Archive | Health

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Are Israelis Harvesting Organs From Haiti?

Posted on 19 February 2010 by admin

Israeli media first to report Haitian organ theft rumor

Jillian C. York, The Electronic Intifada, 19 February 2010

There is considerable speculation following the removal of Lady Jenny Tonge on 14 February from her position as health critic for the Liberal Democratic Party in the UK’s House of Lords following her statement calling for an inquiry into claims that the Israeli military stole organs during its relief work in Haiti last month.

The question I pose is not whether Tonge was wrong in her claims to The Jewish Chronicle (which I would argue she was), but where the claims originated in the first place.

As mainstream publications such as CNN and the UK’s Telegraph publish analyses of the Tonge affair, they continue to falsely claim that the accusation which Tonge repeated, that of the Israeli military stealing Haitian organs, originated in Palestinian sources, when in fact their very origin was Israeli.

The mainstream corporate media’s story goes like this: The Jewish Chroniclerequested a statement from Tonge after the online publication The Palestine Telegraph, of which she is a patron, allegedly accused the Israeli military of stealing organs while conducting earthquake relief work in Haiti. On 11 February, Tonge responded to The Jewish Chronicle by commending the Israeli military’s work in the devastated country. She added that “To prevent allegations such as these — which have already been posted on YouTube — going any further, the IDF [Israeli army] and the Israeli Medical Association should establish an independent inquiry immediately to clear the names of the team in Haiti” (Simon Rocker and Martin Bright, “Tonge: Investigate IDF stealing organs in Haiti,” The Jewish Chronicle, 11 February 2010).

However, the Gaza-based Palestine Telegraph was not the first media source to publish such a statement. On 20 January, the Israeli news site YNet published a piece entitled, “‘Israelis Stealing Organs in Haiti,’” the title of which has since been changed (Yitzhak Benhorin, “Anti-Semitic video against Israel team in Haiti,” previously titled “‘Israelis Stealing Organs in Haiti‘”).

A screen shot of the original headline on YNet.

YNet plucked from obscurity a little-known YouTube video, in which a Seattle activist, who identifies as “T. West,” claims that those serving in the Israeli army are without consciences. In the video, West states that:

“We always have some [unscrupulous] in the crowd, and that includes the Israeli Defense Force … people have to be aware of personalities who are out for money … the IDF has participated in the past in stealing organ transplants of Palestinians and others. So, there is little monitoring in such a tragedy as this, so the Haitian people must watch out for their citizens as these international groups come in to assist medically and in other ways in Haiti.”

Nowhere in the video does West make a direct claim that the Israeli military is harvesting Haitian organs; rather, he invokes Jewish money stereotypes and references the charges made by Swedish journalist Donald Bostrom inAftonbladet last year that the Israeli military has stolen Palestinian organs (a claim to which Israel partially admitted last December in an Israeli television documentary, according to a report by Ian Black of the Guardian (“Doctor admits Israeli pathologists harvested organs without consent,” 21 December 2009).

YNet interviewed T. West for its piece, asking him specifically about the claim of harvesting organs in general. To this, the activist responded, “This is not the official policy of the Israeli military, but a few individuals did this,” again making no specific claim to the harvesting of Haitian organs.

Following the publication of the YNet article, Iran’s PressTV (“Israel harvesting organs in Haiti?” 20 January 2010), The Palestine Telegraph (article since removed), and a number of other sites parroted the claims to varying degrees of accuracy. The PressTV story directly references the YNet article.

Now, claims that never occurred, in a video that would have remained obscure were it not for an Israeli source, have spiraled out of control. Just like last year, when Bostrom’s Aftonbladet piece sparked a campaign within Israel that had the government demanding Sweden condemn the article and ordinary Israelis boycotting IKEA, this is a case of media irresponsibility resulting in real-world repercussions. In this instance, Jenny Tonge, an important ally to Palestinians, has lost credibility and her position, and for what? Careless repetition, at worst.

Of course, each of the media entities that repeated YNet’s claim are partly responsible and should be more cautious in their reporting and fact-checking. But one cannot compare The Palestine Telegraph, a small, independent and fairly new online media source to well-funded media like YNet (which is among Israel’s top 10 websites), nor to CNN, the UK’s Telegraph,The Jerusalem Post, and the AP, all of which have quickly pointed the finger at The Palestinian Telegraph and not YNet as the source of the claims. Responsibility falls squarely on YNet for catapulting the video of an unknown wannabe-pundit into notoriety.

Jillian C. York is a writer and free speech activist who frequently covers Palestinian blogs for Global Voices Online and blogs at

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Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination, study finds

Posted on 23 January 2010 by PersianPaladin

basra-iraqi familiesPollution caused by the bombing of oil pipelines and the type of munitions used in two wars have led to health problems in Barsa, southern Iraq. Photograph: Dan Chung

More than 40 sites across Iraq are contaminated with high levels or radiation and dioxins, with three decades of war and neglect having left environmental ruin in large parts of the country, an official Iraqi study has found.

Areas in and near Iraq’s largest towns and cities, including Najaf, Basra and ­Falluja, account for around 25% of the contaminated sites, which appear to coincide with communities that have seen increased rates of cancer and birth defects over the past five years. The joint study by the environment, health and science ministries found that scrap metal yards in and around Baghdad and Basra contain high levels of ionising radiation, which is thought to be a legacy of depleted uranium used in munitions during the first Gulf war and since the 2003 invasion.

The environment minister, Narmin Othman, said high levels of dioxins on agricultural lands in southern Iraq, in particular, were increasingly thought to be a key factor in a general decline in the health of people living in the poorest parts of the country.

IraqToxic Toxic zones in Iraq”If we look at Basra, there are some heavily polluted areas there and there are many factors contributing to it,” ­she told the Guardian. “First, it has been a battlefield for two wars, the Gulf war and the Iran-Iraq war, where many kinds of bombs were used. Also, oil pipelines were bombed and most of the contamination settled in and around Basra.

“The soil has ended up in people’s lungs and has been on food that people have eaten. Dioxins have been very high in those areas. All of this has caused systemic problems on a very large scale for both ecology and overall health.”

Government study groups have recently focused on the war-ravaged city of ­Falluja, west of ­Baghdad, where the unstable security situation had kept scientists away ever since fierce fighting between militants and US forces in 2004.

“We have only found one area so far in Falluja,” Othman said. “But there are other areas that we will try to explore soon with international help.”

The Guardian reported in November claims by local doctors of a massive rise in birth defects in the city, particularly neural tube defects, which afflict the spinal cords and brains of newborns. “We are aware of the reports, but we must be cautious in reaching conclusions about causes,” Othman said. “The general health of the city is not good. There is no sewerage system there and there is a lot of stagnant household waste, creating sickness that is directly affecting genetics. We do know, however, that a lot of depleted uranium was used there.

“We have been regulating and monitoring this and we have been urgently trying to assemble a database. We have had co-operation from the United Nations environment programme and have given our reports in Geneva. We have studied 500 sites for chemicals and depleted uranium. Until now we have found 42 places that have been declared as [high risk] both from uranium and toxins.”

Ten of those areas have been classified by Iraq’s nuclear decommissioning body as having high levels of radiation. They include the sites of three former nuclear reactors at the Tuwaitha facility – once the pride of Saddam ­Hussein’s regime on the south-eastern outskirts of Baghdad – as well as former research centres around the capital that were either bombed or dismantled between the two Gulf wars.

The head of the decommissioning body, Adnan Jarjies, said that when inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived to “visit these sites, I tell them that even if we have all the best science in the world to help us, none of them could be considered to be clean before 2020.”

Bushra Ali Ahmed, director of the Radiation Protection Centre in Baghdad, said only 80% of Iraq had so far been surveyed. “We have focused so far on the sites that have been contaminated by the wars,” he said. “We have further plans to swab sites that have been destroyed by war.

“A big problem for us is when say a tank has been destroyed and then moved, we are finding a clear radiation trail. It takes a while to decontaminate these sites.”

Scrap sites remain a prime concern. Wastelands of rusting cars and war damage dot Baghdad and other cities between the capital and Basra, offering unchecked access to both children and scavengers.

Othman said Iraq’s environmental degradation is being intensified by an acute drought and water shortage across the country that has seen a 70% decrease in the volume of water flowing through the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

“We can no longer in good conscience call ourselves the land between the rivers,” she said. “A lot of the water we are getting has first been used by Turkey and Syria for power generation. When it reaches us it is poor quality. That water which is used for agriculture is often contaminated. We are in the midst of an unmatched environmental disaster.”

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Food Prescription: The Lyme Induced Autism Foundation prescribes 100% Non-GMO diet

Posted on 31 August 2009 by admin

The Lyme Induced Autism Foundation (LIA) has joined with other leading health organizations to call on medical practitioners to prescribe diets free from all genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and urged individuals, especially those with autism, Lyme disease, and associated conditions, to avoid eating genetically modified (GM) foods. The LIA Foundation recognizes the unique health dangers posed by GMOs, especially for populations suffering from autism, Lyme disease, and other chronic disorders, and they have concluded, “There is an urgent need for independent research to evaluate the role that GM foods play in contributing to the prevalence or severity of autism, Lyme disease, and related conditions.”

The LIA Foundation calls for: 
• A moratorium on all genetically modified foods 
• Research to evaluate the role of GM foods on autism, Lyme disease, and related conditions 
• Physician and patient advocacy groups to advise patients on the role of GM foods in disease processes
• Health practitioners to distribute non-GMO educational materials (

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Dems backtrack on single-payer bill

Posted on 30 August 2009 by admin

Some House members who have previously backed a single-payer healthcare reform bill say they will not vote for a similar measure when it hits the floor this fall.

Of the 12 serving House members who co-sponsored Rep. John Conyers’s (D-Mich.) single-payer bill (H.R. 676) in the last Congress but not in this Congress, four have indicated they will vote no on a single-payer bill to be offered by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).

The four members are Reps. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), David Scott (D-Ga.), and Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.).

“It’s a whole new ballgame,” said Baca spokesman Mike Trujillo. “[Baca] supports a public option and not a single-payer system at this time.”

In an interview with The Hill, Scott said, “I support a public option. It’s an excellent compromise and the best vehicle to garner enough votes to pass….Single-payer isn’t going to get the votes. A public option is the best shot we have to lower costs and provide coverage to most Americans.”

Johnson adopted a similar tone in a statement to The Hill: “I have supported legislation like H.R. 676 in the past, but this year I support America’s Affordable Health Choices Act because it has a much better chance of becoming law.”

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Clove cigarette ban curbs freedom, helps big tobacco keep selling

Posted on 23 August 2009 by admin

I’m not usually one to go around bashing big government. I’m a bit too left-leaning for that.

I have to protest some recent government intervention, though: Once again, the U.S. government is attempting to mandate healthy habits, this time by banning flavored and clove cigarettes.

As of September 22, it won’t be illegal to possess flavored cigarettes, but it will be illegal to sell them. As a result, clove cigarettes, which have been imported from Indonesia and sold in the U.S. since 1968, and cigarettes flavors like cherry and chocolate mocha are about to become a controlled substance.

Ostensibly, this portion of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law on June 22, will prevent yummy-sounding cigarette flavors like cherry and chocolate mocha from tempting young people into smoking.

In fact, this law—which passed handily in both houses of congress—will have little impact on teen smoking and a great deal of impact on adults’ freedom of choice (or perhaps I should say freedom of vice.)

Pay no attention to the cigarette company behind the curtain

The act, which was sponsored by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and championed by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)), benefited from an unusual ally.

Philip-Morris—the tobacco giant who controls fully half of the U.S. cigarette market share—had its tarry hands all over the passage of this legislation.

At first blush, it seems strange that the company would join forces with the likes of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids )—which champions itself as an organization “working to expose Big Tobacco’s lies”—to achieve what Obama calls “a victory for health care reform.”

A closer look, however, reveals that Philip-Morris has nothing to lose with this legislation and everything to gain.

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Kucinich Secures $8 Million For Gulf War Veterans Illness Research

Posted on 31 July 2009 by admin

Money Will Expand On Studies For Treatment, Bringing Us Closer To Identifying A Cure

WASHINGTON – July 31 -

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) secured a major victory for veterans of the first Gulf War by garnering $8 million for Gulf War Illness (GWI) research in the Fiscal Year 2010 Appropriations bill that passed the House yesterday.

“This research will build on previous studies on Gulf War Illness.” Kucinich said. “This funding will take giant steps forward in identifying a treatment or a cure for Gulf War Veteran’s illness.”

In its landmark 454-page report delivered in November, the Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses at the Department of Veterans Affairs (RAC) reported that “Gulf War illness is real, that it is the result of neurotoxin exposures during Gulf War deployment and that few veterans have recovered or substantially improved with time.”

For the first time, the report identified several suspected causes and two known causes: exposure to pesticides and a drug given to troops to protect them from nerve gas.

“There are currently no effective treatments for these conditions. With research, we learn the true causes of GWI and the possibilities open up. We must continue to attack GWI and fund the research with an amount commensurate with the scope of the problem,” said Kucinich.

Kucinich’s request for funding received bipartisan support from Reps. Henry Brown, Holt, Filner, Michaud, Baldwin, C. Brown, Conyers, Edwards, Grijalva, Hall, Maloney, McDermott, D. Moore, G. Moore, Pascrell, Pingree, Ross, Sestak, Stark and Yarmuth.

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Rome: Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)

Posted on 04 July 2009 by admin

Saturday, 4 July

International Day of Cooperatives
“Driving Global Recovery through Cooperatives”
More Information:

Amman: Bureau of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly.
Rome: Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) � a commission jointly established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) which discusses international food standards.


The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) this week adopted provisions for five key issues for the food supplement industry in line with provisions supported by IADSA.

The Codex decision-making body, which is meeting in Rome from 29 June till 4 July, adopted the Recommendations on the Scientific Substantiation of Health Claims, the Nutritional Risk Analysis Principles, the Provisions on Gum Arabic, the definition and table of conditions of dietary fibre, and the use of eight food colours in food supplements, all in line with recommendations from the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations’ (IADSA). These Codex provisions now become official Codex Standards and Guidelines.

The adopted Recommendations on the Scientific Substantiation of Health Claims now take into account the totality of the available relevant scientific data and weighing of the evidence for substantiating a health claim, rather than placing primary importance on human intervention trials.

IADSA also welcomed the adoption of the Nutritional Risk Analysis Principles, which it described as “a solid framework for the potential future application of the risk assessment method by Codex for the use of vitamins, minerals and other substances in food supplements”.

Gum Arabic was adopted as a carrier at 10 mg/kg; and the definition and table of conditions of dietary fibre now distinguish three main categories of carbohydrate polymers, refer to monomeric units and leave the decision on whether to include carbohydrates with monomeric units from 3 to 9, to national authorities.

In addition, the CAC adopted the use of the following eight food colours in food supplements: Allura Red AC, Caramel Colour-Class IV, Carotenoids, Chlorophylls-Copper Complexes, Fast Green FCF, Grape Skin Extracts, Indigotine and Iron Oxides – a decision that IADSA said “will avoid potential confusion in many countries and unnecessary barriers to trade”.

IADSA Chairman Byron Johnson said: “We support the results of the work on these issues and support their adoption. The drafts finally agreed endorse a number of comments made by IADSA, and we welcome the progress that has been made.”

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Craig Winters leaves a non-GMO health legacy

Posted on 03 July 2009 by admin

It is with very deep sadness that I report that Craig Alan Winters passed away this morning, as a result of complications from his fight against cancer. Craig was incredibly courageous and upbeat throughout his fight against the disease, but in the end, his body was simply too ravaged to carry on.

I received a call this morning from Craig’s best friend, Steve, who got the call about the news from Craig’s dad. I called Swedish Medical Center this morning and they told me that he died at 6:30 a.m. of respiratory failure. Craig was born in 1951.

In the late 1990s, Craig hired me to serve as the communications director for a new group he launched, called The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods. Craig worked for years to educate people about the problems surrounding “Frankenfoods,” and coordinated with Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s office to introduce legislation that would require genetically engineered foods to be labeled so people would know what they were purchasing. The legislation never made it through several Congresses during the Clinton and Bush years, but Craig resiliently continued to push for its passage and hoped to win the battle, finally, under the Obama administration.

Craig Winters’ website is gone!

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Reporters Sound Like Ventriloquist For Insurance Companies & Big Pharma

Posted on 23 June 2009 by admin

why isn’t Single-Payer Health Insurance “on the table” ?!?

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Dressing up dangerous Codex as food safety

Posted on 24 May 2009 by admin

Dressing up dangerous Codex as “food safety”
Daily Kos – Berkeley, CA

The article below is from Thailand, where herbs such as turmeric, ginger and chili are being suddenly being called “hazardous.”

The “food safety” bills here do the same thing, redefining normal as hazardous and putting it under government control or requiring licensing which, by its costs, would put it out of reach. Normal seeds are being treated in this way in the EU.  The “food safety” bills here would put seeds out of reach by suddenly redefining  such normal things as agricultural water, manure, harvesting, transporting and seed cleaning equipment, and seed storage facilities as “sources of contamination” and from there, raising the standards for their use to a level farmers couldn’t meet.

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