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Record fine levied against biotech firm for research-animal abuse

Santa Cruz Biotechnology, a major supplier of research antibodies, has agreed to pay $3.5 million to...
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Video: EgyptAir crash: Debris spotted, terror attack more likely than technical issue

Rescuers are trying to locate an EgyptAir Paris-Cairo flight that disappeared off radar screens over the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people aboard just minutes...

Police Nationwide Are Secretly Exploiting Intrusive Technologies With the Feds' Complicity

(Photo: Uditha Wickramanayaka) Can't you see the writing on the touchscreen? A techno-utopia is upon us. We've gone from smartphones at the turn...

The Techniques of Modern Military Propaganda

Propaganda is a military technique which should be distinguished from strategic subterfuge. The former seeks to trick one’s own side, generally in order to...

Video: The Current Technological Revolution, That The Government Is Suppressing

In this video Luke Rudkowski interviews long time activist and intrepid freedom fighter Ernie Hancock of Freedom Phoenix about developing technological ... source

We’re jammin’! RAF fries ISIS communications in Libya with new high-tech plane

Royal Air Force personnel have tested out their new high-tech jammer plane by bombarding Islamic...

Deep sleep and interstellar travel: NASA advances investment for new tech

NASA has chosen to inject new investments in eight space-exploration technologies with transformational potential. The projects...

00-Seventies? UK diplomats’ outmoded tech vulnerable to foreign spies, report says

Outmoded technology that is vulnerable to spies and underperforming staff have relegated UK diplomacy to...

All Angles Covered: Is the EU Completely in the Pocket of the Biotech Industry?

“In less than a fortnight, EU Member States will take a decision on the re-approval of glyphosate. Genius is working to get this...

DARPA seeks to attract new recruits with high-tech exhibition in Chicago

The Pentagon’s DARPA, which has already set up plans to create brain implants to control machines...

US team turns arm skin into touchpad with new technology

Navigating mobile devices through your skin is not a sci-fi gimmick anymore, thanks to US researchers...

In Cowboy Capitalism, High Technology Worsens Economic Inequities

(Photo: Ars Electronica / RYBN) What will happen when technology replaces people in the service, manufacturing and professional industries of an already struggling...

Human errors & technology failures led to MSF hospital strike in Kunduz – CENTCOM

Sixteen people will be punished for their involvement in the October airstrike on a Doctors Without...
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Video: Move aside Iron Man: Chinese tech firm unveils mecha-exosuit

Chinese tech-company FutureWise showcased their NK-01 prototype mecha-exosuit in Beijing, Wednesday, reportedly one of the only three teams in the world ... Via Youtube

North Korea’s New Rocket Technology Looks Like It’s for Real

Sanctions and refusal to engage will not stop North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program.(Photo: AFP/AFP/Getty Images) On April 9, it was reported that North Korea had tested...

Decrypt or else: Draft encryption bill says tech companies must comply with court orders

A leaked draft of a Senate bill addressing the fight between Apple and the FBI over...

Democracy Spring: Mass civil disobedience, tech-ins, and rallies heading to DC

Thousands of people concerned about big money in politics, congressional dysfunction, and voter disenfranchisement are expected...

Video: Yale Professor Wendell Wallach On Killer Robots, Smart Technology & The Need For...

Please Support The Show – http://richieallen.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow http://www.youtube.com/RichieAllenShowMedia Tune in at ... Via Youtube
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Video: ISIS high-tech lab in Mosul ignored by US for years despite nuclear warnings

ISIS has been using a high-tech lab in Mosul for building bombs and chemical weapons and training recruits in bomb-making since its capture in...

Pentagon will spend $317mn on hi-tech cloth for US Army

The Pentagon has announced a $317-million initiative to develop high-tech textiles that will revolutionize US Army...

6-wheeled ‘friendly’ delivery droid the latest tech to threaten human jobs (VIDEO)

Those fearing future robot enslavement or being replaced by super intelligent machines should look away...

‘Better than chicken wire & spray paint!’ British soldiers test high-tech ‘invisibility’ camouflage

British Army snipers have field-tested a new high-tech stealth material which hides them from surveillance technology. Troops from Edinburgh-based light infantry regiment 3 Rifles had...

Video: GOP Elite and Tech Giants Meet Secretly To Stop Trump?

In this video Luke Rudkowski breaks down the secret meeting that happened with tech giant ceo's and the republican establishment in order to stop...
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Video: Un-Trumpable? ‘The Donald’ scaring business, tech elites by winning state by state

There's been another decisive day in the US Presidential race with both Republicans and Democrats holding their latest round of votes. The continued success...
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Video: Tech CEOs & Republican Leaders Met Last Weekend to Plot to Stop Donald...

http://democracynow.org - As Donald Trump won three out of four states on Tuesday, Republican efforts to derail his candidacy are increasing. The Huffington ... Via...

At Secretive Meeting, Tech CEOs And Top Republicans Commiserate, Plot To Stop Trump

Karl Rove shared focus group findings that give hope to the GOP establishment. Described unimaginatively but accurately as "opulent," Sea Island, Georgia, hosted a gaggle...
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Video: pollin newtech

Robert Pollin of PERI says investment in existing technology could create a zero-emissions economy within 35 years. Via Youtube

Leading tech firms join Apple suit over iPhone encryption

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Thomas Gaist US tech firms, including Facebook, Amazon.com, Google, Microsoft, Cisco Systems,...

Russia seeking to fly hi-tech surveillance planes over US

Russia is about to formally request permission from the US to fly surveillance planes with highly advanced cameras over the country, a move that...

Video: Apple vs. the FBI: Inside the Battle Snowden Calls “The Most Important Tech...

http://democracynow.org - A major debate over privacy and online encryption has erupted after the computer giant Apple announced it will resist a court order...

Dot-Com Bubble 2.0 Is Bursting: Tech Stocks Are Already Down Half A Trillion Dollars...

Michael Snyder (RINF) - Do you remember how much stocks went down when the first dot-com bubble burst?  Well, it is happening again, and tech...

Machines & technology present greatest threat to mankind — Stephen Hawking

The greatest threats to mankind will come as science and technology continue to advance at an alarming rate, eminent scientist Stephen Hawking has warned. Speaking...

Government pressurizing tech firms to join big brother state

The pressure on social media companies to limit or take down content in the name of national security has never been greater. Resolving any...

Video: How did North Korea Acquire the Technology for the Bomb?

Robert Kelly, former director at the IAEA, explains the role of Pakistan as well as what information is needed to know what was detonated...

Video: From Drone Technician to Whistleblower

Fmr. Senior Airman Cian Westmoreland discusses why he began to question his work in assisting more than 350 civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Via Youtube

Pro-EU technocratic government installed in Romania

By Andrei Tudora and Tina Zamfir Romania’s Social Democratic Prime Minister Victor Ponta resigned on November 4, following right-wing demonstrations against his government. The protests, held...

Video: Richie Allen On The Techniques Used By The MSM To Sell The Paris...

Please Support The Show — http://richieallen.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow http://www.youtube.com/RichieAllenShowMedia Tune in at ... Via Youtube

How Technology Kills Democracy

In shutting down whistleblowing and investigative journalism on national security issues, the U.S. government can use its technology to determine who is speaking to whom...

Video: Technology, the Internet, and Race: Tool for Liberation or Oppression?

Experts in information technologies, surveillance and media gathered for this panel at the 25th annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in ... Via Youtube

Video: Russian A321 fell ‘almost vertically’, technical fault behind crash

According to Egypt's security forces a technical fault was to blame for the crash of flight 7K9268 in Sinai. The sources say the aircraft...

Video: Mark McCandlish: “Corporations Have Back Engineered ET Technology To Control The World!”

Please Support The Show — http://richieallenshow.co.uk/ http://www.MarkMccandlish.com/ https://www.facebook.com/richieallenshow ... Via Youtube

No Safe Harbor: How NSA Spying Undermined US Tech and Europeans’ Privacy

Danny O'Brien The spread of knowledge about the NSA's surveillance programs has shaken the trust of customers in U.S. Internet companies like Facebook, Google, and...

Some Technical Problems

September 4, 2015 From Editor Robert Parry: We are experiencing some technical problems after updating the software for the Web page. The problems are...

Scientists call for urgent debate on ‘designer babies’ as GM technology advances

Scientific research bodies in the UK are calling for an urgent debate on the ethical implications of genetically modifying human embryos to cure diseases...

TISA and Tech’s Double Standards On Secret Government Internet Deals

The stash of previously-secret correspondence about the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) that EFF obtained and published this week speaks volumes about the extent...

Video: Humanity After Technocratic Evolution

Hint: Cancerous, limping borgs easily controlled by pervasive drone surveillance networks. Trendy! Help us spread the word about the liberty movement, we're ... Via Youtube

Video: Sam King From Healingking.com Talking About Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique (QHHT)

Please Support The Show — http://richieallenshow.com/donate/ http://richieallenshow.com/ https://www.facebook.com/richieallenshow ... Via Youtube

Video: Are we alone? Tech-garch $100 mn search for ET w/Prof Stephen Hawking

Are we alone in the Universe? That's the question a new $100 million search for extra-terrestrial intelligence wants to answer. Famed cosmologist Professor ... Via...

Technology, indoor lifestyles destroying humanity’s eyesight

For a long time, we believed that short-sightedness, or myopia, was largely down to our genes. However, over the past 50 years, myopia has...

Europe’s Next Bad Idea: Bring in the Technocrats

One of the ideas floating around in the aftermath of the sack of Athens has been that of, in effect, deposing the Syriza party...

Experimental GMO wheat crop devoured by aphids; written off as yet another total biotech...

A U.K.-based agricultural research organization recently threw away nearly $5 million on a failed field trial of experimental, genetically-modified (GM) wheat. Rothamsted Research says...

Biotech industry uses Roundup-contaminated GMOs as control group feed in fraudulent animal studies

The rodent feed used for control groups in laboratory studies -- including studies on the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticides --...

Big Tech Does Not Speak for the Internet

Too often, media and policymakers take seriously the claim of government officials that secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) promote and protect...

New police tech has cops scanning license plates “to trace criminals”

(RT) - A little-noticed surveillance technology equips police vehicles with infrared cameras that can record car license plate numbers then log the data for tracking...

Video: Dan Dicks: “Bilderberg Discussing What To Do With Technology, Ukraine, Putin, Internet And...

Please Support The Show — http://richieallenshow.com/donate/ http://richieallenshow.com/ https://www.facebook.com/richieallenshow ... Via Youtube

Video: The Global African: The NFL and Tech in Africa

TeleSUR's The Global African looks at the NFL and digital technology in Africa. Via Youtube

Biotech Spinmasters Propose Name Changes to Counteract Awful PR

Following in the footsteps of Monsanto’s proposed name change, today the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) announced that it is renaming itself the Biotechnology Innovation...

Video: Exclusive: Bilderberg Deploys Hi-Tech Jamming to Shut Down Communications

The secretive Bilderberg Group has deployed a hi-tech jamming system to shut down communications around the site of the elitist confab's luxury hotel in...

Imperial Overstech

Toward the end of the presidency of George H.W. Bush, America stood alone at the top of the world – the sole superpower. After five...

JPMorgan Tech Workers Have New Conspiracy Theories

Since December 2013 there have been a rash of unusual deaths among workers at JPMorgan Chase, including alleged leaps from buildings and two separate...

Almost Half Of Brits View Wearable Tech As Treat To Privacy

(RINF) - Software programmers are being pushed to teach customers about wearable technologies in order to facilitate consumption, as a result of the latest research...

NSA asked Germany to spy on tech giant

The US intelligence agency NSA asked its German partner service BND to spy on the European country’s engineering and technology giant Siemens, a German...

Snowden Docs: NSA Technology Lets Gov’t Generate Transcripts of Private Phone Calls

(Democracy Now!) - A new article by The Intercept details how the National Security Agency is converting people's private phone conversations into searchable text....

Transhumanism: An Attempt To Use Technology To Turn Men Into Gods

Transhumanism Turning Men Into Gods - Public DomainDid you know that the word “transhuman” literally means “beyond human”?  All over the world, scientists and intellectuals are joining the transhumanism movement.  Those that adhere to this philosophy believe that the time has come for us to use technology to take control of our own evolution.  By doing so, they believe that we can give ourselves superhuman powers and radically extend our lifespans.  Right now, the most popular movie in America is “Avengers: Age of Ultron“, and in recent years we have watched films about “mutants” and “superheroes” become some of Hollywood’s biggest moneymakers.  But transhumanists believe that we will soon be able to literally turn ourselves into such superheroes as technology continues to increase at an exponential rate.  And once we have superhuman powers and superhuman intelligence, they are convinced that we will eradicate all sickness, disease, poverty and war.  Many of them actually believe that we will be able to achieve immortality and establish a utopia on Earth just a few decades from now.  In other words, we won’t need a “God” because we will have become our own gods.

At the core of the transhumanist movement is an unshakable faith in the inevitable technological progress of humanity.  Yes, there are some transhumanists that have doubts, but for most transhumanists the solution to all of our problems is more technology.  If you are not familiar with transhumanism, the following is a really good definition that I recently came across

Transhumanism is a cultural and intellectual movement promoting the aim of transforming the human condition fundamentally by developing – and making available – technologies to enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capabilities. Transhumanist thinking studies the potential benefits and hazards of emerging technologies that could overcome basic human limitations. It also addresses ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies. Some transhumanists predict that human beings may eventually transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities that they justify a state of being known as ‘posthuman’.

Transhumanists want to help humans live much longer, and they also want to dramatically increase the quality of those lives.  Ultimately, most transhumanists are fully convinced that they will be able to defeat death altogether.  The following is a short excerpt from an ExtremeTech article

One of the core concepts in transhumanist thinking is life extension: Through genetic engineering, nanotech, cloning, and other emerging technologies, eternal life may soon be possible. Likewise, transhumanists are interested in the ever-increasing number of technologies that can boost our physical, intellectual, and psychological capabilities beyond what humans are naturally capable of (thus the term transhuman). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), for example, which speeds up reaction times and learning speed by running a very weak electric current through your brain, has already been used by the US military to train snipers. On the more extreme side, transhumanism deals with the concepts of mind uploading (to a computer), and what happens when we finally craft a computer with greater-than-human intelligence (the technological singularity).

So would you like to live forever armed with superhuman powers?

The most famous transhumanist in the world, Ray Kurzweil, actually believes that he is going to be able to do that.  But first he has to stay alive long enough for the technologies that he believes are coming to be developed.  So Kurzweil takes 150 supplements a day in an attempt to keep his body in peak condition…

The youthful 65-year-old currently takes 150 supplements a day, which he argues is the first bridge.

The idea is to build enough bridges to ensure the body holds out long enough for life-lengthening technology to come into its own.

He has likened the biology of the body to computer software and believes we are all ‘out of date’.

Kurzweil is absolutely convinced that if he can just stretch his life out long enough that technologies that will enable him to achieve immortality are right around the corner.  In fact, in a piece that he wrote for CNN he expressed his belief that our medical technologies will be “a million times more powerful” than they are today just two decades from now…

Health and medicine is now an information technology and is therefore subject to what I call the “law of accelerating returns,” which is a doubling of capability (for the same cost) about each year that applies to any information technology.

As a result, technologies to reprogram the “software” that underlie human biology are already a thousand times more powerful than they were when the genome project was completed in 2003, and will again be a thousand times more powerful than they are today in a decade, and a million times more powerful in two decades.

So will he be right?

We will just have to wait and see.

For a long time, many in the transhumanist movement (including Kurzweil) have been pointing to a time period between 2030 and 2050 during which they believe something remarkable will happen.  They believe that during that time period something known as “the singularity” will occur.  As technology increases at an exponential rate, they believe that artificial intelligence will begin to greatly surpass human intelligence at some point, and that humanity will merge with this new super intelligence.  Once that happens, they believe that the world will change in ways that we cannot even comprehend today

Kurzweil and his followers believe that a crucial turning point will be reached around the year 2030, when information technology achieves ‘genuine’ intelligence, at the same time as biotechnology enables a seamless union between us and this super-smart new technological environment. Ultimately the human-machine mind will become free to roam a universe of its own creation, uploading itself at will on to a “suitably powerful computational substrate”. We will become essentially god-like in our powers.

Does that sound good to you, or does it sound frightening?

Other transhumanists are not quite as optimistic as Kurzweil and his followers.  Just consider what Max Tegmark, the author of Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, had to say about what life will be like after “the singularity”…

After this, life on Earth would never be the same. Whoever or whatever controls this technology would rapidly become the world’s wealthiest and most powerful, outsmarting all financial markets, out-inventing and out-patenting all human researchers, and out-manipulating all human leaders. Even if we humans nominally merge with such machines, we might have no guarantees whatsoever about the ultimate outcome, making it feel less like a merger and more like a hostile corporate takeover.

Even some of the most prominent scientists in the world are skeptical of what an ultra-powerful artificial intelligence would mean for the future of humanity.  The following is an excerpt from an article co-authored by Stephen Hawking

Looking further ahead, there are no fundamental limits to what can be achieved: there is no physical law precluding particles from being organized in ways that perform even more advanced computations than the arrangements of particles in human brains. An explosive transition is possible, although it may play out differently than in the movie: as Irving Good realized in 1965, machines with superhuman intelligence could repeatedly improve their design even further, triggering what Vernor Vinge called a “singularity” and Johnny Depp’s movie character calls “transcendence.” One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.

But despite these reservations from many in the scientific community, many transhumanists are pushing ahead as hard as they can.  Many of them are absolutely convinced that what they are doing will bring a new golden age to this planet.  Just consider the words of transhumanist Zoltan Istvan

Despite this, people continue to worry that technology and science that make our species more transhuman will be used to create a deeper divide in society for the haves and have-nots. Those worries are unfounded. A close examination of the issues show that transhumanist technology and science liberates us, brings us better health, and has improved the living standards of all people around the world. If you value liberty, equality and progress, it makes sense to embrace the coming age of transhumanism.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

And there are even some transhumanists that couch their hopes and dreams for the future in religious terminology.  For example, transhumanist Mark Pesce is fully convinced that transhumanism will allow ordinary humans “to become as gods”

“Men die, planets die, even stars die. We know all this. Because we know it, we seek something more—a transcendence of transience, translation to incorruptible form. An escape if you will, a stop to the wheel. We seek, therefore, to bless ourselves with perfect knowledge and perfect will; To become as gods, take the universe in hand, and transform it in our image—for our own delight. As it is on Earth, so it shall be in the heavens. The inevitable result of incredible improbability, the arrow of evolution is lipping us into the transhuman – an apotheosis to reason, salvation – attained by good works.”

That is some pretty strong stuff.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to join the discussion by leaving a comment below…

FBI’s Proposals for Mandatory Tech Security ‘Back Doors’ Is Slammed by Bipartisan Committee

An FBI proposal to force companies to provide law enforcement with so-called back doors into consumer phones and computers would be like “drilling a...

Darwin Weeps: Warning Labels and Technology Render the Survival Mindset Obsolete

We have to face it: a survival mentality is now an anomaly.  It's all but obsolete, and we, the sturdy, practical, self-reliant folks are the mutant minority

GMO critics vindicated: Biotech corporations were pushing fraud all along

The sordid sequence of events that opened the floodgates for the genetic takeover of the American food supply – that is, the mass introduction...

Think drone technology is not really the problem? Think again

In response to my recent Guardian opinion piece on the waning coverage of the military use of drones, a number of below the line commentators made the oft-levelled aside that ‘drones don’t kill people, people kill people.’  Tech writer Kelsey Atherton... Read More ›

World’s top tech companies ask Congress to relax NSA spying laws

Global technology giants like Google and Microsoft have teamed up with civil liberties groups to get Congress to change the country’s spying laws. Tech...

Paid By Monsanto: Universities Taking Money From The Biotech Bully

I want food that Grandma ate. How hard is that to understand? I don’t want it chemically lobotomized and coated with poison. I don’t...

U.S. Government Buys Surveillance Technology To Track Drivers in Real Time

Local government officials have the ability to track individual drivers in the U.S. in real time and take pictures of the occupants of their...

“Internet of Things” and “Smart Grid Technologies” to Fully Eviscerate Privacy

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) and Smart Grid technologies will together be aggressively integrated into the developed world’s socioeconomic fabric with little-if-any public or...

Enhanced Misinformation Techniques

Torture supporters outnumbered opponents 2-to-1 on major news shows. When the Senate released its shocking report on CIA torture late last year, it renewed a debate from...

GMO Biotech Companies and Compliant Politicians: Infiltrating India Using Baseless Claims and Deception

A study of GMOs over a four-year plus period by India’s multi-party Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture recommended a ban on GM food crops,...

“Motivated by greed with a complete disregard for food safety and biodiversity.”  Why Food Sovereignty...

Colin Todhunter After a four-year legislative battle, the European parliament has granted member states the ability to decide for themselves whether or not they want to allow crops...

ISIS Again Captures American High-Tech Weapons We Gave to “Moderate” Rebels

Via http://www.washingtonsblog.com Our Strategy Keeps Failing We’ve repeatedly noted that giving arms to the “moderate” Syrian rebels is idiotic … as they’ll just end up in the...

Met Police snooping on tens of thousands with secret technology — report

Metropolitan Police uses secret surveillance technology to follow suspects and gather data from their mobile phones, The Times reports. The gathering is done to...

The GMO Biotech Lobby’s Emotional Blackmail and Bogus Claims

“There are 7.2 billion people on the planet. There will be 9.6 billion by 2050. The demand for food will double… the only...

Streams Of Profit And Rivers Of Poison: Big Agritech’s Lasting Legacy

Colin Todhunter RINF Alternative News Handing over agriculture to Big Agritech concerns is akin to letting the foxes guard the hen house. What do they care...

Drone Nation: 300 companies and public bodies using arial surveillance tech

MPs are calling for a debate about privacy and safety. Jamie Merrill and Oliver Troen report The number of drones operating in British airspace has...

The Secret Government Website Spy Tech Nobody Told You About

RINF Alternative News Today it has been revealed that a Virginia-based firm, AddThis, has developed secret website technology that covertly tracks visitors without their knowledge....

Technological dystopia looming, dooming the West

This latest Russian 'sanctions tilt' toward nuclear confrontation comes alongside a quiet and apparently unconnected launch of a global digital ID system through the...

New Technology Renews Old Fears of Manipulation and Control

In the first half of the 20th century, Americans gained a new awareness of the malleability and manipulability of the human mind, and the...

Court Approves Warrantless Use Of Police Anti-Terror Phone-Tracking Tech

A state supreme court has just approved the use of a special police counterterrorism phone tracking device without a warrant. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin...

GMO Food Crops in India: BJP Government Grants the “Green Light” to Monsanto and...

The Indian government is facing strong opposition for its decision to allow field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops. The Coalition for a GM-Free...

Fine Print of the Food Wars: Monsanto and Biotech Industry Pushing for World Food...

Creating ‘ownership’ of seed through patents and intellectual property rights and imposing it globally through the WTO, the biotech industry has established a monopoly...

Apple: Court Gives 21,000 Workers Green Light For Class Action Against Tech Giant

Cupertino computer firm could face tens of millions in payouts to current and former employees, say legal experts Nearly 21,000 current and former Apple employees will...

Acquiescing to Big Biotech: The Relentless Drive to Force GMOs into Britain

Colin Todhunter A report just published by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee on food security in Britain supports Environment Secretary Owen Paterson's...

Predictive Technology: A New Tool For The Thought Police

by Nicholas West - Predictive technology is exploding, in stealth, across the virtual landscape. The arrival of Big Data initiatives by government, as well as...

Peace Out GMOs: California and GMO Ground Zero Hawaii Organizations Unite to Peacefully Protest...

A statewide California protest has been called for this Thursday as worldwide resistance against the practices of the largest international chemical companies which produce...

US tech giants seek protection against overseas NSA snooping

In an epic battle of behemoths, Microsoft and four other US technology companies are seeking legal protection in a Manhattan court against US intelligence...

Monsanto, Syngenta, Pioneer et al.: Through Political Cooptation and Corruption, the GMO Biotech Sector...

Colin Todhunter The proposal to hand back some decision powers to member states of the European Union regarding GMO approvals is currently being discussed (1). It...

The GMO Biotech Lobby Is Kicking Open The Door To Europe

Global Research 6/6/2014, Countercurrents 7/6/2014

The proposal to hand back some decision powers to member states of the European Union regarding GMO approvals is currently being discussed (1). It will be voted on by member states on 12 June. According to Corporate Europe Observatory, biotech firms regard it as an opportunity to break the stalemate and finally get their GM crops growing in Europe's fields. The proposal has the biotech lobby's fingerprints all over it (2).


The proposal states that for a member state to ban a GMO, it would first have to ask the GM company itself not to market it in its territory. If the company does not agree, the member state's second option is to give certain policy arguments, from a limited set of possibilities. Apart from granting biotech companies the power to resist policies and decisions made by democratically elected governments, the fear is that the types of arguments that governments will be allowed to put forward will bring about legal uncertainty and may simply be swept aside when challenged in court (2). If the company doesn’t want its product to be banned, the concern is that the new system will be designed to work in its favour and sovereign governments will be powerless to act.


Documents obtained via Freedom of Information (FoI) acts by GeneWatch in the UK show how the biotech lobby group EuropaBio has been advocating this approach for two years. One of the documents obtained, 'A new strategy on GM issues', concludes that a fresh approach is needed to break the deadlock on GM crops inEurope. In short this involves:


i) An "amended nationalisation proposal" putting as a condition that member states can only apply for a national ban if they have first asked the company to refrain from marketing the GM crop in their country, and if the company has refused.


ii) Allowing a contamination threshold agreed on by member states to allow the presence of unauthorised GMOs in seeds (this is already the case for animal feed, but not yet for food and seeds).


iii) EU member states should no longer vote against a GM crop application (even when they are against it) at a European level if they can use one i) or ii) to gain a national ban.


Fearing that this strategy is merely an attempt to bypass and weaken the current regulatory framework and pick off countries individually, Liz O’Neill of GM Freeze states:

This is all about getting more GM crops into the ground more quickly. Collective decision making hasn’t allowed GM crops to be grown widely in the EU because the majority of EU countries don’t want them.”

Dr Helen Wallace of GeneWatch concludes that the UK Government has been working closely with the GM industry "to get a Monsanto-friendly version of the opt-out.” The industry and the UKgovernment are striving to break the deadlock in decisions on GM approvals for cultivation. She says:

“If member states back down from highlighting the environmental harms of RoundUp Ready GM crops, these could be fast-tracked into the ground in some parts of Europe… We need to be improving the GM risk assessments not facilitating contamination of food, feed and seed in the European market with GM crops that nobody wants.”
Collusion between the biotech lobby and government


The set of documents released to GeneWatch indicate a very cosy relationship between the lobby groups EuropaBio and the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC) and the GM team within the UK Ministry of Environment DEFRA. They highlight a series of secretive industry-government meetings and agreements that the public was meant to remain in the dark over.  


The ABC is a UK-based lobby group whose membership only comprises the six largest agrochemical multinationals: BASF, Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, Pioneer (DuPont) and Syngenta. The ABC is a member of EuropaBio.


GeneWatch has published a detailed assessment (3) of the many emails released following their FoI request regarding the UK industry lobby’s dealings with the government. They show the extent of receptiveness of people inside the government to industry influence on issues like science and research funding, GM regulation and the pro-GM Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).


Owen Paterson is praised in one EuropaBio letter for his "vocal leadership" on GM issues. Paterson was appointed Secretary of State for the Environment in the same year, in September 2012. He has subsequently been accused of being an industry puppet and of totally misrepresenting the reality and efficacy of GMOs (4). Moreover, under Paterson’s leadership, the UK Government has changed its position on the national opt out from being opposed to being in favour.


On a European level, Chief Scientific Advisor to the EU President Anne Glover is also forwarding the case for the GM industry. LikePaterson, her ‘vocal leadership’ is also based on falsehoods and misrepresentations (5).


The GM sector - via DEFRA, the ABC, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture (6), strategically placed scientists with their ‘independent’ reports (7) and the industry-backed Science Media Centre (8) - is mounting a full-fledged assault onBritain.


Contamination risks


Shifting from a Europe-wide ban on GMOs to national bans could not only lead to allowing GM crops into Europe, but could also pose other problems. GM Freeze recently launched a briefing that highlights the very real risk of cross-border contamination between GM and non-GM food crops.

The briefing ‘Contamination Matters - Why GM can’t be managed at a national level’ (9) has been published in advance of the EU vote on 12 June. It highlights the risks associated with cross-border contamination by examining three detailed examples of real contamination events that caused significant disruption to food supply, farmers’ livelihoods and the broader agricultural economy, including international trade. The contamination incidents detailed in the briefing involve experimental GM strains of American rice, Chinese rice and Canadian flax. All were supposed to be grown under tightly controlled trial conditions but ended up in food.


GM Freeze Director Liz O’Neill comments:

“The idea of individual countries being able to ban GM sounds appealing, but sadly it won’t work. Pollen and seed don’t respect national boundaries any more than they give way on a roundabout, and experience shows that once the GM genie is out there we cannot put it back in the bottle. The costs can be huge.”
Letting the ‘genie out of the bottle; is exactly what the GMO sector wants, though. Contamination works to its advantage (10), has worked to its advantage and is an issue that is affecting the entire globe (11,12).


Liz O’Neill is concerned that many people don’t understand what a ‘yes’ to this proposal on 12 June would mean:

“GM supporters, including our own Environment Minister Owen Paterson, are throwing away the whole concept of a common market to further their own support for a technology that raises far more questions than it answers. Their refusal to first put in place a reasonable, clear liability regime to protect the food system and the environment speaks volumes.”
Such concerns mirror what is happening elsewhere in the world, not least in India. There, 200 crops are to be open field tested, despite warnings from the Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert Committee and recommendations about risks, protocols and regulations (13).


As is the case with the UK, in India GMO biotech corporations are forming government backed ‘public-private partnerships’ to gain a financially lucrative, strategic stranglehold in agriculture, not least in setting the research and policy development agenda, in an attempt to force GM products into the country (14,15). And, as in the UK, the whole situation reeks of vested interests and the government working hand in glove with the GMO biotech sector (16)


Environmentalist Aruna Rodrigues may be speaking about India in the following passage, but her words could also easily apply to other countries, not least the UK:

“Ministries, least of all ‘promoting’ Ministries, should not have the authority to allow the novel technology of GMOs into Indian agriculture bypassing authentic democratic processes. Those processes require the widest possible and transparent consultation… After all, it is every woman, man and child, and our animals, an entire nation that will quite literally have to eat the outcome of a GM policy that delivers up our agriculture to it: if a GMO is unsafe, it will remain irreversibly unsafe. And it will remain in the environment and that is another dimension of impact.” (17)
From Indiato Europe, democratic processes are being bypassed, the public is being sidelined and lied to and agriculture is being delivered up to powerful biotech corporations. This issue is global. It affects everyone.


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Notes




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