Testbiotech has contributed a new report to the fight against the Transatlantic Trade/Investment Partnership (TTIP), aka TAFTA. The report covers just one part of the ground in demonstrating how globalization assaults like this have nothing to do with legitimate trade* or investment, and everything to do with supply-driven corporate planned economy aggression.
The core goal of TAFTA, as the US emphasis on agricultural issues during the negotiations has demonstrated, is to accelerate the GMO assault on European economies, markets, and societies.
[*It’s awful how even those who oppose corporatism and globalization seem to have largely assimilated the enemy’s Orwellian propaganda term “free trade”. It should go without saying that what corporatism calls free trade is not free and has nothing to do with legitimate trade, which can only be demand-driven. “Free trade” globalization, on the contrary, is a command economy dedicated to forcing “markets” for overproduction and for production of things like GMOs which no one wanted in the first place and for which there has never been a natural market. (“Free market” is another such ideological term which even its enemies seem happy to adopt.)
I stress this point of our lack of terminological discipline because I think that such sloppy expression probably reflects underlying sloppy thinking. It’s no wonder almost everyone continues to believe in “reforming” corporatism even in the face of the unanimous evidence against the possibility of this.
Also, most people tend to have an unexamined positive reaction to terms like “free trade” and “free market”. That’s why these fraudulent terms were made mainstays of corporate propaganda in the first place.
So why would anti-globalization analysts and polemicists want to adopt the same terminology, use the enemy’s own terms?]
The basic thrust of the report is to describe how EU regulation has greatly slowed the commercialization of GMOs, compared to the US; how the US and the GMO cartel hope to use TAFTA as the jackboot to kick in Europe’s door; and the more newfangled kinds of genetic engineering assaults which are newly being deployed or are on the drawing board and which the corporations hope to force upon us with no regulatory hindrance. TAFTA is supposed to forestall any repetition of what happened in Europe with GMOs.
These newfangled, even more dangerous forms of GE include stacked GMOs with ten or more transgenes, composed of at least SIX different plants; GE trees; GE animals; and synthetic genome technologies. The report gives a basic introduction to the status of these and discusses the future the corporations envision for them. I’ll write more about these later on.
But the main goal for now is to kick in the door for regular GMOs.
The EU’s regulatory policies, while meager and insufficient, are still different in principle from those of the US, which are purely mercenary.
Agricultural policy in the EU differs from that in the US in that agriculture in the EU is meant to
be sustainable, have multiple functionality and not only serve food production. In Europe, there are
also many small structured agricultural landscapes, which are unlikely to benefit economically from
practices such as streamlining herbicide applications, which are an issue in the US.The EU also has different rules and regulations on risk assessment and labelling to those in the
US. EU regulations require a centralised system for risk assessment and market authorisation of all
genetically engineered organisms. Labelling is mandatory for food and feed derived from genetically
engineered crop plants……These regulations request that:›› the precautionary principle has to be observed in release or market authorisation of genetically
engineered organisms,›› all genetic engineered organisms have to undergo risk assessment before they can be allowed for
marketing,›› food and feed which are derived from genetically engineered organisms have to be labelled.An important element in this regard is Regulation 178/2002, which states that the precautionary
principle can be applied in cases where there is scientific uncertainty in order to provide a high level of
protection for human health and the environment. As Article 7 reads:
“In specific circumstances where, following an assessment of available information, the possibility of harmful
effects of health is identified but scientific uncertainty persists, provisional risk management measures
necessary to ensure the high level of health protection chosen in the Community may be adopted, pending
further scientific information for a more comprehensive risk assessment”Also according Directive 2001/18, the precautionary principle is the basis of risk analysis prior to
allowing deliberate release or a market authorisation of genetically engineered organisms (Article 1
of Dir. 2001/18). Thus, the precautionary principle is of particular relevance for uncertainties in risk
assessment where there is no evidence of a hazard but there are remaining doubts about the safety of
genetically engineered organisms. (pp. 5, 29)
The precautionary principle is also enshrined in the Convention on Biosafety and the Cartagena Protocol.
The US government, along with its flunkeys in the European Commission (EC) bureaucracy, wants TAFTA to do away with all this.
Part 2 of the report details how eager the cartel is to escalate its infiltration of Europe. As things are only one GMO, MON810 Bt maize, is approved for cultivation in Europe. Compare that to the US, the world’s most GMO-occupied territory, where c. 90 GMOs are approved for cultivation. In the EU 49 are approved for import in food and feed. Around half of these are stacked varieties. As of December 2013 there were 55 applications pending.
The EU parliament recently voted to reject Pioneer’s application for cultivation of its 1507 stacked variety, though the European Council can still vote to allow individual countries to approve it. (I think I have that right, though the Byzantine workings of this absurd EU structure aren’t always clear.) The European Court of Justice invalidated the EFSA’s approval of BASF’s Amflora potato (which it had already stopped selling for lack of customer interest) on procedural grounds which call into question other EFSA approvals.
Last summer Monsanto announced to great fanfare that it was withdrawing from Europe. This report details the extent of this alleged “withdrawal”. Monsanto did withdraw six applications for cultivation of GMOs (five for maize, one for sugar beets). But two applications, for NK603 maize (the subject of the 2012 Seralini study) and for Roundup Ready soybeans, are still active. Monsanto has 18 applications pending overall, for cultivation and/or for import in food and feed. We can see how bogus the media hype was.
Nevertheless, Monsanto and the other members of the cartel are extremely frustrated with Europe. They look to the impending globalization accord to accomplish what all their propaganda, lobbying, and capture of European regulators has been unable to do: To overcome and smash European democratic resistance to their economic and physical (via food) domination.
As the report describes, the cartel’s ideological program was laid out in a 2013 statement from the European Academy Scientific Advisory Panels (EASAC), a de facto Monsanto front group. The statement, written by cartel flacks, express the totalitarian intent.
Priorities include introducing insect-resistance and herbicide-tolerance into wheat, barley, oil seed rape,
soybean, potato, vegetable brassicas and other horticultural crops. (p. 30)
As everyone knows, genetically engineered insect resistance and herbicide tolerance are failed technologies. That the GM hacks keep demanding the escalation of what’s already a proven failure is proof that their only priorities are corporate profit and control. Their mindset and intention toward humanity and the earth is clearly malevolent and criminal.
The main goal is to jettison the precautionary principle.
Even if stringent application of the precautionary principle had been justifiable in the early days of GM
crop research and development when there were more uncertainties about impact, it is difficult to defend
the merits of retaining a rigid, cautious, technology-specific regulation today when there is much less
uncertainty. (p. 31)
There is indeed much less uncertainty. We know for a fact that GMOs don’t work, depress yield, require far more pesticide, fertilizer, and water use, and cost vastly more. We also have an ever-growing mountain of evidence that GMOs are harmful to human health. We also know for a fact that corporate agriculture causes human hunger. We know that the further escalation of corporate control over agriculture, as under the GMO regime, will escalate food insecurity, hunger, and eventually famine.
We know that GMOs = death.
The Testbiotech report summarizes the deregulatory goal of the cartel, as laid out in the EASAC statement:
If the opinion of EASAC´s experts is adopted in new regulations this would mean:›› replacing the precautionary principle with a system that will only accept evidence of adverse effects
as a trigger for regulatory measures;›› abolishing regulations for centralised registration and risk assessment covering all genetically engineered
organisms;›› abolishing comprehensive and mandatory labelling of genetically engineered organisms and products
thereof and leading to less transparency and less choice for farmers and consumers.EASAC also wants to exclude new technologies in the context of synthetic genome technologies
from any regulation:“(…) here is need for urgent action to agree the status and regulation of New Breeding Techniques and,
in particular, to confirm which products do not fall within the scope of legislation on genetically modified
organisms.” (p. 31-2)
This sums up the goal to be attained through TAFTA’s override of European democracy. The EC supports this assault.
These lobbying activities are accompanied by statements from various sides pretending that so far no
evidence for damage caused by genetically engineered organisms has been produced and that “consensus”
should exist that these products are safe. Anne Glover who was appointed as Chief Scientific
Adviser to the President of the European Commission in 2011 is one of the most vocal protagonists
amongst those denying specific risks :“There is no substantiated case of any adverse impact on human health, animal health or environmental
health, so that’s pretty robust evidence, and I would be confident in saying that there is no more risk in
eating GMO food than eating conventionally farmed food,”It has to be assumed that the extremely biased position of Glover, who is Manuel Barroso’s first ever
Chief Scientific Adviser, mirrors the position of the majority of the EU Commission.Such lobbying activities are showing initial results: The EU Commission unofficially announced that
there will be an expert discussion on whether the precautionary principle should still be applied to
genetically engineered plants. (p. 34)
The EU’s meager regulation is not sufficient to protect the people from GMOs, and is no substitute for abolition. But it has significantly slowed the assault of the US government and Monsanto upon Europe. For the time being Europe’s safeguards, threadbare as the are, are necessary and must be retained and bolstered.
The TTIP/TAFTA is intended to be the jackboot that kicks in the last door of European democracy and agricultural sanity. This is especially critical for corporatism since European non-GM agriculture performs far better than US GMO-based agriculture.
Genetic engineering is an impractical, shoddy, dangerous, destructive technology which no one needs and no one wants. It works for nothing but to poison soil, water, crops, food, and people. It serves zero purpose but to prop up and intensify corporate tyranny. It cannot solve any problem but on the contrary is designed to prevent the deployment of any solutions like agroecology. GMOs are designed to prevent solutions while it aggravates existing problems and generates more and more new ones.
The same can be said of corporatism in general. The purpose of globalization “agreements”, cadres, and policies is to force corporate domination upon us ever more securely even as the failure, stupidity, and evil of everything corporations do becomes ever more manifest in every economic sector, and as the poison infects every political element as well.
Gradually, we the people are becoming aware of what’s being done to us, and we’re developing the will to resist and fight back. That’s why older political structures are becoming less sufficient for corporations to maintain control. That’s why they keep pushing for totalitarian rule by globalization bureaucrats.
As this report describes, the GMO front is at the core of this onslaught. Anyone who wants to resist GMOs, from reformers to abolitionists, needs to view the globalization struggle as a core battleground.