Sandra Finley

Jun 082019

NOTE:   There is a good interview of David Lester and another member of the Collective,  CBC Radio  ( (June 8th).   (wait for it to be posted.)


BOOK LAUNCH  for “1919”, part of the celebrations, Miners Memorial Weekend

Cumberland B.C. Museum & Archives

Sunday, June 23,  11:00 AM

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(Scroll down to the companion comic book “Direct Action Gets the Goods“)

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Paperback /

In May and June 1919, more than 30,000 workers walked off the job in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They struck for a variety of reasons—higher wages, collective bargaining rights, and more power for working people. The strikers made national and international headlines, and they inspired workers to mount sympathy strikes in many other Canadian cities. Although the strike lasted for six weeks, it ultimately ended in defeat. The strike was violently crushed by police, in collusion with state officials and Winnipeg’s business elites.

One hundred years later, the Winnipeg General Strike remains one of the most significant events in Canadian history. This comic book revisits the strike to introduce new generations to its many lessons, including the power of class struggle and solidarity and the brutal tactics that governments and bosses use to crush workers’ movements. The Winnipeg General Strike is a stark reminder that the working class and the employing class have nothing in common, and the state is not afraid to bloody its hands to protect the interests of capital. In response, working people must rely on each other and work together to create a new, more just world in the shell of the old.

  • Paperback / softback, 120 pages
  • ISBN 9781771134200
  • Published January 2019

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Direct Action Gets the Goods
  • Paperback / softback

Art has always played a significant role in the history of the labour movement. Songs, stories, poems, pamphlets, and comics, have inspired workers to take action against greedy bosses and helped shape ideas of a more equal world. They also help fan the flames of discontent. Radical social change doesn’t come without radical art. It would be impossible to think about labour unrest without its iconic songs like “Solidarity Forever” or its cartoons like Ernest Riebe’s creation, Mr. Block.

In this vein, The Graphic History Collective has created an illustrated chronicle of the strike—the organized withdrawal of labour power—in Canada. For centuries, workers in Canada—Indigenous and non-Indigenous, union and non-union, men and women—have used the strike as a powerful tool, not just for better wages, but also for growing working-class power. This lively comic book will inspire new generations to learn more about labour and working-class history and the power of solidarity.

  • Paperback / softback, 64 pages
  • ISBN 9781771134170
  • Published January 2019
Jun 052019

THE LAST EMAIL SENT OUT:   For your selection, May 20, All Monsanto-Bayer Roundup.

FOR YOUR SELECTION, TODAY,  JUNE 10, Peer through the haze, what do you see ahead?



2019-05 A tribute to Greta Thunberg and all the kids who have joined her.  Action.

A set of postings – – an amazing kid, an amazing story.

If you only have time for a 2-minute video you will be rewarded.


When mainstream media is putting out good historical content and connecting it to today’s world,  I am happy!    Netflix uses celebrity musicians John Lennon and Johnny Cash.

2018   Two documentaries. War is over! if you want it – “Imagine” (conceptualizing) Lennon   & ReMastered: Tricky Dick & The Man in Black

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The Graphic History Collective uses the Winnipeg Strike in 1919.

The history presented through graphics (think:  comic books) of the Winnipeg Strike and applied to today, seems too radical.

But look at the articles in this posting.  They cover a few topics but only a fraction of what people in many different places have been tackling for a long time.  Strikes, uprisings, don’t just happen.  They are the consequence of long festering.

Theatre will put contemporary language into the mouths of actors and clothe them to look like us in performances of classical drama.  . . .  I adjusted my thinking.  The Graphic History doesn’t look too radical!:

2019-01 1919 A Graphic History of the Winnipeg General Strike By Graphic History Collective and David Lester

http: //

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  . . .  Peer through the haze, what do you see ahead?


Uplifting:  the knowledge that so many people are working on so many fronts,  AND,  they are working internationally.  (Same as with Greta Thunberg and the kids on climate change):

2019-05-30 Tax Fairness Weekly

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And from the U.S.,  LEGISLATION!   With thanks to author Paul Rowan:

Make America Great Again by Cracking Down on Tax Havens

The U.S. has a lower rating on financial secrecy than even the Cayman Islands—and far too many politicians are benefitting.


The United States has earned a place alongside Switzerland and Panama as one of the world’s most lucrative tax havens and money laundering hotspots—a shameful situation that policymakers are finally trying to address. Several bipartisan bills are trekking through Congress that aim at halting money laundering, tax avoidance, and the use of anonymous shell companies for potentially nefarious purposes. One of the bills, the Corporate Transparency Act of 2019, has been in the works for more than a decade, and would require full disclosure of company owners’ true names and addresses to the Treasury Department.   . . .  

(Remind myself to look at Canadians for Tax Fairness to see if progress is being made in Canada.)

more:      (Link takes you off this blog.)

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most recent:

2019-06-04 Julian Assange Scores Legal Victory as Swedish Court Denies Detention Request, CNN

  Main stream media in support – New York Times, Washington Post, etc.

2019-05-23  ‘Frightening’: Charges Against Julian Assange Alarm Press Advocates,  from NY Times

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2019-05-28 “Glenn Greenwald makes an important point, that as a First Amendment question, it does not matter whether Assange is a journalist.” An important understanding re “TO WHOM” does the First Amendment apply?

Washington Post article at source

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2019-05-29 Julian Assange: What happened to the freedom of speech? from the Washington Times.

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2019-05-27 Tide of Public Opinion is Turning in Assange’s Favor, Consortium News

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2019-05-21 (Pre-empt): Battle breaks out for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s computers,  from AP

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Determination to stop the poisoning of the Planet.

I disparaged CBC, The Current‘s coverage of the issue.  That was Before seeing this new CBC VIDEO.

2019-04-26  The Monsanto papers: The Canadian Connection.  from Radio-Canada

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And lo!  ABC News Australia put out an excellent video.   Note:  it is rare to see the role of CropLife mentioned;  it is a very large factor.   Good on ABC News Australia!

2018-10-08  Recommend: Australian video, The secret tactics Monsanto used to protect Roundup, its star product. Includes interviews of IARC, CropLife and Regulators. | ABC News (Australia)

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In my view,  some basic knowledge of IARC is important to understanding the Roundup issue.  (IARC is not perfect;  it is not without scientists who flip-flop on issues, depending on the audience.)

2015-03 What is IARC? IARC 2015 “classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” . . . and “strong” evidence for genotoxicity.

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2019-05-24 Quebec woman seeks to file class action against makers of herbicide Roundup, Bayer-Monsanto. from CTV News

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U.S. Right to Know has a Monsanto “Trial Tracker” – –

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In case you missed May 20,  this email was in response to flawed CBC coverage:

2019-05-17 Response to CBC, Roundup Court Awards: “Disclosure” in the trial process – – the documents that condemned Monsanto came from Monsanto itself.

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Also from May 20:

2019-02-18 Email to some female Canadian Senators: Ag Colleges and Programs are TEACHING young people that it’s okay to poison the planet. Whereas it is wrong and not to be tolerated.  If for no other reason: Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

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I have too many family and friends with pre-teens in their families, not to pass this along:

2019-05-15 RFK, Jr.: Gardasil “The Science” Video and Other Facts

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2018-12-05 Bonus pools at Canadian banks climb 6.5% in a ‘polarizing’ year, Bloomberg

The posting above is in follow-up to this one that reinforces memory of the huge indebtedness of Canadian Banks, notably the TD, to Tar Sands Corporations.

2019-04-28   How is it possible to talk about climate change in Canada, and not address corruption of our institutions, the petro-state, the deep state? Some corporate mapping. Billionaires, Tar sands, Mining, Banks and a University. 

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Look through the haze and the jumble, what do you see ahead?   . . .   Greta Thunberg lays it out.  Either we do or we don’t take action.  We have to change.  Dramatically.  Mount the steeds!
Jun 052019

Netflix documentary “John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky”  (2018),  1.5 hours long.

(note:  a web search brings up a video that looks like the Netflix film.  It is shorter and not the same.)

The film is about the making of the “Imagine” album (release date Sept 1971;  Vietnam War ended Apr 1975).  But more than that.  It’s about CONCEPTUALIZING.

The documentary is a piecing together of footage taken at the time of the recording of Imagine.  With present-day interviews of the still-alive musicians and recording engineers, of Yoko Ono, of Julian Lennon.

The end of the film makes its relevance to the current climate in the U.S. clear.

I feel heartened when a company like Netflix offers “Imagine” to re-invigorate and move us.  In this time of need.

The song Imagine isn’t everything;  nonetheless,  here’s a youtube of it:;   the lyrics are appended,  Scroll down.

Background on Yoko Ono (through childhood photographs and brief interview) provided in the film is helpful.   Sorry!  I can only do words:

Yoko Ono was born in February 1933 in Japan.  In August, 1945 during World War II (1939-45), Americans dropped the world’s first deployed nuclear bomb over Hiroshima. The explosion wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days later, another A-bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people.

So Yoko Ono was 12.5 years old when the bombs dropped.   She went from being a daughter in a wealthy banking family, to a family with nothing, not enough food to eat.   She found she could bring some comfort to her little brother by “imagining” that they were eating whatever he would most like (ice cream!).

Wikipedia:  Ono became an Japanese-American multimedia artist, singer, songwriter and peace activist.

The film connects Ono’s work to Lennon’s.   “Imagine” is about the power of conceptualizing.

In the last quarter of the film are the huge black-and-white billboards that carried the message of the “Imagine” album, in various languages in various countries.

From an interview in the film, roughly:

The New York billboard was in a prime location.  Huge.  Billboards all around selling something.  Full of color.  This stark, all white (black lettering) billboard, not selling anything.  

It was Yoko’s belief that people, if they wanted something strongly enough, could achieve it.   Happy Christmas (War is Over!).   Conceptual art.



Happy Christmas from John and Yoko

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ReMastered: Tricky Dick & The Man in Black

The other Peace vs War documentary film that helped re-energize me:

“Johnny Cash didn’t like the idea of being used.”
This documentary chronicles Johnny Cash’s 1970 visit to the White House, where Cash’s emerging ideals clashed with Richard Nixon’s policies.
Cash turned the tables on Nixon.  He did not perform the 2 songs that the President requested.  Instead, a new song,  “What is Truth?“.   Johnny Cash and his wife had been in Vietnam 3 weeks prior to the White House Concert.  Lyrics at the bottom, scroll down.
There’s a good trailer at
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[Verse 1]
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

[Verse 2]
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

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Johnny Cash – What is Truth – YouTube  and Lyrics
The old man turned off the radio
Said, “Where did all of the old songs go
Kids sure play funny music these days
They play it in the strangest ways”
Said, “it looks to me like they’ve all gone wild
It was peaceful back when I was a child”
Well, man, could it be that the girls and boys
Are trying to be heard above your noise?
And the lonely voice of youth cries “What is truth?”
A little boy of three sittin’ on the floor
Looks up and says, “Daddy, what is war?”
“son, that’s when people fight and die”
The little boy of three says “Daddy, why?”
A young man of seventeen in Sunday school
Being taught the golden rule
And by the time another year has gone around
It may be his turn to lay his life down
Can you blame the voice of youth for asking
“What is truth?”
A young man sittin’ on the witness stand
The man with the book says “Raise your hand”
“Repeat after me, I solemnly swear”
The man looked down at his long hair
And although the young man solemnly swore
Nobody seems to hear anymore
And it didn’t really matter if the truth was there
It was the cut of his clothes and the length of his hair
And the lonely voice of youth cries
“What is truth?”
The young girl dancing to the latest beat
Has found new ways to move her feet
The young man speaking in the city square
Is trying to tell somebody that he cares
Yeah, the ones that you’re calling wild
Are going to be the leaders in a little while
This old world’s wakin’ to a new born day
And I solemnly swear that it’ll be their way
You better help the voice of youth find
“What is truth/”
Songwriters: Johnny R. Cash
What Is Truth lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management US, LLC
Jun 052019
I inserted two comments to point out subtle distortions that I think are important.  Can I still say it’s “reasonably balanced”?! /Sandra
A Swedish court has denied a request to extradite Assange to Sweden from the United Kingdom.

LONDON — Julian Assange won a major legal victory on Monday, when a Swedish court denied a request to detain the WikiLeaks founder over a sexual assault investigation dating back to 2010.

The ruling by the Uppsala District Court is a setback for prosecutors who were hoping to issue a European Arrest Warrant for Assange and request his extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden.

The court agreed with prosecutors that Assange could pose a flight risk, but said detention would not be proportionate.

The Swedish rape investigation was the reason Assange spent almost seven years in self-imposed exile in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy. The WikiLeaks founder walked into the building in June 2012, shortly after losing a years-long extradition battle in the UK’s Supreme Court.

(INSERT:   Call it “survival mode” or call it “refugee status”.

Self-imposed exile” is inaccurate and misleading.

In August 2012, Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador due to fears of political persecution and possible extradition to the United States.[14]

Assange was 7 years in the Embassy to save his neck.)


He remained there until April this year, when his dramatic arrest prompted Swedish prosecutors to reopen the investigation last month.

Assange’s lawyer, Per E Samuelson, said Monday that his client denied the accusations and also argued that detention would be disproportionate. He added that Assange “has always wanted to cooperate” with the investigation.

The rape allegation was one of four sexual assault accusations that Assange faced after his visit to Sweden in August 2010. The case has never moved beyond the investigation stage and Assange has not been charged with any crimes in the country.

In August 2015, the statute of limitations on three of the four allegations lapsed. Under Swedish law, any charges related to the fourth allegation of rape must be made by August 2020.

(INSERT:  I added the emphasis on the following statement.)

The probe into the alleged rape was suspended in 2017 as a result of Assange’s continued residence in the embassy.

(I don’t think so.   Reference  APPENDED:  disclosures from 2013 and early 2018,  should be applied but seem to have been forgotten?   EXCERPT:

Cook reveals that Sweden actually wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. “Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case” he said.

“According to a new, limited release of emails between officials, the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, wrote to Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service on October 18, 2013, warning that Swedish law would not allow the case for extradition to be continued,” he wrote. Cook further said that the CPS destroyed most of the emails relating to this correspondence, contrary to CPS protocols, and that only fragments remain.

In 2016, a UN working group ruled that Assange was being arbitrarily detained by the governments of Sweden and UK, and that he was entitled to his freedom of movement, and to compensation. Both British and Swedish authorities disregarded the ruling,

On Monday the judge said that in order to finish the investigation, the prosecutors could issue a European Investigation Order, which would make it possible for them to interview Assange and conclude the inquiry.

The prosecutor said the investigation will continue but didn’t give any details about the next steps.

Since his arrest in April, Assange has been sentenced to nearly a year in a UK prison over bail violations stemming from when he first entered the Ecuadorian embassy.

He is also facing a US extradition request.

Assange was indicted in the United States on one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. He was then charged with 17 counts under the Espionage Act for his role in receiving and publishing national defense information in concert with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning

The Swedish court’s decision means the US will not have to compete with Sweden over which extradition request is given priority.

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APPENDED:  disclosures from 2013 and early 2018,  should be applied but seem to have been forgotten?

Two postings.  The title of the first one tells the story.  The EXCERPT from the second one is a summary.

  1. 2018-02-11 Sweden tried to drop Assange extradition in 2013, CPS emails show, The Guardian
  2. 2018-04-09 Punishment of Julian Assange is political, not legal Daily Mirror, UK


With Swedish prosecutors having last year formally dropped their investigation into rape allegations in Sweden, all that the UK authorities are left with to justify Assange’s arrest is the argument that he ‘skipped bail’ when he took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy.  Now, recent revelations of email correspondence between Sweden’s prosecutors and Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have added credence to the view that Assange’s plight has more to do with mala fide intentions of those who wish to see him punished, than any pursuit of justice. It appears that the last four years of Assange’s imprisonment in the embassy have been entirely unnecessary.  “In fact, they depended on a legal charade” wrote Jonathan Cook in Counterpunch in February.

““His only ‘crime’ is that of a true journalist — telling the world the truths that people have a right to know” 

Cook reveals that Sweden actually wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. “Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case” he said.

“According to a new, limited release of emails between officials, the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, wrote to Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service on October 18, 2013, warning that Swedish law would not allow the case for extradition to be continued,” he wrote. Cook further said that the CPS destroyed most of the emails relating to this correspondence, contrary to CPS protocols, and that only fragments remain.

In 2016, a UN working group ruled that Assange was being arbitrarily detained by the governments of Sweden and UK, and that he was entitled to his freedom of movement, and to compensation. Both British and Swedish authorities disregarded the ruling, with the British Foreign Secretary reported as saying it was “frankly ridiculous.”

May 312019

Canadians for Tax Fairness does important work.   As you’ll see in this weekly report, the problem of tax fairness is international.   People from around the world are working shoulder-to-shoulder – – we shall overcome.

I shake my head when I see progress in other countries;  Canada is lagging.  BUT!  forward the Tax Fairness Weekly to a couple of friends.  Activist ranks are definitely growing.


OGP panel highlights need for open registries to crack down on money laundering
Left to right: Robin Hodess, left, Director of Governance and Transparency with The B Team, Sasha Caldera, beneficial ownership program manager with Canadians for Tax Fairness, and MP John Penrose, UK Prime Minister Champion on Anti-Corruption. The special panel on public beneficial ownership registries took place at the Open Government Partnership Summit in Ottawa this week. .

International corruption and the tools governments need to fight it were hot topics at the annual Open Government Partnership Summit this week. Representatives and stakeholders from more than 79 countries gathered in Ottawa to explore how governments can improve transparency and democracy. In many countries, especially Canada, criminals can easily hide behind anonymous companies. But a public registry that lists the real owners of those companies would go a long way in deterring illicit activity, according to experts at a panel hosted by Canadians for Tax Fairness, Transparency International Canada, and Publish What You Pay Canada.

Countries around the world are dealing with an infectious and escalating problem. Law enforcement officials in the US last week urged the Senate to shine a light on corruption with a public registry.

The summit comes at an especially critical time for Canada, which is facing a money laundering problem that is “far bigger than we think”, says Kevin Comeau in this week’s Financial Post op-ed.

BC has taken a big step with plans to create the first public registry in Canada. Pressure is building on other provinces and the federal government to do the same. Canadians for Tax Fairness has asked supporters to tell our Finance Ministers that it’s time to lift the veil on anonymous companies.


World’s worst tax havens ranked in new index
As officials from more than 100 countries gather at the OECD  this week to discuss international tax reform, the Tax Justice Network launched the Corporate Tax Haven Index — a ranking of the world’s worst offenders of tax avoidance. The British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands topped list, which also included notorious havens Switzerland and Luxembourg in the top 10.

The index of 64 regions was compiled using criteria such as how countries facilitate global tax avoidance and the scale of corporate activity. Canada was not included, but major OECD countries such as the US and Germany were. An article in the Guardian blasted the UK for being the biggest enabler of tax avoidance.

TJN plans to publish the index every two years and expand its scope to other geographic areas. The network already publishes a Financial Secrecy Index, which ranks countries according to lack of transparency and scale of offshore financial activities. In their last secrecy index, Canada placed 21st, just above the UK and Ireland.


Liberals float idea of soda tax, Conservatives not sweet on it
Some Liberal MPs are pushing for a tax on sugary drinks to be included in the party’s fall election platform. CBC News uncovered a list of Liberal platform priorities could include a soda tax pitched by Ajax, Ontario MP Mark Holland. The former Heart and Stroke executive suggests a 20 percent levy on sugary beverages would bring in $ 29.6-billion in revenues over 25 years — enough to fund a national healthy eating strategy in schools and deter health problems associated with high-sugar diets.

Sugar taxes have grabbed international headlines in recent years thanks to high-profile endorsements from health advocates like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who successfully lobbied for a ‘Sugar Tax’ in the UK.

The UK’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy in 2018 forced manufacturers to pay between 18p to 24p per litre of drink depending on the grams of sugar. The government reported more than half of companies reduced sugar levels after the tax, which also raised £$154-million of revenue in the first seven months to fund healthy initiatives in schools.  Other countries such as France and Mexico have brought in similar taxes and some American cities including Seattle and Philadelphia have implemented a tax on distributors of sugary drinks.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was quick to attack the sugar levy proposal, claiming that another tax is not what voters want, a message the party has repeatedly used to criticize Canada’s carbon pricing plan. Sugar tax or not, expect taxes to figure prominently in all the major parties’ platforms this fall election. Scheer, who had previously campaigned on a promise to balance the budget after two years in office, recently rolled back that vow, saying it’ll take five years. A Globe editorial speculates this week Scheer’s back-tracking indicates the party is preparing to dole out a series of tax cut promises in the coming campaign.


Corporate tax cuts lifting CEO salaries to stratospheric levels
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk topped the list of executives who received record compensation last year. Wikimedia Commons

CEO pay is skyrocketing at twice the rate of workers’ wages, a New York Times article reports this week. The newspaper’s annual listing of the 200 highest paid CEOs found record levels of compensation for executives despite only modest increases in average worker salaries. On the heels of a stronger economy and US President Trump’s corporate tax cuts, the median CEO was given a 6.3 percent raise of $1.1 million while the average worker only took home a 3.2 percent increase – an extra 84 cents per hour. Tesla’s Elon Musk ranked number one on the list with a $2.3 billion pay package that would take his income along with his Space X rockets to stratospheric levels. Executives from big companies such as Disney, Discovery, and T-Mobile were also high on the list, which included only eight women. The findings highlight a deepening wealth disparity and reveal how corporate tax cuts, such as the ones being rolled out in Alberta, only serve to make the rich richer. In an Edmonton Journal story this week, Canadian economists recently weighed in on the province’s so-called “job-creation tax cuts” and suggested the unproven link be taken with a grain of salt.


Canada’s corporate welfare handouts come under scrutiny
Pipe for the Trans Mountain expansion is stacked on the side of the road in Kamloops, B.C. Credit: Dave Eagles

A great piece last weekend on CBC the Sunday edition explored how much money corporations receive from the federal government through subsidies – and how little of that information is available to the public. Businesses pocket $129 billion a year in federal and provincial government subsidies through the form of tax expenditures and other spending programs. But as the broadcaster points out, Canada isn’t as generous in other areas, ranking low on the list of social spending by OECD nations in relation to GDP.

When it comes to corporate welfare handouts, household names like Bombardier and General Motors may spring to mind, but Canada’s oil and gas sector is a major beneficiary and that’s not even including the government-purchased Trans Mountain pipeline. Alberta tops the list with $640-per person subsidies in the 2014-15 year, followed by Quebec. The data comes from research by John Lester at the University of Calgary School of Public Policy, who tells CBC that compiling the numbers was incredibly difficult due to the lack of accessible information. Earlier this year, The Energy Mix website provided some breakdowns of how much the federal government has spent on the oil and gas industry alone. An article in the Narwhal this week also explores how generous tax credits in BC have helped the mining sector.

C4TF supports an end to fossil fuel subsidies but the government also needs to take a broader look at all spending measures and determine who they truly benefit.


Recommended read
Bloomberg Businessweek has an excellent cover story and profile of economist Gabriel Zucman, the “detective” who scours data to find the ultra rich’s hidden money. Zucman, the author of “The Hidden Wealth of Nations” and a member of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, has done groundbreaking research both uncovering how wealthy the superrich are estimating how much they are stowing offshore.

He and fellow economist Emmanuel Saez have also provided advice and support to U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on their progressive tax proposals. Saez and Zucman have a new book, “The Triumph of Injustice”, that will be published early next year about how the rich dodge taxes and how to make them pay.


Have a suggestion for a news item or event that you would like to see mentioned in next week’s review? Please get in touch:


Donate now to Canadians for Tax Fairness
May 302019

An important contribution to understanding the application of First Amendment rights (U.S.) in the Assange case.  With thanks to Andrew Napolitano and the Washington Times.

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  • Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is a regular contributor to The Washington Times. He is the author of nine books on the U.S. Constitution.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.  (Request sent May 30 for reprint permission / Sandra)

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By Andrew P. Napolitano – – Wednesday, May 29, 2019


“Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” — First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

When James Madison agreed be the scrivener at the Constitutional Convention during the summer of 1787, he could not have known that just three years later he’d be the chair of the House of Representatives committee whose task it was to draft the Bill of Rights.

In doing so, he insisted that the word “the” precede the phrase “freedom of speech” in what was to become the First Amendment, so as to reflect its pre-existence; meaning, the freedom of speech pre-existed the United States. Madison believed that the pre-political rights, which he enumerated in the Bill of Rights, are natural to our humanity and he articulated as much in the Ninth Amendment, and in his speeches in support of the ratification of what would become the first 10 amendments.

Madison knew that when he wrote “Congress shall make no law abridging … the freedom of speech, or of the press,” he and the ratifiers meant no law. As direct and unambiguous as those words are — the U.S. Constitution as amended is the supreme law of the land — Congress and the courts have not always been faithful to them.

Thus, at the height of the anti-immigrant hysteria whipped up by President Woodrow Wilson and his supporters, Congress enacted the Espionage Act of 1917, which punished speech deemed harmful to America’s war efforts. Wilson was determined to win World War I at the price of the suppression of ideas that he hated or feared.

The Espionage Act was used aggressively and successfully (from Wilson’s vantage point) during the war and in the immediate years following. Then, a series of Supreme Court decisions instructed that the Act is probably unconstitutional as its sole purpose and effect is to suppress speech. These opinions harkened back to Madison, who believed that the only moral and constitutional remedy for hateful or harmful or even seditious speech was not suppression and punishment but rather more speech.

That attitude prevailed generally in the legal and judicial communities and at the Department of Justice for a few generations — even during World War II — until now. Now, the Trump DOJ has indicted a non-American whose alleged crimes took place in Europe for numerous violations of the Espionage Act, and it has done so in direct defiance of a Supreme Court decision that ruled against this during the Nixon years.

The non-American is Julian Assange, a radical and unorthodox publisher of truthful information that often exposes the hypocrisy of government. His entity for exposure is WikiLeaks — the website known for receiving stolen data and for posting true and accurate copies of them.

It was Assange and WikiLeaks that published the infamous Democratic National Committee emails in October 2016, which contained the “dirt” on Hillary Clinton once offered by Russian agents to Trump campaign officials, and for which then-candidate Trump lavished public praise on WikiLeaks.

Yet, back in 2010, Assange arranged to receive and publish stolen copies of top secret military materials that revealed American military personnel in Afghanistan at their worst. It showed them knowingly killing innocent civilians — and doing so gleefully. The data that Assange revealed had been stolen for him by an Army private then named Bradley Manning. Manning was tried and convicted of the theft and was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison, much of it in solitary confinement. In January 2017, President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence to time served.

If this sounds a bit like history repeating itself from the Nixon years, it is. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a civilian employee of the Nixon Department of Defense, revealed that he had stolen thousands of pages of top secret materials showing that former President Lyndon B. Johnson and some of his generals had serially lied to the American public and to Congress about the Vietnam War.

When he delivered the stolen materials to The New York Times and to The Washington Post for publication, and the Nixon DOJ got wind of the delivery, it persuaded two federal judges to enjoin the publication of the documents.

In a landmark decision, known as the Pentagon Papers case, the Supreme Court ruled that a publisher may reveal whatever materials come into the publisher’s possession, no matter how they got there, so long as the materials are themselves material to the public interest.

Stated differently, the thief — Ellsberg then, Manning today — can be tried for theft, but the publisher is absolutely protected by the “no law” language of the First Amendment. Ellsberg was indicted and prosecuted, but the charges were dismissed by a federal judge whose conscience was shocked when he learned that FBI agents broke into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist to get “dirt” on him.

Assange is also protected by the values underlining that “no law” language. The whole purpose of the First Amendment, numerous courts have written, is to promote and provoke open, wide, robust political debate about the policies of the government. That simply cannot be done when government operates in secret. Even when publishers tell the possessors of state secrets how to deliver them — as Times and Post reporters surely did to Ellsberg — they cannot be silenced or punished.

Why was Assange indicted? Government killers are a mob, and mobs love anonymity. Assange assaulted their love by ending that anonymity. When the government kills and rejoices and lies about it in our names, we have a right to know of its behavior. Democracies spy on us all, yet they persist in punishing, to the ends of the earth, those who dare to shine a light upon them. Tyrannies do the same.

  • Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is a regular contributor to The Washington Times. He is the author of nine books on the U.S. Constitution.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

May 282019

(NOTE: I try to use original articles, rather than someone’s interpretation.   Glenn Greenwald (associated with the revelations from Edward Snowden) co-founded The Intercept.  I couldn’t find an originating article there for  “Glenn Greenwald makes an important point”.   Greenwald is often quoted by other media;  Democracy Now, Amy Goodman, often seeks his viewpoint.  This time, maybe the origin of his “important point” is an article in the Washington Post?

The link to the Wash Post article is in the article below.  But I can only access it by removing my block on downloading advertisers, which I won’t do.

The Washington Post, same as the New York Times and other enterprise has come to see the light regarding the implications of what the U.S. and its allies have in mind for Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.   And how that affects all of us.

Thank goodness for the astuteness of Glenn Greenwald.   This article isn’t the original, but it’s accessible and addresses the issue quite well.

– – – – — – –

The National Review

The Corner

National Security & Defense

In re: the Julian Assange case, Glenn Greenwald makes an important point, that as a First Amendment question, it does not matter whether Assange is a journalist.

Press freedoms belong to everyone, not to a select, privileged group of citizens called “journalists.” Empowering prosecutors to decide who does or doesn’t deserve press protections would restrict “freedom of the press” to a small, cloistered priesthood of privileged citizens designated by the government as “journalists.” The First Amendment was written to avoid precisely that danger.

That is well said, and the reminder is both urgent and necessary at this particular moment in our history. Greenwald continues:

Empowering prosecutors to decide who does or doesn’t deserve press protections would restrict “freedom of the press” to a small, cloistered priesthood of privileged citizens designated by the government as “journalists.” The First Amendment was written to avoid precisely that danger.

Most critically, the U.S. government has now issued a legal document that formally declares that collaborating with government sources to receive and publish classified documents is no longer regarded by the Justice Department as journalism protected by the First Amendment but rather as the felony of espionage . . . .

And there is the problem. If the First Amendment does not create a set of privileges for a caste known as “journalists,” then journalists can be prosecuted for violating the law — including the laws governing the dissemination of classified information — in the same way any ordinary citizen would be.

The dissemination of classified documents is illegal in many circumstances. It is, under what seems to me the plain meaning of the law, precisely the felony of espionage in at least some cases. To decline to prosecute those crimes in the interest of enabling journalism is to create exactly the kind of professional caste privilege that Greenwald rightly warns against. We cannot simultaneously hold that the problem is “empowering prosecutors to decide who does or doesn’t deserve press protections” and then try to solve that problem by empowering prosecutors to decide who does or doesn’t deserve press protections.

I am not a lawyer and do not pretend to speak authoritatively about the Assange case, but the language of the federal criminal code appears — to my great surprise — clear enough about this matter.

And that is the fundamental issue: The government has too broad and sweeping power when it comes to classifying information, it uses that power too eagerly and too thoughtlessly — and too arrogantly, and too corruptly — for that power to be fully compatible with a free and open society. The solution to bad laws is to repeal or reform the law, not to construct a supplementary social theory to support its selective application.

In keeping with Greenwald’s concerns, writing a journalism carveout into the statute would be a disastrous undertaking, because it would amount to licensing journalists, which would radically reconfigure the First Amendment and our understanding of free speech in an unacceptable way. That is one significant problem with “campaign finance” laws that subject political speech to legislative discipline and then pretend to make an exemption for news media.

The more reasonable approach — which is naturally the more difficult one — would be to acknowledge that the government has a legitimate interest in keeping certain secrets but to narrow its discretion and scope in making those decisions. One important reform would be to eliminate the executive’s effective monopoly on declassification decisions, moving some of that authority into the House of Representatives or the Senate.

And then, if the New York Times receives a classified document through a criminal act or comes into possession of a document the publication of which would be a criminal act, it can make an editorial decision about whether the importance of the story justifies an act of civil disobedience and, if it comes to it, dare the government to prosecute it. Many Americans have sat in jail cells for honorable causes.

If we accept the proposition that the government has a legitimate interest in keeping secrets and in using the law to further that end — and there are some radical libertarians who reject that — and we also accept that the First Amendment applies in the same way to all citizens, then it follows that there will be prosecutions for violating that law, and that acting as a journalist does not provide immunity from such prosecution.The more reasonable approach — which is naturally the more difficult one — would be to acknowledge that the government has a legitimate interest in keeping certain secrets but to narrow its discretion and scope in making those decisions. One important reform would be to eliminate the executive’s effective monopoly on declassification decisions, moving some of that authority into the House of Representatives or the Senate.

May 272019

(NOTE:  We started sharing info on Julian Assange, at least by 2010.   I listened to numbers of interviews/discussions with him, before drawing conclusions.   He was always insightful,  straight forward, advanced in his understanding, well worth the time.  That early material is posted if you wish to go back to it.   The people who make him out to be a villain,  not likeable, and so on,  seems to me, are insecure.    They have to be dismissive of him,  because he is head-and-shoulders above them in understanding and they know it.)

= = = = = = = = = = =

Corporate media & some politicos who opposed Assange after the 2016 election have radically changed their tune, favorably influencing public opinion after the Espionage Act indictment of the WikiLeak‘s founder, reports Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

The indictment of Julian Assange under the Espionage Act has profoundly affected press coverage of the WikiLeaks founder, with much of the media turning suddenly and decisively in his favor after  years of vilifying him.

The sharp change has also come from some politicians, and significantly, from two Justice Department prosecutors who went public to express their dissent about using the Espionage Act to indict Assange.

To the extent that public opinion matters, the sea-change in coverage could have an effect on the British or Swedish governments’ decision to extradite Assange to the United States to face the charges.

Used to Be a Russian Agent

Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election establishment media, fueled by the Mueller probe, has essentially branded Assange a Russian agent who worked to undermine American democracy.

Focusing on his personality rather than his work, the media mostly cheered his arrest by British police on April 11 after his political asylum was illegally revoked by Ecuador in its London embassy.

Assange’s initial indictment for conspiracy to intrude into a government computer was portrayed by corporate media as the work of a “hacker” and not a journalist, who doesn’t merit First Amendment protection.

But the superseding indictment under the Espionage Act last Thursday has changed all that.

Rather than criminal activity, the indictment actually describes routine journalistic work, such as encouraging sources to turn over sensitive information and hiding a source’s identity.

Since the Trump administration has crossed the red line criminalizing  what establishment journalists do all the time, establishment journalists have come full-square against the indictment and behind Assange.

Leading liberal outlets, who until Wednesday openly despised  Assange, began on Thursday to make 180 degree turns in their editorials, commentaries and news reports.

An editorial in The New York Times called the indictment “a marked escalation in the effort to prosecute Mr. Assange, one that could have a chilling effect on American journalism as it has been practiced for generations. It is aimed straight at the heart of the First Amendment.”

“The new charges focus on receiving and publishing classified material from a government source. That is something journalists do all the time. … This is what the First Amendment is designed to protect: the ability of publishers to provide the public with the truth.”

The Times praised Assange’s work:

“Mr. Assange shared much of the material at issue with The New York Times and other news organizations. The resulting stories demonstrated why the protections afforded the press have served the American public so well; they shed important light on the American war effort in Iraq, revealing how the United States turned a blind eye to the torture of prisoners by Iraqi forces and how extensively Iran had meddled in the conflict.”

‘Profoundly Disturbing’

Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger wrote:

” I find the Trump administration’s use of the Espionage Act against him profoundly disturbing. … Whatever Assange got up to in 2010-11, it was not espionage. … Imagine the precedent if the Trump administration gets away with this. Israel and India have extensive nuclear weapons programmes – each protected by ferocious domestic official secrets acts. Think of the outcry if the Netanyahu or Modi governments attempted to extradite a British or US journalist to face life in jail for writing true things about their nuclear arsenals. …

Assange is accused of trying to persuade a source to disclose yet more secret information. Most reporters would do the same. Then he is charged with behaviour that, on the face of it, looks like a reporter seeking to help a source protect her identity. If that’s indeed what Assange was doing, good for him.”

The New Yorker‘s Masha Gessen, wrote: “The use of the Espionage Act to prosecute Assange is an attack on the First Amendment. … It stands to reason that an Administration that considers the press an ‘enemy of the people’ would launch this attack. In attacking the media, it is attacking the public.’

Maddow: Puts obsession with Russia aside.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the Democratic Party booster, who probably had more influence than any commentator in drumming up the Russiagate conspiracy and Assange’s alleged role in it, on Thursday launched into an astounding defense of the imprisoned publisher.  On her program she said:

“The Justice Department today, the Trump administration today, just put every journalistic institution in this country on Julian Assange’s side of the ledger. On his side of the fight. Which, I know, is unimaginable. But that is because the government is now trying to assert this brand new right to criminally prosecute people for publishing secret stuff, and newspapers and magazines and investigative journalists and all sorts of different entities publish secret stuff all the time. That is the bread and butter of what we do.”

Nick Miller, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, said:

“On the face of it this indictment covers a lot of practices that are standard to investigative journalism: appealing for information, encouraging a source to provide documents that are not publicly available, reporting classified information you believe is in the public interest and the public has a right to know. …It may be that prosecutors can argue Assange was not acting as a journalist. But they would, by doing so, make the line separating journalism from espionage wafer-thin, and much more dangerous to approach, even in the public interest.”

Politicians Too

The indictment for espionage also caused a number of politicians to back Assange. Two U.S. candidates for president and another senator spoke out in his favor. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted:


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said in a statement: “Trump should not be using this case as a pretext to wage war on the First Amendment and go after the free press who hold the powerful accountable everyday.”

“This is not about Julian Assange,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said in a statement. “This is about the use of the Espionage Act to charge a recipient and publisher of classified information. I am extremely concerned about the precedent this may set and potential dangers to the work of journalists and the First Amendment.”

In Assange’s native Australia, Sen. Rex Patrick said:

“The United States government’s decision to charge Australian citizen and publisher Julian Assange with new espionage offences relating to receiving and publishing classified US government information raises a grave threat to freedom of the press worldwide, and must be viewed so by the Australian government,” he said.

“The Australian government should be active not only in providing consular support to Mr Assange, who is an Australian citizen, but also outspoken in making representations to the British government against allowing Mr Assange to be extradited to the United States on charges that so obviously constitute a grave threat to press freedom.”

Bob Carr, a former Australian foreign minister, said:  “While it appears capital punishment does not apply in this case, the US, by seeking extradition for offences that might attract a 175 years imprisonment, could be testing the tolerance of its allies and partners. I think this changes the game almost as much as if capital punishment were the penalty.”

Carr with former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. (State Dept.)

Carr said Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, “needs to protect herself from the charge that she’s failed in her duty to protect the life of an Australian citizen.

“Therefore I would imagine that Dfat (the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) will provide her with talking points to conversations with her British, Swedish and indeed American counterparts.

“Not to do so would leave the minister exposed to withering criticism that they did not take all appropriate action that might have made a difference, mainly before the British court makes a decision.”

Extradition Made Harder

The Trump administration appears to have gone too far in its Espionage Act indictment, eliciting not only media pushback, but perhaps complicating its extradition case.  The British home secretary may now not want to been seen sending a suspect to a country that has clearly criminalized journalism.


Miller, in the Herald, wrote:

“By bringing espionage into the picture the US have also made their extradition work much, much harder. Assange’s lawyers may try to argue that he is being extradited for his political opinions (which is not allowed), or for conduct that would not be a crime in the UK (ditto). This last is a very interesting question. The UK’s Official Secrets Act may be even harder to stretch to cover Assange’s actions then the US Espionage Act.”

The Intercept reported:

“The uproar could make it easier for Assange’s lawyers in the U.K. — where he is currently serving a 50-week jail term for violating bail — to argue that he is wanted in the United States primarily for embarrassing the Pentagon and State Department, by publishing true information obtained from a whistleblower, making the charges against him political in nature, rather than criminal.”

It is not clear why the U.S. released its superseding indictment when it did. It had until a June 12 deadline to do so. The U.S. government also had the option of a loophole in its extradition treaty with Britain, providing for a waiver to the “doctrine of speciality.”

That would have allowed the U.S. to ask Britain to waive the provision that the UK would have to know all the charges against a suspect before an extradition decision would be made, thereby not permitting the U.S. to add more charges once Assange was on U.S. soil. One possibility is that the U.S. asked Britain for the waiver and it was refused.

Personal Attacks Continue

Rusbridger on Assange: “Mercurial, untrustworthy and dislikable.” (Flickr/Francesco Alesi)

The liberal news outlets who are now finally defending Assange’s activity because the indictment opens themselves to legal jeopardy could not, however, refrain from taking potshots at him.

The Times, for instance, admitted its role in cooperating with WikiLeaks, and thus its potential criminal liability, given the new circumstances.  But the paper tried to wriggle out of it by calling Assange “a source” rather than “a partner.”

If Assange were merely a “source” he would not deserve the protection the Times implies he now merits as a journalist when they compared his activity to “something journalists do all the time.”  Either he is a source or a reporter. If he’s a reporter then the Times is  just using another reporter’s work but treating him as a source. If he’s only a source then he does not merit First Amendment protection.

Maddow said:

“Despite anyone’s feelings about this spectacularly unsympathetic character at the center of this international drama, you are going to see every journalistic institution in this country, every First Amendment supporter in this country, left, right and center, swallow their feelings about this particular human and denounce what the Trump administration is trying to do here. Because it would fundamentally change the United States of America.”

And  Gessen added:

“Assange is a fundamentally unappealing protagonist. He keeps terrible political company. He is, apparently, terrible company himself. In his writing and interviews, he comes across as power-crazed and manipulative. Most important, when he published leaked classified documents, he shared information that exposed people to danger. He is the perfect target precisely because he is unsympathetic. One has to hold one’s nose while defending Assange—and yet one must defend Assange.”

Senator Warren also found it necessary to blast Assange. She said, “Assange is a bad actor who has harmed U.S. national security — and he should be held accountable.”

Unmasking Informants

Rusbridger said: “We fell out, as most people eventually do with Assange. I found him mercurial, untrustworthy and dislikable: he wasn’t keen on me, either.” Significantly, Rusbridger pointed out that, “All the collaborating editors disapproved of him releasing unredacted material from the Manning trove in September 2011.”

First, Assange’s revelation of the names of sources and informants in its publications forms a major part of the superseding indictment.  But the indictment does not spell out any law that Assange violated by doing this. It is illegal in the U.S. to unmask a covert intelligence agent, as happened in the Valerie Plame case, but not to reveal a source or informant.

Second, there is no evidence that anyone was ever harmed by the uncovering of these names.

Third, most importantly as far as Rusbridger is concerned, is that he completely omits his newspapers’ role in the affair. Rusbridger was the Guardian editor when two of his reporters, David Leigh and Luke Harding, in their February 2011 book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, published a password to unpublished and un-redacted WikiLeaks files containing the names of informants in files that only intelligence agencies and governments could decrypt. That led Assange to publish the files with their names in September 2011 so that the sources could seek safety.

The personal attacks on Assange and what kind of person he is has never been relevant. What is relevant is that he’s a journalist who has been persecuted and now indicted for practicing journalism, a fact that mainstream journalists have finally woken up to.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston GlobeSunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

May 242019


2015-03 What is IARC?  IARC 2015 “classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” . . . and “strong” evidence for genotoxicity.

2018-10-08 Recommend: Australian video, The secret tactics Monsanto used to protect Roundup, its star product.   Includes interviews of IARC, CropLife, Monsanto Executive and Regulators. | ABC News (Australia)



Originally aired on Enquête in French on February 21, 2019.
The Monsanto Papers are secret company documents that show disturbing practices used to defend glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, including allegations of ghostwriting of scientific articles.  They show how a Canadian firm recruited scientists to publish certain studies and how a number of them were secretly reviewed by Monsanto prior to publication. The same studies were used as part of Health Canada’s re-approval process of glyphosate. The Monsanto Papers were released in the court case of Dewayne Johnson, a cancer patient who sued Monsanto and won a $78 million settlement in 2018.
Producer: Gil Shochat Journalist: Sylvie Fournier Editing: Bernard Lapointe, Christian Paul, Jean-François Vézina Caméramen: Oussama Farah, Jean-Pierre Gandin, Laurent Racine, Michel Riverin, Luc St-Pierre
May 242019

ABC News  (Australia),  documentary:  The secret tactics Monsanto used to protect Roundup, its star product

I don’t think you can evaluate the arguments surrounding Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate) and cancer,

WITHOUT more than a passing  understanding of

  1.    IARC
  2.    CropLife

This documentary  addresses both, with actual interviews.  Rare.

  •  The question of crossing the line with political contributions,  you’ll see CropLife America and CropLife Australia officials.
  • You might like this bit of background from the horse’s mouth (IARC), before watching the video:

2015-03 What is IARC?  IARC 2015 “classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” . . . and “strong” evidence for genotoxicity.


TIMELINE of the documentary:

August 2018 – The jury award in the first Bayer-Monsanto trial,  plaintiff Dewayne Johnson, was announced.  Part of the documentary was filmed in the U.S.   Johnson’s cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is terminal.  There’s footage of the “lesions” on his body that are symptomatic.

Oct, 2018 –  This documentary from Australia was released.

By May 2019 – we have the results of two more trials against Bayer-Monsanto,  guilty.  “The Monsanto Papers” are documents supplied to the Courts in 3 different trials, through the “discovery” pre-trial process.  Monsanto itself provides the evidence to incriminate itself – – severely.

Through Question and Answer interviews in the documentary, to me

  • There are numerous responses of the Monsanto Executive that amount to self-crucifiction.  The industry has been able to get away with its tactics, but no longer.   Too many people know too much by now.
  • The interviews of regulators and CropLife are the same; they come out badly, too.


But judge for yourself, maybe you disagree?

The secret tactics Monsanto used to protect Roundup, its star product | Four Corners  

Published on Oct 8, 2018

Four Corners investigates the secret tactics used by global chemical giant #Monsanto to protect its billion-dollar business and its star product — the weed killer, #Roundup.