Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons

The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons


The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West.

The New York Times found 17 American service members and seven Iraqi police officers who were exposed to nerve or mustard agents after 2003. American officials said that the actual tally of exposed troops was slightly higher, but that the government’s official count was classified.

Friday, October 10, 2014


UPDATE - 6 September 2013

The Colombian government has just announced that it is suspending Resolution 970, which was the subject of massive public outcry in recent weeks thanks to the huge peasant mobilisation launched on 19 August. The Resolution, adopted in 2010 and sometimes referred to as Law 970, made it illegal for Colombian farmers to save seeds in order for private companies and transnational corporations to gain monopoly control over the market.
Resolution 970 will be suspended for a period of two years, and this will only apply to domestically produced seeds (not imports). The government says it will use the two-year freeze to write new rules on seed use "which will not affect small farmers".

This is NOT a reversal of policy. It is a public statement from the government. People are waiting to see it written into a document with legal force, and are reiterating calls for the Resolution to be repealed instead.

Sources (in Spanish):
On 19 August, Colombian farmers' organisations initiated a massive nationwide strike. They blocked roads, dumped milk on cars and basically stopped producing food for the cities. The problem? Farmers are being driven out of existence by the government's policies.
The state provides almost no support for the small-scale farming sector.
1 Instead, it embraces a social and economic model that serves the interests of a wealthy elite minority. Recent free trade agreements (FTAs) signed with the US and the EU are undercutting Colombian producers, who can't compete with subsidised imports.
2 The Colombian government has been actively promoting land grabbing by large corporations, many of them foreign (Monica Semillas from Brazil, Merhav from Israel, Cargill from the US), to promote export-oriented agribusiness at the expense of family farming oriented towards food sovereignty.