You can almost feel the current flowing
You can almost hear the circuits blowing
It’s a far cry from the world
We thought we’d inherit
—Rush, Far Cry
‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
So what exactly happened last year? By the spring of 2015 we were at the very nadir of darkness and oppression, the very pit of Hell, and by late fall it was as if a dam had suddenly burst loose. As if the hundredth monkey had just been born and all the momentum of suppressed energy and optimism finally broke loose for all to see. Crawling on our hands and knees, “bloodied but unbowed,” out of a long, dark, dirty decade. The hardest thing to swallow in the years to come will be the fact that we threw away a decade—one that was critical in the climate change crisis. History will not be kind to us for that. Others would say just as rightly that we had the decade stolen from us through draconian policies and a rarely equaled age of corruption.
In the darkest days of the Harper regime in Canada—which for me hit early in 2015—I was fully prepared to admit defeat, throw in the towel and move on to other pursuits. (As if the social justice impulse in me could ever die.) And now I can honestly say for the first time in ten years that I feel hope—a quality I rarely indulge without good reason. Canadians got a head start on hope with the landslide victory of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party in the October federal election. Prime Minister Trudeau has hit the ground running, reinstating the oil tanker ban on the west coast, commissioning a panel of enquiry on murdered and missing indigenous women, and making a strong showing at the Paris climate talks. Where the rubber meets the road for Trudeau will be whether or not he can stand up to disastrous trade agreements like the TPP. Meanwhile, our optimism is tempered by the run-up to the next American federal election, with dangerous buffoons like Donald Trump (surely the ultimate parody of Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth) and Monsanto shills like Hilary Clinton. If there’s a ray of hope there, it seems to shine from independent candidate Bernie Sanders, but with Big Money running politics in America, it’s hard to know whether he stands a chance. To start off the New Year on a positive note, I wanted to highlight some of the watershed moments of 2015:
March 2015. The suppressed energy of winter erupted in a sudden gust hinting at the winds of change when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reclassified glyphosate (a.k.a. the Monsanto herbicide known as Roundup) as a Class 2A Probable Carcinogen. (See my October blog post.) As reported in The Lancet Oncology journal, 17 experts from 11 countries at the IARC conference in Lyon, France supported this conclusion. The evaluation process was screened to be free of conflicts of interests from industry. The assessment was based on peer-reviewed epidemiological and animal studies as well as government reports. The panel was led by Aaron Blair, an internationally renowned epidemiologist and the author of more than 450 scientific papers, who spent 30 years at the National Cancer Institute. According to a whistleblower report by Andrew Cockburn in the September 2015 Harper’s magazine, Blair felt there were scientific grounds for declaring that glyphosate “definitely causes cancer.” A single study of farmers in Iowa and North Carolina with inconclusive results prevented this rating.
Monsanto has a decades-long history of falsifying the scientific data to convince government regulators that genetically engineered products and glyphosate are ‘safe,’ as revealed in a report published by the Organic Consumers Association in September. They also launch concerted campaigns to destroy the careers of any scientist who insists on the conclusions of the data pointing to health dangers, such as European scientist Gilles-Eric Séralini, whose research regarding the toxicity of GMOs paired with Roundup has recently been vindicated. Independent research shows a broad range of damaging effects to health. (SEE SOURCES)
In November 2015 it was announced that a coalition of scientists, lawyers and activists will take Monsanto to task at a tribunal in The Hague in October 2016 for fraud, depletion of soil and water resources, species extinction and declining biodiversity, and the displacement of millions of small farmers worldwide. (SEE SOURCES) We should all support the Monsanto Tribunal’s efforts—if successful, it could be a watershed moment in history and there are many more corporate criminals who could then be prosecuted for similar crimes, including Exxon (for suppressing decades of climate change research) and Big Pharma (for suppressing data on how pitifully ineffective and damaging their antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs are, leading to a tripling of the disabled mentally ill in America over the past two decades and many deaths due to suicide. See Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker.) The WHO’s 2A classification of glyphosate represents a real turnaround for the international agency, which in the past has been too easily swayed and corrupted by pro-industry lobbyists strategically placed on their assessment panels.
May 2015. Continuing this spring’s gifts was another effort of good conscience made by another coalition of scientists, led by the indefatigable Olle Johansson, petitioning the UN and WHO for stricter standards on electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure from cell phones, WiFi, ‘smart’ meters, cordless phones, baby monitors and other wireless devices. “The health effects (of electromagnetic exposure) are now inarguable,” said Cindy Sage, co-author of the Bioinitiative Report, fast becoming the gold standard meta-analysis of EMR research. “What we need—now—are biologically-based standards for public health.” The petition was announced on May 18 at a press conference at the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine in Brussels by Dr. Olle Johansson (Sweden), Dr. Magda Havas (Canada), Dr. David Carpenter (US), Dr. Lennart Hardell (Sweden), Dr. Michael Kundi (Austria), Dr. Dominique Belpomme (France), and Cindy Sage (US). (SEE SOURCES.)
EMR between the 100 kHz (kilohertz) and 300 GHz (gigahertz) range is typically classified as microwave frequency radiation, also known as radiofrequency radiation (RFR). On May 31, 2011, the IARC classified EMR as a Class 2B Possible Carcinogen. At a symposium held at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto in September 2014, Dr. Anthony Miller argued the classification should be 2A, a Probable Carcinogen. This has been repeatedly stymied by the efforts of Big Telecom. As I wrote in a blog post in June: “Telecom lobbyists or scientists with direct ties to the industry have infiltrated government safety standards agencies, hearings and safety reviews in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe to ensure that protective standards are so low they can operate with impunity. In fact, the ‘safety’ standards in Canada and the US were written by the industry and adopted wholesale by governments without question. In anticipation of the coming health crisis, they even wrote into the Canadian and American regulatory codes a proviso that does not allow anyone to sue them on health grounds. (Now why would they do that if they didn’t know something the rest of us didn’t?) Health Canada has repeatedly allowed Safety Code 6 inquiry panels to be compromised by such ‘experts’ including the 2013 Royal Society of Canada review panel, which was plagued by numerous conflicts of interest, forcing its original Chair, Dr. Daniel Krewski, to resign.” In February 2013, Health Canada’s chief scientist Dr. Robert McNamee admitted that its Safety Code 6—the go-to exposure standard cited by telecommunications lobbyists and scientists-for-hire—was based strictly on thermal effects, ignoring the numerous studies noting biological effects at non-thermal levels of microwave radiation. (SEE SOURCES)
Johansson has repeatedly stated that we are engaging in the “largest mass experiment in human history,” without our consent of course, and that this contravenes the Nuremberg Code established after World War II. The first of 10 tenets of the Code states that “the voluntary, well-informed, understanding consent of the human subject in a full legal capacity” is required for any medical testing. He has also warned that it will lead to a global health crisis that is only now coming into view with historically unprecedented rates of brain tumours and a soaring cancer rate. It’s now estimated that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will have some form of cancer within their lifetimes. (SEE SOURCES) Meanwhile the mainstream media and medical establishment continues to portray this as the ‘new normal.’ “It’s okay, folks, we’re all living longer.” Uh-huh, sure. This alone could bring civilization to its knees, especially with healthcare systems in Canada and the US being eviscerated by privatization interests.
Sadly, the media has mostly ignored these scientists’ repeated calls for stricter standards. Even more tragic, our largest environmental NGOs—from Greenpeace on down—have chosen to remain ignorant of the topic, even though there are indications that microwave radiation is affecting not just humans but animal and plant life as well. All the more reason for us to support and celebrate scientists like Johansson and his colleagues. As he stated at the May 18 conference: “Since I work at the Karolinska Institute, if I could, I would give all my colleagues here a Nobel Prize…” He meant that their work fulfills the mandate of Alfred Nobel to do scientific work for the benefit of humanity, not its exploitation. We can be thankful such men and women of good conscience are practicing true science on our behalf.
- Richard Gale and Gary Null, ‘Monsanto’s Sealed Documents Reveal the Truth Behind Roundup’s Toxicological Dangers,’ Organic Consumers Association online, https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-sealed-documents-reveal-truth-behind-roundups-toxicological-dangers#.VgSXvHnTNrA.facebook
- Alexis Baden-Mayer, ‘Monsanto’s Roundup: Enough to Make You Sick,’ Organic Consumers Association online, https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-roundup-enough-make-you-sick
- Monanto Tribunal: http://www.monsanto-tribunal.org/home/why-a-tribunal/
- Sean Arthur Joyce, ‘Monsanto’s Roundup: The Smoking Gun Revealed,’ chameleonfire1, https://chameleonfire1.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/monsantos-roundup-the-smoking-gun-revealed/
- Fifth Paris Appeal Congress: A focus on electro-hypersensitivity (EHS) and multiple chemical sensitivity, http://videos.next-up.org/EhsTvNews/EHS_MCS_Appel_de_Paris_Conference_de_Presse/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My5leLBbNqI
- EMF Scientist website: https://www.emfscientist.org
- Lloyd Burrell, ‘International Scientists Appeal To U.N. To Protect Humans And Wildlife From EMFs And Wireless,’ Electric Sense website, http://www.electricsense.com/9556/scientists-appeal-u-n-protect-emfs-wireless/
- Dr. Magda Havas, ‘Health Canada Admits Safety Code 6 Guideline for Microwave Radiation is Based Only on Thermal Effects,’ magdahavas.com, http://www.magdahavas.com/health-canada-admits-safety-code-6-guideline-for-microwave-radiation-is-based-only-on-thermal-effects/
- Robert Whitaker, ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America,’ http://www.cchr.org/sites/default/files/Anatomy_of_an_Epidemic_Psychiatric_Drugs_Rise_of_Mental_Illness.pdf
- Nuremberg Code, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Code
- Lifetime risk of cancer, Cancer Research UK, http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/content/lifetime-risk-of-cancer
- Cancer Strikes 1 in 2 Men and 1 in 3 Women, Medscape online, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/551998