Volatility

February 27, 2015

GMO News Report, February 27th 2015

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*Farmer demonstrations under the Solidarity banner continue in Poland. In the most recent action, over 6000 farmers marched in Warsaw. Their demands include a continued ban on corporate land-grabbing, the decriminalization of direct farm sales, farmer compensation for economic harm to them caused by globalization, and a ban on GMO sale and cultivation.
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*Friends of the Earth in cooperation with a coalition of African farmer and civil society groups has released a new report detailing the plan of the US government, the Gates Foundation, and the GMO cartel to recolonize Africa. The immediate goal is to force new markets for GMO seeds, synthetic fertilizer, and pesticides. The report emphasizes the proven record I’ve recently discussed, that GMOs can partially “work” only on large, heavily capitalized industrial plantations and are utterly unviable for small farmers. The longer run goal is obviously the goal already proven by the historical record – to economically liquidate the vast mass of African small farmers and drive them off the land. This longer arc goes with the ongoing land-grabbing onslaught.

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*A new development in the legal fight which has followed from China’s 2013-2014 rejection of US corn shipments containing the unapproved Syngenta variety MIR 162, AKA Viptera. China finally approved it in December 2014, but not before US corn growers and traders lost billions in revenue. Cargill, ADM, several other companies, and hundreds of farmers have sued Syngenta. The latest suit is trying to put the RICO Act to good use for once, suing Syngenta under the act alleging that it intentionally generated the problem in order to pressure China. The allegations as described in the complaint are broadly true. Everyone knows that it’s impossible to “steward” one part of the commodity grain supply and prevent it from contaminating the rest. Everyone knows “co-existence” is impossible. Cartel representatives are on record saying that the goal is to force farmers and citizens into the mindset that there is no alternative: “The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded [with GMOs] that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender.” All this is well-known, and Syngenta and the other cartel members always act with these facts in mind. Did they go further and formally concoct a Machiavellian plan? Who knows, though I think everything can be explained by regular corporate inertia, which is criminal enough. Syngenta went ahead sure in the knowledge that even if there were any problems, the overall endeavor would be profitable. As for pressuring China, there was some of this. The USDA used taxpayer money to serve as Syngenta’s lobbyist. Monsanto also exerted effort to clear up the general China situation. But China also extracted some trade concessions from the US prior to approving MIR 162.
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The racketeering allegation is certainly true, morally and rationally, though I doubt a court will apply the RICO Act that way. Just as every other kind of crime is “legal” when the corporate state does it, so is racketeering. Just look again at the first item here, a joint campaign of the US and UK governments and the GMO cartel to tell the small farmers of Africa to adopt GMOs, with the goal of subjugating and wiping them out. Laws like RICO are to be applied only to those outside the criminally organized system.
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*One for the comedy files. Professional climate change denier and pro-GMO activist Owen Paterson, who these days focuses mostly on working the “golden rice” con in a particularly overwrought, irrational, emotional way, tweeted a mawkish poem allegedly written by a sufferer from vitamin A deficiency. We see the high level of scientific argumentation being attempted. Further inquiry quickly ascertained that the poem was actually written by a Dow/Syngenta activist who was too stupid not to put her real name on it. As usual it’s someone with zero medical credentials expressing ignorant opinions on human medicine and nutrition. Same goes for climate change denier Paterson, who has no credentials whatsoever but whose alleged authority is held in high regard by the pro-GMO faction.
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*Hershey has announced that it will be phasing out some GMO ingredients from its milk chocolate and Kisses by the end of 2015. It says it will stop using sugar from GM sugar beets (about half the supply; if a product with sugar doesn’t say 100% cane sugar, then it includes GM sugar) and milk from cows fed Bovine Growth Hormone. These products are already free of corn syrup. Hershey also promises to stop using artificial vanillin, which would strike a blow at one of the most-touted prospective markets for the products of “synthetic biology”. The GMWatch note exaggerates a bit, since Hershey’s doesn’t say the milk will come from cows fed a non-GM diet, and its pledge doesn’t actually promise that there will be no GM-based ingredients at all.
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*A bill to protect farmers victimized by transgenetic trespass and contamination of their crops from being sued by the corporations which sell the pollutants has passed the New York State Assembly. A similar bill is pending in the Senate. Monsanto and other GMO peddlers routinely sue farmers who never bought or planted patented GM seeds but who become victims of contamination (through pollen drift) or rogue GMOs growing on their land (seeds easily can be sown randomly across the landscape by wind or falling out of trucks). The most famous case is that of Percy Schmeiser in Canada. The data shows that states such as Maine, California, Indiana, and North and South Dakota which have passed such farmer protection laws see farmer persecution lawsuits drop to near zero. (Other abuses these laws often curb include forbidding the corporation from intruding onto the farmer’s land without permission and/or meeting other requirements, and overriding the Monsanto contract which demands that all litigation be held on its home turf in St. Louis.)

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