Corporate Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on corporate corruption
California’s Proposition 37, which would require that genetically modified (G.M.) foods carry a label, has the potential ... to change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too. Genetically modified foods don’t offer the eater any benefits whatsoever — only a potential, as yet undetermined risk. Monsanto and its allies have fought the labeling of genetically modified food ... vigorously since 1992, when the industry managed to persuade the [F.D.A.] — over the objection of its own scientists — that the new crops were “substantially equivalent” to the old and so did not need to be labeled, much less regulated. The F.D.A. policy was co-written by a lawyer whose former firm worked for Monsanto. More than 60 other countries have seen fit to label genetically modified food, including those in the European Union, Japan, Russia and China. Monsanto and DuPont, the two leading merchants of genetically modified seed, have invested more than $12 million to defeat Prop 37. Americans have been eating genetically engineered food for 18 years, and as supporters of the technology are quick to point out, we don’t seem to be dropping like flies. But they miss the point. The fight over labeling G.M. food is not foremost about food safety or environmental harm, legitimate though these questions are. The fight is about the power of Big Food. Monsanto has become the symbol of everything people dislike about industrial agriculture: corporate control of the regulatory process; lack of transparency (for consumers) and lack of choice (for farmers); an intensifying rain of pesticides; and the monopolization of seeds, which is to say, of the genetic resources on which all of humanity depends.
Note: To learn more about the revolving door between Monsanto and the FDA, click here. To read about many suppressed scientific studies which showed the GM foods were often harmful and sometimes even lethal to a variety of lab animals, click here. To watch a powerful video showing clearly how Monsanto has attacked those who will not use their GM seeds, click here.
Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, has tentatively agreed to a settlement of $2.2 billion to resolve a federal investigation into the company’s marketing practices. Johnson & Johnson confidentially paid psychiatrists such as Harvard’s Joseph Biederman to promote adult drugs such as the powerful antipsychotic drug Risperdal for children. The company has even ghost-written at least one of the Harvard professor’s “scientific” articles. Another recent DOJ settlement with drug company GlaxoSmithKline resulted in Glaxo’s agreement to pay $3 billion in criminal and civil fines. GlaxoSmithKline employed several tactics aimed at promoting the use of [Paxil] in children, including helping to publish a medical journal article that misreported data from a clinical trial. GlaxoSmithKline also secretly paid about $500,000 to psychiatrist Charles Nemeroff ... to promote Paxil. Glaxo even ghostwrote a psychopharmacology textbook for family doctors, who write many prescriptions for children, which was “coauthored“ by Nemeroff and psychiatrist Alan Schatzberg. None of these drug-company-bought psychiatrists has suffered serious consequences. Meanwhile, the DOJ has now enforced a total of $8.9 billion in criminal and civil fines against GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Johnson & Johnson. Stimulants, antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs are very harmful to the brain. The health professions would do far more good stopping the drugging of children than continuing or increasing it.
Note: The above was written by Peter Breggin, MD, author of the book, "Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families" For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic failed to act on clear warnings that the Libor interest rate was being falsely reported by banks during the financial crisis, it emerged last night. A cache of documents released yesterday by the New York Federal Reserve showed that US officials had evidence from April 2008 that Barclays was knowingly posting false reports about the rate at which it could borrow in order to assuage market concerns about its solvency. An unnamed Barclays employee told a New York Fed analyst, Fabiola Ravazzolo, on 11 April 2008: "So we know that we're not posting, um, an honest Libor." He said Barclays started under-reporting Libor because graphs showing the relatively high rates at which the bank had to borrow attracted "unwanted attention" and the "share price went down". The verbatim note of the call released by the Fed represents the starkest evidence yet that Libor-fiddling was discussed in high regulatory circles years before Barclays' recent Ł290m fine. The New York Fed said that, immediately after the call, Ms Ravazzolo informed her superiors of the information, who then passed on her concerns to Tim Geithner, who was head of the New York Fed at the time. Mr Geithner investigated and drew up a six-point proposal for ensuring the integrity of Libor which he presented to the British Bankers Association, which is responsible for producing the Libor rate daily. Mr Geithner, who is now US Treasury Secretary, also forwarded the six-point plan to the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on regulatory and financial corruption and criminality, click here. For our highly revealing Banking Corruption Information Center, click here.
Motorists may have been paying too much for their petrol because banks and other traders are likely to have tried to manipulate oil prices in the same way they rigged interest rates, an official report has warned. Concerns are growing about the reliability of oil prices, after a report for the G20 found the market is wide open to “manipulation or distortion”. Traders from banks, oil companies or hedge funds have an “incentive” to distort the market and are likely to try to report false prices, it said. Petrol retailers use oil price “benchmarks” to decide how much to pay for future supplies. The rate is calculated by data companies based on submissions from firms which trade oil on a daily basis – such as banks, hedge funds and energy companies. However, like Libor ... the market is unregulated and relies on the honesty of the firms to submit accurate data about all their trades. This is one of the major concerns raised in the G20 report, published last month by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). In the study for global finance ministers, including George Osborne, the regulator warns that traders have opportunities to influence oil prices for their own profit. It points out that the whole market is “voluntary”, meaning banks and energy companies can choose which trades to make public. IOSCO says this “creates opportunity for a trader to submit a partial picture in order to influence the [price] to the trader’s advantage”.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on regulatory and financial corruption and criminality, click here.
The pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline has been fined $3bn (Ł1.9bn) after admitting bribing doctors and encouraging the prescription of unsuitable antidepressants to children. The company encouraged sales reps in the US to mis-sell three drugs to doctors and lavished hospitality and kickbacks on those who agreed to write extra prescriptions. The company admitted corporate misconduct over the antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin and asthma drug Advair. GSK also paid for articles on its drugs to appear in medical journals and "independent" doctors were hired by the company to promote the treatments. Paxil – which was only approved for adults – was promoted as suitable for children and teenagers by the company despite trials that showed it was ineffective. Children and teenagers are only treated with antidepressants in exceptional circumstances due to an increased risk of suicide. The second drug to be mis-sold was Wellbutrin – another antidepressant aimed only at adults. The prosecution said the company paid $275,000 to Dr Drew Pinsky, who hosted a popular radio show, to promote the drug on his programme, in particular for unapproved uses. US attorney Carmin Ortiz said: "The sales force bribed physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of high-priced entertainment, from Hawaiian vacations [and] paying doctors millions of dollars to go on speaking tours, to tickets to Madonna concerts." Despite the large fine, $3bn is far less than the profits made from the drugs.
Note: In February 2016, GlaxoSmithKline was fined another $53 million by the UK for preventing generic competition. The list of huge fines to top drug companies includes five fines of over $1 billion and dozens over $100 million. How can we trust these companies on the safety and reliability of their products?
A scandal over the rigging of key interest rates could plunge the global banking industry into a legal morass for years, analysts said. The head of the Bank of England said there needed to be "real change" in the industry's culture. Referring to what he called the "deceitful manipulation" of rates, Mervyn King told a news conference [that] the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR) should be reformed to reflect actual market transactions. U.S. and British authorities fined Barclays $453 million on Wednesday for manipulating LIBOR, which underpins some $360 trillion of loans and financial contracts around the world - and analysts forecast more banks would soon be named for collusion. Others predicted Barclays and other banks could face billions in costs from litigation, especially in the United States, in much the same way that oil major BP ran into drawn-out legal rows over its oil spill. Barclays was the first bank to settle in an investigation which is looking at other large financial institutions in Europe, Japan and North America.
Note: This article states that LIBOR underpins some $360 trillion of loans and financial contracts around the world. That's $50,000 for every man, woman, and child on this planet. And it is being hugely manipulated. For more vitally important information on this, learn about the huge amounts of derivatives being manipulated at this link and explore the excellent, reliable information in our Banking Corruption Information Center available here.
Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs. Over the course of my career I have had the privilege of advising two of the largest hedge funds on the planet [and] five of the largest asset managers in the United States. My clients have a total asset base of more than a trillion dollars. After almost 12 years at the firm ... I believe I have worked here long enough to understand ... its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence. What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm's "axes," which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) "Hunt Elephants." In English: get your clients -- some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren't -- to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It's purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them.
Note: The author of this article, Greg Smith, was a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. For an excellent compilation of news articles and government documents showing the huge risk of the derivatives bubble being manipulate by Goldman Sachs and others, click here.
In 2006 ... the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the World Health Organization in Geneva warned of the imminent onset of an avian flu "pandemic" of lethal proportions. The pandemic never occurred. After reviewing studies of Tamiflu during the avian flu scare, Dr. Tom Jefferson ... had concluded in a 2006 report that the drug was effective. "But," said the article, "several years later, another physician challenged that conclusion because 8 of 10 studies in a meta-analysis — a review of studies — that Jefferson relied on had never been published." That prompted Jefferson to seek the raw data. "He was stymied when several authors and the manufacturer gave one excuse after another for why it couldn't supply the actual data. Jefferson's concern turned to outrage when two employees of a communications company … [revealed] they had been paid to ghostwrite some of the Tamiflu studies [and] had been given explicit instructions to ensure that a key message was embedded in the articles: Flu is a threat, and Tamiflu is the answer. "After reanalyzing the raw data finally made available (they still don't have it all), Jefferson and his colleagues published their review [in December 2009], saying that once the unpublished studies were excluded, there was no proof that Tamiflu reduced serious flu complications like pneumonia or death." In short, it appears the pharmaceutical companies had been as cunning in conning the public on matters of health as Wall Street had been on matters of wealth.
Note: For powerful media reports suggesting that both the Avian Flu and Swine Flu were incredibly manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on pharmaceutical corruption, click here.
Americans have never much liked government. After all, the nation was conceived in a revolution against government. But the surge of cynicism engulfing America isn't about how big government has become. It's a growing perception that our government is no longer working for average people. It's for big business, Wall Street and the very rich. The richest Americans are taking home a bigger share of total income than at any other time since the 1920s. Their tax payments are down because the Bush tax cuts reduced their top rates to the lowest level in more than half a century, and cut capital gains taxes to 15 percent. Congress hasn't even closed a loophole that allows mutual-fund and private-equity managers to treat their incomes as capital gains. So the 400 richest Americans, whose total wealth exceeds the combined wealth of the bottom 150 million Americans put together, pay an average of 17 percent of their income in taxes. That's lower than the tax rates of most day laborers. And the share of revenues coming from corporations has been dropping. The biggest, like GE, find ways to pay no federal taxes at all. Many shelter their income abroad, and every few years Congress grants them a tax amnesty to bring the money home. Get it? "Big government" isn't the problem. The problem is the big money that's taking over government. Government is doing less of the things most of us want it to do ... and more of the things big corporations, Wall Street and the wealthy want it to do.
Note: The author of this analysis, Robert Reich, is a former U.S. secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.
The OCC’s quarterly report on trading revenues and bank derivatives activities is based on Call Report information provided by all insured U.S. commercial banks and trust companies, reports filed by U.S. financial holding companies, and other published data. The notional amount of derivatives held by insured U.S. commercial banks decreased $1.4 trillion, or 0.6%, from the second quarter of 2011 to $248 trillion. Notional derivatives are 5.7% higher than at the same time last year. Derivatives activity in the U.S. banking system continues to be dominated by a small group of large financial institutions. The five banks with the most derivatives activity hold 96% of all derivatives. Insured commercial banks have more limited legal authorities than do their holding companies.
Note: Graphs in this OCC report (pg. 25 & 26) show that five U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, BofA, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, hold $235 of the $248 trillion above, while their holding companies control an additional $311 of the $326 trillion in derivatives held by holding companies. So these five banks and their holding companies combined hold $546 trillion in derivatives, 95% of the U.S. derivatives market, nearly 80% of the global market, and equivalent to over $75,000 for every person on the planet. If the above link fails, click here. For quarterly derivative reports by the OCC going back to 1995, click here.
A well-known Washington lobbying firm with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and politicians who might express sympathy for the protests, according to a memo obtained by [MSNBC]. The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association. CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. Two of the memo’s authors, partners Sam Geduldig and Jay Cranford, previously worked for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. The memo outlines a 60-day plan to conduct surveys and research on OWS and its supporters so that Wall Street companies will be prepared to conduct a media campaign in response to OWS. Wall Street companies “likely will not be the best spokespeople for their own cause,” according to the memo. “A big challenge is to demonstrate that these companies still have political strength and that making them a political target will carry a severe political cost.”
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on the reasons why people nationwide are occupying their city centers in protest against the collusion between powerful corporate and government elites, click here.
Ethics reforms put in place since the influence-peddling scandal surrounding high-rolling lobbyist Jack Abramoff haven't cleaned up the system "at all," a now-free Abramoff says. Abramoff served three and a half years in prison for conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion before his release last December. In an interview ... on CBS News' "60 Minutes," he said the reforms imposed after his guilty plea have little effect while campaign finance remains untouched. "You can't take a congressman to lunch for $25 and buy him a hamburger or a steak or something like that," he said. "But you can take him to a fund-raising lunch and not only buy him that steak, but give him $25,000 extra and call it a fund-raiser -- and have all the same access and all the same interactions with that congressman." Abramoff's interview with "60 Minutes" aired the night before a memoir, Capitol Punishment, is scheduled to hit shelves. Abramoff describes some of the techniques he employed as a lobbyist as "evil," "terrible" and, at the same time, "effective" for his firm, his clients and Republican politicians he usually worked with. Abramoff said the best way to get what he wanted to was to offer high-ranking congressional aides a job when they left public office. Once that was done, he told CBS, "We owned them." "Everything that we want, they're going to do. Not only that, they're going to think of things we can't think of to do," Abramoff said, estimating his office had "very strong influence" on 100 of the 535 congressional offices.
Note: For a powerful, six-minute analysis of legalized corruption based on Abramoff's comments on CBS 60 Minutes, click here. A petty thief steals three times for a total value of a few thousand dollars and by the "three strikes" law ends up in jail for life. Abramoff, along with his assistants, successfully corrupt U.S. Senators and Congress members and serve less than four years in jail. Some of his assistants got off with no jail time. Is the US justice system biased towards the rich?
Jack Abramoff may be the most notorious and crooked lobbyist of our time. He became a master at showering gifts on lawmakers in return for their votes on legislation. Five years ago ... Jack Abramoff pled guilty ... and served three and a half years in prison. Abramoff: I think most congressmen don't feel they're being bought. [They] can in their own mind justify the system. The "best way" to get a congressional office ... was to offer a staffer a job that could triple his salary. The moment I [offered] that to them ... we owned them. Most of the people ... on Capitol Hill wanted ... to be lobbyists. Republican Congressman Bob Ney was ambitious and looked at Abramoff as a way to build alliances with the White House and the majority leader. Neil Volz, his former chief of staff, by then a lobbyist for Abramoff .. asked Ney to insert some language into a reform bill that would give a backdoor license to an Indian casino. Abramoff: We crafted language that was so obscure ... but so precise to change the U.S. code. "Public law 100-89 is amended by striking section 207 101 stat. 668, 672." Members don't read the bills. Ney: It was a great big shell game. Ney would eventually serve 17 months in federal prison, the only congressman who was ever charged. But Abramoff says that there were many other members that did his bidding that could have been charged. Abramoff: I'm talking about giving a gift to somebody who makes a decision on behalf of the public. That's really what bribery is. But it is done everyday. There were very few members who ... didn't at some level participate in that. Our system is flawed and has to be fixed. He says the most important thing that needs to be done is to prohibit members of Congress and their staff from ever becoming lobbyists in Washington.
Note: To watch this incredibly revealing interview, click here. For a powerful, six-minute analysis of legalized corruption based on Abramoff's comments, click here. A petty thief steals three times for a total value of a few thousand dollars and by the "three strikes" law ends up in jail for life. Abramoff, along with his assistants, successfully corrupt U.S. Senators and Congress members and serve less than four years in jail. Many get off with no jail time. Is the US justice system biased towards the rich?
It's the dark heart of Britain, the place where democracy goes to die, immensely powerful, equally unaccountable. But I doubt that one in 10 British people has any idea of what the Corporation of the City of London is and how it works. As Nicholas Shaxson explains in his fascinating book Treasure Islands, the Corporation exists outside many of the laws and democratic controls which govern the rest of the United Kingdom. The City of London is the only part of Britain over which parliament has no authority. This is ... an official old boys' network. In one respect at least the Corporation acts as the superior body: it imposes on the House of Commons a figure called the remembrancer: an official lobbyist who sits behind the Speaker's chair and ensures that, whatever our elected representatives might think, the City's rights and privileges are protected. The mayor of London's mandate stops at the boundaries of the Square Mile. The City has exploited this remarkable position to establish itself as a kind of offshore state, a secrecy jurisdiction which controls the network of tax havens housed in the UK's crown dependencies and overseas territories. This autonomous state within our borders is in a position to launder the ill-gotten cash of oligarchs, kleptocrats, gangsters and drug barons. It has also made the effective regulation of global finance almost impossible.
Note: To understand how democracy is easily circumvented, read this full article. For lots more from reliable sources on the hidden background to the control over governments held by financial powers, click here.
Wall Street's total price tag on settlements with U.S. securities regulators for allegedly misleading investors about mortgage bonds churned out ahead of the financial crisis surged past $1 billion with a deal by Citigroup Inc. to pay $285 million ... to end civil-fraud charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC claimed Citigroup sold slices of the $1 billion mortgage-bond deal without disclosing to investors that the bank was shorting $500 million of the deal, or betting its assets would lose value. Several Wall Street firms have settled similar claims by the SEC, which has generally stuck to the strategy used by the agency to get a $550 million settlement last year with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.. And the SEC's investigation of the Wall Street mortgage machine isn't over yet. Lorin Reisner, deputy enforcement director at the SEC, said civil mortgage-related cases against Goldman, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Countrywide Financial Corp., New Century Financial Corp. and other companies "read like an index to unlawful conduct in connection with the financial crisis." The SEC has collected a total of $1.03 billion through mortgage-bond-deal settlements. In addition to Citigroup, the total includes Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Royal Bank of Canada, Wells Fargo & Co. and Credit Suisse Group AG.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the illegal profiteering of major financial corporations, click here.
Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits. By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s [actions] included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley, got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress. It wasn’t just American finance. Almost half of the Fed’s top 30 borrowers, measured by peak balances, were European firms. Data gleaned [under the Freedom of Information Act] make clear for the first time how deeply the world’s largest banks depended on the U.S. central bank to stave off cash shortfalls. Even as the firms asserted in news releases or earnings calls that they had ample cash, they drew Fed funding in secret.
Note: For a treasure trove of information from reliable sources on the government transfer of public assets to private banks and financial corporations, click here.
The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Among the [Government Accountability Office] investigation's key findings is that the Fed unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland, according to the GAO report. The [report] also determined that the Fed lacks a comprehensive system to deal with conflicts of interest, despite the serious potential for abuse. In fact, according to the report, the Fed provided conflict of interest waivers to employees and private contractors so they could keep investments in the same financial institutions and corporations that were given emergency loans. For example, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New York Fed's board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. The investigation also revealed that the Fed outsourced most of its emergency lending programs to private contractors, many of which also were recipients of extremely low-interest and then-secret loans.
Note: We don't normally use the website of a member of the U.S. Senate as a source, but as amazingly none of the media covered this vitally important story other than one blog on Forbes, we are publishing this here. The GAO report to back up these claims is available for all to see at this link. For how the media is so controlled, don't miss the powerful two-page summary with reports by many award-winning journalists at this link. For another good article on the Fed's manipulations, click here.
The more aggressively a bank lobbied before the financial crisis, the worse its loans performed during the economic downturn -- and the more bailout dollars it received, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research this week. The report, titled "A Fistful of Dollars: Lobbying and the Financial Crisis," said that banks' lobbying efforts may be motivated by short-term profit gains, which can have devastating effects on the economy. "Overall, our findings suggest that the political influence of the financial industry played a role in the accumulation of risks, and hence, contributed to the financial crisis," said the report, written by three economists from the International Monetary Fund. Data collected by the three authors -- Deniz Igan, Prachi Mishra and Thierry Tressel -- show that the most aggressive lobbiers in the financial industry from 2000 to 2007 also made the most toxic mortgage loans. They securitized a greater portion of debt to pass the home loans onto investors and their stock prices correlated more closely to the downturn and ensuing bailout. The banks' loans also suffered from higher delinquencies during the downturn.
A noted plant scientist who spent much of his career at Purdue University sent a letter to the USDA informing the agency that he'd discovered a mysterious new disease-causing organism in Monsanto's (MON) genetically engineered Roundup Ready corn and soybeans. Now, that scientist - Don Huber - has written a follow-up letter ... and appears in a videotaped interview where he presents an even scarier picture of the damage he claims Monsanto's herbicide chemical glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) is doing to both plants and the animals who eat them. Use of glyphosate has soared thanks to widespread use of Monsanto's soy and corn seeds, which are genetically modified to survive its effects. The problem with glyphosate, Huber says, is that it effectively "gives a plant AIDS," weakening its defenses and making it more susceptible to pathogens, such as the one his team discovered. The scientists have taken to calling the bug "the electron microscope (EM) organism," since it can only be seen with an electron microscope. Huber claims that the double whammy of weakened defenses and the new EM organism have contributed to "unexplained epidemics" of disease on farms. He's heard from cattle farmers who are struggling because they're experiencing a 15% infertility rate and 35% rate of spontaneous abortions among their herds. When the farmers switch to non-GE soy and corn for feed, the problems decline dramatically.
Just under three years ago, people in the village of Gumbi in western Malawi went unexpectedly hungry. Not like Europeans do if they miss a meal or two, but that deep, gnawing hunger that prevents sleep and dulls the senses when there has been no food for weeks. Oddly, there had been no drought, the usual cause of malnutrition and hunger in southern Africa, and there was plenty of food in the markets. For no obvious reason the price of staple foods such as maize and rice nearly doubled in a few months. Unusually, too, there was no evidence that the local merchants were hoarding food. It was the same story in 100 other developing countries. There were food riots in more than 20 countries and governments had to ban food exports and subsidise staples heavily. A new theory is emerging among traders and economists. The same banks, hedge funds and financiers whose speculation on the global money markets caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis are ... taking advantage of the deregulation of global commodity markets [to make] billions from speculating on food and causing misery around the world. As food prices soar again to beyond 2008 levels, it becomes clear that everyone is now being affected. Food prices are now rising by up to 10% a year in Britain and Europe. What is more, says the UN, prices can be expected to rise at least 40% in the next decade.
Note: Remember that speculation is behind almost all of the economic bubbles and busts. The price of oil spiked a couple years ago almost purely because of speculators, while the oil companies raked in record profits. It looks like the speculators are now driving food prices as high as they can. For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources investigating the many different strategies used by financial corporations to enrich themselves at the expense of common people, click here.
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