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November 26, 2013

GMO Assault on Europe – Bureaucratic Slipperiness

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Over three years ago I wrote about the way pro-GMO forces within the unelected, autocratic European Union bureaucracy were planning to play whack-a-mole with federalism, in order to ensure maximum legal penetration for GMOs. It’s not working at the centralized level? Re-disperse authority to the member states.
 
Today we’re seeing the flip side of the plan. The “European Court of Justice”, really a European Commission (EC) bureaucratic tribunal (an unaccountable “court” run by the bureaucracy, similar to administrative court systems run by the Tsarist secret police and Nazi SS) has found that the European Council (another bureaucratic committee, albeit in theory answerable to the quasi-representative European Parliament) has been too dilatory in its assessment of Pioneer’s application for cultivation of its 1507 stacked maize variety. The police tribunal ordered the Council to vote on the application at its next meeting in December, with the strong implication that anything other than full approval will be overridden by the EC.
 
At the same time, the European Commissioner said that such EC-level approval could be overridden by country-level bans, as per the existing federalism. In the case of MON810 maize, the only GMO currently authorized for commercial cultivation in the EU, many countries including Germany, France, Austria, Luxemburg, Hungary, Italy, and Poland have banned it.
 
Here we see this propaganda aspect of the federalism plan (the “subsidiarity” plan, according to the translation I linked) – since member states can institute state-level bans, there’s allegedly no reason not to give 1507 and the many other applications in the approval pipeline a smooth path to EU-level approval.
 
But in fact there are many reasons not to do this. The whole plan is part of the typical Monsanto strategy to get the camel’s nose into the tent by any means necessary – anything from partial regulatory approval, as in this case, to illegal planting, as in the case of Mexico, Brazil, and India. Then, once the crop is in the field and polluting other crops, present its presence as an accomplished fact which should then be legally ratified. Governments so far have been happy to be thrown into this briar patch.
 
In the case of the EU, once several more GMOs have been approved for cultivation at the central level, the next move will be to revoke the right of member states to ban them. If you doubt that, then consider how, right from the start, Monsanto and the US government have opposed any restrictions whatsoever on cultivation in Europe. This includes opposition to the federalism plan. It’s similar to the Obama White House’s nixing in 2011 of a “co-existence” plan being negotiated between the industrial organic sector and Obama’s own Agriculture Department. We see here how Monsanto is increasingly disdainful of any kind of subtlety or misdirection, but instead wants to bull ahead with main force.
 
In the EU as well, the cartel and the US government comprise the aggressive totalitarian coalition. Do you have any doubt about their will to keep up the pressure on the EC until it tries to revoke the ability of member states to ban GMO cultivation? Especially since the EC has always wanted total power over this, has always been ardently pro-GMO, and promulgated the federalism policy only under great bottom-up duress, in an attempt to make EC-level approval less politically incendiary, as I described above.
 
As for 1507 itself, it’s been in the approval pipeline since 2001, and in itself is becoming obsolete. It’s one of the constituents of the SmartStax variety which recently was approved for EU importation in food products, and for field trials in various European countries. So why is it such a big deal to the cartel and the EC that this old variety be approved for cultivation?
 
The SmartStax applications and approval justifications give the answer. Pro-GM regulatory bureaucracies in the UK, the Netherlands, and Romania parrot the line that because individual SmartStax genetic modifications (“events”), including 1507, are being cultivated elsewhere, there’s no reason why the “stacked” product SmartStax should undergo any special assessment. As I’ll write about in part 2 of my SmartStax post (I know everyone’s been waiting for it), this completely ignores everything we know about complex systems. Each individual genetic modification may have chaotic reverberations far beyond the intended effect. Denial of this, on the part of corporations, governments, and scientistic hacks, is one of the core reasons why GMO ideology is anti-scientific and anti-safety.
 
Similarly, a stacked GMO like SmartStax (which has eight events – it endemically manufactures six Bt poisons which will then be part of the food we eat, and is tolerant to two herbicides) will add the chaotic interaction of the eight modifications to the reverb effects of each individual modification.
 
As for 1507 itself, there’s so many unanswered questions about its health and environmental safety that even the pro-GMO European Food Safety Authority has recommended the go-slow approach.
 
So we see how the goal of the EU’s “federal” policy on GMO approval is to help get more GMOs partially approved and cultivated in the first place, in whatever way is politically possible, and then later impose them on the entire EU.
 

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2 Comments

  1. Russ,

    As always, I thoroughly enjoy your well-informed posts on GM products. With this particular post, however, I was struck by a couple of (what I think are) key omissions.

    One is the pending Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. As I understand it, the IP-related measures are similar to those of the Trans-Pacific Pact agreement. Thus, if it passes, then the authority to override a national ban moves from the EU to a private tribunal. Thus, your concern about the EU eventually issuing such a rule (regarding 1507) is actually understated.

    The other is the on-going (and, I think, expanding) effort to sell terminator technology as the “solution” to the GM crop contamination problem. The EU had a major effort on that a few years ago (called Transcontainer or something like that). If the arguments favoring this “solution” are not refuted, it’s not a stretch to see this “GM solution” to a “GM problem” emerging.

    Then of course, there’s the escalating effort by the GM industry to get the FDA to preempt state mandatory labeling efforts.

    I’m mentioning these in part because of your earlier abolishment article (5 of 6 as I recall) that suggested putting the focus not on government actions, but on local (labeling) or industry (food retailing and distribution). These suggest that, if we don’t deal with the government, all of the other efforts might be, in effect, nullified.

    I’ll end with some concerns I have about the objective of GM food abolition. Perhaps you’ve covered it, but I wonder exactly what you mean by “abolition.” I would imagine you mean to outlaw the offering of such foods. But would you also seek to outlaw basic R&D on the subject? Would you expand it to outlaw R&D on genetic modification aimed at drugs (including plant-based drugs)? Doesn’t this sidle up to a form of censorship?

    I’d like to discuss these and a few other topics with you, but don’t want to engage in such an exchange through the awkward medium of exchanging blog comments. You have my email. Also, I have a guy who’s also starting a grassroots effort (on other topics) that I think you might like to get to know and compare notes.

    Terry

    http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_5628.cfm
    http://www.etcgroup.org/issues/terminator-new-enclosures

    Comment by brandediron — November 26, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

    • Terry,

      You’re right about the Trans-Atlantic pact, which I’ve (briefly) written about before. I considered mentioning it here but was pressed for time and decided to stick with the EU itself. Or what it is for the moment. Of course many on the Eastern side of the Atlantic look with hope to “free trade” (i.e. the globalization command economy) to override all this filthy democracy stuff, just as much as those on the Western side.

      In the end, I think the solution will lie mostly with an extralegal movement which will, by whatever means (the means themselves may end up being relatively moderate, who knows?), drive GMOs out of agriculture and markets from the bottom up. From that point of view, having one’s primary assailant be the purely alien globalization regime rather than what’s nominally “our own” government may be politically even better. But I haven’t completely thought that through yet. At any rate, peoples everywhere, including in the West, are increasingly restive under the thumb of formalized globalization strictures. That’s why corporations have, for some years, not been pushing comprehensive pacts as the main effort, but have been looking again to corporatism at the “national” level. These two transoceanic offensives are a new attempt to impose corporate domination via supranational, explicitly anti-sovereign governmental entities.

      So in the end, I think any kind of effective anti-corporate action is going to require widespread nullification of at least many aspects of governmental power. Whether what’s nullified has to be the power of globalization cadres, or nominally “national” governments, or both, is still the same problem. Of course, different targets may require differing publicity, tactics, etc.

      I haven’t heard of the Transcontainer, which I’ll have to look up. But I’ve written recently about how the menace of the Terminator keeps rearing up.

      https://attempter.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/the-seeds-of-ten-thousand-years/

      I think the problems of the Terminator are basically the same as those of other GMOs, only worse. So I’ve written about it in basically the same way.

      By abolition I mean completely physically wiping out all intended open-air plantings of any GMO crop, no exceptions. I think this is necessary because:

      1. All open air plantings inevitably contaminate other plants.

      2. Since GMOs are worthless from any point of view other than that of corporate profit and power, no entity but the corporate state, or someone trying to mimic it, would ever undertake such a project. I of course take it as given (proven by all I’ve been writing for years) that corporatism itself is destructive, impractical, inefficient, and that corporations have no right to exist at all, let alone to seek profit.

      So I don’t think it’s possible to do genetic modification research “in good faith”, and even if it were, no one would have the right to introduce such plants or animals to the environment, since their contamination action is proven to be inevitable.

      I’d also say that any kind of special pleading for whatever is one’s favored exception – “THESE guys know what they’re doing and can be trusted to impose rigorous protocols, THESE guys mean well and aren’t seeking to control us through this technology…” – is at best a form of utopianism which is disproven by history. We already know where this kind of technocratic endeavor leads.

      Preventing crimes and/or harmful recklessness is certainly not a form of “censorship”. On the contrary, the patenting of life, of plants, of seeds, is the most obscene kind of censorship which has ever existed. All the vicious attacks on even the most modest questioning of the GMO prerogative also comprise a malign censorship campaign.

      We know that technology is too important to be left to technicians, and that technicians can never be trusted with control over anything but their immediate, literal tools. (And must be rigorously overseen as they use these.) How tools are used, and whether a tool is to be allowed to be used at all, are decisions which must lie 100% with the people. This has been proven many times, and the GMO adventure has proven it beyond any doubt.

      But like I said, without the profit motive I doubt anyone would undertake such research in the first place.

      I’ll be in touch by e-mail.

      Comment by Russ — November 26, 2013 @ 2:18 pm


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