Foreign Policy News Stories
Jimmy Carter and the Trilateral Commission
SYNOPSIS: Although the Trilateral Commission (TLC) was the
top Censored story of 1976, it was renominated in 1977 since it
continued to receive very limited press coverage.
The 1977 nomination reveals that Jimmy Carter's major moves
since taking over as president have been in accord with the TLC's
1) a new economic planning agency attached to the White House;
2) some unspecified way of eliminating the pervasive suspicion
of the motives and powers of political leaders;
3) reinvigoration of political parties accomplished mainly
by making it legal for corporations to support them;
4) a check on press power to include tough libel laws against
journalists who insult decisionmakers;
5) reduced spending for education as it leads to frustration,
criticism, and disrespect;
6) government subsidies to major corporations to design unspecified
new modes of organization that will head off irresponsible blackmailing
7) a new institute for the strengthening of democratic institutions
at the public's expense.
The Bottle Baby Scandal in the Third World
SYNOPSIS: With the birthrate in the United States declining,
infant formula manufacturers (Nestle and Bristol-Myers in the
forefront along with Abbott and American Home Products) began
pushing their products on the Third World to ensure their continued
They rely on exploitative and deceptive tactics to sell their
1) giving free samples to mothers so their own milk will dry
up, leaving them dependent on expensive formulas;
2) promises of "modernization and heightened status"
through use of the formulas, as encouraged by well-financed media
campaigns (which include radio and television spots, calendars,
billboards, and baby contests),
3) telling new mothers that their own milk is "inappropriate"
or may be "unsuccessfully" given to their baby, etc.
The majority of Third World mothers wind up watering down
the formulas, using contaminated water, and otherwise malnourishing
and infecting their children because they cannot afford to administer
formulas in the prescribed way. Parents would have to spend 30-40
percent of their aver age daily wage to feed their babies on this
mother's milk substitute. Malnutrition and denial of natural immunities
(which would have been provided had the mother breast-fed) caused
by infant formula feeding account for 35,000 deaths and untold
brain damage in babies of predominantly Third World countries.
Meanwhile, the profit margins on infant formulas have been
documented at up to 72 percent; a billion dollars a year are taken
from the Third World countries from the import of these formulas.
UPDATE: As a result of public outrage in the late seventies
and through a series of events involving the courts, the U.S.
Senate, a group of Catholic nuns, the Securities and Exchange
Commission, and concerned citizens, the WHO/UNICEF Code for Marketing
Breastmilk Substitutes was drafted, redrafted, and finally adopted
by the World Health Assembly in 1981. The - final vote was 118
to 1. The United States cast the sole negative vote.
Despite the U.N. Code, a comprehensive expose published by
Mothering (12/22/95) revealed that even today, "Billboards
and radio jingles encourage women to use formula in order to raise
the healthiest baby. Hospital maternity units in developing nations
are sometimes sponsored by formula companies...In addition, babies
are routinely fed formula and glucose water, and mothers are sent
home with unstimulated breasts and free samples of whatever formula
paid for the maternity unit."
It is now estimated that "one million infant deaths per
year can be prevented by using the world's most economical and
effective health protection: breast milk." But Third World
mothers are still not being told this and continue to be bombarded
with promotions for formula. Anyone interested in this issue would
be well advised to look up the original Mothering article. It
is an exceptionally well-researched history of the problem dating
back to 1939 when Nestle was selling sweetened condensed milk
as infant food despite research showing it was unsafe for infants.
It also contains dozens of names and addresses of organizations
and individuals who can be contacted for further information.
Unfortunately, the health issue became increasingly complicated
in 1997 as increasing numbers of Third World women, infected with
the AIDS virus, were transmitting it to their infants through
breast milk. Some observers feel that infant formula may be a
powerful weapon to reduce childhood deaths from AIDS. Infant formula
critics acknowledge that the data are incomplete but say that
the vast majority of Third World infants will be imperiled by
renewed promotion of bottle-feeding. Still others say it is imperative
to find alternatives to breast-feeding including making safe,
affordable formula widely available. (New York Times 6/8/97)
The Mass Slaughter by the Khmer Rouge
SYNOPSIS: Execution, starvation, cannibalism, torture, disease,
malnutrition were only a few of the violations of human rights
made by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and Vietnam. A few journalists
who conducted interviews with refugees believed that out of a
population of seven million, 1.2 million died between 1975 and
1977 alone. In addition, a Catholic missionary reported "15,000
to 20,000 suicides."
Reports also indicated that the Khmer Rouge treated people
like slaves and imposed exacting rules. Failure to observe these
rules led to immediate execution. Anyone who complained was punished.
Rule breaking and complaints applied to such "crimes"
as asking for more food, falling in exhaustion, or not meeting
Khmer Rouge's own inhumane values.
The so-called "transgressors" were often clubbed
to death with objects such as pick handles. When a starving worker
was caught cannibalizing, he was tortured to death. Such torture
included being buried in the ground up to the shoulders and being
beaten to death or impaling their heads on pointed stakes.
In January 1977, the American Security Council invited all
three major networks to a conference on the subject, which may
have been the most important human rights story of the decade;
not one sent a correspondent.
UPDATE: When Khmer Rouge executioners killed a million or
more fellow Cambodians 20 years ago, it was a major story in the
right-wing press but basically ignored by the mainstream media.
It wasn't until 1984 when a British-made film, The Killing Fields,
retold the story that many Americans became aware of the extent
of the tragedy.
In 1993, a United Nations-sponsored election brought a measure
of calm and renewal to Cambodia. However, the calm did not last
long. In early July 1997, a military coup plunged the country
back into political chaos and once again Cambodia seemed stuck
in the cycle of violence and despair that has stained its history
for the last 40 years. According to the Knight Ridder Newspapers
report (7/14/97), "Now, even some longtime [domestic] supporters
are giving up and going home."
The Global Battle for the Mineral Wealth of the Oceans
SYNOPSIS: The race to control the ocean floor involves the
following conflicting interests: a consortium of three multinational
corporations, 20 transnational corporations from six developed
nations, and 110 Third World nations represented by the U.N.'s
annual Law of the Seas Conference. At stake is 1.5 trillion tons
of mineral wealth and who controls production and profits .
The U.N.-supported Law of the Seas Conference has been ongoing
since 1958. It discusses fishing rights, territorial waters, and
international straits. In 1969, a resolution was passed saying
that the ocean floor was a "common heritage of mankind."
Third World nations interpret this to mean that all mining would
be done under U.N. control. However, the American position would
turn the mining control over to private corporations that have
the capital and resources to start undersea mining.
Third World nations are arguing for conservation of undersea
minerals until land-based minerals are consumed. They also fear
that multinational corporations will tend to neglect Third World
needs and reap windfall profits from the bountiful ocean floor.
Little is known about the sea bottom or its role in maintaining
the planet's environment. Its sediment is rich in microscopic
organisms and animal life. Mining companies admit that their hydraulic
dredges and continuous line buckets will stir sediment and probably
kill any plant or animal life in their path. Nonetheless, they
argue that the environmental costs are "insignificant."
The Ocean Mining Associates consortium has filed mining claims
extending far over the Pacific where the State Department has
no control. American policy has tended to support these claims
by multinationals in their conflicts over who controls these regions.
UPDATE: The United States was globally embarrassed in 1985
when the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the International
Tribunal for the Law of the Sea rejected as "wholly illegal"
the U.S. request to explore parts of the seabed before the Law
of the Sea Treaty was finalized. The Ocean Mining Associates,
headed by U.S. Steel at the time, had requested exclusive rights
to mine manganese nodules in a seabed area of the Pacific Ocean
(UN Chronicle, September 1985).
Finally, after years of debate over who will control the oceans
rich resources, it now appears that the Law of the Sea Treaty
proponents have won. The Financial Times (4/19/96) reported, "The
latest round of negotiations have ended with agreement on the
composition of the council to run the International Seabed Authority,
the specialized UN agency that will implement the treaty."
Satya Nandan, of Fiji, the ISA's secretary general, said, "The
objective is to provide the machinery for the administration of
the resources of the deep seabed, which are the common heritage
of mankind, and the development of those resources so that the
international community as a whole may benefit from them."
Nandan noted that there is a complex system of representation
on the council that ensures that various interest groups are represented
and ensures for equitable geographical representation. The way
now appears clear for the ISA to begin monitoring the exploitation
of minerals from the international seabed (Financial Times, 4/19/96).
On October 18, 1996, United Nations Secretary-General Boutros
Boutros-Ghali officially inaugurated the International Tribunal
on the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany (Federal News Service,