• 26 OCT 16

    The TPP Attack on our food safety standards

    Will the current Australian Senate inquiry wake up to the many dangers of the TPP in their forthcoming discussions? Here’s more of what to expect if they ratify the TPP.

    From a report by the US based Food and Water Watch

    Selected excerpts:

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has new and expansive provisions governing food safety and agricultural protection rules that can weaken consumer protections, undermine U.S. food safety standards and expose U.S. crops and livestock to dangerous diseases and pests. This broad area of domestic law and regulation that includes food safety inspection, laboratory testing protocols and quarantines to prevent the entry of livestock diseases and crop pests would be subject to the TPP’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) provisions that make food safety rules more vulnerable to challenge at international trade tribunals. SNIP

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    • 25 OCT 16

    New report on the Trans Pacific Partnership and the implications for Australia

    For months now, the Turnbull Government has flatly refused to conduct an independent analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). So GetUp members chipped in and did it for them – and the findings of our new report, detailing the most controversial part of the deal, are explosive.

    The report, Canary in the Coal Mine, analyses the enormous risks Australia will face from the TPP’s dangerous Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions, that would give new powers to multinationals to sue our government in secret courts.

    Right now, the Senate is holding an inquiry – Australia’s last line of defence against ISDS – and Dr Kyla Tienhaara, who authored the report, has submitted it for their consideration. But many members of the committee will do their best to ignore its finding. That’s where we come in.

    Together we can back her in, flooding the submissions process with community concern about the unacceptable risks detailed in the report. Our Senators will have no choice but to face up to the risks – and recommend that the Senate vote down the TPP.

    THE CANARY IN THE COALMINE: WHAT CANADA’S EXPERIENCE WITH INVESTOR-STATE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT TELLS US ABOUT AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE UNDER THE TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP

    Dr. Kyla Tienhaara
    School of Regulation & Global Governance(RegNet) Australian National University
    14 October 2016

    SUMMARY
    Australia signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement on 4 February 2016……SNIP

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    • 01 OCT 16

    Monsanto and the EPA, a loving embrace????

    From the Huffington Post

    Upcoming EPA Meetings on Safety of Monsanto Weed Killer Drawing Scrutiny
    By Carey Giliam

    29/09/2016 11:24 PM AEST | Updated September 29, 2016 23:24

    Excerpt

    Bayer better be paying attention to this.

    The German company’s intended $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto Co. comes amid growing concern over the future of the company’s top-selling weed killer, a chemical called glyphosate that Monsanto introduced to the world 40 years ago as the active ingredient in its Roundup herbicide. Monsanto reaps billions of dollars annually, roughly a third of its sales, from those products.
    So it’s no small matter that in mid-October the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to spend four days holding public meetings with a scientific advisory panel on the topic of whether or not glyphosate can cause cancer. The idea of shining a public spotlight on this mounting concern about the world’s most widely used herbicide has not set well with Monsanto and the rest of the industry that profits from glyphosate products like Roundup. Agrichemical interests have gone so far as to tell the EPA that the meetings should not be held at all, and have said that if they are, many of the world’s top scientists should be excluded from participating.
    The industry clearly does not welcome the public scrutiny the meetings bring, but it should be satisfied that the EPA has made it clear it has no intention of contradicting Monsanto’s claims of glyphosate’s safety. After all, in a Sept. 12 report issued to the public, the EPA offered a 227-page evaluation of glyphosate’s cancer-causing potential that ended with a “proposed” conclusion that glyphosate was ‘”not likely to be carcinogenic to human’ at doses relevant to human health risk assessment.” All of this before the meetings are held.

    SNIP

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    • 16 SEP 16

    Auctioning off the FCC to the highest bidder

    From Josh del Sol (Take Back Your Power)

    On Tuesday, WikiLeaks released this bombshell:

    Documents obtained by a hacktivist showed that DOZENS of 6-to-7 figure donations to the DNC (US Democratic National Committee) resulted in ambassadorships and other high-level government appointments.

    And guess how much the previous FCC chair bought his position for? $3.5 MILLION.

    That’s right. Julius Genachowski donated $3,494,919 to the DNC, then was named Chairman of the FCC from 2009 to 2013.
    SNIP

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    • 16 JUL 16

    A historical perspective on the Catalyst Wi-Fried program controversy

    With the current Media Watch attack on the Catalyst program Wi-Fried and calls for its producer Maryanne Demasi to be sacked, it is worthwhile to note that this is not the first time in Australia that such an attack has happened when questions on the safety of wireless technology have been raised.

    In this other case it was not a reporter or TV program but a senior CSIRO research scientist and his entire research department. Consider……

    In early 1994 the Spectrum Management Agency, forerunner of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) commissioned the CSIRO’s Division of Radiophysics to undertake a comprehensive review of the available world-wide research on the biological effects of radiofrequency/microwave (RF/MW) exposure on the human body. Funding for the study came from the national carrier Telecom (later Telstra), and the carriers Optus and Vodafone and the resulting report was authored by Dr. Stan Barnett from CSIRO’s Ultrasonics Laboratory, Division of Radiophysics. SNIP

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    • 16 JUL 16

    Stephen Cleary (1936-2016) An Insider Unafraid To Challenge the Microwave Orthodoxy

    From Microwave News

    Excerpt

    Steve Cleary, who died last month, spent his entire professional career as a radiation biophysicist investigating microwave health effects. He was a remarkable scientist who played it straight, but who got tripped up in the politics surrounding health studies on cell phone radiation some 20 years ago.

    Cleary had first-hand experience with those who sought to suppress microwave research and who defended arbitrary exposure standards. He called them the “microwave mafia.”

    I first met Cleary in 1979 and we stayed in touch over the years. I’ve a written a personal reminiscence. Take a look and you will see shadows of what goes on today. One of those responsible for the roadblocks standing in Cleary’s way back then is now the chairman of the FCC. SNIP

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    • 13 JUL 16

    Read “Nation on the Take” to understand why Wheeler now heads the FCC

    Excerpt

    About Nation on the Take by Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman

    American democracy has become coin operated. Special interest groups increasingly control every level of government. The necessity of raising huge sums of campaign cash has completely changed the character of politics and policy making, determining what elected representatives stand for and how they spend their time. The marriage of great wealth and intense political influence has rendered our country unable to address our most pressing problems, from runaway government spending to climate change to the wealth gap. It also defines our daily lives: from the cars we drive to the air we breathe to the debt we owe.

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    • 12 JUL 16

    The New York Times on Wheeler as F.C.C. Chairman (May 2013)

    Excerpt

    From the New York Times, MAY 1, 2013

    Telecom Investor Named to Be F.C.C. Chairman
    By EDWARD WYATT

    WASHINGTON — Tom Wheeler, President Obama’s pick to be the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, knows all about the most advanced telecommunications systems — of the 19th century.

    In his 2008 book “Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War,” Mr. Wheeler, an investor in start-up technology and communications companies, documents how Lincoln was an “early adopter” of what has been called “the Victorian Internet.”

    Lincoln’s championing and advancement of popular uses of the telegraph are not unlike the challenges Mr. Wheeler is likely to face as chairman of the F.C.C…..
    SNIP

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    • 12 JUL 16

    Leszczynski: Wheeling and dealing at the FCC

    The following article was originally published in the Washington Times Communities on May 2, 2013 in relation to the appointment of industry lobbiest Tom Wheeler as director of the FCC. As an indicator of the influence the wireless industry has over the media the Washington Times has removed and discarded from its website all articles published by Leszczynski. This one however has survived.

    Leszczynski: Wheeling and dealing at the FCC

    Post published on Thursday, May 2, 2013

    HELSINKI, Finland, May 2, 2013 – In my previous post, I urged the FCC to tighten exposure safety standards for cell phone radiation, as we do not have sufficiently good scientific evidence to support the validity of the current safety standards. On the other hand, we have evidence of the possible problem – as I called it ‘red flags’.
    SNIP- Read on….

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    • 11 JUL 16

    change.org’s petition on ABC’s removal of the Wi-fried Catalyst program

    From change.org:

    Stop Media Censorship by ABC – Unfair Attack on Catalyst and Producer Dr. Maryanne Demasi

    We, Australian citizens are appalled by the action taken by the ABC to retract the Catalyst episode that investigated potential health risks of wireless devices, titled “Wi-Fired?” and suspend the talented science journalist Dr. Maryanne Demasi.
    ABC’s Audience & Consumer Affairs report is bogus. It has distorted facts to unfairly condemn the Catalyst program. The report clearly reveals that it was the mobile and wireless industry that has put pressure on the ABC (Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, AMTA). Heavily industry-funded researcher University of Wollongong psychologist Prof. Rodney Croft and sociologist Prof. Simon Chapman also led a media campaign to unfairly discredit Dr. Demasi and this episode of Catalyst.
    SNIP

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