*In a major ruling a Brazilian appeals court has invalidated the government’s approval of Bayer’s application for commercialization of its Liberty Link glufosinate-resistant maize. It ordered CTNBio, Brazil’s bioregulator, to conduct a full environmental review prior to granting the application and to provide better transparency for its approval process.
While this ruling immediately applies only to LL, it calls into question all other Brazilian GMO approvals, since CTNBio has never undertaken an environmental review for any of them. In theory this ruling should be extended to invalidate all prior approvals.
*A UN FAO report documents the spread of GMO contamination throughout the commodified food supply and the escalating number of incidents of shipments being rejected by import countries for so-called “low level presence”. This term has no stable definition, but merely indicated how much pollution a trader/miller/importer is willing to accept as trivial. The GMO cartel and its US government flunkey, of course, want to raise this level indefinitely and eventually render it moot by forcing globalized approval of all GMOs. That’s one of the core goals of the TTIP and TPP.
*The Mayan community of the Mexican state of Campeche has won a federal court victory against the central government’s approval of Roundup Ready soybean cultivation in their state. The court agreed that this centralized fiat decision violates the right of the indigenous community to control its own agriculture. In particular, the people of the community fear that GMO cultivation will harm their vibrant beekeeping culture.
Agriculture and food systems are naturally local/regional, and an economy based on natural exchange and demand-based markets and trade would reflect this. A sure measure of impractical and tyrannical centralization is the extent to which control of agriculture has been arrogated by centralized corporations and governments. Globalization compacts represent the most extreme manifestation of this usurping corporatization.
This court victory follows 2013’s big victory for Mexican agriculture and democracy as a whole, as the courts imposed a moratorium on government plans to approve field trials and commercialization of GM maize.
*Continuing the legal struggle over GMO alfalfa, the Center for Food Safety has filed a new lawsuit against the USDA to force it to obey the Freedom of Information Act. The CFS is trying to make public the details of how the Obama White House forced the USDA to go back on its original partial deregulation plan for Roundup Ready alfalfa and fully deregulate it instead.
This is the latest round in a sordid saga which highlights the unchanging nature of anti-democratic bureaucracy as well as the identical corporatist ideology and policy of Republican and Democrat adminstrations.
USDA originally approved Monsanto’s RR alfalfa in 2005. In response to a lawsuit from CFS and others, a 2006 court decision ordered the USDA to undertake a full environmental review, the first it would ever perform. This court order was similar to the new one from Brazil, with the difference that the Brazilian decision has much broader theoretical implications, while the US court in 2006 found that as a perennial which widely spreads its pollen, alfalfa was a special case.
The court order was upheld through a series of appeals, and the USDA finally completed its review in 2010. The review found that Roundup Ready alfalfa presented special contamination problems and should be approved only with special restrictions. This is “partial deregulation” in the parlance. This is a sham which could never work in practice. The record of Bt refugia proves that such restrictions are widely flouted with impunity, while even the restrictions placed on field trials don’t prevent GM contamination from proceeding, as demonstrated by many such examples as Oregon’s infestation of GM creeping bentgrass, or 2013’s discovery of feral RR wheat which escaped and has persisted since field trials ended several years ago. Under no circumstances could GM alfalfa commercialized under “restrictions” be prevented from broadly contaminating all alfalfa over time.
Trying to make a virtue of necessity, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack brokered a political alliance between USDA and the industrial organic sector led by Whole Foods Market and Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg. The plan was to whitewash this partial deregulation plan by calling it a “co-existence” plan. Industrial organic, which wants someday for GMOs to be allowed under the “organic” certification, would be the lead marketers for the scam. USDA would fraudulently promise to rigorously police growing practices to prevent contamination, and to set up a compensation mechanism for the victims of such GMO trespass.
This plan to normalize Roundup Ready alfalfa by stages was too subtle for Monsanto, though, which simply prevailed upon Obama to override Vilsack. The USDA promptly ordered full deregulation, and a whole new poison and contamination front was opened.
Now CFS is back in court trying to get more details on how the executive fiat went down, but the basics are already known.
*Sri Lanka’s president has issued a ban on the sale of Roundup in the country following the recent study which documents the causal link between Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown origin (CKDu) in farm workers and a combination exposure to Roundup and heavy metals in the drinking water.
The government plans to launch a program to convert the country’s rice paddies to organic weed control and fertilization. This is a sane plan under any circumstance, and especially given the chronic epidemic being caused by these imported poisons.
*Pending a new law to ban cultivation of MON810 maize in France, the agricultural ministry has issued a ban on plantings until the new law is codified.
There’s lots about legal bans in this week’s news. While legalistic bans are not a substitute for abolitionism in concept or practice, they’re certainly an effective tool wherever attainable.
*This one makes me chuckle. South Africa’s government has been highly accommodating to the Monsanto agenda, in spite of the disastrous record of GMOs there.
Or perhaps some parts of the government are finally getting fed up. In response to a complaint from the African Center for Biodiversity, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ordered Monsanto to cease from an advertising campaign touting the benefits of GMOs in broad terms. When the agency asked Monsanto to submit evidence from independent science backing up its claims, Monsanto merely sent in links to its own website. Unusually for a government body, the agency rejected this as unsatisfactory.
Here’s part of the verbiage which was prohibited as fraudulent: GMOs “enable us to produce more food sustainably whilst using fewer resources; provide a healthier environment by saving on pesticides; decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase crop yields substantially”. These are all direct factual lies which have been disproven around the world, everywhere GMOs have been commercialized, including in South Africa. But as anyone at all familiar with the propaganda environment has seen, these are also the standard lies of GMO supporters.
The quality of pro-GMO “science” Monsanto offered here is, of course, exactly the same as it is in the US. But while it’s not unprecedented for Monsanto’s advertising to be flagged as the consumer fraud it is (the company has been sanctioned in France and in New York state), more commonly such straight lies are waved through, as well as repeated by the government itself. The FDA and USDA both consciously see themselves as part of the Monsanto PR team. The FDA was the original purveyor of the Big Lie of “substantial equivalence”, which has since been disseminated worldwide. The WHO and UN FAO adopted wholesale the GMO safety ideology promulgated by the trade group ILSI (International Life Sciences Institute). The advertising depicted above is standard in most countries.
But it’s funny to see what happens the moment an advertising regulator drops the ideological agenda and simply looks at the fact. Monsanto is immediately recognized as an outlaw, totally beyond the pale.
*There’s growing skepticism and resistance among apple growers to the idiotic “non-browning” Arctic Apple being pushed by Okanagen Specialty Fruits, a company which should be subject to a total boycott dedicated to driving it out of business. Consumers don’t have such leverage with Monsanto, but as consumers we can certainly commit to a permanent embargo on one obnoxious industrial fruit company.
*The British government’s latest exercise in laundering Monsanto propaganda is a fraudulent “report” issued by the prime minister’s Council for Science and Technology (CST). (That kind of name is always a tip-off. Science and technological engineering are two completely separate things. In principle they have radically different mindsets and goals. The fraudulent conflation of the two always means science is being hijacked to serve mercenary technological instrumentalism. Genetic engineering is of course a form of technological engineering and in itself has zero to do with science.)
The “report” contains zero new findings or evidence, but merely launders cartel propaganda through the names of a list of allegedly “independent scientists” who are really on the payroll of the GMO corporations. As Claire Robinson of GMWatch points out, this report is nothing but a “sales pitch”, and it’s revealing that the CST evidently was unable to find a single person NOT having some career/financial stake in GMOs to participate in this report. Under fire, the government admitted that corporations largely control academic research today.
This is a typical example of the corporatization of credentialed personnel, who are not scientists in any meaningful sense of the term, but are merely mercenary technicians. This is typical of today’s “scientific” establishment. With GMOs we’re simply reprising the same history of corruption as when long lists of “scientists” assured us that cigarettes were safe, asbestos was safe, DDT, PCBs, dioxin, thalidomide. In all these cases, too, the majority of system-credentialed personnel parroted the party line upon demand.
At what point are we the people going to learn that these “experts” don’t know a damn thing and do NOT want what’s best for humanity?
*The people of Colorado have an initiative on the 2014 ballot which would legally affirm communities’ right to self-rule and invalidate the illegitimate, usurping preemption prerogatives of corporations, the state, and the central government.
This plan for publicity and civil disobedience based on community sovereignty is based on the anti-corporatist strategy of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Here’s a good description of the philosophy and strategy written by CELDF founder Thomas Linzey during an earlier stage of the struggle, when Longmont was the first Colorado town to pass a ban on fracking. In November 2013 four more towns passed such bans. In 2014 four Oregon counties will have GMO cultivation bans on the ballot. These are examples of a nationwide movement of community self-assertion against corporate tyranny.