April 2, 2012
By Katitza Rodriguez & Maira Sutton
Last week, the Conseil Constitutionnel, the highest authority on the French Constitution, declared the provisions of a law permitting judicial and police use of a centralized national ID database to be unconstitutional. 200 members of the French Parliament referred the law to the Conseil following the law’s adoption on March 6th. The Conseil determined that the use of the centralized database was incompatible with France’s fundamental rights, including the right to privacy and the presumption of innocence.
The proposed legislation mandated compulsory civilian ID cards containing a chip designed to store personal and biometric information, including home address, marital status, eye colour, and fingerprints. Proponents argued that the biometric ID card would be used to stop “honest folk” from becoming the victims of identity fraud. In fact, the law would have enabled the “honest folk” database to be used for criminal and judicial purposes. The Conseil correctly determined that such uses constituted a serious incursion into the right to private life, disproportionate to the law’s stated objective.
Another provision in the law would have allowed for a second, optional chip to be used for online authentication in e-commerce transactions. The Conseil determined that such use would require too broad a range of personal data to be collected without any guarantees of security and confidentiality. Furthermore, it condemned the law’s vague conditions for authenticating individuals, especially minors. EFF welcomes the Conseil’s decision to strike out substantial parts of the legislation to protect privacy. Nevertheless, the Conseil should explain their unmotivated reasoning behind leaving significant anti-privacy portions of the law intact, namely biometric data collection for the purpose of preventing ID fraud.
March 23, 2012
By Heather Callaghan
“It’s not all doom and gloom on the fight for raw milk. Here are seven recent victories the movement has had.” –KTRN
Things can seem really grim in the world of food freedom when farmers and food club members are jailed and squashed for providing fresh milk, while the media continues to spread outright lies about its consumption.
Just when it appears that the force, bans, food destruction, jail time, and deception are too much to handle – the people parry and thrust! In this dark cloud of oppression against health freedom and self-sufficiency, there are indeed some overlooked silver linings. For every bout of extreme force, there is a doubly powerful backlash.
Increasing Rallies To Defend Small Milk Farmers
There have been a handful of impressive rallies to defend raided small farms in the last year including the most recent one supporting Vernon Hershberger. Around 300 people showed up at his Wisconsin court hearing and were jam packed into the courtroom and basement during proceedings.
He refused to have a hearing without his own camera rolling and would not accept offers for settlement, i.e. reduced punishment for accepting guilt for four misdemeanors. The pressure from the crowd, his gentle constancy, and his recordings may have led the judge to rethink the call of prosecutors to punish him for violating bail terms. His trial date has been pushed to September.
The attendees and Hershberger signed a Declaration of Food Independence and went to a workshop to learn about standing up to food and farm tyranny.
The education and action always proves useful. For instance, Jackie Ownes, the DATCP inspector carrying out action against Hershberger calls herself a judge, but has no sworn oath on file and therefore, no real judicial authority. The rally organizers are suing her for fraud and misrepresentation.
While California Persecutes Raw Milk Farmers, France Unveils Raw Milk Vending Machines For Happy, Healthy Consumers
March 12, 2012
By Mike Adams
“Maybe it’s time to move to France. If it’s healthy to consume raw milk there, why is it so bad in the US? Could it possibly be that the cows are horribly unhealthy due to factory farming.” –KTRN
Thanks to the extraordinarily cruel and vindictive actions of the LA County and Ventura County District Attorneys’ offices, California is rapidly losing its reputation as a state that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Instead, the state is becoming increasingly known as “the torture state” where senior citizen farmers and fresh food advocates are imprisoned, tortured, and charged with felony crimes for making fresh milk available to customers. See our astonishing report on California’s latest assault on a 65-year-old “milk man” at:
France, on the other hand, has embraced the health benefits of raw milk. There, innovative dairy farmer Michel Cantaloube has created a raw milk vending machine (see photo below). The vending machine is a tastefully-designed kiosk that blends right into the urban setting, allowing it to be set up on a street corner on a French town or even a major metropolitan area.
Customers can purchase whatever quantity of raw milk they wish, and unlike in the United States, they don’t even have to go through the bizarre paperwork of owning a “cow share.”
Back in Los Angeles, raw dairy farmer Sharon Palmer has been slapped with 38 felony counts drummed up by the county, which has a rogue DA office running a campaign of personal revenge against dairy farmers. Driven into near-bankruptcy by the fines and legal fees, Palmer has been unable to repay farm investors as planned, so when her repayments fell behind, the county charged her with financial fraud.
February 22, 2012
By J.D. Heyes
“Finally some good news to report about Monsanto. And the good news here is that they are guilty.” –KTRN
It’s no secret that biotech giant Monsanto has been hard at work genetically modifying everything on the planet, but now the mega-corporation may have gone too far.
In what is being viewed as a major victory for public health advocates, a French court last week declared Monsanto guilty in the chemical poisoning of a French farmer, a ruling that could – and should – lead to additional health claims against the use of pesticides.
Paul Francois, a grain grower, told the court he suffered neurological problems that included memory loss, stammering and headaches after having inhaled Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer in 2004. He accused Monsanto of not providing adequate warnings on the product.
A court in Lyon, which is located in southeast France, agreed, ordering an expert to determine the extent of Francois’s losses and injuries to determine a proper sum of damages.
The ruling marks the first time anyone has been able to establish a clear link between one of Monsanto’s dangerous products and illnesses caused by exposure to them.
“I am alive today, but part of the farming population is going to be sacrificed and is going to die because of this,” Francois told Reuters in an interview.
Francois brought his case after he and other farmers banded together to form an association of individuals who claim they, too, began suffering illness following exposure to Monsanto’s so-called “crop protection” chemicals. The rising tide of illnesses – about 200 per year since 1996, according to the agricultural branch of the French social security system – should be more than enough to give pause, not only to French citizens, but to anyone exposed to produce that has been “treated” with any of these dangerous pesticides.
On the surface, the French court’s ruling seemed inevitable, if not somewhat overdue. Monsanto’s Lasso was banned throughout France in 2007, following a European Union directive after the product had been taken out of use in a few other countries.
Perhaps because of the increasing health problems caused by chemical use in agriculture, France – the EU’s largest grower – is going a step further, having announced a plan to curb pesticide use by 50 percent between 2008 and 2018.
From the sound of it, the cut in usage can’t come soon enough. Other farmers have blamed chemicals for their lingering health problems as well.
“It’s like lying on a bed of thorns and trying to say which one cut you,” one farmer recovering from prostate cancer, who asked not to be named, told Reuters, regarding his widespread exposure to a number of agricultural chemical products.
February 7, 2012
“Call him what you will, but France’s interior minister is part of the global elite. No wonder he thinks he’s superior to other races.” –KTRN
France is outraged with new cultural standards hammered out by French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, who insists that all civilizations “are not of equal value” – and that France needs protection from the inferior ones.
“Contrary to what the left’s relativist ideology says, for us all civilizations are not of equal value,” the French Interior Minister said on Saturday as quoted by Agence France-Presse.
Gueant never used the word “Muslim,” but the record of his immigration comments, as well as the picture he drew of an inferior civilization, left little room for deliberation.
“Those that defend liberty, equality and fraternity, seem to us superior to those that accept tyranny, the subservience of women, and social and ethnic hatred,” he said.
Gueant also stressed the need to “protect our civilization.”
On Sunday, Gueant said he still stood by his remarks, but accused critics of taking his words out of context.
The Interior Minister provoked a new wave of criticism from the opposition and in the public. And with less than three months left before France’s next presidential election, Gueant’s patron President Nicolas Sarkozy may try to create some distance between himself and the Interior Ministry. His party has already labeled the standards as symptomatic of “electoral and moral decline.”
The Young Socialist Movement dubbed the words “racist,” while the French Green Party wrote of the “return to three centuries ago.”
Gueant’s office tried to dismiss his comments as a mere slam in the face of advocates of repression and inequality.
January 23, 2012
By Saman Mohammadi
“In 1789, France entered a period of revolutionary change which was to see the complete restructuring of the state, the collapse of the monarchy, and its replacement by a republic. By 1793, France was riven by civil war and factional struggles and had also opened hostilities upon several neighbouring states. At home, political dissent and economic collapse were repressed by the use of political terror. For many contemporaries, as for later historians, the connection between these events and the Enlightenment was highly problematic. How could an era which had seen so much struggle for the rational reform of society, government and the individual have ended with such turmoil and violence?” – Dorinda Outram. The Enlightenment. 1995. Cambridge University Press. Pg. 126.
“All we have to do is remember who we are. We are not Germans. We’re not peasants in China. We’re not peasants in Russia. We have a legacy and a history of fighting for liberty. Americans have always fought for liberty. And we will fight again. So we will not be the Fourth Reich. We will not let that happen. Not without a fight.” – Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, speaking on the Alex Jones show on January 12, 2012.
“I spent many years in countries where the military had the power to arrest and detain citizens without charge. I have been in some of these jails. I have friends and colleagues who have “disappeared” into military gulags. I know the consequences of granting sweeping and unrestricted policing power to the armed forces of any nation. And while my battle may be quixotic, it is one that has to be fought if we are to have any hope of pulling this country back from corporate fascism.” – Chris Hedges, “Why I’m Suing Barack Obama,”Truthdig, January 16, 2012.
An analysis of the passage of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) must start from the premise that since September 11, 2001, the hijacked U.S. government has been at war with America.
As they say, it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.
The American people are a big liability for the political and corporate elite who are openly hostile towards the U.S. constitution and Bill of Rights. America is dead to them because the reality is that America and all nation states no longer matter.
Western elites favour technocratic regional unions, a world fascist economy, and authoritarian policing. Towards the fulfillment of their “new world order,” they have destroyed democracy, social welfare programs, free market competition, and civil liberties.
The treasonous hijackers in Washington gained their war footing against the American people in the 1980s and 1990s, two decades which saw the privatization of the prison system, the militarization of the police, the betrayal of the American middle class, and the consolidation of the American media.
January 11, 2012
By Anthony Gucciardi
Biotech giant Monsanto has been genetically modifying the world’s food supply and subsequently breeding environmental devastation for years, but leaked documents now reveal that Monsanto has also deeply infiltrated the United States government. With leaked reports revealing how U.S. diplomats are actually working for Monsanto to push their agenda along with other key government officials, Monsanto’s grasp on international politics has never been clearer.
Amazingly, the information reveals that the massive corporation is also intensely involved in the passing and regulations concerning the very GM ingredients they are responsible for. In fact, the information released by WikiLeaks reveals just how much power Monsanto has thanks to key positions within the United States government and elsewhere. Not only was it exposed that the U.S. is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto with military-style trade wars, but that many U.S. diplomats actually work directly for Monsanto.
In 2007 it was requested that specific nations inside the European Union be punished for not supporting the expansion of Monsanto’s GMO crops. The request for such measures to be taken was made by Craig Stapleton, the United States ambassador to France and partner to George W. Bush. Despite mounting evidence linking Monsanto’s GM corn to organ damage and environmental devastation, the ambassador plainly calls for ‘target retaliation’ against those not supporting the GM crop. In the leaked documents, Stapleton states:
“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices.”
The undying support of key players within the U.S. towards Monsanto is undeniably made clear not only in this release, but in the legislative decisions taken by organizations such as the FDA and USDA. Legislative decisions such as allowing Monsanto’s synthetic hormone Posilac (rBGH) to be injected into U.S. cows despite being banned in 27 countries. How did Monsanto pull this off?
October 20, 2011
By: David K. Randall
Stocks slid Thursday after reports that a meeting planned for the weekend between European leaders to fend off a credit crisis may be delayed.
The reports overshadowed an unexpected recovery in manufacturing in the Northeast.
Investors are concerned that differences between the leaders of Germany and France may hold up agreement on how to protect European banks from a likely default by the Greek government.
Officials from the 17 countries that share the euro are scheduled to meet at a summit Sunday to discuss ways to contain the damage. A messy default by Greece could to huge losses for European banks that hold Greek bonds. If that leads them to pull back on lending to each other, investors fear it could cause another freeze in global credit markets like the one in late 2008 after Lehman Brothers collapsed.
U.S. indexes had edged higher in early trading after the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said regional manufacturing was “showing signs of recovery.” Its index of manufacturing, shipments and new orders was far better than economists had forecast.
Other economic reports were mixed. The Labor Department said new applications for unemployment benefits dropped to 403,000 last week, a sign that layoffs are easing. On the down side, sales of previously-occupied homes fell 3% last month from August.
Several large companies reported earnings before the market opened. Union Pacific, the nation’s largest railroad, surged after its earnings came in well ahead of analysts’ estimates. The company gained 5.3% after reporting that its income jumped 16%, more than analysts had forecast. It also said it expects the growth to continue.
Southwest Airlines rose 3.2% after reporting income that was a penny per share higher than analysts predicted. AT&T lost 1% after reporting that the number of new iPhones activated last quarter was the lowest in a year and a half.
The New York Times jumped 4% after the company reported higher profits than expected.
Microsoft will report earnings after the market closes.
In Europe, Germany’s DAX was down 2.5% while the CAC-40 in France fell 2.2%. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 1.4% lower.
Earlier, Asian stocks were pummeled, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 index losing 1% to close at a two-week low of 8,682.15. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 1.8% to 17,983.10 and South Korea’s Kospi tumbled 2.7% to 1,805.09.In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.9% to 2,331.37 and the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index plunged 2.9% to 974.86.
October 17, 2011
By Peter Allen
A police chief who hoped to guard Dominique Strauss-Kahn if he became President of France organized an orgy with him in a Paris hotel, it was claimed today.
The senior officer is also said to have accompanied prostitutes to New York to meet up with Mr Strauss-Kahn when he was in charge of the International Monetary Fund.
The well-sourced allegations about Jean-Christophe Lagarde are not only deeply embarrassing for Mr Strauss-Kahn, but point to wide-scale corruption at the heart of French political life.
French judges are aware that Mr Lagarde, a departmental commissioner in France’s national police force, had discussed setting up a protection unit for Mr Strauss-Kahn if he became President of France.
But a prostitute has also told them that the pair organized an orgy in the spring of 2010 ‘in a duplex suite of a luxury central Paris hotel’, according to the Journal du Dimanche (JDD) newspaper.
The highly-respected Sunday paper, which has seen inquiry documents, said that Mr Lagarde also accompanied prostitutes to New York, where Mr Straus Kahn was working as IMF chief.
According to the JDD, the illegal prostitute racket not only provided girls for luxury French hotels like the Carlton in Lille, but also ones in the U.S.
They are thought to have been selected for Mr Strauss-Kahn by Dominique Alderweireld, a 62-year-old ‘pimp’ nicknamed ‘Dodo’, who made a number of trips to see Mr Strauss-Kahn in New York. He has since been arrested.
At least two prostitutes have claimed that Mr Strauss-Kahn was one of their clients, although there is no current suggestion that they were underage.
Prostitution is legal in France, but those offering sex must be over 18.
Organizers of the racket face charges of procuring prostitutes, organized conspiracy in criminal acts and money laundering.
On Thursday, Mr Strauss-Kahn learned that he will not face charges for the alleged attempted rape of a French author in Paris in 2003.
Despite conceding that he had attacked Tristane Banon, now 33, judges cleared Mr Strauss-Kahn because of the statute of limitations in France, which is three years for sexual assault.
It marks the second time in three months that Mr Strauss-Kahn has been cleared of sex charges.
In August, U.S. prosecutors dropped charges that he had raped a maid in a New York hotel room in May.
Ms Banon first spoke out after Mr Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York but U.S. prosecutors eventually dropped the charges after finding the cleaner, 32-year-old Nafissatou Diallo, had told a number of lies.
Mr Strauss-Kahn could have received a prison sentence of up to 15 years if found guilty of attempted rape in France. He still faces civil cases in both Paris and New York over the alleged rape incidents.
Mr Strauss-Kahn now also faces being interviewed as a witness in the hotel prostitute inquiry.
The JDD said that police chief Mr Lagarde also expects to be ‘taken into custody’ on the orders of examining judges.
It came as French Socialist chose their candidate to take on Nicolas Sarkozy in next Spring’s presidential elections.
Until his arrest, Mr Strauss-Kahn was the favorite to stand as Socialist candidate.
A source close to Mr Strauss-Kahn said he had ‘no comment’ to make on the latest sleaze allegations.
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