Sunday, October 30, 2011

Occupy BC Supreme Court

Occupy the BC Supreme Court

Why turn Occupiers attention to BC Supreme Court? Because this is where citizens are routinely divested of their rights to public property and given over to corporations who through their lawyers maintain that the corporations, too, are persons. I saw a sign in Zuccotti Park on the internet that read: “I’ll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one”. And so will I.
I have had long experience with the personhood of logging corporations. By past court decisions (case law) that held corporations to actually be persons , our BC Supreme Court equates a dispute between real persons seeking to protect their public forests versus voracious logging companies bent on clear cutting the said forest, as a dispute between two persons. That’s it. And in these cases the BC Supreme Court has already given the logging corporation a piece of paper (injunction) that declares (in legal language) that the corporation’s personhood tops that of real persons, and an environmental protester, if he or she protests this crazy making kind of justice, will wind up in prison.
And it isn’t just in cases of the triumph of corporate personhood that our courts are the courts of the 1%. Remember how Madam Justice Bennet, an honest judge, who was in the process of giving consent for Verk and Basi to testify and call high political officers into account over the corrupt BC Railway sale (Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark come to mind) when Madam Justice Bennet was given, an abrupt elevation to BC Court of Appeal? And replaced with a judge who allowed an award of two million dollars to be given Verk and Basi If they would plead guilty and go away? Who could have confidence in such a court? When the BC Supreme Court is so obviously in the service of the 1%? Not I.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

DFO Reply To FrankenFish

Several weeks ago the Women's Party sent a letter to the Prime
Minister's Office expressing indignation that Genetically Modified
Salmon (transgenic) were being reared in a West Vancouver facility
without notice to the public, or in public consultation with municipal
or provincial authorities. We questioned that these fish, as they do
... not occur in nature for they have the genes of other animals sliced
into them when in the egg stage, are in fact salmon. We were
particularly alarmed that these fish are patented. Genetically
Modified salmon are the very first animal in all of history to be

We have just received a reply from the DFO. In his letter Mr.Keith
Ashfield does not dispute that the FrankenFish (so called by the US
press) are indeed being raised and studied in West Vancouver, but
argues that the fish themselves are not patented by the Government of
Canada, and that the Government of Canada only holds the patent to the
foreign (to the fish) genetic material that is being inserted into the
FrankenFish and therefor stay inside the law of Canada which says life
forms cannot be patented in Canada.

We find this reasoning totally disingenuous. And unacceptable. We
know that the process of splicing foreign genes into salmon was first
researched and brought to fruition in Canada through Canadian
universities even if AquaBounty now holds another patent. If Canada
did the original research into the process of Genetically Modifying
FrankenFish and has patented the genetic material itself, how could
Canada (DFO) evade responsibility for breaking federal laws concerning
the prohibition of patenting life forms?

We would like a comprehensive answer to this question, please.

Betty Krawczyk
Writing for The Women's Party

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Yes, Nanotechnology is our third bad thing we have to consider after economic and environmental melt downs. With the trillion Euros flooding into the international banking system by European governments we’ll have a bit of a pause here, even though we can hardly hear ourselves think above the sucking noises this morning as that trillion is swilled up by other banks, investors, and lending institutions. And the 1% couldn’t care less that this trillion they’re swilling in the trough is actually the blood and tears and sweat of their people. Perhaps we should, in all decency, look away. Unsocialized people who are high on greed are a shameful spectacle. Let us look to the Occupy Vancouver people for inspiration.

I believe that the Occupy movement is the first wave of an upwelling of public discontent. This is such a strange time. We have increasing poverty and job loss but at the same time, great breakthroughs in scientific discoveries.
Like how to add extra genes to a Pacific salmon’s genome. And patent it for future commercial use. Kudos to our DFO for their help in creating artificial salmon. But the horrors of mangling fish genomes and patenting the process pales in significance compared to what nanotechnology has in store for us.

Just as our leaders in government and finance didn’t prepare us for the financial meltdown two years ago, they haven’t, and won’t prepare us for what lies ahead in the job sector. Mechanization and computerization has decimated jobs. The primary jobs for many young men in the future will be digging into the bowels of the earth for oil, gas, and minerals, or clear cutting forests for raw log export or building and staffing prisons. Or being a prisoner. When I was growing up young men who couldn’t find jobs could always join the army. Not so much now. Harper is cutting military personnel. It’s not just salmon who are getting rewired. So is the military.

Ordinary technology has already automated, mechanized or computerized everything a lot of private companies and public services can bear. But nanotechnology? That’s a whole new deal. You can see a computer. You can’t see a nanotech machine. They’re too tiny. They’re built from the bottom up by scientists who are learning to manipulate these tiniest of atomic particles to make all kinds of stuff. And some of the stuff you really don’t want made. Aside from probably killing off the rest of the jobs, even the resource extraction ones (but the prison industry will probably surge) this has the most direct, destructive, hellish applications imaginable. What is that? Or course, the military.

Specifically, the US military. They will have the military patents. Nanotechnology presents the perfect weapon for killing vast numbers of people. Undetected. The nano machines are much too tiny to be detected. Some foreign people raise a fuss about unmanned drones because they can see them. At least until the bombs are actually dropped. But by possessing nanotech military weapons that can’t be seen, even a very small group of people can possess the world. Maybe the same small group that posses the banks and lending institutions. The 1%. If anybody complained they would simply be vaporized. No mess, no bother. I think we all need to learn all we can about nanotechnology.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Let’s talk fish. Specifically, salmon fish. There has been a lot of confusion surrounding our conversations concerning who, where, when and what has been done, and is being done, to our salmon. And I say, our salmon, because, at least for the moment, wild salmon still more or less belongs to the people of the earth who catch and eat the salmon ( with certain permission from government and First Nations) whether individually or commercially. The salmon also belong to the bear, to birds of prey, even to the occasional cougar, they also belong to the old growth forests where bear scatter salmon bones; an individual salmon belongs to whomever or whatever can catch one in the wild. But that may not always be the case, even if wild salmon survive the fish farms.

Fish farms are disgusting. There’s no other word for it. The salmon swim around in stressed, overcrowded, unhealthy conditions. They are in fish prisons. And they have endured horrors spared human prisoners. Our Charter forbids prisoners being forcibly sterilized and sex changed while incarcerated. But some of BC fish farms are using fish that have been sex changed and triploided (sterilized). Why the sex change?
In fish farm pens, 10 to 20 percent of male salmon “jack” early, that is they mature before the females do and die before the others are ready for market. Big loss to the fish farm owners. So in fish pens, at least, females are not just desired, they are demanded. So DFO biologists came to the rescue. They developed a process by which some female fry were exposed to enough testosterone that the process actually turned them into males. When mature these treated fish acted as males and made sperm to fertilize the eggs of the normal females. However, because these sex changed males were still genetically female, their sperm was composed primarily of the chromosome xx instead of a relative equal number of xx and xy’s. So fish farms could get eggs that were primarily from a sex changed parent.

But that isn’t all. According to Dr. Edward Donaldson, DFO, they now know how to apply estrogen directly to the fish. But what if these fish escape their captivity and mate with wild salmon? Could that not produce some bizarre fish genetic mutations? To counteract this every present possibility some of the fish farms are using a method called “Triploidy” to induce sterilization. But the process is not one hundred per cent successful.

Triploid fish can have an extra chromosome but this occurs in less than one percent of fish in the wild. These fish are always naturally sterile. But because they don’t put energy into reproducing or go through the maturing process they grow really big and fat. So of course our DFO people, always on the lookout for aiding fish farms, are really into this. They devised methods of shocking the fish eggs with heat or pressure that makes them into triploids. And had the DFO stopped there, things may not have gone over the top. But they haven’t stopped there. Not content to just sterilize huge numbers of fish they have also changed their sex and have then released them into the lakes and rivers and coastal waters of British Columbia. This from:

The Reproductive Containment of Genetically Altered Salmonids (page 113-114) (Biotechnology, Genetics and Nutrition Section, West Vancouver Laboratory, Biological Sciences Branch, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 4160 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, BC V7V 1N6)

So we now have a whole lot of sex changed and triploid fish swimming around not only in some fish farms, but also in our lakes and rivers (fifty per cent of B.C. small lakes and rivers) and other coastal waters. Have they mated with normal fish? As the sterilization process is not 100 per cent? Nobody knows this for sure. These fish are referred to as genetically modified fish but they are different from transgenic fish, the ones that have been dubbed FrankenFish by the US press and are currently abiding in North Vancouver. These transgenic fish are also referred to as genetically modified fish, but they are far, far more genetically modified than the fish that have only been sex changed and sterilized. Transgenic salmon are an absolutely new thing on the face of the earth. And they have been patented.

• Transgenic salmon are no longer, strictly speaking, salmon. While they begin their lives as Pacific salmon that doesn’t last long. As eyes, other genes are sliced into them…Atlantic salmon genes, and the genes of an eel called the pout fish and rapid growth hormones. On top of this, the eggs are made triploid and somewhat later, treated with estrogen. So we now have a monster fish, mostly female, not completely sterilized, who is loaded with hormones. And this monstrosity is patented by a private corporation called AquaBounty that used Canadian universities and Canadian government resources to carry through the research to getting the patent.
Because these fish are patented they are being carefully guarded. They are being held in land tanks in West Vancouver and cared for by Dr. Bob Devlin.DFO (North Shore News, March 15, 2011, Sarah Schmidt, Postmedia News, Oct 16, 2011). At the moment, AquaBounty is seeking permission from the States to develop the Frankenfish for public consumption. Three of the advisers to the US health authorities have previously worked for Monsanto.

There are two huge problems with both the sex changed, sterilized fish that are not transgenic, and the monster Frankenfish who are. A major problem in both categories of fish is that both carry a load of extra hormones, mostly estrogen. Zenoestrogens, or estrogens than come into the body from the outside, are enormously dangerous. There is currently much scientific agreement that pregnant women who consume only small amounts of zenoestorgens at certain stages of their pregnancies can put their fetus’ at risk and that larger amounts consumed by eating fish loaded with residue zenoestrogens can cause learning disabilities in children.

As for the transgenic fish, there is not only the ethics problem of genetically altering our wild life … why has our government allowed an animal life form to be patented? Without our knowledge? Without our consent? What next? Consider. There is an artificial pig in line in the US waiting for his birth certificate in the form of a patent. Chickens, cows, goats, horses? As the patent holding corporations wipe out the natural animals will we find ourselves paying not only for the animals, but for the corporations holding the patents?

The other very serious problem with both categories of fish is that the public has not been advised or consulted on admitting either one to BC waters or BC land. Neither the federal nor the provincial movement is authorized to introduce genetically altered fish into our environment and we believe they have wildly over stepped their authority in doing so. We are not through with this. Betty Krawczyk


Thursday, October 20, 2011


Stephen Harper is secretive about his religious beliefs and religiously motivated actions. But when I consider our Prime Minister’s political motivations for making the decisions he makes, I go on my hunches. After all, a hunch is an educated guess gleaned from careful observation. And my hunch is that the awarding of the eight billion dollar ship building contract to BC was a direct political decision by Stephen Harper.
But didn’t Harper go to great pains to remove himself entirely from the bidding process so that there could be no accusations of political tampering? Didn’t he practically shout to the world that only the bureaucrats, his underlings, were in charge of the appointments and that he personally had nothing to do with the choosing? I think Mr. Harper doeth protest too much of his innocence, and that in hoping to ward off any possible questioning concerning the selection process, he raises doubts. At least in my mind. It is well known that Mr. Harper is a control freak. That he tastes his own words as well as the words of his cabinet members and others in his government several jillion times before uttering them (only a slight exaggeration) is common knowledge, and that all important and even trivial decisions are made by him.
So why would Mr. Harper leave such an important political decision, fraught with passion and potential election fall out to his underlings? In my opinion, the decision to award BC with one of the ship building contracts came from Mr. Harper himself.
But so what, you may ask, even if it’s true Harper made the decision himself? BC got the ship building contract and that’s all that matters. I agree, in the short run. Jobs are paramount. But in the long run, as my thesis (hunch) is that our Prime Minister doth protest too much over the purity of the selecting process, the question is…why would he chose BC over Quebec?

Well, let’s see, if I was Harper, given his mind set and beliefs, I would be somewhat worried about the NDP forming the next provincial government in BC. An NDP win would jeopardize Harper’s plans for an increased Conservative presence in BC. And while the revitalization of the ship yards may help Christy Clark in the immediate future, down the road it will help the Conservatives even more.

I think Harper believes that if Christy Clark wins, by the following election the province will be in such a mess the Conservatives can remind citizens that it was a Conservative government that brought a revitalized ship building industry to BC. And the resources in BC for a Conservative win are already there. My hunch is that this goal was the main reason Stockwell Day decided not to run again for the Conservatives and came back to BC. Stockwell Day, like Stephen Harper, is a fundamentalist Christian, believer in Armageddon and the Rapture, along with BC billionaire and fellow Christian fundamentalist Jimmy Pattison. Lots of religious and political clout here. But I am happy for the ship building jobs. Very happy. Maybe things will look up for a number of people.

Monday, October 17, 2011


This could be the beginning of something very, very good...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Georgia Straight On Betty Krawczyk

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Occupy Wall Street!

Talk about Wall Street protesters and GMO salmon in west Vancouver and CBC