A Kentucky Community Surrounded by Coal Ash

SOURCE:  Read More Here

This week’s coal ash community profile was written by Elizabeth Irvin, a Sierra Club Apprentice.

KY coal ash
Ash about 20 feet over containment berm, 50 yards from residents’ homes in Riverside Gardens. Picture is taken from 2nd story window of resident’s house. Credit: Thomas Pearce, Sierra Club.

For one weekend each year in early May, Louisville, Kentucky, boasts an abnormally high concentration of horses, jockeys, mint juleps, and elaborate hats. Less than ten miles from Churchill Downs, the neighborhood of Riverside Gardens has been dealing with an abnormal and deadly concentration of toxic chemicals every day for more than 40 years. A low income neighborhood in an area of Louisville known for its concentration of chemical plants, landfills, and power plants, Riverside Gardens may soon be forced to deal with yet another threat: a second coal ash dump in their community.

Monica Burkhead thought she was living the American dream when she bought a house in Riverside Gardens at the age of 17. She was assured that the neighborhood was safe, but has since learned that she is surrounded by growing quantities of all forms of toxic waste. The sources of these toxins include 11 chemical plants, a 2.4 million cubic yard unlined chemical landfill that is one of the state’s oldest superfund sites, and multiple unlined coal ash waste ponds at the Cane Run coal plant owned by Louisville Gas and Electric.

The oldest of these coal ash ponds was built in the 1970s, but there are no records of any monitoring of any pond until 2005. The largest of these ponds is one of 49 nationwide that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated as “high hazard” – meaning that a dam failure like the 2008 disaster in Tennessee would probably result in loss of life. Ash in this pond looms 20 feet over the containment berm, 50 yards from homes and within 350 yards of the Ohio River.

Louisville Gas and Electric is currently seeking permits to “expand” the pond at the Cane Run coal plant by constructing a new 5.7 million cubic yard, 14-story-tall pond some 1,500 feet from the existing one. What little data can be obtained about the existing ponds shows that they have been leaking sulfates into local groundwater. Neither the coal plant nor the state government has made public any tests of the toxic heavy metals found in coal ash, including arsenic, selenium, and mercury.

Monica and her neighbors live in a community ravaged by cancer. EPA has found that people living near coal ash ponds have a risk of cancer greater than that of smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. Community organizers say that behind every door they knock on is someone with either cancer or kidney failure.

When Monica took the community’s concerns to the chemical and coal companies, they told her that it was their lifestyles, and not the toxic contamination, that was making them sick.
Monica doesn’t smoke or drink, eats healthily, and gets regular exercise. All of her family members except her husband have battled cancer. The industries evidently consider living in Riverside Gardens a lifestyle choice, even though the neighborhood existed long before plants that are now polluting it.

Resident Terri Humphrey expressed a common sentiment when she told a community meeting, “I believe the companies think that it’s already so bad down there that it doesn’t matter if they dump something else on us.”

Monica, Terri, and other Riverside Gardens residents will testify at the upcoming EPA coal ash hearing in Louisville on September 28th. Monica says that EPA can begin to repair her trust in government’s ability to protect communities by enacting a strong, federally enforceable rule that ends dangerous practices like the ones employed at the Cane Run plant.

Last spring, a group of children at nearby Farnsley Middle School were top 10 finalists in a competition to be “America’s Greenest School.” In the video they produced, students talk about their plans to manage the school’s waste more responsibly. Strong leadership from EPA and Administrator Lisa Jackson can make coal companies live up to the example set by the students in their own community.

See www.sierraclub.org/coalash to learn more and take action on toxic coal ash.

Bruce directs Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, which works to reduce America’s over reliance on coal, slash coal’s contribution to global warming, end destructive mining, and secure investments in clean energy

SOURCE:  Read More Here

Why Won’t the Government Let James Stacy Tell the Truth?

James Dean Stacy wants to tell the truth during his upcoming federal trial. Too bad the government won’t let him.



Last September, Stacy, founder of the “Movement in Action” medical marijuana collective in San Diego county, had his shop raided just weeks after opening by agents with the DEA, who discovered dozens of cannabis plants. He’s facing federal drug charges as a result.

The arrest and prosecution have come despite pledges from President Obama, echoed by Attorney General Eric Holder, to respect state rules on medical marijuana — a fact Stacy took to mean he was safe operating his collective so long as he was complying with California law. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

But marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug by the federal government — alongside heroin and cocaine — meaning it is officially considered to have no medicinal value (the government’s own studies aside) possession is held to be illegal in all cases.

Over the summer federal District Court Judge Barry Moskowitz ruled that Stacy’s assumption Obama would put a stop to the controversial federal raids on pot dispensaries was “unreasonable” — and inadmissible as evidence in his defense; an admission, perhaps, that one should never take a politician’s words at face value. As for that law overwhelmingly passed by California voters in 1996 legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal use? Stacy can’t mention that either. But he doesn’t hold it against Moskowitz.

“I kinda think the judge is pretty fair,” Stacy says in an interview with Change.org. “He’s done what the law has allowed him to do.” Indeed, medical marijuana patients have routinely been denied the opportunity to present the truth as evidence in their federal trials: that they were complying with a state law that explicitly legalized what they were doing.

The real disappointment, Stacy says, is that “the president and the attorney general haven’t stuck up for what they said they were going to do, and that they’re continuing to allow the DEA to keep raiding people.”

While the Justice Department issued a memo last October instructing federal law enforcement agencies to not pursue “individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana,” more than two dozen dispensaries and collectives have since been raided. Just this month several dispensaries in Nevada were raided by the federal government, despite a 2000 state law legalizing the use of marijuana as medicine.

And federal agents appear to be picking what they see as easy targets.

There are more than 100 dispensaries in San Diego, and hundreds more in Los Angeles — Oakland even has its own university dedicated to teaching the finer points of marijuana cultivation — so why pursue a relatively obscure dispensary that had been open for only a matter of weeks, one might ask?

"They’re going after small people who can’t afford to hire these big fancy lawyers and trying to prosecute them," says Stacy. And there’s some evidence for that: another San Diego man whose dispensary was raided by the federal government the same day as Stacy’s collective pled guilty to drug charges rather than fight a protracted legal battle that other, more well-off defendants might have considered.

“I think the best we can hope for is just to tell the truth — the part of the truth they’ll let us,” Stacy says. “Lucky for me I think I’ve got some really good lawyers in my public defenders.”

He also has advocates in Congress — liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans alike.

In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), Congressmen Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) note that Stacy is “the first individual to face federal prosecution under the Obama administration’s new policy” — much ballyhooed, but not so much implemented — on medical marijuana.

“Regardless of how scrupulous their compliance with state law and/or local ordinances, medical marijuana patients and their providers remain vulnerable to federal enforcement raids, arrest, and prosecution by U.S. Attorneys,” the congressmen write. “Worse still, these persons are barred from introducing evidence that demonstrates that he or she was acting in accordance with state law.”

The letter asks Conyers to hold a hearing on a bill that would attempt to fix the situation: the “Truth in Trials” act, or as it’s known in legislative speak, H.R. 3939. The proposal would “permit someone acting property under state medical marijuana laws to use that fact as an affirmative defense in federal court proceedings.”

Conyers is himself a cosponsor of the legislation, as are a total of 32 others, from liberal standard-bearers like Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Barney Frank (D-MA) to conservatives and libertarians such as Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Ron Paul (R-TX). However, a spokeswoman for the Judiciary Committee was unable to say whether he would ever hold a hearing on the bill. And spokesmen for Farr and Rohrabacher say the congressmen have received no response in the month since they sent their letter.

But the lawmakers are “still pushing the issue,” Tom Mentzer, press secretary for Congressman Farr, tells Change.org. “As more states legalize marijuana for medical use (and California potentially going even further), we’re only going to see more state/federal conflict and there will be an even greater need to offer a comprehensive defense during trial.”

“It remains an issue of fairness and an issue of state rights,” says Mentzer. “President Obama’s move to limit arrests for medical marijuana doesn’t change the need for a legislative fix.”

James Stacy’s trial begins November 1st. And though the odds — and federal law — are stacked against him, he remains hopeful he will ultimately win, whether he’s allowed to tell the complete truth or not. In the meantime, Stacy says those interested in helping his case should contact their congressman, ask them to support the Truth in Trials act, and demand Chairman Conyers — a cosponsor of the bill — finally hold hearings on the legislation. “That would just be the best thing I could think of.”

Tell your lawmaker to support the congressmen’s proposal — and demand that the House Judiciary Committee hold a hearing on this important legislation. It’s time to lift the government’s ban on the truth.

by Charles Davis

In Praise of Hemp

September 27, 2010 at 16:30:57


Promoted to Headline (H3) on 9/27/10: Permalink

In Praise of Hemp

Jim Prues (about the author)     Page 1 of 2 page(s)


For OpEdNews: Jim Prues – Writer

Hemp by Hendrike


Hemp is the common name for cannabis, the first plant cultivated by humanity as we crept from being Neolithic to becoming Agrarian. Likely this was due to a few reasons. First, hemp is an extremely versatile plant, with leaves, seeds and stalks all capable of creating useful products. Second, it’s particularly easy to grow, needing little in the way of fertilizer or pest control. And finally, hemp is native to many parts of the world, particularly The Fertile Crescent, where some of the first agriculture happened early in our civilization.

Hemp use predates the Agrarian Age, as hemp fibers have been found in pottery in China and Taiwan dating to 7,000 years ago. The classical Greek historian Herodotus (ca. 480 BC) reported that the inhabitants of Scythia would often inhale the vapours of hemp smoke, both as ritual and for their own pleasurable recreation. So presumably the Scythians were the first recorded stoners.

In Europe, hemp growing and production became quite popular during the Medieval Age, having disseminated in that direction along with much of the technology of the Arabic Golden Age in Northern Africa. In Europe hemp seeds were used for food and oils, the leaves for teas and the stalks for fibres, including rope, clothes, sails and paper. Estimates put the number of Europeans actively involved in hemp growing and production in the 15th and 16th century at well over 50%.

Hemp has a strong historical influence on every continent, with varied cultural and religious traditions. Many African spiritual practices involve consuming hemp smoke to enhance awareness and generate visions like the Dagga "cults’.

The Spaniards brought hemp to the Western Hemisphere and cultivated it in Chile starting about 1545. However, in May 1607, "hempe" was among the crops Gabriel Archer observed being cultivated by the natives at the main Powhatan village, where Richmond, Virginia is now situated; and in 1613, Samuell Argall reported wild hemp "better than that in England" growing along the shores of the upper Potomac. As early as 1619, the first Virginia House of Burgesses passed an Act requiring all planters in Virginia to sow "both English and Indian" hemp on their plantations. The Puritans are first known to have cultivated hemp in New England in 1645.

In more modern times, hemp was a popular crop in antibellum Kentucky and other southern states. It was commonly used for a variety of products, most notably the paper on which the U.S. Constitution was written. Several of our founding fathers were hemp farmers.

All this changed with William Randoph Hearst, who began demonizing hemp in order to leverage his great tracks of forest for paper production instead of needing to buy hemp from other farmers. His effort to demonize the plant was also instigated by his racism, as many hispanics and blacks used hemp for recreation. The word, marijuana, is the hispanic term for that form of hemp which has psychoactive ingredients.

There are several varieties of hemp, most of which have very little THC [tetra-hydro-cannabanoid], the mind-effecting component. For most of U.S. history, the distinction was well-understood and laws reflected that awareness. Like so many with the power of media, however, Mr. Hearst did his best to cloud that distinction, as he was against hemp in any form. Indeed, industrial hemp was referred to as "ditchweed’, while hemp for medicinal or recreations purposes has come to be known as marijuana.

An analogy would be poppies, where you have the breadseed poppy seeds that can be found on bread or rolls, in contrast to the opium poppies grown to create morphine and heroin.

As reference, the timber and lumber industries, textile and petro-chemical industries are the most influential in keeping hemp illegal. As usual, we can follow the money. Then for pot there’s the pharmaceutical industry, the alcohol lobby and all those anti-drug agencies with self-preservation interests. We learn much from understanding these connections.

With this background, let’s consider how hemp might again play a pivotal role in our culture.

Assuming access to air and water, our most regular needs are for food and energy. In the World4 culture, these needs, at least for the industrialized world, are met through global corporations like ADM, Monsanto, BP and Exxon. And of course, hemp is illegal to grow in much of the industrialized world and particularly the United States.

But as noted above, hemp is easily grown with little required in the way of fertilizer or pesticides. As such, hemp typifies a sustainably-oriented plant. Corn, by comparison, requires heavy doses of fertilizer, especially nitrogen, and requires a good deal of pesticide use, with Roundup often used to kill weeds, and genetically modified corn seed that is resistant to the effects of Roundup. With the vast expanses of corn grown in this country, it should be no surprise that the runoff from these chemicals has created a huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. And let us not forget that our tax dollars subsidize these efforts through farm and energy subsidies.

With hemp, we have a low-impact, high-yield crop that can be used for a variety of uses. The stalks and fiber can used for composites that can be a wood substitute in an array of products. They can also be processed to create ethanol. They can be burned as a carbon-neutral resource, since the carbon they release is but the carbon the plant ingested during it’s life. Durable, light-weight, and strong, i t’s difficult to imagine all the uses for industrial hemp were we to focus on designing and building hemp-based products.

With hemp oil we have another energy-rich resource, which can be used in cooking, as lamp oil and as a medicinal, as its high concentration of essential fatty acids is great for the skin and overall health.

Continue Reading here:

Hemp is the common name for cannabis, the first plant cultivated by humanity as we crept from being Neolithic to becoming Agrarian

Campaign Refresher: Jack’s Liquor Problem

The one thing that has been brought to the forefront of Kentucky politics lately is the issue of hemp and the possibility of the "gateway drug" marijuana. There are many variations of politicians. There are the ones who see growing hemp as the free market principles working and that in the history of Kentucky the growth of hemp was fairly normal. Hemp has many uses that would be beneficial for the market place and helpful for the 65% of Kentucky farmers not receiving government payouts:

As you can see by the graphic we as Kentuckians can grow one crop that could do so much for our community (by jobs and product) and our country. Our own government has reportedly been using hemp from Canada and in some reports has been known to grow their own. But, the growth of hemp is a ‘tip of the iceberg’ fight.
Then there is the Prohibitionist politicians who want the evils of Gambling, Alcohol and drugs as far from them as possible. As if the War on Drugs (which we have spent 30 trillion since the 1980’s on) hasn’t proved a waste of tax payers money and has ruined the lives of many and throwing our nations poor in prison for very minor infractions.
Then there is our old friends the Pander Bears. The ones who logically should see the light but, prefer winning elections instead of being honest. The real question is WHY as a state known for growing some of the best marijuana against the growth for personal consumption?
But still, there is a 4th politician. The hypocrite. Recently, when asked about hemp farming by the Marion County Line reporter Jim Higdon, Jack Conway responded that allowing farmers to grow hemp was basically legalizing a “gateway drug.” No mention of the commerce clause from Mr. Conway or if banning hemp at the federal level is even constitutional, in his opinion, without an amendment.
This is a point the Capitalist Banner brought up in a blog I think needs to be examined. First off, most teens or people who have used marijuana do not start out with marijuana. The thought it’s the "gateway drug" is almost laughable. The fact Mr. Higdon was referring to Hemp aside (which is totally different) I’d like to ask Jack Conway, "What person do you know in your life who has used marijuana that did not smoke tobacco or drink alcohol before marijuana?" I’d venture to say near 9 out of 10.
This brings us to the point, that the term "gateway drug" then must be applied to alcohol or tobacco. Jack Conway’s a defender of tobacco and alcohol and rightfully so. He’s not supporting tobacco and bourbon because Kentucky make a good amount of money in being the home of many fine distilleries and some great tobacco farms. He supports bourbon, because alcohol is how Jack’s wife makes her money and pads close to half of Jack’s family income. How hypocritical is it for a man, who makes money off a liquid drug that has only one purpose to get you drunk, to turns around and put the label of "gateway drug" on a plant that can do so much more than get you high? While all this time his own wife is part of the people who produce alcohol as part of the Brown-Foreman Public relations team.
So, Jack…. do you believe your wife should be out of a job and we should close down all the distilleries? Or do you want to retract your statement about "gateway drug?" Because it really is shameful to use a line like "Gateway drug" when your wife works for a company that gets more people started down the road of addiction. I think Judge Jim Gray should do a lecture for Jack Conway and every politician in power:
**Originally posted on August 3rd, 2010**

Posted by Free Man In Kentucky at 8:00 AM

Eliminate death penalty

By Donald Vish

Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2010/09/05/1421608/eliminate-death-penalty.html#ixzz10kLyvV3N


The death penalty has become an embarrassment. Its administration has undermined public confidence in the way the justice system works.

The best thing its supporters can say about it: It’s not used very much.

The modern history of the death penalty in Kentucky undercuts its credibility as a just, legitimate and effective instrument of public policy.


Today there are 34 people on Death Row. Four people have been executed in the last 53 years. Infrequent use of the death penalty in Kentucky is not proof that executions are reserved for the worst of the worst.

In the last two years, a serial killer, a child-killer rapist and a $1,000-dollar hit man got life sentences while over the years some aggravated murderers got death. Why? A bad crime, a bad lawyer or bad luck?

The disparity in treatment of aggravated murder cases is so inexplicable and so extreme the legitimacy of the death penalty must be called into question.

An honest and impartial examination of aggravated murders in Kentucky would lead one to conclude that it is impossible to discern the legal criteria by which some are sentenced to death and others are not. The gravity of the crime does not appear to be the determining factor.

Similar punishment for similar crimes is a cornerstone of criminal justice. Without it, justice looks random and lacks credibility. Within the universe comprised of heinous crimes and brutal perpetrators administration of the laws governing executions resembles the equivalent of Russian roulette: Most of the time nothing happens but, every now and then, someone gets killed in accordance with the laws of chance.

Last fall, The American Law Institute, the organization that created the blueprint for modern death-penalty laws in this country, concluded that the system it created does not work and cannot be fixed because the constitutional imperatives of consistency in sentencing and the need for individualized sentencing cannot be reconciled. In the context of death penalty jurisprudence, the Constitution is at war with itself and has lost.

The current order scheduling for Sept. 16 the execution of Gregory Wilson, 53, for the brutal murder and rape of a popular restaurant worker Deborah Pooley, necessitated in part by the need to complete the execution before the sleep drug used in the lethal injection mix expires in October, is an example of a broken system.

Since there is not enough of the drug on hand to execute the other two inmates whose death warrants are on Gov. Steve Beshear’s desk, he had to ask his justice secretary to come up with a selection process. While the process may be formulated in utmost good faith, any process that selects one of three under these circumstances more resembles the verdict of chance than the verdict of justice.

The death penalty is riddled with contradictions and contradictory imperatives.

Using a deadly chemical employed in both lethal injection and euthanasia, executions serve the contradictory goals of retribution and a humane death imposed after a legal process that applies contradictory legal mandates of even-handed administration of the law and personal consideration of each case —all in a special time warp that hurries along slowly.

There are too many pieces to the death-penalty puzzle. It’s impossible to make them fit because they don’t Add accidents of geography, race, demographics and wrong convictions to the lethal mix that capital punishment law has become, you get a justice system that’s killing itself.

About the author Donald Vish is a Louisville lawyer, a life member of the American Law Institute and the Director of Advocacy and Education for the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2010/09/05/1421608/eliminate-death-penalty.html#ixzz10kLyvV3N

disparity of sentences unjustified

Stop using drug for executions, company tells Ohio

Friday, September 24, 2010  02:56 AM

Stop using drug for executions, company tells Ohio

By Alan Johnson

Shortage of anesthetic has caused delays in killings in several states

The company that makes the drug Ohio uses to execute condemned prisoners wants the state to stop killing people with its anesthetic.

"Hospira provides these products because they improve or save lives and markets them solely for use as indicated on the product labeling," wrote Dr. Kees Groenhout, the Illinois company’s vice president for clinical research and development, in a letter obtained by The Dispatch.

"As such, we do not support the use of any our products in capital-punishment procedures."

The letter protesting that the purpose of Hospira’s drug has been altered went to Ohio and the 49 other states.

But the state has no intention of changing its one-drug method of execution.

However, Ohio might be forced to put lethal injection on temporary hold next year because of a national shortage of the drug.

Prison officials have enough thiopental sodium – the only drug used in Ohio – to conduct the two remaining executions scheduled for this year: Michael Benge of Butler County on Oct. 6 and Sidney Cornwell of Mahoning County on Nov. 16.

Beyond that, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction isn’t committing to how it will respond to the shortage. Spokeswoman Julie Walburn said the agency might have to ask the governor to grant temporary reprieves for condemned killers.

Executions are scheduled in February and March 2011, and prison officials have been told to hold open additional dates each month in April through October.

A national shortage of thiopental sodium, a widely used anesthetic, has caused delays in executions in several states, most recently Oklahoma and Kentucky. Only Texas, which carries out the most executions of any state, has a sufficient supply.

The shortage worsened after another anesthetic, propofol, was linked to the death of pop star Michael Jackson. As a result of the bad publicity, many anesthesiologists switched to thiopental sodium.

Thiopental sodium is manufactured only by Hospira, of Lake Forest, Ill. Company spokesman Dan Rosenberg cited "manufacturing issues," specifically the shortage of a key ingredient from a supplier, as the reason for the delay. The resumption of production "could be in the first quarter of 2011," he said.

Last December, Ohio became the first state in the nation to switch to a one-drug lethal-injection protocol from one involving three drugs. The state of Washington has since made the same change. Most of the 34 other states that have the death penalty also use thiopental sodium as part of a three-drug protocol.

The drug costs the state $351.10 for the 5 grams needed for a lethal injection. Another 5 grams is kept as backup.

Walburn said the state will not use the alternative method of intramuscular injections as a primary means of execution. That method, involving strong painkiller drugs, is to be used only when the single-drug method fails, she said.


Stop using drug for executions, company tells Ohio

U.S. Wants Broader Internet Wiretap Authority

Published September 27, 2010

The Obama administration is developing plans that would require all Internet-based communication services — such as encrypted BlackBerry e-mail, Facebook, and Skype — to be capable of complying with federal wiretap orders, according to a report published Monday.

National security officials and federal law enforcement argue their ability to eavesdrop on terror suspects is increasingly "going dark," The New York Times reported, as more communication takes place via Internet services, rather than by traditional telephone.

The bill, which the White House plans to deliver to Congress next year, would require communication service providers be technically capable of intercepting and decrypting messages, raising serious privacy concerns, the Times said.

The proposal has "huge implications" and poses a test to the "fundamental elements of the Internet revolution," vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, James Dempsey, told the Times.

"They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function," he was quoted as saying.

Officials contend, however, that without new regulations their ability to prevent attacks could be hindered.

"We’re not talking expanding authority," FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni told the Times. "We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security."

Internet and phone networks are already required to have eavesdropping abilities thanks to a 1994 law called the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act, but the mandate does not apply to communication service providers — like Research in Motion, maker of BlackBerry devices.

RIM has recently been working to resolve disputes with India, the United Arab Emirates and other countries to avert threats to ban BlackBerry services. The countries complained that BlackBerry e-mail encryption posed a national-security risk. India postponed a ban for at least two months after RIM agreed to give security officials "lawful access" to data.

"We’ve made it clear that we are respectful of government needs and fully cooperating to comply with lawful requirements on an industry standard basis, but we cannot compromise the security architecture of the BlackBerry enterprise solution," RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said Thursday, reiterating the company’s previous stance.

Balsillie said RIM "simply has no ability to read the encrypted information and that it has no master key or back door key to allow access."

Read the full report at The New York Times

UN appoints “contact person” for Alien’s from other planets!!!

Read more here:

all religion

The United Nations is set to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth’s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.

Mazlan Othman, the head of the U.N.’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), will describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference center in Buckinghamshire, England.

She will tell delegates that the recent discovery of hundreds of planets around other stars has made the detection of extraterrestrial life more likely than ever before — and that means the U.N. must be ready to coordinate humanity’s response to any "first contact."

During a talk Othman gave recently to fellow scientists, she said: "The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day humankind will receive signals from extraterrestrials.

"When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The U.N. is a ready-made mechanism for such coordination."

Professor Richard Crowther, an expert in space law and governance at the U.K. Space Agency and who leads British delegations to the U.N. on such matters, said: "Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a ‘take me to your leader’ person."

However, he thinks humanity’s first encounter with any intelligent aliens is more likely to be via radio or light signals from a distant planet than by beings arriving on Earth. And, he suggests, even if we do encounter aliens in the flesh, they are more likely to be microbes than anything intelligent.

University of Kentucky Designated as Center of Excellence for Watershed Management

Message: 1
From: U.S. EPA <usaepa@govdelivery.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2010 13:47:41 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4: Water News Releases Update: University of Kentucky Designated as Center of Excellence for Watershed Management

University of Kentucky Designated as Center of Excellence for Watershed Management

Contact Information: James Pinkney, (404) 562-9183, pinkney.james@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – Sept. 24, 2010) Today, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated the University of Kentucky (UK) as a Center of Excellence for Watershed Management. UK is the managing entity of the Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) for the entire University of Kentucky system. This is the first Center of Excellence to be designated in Kentucky and the seventh in the Southeast.

EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Stanley A. Meiburg, UK Executive Vice President for Research, Jim Tracy, WRRI Director, Lindell Ormsbee and Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection Commissioner, R. Bruce Scott signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help communities identify watershed based problems and develop and implement locally sustainable solutions.

To become a recognized Center of Excellence, the institution must demonstrate technical expertise in identifying and addressing watershed needs; involvement of students, staff and faculty in watershed research; capability to involve the full suite of disciplines needed for all aspects of watershed management; financial ability to become self-sustaining; ability to deliver and account for results; willingness to partner with other institutions; and support from the highest levels of the organization.

Some of the benefits of being a recognized Center of Excellence include receipt of EPA technical assistance where needed (instructors, speakers, etc); promotion of the Center of Excellence to stakeholders; EPA letters of support for grant opportunities; and identification of opportunities for Center of Excellence involvement in local and regional watershed issues.
For decades, EPA and KDEP have protected Kentucky’s lakes, rivers and wetlands by regulating specific points of pollution; the most common of these being sewage treatment plants and factories. Although this approach led to the successful cleanup of many waterways, others still remain polluted from sources not as easily regulated. These more subtle sources include farms, streets, parking lots, lawns, rooftops or any other surfaces that come in contact with rainwater. Today, EPA and KDEP take a broader approach to water protection, looking at both the individual waterway and the watershed in which it is located.
Started in 2007, the EPA Region 4 Centers of Excellence for Watershed Management Program works with colleges and universities from across the Southeast to provide hands-on, practical products and services for communities to identify watershed problems and solve them. Each EPA designated Center actively seeks out watershed-based stakeholder groups and local governments that need cost effective tools for watershed scientific studies, engineering designs and computer mapping, as well as assistance with legal issues, project management, public education and planning.
More information about priority watersheds in the Southeast is available online at:


You are subscribed to Region 4: Water News Releases for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

Message: 2
From: U.S. EPA <usaepa@govdelivery.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2010 15:27:31 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4: Water News Releases Update: CORRECTION: Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute designated as Center of Excellence for Watershed Management

CORRECTION: Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute designated as Center of Excellence for Watershed Management

Contact Information: James Pinkney, (404) 562-9183, pinkney.james@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – Sept. 24, 2010) Today, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute (KWRRI) as a Center of Excellence for Watershed Management. This is the first Center of Excellence to be designated in Kentucky and the seventh in the Southeast.

EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Stanley A. Meiburg, University of Kentucky, Executive Vice President for Research, Jim Tracy, WRRI Director, Lindell Ormsbee and Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection Commissioner, R. Bruce Scott signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help communities identify watershed based problems and develop and implement locally sustainable solutions.

To become a recognized Center of Excellence, the institution must demonstrate technical expertise in identifying and addressing watershed needs; involvement of students, staff and faculty in watershed research; capability to involve the full suite of disciplines needed for all aspects of watershed management; financial ability to become self-sustaining; ability to deliver and account for results; willingness to partner with other institutions; and support from the highest levels of the organization.

Some of the benefits of being a recognized Center of Excellence include receipt of EPA technical assistance where needed (instructors, speakers, etc); promotion of the Center of Excellence to stakeholders; EPA letters of support for grant opportunities; and identification of opportunities for Center of Excellence involvement in local and regional watershed issues.
For decades, EPA and KDEP have protected Kentucky’s lakes, rivers and wetlands by regulating specific points of pollution; the most common of these being sewage treatment plants and factories. Although this approach led to the successful cleanup of many waterways, others still remain polluted from sources not as easily regulated. These more subtle sources include farms, streets, parking lots, lawns, rooftops or any other surfaces that come in contact with rainwater. Today, EPA and KDEP take a broader approach to water protection, looking at both the individual waterway and the watershed in which it is located.
Started in 2007, the EPA Region 4 Centers of Excellence for Watershed Management Program works with colleges and universities from across the Southeast to provide hands-on, practical products and services for communities to identify watershed problems and solve them. Each EPA designated Center actively seeks out watershed-based stakeholder groups and local governments that need cost effective tools for watershed scientific studies, engineering designs and computer mapping, as well as assistance with legal issues, project management, public education and planning.
More information about priority watersheds in the Southeast is available online at:


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radicaljusticeman | September 9, 2010 –

An article by D.M. Murdock written in August 2010 and entitled “Why hemp could save the world” states:


An article by D.M. Murdock written in August 2010 and entitled “Why hemp could save the world” states:

“Hemps prohibition has led to untold suffering around the globe. If we—the global human population—had been able to grow the miracle plant hemp (Cannabis genus) locally and to use it for local industries and businesses, including and especially for fuel, we would never have needed to be addicted to oil, for one, an addiction that is at the root of much misery. We would never have allowed ourselves to be lorded over by international oil-mongers whose crimes against humanity have become legion, including wholesale invasion of other lands and slaughter of countless people.”

“None of this oil-related horror—along with the deplorable degradation of the environment globally—would have occurred if hemp had not been prohibited but had been used wisely and intelligently as a major foundation of human society. Indeed, hemp-based economies could still save the human world, while hemp planting could go a massively long way in rescuing the natural world as well.”

“It is said that hemp has up to 50,000 uses, from fiber to fuel to food, but I’ll just provide a taste here:”

“In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, fuel, and medical purposes.”

“Hemp is one of the faster growing biomasses known, producing up to 25 tons of dry matter per hectare per year, and one of the earliest domesticated plants known. “

“One highly important use of hemp has been in detoxifying nuclear waste, as demonstrated by experiments in the Ukraine, for example, on the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Moreover, hemp fuel could actually replace the dangerous and costly nuclear power industry.”
SEE: http://www.examiner.com/freethought-in-national/why-hemp-could-save-the-world

The agenda of the government in its policies against Cannabis have always been to deprive the people access to the plant, while maintaining control over it for the governments own self-interest. This self-interest extends to a multitude of industries including the prison and military industry, the petroleum, timber, cotton, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as the entirety of the banking and corporate establishment which has become empowered through disconnecting people from their one true source of independence and sustenance, the Earth. Cannabis prohibition has served to redirect human evolution from that of a decentralized agrarian lifestyle and natural economy, to a centralized petro-chemical military dictatorship controlled through the artificial economic will of private banks and other trans-national corporate interests.

The next stage in continuing this control, is in the regulation, licensing and taxation of Cannabis cultivation and use through the only practical means available to the corporate system, which is through genetic engineering and patenting of the Cannabis genome.

To achieve this end, the foundation is already being laid in the form of California’s upcoming initiative on the 2010 ballot. This initiative is called Proposition 19: The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.

The leading advocate for Proposition 19 is the organization known as the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). The DPA is the leading organization spearheading the reform of Cannabis policies in the United States, and has been made up of some of the most powerful and influential characters in today’s global petro-bio-chemical-military-banking-industrial complex.

Some of the Directors of DPA include the following:

Paul Adolph Volcker is an Honorary Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) whose career is closely associated with that of the Federal Reserve Bank. He was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 1975-1979, governing board member of the Federal Reserve in 1979, and was Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1979-1987.

Volcker is believed to be a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and served as Undersecretary of the Treasury from 1969-1974 before his time with the Federal Reserve. Volcker is chairman of Wolfensohn & Co. and has ties to Chase Manhattan Bank. He is also linked to the Brookings Institute, as well as being an Honorary Trustee at the Aspen Institute, chairman of the Group of 30, and on the board of the Institute for International Economics.

Frank Charles Carlucci III is an Honorary Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since at least 1995. His government service included positions as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1980-1982 and Deputy Director of the CIA from 1978-1980.

Carlucci is a director on United Defense Industries (the United States’ largest defense contractor), which is owned by the Carlyle Group, a merchant bank based in Washington, D.C., of which Carlucci is the chairman. Carlucci joined Carlyle in 1989.

Before returning to Government service, Carlucci was Chairman and CEO of Sears World Trade, a business he joined in 1983. He was President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor in 1987 and Secretary of Defense from 1987 to 1988.

Nicholas Katzenbach is an Honorary Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and became General Counsel of the IBM Corporation from 1969 until 1986.

Mathilde Krim is a standing Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and was a Trustee for the Rockefeller Foundation in 1980.

George Soros is a standing Director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and is Chairman of Soros Fund Management. Soros was among the highest paid hedge fund managers in 2009, taking home about $3.3 billion. At the end of 2009, he owned about $6.95 billion distributed among 697 stocks.

Soros’ top 5 investment shareholdings are in gold, Petrobras petroleum company, Hess Corp petroleum company, Monsanto corporation, Citigroup Inc., and Suncor Energy Inc.(petroleum company).

That’s right, George Soros, who is famous for being one of the most powerful and influential persons in world economics and whose speculations alone are said to have ‘broke the Bank of England‘, is one of the key directors for the organization that is leading the charge to regulate, control and tax Cannabis in California. All the while George Soros is one of the major shareholders in the worlds largest GM Seed bio-technology corporation known as Monsanto.

The Monsanto corporation brought you things like Agent Orange, Terminator Seeds, Monsantos Round-up ready Herbicide, and Genetically Modified and Patented Organisms made from Soybean, Corn, and Cotton to name a few. Genetically engineered crops entered the market in 1996 and to this day around 90% of all Soy, Corn, and Cotton grown in the U.S. have been Genetically Engineered and patented by a handful of bio-chemical corporations, with Monsanto owning 90% of all GMO patents.

The value of the Cannabis plant as an industry, without factoring in the value of Cannabis as a food or medicine, was estimated to be in the billions in 1938 by an article published by Popular Mechanics Magazine at that time, so its no wonder why one of Monsanto’s major shareholders would have in interest in advocating for one of the main tenants of prop 19, which is to “Make cannabis available for scientific, medical, industrial, and research purposes” and to “adopt a statewide regulatory system for a commercial cannabis industry”. Prop 19 is doing nothing less then opening the floodgates for Monsanto and other petro-chemical, GMO seed and pharmaceutical corporations to commercialize, regulate, control and tax Cannabis through genetic engineering, patenting and licensing.

Monsanto and the Drug Policy Alliance are not the only entities leading the charge to regulate Cannabis through genetic engineering. As published in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of Experimental Botany, Researchers from the College of Biological Science of the University of Minnesota have identified the genes in the Cannabis plant that produce tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC), claiming in a press release that it is “a first step toward engineering a drug-free Cannabis plant”. George Weiblen, an associate professor of plant biology and a co-author of the study, said “Cannabis genetics can contribute to better agriculture, medicine, and drug enforcement”.

George Weiblen conducts his research under a permit granted by the DEA to import Cannabis from outside of the U.S. The two sources from which these imports come from are the Kenex corporation based in Ontario Canada and the HortaPharm corporation based in Amsterdam. These two corporations are two of the very few entities which have acquired a DEA permit to import Cannabis into the United States. The history and role of these corporations illustrate the potential of Genetic Engineering in the global Cannabis market.

Kenex corporation initiated its research program on industrial hemp in 1995 in cooperation with Ridgetown College of University of Guelph in Ontario. A research license was granted by Health Canada to proceed with the program. The scope of the project was expanded in 1996 making it the largest hemp research project in Canada.

It is interesting to note that Kenex’s research program on hemp was initiated at the University of Guelph, which is also home to 24 ag-biotech research facilities, and is heavily funded by the ag-biotech industry, including research funds from Monsanto corporation, Bayor Incorporated, Dupont, Syngenta and Dow Chemical corporation to name a few.

The University of Guelph Impact Study in 2007 states:

“Multi-national companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayor Crop Science, and Semex have set up in Guelph because of the ability to closely interact with research and the ease of access to human, capital, and government resources, as well as the ability to attract investment.”

The University of Guelph has recently genetically engineered and patented the genome of a pig, which they have trademarked the EnviroPig. The University of Guelph has also recently partnered with the Monsanto corporation to genetically engineer a Glyphosate-resistant ragweed, and has contributed significant research and development into genetically engineering strains of Soybean crops. Some of the first Genetically Engineered Canadian bred Soybeans were developed at the University of Guelph, including the GMO Soybean strain called ’OAC Bayfield’. GE Soybean research at the University of Guelph has been vitally important to the growth of the GMO Soybean industry.

On January 2, 2003, the Guelph Mercury reported the following:

“Since the Canadian hemp ban was lifted in 1998, researcher Peter Dragla of the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown College has been selecting and breeding hemp plants to meet industry needs. Now, besides working on varieties with lower levels of tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC)… he’s striving to develop hemp breeds with larger seeds.”

After Kenex corporations Hemp industry was born in a partnership with the Ridgetown college of the University of Guelph, Kenex became Canada’s largest Hemp producer and Supplies Hempseeds for food to companies like Nutiva, based in California.

One of the only other international companies which has acquired a permit to import Cannabis into the U.S. from the DEA is known as the HortaPharm R&D company based out of Amsterdam.

HortaPharm was founded in the late 1990’s by a man named David Watson.

David Watson is credited for developing some of the most widely used Cannabis strains in the world, including his famous strain called Skunk #1 which was imported and used in George Weiblens research to develop GE Cannabis strains at the University of Minnesota.

An article from: http://www.cannabisfarmer.com/web/node/39 reports the following on Mr. David Watson:

“Are your expensive Dutch female (Cannabis) seeds hard to clone, or when you try to breed them, all you get are hermaphrodites?”

“Thank Dr Frankenbeanstein, aka the Skunkman, whose real name is David Watson.”

“At a 1997 Vancouver Hemp conference, Watson spoke of his research. His main focus was to stop growers from cloning nor being able to create any seeds from strains being bred in Amsterdam. The funding for this research came partially from the Dutch Government, the rest from the DEA. Watson had been busted for growing in Santa Cruz California on March-20-1985 and resurfaced in Amsterdam to start his seed company Cultivator’s Choice. DEA supported the Watsons application for a license to grow for research in Holland, even though they should have been extraditing him back to Cali for his 1985 Santa Cruz grow bust! DEA endorsement was so strong that he was the first to be granted a permit in Holland when several universities and domestic research groups with PHD’s and legitimate reasons for research were denied! The Dutch government even supplied three greenhouses for Watson to do his heinous experiments, while normal Dutch growers lost all of their equipment and had to serve murder-like sentences at that time! Dutch seed companies have become the Monsanto of the cannabis seed industry, and hope to make us all seed junkies at $20 a seed.!”

“The license gave Watson control over what researchers are allowed access to pedigreed seeds of predictable quality! The object is to patent up every possible combination of cannabinoids with efficacy for every possible disease they can treat, and every possible genetic sequence! Once ready to make the move, they will shut down every medical cannabis grower for patent fraud”

“Monsanto terminator technology is being applied to Cannabis by (David Watson) at Hortapharm in Holland.”
SEE: http://www.cannabisfarmer.com/web/node/39

The following article published in the UK Independent on September 27, 1998, Interviewed Mr. Watson on the intent of his research in Cannabis with his company HortaPharm:

"It looks like dope, but really it’s hope," explains David Watson. What he means is that many of these plants have been specifically bred not to produce an intoxicating resin or hashish. Indeed, HortaPharm hopes to thwart the aims of the average recreational user.”

The team is already close to finding their own commercial Holy Grail – seeds that will produce a one-off, female, seedless crop of plants with no psychotropic effects for the consumer. Why, you might ask, would they want to do that?

HortaPharm is only interested in developing female plants that are sterile, but this is not just to protect their genetic copyright. "If a plant is not kept busy producing seeds, all its energy can go into resin production," says Watsons Dutch colleague and biochemist Etienne de Meijer.

Watson believes the bright future of (Cannabis) is contained in the greenhouses of HortaPharm and GW Pharmaceuticals.

At his Amsterdam glasshouses, he nods conspiratorially at the healthy- looking garden produce. "Don’t say anything yet, but we are also working on putting THC into tomatoes," he confides. Then he cackles reassuringly: "Only kidding!"
SEE: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/cannabis-a-year-that-changed-minds-1200871.html

David Watson has stated "HortaPharm has built up over many years the most extensive ‘Living Library’ of Medicinal Cannabis varieties in the world”.

In July 1998, Speaking at the International Cannabinoid Research Society conference in Montpellier, Dr Geoffrey W Guy, Chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals, said that HortaPharm will provide GW with exclusive access to its entire range of cannabis varieties for the development of medicines. The worldwide rights acquired by GW for an undisclosed sum cover varieties grown to date with certain exceptions and all varieties to be bred in the future. Plant registrations arising from the Dutch breeding program will be owned by GW pharmaceutical.

Under the agreement GW Pharma will be responsible for the development of specific drug delivery technologies to administer the pharmaceutical grade medicinal cannabis. This work will include a vaporizer for which HortaPharm has a patent pending.

In addition GW Pharma will fund HortaPharm’s botanical research and HortaPharm scientists will
assist in the UK Glasshouse propagation, cloning and cultivation program.

David Watson, CEO of HortaPharm has stated “As soon as Dr Guy’s clinical research indicates the exact desired composition our scientists can breed and register new medicinal varieties".

An article published by Cannabis Culture Magazine in May 2002, states:

“GW’s miracle pot may soon be among the first cannabis plants ever patented. Although some industrial hemp genetics have been copyrighted as intellectual property, Guy is seeking to register marijuana varietals distinguished by specific morphological characteristics, such as color, leaf size and shape, and smell.”

“According to preliminary information provided exclusively to Cannabis Culture, GW’s medical devices will revolutionize the way cannabis is ingested. Cannabis extracts blended in precise ratios will be packaged in a "canister" that joins to an electromechanical device that delivers controlled aerosolized doses of plant-derived cannabinoids without delivering harmful combustion by-products.”

“The canisters and delivery devices will be dispensed by pharmacists, and closely monitored by pharmacists, doctors, and GW itself.”

“"Pharmaceutical companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars researching and producing medicines, but as soon as those medicines are given to patients, they can be improperly used," Guy explains. "Patients might use too much, too little, or they might divert their medications to other people. For medications like cannabis that are controlled substances, it’s essential that medical personnel be able to monitor dosage patterns. Our devices are like a digital camera that records details of time, date and other particulars every time it is used."“

“"Physicians will be able to monitor patient usage remotely," continued Guy. "People won’t be able to tamper with our devices, even though they are portable and easy to use. You’d need a metal saw or a blowtorch to get into one of them. These controls answer concerns of those who worry that our extracts will be used inappropriately. And, these devices can be adapted for other medicines, ensuring patient safety and medical efficacy."“

“Dr Guy and his representatives have engaged in high level discussions with the DEA, FDA, the Office for National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) and senior state officials in California and Maine.”

“"We’ve made some progress in the US," Guy says. "We’ve commenced pre-clinical research in laboratories and other research in a university. This research is aimed at cell protection properties, general pharmacology, and the enhancement of effects afforded by beneficial synergy created when cannabinoids are blended together rather than isolated. The DEA has approved importation of our extracts into the US. They haven’t said no to us on anything we’ve asked so far. They are playing it by the book. We look forward to continued progress."“

“"GW occupies a lead position world-wide," concludes Guy. "We are uniquely placed to become the first company to achieve regulatory approval for prescription cannabis-based medicines."“
SEE: http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/articles/2400.html

In an interview with Cannabis Culture Magazine, the Chairman of GW Pharma Dr. Geoffrey Guy said “We deserve to make a fair return on our investment, and that’s why we pursued patents for our plants, extracts, processes, and delivery devices."

In 2009 in Canada, GW Pharma has succeeded in "artificially manipulating" and Patenting a “Novel Reference Cannabis Plant” with a "knock out gene" that uses “monogenic mutation" to "block the cannabinoid biosynthesis in Cannabis sativa”. This technology is being used to artificially engineer the levels of medicinal compounds in the plant.
SEE: http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20090035396

In May of 2003, GW Pharma and Bayer Incorporated had reached a Marketing Agreement on Pioneering a New cannabis-based medicinal extract product called Sativex.

Bayer reportedly paid $60 Million to GW Pharma to obtain exclusive rights to market Sativex in the UK, And reportedly paid $14 Million for the marketing rights in Canada.

“Bayer corporation is also one of the largest biotechnology and GM producers in the world and has brought to market genetically engineered strains of rice, corn, rapeseed, and canola. Bayer is the world’s leading pesticide manufacturer and the world’s seventh largest seed company. Bayer CropScience is responsible for the majority of GM field trials in European countries. Bayer’s GM crops are mostly "Liberty Link" – designed to be resistant to its "Liberty" herbicide. In 1925, Bayer was one of the chemical companies that merged to form the massive German conglomerate IG Farben, which was the largest single company in Germany and it became the single largest donor to Hitler’s election campaign. After Hitler came to power, IG Farben worked in close collaboration with the Nazis, becoming the largest profiteer from the Second World War.”
SEE: http://www.gmwatch.org/gm-firms/11153-bayer-a-history

“An examination of internal Bayer company documents by The New York Times reveals that the company was engaged in unsavory, probably criminal marketing practices. The documents reveal that Bayer continued to sell contaminated blood plasma causing thousands of hemophiliac patients to be infected with AIDS. The company continued to sell the contaminated blood in Asia for over a year when it had already introduced a safer, heated blood plasma version in the US and Europe in February 1984.”

“The documents examined by the Times provide evidence of unrestrained corrupt practices by a pharmaceutical industry giant. According to The Times, records suggest that the reason for continuing to sell an AIDS infected blood product, was to get rid of inventory and "the company hoped to preserve the profit margin from ‘several large fixed-price contracts.’“”
SEE: http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/0503/22.php

In 2007 Monsanto partnered with the patent holder of Sativex, Bayer, in a long-term agreement to cross-license their technologies.

"According to chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer CropScience Dr Friedrich Berschauer the agreements are an important step for Bayer as they could significantly broaden the availability of its LibertyLink technology outside its core cotton and canola seed business."

""At the same time, the agreements enable us to facilitate the development and commercialization of new technology solutions in the future," he said."
SEE: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/Monsanto-Bayer-team-up-on-herbicide-tolerance

While corporations like Bayer and GW Pharma are building patent monopolies over Cannabis strains, processes and medicinal compounds, an ongoing propaganda campaign in the U.S. continues to serve their Cannabis monopoly interests.

Before the reefer madness campaign of the 1930’s, relatively few peoples utilized the psychoactive properties of Cannabis through smoking in the U.S.. Hemp was outlawed in part because the white farmers of the 1930’s did not even know that the outlawing of the mysterious new menace called “Marijuana” was the same plant they were growing in their fields. Throughout history, this psychoactive knowledge of Cannabis has come and gone and those who have had a deep understanding of botany, especially of psychoactive plants were often accused of being either savages or witches. Reefer Madness not only created a hysteria against Cannabis, but it widely proliferated the knowledge of Cannabis’s psychoactive properties and attracted a new underground culture around the plant. This new culture has been heavily influenced by both the mainstream and the underground media.

For example, there are 60 different cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant. Many of which have been identified, genetically isolated and patented by both the U.S. government and other international companies for their medicinal properties. Though the underground and mainstream media in the U.S. around Cannabis tends to be exclusively focused on the psychoactive effect that is produced from the plants chemical compound known as THC. This has helped to create a culture of Cannabis plant breeders in the U.S. who produce strains with a very high yield of THC.

While THC has been conclusively shown by scientific studies done by the Medical College of Virginia, researchers from the University of Madrid, and researchers from the SETH group to contain definite cancer-destroying properties (SEE: http://www.globatron.org/contemporary-culture/thc-kills-brain-tumor-cells), the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research in 2006 also states that “A high dose of delta9-THC, the main Cannabis component, induces anxiety and psychotic-like symptoms in healthy volunteers.”. That same journal also states that “These effects of Delta9-THC are significantly reduced by cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis constituent which is devoid of the typical effects of the plant.” The conclusions of these studies show that cannabidiol (CBD) has anti-psychotic properties which naturally balance out and reduce the reported psychoactive and anxiety-like effects of high doses of THC.

Unfortunately, because of media-hype and plant breeding techniques used in the U.S., there is little knowledge of or desire to breed Cannabis strains that contain a more harmonious balance of CBD to THC levels. This has left the common population with strains devoid of CBD and with artificially high levels of THC. Studies have shown that breeding Cannabis with high levels of THC selectively reduces the amount of CBD over time. DEA eradication has has also created an environment devoid of natural Male Cannabis pollen in the air, which has forced the over-production of THC in today’s Cannabis strains, decreasing the amount of CBD in strains that are accessible in the underground market.

Cannabis underground cultural media sources like “High Times Magazine” have also helped to proliferate breeding techniques such as genetic cloning rather then harvesting and saving seed. This has left underground growers dependent on genetic clones from other sources and without a reliable seed supply. Some of the gods of this underground Cannabis culture are people such as the Skunkman aka David Watson, who is ironically also one of the only people to have acquired a DEA Cannabis import license. DEA is well aware of the influence that media sources like "High Times" plays in the underground culture. For example, In the late 1980’s the DEA targeted High Times Magazine in operation “Green Merchant” to compile lists of potential growers and make raids on their gardens.

This combination of DEA eradication and cultural media manipulation of breeding techniques has allowed corporations like Bayer and GW Pharma to attain a patent monopoly over Balanced THC to CBD Cannabis strains. GW Pharma is undertaking a major research program in the UK to develop, patent and market distinct cannabis-based prescription medicines with both High THC and High CBD compounds. GW Pharma is even patenting the CBD to THC "ratios" found in their plant varieties and other products. The cannabis for this program is grown in a secret location in the UK. As of at least 2003, GW Pharma has been granted an import license from the DEA and has imported its first cannabis extracts into the US.

The following report dated September 23, 2009, is an excerpted article from Cannabis Culture Magazine and chronicles some important history, background, and intentions of Bayer and GW pharmaceuticals in the cannabis industry:
SEE: http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/node/19879

“Patented Pot vs. the Herbal Gold Standard by David Malmo-Levine”

“How patented marijuana strains and medicines may threaten the re-legalization movement, curb information sharing, set up a monopoly for certain breeders and medicine producers and limit users to a more expensive and inferior product. Their economic value to the pharmaceutical houses which produce them will be directly proportional to the severity of the prohibition against the use of cannabis.”

“During the last decade a split has developed within the marijuana community. One group is comprised of those who believe that the community’s interests are best served by patenting marijuana strains and marijuana medicines in order to make them safer, more effective, more legitimate, more understood or, perhaps most importantly, more readily accessible since they will be legally available. The other group consists of those who believe natural cannabis medicine and strains are the "gold standard"; the safest, cheapest and, largely because of the ease with which it can be titrated, the most effective form cannabis medicine will take. This second group denies any real advantage of marijuana patents to the consumer, challenges any claim of exclusive rights of the first group to sell a particular strain and opposes the exploitation of a combination of patents and prohibition to force consumers to settle for an inferior product.”

“Within the first group we find those such as Britain’s GW Pharmaceutical, who (with the help of pharmaceutical-giant Bayer) is now selling their whole-plant cannabis spray Sativex. This group also includes the Toronto-based Cannasat Therapeutics, The Nevada-based Dynamic Alert Ltd and various other smaller operations. These companies are looking to patent cannabis medicines, strains of cannabis or both – if they haven’t already done so.”

“Even the US government has gotten in on the action. Patent #6,630,507 was awarded to the US Department of Health and Human Services in 2003, and states that cannabinoids are neuroprotectants and anti-inflammitory agents, useful in the prevention and treatment of stroke, trauma, auto-immune disorders, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and HIV dementia as well as many other diseases.”

“GW Pharmaceutical was granted a license to grow cannabis for medical research in 1998 and it’s partner Bayer was granted a patent for Sativex in 2006. Sativex comes in a 5.5 ml spray bottle for $102 U.S. Dollars, which supplies about 51 sprays – enough for an average ten day supply. It is now available in Canada for MS and cancer pain, and has most recently become available in Britain and parts of Spain for use in the treatment of some other symptoms and syndromes.”

“GW Pharmaceutical has even patented a strain of cannabis called "Grace" in Canada. It was patented in 2005 under the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act. Under this 1994 Act, all plant species (except algae, bacteria, and fungi) are eligible for "protection" (exclusive rights to sell) for 18 years. Medicine patents last between ten to twenty years depending on the country.”

“Proponents of plant and medicine patents contend that there’s no controversy, that patents encourage innovation as it covers the costs of research and development, that standardization and research are impossible without patents, that patents create products superior to traditional botanical medicines, that crude plant drugs are more dangerous and less effective than patented plant products and that patenting cannabis medicines will speed up their legalization – or at the very least expand the number of people who have access to cannabis medicine. The evidence proves otherwise.”

“Ethan Russo, an employee of GW Pharmaceuticals , writing for the on-line journal "Cannabinoids", listed the benefits of pharmaceuticalized cannabis medicines in his article "Cannabinoid Medicine and the Need for the Scientific Method". They are; 1) pharmaceuticalized cannabis products will gain widespread trust of physicians and medical consumers, 2) crude herbal materials can’t be standardized, 3) crude herbal materials are full of micro-organisms and 4) most of the non-GW Pharmaceuticals strains of cannabis have no CBD in them.”

“In our view none of Russo’s claims are accurate; 1) the pharmaceutical industry is currently losing the trust of consumers as herbal medicines make a comeback, 2) "crude herbal materials" can easily be standardized without patents if the herb is legal 3) properly grown organic cannabis is relatively free of microbes and metals, and 4) if cannabis were legal, those high CBD strains would be more easily attainable among all breeders.”

“Dr. Geoffrey Guy of GW Pharma stated in 2005:
"To protect our extensive investment, we have sought to identify and patent certain inventions throughout the growing, extraction and manufacturing process. My comments to Mr. Lucas were made as a friendly and, hopefully, helpful gesture as I did not wish him to invest a great amount of effort into obtaining approval for a product as a prescription medicine only to find that he did not have the freedom to operate in the first place."“

“Even before GW and Bayer had secured their patent on Sativex, Dr. Guy was already threatening to sue Philippe Lucas of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society for infringing Sativex’s imminent patent with VICS’s "Canna-Mist" spray. Just type "Bayer" and "patent" into Google (over two million sites) if you want evidence of Bayer’s habit of suing at the drop of a hat for all sorts of patent-related matters.”

“Evidence of an attempted Canadian medical marijuana monopoly began back in 2000, with a leaked, unpublished document entitled "Draft Statement of Work for The Development of a Comprehensive Operation for the Cultivation and Fabrication of Marijuana in Canada". The plan called for a seed monopoly – "a licit source" only – and the eventual phase-out of all but a pharmaceutical "inhaler" device. According to the anonymous source who leaked the document, the first version of the plan also called for cannabis strains to be patented "as if they had been genetically modified". It appears that GW Pharmaceutical and Bayer have now done so with the Cannabis strain "Grace".”

“There are many herbal medicines that have successfully fought off attempted patents and monopolies. The anti-bacterial neem tree and even the vision-producing ayahuasca have all been subjects of patent attempts. Neem tree activists have used defenses such as "traditional knowledge" and "prior art" and "community heritage" in order to legally protect their healing tree from monopoly. Unfortunately, the patent on a strain of ayahuasca remains in effect to this day.”

“Cannabis monopolies are nothing new. One can argue that the prohibition of Moses’s holy kanneh-bosm annointing oil – found in Exodus 30:32 – a prohibition for people other than priests and kings – was a type of cannabis monopoly. When botanical medicine became popular again in the fourteen hundreds, women healers were first called "unschooled" and later called "witches" to prevent them from competing with the newly emerging male pharmacists. The same thing happened in the mid eighteen hundreds, except this time instead of "witches", these botanical healers were called "quacks".”

“The modern version of this monopoly began in 1910 with the Flexner Report – a report that succeeded in closing down all the naturopathic and herbal medicine schools by the 1930’s. This report was partially engineered by the Rockefeller Foundation. The removal of these schools would assist the Rockefeller family in protecting their investments in pharmaceuticals from botanical competition. The Rockefeller Institute and Rockefeller Foundation were also key players in the development of the sciences of genetics and molecular biology – the fields in which the concepts of patenting of life-forms originated. Standard Oil – now Exxon/Mobil and a host of other oil companies – was the Rockefeller Foundation’s source of income. Interestingly, in 1927 Standard Oil became business partners with Bayer – the marketer and distributor of Sativex in Canada.”

“Bayer had much to do with the development of the Codex global anti-herbs and anti-vitamin regulations. This was instituted in 1961, coincidentally (or perhaps not) around the same time as the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was instituted and the first Plant Patent Act was created.”

“What we know for certain is that nobody should have a monopoly on the emerging herbal health-care economy – especially corporations like Bayer and Exxon, who have had questions raised about the amount of influence they have welded in geopolitics, and what they’ve done with that influence.”

“When the modern patent was issued in the 1400’s in Italy, they were for "new and inventive devices". This soon turned into a big money maker for kings and queens, who would issue patents for such things as salt. After a public outcry, James the first of England was forced to revoke all existing monopolies and declare that they were only to be used for ‘projects of new invention’. It can be argued that a similar reform is due again today.”

“Perhaps lessons can be learned from those within the medical profession who have tried to pass off discoveries as inventions, and those who have not. Jonas Salk, discoverer of the polio vaccine, famously rejected attempting a patent, explaining that it was like attempting to patent the sun. This is seen by some to be his most "winning story" – what he lost in potential revenue he gained in reputation and positive influence on the world.”

“Joseph Lister was an English professor of surgery who discovered – or popularized – "antiseptic" surgery. He invented a carbolic acid spray as a method of preventing infection, but considering the fact that he didn’t invent the spray bottle nor carbolic acid, he didn’t bother attempting to patent his spray. He alerted the world to his discovery in the British medical journal The Lancet in 1867, and was eventually made a Baron – the first doctor so honored. They even named the first mouthwash after him – Listerine.”

“William Thomas Green Morton was a dentist from Boston. He discovered – or popularized – the fact that ether was a good anesthetic. He was successful in patenting his technique – on November 12th, 1846 he was granted U.S. Patent No. 4848. But he could not collect any money as it was merely the use of an agent already well known. His apparatus was not essential to anesthesia – fabric soaked in ether was all that was necessary. He died broke and his reputation suffered for "nostrum mongering" – for being a huckster and an opportunist.”

“George Washington Carver refused to patent any of his discoveries, saying, "God gave them to me, how can I sell them to someone else?" Ten years after his death, the United States government acquired the Missouri farm which was Carver’s birthplace and dedicated it as a national shrine. The Carver epitaph reads: "He could have added fortune to fame, but, caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world."“

“Perhaps one day those who are currently attempting to patent cannabis medicines and cannabis strains will wake up to the fact that a good reputation is worth much more than a patent, and the gift of a new strain or new technique given to the world will return the most precious form of good karma upon the giver, while the person who attempts to "patent the sun" – patent a gift from nature or a traditional medicine bred and developed over thousands of years – will eventually suffer the worst forms of infamy. It is up to the entire cannabis community – especially the activist community, to see that sharing is rewarded and hoarding is punished.”

“GW adopts an aggressive approach to securing intellectual property rights to protect techniques and technologies involved in the development program. Protection is sought in the areas listed below:

• Plant variety rights
• Methods of extraction patents
• Drug delivery patents
• Patents on compositions of matter for delivery of cannabis
• Methods of use patents
• Design copyright on devices
• Trademarks”

“GW States on their website:
“In the last few years our intellectual property portfolio has developed considerably. The patent portfolio has more than doubled in size and comprises 42 patent families, within these families there are numerous granted patents both in the UK and in various territories around the world. GW has also developed a trademark portfolio of 21 UK registered trademarks with equivalent marks registered in many other territories around the world. GW also holds nine registered design rights and nine plant variety rights.””

“It appears that "Patents on compositions of matter for delivery of cannabis" means "Patents on cannabinoid ratios".”

“Their ratio is 51% CBD and 49% THC:

Guy’s publicly-traded company has developed three types of medicine made from cannabis extracts: a high-THC extract called Tetranabinex, a mostly-CBD extract called Nabidiolex, and the 51-49% mixture of CBD and THC, called Sativex.

CBD began to be studied in the 1960’s. Research into it’s anti-psychotic (or anti-THC overdose) qualities go back to the 1980’s.”

“As stated in Neems court challenge data:

“The issuance of a patent is prohibited if the patent would have been ‘obvious’ in light of prior art. The standard for patentability requires that the differences between a patentable invention and its prior art must be great enough so that a person with ordinary skill in the art would not consider the invention to be obvious at the time of patenting. Neems Patent No. 5,124,349 was found to not meet this standard.”

“An Indian government challenge in the United States led to the revocation of a patent on another Indian plant, turmeric, whose medicinal qualities have been known for centuries. That challenge was accepted as a result of India showing that the knowledge had been found in the Indian pharmacopoeia.”

“In the United States, prior existing knowledge to deny a patent is accepted in terms of publication in any journal, but not of knowledge known and available in oral or folk traditions.”

“This narrow view of prior knowledge has been responsible for any number of patents for processes and products derived from biological material, or their synthesis into purer crystalline forms.”

“A Third World Network expert group recommended in 1998 that developing countries apply a broad concept of ‘prior art’ to ensure that patents are granted to actually ‘new’ inventions, and to stick to the need of novelty of the process itself as a condition of granting a patent. The developing countries were also advised to deny patents for new uses of a known product or process, including second use of a medicine or for incremental additions to get a new patent on a prior one.”

“The expert group advised developing countries to define and interpret ‘novelty’ according to generally accepted concepts, namely, any prior disclosure whether written or not destroys novelty. Knowledge like use of medicinal plants diffused within a local or indigenous community should also be deemed prior art and patent denied.”

“And writing such a rule into their legislation would prevent patenting of knowledge or materials developed by and diffused within local or indigenous communities.”

Due to the high proliferation of pollen inherent in growing industrial Hemp, possibly the greatest threat posed to natural Cannabis strains is in the commercialization of artificially engineered industrial Hemp strains. The following document from the University of Kentucky in 1998 reports that France already holds Patents to industrial Hemp genetics, and is importing Hemp strains into Canada.


One has to wonder, if Monsanto’s Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Proposition passes in California this November, where are the strains going to come from to provide for the “statewide regulatory and commercial industry” called for in the initiative? In the initiative, the only legal Cannabis strains protected by law, are those derived from licensed dealers. If this new industry is to be in accordance with federal law, the only legal seeds that can be attained are from corporations that hold DEA permits for Cannabis production and importation into the U.S.. These permits have been monopolized by Corporations like Kenex, HortaPharm, and GW Pharma, all of which appear to be heavily influenced by the bio-tech seed industry.

The only other legal source to obtain Cannabis seed is from within the United States, exclusively in the University of Mississippi’s Cannabis research program. The UM website describes it as follows:

“Since 1968, the University of Mississippi has maintained the nation’s only legal marijuana farm through a grant from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In that time, the project has provided marijuana and its compounds to researchers around the country conducting HHS-approved studies of the plant, its chemical components, and their potential beneficial and harmful effects.”

“Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly joined the project when he came to Ole Miss in 1976 and has been Marijuana Project director since 1980. In the ’80s and early ’90s, ElSohly’s work focused on analyzing marijuana samples seized by the DEA to develop a marijuana “fingerprinting” system that is still being used to trace crops to their sources globally. The responsibility of analyzing the material for the DEA also provided UM researchers the opportunity to study a wide variety of plants leading to a better understanding of the many chemicals found in Cannabis.”

“In recent years, with some support from NIH, ElSohly and other UM researchers have studied Cannabis to develop new medicines and new ways of delivering the chemical compounds in marijuana, particularly tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), to treat a range of chronic conditions—from nausea due to chemotherapy for cancer patients to neuropathic pain for multiple sclerosis patients.”

“UM has patented and licensed to a pharmaceutical company a THC suppository to deliver to cancer patients the potential medicinal benefits of marijuana without the undesirable side effects.”
SEE: http://www.research.olemiss.edu/ChangeAgents/2009/FindingCuresForKillers

El Sohly also has a contract with Mallinckrodt, a giant chemical and bio-tech company that plans to market a THC-extract pill as an alternative to Marinol.
SEE: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/04/07-18
The Monsanto corporation merged with Mallinckrodt in the 1930’s.
SEE: http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/~meg3c/TCC401/A_Case.pdf

The following is an article found in Cannabis Culture Magazine published in February 2000, entitled “Genetically Modified Medpot” and reports that UM’s cannabis genetics are allegedly derived from Monsanto.
SEE: http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/1322.html

“Pharmaceutical companies may seize control of Canada’s medical marijuana supply.”

“A source within the Ministry of Health, who wishes to remain anonymous, has provided documents and information to Cannabis Culture, describing how Canadian pot is to be grown for upcoming medical trials. The documents call for 185 kg (408 pounds) of pot to be grown in the first year, and double that amount for the second through fifth years.”
“The thirty-five page guideline document, with the weighty title, Draft Statement of Work for The Development of a Comprehensive Operation for the Cultivation and Fabrication of Marijuana in Canada, is still open to revisions. It includes proposals for how marijuana should be grown, processed and fabricated. Included in these guidelines is the potential to give a notorious pharmaceutical company exclusive rights for selling seeds to the budding medpot industry.”

“Mississippi schwag”

“According to the document, "the acquisition of seed will be performed by Health Canada during the project initiation stage. The prime contractor can choose to provide their own seed so long as it is from a licit source."“

“Which presents a problem. How many licit seed sources exist? In North America the only licit source is the University of Mississippi. Concerns about the effectiveness of notoriously schwaggy U of M bud prompted Dr Kilby of the Community Research Initiative of Toronto to state that he would prefer clinical marijuana come from another source (see CC#22). It would seem that Health Canada recognized these concerns when it began looking for private contractors to do the job.”

“Yet will the bud really be any different than that produced by the University of Mississippi? Cannabis Culture’s anonymous source within the ministry gave us the scoop.

“"Scheduled labs around the country which are already growing marijuana are using seeds from the University of Mississippi," reported the official. "The genetics come from Monsanto."“

“Health Canada spokesperson Jeff Pender knew of the recent guidelines document that had been released, but denied knowledge of where the seeds will come from.”

“"Where would a potential grower get the seeds from?," repeated Pender when I asked him this question. "I’m not really sure. I guess? I could find out for you. I imagine growers could order seeds from the US."“

“Pender eventually suggested that the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which also gets its cannabis from the University of Mississippi, might be a source for contracted growers looking to buy licit seeds. If the unnamed source at the Ministry of Health is correct, all of these seeds would originally have come from Monsanto.”

“Monsanto’s marijuana”

“The US-based Monsanto corporation became infamous last year when the public discovered that the huge pharmaceutical company was responsible for producing Agent Orange during the Vietnam war, for producing and selling Roundup to be sprayed on South American villages, for experimenting with dangerous genetically modified foods, and ? most recently ? for creating the dreaded "terminator" seed.”

“Terminator seeds are genetically engineered to produce a plant that will not produce viable seed, meaning that growers would be forced to go back to Monsanto each year to buy more seed stock to replant. Governments and public alike became wary of the concept when it was discovered that the terminator seed could possibly cross the species barrier, possibly spreading infertility among the plant kingdom like a disease.”

“Cannabis seeds from Monsanto are almost definitely genetically engineered. Genetically engineered plants can be patented, and it is in Monsanto’s best interest to hold a patent on any seed they sell. Seed patents ensure that companies like Monsanto can continue to profit from seeds from year to year, as farmers are legally bound to buy patented seeds from the patent holder rather than simply store them from the last year’s crop.”

“Pharmaceutical schwag”

“Interestingly, low-potency pot of the kind produced by Monsanto seeds at the University of Mississippi is exactly the kind of product the Ministry of Health is asking for from contractors. The guidelines ask specifically for "standardized marijuana cigarettes with THC content of between 4% and 6% and weighing [about] 850 mg."“

“Which means the cigarettes to be used for clinical trials will be phatties containing over three-quarters of a gram of schwag bud each! These fat joints will deliver about twice the tar per dose as marijuana currently available from experienced growers, which reaches between 8-10% THC.”

“The Health Canada document seems concerned that smoking can cause harm, and promises to explore other methods soon after the initial trials are run. Yet the product they choose to use is guaranteed to maximize the risks and problems associated with smoking. Could it be that the Ministry of Health is creating its own excuse not to use smoking as a delivery method?”

“Our anonymous source within the ministry assures us that the government plans to eventually only allow the use of inhalers, similar to asthma inhalers.”

“"The inhaler gets rid of any small industry that might develop, by regulating the delivery system. The other idea that didn’t go through was to develop a seed system that would allow cultivars from across Canada which would then be grandfathered. What this means is that once the cultivated varieties were tested they would be introduced just the same as if they had been genetically modified."“

“Patented seeds and dose delivery methods could mean complete pharmaceutical control of medicinal cannabis sometime in the near future.”

The Cannabis legalization movement is heavily influenced from major shareholders in the Monsanto GMO seed industry. Mr. George Soros is the prime example. Soros is not only a major financier of DPA as well as being on the Board of Directors of the Drug Policy Alliance, but has also financed many different Cannabis legalization organizations across the country including the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Soros is credited with putting financial muscle behind many of the state initiatives easing marijuana laws — beginning with a 1996 California ballot question to allow marijuana use for medical purposes. From 1996 to 2000, Soros backed medical marijuana questions there and in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada and Maine.

An associated press article dated August 27, 2008 reports that a measure that would ease Marijuana laws in 2008 was on the ballot in Massachusetts largely because of billionaire financier George Soros.

Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has even stated that "All of us owe George Soros a great deal of gratitude".

If California’s Control Cannabis Proposition does not pass this November, Monsanto’s funding will undoubtedly legalize Cannabis for corporate exploitation sometime in the near future. This will Inundate the medicinal and industrial Cannabis market with artificially engineered and patented Cannabis strains from the only DEA permitted sources available: GW Pharma in partnership with Bayer Inc. and HortaPharm, Kenex corporation, and the University of Mississippi’s Marijuana program, all of which appear to be influenced heavily by the GMO seed industry.

Since the only licit sources of Cannabis are derived from interests in connection with the bio-tech industry, this will force anybody who wishes to grow natural non-patented and non-engineered Cannabis strains to attain their seeds from ‘illicit’ sources.

Other then exposing the imminent threat that Cannabis legalization organizations are posing to natural Cannabis strains in collusion with trans-national GMO seed companies, our responsibility towards this sacred plant compels us to attain natural variety Cannabis seeds and protect them from genetic contamination. Just like the Mayans have learned with Maize, artificial genetic contamination is causing the extinction of natural plant varieties around the planet:


As we can learn from the Mayans in the foregoing article, the concept of saving seeds is sacred and central to their spiritual and physical way of life. The same is true for cultural and religious practices all around the world, whether you’re a Christian, Buddhists, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, or just a plain old Human Being, the concept of saving seed is as old as human society itself. If corporations like Monsanto, GW Pharma, Bayer and HortaPharm are allowed to carry out there interests, they will hold the genetic copyrights to all Cannabis strains on the planet. GW Pharma and HortaPharm have stated their intent to engineer Cannabis strains similar to Monsanto’s terminator seed technology. Their strains seem to be artificially manipulated to produce "one-off sterile females" which prevents reproduction of harvest-able seeds. These are the kinds of strains that are waiting to be controlled, regulated, licensed and taxed after the potential passage of proposition 19 in California and many similar initiatives across the United States being funded directly by Monsanto shareholders.

This investigated report was written and compiled by Conrad Justice Kiczenski. Conrad is 19 years old, lives in Lucerne, California, is an organic gardener, and is the host and producer of Guerrilla Radio on KPFZ 88.1 FM in Lake County.

For more information about Conrad and his radio show Guerrilla Radio, SEE:


An article by D.M. Murdock written in August 2010 and entitled “Why hemp could save the world” states:

Transcript of the original 1942 United States Department of Agriculture Film, Hemp for Victory

(Please use link for more in-depth information)

Hemp for Victory

USDA, 1942

Transcript of the original 1942 United States Department of Agriculture Film, Hemp for Victory

extolling some of the many uses of this ancient plant and premier world resource.

Long ago when these ancient Grecian temples were new, hemp was already old in the service of mankind. For thousands of years, even then, this plant had been grown for cordage and cloth in China and elsewhere in the East. For centuries prior to about 1850 all the ships that sailed the western seas were rigged with hempen rope and sails. For the sailor, no less than the hangman, hemp was indispensable.

A 44-gun frigate like our cherished Old Ironsides took over 60 tons of hemp for rigging, including an
anchor cable 25 inches in circumference. The Conestoga wagons and prairie schooners of pioneer
days were covered with hemp canvas. Indeed the very word canvas comes from the Arabic word for
hemp. In those days hemp was an important crop in Kentucky and Missouri. Then came cheaper
imported fibers for cordage, like jute, sisal and Manila hemp, and the culture of hemp in America


But now with Philippine and East Indian sources of hemp in the hands of the Japanese, and shipment of jute from India curtailed, American hemp must meet the needs of our Army and Navy as well as of our Industry. In 1942, patriotic farmers at the government’s request planted 36,000 acres of seed hemp, an increase of several thousand percent. The goal for 1943 is 50,000 acres of seed hemp.

In Kentucky much of the seed hemp acreage is on river bottom land such as this. Some of these
fields are inaccessible except by boat. Thus plans are afoot for a great expansion of a hemp industry
as a part of the war program. This film is designed to tell farmers how to handle this ancient crop
now little known outside Kentucky and Wisconsin.

This is hemp seed. Be careful how you use it. For to grow hemp legally you must have a federal registration and tax stamp. This is provided for in your contract. Ask your county agent about it. Don’t forget.


Hemp demands a rich, well-drained soil such as is found here in the Blue Grass region of Kentucky or in central Wisconsin. It must be loose and rich in organic matter. Poor soils won’t do. Soil that will grow good corn will usually grow hemp.

Hemp is not hard on the soil. In Kentucky it has been grown for several years on the same ground, though this practice is not recommended. A dense and shady crop, hemp tends to choke out weeds. Here’s a Canada thistle that couldn’t stand the competition, dead as a dodo. Thus hemp leaves the ground in good condition for the following crop.

For fiber, hemp should be sewn closely, the closer the rows, the better. These rows are spaced about
four inches. This hemp has been broadcast. Either way it should be sewn thick enough to grow a
slender stalk. Here’s an ideal stand: the right height to be harvested easily, thick enough to grow
slender stalks that are easy to cut and process.

Stalks like these here on the left wield the most fiber and the best. Those on the right are too coarse
and woody. For seed, hemp is planted in hills like corn. Sometimes by hand. Hemp is a dioecious
plant. The female flower is inconspicuous. But the male flower is easily spotted. In seed production
after the pollen has been shed, these male plants are cut out. These are the seeds on a female


Hemp for fiber is ready to harvest when the pollen is shedding and the leaves are falling. In
Kentucky, hemp harvest comes in August. Here the old standby has been the self-rake reaper,
which has been used for a generation or more.

Hemp grows so luxuriantly in Kentucky that harvesting is sometimes difficult, which may account for
the popularity of the self-rake with its lateral stroke. A modified rice binder has been used to some
extent. This machine works well on average hemp. Recently, the improved hemp harvester, used for
many years in Wisconsin, has been introduced in Kentucky. This machine spreads the hemp in a
continuous swath. It is a far cry from this fast and efficient modern harvester, that doesn’t stall in
the heaviest hemp.

In Kentucky, hand cutting is practicing in opening fields for the machine. In Kentucky, hemp is

shucked as soon as safe, after cutting, to be spread out for retting later in the fall.

In Wisconsin, hemp is harvested in September. Here the hemp harvester
with automatic spreader is standard equipment. Note how smoothly the
rotating apron lays the swaths preparatory to retting. Here it is a
common and essential practice to leave headlands around hemp fields.
These strips may be planted with other crops, preferably small grain.
Thus the harvester has room to make its first round without preparatory
hand cutting. The other machine is running over corn stubble. When the
cutter bar is much shorter than the hemp is tall, overlapping occurs. Not
so good for retting. The standard cut is eight to nine feet.

The length of time hemp is left on the ground to ret depends on the
weather. The swaths must be turned to get a uniform ret. When the
woody core breaks away readily like this, the hemp is about ready to
pick up and bind into bundles. Well-retted hemp is light to dark gray.
The fiber tends to pull away from the stalks. The presence of stalks in
the bough-string stage indicates that retting is well underway. When
hemp is short or tangled or when the ground is too wet for machines, it’s
bound by hand. A wooden bucket is used. Twine will do for tying, but the
hemp itself makes a good band.

When conditions are favorable, the pickup binder is commonly used. The swaths should lie smooth
and even with the stalks parallel. The picker won’t work well in tangled hemp. After binding, hemp is
shucked as soon as possible to stop further retting. In 1942, 14,000 acres of fiber hemp were
harvested in the United States. The goal for the old standby cordage fiber, is staging a strong


This is Kentucky hemp going into the dryer over mill at Versailles. In the old days braking was done

by hand. One of the hardest jobs known to man. Now the power braker makes quick work of it


Spinning American hemp into rope yarn or twine in the old Kentucky river mill at Frankfort,
Kentucky. Another pioneer plant that has been making cordage for more than a century. All such
plants will presently be turning out products spun from American-grown hemp: twine of various
kinds for tying and upholsters work; rope for marine rigging and towing; for hay forks, derricks, and
heavy duty tackle; light duty fire hose; thread for shoes for millions of American soldiers; and
parachute webbing for our paratroopers.

As for the United States Navy, every battleship requires 34,000 feet of rope. Here in the Boston
Navy Yard, where cables for frigates were made long ago, crews are now working night and day
making cordage for the fleet. In the old days rope yarn was spun by hand. The rope yarn feeds
through holes in an iron plate. This is Manila hemp from the Navy’s rapidly dwindling reserves. When
it is gone, American hemp will go on duty again: hemp for mooring ships; hemp for tow lines; hemp
for tackle and gear; hemp for countless naval uses both on ship and shore. Just as in the days when
Old Ironsides sailed the seas victorious with her hempen shrouds and hempen sails.

Hemp for victory


Colorado Patient Chris Bartkowicz Denied Medical Defense by Feds





This was sent to us from our friends in Denver. This is the same person who was busted basically as a result of an interview he did back in February for a local television station. Half of the “plants” he was caught with were not mature but the Feds still counted them to bloat the total and make him look like a big time drug kingpin. I was going to write an article about this today but CTI covered all the bases, including links for contacting politicians in Colorado.

Activists Pressure Congress to Clarify Policy

For more information, contact the: Cannabis Therapy Institute

Denver – In a ruling on Wednesday (9/22) that is sending chills through
every medical marijuana provider in Colorado and nationwide, patient Chris
Bartkowicz has been denied the use of a medical marijuana defense in
federal court. Chris is facing federal charges of marijuana cultivation
after he was interviewed for a KUSA 9 News story about medical marijuana
cultivation. Chris is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 years in


At a motion’s hearing on Wednesday in federal court, it was clear that the
feds have stacked the deck effectively against state rights to regulate
medical marijuana. The Honorable Federal District Judge Philip Brimmer
ruled against Chris’ court-appointed attorney, Joseph Saint-Veltri, on
almost every point. Chris’s prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney M.J.
Menendez, said that marijuana had been on the controlled substances list
“since the beginning of time” and that the feds recognize no exemption for
medical marijuana, even if cultivated in compliance with state law.

Saint-Veltri argued that Chris’ case was selective prosecution, given that
there are hundreds of people in Colorado currently cultivating medical
marijuana who have not yet been raided by the feds. Saint-Veltri pointed
out that Budding Health dispensary owner Josh Stanley was also featured in
the KUSA segment as a marijuana grower, but was never raided or

Saint-Veltri argued that Chris was acting in good faith and sincerely
believed that he was in violation of neither state nor federal law. Chris
testified that he felt the federal climate had changed with regard to
federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients after Obama’s election.
Chris testified that he had relied on US Attorney General Eric Holder’s
statements on March 19, 2009 that he would not prosecute dispensaries.
These statements made world-wide news, with the LA Times calling it “a
landmark turnaround from the Bush administration’s policy of zero tolerance
for cannabis use by patients.”

In addition, Chris relied on a memo of Oct. 19, 2009 from David W. Ogden,
U.S. Deputy Attorney General to selected US Attorneys. The Ogden memo,
which was also widely publicized by the Department of Justice, gave
guidance to federal prosecutors about allocation of resources to prosecute
medical marijuana cases. The Ogden memo said that medical marijuana cases
were “unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.”

Saint-Veltri also stated that Chris had been relying on signals from the
state that they had worked out some sort of “accord” with the DEA about not
prosecuting Colorado dispensary owners. Specifically, Saint-Veltri wanted
to question Matt Cook, head of the Department of Revenue’s Medical
Marijuana Enforcement Division, who had stated in a recent Kush magazine
article that “medical marijuana centers or infused products manufacturers
should not be targeted by the DEA.”

Saint-Veltri wanted to question Cook about his meetings and conversations
with the DEA regarding enforcement of federal law. Cook fought his subpoena
to testify. Cook’s attorney Pam Rosenberg admitted that Cook had had
conversations with the DEA, but said that his testimony would be
“irrelevant.” Judge Brimmer ruled that Cook did not have to testify based
on a technicality of improper service of the subpoena.

Assistant U.S. Attorney M.J. Menendez said that the feds have every
intention of continuing to prosecute medical marijuana patients and
providers, regardless of state laws. She stated that the DEA has reached
“no accord” with Matt Cook regarding federal prosecutions of medical
marijuana patients or providers.

Menendez stated that Holder statement in March 2009 was just a “loose
remark” and that the Ogden memo states clearly that “this guidance
regarding resource allocation does not . . . provide a legal defense to a
violation of federal law.”

Menendez argued that “a reasonable person would not rely on statements made
by Holder or Obama.”

Menendez concluded that “every statement in the record by the federal
government says the government will continue to prosecute” medical
marijuana patients and providers.

In the end, Judge Brimmer ruled that Chris cannot present a medical
marijuana defense at his trial. “Anyone reading (the memos) would quite
clearly understand that cultivating marijuana is a violation of federal
law,” Brimmer said.

Judge Brimmer says Chris Bartkowicz is one of two medical marijuana
patients currently being prosecuted in his court. It is unknown how many
other patients are currently being prosecuted by the feds.

Chris’ trial is scheduled for Nov. 1. He faces a mandatory minimum of 60
years in prison. He rejected an earlier plea bargain offer because it would
have required him to turn someone else over to the feds. Chris refuses to
become a snitch and will stand up for his rights, and the rights of all
other Colorado patients and providers, at his jury trial.


Call and write your Federal Senators and Representatives:

1) Request that they send a “clarification of policy” letter to the
Department of Justice requesting clarification of their official policy of
prosecuting medical marijuana cases. Tell them Colorado patients need to
know they are safe from federal prosecution.

2) Ask that House Members co-sponsor HR3939, the Truth in Trials Act, which
would provide an affirmative defense for the medical use of marijuana in
federal court. Rep. Jared Polis is currently the only Colorado co-sponsor
of this Bill.

Please send copies of any correspondence to:



(Represent entire state.)

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)
Email: http://markudall.senate.gov/?p=contact_us

Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Email: http://bennet.senate.gov/contact/

(Represent people by district.)

Find your district:

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-01)
Email: http://www.house.gov/formdegette/dcs_zip_auth_v2.shtml

Rep. Jared Polis (D – 02)
Email: http://polis.house.gov/Contact/ContactForm.htm

Rep. John Salazar (D – 03)
Email: http://www.house.gov/salazar/contact.shtml

Rep. Betsy Markey (D – 04)
Email: http://betsymarkey.house.gov/Contact/

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R – 05)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R – 06)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D – 07)

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Three marijuana plants found in Floyd’s Knobs IN – You got to be kidding….



Police ask hunters to report any marijuana found

By MATT THACKER Matt.Thacker@newsandtribune.com Matt.Thacker@newsandtribune.com Thu Sep 23, 2010, 02:09 AM EDT

FLOYD COUNTY — The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana Conservation Officers cut down three marijuana plants Wednesday in the woods behind the 4400 block of Old Vincennes Road in Floyds Knobs.
Capt. Jeff Topping said they found three plants, about 5 feet tall and fully mature.
Chief Ted Heavrin estimated the plants were worth at least $1,500 each.
“From what we have seen this summer with the heat and dry weather, that was some of the better marijuana I’ve seen this season,” Conservation Officer Gary Pennington said.
Topping said officers were acting on a tip from someone hunting ginseng who came across the plants. He said police talked to the property owners and neighbors, and it remains under investigation who was growing the plants.
Topping said it was apparent that someone had already harvested more plants in that area. Pennington said he has found marijuana plants in three locations in two days. The first two were Tuesday in Harrison County.
As more people go into the woods during the fall season, the number of marijuana plants reported to authorities will increase, Pennington said.
Squirrel hunting is in season and youth deer hunting season begins Saturday. Police are asking everyone to be observant and report any marijuana plants they may see.
Contact the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department at 812-948-5407 or the local police department to report any marijuana in the area.

Bad Drug War Bill Wrongfully Fast-Tracked for Vote TOMORROW

by Drug Policy Alliance on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 3:17pm

House Democrats have scheduled a horrible drug war bill for a vote tomorrow (Wednesday). The Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2010 (H.R. 5231), written by Rep. Lamar Smith (a Republican drug war extremist), would expand problematic drug conspiracy laws, apply mandatory minimum drug sentences to more people, increase racial disparities, and subject Americans to incarceration for drug offenses and public health interventions that are legal in the foreign country in which they’re committed. It expands the drug war at a time that most Americans want major drug policy reform.


  1. Call Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-0100.  When the receptionist answers, say something like:  "I’m calling to urge Speaker Pelosi to cancel the vote on the Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act that is scheduled for tomorrow.  It is shameful that Democrats are considering expanding the war on drugs, a war that is being waged primarily on young people and communities of color. I can’t believe Democrats are doing this."
  2. Please “Share” this Note with your Newsfeed so your friends and family can take action.

Further Talking Points / More Information:

  • The Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2010 (H.R. 5231), introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (the only House member to speak against reforming the racist crack/powder disparity), seeks to authorize U.S. criminal prosecution of anyone in the U.S. suspected of conspiring with one or more persons, or aiding or abetting one or more persons, to commit at any place outside the United States an act that would constitute a violation of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act if committed within the United States.
  • These penalties apply even if the controlled substance is legal under some circumstances in the other country. An American treatment provider working with doctors in England, Denmark, Germany, or Switzerland to provide heroin assisted treatment and sterile syringes to heroin users in those countries could face arrest. As could an otherwise law-abiding American planning with some friends to use marijuana legally in the Netherlands while on vacation there.
  • Even though this bill references drug trafficking in the title, it also criminalizes conspiring to possess and use marijuana or other drugs in other countries if more than one person is involved – even if drug use is decriminalized in that country.  Thus, it imposes America’s harsh drug policies on other countries, and further criminalizes a health issue. The bill’s title is very misleading.
  • Even when applied against drug traffickers, The Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act would likely perpetuate injustice. Under U.S. drug conspiracy laws a person can be found guilty even when there are no drugs or other physical evidence involved. The uncorroborated word of someone pointing fingers to get a reduced sentence is all it takes. Moreover anyone convicted of being part of a drug conspiracy is punished not for the offense they actually committed but for all the offenses committed by members in the conspiracy. This has led to very low-level, impoverished, first-time offenders receiving sentences that are decades long. Conspiracy laws drive the so-called "girlfriend problem" whereby thousands of women every year are sentenced to harsh sentences for the crimes of their abusive partners.
  • The United States houses 5% of the world’s population but 25% of its incarcerated population.  This excess of incarceration is a direct result of punitive and ineffective drug laws, which are currently crippling our social and economic resources.  Trends in the U.S. are shifting toward alternative sentencing and away from the policies developed in the almost forty years since Nixon declared the "War on Drugs."  H.R. 5231 would be a detrimental step in the wrong direction.
  • House Leadership should not bring this problematic bill up for a vote. It has only two cosponsors and wasn’t even considered in committee.

by Drug Policy Alliance on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 3:17pm

Hemp License In Eastern Kentucky


21 September 2010

Hemp License In Eastern Kentucky

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
September 2010

Hemp was needed for ropes and used in feed bags and bailing twine. Early Kentucky pioneers brought the seed from Virginia and set aside acres for production. Lewis Collins cited Nathan Burrows of Lexington as being the first to introduce the manufacture of hemp into Kentucky about 1796 [Historical Sketches of Kentucky].
James Klotter’s New History of Kentucky references eighteen rope and bagging manufacturers in Fayette County during 1838. By 1890 the Commonwealth was producing 94% of all the hemp produced in the United States.
Both Klotter and John Kleber, author of The Kentucky Encyclopedia, concentrate on larger production in central Kentucky. But it was James F. Hopkins, at the University of Kentucky who realized the historical significance that the production of hemp played within the Commonwealth. While working on his master’s in 1936, he concentrated on the relevance of cultivation, processing and marketing relative to Kentucky’s social, economic and even political history. His book A History of the Hemp Industry In Kentucky is still available today.
As a baby boomer and a young adult of the 60’s our generation’s idea and thoughts of hemp was in the form of marijuana known as "pot" and "weed" and smoked at Woodstock. And while today helicopters do regular scans of Eastern Kentucky for marijuana fields I either was very naive or it did not exist in Boyd County when I was in high school.
Thus I was intrigued to learn more about the history of hemp when I discovered that it had been grown and hempseed sold legally from the farm we own.
The effects of cannabis came to national attention in the late 1910’s. The Uniform State Narcotic Act was finalized in 1932. But just prior to World War II fiber and jute production was on the rise. Strict controls were imposed on the raising and selling of the seed and hemp. Licenses were issued by the federal government and only a very strict few obtained them. According to the forward in Hopkins book the licenses "became little more than bragging curiosities, and the end of the war rang down the historic curtain on that second modest phase of hemp growing in Kentucky."
I take offense on behalf of my father-in-law about bragging rights. I know what a hard working proud Eastern Kentucky farmer he was. Every inch of dirt on this farm was utilized as was every crop to produce a living to put food on the table. He would not have wasted acres nor the trouble it must have been to acquire the license if it were not going to have a monetary value for the family.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture assigned each farm a number [they still do today]. John H. Klaiber received license 8107 pursuant to the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. It gave him the right to own hempseed and the legal right to sell it. The seed had to be cleaned with a combine or hand fan cleaning mill. The prices were set by the Commodity Credit Corporation and was sold directly to them.

Reading the fine print on the surviving contract, John H. Klaiber had for 1943, the seed had to be cleaned so that morning glory seed or other foreign matter was less than 2%. Klaiber turned in 5.27 bushels. After testing he received $36.37 for his efforts in this early 1943 contract.
According to a USDA publication titled Industrial Hemp in the United States during World War II imports of abaca and jute were unavailable. the Government instituted this emergency program to produce hemp as a domestic substitute. The Commodity credit Corporation contracted with War Hemp Industries, Inc. which was a "quasi-official organization." The production peaked in 1943 which is the year we have the farm license. As soon as the war was over legal restrictions were reimposed though one small hemp fiber industry continued in Wisconsin until 1958.
The USDA produced a film in 1942 titled Hemp For Victory to encourage farmers to grow it as part of the war efforts. The goal for 1943 was 50,000 acres of seed hemp and the target area was Kentucky. Thanks to the Hemp Industries Association the link at the film title in this blog will provide readers with a transcript of the campaign to get farmers to grow the product.

Posted by tklaiber at 3:46 PM

Read more: http://easternkentuckygenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/09/hemp-license-in-eastern-kentucky.html#ixzz10DLIgMIw

Well, ain’t no enthusiasm gap in the coalfields across the nation.


Well, ain’t no enthusiasm gap in the coalfields across the nation.


There have been a lot of excellent blogs recently on the enthusiasm gap among progressives, Democrats and even the Obama administration, and among climate movement activists in search of a play.

Well, ain’t no enthusiasm gap in the coalfields across the nation.

With millions of pounds of ANFO explosives detonating fly rock and toxic silica dust each day, deadly coal slurry and coal ash seeping into their waterways, the creeping threat of forced removal by Big Coal knocking on their doors, and their coal-strangled towns entrenched in poverty, coalfield residents share a profound sense of urgency.

Exactly one year ago, I wrote about the "coalfield uprising" based in Appalachia, where a determined campaign of citizen lobbyists, coal miners, and environmental groups sought to convince the Obama administration to abolish mountaintop removal.
Well, that didn’t work, so the uprising is now a-rising: Appalachia Rising. And it’s coming to Washington, DC on September 27th.

Coalfield residents are no longer afraid of Big Coal and their PR fronts or their bankrolled politicians. And they’re fed up with shouldering–like coal miners–the staggering human and environmental costs for our nation’s dirty energy policy.

As I understand it, Appalachian coalfield residents and their allies are coming to DC next week with one main demand: Decades of Big Coal circumventions and regulatory machinations and stacks of scientific studies on irreversible destruction have clearly shown that mountaintop removal and strip-mining must be abolished, not regulated.

After the EPA’s new guidance rules on mountaintop removal operations drew national press last spring, the federal agency’s first act two months later was to hand out a mountaintop removal permit. Worse yet, the day after the EPA’s mountaintop removal announcement, the feds quietly greenlighted the expansion of the largest strip mine in the West, the Antelope Mine in Wyoming, which will produce more coal than all of West Virginia’s mines combined.

Strip-mining is a crime against nature and our communities–from Appalachia to Alaska, and it must be ended in every state. Mountaintop removal, in fact, accounts for less than 10 percent of our national coal production.

In my own southern Illinois coalfields, for example, Appalachian firms notorious for mountaintop removal are now expanding strip-mining operations; a West Virginia coal baron, citing that the low-hanging fruit in the Appalachian coal basin had been picked, is now shifting to the devastating longwall mines in the central Illinois farm counties.

So, coalfields are rising across the nation.
Last week in Birmingham, Alabama, enthusiastic students and concerned citizens took their University of Alabama officials to task for considering a wrongheaded plan to lease land for a strip mine near the Black Warrior River. Fishermen in Alaska recently called on their governor to halt a strip mine from wiping out their livelihood and large sections of river salmon habitats. In Utah, even the normally hesitant National Park Service called on Utah politicians to stop a tourism-busting strip mine from opening down the road from Bryce Canyon National Park.

It’s hard to curb your enthusiasm when a 13-million pound dragline monster is heading for your farm or forest to rip out the biggest strip mine in the East–in Indiana, by the way, not Appalachia.

A few days ago, I sat around the table with a group of farmers and raging grannies in Hillsboro, Illinois, who fiercely debated strategies and tactics on how to get their incompetent state agencies to enforce mining laws and stop the destruction of their farms and homelands from reckless longwall mining.

The Citizens Against Longwall Mining carried out some of the most informed and lively discussions on energy policy I’ve heard in ages. The wreckage from longwall mining–the process of removing pillars and allowing for subsidence–is emerging as the next nightmare episode in energy extraction from Pennsylvania to the heartland and the America West.

Meanwhile, coalfield residents and their urban allies converged on EPA coal ash hearings in Chicago and Charlotte and Dallas last week with thunderous calls for the federal agency to recognize science and the huge health and human costs, and regulate the toxic residue as hazardous material.

At the same time, the campaign to phase out prehistoric coal-fired plants and launch a just transition in the coalfields for clean energy manufacturing and sustainable economic development has been growing. A green jobs commission now operates on the coal-rich Navajo Nation, as residents waged a herculean campaign to stop the proposed Desert Rock coal-fired plant.

Check out the New Power movement launched this week by the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. Fed up with political inaction and the stranglehold of Big Coal lobbyists, citizens have come together for a bold new step to put money and volunteer grassroots power behind clean energy candidates.

So, the coalfields are rising–just as they did in the 1960s and 1970s when a vibrant national movement rose up to abolish strip-mining. That national movement was ultimately betrayed by a lack of coalfield solidarity, activist fatigue and compromises among environmental lobbyists in Washington, DC, leading to the ineffective Surface Mining Reclamation and Control Act of 1977 (SMCRA).

In 1977, the Appalachia Coalition called SMCRA a "blatant travesty."

With the destruction of 500 mountains and one million acres of hardwood forests since then, mountaintop removal has become a blatant tragedy, and Appalachians and their allies from around the country will converge on Washington DC on September 27 to call for its abolition once and for all.

So, cheer up, enthusiasm seekers–get thee to the coalfields, or Washington, DC for a shot of inspiration.

Here’s a clip from the new film documentary, DEEP DOWN, on the resiliency of a coalfield community in eastern Kentucky that defiantly took on the expansion of a mountaintop removal operation:

Jeff Biggers is the author of Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland, and The United States of Appalachia.

Gene-Altered Fish Closer to Approval


The U.S. has moved closer to approving a laboratory-tweaked salmon that grows twice as fast as conventional farmed fish and would become the first genetically modified animal to appear on American dinner plates.

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The gene-altered salmon faces opposition from activists such as these in Washington last week.



An FDA advisory committee discussed Monday whether the fish was safe to eat and whether it posed any threat to the environment. The meeting ended without any decision about the fish. But in some ways, the FDA has already drawn its conclusions: In the run-up to the meeting, the FDA posted an analysis online that concluded the genetically altered version was as safe to eat as traditional Atlantic salmon, and posed little risk to the environment.

The AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon contains a growth hormone gene from the Chinook salmon, which accelerates its development in the first year. It also contains a fragment of DNA from the eel-like ocean pout species, which helps to switch on the Chinook gene. The altered fish stops growing when it reaches normal size.

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Associated Press

Ron Stotish, chief executive officer of AquaBounty, the company that applied with the FDA to market genetically modified salmon.



In its analysis, the FDA said the modified fish was chemically and biologically no different from a conventional Atlantic salmon. It offers a commercial advantage because it can reach market weight in 1.5 years to two years, about half the time required for a regular Atlantic salmon.

"There’s an opportunity here to re-establish a domestic salmon industry with land-based aquaculture," said Ronald Stotish, president and chief executive officer of the fish’s developer, AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Waltham, Mass., who attended the FDA meeting. Out of some 1.5 million tons of Atlantic salmon produced globally each year, the U.S. consumes about 450,000 tons, almost all of it imported, according to Mr. Stotish.

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But Jaydee Hanson, senior policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C., that is campaigning against the salmon, said some of the safety studies were based on sample sizes that were too small. Several of the key studies were based on sample sizes of about 30 fish, while others had slightly more.

"A minimum of 100 fish should have been required," said Mr. Hanson, who spoke at the meeting. "The data isn’t enough—the FDA should ask for more."

Mr. Stotish of AquaBounty defended the test data as sufficient. But during Monday’s meeting, several panelists expressed concerns about the data, though they said there was no reason to believe the salmon wasn’t safe.

The fish story is part of a larger global trend. Driven by a growing population, higher food prices and the lack of clear-cut evidence that genetically modified food is harmful to human health, there has been a growing global acceptance of products once derided as "Frankenfoods." That’s especially true in developing countries.

Genetically altering food can offer several benefits, scientists say. A crop can be engineered to provide larger yields, to be more tolerant of pesticides, or to better resist drought or pests. Sometimes, they may be cheaper to produce. Many countries are racing to take advantage of genetically modified (or GM) food.

In a significant but little-noticed move last December, China declared that certain strains of GM rice and corn were safe to produce and consume.

That step endorsed the use of biotechnology for the planet’s most important food crop, rice, which feeds half of humanity, and the biggest animal-feed crop, corn. While further field trials are needed, industry experts expect Chinese GM rice and corn to be produced in two to three years.

South Africa grows GM corn. Brazil and Pakistan grow GM soybeans and corn. India has been growing GM cotton for several years. A recent push to commercialize India’s first GM food crop—a pest-resistant eggplant—was recently put on hold on safety grounds.

In 2009, global acreage used to grow GM crops rose 6.8% to 330 million acres from 309 million acres in 2008, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, a GM industry group. Almost half of the global acreage was planted in developing countries.

Farmers world-wide pay roughly $9 billion annually for GM seed, according to seed-industry estimates. There are several developers of genetically modified crops, of which Monsanto Co. of St. Louis is the largest.

Europe has long been extremely cautious about planting GM crops. But in late July, the European Commission approved the import of six GM corn varieties for use in food and animal feed, though not for cultivation in Europe itself. In the same month, the commission also proposed new rules allowing each of its member states to choose whether or not to grow an approved GM crop within its borders. So far, the only EU-approved GM crop is a high-starch potato engineered for industrial use.

On the animal front, scientists at the University of Guelph in Canada have created a genetically modified pig that can better digest and process phosphorus, reducing production costs. The animals are cheaper to feed because they don’t need phosphorus supplements—a chemical vital to a pig’s diet but expensive for farmers to buy. The pig’s developers also claim that because animals release 30% to 70% less phosphorus in their waste, they’re good for the environment. Swine waste is a significant source of pollution.

Enviropig, which some critics have already dubbed "Frankenswine," is still under review by two Canadian regulatory agencies, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. A few months ago, another agency, Environment Canada, approved production of the animals as long as they are strictly contained. The FDA and Canadian authorities are still reviewing data about the pig to see if it’s safe to eat.

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In the U.S., GM crops were introduced in 1996, and are a regular part of the food supply, including corn, soybeans and sugar. "If you eat any of those products, you have an 85% or greater possibility that you are eating a GM food," said Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University.

AquaBounty created its first genetically altered salmon in 1989, and submitted its initial set of data to the FDA in 1995. So far, it has accumulated data from 10 generations of the animals. The company has far-flung operations—it is based in the U.S., its stock trades in London and it has fisheries in Canada and Panama.

Fish grown from the engineered eggs are all female and sterile. To prevent an accidental escape into the sea, AquaBounty wants the FDA to approve the fish only for inland fisheries.

In its scientific assessment, the FDA said that the genetically altered salmon posed "no additional allergenic risk than control Atlantic salmon."

Still, worries abound. Some 20 environmental and consumer groups have submitted joint comments to the FDA panel identifying what they believed were flaws in how AquaBounty sterilizes and isolates the modified fish, and the high volume of antibiotics that may be required to produce them in factory farms.

AquaBounty’s Mr. Stotish said, "That’s preposterous and totally designed to frighten people. The data doesn’t support their accusation at all."

On Tuesday, the FDA will hold a hearing on how the fish and products made from it should be labeled for consumers. It’s not clear when the FDA will make a final decision about the fish.

If approved, the fish likely won’t show up in the nation’s food supply for two or three years.


Write to Gautam Naik at gautam.naik@wsj.com

Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Gene-Altered Fish Closer to Approval

Death Penalty Goes on Trial in North Carolina


Kenneth Bernard Rouse was sentenced to death after a jury found him guilty in 1992 of fatally stabbing 63-year-old Hazel Colleen Broadway. Police found her body in a North Carolina convenience store, the knife still in her neck.

[RACE] Associated Press

Kenneth Bernard Rouse, in an undated photo, has challenged his death sentence under a state law examining the role of race in such cases.

Nearly two decades later, Mr. Rouse, now 47, sits on North Carolina’s death row, after filing unsuccessful appeals.

But a new, controversial state law might change that. Last year, North Carolina enacted what’s known as the Racial Justice Act, requiring judges to let any inmate off death row if the judge finds that race was a "significant factor" in the death sentence.

About 95% of the state’s death-row population, or 152 inmates including Mr. Rouse, filed bias claims by the August deadline, according to the North Carolina attorney general’s office. The law also allows future capital-murder defendants to claim racial bias. Convicts whose petitions were successful would instead face life sentences, with no chance of parole.

North Carolina’s new law is among the most hotly debated responses to recent criticism of the death penalty. Many states have rethought the sentence amid new genetic evidence that has freed some inmates.

Maryland has suspended its use of the death penalty while it reviews whether lethal injection causes undue pain; Texas last year passed a law to improve legal representation in death-penalty appeals. New Jersey and New Mexico in recent years abolished the death penalty.


But North Carolina has undertaken the most far-reaching effort to date to examine the amorphous question of whether race played an improper role in decisions to seek or impose death sentences.

It likely will be several months before any of the claims are considered by the courts, attorneys said.

"There are so many variables that can legitimately affect a prosecutor’s decision to seek the death penalty, including the seriousness of an offense," said Christopher Slobogin, a death-penalty expert at Vanderbilt University Law School. "This will be a messy enterprise."

Other states could follow North Carolina’s lead. Legislation is pending in Pennsylvania to allow death sentences to be challenged on the grounds of racial bias. A similar bill was introduced this year in California, though it was defeated because of concerns it would cost too much to administer, said a spokeswoman for Democratic California state senator Gilbert Cedillo, who introduced it.

Death-penalty critics and civil-rights advocates in North Caroline had pushed for several years to pass legislation aimed at examining the role of race in death-penalty cases. The Rouse case involves unusually specific evidence of alleged bias, and it was cited by advocates of the Racial Justice Act as an example of how discrimination can affect jurors’ decision making, according to lawyers involved in the debate over the law.

In his petition, Mr. Rouse highlighted that he is black, his victim white and he was convicted by an all-white jury. Mr. Rouse also presented what he claimed was more specific evidence of alleged bias. After the verdict in his case, a member of his legal team interviewed a juror, who allegedly used a racial epithet in describing blacks and said, " ‘Black men rape white women so that they can brag to their friends about having done so,’ " Mr. Rouse’s bias petition claimed.

"If the Racial Justice Act covers anything, it covers Kenneth Rouse," said his attorney, Gordon Widenhouse.

Andrew Gregson, a lawyer in the district attorney’s office that prosecuted Mr. Rouse, declined to comment on the case.

No particular case served as catalyst for the final legislation, according to people involved in the process. "We had quite a few people in the state who were concerned about the large number of people on death row who are African-American," said state Democratic senator Floyd McKissick Jr., who sponsored the legislation.

The legislation drew heated debate, narrowly passing the Democratic-controlled legislature. No Republican voted for it. "We are just giving murderers an additional tool to delay justice," Justin Burr, a Republican state legislator said.

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Some Republicans in the fall election season have continued to criticize their Democratic opponents for voting in favor of the legislation, although now the debate over bias legislation has been subsumed by a bigger controversy, attorneys said. The North Carolina attorney general’s office last month released a report that the state’s crime lab had routinely failed to disclose evidence possibly favorable to defendants, including in death-penalty cases.

Prosecutors also resisted the law, saying that it calls for a costly and unnecessary wholesale review of cases. "I feel very confident that race has not played a role in imposing the death penalty," said Peg Dorer, director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys.

Of particular concern to prosecutors and other opponents is that the new law allows murder defendants to try to prove bias through broad statistical evidence, such as data showing that North Carolina prosecutors, on a county-wide or state-wide basis, have sought the death penalty more frequently against black defendants or in cases involving a white victim. "You shouldn’t try a case on statistics," said Sarah Stevens, a North Carolina Republican legislator. "Statistics can be manipulated."

Mr. Rouse’s bias petition cited two recent studies from the Michigan State University College of Law. One study found that in more than 1,500 cases between 1990 and 2009, North Carolina defendants of all races were more than twice as likely to be sentenced to death if at least one of their alleged victims was white.

Another study concluded that in the cases of the 159 people currently on death row in the state, prosecutors removed blacks from juries at more than twice the rate that they struck prospective nonblack jurors.

Most inmates filing bias claims have cited the Michigan State study, according to Gerda Stein, a spokeswoman for the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, which represents about 40 inmates who have filed claims.

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Reader Letters | Marijuana miracles?


The following is an excellent LTE to the CJ&T (Courier Journal & Times), in Louisville, Kentucky:

Dr. Andrew Weil has an excellent article published on Huffington Post titled “Cannabis Rx: Cutting through the misinformation.” The article discusses the criminalization of cannabis to suppress the hemp trade and how cannabis extracts were widely used in medicine prior to 1937. Weil highlights the numerous medical uses of cannabis that our state and federal governments refuse to accept.

The most exciting part of the article is the promise that cannabis shows in curing cancer. Weil discusses recent research that demonstrates cannabis components kill cancer cells while not harming healthy cells. He also recommends a new documentary, “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer,” by Len Richmond. Weil suggests that our political leaders should watch this documentary and then act quickly to change our counterproductive cannabis policies.

I’ve written the editorial board numerous times since Dr. Donald Tashkin’s 2005 marijuana and respiratory cancers study that showed marijuana use lowered cancer risks that you didn’t publish. Several studies since then have confirmed Tashkin’s cancer findings and others that debunk the gateway drug theory, prove marijuana is effective in pain management, etc., that you don’t print. Why?

The truth is the “gateway drug” is actually the gateway back from opiate and alcohol addiction. The likely truth is that cannabis holds the key to curing cancer. It’s highly probable that, with a change in thinking, we could develop significant cannabis-based cancer treatments right here in Kentucky. That change in thinking will only happen when you inform the public of the truth.


Prospect, Ky. 40059

Last Updated on Friday, 17 September 2010 14:51

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Hemp houses offer sustainability without sacrificing style

by Bryce Wolfe on September 16, 2010 Green Business



While the United States continues to ban the cultivation of industrial hemp because of its relationship to marijuana, other countries recognize the plant’s considerable economic and environmental benefits. The soft, hardy fiber can be found in paper, clothing and, increasingly, in houses. In the United Kingdom, Bath University researchers have constructed a building dubbed the "HemPod" in order to test the suitability of hemp as a building material.

The walls of the one-story HemPod consist of a hemp-lime mixture, made from the chopped core of the industrial hemp plant and a lime-based binder. The lime-based binder sticks to and protects the hemp fibers, making the material resistant to fire. Besides being drought- and pest-resistant, industrial hemp absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows and can be sustainably harvested. According to researchers, a soccer field-sized area can grow enough hemp in three months to build a typical three-bedroom house. The rest of the plant, like its seeds, can then be used for food or oil.

Hemp houses already exist in countries like Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, but the HemPod will be used purely for scientific testing. Researchers plan to monitor the house for 18 months using temperature and humidity sensors within its walls, to determine how quickly heat and water vapor pass through the material.

Ashville, North Carolina residents Russ Martin and Karon Korp can vouch for its insulating power. Last month CNN interviewed the couple, who own the first house in America constructed mainly from hemp materials, and Martin reported that the monthly cooling bill for the 3400 sq. ft. building was only $100. In appearance, the Ashville building is sleek and modern, dispelling the tie-dye stereotypes that surround hemp.


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