A recent campaign of hate towards women has been occurring at the University of Waterloo. Please follow the link and email the petition to the President of UW.
A recent campaign of hate towards women has been occurring at the University of Waterloo. Please follow the link and email the petition to the President of UW.
The headline says it all. You can read the full story here.
Anyway, I think the idiotic Representative behind this bill deserves to be flooded with e-mails pointing out what an insult to humanity he is.
Here’s what I sent, but feel free to send your own letters to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Rep. Franklin,
I am not a resident of Georgia, or the United States for that matter. However, the HB 1 bill regarding abortions and miscarriages has to be one of the most appalling and abhorrent pieces of legislation I have ever seen coming out of the U.s. in a long time.
You seek to push for the death penalty for women who have abortions and yet you call yourself pro-life? Apparently concern for the living ends at child birth in your sick deranged reality. A state of totalitarianism aiming to crush the rights of women.
I don’t know if you hate women or just an idiot as you want to punish women for the natural event of having a miscarriage.
I hope the good citizens of Georgia display some common sense and vote you out. The women in your state should not stand for such repressive actions.
Doing my small part in the fight for freedom of information.
|09MADRID482||2009-05-19 12:12||2010-12-19 12:12||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Madrid|
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000482 SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR EUR/WE AND EEB/TPP/ABT/BTT USDA FOR OSTA/LIZ JONES, OCRA/JOE KOWALSKI, OFSO/DAVE YOUNG USEU for AGRMINCOUNS DEBRA HENKE USEU ALSO FOR APHIS AGRMINCOUNS PETER FERNANDEZ PARIS FOR AGRMINCOUNS ELIZABETH BERRY BERLIN for AGRCOUNS BOBBY RICHEY E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: EAGR ECON TBIO SP SUBJECT: SPAIN'S BIOTECH CROP UNDER THREAT MADRID 00000482 001.2 OF 002 ¶1. (U) This is an action request. See paragraph 12. SUMMARY ¶2. (SBU) Spain's MON810 corn crop is under threat from an emerging well-coordinated campaign to ban cultivation of genetically engineered seed varieties in Europe, according to industry sources. The campaign has gained strength and speed in recent months with the April 14 German ban on MON810 cultivation - which followed an EU vote supporting maintenance of a ban in Austria and Hungary. Legislation which threatens MON810 cultivation has also been introduced recently in both the Basque and Catalonian Regional Parliaments. ¶3. (SBU) In response to invocation of a safeguard and emergency measure to suspend MON810 cultivation in France, the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) Scientific Opinion of October 29, 2008 found no new scientific evidence of risk related to MON810 plantings. The EFSA report, however, is being questioned. Monsanto maintains that anti-MON810 momentum was gained by a de facto agreement between the Government of France and Greenpeace/Friends of the Earth whereby the GOF would support the anti-GMO movement and environmental activists would turn a blind eye to Sarkozy's nuclear energy initiatives. A senior Spanish agriculture official has expressed concern that Spain is under increasing pressure within the EU. Post requests renewed USG support of Spain's science-based agricultural biotechnology position, as well as support for a non-USG science fellow to interact with Spanish interlocutors. End Summary. BACKGROUND ¶4. (SBU) Spain was the first EU country to grow genetically modified (GM) corn and now cultivates nearly 75 percent of the EU's MON810 corn crop - nearly 200,000 acres. During a May 13 meeting with Monsanto's Director for Biotechnology for Spain and Portugal, Embassy officials were told that Spain is increasingly becoming a target of anti-biotechnology forces within Europe and that Spain's cultivation of MON810 corn was under serious threat. The sentiment echoed by supporters of agricultural biotechnology regarding a ban on MON810 cultivation in Spain is that "If Spain falls, the rest of Europe will follow." ¶5. (SBU) Anti-biotechnology activists in the EU have gained momentum in recent weeks. On April 14, Germany announced a ban on the cultivation of MON810 following similar bans in France, Austria, Hungary, Greece and Luxembourg, despite EU approval of MON810 as safe for commercial use. This followed a March 2 vote in which Spain joined with France and other EU corn producers to allow Austria and Hungary to maintain their provisional bans on the use and sale of MON810 corn. According to Ministry sources, this surprising vote did not represent a change in position by Spain on biotechnology; rather, technical considerations justified upholding the provisional bans pending EU-wide renewal of MON810 corn. Industry contacts, however, assert that Spain's vote was a political gesture to thank French President Sarkozy for helping to arrange President Zapatero's presence at the November 2008 G-20 financial summit in Washington. ¶6. (U) The GOS has traditionally been a strong supporter of biotech corn due to high domestic demand for feed corn within the livestock sector. Spain is the number two pork producer within the EU and the number one corn importer. GM corn plantings in Spain reached nearly 200,000 acres in 2008 - approximately 30 percent of total Spanish feed corn production. Cultivation of MON810 corn is mainly concentrated in Aragon and Catalonia, where the European corn borer, which MON810 protects against, is a serious pest. The feed compound industry and the livestock sector are supportive of GM corn. Within the agriculture sector, only left-wing farmers' unions have negative opinions of GMOs. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ¶7. (SBU) Anti-GMO forces periodically attempt to build support for a prohibition on GMO cultivation in Spain. According to Monsanto's biotechnology director, two left-wing parties have recently discussed introducing such legislation in the Spanish parliament. A Socialist (ruling) party Member offered reassurances that his party would oppose such a move, but advised that the issue bears watching, especially given the government's uncertain majority. ¶8. (U) In addition, there have been worrisome developments in several of Spain's 17 autonomous communities, which, led by MADRID 00000482 002.2 OF 002 Catalonia and the Basque Country, continue to seek more autonomy via a vis the central government. In March 2008, the Canary Islands were declared GM-free. Since fewer than 1,380 acres of corn are grown in the Canaries, this is considered mostly a symbolic gesture. However, on February 5, 2009, an initiative was proposed in the Catalonian Regional Parliament to declare the region GM-free. The initiative has not yet come up for a vote, and its prospects are uncertain. Such an action would be cause for serious concern, since Catalonia is a center of GMO corn cultivation. More recently, on April 21, 2009, the Basque Parliament passed stringent biotech coexistence legislation which could likely force farmers to halt planting of MON810 due to strict compliance issues. The Spanish Association of Biotechnology Industries (ANOVE) will challenge the Basque legislation. ¶9. (U) In February 2008, France notified to the EC an Order suspending cultivation of MON810 and further invoked safeguard and emergency measures to provisionally prohibit the cultivation of MON810 on its territory. In response, the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a Scientific Opinion on October 29, 2008. In its report, the panel assessed the package of documents supporting and justifying the French safeguard clause and the duration of the invoked measure. The panel concluded that, in terms of risk to human and animal health and the environment, the information provided by France presented no new scientific evidence that would invalidate the previous risk assessments of MON810. It further concluded that invoking the safeguard clause and emergency measure was scientifically unjustified. The EU is currently facing the MON810 cultivation renewal process. The renewal is the legal condition for the lifting of the ban under French law. Within the scientific review carried out by EFSA, the Spanish authorities and experts have completed the environmental risk assessment for MON810 corn. According to Monsanto, the EFSA Scientific Opinion report is being questioned. The GOF has sent letters to different Member States urging them to sign up and request an in-depth examination of the application for the renewal of MON810. ¶10. (SBU) Monsanto asserts that anti-MON810 momentum was gained by a de facto agreement between the Government of France and Greenpeace/Friends of the Earth whereby the GOF would support the GMO-free movement if activists turned a blind eye to President Sarkozy's nuclear energy initiatives. In Spain, agricultural factions against agricultural biotechnology include the environmental side of MARM and organic farmers. Increasingly, consumers are also expressing negative attitudes toward genetically modified crops. On April 18th, the newspaper "El Pas" conducted a survey on whether or not GM food should be prohibited. The following results were obtained after a one month period: 85 percent voted "Yes, they can be dangerous" and 15 percent voted "No, they are absolutely safe". ¶11. (SBU) Secretary of State and Deputy Minister Josep Puxeu contacted the Charg d'Affaires on April 22, following the Basque vote on coexistence and the German ban, to express his concern that the Government of Spain is under increasing pressure to ban MON810 cultivation. Puxeu, a long-time supporter of agricultural biotechnology, lamented that it was "the most complicated week of my life." He asked that the USG maintain pressure on Brussels to keep agricultural biotechnology an option for Member States and requested that the USG work together with Spain in this endeavor. Deputy Minister Puxeu is becoming increasingly isolated on biotech issues at the Ministry OF Environment and and Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM) due to the rising influence of environmental officials within MARM as well as the increased influence of France within the Spanish government. While MARM Minister Espinosa has come out publicly in favor of genetic engineering in agriculture, her views on issues will generally reflect those of the Zapatero Administration which has recently shown itself to be fickle when it comes to voting against France's anti-GMO interests. ¶12. (SBU) ACTION REQUESTED: In response to recent urgent requests by MARM State Secretary Josep Puxeu and Monsanto, post requests renewed USG support of Spain's science-based agricultural biotechnology position through high-level USG intervention in support of the EFSA findings. Post also requests USG support for a non-USG science fellow to meet with influential Spanish interlocutors on this issue and assistance with developing an agricultural biotechnology action plan for Spain. Post would also welcome any comments from other posts concerning the anti-GMO campaign. DUNCAN
Doing my small part in the fight for freedom of information.
|08MADRID489||2008-04-30 11:11||2010-12-19 12:12||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Madrid|
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UNCLAS MADRID 000489 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: EAGR EAID ETRD ECON PGOV PREL TBIO SUBJECT: SURVEY: IMPACT OF RISING FOOD/AGRICULTURAL COMMODITY PRICES REF: SECSTATE 39410 ¶1. Summary: Rising food prices are a sensitive political issue in Spain. The opposition conservative Popular Party (PP) criticized the ruling Spanish Socialist Party (socialist PSOE) party in the run-up to the March 9 elections for double digit increases in prices of some basic foods. The conservatives made some headway with this criticism, although not enough to win the election. Spain is a net importer of food and feed for livestock so it has an economic interest in being able to produce and import corn and soy feed from as many sources as possible. This will likely influence Spain to continue to be a relatively liberal member of the EU with respect to agricultural biotechnology. Given Spain's interest in renewable energy, there may also be scope for U.S.-Spanish cooperation in biofuels. End Summary SPANISH AGRICULTURE BACKGROUND ------------------------------ ¶2. Spanish agricultural and fishing production amounted to Euros 27.3 billion in 2007, almost 3 percent of GDP. Spain exported about Euros 25 billion worth of agricultural and fish products in 2007 and imported Euros 24 billion. Roughly 900,000 people work in the sector, about 5 percent of the labor force. Given current prices, Spanish farmers are interested in expanding their marketing of olives, olive oil, wine, fruits and vegetables. Agriculture is important in Spain and farmers are influential, although not as influential as in, say, France. With respect to Spanish international agricultural policy priorities, Spain's wine, cheese, cheese, olive, ham and other producers of high-end specialty products pressure the government to ask for a geographical indications regime in the Doha trade round context. Spain benefits from the EU's common agricultural policy, although not to the same extent as other countries such as France. Nonetheless, Spanish farmers approve of the support and protection they receive as a result of the EU's common agricultural policy. The GOS would likely only support EU agricultural market access concessions if the U.S. agreed to big cuts in farm subsidies and/or the U.S. made concessions with respect to geographical indications. Within the Doha context, Spain also wants continued EU protection for canned tuna imports. (Note: In the Doha round, canned tuna is treated as an industrial product.) ¶3. In 2007, the U.S. exported to Spain about USD 1.5 billion worth of agricultural, fish and forestry products to Spain. Spain exported to the U.S. roughly USD 1.3 billion worth of agricultural products, fish and forestry products to the U.S. The U.S.'s most significant market access issue with Spain is that Spain as an EU member does not import American biotech corn even though Spain is a biotech corn producer. This is because U.S. corn exporters cannot guarantee that American corn shipments do not contain biotech varieties that have not been approved by the EU. There are approved biotech varieties in the EU and Spain, but not all the varieties that have been approved in the U.S. have been approved in Europe. Spain's main market access issue in the U.S. is gaining permission to export specialty ham products. The Spaniards have been successful in meeting U.S. phytosanitary requirements and over the coming years, more Spanish ham will be permitted to be sold in the American market. ANSWERS TO REFTEL QUESTIONS KEYED TO REFTEL PARA. 7 --------------------------- ¶4. DEMAND: Spain is still a big "Mediterranean diet" consumer of fish, fruit, vegetables, olives, olive oil, rice, beans, cheese, bread, wine, and, to a more limited extent, meat. However, there is an increase in consumption of less expensive American-style pre-packaged foods, something that concerns the Ministry of Health because there is a rising obesity rate in Spain. During the last 12 months, consumer prices for bread, spaghetti, onions, chicken, eggs, milk, and olive oil have increased in a range from 12 to 34 percent. Spain is a net exporter of olive oil, olives, wine, and fruits and vegetables. It is a net importer of fish (Spain is the second largest per capita consumer of fish in the world after Japan), meat and wheat. Spain mixes imported high quality North American (hard winter) wheat with local wheat to make flour for bread. The Embassy has not seen significant changes in consumption patterns yet, although in TV interviews consumers threaten to buy less milk and bread. This may reflect the fact that Spain's relatively high GDP per capita allows consumers to go on buying traditional foods and beverages and perhaps cut back on something else. Over time though, price increases should have an impact on consumption patterns, unfortunately perhaps in the direction of accelerated consumption of pre-packaged foods. Per capita consumption of wine is down, although this may also reflect changing attitudes towards alcoholic beverages rather than price rises. In response to dramatically higher nitrogen fertilizer prices, Spanish farmers are cutting back on their use of nitrogen fertilizer. ¶5. SUPPLY: With respect to what crops to prioritize, Spanish farmers respond to price signals and EU policy. In 2007, for instance, Spanish farmers planted as much wheat as they could to take advantage of higher prices and the European Commission's elimination of its land set-aside requirement. Dairy production is also up, although farmers find it difficult to increase production much more because dairy replacement heifers and compound feed are very expensive. Spain's significant production of wheat, barley, and other cereals takes place on dry land dependent on rainfall for crop yields. For these products, the weather more than anything else determines production yields. Corn, fruit and vegetable production takes place on irrigated fields, and access to irrigation water is key to production. Spain is a major promoter of renewable energy sources. The Abengoa consortium is a major biofuels producer, for instance in the U.S. However, in Spain there has not been major crop cultivation for biofuels production because there is no mixing requirement for gasoline. In addition, wheat prices are prohibitively expensive. Abengoa has two biofuels production facilities near Salamanca that have been closed since late 2007 because current tax incentives and raw material prices do not currently make it economically worthwhile to produce biofuels in Spain. ¶6. POLITICAL IMPACT: Spanish consumers definitely notice the rises in prices, and there has been a flurry of press pieces on the subject over the past year. The opposition made some headway in criticizing the government for the price hikes, although not enough to win the March 9 national elections. In Spain, the big dividing line on agriculture is not between urban vs. rural groups or rich versus poor. The important dividing line goes between those autonomous communities (the Spanish equivalent of states) that have enough water and those that do not. This has been a highly contentious political issue for a long time. Recently, the socialist central government reversed policy in that it agreed to divert water from the Ebro River which originates in socialist-ruled Aragon to Catalonia which has a socialist-led coalition government. This angered the opposition party-governed autonomous communities of Valencia and Murcia that would like more water for agricultural purposes. When the socialist party took power in 2004, its general policy was to rely less on water diversion and more on desalination plants. Since then, there has been a major investment in Spain in desalination plants, but not enough to meet demand, and some plants have not yet begun operation, for instance an important plant in Barcelona. Over the coming years therefore, water rights and water sharing will continue to be a controversial political issue in Spain. With respect to agricultural biotechnology, higher prices for feed will likely result in the government continuing to have a relatively liberal policy. Public attitudes have not changed much, although it is worth noting that on April 18, the influential pro-government daily, El Pais, ran a fairly balanced article that provided some arguments for biotechnology in the context of rising prices. On April 29, El Pais ran a similar story. Given the possible future development of biotech varieties capable of resisting drought and Spain's chronic water shortages, Spain is a country worth continuing to target in terms of developing greater acceptance of agricultural biotechnology within the EU. ¶7. ECONOMIC IMPACT: The immediate economic impact is on inflation. In 2007, inflation in Spain was 4.2 percent, almost two percentage points higher than the eurozone average. Inflation is used in determining public pensions and has an impact on wage bargaining as well. The immediate challenge, therefore, for the newly reelected socialist government is to find ways to moderate inflation which will be difficult given the global increases in food prices and the increase in the price of oil and fertilizers. The IMF recommends that Spain liberalize the distribution sector more, but so far the government has not announced plans to do so. Besides, Spain already has several competing supermarket chains. Other than lifting the remaining restrictions on Sunday shopping, it is not clear how much impact additional distribution liberalization would have in terms of dampening price hikes. ¶8. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: The recent price rises in agricultural commodities have not had a discernible impact on the environment. Clearly though, to the extent that rising prices provide incentives for greater agricultural production, there will be increasing competition for water. This issue, which many believe is related to global warming, will over the next twenty to thirty years be the existential issue for Spanish agriculture. In Spain's dry lands, farmers will determine which cereals they produce depending on world prices and rainfall patterns. The same is true with respect to crops grown on irrigated land. With respect to the latter, there appears to be a shift away from corn to higher value fruits and vegetables, but we do not know if this shift will be permanent. The EU's common agricultural policy is also hugely influential. For instance, lower EU support for rice and cotton production has led to lower Spanish production of these crops. However, if world prices for rice remain high, Spanish rice production could go up again. ¶9. GOVERNMENT POLICY RESPONSE: Neither the Agricultural Counselor, nor the Economic Section, are aware of changed policies as a result of global agricultural prices rises. ¶10. IMPACT ON POST PROGRAMS: There has been no impact so far, although the Embassy will continue to advocate for a science-based approach to agricultural biotechnology, and we will explore what possibilities there may be for biofuels cooperation. ¶11. POLICY PROPOSALS: Post will continue to point out the relationship between agricultural biotechnology, higher crop production, less environmental impact and ultimately lower prices. On balance, the Spanish government's decision to merge the Agriculture and Environmental ministries into one "super ministry" called the Ministry of Environment, Rural Development (Agriculture) and Marine Affairs is probably beneficial from the standpoint of promoting greater acceptance for agricultural biotechnology. Embassy will therefore continue to engage the GOS on agricultural biotechnology. Continuing on Ambassador Aguirre's successful renewable energies mission to the U.S. with high-level Spanish officials on February 11-14, there may also be an opportunity to exchange ideas and proposals with respect to biofuels. Llorens
Doing my small part in the fight for freedom of information.
|07PARIS4723||2007-12-14 16:04||2010-12-19 12:12||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Paris|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 004723 SIPDIS USTR FOR SUSAN SCHWAB DEPARTMENT FOR E - REUBEN JEFFERY AND EB - DAN SULLIVAN FROM AMBASSADOR STAPLETON SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2017 TAGS: ECON ETRD EAGR PGOV SENV FR SUBJECT: FRANCE AND THE WTO AG BIOTECH CASE REF: A)PARIS 5364, B)PARIS 4255, C)PARIS 4170, D)PARIS 3970, E)PARIS 3967, F)PARIS 3853, G)PARIS 3429, H)PARIS 3399, I)PARIS 3429 Classified by Ambassador Craig Stapleton; reasons 1.4 (b), (d) and (e). ¶1. (C) Summary: Mission Paris recommends that that the USG reinforce our negotiating position with the EU on agricultural biotechnology by publishing a retaliation list when the extend "Reasonable Time Period" expires. In our view, Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the Commission. In France, the "Grenelle" environment process is being implemented to circumvent science-based decisions in favor of an assessment of the "common interest." Combined with the precautionary principle, this is a precedent with implications far beyond MON-810 BT corn cultivation. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices. In fact, the pro-biotech side in France -- including within the farm union -- have told us retaliation is the only way to begin to begin to turn this issue in France. End Summary. ¶2. (C) This is not just a bilateral concern. France will play a leading role in renewed European consideration of the acceptance of agricultural biotechnology and its approach toward environmental regulation more generally. France expects to lead EU member states on this issue during the Slovene presidency beginning in January and through its own Presidency in the second half of the year. Our contacts have made clear that they will seek to expand French national policy to a EU-wide level and they believe that they are in the vanguard of European public opinion in turning back GMO's. They have noted that the member states have been unwilling to support the Commission on sanctioning Austria's illegal national ban. The GOF sees the ten year review of the Commission's authorization of MON 810 as a key opportunity and a review of the EFSA process to take into account societal preferences as another (reftels). ¶3. (C) One of the key outcomes of the "Grenelle" was the decision to suspend MON 810 cultivation in France. Just as damaging is the GOF's apparent recommitment to the "precautionary principle." Sarkozy publicly rejected a recommendation of the Attali Commission (to review France's competitiveness) to move away from this principle, which was added to the French constitution under Chirac. ¶4. (C) France's new "High Authority" on agricultural biotech is designed to roll back established science-based decision making. The recently formed authority is divided into two colleges, a scientific college and a second group including civil society and social scientists to assess the "common interest" of France. The authority's first task is to review MON 810. In the meantime, however, the draft biotech law submitted to the National Assembly and the Senate for urgent consideration, could make any biotech planting impossible in practical terms. The law would make farmers and seed companies legally liable for pollen drift and sets the stage for inordinately large cropping distances. The publication of a registry identifying cultivation of GMOs at the parcel level may be the most significant measure given the propensity for activists to destroy GMO crops in the field. ¶5. (C) Both the GOF and the Commission have suggested that their respective actions should not alarm us since they are only cultivation rather than import bans. We see the cultivation ban as a first step, at least by anti-GMO advocates, who will move next to ban or further restrict imports. (The environment minister's top aide told us that people have a right not to buy meat raised on biotech feed, even though she acknowledged there was no possible scientific basis for a feed based distinction.) Further, we should not be prepared to cede on cultivation because of our considerable planting seed business in Europe and because farmers, once they have had experience with biotech, become its staunchest supporters. ¶6. Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. ¶7. (C) President Sarkozy noted in his address in Washington to the Joint Session of Congress that France and the United States are "allies but not aligned." Our cooperation with France on a range of issues should continue alongside our engagement with France and the EU on ag biotech (and the next generation of environmental related trade concerns.) We can manage both at the same time and should not let one set of priorities detract from the other. PARIS 00004723 002 OF 002 Stapleton