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U.S. dropped 83 million liters of Agent Orange on Vietnam

by Fabiola Perez
Pravda.ru
January 6, 2012

Agent Orange: Cursed legacy of the U.S. in Vietnam afflicts the 3rd generation of victims…a cowardly act of devastation in the account of U.S. history. There will be no compensation?

Devastated by a confrontation that lasted nearly 20 years, Vietnam has seen its population in the marks of a most remarkable of wars in the last century. The conflict, fought by the United States, left 2,300,000 missing and invalid. The 83 million liters of Agent Orange – highly toxic herbicides – dumped by Washington over thousands of hectares of Southeast Asia, is already in the third generation of those in the country affected.

With the objective to debate the consequences of Agent Orange left over for decades in the population of Vietnam, between the next 7th to the 10th of August, the 2nd International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange will take place, and Brasil will be represented by the Brazilian Center of Solidarity to the Peoples, Struggle for Peace (Cebrapaz) and the World Peace Council (WPC).

According to the President of Cebrapaz and WPC, Socorro Gomes, movements around the world will gather to demand that the UN declare itself in favor of compensation for the victims. “We want compensation for damage caused. Those responsible must be identified and punished for the crime committed during the war and is still being perpetuated to this day,” she affirms.

According to estimates, Washington launched the chemical on more than 25,000 kilometers of Southeast Asia. Known as Agent Orange, the liquid contained great quantities of dioxin, a carcinogen that caused disease and disability in both soldiers and civilians. Currently, more than two million Vietnamese suffer the effects of this contamination in their body.

Socorro recalls that “Entire families were affected. It was a criminal action, a genocide against the Vietnamese people. There was a genetic mutation that caused various types of cancer, skin diseases, lung cancer and mental disabilities, among other anomalies,” she recalls. “Even today thousands of people continue to suffer these consequences. Children and grandchildren of the victims were affected by the changes,” she remembers.

Without responsibility – No liability

Movements and Vietnamese associations bring charges in the United States for a redress and compensation for the damages of the war. The White House, however, denies liability in the case and assigns the harm to the product manufacturers. In 2004, victims’ associations in Vietnam and the United States filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York against 36 companies that supplied the herbicide. The petition was denied in the first instance, by Judge Jack Weinstein.

For the president of Cebrapaz, “we did not win in the American court because it would cause a precedent for cases in other countries where the product was also released” – with the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Humanity cannot forget it. This was one of the crimes for which the United States has never been tried, as well as the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And doctors consider the current compensation of $18 offered by the United States absolutely insufficient to maintain the victims,” she emphasizes.

Many victims’ associations survive, according to Socorro, thanks to state support. “The families have nowhere to turn, therefore, the associations maintain schools, hospitals and shelters for children,” she says. “The state is seeking to rebuild the country and the big challenge is to achieve social and economic development, reducing poverty in the countryside,” she says.

Besides the debate about the consequences of the chemical still present in the life of the population, Socorro points out that Cebrapaz will have to use the Conference to discuss the elimination of chemical weapons use in conflicts.

Minefield today

On the last day of August, three people died in Vietnam due to the explosion of a bomb from the time of the war with the United States in the center of the country. The incident occurred on Saturday, in Binh Chau province of Quang Ngai, after three peasants found a 105 millimeter artillery shell, said the local chief of police, Tieu Viet Thanh.

The bomb exploded when the three men, between 51 and 57 years of age, tried to dismantle the bomb with a saw to sell the scrap metal. Two of them died in the act, and the third soon after he was taken to the hospital, police said.

Since the war ended in 1975, because of the abandoned bombs, about 40,000 Vietnamese were killed, a third part of them seeking to defuse bombs and sell the metal. Nearly15 million tons of bombs were dropped during the war, of which 10% failed to detonate, according to the organization, Renew, dedicated to the deactivation of explosives.

Translated to English by Lisa Karpova

 

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Produtos Químicos Altamente Tóxicos em Roupas de Grife

NaturalNews.com
02 de setembro de 2011

Em Português Luis R. Miranda

No início desta semana Greenpeace disse em seu relatório “Dirty Laundry 2” que traços de substâncias químicas tóxicas têm sido detectadas em produtos feitos por 14 fabricantes de vestuário para grandes marcas.

Estes produtos químicos, chamados de nonilfenol (NPE) são comumente usados ​​como detergentes em indústrias de produção de têxteis naturais e sintéticas. NPE forma nonilfenol, em uma perigosa toxina que causa distúrbios hormonais persistentes. Esta toxina tem sido demonstrado que imita os hormônios femininos, alterando o desenvolvimento sexual e afetando o sistema reprodutivo.

Greenpeace diz que comprou 78 amostras de roupas de grife diferentes (a maioria delas fabricadas na China, Vietnã, Malásia e Filipinas) de 18 países em todo o mundo e submetiu-las a análise científica cuidadosa. NEP foi detectado em dois terços das amostras, incluindo marcas como Calvin Klein, Adidas, Converse, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hockey Bauer, Cortefiel, Uniqlo, Gap H & M, Lacoste, Nike, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (PVH Corp) e Puma. Durante o ano passado, Greenpeace descobriu que todas essas marcas estão ligadas a dois fabricantes específicos.

A questão de produtos químicos tóxicos na roupa não é apenas um problema para os países em desenvolvimento, onde os têxteis são feitas. Já que os níveis residuais de NPEs são liberados quando as roupas são lavadas, esses produtos químicos estão agora lentamente chegando aos países onde o uso é proibido.

O perigo de NPE

Certos componentes do NPE são relacionados com a “feminização” geral de peixes machos em algumas partes da Europa e na interrupção dos processos hormonais em mamíferos, de acordo com a campanha do grupo WWF. Mesmo em níveis baixos, esta toxina é uma grande ameaça ao meio ambiente e a saúde humana. Não é por acaso que o uso de NPEs é completamente restrito na Europa.

Nossa pele é nosso maior órgão e o que nós pomos em nossos corpos literalmente é bebido – incluindo produtos químicos que permanecem na roupa. Desta forma, expor a nossa pele a esses produtos químicos tóxicos através de roupas e produtos que são colocados sobre a pele pode agravar as consequências de uma maneira significativa.

NPE pode certamente contribuir para o aumento da incidência de problemas de saúde ligados a alterações hormonais.

Todas as preocupações com sobrecarga tóxica devem ser consideradas no contexto de uma mudança biológica monumental. Apenas 150 anos atrás, as meninas tinham sua primeira menstruação aos 15 ou 16 anos e as mulheres atingiam a menopausa entre 30 e 40. No entanto, nos tempos modernos, muitas vezes as garotas começam a puberdade aos 9 anos e menopausa geralmente não ocorre até cerca de 50.

Não só temos poluído nossos corpos de maneiras nunca antes vistas, mas o nosso meio ambiente também esta se tornando cada vez mais tóxico de formas que muitas vezes não somos conscientes. Isso é evidente pelo fato de que o período em que os corpos das mulheres passam por uma série de importantes mudanças hormonais foi estendido por um período de tempo muito maior, aumentando não só a sua vida reprodutiva, mas também as possibilidades de câncer de mama. Exposição a produtos químicos tóxicos por meio do uso de produtos domésticos, nossos alimentos, cosméticos, produtos químicos na roupa, etc, fazem parte desta ameaça.

A verdade alarmante sobre as fábricas de roupa

No passado, a Greenpeace ficou preocupada com a quantidade de água utilizada para fazer a maioria das nossas roupas. Em média, a fibra de uma camisa de algodão requer 713 galões de água, e métodos tradicionais para pintar os tecidos utilizados usam entre 7 e 75 litros de água por quilograma de tecido. Tudo isto acrescenta-se a bilhões de galões de água por ano que passam pelas fábricas têxteis de tingimento de roupas.

Agora Greenpeace tem provado que a água que sai das plantas contaminadas com metais pesados ​​e substâncias químicas tóxicas que causam graves problemas de saúde em animais e humanos. Recentemente “Dirty Laundry”, tem acusado abertamente os fabricantes de têxteis que fabricam roupas para grifes como a Adidas, de poluir dos grandes rios da China.

As práticas de duas importantes fábricas têxteis na China foram cuidadosamente examinadas. Para coletar informações ativistas do Greenpeace vestiram-se com roupas protetoras e coletaram amostras de água fora das fábricas que foram analisadas com cuidado. Os resultados mostraram claramente que as toxinas estão sendo despejadas nos rios da China todos os dias.

Segundo o Greenpeace, os tóxicos saindo dessas fábricas incluem metais pesados ​​e “produtos químicos perigosos que causam distúrbios hormonais.” Alquilfenóis, incluindo o nonilfenol foram encontrados em amostras de esgoto de duas plantas examinadas, e compostos perfluorados (PFCs) estavam presentes nas águas residuais de um dos complexos (Complexo Têxtil Youngor).

Oito amostras de águas residuais das duas fábricas no Yangtze e do Delta do Rio das Pérolas, identificado como fornecedores das marcas listadas acima, continham “um coquetel de produtos químicos perigosos”, disse no mês passado Greenpeace no seu relatório “Dirty Laundry”.

Empresas Respondem – ou não?

A maioria das marcas internacionais, cuja roupa é contaminado com estas toxinas negaram usar os serviços de qualquer uma das duas fábricas, dizendo que eles só usam os serviços de “costura” nestes lugares. No entanto, isso não muda o fato de que as práticas destas plantas são típicas do que é encontrado em toda a China – onde a maioria das nossas roupas são feitas.

Quando o relatório de Greenpeace foi lançado, ativistas do Greenpeace vestidos como árbitros causaram um escândalo na frente das lojas Adidas com uma bandeira de Hong Kong e exigiram que a loja removesse os produtos químicos perigosos em seus produtos. Ativistas também pediram aos clientes da loja que  reconsiderassem sua decisão de comprar a roupa contaminada.

Depois de circular a loja, os ativistas distribuíram panfletos aos clientes com informações que alertavam sobre como a marca devia “fair play”.

Desde então, Nike e Puma tem sido as únicas marcas que prometeram eliminar o uso de produtos químicos perigosos em seus produtos – mas apenas para o ano 2020!

Qualquer pessoa pensaria que o segundo fornecedor na indústria de artigos esportivos, Adidas, consideraria tirar os produtos tóxicos do seu processo de fornecimento global. No entanto, Adidas tem ignorado repetidos pedidos, disse um porta-voz do Greenpeace. A empresa tinha admitido o uso do Grupo Youngor – um dos fornecedores de roupas – para cortar e costurar tecidos. Adidas pediu para Youngor investigar as acusações do Greenpeace, acrescentando que a empresa tem uma política global de evitar substâncias e produtos químicos perigosos.

Muitas das empresas acusadas tem melhorado os esforços de sua sustentabilidade e reduziram o impacto ambiental de seus produtos. No entanto, seus planos não incluem metas específicas para a eliminação de corantes tóxicos.

Greenpeace apela às empresas “Desintoxiquem Agora.”

Greenpeace lançou o programa “Detox Now!” Para colocar pressão sobre Nike, Adidas e outras empresas famosas de roupas de grife para eliminar o uso e liberação de produtos químicos perigosos no ciclo de produção de seus produtos.

Pessoas em todo o mundo estão respondendo de forma rápida e com entusiasmo. Milhares de pessoas já assinaram uma petição em internet e 600 pessoas em dez países diferentes protestaram na frente de lojas da Nike e Adidas e fizeram um strip-tease no dia 23 de julho deste ano.

A pressão da opinião pública está começando a ter algum efeito, mas não o suficiente. Puma foi a primeira empresa a assumir a responsabilidade pelas toxinas liberadas na fabricação de seu vestuário e calçados. No entanto, a empresa disse que a eliminação destas toxinas pode levar até nove anos. Em um comunicado publicado em seu website, Puma diz:

“… Sportlifestyle empresa PUMA reconhece a necessidade urgente de reduzir e eliminar as emissões industriais de todos os produtos químicos perigosos. De acordo com a sua abordagem baseada nos princípios da prevenção e da precaução, a PUMA tem o compromisso de eliminar as descargas de todos os produtos químicos perigosos e todos os processos de produção que estão associados com a fabricação e uso de produtos PUMA para 2020. “

Nem uma palavra se ouviu da Adidas e outras marcas sobre o pedido de Greenpeace para remover essas toxinas perigosas de suas linhas de fornecimento.

Estas toxinas prejudicam desnecessariamente nossas vidas

O relatório de Greenpeace é um passo importante para educar as pessoas sobre o quão perigosa é a indústria têxtil. Também é uma boa maneira de colocar a pressão necessária sobre as grandes marcas que dizem querer cuidar do meio ambiente para mover a indústria para um futuro sem tóxicos. Você pode assinar a petição agora! aqui.

Têxteis sintéticos não precisam de água para absorver a tinta corretamente. As altas temperaturas que estes tecidos necessitam para as fibras adquirem as cores pode ser alcançado sem o uso de água. Isto significa que as marcas de roupas famosas têm opções e poderia eliminar as toxinas usadas para tingir os sapatos, camisas e outros produtos.

Productos químicos altamente tóxicos en ropa de marca

NaturalNews.com
2 de septiembre 2011

En Español Luis R. Miranda

A principios de esta semana Greenpeace anunció en la presentación de su informe “Dirty Laundry 2” que rastros de productos químicos tóxicos se han detectado en los productos elaborados por 14 fabricantes de ropa de grandes marcas.

Estos químicos, llamados nonilfenoles (NPE), son comúnmente utilizados como detergentes en industrias como la producción de textiles naturales y sintéticos. NPE se descomponen para formar nonilfenol, una toxina peligrosa que causan trastornos hormonales persistentes. Esta toxina se ha demostrado que imita las hormonas femeninas, alterando el desarrollo sexual y afecta el sistema reproductivo.

Greenpeace dijo que compró 78 muestras de diferentes prendas de vestir de marca (la mayoría de ellos fabricados en China, Vietnam, Malasia y Filipinas) de 18 países de todo el mundo y los sometieron a un análisis científico cuidadoso. NPE fue detectado en dos terceras partes de las muestras, incluyendo marcas conocidas como Calvin Klein, Adidas, Converse, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hockey Bauer, Cortefiel, Uniqlo, Gap, H & M, Lacoste, Nike, Phillips- Van Heusen Corporation (PVH Corp) y Puma. Durante el transcurso del año pasado, Greenpeace ha encontrado que todas estas marcas están ligadas a dos fabricantes específicos.

La cuestión de los productos químicos tóxicos en la ropa no es sólo un problema para los países en desarrollo, donde los textiles son hechos. Dado que los niveles residuales de los NPE se liberan cuando la ropa se lava, estos productos químicos están ahora llegando poco a poco a a los países donde está prohibido su uso.

El peligro de la NPE

Ciertos componentes de los NPE han estado involucrados en la generalizada “feminización” de peces machos en algunas partes de Europa y también en la interrupción de los procesos hormonales en algunos mamíferos, de acuerdo con la campaña del grupo WWF. Incluso en niveles bajos, esta toxina representa una gran amenaza para el medio ambiente y la salud humana. No es casualidad que el uso de los NPE está totalmente restringido en Europa.

Nuestra piel es nuestro órgano más grande y lo que ponemos en nuestros cuerpos literalmente es bebido en todo lo que consumimos – incluyendo los productos químicos que permanecen en la ropa. De esta manera exponemos nuestra piel a estos químicos tóxicos a través de la ropa y productos que se ponen en la piel pueden agravar las consecuencias de una manera importante.

NPE sin duda puede contribuir a la incidencia cada vez mayor de problemas de salud vinculados a las alteraciones hormonales.

Todas las preocupaciones sobre la sobrecarga de tóxicos deben ser consideradas en el contexto de un cambio biológico monumental. Sólo hace 150 años, las niñas tenían su primer período cuando cumplían 15 o 16 años y las mujeres llegaban a la menopausia entre los 30 y 40 años. Sin embargo, en los tiempos modernos las niñas a menudo comienzan la pubertad a los 9 años y la menopausia generalmente no ocurre hasta alrededor de 50.

No sólo hemos contaminado nuestros cuerpos en formas que nunca antes se vieron, sino que nuestro entorno también se están convirtiendo cada vez más en un lugar tóxico en formas que a menudo no estamos conscientes. Esto es evidente al observar el hecho de que el período en que los cuerpos de las mujeres pasan por una serie de importantes cambios hormonales se ha extendido durante un período mucho más largo de tiempo, aumentando no sólo su vida fértil, sino también las posibilidades de contraer cáncer de mama. La exposición a productos químicos tóxicos a través del uso de productos para el hogar, nuestros alimentos, productos de belleza, químicos en la ropa, etc, son parte de esta amenaza.

La verdad alarmante sobre las fábricas de ropa

En el pasado, Greenpeace empezó a preocuparse por la cantidad de agua que se utiliza para hacer la mayoría de nuestra ropa. En promedio, la fibra para una camiseta de algodón requiere de 713 galones de agua, y métodos tradicionales para pintar los tejidos utilizan de siete a 75 galones de agua por kilogramo de tejido. Todo esto se suma a los miles de millones de galones de agua que cada año pasan a través de las fábricas textiles para el teñido de las piezas de ropa.

Ahora Greenpeace ha llegado a demostrar que el agua sale de las fábricas contaminadas con metales pesados ​​y sustancias químicas tóxicas que causan serios problemas de salud en animales y personas. Recientemente “Dirty Laundry”, ha acusado abiertamente a los fabricantes de marcas textiles conocidas como Adidas, de la contaminación de los ríos principales de China.

Las prácticas de dos de las principales fábricas textiles de China se examinaron cuidadosamente. Para recopilar la información activistas de Greenpeace llevaban trajes de protección y recogieron muestras de agua del exterior de las fábricas que se analizaron con cuidado. Los resultados mostraron claramente que las toxinas se están derramando en los ríos de China diariamente.

Según Greenpeace, la descarga de estas fábricas incluyen metales pesados ​​y “productos químicos peligrosos que provocan trastornos hormonales que se encontraron en estas instalaciones”. Alquilfenoles incluyendo nonilfenoles se encontraron en las muestras de las aguas residuales de las dos fábricas examinadas, y los productos químicos perfluorados (PFC ) estuvieron presentes en las aguas residuales de uno de los complejos (el Complejo Textil Youngor).

Ocho muestras de aguas residuales de dos fábricas en el Yangtze y el delta del río Perla, identificados como proveedores de las marcas anteriormente citadas, contenían “un cóctel de sustancias químicas peligrosas”: Greenpeace dijo el mes pasado en su informe “Dirty Laundry”.

Empresas de confección responde – o ¿no?

La mayoría de las marcas internacionales cuya ropa está contaminada con estas toxinas han negado el uso de los servicios de cualquiera de las dos fábricas, diciendo que sólo usan servicios de “corte y confección” en estos lugares. Sin embargo, eso no cambia el hecho de que las prácticas de estas dos fábricas son típicas de lo que se encuentra en toda China – donde la mayoría de nuestra ropa está hecha.

Cuando el informe de Greenpeace fue publicado, activistas de Greenpeace vestidos como árbitros causaron un escándalo al rodear una de las tiendas Adidas con una bandera de Hong Kong y exigieron que la tienda eliminara  las sustancias químicas peligrosas en sus productos. Los activistas también instaron enérgicamente a los clientes de esa tienda a “reconsiderar” su decisión de comprar la ropa contaminada.

Después de rodear la tienda, los activistas repartieron volantes a los clientes y entregaron las tarjetas con información que advertía sobre como la marca debía “jugar limpio”.

Desde entonces, Nike y Puma han sido las únicas marcas que prometieron eliminar el uso de sustancias químicas peligrosas en sus productos -, pero sólo para el año 2020!

Se podría suponer que el segundo proveedor en la industria de artículos deportivos, Adidas tendría la obligación de plantearse la desintoxicación de su cadena de suministro global.

Sin embargo, Adidas ha ignorado las reiteradas solicitudes, según un portavoz de Greenpeace. La empresa había admitido que utiliza el Grupo Youngor – uno de los proveedores de ropa acusados – para cortar y coser prendas de vestir y no para teñir los tejidos. Adidas ya ha solicitado a Youngor investigar las denuncias de Greenpeace y agregó que la compañía tiene una política integral sobre cómo evitar las sustancias y productos químicos peligrosos.

Muchas de las empresas de ropa de marca acusadas ​​habrían estado trabajando en mejorar sus esfuerzos de sostenibilidad y reducir el impacto medioambiental de sus productos. Sin embargo, sus planes, en ningún momento incluyen objetivos concretos para eliminar colorantes tóxicos.

Greenpeace insta a las empresas: “Desintoxiquen Ahora.”

Greenpeace ha lanzado la campaña “desintoxicación ahora!” para presionar a Nike, Adidas y otras empresas de ropa famosa para eliminar el uso y liberación de sustancias químicas peligrosas al ciclo de producción de sus productos.

Personas en todo el mundo están respondiendo con rapidez y entusiasmo. Miles de personas han firmado una petición en línea, y 600 personas en diez países diferentes se presentaron en las afueras de tiendas de Nike y Adidas e hicieron un striptease el 23 de julio de este año.

La presión de la opinión pública está empezando a tener algún efecto, pero no lo suficiente. Puma fue la primera de las empresas en asumir la responsabilidad de las toxinas liberadas en la fabricación de sus prendas de vestir y calzado deportivo. Sin embargo, la compañía ha declarado que la eliminación de estas toxinas puede tardar hasta 9 años. En un comunicado publicado en su página web, Puma dice:

“… Sportlifestyle empresa PUMA reconoce la urgente necesidad de reducir y eliminar las emisiones industriales de todos los productos químicos peligrosos. De acuerdo con su enfoque basado en los principios de prevención y de precaución, PUMA se ha comprometido a eliminar las descargas de todos los productos químicos peligrosos y todos los procedimientos de producción que están asociados con la fabricación y el uso de los productos PUMA para el año 2020. “

Ni una palabra se ha escuchado de parte de Adidas o de otras marcas sobre si accederán a la petición de Greenpeace y eliminarán estas toxinas peligrosas de sus líneas de suministro.

Estas toxinas dañan innecesariamente nuestras vidas

El informe de Greenpeace es un paso importante para educar a la gente acerca de cuán peligrosa es la industria textil. También es un buen método de poner la presión necesaria a las grandes marcas que dicen querer cuidar el medio ambiente para mover la industria a un futuro no tóxico. Usted puede firmar la petición de desintoxicación ahora! aquí:

Textiles sintéticos no necesitan agua para absorber tintes correctamente. Las altas temperaturas que estos tejidos necesitan para conseguir que las fibras adquieran los colores se puede lograr sin el uso de agua en absoluto. Esto significa que estas marcas de ropa famosas tienen opciones y podrían eliminar las toxinas utilizadas para teñir los zapatos, camisas y otros productos.

Highly Toxic Chemicals Found on Brand Name Clothing

by Christina Luisa
NaturalNews.com
August 26, 2011

Earlier this week Greenpeace announced at the launch of its report “Dirty Laundry 2” that traces of toxic chemicals have been detected in products made by 14 big brand top clothing manufacturers.

These chemicals, called nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), are commonly used as detergents in industries including the production of natural and synthetic textiles. NPEs break down to form nonylphenol, a dangerous toxin that has persistent and hormone-disrupting properties. This toxin has been proven to mimic female hormones, alter sexual development and affect reproductive systems.

Greenpeace said it purchased 78 different branded clothing samples (most of them made in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines) from 18 countries around the world and subjected them to careful scientific analysis. NPEs were detected in two-thirds of the samples the group tested, including popular brands such as Calvin Klein, Adidas, Converse, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Bauer Hockey, Cortefiel, Uniqlo, Gap, H&M, Lacoste, Nike, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (PVH Corp) and Puma. During the course of the past year, Greenpeace has found that all of these commonly purchased brands are linked to two specific manufacturers.

The issue of toxic chemicals in clothing is not only a problem for the developing countries where textiles are made. Since residual levels of NPEs are released when clothes are washed, these chemicals are now inching their way into countries where their use is banned or avoided.

The danger of NPEs

Certain components of NPEs have been involved in the widespread “feminization” of male fish in parts of Europe and also in the disruption of hormone processes in some mammals, according to the campaign group WWF. Even at low levels, this toxin represents a big threat to the environment and to human health. It is no coincidence that use of NPEs is completely restricted in Europe.

Our skin is our largest organ and what we put on it our bodies literally drink in. Everything we consume – including the chemicals that linger on and in our clothing — either gets assimilated or eliminated. Chemical toxins we expose our skin to through our clothing and skincare/body products can tax our bodies in a major way.

NPEs can certainly contribute to the increasing incidence of health problems linked to hormonal disturbances.

All of our modern-day toxic overload concerns should be considered against the backdrop of a monumental biological shift. Only 150 years ago, girls got their first period at around age 15 or 16 and went through menopause in their late 30s and 40s. However, in modern times girls often begin puberty as early as 9 and menopause generally does not occur until around 50.

Not only have we increasingly begun pushing and trifling with our bodies in ways we never did before, but our environments are also becoming increasingly toxic in ways we are often not fully aware of. This is evident when noting the fact that the period in which women’s bodies go through a series of significant hormonal shifts has extended over a much longer period of time, increasing not only their fertile years, but also their chances of getting breast cancer. Toxic chemical exposure through household products, our modern food supply, beauty/care products and clothing certainly all play into this.

The alarming truth about clothing factories

In the past, Greenpeace became concerned by the amount of water used to make the majority of our clothing. On average, fiber for one cotton t-shirt requires 713 gallons of water to make, and traditional wet-dye methods for clothing use from seven to 75 gallons of water per pound of fabric. All this adds up to trillions of gallons of water each year passing through textile factories merely for dyeing alone.

Now Greenpeace has gone on to prove that the water leaves the factories polluted with heavy metals and toxic chemicals that cause serious health problems to animals and people. Recently “Dirty Laundry” has outright accused the manufacturers of well-known textile brands such as Adidas of polluting major rivers in China with chemical waste.

The practices of two of China’s major textile dye factories were closely examined within the details the company released of its year-long investigation. To gather the information Greenpeace campaigners wore protective suits and collected water samples from outside the factories being carefully analyzed. The results clearly showed that toxins are spilling into China’s rivers on a daily basis.

According to Greenpeace, the discharge from these factories includes heavy metals and “hazardous and persistent chemicals with hormone-disrupting properties were found being discharged from these facilities.” Alkylphenols including nonylphenols were found in wastewater samples from both factories examined, and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) were present in the wastewater from one of the complexes (the Youngor Textile Complex).

Eight samples of wastewater from two factories in the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas, identified as suppliers for the brands, contained “a cocktail of hazardous chemicals”: Greenpeace said in last month’s “Dirty Laundry” report.

Clothing companies respond — or do they?

Most of the international brands found to be tainted with these toxins have denied using the dye services at either of the two guilty factories, saying that they are only “cut and sew” customers for these locations. However, that does not change the fact that the practices of these two factories are typical of what you’ll find all over China – where most of our clothing is made — and anywhere else wet-dyeing is used in the production of clothes.

When the Greenpeace report was released, Greenpeace activists dressed as referees caused a ruckus when they surrounded one of Adidas’ busiest flagship stores in Hong Kong and demanded that the store eliminate hazardous chemicals in their products. The activists also forcefully urged potential customers to “rethink” their decision to purchase the contaminated clothing.

After storming the store, the activists handed out campaign leaflets to customers and gave store staff yellow warning cards that cautioned the brand line of clothing to “play clean”.

Since then Nike and Puma have been the only brands to promise to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals in their products — but only by year 2020!

One would assume that as the second biggest supplier in the sportswear industry, Adidas has a clearly posed obligation to detoxify its global supply chain.

However, Adidas has ignored repeated requests for comment, according to a Greenpeace spokeswoman. The company previously admitted it uses the Youngor Group — one of the accused clothing suppliers — for garment cutting and sewing only and not to source fabrics. Adidas has now asked Youngor to investigate Greenpeace’s claims and added that the company has a comprehensive policy on avoiding dangerous substances and chemicals.

Many of the name-brand clothing companies accused have reportedly been working on improving their sustainability efforts and reducing the environmental footprint of their products. However, their plans at no point included clear-cut goals to eliminate toxic dyes.

Greenpeace urges companies: “Detox Now!”

Greenpeace has now launched the Detox Now! campaign to pressure Nike, Adidas and other big clothing companies to publicly agree to eliminate the release of hazardous chemicals from the entire lifecycle of their products.

People around the world are responding rapidly and enthusiastically. Thousands have signed an online petition, and 600 people in ten different countries showed up outside Nike and Adidas stores and did a striptease on July 23rd of this year.

The pressure from the public is beginning to take some effect, but not nearly enough. Puma was the first of the companies last week to take responsibility for the toxins released in the making of their athletic apparel and shoes. However, the company has stated that elimination of these toxins will take up to 9 years. In a statement posted to their website, Puma says:

“…Sportlifestyle company PUMA recognizes the urgent need for reducing and eliminating industrial releases of all hazardous chemicals. According to its approach based on prevention and precautionary principles, PUMA is committed to eliminate the discharges of all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures that are associated with the making and using of PUMA products by 2020.”

No word has come yet from Adidas or other brands on if they will agree to Greenpeace’s request and eliminate these dangerous toxins from their supply lines.

These toxins are unnecessary harm to our lives

The Greenpeace report is an important step toward educating people about just how hazardous the textile industry is. It’s also a good method of putting necessary pressure on big name brands who claim to want to be eco-friendly (and have the resources available) to move the apparel industry into a non-toxic future. You can sign the Detox Now! petition here: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/toxics/water/detox/Tell-Nike-and-Adidas-to-Detox/

Synthetic textiles don’t need water in order to absorb dyes properly. The high temperatures these textiles require to get the fibers to take on colors can be achieved without using water at all. This means that these popular apparel brands DO have choices in the matter and could easily eliminate the toxins used to dye their shoes, shirts, and other products.

Disclosure and Deceit: Secrecy as the Manipulation of History, not its Concealment

by Dr. T. P. Wilkinson
Global Research
May 21, 2011

The declassification of official secrets is often seen as either a challenge or a prerequisite for obtaining accurate data on the history of political and economic events. Yet at the same time high government intelligence officials have said that their policy is one of ‘plausible deniability’. Official US government policy for example is never to acknowledge or deny the presence of nuclear weapons anywhere its forces are deployed, especially its naval forces. The British have their ‘Official Secrets’ Act. When the Wikileaks site was launched in 2007 and attained notoriety for publication of infamous actions by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, this platform was heralded and condemned for its disclosures and exposures.

Julian Assange is quoted as saying that when he receives documents classified under the UK Official Secrets Act he responds in accordance with the letter of the law – since it is forbidden to withhold or destroy, his only option is to publish. The question remains for historians, investigators, and educated citizens: what is the real value of disclosures or declassification? Given the practice of plausible deniability, does disclosure or declassification constitute proof, and if so by what criteria? Both facts and non-facts can be concealed or disclosed.

Information is not self-defining Ultimately there remain two questions: does the secret document (now public) really constitute the ‘secret’? What is the ‘secret’ for which we use the document to actually refer? Is secrecy the difference between the known and unknown, or the known and untold?

Some benefit can be found by borrowing theological concepts. We can distinguish between a mystery revealed and a supernatural truth which, by its very nature, lies above the finite intelligence. But a secret is something unknowable either by accident or on account of accessibility. I believe that the popularised form of disclosure embodied in Wikileaks should force us to distinguish between those beliefs we have about the nature of official action and the conduct of people working within those institutions and the data produced. Wikileaks is clearly a platform for publishing data but much of the response to these documents is more based on mystery than on secrecy. That is to say that the disclosures are treated as revelation in the religious sense – and not as discovery in the sense of scientia – knowledge. Why is this so? Wikileaks is described as a continuation of the ethical and social responsibility of journalism as an instrument to educate and inform the public – based on the principle that an informed public is essential to a democracy and self-governance. By collecting, collating and disclosing documents ‘leaked’ to it, Wikileaks also attacks what Assange calls the invisible government, the people and institutions who rule by concealing their activities from the people – and brings to light their wrongdoing.

There are two traditions involved here that partially overlap. In the US the prime examples are the ‘muckraking journalism’ originating in the so-called Progressive Era, spanning from 1890s to 1920s, and more recently the publication of the Pentagon Papers through Daniel Ellsberg. While liberals treat both of these examples favourably, their histories, however, are far more ambivalent than sentimentally presented. To understand this ambivalence, itself a sort of plausible deniability, it is necessary to sketch the history of journalism in the US – the emergence of an unnamed but essential political actor – and some of the goals of US foreign policy since the end of the 19th century. This very brief sketch offers what I call the preponderance of facticity – as opposed to an unimpeachable explanation for the overt and covert actions of the US.

First of all it is necessary to acknowledge that in 1886 the US Supreme Court endowed the modern business corporation with all the properties of citizenship in the US – a ruling reiterated with more vehemence this year by another Supreme Court decision. As of 1886, business corporations in the US had more civil rights than freed slaves or women. By the end of the First World War, the business corporation had eclipsed the natural person as a political actor in the US. By 1924 US immigration law and the actions of the FBI had succeeded in damming the flow of European radicalism and suppressing domestic challenges to corporate supremacy. Thus by the time Franklin Roosevelt was elected, the US had been fully constituted as a corporatist state. US government policy was thereafter made mainly by and for business corporations and their representatives. Second, professional journalism emerged from the conflict between partisan media tied to social movements and those tied to business. The first journalism school was founded in 1908 at the University of Missouri with money from newspaper baron Joseph Pulitzer. As in all other emerging professions at that time, it was claimed that uniform training within an academic curriculum would produce writers who were neutral, objective, and dispassionate – that is to say somehow scientific in their writing.

A professional journalist would not allow his or her writing to be corrupted by bribery or political allegiances. These professional journalists would work for commercial enterprises but be trained to produce value-free texts for publication.. The US has always refused to call itself an empire or to acknowledge that its expansion from the very beginning was imperial. The dogma of manifest destiny sought to resolve this contradiction by stipulating that domestic conquest was not imperial. Control of the Western hemisphere has always been defined as national security, not of asserting US domination. Likewise, it is impossible to understand the actions of the US government in Asia since 1910 without acknowledging that the US is an empire and recognising its imperial interests in the Asia–Pacific region. It is also impossible to understand the period called the Cold War without knowing that the US invaded the Soviet Union in 1918 with 13,000 troops along with some 40,000 British troops and thousands of troops recruited by the ‘West’ to support the Tsarist armies and fascist Siberian Republic. It is essential to bear these over-arching contextual points in mind when considering the value of classified US documents and their disclosure, whether by Wikileaks or Bob Woodward. It is essential to bear these points in mind because the value or the ambivalence of ‘leaks’ or declassification depends entirely on whether the data is viewed as ‘revelation’ or as mere scientific data to be interpreted.

Revelation and heresy For the most part the disclosures by Wikileaks have been and continue to be treated as ‘revelation’ and the disclosure itself as heresy. This is particularly the case in the batches of State Department cables containing diplomatic jargon and liturgy. The ‘revelation’ comprises the emotional response to scripture generated by members of the US foreign service and the confirmation this scripture appears to give to opinions held about the US – whether justified or not. Just as reading books and even the bible was a capital offence for those without ecclesiastical license in the high Middle Ages, the response of the US government is comprehensible. It is bound to assert that Wikileaks is criminal activity and to compel punishment. Yet there is another reason why the US government reaction is so intense. As argued above, the primary political actor in the US polity is the business corporation. In Europe and North America at least it is understood: (1) that the ultimate values for state action are those which serve the interests of private property; and (2) that the business corporation is the representative form of private property.

This in turn means that information rights are in fact property rights manifest as patents, copyrights, and trade or industrial secrets. Since the state is the guardian of the corporation, it argues that the disclosure of government documents should only be allowed where the government itself has surrendered some of its privacy rights. This is quite different from the arguments for feudal diplomatic privilege, even though business corporations have superseded princely states. The argument for state secrecy now is that the democratic state constituted by business corporations is obliged to protect the rights and privileges of those citizens as embodied in their private property rights – rights deemed to be even more absolute than those historically attributed to natural persons, if for no other reason than that corporations enjoy limited liability and immortality, unlike natural persons. When the US government says it is necessary for other states to treat Assange as an outlaw and Wikileaks as a criminal activity, it is appealing on one hand to the global corporate citizenry and on the other, asserting its role – not unlike the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages – as the sole arbiter of those rights and privileges subsumed by Democracy in the world. Many of those who lack a religious commitment to the American way of life have still recognised the appeal to privacy and ultimately to private property which are now deemed the highest values in the world – so that trade, the commerce in private property, takes precedence over every other human activity and supersedes even human rights, not to mention civil rights.

Ellsberg In 1971 Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, which began their publication. This leak was treated as a landmark, although it would take several years before the US withdrew its forces from Vietnam and many more before hostilities were formally ended. What then was the significance of the ‘leak’? The documents generally point to the failures of the military, omitting the role of the CIA almost entirely. Today it is still largely unknown that Ellsberg was working with the CIA in counter-insurgency programs in Vietnam. Did the Pentagon Papers thus serve the interests of plausible deniability – a disclosure of secrets designed not to reveal truth, but to conceal a larger truth by revealing smaller ones? On the other hand, the collection of essays, Dirty Work, edited by Philip Agee and Lou Wolf, showed how the identity of CIA officers could be deciphered from their official biographies, especially as published in the Foreign Service List and other government registers. This type of disclosure allows the competent researcher to recognise ‘real’ Foreign Service officers as opposed to CIA officers operating under diplomatic cover. Agee and his colleague Lou Wolf maintained that disclosure of CIA activities was not a matter of lifting secrets but of recognising the context in which disparate information has to be viewed to allow its interpretation.

To put it trivially: in order to find something you have to know the thing for which you are searching. In order to be meaningful, disclosures of intelligence information must explain that intelligence information seeks to deceive the US public. For example, the CIA and those in the multi-agency task forces under its control produced an enormous amount of reports and documentation to show what was being done to fulfil the official US policy objectives in Vietnam. One of these programs was called Rural Development. This CIA program was run ostensibly by the USAID and the State Department to support the economic and social development of the countryside. This policy was articulated in Washington to fit with the dominant ‘development’ paradigm – to package the US policy as aid and not military occupation. And yet, as Douglas Valentine shows in his book The Phoenix Program, Rural Development was a cover for counterinsurgency from the beginning. The Phoenix Program only became known in the US after 1971, and then only superficially. The information released to the US Congress and reported in the major media outlets lacked sufficient context to allow interpretation. There was so little context that the same people who worked in the Phoenix program in Vietnam as 20-year-olds have been able to continue careers operating the same kinds of programmes in other countries with almost no scrutiny.

Two people come to mind: John Negroponte, who is alleged to have provided support to death squads in Honduras during the US war against Nicaragua and later served as ambassador to occupied Iraq, began his foreign service career in Vietnam with one of the agencies instrumental in Phoenix. The other person died recently: Richard Holbrooke began his career with USAID in Vietnam, went on to advise the Indonesian dictatorship, went to manage the ‘diplomatic’ part of the US war in Yugoslavia and finally served as a kind of pro-consul for Central Asia with responsibility for the counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. As the secret weapon in US imperial policy, the counterinsurgency or rural development or ‘surge’ policies of the US government never include an examination of the professionals who managed them. It used to be said among some critics that one could follow General Vernon Walters’ travel itinerary and predict military coups. But that was not something ‘leaked’ and it did not appear in the mainstream media analysis.

The illusion of objective neutrality So if much of what we see ‘leaked’ is gossip in the service of plausible deniability, what separates the important gossip from the trivial? I suggest it is a return to consciously interested, humanistic values in historical research. We have to abandon the idea that the perfect form of knowledge is embodied in the privilege of corporate ownership of ideas, and domination of the state. We also have to abandon the illusion of objective neutrality inherited from Positivism and Progressivism, with its exclusionary professionalism. Until such time as human beings can be restored to the centre of social, political and economic history we have to recognise the full consequences of the enfranchisement of the business corporation and the subordination of the individual to role of a mere consumer. If we take the business corporation, an irresponsible and immortal entity, endowed with absolute property rights and absolved of any liability for its actions or those of its officers and agents, as the subject of history it has become, then we have to disclose more than diplomatic cables. We have to analyse its actions just as historians have tried to understand the behaviour of princes and dynasties in the past. This is too rarely done and when often only in a superficial way. I would like to provide an example, a sketch if you will, of one such historical analysis, taking the business corporation and not the natural person as the focus of action.

In 1945, George Orwell referred to the threat of nuclear war between the West and the Soviet Union as a ‘cold war’. He made no reference to the 1918 invasion of the Soviet Union by British troops. In 1947, US Secretary of State Bernard Baruch gave a speech in South Carolina saying ‘Let us not be deceived: we are today in the midst of a cold war’. The speech had been written by a rich newspaperman named Herbert Swope. In 1947, George Kennan published his containment essay, ‘The Sources of Soviet Conduct’, in Foreign Affairs under the name ‘X’. In it he describes a supposed innate expansionist tendency of the Soviet Union – also no mention of the US invasion or the devastation of WWII, which virtually destroyed the Soviet Union’s manpower and industrial base. In April 1950, NSC 68 is published – classified top secret until 1975 – outlining the necessity for the US to massively rearm to assert and maintain its role as the world’s superpower. At the end of summer 1950, war breaks out in Korea. President Truman declared an emergency and gets UN Security Council approval for a war that lasts three years, killing at least 3 million Koreans – most of whom die as a result of US Air Force saturation bombing of Korea north of the 38th parallel. Truman proclaims that US intervention will be used to prevent the expansion of the Soviet Union or as Ronald Reagan put it then – Russian aggression. After being utterly routed by the army of North Korea, the US bombs its way to the Yalu only to be thrown back to the 38th parallel by China. In 1954, the US organises the overthrow of the Arbenz regime in Guatemala and begins its aid and covert intervention in Vietnam beginning a war that only ends in 1976. Meanwhile Britain suppresses the Malaysian independence movement. Between 1960 and 1968, nationalist governments have been overthrown in Indonesia, Congo, Ghana, Brazil. Cuba is the great surprise amidst the literally hundreds of nationalist, anti-colonial movements and governments suppressed by the US.

William Blum has catalogued the enormous number of overt and covert interventions by the US in his book Killing Hope. The amazing thing about much of what Blum compiled is that it was not ‘secret’. It was simply not reported or misreported. Blum makes clear – what should be obvious – that the Soviet Union was not a party to a single war or coup from 1945 to 1989 and that the US government knew this. Much of this early action took place when John Foster Dulles was US Secretary of State and his brother was head of the CIA. The Dulles brothers were intimately connected to corporations they represented in their capacity as ‘white shoe’ lawyers in New York. In fact the founder of the OSS, the CIA’s predecessor, William Donovan, was also a corporate lawyer both before and after his service in the OSS. In other words the people who have commanded these foreign policy instruments have almost without exception been the direct representatives of major US business corporations. In each case the public pretext has been the threat of communism or Soviet expansion. Yet the only consistent quality all of these actions had was the suppression of governments that restricted the activities of US or UK corporations. Of course, communism has long been merely a term for any opposition to the unrestricted rights of business corporations.

One could say people like Donovan or Dulles were seconded to government office. However, the direct financial benefit that someone like Dulles obtained when he succeeded in deposing Arbenz in Guatemala came from his shareholding in United Fruit, the instigator and financial backer of the CIA co-ordinated coup. Perhaps the more accurate interpretation of this secret activity is that the business corporation, which previously employed law firms and Pinkertons, had shifted the burden of implementing corporate foreign policy to the taxpayer and the state. Now the interest of the US in Latin America has been well researched and documented. But the persistence of the Vietnam War and the silence about the Korean War have only been matched by the virtual absence of debate about the overthrow of Sukarno and the Philippine insurgency. The Philippines became a footnote in the controversy about US torture methods in Iraq and elsewhere as it was shown that the ‘water cure’ was applied rigorously by American troops when suppressing the Philippine independence movement at the beginning of the 20th century.

Lack of context not knowledge The study of each of these Asian countries – and one can add the so-called Golden Triangle; and I would argue Afghanistan now – has been clouded not by lack of evidence or documentation but by lack of context. If the supposed threat posed by communism, especially Soviet communism is taken at face value – as also reiterated in innumerable official documents both originally public and originally confidential – then the US actions in Asia seem like mere religious fanaticism. The government officials and military and those who work with them are so indoctrinated that they will do anything to oppose communism in whatever form. Thus even respected scholars of these wars will focus on the delusions or information deficits or ideological blinders of the actors. This leads to a confused and incoherent perception of US relations in Asia and the Pacific. The virtual absence of any coherent criticism of the Afghanistan War, let alone the so-called War on Terror, is symptomatic not of inadequate information, leaked or otherwise. It is a result of failure to establish the context necessary for evaluating the data available. It should not surprise anyone that ‘counter-terror’ practices by US Forces are ‘discovered’ in Afghanistan or Iraq, if the professional careers of the theatre and field commanders (in and out of uniform) are seriously examined.

Virtually all those responsible for fighting the war in Central Asia come from Special Operations/CIA backgrounds. That is what they have been trained to do. If we shift our attention for a moment to the economic basis of this region, it has been said that the war against drugs is also being fought there. However, this is counterfactual. Since the 1840s the region from Afghanistan to Indochina has been part of what was originally the British opium industry. China tried to suppress the opium trade twice leading to war with Britain – wars China lost. The bulk of the Hong Kong banking sector developed out of the British opium trade protected by the British army and Royal Navy. Throughout World War II and especially the Vietnam War the opium trade expanded to become an important economic sector in Southern Asia – under the protection of the secret services of the US, primarily the CIA. Respected scholars have documented this history to the present day. However it does not appear to play any role in interpreting the policies of the US government whether publicly or confidentially documented. Is it because, as a senior UN official reported last year, major parts of the global financial sector – headquartered in New York and London – were saved by billions in drug money in 2008? Does the fact that Japan exploited both Korea and Vietnam to provide cheap food for its industrial labour force have any bearing on the US decision to invade those countries when its official Asia policy was to rebuild Japan as an Asian platform for US corporations – before China became re-accessible (deemed lost to the Communists in 1948)? Did the importance of Korean tungsten for the US steel industry contribute to the willingness of people like Preston Goodfellow, a CIA officer in Korea, to introduce a right-wing Korean to rule as a dictator of the US occupied zone? Is there continuity between Admiral Dewey’s refusal to recognise the Philippine Republic after Spain’s defeat – because the 1898 treaty with Spain ceded the archipelago to the US – and the refusal of General Hodge to recognise the Korean People’s Republic in Seoul when he led the occupation of Korea in 1945? As John Pilger suggests, were the million people massacred by Suharto with US and UK support a small price to pay for controlling the richest archipelago in the Pacific? Was the Pol Pot regime not itself a creation of the US war against Vietnam – by other means?

Is it an accident that while the US was firmly anchored in Subic Bay, armed and funded Jakarta, occupied Japan and half of Korea, that the US was prepared to bomb the Vietnamese nationalists ‘into the Stone Age’? It only makes sense if the US is understood as an empire and its corporate interests are taken seriously when researching the history of the US attempts to create and hold an Asian empire. The resistance to this perception can be explained and it is not because of an impenetrable veil of secrecy. It is not because of the accidentally or inaccessibly unknown. Rather it is because US policy and practice in the world remains a ‘mystery’, a supernatural truth, one that of its very nature lies above the finite intelligence. The quasi-divine status of the universal democracy for which the USA is supposed to stand is an obstacle of faith.

Engineering consent In the twentieth century two conflicting tendencies can be identified. The first was the emergence of mass democratic movements. The second was the emergence of the international business corporation. When the Great War ended in 1918, the struggle between these two forces crystallised in the mass audience or consumer on one hand and the mass production and communication on the other. As Edward Bernays put it: ‘This is an age of mass production. In the mass production of materials a broad technique has been developed and applied to their distribution. In this age too there must be a technique for the mass distribution of ideas.’ In his book, Propaganda, he wrote ‘The conscious and intelligent manipulation of organised habits and opinions of the masses…’ was necessary in a democracy, calling that ‘invisible government’.

Like his contemporary Walter Lippmann, a journalist, he believed that democracy was a technique for ‘engineering the consent’ of the masses to those policies and practices adopted by the country’s elite – the rulers of its great business corporations. By the 1980s the state throughout the West – and after 1989 in the former Soviet bloc – was being defined only by ‘business criteria’, e.g. efficiency, profitability, cost minimization, shareholder value, consumer satisfaction, etc. Political and social criteria such as participatory rights or income equity or equality, provision of basic needs such as education, work, housing, nutrition, healthcare on a universal basis had been transformed from citizenship to consumerism. The individual lost status in return for means tested access to the ‘market’. In order for the state to function like a business it had to adopt both the organisational and ethical forms of the business corporation – a non-democratic system, usually dictatorial, at best operating as an expert system. As an extension of the property-holding entities upon which it was to be remodelled, the state converted its power into secretive, jealous, and rigid hierarchies driven by the highest ethical value of the corporation – profit.

Journalists and ‘corporate stenographers’ While historical research should not be merely deductive, it is dependent on documents. The veracity of those documents depends among other things on authenticity, judgements as to the status, knowledge or competence of the author, the preponderance of reported data corresponding to data reported elsewhere or in other media. A public document is tested against a private or confidential document – hence the great interest in memoirs, diaries and private correspondence. There is an assumption that the private document is more sincere or even reliable than public documents. This is merely axiomatic since there is no way to determine from a document itself whether its author lied, distorted or concealed in his private correspondence, too. Discrepancies can be explained in part by accepting that every author is a limited informant or interpreter. The assumptions about the integrity of the author shape the historical evaluation. In contemporary history – especially since the emergence of industrial-scale communications – the journalist has become the model and nexus of data collection, author, analyst, and investigator. Here the journalist is most like a scholar. The journalist is also a vicarious observer.

The journalist is supposed to share precisely those attributes of the people to whom or about whom he reports. This has given us the plethora of reality TV, talk shows, embedded reporters, and the revolving door between media journalists and corporate/state press officers. In the latter the journalist straddles the chasm between salesman and consumer. This is the role that the Creel Committee and the public relations industry learned to exploit. The journalist George Creel called his memoir of the Committee on Public Information he chaired – formed by Woodrow Wilson to sell US entry into World War I – How We Advertised America. The campaign was successful in gaining mass support for a policy designed to assure that Britain and France would be able to repay the billions borrowed from J. P. Morgan & Co. to finance their war against Germany and seize the Mesopotamian oilfields from the Ottoman Empire. Industrial communications techniques were applied to sell the political product of the dominant financial and industrial corporations of the day. The professional journalist, freed from any social movement or popular ideology, had already become a mercenary for corporate mass media.

The profession eased access to secure employment and to the rich and powerful. The journalists’ job was to produce ideas for mass distribution – either for the state or for the business corporation. Supporting private enterprise was at the very least a recognition that one’s job depended on the media owner. Editorial independence meant writers and editors could write whatever they pleased as long as it sold and did not challenge the economic or political foundation of the media enterprise itself. In sum the notion of the independent, truth-finding, investigative journalist is naïve at best. We must be careful to distinguish between journalists and what John Pilger has called ‘corporate stenographers’. This does not mean that no journalists supply us with useful information or provide us access to meaningful data. It means that journalism, as institution, as praxis, is flawed – because it too is subordinated to the business corporation and its immoral imperatives. Wikileaks takes as its frame of reference the journalism as it emerged in the Positivist – Progressive Era – a profession ripe with contradictions, as I have attempted to illustrate.

Were Wikileaks to fulfil that Positivist–Progressive model, it would still risk overwhelming us with the apparently objective and unbiased data – facts deemed to stand for themselves. Without a historical framework – and I believe such a framework must also be humanist – the mass of data produced or collated by such a platform as Wikileaks may sate but not nourish us. We have to be responsible for our interpretation. We can only be responsible however when we are aware of the foundations and framework for the data we analyse. The deliberate choice of framework forces us to be conscious of our own values and commitments. This stands in contrast to a hypothetically neutral, objective, or non-partisan foundation that risks decaying into opportunism – and a flood of deceit from which no mountain of disclosure can save us.