for his efforts, notably as a lawyer for right-wing coup leader Leopoldo Lopez.

When he joined Lopez’ legal team in early 2015 the Venezuelan and international media described Cotler as Nelson Mandela’s former lawyer (a Reuters headline noted, “Former Mandela lawyer to join defense of Venezuela's jailed activist”). In response, South Africa’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Pandit Thaninga Shope-Linney, said, “Irwin Cotler was not Nelson Mandela’s lawyer and does not represent the Government or the people of South Africa in any manner.” (This 2005 article details how the ‘Mandela’s lawyer’ claim has repeatedly been invoked to justify Cotler’s contribution to rights abuses.)

In 2010 Cotler called on a Canadian parliamentary committee to “look at the Iranian connection to Chávez,” asking a representative of Venezuela’s tiny Jewish community:

“What evidence is there of direct Iranian influence, or involvement, on Chávez and the climate of fear that has developed? Is there any concern in the [Jewish] community, with some of the Iranian penetration that we know about in Latin America with respect to terrorist penetration, that is also prospectively present for Venezuela?”

A year earlier “Mandela’s lawyer” accused president Hugo Chavez of anti-Semitism. Cotler co-presented a petition to the House of Commons claiming an increase in state-backed anti-Semitism in Venezuela. At the time Cotler said Venezuela had seen a “delegitimization from the president on down of the Jewish people and Israel.” These unsubstantiated accusations of anti-Semitism were designed to further demonize a government threatening North American capitalist/geopolitical interests.

As for the sincerity of his commitment to ending humanitarian crises, Cotler has devoted much of his life to defending Israeli human rights violations, including its recent killing of unarmed protesters in Gaza. His wife, Ariela Zeevi, was parliamentary secretary of Likud when the arch anti-Palestinian party was established to counter Labour’s dominance of Israeli politics. According to the Canadian Jewish News, she was a “close confidant of [Likud founder Menachem] Begin.”

Cotler was no doubt angered by Chavez’s criticism of Israel. In 2009 Venezuela broke off relations with Israel over its assault on Gaza that left 1,400 Palestinians dead. Beyond Israel, Cotler has made a career out of firing rhetorical bombs at the US and Canada’s geopolitical competitors and verbal pellets at its allies.

Of course, it is not surprising to see such hypocrisy from someone leading a hypocritical Canadian campaign to destabilize and overthrow an elected government.