Sunday, May 27, 2018

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Monsanto’s ‘less-volatile’ dicamba herbicide receives quiet EPA approval

The EPA has quietly approved the usage of Monsanto’s brand new herbicide, which the company says is less “volatile” than all alternative dicamba-based compounds...

Glyphosate and Atrazine: EPA posts, then retracts, reports on top herbicide chemicals

The EPA recently posted online reports on two disputed herbicide chemicals, only to pull them offline...

Video: Potentially toxic herbicide widely used in NYC – official report

Environmental activists are battling the NYC authorities. They are demanding the release of data concerning the use of the potentially dangerous herbicide. Via Youtube

Monsanto Takes Another Hit with UK Supermarket Pulling Their Herbicide

Strength in numbers proved to be a winning mantra for activists against Monsanto: a petition 90,000 signatures strong recently forced UK supermarket Waitrose to...

Pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate now strongly linked to Parkinson’s disease and other neurological...

The genes of the human race have never been under such intense pressure from their surrounding environment. Pesticide and herbicide chemicals that confuse, distort...

Lawsuit Targets EPA’s Failure to Release Public Records on Toxic Herbicide

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Environmental Protection Agency today for failing to provide public records regarding its approval of Enlist Duo, a...

California to List World’s Most Commonly Used Herbicide as Carcinogen

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California’s Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will list glyphosate – a widely used herbicide dangerous to people and linked...

World Health Organization Determines That Major Herbicide, 2,4-D, May Cause Cancer

On Tuesday, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) determined that the widely used herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid...

Paul Hobbs’ Herbicide Spraying Upsets Parents and Neighbors

Apple Blossom School has a nice ring to it, as does the Orchard View School at its side. The nearby Tree House Hollow pre-school,...

New Study: Monsanto’s #1 Herbicide Directly Linked to Chronic Disease Spike

A new correlation study published in the Journal of Organic Systems has linked glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide, Roundup, to an enormous...

‘Stop the Toxic Treadmill’: EPA Sued for Approving Controversial Herbicide

Green groups slam the agency for green-lighting Dow Chemical's Enlist Duo, whose key ingredient 2,4-D is also found in Agent Orange Sarah Lazare Green groups on...

Monsanto’s Herbicide Linked to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic: Could It Topple the Company?

Monsanto's herbicide Roundup has been linked to a mysterious fatal kidney disease epidemic that has appeared in Central America, Sri Lanka and India. Jeff Ritterman,...

New Study finds Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide 125 Times More Toxic Than Regulators Say

Sayer Ji RINF Alternative News A highly concerning new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International reveals that despite the still relatively benign reputation of agrochemicals such...

Half a Million People to EPA: Stop ‘Largest Expansion of a Known Toxic Herbicide’

As the EPA appears poised to OK new herbicide duo containing 2,4-D, watchdogs sound alarm. Andrea Germanos Over half a million people including scientists, doctors and...

Genetic Engineering Companies Promised Reduced Pesticide Use … But GMO Crops Have Led to...

RINF Alternative News  Reprinted with permission.  One of the Main Selling Points for GE Crops — Decreased Pesticide Use — Has Been Totally Debunked One of the...

USDA goes forward with herbicide-resistant GMO seeds

The commercial use of new herbicide-resistant, genetically modified corn and soybean seeds moved one step closer to reality on Friday when the United States...

Another Win for Monsanto: US Raises Allowable Levels of Glyphosate Roundup Herbicide in Food...

Biotech giant Monsanto has been awarded yet another victory by the federal government thanks to a recent Environmental Protection Agency decision to allow larger...

Dutch City of Rotterdam Bans Monsanto Glyphosate Roundup Herbicide

by Elizabeth Renter Some cynics write off citizen action including petitions and sign-carrying protestors. They don’t believe such small efforts can make any big difference....

Second-Largest Dutch City Bans Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

Elizabeth Renter Natural SocietyJuly 26, 2013 Some cynics write off citizen action including petitions...

What do Pesticides, Herbicides and Antibiotics have in Common?

There are three natural catastrophes occurring within nature in slow motion at the moment and they are our fault. All three catastrophes stem from...

Monsanto Roundup: The Impacts of Glyphosate Herbicide on Human Health. Pathways to Modern Diseases

by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff  Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, is the most popular herbicide used worldwide. The industry asserts it is minimally...

Is It Time To Acknowledge Roundup Herbicide As A Contraceptive?

How much longer will we deny the growing body of research linking Roundup to infertility before calling this chemical a contraceptive? Following closely on the...

Monsanto's 'EPA Cheerleading Division' Raises Herbicide Limits To Alarming Levels

The EPA, whose mission is to "to protect human health and the environment," has approved Monsanto's request to allow levels of glyphosate (Roundup) contamination in...

EPA Ups Allowable Residue of Monsanto's Toxic Herbicide on Food

In a little reported development, the Environmental Protection Agency last week issued a new rule raising the allowable concentration of Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate, otherwise...

EPA Ups Allowable Residue of Monsanto's Toxic Herbicide on Food

In a little reported development, the Environmental Protection Agency last week issued a new rule raising the allowable concentration of Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate, otherwise...

Genetic Engineering and Corporate Agribusiness: GMOs and the Impacts of Glyphosate Herbicide

Seeds evolved for millions of years before humans invented corporate agribusiness. Genetic selection to improve crops began only when people invented farming. Early on,...

Roundup herbicide causes smorgasbord of fatal diseases, new study concludes

(NaturalNews) The immense dangers associated with exposure to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide are becoming incontrovertible, with the latest indictment of this deadly chemical cocktail coming...

Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset

Food and agriculture across the world is in crisis. Food is becoming denutrified and unhealthy and diets less diverse. There is a loss of biodiversity, which threatens food security,...

Meet US military’s dystopian plans — RT US News

DARPA, the US Military’s research arm, has revealed it’s one step closer to achieving its goal...

The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is Bad News for the Planet

Bayer and Monsanto have a long history of collusion to poison the ecosystem for profit. The Trump administration should veto their merger not just...

Offshoring Indian Agriculture: Is India Becoming a GMO Trash Can?

The regulatory system for GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in India is in tatters. So said the Coalition for a GMFree India (CGMFI) in 2017 after media reports about...

Sickening Relations: The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector

The Royal Society in the UK is a self-governing fellowship of distinguished scientists. Its purpose is reflected in its founding charters of the 1660s: to...

Roaming Charges: Stop Making Nonsense

+ As warped and fragmentary as the Nunes memo on FISA warrants may be, it provides a brief peak into the sleazy tactics used...

Fabricated Reality: Lobbying for GMO Agriculture in India 

Richard John Roberts is a prominent biochemist and molecular biologist. On his recent visits to India, he has talked about the supposed virtues of...

‘Decades of deceptive tactics to make billions of dollars’ — RT US News

Monsanto has been using different tactics to suppress vital information for people who are being exposed...

Monsanto, Bayer and Neoliberalism: A Case of Hobson’s Choice

A Bayer marketing professional recently stated on Twitter that critics of GMOs deny choice to farmers. It’s a common accusation by the pro-GMO lobby....

GMOs, Global Agribusiness and the Destruction of Choice

One of the myths perpetuated by the pro-GMO (genetically modified organisms) lobby is that critics of GMOs in agriculture are denying choice to farmers...

Using Science and Philosophy to Decode Modernity

Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | CC BY 2.0 “Forty percent of the United States drains into the Mississippi. It’s agriculture. It’s golf...

The Voice of America as Trojan Horse

...or Democracy as American franchise. The Voice of America has always been a ploy to coerce the people into believing that state corporatism is the...

Monsanto promises cash to farmers who don’t abandon weed killer linked to crop destruction...

Monsanto is offering cash incentives to US farmers who use a weed killer that is facing...

Your Taxpayer Dollars Are Funding Corporate Propaganda

While Congress hasn’t accomplished much in 2017, it did manage to pass a budget resolution — and within that budget, a sum of $3...

No correlation between popular Monsanto pesticide and cancer ‒ study — RT US News

Published time: 9 Nov, 2017 20:56 A pesticide used by agribusiness giant Monsanto does not cause...

GM Food Crops Illegally Growing in India: The Criminal Plan to Change the Genetic...

The GM Contamination Register database is run by Genewatch and Greenpeace and contains cases of genetically modified (GM) contamination dating from 1997. The authors of a 2014...

Rolling Back the Tide of Pesticide Poison, Corruption and Looming Mass Extinction   

An anthropogenic mass extinction is underway that will affect all life on the planet and humans will struggle to survive the phenomenon. So claims...

The Global Food and Health Crisis: Monsanto’s Science is Bogus

By Rosemary Mason and Colin Todhunter Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the new director general of the World Health Organization (WHO). With a $4 billion annual...

GM Mustard and the Indian Government: The Game Is up, the Emperor Has no...

The next stage of the case involving the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India is to be heard on 15 September in...

Cultural Imperialism and the Seeds of Catastrophe: Ripping up the Social Fabric of India 

Foreign capital is dictating the prevailing development agenda in India. The aim is to replace current structures with a system of industrial agriculture suited...

Trigger Happy With Toxins

For many years, genetically engineered crops were said to be environmentally responsible. Those crops have genes from different species implanted in them, giving them traits...

In OtherWords: September 6, 2017

While much of Houston and southeastern Texas remain underwater, another succession of hurricanes — first Irma and then potentially Jose — is bearing down on the...

Britain exports banned deadly weed killer to developing countries

Thousands of tonnes of highly-toxic weed killer not authorized for use in the EU is...

Monsanto leaks suggest it tried to ‘kill’ cancer research about notorious weed killer

Controversial agricultural giant Monsanto attempted to ‘kill’ research on Roundup weed killer, which is suspected of...

Reuters vs. UN Cancer Agency: Are Corporate Ties Influencing Science Coverage?

Ever since they classified the world’s most widely used herbicide as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” a team of international scientists at the World Health...

Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes

Photo by Qfamily | CC BY 2.0 It was twenty years ago last month that Food & Water published our report on Vermont’s atrazine addiction,...

Codex Alimentarius and Monsanto’s Toxic Relations

“Our soils are sick from greed-based, irresponsible agricultural practices, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, erosion and mineral depletion, all of which stop or reduce adequate microbial...

The Biotech Trade Empire Strikes Back—at USDA!

The American Farm Bureau organized letter on proposed new rules regulating genetically engineered (GE) crops is short, just two pages, with three pages of agribusiness signatories,...

A Trillion-Ton Iceberg Broke Off Antarctica and All I Can Think About Is Food

On Wednesday, an iceberg the size of Delaware broke loose from Antarctica and floated into the sea. Researchers, who had been anticipating the breakup...

In India, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences Ditches Science for Spin in Push for...

The case surrounding the approval of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India is coming to a head on the back of the Genetic Engineering...

Monsanto battle: California to add glyphosate to its cancer-causing chemicals list

The state of California has moved ahead in its ongoing legal battle with agribusiness giant Monsanto,...

Concerned Americans Say New GMO Regs Would Make Oversight Worse, Not Better

WASHINGTON - Today marks the close of three U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) public comment periods on...

Of Mice, Monsanto and a Mysterious Tumor

Call it the case of the mysterious mouse tumor. It's been 34 years since Monsanto Co. presented US regulators with a seemingly routine study analyzing...

Toxic Relations: Stop Colluding with Monsanto and the Agrochemical Industry!   

By Rosemary Mason and Colin Todhunter Environmental campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason has just written to the UK’s Policy Advisor Nigel Chadwick at the Chemicals Regulation...

Lawsuit Targets Potential Cancer Threat in the South's Farming Communities

More than 800 cancer patients nationwide are involved in a class-action lawsuit that accuses the chemical giant Monsanto of failing to adequately warn them...

20 Years of GM Soy in the Southern Cone of Latin America, 20 Reasons...

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has just published its annual report, which confirms that the Southern Cone of Latin...

The Public or the Agrochemical Industry: Who Does the European Chemicals Agency Serve?  

By Rosemary Mason and Colin Todhunter Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has just written an open letter to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Director of Risk...

Prominent Lawyer Prashant Bhushan Urges Indian Government to Stop Commercialisation of GM Mustard

The environment ministry in India will make the final call after the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee recently gave a positive recommendation for the commercial...

Britain Must Break Free from the Agrochemical Cartel: Rosemary Mason Calls on ECP to...

Agrochemical manufacturers are knowingly poisoning people and the environment in the name of profit and greed. Communities, countries, ecosystems and species have become disposable...

Monsanto accused of hiring army of trolls to silence online dissent – court papers

Biotech giant Monsanto is being accused of hiring, through third parties, an army of Internet trolls...

Banned chemicals contaminate groundwater near US bases on Okinawa

Elevated levels of two banned pollutants used by the US military have been detected in groundwater running under Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on...

Monsanto’s Violence in India: The Sacred and the Profane

From Hinduism and Paganism to Thor, Woden and Monsanto, humans have lost their ancient beliefs, practices and connection with nature. The old practices, so...

Behind a Corporate Monster: How Monsanto Pushes Agricultural Domination

A farmhand loads genetically modified corn seed into a planter on Bo Stone's farm in Rowland, North Carolina, April 20, 2016. (Photo: Jeremy M....

Stop Protecting the Criminality of the Global Pesticides Industry

The agrichemicals industry wallows like an overblown hog in a cesspool of corruption. With its snout firmly embedded in the trough of corporate profit...

Monsanto attempt to block glyphosate from California cancer list tossed by judge

Published time: 13 Mar, 2017 22:07 A California state court has dismissed a legal challenge by multinational...

Sweat Shops, GMOs and Neoliberal Fundamentalism: The Agroecological Alternative to Global Capitalism

Much of the argument in favour of GM agriculture involves little more than misrepresentations and unscrupulous attacks on those who express concerns about the technology and its impacts....

Corporate Power Reality Check: Organic vs Industrial Chemical-Dependent Agriculture – Philosophies and Practices

What follows is a summary of this article, 'A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed', and is a preamble to...

From Agriculture to Demonetisation: Not ‘Make in India’ but Made in Washington

Colin Todhunter A version of the following piece was originally published in June 2016. However, since then, India’s PM Narendra Modi has embarked on a...

Entrenching Capitalist Agriculture in India Under the Guise of Development

Colin Todhunter Washington's long-term plan has been to restructure indigenous agriculture across the world and tie it to an international system of trade based on...

Washington state sues Monsanto over ‘omnipresent and terrifically toxic material’

PCB pollution is in “every waterway in the state,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said as...

Want To Protect Your Eyesight?

By Dr. Mercola It wasn’t long ago, relatively speaking, that humans woke and slept along with the rise and setting of the sun. While the invention...

GM Mustard in India: “fudged data,” “unremitting fraud” and “monumentally bogus”

Colin Todhunter The case of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India has reached the Supreme Court. The government has said it will bow to the...

The Ruling American Oligarchy

I am now convinced that the Oligarchy that rules America intends to steal the presidential election. In the past, the oligarchs have not cared...

Lower Yields and Agropoisons: What is the Point of GM Mustard in India?   

Colin Todhunter (RINF) - The decision whether to allow the commercialisation of the first genetically modified (GM) food crop (mustard) in India rumbles on. As...

Agrochemicals and the Cesspool of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes to the US EPA 

Colin Todhunter (RINF) - In her recent open letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason documents what amounts to...

Marijuana, an Amazing Natural Drug

Prohibition kills a massive number of people in the United States every year. It does help make a few people extremely wealthy, but at...

Bayer’s Trojan Horse: Criminal Prosecution Required to Stop GM Food Crops Fraudulently Entering India

Colin Todhunter The decision whether to allow the commercialisation of the first genetically modified (GM) food crop (mustard) in India is close. Serious conflicts of...

“The Dead Cannot Make A Comeback” – Is India About To Make A Catastrophic...

Colin Todhunter Global oilseed, agribusiness and biotech corporations are engaged in a long-term attack on India's local cooking oil producers. In just 20 years, they...

More Shocking Vaccine News

Folks, I have written about the problems with vaccines in previous blog posts.  Now, a new serious contamination problem with our vaccines has been...

How bought scientists hide the true danger of Monstanto products

Monsanto is one of the most hated companies on the planet. ...Unless you ask FORTUNE Magazine, that is. In that case, it's apparently one...

Widespread crop damage – brought to you by Monsanto

Farmers in Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee are confronting widespread crop damage and bracing for lower yields as a result of agrichemical giant Monsanto’s botched...

Media Silence and the Agrochemicals Industry: The Slow Poisoning of Health and the Environment  

Colin Todhunter It’s an all too common tale of dirty deeds, shady deals and propaganda. Rosemary Mason’s recent open letter to journalists at The Guardian...

GMO labeling law is ‘fake’, would not ‘truly’ expose engineered food – experts to...

A new controversial GMO labeling law signed by President Barack Obama would strip US consumers of their right to learn about genetically engineered products...

Unauthorized GMO wheat plants found growing in Washington state

Genetically modified wheat was found growing in a Washington state field, according to agricultural officials. Regulatory...

Dangerous Liaisons: ChemChina's Bid for Syngenta

Protesters in Munich, Germany, demonstrate against "patents on life" by companies such as Syngenta and Monsanto, January 20, 2016. (Photo: Michaela Handrek-Rehle...

In the Shadow of Monsanto: GMO Regulation and the Right to Know

Colin Todhunter The GMO agritech sector and food companies have spent tens of millions of dollars in the US to prevent the labelling of foods containing genetically...

Monsanto, Bayer and the Push for Corporate Cannabis

(Photo: Adria Vidal) California's "Adult Use of Marijuana Act" (AUMA) is a voter initiative characterized as legalizing marijuana use. But critics warn that...

Pro-GMO Spin Masquerading as Science Courtesy of “Shameful White Men of Privilege”

Colin Todhunter Unlike their predecessors, early 21st century missionaries do not come armed with bibles. They come as members of a scientific priesthood, spouting slick...

Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?  

Colin Todhunter Describing itself as a major ‘global communications, stakeholder engagement and business strategy’ company, APCO Worldwide is a lobby/PR agency with firm links to the Wall...

GMOs, “Biggest Fraud in the History of Science” – Some ‘Questions and Answers’

Colin Todhunter The decision on whether to renew EU approval for the herbicide glyphosate is to go to an appeals panel on 23 June after...

Early signs of human fertility collapse caused by pollution

The perpetuity of the male gender is increasingly threatened by a constant onslaught of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These include things like bisphenol A (BPA)...

Matt Ridley’s Pro-GMO Blunders and Ignorance in the British Press

In his recent piece for The Times newspaper in the UK, Viscount Matt Ridley argues that a new report from the American National Academies of Sciences (NAS) leaves...

‘GMO Crops Are Tools of a Chemical Agriculture System’

Janine Jackson interviewed Patty Lovera about Monsanto protests for the May 27, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. Patty Lovera: “People’s growing...

Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars

Celebration of Memorial Day in the US, originally Decoration Day, commenced shortly after the conclusion of the Civil War. This is a national holiday...

Monsanto and the Poisoning of Europe

This week, a Standing Committee of plant scientists from 28 member states in Europe is likely to endorse the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA)...

Conflict of interest? Members of UN panel on glyphosate have Monsanto ties

Two people on the UN panel that just ruled the herbicide glyphosate “unlikely” to cause cancer...

GMO crops not harming human health, but not boosting yields – report

Consumption of genetically modified food has not harmed human health, according to a new report by...

Monsanto and the Poisoning of Europe: An Open letter to the EFSA Chief Attorney...

This week, a Standing Committee of plant scientists from 28 member states in Europe is likely to endorse the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA)...

The Political Economy of Dead Meat: Why Mad Cows are the Least of It

There’s a sour irony to the fact that it’s taken the extremely rare mad cow disease, which has thus far killed a very small...

Glyphosate in the EU: Product Promoters Masquerading as Regulators in a “cesspool of corruption”?

On 13 April, the EU Parliament called on the European Commission to restrict certain permitted uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, best known in...

Monsanto weedkiller relabeled by activists to expose alleged cancer-causing properties

Activists relabeled bottles of Monsanto weedkiller in hardware stores across Britain on Wednesday in a bid to raise concerns over the product’s health implications....

The EPA’s Ties to Monsanto Could Be Disastrous for the US

It's time to end the revolving door between the private sector and government agencies like the EPA, because the American people deserve government regulators...

The Term “War Crime “ Is Obsolete

Tough not to call it a war crime when the U.S. dropped more bombs during the Vietnam War than it had on Germany during...

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...

Quaker Oats sued for use of glyphosate in ‘100% natural’ products

Quaker Oats is facing a new lawsuit following private tests that found trace amounts of the herbicide glyphosate on the company's products. Thus, plaintiffs...

Trampling Science to Boost Nuclear Power

When the Washington Post and New York Times are making the same corporate-friendly point, it’s safe to assume that some PR agency somewhere is...

Quaker instant oatmeal and Silk non-GMO soy creamer found contaminated with alarming levels of...

According to glyphosate laboratory testing conducted at Microbe Inotech Laboratories, Inc., in St. Louis, the Quaker Instant Oatmeal (Strawberries and Cream) sample tested at...

“We are being silently poisoned by thousands of untested and unmonitored chemicals” The case...

On 13 April, the EU Parliament called on the European Commission to restrict certain permitted uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, best known in...

Capitalism And Global Agribusiness: From Ford To Monsanto, It’s For Your Own Good

“We must… build our own local food systems that create new rural-urban links, based on truly agroecological food production... We cannot allow Agroecology to...

America’s mass apathy and self-destructive fatigue brought on by chemically-laced, nutrient-depleted junk foods and...

There are a lot of folks walking around in a bleary-eyed state of perpetual fatigue and an I-don't-care-what-happens mentality. Chances are, you've witnessed these...

GMO and the Right to Know: But What’s Hidden Beneath the Label?

Rachel Parent’s campaign (Kids Right To Know) on GMO labelling has been the subject of a GM industry strategy aimed at countering her message. Despite this,...

Bee and butterfly populations are dwindling: crops, the economy, and the future of the...

In the quest for power and control, mankind has lost reverence for the biology and interconnected ecology that supports life on Earth. As mankind...

Ditch the soy: There’s a lot more risk in this than you’d ever imagine

In an attempt to eat better, many people opt to replace farm-fresh eggs and grass-fed meats with tofu, mostly likely because we've been "fed"...

Poisoned, Marginalised, Bankrupt and Dead: The Role of Agroecology in Resisting the Corporate Stranglehold...

It is becoming increasingly apparent that food and agriculture across the world is in crisis. Food is becoming denutrified, unhealthy and poisoned with chemicals...

An Essential Citizen’s Guide to the Truth About GM Crops and Food

GMO Myths and Truths: A Citizen's Guide to the Evidence on the Safetyand Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops and Foods, 3rd Edition, by Claire Robinson Mphil, Michael...

Hillary’s Secret Letter And The Whole Matter Of Endless War And The Almost Complete...

John Chuckman (RINF) - An almost perfect measure of the decay of democratic values in American politics is found in a letter from Hillary Clinton to Haim...

Monsanto’s War on Mother Nature

Joseph Sanders (RINF) - A perfect example of how insane the system actually is.. Monsanto Company is ranked number 52 among over 30 million US...

Pro-GMO Activism in India: Journalism gives way to Spin, Smears and Falsehoods 

In a recent piece for the magazine Swarajya (an online and print publication based in India​), its national affairs editor, Surajit Dasgupta, makes it clear that he has...

Or your money back: Monsanto execs return $4mn in bonuses after SEC settlement

Two Monsanto executives returned their lavish bonuses, amounting to nearly $4 million, after the agribusiness giant agreed to pay federal regulators $80 million as...

Washington Post’s Food Columnist Goes to Bat for Monsanto–Again

Washington Post food columnist Tamar Haspel on organic food: “It’s easy to make it look like people care a whole lot more than they...

“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants

Have you ever read all of those pro-GMO scientists-cum-lobbyists professing their love of science? They are always talking about how science must prevail over...

False Claims and Flawed Conclusions Being Used to Push GM Crops into India

Writing in India’s Deccan Herald newspaper on 26 January 2016, Kalyan Ray places great store in a flawed year-old British Parliament document to promote a...

Monsanto sues California agency over plans to list Roundup as cancer-causing chemical

Agrochemical giant Monsanto has taken a fight for its leading weed killer to court in California, seeking to prevent glyphosate, the main ingredient in...

From Copenhagen to India, Restoring the Link Between Farmer and Consumer and Challenging the...

  “Food systems have been reduced to a model of industrialised agriculture controlled by a few transnational food corporations together with a small group of...

Saving the world? GMO’s only boost corporate profit while destroying health

Right now, all the focus for increasing crop yields is centered on one method: Genetically modifying crops to make them resistant to pesticides and...

Monsanto to face tribunal at The Hague for ‘ecocide’ against humanity and the planet

An international tribunal made up of some of the world's leading environmental and human rights groups, is set to hold the world's most evil...

Taiwan bans GMOs from school lunches… mandates GMO labeling nationwide… throws down gauntlet on...

Even as the fascist, corrupt U.S. government and its regulators (FDA and USDA) actively conspire with the biotech industry to poison Americans with genetically...

Obama, the Crocodile Tears of a Cold Hearted Killer

OBAMA’S TEARS  “Even those tears, I me mine “I me mine, I me mine” — the Beatles   John Chuckman   (RINF) - Had I seen the image of Obama,...

Video: No-Grow Zone: IDF destroys Palestinian crops in Gaza

[youtube] The Israeli army has destroyed swathes of Palestinian crops in Gaza. The IDF used crop-dusters to spray herbicides damaging 400 acres of vegetables...

Batting for GM in India: Smears, Misinformation and Depoliticising the Political

Sir Richard John Roberts is a biochemist and molecular biologist and currently works at New England Biolabs in the US. He is also a...

GMOs and “Unremitting Fraud” in India: Petition Filed for Contempt of Court Against Members...

  A petition has been filed by activist and campaigner Aruna Rodrigues against three persons of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC). The GEAC is...

Extinction is Forever

Robert J. Burrowes What do the Pyrenean ibex, St. Helena olive, Baiji dolphin, Liverpool pigeon, Eastern cougar, West African black rhinoceros, Formosan clouded leopard, Chinese...

The Toxic Agriculture of Monsanto and Big Agribusiness vs Agroecology Rooted in Communities and...

  "We are being far too kind to industrialised agriculture. The private sector has endorsed it, but it has failed to feed the world, it...

After selling out to Monsanto, National Geographic now purchased by Rupert Murdoch and hit...

The photographers and reporters for National Geographic are in a unique and very influential position to document and record the failures of...

The Enduring Crime of ‘Agent Orange’

A half century ago, the U.S. government began a campaign of spraying Agent Orange herbicides on the forests of Southeast Asia, thinking that by...

European Agency Says Monsanto’s Flagship Product Is Not ‘Likely’ Carcinogenic Based on Flawed Science

With the European Union’s approval of glyphosate set to expire at the end of the year, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) today announced...

Poisoned Agriculture: Depopulation and Human Extinction’

There is a global depopulation agenda. The plan is to remove the ‘undesirables’, ‘the poor’ and others deemed to be ‘unworthy’ and a drain...

Strong Links between Glyphosate and a Multitude of Cancers that are “reaching epidemic proportions”:...

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. The use of glyphosate is widespread throughout Europe. However, on 20 March the World Health Organisation’s...

Rice, wheat, mustard … India drives forward first GMO crops under veil of secrecy

A secret application has been made to India's GEAC (Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee) for a new variety of GMO mustard to be released for...

Seeds of Corruption: “Unneeded, Unwanted and Unsafe,” the Case of Genetically Modified Mustard in...

In India, genetically modified (GM) mustard is edging closer to becoming the first officially approved GM food crop to be placed on the commercial...

Buckraking on the Food Beat: When Is It a Conflict of Interest?

Tamar Haspel writes a food column for the Washington Post–but her other sources of income are raising questions. (Photo: Gretchen Ertl/Washington Post) In an age...

Poisoned Food, Poisoned Agriculture: Getting off the Chemical Treadmill

A peer-reviewed study published last year in the British Journal of Nutrition, a leading international journal of nutritional science, showed that organic crops and...

The Passing of Bhaskar Save: What the ‘Green Revolution’ did for India

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US Agribusiness, GMOs And The Plundering Of The Planet

RINF, Counterpunch, Countercurrents, Global Research

Small family/peasant farms produce most of the world’s food. They form the bedrock of global food production. Yet they are being squeezed onto less than a quarter of the planet's farmland. The world is fast losing farms and farmers through the concentration of land into the hands of rich and powerful land speculators and agribusiness corporations.

By definition, peasant agriculture prioritises food production for local and national markets as well as for farmers’ own families. Big agritech corporations on the other hand take over scarce fertile land and prioritise commodities or export crops for profit and foreign markets that tend to cater for the needs of the urban affluent. This process displaces farmers from their land and brings about food insecurity, poverty and hunger.

What big agribusiness with its industrial model of globalised agriculture claims to be doing - addressing global hunger and food shortages - is doing nothing of the sort. There is enough evidence to show that its activities actually lead to hunger and poverty - something that the likes of GMO-agribusiness-neoliberal apoligists might like to consider when they propagandize about choice, democracy and hunger: issues that they seem unable to grasp, at least beyond a self-serving superficial level.

Small farmers are being criminalised, taken to court and even made to disappear when it comes to the struggle for land. They are constantly exposed to systematic expulsion from their land by foreign corporations. The Oakland Institute has stated that now a new generation of institutional investors, including hedge funds, private equity and pension funds, is eager to capitalise on global farmland as a new and highly desirable asset class. Financial returns are what matter to these entities, not ensuring food security.

Consider Ukraine, for example. Small farmers operate 16% of agricultural land, but provide 55% of agricultural output, including: 97% of potatoes, 97% of honey, 88% of vegetables, 83% of fruits and berries and 80% of milk. It is clear that Ukraine’s small farms are delivering impressive outputs.

However, The US-backed toppling of that country’s government seems likely to change this with the installed puppet regime handing over agriculture to US agribusiness. Current ‘aid’ packages are contingent on the plundering of the economy under the guise of ‘austerity’ reforms and will have a devastating impact on Ukrainians’ standard of living and increase poverty in the country.

Reforms mandated by the EU-backed loan include agricultural deregulation that is intended to benefit foreign agribusiness corporations. Natural resource and land policy shifts are intended to facilitate the foreign corporate takeover of enormous tracts of land. (From 2016, foreign private investors will no longer be prohibited from buying land.) Moreover, the EU Association Agreement includes a clause requiring both parties to cooperate to extend the use of biotechnology, including GMOs.

In other words, events in Ukraine are helping (and were designed to help) the likes of Monsanto to gain a firm hold over the country’s agriculture.

Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director of the Oakland Institute last year stated that the World Bank and IMF are intent on opening up foreign markets to Western corporations and that the high stakes around control of Ukraine’s vast agricultural sector, the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat, constitute an oft-overlooked critical factor. He added that in recent years, foreign corporations have acquired more than 1.6 million hectares of Ukrainian land.

Western agribusiness had been coveting Ukraine’s agriculture sector for quite some time, long before the coup. It after all contains one third of all arable land in Europe.

An article posted on Oriental Review notes that since the mid-90s the Ukrainian-Americans at the helm of the US-Ukraine Business Council had been instrumental in encouraging the foreign control of Ukrainian agriculture.

In November 2013, the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation drafted a legal amendment that would benefit global agribusiness producers by allowing the widespread use of genetically modified seeds. Oriental Review notes that when GMO crops were legally introduced onto the Ukrainian market in 2013, they were planted in up to 70% of all soybean fields, 10-20% of cornfields, and over 10% of all sunflower fields, according to various estimates (or 3% of the country’s total farmland).

According to Oriental Review, “within two to three years, as the relevant provisions of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU go into effect, Monsanto’s lobbying efforts will transform the Ukrainian market into an oligopoly consisting of American corporations.”

It amounts to little more than the start of the US colonisation of Ukraine’s seed and agriculture sector. This corporate power grab will be assisted by local banks. Oriental Review says they will only offer favourable credit terms to those farmers who agree to use certified herbicides: those that are manufactured by Monsanto.

Interestingly, the investment fund Siguler Guff & Co has recently acquired a 50% stake in the Ukrainian Port of Illichivsk, which specialises in agricultural exports.

We need look no further than to Ukraine's immediate neighbour Poland to see the devastating impact on farmers that Western agribusiness concerns are having there. Land grabs by foreign capital and the threat to traditional (often organic) agriculture have sparked mass protests as big agribusiness seeks to monopolise the food supply from field to plate. The writing is on the wall for Ukraine.

The situation is not unique to Poland, though; the impact of policies that favour big agribusiness and foreign capital are causing hardship, impacting health and destroying traditional agriculture across the world, from India and Argentina to Brazil and Mexico and beyond.

In an article by Christina Sarich, Hilliary Martin, a farmer from Vermont in the US, encapsulates the situation by saying:
"We are here at the [US-Canadian] border to demonstrate the global solidarity of farmers in the face of globalization. The corporate takeover of agriculture has impoverished farmers, starved communities and force-fed us genetically-engineered crops, only to line the pockets of a handful of multinational corporations like Monsanto at the expense of farmers who are struggling for land and livelihood around the world."
The US has since 1945 used agriculture as a tool with which to control countries. And today what is happening in Ukraine is part of the wider US geopolitical plan to drive a wedge between Ukraine and Russia and to subjugate the country.

While the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is intended to integrate the wider EU region with the US economy (again 'subjugate' may be a more apt word), by introducing GMOs into Ukraine and striving to eventually incorporate the country into the EU the hope is that under the banner of ‘free trade’ Monsanto’s aim of getting this technology into the EU and onto the plates of Europeans will become that much easier.

US Agribusiness, GMOs and the Plundering of the Planet

Small family/peasant farms produce most of the world’s food. They form the bedrock of global food production. Yet they are being squeezed onto less...

The Pro-GMO Lobby In Retreat

RINF, Global Research, Countercurrents

It has been such a tough period for the pro-GMO lobby that it’s difficult to know where to begin. But let us start by looking at two pieces of recent research that strike at the very heart of the pro-GMO argument, namely:  

1)      GM crops are needed to feed the world.

2)      The GMO agritech industry is based on sound science and reasoned argument.

GM crops are not needed to feed the world

new report just released by Environmental Working Group has delivered a stinging rebuke to the argument that GM crops are the answer to future global food shortages (also see this, this and this). A thorough analysis of recent research conducted in the US and around the world shows that such crops have not significantly improved the yields of crops such as corn and soy. 

Author of the report Emily Cassidy says:

“Biotech companies and proponents of conventional, industrial agriculture have touted genetically engineered crops as the key to feeding a more populous, wealthier world, but recent studies show that this promise has fallen flat.”

While GM crops have been a mainstay in US agriculture for roughly two decades, they “have not substantially improved global food security” and have instead increased the use of toxic herbicides and led to herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds’. 

The report found that over the last 20 years, yields of both GE corn and soy have been no different from traditionally bred non-GM corn and soy grown in Europe. It argues that corn and soybeans account for roughly 80 percent of the global land area devoted to growing GM crops. Both are overwhelmingly used for animal feed and biofuels, not for food. This is unlikely to change in light of increased consumption of meat around the world and the US biofuels policy requiring production of millions of gallons of corn ethanol to blend into gasoline.

Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Just Label It says:

“Biotech companies and their customers in chemical agriculture have been attempting to sell the benefits of GMOs for two decades. Between exaggerated claims about feeding the world and a dramatic escalation in the use of toxic pesticides, it is no wonder consumers are increasingly skeptical.”

The report concludes that traditionally bred varieties have been the major source of improved crop yields in recent years and this trend is likely to continue. 

Emily Cassidy states:

“Seed companies’ investment in improving the yields of GMOs in already high-yielding areas does little to improve food security; it mainly helps line the pockets of seed and chemical companies and producers of corn ethanol. The world’s resources would be better spent focusing on strategies to actually increase food supplies and access to basic resources for the poor small farmers who need it most.”

Consider that by 2012, 59 percent of the area planted with GM crops were those resistant to glyphosate. Some 26 percent consisted of insecticidal Bt crops and 15 percent were crops carrying both traits. The organisation GRAIN says that is just two traits after 20 years of research and mega-millions of dollars invested. The real measure of what this technology has produced is according to GRAIN to be found in damaged ecosystems, potential health harms, farmer dependency and big profits for the companies.

But profits are and were always the bottom line, not addressing world hunger. If anything, the planting of GM crops is displacing peasants from their lands, depriving local communities of access to food production and increasing food insecurity. Any amount of genetic modification will not address the structural nature of poverty, inequality and hunger, including the geopolitical antecedents.

The GMO agritech industry is not based on sound science and reasoned argument

The second piece of research that strikes at the heart of the industry’s other major claim - that the case for GM agriculture is based on sound science and reasoned argument - is debunked in Steven Druker’s new book. Druker pulls the rug from beneath the GMO agritech industry and its apologists in academia and the media who ceaselessly trumpet their allegiance to discourse based on science. 

Altered Truth, Twisted Genes’ exposes the fraudulent basis upon which the GMO agritech sector is based. GM foods first achieved commercialisation in 1992 but only because the Food and Drug Administration covered up the extensive warnings of its own scientists about their dangers, lied about the facts and then violated federal food safety law by permitting these foods to be marketed without having been proven safe through standard testing.

If the FDA had heeded its own experts’ advice and publicly acknowledged their warnings that GM foods entailed higher risks than their conventional counterparts, Druker says that the GM food venture would have imploded and never gained traction anywhere. He also argues that that many well-placed scientists have repeatedly issued misleading statements about GM foods, and so have leading scientific institutions such as the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the UK’s Royal Society.

While Druker’s book serves to expose the sheer hypocrisy of the industry and its supporters who claim critics to be anti-science and ideologues (a case of projecting their own faults and failings on to critics), Emily Cassidy argues that what GMOs have done is to increase the use of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. She concludes that, unfortunately, the only things popping up faster than herbicide-tolerant superweeds are the unsupported claims of GMOs’ benefits.

Even more bad news

And that neatly leads us on to glyphosate itself. 

On 20 March, the World Health Organisation reached a decision that strikes at the heart of the company. The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said that glyphosate was "classified as probably carcinogenic to humans." This is just one step below the risk designation of "known carcinogen." 

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, which was primarily responsible $5.1 billion of Monsanto’s revenues in 2014.  But that’s not all. The herbicide is used to support Monsanto's Roundup Ready crops, which comprise the vast bulk of the balance of its revenue stream.

Little surprise that with so much money at stake Monsanto is calling for a retraction of the IARC’s report. It remains to be seen if the WHO capitulates.

While the agribusiness sector has a long history of silencing science and scientistsit has now been alleged that USDA scientists are ordered to retract studies, water down findings, remove their name from authorship and endure long indefinite delays in approving publication of papers that may be controversial. Scientists who are targeted by industry complaints find themselves subjected to disruptive investigations, disapprovals of formerly routine requests, disciplinary actions over petty matters and intimidation from supervisors focused on pleasing stakeholders.

So much for open discourse based on sound science and reasoned argument.

And the bad news just keeps coming.

Bt brinjal has failed for the second year in Bangladesh resulting in hardship for farmers, and Monsanto has been forced to pay out $600,000 in fines for not reporting hundreds of uncontrolled releases of toxic chemicals at its eastern Idaho phosphate plant. It also paid out a string of lawsuit settlements totaling $350,000 as a result of its GMOs tainting wheat in seven US states. 

But there is some good news in all of this for Monsanto. Monsanto’s ‘discredit department’  now has more than enough on its plate and will certainly not be closing down any time soon. 

The only thing it will be attempting to shut down are studies that affect the company's profits.

The Pro-GMO Lobby In Retreat

It has been such a tough period for the pro-GMO lobby that it’s difficult to know where to begin. But let us start by...

Damage Limitation Time For Monsanto: Time To Wheel Out Patrick Moore Again… Or Maybe...

Global Research, Countercurrents, RINF, The Nation (Sri Lanka)

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for Monsanto. The company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines for not reporting hundreds of uncontrolled releases of toxic chemicals at its eastern Idaho phosphate plant. It also paid out a string of lawsuit settlements totaling $350,000 as a result of its GMOs tainting wheat in seven US states. Such amounts represent little more than a tap on the wrist for a company that rakes in sales of almost $16 billion dollars annually.

However, on 20 March the World Health Organisation reached a decision that strikes at the heart of the company. The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said that glyphosate was "classified as probably carcinogenic to humans." This is just one step below the risk designation of "known carcinogen." 

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, which was primarily responsible $5.1 billion of Monsanto’s revenues in 2014.  But that’s not all. The herbicide is used to support Monsanto's Roundup Ready crops, which comprise the vast bulk of the balance of its revenue stream.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, herbicide-tolerant biotech plants were grown on virtually all (94%) soybean fields in the US last year and on 89% of all cornfields. Food & Water Watch found the volume of glyphosate applied to those crops increased almost 1,000% between 1996 and 2012, from 15 million pounds to 159 million pounds. The increase in usage has been accelerating in recent years.

Glyphosate has been detected in human bodies, food, water and in the air. Its use is strongly associated with various diseases (see this and this). 

Aaron Blair, a scientist emeritus at the National Cancer Institute who chaired the 17-member working group of the IARC that classified glyphosate as "probably" cancer-causing, says that the classification is appropriate based on current science. Blair also states that there have been hundreds of studies on glyphosate with concerns about the chemical growing over time and added that the IARC group gave particular consideration to two major studies out of Sweden, one out of Canada and at least three in the US.

He stressed that the group did not classify glyphosate as definitely causing cancer:

"We looked at, 'Is there evidence that glyphosate causes cancer?' and the answer is 'probably.' That is different than yes… It is different than smoking and lung cancer. We don't say smoking probably causes cancer. We say it does cause cancer. At one point we weren't sure, but now we are."

By the end of last week, Monsanto's shares had fallen by 2.9% on the back of the IARC’s decision.  

Unsurprisingly, Monsanto has wasted no time in trying to rubbish the WHO findings. The work of cancer specialists from 11 countries was speedily dismissed by Monsanto. In a press release, the company argued the findings are based on ‘junk’ science and cherry picking and are agenda driven. 

Philip Miller, Monsanto's vice-president of global regulatory affairs, said:

"We don't know how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe."

Miller implies that regulatory agencies used objective reason supported by credible science when sanctioning glyphosate. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sanctioning and testing of glyphosate for commercial was seriously corrupted (for example, see this,thisthis and this). Moreover, if Monsanto is going to accuse others of ‘junk’ science and ‘bias’, it has a serious credibility issue given that is has been a long-time leading exponent of  junk science and biased agendas

For instance, Sustainable Pulse has discovered documents from 1991 that show how the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was fully aware of glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential. In 1985, the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate was first considered by an EPA panel. This committee went on to classify glyphosate as a Class C Carcinogen with “suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential.

This Class C classification was changed by the EPA six years later to a Class E category which suggests “evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans.” Sustainable Pulse concludes that the US government is to blame for allowing glyphosate onto the commercial market because it wanted to push it as part of as global campaign to support the US biotech industry in its attempt to dominate global agriculture. In other words, the health of the public was put before the need to protect company profits and foreign policy aims.

We can now expect to see a massive propaganda campaign by Monsanto to deny the science of the IARC and a huge amount of pressure placed on the WHO to retract the study. We can expect to see the usual cheerleaders proclaiming the faith and mouthing the tired cliches about glyphosate's safety, regardless of mounting evidence that demonstrates its harmful health and environmental impacts. 

But who needs science when the cherry-picked type mixed with a good old dose pro-biotech ideology will suffice? Time to wheel out Patrick Moore again... or maybe not!

According to Dave Schubert, head of the cellular neurobiology laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California:

“There are a number of independent, published manuscripts that clearly indicate that glyphosate … can promote cancer and tumor growth. It should be banned.”

Monsanto has for many decades been covering up its toxic practices and poisonous chemicals and has shown no regard at all for human life (read The Complete History of Monsanto). Banning the commercial use of glyphosate (and GMOs) would be a first but significant step on curbing the corrosive impact of a company that has over the decades caused so much misery and suffering. 

However, as we cannot rely on governments or regulatory agencies to act in the public interest, ordinary people should act for themselves. See this by John Rappoport for advice on a practical strategy for activism directed at Monsanto. 

Damage Limitation Time For Monsanto: Time To Wheel Out Patrick Moore Again… Or Maybe...

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for Monsanto. The company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines for not reporting hundreds of uncontrolled releases...

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Monsanto fined a mere $600k for releasing toxic chemicals

Monsanto has agreed to pay the US government $600,000 for not reporting hundreds of uncontrolled toxic chemical releases from its Idaho phosphate plant. The...

Watch This Monsanto Lobbyist Refuse To Drink Glass Of Roundup That He Claims Is...

A controversial lobbyist who claimed that the chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer was safe for humans refused to drink his own words when...

Glyphosate “Probably” Causes Cancer: But Patrick Moore Says Drinking A Quart Does No Harm...

Countercurrents, RINF, Global Research

(all links in italics)
On Friday 20 March, the World Health Organisation stated that the world's most widely-used weed killer can "probably" cause cancer. The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said that glyphosate was "classified as probably carcinogenic to humans." 

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. By Monday, Monsanto's shares had fallen by 2%.

It was no surprise then that the work of WHO cancer specialists from 11 countries was speedily dismissed by Monsanto. In a press release, the company argued the findings are based on ‘junk’ science and cherry picking and are agenda driven. 

Philip Miller, Monsanto's vice-president of global regulatory affairs, said:

"We don't know how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe."

It's not so dramatic given that the sanctioning and testing of glyphosate for commercial use has been a seriously flawed affair due to the actions of and conflicts of interest within various regulatory agencies (for example, see this,thisthis and this). Moreover, Monsanto itself knows a thing or two about junk science, cherry picking and biased agendas being a long-time exponent of such things. 

Glyphosate is widely used on crops and has been detected in food, water and in the air after it has been sprayed. Its use has previously been strongly associated with various diseases (see this and this). The evidence for the WHO's conclusion is derived from studies in the US, Canada, and Sweden that have been published since 2001.

To coincide with the IARC’s findings, public promoter of GM golden rice Patrick Moore recently said during an interview on French TV that:

“I do not believe that glyphosate in Argentina is causing cancer. You can drink a whole quart and it won’t hurt you.”

(See here for information about glyphosate use and cancer rates in Argentina).

The interviewer asks if he would like to drink it because he has some available. 

Moore: “I’d be happy to… not really. I know it wouldn’t hurt me.”

The interviewer again challenges Moore to drink some. 

Moore: “No. I’m not stupid… People try to commit suicide with it and fail fairly regularly.”

The interviewer urges Moore to tell the truth.

Moore: “No, It’s not dangerous to humans.”

Interviewer: “So are you ready to drink one glass of glyphosate?”

Moore: “No, I’m not an idiot… Interview me about golden rice… then the interview is finished… you’re a complete jerk.”

Then Moore storms out.

And the lesson is: do not make baseless statements.

Perhaps Monsanto could learn a thing or two from Moore's interview.

Watch Moore’s foot-in-mouth interview here:

Glyphosate “Probably” Causes Cancer: But Patrick Moore Says Drinking A Quart Does No Harm...

On Friday 20 March, the World Health Organisation stated that the world's most widely-used weed killer can "probably" cause cancer. The WHO’s International Agency...

Scientists Agree – Monsanto’s Roundup is carcinogenic

Are the full body protective suits not enough of a tip off that pesticides are toxic? If not, consider this: Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide — the...

Corporate Power Grab: The Wild Claims And PR Spin Of The Pro-GMO Lobby

RINF 21/2/2015, Countercurrents 22/2/2015, Global Research 23/2/2015

A recent report by US Right to Know (‘Seedy Business: What Big Food is Hiding with Its Slick PR Campaign on GMOs’, see here) outlines how agrichemical firms have spent more than $100 million since 2012 on political and PR campaigns to shift the media narrative on GMOs. The non-profit food research group is now calling on media to accurately report that the science on GMOs is contradictory and has been largely controlled by corporations that profit from GMO seeds and the pesticides that go with them.
Stacy Malkan, media director of US Right to Know says:

“Unfortunately, many members of the media, and even some scientists, have been snookered by PR firms about a supposed scientific consensus on GMOs that doesn’t exist.”

Part of the PR campaign takes place on prominent websites that forward the notion that the debate on GMOs has been settled. The claim is based on the premise that there is a consensus on GMO safety within the ‘scientific community’, which has been fuelled by the results of two much publicised ‘big list’ reviews that supposedly give GMOs the green light on safety.

According to the first review by Nicolia and colleagues, some 1,700 studies show GMOs are safe for human and animal health and the environment. The second review is promoted on the claim that trillions of GMO meals eaten indicate that there is no health risk to food producing animals or humans.

Despite the claims, those 1,700 studies do not indicate that GMOs are safe (see here to discover that many even indicate risks: GMO Myths and Truths (pp. 102–126.). Moreover, the methodology, evidence and conclusions from the ‘trillion meal’ review have been deconstructed to reveal that it too shows nothing of what the pro-GMO lobby claims it does (see here). In fact, the review has been described as ‘junk’. 

These ‘big list’ reviews are being used for the purpose of pro-corporate PR spin passed off as sound science by a lobby group that constantly attacks its critics for relying on emotion, ideology and lies. However, as documented here and here, it is the pro-GMO lobby that engages in such tactics by distorting and censoring science, capturing regulatory bodies, attacking scientists whose findings are unpalatable to the industry and bypassing proper scientific and regulatory procedures altogether.

Similarly, US Right to Know’s report ‘Seedy Business’ shows how science can be swayed, bought or biased by the agrichemical industry in many ways, such as suppressing adverse findings, harming the careers of scientists who produce such findings, controlling the funding that shapes what research is conducted, the lack of independent US-based testing of health and environmental risks of GMOs and tainting scientific reviews of GMOs by conflicts of interest.

The pro-GMO lobby is engaged in a propaganda crusade carried out on the web and in the print media by slick media communications personnel or scientists who promote themselves as ‘objective’ when nothing could be further from the truth in certain cases (for example, see this and this).

Making grandiose statements based on gross misrepresentations that are guaranteed to grab media headlines on the back of ‘big list’ reviews are designed to play on the public’s ignorance.

“Assembling big lists of studies supposedly providing overwhelming evidence of the safety of GMOs has become common practice by GMO proponents… The success of the tactic depends on the reading public failing to examine the actual studies and seeing what they say.” Claire Robinson (here).

In challenging the ‘scientific’ claims of the pro-GMO lobby, Claire Robinson adds:

“… authors should re-learn the basic scientific principle of citing a specific data point to support each claim they make about GMO safety. The problem for them is that doing so would cause their entire house of cards to collapse.”

US Right to Know urges people to read a January 24 statement published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, which has been signed by 300 scientists, physicians and scholars that asserts there is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs (see here).

This statement says that the claim of scientific consensus on GMOs frequently repeated in the media is “an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated” to propagate the belief that debate on the topic is “over.” That claim “…is misleading and misrepresents or outright ignores the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of scientific opinions among scientists on this issue,” according to the statement.

The statement goes on to make numerous important points, including: 

1) There are no epidemiological studies investigating potential health effects of GMO food on human health. With no epidemiological studies, claims that “trillions of GMO meals” have been eaten with no ill effects have no scientific basis.

2) GMO studies are frequently mischaracterized as showing safety. For example, the EU Research Project, which has been internationally cited as providing evidence of GMO safety, was not designed to test safety and provides no reliable evidence of safety. Another example is the false claim that “hundreds of studies” listed on the biotechnology website Biofortified demonstrate GMO safety. In fact, many of the studies on that list do not address safety concerns at all and several of the studies raise serious concerns.

3) The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and UN’s Codex Alimentarius share a precautionary approach to GMO crops and foods, in that they agree that genetic engineering differs from conventional breeding and that safety assessments should be required before GM organisms are used in food or released into the environment.

4) Claims that government and scientific organizations endorse safety are often exaggerated or inaccurate. For example, an expert panel of the Royal Society of Canada said it is “scientifically unjustifiable” to presume that GM foods are safe without rigorous scientific testing. 

5) A report by the British Medical Association concluded that “many unanswered questions remain” about the long-term effects of GMOs on human health and the environment and that “safety concerns cannot, as yet, be dismissed completely on the basis of information currently available.”

6) There is no consensus on environmental impacts of GMOs, and many concerns have been raised about increased herbicide use, potential health impacts and the rapid spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.

The joint statement concludes:

“…the totality of scientific research outcomes in the field of GM crop safety is nuanced; complex; often contradictory or inconclusive; confounded by researchers’ choices, assumptions, and funding sources; and, in general, has raised more questions than it has currently answered… [Decisions on whether to continue and expand GMO crops should] be supported by strong scientific evidence… obtained in a manner that is honest, ethical, rigorous, independent, transparent, and sufficiently diversified to compensate for bias… [rather than based on] misleading and misrepresentative claims by an internal circle of likeminded stakeholders that a ‘scientific consensus’ exists on GMO safety.”

For a comprehensive overview of the myths and misrepresentations forwarded by the pro-GMO lobby and the actual reality of the situation, consult this report:

Also see from IndiaGMInfo: 

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Demonizing Scientists And Opponents Of GMOs: The Cheap Propaganda Of The Pro-GMO Lobby

RINF, Countercurrents 17/2/2015, Global Research, The 4th Media 19/2/2015

The pro-GMO lobby always demands that its opponents produce scientific evidence to back up their claims. Parts of this lobby smear and attack people like Vandana Shiva, Professor G.E. Seralini and others for supposedly being incompetent, ‘liars’ or ideological/politically motivated (for example, read this piece on Shiva that calls her a liar, especially the part on farmer suicides - then see the evidence that Shiva provides to back up her claims here).

In its view, anti-GMO campaigners or certain scientists are ignorant, engage in bogus science or are ‘demagogues’ who use emotion and ideological rhetoric to sway opinion.

Let us address these accusations.

The pro-GMO lobby demands its opponents back up their (wild) claims with peer-reviewed studies.

The pro-GMO lobby says the debate on GMOs is over because there is a scientific consensus on their efficacy among the ‘scientific community’.

Another bogus accusation. See here for evidence pertaining to a lack of consensus.

GMO supporters argue that GMOs can prevent hunger, while trendy 'elitist' activists are merely serving to steal the food from people’s mouths.

See here for the evidence that says GMOs are actually causing food insecurity, see here to discover that GMOs are not required to feed the hungry millions and see here to read that ‘eco farming’ is a much more suitable and sustainable strategy that could double food production within a decade. Also see this report based on the input of over 400 scientists that took four years to complete, which was twice peer reviewed, and states we must look to small-holder, traditional farming (not GMOs) to deliver food security in poorer countries through agri-ecological systems which are sustainable. Moreover, see here to read about the serious health impacts of GMO-driven agriculture and here to discover how GMO agribusiness is devastating communities and driving genocide and ecocide in South America.

The pro-GMO lobby asserts that it relies solely on peer-reviewed science and dispassionate reason.

While some contest the claims of Vandana Shiva pertaining to farmer suicides, which she supports with statistical evidence and correlations, they then call her a 'liar'. A liar is someone who deliberately sets out to deceive. The evidence she supplies may or may not stack up, but that is open to ongoing debate and interpretation. But the same can be said of many of the studies that the pro-GMO lobby puts forward, which have been contested, see here and in this report here (go to section three of the report), on the basis of conclusions overstepping the evidence or inconvenient findings being dismissed as not significant when they are.

Aside from emotive name calling, where else does emotion, ideology or falsehood play a part in the pro-GMO lobby's side of the debate? That's clear to see if we look at this on Owen Patterson, this on Anne Glover and this on Kevin Folta. In fact, these aspects are quite commonplace.

On a more general level regarding ‘dispassionate reason’ informing the debate, see what former Monsanto boss in India said in this piece in India Today 'Monsanto faked data for its approvals, claims ex-chief'. See here to discover what method it used in Indonesia to force its products into that country. See here and here  to find out how the industry restricts access to its own research conducted on its products. See here to discover how it sidesteps science when its interests are threatened and to gain wider insight into how the GMO agritech sector is distorting scientific practice and debasing the ethos of science.

It seems to be a case of peer-reviewed science to support the anti-GMO case but 'anything 
goes', including science that is anything but open to public scrutiny or peer reviewed (see here), from GMO agritech.

And yet the onslaught by the GMO agritech industry and its mouthpieces against those who legitimately and scientifically contest the claims about the efficacy of GMOs is relentless.

Just ask Arpad Pusztai, P. M. Bhargava, Judy Carman, Terje Traavik, Andrés Carrasco, Ignacio Chapela, Allison Snow, Marc Lappé, Britt Bailey, Bela Darvas and G. E. Seralini. These scientists have all either been threatened, smeared or hindered in their work because their research called into question the safety and/or efficacy of GMOs or associated products (see this ‘GMO researchers attacked, evidence denied and apopulation at risk’).

Such tactics appear to come easy to the pro-GMO lobby. For instance, see here for a revealing description of how the GMO sector sets up front groups and fake identities with the sole aim of attacking scientists and activists or promoting its propaganda.

This is what happens to scientists who attempt to engage with the GMO issue on a scientific or rational level. The hypocrisy of those from the pro-GMO lobby who call for sound science to inform the debate on GMOs is glaringly obvious.

When GMO supporters mount personal attacks and accuse prominent anti-GMO campaigners of being liars, it is useful to ask what credibility they themselves have: for example, bearing in mind the attack on Vandana Shiva mentioned at the start, see this by Tom Philpott on the author of that particular smear piece.

When the GMO agritech sector and its supporters set out to attack others in the ways outlined here, it is a blatant tactic of psychological projection: a self-defence mechanism that denies the existence of such characteristics in itself, while attributing them to others. In other words, those who argue against GMOs are accused of not having science or facts on their side and of engaging in propaganda and lying, while it is clear the pro-GMO lobby that hurls such allegations is itself guilty of such things.

This diversionary tactic of projection goes hand in glove with a strident populist agenda whereby the pro-GMO lobby portrays itself as on the side of the people, while its opponents are ‘elitists’ and are ‘stealing food from the bellies of the poor’. This is a typical tactic of corporate propaganda.

Reality is being twisted to make opponents appear guilty of the things the pro-GMO lobby is engaging in, not least 'elitism' (for example, see this and this on how elite interests are seeking to control global agriculture).

Lace the tactics of projection and populism with an unhealthy dose of cheap, fallacious character assassination and you have the basis for a very transparent and predictable propaganda campaign.

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Al-Jazeera – 14 June 2014

Israeli security forces entered the embattled Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev on June 12 to evict a handful of families who had sought sanctuary in the community’s graveyard.

Bulldozers tore down an improvised mosque, caravan and several shacks that had been set up in the cemetery by 30 residents after the rest of the village had been destroyed dozens of times over the past four years.

“Hundreds of security forces stormed the cemetery, a place where my father and grandfather are buried,” Awad Abu Freih, a village leader, told Al Jazeera. “Israel has no shame. It has violated our sacred land.”

Thabet Abu Ras, an expert on Israeli land policy at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, said the invasion of the cemetery was a “dangerous escalation” by the government. “It will provoke a severe reaction. The government has only one policy towards the Bedouin: force and more force.”

Al-Araqib, which is located a few kilometres north of the Negev’s main city, Beersheva, has become a symbol of the struggle by tens of thousands of Bedouin to win recognition for dozens of communities the government claims are illegally built on state land.

Abu Ras said Israel considered al-Araqib a test of its determination to move the Bedouin off their tribal lands and into “townships” built specially for them decades ago.

“The government fears al-Araqib. Other Bedouin look to it for inspiration,” he told Al-Jazeera. “They see the villagers are refusing to leave their land despite the now 70 demolitions.”

Eviction orders, issued last month and posted on the mosque, included the names of two Bedouins buried in the cemetery, prompting fears that the Israeli authorities might also be planning to demolish the graveyard.

Mickey Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said several structures had been removed, but the graves would not be destroyed.

‘Graveyard desecrated’

Israeli police had been regularly visiting the cemetery since March, taking photographs and measurements, said Haia Noach, director of Dukium, an Israeli organisation campaigning for equal rights for the Negev’s Bedouin.

Rabbis for Human Rights had described the earlier intrusions as a “desecration of sacred ground”.

Dozens of Bedouins, including two members of the Israeli parliament, backed by solidarity activists, had joined the families on June 11, in preparation for the eviction orders taking effect the next day.

The villagers of al-Araqib began burying their dead in the cemetery exactly a century ago. Abu Freih said: “It is the clearest proof that, contrary to the state’s claims, our ancestors were settled here well before Israel’s creation in 1948.”

Land claims by Bedouin relating to nearly 1,000sq km of the Negev are yet to be settled by Israel’s highest court, despite years of legal battles.

But al-Araqib’s families received a tentative fillip this month when the Supreme Court appeared reluctant to back the government’s argument that the Bedouin were “trespassers”.

It recommended instead that officials engage in a “fair” mediation process over Al-Araqib’s lands, possibly establishing a precedent for some 35 other villages in the same situation.

Court pre-empted

The government has said it will respond to the court’s proposal in the next few weeks. Abu Freih said the evictions from the cemetery were intended to “pre-empt” the court’s decision.

At the time of the village’s first demolition in 2010, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warned that the rapid growth of the country’s Palestinian minority, which comprises a fifth of the population, posed a “palpable threat” to the state’s Jewishness.

The Bedouin have one of the country’s highest birth rates and now number 200,000 in the Negev, more than a quarter of the total population there despite waves of state-sponsored Jewish migration.

Netanyahu told his cabinet a possible consequence might be that “different elements will demand national rights within Israel, for example, in the Negev, if we allow for a region without a Jewish majority”.

The Negev constitutes nearly two-thirds of Israel’s recognised territory, and much of it is reserved for military purposes, including Israel’s nuclear reactor and its secret nuclear weapons programme.

In 2011, Netanyahu’s government approved a plan by a senior security official, Ehud Prawer, to forcibly remove up to 70,000 Bedouin from their villages and urbanise them in seven Bedouin townships built in the 1970s and 1980s. The townships, including the largest, Rahat, languish at the bottom of all Israeli social and economic tables, according to figures compiled by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

Abu Freih said the goal was to empty the Negev of Bedouins so that Jews could settle in their place. “The state wants us out, but we will continue to rebuild. We are not leaving.”

Prawer Plan rethought

Following widescale protests by the Bedouin, Israel officially shelved legislation to implement Prawer’s recommendations late last year. However, Yair Shamir, the agriculture minister, has been charged with reintroducing the plan.

“There is a lot of frustration in the government that it did not succeed in passing the Prawer Bill,” said Abu Ras. “My suspicion is that they are now planning to implement it on the ground without legislation. For them al-Araqib is a ‘hot spot’ – a village they need to make an example of.”

In a possible sign of the internal disputes within the government, Doron Almog, Netanyahu’s senior official dealing with Bedouin affairs, resigned his post last weekend. He declined to state his reasons.

Before the wave of demolitions began in summer 2010, al-Araqib was home to more than 300 Bedouin. The few families that remained had hoped the cemetery would offer them protection.

The residents of al-Araqib have been struggling to be allowed to return to their village since they were forcibly relocated in 1951, during a lengthy period of military rule in the Negev. Their land, along with that of many other Bedouin communities, was reclassified as belonging to the state.

The villagers were eventually resettled in Rahat, only a short distance from al-Araqib. But faced with severe overcrowding there, as well as a lack of infrastructure and jobs, many families began moving back to al-Araqib in the late 1990s and tried to revive their pastoral way of life.

Yusuf Abu Zaid, a resident of al-Araqib now living in Rahat, said many families had found it too difficult to endure four years of demolitions and had moved back to the township. “But we keep our connection by returning at the weekends and in the evenings,” he said.

Forestation programmes

Only about half the Negev’s 200,000 Bedouin have agreed to live in the townships.

In the region’s master plan, much of al-Araqib’s land has been designated for two large forestation programmes. One honours the international community’s ambassadors to Israel, while the other has been paid for by a Christian evangelical TV station called GOD-TV.

Abu Freih said other parts of the village’s lands had been secretly settled by Jews in 2004. In a night-time operation, the government and an international Zionist charity, the Jewish National Fund, set up caravans that subsequently became an exclusively Jewish community known as Givot Bar.

In 2002 Israel began a policy of annually spraying herbicide on al-Araqib’s crops, in an attempt to move the villagers off the land. The practise was stopped in 2007 after the Supreme Court ruled it illegal.

In a test case currently before Israel’s Supreme Court, a former resident of al-Araqib, Nuri al-Uqbi, has been presenting documents and expert testimony to show that his ancestors owned and lived on the village’s lands many decades before Israel’s establishment in 1948.

In 2010, a Beersheva judge rejected al-Uqbi’s case, backing the government’s argument that his tribe had no ownership claim on the land.

This month, however, three Supreme Court justices sided with al-Uqbi’s lawyer, agreeing that government should enter a six-month mediation process to reach a “fair solution”.

Oren Yiftachel, a geographer at Ben Gurion University, said the case was the first time the Supreme Court had examined historical documents relating to Bedouin land claims.

He added: “Sixty years of Bedouin dispossession in general – and the Uqbis’ dispossession in particular – were based on a judicial and historical falsehood”.

Tagged as: ,

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Last December the Associated Press reported on Uruguay’s decision to move forward to experiment on legalized marijuana to undermine illegal drug trafficking and crime in an article titled ‘From Seed to Smoke, Uruguay Testing Legalized Pot.’ The report stated what the Mujica government’s intentions were concerning the legalization of marijuana:

President Jose Mujica’s goal is to drive drug traffickers out of the dope business and reduce consumption by creating a safe, legal and transparent environment in which the state closely monitors every aspect of marijuana use, from seed to smoke. That means designing and maintaining an industry that is small, contained and profitable. Congress only approved Mujica’s grand “experiment” in broad strokes.  

The fine print must strike a delicate balance on issues including what strength to allow for marijuana, what price to charge, who can farm it, how to crack down on illegal growers, how to persuade users to buy from the state instead of a dealer, and how to monitor use without being seen as Big Brother. If the rules are too lenient, or too strict, the whole project could fail

The report also quoted Uruguayan Senator Lucia Topolansk (President Mujica’s wife) when she said that “the state would provide cloned seeds whose plants can be traced.” It should not surprise anyone, especially those who understand what corporations such as Monsanto are trying to achieve on a global scale. Mainstream media outlet CNBC reported in 2010 that “most large agribusiness producers and distributors wouldn’t comment on any marijuana cultivation plans while it’s still largely illegal.” Now, Uruguay is fair game since they passed legislation to legalize marijuana. Although they did say that “seed and agri-chemical maker Monsanto isn’t focused on it, says spokesman Darren Wallis, adding that even if that changed tomorrow, development of a mass-scale crop takes time.” Yes, it does take time to produce. CNBC also did say that “other big food and agricultural firms would not comment, saying the proposition was too hypothetical or inappropriate given the largely illegal current status of the drug.” Well, it is not hypothetical anymore since Uruguay passed laws to legalize marijuana cultivation and use. It is now a reality for biotech corporations to move forward with genetic manipulation of the crop because now they have an incentive to dominate the marijuana industry starting with Uruguay.  An interesting analysis by titled ‘Manipulating Marijuana: Monsanto and Syngenta Invest in RNA Interference Technology’ by Tracy Giesz-Ramsay on Monsanto and Syngenta’s investments in RNA Interference (RNAi) technology and what it means for the production of Marijuana in the future. Giesz-Ramsey wrote the following:

Having been cultivated and used ceremonially, recreationally and medicinally for thousands of years, cannabis – despite prohibitive laws surrounding the non-medicinal use of the plant – is undoubtedly on the radar of big agribusiness.

These companies would certainly turn a profit from developing a patentable transgenic seed for sole distribution if the use of cannabis were to become legal. It would be easy for these companies to create a monopoly over the industry by abusing their ties with federal regulators. This has all been a point of much debate within the cannabis community for many years. 

With this in mind, it’s fair to say that one of the only positives of marijuana prohibition, with the art of breeding, growing and distributing cannabis heavily underground for most of its commercial history, the Big 6 seed and chemical companies have not been able to dominate the industry with their patented technologies. 

The trouble: things may change soon. Monsanto, Syngenta, BASF, Bayer, Dow and DuPont have, until recently, largely focused their energy on monopolizing the food industry, but some have developed a keen interest in this still-illegal plant as well. 

The biggest concern with cannabis and GM control now remains. While they gain a monopoly over medical marijuana, the challenge of governments who continue to wage the ostensible “War on Drugs” is being taken on by some of the Big 6. Monsanto and Syngenta are currently investing millions of dollars into a new GM technology called RNA interference. 

RNAi, as it’s also known, is a method where the RNA – which is the code from a plant or animal’s DNA that tells its proteins how to organize in order to create, say, what colour the plant will be – is interfered with. In RNAi, double-stranded RNA is inserted so that this original code is obstructed; so that the pigmentation instructions don’t make it to the proteins 

As we already know about Monsanto’s GMO seeds, they are genetically modified plants that are resistant to chemical herbicides such as “Round-Up.” The herbicides kill other plants, allowing genetically altered plants to resist the herbicide and be planted closer together than traditional crops normally used by farmers. It apparently allows farmers to gain more from crop production on their farmland than ever before. The seeds are known as “Round-Up Ready.” Farmers are required to purchase the GMO-laced seeds every season once they agree to use the product. Uruguay is falling into a danger zone when it comes to planting GMO seeds in the agricultural-rich country. It can affect natural food crops in the long-run as Monsanto and other agri-businesses would eventually expand into other areas of food production.

With Uruguay’s decision to allow multi-national biotech corporations to operate on its lands, it also opens the door to a police state monitoring its citizens who will use “cloned” marijuana as reported by RT news earlier this month in a report titled “Uruguay rolls out marijuana legal sale details.” It described Uruguay’s methods:

Police will be able to carry out on-the-spot checks to make sure drivers are not under the influence while behind the wheel. Companies and trade unions will also be permitted to carry out random checks to make sure employees are not stoned, particularly while undergoing risky or dangerous work.

The strains of the drug will also be limited to five, which will be allowed a maximum THC level of 15 percent. Each bag of marijuana will be barcoded and radio-frequency tagged, which will allow authorities to determine its origin and legality.

People who buy pot in pharmacies will be identified by fingerprint readers to preserve their anonymity, but their consumption of the drug will be tracked on a government database.

This will allow police to test for illegal weed when they come across it, and arrest anyone possessing marijuana without the proper tracers

Uruguay’s control over all facets of the new marijuana industry with a national database does seem “Orwellian” as it borders on fascism for the fear that legalizing marijuana can lead to higher drug use among the population.  It is understandable, but imposing a police state to control drug-use and crime is not an answer to the war on drugs.  However, not collecting taxes on marijuana is a good start.  Uruguay has also approved a law that will exempt marijuana producers and sales of the crop from taxes that would undermine marijuana illegally imported from other countries such as Paraguay. Reuters reported on Uruguay’s tax policy regarding the issue of legalized marijuana when it said that “The principal objective is not tax collection. Everything has to be geared toward undercutting the black market,” said Felix Abadi, a contractor who is developing Uruguay’s marijuana tax structure. “So we have to make sure the price is low.” Which is true in a sense, since a high risk of incarceration increases the price of marijuana. Uruguay’s new law will also issue licenses to farmers to produce cannabis according to Reuters “Uruguay will auction up to six licenses to produce cannabis legally in the next weeks. The government is also considering growing marijuana on a plot of land controlled by the military to avoid illegal trafficking of the crop.”

Mujica met with US President Barack Obama earlier this month after his government released the details of the new marijuana law to discuss stronger relations between both countries. Obama welcomed President Mujica when he said:

President Mujica personally has extraordinary credibility when it comes to issues of democracy and human rights given his strong values and personal history, and is a leader on these issues throughout the hemisphere. And we share an interest in strengthening further the people-to-people bonds between our two countries, particularly around the issues of science, technology and education

Uruguayan President Mujica’s response:

We have been looking toward everywhere, but towards ourselves a bit also. And from the humbleness of my little Uruguay, my people, who are there amongst an enormous area of fertile and much water, come here to seek out knowledge and research in all groups of the biological sciences, particularly in land that require local research, because the continent must produce much food for the world. And besides, this is the most advanced country in the world for biological sciences, but we don’t want to merely send students out because they get married — and the American corporations pay more money, so we lose these qualified people. We have to bring teachers so then can come, but we need to make arrangements so that they can continue to contribute to Social Security here. Wisdom must be looked for there where it is

President Mujica has called for ‘normalized relations’ between Cuba and the US to end the embargo and has supported South American leaders such as Bolivian President Evo Morales during the time when the US and EU forced Morales’s plane to land in Vienna to search for NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden.  “We are not colonies any more,” Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica, said. “We deserve respect, and when one of our governments is insulted we feel the insult throughout Latin America” according to the Guardian.  In many ways President Mujica is a revolutionary against Western imperialism.  But allowing GMO crops in Uruguay is a step in the wrong direction although he probably does believe that allowing GMO’s would actually feed the world.  Maybe he is misinformed, which I do believe is the case, after all he believes that smoking marijuana is an “addiction.”   However, I do believe he does mean well.   President Mujica should reconsider using any form of Genetic Modified crops that is dangerous to humans no matter what he thinks about marijuana use.  Hopefully he will create a committee to re-evaluate proven research on the effects of GMO’s.  Biotech Corporations just want to exploit Uruguay’s lands as an experiment.  Let’s hope the Mujica government will make a U-turn away from corporate dominance.       

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The Double Standards And Crumbling Myths Of The GMO Biotech Setor

Global Research 19/5/2014 and Countercurrents 20/5/2014

The GMO biotech sector is involved in a multi-pronged campaign to influence governments and the public about the benefits of its products. It uses various means.

It sets up or infiltrates institutions and co-opts prominent political and scientific figures to do its bidding (1). It hijacks regulatory and policy making bodies (2,3). With help from the US Government, it assumes strategic importance in international trade negotiations and is then able to set a policy and research agenda, as has been the case in India with the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture and the funding of agricultural research within the country (4,5). It is shaping ‘free’ trade agreements to its own advantage (6). It mounts personal attacks on and tries to discredit key scientists who question its claims (7,8). And it arguably regards contamination as a means of trying to eventually render the whole debate about GMOS meaningless (9).

With its huge financial resources and the full backing of the US State Department (10), the sector is a formidable force. However, despite all its wealth and influence, it is turning out to be a bad week for the GMO biotech industry.

When is good science bad science and bad science good science? When the industry says so

In 2012, a study led by Professor Gilles Seralini called into question the safety of GMOs and Round Up herbicide. The paper that conveyed the results was last year retracted by a prestigious scientific journal (11). The publisher of Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), Elsevier, has now compelled the journal editor A. Wallace Hayes to publish a right of reply by the Séralini team.

According to the Séralini team, the editor of FCT uses double standards when it comes to publishing in favour of the industry. Hayes retracted the study despite the fact that he found neither fraud nor conscious misinterpretation. In a new article published in FCT, the scientists explain why they do not accept his conclusion. They denounce the lack of scientific validity of the reasons given for the retraction, explain why the Sprague-Dawley rat strain used is appropriate and describe the statistical results in depth concerning the blood and urine parameters affected, proving that the liver and kidney pathologies and the mammary tumours are solidly based.

Hayes justified his retraction by arguing that it is impossible to conclude a link between GMO and cancer, even though the word cancer was never used in the paper. Not all the tumours were cancers but they nevertheless brought death through internal haemorrhages and compressions of vital organs. Hayes also argued that ten rats per group, of the Sprague-Dawley strain, did not allow the level of statistical strength to conclude about the toxicity of the GMO and Roundup. But FCT has published two studies (Hammond & al., 2004; and Zhang & al., 2014) measuring the same number of rats of the same strain, without calling into question the strength of the statistics, let alone their conclusion – that the GMOs tested were safe.

The recent study by Zhang et al, like the study by Séralini et al, measures the potential chronic effects of the consumption of a GMO (transgenic rice producing a modified Bt insecticide). It uses the same strain and measures the same number of rats. The only substantive difference was in the results: Zhang and colleagues concluded that the GMO under test was safe.

Professor Séralini says:

“We are forced to conclude that the decision to withdraw our paper was based on unscientific double standards applied by the editor. These double standards can only be explained by pressure from the GMO and agrochemical industry to force acceptance of GMOs and Roundup. The most flagrant illustration is the appointment of Richard Goodman, a former Monsanto employee, onto the FCT editorial board, soon after the publication of the NK603 study. Worse, this pro-industry bias also affects regulatory authorities, such as EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), which gives favourable opinions on risky products based on mediocre studies commissioned by the companies wishing to commercialize the products, as well as systematically dismissing the findings of independent scientists which cast doubt on their safety.”

Genetically modified crops and foods are neither safe nor necessary to feed the world

On the same day that the Seralini team issued its press release on the matter (19 May), a new report was released saying that genetically modified crops and foods are neither safe nor even necessary to feed the world.

The second edition of GMO Myths and Truths, co-authored by genetic engineers Dr John Fagan and Dr Michael Antoniou and researcher Claire Robinson, has been published as a free online download by the sustainability and science policy platform Earth Open Source (12).

John Fagan, one of the report’s authors, said: 

“The GMO debate is far from being over, as some GMO proponents claim. Instead the evidence of risk and actual harm from GM foods and crops to health and the environment has grown in the two years since we brought out the first edition. The good news is that GMOs are not needed to feed the world. The report shows that there are far better ways of ensuring a safe and sustainable food supply.”
The report’s main findings are as follows.

1) The report debunks the claims by pro-GMO lobbyists that 1,700 studies show GM foods are as safe. The studies show nothing of the sort. Many of them not only show evidence of risk, but the review also excludes or glosses over important scientific controversies over GMO safety issues. (See page102 of the new report.)

2) A review purportedly showing that GM foods are safe on the basis of long-term animal studies actually shows evidence of risk and uses unscientific double standards to reach a conclusion that is not justified by the data. (p. 161)

3) A laboratory study in human cells shows that very low levels of glyphosate (the main chemical ingredient of Roundup herbicide, which most GM crops are engineered to tolerate) mimicked the hormone estrogen and stimulated the growth of breast cancer cells. The level of glyphosate that had this effect was below the level allowed in drinking water in Europe and far below the level allowed in the USA. It was also below the level found in GM glyphosate-tolerant soy, which is imported into Europe for animal feed and human food. If confirmed in animal studies, this finding would overturn regulatory assumptions of safe levels of glyphosate. (p. 221)

4) Séralini’s study is far stronger and more detailed than many industry studies that are accepted as proof of safety for GMOs. The European Food Safety Authority had to reject the study in order to protect its own previous opinions on this and other GMOs, for reasons explained in the report. The findings of this study, if confirmed, would overturn regulatory assumptions of safe levels of glyphosate and Roundup. (pp. 94, 147)

5) Claims that an EU-funded research project shows GMOs are safe are not evidence-based, since the project did not even test the safety of any commercialized GMOs. Some animal testing data gathered by the project actually reveal health risks from the GMOs tested. (p. 166)

6) Claims that Europe is becoming a “museum” of farming because of its reluctance to embrace GM crops are shown to be nonsensical by research showing that Europe’s mostly non-GM agriculture out-yields the USA’s mostly GM agriculture with less pesticide use. The USA is falling behind Europe in terms of productivity and sustainability. (pp. 232–233)

7) Risks from an important new type of GMO that is designed to silence genes are not being properly assessed by regulators. (p. 78)

8) Contrary to claims by GMO proponents, the real reason GM golden rice isn’t available has nothing to do with anti-GMO activists and everything to do with basic research and development problems. (p. 197)

9) Conventional breeding continues to outstrip GM in delivering crops that yield well, resist disease, are nutritious and tolerate drought and other types of extreme weather. (pp. 284, 318–321)

10) Crop genetics are only part of the solution to our food and agriculture challenges. The other part is agro-ecological farming methods that build soil and focus on growing a diversity of naturally healthy and resilient crops. (p. 303)

Author Michael Antoniou said: 

“There is evidence that Roundup, even at the low levels permitted in food and drinking water, could lead to serious effects on health over time, such as liver and kidney toxicity. Based on this evidence, it appears that the levels of exposure currently held as safe by regulators around the world are questionable.”
Author Claire Robinson said: 

“The GMO industry is built on myths. What is the motivation behind the deception? Money. GM crops and foods are easy to patent and are an important tool in the global consolidation of the seed and food industry into the hands of a few big companies. We all have to eat, so selling patented GM seed and the chemicals they are grown with is a lucrative business model. GMO Myths and Truths offers a one-stop resource for the public, campaigners, policy-makers, and scientists opposing the GMO industry’s attempts to control our food supply and shut down scientific and public debate.”
The report’s authors are not alone in doubting the safety of GMOs. In late 2013, nearly 300 scientists and legal experts signed a statement affirming that there was “No scientific consensus on GMO safety.” (13)

It all raises the question: if there is no consensus, and there clearly is not, if double standards exist, and they certainly do, then why are we, the public, and for that matter the environment, being used as guinea pigs in a massive experiment?

We know why. It is an agenda that is based on arm-twisting, deception, false promises, duplicity and flawed science to benefit the bottom line of a handful of commercial enterprises and the wider geo-political aim of controlling the planet’s food supply.


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Global Research and Countercurrents 6/5/2014 and Deccan Herald 9/5/2014

The majority of the British public who hold a view on genetically modified (GM) crops are against them (1). Yet the push to get them into the country and onto plates is in full swing. Strategically placed politicians like Secretary of State for Rural and Environmental Affairs Owen Paterson and scientists such as Professor Jim Dunwell and Sir David Baulcombe are conveying the message that GM food is both safe and necessary.

Although such politicians and scientists have links to the GM sector (2), which highlights serious conflicts of interest, certain news outlets report their views uncritically (3). And it doesn’t help matters that part of the pro-GM public relations assault on the British public is also being facilitated under the guise of ‘objectivity’ by the Science Media Centre (SMC). As with politicians and scientists who give the impression of being independent, the SMC veneer of independence serves to mask where its real interests lie.

The PRWatch website provides some interesting details about the SMC. It was conceived in 2002 and enjoys close links with the British government. It is now based at the Wellcome Trust, one of the world's largest non-profit foundations. The Trust was founded on the fortune of American-born pharmaceutical magnate Sir Henry Wellcome, whose drug company has since evolved to become GlaxoSmithKline. The Wellcome Trust gives the SMC more than the five percent of annual income at which other institutional funding is capped.

PRWatch goes on to state that the SMC received 34 percent of its nearly £600,000 in funding from corporations and trade groups for the fiscal year that ended March 2013. These figures are based on information provided the SMC’s own website. Its current funders include BASF, Bayer, and Syngenta, three of the world's biggest pesticide and GMO corporations, as well as a number of agrichemical trade groups likeCropLife International.

Given these powerful backers, should we be surprised that the SMC spearheaded attacks on French scientist Gilles-Éric Séralini in 2012 after his research team found serious health problems in rats fed Roundup Ready Monsanto GM corn, as well as in rats fed low doses of the herbicide Roundup itself without the GMO corn (4)? His findings struck at the heart of the GM sector.

According to PRWatch, the SMC fed journalists quotes from other scientists attacking the study. Its director Fiona Fox told Times Higher Education that she was proud that SMC's emphatic thumbs down had largely been acknowledged throughout UK newsrooms. A PR job well done! The publishing journal eventually retracted the study, and a Reuters article on the retraction used two quotes from an SMC ‘expert reaction.’

Later, however, over 150 scientists sent a letter to the journal calling the retraction an "attack on scientific integrity."

According to Connie St. Louis, the president of the Association of British Science Writers, since the SMC's opening in 2002, the SMC

"… has cast biased press briefings such as one on GMOs, funded by Monsanto and invited unwitting and time-starved journalists… The quality of science reporting and the integrity of information available to the public have both suffered, distorting the ability of the public to make decisions about risk. The result is a diet of unbalanced cheerleading and the production of science information as entertainment." (5)

Sociologist David Miller, co-founder of Public Interest Investigations/Spinwatch and editor of Powerbase, says:

“The problem is that SMC pretends it's promoting the best science, but in fact it promotes a certain kind of science; those kinds of science that corporations and governments stand by in the area of science policy and want to see developed in terms of markets, like cloning, GMOs and to some extent pharmaceuticals as well. These are areas where there's a huge amount of potential profit to be made. Once it steps from supporting science to supporting science policy, SMC becomes political, even though it pretends not to be." (6)

Claire Robinson, co-editor of GMWatch has called the SMC

"Extremely dangerous because it manages to convince the public and the mainstream media that it is an independent voice of science, whereas actually it is a small selection of industry-friendly scientists who are hand-picked." (6)

Jack Heinemann from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand noted that various SMCs in different countries do not publish conflicts of interest, listing scientists' public university positions but not their industry ties. For example, an SMC criticism of a peer-reviewed study he published quoted Professor Peter Langridge, a University of Melbourne senior lecturer in food technology and microbiology. It did not note what local newspaper The Press later found out: that his research centre receives significant funding from global GM product developer DuPont, amounting to between A$3 million (NZ$3.66 million) and A$5 million a year. (6)

Heinemann goes on to state that scientists know they have conflicts of interest when they receive large monetary gifts or research contracts from developing technology or have an entrepreneurial stake in technology. He said that if various SMCs can’t find scientists who don't have conflicts of interest, what is their point, apart from being some kind of propaganda channel?

Through the SMC, the Agricultural Biotechnology Council and strategically placed scientists or officials whose pro-GM comments fly in the face of research findings (like those of Owen Paterson and Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Advisor of the European Commission (7)), the GM sector is attempting to control ‘news’ by attempting to confuse commercial self-interest with scientific fact in the minds of the population and to distort the nature of scientific discourse in the both public and academic realms.

Colonising strategic sectors by setting up seemingly ‘neutral’ institutions or funding existing bodies and co-opting figures to do the bidding of powerful corporations is a well-worn strategy used to achieve cultural hegemony and secure material outcomes. This has been true within the area of agriculture (8,9) and throughout all other areas of society too (10).

While mouthing platitudes about democracy and democratic institutions, this type of corporate colonisation demonstrates a sneering contempt for democracy and by implication for ordinary people.

Don’t be fooled - be informed and take action:




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Countercurrents and Global Research 24/3/2014

Indian Oil and Environment Minister Veerappa Moily has added fuel to the debate about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by approving field trials of 200 GM food crops on behalf of companies like Monsanto, Mahyco, Bayer and BASF. This is despite Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert Committee (TEC) recommending a ten-year moratorium on GM organism approvals until scientifically robust protocols, independent and competent institutions to assess risks and a strong regulatory system are developed.
This will involve a deliberate release of GM organisms in the open environment and a potential contamination of non-GM crops, as has been the case in the US, with GM open field trials having contaminated parts of the wheat supply (1). Despite mounting evidence appearing in peer-reviewed journals that GM and glyphosate are adversely impacting human health, the nutritional value of food crops, plant immunity, soil fertility, biodiversity, the environment and yields (2 - 15), politicians seem hell-bent on facilitating the aims of the GM biotech sector.

It was a similar story with the ‘Green Revolution’. The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations backed this chemical-laden revolution in agriculture and managed to co-opt strategically placed scientists, institutions and politicians in various areas of the globe (16). With their compliance, the result has been that over the past 50 to 60 years, thanks to chemical fertilizers and pesticides, agriculture has changed more than it did during the previous 12,000 years.

We need look no further than Punjab to see the impact of the Green Revolution. Reports of water scarcities and contamination, increasing levels of cancer, farmer indebtedness and decreasing yields highlight the unsustainable and deleterious impacts of chemical-industrial agriculture (17). It all begs the question, what was wrong with agriculture in the first place that warranted this disastrous shift towards chemical agriculture and now GMOs? The answer to that is, by comparison, probably not a lot.  

In 2013, researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand concluded that the GM strategy used in North American staple crop production is limiting yields and increasing pesticide use compared to non-GM farming in Western Europe (18). Led by Professor Jack Heinemann, the study’s findings were published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. The study found that Europe is decreasing chemical herbicide use and achieving even larger declines in insecticide use without sacrificing yield gains, while chemical herbicide use in the US has increased with GM seed. In effect, Europe has learned to grow more food per hectare and use fewer chemicals in the process.

Moreover, a September 2013 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states that farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduce the use of fertilisers and other inputs, provide greater support for small-scale farmers and move towards more locally focused production and consumption of food. More than 60 international experts contributed to the report (19).

The report states that monoculture and industrial farming methods are not providing sufficient affordable food where it is needed, while causing mounting and unsustainable environmental damage. The system actually causes food poverty, not addresses it.

As for India, Arun Shrivastava notes that the world doesn’t need modern technology of poisonous pesticides, destructive fertilizers and patented GE seeds that can’t match 1890 or even 1760 AD yields in India (12). But even if we discard the debate over yields, Shrivastava (and others) asserts that modern technology has actually destroyed the nutrition in common foods and that, failing to set any yield or nutrition standard in any food crop, it is part of an insane industry that has muddled through.

So, how did we arrive at this stage, whereby 12,000 years of conventional farming were swept aside in favour of chemical/oil-based agriculture? 

As William F Engdahl argues, the Green Revolution was a Rockefeller family plan to monopolize global agriculture as it had done with oil. It was aimed at removing traditional agriculture from farmers and placing it in the hands of corporate agribusiness. As a result, large multinational seed companies were able to control seed supplies. Moreover, the introduction of modern USagricultural technology, chemical fertilizers and commercial seeds made local farmers in developing countries dependent on USagribusiness.

Developing nations could not pay for the huge amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This new form of agriculture was also water intensive and required large irrigation projects. Nations would therefore get credit courtesy of the World Bank and special loans made large US banks to construct huge dams and flood previously fertile farmland. The loans went mostly to the large landowners. For the smaller peasants the situation worked differently. Small peasant farmers could not afford the chemical and other modern inputs and had to borrow money at higher rates of interest from elsewhere.

Engdahl notes that super-wheat produced greater yields only by saturating the soil with huge amounts of fertilizer per acre, the fertilizer being the product of nitrates and petroleum, commodities controlled by the Rockefeller-dominated major oil companies.

After two generations of the green revolution, is it any surprise that agriculture in Indiais in the grip of a combined social, financial and environmental crisis (20)?

Ordinary people, if they are not to be what Vandana Shiva calls ‘ignorant links' in a malicious corporate-controlled food chain, therefore need to question why governments have kowtowed to a US-driven agenda of chemical and now GMO agriculture. Africais now targeted for more of the same as the Gates Foundation spearheads the GMO onslaught in that continent (21).

12,000 years of traditional agriculture and biodiversity are being swept aside along with ordinary farmers by vested interests in the US whose geopolitical aim has to been to monopolize markets and ultimately use food as a weapon to control nations and people by destroying national food sovereignty and potentially using food as a means to depopulate (22,23).

“If you control the oil you control the country; if you control food, you control the population.” - Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (12)

This is in addition to the fact that wider ‘corporate America’ is already setting the broad political, ‘development’ and economic agenda in India:

“And something Americans don’t know much about, the nuclear deal with India has a twin agreement, and that twin agreement is on agriculture. It’s called the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture, and on the board of this agreement are Monsanto, ADM and Wal-Mart. So a grab of the seed sector by Monsanto, of the trade sector by the giant agribusiness, and the retail sector, which is 400 million people in India, by Wal-Mart. These are issues that are preoccupying us for about democracy in India right now.” Vandana Shiva (24).

It’s not just ‘Americans’ that don’t know about this, but most ordinary Indians too!

But even with the upcoming national elections, no one should expect self-proclaimed Hindu-nationalist party BJP to protect the country from the foreign jackals if it gains power. BJP candidate for PM Narendra Modi is fully backed by Wall Street (25).

What future Indian agriculture?
What future India?
600 million booted off the land and the further hollowing out of Indian society at the behest of Wall Street (26)?   


Killing The World By Feeding the World: The Onslaught Of Pro-GM Propaganda By Officialdom...

Global Research 28/3/2014

The British government appears hell bent on ramming the GM biotech sector’s poison done the throats of the British people. Food and Farming Secretary Owen Paterson has been called a puppet of the sector and is either ignorant of or is wholly misrepresenting the efficacy and health impacts of GMOs (1), while Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Advisor of the European Commission, has been accused of presenting lies as facts over the GM issue (2).

Now the British government’s Chief Scientist, Mark Walport, has insisted that EU rules banning the commercial cultivation of GM crops have to be changed to feed the world:

“We take it for granted that because shelves in supermarkets are heaving with food there is no problem. But we have limited agricultural land around the world and in the UK.
Climate disruption and population growth are increasing the pressures on food supply. The challenge is to get more from existing land in a sustainable way, or people will go unfed.”

In a recent letter to PM David Cameron, he said:

“We should have confidence in the scientific evidence which concludes that, when properly controlled, GM products are as safe as their conventional counterparts.”

Genetic scientist Jonathan Jones has weighed in by claiming:

“How anyone could think this is a bad thing boggles the mind. We need to better explain that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the GM method.”

Perhaps Paterson, Glover, Walport and Jones would like to turn their minds to a vast body of scientific evidence that serves to make their claims look ridiculous. If Walport places so much faith in scientific evidence, here is some for him to chew on.

GMOs and glyphosate, which is used in conjunction with many GM crops and in increasing quantities as more GM crops are planted (3,4), are associated with birth defects and infertility (5), autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s (6), celiac disease and gluten intolerance (7), Morgollons disease (8) and a wide range of other diseases (9,10).

In terms of solving hunger, his argument is flawed too: more traditional methods of producing food produce lead to greater results and are genuinely sustainable, unlike chemical-industrial agriculture and GMOs which are clearly not (11,12,13,14,15).

Predictably, however, much of the mounting evidence about the negative impacts of GMOs is dismissed by the GM sector as ‘bad science’ appearing in bogus (yet peer reviewed) publications, whereas the ‘independent’ studies that the sector’s mouthpieces choose to quote are carried out, funded or somehow supported by from the industry itself.

GMOs and the imperialist mindset

If Paterson et al really want to address hunger, they need look no further than the type of corporate-driven economic plunder being pursued under the guise of neo-liberalism (16) and the associated nature of the global system of food production and distribution (17), which by creating indebtedness and destroying food sovereignty is skewed to benefit rich nations and creates and sustains hunger and food poverty and unnecessary ‘population pressures’ in parts of the world.

Paterson et al may like to take a hard look at the imperialist policies being pursued by rich nations under the banner of ‘globalisation’ or ‘spreading democracy’ via militarism or ‘free’ trade if they or the corporations they are backing are keen to talk about feeding the world and a world of plenty for all. Those policies, whether applied to Ukraine(18), India(19) or imposed on ordinary people in the EU (20) or elsewhere are aimed at concentrating wealth and power in the hands of a corporate global oligarchy. The type of solution they propose for food poverty is the type of solution that springs from an engrained imperialist mindset, however unwitting that mindset may be. We already live in a world of plenty – appropriated from those who are denied it.

As if to underline that fact, many people in Britainare going hungry, one of the richest nations on the planet, not because of a lack of food, but because they are being impoverished as a result of the very policies outlined above (21). It’s a microcosm of what’s happening throughout the world.  

Such people (Walport, Paterson, etc) could spend their time more usefully by lobbying against such policies as opposed to lobbying for the corporations and the US state that fuel this system and which seek to profit from using tampered with food as a weapon to control food producers, food consumers and nation states.

New pro-GM ‘independent’ report

Walport and Jones’s statements came on the back of a report from a government advisory body released last week. It was presented as an ‘independent’ report in a bid to speed up the use of GM food in the UK, regardless of the fact that British people do not want it (22). However, according to the Mail Online (23), all five authors of the report have a vested interest in promoting GM crops. Little surprise then that they call for GM crops to be fast-tracked into Britain.

The academics who authored the report were selected by the Council for Science and Technology, the body that advises the British Prime Minister on science policy issues. According to Sean Poulter and Ben Spencer of the Mail Online, no information was given during the press conference about the report regarding the five scientists, beyond their names and the institutions they work for.

One is a consultant for Syngenta, which gives his academic department research funding. Syngenta is behind a GA21 GM maize or corn, which could go into farms as early as next spring, making it Britain’s first commercially grown GM crop. Another author works for the Sainsbury Laboratory, which is at the centre of Britain’s GM research. It is part-funded by Lord Sainsbury, who is one of the country’s biggest supporters of the technology. And another author was a founder member of CropGen, which describes its mission as "to make the case for GM crops and foods."

The study suggested GM crops could save the hungry in the developing world from starvation and create new plants resistant to disease and pests - similar to the usual PR that the GM sector spews out in its glossy brochures. The authors argued that current EU regulation should be re-drawn to allow the UKto go it alone and plant the crops, even if the rest of Europeobjects.

Claire Robinson of GM Watch has said:

"By no stretch of the imagination can these people be described as independent scientists. Their views should be treated with the same scepticism we would apply to any sales pitch."

Critics say the timing of the release of the study and a supporting letter from Mark Walport, are highly suspicious. The details were sent to PM David Cameron in November, but Walport and ministers delayed going public until now. Walport claimed that the regulations, which have so far kept commercial GM cultivation out of Britain, are not fit for purpose and need urgent changes.

Owen Paterson, who is little more than a mouthpiece for the GM sector, is trying to convince the EU to allow Britain to plant GM crops even if other states want a ban. The Mail Online says the publication of the supposedly independent study calling for exactly this policy is expected to prove useful in those negotiations.

Director of GM Freeze, Liz O’Neill, asserts:

"A group of scientists with financial interests in the success of GM wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in November, but waited four months to tell the press about it: just in time for EU discussions about regulation. Something certainly smells a bit fishy."

Dr Brian John, of the group GM Free Wales, said:

"This extraordinary report, published very conveniently to coincide with Owen Paterson’s attempts within the EU to dismantle GM regulations and to repatriate powers to the UK, is in turns naive, biased, disingenuous, cynical, and downright dangerous. We find it incredible that five senior scientists can have been so dismissive of the work of  scores of independent scientists who have discovered that GM organisms are directly and indirectly harmful to mammals and to  the environment. In the world of science there should be respect for those whose findings are 'inconvenient."

The Science Media Centre, which released the report, insisted the authors were independent. A spokesman said:

"They are not employed by government or industry, and each works for different publicly funded universities and research institutes. For better or worse, it’s not unusual any more for universities and institutions to get bits and pieces of funding from government, charities and industry – indeed many can only access public money on condition that they raise a proportion of their funds from commercial or private sources. This does not automatically undermine their independence."

One of the authors of the report by the, which advises the government, argued that the debate had been skewed by an anti-GM ‘neurosis’ which has slowed progress.

Soil Association chief executive Helen Browning argued:

"It’s really just not good enough for a group of scientists who have a strong interest, it seems, through their funding sources, in persuading a reluctant public to accept the growing of GM crops in the UK, to be the ones who attempt to write the rule book on how that should happen."

Does Britainor for that matter the world want to hand over its entire food sovereignty to USagribusiness, which wants to control the entire system of food production and distribution (24)? Recent events in Indiaindicate how GM sector puppets in high political office are narrowing our choice (25). People are already dying as a result of the chemicals being inserted into and sprayed onto their food. GMOs offer more of the same and also provide the opportunity for the USto hold virtually every country on the planet to ransom once its corporations own all food, from lab to seed to table.  


5 Reasons Monsanto’s ‘Science’ Doesn’t Add Up

Ronnie Cummins and Katherine Paul How long can Monsanto ignore the mounting actual scientific evidence that their technology is not only failing to live up...

Corporate Moles In High Places: India Is Capitulating To The GM Biotech Industry

Global Research and Countercurrents 4/3/2014, Deccan Herald 6/3/2014 and The Nation (Sri Lanka) 9/3/2014

Can genetically modified (GM) food crops be kept out of India? Things seemed positive when, as Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh put a moratorium on GM eggplant (BT Brinjal). However, he has now been replaced. Veerappa Moily, India’s Oil Minister, is now also India’s new Environment Minister. Oily has approved field trials of 200 GM food crops on behalf of companies like Monsanto, Mahyco, Bayer and BASF. Monsanto’s shares surged by 77 percent as soon as Moily’s decision was announced.

For his efforts, Oily has been called a "corporate mole," (1) and the Coalition for a GM Free India and Greenpeace condemned Moily's action as "unscientific, anti-people and reeking of vested interests."

Rajesh Krishnan, convener, Coalition for a GM Free India said:

"The writing on the wall is clear now. The UPA government is against the interest of the citizens, our farmers and the welfare of the nation. It is hand in glove with the multi-national GM seed industry that stands to gain immensely from the numerous open field trails of GM crops.” 

Environmentalist Vandana Shiva argues that there are no detailed protocols that cover all dimensions of the ecological, health, and socio-economic impact of GM organisms (2) and that it was precisely to evolve such protocols and strengthen India’s Bio-safety regulatory process that the Supreme Court appointed a Technical Expert Committee (TEC). The Committee recommended a ten-year moratorium on GM organism approvals till scientifically robust protocols, independent and competent institutions to assess risks and a strong regulatory system were developed.

Despite the TEC recommendations pertaining to risks, protocols and regulations, the trials will involve a deliberate release of GM organisms in the open environment. A ban on open field trials would however not constitute a block to research because, as Vandana Shiva says, scientific research is done in laboratories and greenhouses and open field trials are not in any case a methodology for assessing toxicity or carcinogenicity.

Last November, hundreds of scientists raised serious concerns about open air field trials of GM crops in India by writing a letter to the Prime Minister. Their letter coincided with the release of a compilation of 440 scientific research studies on the impact of GM crops on the environment and health (3). The scientists demanded that the recommendations of the TEC be accepted. In their letter, they said that the final report of the TEC has recommended against the deployment of Bt food crops in India until their safety is established, and recommended avoiding Herbicide Tolerant GM crops.

Like Shiva, the scientists are not saying that trials have to be stopped, as trials can happen in a glasshouse environment. However, they warned against open field trials as the impact of such food crops must be established. As there is no code of practice and no infrastructure to conduct large scale open field trials, the scientists suggested that open field trials should not take place. 

Open field planting and the release of GM organisms into the environment are part of a deliberate ploy to contaminate non-GM crops and eventually render the GM/non-GM debate obsolete. This is not a wild claim: one only has to look at the widespread contamination of wheat and rice in the 
US due to hundreds of open field trials carried out by the biotech sector and similar concerns about contamination in India (4).

And, in this respect, current developments in Australia are further cause for concern.

A recent report (5) that appeared in The Australian newspaper notes that most Australian farmers grow GM-free food. The current non-binding recommendation guidelines for managing GM canola cultivation in 
Western Australia are very weak and only recommend a minimum of five-metre separation between a GM and non-GM canola field. Such a small buffer zone cannot prevent GM contamination.

A landmark trial is now under way in the Western Australia Supreme Court. It began when farmer Steve Marsh lost his organic certification on 70 percent of his farm and most of his livelihood after his land was contaminated by GM canola patented by Monsanto and grown in the adjacent property.

This is a global issue, and GM industry ‘corporate moles’ who are forwarding the GM biotech agenda are not unique to India (6,7). However, it is reasonable to assume that India remains more susceptible than most, not least because the story of open air trials of GM crops in India has thus far been a story of blatant violations of bio-safety norms, hasty approvals, a lack of monitoring abilities, general apathy towards the hazards of contamination and a lack of institutional oversight mechanisms (8,9,10). Similar concerns exist elsewhere, of course, but the situation in India appears to be worse than most. 

Open field testing is part of the GM sector’s plan to win the battle to dominate and control the food chain by any means possible. It cannot win the scientific debate (11). It cannot convince people to freely choose its products (12). But it seeks to win by various insidious means, not least by infiltrating official bodies and contamination - by all means necessary (13).


Contamination, Bio-pollution And Duplicity: GM Sector Criminality

Global Research 1/3/2014, Countercurrents 2/3/2014 and GreenMedInfo 2/3/2013

There is currently a battle waging across the planet over genetically modified (GM) crops. It seems like not a month goes by when a new report is released on the health, environmental or productivity aspects of GM organisms. The GM biotech industry tries to assure governments and the public about the safety and efficacy of their products, while study after study calls into question its claims.

The industry has succeeded in getting its GM foods onto the commercial market in the US largely due to its political leverage within government and regulatory authorities (1). However, Europe and elsewhere have so far not been the pushovers that the industry and the US State Department, which actively promotes the US GM biotech sector courtesy of the taxpayer (2), thought they would. The sector continues to push at the doors of Europe and India but is meeting stiff resistance.

And there is good reason for this resistance; one reason (among many) being that the introduction of GM crops leads to an increase in the use of the herbicide gyphosate (3).  This is of concern because gylphosate could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson's, infertility and cancers, according to a peer-reviewed report from 2013, published in the scientific journal Entropy. The study concluded that residues of glyphosate have been found in food, and these residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment and disrupt normal body functions and induce disease (4). Other evidence from Argentina shows that as GM crops have become more prevalent, the use of gyphosate has spiralled as have cancer rates and birth defects (5).

The GM debate may ultimately not be decided by scientific debate or on the pages of journals, however. The battle could be lost for those opposing GM crops by default, or to be more specific, by the flagrant contamination of our food supply – and our air and water as well.

Contamination by all means necessary

Don Westfall, biotech industry consultant and vice-president of Promar International some 13 years ago, was quoted by the Toronto Star on 9 January 2001 as saying that the hope of the GM industry is that over time the market is so flooded with GM organisms that there’s nothing you can do about it; you just sort of surrender. However, Westfall did not go far enough. It is not just a vague hope. It’s a deliberate strategy by the industry.

Genetically engineered wheat is not approved to be grown for commercial use in the US or anywhere else in the world. Yet last year the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that unapproved GE wheat had been found growing in an Oregon wheat field. Since 1994, Monsanto has conducted 279 field trials of RoundUp Ready wheat over more than 4,000 acres of land in 16 US states (6). The USDA has admitted that Monsanto’s GMO experiments from 1998 to 2005 were held in open wheat fields. The genetically engineered wheat escaped and found its way into commercial wheat fields in Oregon (and possibly 15 other states), causing self-replicating genetic pollution that now taints the entire US wheat industry.

Prior to this, in 2006 the USDA granted marketing approval of genetically-engineered Liberty Link 601 of Bayer CropScience. (GE) rice variety following its illegal contamination of the food supply and rice exports (7). The USDA effectively sanctioned an ‘approval-by-contamination’ policy.

In India, back in 2005, biologist Pushpa Bhargava alleged that there were reports that unapproved varieties of several genetically modified crops were being sold to farmers. And Arun Shrivasatava wrote in 2008 that illegal genetically modified okra had been planted in Indiaand that poor farmers had been offered lucrative deals to plant ‘special seed’ of all sorts of vegetables (7). He asked: who knows at how many places illegal genetically engineered rice have been planted? It’s a valid concern given that the story of open air trials of GM crops in India is a story of blatant violations of biosafety norms, hasty approvals, a lack of monitoring abilities, general apathy towards the hazards of contamination and a lack of institutional oversight mechanisms (8). Concerns have also been expressed in Europe over the contamination of basmati rice exported by India(9).

Without doubt, though, the most alarming findings associated with contamination pertaining to GM crops come from new research. It shows that we do not have to eat GM food in order to be adversely affected by it. The findings have been released on the GreenMedInfo website, where it is argued that the GM farming system has made exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (gylphosate) a daily fact of people’s existence in the US (10).

This new study from the US Geological Survey, accepted for publication online ahead of print in the journal Enviromental Toxicology and Chemistry, reveals that Roundup and its toxic degradation byproduct AMPA were found in over 75% of the air and rain samples tested from Mississippiin 2007.  

The study highlights the extent to which GM farming has altered daily exposure to chemicals - even the rain and air people in the US now breath contains physiologically relevant and potentially health damaging levels of glyphosate 'fall out' from what Sayer Ji of GreenMedInfo calls “the war against any plant not part of the monocultured, genetically engineered system of production.”

Regardless of the contamination of non-GM crops by GM crops, Ji argues that findings like these reveal just how illusory the perception of choice and health freedom is when it comes to the GM/non-GM debate and people’s right to avoid harm from GM organisms by refusing to buy or consume them. Ji says that the environment is becoming so saturated with the 'fall out' from ever-expanding GM agricultural/agrichemical farming that even if we find a way to avoid eating GM-contaminated food, we will still have to deal with its adverse health effects.

If we are to believe Don Westfall, at this point we simply accept things and surrender. But that depends on how much you value your live and health, your children’s lives and health and the environment around you. Be informed and take action:


Monsanto’s Roundup Found in 75% of Air and Rain Samples

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Covert chemical warfare/a time bomb in the Ukraine

Covert chemical warfare / and a time bomb in the Ukraine by Jon Rappoport February 28, 2014 In the entirely justified blow-up over the poisonous effects of Monsanto’s Roundup, recent history has been pushed to the side. There are, of course, other companies and other poisons (herbicides, pesticides). For example, read this from “Transport […]

“Not one case of harm from GMOs”

“Not one case of harm from GMOs” by Jon Rappoport February 26, 2014 Here are two GMO quotes. I’ll let them speak for themselves, and then make a few comments. QUOTE ONE: “This compilation is a sample of the scientific references including over 1200 studies, surveys, and analyses that suggest various adverse impacts and […]

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Joseph Mercola  RINF Alternative News Three decades ago, the food available was mostly fresh and grown locally. Today, the majority of foods served, whether at home,...

Email from author of study on Roundup/gluten intolerance

Email from author of study on Roundup/gluten intolerance by Jon Rappoport February 24, 2014 A few days ago, I reported on a recent study of Roundup, the Monsanto herbicide, and how Roundup is involved in causing gluten intolerance and celiac disease. I emailed one of the co-authors of the study, Stephanie Seneff (MIT), […]

Study: Monsanto’s Roundup causes “gluten intolerance”

Study: Monsanto’s Roundup causes “gluten intolerance” by Jon Rappoport February 21, 2014 A recent study proposes that gluten intolerance and celiac disease are on the rise as a result of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The National Library of Medicine states that celiac disease “damages the lining of the small intestine […]

GMOs Are Killing the Bees, Butterflies, Birds and… ?

“It is ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray.” —...

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Colin Todhunter  RINF Alternative News The Deceptions and Falsehoods of the GMO Lobby: Acquiesce Or Europe Will Become “Museum of World Farming” British Environment Secretary Owen Paterson...

The Deceptions And Falsehoods Of The GMO Lobby: Acquiesce Or Europe Will Become “Museum...

British Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is a staunch supporter of the GMO sector. Despite mounting evidence pointing to the deleterious health, social, ecological and environmental impacts of GMOs, Paterson has a blind spot that lets him ignore reality and allows him to lend unconditional support to the biotech conglomerates, the very concerns that regard Europe as a massive potential cash cow from which their GM crops have till now mostly been barred or restricted.
Paterson recently told the Oxford Farming Conference that Europe is likely to become "the museum of world farming" because of its failure to embrace genetically modified crops. He went on to state that the longer Europe continues to close its doors to GM crops, the greater the risk that the rest of the world will bypass us altogether:
"Europe risks becoming the museum of world farming as innovative companies make decisions to invest and develop new technologies in other markets."
Paterson said there was "compelling evidence" that GM crops could benefit farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy.
Nearly 50 countries around the world have either banned GM crop production outright, or have put in place extremely tight restrictions on the production and use of GM products. However, EU member states will soon vote on whether to allow cultivation of a variety of maize that has been made insect-resistant through genetic engineering. If licensed, it would be the first GM food crop authorised for planting by the EU in 15 years.
Paterson said any decisions must be based on scientific evidence, in contrast to "politically motivated" delays and blocks to GM crops in the past.
He stated:
"I will continue to make the case for a regime that allows fair market access for products once they have passed Europe's rigorous, independent scientific assessment."

Paterson has previously indicated that he wants to relax British regulations on the cultivation of GM crops, and has said they have “environmental benefits”.

Owen Paterson has a track record of lending blind support to the GM sector with his factually incorrect statements. In 2013, he called concerns over the use of GM foods “complete nonsense” in an attack on public concerns about GMOs (1):

“I’m very clear it (GM) would be a good thing… The trouble is all this stuff about Frankenstein foods and putting poisons in foods. There are real benefits, and what you’ve got to do is sell the real environmental benefits. Those benefits include a reduction in the use of pesticides because some GM crops are pest-resistant.”

Paterson also said that consumers were already unwittingly eating GM food on a regular basis, so concerns about human health are misplaced and based on “nonsense” and “humbug.”

In another 2013 speech, Paterson stated that “seven million children” had gone blind or died over the past 15 years because “every attempt” to introduce a GM-rice fortified with sight-saving vitamin A had “been thwarted.”

Owen Paterson vs the reality of GMOs and petro-chemical agriculture

Paterson talks emotive, simplistic sound-bite stuff about dead children that might play well to sections of a wider misinformed public. It conveniently overlooks broader, more complex issues related to global poverty, the international system of finance, the ‘structural adjustment’ of local systems of agriculture that have destroyed indigenous food production, world trade policies and the corporate hijack of much of global farming by the West for its agribusiness industry (2).

Paterson’s stance typifies how powerful interests (or their mouthpieces) distort reality when faced with a situation that curtails their interests and profits. It is in their view their opponents who are ideologically or politically motivated and who engage in emotive scare-mongering, while it is they, the immensely rich and politically well connected, who have humanity’s interests at heart and are driven by science and altruism.

If the likes of Paterson are all too dismissive of those anti-GM/anti-MNC “disgusting enemies of the poor,” “ignoramuses” and “scientific jokers” (eg, Professor Seralni in France and Pushpa Bhargava in India) who supposedly engage in “lies,”, “nonsense” and “deceit” to counter scientific facts and the “safe frontier technology” of GMOs (3), perhaps they might be inclined to pay more heed to millionaire MP Zac Goldsmith, who is a member of the Conservative Party to which Paterson also belongs.

Hardly a dyed in the wool, anti-MNC leftie, Goldsmith last year claimed that Paterson is a puppet of the biotech industry and does not understand the dangers genetically modified crops pose to the ecosystem.

Speaking to The Independent newspaper on 3 July 2013, Goldsmith declared:

"He's swallowed the industry line hook, line and sinker without talking to anyone with a different view. When designing policy that's a dangerous thing, and I'm concerned big business is framing the debate for the government… The story so far suggests that GM is predominantly about the industry getting greater control over the food chain, rather than alleviating poverty or environmental concerns." (4)

Paterson displays blatant disregard for the political hijack of food and agriculture and its regulatory bodies by powerful agribusiness and the consequent lax regulations governing its activities. His stance indicates he is probably part of that very problem. His claim about the reduced levels of pesticides is but one instance of his ignorance. This can be placed alongside his range of ignorance on the actual documented lack of agricultural benefits derived from GMOs and their deleterious health impacts (5,6,7,8,9).

His outbursts persist regardless of the destruction of indigenous, traditional patterns of agriculture whose productivity is often far better than any petro-chemical based and/or GMO-based ’green revolution’. If he wants to talk about “museums” then he may like to look at historical evidence pertaining to traditional farming in India and its much better levels of productivity compared with modern methods (9).

It is such a travesty that a senior politician, a ‘public servant’, seems content to become part of the problem by kowtowing to the massive well-documented GMO industry pressures and its global PR machine, which receives full and active support from the US State Department (10,11).  

And whether the public wanted them or not in the US, GM crops are prevalent there, despite there having been significant concern from scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to the FDA allowing GM products into the food chain. The concerns of the scientists were ignored, and by the time the public became aware, the GM products were firmly embedded into the US food production chain (12).

FDA scientists had continually warned regulators that GM crops could create unpredictable and hard to detect side effects, including allergies, toxin production, nutritional problems, and new diseases. They recommended that long-term studies were needed to fully assess the effect of GM foods on other crops, the ecosystem, and animal and human health, but these warnings were ignored.

William F Engdahl has written on this and both he and the watchdog body Corporate European Observatory have raised serious concerns about deep-seated conflicts of interests within the European Food Safety Agency as well pertaining to the biotech sector and major food conglomerates (13,14).

As the GM food sector continues to push at India’s door, we should look to what the GM cotton sector has already ‘achieved’ there. The continued use of GM modified cotton has reduced yields, and the cotton bollworm has developed a resistance to the GM crops which contain the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) toxin (15). This is resulting in an ever increasing barrage of profitable ‘innovations’ from the biotech sector. ‘Innovations’ and ‘R&D’ being trendy terms for attempting to keep on top of the damage being done to agriculture as each new 'frontier' product fails the farmer. More destined to fail technology replaces the older destined to fail products under the banner of ‘cutting edge’ developments (16).

The original ‘green revolution’ is now displaying its devastating long-term health and environmental impacts in Punjab (17). What price its potential ‘second coming’ in the form of GM food crops some years down the line? To answer that question, all we need to do is look elsewhere at the emerging outcomes referenced elsewhere in this article, not least five paragraphs further down through a recent article by Helen Paul on the impacts of GMOs in the Americas.    

Paterson’s claims that the use of GM crops reduce the use of pesticides do not hold up. Research by a WashingtonState University team found that the use of herbicides and insecticides has increased dramatically since GM crops were introduced in the US in 1996 (18). And researchers at the University of Arizona found that multi-toxin GM crops (which are the most technologically advanced crops in use) quickly lose their ability to fend off pests, which is likely to lead to a complete failure of the GMO (19).

Moreover, there has been no proper research or monitoring by the companies producing GM crops of the effects on humans consuming products made with GM crops. Scientists like Dr Arpad Pusztai in theUK and Professor Seralini in France, who have published findings critical of GM crops and food, suffered a wave attacks designed to undermine their work (or careers) by supporters of the technology.

Minister Patterson’s pro-GM attitudes come as little surprise, though. The cosy relationship between governments and the biotech companies is well known, especially in the US (20), where there has been legislation passed that allows biotech companies to be totally free of any legal ramifications if their products cause harm (21).

Perhaps Owen Paterson should take heed of mounting concerns about the terrible health impacts of glyphosate and how GMOs drive the sales of this weedkiller and the deleterious impacts of GMOs on plants and humans (22). He could also take note at the provincial government of Chaco province in Argentina issuance of a report on health statistics from the town La Leonesa, which showed that from 2000 to 2009, following the expansion of genetically-modified soy and rice crops in the region (and the use of glyphosate), the childhood cancer rate tripled in La Leonesa and the rate of birth defects increased nearly fourfold over the entire province (23).

Or maybe he should read Helen Paul’s recent piece in The Ecologist (24). She discusses the unfolding social, health, environmental and ecological disasters of GM agriculture/petro-chemical agriculture on a country by country basis in the Americas and argues that a powerful message should be sent to the EU (and Paterson) that GMOs are not wanted there and that Europe should stop buying and importing the products of GM-driven genocide and ecocide in the Americas. She reveals how repression and displacement, often violent, of remaining rural populations, illness, falling local food production have all featured in this picture. Yet, she argues, we currently face a desperate, almost farcical push for GM crops in the UK and Europe, characterised by hyperbolic and inaccurate claims of which the frequent claims byPaterson no doubt typify.

Far from being a "museum of world farming" as Paterson, likes to claim, Europe could show the way to a rich and varied GM free, organic-based agriculture that provides nutritious, healthy food and jobs. At the same time, Paul argues, we should address the profound degradation of soils and accelerating biodiversity loss, caused to a great extent by the industrial model of agriculture to which genetically engineered crops belong.

Maybe politicians such as Owen Paterson are (unwittingly) content to be fodder for the wider political and economic that GMOs (and big dam, debt-inducing, dollar supporting, oil-dependent chemical agriculture) are tied to. It’s an agenda encompassing an integrated strategy that involves the (near) monopoly ownership and control and ultimate weaponisation of all water, seeds, food and food retail, land and energy, which in turn both fuels and is fuelled by militarism, conflict, debt and dependency (25,26,27,28). Across the planet, we see this agenda being played out via violent conflict, ‘free’ trade agreements (29,30) and the shaping of political agendas (31).


A Conversation with Vandana Shiva - Question 5 - Patenting Life

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Deccan Herald 29/1/2014 

Last year, Friends of the Earth Europe (FoE) and GM Freeze found that people in 18 countries across Europe had traces of glyphosate (weedkiller) in their urine. They also commissioned laboratory tests on urine samples and found that on average 44 per cent of samples contained glyphosate.

The proportion of positive samples varied between countries, with
Malta, Germany, the UK and Poland having the most positive tests. All the volunteers who provided samples live in cities, and none had handled or used glyphosate products in the run-up to the tests.

Tom Sanders, head of the nutritional sciences research division at King's College London, said the levels found are unlikely to be of any significance to health. However, FoE believes that there is sufficient evidence to suggest environmental and health impacts from glyphosate warrant concern. It wants to know how the glyphosate found in human urine samples has entered the body, what the impacts of persistent exposure to low levels of glyphosate might be and what happens to the glyphosate that remains in the body.

In Europe, as elsewhere, official approval of glyphosate has been rash, problematic and deeply flawed. A comprehensive review of existing data released in June 2011 by Earth Open Source suggested that industry regulators in Europehad known for years that glyphosate causes birth defects in the embryos of laboratory animals. Questions were subsequently raised about the role of the powerful agro-industry in rigging data pertaining to product safety and its undue influence on regulatory bodies.

In the same vein, FoE says there is currently very little testing for glyphosate by public authorities, despite its widespread use, and authorities in Europe do not test for glyphosate in humans and tests on food are infrequent. Glyphosate was approved for EU-wide use in 2002, but FoE argues that the European regulatory agencies did not carry out their own safety testing, relying instead on data provided by the manufacturers. That is, data from studies that were not scientifically peer reviewed.

With references to a raft of peer-reviewed studies, FoE draws attention to the often disturbing health and environmental dangers and impacts of glyphosate-based herbicides throughout the world. The FoE study also highlights concerns around the increasing levels of exposure to glyphosate-based weed killers, particularly as the use of glyphosate is predicted to rise further if more genetically modified GM crops are grown worldwide. It is after all good for business. GMOs drive sales of glyphosate. Despite its widespread use, there is currently little monitoring of glyphosate in food, water or the wider environment. There is a serious lack of action by public authorities. 

Using official
US government data, Dr Charles Benbrook, research professor at the Centre for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, states that in the US since 1996 the glysophate rate of application per crop year has tripled on cotton farms, doubled in the case of soybeans and risen 39 per cent on corn. The average annual increase in the pounds of glyphosate applied to cotton, soybeans, and corn has been 18.2 per cent, 9.8 per cent, and 4.3 per cent, respectively, since herbicide tolerant crops were introduced.

Glyphosate is used on many genetically modified crops. Approval of these crops would inevitably lead to a further increase of glysphosate spraying. In the US, biotech crops, including corn, soybeans, canola and sugarbeets, are planted on millions of acres annually. Evidence suggests that Roundup could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson's, infertility and cancers, according to a peer-reviewed report from 2013, published in the scientific journal Entropy. The study also concluded that residues of glyphosate have been found in food. These residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a science consultant. 

The authors conclude that many of the health problems that appear to be associated with a Western (petro-chemical-based) diet could be explained by biological disruptions that have already been attributed to glyphosate. These include digestive issues, obesity, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, liver diseases, and cancer, among others. While many other environmental toxins obviously also contribute to these diseases and conditions, Seneff and Samsel believe that glyphosate may be the most significant environmental toxin.

In 2010, the provincial government of
Chaco province in Argentina issued a report on health statistics from the town La Leonesa. The report showed that from 2000 to 2009, following the expansion of genetically-modified soy and rice crops in the region (and the use of glyphosate), the childhood cancer rate tripled in La Leonesa and the rate of birth defects increased nearly fourfold over the entire province.

There are major implications for
India, not least because biotech companies continue to try to force GM crops onto the commercial market here. On the heels of Professor Seralini’s much maligned (by the biotech sector) findings pointing to the deleterious health impacts of gyphosate, according to a study in 2013 by the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, glyphosate-based herbicide poses the risk of serious human health hazards including cancer. It all leads us to consider what cost might India pay in the long run. That depends on what price the nation’s policy makers are prepared to put on the public’s health.

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Peer review or no peer review, it seems to matter little to the biotech sector when research findings have the potential to damage its interests. In any case, peer review is only for the sector’s critics. It doesn’t seem to apply much to it. For instance, in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists had continually warned regulators that GM crops could create unpredictable and hard to detect side effects, including allergies, toxin production, nutritional problems, and new diseases. They recommended that long-term studies were needed to fully assess the effect of GM foods on other crops, the ecosystem, and animal and human health, but these warnings were ignored (2).  

Commercial interest, political strategy and lobbying, not science, is what really counts for this industry. Much of the research it uses to back up its claims is after all carried out by itself and is not fully open to outside scrutiny. Certain negative findings that would be detrimental to its interests are suppressed. According to Open Earth Source in a 2011 article in Huufington Post, this is certainly the case where glysophate (Round Up) has been concerned (3). It is therefore disconcerting that policy makers willingly accept the industry’s claims and facilitate its aims, not least in the UK.    

GeneWatch UK has revealed how Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, and BASF (all biotech companies) under the guise of the ‘Agricultural Biotechnology Council’ held a meeting in June 2012 with government ministers and academics to formulate a ‘strategy’ to promote GMO in schools, to ‘educate’ the public and to ‘improve’ the regulatory framework favouring GMOs, while encouraging farmers to change their farming methods to fully accommodate the GMO products the companies produce.

Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK said that this shows breath-taking arrogance by these companies which seem to think that British farming must be destroyed to suit their own commercial interest and British children should be brainwashed to support their business strategies. She argues that ministers should not be pushing the GM sector’s propaganda in British schools at taxpayers’ expense (4). It begs the question: where is the role for independent science (not corporate/industry-backed science) in all of this? The sector seems able to secure political patronage or co-opt key players to its cause as and when necessary.

And the reason for this is clear. Writer Rich Murray highlights on how top people from the GM sector have moved with ease to take up many top positions with various US government bodies, such as the FDA (5). William F Engdahl has described a similar effect in Europe (6). In both cases, the revolving door between government and biotech sector ensures the latter’s interests are served.

Seralini’s research team based its experiment on the same protocol as a previous Monsanto study but, importantly, were testing more parameters more frequently. And the GMO-fed rats were studied for much longer. The long time span proved critical. The first tumours only appeared four to seven months into the study. In the industry’s earlier 90-day study on the same GMO maize Monsanto NK603, signs of toxicity were seen but were dismissed as “not biologically meaningful” by industry and the European Food Safety Agency. It seems they were indeed very biologically meaningful.

In his recent piece in The Ecologist, William F Engdahl argues Seralini’s research is valid and that biotech pressure has led to the journal’s decision to retract Seralini’s paper (7). Engdahl notes that the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, where Seralini’s paper appeared, has itself violated scientific standards by deciding to retract the paper.

It begs the questions: when does science become ‘non-science’ and when can a journal decide to reinvent criteria for publication and retraction? On the Independent Science News website (8), Claire Robinson and Jonathan Latham note that in the run-up to the retraction, the journal’s publisher, Elsevier, announced that it had created a new position, that of 'Associate Editor for Biotechnology'. The person they hired to fill it was Richard E Goodman, a former Monsanto employee. Six months after Goodman took control of GMO issues at the Journal, Dr A Wallace Hayes, the editor of the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, retracted the study by the team of Professor Séralini, citing the ‘inconclusiveness’ of the research findings as the reason.

However, Claire Robinson on the GM Watch site (9) notes that inconclusiveness of findings is not a valid ground for retraction because numerous published scientific papers contain inconclusive findings, which are often mixed in with findings that can be presented with more certainty. She rightly states that it is for future researchers to build on the findings and refine scientific understanding of any uncertainties.

There is something highly suspicious about all of this.

The public is having GMO food pushed on it with no say in the matter thanks to deceit and various forms of institutionalised corruption. Unfortunately, argument stemming from independent scientific findings is too often sidelined in favour of other means of influence. Recall how Dr Arpad Pusztai in the UK was effectively silenced over his research and a campaign was set in motion to destroy his reputation some years ago because his research findings were unpalatable to the biotech sector. Then there is the infamous WikiLeaks cable highlighting how GMOs were being forced into European nations by the US ambassador to France who plotted with other US officials to create a ‘retaliatory target list’ of anyone who tried to regulate GMOs.

In the meantime, evidence questioning the health impacts and efficacy or lack of agricultural benefits derived from GMOs mounts (10,11,12,13). But this is of little concern to the industry and its pressure tactics and global PR machine, which receives full and active support from the US State Department (14).

Is science to fall victim to outside pressures? Claire Robinson and Jonathan Latham argue that unless radical reform is achieved, peer-reviewed publication, which many hold to be the defining characteristic of science, will have undergone a remarkable inversion. From its origin as a safeguard of quality and independence, it will have become a tool through which one vision, that of corporate science, came to assert ultimate control. They argue that Richard Goodman now has the opportunity to throw down the stairs only those papers marked “industry approved.”

It’s a valid point. As Don Huber, Professor of Plant Pathology at Purdue University, has indicated, getting research findings published that do not coincide with the aims of key commercial interests can be difficult and comes with certain risks (15). With some hugely powerful players involved, many of whom have influence over journal content and have successfully infiltrated important government and official bodies, much of the science and the debate is being manipulated and hijacked by vested interests for commercial gain.


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Control oil and you control nations,” said US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970s.  “Control food and you control the people.”

Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity with GMO (genetically modified) seeds that are distributed by only a few transnational corporations. But this agenda has been implemented at grave cost to our health; and if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes, control over not just our food but our health, our environment and our financial system will be in the hands of transnational corporations.

Profits Before Populations

Genetic engineering has made proprietary control possible over the seeds on which the world’s food supply depends. “Terminator” genes enable the production of sterile seeds, using a synthetic chemical catalyst appropriately called “Traitor” to induce seed sterility. Farmers must therefore buy seeds from their patent owners year after year. To cover these costs, food prices are raised; but the harm is far greater than to our pocketbooks.

According to an Acres USA interview of plant pathologist Don Huber, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, two modified traits account for practically all of the genetically modified crops grown in the world today. One involves insect resistance. The other, more disturbing modification involves insensitivity to glyphosate-based herbicides (plant-killing chemicals). Often known as Roundup after the best-selling Monsanto product of that name, glyphosate poisons everything in its path except plants genetically modified to resist it.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Glyphosate is an essential partner to the GMOs that are the principal business of the burgeoning biotech industry. Glyphosate is a “broad-spectrum” herbicide that destroys indiscriminately, not by killing unwanted plants directly but by tying up access to critical nutrients.

Because of the insidious way in which it works, it has been sold as a relatively benign replacement for the devastating earlier dioxin-based herbicides. But a barrage of experimental data has now shown glyphosate and the GMO foods incorporating it to pose serious dangers to health. Compounding the risk is the toxicity of “inert” ingredients used to make glyphosate more potent. Researchers have found, for example, that the surfactant POEA can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. But these risks have been conveniently ignored.

The widespread use of GMO foods and glyphosate herbicides helps explain the anomaly that the US spends over twice as much per capita on healthcare as the average developed country, yet it is rated far down the scale of the world’s healthiest populations. The World Health Organization has ranked the US LAST out of 17 developed nations for overall health.

Sixty to seventy percent of the foods in US supermarkets are now genetically modified. By contrast, in at least 26 other countries—including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia—GMOs are totally or partially banned; and significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries.

A ban on GMO and glyphosate use might go far toward improving the health of Americans. But the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade agreement for which the Obama Administration has sought Fast Track status, would block that sort of cause-focused approach to the healthcare crisis.

Roundup’s Insidious Effects

Roundup-resistant crops escape being killed by glyphosate, but they do not avoid absorbing it into their tissues. Herbicide-tolerant crops have substantially higher levels of herbicide residues than other crops. In fact, many countries have had to increase their legally allowable levels—by up to 50 times—in order to accommodate the introduction of GM crops. In the European Union, residues in food are set to rise 100-150 times if a new proposal by Monsanto is approved. Meanwhile, herbicide-tolerant “super-weeds” have adapted to the chemical, requiring even more toxic doses and new toxic chemicals to kill the plant.

Human enzymes are affected by glyphosate just as plant enzymes are: the chemical blocks the uptake of manganese and other essential minerals. Without those minerals, we cannot properly metabolize our food. That helps explain the rampant epidemic of obesity in the United States. People eat and eat in an attempt to acquire the nutrients that are simply not available in their food.

According to researchers Samsell and Seneff in Biosemiotic Entropy: Disorder, Disease, and Mortality (April 2013):

Glyphosate’s inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes is an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals. CYP enzymes play crucial roles in biology . . . . Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body. Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

More than 40 diseases have been linked to glyphosate use, and more keep appearing. In September 2013, the National University of Rio Cuarto, Argentina, published research finding that glyphosate enhances the growth of fungi that produce aflatoxin B1, one of the most carcinogenic of substances. A doctor from Chaco, Argentina, told Associated Press, “We’ve gone from a pretty healthy population to one with a high rate of cancer, birth defects and illnesses seldom seen before.” Fungi growths have increased significantly in US corn crops.

Glyphosate has also done serious damage to the environment. According to an October 2012 report by the Institute of Science in Society:

Agribusiness claims that glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant crops will improve crop yields, increase farmers’ profits and benefit the environment by reducing pesticide use. Exactly the opposite is the case. . . . [T]he evidence indicates that glyphosate herbicides and glyphosate-tolerant crops have had wide-ranging detrimental effects, including glyphosate resistant super weeds, virulent plant (and new livestock) pathogens, reduced crop health and yield, harm to off-target species from insects to amphibians and livestock, as well as reduced soil fertility.

Politics Trumps Science

In light of these adverse findings, why have Washington and the European Commission continued to endorse glyphosate as safe? Critics point to lax regulations, heavy influence from corporate lobbyists, and a political agenda that has more to do with power and control than protecting the health of the people.

In the ground-breaking 2007 book Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, William Engdahl states that global food control and depopulation became US strategic policy under Rockefeller protégé Henry Kissinger. Along with oil geopolitics, they were to be the new “solution” to the threats to US global power and continued US access to cheap raw materials from the developing world. In line with that agenda, the government has shown extreme partisanship in favor of the biotech agribusiness industry, opting for a system in which the industry “voluntarily” polices itself. Bio-engineered foods are treated as “natural food additives,” not needing any special testing.

Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, confirms that US Food and Drug Administration policy allows biotech companies to determine if their own foods are safe. Submission of data is completely voluntary. He concludes:

In the critical arena of food safety research, the biotech industry is without accountability, standards, or peer-review. They’ve got bad science down to a science.

Whether or not depopulation is an intentional part of the agenda, widespread use of GMO and glyphosate is having that result. The endocrine-disrupting properties of glyphosate have been linked to infertility, miscarriage, birth defects and arrested sexual development. In Russian experiments, animals fed GM soy were sterile by the third generation. Vast amounts of farmland soil are also being systematically ruined by the killing of beneficial microorganisms that allow plant roots to uptake soil nutrients.

In Gary Null’s eye-opening documentary Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs, Dr. Bruce Lipton warns, “We are leading the world into the sixth mass extinction of life on this planet. . . . Human behavior is undermining the web of life.”

The TPP and International Corporate Control

As the devastating conclusions of these and other researchers awaken people globally to the dangers of Roundup and GMO foods, transnational corporations are working feverishly with the Obama administration to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that would strip governments of the power to regulate transnational corporate activities. Negotiations have been kept secret from Congress but not from corporate advisors, 600 of whom have been consulted and know the details. According to Barbara Chicherio in Nation of Change:

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has the potential to become the biggest regional Free Trade Agreement in history. . . .

The chief agricultural negotiator for the US is the former Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddique.  If ratified the TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented right to demand taxpayer compensation for policies that corporations deem a barrier to their profits.

. . . They are carefully crafting the TPP to insure that citizens of the involved countries have no control over food safety, what they will be eating, where it is grown, the conditions under which food is grown and the use of herbicides and pesticides.

Food safety is only one of many rights and protections liable to fall to this super-weapon of international corporate control. In an April 2013 interview on The Real News Network, Kevin Zeese called the TPP “NAFTA on steroids” and “a global corporate coup.” He warned:

No matter what issue you care about—whether its wages, jobs, protecting the environment . . . this issue is going to adversely affect it . . . .

If a country takes a step to try to regulate the financial industry or set up a public bank to represent the public interest, it can be sued . . . .

Return to Nature: Not Too Late

There is a safer, saner, more earth-friendly way to feed nations. While Monsanto and US regulators are forcing GM crops on American families, Russian families are showing what can be done with permaculture methods on simple garden plots. In 2011, 40% of Russia’s food was grown on dachas (cottage gardens or allotments). Dacha gardens produced over 80% of the country’s fruit and berries, over 66% of the vegetables, almost 80% of the potatoes and nearly 50% of the nation’s milk, much of it consumed raw. According to Vladimir Megre, author of the best-selling Ringing Cedars Series:

Essentially, what Russian gardeners do is demonstrate that gardeners can feed the world – and you do not need any GMOs, industrial farms, or any other technological gimmicks to guarantee everybody’s got enough food to eat. Bear in mind that Russia only has 110 days of growing season per year – so in the US, for example, gardeners’ output could be substantially greater. Today, however, the area taken up by lawns in the US is two times greater than that of Russia’s gardens – and it produces nothing but a multi-billion-dollar lawn care industry.

In the US, only about 0.6 percent of the total agricultural area is devoted to organic farming. This area needs to be vastly expanded if we are to avoid “the sixth mass extinction.” But first, we need to urge our representatives to stop Fast Track, vote no on the TPP, and pursue a global phase-out of glyphosate-based herbicides and GMO foods. Our health, our finances and our environment are at stake.


Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her blog articles are at

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Despite 24-hour news and talk about transparency, there's a lot we don't know about our past, much less current events. What’s worse, some of what we think we know isn't true.
The point is that it’s no accident. 
    Consider, for example, the circumstances that led to open war in Vietnam. According to official history, two US destroyers patrolling in the Gulf of Tonkin off North Vietnam were victims of unprovoked attacks in August 1964, leading to a congressional resolution giving President Johnson the power "to take all necessary measures."
     In fact, the destroyers were spy ships, part of a National Security Agency (NSA) eavesdropping program operating near the coast as a way to provoke the North Vietnamese into turning on their radar and other communications channels. The more provocative the maneuvers, the more signals that could be captured. Meanwhile, US raiding parties were shelling mainland targets. Documents revealed later indicated that the August 4 attack on the USS Maddox – the pretext for passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution – may not even have taken place.
     But even if it did, the incident was still stage managed to build up congressional and public support for the war. Evidence suggests that the plan was based on Operation Northwoods, a scheme developed in 1962 to justify an invasion of Cuba. Among the tactics the Joint Chiefs of Staff considered then were blowing up a ship in Guantanamo Bay, a phony "communist Cuba terror campaign" in Florida and Washington, DC, and an elaborate plan to convince people that Cuba had shot down a civilian airliner filled with students. That operation wasn't implemented, but two years later, desperate for a war, the administration's military brass found a way to create the necessary conditions in Vietnam.
For more than half a century, the eyes and ears of US power to monitor and manipulate information (and with it, mass perceptions) has been the NSA, initially designed to assist the CIA. Its original task was to collect raw information about threats to US security, cracking codes and using the latest technology to provide accurate intelligence on the intentions and activities of enemies. Emerging after World War II, its early focus was the Soviet Union. But it never did crack a high-level Soviet cipher system. On the other hand, it used every available means to eavesdrop on not only enemies but also allies and, sometimes, US citizens.
     In Body of Secrets, James Bamford described a bureaucratic and secretive behemoth, based in an Orwellian Maryland complex known as Crypto City. From there, supercomputers linked it to spy satellites, subs, aircraft, and equally covert, strategically placed listening posts worldwide. As of 2000, it had a $7 billion annual budget and directly employed at least 38,000 people, more than the CIA and FBI. It was also the leader of an international intelligence club, UKUSA, which includes Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Together, they monitored and recorded billions of encrypted communications, telephone calls, radio messages, faxes, and e-mails around the world.
     Over the years, however, the line between enemies and friends blurred, and the intelligence gatherers often converted their control of information into unilateral power, influencing the course of history in ways that may never be known. No doubt the agency has had a hand in countless covert operations; yet, attempts to pull away the veil of secrecy have been largely unsuccessful.
     In the mid-1970s, for example, just as Congress was attempting to reign in the CIA, the NSA was quietly creating a virtual state, a massive international computer network named Platform. Doing away with formal borders, it developed a software package that turned worldwide Sigint (short for "signal intelligence": communication intelligence, eavesdropping, and electronic intelligence) into a unified whole. The software package was code named Echelon, a name that has since become a synonym for eavesdropping on commercial communication.
     Of course, the NSA and its British sister, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), refused to admit Echelon existed, even though declassified documents appeared on the Internet and Congress conducted an initial investigation. But a European Parliament report also confirmed Echelon's activities, and encouraged Internet users and governments to adopt stronger privacy measures in response.
     In March 2001, several ranking British politicians discussed Echelon's potential impacts on civil liberties, and a European Parliament committee considered its legal, human rights, and privacy implications. The Dutch held similar hearings, and a French National Assembly inquiry urged the European Union to embrace new privacy enhancing technologies to protect against Echelon's eavesdropping. France launched a formal investigation into possible abuses for industrial espionage.
A prime reason for Europe's discontent was the growing suspicion that the NSA had used intercepted conversations to help US companies win contracts heading for European firms. The alleged losers included Airbus, a consortium including interests in France, Germany, Spain, and Britain, and Thomson CSF, a French electronics company. The French claimed they had lost a $1.4 billion deal to supply Brazil with a radar system because the NSA shared details of the negotiations with Raytheon. Airbus may have lost a contract worth $2 billion to Boeing and McDonnell Douglas because of information intercepted and passed on by the agency.
     According to former NSA agent Wayne Madsen, the US used information gathered from its bases in Australia to win a half share in a significant Indonesian trade contract for AT&T. Communication intercepts showed the contract was initially going to a Japanese firm. A bit later a lawsuit against the US and Britain was launched in France, judicial and parliamentary investigations began in Italy, and German parliamentarians demanded an inquiry.
     The rationale for turning the NSA loose on commercial activities, even those involving allies, was provided in the mid-90s by Sen. Frank DeConcini, then chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "I don't think we should have a policy where we're going to invade the Airbus inner sanctum and find out their secrets for the purpose of turning it over to Boeing or McDonnell Douglas," he opined. "But if we find something, not to share it with our people seems to me to be not smart."
      President Bill Clinton and other US officials buttressed this view by charging that European countries were unfairly subsidizing Airbus. In other words, competition with significant US interests can be a matter of national security, and private capitalism must be protected from state-run enterprises.
      The US-Europe row about Airbus subsidies was also used as a "test case" for scientists developing new intelligence tools. At US Defense Department conferences on "text retrieval," competitions were staged to find the best methods. A standard test featured extracting protected data about "Airbus subsidies."
In the end, influencing the outcome of commercial transactions is but the tip of this iceberg. The NSA's ability to intercept to virtually any transmitted communication has enhanced the power of unelected officials and private interests to set covert foreign policy in motion. In some cases, the objective is clear and arguably defensible: taking effective action against terrorism, for example. But in others, the grand plans of the intelligence community have led it to undermine democracies.
     The 1975 removal of Australian Prime Minister Edward Whitlam is an instructive case. At the time of Whitlam's election in 1972, Australian intelligence was working with the CIA against the Allende government in Chile. The new PM didn’t simply order a halt to Australia's involvement, explained William Blum in Killing Hope, a masterful study of US interventions since World War II. Whitlam seized intelligence information withheld from him by the Australian Security and Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and disclosed the existence of a joint CIA-ASIO directorate that monitored radio traffic in Asia. He also openly disapproved of US plans to build up the Indian Ocean Island of Diego Garcia as a military-intelligence-nuclear outpost.
     Both the CIA and NSA became concerned about the security and future of crucial intelligence facilities in and near Australia. The country was already key member of UKUSA. After launching its first space-based listening post-a microwave receiver with an antenna pointed at earth-NSA had picked an isolated desert area in central Australia as a ground station. Once completed, the base at Alice Springs was named Pine Gap, the first of many listening posts to be installed around the world. For the NSA and CIA, Whitlam posed a threat to the secrecy and security of such operations.
     An early step was covert funding for the political opposition, in hopes of defeating Whitlam's Labor Party in 1974. When that failed, meetings were held with the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, a figurehead representing the Queen of England who had worked for CIA front organizations since the 50s. Defense officials warned that intelligence links would be cut off unless someone stopped Whitlam. On November 11, 1975, Kerr responded, dismissing the prime minister, dissolving both houses of Parliament, and appointing an interim government until new elections were held.
     According to Christopher Boyce (subject of The Falcon and the Snowman, a fictionalized account), who watched the process while working for TRW in a CIA-linked cryptographic communications center, the spooks also infiltrated Australian labor unions and contrived to suppress transportation strikes that were holding up deliveries to US intelligence installations. Not coincidentally, some unions were leading the opposition to development of those same facilities.
     How often, and to what effect, such covert ops have succeeded is another of the mysteries that comprise an unwritten history of the last half century. Beyond that, systems like Echelon violate the human right to individual privacy, and give those who control the information the ability to act with impunity, sometimes destroying lives and negating the popular will in the process.
Hiding the Agenda in Peru
In May 1960, when a U-2 spy plane was shot down over Soviet territory, President Dwight Eisenhower took great pains to deny direct knowledge or authorization of the provocative mission. In reality, he personally oversaw every U-2 mission, and had even riskier and more provocative bomber overflights in mind.
     It's a basic rule of thumb for covert ops: When exposed, keep denying and deflect the blame. More important, never, never let on that the mission itself may be a pretext, or a diversion from some other, larger agenda.
     Considering that, the April 20, 2001, shoot down of a plane carrying missionaries across the Brazilian border into Peru becomes highly suspicious. At first, the official story fed to the press was that Peruvian authorities ordered the attack on their own, over the pleas of the CIA "contract pilots" who initially spotted the plane. But Peruvian pilots involved in that program, supposedly designed to intercept drug flights, insist that nothing was shot down without US approval.
     Innocent planes were sometimes attacked, but most were small, low flying aircraft that didn't file flight plans and had no radios. This plane maintained regular contact and did file a plan. Still, even after it crash-landed, the Peruvians continued to strafe it, perhaps in an attempt to ignite the plane's fuel and eliminate the evidence.
     "I think it has to do with Plan Colombia and the coming war," said Celerino Castillo, who had previously worked in Peru for Drug Enforcement Agency. "The CIA was sending a clear message to all non-combatants to clear out of the area, and to get favorable press." The flight was heading to Iquitos, which "is at the heart of everything the CIA is doing right now," he added. "They don't want any witnesses."
     Timing also may have played a part. The shoot down occurred on the opening day of the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City. Uruguay's President Jorge Ibanez, who had proposed the worldwide legalization of drugs just weeks before, was expected to make a high-profile speech on his proposal at the gathering. The downing of a drug smuggling plane at this moment, near territory held by Colombia's FARC rebels, would help to defuse Uruguay's message and reinforce the image of the insurgents as drug smugglers.
     If you doubt that the US would condone such an operation or cover it up, consider this: In 1967, Israel torpedoed the USS Liberty, a large floating listening post, as it was eavesdropping on the Arab-Israeli war off the Sinai Peninsula. Hundreds of US sailors were wounded and killed, probably because Israel feared that its massacre of Egyptian prisoners at El Arish might be overheard. How did the Pentagon respond? By imposing a total news ban, and covering up the facts for decades.
     Will we ever find out what really happened in Peru, specifically why a missionary and her daughter were killed? Not likely, since it involves a private military contractor that is basically beyond the reach of congressional accountability.
     In 2009, when the Peru shoot down became one of five cases of intelligence operation cover up being investigated by the US House Intelligence Committee, the CIA inspector general concluded that the CIA had improperly concealed information about the incident. Intelligence Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky, who led the investigation, didn’t rule out referrals to the Justice Department for criminal prosecutions if evidence surfaced that intelligence officials broke the law. But she couldn’t guarantee that the facts would ever come to light, since the Committee’s report of its investigation would be classified.
     The most crucial wrinkle in the Peruvian incident is the involvement of DynCorp, which was active in Colombia and Bolivia under large contracts with various US agencies. The day after the incident, ABC news reported that, according to “senior administration officials,” the crew of the surveillance plane that first identified the doomed aircraft "was hired by the CIA from DynCorp." Within two days, however, all references to DynCorp were scrubbed from ABC's Website. A week later, the New York Post claimed the crew actually worked for Aviation Development Corp., allegedly a CIA proprietary company.
     Whatever the truth, State Department officials refused to talk on the record about DynCorp's activities in South America. Yet, according to DynCorp's State Department contract, the firm had received at least $600 million over the previous few years for training, drug interdiction, search and rescue (which included combat), air transport of equipment and people, and reconnaissance in the region. And that was only what they put on paper. It also operated government aircraft and provided all manner of personnel, particularly for Plan Colombia.
DynCorp began in 1946 as the employee-owned air cargo business California Eastern Airways, flying in supplies for the Korean War. This and later government work led to charges that it was a CIA front company. Whatever the truth, it ultimately became a leading PMC, hiring former soldiers and police officers to implement US foreign policy without having to report to Congress.
     The push to privatize war gained traction during the first Bush administration. After the first Gulf War, the Pentagon, then headed by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, paid a Halliburton subsidiary nearly $9 million to study how PMCs could support US soldiers in combat zones, according to a Mother Jones investigation. Cheney subsequently became CEO of Halliburton, and Brown & Root, later known as Halliburton KBR, won billions to construct and run military bases, some in secret locations.
     One of DynCorp’s earliest “police” contracts involved the protection of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and, after he was ousted, providing the “technical advice” that brought military officers involved in that coup into Haiti’s National Police. Despite this dodgy record, in 2002 it won the contract to protect another new president, Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai. By then, it was a top IT federal contractor specializing in computer systems development, and also providing the government with aviation services, general military management, and security expertise.
     Like other private military outfits, the main danger it has faced is the risk of public exposure. Under one contract, for example, DynCorp sprayed vast quantities of herbicides over Colombia to kill the cocaine crop. In September 2001, Ecuadorian Indians filed a class action lawsuit, charging that DynCorp recklessly sprayed their homes and farms, causing illnesses and deaths and destroying crops. In Bosnia, private police provided by DynCorp for the UN were accused of buying and selling prostitutes, including a 12-year-old girl. Others were charged with videotaping a rape.
     In the first years of the 21st century, DynCorp's day-to-day operations in South America were overseen by State Department officials, including the Narcotic Affairs Section and the Air Wing, the latter a clique of unreformed cold warriors and leftovers from 80s operations in Central America. It was essentially the State Department's private air force in the Andes, with access to satellite-based recording and mapping systems.
     In the 1960s, a similar role was played by the Vinnell Corp., which the CIA called "our own private mercenary army in Vietnam." Vinnell later became a subsidiary of TRW, a major NSA contractor, and employed US Special Forces vets to train Saudi Arabia's National Guard. In the late 1990s, TRW hired former NSA director William Studeman to help with its intelligence program.
     DynCorp avoided the kind of public scandal that surrounded the activities of Blackwater. In Ecuador, where it developed military logistics centers and coordinated “anti-terror” police training, the exposure of a secret covenant signed with the Aeronautics Industries Directorate of the Ecuadorian Air Force briefly threatened to make waves. According to a November 2003 exposé in Quito’s El Comercio, the arrangement, hidden from the National Defense Council, made DynCorp’s people part of the US diplomatic mission.
     In Colombia, DynCorp’s coca eradication and search-and-rescue missions led to controversial pitched battles with rebels. US contract pilots flew Black Hawk helicopters carrying Colombian police officers who raked the countryside with machine gun fire to protect the missions against attacks. According to investigative reporter Jason Vest, DynCorp employees were also implicated in narcotics trafficking. But such stories didn’t get far, and, in any case, DynCorp’s “trainers” simply ignored congressional rules, including those that restrict the US from aiding military units linked to human rights abuses.
     In 2003, DynCorp won a multimillion-dollar contract to build a private police force in post-Saddam Iraq, with some of the funding diverted from an anti-drug program for Afghanistan. In 2004, the State Department further expanded DynCorp’s role as a global US surrogate with a $1.75 billion, five year contract to provide law enforcement personnel for civilian policing operations in “post-conflict areas” around the world. That March, the company also got an Army contract to support helicopters sold to foreign countries. The work, described as “turnkey” services, includes program management, logistics support, maintenance and aircrew training, aircraft maintenance and refurbishment, repair and overhaul of aircraft components and engines, airframe and engine upgrades, and the production of technical publications.
     In short, DynCorp was a trusted partner in the military-intelligence-industrial complex. "Are we outsourcing order to avoid public scrutiny, controversy or embarrassment?" asked Rep. Schakowsky upon submitting legislation to prohibit US funding for private military firms in the Andean region. "If there is a potential for a privatized Gulf of Tonkin incident, then the American people deserve to have a full and open debate before this policy goes any further."
     If and when that ever happens, the discussion will have to cover a lot of ground. Private firms, working in concert with various intelligence agencies, constitute a vast foreign policy apparatus that is largely invisible, rarely covered by the corporate press, and not currently subject to congressional oversight. The Freedom of Information Act simply doesn't apply. Any information on whom they arm or how they operate is private, proprietary information.
     The US government downplays its use of mercenaries, a state of affairs that could undermine any efforts to find out about CIA activities that are concealed from Congress. Yet private contractors perform almost every function essential to military operations, a situation that has been called the “creeping privatization of the business of war.” By 2004, the Pentagon was employing more than 700,000 private contractors.
     The companies are staffed by former generals, admirals, and highly trained officers. Name a hot spot and some PMC has people there. DynCorp has worked on the Defense Message System Transition Hub and done long-range planning for the Air Force. MPRI had a similar contract with the Army, and for a time coordinated the Pentagon's military and leadership training in at least seven African nations.
     How did this outsourcing of defense evolve? In 1969, the US Army had about 1.5 million active duty soldiers. By 1992, the figure had been cut by half. Since the mid-1990s, however, the US has mobilized militarily to intervene in several significant conflicts, and a corporate “foreign legion” has filled the gap between foreign policy imperatives and what a downsized, increasingly over-stretched military can provide.
     Use of high technology equipment feeds the process. Private companies have technical capabilities that the military needs, but doesn’t always possess. Contractors have maintained stealth bombers and Predator unmanned drones used in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some military equipment is specifically designed to be operated and maintained by private companies.
     In Britain, the debate over military privatization has been public, since the activities of the UK company Sandline in Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea embarrassed the government in the late 1990s. But no country has clear policies to regulate PMCs, and the limited oversight that does exist rarely works. In the US, they have largely escaped notice, except when US contract workers in conflict zones are killed or go way over the line, as in the case of Blackwater.
     According to Guy Copeland, who began developing public-private IT policy in the Reagan years, “The private sector must play an integral role in improving our national cybersecurity.” After all, he has noted, private interests own and operate 85 percent of the nation’s critical IT infrastructure. He should know. After all, Copeland drafted much of the language in the Bush Administration’s 2002 National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace as co-chair of the Information Security Committee of the Information Technology Association of America.
     Nevertheless, when the federal government becomes dependent on unaccountable, private companies like DynCorp and Blackwater (later renamed Xe Services) for so many key security services, as well as for military logistics, management, strategy, expertise and “training,” fundamental elements of US defense have been outsourced. And the details of that relationship are matters that the intelligence community will fight long and hard to keep out of public view.
Corporate Connections and "Soft Landings"
Although the various departments and private contractors within the military-intelligence-industrial complex occasionally have turf battles and don't always share information or coordinate strategy as effectively as they might, close and ongoing contact has long been considered essential. And it has expanded as a result of the information revolution. The entire intelligence community has its own secret Intranet, which pulls together FBI reports, NSA intercepts, analysis from the DIA and CIA, and other deeply covert sources.
     Private firms are connected to this information web through staff, location, shared technology, and assorted contracts. Working primarily for the Pentagon, for example, L-3 Communications, a spinoff from major defense contractor Lockheed Martin, has manufactured hardware like control systems for satellites and flight recorders. MPRI, which was bought by L-3, provided services like its operations in Macedonia. L-3 also built the NSA's Secure Terminal Equipment, which instantly encrypts phone conversations.
     Another private contractor active in the Balkans was Science Applications, staffed by former NSA and CIA personnel, and specializing in police training. When Janice Stromsem, a Justice Department employee, complained that its program gave the CIA unfettered access to recruiting agents in foreign police forces, she was relieved of her duties. Her concern was that the sovereignty of nations receiving aid from the US was being compromised.
     In 1999, faced with personnel cuts, the NSA offered over 4000 employees "soft landing" buy outs to help them secure jobs with defense firms that have major NSA contracts. NSA offered to pay the first year's salary, in hopes the contractor would then pick up the tab. Sometimes the employee didn't even have to move away from Crypto City. Companies taking part in the program included TRW and MPRI's parent company, Lockheed Martin.
     Lockheed was also a winner in the long-term effort to privatize government services. In 2000, it won a $43.8 million contract to run the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System, one of the largest human resources systems in the world. As a result, a major defense contractor took charge of consolidating all Department of Defense personnel systems, covering hiring and firing for about 750,000 civilian employees. This put the contractor at the cutting edge of Defense Department planning, and made it a key gatekeeper at the revolving door between the US military and private interests.
Shortly after his appointment as NSA director in 1999, Michael Hayden went to see the film Enemy of the State, in which Will Smith is pursued by an all-seeing, all hearing NSA and former operative Gene Hackman decries the agency's dangerous power. In Body of Secrets, author Bamford says Hayden found the film entertaining, yet offensive and highly inaccurate. Still, the NSA chief was comforted by "a society that makes its bogeymen secrecy and power. That's really what the movie's about.''
     Unlike Hayden, most people don't know where the fiction ends and NSA reality begins. Supposedly, the agency rarely "spies" on US citizens at home. On the other hand, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows a secret federal court to waive that limitation. The rest of the world doesn't have that protection. Designating thousands of keywords, names, phrases, and phone numbers, NSA computers can pick them out of millions of messages, passing anything of interest on to analysts. One can only speculate about what happens next.
     After 9/11 the plan was to go further with a project code named Tempest. The goal was to capture computer signals such as keystrokes or monitor images through walls or from other buildings, even if the computers weren't linked to a network. One NSA document, "Compromising Emanations Laboratory Test Requirements, Electromagnetics," described procedures for capturing the radiation emitted from a computer-through radio waves and the telephone, serial, network, or power cables attached to it.
     Other NSA programs have included Oasis, designed to reduce audiovisual images into machine-readable text for easier filtering, and Fluent, which expanded Echelon's multilingual capabilities. And let's not forget the government's Carnivore Internet surveillance program, which can collect all communications over any segment of the network being watched.
     Put such elements together, combine them with business imperatives and covert foreign policy objectives, then throw PMCS into the mix, and you get a glimpse of the extent to which information can be translated into raw power and secretly used to shape events. Although most pieces of the puzzle remain obscure, enough is visible to justify suspicion, outrage, and a campaign to pull away the curtain on this Wizard of Oz. But fighting a force that is largely invisible and unaccountable – and able to eavesdrop on the most private exchanges, that is a daunting task, perhaps even more difficult than confronting the mechanisms of corporate globalization that it protects and promotes.

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Deccan Herald 26/9/2013 and Countercurrents 25/9/2013 and Ki Kisan Awaaz Vol 4, No10, October 2013

The future is local. The future is organic. Well, at least it could be if we base our food production on an increasing body of evidence that indicates the harmful effects of petrochemical, corporate-controlled agriculture.

In June, researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand concluded that the GM strategy used in North American staple crop production is limiting yields and increasing pesticide use compared to non-GM farming in Western Europe. Led by Professor Jack Heinemann, the study’s findings were published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability.

The study finds that Europe is decreasing chemical herbicide use and achieving even larger declines in insecticide use without sacrificing yield gains, while chemical herbicide use in the US has increased with GM seed.

In effect, Europe has learned to grow more food per hectare and use fewer chemicals in the process. The US choices in biotechnology are causing it to fall behind Europe in productivity and sustainability. The decrease in annual variation in yield in the US suggests that Europe has a superior combination of seed and crop management technology and is better suited to withstand weather variations. This is important because annual variations cause price speculations that can drive hundreds of millions of people into food poverty.

The report also highlights some grave concerns about the impact of modern agriculture per se in terms of the general move towards depleted genetic diversity and the consequently potential catastrophic risk to staple food crops. Of the nearly 10,000 wheat varieties in use in China in 1949, only 1,000 remained in the 1970s. 

In the US, 95% of the cabbage, 91% of the field maize, 94% of the pea and 81% of the tomato varieties cultivated in the last century have been lost. GMOs and the control of seeds through patents have restricted farmer choice and prevented seed saving. This has exacerbated this problem.

The conclusion is that we need a diversity of practices for growing. We also need systems that are useful, not just profit-making biotechnologies, and which provide a resilient supply to feed the world well.

On the heels the Heinemann team’s research comes a September 2013 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which states that farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduced use of fertilisers and other inputs, greater support for small-scale farmers and more locally focused production and consumption of food. More than 60 international experts contributed to the report.

The report, ‘Wake up before it is too late: make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate’, states that monoculture and industrial farming methods are not providing sufficient affordable food where it is needed, while causing mounting and unsustainable environmental damage. The system actually causes food poverty, not addresses it.

Over the past few years, there have been numerous high level reports from the UN and development agencies arguing in favour of small farmers and agro-ecology, but this has not been translated into real action on the ground where peasant farmers increasingly face marginalisation and oppression, as we have seen in India. According to Vandana Shiva, the plundering of Indian agriculture by Big Agra is resulting in a forced removal of farmers from the land and the destruction of traditional communities on a scale of which has not been witnessed anywhere before throughout history.

Elizabeth Mpofu, general coordinator of the organization La Vía Campesina says that long before the release of this new report, small farmers around the world were already convinced that we need a diversified agriculture to guarantee a balanced local food production, the protection of people’s livelihoods and the respect of nature. To achieve this goal, she feels the protection of the huge variety of local seeds and farmers’ rights to use them is paramount. Small farmers are struggling to preserve their indigenous seeds and knowledge of farming systems.

Evidence is mounting that the industrial food system is not only failing to feed the world, but also responsible for some of the planet’s most pressing social and environmental crises. Industrial food system is directly responsible for around half of all global greenhouse gas emissions. We cannot solve the climate crisis without confronting the industrial food system and the corporations behind it.

Pat Mooney of the ETC group adds that the corporate food chain uses about 70-80% of the world’s arable land to produce just 30-40% of the food we eat. In the process, peasant farmers, the real food producers, get thrown off their land and tremendous environmental harm is done. This is clearly not the way to feed the world.

There are lessons here for India, as the biotech sector continues to push its second ‘Green Revolution’ - GMOs. The original Green Revolution in India has been a failure, with Indian farmers in debt, paying high costs for seed and pesticides, committing suicide, and resulting in a depleted water table and a poisoned environment.

Punjab was the ‘Green Revolution’s’ original poster boy, but is fast becoming transformed from a food bowl to a cancer epicentre and now reels under an agrarian crisis marked by discontent, debt, water shortages, contaminated water, diseased soils and pest infested cops.

As the new UN report indicates, what is required is a shift from corporate-controlled agriculture towards more biodiverse, organic systems that place emphasis on local economies and food sovereignty. The answer is to return to basics by encouraging biodiverse, organic, local crop systems, which is more than capable of feeding the world – and, unlike chemical intensive agriculture – feeding it healthily.

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