December 25, 2015

GMO News Summary, December 25th, 2015


*Bt cotton may be the most failure-prone and fraudulent (as far as the claims made for it) of all widely deployed GMOs. Even where it works temporarily against the target pest (and often it fails even at that), it’s quickly decimated by secondary pests. And it’s never more than a few years before the target bollworm develops resistance. Today the pink bollworm is devastating the cotton crop of India’s Karnataka state. This is in spite of Monsanto’s Bollgard II deploying two Bt toxins, Cry2AB2 and Cry1AC, against this pest. The original Bollgard produced just Cry1AC. That product was overwhelmed by the superbugs years ago.
Even Keshav Kranthi of the Indian Central Institute for Cotton Research (by no means anti-GMO) admits that no cotton hybrid including the Bt varieties would stand a chance without the seeds being coated with imidacloprid. So once again we see how the “less pesticides” is also a pure fraud. (And that’s not even counting the endotoxins themselves as part of the pesticide load.) So Bt cotton is the ultimate fraud among GMOs which have actually been widely deployed. Of the Indian states, Karnataka has been one of the most grievously bereaved by the small cotton farmer suicide epidemic, and its government has been one of the most exasperated and active in trying to reform the situation. But they’ve still not done nearly enough. Nothing short of completely driving out the ineffective, fraudulent, and malign product will suffice.
*K.P. Prabhakaran Nair, former Professor of the National Science Foundation, publicly declares that GMOs represent an agricultural paradigm which runs counter to Indian food security. In doing so he agrees with food sovereignty campaigners as well as the supreme court’s specially appointed Technical Expert Committee and two parliamentary committees.
*Companies who deserve one another. Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech (MMB), which is Monsanto’s main distributorship in India, has complained in court about nine seed contractors which have failed to remit the Monsanto tax on Bollgard II cotton. MMB has now canceled its contracts with three of these companies. The tax is 183 rupees (about $2.77 today) on a 450 gram seed packet. Prices per packet now vary from state to state, from 830 to 1000 rupees (c.$12.60-15.15) for a packet. This inexplicable variation is why the central government, which has imposed controls in the past to try to reduce stabilize obscene seed prices, is undertaking a new round of price control.
*There was double good news as the furtive congressional attempt to attach the anti-science, anti-democracy DARK Act to the spending bill was thwarted, while a rider supposedly ordering the FDA to institute a labeling policy for GM salmon was attached. In fact there’s considerable ambiguity about whether this law directs the FDA to institute mandatory labeling, or just a voluntary policy.
GM salmon is a stupid product concept. What difference could it make that the thing grows faster; fish farmers always have new generations coming to maturity anyway. I think that just like with hoaxes like “golden rice” and other worthless “product quality” GMOs like the botox apple, one of the main purposes is as a propaganda exercise, trying to normalize direct GM foods in the diet. And of course the techno-hype, however fraudulent, is supposed to confuse farmers, manufacturers, and retailers, as usual, and therefore be profitable for the patent-holders.
*At the behest of environmental and public health campaigners, the city council of Barcelona is banning the use of cancer-causing glyphosate in public parks and green spaces. The ban will be phased in over the course of a year. The council cited glyphosate’s propensity to persist in the water and soil and its toxicity to animals.
*The Swiss Federal Council has announced its decision to extend Switzerland’s moratorium on GM crop cultivation through 2021.
*Disturbed by the increasing trend of biotech companies obtaining fraudulent patents on conventionally bred crop varieties, and the increasing willingness of the European Patent Office (EPO) to grant such patents, the European Parliament issued a resolution against this fraud and illegality. This is a not a new law, but a resolution demanding that the EPO obey existing law.
*The UK House of Lords has issued a taxpayer-funded pro-Oxitec manifesto trumpeting the alleged need to release endless generations of genetically engineered insects into the environment, for agricultural as well as disease control purposes. Disease control is already known to be a failure from the field trials which have been conducted in the Caymans, Brazil, and elsewhere. As for crop pest control, the GM insect theme not only censors the fact that agroecology provides the best pest control system, it also implicitly concedes the failure of GM crops and pesticides to control crop pests. Since it’s the GM insect boosters themselves who are saying that previous GMOs don’t work, why should we believe them when they claim these GMOs will work? The same goes for the boosters of CRISPR GMOs, RNAi GMOs, etc.
As usual with such infomercials, the memo systematically dodges all discussion of actual need, alternatives, and risks. The goal is nothing but propaganda to boost a UK-based company in an important “growth” sector. It identifies the following, not as actual problems, but as stupid public “anxieties” which propaganda must counteract:

* horizontal gene transfer within the environment
* potential impact on ecosystems
* effects on predator/prey relationships and the food chain
* evolution of more virulent strains of particular pathogens following GM control
* a general feeling that GMOs are unsafe and create risks for individuals and the environment
* the potential for unknown and unintended consequences
* questions about intellectual property, patenting and excessive corporate involvement
* lack of confidence in scientists, companies and governments to understand and appropriately regulate the myriad possible implications of GMOs.

Never mind that seven of these eight are proven harms and hazards, while the “general feeling” of lack of safety has all the evidence in its favor and no evidence against it.
*Several US universities as well as the UK’s taxpayer-funded corporate propaganda machine, the so-called “Science Media Centre”, are exposed for having also received lavish funding from Coca-Cola. Sure enough, the “scientists” consulted by the universities and the SMC quickly discovered the benefits of high sugar consumption and pushed this information to the ardently receptive corporate media. This goes the same way as how they’ve previously discovered the benefits and lack of harm from other corporate funders led by the GMO cartel. This is standard for today’s practicing scientists, whether actively or by tacit acceptance. Scientists are exactly like lawyers: The great majority of them will advocate any position they are paid to advocate, and in their hands this paid position then becomes “science” or “the law”.
*Teenage Canadian food sovereignty and anti-GMO advocate Rachel Parent has been so effective that she’s been targeted personally by the cartel’s thugs including Kevin Folta. She should be proud and invigorated by this evidence of how well she’s doing. I wrote previously about the revelations Parent extracted from Canadian pro-corporate bureaucrats.
*The Yurok Tribe, the largest Native American group in California, has announced a full ban on GM crop cultivation and the release of GM animals in the Tribe’s territory. This initiative accompanies the tribe’s participation as part of the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition (NCTCC) The Yuroks and NCTCC are co-hosting an Indigenous Food Sovereignty Summit in Klamath in the spring of 2016.



1 Comment

  1. […] conceive. . *In Pakistan and India Monsanto’s Bollgard II cotton continues to be decimated by the target pest, pink bollworm. This GMO contains two Bt toxins, the Cry1AC which generated resistance against itself and failed in […]

    Pingback by GMO News Summary, January 8th 2016 | Volatility — January 8, 2016 @ 8:28 am

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