Weekly News Review

13th June 2003

CAP reform "fake"

Friends of the Earth and Global 2000, the Austrian member of the Friends of the Earth worldwide network, staged an action last Wednesday in front of the meeting of the EU Agriculture Council. As Ministers arrived to decide on CAP reform, protesters demanded that Ministers go for REAL reform instead of FAKE reform.

Joanna Dober, of Friends of the Earth Europe explained that in FoE's view "The CAP reform agreement on the table stinks of industrial agriculture. If you take off the green wrapping (of the agreement), inside there is a black hole, meaning nothing for the environment and nothing for the poor. Instead there'll be even more cash handouts to the big corporate farmers,"

Some of the protesters dressed in black to represent the industrial farmers that get the vast majority of CAP money. 80% of CAP money goes to just 20% of farmers in Europe. A sizeable number of such farmers get over 300,000 euros each from the CAP every year.

The remaining protesters silently represented the environment. The environment in Europe has suffered extreme damage over the years from CAP. Not only has the water, the soil, biodiversity and nature suffered, so have livelihoods in rural communities. Small farmers are going out of business at an unprecedented rate, while the quality of fresh food diminishes. Fruit and vegetables are dosed with high levels of pesticides while factory farms have become the norm. While European citizens demand high standards for fresh, farm produce, the CAP continues to let them down. The same damage will continue if Ministers agree the CAP reform agreement as it stands without proper attention to its environmental impact.

In Friends of the Earth's view the CAP must be replaced by one which "delivers for the environment and the poor" Such a policy would be based on pesticide reduction targets with stringent penalties for transgressions, more funding for the rural development,  prioritising sustainable farming methods, and ending subsidised dumping on the developing world

For photos of the action see here

Five tests

British Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) Gordon Brown long ago stipulated that five tests must be met before the UK abandons the pound for the euro. This week he announced that only one of them had been, so for the moment the British people are in the clear. many, however, suspect that the only real test that matters is performed weekly by opinion polls, which make it clear that they would rather be ruled from Baghdad than by the European Central Bank. Read the "No" campaign's take on the five tests at http://www.no-euro.com/general/fivetests.pdf

Statewatch bulletin

The contents of the latest issue of the magazine which concerns itself with possible abuses of civil and human rights and privacy by state and EU security services and the politicians who supposedly control them can be read at here

Bush junta makes AIDS finance conditional on accepting GMOs

The illegal Bush regime and its supporters in Congress have been accused of financing anti-AIDS programmes in fifty countries on condition that they accept genetically engineered products from the United States.

Julio Sanchez, representative of Mesoamerican Trade, said the US Congress's approval of legislation to support AIDS research in these countries on the condition was an offense to the consumers there.

"The US government has told these 50 countries, including Latin American countries, that it will no longer finance HIV-AIDS related programs unless they buy its genetically engineered products," Mr Sanchez said.

According to Sanchez, "the toughest issue for Central America will be the introduction of genetically modified corn (maize) seeds". Central America is home to the ancestral strains of maize which are vital for maintaining the biodiversity necessary to protect the plant from devastating disease.

He said there is a worldwide campaign to ban the genetically engineered products, since the United States filed charges against the European Union in the World Trade Organization to press the bloc to lift the ban on these products.

"Unfortunately, countries like Honduras and El Salvador are supporting the US on this issue in the WTO," added Sanchez.

Stalemate at WTO

"The emergence of unilateralism as the main characteristic of US foreign policy and the crisis of the globalist project itself is manifesting in the stalemate reached in the WTO negotiations in

Geneva." The rest of  "The Stalemate in the WTO and the Crisis of the Globalist Project: Update on the World Trade Organization and Global Trends" by Walden Bello can be read at


Australia signs refugee deal with Iran - will Europe follow?

The government of Iran has signed a deal with Australia agreeing, for the first time, to accept back rejected asylum seekers. The deal could set a precedent for Europe where there are about 10,000 Iranian asylum seekers, whose claims have been rejected. Read all about it here


"The Chechen war brought Putin to power, but the administration's inability to secure victory or peace in the region is becoming its Achilles' heel." Read the rest of "Atypical Chechen Attacks"

by Boris Kagarlitsky here