April 3, 2015

GMO News Report April 3rd, 2015


*The EPA is unlikely to change its pro-poison course of action on account of the WHO’s recent admission of what everyone has long known, that Roundup/glyphosate causes cancer. But it is being forced to change its official policy by a far more implacable foe, the 32 species of Roundup resistant superweeds triumphally marching across the American heartland. According to Reuters the EPA will be formally requiring farmers to adhere to a stewardship program when they purchase Roundup. This theoretical stewardship will be similar to that the EPA is already imposing on the new Agent Orange corn and soy types being released in 2015.
This EPA stewardship requirement is likely to be a scam of the same character as the agency’s “refuge” requirements for Bt-expressing crops. The refuges are set at too small a percentage and aren’t enforced, and are therefore widely flouted, even at those inadequate acreages. But the idea of the refuges lets the EPA pretend to have a policy in place to prevent the development of Bt-resistant superbugs, and when these superbugs inevitably evolve, it gives Monsanto and the government a convenient way to scapegoat the farmers for not honoring a policy which was never intended to be honored. Similarly, Monsanto and the corporate media scapegoat farmers for using “too much Roundup”, which is an absurd lie. Farmers have never used a drop more of Roundup than the amount urged upon them by Monsanto and the USDA.
This ability to scapegoat farmers is one of the reasons superweeds and superbugs are allowed to be acknowledged in the media discourse instead of being directly lied about the way pesticide use (GMOs really increase it) or yields (GMOs yield less than non-GM) are.
*Field trials are set to begin in Maharashtra state in India, where in 2014 the government broke earlier promises and issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for the open-air trials. Monsanto, its Indian partner Mahyco, BASF, and others plan to test types of GM corn, cotton, chickpeas, and rice.
*Remember the Friedman Unit? Charles Margulis of the Centre for Environmental Health has put together a timeline documenting the similar golden rice unit. He rightly calls it an example of vaporware. I’ve long been calling golden rice a myth and boondoggle and a hoax.
*Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed a petition with the USDA calling upon it to end its harassment of staff researchers who perform science which may or does lead to results contrary to corporate interests and lies. The PEER brief cites the effects of glyphosate and neonicotinoids as areas where honest research is especially subject to persecution. The USDA denies the charge and claims its existing complaint and review procedure is adequate, though the numbers it gives are self-refuting. According to Reuters, “An agency spokesman confirmed that from May 2013 through April 2014 eight complaints were filed. Five of those were deemed worthy of investigation and one was deemed to have merit, the agency spokesman said.”
Given how hostile the USDA environment is for whistleblowers, and how thankless their task, this is one of those contexts where my default is to assume that someone who files a complaint is telling the truth. So the fact that only one complaint “was deemed to have merit” is strong evidence for PEER’s point, that the USDA’s existing system is a sham. Meanwhile the fact that only eight complaints were filed in the first place is eloquent testimony to a climate of fear and self-censorship, and of the overall self-conformity.
*As the EU’s new “subsidiarity” policy on GMO approvals and opt-out bans goes into effect, pro-GMO activists continue with their bureaucratic shenanigans. That’s the basic purpose of the policy – to provide a propaganda fig leaf while EFSA approvals are “streamlined” and a legalistic catch-22 is set up against any long-term abolition policy. Meanwhile IFOAM has again denounced “co-existence” as a scam and called for EU member state bans on GM cultivation as the only rational policy. This is of course the truth. Note the huge difference from the US, where even county-level bans are widely considered to be “radical” even among GMO critics. Yes, we American abolitionists have a tough row to hoe.
*A Monsanto cadre speaking to an audience mostly of agricultural students confessed that Monsanto maintains “an entire department” dedicated to lies and smearing the science which continually piles up against Monsanto’s products. Author Stephanie Hampton of the Benton County Community Rights Coalition calls it Monsanto’s “Discredit Bureau”.
This incident again confirms that Monsanto continues its pattern of systematically lying about the many severe harms caused by its products. One of the most extreme examples of today’s depravity is the way so many people refuse to believe that corporations like Monsanto or Dow will always lie about the safety of their products, whenever they consider this necessary to hang onto “even one dollar of profit”, as a secret internal memo cried out in the course of Monsanto’s decades-long suppression of data about the hideously toxic effects of PCBs on human beings. Monsanto and its supporters today continue this infinitely vile crime against humanity.



  1. Have you heard that Monsanto is engaging in a sickening PR effort regarding the Monarch butterflies? You probably have, because you’re always ahead on all this stuff 🙂 Anyway, it immediately reminded me of the tobacco companies funding “anti-smoking” efforts. Of course, Monsanto wouldn’t think of just getting rid of the damaging poison…

    Comment by DualPersonality — April 4, 2015 @ 4:43 am

    • Yup, it’s the same thing: Lies (Roundup’s not to blame), fake concern (we all have to do something!), misdirection (for example, the idea that individuals planting milkweeds can be the sufficient solution – much like changing your lightbulbs will be enough to cure climate change and the energy crisis).

      It’s of course impossible for Monsanto to get rid of the poison and still continue to exist. I know you don’t think this, but lots of people do seem to think it’s possible to have a “reformed” Monsanto, and so there’s still no end of the appeasement mentality.

      Comment by Russ — April 4, 2015 @ 7:13 am

    • To be clear, I’m not saying don’t bother planting milkweed. I planted some myself. But even a large sum of individual actions like that won’t suffice. The structural problem is Roundup and RR GMOs, and the only sufficient solution is to replace the malign structure with a non-malign one. That means abolishing Roundup and herbicide tolerant GMOs.

      Comment by Russ — April 4, 2015 @ 7:25 am

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