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Friday, 27 February 2015

Celiac disease in children nearly tripled in two decades as Roundup spraying increased over 300%


© Natural News

The missing link behind what causes gluten intolerance and celiac disease, and why prevalence of these two autoimmune conditions has risen dramatically over the past several decades seemingly without cause, may have more to do with how conventional wheat is grown in the U.S. today rather than what it contains naturally.

Like with the massive rise in autism spectrum disorders, the scientific community is trying to explain away the near-tripling of celiac cases over the past 20 years as being a result of improved detection and diagnosis techniques. Many people simply weren't aware that the condition existed back in the 1990s, some scientists claim, dismissing any other outside causes.

But the evidence increasingly points to the chemicals applied to modern wheat crops, primarily in the U.S., as a major driver behind this epidemic of supposed gluten allergies. Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, which contains glyphosate, is often applied to conventional wheat crops at the end of their life cycle, leaving behind residues of the chemical formula on the wheat consumed by millions.

This little-known process, which was recently brought to light by The Healthy Home Economist, allows farmers to harvest wheat early and produces a slightly higher yield. But the consequence is contaminated wheat, which ends up being made into breads, cakes, crackers and other consumer products.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data from 2012, the latest available, reveals that 61 percent of winter wheat, 97 percent of spring wheat, and 99 percent of durum wheat grown in the U.S. is treated with Roundup just prior to harvest. This is up from 47 percent of winter wheat, 91 percent of spring wheat and 88 percent of durum wheat treated in 1998.

According to one U.S. wheat farmer, the application of Roundup to wheat plants at over 30 percent kernel moisture results in the plants actually abosrobing Roundup and distributing it into wheat kernels. These kernels are later ground into wheat flour, which is then processed and turned into various wheat-containing foods consumed by millions of Americans.

"Consumers eating products made from wheat flour are undoubtedly consuming minute amounts of Roundup," said wheat farmer Keith Lewis, as quoted on the blog, about this completely unlicensed practice.

Increase in Roundup use on wheat crops directly associated with rise in intestinal infection deaths In a study published in the journal , Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researcher Stephanie Seneff and her colleague Anthony Samsel plotted available data on celiac diagnoses and glyphosate use on conventional wheat crops over the past 20-or-so years and concluded that both have risen correspondingly.

An approximately threefold increase in Celiac diagnoses between 1990 and 2010 directly corresponds with a roughly 16-fold increase in glyphosate use on wheat crops, as illustrated in the following graph:

Similarly, the number of deaths due to intestinal infection over the same period of time rose correspondingly with a matching increase in glyphosate use on wheat crops:


"Celiac disease is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria," explains the study.

"Characteristics of celiac disease point to impairment in many cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved with detoxifying environmental toxins, activating vitamin D3, catabolizing vitamin A, and maintaining bile acid production and sulfate supplies to the gut."

So much more is revealed in this important study clearly showing that wheat sprayed with Roundup, rather than gluten intolerance, is what the world is likely witnessing today with the rise in celiac cases. You can view the complete study on this here:



Eric Draitser: Why Leftists should defend Russia

thank you putin

© Uknown

As tensions between the US and Russia have increased in the last year, so too has the polarization of public opinion. While the western corporate media has reverted to its formerly antagonistic, Cold War era attitude toward Russia - predictably radicalizing much of western public opinion, infusing the discourse with a decidedly Russophobic bias - it has increasingly been left to those on the political margins to deconstruct the false narrative, expose the Empire's agenda, and defend the right of sovereign nations to act independent of western diktats.

And it is here, on the political margins, where many are willing to speak out against the US agenda in Ukraine and beyond, where the real fight for hearts and minds is taking place. The political mainstream will simply go along with the narratives presented to it by the Empire's compliant media, thus ensuring its continued impotence and irrelevance to policy. However, a loud chorus of critics, dissidents, and anti-imperialist voices is becoming increasingly impossible to ignore.

And while on the far right libertarians and paleoconservatives are engaged in their own internal conflict over support for Russia and President Putin, so too is there an internal, quasi-ideological confrontation taking place on the left.

Many self-proclaimed "leftists" have merely transposed their anti-Soviet politics into an anti-Russian ideological posture, which sees in Russia both an embrace of capitalism and a desire for imperial revanchism. In this way, such groups (numerous on what passes for the "organized Left") run interference for the political establishment, serving to dilute the potency of an anti-imperialist message through internecine conflict, demonization, and sectarianism. They proclaim that there is nothing about Russia worth defending for leftists. But is this true?

Here are a few reasons why those on the left who argue that Russia is "no better than the US" are either plainly ignorant, or they have ulterior motives:

1. Opposing US-NATO.

Any self-described "leftist" should immediately question their own position when they find themselves on the same side with Washington and NATO on questions of foreign policy, war and peace. Russia has consistently (and with increasing assertiveness in the last few years) opposed the Empire's agenda in various corners of the globe.

In Syria, Russia (with China following its lead) has become the leading global voice of resistance to the US-NATO-Israel-GCC agenda that has destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Exercising its veto power at the UN Security Council, Russia has prevented a US-led war on Syria at least twice, each time supplying important intelligence information that cast doubt on the US narrative that conveniently blamed Assad for every single atrocity in that foreign-backed war on his country.

In Ukraine, Russia has effectively ended the eastward march of NATO expansion, drawing its red line, and demonstrating to the world that the once subservient "non-Western" developing economies will not be made into mere supplicants subject to the whims of power brokers in Washington, London, and on Wall St. Moreover, Russia's rejection of the US-instigated coup in Ukraine, and its subsequent support for the rebels of Donetsk and Lugansk, has

2. BRICS, SCO, and "Multi-Polarity."

Russia is, along with China, the driving force behind the establishment, and continued development, of non-Western international forums such as the BRICS grouping, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, and a handful of others. These platforms for international cooperation have one important feature in common: they are not dominated by the United States.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, nearly every major international institution has, in one way or another, been dominated by the United States. From its political hegemony in the United Nations, to the levers of its economic dominance in the IMF, World Bank, and other international financial institutions, to its global military capabilities in the form of NATO and similar military architecture, the United States has acted as judge, jury, and executioner around the globe. In effect, this could best be described as US global hegemony. Put in slightly more traditional, though no less accurate, leftist terminology, this could rightly be called US imperialism.

And so, why would anyone who truly believes in the political, moral, and ethical bankruptcy of US imperialism not want to support those forces rising globally to challenge it? It is seemingly a "no-brainer" that those who believe US hegemony and imperialism to be one of the scourges of the planet should be promoting any forces providing a counterweight to it. Of course, this sort of anti-historical analysis is silly, if not dangerous. Considering the US global military footprint in nearly every country, its influence and power manifested in myriad ways all over the globe, its perpetual wars, etc., only a fool could make such a comparison with a straight face and then ask to be taken seriously.

3. Opposition to Shock Therapy and Disaster Capitalism.

A primary preoccupation of many on the Left has been to oppose the twin evils of IMF "shock therapy" and "disaster capitalism," both fundamental parts of what has come to be known as the "Washington Consensus." These phenomena include privatizing and selling for scrap the institutions of the state once it enters into political and/or economic collapse while, simultaneously, demanding "economic liberalization," which is merely coded language for austerity on the one hand, and plunder on the other. Such policies can really only be implemented in times of great crisis and near total collapse, either from political, economic, or even natural disasters. It has been done countless times, from Chile in 1973 to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, to Haiti still today.

However, the most infamous, and globally significant, example of this sort of shock therapy and disaster capitalism came in Russia in the 1990s. There, the institutions of the one-time superpower were stripped of their most valuable component parts and sold on world markets, primarily to US and European investors through the intermediaries of a parasitical class that has come to be known as the "Russian oligarchs." This formation of a new capitalist economic elite on the wreckage of a formerly socialist (the degree to which the Soviet Union was truly 'socialist' is not going to be debated here) state is the quintessential template for how disaster capitalism works. Those on the left who seemingly opposed these policies in Latin America and elsewhere somehow conveniently forget the tough road that Russia has had to travel to claw its way back to global relevance.

Or their argument goes that one set of oligarchs was simply replaced by another set dominated by President Putin. Naturally, they conveniently leave out the part about re-nationalization of certain vital industries, restarting Russian economic production, raising standards of living from the deplorable state of the early 90s, improved infrastructure, medical services, and so on. All these things, you know, the material conditions of life for millions of people, somehow become irrelevant when set against a seemingly moribund orthodoxy.

4. WWII, The Holocaust, and Defending Historical Memory.

Since the end of the Soviet Union, many right wing, reactionary, and often fascist, tendencies have emerged throughout the former Soviet bloc. These movements, far from preaching "conservative values" in any way recognizable in the West, rather root their politics in a vehement hatred of the Soviet Union/Russia and communism in general. Their hatred however is not manifested in some search for historical truth, but rather in an insidious attempt to rewrite history, casting themselves and their fascist antecedents as "patriots struggling against Bolshevism."

This whitewashing of history is being vigorously promoted by the US and many of its European toadies who, for political reasons, want the historical narrative to be written in such a way as to make an equivalence between the Soviets/communism and the Nazis/fascism. It does not take exceptional perceptive powers to see the agenda behind this. In making such an equivalence, the US is then able to present itself as the great hero of the 20th Century, having defeated the "twin evils" of fascism and communism. Of course, such historical fiction is what passes for truth these days in the West.

Perhaps this agenda, long understood by many on the Left, though increasingly forgotten by the 21st Century 'Left', goes a long way to e where, just as more than 70 years ago, fascists are mobilized to counter the Soviets/Russians. Of course, it should be remembered that the Ukrainian Nazis, followers of the degenerate collaborator Bandera, care not that Russia is not communist, as for them it is the "Moskals" (pejorative term for Russians) that must be "cleansed from the nation." It is this blind hatred of Russia that makes them the darling of the US, which is the primary reason why they are described as "nationalists" and not rightly as Nazis.

The Holocaust is also critical to this story. As the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army was just celebrated, perhaps it is worthwhile to examine just how much history has been erased. It was, after all, the multi-national Soviets (Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Kazakhs, etc.) who liberated most of the concentration camps, including the infamous Auschwitz, only to find that 70 years later, Russia is not invited to commemorate the event. In the Baltic states, as in Ukraine, you hear talk of monuments commemorating the "heroes" who "fought communism." But who are these heroes? And when did they "fight communism"? That part is conveniently left out of the story, lest the veil of historical amnesia be lifted to reveal that these are monuments to Nazi collaborators and other fascists.

So, these are monuments to perpetrators and participants in one of the worst genocides in history, one that attempted to cleanse Jews, Romani "Gypsies", homosexuals, the mentally handicapped, and other "undesirables" from the face of the earth. In cities like Lviv, the very existence of the Holocaust is denied, let alone the city's heinous role in it. There was no rounding up of Jews in the streets. There was no cheering for the Nazi invaders. There was no collaboration. Or so they would like us to believe. And the US and Europe allow this narrative to fester, like an infection spreading through the body politic of Europe.

Only Russia is countering this historical erasure, reminding everyone that their "Great Patriotic War" was the salvation of Europe, the salvation for millions of Jews, the salvation of freedom. This clashes with the Russophobia, creating a sort of cognitive dissonance that has become all too pervasive in recent years.

5. Political Support for Victims of US Imperialism.

There is an undeniable trend manifesting itself in recent years, namely that countries under assault by the Empire now have a friend, if only for political expediency, in Russia. As Moscow has become more assertive in its foreign policy, it has consistently begun placing itself as the defender of nations being attacked. So, Russia has been the lone power (with China following Russia's lead) blocking US aggression against Syria. Russia has extended a friendly hand to DPRK (North Korea). Russia has maintained comradely relations with Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. Russia had continued expanding its political, economic, and military cooperation with Iran. These are not insignificant developments as they represent a growing awareness both in Moscow and around the world that Russia is willing to act as a counterweight to US geopolitical ambitions and hegemony.

Of course, Russia has self-interested reasons for doing this, as all states do in their political decisions.

The importance of this assertiveness in defending such states is perhaps most clearly illustrated by the negative example: Libya. In 2011 Russia, under then President Medvedev, chose not to veto UNSC Resolution 1973 which authorized a "No Fly Zone" in Libya which, to no one's surprise, was immediately transformed into a de facto authorization for war. Russia's refusal to veto the measure - a decision Medvedev has since admitted was regrettable - is a principal reason why the US-NATO were able to carry out their vicious war against Libya, topple Gaddafi, throw that country into chaos, and destabilize the whole region. What if Russia would have vetoed and there would have been no resolution? Would the Libyan state still exist, rather than being the chaotic failed state it is today? Would all those lethal weapons have fallen into the hands of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram, and other terror groups? Would North Africa be as dangerous as it is today? The answers are painfully self-evident.

Russia is vital to maintaining stability and some semblance of imperial restraint on the West. Its steadily stronger responses to the US and Europe demonstrate that perhaps, finally, the Russian political elite are beginning to realize this. Perhaps they have finally understood that rather than constantly waxing poetic about their "Western partners" and looking for any way to further integrate themselves into a Western-dominated system, they must strike out on their own, blaze their own trail, and show some backbone in the face of the ever-present US boot on the neck.

If it is true that Russia's political elite have finally recognized their own global importance, the world will benefit. Hopefully, some on the so-called Left will also come to this realization. If not, then they should cease to call themselves anti-imperialists, and instead admit what they really are...the left flank of the Empire.

It's really Ukraine that's sending young men to die on the front lines


© Oriental Review Org

The Western media's latest tall tale is that Russia is supposedly tricking its greenest conscripts into 'invading Ukraine' under the auspices that they're being sent to Rostov instead, and threatening them with detention in a military prison if they refuse.

They got the idea right - young recruits being forced into a war they don't want to fight - but they mixed up the actors and the battlefield; it's actually Ukraine that's forcing its young men to fight in Donbass, not Russia forcing its own to fight in Ukraine.

One doesn't have to take the author's words for it, though, since the Western media has surprisingly published several accounts that corroborate this truth, and they're definitely worth looking into.

The Dangerous Inexperience Of Youth

Ukraine's recruits are dramatically unprepared for war, and actually pose a greater threat to themselves than any 'pro-Russian separatist' does. Take a look at what the UK's published over the weekend:

"An elite soldier who resigned from the British MobArmy to train Ukrainian forces fighting Russian-backed separatists has revealed the true extent of disarray in Kiev's military.

He said the string of bloody defeats for Ukraine, including last week's fall of Debaltseve, was due largely to a failure of command and a lack of skills and discipline.

The 40-year-old, a naturalised Briton of Ukrainian descent, who served in Afghanistan and the Middle East, said Ukraine's forces, made up largely of volunteers and conscripts, suffer great casualties because of frequent incidents of friendly fire and the mishandling of weapons.

"Six out of 10 casualties among the Ukrainian volunteers occur because of blue-on-blue shooting [the army term for friendly fire] and the inability to handle weapons," said the man, who would give only his Saffron."

It's not adults that volunteer for armed service who accidentally shoot themselves or their friends with firearms; it's immature and inexperienced young men who are forced into battle that make such 'mistakes'. For all that is known, it may even be that some of the recruits were purposely inflicting non-fatal injuries on themselves or their friends in order to be dismissed from the front lines and hopefully escape the meat grinder that Poroshenko had forced them into.

Like Sheep To The Slaughter

Kiev's forces weren't just defeated by the Eastern Ukrainian militias, they were totally slaughtered, but Poroshenko continues to publicly play dumb about what really happened in Debaltsevo. His troops, on the other hand, aren't holding their tongue, and they're enraged at what they view as the President's personal betrayal of their interests. From the UK

""We conveyed him our thanks," "Sanya", a private from the brigade, told The Independent. "We thanked him for his siege denials, we thanked him for equipping us so well, we thanked him for the ceasefire, and we thanked him for sending us out like meat to a grinder."

Soldiers seemed especially vexed at official military statements that only 13 soldiers had been killed and 157 wounded during the retreat. The number of dead was "clearly in the hundreds," they said."


© Oriental Review Org

"Sanya's" account of mass casualties is also supported by Yury Tandit, the chairman of Ukraine's "Prisoner Exchange Assist Center", which operates under the supervision of the Security Service of Ukraine. He said that there are 1,500 Kievan forces missing in action, and realistically speaking, it's not likely that they've been sitting in a tavern eating salo this whole time. It's more probable that many of them were killed, and that only a scant number of those listed are still alive (let alone uninjured).

All of the abovementioned details confirm what many in the non-Western world were already aware of, and it's that Kiev's forces were totally crushed during the recent fighting in Donbass. One can't help but think that these hundreds of young men would have been of better service to their country by helping to rebuild its economy, instead of being forced to destroy Donbass and lose their lives in the process.

Run While You Still Can

It's not just non-Western outsiders that realize the futility of Kiev's War on Donbass, but also thousands of Ukrainian young men themselves who are cognizant of the imminent catastrophe awaiting them when they're called up for the draft. As Dmitry Babich quite accurately comments, "Russia


© Oriental Review Org

Ukrainian youth is trying to avoid mobilisation by any possible means.

invented the most humane method of warfare: inviting the enemy's male population of the draft age to "wait out" mobilization on the territory of the "hated aggressor."

This witty observation was made in reference toPutin's suggestion that the law be changed in order to accommodate the thousands of young Ukrainians who fled to Russia to avoid the draft. That being said, magazine reports that thousands of others are simply vanishing off the grid in order to dodge their 'duty', be it by going to the West or hiding out undercover in a nearby province.

And it's not just those who are 'unpatriotic' that are fleeing the country, but also some of the original participants in EuroMaidan, as documented by magazine. In their piece on the topic, they recount how many of the young pro-Western liberals most fervently in support of regime change last year have now become totally disillusioned with the current reality in the country and are leaving for good to Western Europe.

The publication quotes a graduate researcher writing a dissertation on the Maidan youth, who notes that:

"The Maidan allowed a lot of people to see an idealistic version of change, but they also saw what implementation of that change would actually mean. They understood that implementation was going to prevent actual radical change, because it's too hard to implement things that would actually make things different in Ukraine."

In light of what appears to be an increasingly collective understanding of Ukraine's failure as a state, thousands of young recruits and 'intellectuals' alike are expected to continue fleeing their former country, which they no longer recognize ever since the pro-Western coup seized power over a year ago. They're running while they still can, since they know fully well that if the government catches them before they escape the draft, they'll either be imprisoned or sent to a front-line meat grinder, neither of which looks attractive to a young man with future plans.

Concluding Thoughts

The sad reality of the Ukrainian Civil War is how inaccurately the Western mainstream media reports on the situation. On the one hand, much of what they say is actually true, except they substitute "Ukraine" for "Russia" and pass off every tragedy as Moscow's fault. This is the way it's been since they first started covering the carnage in Eastern Ukraine, and it's had the effect of warping their audience's perception of what truly is transpiring there. It's not Moscow that's destroying Donbass, it's Kiev, just like it isn't Russia that's forcing its young men to fight and die in that war, but Ukraine. If there's one primary lesson that readers can thus learn from observing Western reporting on Ukraine's Civil War, it's that everything bad that Russia is accused of doing is actually what Ukraine has done, and that by simply reversing the two names, they'll see that the truth behind the Donbass tragedy was right in front of them the entire time.

Persistent insomnia linked with increased inflammation and mortality


© Getty

Researchers have identified an association between persistent insomnia and increased inflammation and mortality.

Scientists from the University of Arizona found that people who suffer from persistent insomnia are at greater risk of death than those who experience intermittent insomnia.

Their study has been published in .

Experts say that although about 20 percent of U.S. adults are affected by insomnia, only half (10 percent) suffer from persistent (or chronic) insomnia.

"We hypothesized that insomnia that was persistent over eight years, rather than intermittent insomnia, was associated with death independent of the effects of sedatives, opportunity for sleep (to distinguish it from sleep deprivation), and other confounding factors in a representative sample of the general adult community," explained lead investigator Sairam Parthasarathy, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson.

"An enhanced understanding of the association between persistence of insomnia and death would inform treatment of the 'at-risk' population."

Researchers found that after adjusting for various factors such as age, sex, body weight, smoking, hypnotics, and physical activity — subjects with persistent insomnia were 58 percent more likely to die during the study than subjects with no insomnia.

The findings held for mortality that was cardiovascular — rather than cancer-related. The study also determined that serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an independent risk factor for mortality, was higher in subjects with persistent insomnia.

Intermittent insomnia also appeared to be associated with mortality although statistical adjustments for factors such as body mass index, smoking status, and regular physical activity, showed that excess risk was not present.

In the research, investigators assessed the persistence of insomnia complaints in 1409 adult participants from the Tucson Epidemiological Study of Airway Obstructive Disease (TESAOD).

The study commenced in 1972 with multiple follow-up surveys to 1996 and continuous mortality follow-up data to 2011 for a total of 38 years. Blood was collected and serum samples cryopreserved at baseline in 1972 and subsequently at multiple time points.

Questions about sleep and related habits were inserted in the two surveys completed between 1984 and 1985 and between 1990 and 1992.

The persistence of insomnia was assessed based upon whether insomnia was present in both the 1984-1985 and 1990-1992 surveys (persistent insomnia), in either but not both (intermittent insomnia), or in neither of the two surveys (never insomnia).

The level of C-reactive protein (CRP), which can be measured in your blood, increases when there's inflammation in your body. Many believe increased levels of inflammation (an increased CRP) is associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease, stroke or heart attack.

In the study, researchers found that serum CRP levels increased significantly only in the persistent-insomnia group.

In those subjects where CRP data was available, persistent insomnia was associated with a 58 percent increased mortality risk (after adjustments for confounding factors).

CRP levels are themselves associated with increased mortality, but even after adjusting for that factor, the mortality risk remained at 36 percent for subjects with persistent insomnia.

SOTT Exclusive: Natural Pet Health: How dry food is killing your pets

Hello, and welcome to the second article in our new series on natural pet health (as featured on SOTT Radio Network's Health and Wellness Show). Previous articles in this series:

SOTT Exclusive: Natural Pet Health: Top 10 issues facing pet owners when it comes to your pets' well-being

In this article we are going to talk about nutrition, or how to feed your dog or cat (or both) in a way that will contribute to their healthy and long life. But before we go into the proper way of feeding your pets, let's talk about dry food first, and why it's the worst food you could give to them.

What is dry food?

It's a highly processed mix, dried and ground to powder, that is comprised of various animal meats from cattle, swine and chicken, or restaurant waste and out-of-date supermarket meat, and yes, even so-called road kill or cows that died on the farm but never reached the slaughter house. It also includes -meat parts, such as intestines, lungs, spleens, unborn fetuses, diseased or parasitized livers, cut-away tumors, and other parts unsuitable for human consumption.

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Yep, that's right. When studying for my viral and bacterial diseases exam, I read right there in the textbook that, according to regulations, meat that isn't allowed for human or even animal consumption can still be used to create dry food for dogs and cats.

Some manufactures try to cut costs, and instead of meat they add ingredients like corn, gluten meal, soybean meal and plant protein concentrates to get the protein up to acceptable levels.Other ingredients include carbohydrates, or starch, a vitamin-mineral premix, and water.

All of this is mixed together and processed for hours at high temperatures. The problem is that proteins tend to denature at these temperatures: their shapes get distorted. And these abnormal proteins may be a factor in the development of food allergies, as the immune system reacts to these unnatural shapes.

What about carbohydrates?

Dogs and cats are carnivores. Dogs are considered to be 'facultative' or carnivores, while cats are carnivores, meaning both of them are meat-eaters. Their natural diet is high in protein and moisture. Carbs constitute 1 to 9% at most. The carnivore's ideal diet is essentially the paleo diet: lots of protein and fat, and a small amount of complex carbohydrates from vegetables.

And the average dry food contains 35-50 percent carbohydrate calories. Some of the cheaper dry foods contain even higher levels.

So basically, dry food, no matter how expensive, can't be considered optimal feed for both dogs and cats. And while dogs, as optional carnivores, have certain biochemical pathways that are designed to deal with carbs, cats are simply not built to process carbohydrates. Cats preferentially use protein and fat for energy, and these pathways are . Felines have very limited ability to process carbohydrates, and are "programmed" to turn carbs directly into fat.

They also lack specific enzymatic pathways that are present in other mammals. For example, they lack a salivary enzyme called amylase, which catalyzes the transformation of starch into sugars.Dogs also don't produce amylase in the salivary glands (but we do). Both cats and dogs produce amylase in the pancreas.

And so, since both cats and dogs have no real dietary need for carbohydrates, diets high in carbohydrates can be detrimental to their health. This is made worse by the fact that corn, one of the main ingredients of dry food, has a high glycemic index value, and other grains, which are also used in dry foods, contain gluten.

It doesn't matter if a pet has gluten-intolerance or not. Because of the specific physiology of carnivore mammals, any grains -- wheat, barley, soy, corn, etc. -- act as an allergen. And yes, dairy products trigger allergic reaction too. The well-known notion that cats need milk is the biggest myth there is. The same with fish, but that's another story.

Coming back to grains, wheat and soy are the worst, while oats and rice are less harmful. Therefore, people in East European countries who can't afford to feed their pets with meat only, make oats porridges and mix them with cheap meat cuts. While not ideal, it's still better than dry food, even if it's an expensive, gluten-free or corn-free dry food. The simple fact is, animals require their food to be moist; otherwise it gets stuck in the digestive tract, leads to the formation of urine crystals and other problems.

Perpetual inflammation and damage

As it turns out, dry food originally contained only corn, but then, after many complaints, manufacturers replaced it with wheat. But, again, some veterinarians noticed that pets' health experienced even further decline, not to mention the fact that one of the leading cat diseases nowadays has to do with kidney problems, specifically renal insufficiency. Now why do you think this is?

The answer is right before us: you don't add the number one dog and cat food allergen to their diet without some major repercussions.

Apparently the veterinary profession is just as shortsighted as the medical profession, because 60-70% of the modern diet is comprised of cow milk products and wheat. There is a price to pay for this sort of ignorance and it is heavier than most realize.

The main cost is the disruption of proper digestive tract function. Once the essential nutrients have been malabsorbed for a long enough time, there is no way back. It depends on an individual pet's immune system and resilience if they will become sick in the childhood, adolescence or adulthood.But the bottom line is, when a pet consumes dry food, it is a matter of they will develop problems, not if. Gluten will eventually affect every pet with its nutrient-blocking qualities.

Here is an example of how exactly the damage occurs. Take conditions such as hip dysplasia, elbow and shoulder problems, intervertebral disc syndrome, cruciate ligament ruptures, and even heart valve failure. All of these problems are caused by failing cartilage and connective tissue, both of which are structured similarly and made up of calcium and collagen. Collagen is the building block of most of your skeletal support structures. A principle component of collagen production is vitamin C. Therefore, when it is understood that calcium is absorbed primarily by the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) while vitamin C and other vital vitamins and minerals are absorbed both by the duodenum and the rest of the small intestine, then it is easy to see that inadequate amounts of these in the diet or failure of their absorption will compromise the integrity of all of these structures.

There are also other problems that are usually associated with dry food consumption, like diabetes, kidney disease, urethral blockage, urinary tract infection, development of crystals, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, fatty liver disease, dental health, asthma and general poor health, including weak immune system.

Go raw

OK, so now you understand that you shouldn't feed your pet with dry food. But you are probably asking yourself what to do instead. And surely canned food is better than dry, but still, the quality of the meat is rather questionable, and there are cats and dogs that still develop various problems, including neurological ones. So it appears that a raw meat diet is the most optimal.

There are many sites and videos that provide detailed explanations and instructions about feeding your pets with raw meat. There are numerous techniques and ingredients. Unfortunately, expanding on all of those techniques isn't in the scope of this article, and I also urge you to do your own homework, read articles and watch videos. Each pet is unique, and so each situation. You need to find the best one for you.

In any case, here are several of the most interesting and informative links and videos on the topic. You can start with them.

Raw meat diet for cats and dogs: Links and videos

Proper diet for kitties.

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A disclaimer: The content of the Natural Pet Health segment and all related articles are not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment, but are the result of my personal interest and research. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet's condition.

Seriously? Monsanto's VP tweets 'Why do people doubt science?'


© Deesillustration

On Twitter recently, someone asked the question "Why do people doubt science?" Accompanying the tweet was a link to an article in National Geographic that implied people who are suspicious of vaccines, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), climate change, fluoridated water and various other phenomena are confused, adhere to conspiracy theories, are motivated by ideology or are misinformed as a result of access to the 'University of Google.' The remedy, according what is said in the article, is for us all to rely on scientific evidence pertaining to these issues and adopt a 'scientific method' of thought and analysis and put irrational thought processes to one side.

Who tweeted the question and posted the link? None other than Robert T Fraley, Monsanto's Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

Before addressing that question, it is worth mentioning that science is not the giver of 'absolute truth'. That in itself should allow us to develop a healthy skepticism towards the discipline. The 'truth' is a tricky thing to pin down. Scientific knowledge is built on shaky stilts that rest on shifting foundations. Science historian Thomas Kuhn wrote about the revolutionary paradigm shifts in scientific thought, whereby established theoretical perspectives can play the role of secular theology and serve as a barrier to the advancement of knowledge, until the weight of evidence and pressure from proponents of a new theoretical paradigm is overwhelming. Then, at least according to Kuhn, the old faith gives way and a new 'truth' changes.

Philosopher Paul Feyerabend argued that science is not an 'exact science'. The manufacture of scientific knowledge involves a process driven by various sociological, methodological and epistemological conflicts and compromises, both inside the laboratory and beyond. Writers in the field of the sociology of science have written much on this.

But the answer to the question "Why do people doubt science" is not because they have read Kuhn, Feyerabend or some sociology journal. Neither is it because a bunch of 'irrational' activists have scared them witless about GM crops or some other issue. It is because they can see how science is used, corrupted and manipulated by powerful corporations to serve their own ends. It is because they regard these large corporations as largely unaccountable and their activities and products not properly regulated by governments.

That's why so many doubt science - or more precisely the science corporations fund and promote to support their interests.

US sociologist Robert Merton highlighted the underlying norms of science as involving research that is not warped by vested interests, adheres to the common ownership of scientific discoveries (intellectual property) to promote collective collaboration and subjects findings to organised, rigorous critical scrutiny within the scientific community. The concept of originality was added by later writers in order to fully encapsulate the ethos of science: scientific claims must contribute something new to existing discourse. Based on this brief analysis, secrecy, dogma and vested interest have no place.

This is of course a highly idealised version of what science is or should be because in reality careers, reputations, commercial interests and funding issues all serve to undermine these norms.

But if we really want to look at the role of secrecy, dogma and vested interest in full flow, we could take a look at in the sector to which Robert T Fraley belongs.

Last year, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called for "sound science" to underpin food trade between the US and the EU. However, he seems very selective in applying "sound science" to certain issues. Consumer rights groups in the US are pushing for the labelling of GMO foods, but Vilsack said that putting a label on a foodstuff containing a GM product "risks sending a wrong impression that this was a safety issue."

Despite what Vilsack would have us believe, many scientific studies show that GMOs are indeed a big safety issue and what's more are also having grave environmental, social and economic consequences (for example, see this and this).

By not wanting to respond to widespread consumer demands to know what they are eating and risk "sending a wrong impression," Vislack is trying to prevent proper debate about issues that his corporate backers would find unpalatable: profits would collapse if consumers had the choice to reject the GMOs being fed to them. And 'corporate backers' must not be taken as a throwaway term here. Big agritech concerns have captured or at the very least seriously compromised key policy and regulatory bodies in the US (see this), Europe (see this), India (see this) and in fact on a global level (see here regarding control of the WTO).

If Robert T Fraley wants to understand why people doubt science, he should consider what Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy at Sussex University, says:

"The main reason some multinationals prefer GM technologies over the many alternatives is that GM offers more lucrative ways to control intellectual property and global supply chains. To sideline open discussion of these issues, related interests are now trying to deny the many uncertainties and suppress scientific diversity. This undermines democratic debate - and science itself." (see here)

Coming from the GMO biotech industry, or its political mouthpieces, the term "sound science" rings extremely hollow. The industry carries out inadequate, short-term studies and conceals the data produced by its research under the guise of 'commercial confidentiality' (see this), while independent research highlights the very serious dangers of its products [see this and this). It has in the past also engaged in fakery in India (see this), bribery in Indonesia (see this ) and smears and intimidation against those who challenge its interests [see this), as well as the distortion and the censorship of science (see this and this).

With its aim to modify organisms to create patents that will secure ever greater control over seeds, markets and the food supply, the widely held suspicion is that the GMO agritech sector is only concerned with a certain type of science: that which supports these aims. Because if science is held in such high regard by these corporations, why isn't Monsanto proud of its products? Why in the US doesn't it label foods containing GMOs and throw open its science to public scrutiny, instead of veiling it with secrecy, restricting independent research on its products or resorting to unsavoury tactics?

If science is held in such high regard by the GMO agritech sector, why in the US did policy makers release GM food onto the commercial market without proper long-term tests? The argument used to justify this is GM food is 'substantially equivalent' to ordinary food. But this is not based on scientific reason. Foreign genes are being inserted into organisms that studies show make them substantially non-equivalent (see this). Substantial equivalence is a trade strategy on behalf of the GM sector that neatly serves to remove its GMOs from the type of scrutiny usually applied to potentially toxic or harmful substances. The attempt to replace processed-based regulation of GMOs in Europe with product-based regulation would result in serving a similar purpose (see this).

The reason why no labelling or testing has taken place in the US is not due to 'sound science' having been applied but comes down to the power and political influence of the GMO biotech sector and because a sound scientific approach has not been applied.

The sector cannot win the scientific debate (although its PR likes to tell the world it has) so it resorts to co-opting key public bodies or individuals to propagate various falsehoods and deceptions (see this). Part of the deception is based on emotional blackmail: the world needs GMOs to feed the hungry, both now and in the future. This myth has been blown apart (see this, this and this). In fact, in the second of those three links, the organisation GRAIN highlights that GM crops that have been planted thus far have actually contributed to food insecurity.

This is a harsh truth that the industry does not like to face.

People's faith in science is being shaken on many levels, not least because big corporations have secured access to policy makers and governments and are increasingly funding research and setting research agendas.

"As Andrew Neighbour, former administrator at Washington University in St. Louis, who managed the university's multiyear and multimillion dollar relationship with Monsanto, admits, "There's no question that industry money comes with strings. It limits what you can do, when you can do it, who it has to be approved by"... This raises the question: if Agribusiness giant Monsanto [in India] is funding the research, will Indian agricultural researchers pursue such lines of scientific inquiry as "How will this new rice or wheat variety impact the Indian farmer, or health of Indian public?" The reality is, Monsanto is funding the research not for the benefit of either Indian farmer or public, but for its profit. It is paying researchers to ask questions that it is most interested in having answered." - 'Monsanto, a Contemporary East India Company, and Corporate Knowledge in India'.

Ultimately, it is not science itself that people have doubts about but science that is pressed into the service of immensely powerful private corporations and regulatory bodies that are effectively co-opted and adopt a 'don't look, don't find approach' to studies and products (see this, this and this).

Or in the case of releasing GMOs onto the commercial market in the US, bypassing proper scientific procedures and engaging in doublespeak about 'substantial equivalence' then hypocritically calling for 'sound science' to inform debates.

The same corporate interests are moreover undermining the peer-review process itself and the ability of certain scientists to get published in journals - the benchmark of scientific credibility. In effect, powerful interests increasingly hold sway over funding, career progression as a scientist, journals and peer review (see this and this, which question the reliability of peer review in the area of GMOs).

Going back to the start of the piece, the question that should have been tweeted is: "Why do people doubt corporate-controlled or influenced science?" After that question, it would have been more revealing to have posted a link to this article here about the unscrupulous history of a certain company from St Louis. That history provides very good reason why so many doubt and challenge powerful corporations and the type of science they fund and promote (or attempt to suppress) and the type of world they seek to create (see this).

"Corporations as the dominant institution shaped by capitalist patriarchy thrive on eco-apartheid. They thrive on the Cartesian legacy of dualism which puts nature against humans. It defines nature as female and passively subjugated. Corporatocentrism is thus also androcentric - a patriarchal construction. The false universalism of man as conqueror and owner of the Earth has led to the technological hubris of geo-engineering, genetic engineering, and nuclear energy. It has led to the ethical outrage of owning life forms through patents, water through privatization, the air through carbon trading. It is leading to appropriation of the biodiversity that serves the poor." - Vandana Shiva

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New research suggests that hippocampus has a role in processing unconscious memory

memory centers brain

A new study by a UT Dallas researcher challenges a long-accepted scientific theory about the role the hippocampus plays in our unconscious memory.

For decades, scientists have theorized that this part of the brain is not involved in processing unconscious memory, the type that allows us to do things like button a shirt without having to think about it.

But research by Dr. Richard Addante, a senior lecturer in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, raises doubts about that.

"These intriguing new findings raise important questions regarding the organization of memory systems, and will doubtlessly receive a great deal of attention from other investigators," said Dr. Bert Moore, dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and Aage and Margareta M&ostroke;ller Distinguished Professor. "Dr. Addante's careful, thoughtful work provides exciting insights into the brain bases of memory."

Addante used electroencephalography (EEG) to test brain wave patterns while giving memory tests to amnesia patients with damaged hippocampuses. He then compared those results with control subjects as part of the study, which was published recently in the journal .

Much of the knowledge about the hippocampus and how our brains organize memory comes from research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on an amnesia patient known in textbooks as "Patient H.M." (revealed only recently as Henry Molaison, upon his death in 2008).

Molaison's hippocampus and other tissue were removed in 1957 to treat intractable epilepsy. The surgery was effective in reducing the seizures, but researchers were surprised to find that Molasion could no longer form new long-term memories, though he could recall his past before the surgery and could also exhibit preserved unconscious memory abilities.

Given the research on Molaison, Addante expected the amnesia patients to perform well on the unconscious memory tests when he began his study. If the hippocampus is not needed for unconscious memory, they should perform just as well as the control subjects, he believed.

But the amnesia patients' EEGs showed much different results than the others, forcing Addante to change his hypothesis.

Challenging an established scientific theory -- widely published in major neuroscience textbooks -- was a long shot, he said. Addante wrestled with whether the huge undertaking was worth the investment.

"I didn't know if the research would ever see the light of day," said Addante, who was a graduate researcher at The University of California, Davis when he tested the patients. "But I was committed to solving a puzzle and have never quit anything thus far in life."

Now that the work is published, Addante hopes the research will lead to more studies in this area. He said there's a need for more research using EEG to study unconscious memory.

"If nothing else, prove it wrong," Addante said. "If that happens, that's awesome, too, because that's science and progress."

New Yorkers struggling to deal with a winter that is as cold as it's ever experienced

© Sam Hodgson for

A seagull walking along a pier next to a frozen portion of the East River this week.

It will end. Allegedly.

It will get warmer. One day. Someday.

Won't it?

We have reached the 69th day of winter. It seems like the 6,669th. Pretty much the same nonsense is reprised day after day. Miserable, punishing, obnoxious, teeth-rattling, bone-numbing weather. Unmitigated, merciless, are-you-kidding-me cold.

New Yorkers cannot recall the last time they walked with their eyes trained forward, rather than watching for ice patches waiting to send them flying, which leaves them vulnerable to ice sliding off buildings from above. And in the evenings the snowplows screech past, drowning out the television in the middle of a Letterman cold joke.

Throughout the parks, on the edges of sidewalks, ice just sits with defiant, assertive permanency. It will not melt, just keeps getting icier and more discolored. The whole city feels like a giant ice cube. People lean into the wind, pull hard to get doors open, to get out of this weather already, as the whistling wind pushes back.

As it limps away, February will not be missed. With the average temperature for the month lingering around 24 degrees, some 11 degrees shy of normal by the National Weather Service's calculation, this insult of a month looks as though it will clock in as the coldest recorded February in New York City since 1934. That is 81 years of weather. That is all the way back to the Depression, when there were so many more dire things to worry about than whether 7-Eleven had salt or whose turn it was to walk the dog.

That year, February averaged 19.9 degrees and included the lowest daily reading ever registered for New York: On Feb. 9 the mercury sank to a ridiculous 15 degrees below zero.

"It was like the most sick month you can think of," said Jay Engle, a meteorologist with the Weather Service who was well aware that this February had been particularly ill. Aside from 1934, he said the only other chillier February on record than the present one was in 1885, when the temperature averaged 22.7 degrees and when people did not yet have hand warmers.

Sure, the entire East Coast has been beaten up. Sure, Boston was slammed. But it's still give-me-a-break cold in New York.

Shawn Nicholls, 34, who works in book publishing in the financial district, spoke for much of the populace when he declared understatedly, "I'm getting tired of it."

The numbing weather has extinguished his night life. A resident of Kensington, Brooklyn, Mr. Nicholls customarily is found in restaurants on weekends. "But this winter I'm giving the delivery guys a workout," he said.

It has been so cold that it is cold in places where it is not usually cold. Like subway platforms. It has been so cold people feel as if they are under house arrest on their days off. It has been so cold that you need so much time to pile on the layers of clothing and then time to remove the layers when you get there that you need to factor in extra hours for all the body enclosure work. It has been so cold that children want to be home-schooled.

It is warmer in a meat locker.

Every day, another war against hat hair, the pathetically flattened nest that makes you look really weird when you give your PowerPoint presentation before the boss.

There is positive news. It appears that alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations have been abolished. And, of course, some people actually relish the cold. It pumps them up. Makes them feel alive.

The North Pole still has room for them.

So, while huddled cross-legged before the space heater, everyone has a story to tell, something dusted with snow or icicles or sinful cold.

The woman in Midtown Manhattan who was wearing four hats, topped by a sombrero, presumably willing to accept an onset of hat hair.

The toddler walking mitten in mitten with her mother, inquiring, "Mommy, why isn't the heat working outside?"

The couple on their way to a restaurant for dinner.

He: "Why are we going out in this weather?"

She: "Because there's no food in the house, smart guy. It's too cold to shop."

He: "So why isn't it too cold to go out to eat?"

She: "Don't start."

The cold brings about peculiar decisions. Ariadna Urbina, 21, of Corona, Queens, is a student who has been hunting for work. Her preference had been an art gallery, but she found it impossible to put on nice clothes and then add the multiple layers necessary to combat the cold. So the other day she was on her way to apply to be a waitress.

"People ask you to dress professionally, but you can't dress professionally," she said. "I'm sick of it."

Stories happen in emergency rooms, one place where winter shows its malevolence.

Dr. John Marshall, the head of emergency medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, said his hospital was averaging 336 patients a day this winter, 20 more than last winter. On Jan. 19, he saw something unlike anything he had seen before. In a single hour, 30 people showed up after having slipped on ice, most of them with wrist and arm fractures, with some ankles thrown in.

"We had a whole family of seven come in with carbon monoxide poisoning," Dr. Marshall said. They are all right.

Add to it flu patients, pneumonia patients, people with psychiatric issues linked to the cold. Sledding accidents. Heart attacks from shoveling snow.

An alcoholic who is a "frequent flier" at the emergency room, ranking as one of its top three visitors, was brought in a few weeks ago nearly frozen to death, his body temperature down to 82 degrees. The hospital thawed him out. He has since returned several more times. He might lose a toe.

"I don't know that I've seen any snowball lacerations this year, but we get them," Dr. Marshall said. "And I haven't seen any icicle stabbings."

As for himself, Dr. Marshall is unfazed by the weather. He is from Michigan. "I've always liked a good winter," he said. "It's my favorite season. I only wish there was a bit more snow."

Has he made any concessions to the cold? "I've worn a scarf a couple of times," he said.

Want an awful winter job? Talk to Ralph Valdez. He shivers on sidewalks for hours at a time, hawking tickets for bus tours of Manhattan.

Mr. Valdez, 36, has been at this for a decade. This crushing winter has really done a number on him. Since Christmas, he has called in sick, he believes, something like seven times. Last winter, which was hardly balmy, he called in sick three times.

"I have a torn rotator cuff, and it really, really starts to hurt when it gets cold," he said, standing in downtown Manhattan. He wore a scarf and jacket over a hooded sweatshirt, and also remembered thermal underwear.

"If you're going to be outside, you got to go for the thermals," he pointed out, unnecessarily.

Bogdan Lekan, 50, a pediatrician, tossed salt chunks on the ice in front of his office door on 67th Avenue in Queens. Stethoscope dangling around his neck, he kicked at the crumbling ice with his leather shoes, which instantly became soaked.

"If this happens through April — wow," he said. "I have a 3-year-old in the house who is anxious to go out."

Now a new month beckons. March, often a roller-coaster month, is not always charitable with its weather either. But it represents a dash of hope. The forecast for Monday in New York City is for the temperature to crawl into the 40s. It has to get warmer someday.

The great crime of Fascism and why again, it is the issue

The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

"To initiate a war of aggression...," said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, "is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.

Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission. Take the catastrophe in Libya.

In 2011, NATO launched 9,700 "strike sorties" against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that "most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten".

The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a "rebel" bayonet was greeted by the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with the words: "We came, we saw, he died." His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning "genocide" against his own people. "We knew ... that if we waited one more day," said President Obama, "Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."

This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be "a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda". Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for NATO's inferno, described by David Cameron as a "humanitarian intervention".

Secretly supplied and trained by Britain's SAS, many of the "rebels" would become ISIS, whose latest video offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte, the city destroyed on their behalf by NATO bombers.

For Obama, Cameron and Hollande, Gaddafi's true crime was Libya's economic independence and his declared intention to stop selling Africa's greatest oil reserves in US dollars. The petrodollar is a pillar of American imperial power. Gaddafi audaciously planned to underwrite a common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or not this would happen, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared to "enter" Africa and bribe African governments with military "partnerships".

Following NATO's attack under cover of a Security Council resolution, Obama, wrote Garikai Chengu, "confiscated $30 billion from Libya's Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold backed dinar currency".

The "humanitarian war" against Libya drew on a model close to western liberal hearts, especially in the media. In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent NATO to bomb Serbia, because, they lied, the Serbs were committing "genocide" against ethnic Albanians in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as "225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59″ might have been murdered. Both Clinton and Blair evoked the Holocaust and "the spirit of the Second World War". The West's heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal record was set aside. The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.

With the NATO bombing over, and much of Serbia's infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume evidence of the "holocaust". The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing "a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines". A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide. The "holocaust" was a lie. The NATO attack had been fraudulent.

Behind the lie, there was serious purpose. Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent, multi-ethnic federation that had stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. Most of its utilities and major manufacturing was publicly owned. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to capture its "natural market" in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991 to lay their plans for the disastrous eurozone, a secret deal had been struck; Germany would recognise Croatia. Yugoslavia was doomed.

In Washington, the US saw that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans. NATO, then an almost defunct Cold War relic, was reinvented as imperial enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo "peace" conference in Rambouillet, in France, the Serbs were subjected to the enforcer's duplicitous tactics. The Rambouillet accord included a secret Annex B, which the US delegation inserted on the last day. This demanded the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia — a country with bitter memories of the Nazi occupation — and the implementation of a "free-market economy" and the privatisation of all government assets. No sovereign state could sign this. Punishment followed swiftly; NATO bombs fell on a defenceless country. It was the precursor to the catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Ukraine.

Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations - 69 countries - have suffered some or all of the following at the hands of America's modern fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as "sanctions". The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In every case, a big lie was deployed.

"Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over." These were opening words of Obama's 2015 State of the Union address. In fact, some 10,000 troops and 20,000 military contractors (mercenaries) remain in Afghanistan on indefinite assignment. "The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion," said Obama. In fact, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014 than in any year since the UN took records. The majority have been killed — civilians and soldiers — during Obama's time as president.

The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic crime in Indochina. In his lauded and much quoted book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a popular democracy, because "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion . . . Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation." He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed, a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski, then President Carter's National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by dealing a death blow to Afghanistan's first and only democracy. Who knows this vital history?

In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.

The new government introduced free medical care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan's doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers. "Every girl," recalled Saira Noorani, a female surgeon,

"We could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian film on a Friday and listen to the latest music. It all started to go wrong when the mujaheddin started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West supported."

The PDPA government was backed by the Soviet Union, even though, as former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance later admitted, "there was no evidence of any Soviet complicity [in the revolution]". Alarmed by the growing confidence of liberation movements throughout the world, Brzezinski decided that if Afghanistan was to succeed under the PDPA, its independence and progress would offer the "threat of a promising example".

On July 3, 1979, the White House secretly authorised $500 million in arms and logistics to support tribal "fundamentalist" groups known as the mujaheddin. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan's first secular, reformist government. In August 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that "the United States' larger interests ... would be served by the demise of [the PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan." The italics are mine.

The mujaheddin were the forebears of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. They included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who received tens of millions of dollars in cash from the CIA. Hekmatyar's specialty was trafficking in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Invited to London, he was lauded by Prime Minister Thatcher as a "freedom fighter".

Such fanatics might have remained in their tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political liberation and "destabilise" the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, "a few stirred up Muslims". His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region. In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them. Operatives who would eventually join the Taliban and al-Qaeda, were recruited at an Islamic college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called "Operation Cyclone". Its success was celebrated in 1996 when the last PDPA president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Najibullah — who had gone before the UN General Assembly to plead for help — was hanged from a streetlight by the Taliban.

The "blowback" of "Operation Cyclone" and its "few stirred up Muslims" was September 11, 2001. "Operation Cyclone" became the "war on terror", in which countless men, women and children would lose their lives across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The enforcer's message was and remains: "You are with us or against us."

The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its "free fire zones", "body counts" and "collatoral damage". In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians ("gooks") were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered. In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.

Today, the world's greatest single campaign of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings, mourners at funerals. These are Obama's victims. According to the New York Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA "kill list" presented to him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room. He then decides, without a shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains. Each "hit" is registered on a faraway console screen as a "bugsplat".

"For goose-steppers," wrote the historian Norman Pollock, "substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while."

Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being," said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, "The sovereign is he who decides the exception." This sums up Americanism, the world's dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates western culture. I grew up on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine, at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.

The difference now is that cinema audiences are invited to wring their hands at the "tragedy" of American psychopaths having to kill people in distant places — just as the President himself kills them. The embodiment of Hollywood's violence, the actor and director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his movie, American Sniper, which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York Times described it as a "patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all attendance records in its opening days".

There are no heroic movies about America's embrace of fascism. During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting the rise of Greek fascism. In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist military junta in Athens — as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America. Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the "father" of both the Nazi V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.

In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of Nato, the heirs to a Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its "new wave" hailed by the enforcer as "nationalists".

This reached its apogee in 2014 when the Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected government. The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and Svoboda. Their leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of the "Moscow-Jewish mafia" and "other scum", including gays, feminists and those on the political left.

These fascists are now integrated into the Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get "the USA to give us highly precise modern weaponry". If he succeeds, it will be seen as an act of war by Russia.

No western leader has spoken up about the revival of fascism in the heart of Europe — with the exception of Vladimir Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the borderland of Ukraine. At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime. She referred to the German Defence Minister as "the minister for defeatism". It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev . The wife of Robert D. Kagan, a leading "neo-con" luminary and co-founder of the extreme right wing Project for a New American Century, she was foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney.

Nuland's coup did not go to plan. NATO was prevented from seizing Russia's historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea — illegally annexed to Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 — voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they had done in the 1990s. The referendum was voluntary, popular and internationally observed. There was no invasion.

At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleaning. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions. More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western media, they became unpeople escaping "the violence" caused by the "Russian invasion". The NATO commander, General Breedlove — whose name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove — announced that 40,000 Russian troops were "massing". In the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.

These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine - a third of the population - have long sought a federation that reflects the country's ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are not "separatists" but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous "states" are a reaction to Kiev's attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.

On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as "another bright day in our national history". In the American and British media, this was reported as a "murky tragedy" resulting from "clashes" between "nationalists" (neo-Nazis) and "separatists" (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).

The New York Times buried the story, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington's new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims - "Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says". Obama congratulated the junta for its "restraint".

If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained "pariah" role in the West will justify the lie that Russia is invading Ukraine. On January 29, Ukraine's top military commander, General Viktor Muzhemko, almost inadvertently dismissed the very basis for US and EU sanctions on Russia when he told a news conference emphatically: "The Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian Army". There were "individual citizens" who were members of "illegal armed groups", but there was no Russian invasion. This was not news. Vadym Prystaiko, Kiev's Deputy Foreign Minister, has called for "full scale war" with nuclear-armed Russia.

On February 21, US Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would authorise American arms for the Kiev regime. In his Senate presentation, Inhofe used photographs he claimed were of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, which have long been exposed as fakes. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's fake pictures of a Soviet installation in Nicaragua, and Colin Powell's fake evidence to the UN of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The intensity of the smear campaign against Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America's most distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote recently,

"No European government, since Adolf Hitler's Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly. Yet across the West's media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established ....If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three - much as it did into world war one a century ago - all you need to do is look at the madness over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason."

In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media:

"The use made by Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack .... In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons."

In the Guardian on February 2, Timothy Garton-Ash called, in effect, for a world war. "Putin must be stopped," said the headline. "And sometimes only guns can stop guns." He conceded that the threat of war might "nourish a Russian paranoia of encirclement"; but that was fine. He name-checked the military equipment needed for the job and advised his readers that "America has the best kit".

In 2003, Garton-Ash, an Oxford professor, repeated the propaganda that led to the slaughter in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote, "has, as [Colin] Powell documented, stockpiled large quantities of horrifying chemical and biological weapons, and is hiding what remains of them. He is still trying to get nuclear ones." He lauded Blair as a "Gladstonian, Christian liberal interventionist". In 2006, he wrote, "Now we face the next big test of the West after Iraq: Iran."

The outbursts — or as Garton-Ash prefers, his "tortured liberal ambivalence" — are not untypical of those in the transatlantic liberal elite who have struck a Faustian deal. The war criminal Blair is their lost leader. The Guardian, in which Garton-Ash's piece appeared, published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the Lockheed Martin monster were the words: "The F-35. GREAT For Britain". This American "kit" will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered across the world. In tune with its advertiser, a Guardian editorial has demanded an increase in military spending.

Once again, there is serious purpose. The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its economy. Kiev's new Finance Minister, Nataliwe Jaresko, is a former senior US State Department official in charge of US overseas "investment". She was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship.

They want Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Joe Biden's son is on the board of Ukraine's biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine's rich farming soil.

Above all, they want Ukraine's mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia's long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country's economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.

The responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust beckons .

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American eugenics: Virginia to compensate victims of sterilization program

Richmond capitol building

© Reuters

From 1924 to 1979, over 8,000 people were forcibly sterilized in Virginia.

Victims of a sterilization program in the United States could finally see compensation.

Legislators in the U.S. state of Virginia voted Thursday to allow compensation for victims of forced sterilization, though few survivors are alive today.

"I think it's a recognition when we do something wrong we need to fix it as a government," said Democrat delegate Patrick Hope. "Now we can close this final chapter and healing can begin."

Close to US$400,000 is available in a fund earmarked for compensation payments, though only around 11 sterilization victims in the state are known to be alive today. However, Hope stated if any new victims come forth, they too could be eligible for compensation.

Eugenics in the United States

From 1924 to 1979, over 8,000 people were forcibly sterilized in Virginia. The victims ranged from people with psychiatric disorders to people considered social misfits. While most victims were patients at state mental institutions, some were homeless people who were sterilized to reduce poverty figures. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 22 percent of victims were African-Americans, and 66 percent were women. At the time of sterilization, most victims were misled, being told they were undergoing surgical procedures for miscellaneous health issues.

Virgina's program has often been credited with inspiring the Nazis, who used the state's methods as a model for their own eugenics project.

Yet the program was just part of a broader and often state -sanctioned eugenics movement that flourished across the United States in the first half of the 20th Century. Like the Nazis, U.S. eugenics advocates believed they were improving the genetic purity of the population by sterilizing those with traits deemed undesirable, such as the impoverished. In some states, ethnic minorities were also targeted. No federal law existed to cover sterilization in the first half of the century, meaning states were left to regulate the practice. While most states only allowed for surgical sterilization aimed at making reproduction impossible, some went as far as allowing male victims to be castrated.

At the height of the movement, over 30 U.S. states practiced some form of forced sterilization. An estimated 65,000 people were sterilized before the practice ended nationally in the early 1980s.