March 22, 2018

“Golden Rice”, Case Study in the Propaganda Function of Regulators


Can you spot the truth in this picture? Those who spewed the fog try to make sure you can’t

A major role of regulatory agencies is to serve as corporate propaganda outlets. Specifically, the regulator places its imprimatur on the alleged safety of a corporate product whose safety was never really confirmed at all. Indeed, as with the cancerousness of glyphosate, the regulator has prior knowledge of the harmfulness of the product but helps the corporation suppress this knowledge. This imprimatur is the third part of what I’ve long called the corporate regulatory template.
Today we have a particularly clear example of this propaganda process. Health Canada, as well as the regulators of Australia and New Zealand, are putting their safety imprimatur on “golden rice”, even though golden rice doesn’t exist in any commercial-ready form and therefore couldn’t possibly be safety-tested even in principle. Of course in practice no actual scientific tests were done at all, same as for every other GMO.
Health Canada was unusually frank in explaining its propaganda services: “Developers often choose to seek authorization in Canada as a first step in their regulatory plan even if they do not plan to sell the product in Canada.” This regulatory plan of course is to get corporate-friendly Western regulators to lend their imprimatur to the product. This often is sufficient to then force other countries to accept the product; globalization pacts often require such cross-acceptance. And where this isn’t in force, the imprimatur still serves the corporation in its pressure campaigns against resistant countries: If it’s safe enough for Canada, how can you say it’s not safe enough for here?
(Meanwhile there’s good reason to doubt the safety of golden rice. The food safety concern is especially critical here since golden rice, if it ever were deployed the way the pro-GMO activists claim to intend, would be the first GMO ever deployed as a staple direct food.)
This propaganda role is inherent to regulatory agencies in any productionist system, for example any capitalist system. It’s not an “abuse”, and you can’t “reform” it. It’s inherent to the regulatory model itself, which is dedicated to helping to foster maximal production for the sake of maximal production, inducing or forcing “demand” for this production, and managing any problems along the way. This “management” includes every kind of management, most obviously the management of how rapidly the system physically poisons humanity and the Earth, but not least the political management of any political problems the corporations encounter. From the inception of GMOs the regulators have performed this political service on behalf of the corporations. Today’s regulatory PR campaign on behalf of the idea of “golden rice” is a clear example.
I stress, the idea of golden rice. The real thing doesn’t exist as any kind of finished product. As the GMO regime of lies diverges ever further from reality, it’s fitting that the regulatory propaganda fog machine is being deployed on behalf of this longest-running media hoax. Golden rice itself is nothing but a dirty-yellow smog.

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