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Global march challenges Monsanto’s dominance: LIVE UPDATES- Final Update


People carry signs during a protest against agribusiness giant Monsanto in Los Angeles on May 25, 2013. (AFP Photo / Robin Beck)

People carry signs during a protest against agribusiness giant Monsanto in Los Angeles on May 25, 2013. (AFP Photo / Robin Beck

 

Demonstrators hold banners during a rally against U.S.-based Monsanto Co. and genetically modified organisms (GMO), in Valparaiso city May 25, 2013. (Reuters / Eliseo Fernandez)

Demonstrators hold banners during a rally against U.S.-based Monsanto Co. and genetically modified organisms (GMO), in Valparaiso city May 25, 2013. (Reuters / Eliseo Fernandez)

 

20:39 GMT: Thousands protested near the Sacramento State Capitol in California. The event featured magnificent traditional Aztec dances.

 

20:27 GMT: Dozens have gathered in front of Monsanto office in Buenos Aires, Argentina, dancing and protesting GMO crops. Monsanto’s largest factory in Latin America is located in Argentina, and the company invests millions into new “experimental facilities.”

 

The March Against Monsanto, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Image from twitter user@Ignacio_RT)

The March Against Monsanto, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Image from twitter user@Ignacio_RT)

 

20:11 GMT: Over a hundred of activists gathered in Dallas chanting “No more lies! No more greed! We don’t want your toxic seed!”

 

The March Against Monsanto, Dallas. (Image from twitter user@reneefranks)

The March Against Monsanto, Dallas. (Image from twitter user@reneefranks)

 

20:05 GMT: The Vancouver March Against Monsanto is part of an international movement that aims to raise awareness about the impacts of genetically modified organisms in food.

Marchers gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery beginning at 11 a.m. local time before making their way through the city.

Fearing the massive effect genetic engineering has both on the environment and health, marchers have demanded that companies be forced to label foods containing GMOs.

“There’s a growing body of evidence indicating that genetically modified crops are not benign; they affect both our health and the environment,” Global BC cites Greenpeace Vancouver Local Group member, Zac Hambrook, as saying in a statement. 

 

19:58 GMT: “What do we want? Labels! When do we want em’? Now!” The March Against Monsanto making its way through downtown Cincinnati Ohio.

 

19:50 GMT: From the East Bay to California’s largest city San Diego, anti-Monsanto protests have swept through the Golden State.

 

The March Against Monsanto, San Diego. (Image from facebook.com)

The March Against Monsanto, San Diego. (Image from facebook.com)

 

19:40 GMT: Hundreds gather in San Francisco’s Union Square to take part in the nationwide as well as global march against Monsanto.
19:30 GMT: Activists in Olympia, Washington organized a march to the state capitol and onward to help take back control of their food supply. Alliance for Global Justice, an organizer behind the march, said 888 people had initially signed up to attend the poor weather conditions might have dissuaded many from turning out.

 

19:00 GMT: RT’s Anastasia Churkina is following the protests from New York.

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18:55 GMT: Environmental groups across America have blamed companies like Monsanto for the drastic decline in the honey bee population over recent years, saying the pesticides they produce have killed off millions of the vital insect in recent years.  Monsanto plans to host a “Bee Summit” in June to discuss solutions to the bee’s North American demise. “Everybody is concerned by it,” Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robert Fraley told Reuters.


18:45 GMT: Several thousand protesters marched through the streets of Vienna, Austria to rally against the US seed giant and GMO products.

 

Demonstrators hold banners during a rally against U.S.-based Monsanto Co. and genetically modified organisms (GMO), in Valparaiso city May 25, 2013. (Reuters / Eliseo Fernandez)

Demonstrators hold banners during a rally against U.S.-based Monsanto Co. and genetically modified organisms (GMO), in Valparaiso city May 25, 2013. (Reuters / Eliseo Fernandez)

 

20:39 GMT: Thousands protested near the Sacramento State Capitol in California. The event featured magnificent traditional Aztec dances.

 

20:27 GMT: Dozens have gathered in front of Monsanto office in Buenos Aires, Argentina, dancing and protesting GMO crops. Monsanto’s largest factory in Latin America is located in Argentina, and the company invests millions into new “experimental facilities.”

 

The March Against Monsanto, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Image from twitter user@Ignacio_RT)

The March Against Monsanto, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Image from twitter user@Ignacio_RT)

 

20:11 GMT: Over a hundred of activists gathered in Dallas chanting “No more lies! No more greed! We don’t want your toxic seed!”

 

The March Against Monsanto, Dallas. (Image from twitter user@reneefranks)

The March Against Monsanto, Dallas. (Image from twitter user@reneefranks)

 

20:05 GMT: The Vancouver March Against Monsanto is part of an international movement that aims to raise awareness about the impacts of genetically modified organisms in food.

Marchers gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery beginning at 11 a.m. local time before making their way through the city.

Fearing the massive effect genetic engineering has both on the environment and health, marchers have demanded that companies be forced to label foods containing GMOs.

“There’s a growing body of evidence indicating that genetically modified crops are not benign; they affect both our health and the environment,” Global BC cites Greenpeace Vancouver Local Group member, Zac Hambrook, as saying in a statement. 

 

19:58 GMT: “What do we want? Labels! When do we want em’? Now!” The March Against Monsanto making its way through downtown Cincinnati Ohio.

 

19:50 GMT: From the East Bay to California’s largest city San Diego, anti-Monsanto protests have swept through the Golden State.

 

The March Against Monsanto, San Diego. (Image from facebook.com)

The March Against Monsanto, San Diego. (Image from facebook.com)

 

19:40 GMT: Hundreds gather in San Francisco’s Union Square to take part in the nationwide as well as global march against Monsanto.
19:30 GMT: Activists in Olympia, Washington organized a march to the state capitol and onward to help take back control of their food supply. Alliance for Global Justice, an organizer behind the march, said 888 people had initially signed up to attend the poor weather conditions might have dissuaded many from turning out.

 

19:00 GMT: RT’s Anastasia Churkina is following the protests from New York.
18:55 GMT: Environmental groups across America have blamed companies like Monsanto for the drastic decline in the honey bee population over recent years, saying the pesticides they produce have killed off millions of the vital insect in recent years.  Monsanto plans to host a “Bee Summit” in June to discuss solutions to the bee’s North American demise. “Everybody is concerned by it,” Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robert Fraley told Reuters.


18:45 GMT: Several thousand protesters marched through the streets of Vienna, Austria to rally against the US seed giant and GMO products.

 

18:18 GMT: Several hundred protesters have amassed outside the White House  to demand the Obama administration change its policy towards Monsanto. In March, President Obama signed the so-called Monsanto Protection Act, which “effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO or GE crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from the consumption of these products may come to light in the future.”
17:58 GMT: Protesters in Los Angeles have evoked the sweeping horrors of the French Revolution to show their disapproval for Monsanto’s practices.


17:50 GMT:  Farmers form the Consortium for the Defense of Sicilian Agriculture have pulled out all of the stops…and a tractor to protest the destructive impact of Monsanto on their livelihood and the world’s food supply. 

 

17:40 GMT: #MarchAgainstMonsanto is surging on Twitter despite the virtual mainstream media blackout on the global day of action.
17:37 GMT: Several dozens protesters have come out in Wichita, Kansas to take part in the worldwide call to “take back our food.”


17:28GMT: Protesters are starting to fill up Chicago’s Federal Plaza, which is home to a regular farmers market, to take part in one of many anti-Monsanto protests being held throughout the United States.


17:10 GMT: Dozens of demonstrators have gathered in Novi Sad, Serbia’s second largest city, to take part in the global action against Monsanto.
17:00 GMT: A small group of protesters have gathered outside of the Central Academic Theatre of the Russian Army on Suvorov Square to demand a “Russia without GMO!”


16:00 GMT: Several hundred people gathered in Paris for a peaceful protest against the US agrochemical giant Monsanto. A sit in demonstration was held on the Place du Trocadéro square, across the Seine from the Eifel Tower. Protesters could be seen waving signs claiming “”Monsanto plunders and kills the farmers and the planet.”

 

Anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) activists gather on the Trocadero square near the Eiffel tower during a demonstration against GMOs and US chemical giant Monsanto on May 25, 2013 in Paris (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

Anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) activists gather on the Trocadero square near the Eiffel tower during a demonstration against GMOs and US chemical giant Monsanto on May 25, 2013 in Paris (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

 

 

Anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) activists gather on the Trocadero square near the Eiffel tower during a demonstration against GMOs and US chemical giant Monsanto on May 25, 2013 in Paris (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

Anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) activists gather on the Trocadero square near the Eiffel tower during a demonstration against GMOs and US chemical giant Monsanto on May 25, 2013 in Paris (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

 

15:40 GMT: Japanese protesters earlier gathered outside Monsanto’s headquarters in Tokyo to chant down the company’s influence on the world’s food supply.

 

14:40 GMT: Demonstrators gathered at Eastern Market in Detroit, Michigan to “Demand GMO Labeling” and join the worldwide protest against Monsanto. The “March Against Monstanto” is being held in a dozen  cities  across Michigan, including Detroit, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Sault St. Marie. Tia Lebherz, a local organizer for Food and Water Watch, said companies like Monsanto are “squeezing out our small farmers.”
14:10 GMT: “’At Monsanto, we are committed to sustainable agriculture and to continuously improve ways in which we contribute. We are pleased that this honor recognizes that commitment,’ said Jerry Steiner, executive vice president, sustainability and corporate affairs at Monsanto. ‘This recognition reflects the thousands of Monsanto employees who are working together with farmers and partners around the world to improve agriculture and improve lives.'”

“First published in 1999, the ‘100 Best Corporate Citizens’ list ranks large-cap Russell 1000 companies based on publicly available information in seven key categories: climate change, employee relations, environmental, financial, governance, human rights and philanthropy.”


13:50 GMT: Around 300 people have come out for the London March Against Monsanto, calling for better food labeling of products that use ingredients grown with Monsanto seeds. London Organizer Courtney Smith says the issue at heart is that Monsanto is spending millions of dollars to lobby against GMO labeling on foods.The protesters met in Victoria Park at 2:00 p.m. local time and can be seen taking up positions around Parliament.
 

13:45 GMT: The March Against Monsanto attracted a sizeable crowd on Amsterdam’s central Dam Square.

 

13:40 GMT: People take to the streets of Amsterdam by bike and by foot to protest against Monsanto.
13:30 GMT: Demonstrators marching through the streets of Munich, Germany to call for the ban of genetically Engineered and Genetically Modified Organisms. Similar protests are being held in a half a dozen cities throughout the country.

 

image by Christian Chapman

image by Christian Chapman

 


13:10 GMT: Protesters marching through the streets of Cape Town, South Africa demanding that Monsanto get out of Africa.

13:00 GMT: Members of Occupy Food Australia are currently blocking roads in Melbourne, Australia to make their presence against Monsanto felt. 

12:50 GMT: Activists in Hawaii have “made a #MAM light brigade”, adorning a wall with a popular March Against Monsanto hashtag fashioned from a string of lights. 

11:17 GMT: The Japanese are participating in the anti-Monsanto rallies across the country, locals report on Twitter.

 

image by @mkimpo_kid

image by @mkimpo_kid

 

 

image by @mkimpo_kid

image by @mkimpo_kid

 

11:10 GMT: Across South Africa, hundreds have taken to the streets to protest against Monsanto’s policies.

 

image from Revolution News's Photos facebook page

image from Revolution News’s Photos facebook page

 

 

image from Revolution News's Photos facebook page

image from Revolution News’s Photos facebook page

 

10:36 GMT: Hundreds of New Zealanders gathered around the country today to protest against genetically modified food.

 

image from Revolution News's Photos facebook page

image from Revolution News’s Photos facebook page

 


10:03 GMT:


9:00 GMT: Anti-Monsanto activists are claiming a mainstream media blackout on coverage of the protest marches.

8:20 GMT: Anti-Monsanto campaigners across the UK will march as part of a global day of protest against the GMO giant. Rallies are set to take place in London, Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester, Douglas, Torquay and Nottingham.

6:50 GMT: Sarah Saunders, an organizer of the event, said she was leading the march to “help protect the future health and food supply for my children. The long term health effects of GMOs are up for debate and I would rather my children not be science experiments.”

 

image from Revolution News's Photos facebook page

image from Revolution News’s Photos facebook page

 


6:20 GMT: Hundreds gathered in Brisbane, Australia, to join the global protest against Monsanto. 

5:40 GMT: Pictures from Melbourne, Australia, show crowds continuing their protest against Monsanto’s practices.

 

Over a thousand people take to streets in Melbourne for the March Against Monsanto (image from Revolution News's Photos facebook page)

Over a thousand people take to streets in Melbourne for the March Against Monsanto (image from Revolution News’s Photos facebook page)

 

 

image by @nrcars

image by @nrcars

 

4:21 GMT: Over 1,000 protesters gathered in Melbourne.
3:37 GMT: Activists gearing up for a protest in Albany, Australia.


3:00 GMT: Watch RT’s Anastasia Churkina report on the upcoming global protest.

 

 

2:44 GMT: Activists begin gathering for Sydney protest hours before the scheduled time.
2:14 GMT: Nick Bernabe, a social media director for March Against Monsanto, told RT that in some parts of the world, Monsanto’s tactics are leading farmers to suicide.

“If you look at what happened in India… I mean there was an epidemic of suicides of the farmers,” Bernabe said. “Monsanto sold them a kind of seed that they promised would do a certain thing and then those seeds didn’t perform how they were supposed to. And it drove a lot of those Indian farmers into sheer poverty – and they ended up committing suicide by the hundreds and thousands even.”

Meanwhile in the United States, Monsanto is known for litigating small farmers out of business, Bernabe added.

“There are a lot of small farmers they are putting out business because they have a genetic migration into crops that were not supposed to be GMO, but they are getting cross-pollinated,”
 he explained. “And then Monsanto comes in, they use their government cronies to go in and shut down small farmers because the genetics from the seeds they’ve patented have slowly crept into the genetics of non-GMO seeds.”

Bernabe says that activists “want to spread awareness and we want to start from the ground up.”

“The easiest thing you can do to know what’s in your food is to grow your own food,” he said. “We start there. At the very top we want labeling and a ban, but I think we should work from the ground up to have the best results.”

2:20 GMT: Hundreds of people gathered for an event in Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia.


1:51 GMT: 
1:48 GMT:
1:36 GMT: On the eve of the global protest against GMO, the US Senate overwhelmingly rejected a bill that would allow states to decide if genetically modified food products should be labeled.

Since the FDA has not made scientific conclusions, the opponents of the measure argued, GMOs should not be labeled.

“I believe we must rely on the FDA’s science-based examination before we make conclusions about food ingredients derived from genetically modified foods,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who chairs the Agriculture Committee.

1:00 GMT: We are beginning our extensive coverage of the global protest organized by the ‘March Against Monsanto’ movement. An estimated 200,000 activists are expected participate in the massive campaign spanning six continents, 40 nations, and at least 48 US states.

 

18:18 GMT: Several hundred protesters have amassed outside the White House  to demand the Obama administration change its policy towards Monsanto. In March, President Obama signed the so-called Monsanto Protection Act, which “effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO or GE crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from the consumption of these products may come to light in the future.”
17:58 GMT: Protesters in Los Angeles have evoked the sweeping horrors of the French Revolution to show their disapproval for Monsanto’s practices.

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17:50 GMT:  Farmers form the Consortium for the Defense of Sicilian Agriculture have pulled out all of the stops…and a tractor to protest the destructive impact of Monsanto on their livelihood and the world’s food supply. 

 

17:40 GMT: #MarchAgainstMonsanto is surging on Twitter despite the virtual mainstream media blackout on the global day of action.
17:37 GMT: Several dozens protesters have come out in Wichita, Kansas to take part in the worldwide call to “take back our food.”


17:28GMT: Protesters are starting to fill up Chicago’s Federal Plaza, which is home to a regular farmers market, to take part in one of many anti-Monsanto protests being held throughout the United States.


17:10 GMT: Dozens of demonstrators have gathered in Novi Sad, Serbia’s second largest city, to take part in the global action against Monsanto.
17:00 GMT: A small group of protesters have gathered outside of the Central Academic Theatre of the Russian Army on Suvorov Square to demand a “Russia without GMO!”


16:00 GMT: Several hundred people gathered in Paris for a peaceful protest against the US agrochemical giant Monsanto. A sit in demonstration was held on the Place du Trocadéro square, across the Seine from the Eifel Tower. Protesters could be seen waving signs claiming “”Monsanto plunders and kills the farmers and the planet.”

 

Anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) activists gather on the Trocadero square near the Eiffel tower during a demonstration against GMOs and US chemical giant Monsanto on May 25, 2013 in Paris (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

Anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) activists gather on the Trocadero square near the Eiffel tower during a demonstration against GMOs and US chemical giant Monsanto on May 25, 2013 in Paris (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

 

 

Anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) activists gather on the Trocadero square near the Eiffel tower during a demonstration against GMOs and US chemical giant Monsanto on May 25, 2013 in Paris (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

Anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) activists gather on the Trocadero square near the Eiffel tower during a demonstration against GMOs and US chemical giant Monsanto on May 25, 2013 in Paris (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)

 

15:40 GMT: Japanese protesters earlier gathered outside Monsanto’s headquarters in Tokyo to chant down the company’s influence on the world’s food supply.

 

14:40 GMT: Demonstrators gathered at Eastern Market in Detroit, Michigan to “Demand GMO Labeling” and join the worldwide protest against Monsanto. The “March Against Monstanto” is being held in a dozen  cities  across Michigan, including Detroit, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Sault St. Marie. Tia Lebherz, a local organizer for Food and Water Watch, said companies like Monsanto are “squeezing out our small farmers.”
14:10 GMT: “’At Monsanto, we are committed to sustainable agriculture and to continuously improve ways in which we contribute. We are pleased that this honor recognizes that commitment,’ said Jerry Steiner, executive vice president, sustainability and corporate affairs at Monsanto. ‘This recognition reflects the thousands of Monsanto employees who are working together with farmers and partners around the world to improve agriculture and improve lives.'”

“First published in 1999, the ‘100 Best Corporate Citizens’ list ranks large-cap Russell 1000 companies based on publicly available information in seven key categories: climate change, employee relations, environmental, financial, governance, human rights and philanthropy.”


13:50 GMT: Around 300 people have come out for the London March Against Monsanto, calling for better food labeling of products that use ingredients grown with Monsanto seeds. London Organizer Courtney Smith says the issue at heart is that Monsanto is spending millions of dollars to lobby against GMO labeling on foods.The protesters met in Victoria Park at 2:00 p.m. local time and can be seen taking up positions around Parliament.
 

13:45 GMT: The March Against Monsanto attracted a sizeable crowd on Amsterdam’s central Dam Square.

 

13:40 GMT: People take to the streets of Amsterdam by bike and by foot to protest against Monsanto.
13:30 GMT: Demonstrators marching through the streets of Munich, Germany to call for the ban of genetically Engineered and Genetically Modified Organisms. Similar protests are being held in a half a dozen cities throughout the country.

 

image by Christian Chapman

image by Christian Chapman

 


13:10 GMT: Protesters marching through the streets of Cape Town, South Africa demanding that Monsanto get out of Africa.

13:00 GMT: Members of Occupy Food Australia are currently blocking roads in Melbourne, Australia to make their presence against Monsanto felt. 

12:50 GMT: Activists in Hawaii have “made a #MAM light brigade”, adorning a wall with a popular March Against Monsanto hashtag fashioned from a string of lights. 

11:17 GMT: The Japanese are participating in the anti-Monsanto rallies across the country, locals report on Twitter.

 

image by @mkimpo_kid

image by @mkimpo_kid

 

 

image by @mkimpo_kid

image by @mkimpo_kid

 

11:10 GMT: Across South Africa, hundreds have taken to the streets to protest against Monsanto’s policies.

 

image from Revolution News's Photos facebook page

image from Revolution News’s Photos facebook page

 

 

image from Revolution News's Photos facebook page

image from Revolution News’s Photos facebook page

 

10:36 GMT: Hundreds of New Zealanders gathered around the country today to protest against genetically modified food.

 

image from Revolution News's Photos facebook page

image from Revolution News’s Photos facebook page

 


10:03 GMT:


9:00 GMT: Anti-Monsanto activists are claiming a mainstream media blackout on coverage of the protest marches.

8:20 GMT: Anti-Monsanto campaigners across the UK will march as part of a global day of protest against the GMO giant. Rallies are set to take place in London, Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester, Douglas, Torquay and Nottingham.

6:50 GMT: Sarah Saunders, an organizer of the event, said she was leading the march to “help protect the future health and food supply for my children. The long term health effects of GMOs are up for debate and I would rather my children not be science experiments.”

 

image from Revolution News's Photos facebook page

image from Revolution News’s Photos facebook page

 


6:20 GMT: Hundreds gathered in Brisbane, Australia, to join the global protest against Monsanto. 

5:40 GMT: Pictures from Melbourne, Australia, show crowds continuing their protest against Monsanto’s practices.

 

Over a thousand people take to streets in Melbourne for the March Against Monsanto (image from Revolution News's Photos facebook page)

Over a thousand people take to streets in Melbourne for the March Against Monsanto (image from Revolution News’s Photos facebook page)

 

 

image by @nrcars

image by @nrcars

 

4:21 GMT: Over 1,000 protesters gathered in Melbourne.
3:37 GMT: Activists gearing up for a protest in Albany, Australia.


3:00 GMT: Watch RT’s Anastasia Churkina report on the upcoming global protest.

 

 

2:44 GMT: Activists begin gathering for Sydney protest hours before the scheduled time.
2:14 GMT: Nick Bernabe, a social media director for March Against Monsanto, told RT that in some parts of the world, Monsanto’s tactics are leading farmers to suicide.

“If you look at what happened in India… I mean there was an epidemic of suicides of the farmers,” Bernabe said. “Monsanto sold them a kind of seed that they promised would do a certain thing and then those seeds didn’t perform how they were supposed to. And it drove a lot of those Indian farmers into sheer poverty – and they ended up committing suicide by the hundreds and thousands even.”

Meanwhile in the United States, Monsanto is known for litigating small farmers out of business, Bernabe added.

“There are a lot of small farmers they are putting out business because they have a genetic migration into crops that were not supposed to be GMO, but they are getting cross-pollinated,”
 he explained. “And then Monsanto comes in, they use their government cronies to go in and shut down small farmers because the genetics from the seeds they’ve patented have slowly crept into the genetics of non-GMO seeds.”

Bernabe says that activists “want to spread awareness and we want to start from the ground up.”

“The easiest thing you can do to know what’s in your food is to grow your own food,” he said. “We start there. At the very top we want labeling and a ban, but I think we should work from the ground up to have the best results.”

2:20 GMT: Hundreds of people gathered for an event in Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia.


1:51 GMT: 
1:48 GMT:
1:36 GMT: On the eve of the global protest against GMO, the US Senate overwhelmingly rejected a bill that would allow states to decide if genetically modified food products should be labeled.

Since the FDA has not made scientific conclusions, the opponents of the measure argued, GMOs should not be labeled.

“I believe we must rely on the FDA’s science-based examination before we make conclusions about food ingredients derived from genetically modified foods,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who chairs the Agriculture Committee.

1:00 GMT: We are beginning our extensive coverage of the global protest organized by the ‘March Against Monsanto’ movement. An estimated 200,000 activists are expected participate in the massive campaign spanning six continents, 40 nations, and at least 48 US states.

 

AnonymousHealthHuman rights,ProtestScandalScience

The March Against Monsanto has seen millions in 436 cities in 52 countries challenging biotech corporations and protesting against genetically modified foods, which despite bans in some states due to potential health hazards remain legal in many others.

Read RT’s breakdown of the March Against Monsanto here:

23:01 GMT: Marches against the biotechnology giant Monsanto have taken place in 436 cities across 52 countries with an estimated total number of participants standing at over two million, the organizers of the global event said.

“If I had gotten 3,000 people to join me, I would have considered that a success,” founder and organizer Tami Canal said. Instead, she said two million responded to her message.

22:37 GMT: In order to take full control of the global food chain the world’s largest owner of patents on seeds Monsanto is lobbying, bribing, suing small farmers out of business and altering scientific research, geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl told RT.

22:02 GMT: Hundreds flooded the streets of Florida calling on the US government to stop lobbying for biotechnology giants.

Clerical Whispers: Jesuit’s Sister Criticizes Pope Francis in Court


Pope Francis was harshly criticized on last Thursday in an Argentine courtroom, where a woman said he didn’t help protect her brother from the country’s military dictatorship.

Graciela Yorio accused Jorge Mario Bergoglio of turning his back on her brother, the late Jesuit priest Orlando Virgilio Yorio, before and after he and another priest were taken by the junta’s agents and tortured in 1976.

Bergoglio has said he did what he could as a young Jesuit leader with no real power to protect Yorio and other slum priests from being kidnapped by the right-wing junta. He testified in 2010 that he worked behind the scenes to win the freedom of Yorio and the other Jesuit slum priest, Francisco Jalics.

Graciela Yorio disagreed.

“My brother was practically abandoned by the church,” said Yorio, who is one of more than 800 witnesses in a two-year trial of 67 defendants accused of human rights violations against 789 people who were detained at the junta’s feared Navy Mechanics School.

Bergoglio told his authorized biographers for the book “The Jesuit” that he did everything in his limited power as a Jesuit leader to appeal to junta and church officials to free the men.

He also testified in the lead-up to this trial that he tried to protect Yorio and Jalics, offering them shelter and protection at a time when any slum priest was in danger from right-wing death squads.

Yorio testified, however, that even before the March 1976 coup, her brother and Jalics were turned away by Bergoglio after being accused of being “subversive and extremists” for their work with the poor. She said they pleaded with Bergoglio to do something to stop “the rumors, because with these rumors their life was in danger.”

But Bergoglio told them he was under too much pressure from church officials, and urged them to find a bishop who might help. None would, she said.

Prosecutor Eduardo Taiano has described what happened to Yorio and Jalics next: After saying Mass on May 23, 1976, they were separated from their parishioners in the Bajo Flores slum, near where Bergoglio grew up in Argentina’s capital, and taken to the Navy Mechanics School’s torture center.

They were blindfolded, chained, gagged, prevented from going to the bathroom or allowed to drink or eat. Yorio was the victim of insults, death threats and electric shocks and was drugged and terrorized during constant interrogations, Taiano determined.

Graciela Yorio said she and her mother went to Bergoglio seeking help.

“We had three interviews, and he never told us anything. Yes, I do remember that he told us, ‘I made good reports.’ He also told me to ‘be very careful, because a sister of another person who didn’t have anything to do with this was detained,'” she testified.

Five months after being taken away, Yorio and Jalics reappeared, drugged and blindfolded, in a field north of Buenos Aires.

Bergoglio told his biographers and the court, in 2010, that the men were freed in part because he quietly and repeatedly intervened with junta leaders to plead for their release.

Yorio died in 2000. Jalics, who now lives in a German monastery, recently said he considers the whole episode to be closed.

But Graciela Yorio said both men felt abandoned by Bergoglio, and by the church hierarchy as a whole.

“My brother was abandoned, expelled, without a bishop, without the support of the Company of Jesus to protect him, and that’s why he was kidnapped. He was practically abandoned by the church,” she said.

via Clerical Whispers: Jesuit’s Sister Criticizes Pope Francis in Court.

via Clerical Whispers: Jesuit’s Sister Criticizes Pope Francis in Court.

Argentinian Pope gives the Isle of Wight to the Argentines


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In a move that is is sure to anger somebody, the new Pope, Pope Francis the something or other, has been approached by the Argentinian government who have requested that the Falkland islands are given to Argentina.

Sadly, Frank’s knowledge of geography is quite poor, and he has given Argentina the Isle of Wight instead.

“I would have thought,” said Newport councillor Franco Di Santo, “that all Argentinians would have known where the Falkland Islands were. Apparently not. This suggests that the vast majority of Argies have no idea that Argentina actually wants the Falklands, or even that the they tried to invade in the eighties.”

The residents of the Isle of Wight are not particularly bothered by the Pope’s gift to his country of birth.

“To be honest,” said Maxi Rodriguez, a resident of Ryde, “I’m not particularly bothered whether we’re governed by Buenos Aires or London. Neither really gets what’s going on with us on the Island.”

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the president of Argentina, is less than thrilled with the gift.

“There’s no oil in the English Sleeve,” she said. “What is the use of the gift? Not that we wanted the Malvinas because of oil, I must add rather too quickly. Nevertheless, I fail to see what we could do with the Wight Isle. What is a Garlic Festival? Why does Newport have more garden gnomes than any other place on earth? And why is nobody allowed on Ryde Pier? These are important questions we would need answering.”

David Cameron has announced that he will not be objecting to the gift of the island to the Argentinians.

“I had a really bad holiday in Cowes when I was seven,” said Cameron. “It remains to this day a bad memory for me. On a cost basis, it’s a bit of a money hole. We subsidise the chain link ferry, we subsidise the farmers there, despite there being no arable land at all on the island from what I can tell. It’s not so much the money, more the bad memory.”

Pope Frankie was reluctant to talk about it, but when pressed, he admitted that he didn’t realise that the British had islands so far from their mainland, and had been taking a week’s holiday in Greece during the Falklands war and missed it.

via The Spoof : Isle of Wight News – Argentinian Pope gives the island to the Argentines funny satire story.

via The Spoof : Isle of Wight News – Argentinian Pope gives the island to the Argentines funny satire story.

How the Catholic Church Lost Argentina


BUENOS AIRES — Hundreds of spectators stood through the chilly night in the city’s Plaza de Mayo, the iconic park in front of the Catholic cathedral and government palace, to watch a live Vatican transmission of the ascension of the Argentine pope, Francis. The mass finally began shortly after 5 a.m., to a roar of cheers and chanting in unison: ‘Argentina! Argentina!’

People wrapped themselves in the yellow and white Vatican flags being hawked alongside Francis buttons, calendars, key chains and posters.

While Francis circled St. Peter’s Square in the white pope-mobile, two students of the Catholic University, Federico Chaves and Jonathan Tiberio, both 26, swapped anecdotes about the former Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, an advisor at their campus, who set up a program at the university for students to teach English and computer classes as volunteers in some of the city’s poorest slums.

“We’re anticipating change at the Vatican because of what he did in Argentina. He worked with everyone, atheists, homosexuals….He’s shown a commitment to bring the church closer to the people, to assimilate it into life,” said Chaves, an economics student.

Tiberio pointed to the then-cardinal’s support for Argentina’s legalization in 2002 of civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, “showing an openness” that stood in stark contrast to the hardline position taken up by Argentina’s conservative Catholic majority.

Indeed, Francis represented a more liberal vein in Argentina’s church, appearing to respond to a leftward shift in Argentina in a bid to staunch the bleeding of his flock.

Argentina’s laws ensuring lesbian, gay and transgender people’s right to marriage — which it extends to non-resident foreigners — and adoption are among the most liberal in the world. Nearly three years since the passage of the law in July 2010, more than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples have tied the knot in Argentina, according to Esteban Paulón, president of the Argentina LGBT Federation.

Meanwhile, the church’s slow decline has continued. According to the Pew Forum, 76.8 percent of Argentina’s population is at least nominally Catholic, but only 33 percent of Catholics interviewed in Argentina in 2010 cited religion as very important in their lives, down from 40 percent in 2002, and only 19 percent said they regularly attended mass.

But it may be the church’s ambiguous stance during Argentina’s last dictatorship, which lasted from 1976 to 1983, that has done the most to damage the institution’s credibility.

Bergoglio, who was also the head of the church’s Argentine Jesuit order, has been harshly criticized for his role during this period, when as estimated 30,000 people were disappeared or killed. In continuing trials, members of the church have even been convicted for human rights crimes.

All this has devastated the church’s credibility, according to José Casanova, a sociologist of religion at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center. The Argentine church “compromised itself by playing a role much more tied to the powers that be,” Casanova said.

Unlike the nuns and priests in El Salvador, Chile, Brazil and the Dominican Republic who spoke out against dictatorship, often becoming victims to it, very few members of Argentina’s church denounced the dictatorship of Gen. Jorge Videla, currently serving multiple life sentences for human rights crimes. This near-absolute silence has been interpreted since as acquiescence, and even complicity.

Perhaps for this reason, Bergoglio’s efforts to present a more charismatic church fell flat.

Estela de Carlotto, the president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a human rights group formed in 1977 that focuses on identifying grandchildren born to mothers in captivity and appropriated by military families, has accused Bergoglio of being “part of the church that has obscured the country’s history.”

And for Argentina, that history is still unfolding.

A contingent of priests led by Eduardo de la Serna, a parish priest in San Francisco Solano and the coordinator of the Group of Priests in Option of Argentina’s Poor, has demanded that the church cease giving communion to incarcerated ex-dictator Jorge Videla and publish the records of the military’s Catholic confessors.

One Argentine priest is currently on trial on charges of working closely with torturers in a secret jail during the dictatorship, while another was recently accused of taking a newborn from his mother, one of the many baby thefts from female prisoners who were “disappeared.”

Church and military hierarchies blurred as a priest and Navy captain was accused of using biblical verses to soothe pilots conducting the so-called “death flights,” in which prisoners were drugged and dropped into the Río de la Plata and sea.

As the leader of Argentina’s Jesuits for part of that time, Francis has had to testify in court cases surrounding the dictatorship’s largest clandestine prison and torture center, the old Argentine Navy School of Mechanics, or ESMA, building, and in the case of the kidnapping of two priests in his order in 1976. The priests, whom Cardinal Bergoglio had dismissed from the order a week before their disappearance, were discovered five months later on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, drugged and partially nude.

The cardinal and his supporters have pushed back. His spokesman dismissed the charge that Bergoglio was involved with the priests’ arrest and detention as “old slander.” Bergoglio also testified in 2010 that he had met secretly with Videla and the head of the Navy, Emilio Massera, to ask for the priests’ release. The following year, prosecutors called him to the witness stand to testify on the military junta’s systematic kidnapping of children.

But even some Argentine priests admit that the church has lost credibility since the dirty war — which may explain why it has lost so many public debates on issues as diverse as abortion and the right to die.

“The faith of the people is in God, not in priests. Argentines consider themselves Catholic if they pray to the Virgin, baptize their children, celebrate feast days. Compliance with certain ecclesiastical norms? No. They’ll say, ‘what does it matter what the priest thinks?'” Father de la Serna told me.

And as much as the new pope has come to be known in recent days for his compassion and humility, the church Bergoglio led from 1998 to 2013 maintained its orthodox, conservative positions on the major social issues of the day, pitting him against President Kirchner, with whom he tangled bitterly over social issues. Amid a fierce same-sex marriage debate in 2010, Kirchner described the then-cardinal’s views, expressed in a private letter lambasting same-sex marriage legislation as “a destructive claim on God’s plan,” as “medieval and reminiscent of the Inquisition.”

The church has also alienated itself from women parishioners with its inflexible stance on reproduction. As archbishop, Bergoglio publicly opposed sex education, the free distribution of condoms, and a law passed in Buenos Aires last year permitting abortion in the case of rape. Mabel Bianco, head of the non-profit Foundation for Women’s Study and Research, says that some Catholic women are turning to Protestant churches with less vocal views or simply ignoring church doctrine on reproductive issues. “The fundamentalists tend to be the high society, with incomes that afford them private services, but the poor women, they are completely alone. If they are leaving the church it is because it is not meeting their needs,” she says.

Fellow bishops describe Bergoglio as always seeking dialogue and consensus, and church workers who have long known him say his private behavior and positions were different than the conservative face he showed the public. But even in public, he once washed the feet of HIV patients and spoke out against the “mafias” running human trafficking rings. He held a mass each year in the gritty, open-air plaza of the ill-reputed neighborhood of Constitución, where he once described the city’s levels of poverty as “scandalous.”

And poverty may be the issue Bergoglio really cares about. Father José Juan Cervantes, 42, the ebullient director of the archbishop’s social outreach program at the Mother of Immigrants church in La Boca section of Buenos Aires, says Bergoglio was much more focused on working with the poor and speaking about their plight than defending church orthodoxy: “He said what he had to say, but the challenge to him wasn’t about being confrontational; it was about working with the poor to build justice.”

via How the Catholic Church Lost Argentina – By Emily Schmall | Foreign Policy.

via How the Catholic Church Lost Argentina – By Emily Schmall | Foreign Policy.

Time to protect Utilities in Ireland fom the Friends of the IMF


IMF HARVEST

What deregulation means

In the “free” market in electricity, grabbing water systems was a sure bet: Governments had already paid for the pipes and the market is captive, customers undeserved and thirsty.  Thatcher’s England led the way with the first privatizations. In Britain, water bills shot up astronomically for consumers .

Once deregulation comes rest assured gas ,water and the cost of electric  services will rise in an ever upward spiral

Enron Purchase of the Buenos Aires water system in Argentina province.

Workers were fired en masse, allowing Enron to pocket their pay, in violation of the company’s solemn promises to invest. Without maintenance workers, water mains were left broken. Enron’s profitable neglect of the system left water contaminated.

“Maintaining our water infrastructure in public ownership is of major importance for future generations. It is essential that we ensure that this asset is maintained under democratic control and not allowed to fall into the hands of those who would wish to exploit this resource for private profit at the expense of the public interest,” said Jack O’Connor, president of Services industrial professonal and technical union (SIPTU).

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Michael Wall, said: “The alliance will focus on the role of staff in the new company and highlighting the consequences for the country if the process of privatisation of water services is continued.

“The unions will develop a joint policy and actions across the country as the efforts to reduce public ownership of water services is rolled out.”

The unions involved in the new alliance are SIPTU, UNITE and the TEEU.

and

What IMF loans mean

Take the case of Ecuador

While trying to pay down the mountain of IMF obligations, Ecuador foolishly “liberalized” its tiny financial market, cutting local banks loose from government controls and letting private debt and interest rates explode. Who pushed Ecuador into all of the nonsense why none other than the IMF so their corporate friends could benefit

Statement from SIPTU Ireland

Maintaining our water infrastructure in public ownership is of major importance for future generations. It is essential that we ensure that this asset is maintained under democratic control and not allowed to fall into the hands of those who would wish to exploit this resource for private profit at the expense of the public interest,” said Jack O’Connor, president of Services industrial professional and technical union (SIPTU).

Don’t turn the tap off and let the IMF benefit from Ireland’s utilities

download (4)

 

IMF image produced by Alec Foley

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