High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated With Murcury, New Study Finds

January 28, 2009

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(Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), Jan 26, 2009

Straight to the Source )

While the FDA had evidence that commercial high fructose corn syrup was contaminated with mercury four years ago, the agency did not inform consumers, help change industry practice or conduct additional testing.

Minneapolis – Mercury was found in nearly 50 percent of tested samples of commercial high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), according to a new article published today in the scientific journal, Environmental Health. A separate study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) detected mercury in nearly one-third of 55 popular brandname food and beverage products where HFCS is the first or second highest labeled ingredient-including products by Quaker, Hershey’s, Kraft and Smucker’s.

HFCS use has skyrocketed in recent decades as the sweetener has replaced sugar in many processed foods. HFCS is found in sweetened beverages, breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS. Consumption by teenagers and other high consumers can be up to 80 percent above average levels.

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms,” said IATP’s David Wallinga, M.D., and a co-author in both studies. “Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply.”

The Environmental Health article by Dufault et al. can be found at: www.ehjournal.net.

“Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup,” by David Wallinga, M.D., Janelle Sorensen, Pooja Mottl and Brian Yablon, M.D., can be found at: www.iatp.org.

IATP works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems. www.iatp.org


Putting the Constitution Back Together Again

January 23, 2009

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Pete Seeger & Bruce Springsteen at the Inaugural Concert at the Lincoln Memorial

January 21, 2009

On Sunday, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Pete’s son, and some back up singers, led the crowd (including President Obama) in a rendition of “This Land Is Your Land.”

Tommy Sevenson of the Tuscaloosa News wrote:

“But sly old Pete, who actually hoboed with Woody during the Depression and Dust Bowl, had the crowd sing the song as it was actually written, as not only a celebration of this great land, but as a demand for workers’ and people’s rights. That is, he restored the verses that have been censored from the song over the years to make it less political:”

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

“The ‘relief office,’ of course, refers to the ad hoc soup bowls and such set up during the Depression before the New Deal began to get the social security net we have all depended upon since the 1930s in place.”


War & Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

January 14, 2009

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Michel Chossudovsky writes for Global Research that the war in Gaza is really about Israel wanting to control Gaza’s offshore gas reserves.

“This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.

“British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority. …

“The BG license covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map above). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

“The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger. …

“The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under “Operation Cast Lead” was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:

  • “Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”(Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008 )
    That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza’s natural gas:”The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage. …”

To read the entire article, click here.


How Hollywood Gets It Wrong On Torture And Interrogation: P1

January 11, 2009

No character on TV uses torture more than Jack Bauer, the hero of the FOX program “24” which begins its 7th season on Sunday night. In Bauer’s hands torture appears to be the perfect tool to fight terrorism.Two years ago Human Rights First began to investigate how “24,” which has shown 89 scenes of torture in its first six seasons, influenced the thinking and the actions of young people in the armed services. They learned that some junior soldiers — even some interrogators at Guantanamo Bay — had copied abusive interrogation techniques they saw depicted on the program.

The Background: U.S. Policy Shifts Ushered in Abuse

Hollywood writers, of course, did not create the environment that led to the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere; the U.S. government created this environment by authorizing coercive interrogation techniques, departing from the long-held absolute ban on torture and cruel treatment, suspending the Geneva Conventions, and by assigning soldiers to tasks for which they were not trained.

What Can Be Done: The Primetime Torture Project

Human Rights First has launched a project that seeks to limit the impact TV has on the way interrogations are conducted in the field and also the way Americans view torture. Working with military educators and prominent Hollywood producers and writers, Human Rights First is developing a training film aimed at educating junior soldiers about the differences between what they see on TV and the way they ought to act in the field. Human Rights First is also working to encourage those with control over creative content in Hollywood to consider portraying torture in a more nuanced, more responsible fashion.


Bailout Is Being “Reworked” By Obama’s Economic Team

January 10, 2009

econ_9697s   Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner

Buried on page A16 of today’s (Friday’s) LA Times is the front-page-worthy article explaining that the $700-billion financial bailout is being overhauled to include money for homeowners, small businesses, and municipalities, and to free up credit markets–in other words, all that the original bailout promised but failed to deliver.

Working “night and day” is Treasury secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner with the rest of President-elect Obama’s economic team. Only now, after burning through the first $350 billion, are they getting around to adding clearly defined conditions as to the use of the rest of the money so that it can be accounted for. Apparently, this time they remembered to stipulate that the money not be used for executive bonuses, retreats at resorts, holiday bonuses for executives, the use of private jets, country club memberships, and, in the case of AIG, an executive retreat at a swanky resort–all of which happened with the first half of the payout.

The first half has vanished without a trace, and without the requirement that the bailed-out firms trace it. Last month, when the Associated Press asked these firms how their public assistance was being used, they refused to answer.


Robert Fisk: Why Bombing Ashkelon Is The Most Tragic Irony

January 4, 2009

APTOPIX MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS  (AP Photo/Fadi Adwan)

“That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don’t come from Gaza.

“But watching the news shows, you’d think that history began yesterday, that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped up in the slums of Gaza – a rubbish dump of destitute people of no origin – and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force. The fact that the five sisters killed in Jabalya camp had grandparents who came from the very land whose more recent owners have now bombed them to death simply does not appear in the story.

“Both Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres said back in the 1990s that they wished Gaza would just go away, drop into the sea, and you can see why. The existence of Gaza is a permanent reminder of those hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes to Israel, who fled or were driven out through fear or Israeli ethnic cleansing 60 years ago…”

To read the story, click here.