May 7, 2004

Miscellaneous Subjects #205: The Sacred, Precious Gift of Life

Hello everyone

As usual lots of important info and material came to my attention in the last few days. Some of it is hope-stirring, some of it disheartening, some of it prompting to action to redress unacceptable situations, and some of it is just utterly revolting, namely the situation tolerated for too long by almost everyone concerning the immoral, slavish conditions in which China forces over 6.6 million human beings, our brothers and sisters just like everyone one else, to work endless hours in it labor camps to produce goods that we, the rest of the world, buy mostly unaware of the blood and human sufferings embedded in these "Made in China" products. See the "The Violent Machine" and "The High Cost of China's Laogai" in this compilation for more on these continuing crimes against humanity, which to me are just as revulsive as the torture of Iraqi prisoners.

I also happen to believe that global intolerance for any unethical treatment of other human beings - or of any other life form for that matter - is about to go off the scales and make a tsunami of positive long-overdue changes simply unstoppable worldwide.

Life is simply too sacred for anything but absolute reverence and compassionate Love. Period!

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

P.S. As usual watch for the next Meditation Focus this coming Sunday morning - at if you are not on the ERN list.

Free subscription to such compilations by sending a blank email to

This compilation is archived at

Worthy of Your Attention

The Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME)
A diminishing number of media monopolies (Big Media) increasingly censors mainstream information, creating false impressions of politics, health, pharmaceauticals, the environment, women's rights, addictions and more. Unfortunately, most media literacy curricula are created with Big Media money. ACME is changing that system and our media culture. Created in 2002 by a coalition of nationally known media educators and critics, ACME holds its second conference in San Francisco, July 1-4. ACME is dedicated to expanding and growing the media literacy movement in North America. ACME is an independently-funded and member-supported nonprofit coalition championing critical media literacy education, independent media production, and grassroots media reform. Recommended by Peter Phillips peter.phillips@SONOMA.EDU">


1. Liquid Love
2. Feedback on "Can They Really Get Away With All This?"
4. Waking Planet Chronicle #18
7. Disney 'blocks' Moore documentary
9. Grain harvest predicted to fall short of world demand
10. Bush Administration moving to allow corporate takeover of organics!
11. Iraq’s WMD Factory
12. The Violent Machine
13. The High Cost of China's Laogai

See also:

The Gentlest Of Beasts, Making Love, Ravaged
Between wars, humans cut down the forests where the great apes live. Particularly tragic is the story of the bonobos, devastated by civil war in the Congo. Though they are over 98 percent genetically identical to us, they behave quite differently: Their societies are matriarchal; they do not kill each other or fight over territory; when they experience conflict or anxiety, they have sex. Whereas when we experience conflict or anxiety, we kill things.

He saved the elephant. But can he save the Great Apes? (06 May 2004)
Richard Leakey transformed world opinion by setting fire to Kenya's ivory stockpile. Now he is turning his attention to an even greater crisis. - The giant panda has served its purpose, says Richard Leakey, the grand old man of African wildlife. We need a new international icon to represent threatened species, and he knows what it should be: an image of the great apes.The precipitous decline of the gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) and orang-utans is the most urgent of all the world's conservation problems, says the man who 15 years ago highlighted the poaching threat to the elephant by setting fire to a stockpile of ivory in Kenya."I'm not suggesting for a moment there are no problems with the panda, or with the elephant," he says. "I just think the great apes problem is far greater. Switching the focus from the panda to the great apes as an icon for threatened, endangered species, would send a very loud and important message to the world." CLIP

The looming oil crisis will dwarf 1973 (May 5, 2004)
HEALDSBURG, Calif. (CBS.MW) -- As the price of crude oil keeps rising toward $40 a barrel and beyond, it has become increasingly clear that the world is heading toward a major oil crisis -- in terms of both price and supply -- that will dwarf that of 1973. There can be no doubt that the fall of the House of Saud would be thrust the entire Western world into an energy crisis of unprecedented proportions. For many of us who have been observers of global energy trends for what now amounts to decades, this has become not a matter of "if" but rather one of "when." We are facing a convergence of three forces that will have a potentially explosive effect on the market for crude oil. They are:
1. A growing geopolitical crisis in the Middle East, which is now threatening to spread beyond Iraq to Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer and exporter of crude oil.
2. A surge in global demand for energy and particularly crude oil and its derivatives, fueled by the recovery of both the American and Japanese economies and the unprecedented growth of China, which has just replaced Japan as the world's second largest consumer of crude oil.
3. A structural deterioration of the world's oil supply. What is involved here is nothing short of an imminent peaking out of production of crude oil on a global basis -- known by energy industry insiders as "Hubbert's Peak" -- which would turn a cyclical supply/demand crisis into a structural energy crisis of unprecedented proportions. CLIP

911 Stand Down Orders Destroyed
FAA Managers Destroyed 9/11 Tapes Recordings Contained Accounts Of Communications With Hijacked Planes.

NBC: FDNY Chief of Safety Reported Bombs Both Within the Towers and on the Planes on 9/11 (May 5 2004)
What you will hear is a clip from NBC reporter Pat Dawson on the morning of 9/11. In it he discusses the comments of Albert Turi, the Chief of Safety for the New York City Fire Department.Turi reported not only that there were numerous secondary explosions within the towers but that there was also a bomb on one or both of the planes that crashed into the towers. This would explain why video footage shows both planes emitting strange flashes before they hit the towers, as well as the ''pod' on the underbelly of Flight 175.We have dozens of reports from firefighters and others on the scene who witnessed bombs going before and during the towers' collapse. Larry Silverstein, the owner of the World Trade Center complex, admitted in a PBS documentary that they decided to demolish Building 7 on the day of 9/11, despite the official story of it accidentally collapsing which has remained in place to this day.

New Prison Images Emerge (May 6, 2004)
Graphic Photos May Be More Evidence of Abuse - The collection of photographs begins like a travelogue from Iraq. Here are U.S. soldiers posing in front of a mosque. Here is a soldier riding a camel in the desert. And then: a soldier holding a leash tied around a man's neck in an Iraqi prison. He is naked, grimacing and lying on the floor.Mixed in with more than 1,000 digital pictures obtained by The Washington Post are photographs of naked men, apparently prisoners, sprawled on top of one another while soldiers stand around them. There is another photograph of a naked man with a dark hood over his head, handcuffed to a cell door. And another of a naked man handcuffed to a bunk bed, his arms splayed so wide that his back is arched. A pair of women's underwear covers his head and face.The graphic images, passed around among military police who served at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, are a new batch of photographs similar to those broadcast a week ago on CBS's "60 Minutes II" and published by the New Yorker magazine. They appear to provide further visual evidence of the chaos and unprofessionalism at the prison detailed in a report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba. His report, which relied in part on the photographs, found "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" that were inflicted on detainees. CLIP


Date: Wed, 5 May 2004
From: Kalama Hawkrider">
Subject: Liquid Love Feedback Re: The Light Series #60: A Nonillion Reasons to Be in Love

Dear Jean,

What a delightful compilation. As usual. Thanks always for the wonderful heartfelt work you do for us and the earth and all beings.

My own feeling is this:
We really live in a world of liquid love... everything all around us is built on and of the energy of love. It is what holds us together, is the space between the atoms and strings and quarks...It is also the atoms, strings and quarks. Babaji calls it prema.

It is magnetic... that is, it draws more of the same to itself and any energy placed there also draws more of the same, according to a vibratory frequency harmonic.

Living in the universe of total love, we became bored and decided to have fun and play at creating other forms and ways of perception, then we became lost within the illusion we created... a bit like becoming lost in a tv show or computer game we create.

But the illusion is only that. It CAN be turned off and we can remember the truth of prema, of liquid love, given a few tweaks of adjustment to our recalcitrant souls.

We can laugh, love, breathe, swing, sing, dance in joy and remember. And by so doing, we draw more of the same to us. More joy, more love, more peace, more happiness.
Imagine... if we all did this together.

Imagine... if we remembered that no matter what we had done or did, we are always loved completely, and learning to love as well.

Imagine... if we recalled that at every moment there is only love present, in the present.
If we remembered this, what choices would we make? How would we waken every day? Where would we place our attention? How would we treat each other?

Isn't it time that those of us more awake than the others begin?

With love for all in this time of transit/transition,



Date: May 5, 2004
From: Bauwyn">
Subject: The Empire of Darkness Series #10: Can They Really Get Away With All This?

No, they can't, and it is going to an end within a couple of years. And they know it.

"The dark are fast losing their devious means of interfering with the future that is planned, a glorious future that will quickly come into your reality. The dark are losing their support and many who were their staunch supporters are in doubt, and large cracks are beginning to appear in their framework. They are subject to the Laws of attraction as well as the Light and their confusion and chaos within their ranks is escalating, they are already in disarray, their little but powerful organization is breaking apart."

"We, that is myself and many others who are directly involved in guiding the future of your evolution and the restoration of Earth, are carrying out our part of the Creators Plan, believe me, there is absolutely no way that a few mortals upon Earth can thwart it. The Earth is a very special planet, a home to very special Beings, and they are you."

[taken from: Wake up Call 4-29-04, St-Germain]

"My dear ones, this is a time in the history of your planet when there are to be great changes, and with these changes will come an introduction to the elements of the cosmos that will be coming into your experience and your mainstream. There is no longer any need for there to be requests from the parties on earth to come and intervene, for the request has been made and the parties of the family will be coming and taking their place in the hierarchical establishment of the ones who are already here to bring an end to the tyranny and oppression that is taking place.

Fear not that this transitory time will be a time of frustration and confusion, for it will be done in as comforting and supportive a manner as we can bring to you. It is time to bring forth the governing parties that are on your planet, and reveal to the world what it is that they have been doing these millennia. Yes, the story will be told, and the truth of what this all has been will be explained and brought to the trials of the underground and the justice of the earth. 

We are going to come from the far reaches of what you call space, and we are going to be allowing you to open your memories and bring all that you have cut yourself off from to come to bear to nourish your souls and your lives, and assist you to know what it is that we are doing to bring this new age into being."

[taken from: Wake up Call Special, May 5, 04. Galactische Federatie] 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, you really are at the end of the cycle of the dark, their power is being removed; their influence is weakening each minute of the day. Take no notice of the last lashing of their tails, there is little more that they can do, and they know it. THEIR TIME IS UP, so rejoice and prepare for the news that we are about to come openly to you. (St-Germain, May 6, 04)

Wake-up-Calls -

I want to add something else.

There are always calls for Demonstrations against ... something, like a demonstration against war. And then they are carrying signs, maybe "We Want No War."

But in the Universe the word NO doesn't exist. See for yourself: What is 'no war'. Everything else than war is 'no war'. Riding a bike. Eating an apple. Writing a letter. Reading about war. Training soldiers. 

When you will build something, you have to do work. In doing so you put energy in it.

Any time you are against something, you are adding energy to that 'something', because you have to look what it is you don't like. And when you have to make a specific sign, you put still more energy in that 'something'. And that 'something' is getting bigger, and bigger. Did you know that?

"Against ..." is easy, you don't have to think about solutions, but in reality ... it is futile. When I read about a Demonstration against, I see a black field with white lines. Emptiness, is that what you want?

Instead of Demonstrations "against", there should only Demonstrations "for" the things that people want. One look at what you don't like, and then put energy in what you want.

So, a Demonstration for Peace with signs like: "I want my father home, sitting in the backyard with me" - "Laurie has to come back. We miss that girl in our team" - "We want peace for Iraqi's!" - "I need my boys at the farm" - "Yankee come home. We need you here!" [Or anything you want. I am not an American, I don't know the right slogans.]

This way, a demonstration has much more impact!

Thank you,




It was said to be a myth. It was said to exist only on the subjective planes. It was said to be inaccessible by anyone but disciples and initiates. Yet here, for the first time, are photographs of Wesak valley in Tibet.

We obtained these photos from intrepid explorers who shall remain nameless in order to protect them from the Chinese authorities. They were convinced that the Wesak valley existed on the physical plane, and visited Tibet with the sole purpose of finding that valley and attending the Wesak festival. They went to Tibet, took these photos, and returned to prove to the world that Wesak was no figment of ones imagination but is in fact the real Festival of the Buddha.

According to the explorers, the Tibetans were well aware of the festival, and traveled form all over Tibet for the event.

The Chinese Authorities were equally well aware of the event, and brought a loud radio playing Chinese music to the valley.

It is said that Wesak is that time at the Full Moon of May in which the Christ gathers the entire Spiritual Hierarchy together in meditation to invoke the forces of Shambhalla. The Buddha, representing those forces, appears and blesses humanity.

The first six sets of photos are from the original trip to Wesak Valley. The last set of four photos is from a second trip, that was made at the time of Wesak during the year 2000.

Our photos follow:

Himalayas (4 photos)
Spring in Tibet  (3 photos)
Mt Kailash (4 photos)
Wesak Valley (3 photos)
Stream and waterfall  (4 photos)
Wesak Valley Panorama (1 photo)
Wesak Valley at Wesak: Shambhalla Impact 2000  (4 photos)

PLEASE go at to see all the pictures.

Recommended by "A'keara"">


From: "Regina-Sophia"">
Subject: Waking Planet Chronicle #18
Date: 4 May 2004

Dearest Friends and Lightworkers, Mothers and Daughters, Fathers and Sons,

I hope that you will take the time and have the courage to read this chronicle all the way through, with an open, compassionate mind and an open heart. Leave behind the censored news the media is showing us about the state of the World..

And then take action for Peace, non-violent action for Peace.

In Light and Service,


Rev. Regina-Sophia RPP, R.HY.,
Usui & Karuna Reiki Master, Ordained Interfaith Minister in the Order of Melchizedek

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."

- Anais Nin

This takes courage to read!! From my friend Barbara


Waking Planet

C H R O N I C L E S Edition 18

May, 2004

Iraq Tragedy

Last year, US soldiers commandeered the local school in Falluja. When parents peacefully protested the shut down and occupation of their children's school, our troops opened fire on them. Fifteen innocent civilians were killed. Human Rights Watch investigated and confirmed that the crowd was unarmed. This happened in the first week of the occupation.

When the siege began on Falluja a month ago, civilians were again targeted. In contravention of the Geneva Convention, the city was sealed, the power station bombed, water cut off, and the bridge to the main hospital was closed. After what looked like another shock and awe bombardment of the city, Iraqi doctors had to treat the stream of wounded in a makeshift clinic set up in a car garage. Humanitarian workers report that US snipers have aimed at ambulance drivers and even at people just leaving their houses.( As of April 30, at least 880 have died. People who have seen the soccer fields turned into graveyards report that many of the casualties were women and children. Seven hundred and forty US soldiers have given their lives to this war.

Amnesty International has been reporting regular incidents of abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners for months, but it took a young soldier of conscience to show the world the photos the media could not ignore.

From the bloody repression of peaceful demonstrators, to arbitrary arrests, abuse of prisoners, the confiscation of press freedoms, to favoring foreigners over Iraqis for jobs and contracts; our policies have failed and the blunders continue. Like creating a new flag without consulting with the people. Like appointing Salem Chalabi to try Saddam. Salem is the nephew of ex-felon and US puppet, Ahmed Chalabi. As Naomi Klein says, we have to "deChalabify" Iraq. ( As long as he holds any power, the Iraqi people will resist.

Like appointing John Negroponte as the US envoy to Iraq. He was ambassador to Honduras, 1981-85, during the worst human rights abuses in that country's history. He helped implement Reagan's illegal intervention in the Nicaraguan civil war in the Iran Contra scandal. Negroponte also lied to congress about the murder, kidnapping and torture abuses of the CIA trained Honduran military unit, Battalion 3-16. An embassy official reported that Negroponte forced him to omit an "exhaustive gathering of human rights violations" from a 1982 State report. Washington must think he has what it takes to crush rebellion.

Remember Firdos Square where Saddam's statue was toppled? Now there are new razor wire barriers blocking the streets to the square. Loud speakers warn the public to stay away, because the military is trying to prevent anti-American demonstrations there. What the media touted as the symbol of the Iraqi's liberation has now become a symbol of an occupation gone terribly wrong.

"End Timers" Have Infiltrated the Highest Levels of Government

Editor's note: I realize that the following article seems a bit "over the top". But I think millions are being caught up in a dangerous, mass delusion and we had all better take notice and begin talking about it!

The "Left Behind" series has sold over 40,000,000 copies. They represent a fictionalized account of the apocalypse. What is scary is that millions reading these books believe it is happening, that we are near the end of time. They actually are rooting for Armageddon! When it happens, they, being the "true believers", will be wafted up out of their clothes and ascend to heaven in what they call, the Rapture. ( helps prepare believers) The rest of us heathens will endure demon locusts, plaques, and fires, but 144,000 Jews will "be saved" by converting to Christianity. For this "biblical prophecy" to come true, Israel has to be strong and even expand its territories. This will bring the antichrist and Armageddon and prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ. The end-timers and extreme Zionists have formed a strange and dangerous alliance.

It would be easy to discount these insane beliefs, except for the fact that many currently ruling our country believe them! Attorney General, John Ashcroft, the Senate leader, Bill Frist, and the House leader, Tom DeLay are all believers. DeLay says he is on a mission from God to "promote a biblical worldview in American politics."

Even the President has been indoctrinated. One of his mentors is Promise Keeper, (PK) Tony Evans, a dominionist from Texas who believes in the seizure of earthly power by God's people (Christians) to restore the earth to God's control. PK'ers also believe that women should be subservient. Evans says that feminists are "frustrated women unable to find the proper male leadership."

Then there's the Council for National Policy. It is a highly secretive organization of clout, money, radical right wing ideology and end-time fanaticism. It's members are leaders and financiers of apocalyptic Christian groups, the John Birch Society, the Klu Klux Klan and other racist organizations, pro-Nazi groups and other unsavory organizations.

Past and present members of this extreme right wing Council include: Ashcroft, Tommy Thompson, former Health and Human Services Sec., Oliver North, Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jesse Helms, Edwin Meese, Dick Armey, Jack Kemp, John Sununu, and a number of other Washington leaders and State Senators and Representatives. Bush refuses to make a transcript of a speech he gave to the group public. (

Recently, Bush was asked how he thought history would judge him. He said it wouldn't matter because we would all be dead; a possible, chilling new meaning in the context of these fanatical beliefs.

Bush Campaign Ad Distortions, a nonpartisan web site devoted to getting the facts right, says the Bush administration is persisting in repeating distortions of Kerry's voting record on defense. Under Bush's logic (is that an oxymoron?) Cheney and Bush the elder would be opponents of "weapons vital to winning the war on terror," because they voted against the AH64 Apache helicopter and the Bradley fighting vehicles just a few years after Kerry did.

The president also claims a 1995 Kerry plan would "gut" intelligence services. Kerry proposed a 1% cut and many Republicans approved of a similar cut.

An ad lists a number of items that Kerry voted "no" on. There were no separate votes, as this ad would have you believe. There was only one vote for the $87 billion supplemental to fund the war. Kerry voted against it, because he was trying to find a way to pay for it without increasing our nation's deficit. He felt the richest Americans could sacrifice their tax cuts for the war effort, but the Republican controlled Senate defeated his proposal.

The truth is that it is Bush who is sending our troops to battle without proper armor. Military officials have asked Congress to fill shortfalls left by the President's budget, including $132 million for vehicle armor, $879 million for combat helmets and $40 million for body armor. (

At the time that an army study was published in Newsweek, May 3, 2003, 190 of our soldiers had been killed by landmines, explosive devices or grenade attacks. The report continues, "almost all were killed while in unprotected vehicles, which means that 1 in 4 of those killed in combat in Iraq might be alive if they had stronger armor around them. Thousands more, who were unprotected have suffered grievous wounds, such as loss of limbs."

The President's record on telling the truth..troubling.

Lettuce Be(a)ware! (excuse me for the pun, I have to have a little fun with this)

I've often been baffled by the sheer violence of this administration toward our natural world; mountain tops being blown off, sulfur, mercury and carbon dioxide gases increasing to dangerous levels (1 in 4 children in cities have asthma), our drinking water being contaminated. Last year, the administration forbade the EPA to even publicly discuss percholrate contamination. Perchlorate is the main ingredient in rocket fuel and the Pentagon and defense contractors could face billions in cleaning the mess up. Regulations on the chemical were frozen, despite new research that showed alarmingly high levels of percholrate in our water and food supply, including grocery store lettuces. Percholrate pollution has been linked to cancer and neurological problems in at least 20 states. (Rolling Stone, Dec, 03)

I know this bunch wants to rule the world. But why do they insist on destroying it at the same time? I think profits and power blind many to the suffering and destruction their policies produce, but an apocalyptic worldview distorts reality even greater. It is the ultimate carte blanche for destroying people, nature and the very fabric of life. When you think the end is near, the good of future generations no longer needs to be considered.

"Questioning flawed leadership is a requirement of this government. Failing to question, failing to speak out is failing the legacy of the Founding Fathers." Senator Robert Byrd

Just the Facts

Rev Franklin Graham, (son of Billy and friend of the Bushes) is lying in wait to attack Iraq with "20,000 Ambassadors of Christ". The Southern Baptist Convention is gearing up too.

In April of 2003, a UN commission on violence against women tried to pass wording that religion and custom should not be used to excuse such violence. It was tabled after objections by Iran, Egypt, Sudan and the US. Shameful!

The Bush administration is spending 12 times more on nuclear weapons research and production than on nonproliferation efforts to retrieve, secure and dispose of nuclear weapons worldwide.

In the US there are 20,000 more public relations experts doctoring the news than there are journalists writing it.

On Earth Day, Bush invited oil execs to a meeting with EPA officials to discuss reducing air pollution standards.

The richest 537 billionaires have more wealth than the poorest 170 countries combined. The billionaires saw their wealth increase by 36% last year alone.

Some Good Things!!

April 16 - 1,000 Bake Sales across the country raised over $750,000 for the Kerry campaign. organized the sales to highlight the difference in funding of the two men. In the first months of this election, Bush outspent Kerry 7 to 1 on TV ads. But Kerry has the grassroots support of millions backing him.

May 8, Trip to New Hampshire to target and mobilize voters. Leaving from Kingston. ($20-25 a person) Seats going fast! We will be attending a Dean rally, receiving a mini training and then each will be matched up with a local, NH volunteer to do house to house canvassing to identify how voters are likely to vote. Local people will do follow up with "undecideds" and will Get Out the Vote for Kerry supporters on Election Day. Write to if you are interested in going, or to be on a list to receive further notice on future bus trips and local phone bank efforts to make a difference in this year's presidential election.

May 9, Mother's Day, Arts for Peace will again be remembering that the first Mother's day was to protest the carnage of the Civil War by women who lost sons. The Mother's Day Proclamation and flowers will be given to mothers on the vigil corner, (Main and N Front St in New Paltz) from 1-3pm.

June 19, 6-9pm, Opening of the "Imagine Peace" International Children's Art Show, Huguenot Creamery, sponsored by Arts for Peace and Women in Black, New Paltz. If children are interested in participating write to

Thanks to Michele Riddell, SAFE Legacy and all who helped expose the scourge of depleted uranium poisoning of our troops and of Iraqis to the attention of our Senators! They have promised to sponsor legislation calling for the DU screening of our returning troops. It's a beginning and we applaud their efforts.

"Those who want victory against terror without addressing underlying grievances want an unending war." Ami Ayalon, head of Israel's Gen Security Service, 1996- 2000.


Waking Planet Chronicles is published monthly. To receive this alternative news publication free on line, write to And see the new world, peace flag at


From: "ekogaia"">
Subject: Amazonian forests changing from CO2 emissions
Date: 4 May 2004


Date: March 10, 2004

A research team of U.S. and Brazilian scientists has shown that rainforests in central Amazonia are experiencing striking changes in dynamics and species composition.

Although the cause of these changes-in what are believed to be completely undisturbed, old-growth forests-is uncertain, a leading explanation is that they are being driven by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide levels have risen by 30% in the last 200 years as a result of industrial emissions, automobiles, and rapid forest burning, especially in the tropics. Much of this increase has occurred since 1960. Plants use carbon dioxide from the air for photosynthesis.

"The changes in Amazonian forests really jump out at you," said William Laurance, a U.S. scientist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Laurance is the lead author of the paper, which appeared this week in the scientific journal Nature. "It's a little scary to realize that seemingly pristine forests can change so quickly and dramatically."

For the past two decades, the research team studied the fate of nearly 14,000 trees in the central Amazon, scattered across a landscape of 120 square miles in area. During the course of the study, most species of trees began growing faster. The forests also became more dynamic, with existing trees dying faster and being replaced by young new trees.

Even more important is that the species composition of the forest is changing. "There clearly are winners and losers," said Alexandre Oliveira of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, another team member. "In general, large, fast-growing trees are winning at the expense of smaller trees that live in the forest understory."

"The decline of many small trees is intriguing because they tend to be so specialized," said Henrique Nascimento, a Brazilian researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "They live in the dark interior of the forest, and are the only trees that can flower and reproduce in deep shade."

The most likely reason for these changes, say the researchers, is that rising carbon-dioxide levels are fertilizing the forests, leading to faster growth and more competition among trees for light, water, and soil nutrients. Under these conditions, big, fast-growing species of trees probably have an advantage over small, slower-growing trees.

"Sadly, this could be a signal that the forest's ecology is changing in fundamental ways," said team-leader Laurance. "Tropical rainforests are renowned for having lots of highly specialized species. If you change the tree communities then other species-especially the animals that feed on and pollinate the trees-will undoubtedly change as well."

"This appears to be yet another signal of effects on nature from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and associated climate change," said Thomas Lovejoy of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and Environment in Washington, D.C., who helped to establish the tree study in central Amazonian over two decades ago. "We really need more research to see if these remarkable changes are also happening in other tropical forests around the world. If they are, then it's likely that even the world's remotest forests are now being altered by human activities."

For further information, contact:

Dr William F. Laurance Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Email:


28 Apr - 04 May 2004

Climate Change Too Slow for Hollywood, Too Fast for the Rest of Us

It's always been hard to get people to take global warming seriously because it happens too slowly. Not slowly in geological terms, but slowly in "NBC Nightly News" terms. Slowness, by all accounts, shouldn't be a problem with "The Day After Tomorrow," a new global-warming epic due in theaters later this month. In it, rapid melting of Arctic ice prompts a massive super storm that hails on Tokyo, tornadoes through Los Angeles, blizzards all over New Delhi, and both tsunamis and glaciers poor New York City. Some enviros are celebrating the popularization of what may be the century's most pressing issue, but by waving cinematic catastrophes in front of the public, the film may be inuring them to the slow, incremental damage that's already underway. Bill McKibben considers the dilemma -- this week on the Grist Magazine website.

New flick puts global warming on the fast track -- by Bill McKibben

Russia's Siberian Forests in Danger

The Krasnoyarsk region in Siberia is Russia's most significant timber-producing area, which is saying something in a massive country 70 percent covered by forest. But the region's forests are threatened from all sides, say activists. Illegal logging is rampant; in fact, up to 30 percent of all logging in Russia is illegal, says Yevgeny Shvarts of the World Wildlife Fund. Also, there were more than 2,000 fires in the region last year, most from arson, which, combined with the scarily named Siberian bombyx parasite, have devastated large forest tracts. But worst of all, say Russian enviros, is the forestry code currently being drafted by the Russian government, which would privatize forest areas. Russians whose livelihoods depend on harvesting cedar kernels, mushrooms, and berries could be blocked from the woods, while private companies could have a field day. The stakes are high: Russia currently makes $4.5 billion a year from timber exports.

Terra Daily, Agence France-Presse, 02 May 2004

Christian Leaders Challenge Bush Environmental Policy

For a leader who has so explicitly taken on the mantle of the Christian faith, it's an awkward development: This Earth Day, more than 100 reverends, ministers, and bishops representing more than 2 million American churchgoers sent a letter to the White House condemning President Bush's environmental record. Cassandra Carmichael of the National Council of Churches, which organized the campaign, said, "This was a Christian-to-Christian letter. We have a president who aligns himself with the Christian community, so as Christians we feel he needs to take a good hard look at the Bible and begin abiding by its principles." Read about the intra-faith dustup in Muckraker -- this week on the Grist Magazine website.

A coalition of church leaders calls Bush's stewardship into question -- by Amanda Griscom


Forwarded by "Mark Graffis"">


Disney 'blocks' Moore documentary


Controversial director Michael Moore has said film studio Disney is refusing to release his new documentary, which heavily criticises President Bush. Fahrenheit 911 was to be distributed by Miramax, a division of Disney. But Disney has "officially decided to prohibit" Miramax from distributing the film, the director said on his website.

Moore, who won an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine in 2003, questioned whether in a "free and open society" Disney should be making such a decision.

Fahrenheit 911 links Mr Bush with powerful families in Saudi Arabia, including that of Osama Bin Laden, and attacks his actions before and after 11 September.

Miramax, run by Hollywood moguls Harvey and Bob Weinstein, agreed to distribute the documentary but Disney signalled it was not happy with the deal.

Disney bought Miramax 10 years ago but retained the rights to block films it deemed against its interests, such as adult-rated films. But the New York Times said Miramax did not agree this was a situation where that clause should be invoked.

"For nearly a year, this struggle has been a lesson in just how difficult it is in this country to create a piece of art that might upset those in charge," Moore said.

"Some people may be afraid of this movie because of what it will show. "But there's nothing they can do about it now because it's done, it's awesome, and if I have anything to say about it, you'll see it this summer - because, after all, it is a free country."

Miramax spokesman Matthew Hilzik told the New York Times: "We are discussing the issues with Disney. We're looking at our options and look forward to resolving this amicably."

But Zenia Mucha, a Disney spokesman, said: "We advised both [Moore's] agent and Miramax in May of 2003 that the film would not be distributed. That decision stands."

Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, accused Disney and its chief executive Michael Eisner of fearing a loss of tax breaks if it backed the release in the US. Moore will give Fahrenheit 911 its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, but no date has been set for a US release.


Forwarded by "ECOTERRA Intl.""> on May 5


If you're talking about PCBs, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone, water privatization, biopiracy, untested/unlabeled, genetically engineered organisms, or persecuting small family farmers, you're talking about the Monsanto Corporation.

Join OCA's campaign to mobilize one million consumers to end Monsanto's global corporate terrorism. Send an instant fax to Monsanto, demanding the corporation:

1. Stop intimidating small family farmers.

2. Stop force-feeding untested and unlabeled genetically engineered foods on consumers.

Monsanto's Government Ties

A Monsanto official told the New York Times that the corporation should not have to take responsibility for the safety of its food products. "Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food," said Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job." It would be nice to think the FDA can be trusted with these matters, but think again. Monsanto has succeeded in insuring that government regulatory agencies let Monsanto do as it wishes. Take a look:

Prior to being the Supreme Court Judge who put GW Bush in office,Clarence Thomas was Monsanto's lawyer.

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (Anne Veneman) was on the Board of Directors of Monsanto's Calgene Corporation.

The Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld) was on the Board of Directors of Monsanto's Searle pharmaceuticals.

The U.S. Secretary of Health, Tommy Thompson, received $50,000 in donations from Monsanto during his winning campaign for Wisconsin's governor.

The two congressmen receiving the most donations from Monsanto during the last election were Larry Combest (Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee) and Attorney General John Ashcroft. (Source: Dairy Education Board)

In order for the FDA to determine if Monsanto's growth hormones were safe or not, Monsanto was required to submit a scientific report on that topic. Margaret Miller, one of Monsanto's researchers put the report together. Shortly before the report submission, Miller left Monsanto and was hired by the FDA. Her first job for the FDA was to determine whether or not to approve the report she wrote for Monsanto. In short, Monsanto approved its own report. Assisting Miller was another former Monsanto researcher, Susan Sechen. Deciding whether or not rBGH-derived milk should be labeled fell under the jurisdiction of another FDA official, Michael Taylor, who previously worked as a lawyer for Monsanto.

Organic and Natural Product Companies Associated with Monsanto

Brand Name(s): Arrowhead Mills, Bearitos, Breadshop, Celestial Seasonings, Earth's Best Baby Food, Garden of Eatin, Health Valley, Imagine Foods, Terra Chips, Westbrae, Millina's, Mountain Sun, Shari Ann's, Walnut Acres Owned By: Hain Food Group Principle Stockholders: Bank of America, Entergy Nuclear, ExxonMobil, H.J. Heinz, Lockheed Martin, Merck, Monsanto, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Walmart, Waste Management Inc. Significantly Owned By: Citigroup

Brand Name(s): Cascadian Farms, Muir Glen Owned By: Small Planet Foods Principle Stockholders: General Mills Significantly Owned By: Alcoa, Chevron, Disney, Dupont, ExxonMobil, General Electric, McDonalds, Monsanto, Nike, Pepsico, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Starbucks, Target, Texas Instruments

Stop using billions of dollars of U.S. taypayers' money to subsidize genetically engineered crops--cotton, soybeans, corn, and canola.

Quick Monsanto Tidbits on this Page:

Monsanto Brings Small Family Dairy to Court
Multi-Billion$$ Monsanto Sues More Small Family Farmer
Monsanto Hid PCB Pollution for Decade
Monsanto Claims its Agent Orange chemical isn't Toxic
Taxpayers Forced to Fund Monsanto's Poisoning of Third World
Monsanto Takes Ownership of Public Water Resource
Monsanto's GE Seeds are Pushing US Agriculture into Bankruptcy
Monsanto's Ties to Government
Organic and Natural Product Companies Associated with Monsanto


See also:

More than 60 groups representing farmer, consumer, environmental and development organisations from 15 African countries have today, sent an open letter of protest to the World Food Programme (WFP). These groups are protesting against the pressure exerted by the WFP and USAID on Sudan and Angola over their respective decisions to impose restrictions on GM food aid. The groups are demanding that the WFP and USAID immediately desist from misleading the governments of Angola and Sudan with a scenario of NO CHOICE, and forcing them to accept GM food aid. Sudan has requested that GM food aid be certified "GM free" and Angola will accept GM food aid only on condition that whole GM grain is first milled. Despite the Sudanese government having put in place an interim waiver on the GM food restriction until July 2004, USAID cut off food aid to Sudan. The US government has since continued to exert enormous pressure on Sudan, with the result that the Sudanese government has relented and extended the waiver for a further period of 6 months, allowing the distribution of GM food to continue until January 2005. CLIP

GM Food Aid: Africa denied choice once again?

Africa GM food aid claims are 'rubbish' (May 4)

WFP says Africa can refuse GM Food Aid (May 5)

More also at



Forwarded by "Mark Graffis"">


Grain harvest predicted to fall short of world demand

May 05, 2004

By John Heilprin, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - This year's world grain harvest will increase to a record level but will still fall nearly 60 million tons short of what 6.4 billion people and more than 1 billion livestock will consume, an environmental group predicted Tuesday.

The group and a University of Missouri agricultural economist who agreed the estimate was "in the ballpark" cited usual problems with weather, crop diseases, and insects; new worries from falling water tables, especially in the United States and China; and rising temperatures worldwide.

The 2004 harvest is estimated at 1.89 billion tons, the most ever, but consumption is projected at 1.95 billion tons, said Lester Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, an environmental research group.

"This is good news for farmers and bad news for consumers," Brown said. "As grain prices go up, farmers benefit but consumers suffer. Those for whom it will be especially difficult are the 3 billion people who live on $2 or less a day."

It also would mark a fifth straight year of grain harvest shortfalls and draw down world stocks to below 300 million tons, Brown said. Such a supply, the lowest level ever, probably would last less than 56 days, he said.

In 2003, the 1.83 billion tons of world grain production fell short of the 1.94 billion tons consumed, according to the Agriculture Department's latest statistics, in April. That meant about 59 days world supply. The lowest ever was 56 days in 1972, when wheat and rice prices doubled because of scarcity after poor grain harvests, according to Brown.

Restoring world grain stocks to about 70 days worth, a minimal level for global food security, would require boosting 2004 production by at least another 55 million tons after making up the shortfall, Brown said.

Jordan Dey, a spokesman for the United Nations World Food Program, said lower production may not mean more people go hungry. "We're looking at 840 million people who go to bed hungry every night. There's enough food to feed those people; the problem is they don't have the money to purchase the food," he said.

Brown said U.S. consumers already coping with stagnating wages and rising gasoline prices could be squeezed further by higher food prices. "We are looking at substantial rises in grain and food prices as early as this fall," he said.

In each of the last two years, record or near-record heat waves have taken the edge off the world grain harvest, Brown said. In 2003, Europe bore the brunt of the rising temperatures as an August heat wave shrunk grain harvests from France eastward through the Ukraine. In 2002, intense heat reduced the harvests in India and the United States.

"The environmental trends are beginning to kick in, and that includes soil erosion and desertification," Brown said. "Both of them make it much more difficult for farmers to continue expanding production at a rapid pace."

Pat Westhoff, who helps direct the university-sponsored Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute in Columbia, Missouri, which is mostly funded by Congress through USDA, said he generally agreed with Brown's estimates and overall assessment.

"They are in the ballpark of what's plausible," he said. "But there are several layers of uncertainty here.... If we had above-average yields, we could have enough production to actually build stocks this year. On the other hand, if we do have below-average yields, things could get tight."

Westhoff said, "A lot of the reduction in stocks is tied to China." In 2003, the grain harvest in China was 322 million tons, down from 342 million tons in 2002, according to USDA statistics.


Forwarded by "Leonard Spade""> who wrote: "If you want to be able to buy organic products you had better act now. Forward this to your friends and respond yourself. Organic products can be history before you know it."

Sent: May 05, 2004
Subject: ACTION ALERT: Bush Administration moving to allow corporate takeover of organics!


(please forward this important email alert far and wide)

Over the past few weeks America's organic standards have once again come under heavy attack. First the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) announced on April 14 that they would no longer monitor or police "organic" labels on non-agricultural products, literally opening the door for unscrupulous companies to put bogus organic labels on products such as fish, body care products, pet foods, fertilizer, and clothing.

In the case of seafood and body care products, the marketplace is already starting to become flooded with products bearing the organic label, even though the production methods (industrial fish farms) or content ("organic" shampoos with organic claims based upon added water) in many of these products violate traditional organic principles. Besides giving the green light to bogus organic labels the new USDA "scope policy" penalizes genuine organic companies that have begun sourcing, certifying, and labeling their products as organic.

Corporate agribusiness and the biotech lobby have apparently decided that strict organic farming practices and the booming organic market constitute a threat to their bottom line, and have called on their friends in the Bush administration USDA to degrade organic standards and prepare for a restructuring of organic production so as to facilitate the use of industrial agriculture practices such as pesticides, antibiotics, non-organic feed, growth hormones and even genetically engineered animal drugs.

USDA's NOP announced on April 28 controversial new directives/guidance statements on national organic standards including:

"Organic" Crops Raised with Pesticides?

The USDA has now stated that as long as the farmer and the organic certifier don't know the specific ingredients of the pesticides applied to the "organic" plants, the crops can be sold as "organic". To make matters worse, it is not required by law for pesticide companies to list the ingredients on their products (it's considered proprietary information), so the farmers rarely know what the specific ingredients are.

(Read full USDA pesticide statement at

"Organic" Dairy Cows Injected with Antibiotics and Synthetic Hormones?

The USDA has announced that individual cows can be treated with any kind of drug at any time, including synthetic growth hormones, but milk can only be sold from that cow 12 months after that treatment. The problem with this directive is that it opens up the door for split operation factory style dairy farms, whereby organic and non-organic dairy operations are carried out simultaneously, and hundreds if not thousands of "organic" dairy cows are kept in intensive confinement. Not only are industrial sized dairy farms bad for the environment, but they inevitably give rise to sick cows who have to be treated with drugs. Of course many of these drugs build up in the body fat and are released in the milk and meat from these animals.. If this new directive is allowed to stand, organic milk could potentially contain residues of drugs and hormones.

(Read full USDA dairy statement at

Mercury and PCBs Allowed in "Organic" Beef?

The USDA also stated on April 28 that non-organic fishmeal can be fed to cattle and the beef can still be sold as "organic". Fishmeal is used as a protein supplement on conventional cattle ranches, but it frequently contains mercury, PCBs and other synthetic chemicals. Mercury and PCBs are "bioacculmulators" meaning they are concentrated and stored in the "meat" of the animal.

(Read full USDA livestock feed statement at

The Organic Consumers Association is working hard to stop the degradation of organic standards by the USDA and head-off the takeover of the organic market by corporate agribusiness and biotech interests. We are now launching a national campaign called SOS--Safeguard Organic Standards, to make sure that strict organic standards are maintained and that organic monitoring, certification, and policing extends to the full range of consumer products, including body care, clothing, pet food, fertilizer, and other items.


Organic Consumers Association
6101 Cliff Estate Rd, Little Marais, MN 55614


Forwarded by Ken">


Iraq’s WMD Factory

May 6, 2004

by William S. Lind

As America’s civilian and military high command comes unglued, American actions in Iraq grow more inchoate. The Marines did what needed to be done in Fallujah, turning the place over to one of Saddam’s generals who might be able to run it, mainly because he comes from the tribe that has always run it. The pathetic CPA, aka the Emerald City, bleated that they had not "vetted" him and named another Iraqi general in his place, forgetting that anyone the Americans "vet" is thereby labeled "collaborator." We continue to encircle Najaf, which is dumb, and the Iraqi resistance has again cut the road from Baghdad to the airport, which is dangerous. One suspects that a fly on the wall in meetings in the White House or in Baghdad’s Green Zone thinks it has wandered into a low-budget production of Marat-Sade.

But what of the world beyond Iraq? That is where one sees the full effect of Iraq’s factory of WMDs – Wars of Mass Destruction. The State Department has just told all Americans to leave Saudi Arabia, while they can still get out alive. Over a hundred people are dead in Thailand, where local Islamics are waging a new jihad. Moslems and Christians are going at it again in Indonesia and Nigeria. The Israelis, beaten in Gaza as they were beaten in Lebanon, find it impossible to move either forward or back. Pakistan, whose army got it’s a-- handed to it by tribesmen on the old Northwest Frontier, is turning a deaf ear to increasingly desperate demands from America’s generals in Afghanistan for "tough action." President Mubarak of Egypt warns from his tottering throne that America has never been so hated in the Middle East as it is now.

Each day’s newspapers make the same point: in the misnamed "War on Terrorism," America is losing and losing badly. Osama & Company are having a banner year. The reason is not any brilliance on their part, but gross buffoonery on ours. Specifically, the invasion and occupation of Iraq by America have created the greatest recruiting drive in history – for the other side.

Not content with so modest an achievement, the Bush administration has tossed its (expensive) cigar into the powder magazine by embracing Israel the way Russia once embraced Serbia. Not only did Bush endorse Mr. Sharon’s de facto annexation of much of the West Bank, when Sharon’s own party voted against him on Gaza and thus gave Bush a way out, he reiterated his support of Likud and its policies. Apparently, not even the gods’ rarest gift, a golden bridge across which to retreat from a blunder, is of interest to an administration that has sealed itself off from reality.

It is however, somewhat unfair to blame the whole bloody mess on George II. The entire Establishment is in this together. All Mr. Kerry can do is say "stay the course"' Congress is silent on the whole business; few in the media have the courage to state the obvious, which is that we need to bring the troops home, now. Only old Ralph Nader, playing the crocodile to Kerry’s Captain Hook, has the guts to call for an American withdrawal from Iraq. In an election where the choice may be between Tweedledumb and Tweedlephony, Ralph is starting to look pretty good, even to Russell Kirk conservatives like myself.

When the full scope of America’s defeat in the Wars of Mass Destruction ignited by Iraq becomes apparent, the political result is likely to go far beyond any election, especially an election in America’s one-party Republicrat state (you get two candidates, but they both represent the same thing.) We are likely to see that interesting time known by historians as "change of dynasty," where a defective and corrupt Establishment is all swept away.

Now that could be fun to watch.


William Lind is Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation.


See also:

US lawmakers pass resolution deploring abuse of Iraqi prisoners (May 6)

Was Army Torture Report Classified to Protect the Guilty?

Steve Weissman | Thank God for the Torturers

Iraqi Recounts Hours of Abuse by U.S. Troops

Robert Scheer | When We're the Evildoers in Iraq

New York Times | The Nightmare at Abu Ghraib

Contractors Implicated in Prison Abuse Remain on the Job

American Activists in Holy City Hoping to Prevent U.S. Assault




The Violent Machine

The labour camps that Mao Zedong set up to turn criminals into revolutionaries now enslave dissidents to world markets – as Harry Wu knows from his own experience.

As a survivor of 19 years’ imprisonment in a Chinese labour reform camp, a mechanized system for physically, mentally and spiritually crushing human beings, I feel compelled to investigate and decry them. History dictates that all authoritarian regimes must maintain a mechanism to suppress political dissent and consolidate control. In China today this is the Laogai – an institution of fear, control and modern-day slavery. From the Mandarin, the word ‘Laogai’ translates literally as ‘reform through labour’ and describes a system of forced-labour camps spanning China from the highly industrialized prison-factories of the eastern coastal cities to the isolated, fenceless farms of the west.

The Laogai never has been and is not now a simple prison system. It was established as and remains a political tool for maintaining the rule of the Chinese Communist Party. The Laogai Research Foundation has identified over a thousand forced-labour camps containing an estimated six to eight million people.

Chinese Communist ideas regarding reform through labour have their roots in the writings of Marx and Engels as they were interpreted by the Soviets and then reinterpreted by Mao Zedong. Fundamentally, they promote the idea of criminals as exploiters who do not possess the ideology of the proletariat. In order to be stripped of their exploiter ideology, they must be taught to work, like the members of the proletariat, and therefore take on their revolutionary ideology.

As a result, the Laogai forces its prisoners to plant, harvest, engineer, manufacture and process all types of products for sale in domestic and international markets. As rules of supply and demand cause shifts in the international economy, the Laogai has adapted to new conditions. Many Laogai camps that once engaged in the production and processing of raw materials have now moved into the consumer-goods market, producing and assembling goods on contract for other businesses. These businesses in turn ship the goods off to consumers in China and around the world.

Since the establishment of Deng Xiaoping’s ‘open door’ policy and the formation of the ‘socialist market economy’, the Chinese Government has sought to operate the Laogai at a profit. The Government rewards the officials who operate productive camps, and officials in turn punish prisoners who fail to meet labour quotas. The Chinese Government publishes entire books on Laogai economics to train officials at all levels of the system on the efficient use of forced labour and improvements in management.

In this mesh of profit and politics persists a system where prisoners labour not for earned wages or even for their own spiritual reform, but for the distinct purpose of generating a profit for the government that holds them captive. Investigators from the Laogai Research Foundation have confirmed sites where prisoners mine asbestos and other toxic chemicals with no protective gear, work with batteries and battery acid with no protection for their hands, tan hides while standing naked in vats filled three-feet deep with chemicals used for the softening of animal skins, and work in improperly run mining facilities where explosions and other accidents are a common occurrence. In many camps prisoners are regularly required to work more than 15 hours a day and food is rationed according to how much a prisoner produces. Reports of other forms of torture are also common and include beatings with fists and cattle prods, exposure to extreme heat and cold, sleep deprivation, shackling, solitary confinement and starvation. Recent press reports confirm the deaths of over a hundred followers of the Falun Gong movement resulting from beatings in various labour camps, detention centres and re-education through labour facilities.

It is impossible to know the extent of export activity in the Laogai or, unfortunately, to compile a list of ‘products to avoid’, so that Western consumers may purchase goods with no fear of contributing to such a system. However, according to one document of the Chinese Government itself, approximately 200 different kinds of Laogai products are exported to international markets. A quarter of China’s tea is produced in Laogai camps; 60 per cent of China’s rubber-vulcanizing chemicals are produced in a single Laogai camp in Shengyang; one of the largest and earliest factories to export hand tools operates from a camp in Shanghai; an unknown but significant amount of China’s cotton crop is grown by prisoners; one of the largest steel-pipe factories in the country is a Laogai c the largest binder-clip factory in China, which exported to the United States, was recently forced to close for contracting with a Laogai camp.

In 1960 I was a geologist, 23 years old, a graduate of the Beijing College of Geology. I spoke my mind. I criticized the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. I said it was wrong for one Communist country to violate the human rights of another Communist country. I was labelled a troublemaker, from a reactionary, capitalist family and a Catholic school. I was sent to the labour camps to remove my bourgeois opinions and become a new Socialist person. The brutal regimen of labour I endured in my 19 years of prison did little to reform or ennoble me. I was able to survive only by reducing myself to my most primal state: I became an animal, caring only about satisfying my basic needs. I have heard the same horrible reality echoed in the stories of countless other Laogai survivors. From Mao’s time to the current day, the Laogai brings its victims to their knees and leaves them to crawl.

In his book of essays and quotations, Mao directed: ‘Marxism maintains that the State is a machine of violence for one class to rule another. The machine of violence is operated through the army, police, courts, prisons and other necessary facilities...The Laogai, as a part of this state machine, is a facility of violence. It is a tool representing the interests of the proletariat and the masses to exercise dictatorship over a minority of hostile elements.’ According to this philosophy Chinese leaders designed their systematic mechanism, the Laogai, to eliminate a segment of society that they found unacceptable and to repress an entire nation. They created the Laogai just as the Soviet Union created the gulag, South Africa created apartheid and Pol Pot created the killing fields. We cannot condemn the evil actions of Stalin’s Gulag or of Hitler’s concentration camps and ignore the continuing brutality of the Laogai. If we want to bring an end to totalitarian rule in China, we must confront the Laogai.

is the founder and Executive Director of the Laogai Research Foundation, which compiles information on the Chinese gulag and exposes other human-rights abuses in China.

Laogai Research Foundation
888 16th Street, NW Suite 5310
Washington DC 20006.
Tel: +1 202 508 8215,
Fax: +1 202 955 5486



The High Cost of China's Laogai

Riordan Galluccio
The Epoch Times

March 24, 2004

With his teeth cracked and hands bleeding, Wan Guifu struggled to split one more watermelon seed with his teeth. For him working outside in the freezing cold over 10 hours a day came with little choice—it was either work to produce Hand-picked Melon Seeds for the labor camp or be beaten until unconscious. At 57 years old Wan worked until he could no longer accomplish this brutal task, and was beaten to death by his fellow inmates at the Lanzhou No. 1 Detention Center in China.

The seeds Wan was forced to produce, Zhenglin Hand-picked Melon Seeds, are now currently exported throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Southeast Asia and Taiwan. Through the use of this type of slave labor Lanzhou Zhenglin Nongken Foods Ltd. has become the largest producer of roasted nuts in China with sales reaching 460 million Yuan. (US $55 million)

Free and Endless Supply of Workers

China’s booming economy continues to increase through its use of slave labor or Laogai camps. Laogai means “reform through labor.” It’s a system of prison factories and detention centers set up by former Chinese leader Mao Zedong during the 1950’s as a means to re-educate through labor and increase economic gain for the People’s Republic of China. As of 1979, there were apparently only several thousand people being forced to work in the Laogai system. Today it has become an enormous source of free labor and financial profit for the Chinese government. According to estimates from the Laogai Research Foundation, there are 6.8 million people incarcerated in China’s 1,100 labor institutions.

For those incarcerated in these facilities, the reality they face is long hours of brutal treatment with little sleep or food to sustain themselves. Reports of 20-hour work days and violent oppression force some detainees to choose suicide instead of being beaten, starved, or worked to death according to a paper by Stephen D. Marshall, “Chinese Laogai: a hidden role in ‘Developing Tibet.” Others mutilate or injure themselves in an effort to avoid the work. Inmates who fall behind or refuse to work are shocked with electric batons, beaten, sexually assaulted, or thrown into solitary confinement. Among those that make up the population in these labor camps are criminals, political prisoners, and practitioners of the spiritual practice Falun Gong, who reportedly now make up to half of those detained in the Laogai labor system.

Who Uses Slave Labor?

Forced labor has become both a form a torture and a source of great profit for China. With the enormous amount of free labor that comes from Laogai, China has lured many overseas businesses into its profit-through-slave-labor system. With ridiculously cheap wholesale labor costs many cannot resist the bait and unknowingly come to support this illegal practice.

Common everyday products ranging from artificial Christmas trees, Christmas tree lights, bracelets, tools and foodstuffs, et cetera are among some of the products manufactured and exported from these facilities. According to a 1998 House Committee on International Relations report, companies who reportedly have or had products made in China’s Laogai are Midas, Staples, Chrysler, and Nestle¢. A recent report from one detainee in the Changji Labor Camp in Xinjiang states the Tianshan Wooltex Stock Corporation Ltd., a contractor to Changji Labor Camp, makes products for overseas companies such as Banana Republic, Neiman Marcus, Bon Genie, Holt Renfrew, French Connection and others. Orders from Banana Republic number between 200,000 and 280,000 pieces a year.

The products made in these facilities are produced by people who are forced to work in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. Detainees in Laogai have said that because of malnutrition, sleep deprivation and stress they often contract lice, scabies, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and other ailments. Sick detainees are still forced to work. Many are not allowed to take showers for long periods of time, allowing all manner of bodily substances to come into contact with the items they manufacture. These products are then shipped all over the world.

Stopping Laogai Products

Laws on the books that outlaw slave labor products have not been able to stop the tide of illegally and inhumanely manufactured merchandise from being shipped and traded worldwide. For example, since 1983 it has been illegal to import goods into the United States made through using slave labor. According to the Laogai Research Foundation China’s government publicly guaranteed to stop the export of slave labor products in October 1991.

In 1992, China and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in an effort to enable the US access to information it needed to control its import ban on prison labor products. According to this MOU the Chinese government had committed itself to investigating all claims of slave labor.

The agreement proved to be worth little in real results, given the profits China stood to lose from its free source of labor the Laogai system provides. Brushing aside requests from the US for answers on the issue, China provides “sanitized” camps for inspectors. Other tactics used to ensure production continues include false holding companies, changing addresses, and mixing labor camp output and non-prison businesses together.

“Thus, the commercial exploitation of slaves in China’s labor camps is effectively an open secret in the world of commerce,” says Harry Wu, founder of the Laogai Research Foundation.

This “open secret” Wu speaks of has become more and more difficult to conceal. Survivors of the Laogai system continue to publicly speak out about the forced labor and torture they have experienced. In addition, organizations such as the Laogai Research Foundation and the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong continue to investigate the Chinese government’s use of slave labor as a source for economic growth and to expose the products manufactured in Laogai.

Although China continues to currently benefit from its “prison economy,” it may ultimately be the world’s consumers who control the fate of the Laogai. As the world comes to realize the blood, sweat and tears going into the products they buy it might not be so easy to purchase them no matter how low the price.


See also:

Horrendous Personal Experience in the Forced Labour Camps of China
Written by a Falun Gong practitioner in China

University Students in China Illegally Sent to Forced Labour Camps

Ban Chinese Goods Involving Forced Labour, European Parliament (Feb 9, 2004)
STRASBOURG, France, Feb 9, Reuter -- The European Union should ban the sale of goods produced by forced labour in China until Beijing ends the practice and improves human rights, the European Parliament said on Wednesday.The expansion of cooperation between the Union and China should be dependent on China ratifying the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the parliament said in a resolution. Calling for the inclusion of a human rights clause in EU trade agreements with third countries, it said it would not approve any new cooperation agreement with China until there were "significant changes" there. The parliament, whose vote is not binding on EU states, also called on China to respect the human rights of the people of Tibet and to open negotiations with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's religious leader, and the Tibetan government-in-exile. According to a report by Italian Green Maria Adelaide Aglietta, Chinese authorities are trying to stamp out Buddhist education and Tibetan culture.Over 95 percent of temples and monestaries have been destroyed, the report said. In addition, "draconian" birth control policies have made the six million Tibetans a minority in their own country, where the 7.5 million Chinese hold 70 percent of administrative posts. CLIP

Laogai Research Foundation
The Laogai Research Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to compiling factual information about life within the Laogai - China's vast network of forced labor camps.


If you would like to subscribe to the Earth Rainbow Network automated listserver and regularly receive similar compilations covering a broad range of subjects, including each new Meditation Focus issued every two week, simply send a blank email at from the email account to which you want to receive the material compiled and networked by the Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator. Subscription is FREE!