information warfare 1
Friday, March 31, 2006
  The Future of Food - documentary film

Retrieved from:

Click here to view trailer

The following was retrieved from:

GMO - Food Foes Turn to Film

By Jason Silverman Jason Silverman | Also by this reporter
02:00 AM Jul, 08, 2004 EDT

Last March, the food-safety organization GMO Free Mendocino did something no group had ever done: It ushered through a law banning genetically engineered crops and livestock.

It was a David-thrashes-Goliath victory. Opponents of the legislation, led by the agricultural trade group CropLife America, outspent the anti-GMO activists by a nearly 10-1 ratio. But GMO Free Mendocino had a secret weapon: a film, then a work in progress, called The Future of Food.

The new documentary, created by Deborah Koons Garcia, uses archival footage and interviews with farmers and agriculture experts to argue that GMO foods are jeopardizing our food safety. During the past 10 years, the film tells us, genetically engineered crops have infected our food supply and undermined cultivation methods that have been refined over thousands of years.

The Future of Food lays out a detailed case against genetically engineered crops. Exploring a gamut of issues from so-called suicide seeds to lax food-safety enforcement laws, and from the controversy over patented genes to infected cornfields, the film is a comprehensive and chilling example of anti-GMO rhetoric.

GMO Free Mendocino spokesman Doug Mosel described The Future of Food as a major factor in the passage of Measure H, which banned the use of GMO farming within Mendocino County, California.

"The Future of Food could be the Fahrenheit 9/11 of the genetically engineered food battle," Mosel said. The film is currently touring festivals and other events, including an upcoming screening in San Francisco.

Garcia, Jerry Garcia's third and final wife, has been interested in the ways plants can be mutated since childhood. At 15, she won a science fair award for an experiment involving irradiated plants, and she has followed the evolution of genetic engineering for years.

"My goal was to make a film that gave the average person a clear understanding of how genetic engineering works, from the cellular level to the global level," Garcia said. "I'm hoping this film can be a combination of Silent Spring and The Battle of Algiers. Once you see it you'll feel compelled to act, even if that means just changing the kind of food you eat."

Though The Future of Food is not intended as a two-sides-to-the-story analysis, Garcia said she requested interviews from representatives at Monsanto, the multinational seed and pesticide giant that is driving the genetically engineered food movement. She did not receive a response.

Perhaps Monsanto is trying to keep a low profile. The company has suffered a string of well-publicized setbacks to its genetically engineered crop initiatives in recent years, including closure of its GMO wheat project in May.

According to agriculture expert Chuck Benbrook, Monsanto and other biotech agriculture companies are "retrenching -- reducing their research, reducing projections for profits, watching the range of viable applications shrinking."

Benbrook served in the Carter and Reagan administrations before becoming executive director of the Board on Agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences. In his various positions, he watched as biotech companies rushed products to market. The first GMO foods reached shelves in 1997.

Though scientists were initially supportive to the point of being myopic -- Benbrook described early reports from the National Academy as "unadulterated boosterism" -- biotech foods today look less promising than they did even a few years ago. According to Benbrook, genetic engineering has failed to solve the problems advocates hoped it would. And, he added, food-safety concerns remain unresolved.

"The biotech industry is beginning to recognize that there are lots of reasons why it's hard to move genes across boundaries," Benbrook said. "Scientists have found ways around the natural protections, but there are really good reasons for them being there, and we violate them at some cost."

For five-sixths of the problems that genetic engineering promises to address, Benbrook added, genetic solutions are not necessary.

GMO companies are also finding increased resistance on the legal front. In April, Vermont became the first state to require registration and labeling of genetically modified products. According to one anti-GMO site, nearly 100 towns in New England have approved some sort of anti-GMO legislation.

Since the Mendocino law was signed, Garcia said as many as a dozen other California municipalities have drawn up similar legislation.

"The Future of Food has already helped change policy," Garcia said. "I think it is possible to make California GE-free, and it's exciting to think that the film could have some role in that."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The following was retrieved from:

Introduction to Terminator Technology

Terminator technology refers to plants that have been genetically modified to render sterile seeds at harvest – it is also called Genetic Use Restriction Technology or GURTS. Terminator technology was developed by the multinational seed/agrochemical industry and the United States government to prevent farmers from saving and re-planting harvested seed. Terminator has not yet been commercialized or field-tested but tests are currently being conducted in greenhouses in the United States.

“Terminator is a direct assault on farmers and indigenous cultures and on food sovereignty. It threatens the well-being of all rural people, primarily the very poorest.”
- Rafael Alegría of Via Campesina, an organization representing over 10 million peasant farmers worldwide.

Terminator Technology: Suicide Seeds Are Back! Introduction and Background (pdf) ( html)

Terminator Technologie: Das Comeback des Suizid-Saatguts Hintergrund (pdf) (html)

Tecnologia Terminator: As Sementes Suicidas Estão de Volta! Antecedentes (pdf) (html)

Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURTs) is the “official” name for Terminator technology that is used at the United Nations and by scientists. It refers to a general category of technologies that, in their design, provide a mechanism to switch previously introduced genes on or off, using external inducers like chemicals or physical stimuli (e.g. heat shock). This mechanism allows for restricted use or performance of transgenes. There are two main categories of GURTs, namely trait-related or T-GURTs and variety-related or V-GURTs. Whilst T-GURTs aims to control the use of traits such as insect resistance, stress tolerance or production of nutrients, V-GURTs aims to control reproductive processes that will result in seed sterility, thus affecting the viability of the whole variety. (V-GURTs is a concept, with many different potential designs.) The ability to switch the GURTs mechanism on or off externally enables the producer to exercise control either over traits or the viability of seeds (Source: EcoNexus

The Ban Terminator Campaign

The following was retrieved from:

Purpose: The Ban Terminator Campaign seeks to promote government bans on Terminator technology at the national and international levels, and supports the efforts of civil society, farmers, Indigenous peoples and social movements to campaign against it.

Strategy: The international de facto moratorium on Terminator technology at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is under attack. Two upcoming meetings of the CBD where Terminator is on the agenda – the Working Group on Article 8 (j) in Granada, Spain January 23-27 and the 8th Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil March 20-31 2006 – offer important opportunities to strengthen the moratorium. The build-up to these meetings is also an important opportunity to encourage governments to establish national prohibitions on Terminator technology – just as Brazil and India have done. Corporations will not stop efforts to commercialize Terminator until governments prohibit the technology.

Origins: The Ban Terminator Campaign was initiated in response to recent efforts by governments and corporations to push for Terminator field trials and commercialization. Despite widespread opposition, in February 2005, the Canadian government attempted to overturn the CBD’s international de facto moratorium on Terminator technology The Ban Terminator Campaign was formed in response, following discussions initiated by Canadian-based civil society organizations (ETC group, Inter Pares, National Farmers Union, and USC Canada).

History: In 1998, ETC group (then RAFI) discovered Terminator patents. In 1999, in response to the avalanche of public opposition, two of the world’s largest seed and agrochemical corporations, Monsanto and AstraZeneca (now Syngenta), publicly vowed not to commercialize Terminator seeds. In 2000, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a de facto moratorium on Terminator seeds. As a result, many people believed that the crisis had passed, and the issue faded from public view. Unfortunately, Terminator is still being developed and is now being heavily promoted. Click here to read Statements Against Terminator or see documents at


The Ban Terminator Campaign’s steering committee:

AS-PTA (Assessoria e Serviços a Projectos em Agricultura Alternativa)
ETC Group (Action group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration)
Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism
ITDG (Intermediate Technology Development Group)
Pesticide Action Network – Asia and the Pacific
Third World Network ,
Via Campesina


Ban Terminator
Phone: 1 613 241 2267
Fax: 1 613 241 2506
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K2P 0R5

The following was retrieved from:

Terminator on Trial Videos

Videos from the Terminator on Trial event in Ottawa, 20th March 2005

Percy Schmeiser 2

Percy Schmeiser (the Canadian farmer who took on Monsanto after his crops were contaminated by their GM seed) asks what kind of a legacy we want to leave for future generations.

Percy Schmeiser 1

Percy Schmeiser discusses the potential effect of Terminator on removing farmers' rights and abilities to recover from blight and disease in crops.

Dr Vandana Shiva discusses the health impacts of eating "dead food".

Dr Vandana Shiva contrasts the prayer of farmers - for seed to always have life - to the prayer of the corporations pushing Terminator Technology.

Vandana Shiva 2

Dr Vandana Shiva talks about the impacts of releasing terminator into ecosystems.

Dr Vandana Shiva at Terminator on Trial describes terminator as a "crime against nature".

The following was retrieved from:

Percy Schmeiser speaks in Vancouver:
Prairie Farmer vs. Corporate Giant


Webcast of Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser, December 10, 2003 at the Vancouver Public Library.

Percy Schmeiser has been fighting lawsuits by Monsanto, a Bio Tech giant and major producer of Genetically Modified seeds, for several years. Still looking for justice, he takes his David versus Goliath appeal to the Supreme Court in January. Monsanto successfully sued him for patent infringement after “Roundup Ready” canola was found on his land — not because he planted it, but through seed cross-contamination.
He spoke to a standing-room only crowd in Vancouver . . .

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Primate Abuse at Covance

Retrieved from:

Inside Covance U.S.


PETA's investigator was hired by Covance as a technician and worked inside the company's primate testing lab in Vienna, Virginia, from April 26, 2004, to March 11, 2005. The investigator's video documentation inside the lab started on July 30, 2004, and what she documented-the terror, sadness, sickness, injuries, suffering, and deaths of monkeys from the wild and Covance's own breeding facilities—will leave even the staunchest supporter of animal testing ashamed and all good people clamoring for justice. It will also make it perfectly clear that government oversight of labs such as Covance is a farce.

At Covance, animal technicians called the head veterinarian "Mr. Let's Wait and See." The primate staff—even those who were, themselves, often cruel to the monkeys—complained repeatedly about a young monkey with a broken arm being left untreated in his cage for four days. Apparently, "Mr. Let's Wait and See," the head vet at Covance, didn't know what to do about the bone break, and so he waited for a junior veterinarian to return from her time off. The junior vet immediately ordered the animal euthanized as the break was too severe to repair. She discovered and disclosed that the head veterinarian had given the baby monkey a drug that had little more effect than that of an aspirin for his unimaginable pain.

Other Documented Horrors for Animals at Covance

Training Terrorists

On her first day at the laboratory where she would work for the next 11 months, PETA’s investigator watched workers practicing gavaging monkeys—a procedure that can cause throat lacerations, gagging, and vomiting. She wrote: “All of the monkeys resisted and tried to hold onto their cages while screaming. ‘A’ took the plastic tubing and fed it down the monkey’s nose as she squirmed and squealed. Her eyes shifted from ‘A’ to the tubing being shoved up her nose. One monkey was so terrified that he vomited while ‘A’ was putting the tube in his nose. ‘R’ told ‘A’ to ‘keep going’ and ‘A’ continued to shove the tube up the monkey’s nose and down his throat while vomit was dripping off his face. Once the monkeys had seen the procedure done, they all became fearful. Several spun in their cages, one did continuous somersaults, and some hid in the back of their cages. One of the last monkeys squirmed while ‘A’ put the tube in his nose. Again, ‘R’ told ‘A’ to ‘keep going,’ so ‘A’ pushed the tubing further until there was blood dripping out of the monkey’s nose. ‘A’ had hit the monkey’s sinus cavity.” The last stop that day was the "post life" lab where the new employees were shown the "cups" room. "I was told that cups labeled with yellow tags were animals who were killed, while the numerous cups labeled with red tags were 'unexpected deaths.' We observed a technician take an animal's spinal cord and remove pieces to be analyzed under a microscope. He simply discarded the unneeded body parts into a plastic bag."

Within days of being hired, PETA's investigator and other trainees were shown a recent TV exposé of the company's German facility. An undercover investigator there had caught Covance workers screaming obscenities at terrified monkeys, roughly throwing them back into cages after conducting stress-filled and painful procedures, mocking them, and forcing them to dance to loud music. The trainees were told that Covance was trying to bring legal charges against those who took the video, and the trainer assured the new staff that what appeared on the tape might look cruel to a "regular person" but that the scenes were "typical" and only shocking to people who don't work with monkeys. The PETA investigator wrote in her log notes: "[Two] current employees said that you have to be dominant when trying to catch the monkeys because they do not want to be caught. [And the trainer] said that everyone probably dances to the music with the monkeys while holding them and that the monkeys enjoy it."

Instead of telling the new hires that they must never treat monkeys in that way, Covance excused the behavior. As our investigator would learn, neither supervisors nor those above them ever stopped the cruel treatment of the monkeys now caught on tape in its Northern Virginia facility by PETA.

Transported to Purgatory and Back Again to Hell

On October 8, 2004, PETA's investigator climbed into a van with other Covance employees and headed toward the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) with 20 monkeys in small cages. Covance staff had been "acclimating" these monkeys to restraint boxes for the past several weeks for this very day.

From the investigator's July 22, 2004, log notes:

"[J] and several other technicians were doing 'box acclimation' with the rhesus macaques tonight. The boxes will be used in the study that will irradiate the monkeys for [drug company name]. It is hard to explain the sight of these magnificent monkeys being restrained in these boxes. The monkeys wear collars that slip into a notch at the top of the box (the box is made of clear Plexiglas). Knobs are then used to tighten the collar in place and the monkey is forced back into the box. The monkeys' arms and legs are then tied and bound to the sides of the box and a Plexiglas plate is tightened around their torsos. It looks like a medieval torture device. Some of the monkeys thrashed and screamed-trying to free themselves from the box, while others went limp and their eyes seemed to glaze over as they stared into space in an attempt to block out the terrifying reality of what they were experiencing."

The day for irradiation arrives. The drug company is testing an anti-radiation drug, hoping to cash in on fears of nuclear terrorism just as many other companies are cashing in by conducting experiments, funded by the government, into bioterrorism and its possible treatments.

From the investigator's October 8, 2004, log notes:

"Today was the day that we took the [drug company name] rhesus monkeys to AFRRI to be radiated. In the morning, several of us came in and got the monkeys 'prepared.' I shaved the back of their legs ? as well as their femoral area. Some of the monkeys looked so horrified as I shaved all of their gorgeous hair off-not knowing what was going on or what was coming next. Each monkey was then weighed and put in their crate. The crates were extremely small—approximately 3 feet wide, 2 feet tall, and 2 feet deep, and this area was split in two so that two monkeys were actually transported in each box. The inside of the boxes was very dark with only a small metal area with holes poked in it on each side of the crate.

"After all the monkeys were loaded into their crates, they were taken downstairs and loaded onto a truck. The noise was deafening, and I'm sure the monkeys were scared to death. The monkeys were transported in the truck while we followed behind in a van.

"When we arrived at AFRRI, we all went through security clearance and they even checked our truck. The truck with the monkeys in it was pulled up to a loading dock. We took two monkeys at a time out of their crates and put them inside of the restraint boxes. They were then put on a dolly and carted around some hallways until we got to a room with large steel doors on one side. As I looked through the doors, there was an enormous open space which dropped approximately four stories below. At the bottom was a small, skinny rectangular-type pool with one small table across the middle. Two men came and took the monkeys from me and carted them to a small open elevator that was lowered down into the abyss. The men took the monkeys and placed them on the table above the pool, facing away from each other in their restraint boxes so that they had nothing to look at but this enormous deep hole.

"The men came back up into the office and shut the steel doors. There was a man sitting at a desk with a computer and several monitors. He showed me that you could see the monkeys down in the pit. Depending on the weight and body mass of the monkeys, they were radiated for different amounts of time, and a large rod rose out of the water and there was a loud machine sound. Each group of two was left alone for approximately five minutes inside this room, restrained, unable even to see their friend, with piercing noises and the large rod rising out of the water. From the fuzzy camera picture, I could see the looks of fear on the monkeys' faces and will never forget how scared and helpless they looked.

"The rhesus were brought back up and carted back to the truck and put in their boxes. At different intervals, they were pulled out of the boxes for either dosing or blood collection. When we were finally finished and made it back home, the monkeys had to have even more blood collected until they were finally left alone.

"I will never forget the experience of going to AFRRI and seeing these poor animals be irradiated. The fear on their faces through each of the phases of the day will never leave my mind—especially watching their little fearful faces on the TV screen as they were irradiated against their will, unable to do anything—not even move."

Cruel Tests for Profit

The "Grease Pit"

For one year, 32 monkeys were gavaged orally at Covance. The study was conducted for a major pharmaceutical company and was nicknamed "grease pit" by the staff because the test substance was thick and greasy. Every day for 365 days, the monkeys in the grease pit test had thick tubes shoved down their throats so the tarry substance could be delivered into their stomachs. Naturally the poor animals had to be torn out of their cages for this daily abuse and many tried as best they could to keep their mouths shut tight. But there was always the "bite bar" ...
From the investigator's log:

"I dosed grease pit today while J and T caught and R did the bite bar. A girl from the rodent department came in to watch some of the dosing. When one of the male monkeys, Ninja, would not open his mouth for dosing, R hit him in the face with the bite bar several times so hard it was audible, and she also used the bite bar to try and pry his mouth open. T told her, 'You're gonna kill him!' to which R responded, 'I'll ram it down his fucking throat.' As T caught the monkeys, he yelled at them, saying things like 'Dumb fuck,' 'Hold your fucking head up, dick,' and 'You little asshole.'"
On October 26, 2004, PETA's investigator was told by her coworker that over the weekend, J had aspirated a "grease-pit monkey" (put the dosing tube into the monkey's lung instead of his stomach) and that the technicians "held him upside-down and shook him" to see if they could get any of the slimy substance out of his lungs but "only bloody froth came out." It took the animal at least 45 minutes to die.
By January 20, 2005, the end of what was surely a long year of suffering for these poor animals was at hand. All of the grease pit monkeys were sedated and driven to another building in an unheated golf cart in freezing temperatures where they were bled to death in stainless steel sinks, their thighs cut open by the necropsy technicians and their body parts sorted.

Death or Nothing

On December 13, 2004, 10 cynomolgus monkeys were given the first dose of an unknown substance. The Covance technicians were told by the study director that the client expected deaths but our investigator was in disbelief over what happened during the following two hellish weeks. The monkeys were stuck inside large plastic restraint tubes and were dosed every day for 14 days by a 10-minute infusion into a leg vein. After having been infused with the substance, the monkeys were bled at five minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and one, two, four, six, eight, and 12 hours post-dose. Each time they were bled, the frightened and desperately sick animals were yanked from the cages and stuffed into the clear plastic body tubes. Within several hours of the first dose, monkey #23, in the high dose group, was ataxic—laboratory jargon for no motor coordination. The following day, both of the mid- and high-dose groups were ataxic, with monkey #22 hunched and inactive. By day 3, the technicians handling the dosing were told that the client does not want any veterinary requests entered. The technicians were allowed to enter the animals' suffering as "observations" into the computer system but they were not allowed to ask for veterinary care. Monkey #23 stopped using the leg into which the substance was infused and soon necrotic (dead) tissue surrounded the injection site. His leg was swollen all the way down to his foot. So they dosed him in his other leg which led to the same hideous suffering. The technicians were ordered to dose #23 and any other monkey whose legs became unusable, in his tail. This poor monkey's tail became necrotic. On December 17, monkey #22 went into convulsions while he was being dosed, and our investigator, against orders, informed the veterinarian—to no avail. They had to enter the convulsions into the computer system as an "observation." On December 21, 2004, according to our investigator's log notes, one of the female monkeys went into convulsions inside her restraint tube and another female began vomiting inside the tube where she was left for the entire 10-minute dosing and the five-minute blood draw. She was returned to her cage covered in vomit. Our investigator's coworker told her that K, the study director, did not come in at all over the weekend as he had promised to do, so our investigator went to speak with J, the toxicologist, to tell her the horrible condition of the monkeys. Nothing was done. The monkeys were killed two days after Christmas, except for #23, who was killed slightly earlier than the others because his legs were so necrotic.

In a conversation on January 3, 2005, the junior veterinarian at Covance told our investigator that the study director had asked her to look at the animals right before they were killed so that there would be a record of their having been looked at by a vet, but as for allowing technicians or veterinarians to ask for treatment during the 14 days, she said, "We weren't allowed to! All of those sheets that J [the toxicologist] sent—I was not allowed to look at those animals. It was either death or nothing."

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Thursday, March 23, 2006
  The Corporation - documentary film

Retrieved from: Wikipedia /* other sources

The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film critical of the modern-day corporation, considering it as a class of person (as in US law it is understood to be) and evaluating its behaviour towards society and the world at large as a psychologist might evaluate an ordinary person. This is explored through specific examples.


1 Creators
2 Basic plot
3 Topics addressed
4 Interviews
5 Reviews
6 Topically related movies
7 External links

1. Creators

The film was written by Joel Bakan, and co-written and co-directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary has been displayed worldwide, on TV (sometimes in 3 parts) and is also available in DVD. The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power is also the title of a book (ISBN 0-74324-744-2) written by Bakan during the filming of the documentary.

2. Basic plot

The film charts the development of the corporation as a legal entity from its genesis to unprecedented legal protection stemming from creative interpretation of the 14th amendment, that is from its origins as an institution chartered by governments to carry out specific public functions, to the rise of the vast modern institutions entitled to the legal rights of a "person." One central theme of the documentary is an attempt to assess the "personality" of the corporate "person" by using diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV; Robert Hare, a University of British Columbia Psychology Professor and FBI consultant, compares the modern, profit-driven corporation to that of a clinically diagnosed psychopath.

3. Topics addressed

Other topics addressed include the Business Plot - where in 1933, the popular General Smedley Butler was nearly implicated to lead a corporate coup against then US President Franklin Roosevelt, the tragedy of the commons, Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning people to beware of the rising Military-industrial complex, economic externalities, suppression of an investigative news story about Bovine Growth Hormone on a FOX News affiliate television station, and the Cochabamba protests of 2000 brought on by the privatization of Bolivia's municipal water supply by the Bechtel Corporation.

4. Interviews

The film also features interviews with prominent corporate critics such as Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore and Howard Zinn as well as opinions from company CEOs such as Ray Anderson (from the Interface carpet company), the conservative viewpoints of Peter Drucker and Milton Friedman, and think tanks advocating "free markets" such as the Fraser Institute. Interviews also feature Dr. Samuel Epstein with his involvement in the case against Monsanto using a harmful chemical called Posilac to induce more milk production in dairy cattle.

5. Reviews

* richarddirecttv, INDYMEDIA.ORG.UK: “The Corporation” presents a powerful history of how this monster came to run the world. In the US, corporations have been able to establish constitutional rights by claiming they are human individuals. If this were the case, this complex and fascinating film argues, it would be diagnosed a psychopath (...)" (Full Review)

* Richard James Havis, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.COM: "Some thorough research, a clear presentation and a nice knit with America's ongoing corporate scandals should prod uninformed viewers to think more deeply about the role of big business in the world (...)" (Full Review)

* Bill White, SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER: "A film as multifaceted and monolithic as its subject (...)" (Full Review)

* Pete Vonder Haar, FILM THREAT "Powerful, infuriating, and ultimately sobering (...)" (Full Review)

- The Economist says: "Unlike much of the soggy thinking peddled by too many anti-globalisers, “The Corporation” is a surprisingly rational and coherent attack on capitalism's most important institution (...)"(link)


6. Topically related movies

- Why We Fight (2005 film)
- Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media

7. External Links

- The Corporation official movie website
- Interview with Joel Bakan
- Interview with Bakan and Achbar
- The Corporation at The Internet Movie Database
* Sundance Film Festival
- 2004 Sundance Film Festival
- Sundance Film Festival award winners
- Genie Award winning films
- Anti-corporate activism

Tuesday, March 21, 2006




Friday, March 17, 2006

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Image retrieved from the exxonsecrets website (link), showing 2004 Exxon Sweepstakes winners, part of the Flash Application in the homepage

by Jamais Cascio

retrieved from:

Pulling Back the Curtain – Information and Knowledge Resources see all posts in this category

Confidential to those out there who want to make big money and don't care who or what gets hurt along the way: become a climate change "skeptic." There are quite a few well-funded institutions and corporations out there willing to spend quite a bit of cash in the desperate attempt to convince people that climate change isn't happening, if it is it isn't human caused, either way it will be beneficial, there's nothing we can do about it anyway, and anyone who tells you otherwise hates America, capitalism, and probably apple pie, too. These "skeptics" often have lofty or serious-sounding institutions behind them, although these institutions seem to be different every time. And the "skeptics" generally seem to get a lengthy hearing by people in economic and political power. Surely all of that is coincidence, of course.

Or not. Greenpeace, in coordination with CLEAR, the Clearninghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research, has put together ExxonSecrets: a powerful -- and, in a terriblisma kind of way, fun -- flash application/website listing the myriad connections between the dozens of organizations and hundreds of individuals wrapped up in the ongoing efforts to obfuscate and deny the abundant scientific evidence that the climate's in a real mess. Much to nobody's surprise, many of these organizations receive generous funding from ExxonMobil, by far the most obstinate and retrograde of the global oil companies when it comes to climate issues. Some of the organization and individual names will be familiar, others more obscure, but what's important are the almost incestuous relationships between industry, lobbyists and pseudo-academic "think tanks," each asserting independence but actually relying on the same tired claims (long-dismissed by real climate scientists) and biased analysis.

Receiving funding doesn't a priori mean bias, and if all ExxonSecrets did was list how much different organizations received from Exxon, it would be of only limited utility. But the site shows myriad small pieces of evidence -- membership in multiple organizations with strong carbon lobby connections, close relationships between "independent" analysts and oil industry execs, organizations which pop up and disappear as industry mouthpieces. These may not be sufficient to make one immediately dismiss the statements of many of those organizations and individuals listed, but they should lead one to treat such statements with a great deal of skepticism.

As this suggests, ExxonSecrets has a longer-term value beyond simply playing with the interlocking directorships. Like They Rule, it's a great tool for immediately reality-checking news reports. When you see an article quoting some research group or academic stating that science is "split" about climate change, or that global warming "remains unproven," enter their name(s) in ExxonSecrets -- there's a darn good chance they'll come up as being a fully-endowed member of the Exxonerati. ExxonSecrets is a useful cheat sheet for getting to know the usual suspects.

Posted at worldchanging, by Jamais Cascio at January 6, 2005 05:15 PM | TrackBack

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Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming
By ANDREW C. REVKIN. Published: NY Times, June 8, 2005

Retrieved from: ExxonSecrets / NY Times

A White House official who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.

In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.

The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.

Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.

Before going to the White House in 2001, he was the "climate team leader" and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, he has no scientific training.

The documents were obtained by The New York Times from the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit legal-assistance group for government whistle-blowers.

The project is representing Rick S. Piltz, who resigned in March as a senior associate in the office that coordinates government climate research. That office, now called the Climate Change Science Program, issued the documents that Mr. Cooney edited.

A White House spokeswoman, Michele St. Martin, said yesterday that Mr. Cooney would not be available to comment. "We don't put Phil Cooney on the record," Ms. St. Martin said. "He's not a cleared spokesman."

In one instance in an October 2002 draft of a regularly published summary of government climate research, "Our Changing Planet," Mr. Cooney amplified the sense of uncertainty by adding the word "extremely" to this sentence: "The attribution of the causes of biological and ecological changes to climate change or variability is extremely difficult."

In a section on the need for research into how warming might change water availability and flooding, he crossed out a paragraph describing the projected reduction of mountain glaciers and snowpack. His note in the margins explained that this was "straying from research strategy into speculative findings/musings."

Other White House officials said the changes made by Mr. Cooney were part of the normal interagency review that takes place on all documents related to global environmental change. Robert Hopkins, a spokesman for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, noted that one of the reports Mr. Cooney worked on, the administration's 10-year plan for climate research, was endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences. And Myron Ebell, who has long campaigned against limits on greenhouse gases as director of climate policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian group, said such editing was necessary for "consistency" in meshing programs with policy.

But critics said that while all administrations routinely vetted government reports, scientific content in such reports should be reviewed by scientists. Climate experts and representatives of environmental groups, when shown examples of the revisions, said they illustrated the significant if largely invisible influence of Mr. Cooney and other White House officials with ties to energy industries that have long fought greenhouse-gas restrictions.

In a memorandum sent last week to the top officials dealing with climate change at a dozen agencies, Mr. Piltz said the White House editing and other actions threatened to taint the government's $1.8 billion-a-year effort to clarify the causes and consequences of climate change.

"Each administration has a policy position on climate change," Mr. Piltz wrote. "But I have not seen a situation like the one that has developed under this administration during the past four years, in which politicization by the White House has fed back directly into the science program in such a way as to undermine the credibility and integrity of the program."

A senior Environmental Protection Agency scientist who works on climate questions said the White House environmental council, where Mr. Cooney works, had offered valuable suggestions on reports from time to time. But the scientist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because all agency employees are forbidden to speak with reporters without clearance, said the kinds of changes made by Mr. Cooney had damaged morale. "I have colleagues in other agencies who express the same view, that it has somewhat of a chilling effect and has created a sense of frustration," he said.

Efforts by the Bush administration to highlight uncertainties in science pointing to human-caused warming have put the United States at odds with other nations and with scientific groups at home.

Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, who met with President Bush at the White House yesterday, has been trying to persuade him to intensify United States efforts to curb greenhouse gases. Mr. Bush has called only for voluntary measures to slow growth in emissions through 2012.

Yesterday, saying their goal was to influence that meeting, the scientific academies of 11 countries, including those of the United States and Britain, released a joint letter saying, "The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action."

The American Petroleum Institute, where Mr. Cooney worked before going to the White House, has long taken a sharply different view. Starting with the negotiations leading to the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty in 1997, it has promoted the idea that lingering uncertainties in climate science justify delaying restrictions on emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases.

On learning of the White House revisions, representatives of some environmental groups said the effort to amplify uncertainties in the science was clearly intended to delay consideration of curbs on the gases, which remain an unavoidable byproduct of burning oil and coal.

"They've got three more years, and the only way to control this issue and do nothing about it is to muddy the science," said Eileen Claussen, the president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a private group that has enlisted businesses in programs cutting emissions.

Mr. Cooney's alterations can cause clear shifts in meaning. For example, a sentence in the October 2002 draft of "Our Changing Planet" originally read, "Many scientific observations indicate that the Earth is undergoing a period of relatively rapid change." In a neat, compact hand, Mr. Cooney modified the sentence to read, "Many scientific observations point to the conclusion that the Earth may be undergoing a period of relatively rapid change."

A document showing a similar pattern of changes is the 2003 "Strategic Plan for the United States Climate Change Science Program," a thick report describing the reorganization of government climate research that was requested by Mr. Bush in his first speech on the issue, in June 2001. The document was reviewed by an expert panel assembled in 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists largely endorsed the administration's research plan, but they warned that the administration's procedures for vetting reports on climate could result in excessive political interference with science.

Another political appointee who has played an influential role in adjusting language in government reports on climate science is Dr. Harlan L. Watson, the chief climate negotiator for the State Department, who has a doctorate in solid-state physics but has not done climate research.

In an Oct. 4, 2002 memo to James R. Mahoney, the head of the United States Climate Change Science Program and an appointee of Mr. Bush, Mr. Watson "strongly" recommended cutting boxes of text referring to the findings of a National Academy of Sciences panel on climate and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that periodically reviews research on human-caused climate change.

The boxes, he wrote, "do not include an appropriate recognition of the underlying uncertainties and the tentative nature of a number of the assertions."

While those changes were made nearly two years ago, recent statements by Dr. Watson indicate that the admnistration's position has not changed.

"We are still not convinced of the need to move forward quite so quickly," he told the BBC in London last month. "There is general agreement that there is a lot known, but also there is a lot to be known."(link)

NY Times - Readers' Options
Forum: The Environment

ExxonSecrets Sources:

"Earth Last," The American Prospect, 5/7/04

article by Chris Mooney

Oil, Gas and Energy Law Intelligence

George C marshall website link to 2003 Soon Baliunas study pdf

Proxy Statement 2004, ExxonMobil Corporation, May 26th, 2004

Friday, March 10, 2006

Neither Bush nor Blair is in a position to take a high moral line on Iran's nuclear programme

Tony Benn
Wednesday November 30, 2005
The Guardian

Britain has played a leading role in the negotiations with Iran about its nuclear programme and the risk that it might lead to the development of an atomic bomb, and may well seek to take the matter to the UN security council.

Given that the prime minister himself is determined to upgrade Trident and appears to be committed to a new series of nuclear power stations, his position as the defender of the non-proliferation treaty is not very credible, and if we are to understand the depth of western hypocrisy on this question we should look back at the history, which has been conveniently forgotten

Thirty years ago, on January 7 1976, as secretary of state for energy I went for a long discussion with the Shah in his palace in Tehran, and much of the time was spent discussing the plans he had to develop a major nuclear-power programme in Iran.

I had been well briefed on his proposals by Dr Akbar Etemad of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, who had told me that he intended to build a 24 megawatt capacity by 1994, which was bigger than the programme Britain itself had at that time, and he expressed an interest in the centrifuges that are essential for reprocessing, while assuring me that he was anxious to avoid nuclear proliferation. My diary covering my talk to the Shah about the sources of his nuclear technology reveals that he told me that he was "getting it from the French and the Germans and might even get it from the Soviets - and why not?"

It was only a year later that Dr Walter Marshall of the Atomic Energy Authority, my own adviser, announced that he was also the Shah's adviser on nuclear policy, and had prepared a scheme under which the Shah would order the Westinghouse pressurised-water reactor (PWR) if Britain would do the same, and that Iran was prepared to put up the money - a plan that I was determined to fight. It was actually being suggested as part of this deal that Iran would become a 50% owner of our nuclear industry for the purpose of building the PWRs.

Marshall had, without any authority from me, apparently suggested that Britain abandon our advanced gas cooled reactors and order up to 20 PWRs, and I formed the impression that he took the view, as many in the nuclear industry did, that proliferation was inevitable and there was not much you could do about it. Indeed he almost said as much.

For all these reasons I was totally opposed to this whole idea, and what was most worrying to me was the virtual certainty that it would lead to nuclear proliferation and the development of atomic weapons by Iran. It was never approved. Sir Jack Rampton, my permanent secretary, who seemed to be as keen as Marshall on the adoption of the PWR, and who was directly consulted by the prime minister, was clearly pressing this approach, and Jim Callaghan himself wanted me to go along with it.

At a cabinet committee meeting held on May 4 1977, Jim, while expressing his concern about nuclear proliferation, argued that we should not reject the Iranian approach since he thought that either the Germans or the French would take it up.

An added complication arose when it turned out that since nuclear power was, under Euratom, seen by the Foreign Office as being within the legal competence of the European commission, the British government might be unable to take its own view.

Most astonishing of all, in the light of the present discussions, is that the problem of Iran developing such a huge nuclear capacity caused no problems for the Americans because, at that time, the Shah was seen as a strong ally, and had indeed been put on the throne with American help.

There could hardly be a clearer example of double standards than this, and it fits in with the arming of Saddam to attack Iran after the Shah had been toppled, and the complete silence over Israel's huge nuclear armoury, which is itself a breach of the non-proliferation treaty.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and its chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, were recently awarded the Nobel peace prize for their work on non-proliferation, but since that treaty provided that the nuclear-weapons states should negotiate their own disarmament agreement, which has not happened, it is clear that for them the NPT does not matter.

Now there is a proposal to report Iran to the UN and ElBaradei could find himself in the same position as was Hans Blix, the Iraq arms inspector who was used by Washington for its own purposes, with the US seeking a UN resolution to condemn Iran and then, if that fails, acting unilaterally using force, as in Iraq.

If the problems now being discussed can be dealt with in a practical way through the IAEA, there is a real chance of an agreed solution, and that is what we should be demanding since neither Bush nor Blair is in a position to take a high moral line.

As I am strongly opposed to nuclear weapons and civil nuclear power, these comments should not be taken as endorsing what Iran is doing; but Britain's past nuclear links with Iran should encourage us to be very cautious and oppose those whose arguments could be presented as justifying a case for war, which cannot be justified.

· Tony Benn was the secretary of state for energy from 1975-79

Special report
The nuclear industry

Useful links
British Energy
Department of Trade and Industry
British Nuclear Fuels Ltd
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Health and Safety Comission/Executive - Nuclear Safety Directorate
Come Clean - Weapons of Mass Destruction awareness programme
UK atomic energy authority
National Radiological Protection Board
Friends of the Earth
World Nuclear Association
World Nuclear Transport Institute

Monday, March 06, 2006

Friday, March 03, 2006

Saint Josemaría Escrivá

(Thursday, January 9, 1902 – Thursday, June 26, 1975), (also known as Jose María or Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albas, born José María Mariano Escriba Albas) was a Spanish Catholic priest and founder of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, popularly, Opus Dei. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II, who declared Saint Josemaria as "counted among the great witnesses of Christianity." (link)

Theologians Under Hitler

In the days after World War II, a convenient story was told of church leaders and ordinary Christians that defied the Nazis from the beginning. Recent research has uncovered a very different story. Rather than resisting, the greater part of the German church saw Hitler's rise in 1933 as an act of God's blessing, a new chapter in the story of God among the German people. (link)

The Crusaders' cross,
also known as the Jerusalem cross. This cross was the symbol of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, which existed for almost two hundred years after the First Crusade. The four smaller crosses are said to symbolize either the four books of the Gospel or the four directions in which the Word of Christ spread from Jerusalem. Alternately, all five crosses can symbolize the five wounds of Christ during the Passion. This symbol can be seen in the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven, and is also used in the flag of Georgia. (link)

The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which has gone through several different varieties of a cross Or (gold) on an argent (silver) field, is a famous violation of or exception to the rule of tincture in heraldry, which prohibits the placement of metal on metal or colour on colour. It is one of the earliest known coats of arms. The crosses are Greek crosses, one of the many Byzantine influences on the kingdom. (link)

The Catholic Order of the Holy Sepulchre (formally Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem) has a foundation myth that connects it with Godfrey of Bouillon or even Charlemagne. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia it is in historical reality a secular confraternity, which gradually grew up around the most central of the Christian holy places. As it was for the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre that the crusades were organized, so for its defence were military orders instituted. (link)

1. Letter from Escriva to Franco (link)

In the following letter, Opus Dei founder, Escriva, congratulates Spanish dictator Francisco Franco on the union of church and state in Spain. According to Giles Tremlett [1], "Opus Dei's 84,000 members around the world deny [Escriva] actively supported Franco;" however, this document shows that at the very least Escriva admired Franco.

Opus Dei also denies that the organization has a political agenda, and claims that its members have complete freedom as well as personal responsibility for their actions. However, the following quote from Escriva's book The Way, which Alberto Moncada [2] describes as a summary of Escriva's "national catholicism," illustrates how difficult it would be for a member of Opus Dei to reconcile this personal freedom with his counsel:

"Nonsectarianism. Neutrality. Those old myths that always try to seem new. Have you ever bothered to think how absurd it is to leave one's catholicism aside on entering a university, or a professional association, or a scholarly meeting, or Congress, as if you were checking your hat at the door?"[3]

Letter from Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
to Francisco Franco, May 23, 1958

The following letter, translated from Spanish (original Spanish text found here) was published in the January-February, 2001 issue of Razón Española (magazine title means Spanish Reason). Copies of this and other letters from Msgr. Escrivá de Balaguer to Franco are kept in the Fundación Nacional Francisco Franco (National Foundation of Francisco Franco) (Marqués de Urquijo, 28, 28008 Madrid, Spain). The originals belong to Generalísimo Franco’s only daughter, Carmen.

To his Excellency Francisco Franco Bahamonde, Head of State of Spain

Your Excellency:

I wish to add my sincerest personal congratulation to the many you have received on the occasion of the promulgation of the Fundamental Principles.

My forced absence from our homeland in service of God and souls, far from weakening my love for Spain, has, if it were possible, increased it. From the perspective of the eternal city of Rome, I have been able to see better than ever the beauty of that especially beloved daughter of the church which is my homeland, which the Lord has so often used as an instrument for the defense and propagation of the holy, Catholic faith in the world.

Although alien to any political activity, I cannot help but rejoice as a priest and Spaniard that the Chief of State’s authoritative voice should proclaim that, “The Spanish nation considers it a badge of honor to accept the law of God according to the one and true doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, inseparable faith of the national conscience which will inspire its legislation.” It is in fidelity to our people’s Catholic tradition that the best guarantee of success in acts of government, the certainty of a just and lasting peace within the national community, as well as the divine blessing for those holding positions of authority, will always be found.

I ask God our Lord to bestow upon your Excellency with every sort felicity and impart abundant grace to carry out the grave mission entrusted to you.

Please accept, Excellency, the expression of my deepest personal esteem and be assured of my prayers for all your family.

Most devotedly yours in the Lord,
Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer
Rome, May 23, 1958


[1] "Sainthood beckons for priest linked to Franco: Controversial founder of Opus Dei will becanonised tomorrow," by Giles Tremlett, Madrid, The Guardian, Saturday October 5, 2002.

[2] "Evolution of Opus Dei," by Alberto Moncada. This article was originally published in Spanish as "La Evolucion del Opus Dei en Espana" (Ponencia al VI Congreso Español de Sociología, A Coruña, 1999).

[3] The Way by Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei.

Posted April 24, 2004 - ODAN Opus Dei Awareness Network

2. Statement on the Canonization of Escrivá (link)

ODAN's Opposition to the Canonization of Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer
September 11, 2002

ODAN opposes the canonization of Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei. Based on the testimonies of thousands negatively affected by Opus Dei, and published evidence from various sources revealing the irregularities surrounding Escriva's beatification and canonization processes, ODAN strongly believes that canonizing Escriva would be a grave mistake which would produce irreparable harm to the Church and leave thousands vulnerable to the deceitful and manipulative practices of Opus Dei. Specific details and reasons for opposing Escriva's canonization follow:

Facts & Irregularities in the Escriva Canonization

The quotes and facts below are taken from Kenneth Woodward's article, "A Questionable Saint, Is Opus Dei's founder fit for canonization?" Newsweek, January 13, 1992; from the official Opus Dei website; from Kenneth Woodward in his book, "The Helpers of God: How the Catholic Church makes Its Saints" National Catholic Register World Notes May 10, 1992; from Kenneth Woodward's article "A Coming-Out Party in Rome, Opus Dei prepares to stand by its man," Newsweek, May 18 1992; from the Vatican website; and from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

1. Based on materials worked up by a team of Opus Dei priests, John Paul II declared Escriva "heroically virtuous" in April 1990.

2. In July 1991, a miraculous healing authenticated, in part, by Opus Dei doctors was attributed to Escriva's intercession.

3. There is no devil's advocate to systematically challenge a candidate's claim to holiness. Thus some Vatican officials said Opus Dei was able to use its influence to manipulate the church's saint-making system for the benefit of its founder.

4. Opus Dei's first prelate, Alvaro del Portillo, who was also Escriva's successor, was a consultor to several congregations and councils of the Holy See, such as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. As a member of the Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law, he also helped in the drafting of the current Code that eliminated the "devil's advocate," promulgated by John Paul II in 1983.

5. An Opus Dei member, Dr. Raffaello-Cortesini, a heart surgeon, headed the medical board that reviews potential miracles for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

6. Serious charges were brought that Opus Dei prevented critics of Escriva from testifying at church tribunals called to investigate his life. Opus Dei officials insist that 11 critics were heard among 92 witnesses. Several former members were refused a hearing. Among them: Maria del Carmen Tapia, Father Vladimir Feltzman and John Roche.

7. Escriva defended Adolf Hitler. He told Father Feltzman that "Hitler had been unjustly accused of killing 6 million Jews." "In fact he had killed only 4 million."

8. Even some Opus Dei sympathizers, like retired Cardinal Silvio Oddi who served the Vatican for decades in key posts, believe the push to make Escriva a Saint has done Opus Dei "more harm than good". Although bishops are reluctant to criticize Opus Dei openly, says Oddi, many are "very displeased" by the rush to judgment and see "no need for the immediate beatification of their founder."

9. Normally to assess potential saints the Vatican appoints "consultors" who come from the candidate's homeland. Curiously, eight of Escriva's nine judges were Italian - a sign say critics that the congregation wanted to avoid Spanish theologians, many of whom are known to oppose Opus Dei. Opus Dei officials argue that because Escriva was an international figure and lived in Rome, there was no need to have Spanish judges.

10. Opus Dei has refused to let outsiders see the material on which Escriva's "heroic virtues" were judged -- an unprecedented act of secrecy, say priests familiar with the process.

11. Opus Dei officials have claimed that Escriva's cause had been unanimously approved. However Newsweek has learned that two of the judges, Msgr. Luigi De Magistris, deputy head of the Vatican's Holy Penitentiary, and Msgr. Justo Fernandez Alonso, rector of the Spanish National Church in Rome, did not approve the cause. In fact, one of the dissenters reportedly wrote that beatifying Escriva could cause the church "grave public scandal."

12. Under Pope Paul VI, Opus Dei was suspect. Vatican documents show that Paul worried that Opus Dei priests in the Vatican were leaking confidential decisions to Escriva.

13. John Paul II has increased the number of Opus Dei bishops . . . (there were only 4 before, all in Latin America) and granted Opus its own Pontifical "atheneum" in Rome despite objections from the rectors of the Church's established pontifical universities.

14. In 1982 John Paul II awarded Opus Dei a unique status as "personal prelature" which means its clerical and lay members take spiritual direction from their own prelate in Rome and not like other Catholics from their local bishop.

15. Opus Dei's real power is inside the Vatican bureaucracy . . .several ranking cardinals and at least one of the pope's personal secretaries, Father Stanislaw Dziwisz from Cracow are either [Opus Dei] "cooperators" or like the Pope himself, strong sympathizers.

16. Officials who supervise the media-conscious pope's liaisons with television are members of Opus Dei.

17. Officials of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints not only gave the cause top priority but, as the official positio on Escriva shows, they also bent rules to exclude damaging evidence about Escriva's character and commitment to the church.

18. The positio claims that the volatile Escriva lost his temper only once, yet many former members who knew him will insist he was routinely abusive of anyone suspected of being an enemy of Opus Dei, including Pope John XXIII and Paul VI. Former numerary Maria del Carmen Tapia relates in her book Beyond the Threshold: A Life in Opus Dei that Escriva routinely lost his temper, and that as secretary in charge of writing down his words and actions, she was not allowed to right down anything negative that she witnessed. She herself was subjected to abusive words from Escriva, who called her the most filthy names, e.g. WHORE, SOW, PIG, and then screamed during this meeting with both men and women present, that someone should "pull down her panties.... and give her a spanking," referring to a fellow numerary woman who had assisted Tapia by mailing letters for her. Regarding this statement, a supporter of ODAN wrote the following: "This is the most bizarre and perverted talk coming from anyone, man or woman, but for a man to say this to an adult woman...for a priest to use this language and make this statement to a woman; for a saint to make this statement, completely perverts not only the rules of civilized behavior, but sanctity itself. There is no excuse for this conduct, no excuse at all. This, in and of itself, belies his sanctity."

19. A Vatican source said, contrary to established procedure, no published writings critical of Escriva were included in the documents given to the judges of his cause; nor did the congregation investigate Escriva's celebrated conflicts with the Jesuits, reports of his pro-fascist leanings and Opus Dei's involvement with the Franco government.

20. 40% of the testimony came from just two men, (Alvaro) Portillo (deceased Opus Dei prelate and Escriva's successor) and his assistant Father Javier Echevarria, (current Opus Dei prelate).

21. Although 1,300 bishops and cardinals from all over the world had written to the Vatican giving positive statements on the Opus Dei founder, only 128 of them had actually met him in person.

22. According to [Woodward's] research, Opus Dei members allegedly have put hundreds of bishops under financial pressure in order to have them send positive reports about Escriva to the Vatican. Especially in the Third World, bishops were allegedly told that financial contributions from Opus Dei might be in jeopardy if they did not answer the request for positive testimony.

23. The "devil's advocate" that had been part of the canonization process before 1983 was replaced by a "relator"; thus the door was open for the rapid canonization of Escriva. (Note that the current Opus Dei prelate at the time, Portillo, was part of the committee that eliminated the devil's advocate.) In the past, it was the job of the devil's advocate to ask "why shouldn't this person be canonized?"

Feedback from ODAN supporters:
(Opinions held by the persons below do not necessarily reflect the views of ODAN, its officers or Board of Directors.)

Joseph I. B. Gonzales, Former numerary, six years

The problem is not the man. It is the institutionalization of the man.

My real concern is that his faults--his harshness, duplicity, or immoderation, for example--should by the fact of canonization render these traits dubiously normative, not only for Opus Dei but for all Catholics as well.

I hope that now that Josemaria Escriva is canonized, his life and the organization he founded will be opened up to the critical perspective that time and reflection by necessity lends to the fair understanding of the lives of the saints. At this point we may perhaps begin to acknowledge the glaring reality of his defects as well as their potentially damaging influence, just as today we easily recognize the vindictiveness of St. Jerome, the rigorism of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, or the neuroticism of St. Therese of Lisieux.

Joseph Gonzales has written the Vocation Trap for the odan website.

Dr. John Roche, Linacre College, Oxford

"I am concerned about the harm that the canonization of Josemaria Escriva will do to the reputation of the whole process of beatification and canonization."

To read Dr. Roche's personal testimony of his experience as a numerary in Opus Dei, please read his True Story, "The Inner World of Opus Dei."

John Roche has also added the following points to the list of Facts and Irregularities in the Canonization of Monsignor Escriva:

1. Words of Monsignor Escriva

"... as Jesus received his doctrine from the Father, so my doctrine is not mine but comes from God and so not a jot or tittle shall ever be changed" (Cronica);

"I will pass away, and those who come afterwards will look at you with envy as if you were a relic" (Cronica i, 1971);

". . . when I think of this divine predilection, I feel ashamed" (Cronica i, 1971);

"As we come to know the Work ... not finding other more expressive words of love, perhaps we had to have recourse to scripture: tota pulchra est, amica mea, et macula non est in te (Song of Songs 4:7) ... the Work is tota pulchra ... this wonderful jewel that men admire" (Cronica v, 1960);

2. Words about Monsignor Escriva, from the internal magazine, Cronica, while he still lived

"The heritage of heaven comes to us through the Father" (Cronica i, 1961);

" ... we will bless the Lord ... because He chose our Father as the firm base for a Work projected through all the length and breadth of time" (Cronica i, 1971);

"God's grace prepared the priestly soul of our Father, making it to the measure of Christ's heart, that is open to the multitude that our Lord wanted to call to his Work with the passing of time, and even to all humanity" (Cronica i, 1971);

3. Facts about the Founder

L. Carandell, Vida y milagros de monsenor Escriva ... (Barcelona, 1975), 62-67. On 24 January 1968 Mgr. Escriva solicited the title 'Marquis of Peralta' claiming that there was a family connection. He was granted the title. At the same time his brother, Santiago, solicited the title 'Baron of San Felipe'

4. Testimony of former members

During the period 1959-1973, while I was a member of Opus Dei, it was frequently stated publicly at get-togethers of members of Opus Dei, that Monsignor Escriva had stated often that places where important events happened to him during the early years of Opus Dei would become centers of international pilgrimage -- John Roche

In July 1973, in Galway, Ireland, Fr Daniel Cummings, the then Procurator-General of Opus Dei informed me the Monsignor Escriva was divinely inspired to found Opus Dei, that he could not err in matters of the spirit of opus Dei, and that, therefore, as a condition of membership I must believe in that Divine inspiration -- John Roche

"On one occasion the Father was given the news that ... an old priest ... of Opus Dei ... had a severe haemorrhage and was near to death. Monsignor Escriva replied that this son of his lacked supernatural outlook, that he wished to go outside without wearing his cassock" -- Maria Angustias Moreno, El Opus Dei, 1993, 57.

Other comments about the canonization

Kenneth L. Woodward, Newsweek New York, NY

Fair to Opus Dei? Letter to the Editor of First Things, 61, March 1996, 2-7

I am pleased that Richard John Neuhaus ("The Work of God," November 1995) finds me "often fair-minded," though I suspect that is only when my views mirror his -- as they often do. That he detects a "long-standing hostility to Opus Dei" is not quite fair-minded of Father Neuhaus. My writing about Opus Dei has focused almost entirely on the beatification of its founder, not the organization itself. On this point, the only fair-minded conclusion I can reach, given the evidence of the positio itself and interviews with people in Rome involved in the process, is that Opus Dei subverted the canonization process to get its man beatified. In a word, it was a scandal -- from the conduct of the tribunals through the writing of the positio to the high-handed treatment of the experts picked to judge the cause. That Newsweek caught Opus Dei officials making claims that were not true is a matter of record. Escriva may have been a saint -- who am I to judge? but you could never tell from the way his cause was handled. Then, too, there is the matter of the banality of his writings, especially the axioms. Not the sort of stuff, I think, to build a spiritual community around. As for the organization itself, I'm sure it meets the needs of some Catholics. But as a parent, I am naturally inclined to worry about its methods and to take more seriously than does Father Neuhaus the complaints of those who feel they have lost a child to the organization. I, too, thought Jim Martin did a good job in his America piece, and am sorry only that so many folks felt they could not speak on the record. Whatever else it does, Opus Dei strikes fear in the timid and the mitered. I've met some likable people in Opus Dei but I'd hate to have my daughter marry one. To be fair-minded, I wouldn't want her to wed a Jesuit either, though I hope she'd ask one to say the nuptial mass.

Kenneth Woodward is the author of Making Saints, How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint, Who Doesn't, and Why, Simon and Schuster, 1990, in which he writes about Opus Dei and Escriva's beatification on pp. 383-389. One former numerary testifies that this book is on Opus Dei's Index of Forbidden Books, with the most restricted classification.

Revised June 20, 2005.

3. Clerical fascism (link)

Retrieved from Wikipedia

Clerical fascism is an ideological construct that combines the political and economic doctrines of fascism with theology or religious tradition. The term has been used to describe organisations and movements that combine religious elements with fascism, support by religious organisations for fascism, or fascist regimes in which clergy play a leading role. For Catholic clerical fascism, the term Catholic integralism is sometimes used, though Catholic integralism does not necessarily go together with fascism.


1. Examples of clerical fascism

Examples of dictatorships or political movements involving elements of clerical fascism include those of Antonio Salazar in Portugal, Maurice Duplessis of Quebec, Engelbert Dollfuss in Austria, Jozef Tiso in Slovakia, Ante Pavelic and the Ustashe in Croatia, Miklos Horthy in Hungary, the Iron Guard movement in Romania, the Rexists in Belgium and the government of Vichy France. The regime of Francisco Franco Bahamonde in Spain had nacionalcatolicismo as part of its ideology. It has been described by some as clerical fascist, especially after the decline in influence of the Falange beginning in the mid-1940s. With the exception of the Croatian Ustashe movement, scholars debate which other examples in this list should be dubbed, without reservation, clerical fascist.

Some scholars consider certain contemporary movements to be forms of clerical fascism, including Christian Identity and possibly Christian Reconstructionism in the United States; some militant forms of politicized Islamic fundamentalism; and militant Hindu nationalism in India (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh / Bharatiya Janata Party)

2. Quote

"Christianity and Democracy are inevitably enemies" Rousas John Rushdoony [1]

3. See also

4. Further reading

5. Vatican policy

4. Christian fascism (link)

Retrieved from Wikipedia

Christian fascism is a term used by some to describe what they see as totalitarian fascist politics in the contemporary Christian right, primarily in the United States.

For example, the Reverend Rich Lang of the Trinity United Methodist Church of Seattle, gave a sermon titled George Bush and the Rise of Christian Fascism in which he said "I want to flesh out the ideology of the Christian Fascism that Mr. Bush articulates. It is a form of Christianity that is the mirror opposite of what Jesus embodied. It is, indeed, the materialization of the spirit of antichrist: a perversion of Christian faith and practice...".

Some who use the term Christian fascism do not describe an existing state of fascism, but rather an emerging proto-fascism, and warn that action is needed to stop the possible emergence of a theocratic fascist state.

Critics of the term "Christian fascism" dismiss it as hyperbolic, and an "ill-advised attack on conservative Christians" [1]

See also

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