My friend Mark is having surgery today…I am directing all of my energies toward his well being. Mark, I hope you are doing well, and you are loved and adored. Thank you so much for being my friend, and listening to me when most others wouldn’t. You mean the world to me!!!!!!!
Cabin crew aboard the the ill-fated Spanair flight which crashed on take-off at Madrid airport yesterday refused to let a passenger off despite earlier technical problems with the aircraft, the man’s family said today.
The chilling accusation came to light as the budget airline defended its decision to clear the MD-82 jet for take-off despite aborting an earlier attempt because a gauge showed an overheating air-intake valve. The device was switched off and the flight went ahead.
Of the 172 people aboard flight JK5022, only 19 survived. Witnesses said the plane’s left-hand engine burst into flame as it lifted off the runway and the aircraft broke up and crashed back to earth in flames.
The plane is designed to be able to take off even if one engine fails, but aviation sources in Spain suggested today that the burning engine might have spun round and thrown deadly debris into the aircraft’s rudder and right-hand engine. Another hypothesis emerging today was that the plane deployed its reverse-thruster, normally used at touchdown.
As relatives of those aboard the plane waited for news of their loved ones, their anger has focused on why Spanair allowed the pilot to take off despite the aircraft’s problems. Javier Mendoza, deputy director of operations for the company, told a press conference that all standard procedures had been followed.
The story of the passenger forced to remain aboard emerged at the Madrid hotel taken over by the airline to host relatives of the victims.
Spanish media said that an unidentified woman at the hotel told reporters that her husband had texted her at 12.30 pm – almost two hours before the accident – saying: “My love, there’s a problem with the plane.”
She phoned him back and told him to get off the flight, but he said: “They won’t let me off.”
The woman’s son, who was with her at the hotel, said that the cabin crew had told the man to get back in his seat.
Relatives of the passengers were arriving today at a Madrid convention centre, which also used as a makeshift morgue after the al-Qaeda train bombing of March 2003. Only 37 of the bodies have been identified so far.
“I’d kill the bastard who did this,” one man shouted at a television crew as he drove past the building.
Priests and psychologists comforted distraught relatives overnight at Barajas airport and at the Las Palmas airport on Gran Canaria, where flight JK5022 was headed. The plane was operating on a codeshare with Lufthansa although only four Germans were aboard the flight, a Bavarian family whose fate remains unclear.
According to a list published by Spanair, the vast majority of the passengers were Spanish, but officials said that there were also passengers from Sweden, the Netherlands and Chile.
The plane was 15 years old, bought by Spanair from Korean Air in 1999, and was overhauled in January.
As three days of national mourning were declared, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Prime Minsiter, interrupted his holidays in southern Spain to fly to the scene. The Spanish Olympic Committee said the Spanish flag would fly at half mast in the Olympic village in Beijing.
Spanair, owned by the Scandinavian airline SAS, has been struggling with high fuel prices and tough competition. It announced it was laying off 1,062 staff and cutting routes after losing some £40 million in the first half of the year.
Air safety experts pointed out that Europe had been free of major plane disasters in recent years but take-offs still posed the greatest risk for flight crews.
The MD-82 should be able to lift off with only one engine, and pilots are trained for such eventualities, but one hypothesis that emerged today was that the plane’s thrust reversers, normally only used for when it touches down, could have been deployed. That would explain why the pilots were unable to control the craft despite reaching normal take-off speed.
In May 1991, a Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashed in Thailand with the loss of 223 lives when the thrust reverser automatically went into operation.
“Automatic thrust reverser deployment will be one of the things that air crash investigators will be looking at,” said Dr Guy Gratton of the school of engineering and design at Brunel University in West London.
Preliminary findings suggest a link between Morgellons Disease and Agrobacterium, a soil bacterium extensively manipulated and used in making GM crops; has genetic engineering created a new epidemic?
A fully illustrated and referenced version is posted on ISIS members’ website. Details here.
An electronic version of the complete report, or any other complete ISIS report, can be sent to you via e-mail for a donation of £3.50. Please e-mail the title of the report to: email@example.com
CDC launch investigation on Morgellons’ Disease
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States announced the launch of an investigation on ‘Morgellons Disease’ in January 2008 , after receiving thousands of complaints from people with this bewildering condition, which it describes as follows : “Persons who suffer from this unexplained skin condition report a range of cutaneous (skin) symptoms including crawling, biting and stinging sensations; granules, threads, fibers, or black speck-like materials on or beneath the skin, and/or skin lesions (e.g., rashes or sores). In addition to skin manifestations, some sufferers also report fatigue, mental confusion, short term memory loss, joint pain, and changes in visions.”
Morgellons Disease first became known in 2001, when Mary Leitao created a web site describing the illness in her young son, which she named after a 17th century medical study in France describing similar symptoms . Until then, people with Morgellons Disease have been diagnosed as cases of “delusional parasitosis”, in which the symptoms are deemed entirely imaginary, and lesions allegedly due to self-inflicted wounds.
Indeed, the debate over Morgellons Disease has continued in the pages of medical and scientific journals right up to the CDC’s announcement [4-7]
Dr. Michele Pearson, principal investigator for the CDC said  that the primary goals of the study are “to learn more about who may be affected with this condition, the symptoms they experience and to look for clues about factors that might contribute to the condition,” adding that the condition is “complex”, and “may be due to multiple factors.”
In response to questions from journalists at the CDC press conference, Pearson said:
“ We are aware that many patients have suffered from this condition. And, I can tell you that here at CDC, we have really been seeing an increasing number of these reports over the past year or so.”
CDC’s investigation is to be carried out in conjunction with Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Division of Research and the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
Dr. Joe Selby, Director of the Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Division of Research, said the study would proceed in three stages. In the first stage, they will identify all members who may have seen a Kaiser Permanente physician with symptoms suggestive of this condition at any point during the 18 months between July 1 2006 and December 31, 2007, and determine whether they meet eligibility criteria for the study. In stage two, all eligible members will be invited to complete a comprehensive web based or telephone survey conducted by the CDC that examines the duration and severity of a variety of symptoms. And in stage three, those with active symptoms will be invited to the division of research for an extensive clinical examination including collection of skin biopsies, blood and urine samples.
In a paper  published in 2006, researchers from the Morgellons Research Foundation  identified the states of California, Texas and Florida as having the highest number of cases of Morgellons disease in the United States. Primary clusters were noted in Los Angeles and San Francisco (California) and Houston, Dallas and Austin (Texas). California accounted for 26 percent of cases in the US, but all 50 US states and 15 other nations, including Canada, the UK, Australia, and the Netherlands, have reported cases of Morgellons disease. The two main occupational groups reporting symptoms are nurses and teachers, with nurses outnumbering teachers three to one. The risk factor common to both groups is suspected to be the possibility of transmitted infectious agents.
Skin lesions and fibres may not be readily apparent in all individuals with the disease, as family members of patients often report similar systemic disease symptoms without skin symptoms. Families in which all members are affected often have suspected simultaneous exposure to an inciting agent. Contact with soil or waste products appears to be associated with the disease. Cases have been reported in cats and dogs, as well as horses.
What finally prompted CDC to investigate the disease? The Morgellons Research Foundation  was set up in 2002 in honour of Mary Leitao, the Foundation’s executive director. It publicises the plight of patients with similar conditions and operates a registry of afflicted families. The Foundation also funds scientific research. It has a Medical Advisory Board of seven with M.D. degree and two with nursing degrees. In addition, it has a Board of Nursing with five other nurses, and a Scientific Advisory Board of six scientists, all with Ph.D. degree; one of which is Vitaly Citovsky. It may have been Citovsky’s discovery last year that finally persuaded the CDC to announce an investigation.
The Agrobacterium connection
Vitaly Citovsky is a professor of molecular and cell biology at Stony Brook University in New York (SUNY). He is a world authority on the genetic modification of cells by Agrobacterium, a soil bacterium causing crown gall disease in plants, that has been widely used in creating genetically modified (GM) plants since the 1980s because of its ability to transfer a piece of its genetic material, the T-DNA on its tumour-inducing (Ti) plasmid to the plant genome (see later for details).
Citovsky’s team took scanning electron microscope pictures of the fibres in or extruding from the skin of patients suffering from Morgellons disease, confirming that they are unlike any ordinary natural or synthetic fibres (see Fig. 1, assembled from Citovsky’s website ).
Figure 1. Scanning electron microscope images of fibres from skin biopsies of patients with Morgellons Disease – a, white fibre with calcite, scale bar 10 mm; b, green fibre with alumina ‘rock’ protruding, scale bar 20 mm; c, various ribbon-like, cylindrical and faceted fibres all coated with minerals, scale bar 10 mm; d, skin lesion with fibres stabbing through the epidermis, scale bar 300 mm
They also analysed patients for Agrobacterium DNA. Skin biopsy samples from Morgellons patients were subjected to high-stringency polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for genes encoded by the Agrobacterium chromosome and also for Agrobacterium virulence (vir) genes and T-DNA on its Ti plasmid. They found that “all Morgellons patients screened to date have tested positive for the presence of Agrobacterium, whereas this microorganism has not been detected in any of the samples derived from the control, healthy individuals.” Their preliminary conclusion is that “Agrobacterium may be involved in the etiology and/or progression” of Morgellons Disease.
The unpublished findings have been posted on a website  since January 2007. They were further publicized in the “first ever” Morgellons conference in Austin Texas, attended by 100 in March 2008 . A growing list of people are registered with Morgellons Disease, totalling 12 106 worldwide recorded by Morgellons Research Foundation , as of 12 April 2008.
San Francisco physician, Raphael Stricker, one of only a few doctors who believe the disease is real, said . “There’s almost always some history of exposure to dirt basically either from gardening or camping or something.” He is one of the co-authors on the Agrobacterium research done in SUNY, which reported finding Agrobacterium DNA in all 5 Morgellons patients studied. Stricker suggests it is transmitted by ticks, like Lyme disease, and in a recent survey of 44 Morgellons patients in San Francisco, 43 of them also tested positive for the bacterium causing Lyme disease. Another factor consistent with Agrobacterium being a causative agent, if not the causative agent, is that when patients are treated with antibacterials for their Lyme disease, remission of Morgellons symptoms is seen in most of them .
Stricker also told his audience that Agrobacterium lives in the soil, and is known to cause infections in animals and human beings with compromised immune systems. It can cause skin lesions when injected into Swiss mice, a strain that is immune deficient, he said.
At this point, the findings on the Agrobacterium connection are still preliminary, as only seven patients have been studied. Nevertheless, the implications are far-reaching if this connection is confirmed, as existing evidence (reviewed below) suggests a link between Agrobacterium and genetic engineering in the creation of new disease agents, and it is paramount for the CDC investigation to include this aspect, if only to rule it out.
Agrobacterium and the genetic engineering connection
Agrobacterium not only infects human and other animal cells, it also transfers genes into them. It was SUNY professor Citovsky and his team that made the discovery some years ago . Until then, the genetic engineering community had assumed that Agrobacterium did not infect animal cells, and certainly would not transfer genes into them.
Agrobacterium was found to transfer T-DNA into the chromosomes of human cells.
In stably transformed HeLa cells, the integration occurred at the right border of the T-DNA, exactly as would happen when it is being transferred into a plant cell genome, suggesting that Agrobacterium transforms human cells by a mechanism similar to that involved in transforming plants cells (see Box 1). Human cancer cells, neurons and kidney cells were all transformed with the Agrobacterium T-DNA. Commenting on this research in 2001, Joe Cummins had warned of hazards to laboratory and farm workers  (i-sis news11/12)
The Agrobacterium vector system for gene transfer
Since the discovery in the 1970s that Agrobacterium can transfer genes into plants causing crown gall disease, the soil bacterium has been developed into a vector for inserting desirable genes into the plant genome to create transgenic (GM) plants .
Agrobacterium transfers T-DNA – a small region of approximately 5 to 10 percent of a resident tumour-inducing (Ti) or root-inducing (Ri) plasmid – into numerous species of plants; and as later turns out, also to fungi, algae, and even animal and human cells [13, 14] (see main text).
Transfer requires three major elements : T-DNA border direct repeat sequences of 25 base pairs that flank the T-DNA and delineate the region transferred into the host, the virulence (vir) genes located on the Ti/Ri plasmid, and various genes on the bacterial chromosome. Plant genes are also involved in the successful integration of T-DNA . The T-DNA contains oncogenes (cancer genes or gene for forming tumours) and genes for synthesizing opines; none of which is essential for T-DNA transfer, so they can be deleted and replaced with genes of interest and selectable markers.
Furthermore, the vir genes and T-DNA region need not be on the same replicating plasmid. This gave rise to the binary vector systems in which T-DNA and the vir genes are located on separate replicating units. The T-DNA containing unit is the binary vector and contains also the origin(s) of replication that could function both in E. coli and Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and antibiotic resistance marker genes used to select for the presence of the binary vector in bacteria. The replicating unit containing the vir genes is the ‘helper’ plasmid. Strains of Agrobacterium harbouring the two separate units are considered ‘disarmed’ if they do not contain oncogenes that could be transferred to a plant.
The association of Morgellons Disease with dirt and soil where Agrobacterium lives, the widespread use of Agrobacterium in genetic engineering of plants, and the ability of Agrobacterium to infect human cells, all point towards a possible role of genetic engineering in the aetiology of Morgellans disease via Agrobacterium.
Extensive genetic manipulation of Agrobacterium does have the potential to transform it into an aggressive human pathogen. Genetic engineering is nothing if not enhanced and facilitated horizontal gene transfer and recombination, which is widely acknowledged to be the main route for creating new pathogens. Mae-Wan Ho was among an international panel of scientists have raised this very issue in 1998, calling for a public enquiry into the possible contributions of genetic engineering biotechnology to the aetiology of infectious diseases which has greatly increased since genetic engineering began in the 1970s .
The epidemiological data of Morgellons Disease are very incomplete, and the Morgellons Research Foundation’s registry of more than 12 000 families afflicted worldwide is almost certainly only a fraction of the emerging epidemic. Still, it is significant that the majority of the cases are in the United States, the first country to release GM crops and remaining the top producer ever since.
There are other findings implicating Agrobacterium in transgenic plants released into the environment, particularly during the early years of field trials, when knowledge was poor and safety measures not as stringent as they may be today.
Agrobacterium persists in transgenic plants and is a vehicle for gene escape
By the late 1990s, the Agrobacterium vector system became very widely used, and many GM crops created were commercially released.
Scientists at the Kinsealy Research and Development Centre in Dublin, Ireland, and the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Dundee, Scotland, were concerned that the inserted genes in plants would spread to wild populations by cross-pollination or by horizontal gene transfer to unrelated species, which was by then well-documented in the scientific literature.
They considered it “imperative” to address the risk posed in using Agrobacterium as a tool in genetic engineering , given its ability to transfer genes to plants. The transformation procedure involves inoculating the cells or tissue explants with Agrobacterium and co-cultivation the plant cells and bacterium for a short period, followed by the elimination of the bacterium with antibiotics.
However, if all the bacteria were not eliminated, then “release of these plants may also result in release of the Agrobacterium [with the foreign genes]”, which will serve as a vehicle for further gene escape, at least to other Agrobacterium strains naturally present in the soil.
Although various antibiotics have been used to eliminate Agrobacterium following transformation, the researchers stated that “very few authors actually test to ensure that the antibiotics succeed.”
The difficulty is compounded because the bacterium can remain latent within the plant tissue. So putting transgenic plant material into culture medium without antibiotics and finding no Agrobacterium is no guarantee that the transgenic plant is free of the bacterium, as was often assumed.
In their study, they investigated the ability of antibiotics to eliminate Agrobacterium tumefaciens after transformation in three model systems: Brassica (mustard), Solanum (potato), and Rubus (raspberry). The antibiotics carbenicillin, cefataxime and ticaracillin were used respectively to eliminate the bacterium at four times the minimum bactericidal concentration, as recommended. They found that none of the antibiotic succeeded in eliminating Agrobacterium.
The contamination levels increased from 12 to 16 weeks to such an extent that transgenic Solanum cultures senesced and died. Contamination in shoot material decreased over 16 to 24 weeks possibly because only the apical node was used in further culture, but even that did not eliminate Agrobacterium from all the samples; 24 percent remained contaminated at 24 weeks.
The binary vector was also present under non-selective conditions up to 6 months after transformation, where approximately 50 percent of contaminated material still harboured bacterial cells with the binary vector at high levels of about 107 colony forming units per gram. The researchers pointed out: “Here is where the possibility of gene escape arises. The presence of the disarmed Agrobacterium in the tissue would not be a problem if the binary vector had been lost, but now its survival and spread are real possibilities.” The binary vector contains the foreign genes as well as antibiotic resistance marker gene(s).
There is no limit to the foreign genes that can be inserted into the binary vector. A few years earlier, a research group in Israel had inserted a viroid that causes disease in citrus fruits into the disarmed Ti plasmid of Agrobacterium and used that to infect and transform several plant species including tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) Gynura aurantiaca, avocado (Persea americana), and grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) grafted on Troyer citrange (Pancirus trifoliate x C. sinensis) . Extracts prepared from tissues of the infected plants 38-90 days after inoculation were plated on selective media and found to contain large amounts of the engineered bacteria.
The researchers warned of “newly formed combinations of persistently transmitted viruses” coupled with “the opportunistic and systemically moving Agrobacterium vector infectious to a wide host range might eventually cause infection and damage to crop plants or natural vegetation” that are “not presently visited by the traditional vectors of the virus disease.”
In other words, Agrobacterium persisting in transgenic plants released into the environment has the potential to spread new diseases, and to plants that normally would not be infected by the disease agents. At the time, the researchers did not know that Agrobacterium would also infect animals and humans, and could spread new diseases to them as well.
Have these warnings been heeded by other researchers? There is no evidence they have been taken on board. Agrobacterium has since been shown to transform at least 80 different non-plant species including yeasts and other fungi, algae, mammalian and human cells, also the gram positive bacterium Streptomyces lividans. In a recent review, the researchers stated : “Future research has to show whether Agrobacterium-mediated transformation contributed to horizontal gene transfer between microorganisms in the rhizosphere.”
But there is already evidence suggesting that Agrobacterium can indeed engage in horizontal gene transfer with a wide range of bacteria in the soil. (For more on horizontal gene transfer see  Horizontal Gene Transfer from GMOs Does Happen, SiS 38)
Agrobacterium gene transfer mechanisms similar to conjugation in bacteria
Ho first alerted regulators to the potential of Agrobacterium contaminating GM plants to facilitate the escape of transgenes in 2003 (see Living with the Fluid Genome  and The Case for A GM-Free Sustainable World  ISIS publications). By then, Gayle Ferguson and Jack Heinemann at the University of Canterbury, Christchurh, New Zealand, had already pointed out in a review that the process whereby Agrobacterium injects T-DNA into plant cells strongly resembles conjugation, the normal mating process between bacteria .
Conjugation, mediated by certain bacterial plasmids, depends on a sequence called the origin of transfer (oriT) on the DNA transferred. All other functions – called tra for trans-acting functions – can be supplied from unlinked sources. Thus, ‘disabled’ plasmids with no trans-acting functions, can nevertheless be transferred by helper plasmids, the same as the binary vector system of Agrobacterium (Box 1). The resemblance does not stop there.
The left and right borders of T-DNA are similar to oriT and can be replaced by it. Furthermore, the disarmed T-DNA binay vector, lacking oncogenes as well as virulence genes, can be helped by similar genes belonging to many other pathogenic bacteria. The trans-kingdom gene transfer apparatus of Agrobacterium and the conjugative systems of bacteria are both involved in transporting macromolecules, not just DNA but also protein.
Thus, transgenic plants with contaminating Agrobacterium  “have a ready route for horizontal gene escape, via Agrobacterium, helped by the ordinary conjugative mechanisms of many other bacteria that cause diseases, which are present in the environment.” In the process, new and exotic disease agents could be created.
Investigations on the role of Agrobacterium in Morgellons Disease urgently needed
The investigation launched by the CDC needs to clarify the role of Agrobacterium in the aetiology of Morgellons Disease as a matter of urgency. This should include:
Molecular characterization of Agrobacterium DNA sequences in Morgellans Disease patients
Design of suitable probes for diagnostic purposes and for monitoring soil samples and other suspected sources of infection
Introduction of stringent tests for Agrobacterium contamination for all transgenic plants already released or about to be released into the environment.
AKRON, Ohio (Aug. 20 ) -Tire maker Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said Tuesday it will close 92 underperforming stores by the end of the year in a bid to boost profit in its U.S. operations.
The company said the locations are not producing “acceptable returns.”
Goodyear said by closing those stores, it will be able to focus on locations with “the best long-terms potential.”
The company added it will not announce the locations set to be closed until it has been able to communicate with the 500 full-time and 100 part-time employees who will be affected.
The closures will result in after-tax charges of about $30 million. About $15 million of those charges will be recorded in the third quarter, the company said.
Goodyear said shutting the stores will eliminate losses of about $9 million annually from the stores.
Goodyear shares fell 6 cents to $20.12 in electronic after-hours trading. During regular trading, the shares dropped 70 cents, or 3.4 percent, to close at $20.18.
*Screw John Hagee and his dispensationalist, zionist crowd…let him be forced to wallow in the hell he has created.*
In 1948, beginning with the Deir Yassin massacre, Zionists terrorized 800,000 indigenous Palestinians into fleeing their homes in Palestine. (See, <http://www.truthtellers.org/alerts/israelfoundedonterror.htm>Israel: Founded on Terror ) Yet, much Zionist propaganda today, responding to evangelical gullibility, adds insult to horrific injury. It claims that Arab refugees who inhabit Israeli concentration camps and demand return to their ancestral lands and property have no claims at all. Why? Because their parents and grandparents didn’t truly occupy Israel.
Such propaganda asserts that Palestine was a wasteland of desolate sand dunes when Jewish pioneers arrived at the beginning of the 20th century. A tiny indolent Arab population may have lived there; but Jews, through vision, enterprise, and hard work (as well as divine blessing) made the land “blossom as the rose.”
This Zionist mythology says Arab “Palestinians” only arrived after Jews brought Palestine to life. They were neighboring Arabs who swarmed in, seeking to benefit from Jewish-created prosperity. They lied, say Zionists, about owning and occupying Palestine for centuries. Having no deep and vested loyalty to the land (as did Jews), these imposters fled in panic in 1948, fearing the crossfire of an Arab-Israeli war. As a result, Israel says the land claims of these so-called “Palestinians” need not be honored.
Pastor John Hagee, dependable mouthpiece of Zionist disinformation, summarizes what tens of millions of evangelicals unquestioningly believe:
The land of Israel never belonged to the Palestiniansthere has never been a land called Palestine. There is no Palestinian language. Before 1948, the people now called Palestinians lived in Egypt. They lived in Syria. They lived in Iraq. They moved into the land of Israel when they were displaced by the war of 1948, which the Arab nations started, but Israel is not occupying territory these people now call home. 1
Such claims lead to Israel-absolving conclusions: No injustice has been done to Palestinians. Israel need not return land and property it never took.
The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem (EPP) rebuts these lies with documentation that is truly encyclopedic, as have Israeli “new historians” such as Benny Morris. 2
Many cultures and nations passed through Palestine since Jews were banished in the 2nd century A.D. But EPP says its occupants largely remained descendants of the ancient Philistines, from whom the title “Palestine” is derived. EPP quotes Abraham Granott, former managing director of the Jewish National Fund, who admits: “When the kingdom of Byzantium was subjected by the Arabs, practically the whole land belonged to the big proprietorswhile the soil was cultivated by the former owners who had remained on their plots as tenants” Thus, EPP says, “The Palestinian Arabs arethe descendants of the Philistines and of all Semitic peoples who have lived in Palestine since the time of the Canaanites” (p. 33). This included the ancient Samaritans whom God, in the time of Jeremiah, allowed to occupy Palestine because the Jews would not obey. The same divine invitation extends to Gentiles today until a remnant out of Israel will at last repent at Christ’s second coming. (See, <http://www.truthtellers.org/alerts/almostanyone
occupypalestine.htm>Almost Anyone Can Occupy Palestine)
Palestine: Mideast Breadbasket
Despite de-forestation and over-grazing of its highlands, Palestine always lived up to its Biblical reputation as a breadbasket “a land flowing with milk and honey.” EPP says,
“The historical record disproves the Zionist lie that Palestine was undeveloped before the establishment of Jewish settlements in Palestine. Muqqadisi, a native of Jerusalem who died in 986 A.D., enumerated the principal products of Palestine in the 10th century: ‘among whose agricultural produce was particularly copious and prized: fruit of every kind (olives, figs, grapes, quinces, plums, apples, dates, walnuts, almonds, jujube, and bananas),” etc.
[A late 10th century description says,] “Palestine is watered by the rains and dew. Its trees and plowed fields do not need artificial irrigation. Palestine is the most fertile of the Syrian provinces.”
“In 1615, the English traveler George Sandys described Palestine as ‘a land that flows with milk and honey.’”
[A British missionary who visited Palestine in 1859 describes the southern coastland area as a] “very ocean of wheat.”
“The German geographer Alexander Scholch concluded that between 1856 and 1892, ‘Palestine produced a relatively large agricultural surplus which was marketed in neighboring countries’” [including Europe.] “Laurence Oliphant, who visited Palestine in 1887, wrote that Palestine’s Valley of Esdraelon was a ‘huge green lake of waving wheatand it presents one of the most striking pictures of luxuriant fertility which it is possible to conceive.’”
[According to Paul Masson, a French economic historian] “wheat shipments from the Palestinian port of Acre had helped to save southern France from famine on numerous occasions in the 17th and 18th centuries” (p. 33).
So much for the Zionist “barren sand dunes” claim!
Who Made Israel Blossom?
Contrary to Zionist mythology, Palestinian farmers were among the most efficient in the world. EPP presents extensive records (largely from British and UN archives) of Arab agricultural production in the decades before expulsion by the Zionists in 1948. Agricultural production and efficiency exploded, especially in the first half of the 20th century. Palestinians took deep pride in themselves and keenly anticipated statehood.
EPP says after Zionists terrorized most Palestinians into flight, Israel suddenly possessed vast holdings of citrus, olives, grapes, tobacco, wheat, etc. Israel since boasted that it planted these crops on former sand dunes, but EPP reveals the truth: Israeli agriculture didn’t burgeon before 1948 primarily because of Western Jewish subsidies or the celebrated kibbutzim (socialist, low-incentive collectives later largely abandoned as inefficient). Instead, “In 1948, the Zionists seized 90 percent of Arab-owned citrus groves, packaging and storage facilities, as well as that year’s crop, looting the prosperous Arab citrus groves and making them [the Arab owners] destitute refugees” (p. 41).
EPP also presents extensive statistics proving that the Palestinians were hardly the ignorant “donkey drivers” of Zionist propaganda. Their population boasted a disproportionate number of urban professionals.
These Arab towns and villageswere developed communities, containing farms, factories, stores and schools, with an infrastructure of doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, merchants, mechanics, industrialists, workers and farmers which would be the envy of any developing country today (p. 34).
How Many Arabs in Palestine?
EPP says that 634,133 Arabs lived in Palestine in 1914. The first official census in 1922 listed 590,890 Muslim Arabs and at least 50,000 Christians Arabs. By 1948, an estimated 1,440,274 Palestinian Arabs dwelt in 12 cities or major towns and 830 small towns and villages (p. 25-26).
EPP exhaustively documents all major aspects of Palestinian life during the 20th century preceding 1948. Such data confirms that Palestinians were very capable of creating a thriving mid-east democracy as soon as permitted.
“The indigenous Arab population was recognized by paragraph 4 of article XXII of the League of Nations Covenant as ‘a provisionally independent nation.’ Palestine was placed under a Class A mandate, the very status of which indicated that the indigenous population was well advanced toward self-determination” (p. 35). [Under the British in 1947,] “there were 309 high Government Arab officials and 30,178 lower grade Arab officials” (p. 27-28)
From 1919 to 1948, no fewer than 10 Palestinian political parties tried to stop more Jews from entering Palestine, prevent further acquisition of Arab lands by Jews, and form a working Palestinian state. Bedeviled by disunity, Arab Palestinians could not hold at bay the much more focused, organized, and implacable ambitions of Zionists to ultimately displace the Palestinians altogether (p. 36-39).
Yet some early and brutal Zionists were more truthful than contemporary Israeli mythmakers. Gen. Moshe Dayan said bluntly:
“We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is, a Jewish state here. Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. There is not one place in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”
An entire Jewish area has been wiped out as a result of Georgia’s military offensive in Tskhinvali. Witnesses in the South Ossetian capital say there’s hardly a home standing in the area where the city’s Jewish population lived.
Out of 20 families who lived in the Jewish neighbourhood, only one is left. Nobody knows where the others are, whether they’re alive or dead.
“I was pushing myself up against the wall when the bombing started. Next couple of days I spent in the basement,” recalls local Jewish resident Ribka Jinjikashvili.
Jewish people in the city say they’ve always lived in peace with their neighbours. They considered Tskhinvali to be their home, but found themselves in the midst of an ethnic conflict.
Journalist Zalina Tskhavridova says Tskhinvali ‘is a multinational city’.
“We used to have a Jewish neighbourhood, which was one of the most authentic and historical streets in the city.
“The genocide was committed against civilians of South Ossetia regardless of their ethnicity,” Tskhavridova said.
South Ossetian Jews say they are waiting for the Israeli government to save them. But since many of them hold Russian passports they are unclear where they should turn for help.
*Learn to swim.*
Britain could be heading for it wettest August for a century as forecasters predicted more heavy rain today, but held out the hope of a drier bank holiday.
Homes were flooded and cricket and horse racing events cancelled yesterday as heavy rain lashed the country, causing rivers to burst their banks.
The Met Office issued severe weather warnings, predicting up to 50mm of rain tomorrow in the north-west of England, Yorkshire and the Humber, the East Midlands and Scotland. Warnings were already in place in south and central Wales and central Scotland.
Across Britain, 95.5mm of rain has fallen so far this month, as of last Sunday. It may seem a long way from August 1917 when a record 166.3mm fell – but there has already been a considerable amount of rain since Sunday and forecasters warn of more to come.
But bank holiday Monday could see temperatures hitting a more seasonal 20-25 degrees.
The Met Office said England and Wales would be mainly dry and humid, with a few showers in the north. Scotland and Northern Ireland will have some rain, but not as heavy as in the last few days.
Southern and central Scotland has suffered some of the heaviest rain over the last 24 hours, with flash floods damaging homes and cars. York’s Ebor race meeting was abandoned for today and tomorrow after the course was waterlogged by four times the average rainfall for August. The first two days of the four-day fixture had already been cancelled.
England’s Twenty20 international against South Africa was called off yesterday following heavy rain at the Durham’s Riverside stadium in Chester-le-Street.
Arguments about genetic modification, often wrongly characterised as science versus irrational nature-worshippers, have lost none of their passion. On one side are those who yearn for simple, high-tech solutions to complex problems. Against GM, there are ecological realities and scientific evidence. There is overwhelming evidence that farming took a wrong turn after the last war, with widespread use of artificial nitrogen fertilisers and sprays.
In Britain, we lost up to 95 per cent of our ancient woodlands, flower meadows, hedges and wildlife and saw massive losses of farms and farm workers’ jobs. Farming became more oil-dependent. Our food lost vitamins, taste and diversity and our diet became unhealthy.
As the environmental and human cost of industrial farming became harder to deny, along came a new miracle cure – genetic engineering. Twenty years ago, GM promised unbelievable wonders – fruit that would never freeze, crops needing no fertiliser or sprays and food with vitamins and medicines engineered in. All food would soon be GM. Geneticists would engineer anything we wanted, taking a gene from a fish here, a pig there, adding a bacteria gene and maybe a bit of a virus.
The greatest coup by the GM companies, and their greatest scientific fraud, was to ensure no GM food had to be tested for safety. In America, they established the concept of “substantial equivalence” – which means that if a GM crop looks like its non-GM equivalent and grows like it, then it is it – no safety testing is needed before people eat it. GM maize could have added virus and antibiotic resistance genes, and a gene that makes it express an insecticide in every leaf, stem and root – but to the US government it looks and grows like maize, so it is safe to eat.
GM crops face mounting scientific evidence of uncertainty, risk and danger. But now, because of rising food prices, the GM industry’s claim that GM is needed to feed the world is suddenly newsworthy again. However, a key reason for soaring food prices – higher oil costs leading to higher fertiliser prices – also presents a massive threat to GM crops. All current and planned GM crops depend on artificial, oil-based fertiliser to grow, and all need to be treated with pesticides to survive.
In 2006, the pro-GM US Department of Agriculture observed that “currently available GM crops do not increase yield potential” – a point already made by a 2004 UN Food and Agriculture Organisation report which acknowledged that “GM crops can have reduced yields”. The recently published UN IAASTD report, the work of more than 400 international scientists, about the future of global food production under the challenges of climate change and population pressure, concluded that GM crops do not have much to offer.
Confirming an earlier FAO conference’s conclusions, the IAASTD report acknowledged organic farming’s real potential to help feed the world in an era of rising oil prices and the urgent need to cut greenhouse gases, because organic systems use solar energy and clover to fix nitrogen in the soil, not oil and gas. The value of this approach was also confirmed in a report this year by the International Trade Centre, technical advisors to the WTO and UN. The new challenge we face is: how do we feed the world as oil and gas become costlier and scarcer, and as we cut greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050? No one suggests the answer to that is GM.