Volatility

November 28, 2014

GMO News Summary November 28, 2014

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*Archer Daniels Midland is the latest plaintiff to sue on account of the ongoing export debacle Syngenta has caused with its MIR162 maize product. ADM joins Cargill, other corporations, several farmer class actions, and individual farmers suing Syngenta, alleging it lied about imminent Chinese approval of its product. In fact China never approved MIR162 for importation and started rejecting US maize exports in late 2013. The rejections continued into 2014, and as a result US farmers and exporters have lost $ billions according to the National Grain and Feed Association. According to the suits Syngenta not only lied about Chinese approval but abdicated its “stewardship” responsibilities for keeping its product separate from the regular commodity stream. As I’ve written, this highlights not just Syngenta’s specific sleaziness, but the structural impossibility of “co-existence” among GMOs or between GM and non-GM agriculture. “Stewardship” in this context is another bogus term and concept; in truth such stewardship is not only impossible but antithetical to the whole commodification structure.
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*A new study surveyed US government data on a wide range of diseases over the last 25-40 years. The data shows sharp increases in the incidence of many kinds of disease, including cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, autoimmune diseases, organ disease, and others. The researchers then compared this data with the levels of Roundup/glyphosate use over the same period, and with the growing of GM crops over the same period. It was already obvious that the surge of sickening came roughly in tandem with the advent of GMOs, their escalating presence in today’s usual diets, and the huge surge of glyphosate use which accompanied the commercialization of Roundup Ready crops. Now this study has statistically matched the trends and found very strong scientific correlations between poison-based agriculture, poison-laden food, and severe disease.
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*It’s been proven that Roundup/glyphosate disrupts honeybee behavior and is likely at least a contributing factor to the collapse of honeybee populations. A new study adds to the evidence that glyphosate also harms the reproduction of earthworms, which are just as important for growing food as bees. This is part of Roundup’s general destruction of the soil microbiology and ecosystem. Perhaps nothing so perfectly exemplifies the insanity of the NPK ideology of industrial agriculture, the way it sees the soil not as the living basis of plant growth in the same way the plankton broth of the ocean is the basis of the entire oceanic food chain but as a purely inert, lifeless “medium”, than the way it has completely committed itself to slathering poisons like Roundup which help denude and destroy the soil.
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*It’s a Vietnam War reprise. Although the US military isn’t yet coming back, the spirit of the criminal South Vietnam regime lives. In spite of the overwhelming evidence record from everywhere else in Asia, Vietnam’s government is gung ho to bring the full-scale GMO regime to its fields and food. In an action both substantial and symbolic, the government has welcomed Agent Orange manufacturer Monsanto back into the country. For Monsanto it must be like old times.
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*Representatives from the scientific and civil society groups which called upon the European Commissioner to scrap the bogus position of “Chief Science Adviser” (cf. last week’s news summary) have issued a statement, “Principles of Good Scientific Advice”, which they hope will guide the new EU setup. These include public participation, no direct politicking by advisers, transparency, independence from lobbying, and some suggestions for enacting these. While these are fine in theory, there’s no reason to think system governments, dedicated as they are to corporate “science”, will enact them. The best use of such reform statements is to publicize them, explain why they’re right, and then use them as yardsticks to criticize the con job being run by today’s scientific establishment – in government, in corporate PR material, in academia, in the corporate media, among carnival barkers like Neil DeGrasse Tyson – and degrade public confidence in all these liars.
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November 21, 2014

GMO News Summary, November 21, 2014

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*It’s now too close to call for Oregon’s Measure 92, which would enact GMO labeling in the state. At first it seemed to have failed by a slim margin, but as some 13000 disputed votes were revoted (some snafu over ballot signatures), the margin has closed to within 4000 votes, and it’s looking like there might have to be a full recount.
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*In 1999 McDonald’s helped drive Monsanto’s New Leaf GM potato out of the marketplace by refusing to buy it. Will it do the same today for the new Simplot potato? McDonald’s says its policy is unchanged, and it will not use Frankenpotatoes in its restaurants. This is wise, as there’s zero benefit to McD’s from doing so, only commercial and legal risks. As always, GMOs benefit no one but the cartel, while all the risks and harms are sloughed off on others.
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The potato itself is for a typically worthless purpose – to be non-browning when sliced – and the plants have already demonstrated themselves to be especially disease-prone. That’s likely a collateral result of the genetic engineering.
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*In the latest dispatch from the superbug/superweed battlefront, a new study documents a new Bt-resistant superbug. Fall armyworms are increasingly resistant to Cry1F, a poison commonly engineered into Dow and DuPont GMOs. Cry1F has been failing for a few years now in Brazil, and resistance is now documented in Florida and North Carolina. The researchers from the USDA and several universities say they don’t know how widespread the affliction is. In typical Keystone Kops fashion, they recommend better use of the already-failed “refuge” scam, and more pesticides. It’s funny how the system’s own frequent calls for greater pesticide use, and frequent reportage of same, can coexist so easily in the corporate media with constant regurgitation of the lie that GMOs reduce pesticide use. I’d nominate that juxtaposition for Best Corporate Media Doublethink.
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*John Howard, the same sleazy con artist who brought us the Prodigene contamination disaster with pharmaceutical maize in 2006, resulting in an ostensible USDA ban on his future participation in GMO field trials, is back and openly flouting the ban with a new biopharming trial in California.
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*The European Commission has a post called “Chief Science Advisor” (CSA). It was set up to place a corporate operative at the highest level of government, where this official would advocate the worst corporate assaults on health and the environment. The CSA also advocates policy that doesn’t even superficially have anything to do with science, like for example the TTIP “trade” compact. In her capacity as CSA Anne Glover has pushed for GMOs and fracking and helped obstruct the enactment of an EU law requiring the banning of endocrine disrupting poisons. Black Swan author Nassim Taleb, who recently was lead author of a paper highlighting the massive systemic risks of GMOs, recently called her a “dangerous imbecile” for her derogation of the Precautionary Principle.
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This purely political and anti-scientific pattern of Glover’s activities prompted a coalition of environmental and civil society groups to send a letter to the new Commissioner calling upon him to abolish the position, which is inherently corrupt. It’s absurd to think one person can advise on all of science, and the CSA was obviously set up to be a corporate propaganda position. From day one Glover demonstrated how high-handed, unaccountable, secretive, and fraudulent the official holding this position is supposed to be. Glover herself said she must be “not transparent” about her actions, even as she reveled in her public prominence, on one occasion comparing herself to a superhero “swooping over Brussels”.
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Industry groups and the corporate media rushed to defend Glover and the CSA position, but she recently announced that, in a bureaucratic shuffle, the position will be abolished early next year, in favor of a new set of committees. We don’t know how much effect the public controversy had on this decision. Meanwhile the new “scientific” committee will probably continue with the same pro-corporate, anti-science activism, but will try to do so with a lower profile.
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*The lawsuits are piling up against Syngenta, more than fifty now. They’re from companies like Cargill, farmer class actions, and individual farmers, all suing for damage to their export revenues. Syngenta promised farmers and commodifiers that its Viptera GM maize would be approved in time for import to China, but this never happened. Since November 2013 China’s been rejecting US maize contaminated with the illegal variety, and exports to China have been depressed since then. According to the National Grain and Feed Association, US exporters lost over $1 billion in the nine months through August 2014. Of course abolitionists reject the notion that anyone has a “right” to sell anything to any particular customer if that customer doesn’t want to buy, but by the system’s ideology sellers’ license is paramount, and therefore Syngenta is guilty of massive consumer fraud, costing these farmers and exporters a bundle.
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*Meanwhile the people are up against a welter of SLAPP suits, everywhere we’ve voted to impose bans or restrictions on the activism of the poison peddlers. In Maui, where the people of the county voted a moratorium on GMO cultivation, Monsanto and Dow are suing in federal court, asking for an injunction and that the law be overturned. This suit is before the same judge who previously declared Kauai’s voter-imposed limits on spraying pesticides (very modest limits, requiring only notification and modest buffers) to be superseded by state law and therefore invalid. In Vermont, the Grocery Manufacturers Association is leading a cabal of industry groups suing to prevent the state’s labeling law from going into effect in 2016 as scheduled. And in Jackson County, Oregon, two of Monsanto’s contract “farmers” are suing the county over its GMO cultivation ban, voted by the people in May 2014. These two growers of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa are trying to stick up the people, demanding a $4.2 million payout or else that the law be thrown out. Meanwhile in Europe Syngenta and Bayer are suing the EU over its partial neonic ban.
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If enacted, the TTIP and TPP will place such SLAPP suits on a systematic, institutionalized basis.
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*Speaking of globalization, the US and Indian central governments concluded an economic agreement which temporarily postpones full resolution of the terms of the agricultural war. The US position is always as clear as it is hypocritical: The US should have 100% license to massively subsidize its own agriculture and dump its commodities everywhere around the globe, while no one else has any right to protect themselves in any way. Only such latter measures are to be called “protectionist”. (Isn’t it bizarre how where it comes to so-called “trade”, a term which is practically synonymous with self-defense is considered a bad word?) In this case it’s India’s own agricultural subsidies and grain storage program which the US wants dismantled. Note that India’s own subsidies are to a large extent for the benefit of US corporations like Monsanto, since India’s central and state governments have often had to bail out the cotton farmers consistently ruined by the poor performance of Monsanto’s shoddy Bt cotton products.
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Since the two governments have been unable to agree on a final resolution of this conflict, they instead agreed on a temporary “peace clause”. This means final resolution, which the US intends will be on its own terms, will be postponed while the agreement goes ahead on other corporate welfare measures. In particular, India is agreeing to build new import facilities at Indian taxpayer expense for the benefit of US exporters.
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*In the most bizarre piece of news, Dow apparently has agreed to limit its sales of Agent Orange soybeans and maize for 2015. This is ostensibly because of the Syngenta/China flap; the Agent Orange GMOs also haven’t been approved for import in China. It may also be in acknowledgement of fears about the volatility and drift of 2,4-D. The seeds will be available only in certain places and for certain uses: The maize will be sold only for use as on-site livestock feed, and the soybeans only for a kind of pilot “non-commercial program”. In other words, these GMOs, produced at such expense for commodification purposes only, will be sold only for non-commodified uses.
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It’s amazing that after struggling for so long and finally rolling out these products two years behind schedule, Dow would suddenly agree to greatly limit their distribution. Apparently the USDA, in spite of its fully “deregulating” the product and giving it the seal of approval, remains in terror of what’s really going to happen with this new set of GMOs. (That’s why it flinched in 2013 and announced it would undertake a full Environmental Impact Assessment instead of going ahead with approval as Dow expected. The EIA of course turned out to be a sham.) A huge escalation in the spraying of drift-prone 2,4-D (the USDA projects a two- to sevenfold increase; independent assessments go as high as fiftyfold) is guaranteed to cause massive damage to other crops. It’s the kind of thing which might finally trigger the long-overdue farmer rebellion against GMOs.
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The EPA has already been stepping gingerly, approving Dow’s companion product, the glyphosate/2,4-D blend Enlist Duo, for only six states at the outset. But EPA has indicated this is only the first step toward full approval across all states. EPA also stipulated that farmers planting Enlist seeds would have to use Enlist Duo and no other 2,4-D formulation. That’s more like it – a legally mandated monopoly Dow can love.
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Yet Dow must also be feeling some trepidation, if it’s now taking the extraordinary step of limiting its seed sales. It’s a horrific crime against humanity and the earth which Dow and the US government are concocting here with Agent Orange GMOs. In addition to the havoc GMOs already wreak, this rollout is going to cause incalculable collateral damage to other farmers, gardeners, and to anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the viciously toxic plumes of this poison which will soon be riding the winds all over America, wherever soy or maize are grown. It’s laughable to think these extreme restrictions are going to be in place for long, or enforced for that matter, if they’re ever enacted in the first place.
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But maybe this will finally be the wake-up call America needs. Maybe the enemies of humanity and the earth are going too far with this one.The task of abolitionists and of all critics of GMOs and corporate agriculture is to help make it be so.
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November 18, 2014

GMOs = More Ebola and the Faster Spread of Ebola

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1. For centuries medical science has known that conditions of overcrowding combined with lack of good sanitation incubate epidemics. Densely crowded slums are often the source or proliferation point for epidemics of cholera, typhus, dengue, typhoid, Chagas disease, plague, yellow fever, influenza, and many others. This artificial socioeconomic circumstance provides the right terrain for potentially pathogenic germs to go kinetic. Today this is true of ebola, which is spreading most aggressively in the shantytowns of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria.
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2. The main goal and effect of the “Green Revolution” has been to dispossess huge numbers of indigenous tribes as well as small farmers and their families and drive them into vast slums ramifying from the fringes of the cities. These are the infamous shantytowns, corporate neoliberalism’s terminal waste dumps for the ever-growing legions of economically superfluous people. Over the last fifty years the green revolution and the “structural adjustment” assaults of the IMF caused the explosive growth of these immiseration camps.
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The IMF usury campaigns which have indentured whole countries (while those countries’ political leadership uses the money for urban luxuries for the homegrown 1%, or just directly embezzles it and puts it back in Western banks), and the onslaught of globalized commodity agriculture which indentures and destroys millions of farmers and tribesmen, have gone hand in hand. The globalization compacts of the former have always extorted ever greater license for the latter, as New Deal-style public agricultural investment programs have always been among the IMF’s primary targets. The IMF’s hostile takeover of Ukraine is a current example, while the G8’s “New Alliance” plan for Africa intends to expose Africa and its millions of farmers to the full fury of Western banks, agribusiness, and commodity dumping. Such onslaughts across Asia and Africa have been accompanied by the accelerating plague of land-grabbing. One of the conditions of IMF and New Alliance money is always that recipient governments privatize tribal and communal land, driving off the moral owners and replacing them with rich and corporate owners of duly legal “property”. This kind of robbery goes back at least as far as the Big Lie of how the natives allegedly “sold” Manhattan for a handful of beads (my Economics 101 textbook in college was still repeating this, good old Samuelson and Nordhaus), and today Rajiv Shad of USAID openly says it’s a primary goal of the New Alliance.
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The effect of all these crimes – land-grabbing, debt indenture of farmers, the violent transformation of agriculture from thousands of small farmers producing food mostly for their own communities to a handful of gargantuan monoculture plantations producing only export commodities and employing a relative handful of ex-farmers as laborers, the dumping of the West’s heavily subsidized agricultural commodities on the agriculture and food sectors of these same countries – has been to force millions of people off their land and into globalization’s sprawling concentration camps, shantytowns. All shantytowns are created by the enclosure of arable land. This is an intended goal of all such policy. The people are to be driven off their land and, as in the past, turned into low-wage urban workers, or as today, permanently incarcerated in economic misery and political helplessness. That’s what the US government and global corporate agriculture have planned for Africa.
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The main difference between Stalinist collectivization and the neoliberal “green revolution” is that the latter, fully mechanized and dependent upon the input, processing, and transportation infrastructure temporarily afforded by cheap oil, has been able to dispense with the people. Instead of forcing the ex-farmers and tribesmen into slavery, it just drives them off as terminally homeless vagrants. The green revolution and its subsequent land-grabbing epidemic comprise the extension of the enclosure onslaught of earlier centuries.
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3. These shantytowns are the incubators of hunger, misery, and despair. As has been empirically proven since the 1970s, corporate agriculture does not “feed the world”, but on the contrary generates mass hunger and malnutrition. The GMO onslaught shall only aggravate hunger, as it aggravates every other pathology of corporate industrial agriculture – medical, environmental, genetic, economic, political.
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As I wrote above, in addition to the socioeconomic and cultural misery they enforce, shantytowns are the incubators of disease. Today ebola is festering in these ghettos which are intentional byproducts of industrial agriculture. Ebola is festering, spreading, striving to mutate so that it can spread more readily. It’s doing this amid the most favorable terrain for its success. If Big Ag had set out intentionally to generate a lethal pandemic, it could hardly have designed a better scenario than the one it’s imposing today.
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(Since shantytowns are implicitly waste dumps for people who are, from the point of view of the corporate austerity system, surplus, worthless, and potentially dangerous, pandemics among them may indeed be the intended effect, just as corporate-enforced mass hunger certainly is intentional. As I’ve written before, shantytowns make no sense from any point of view – moral, rational, practical. The only way to make sense of them is to theorize that Western governments and corporations view them as putative death camps.)
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The calculus is crystal clear. Shantytowns = the greatly increased probability of lethal pandemics.
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Corporate agriculture and its GMO deployment = the accelerating sprawl of shantytowns and surge in the number of inmates.
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Therefore, advocacy of GMOs and poison-based agriculture = wanting to increase the probability and incidence of lethal pandemics. It’s willful mass murder and intent to commit further mass murder.
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4. The way corporate ag sets up terrain favorable for lethal pandemics is similar to how it strives to make itself vulnerable to terrorism. As Bush’s Agriculture Secretary Tommy Thompson said, “For the life of me, I can’t understand why terrorists haven’t attacked our food supply.” Indeed, terrorism is a major threat to centralized industrial agriculture, while it could only ever be a minor, local threat to decentralized polyculture agroecology. The same goes for pest threats, disease, floods or drought, temperature extremes, anything which can affect crops or food. (Of course in spite of Thompson’s bout of truth-telling, the Bush administration, continued acting to increase the vulnerability of our crops and food, like every other administration before or since.)
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5. The insane abuse of antibiotics in factory farms and with GMO antibiotic resistance markers continues to escalate. This is nothing less than a campaign to destroy the medical miracle of antibiotics once and for all. In a textbook equal and opposite reaction, this calls down upon humanity the corresponding antibiotic-resistant disease-causing germs. This too will bring lethal pandemics.
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6. We must always keep in mind how industrial ag causes society’s total dependence upon an ever more fragile, top-heavy Tower of Babel. Industrial agriculture is unsustainable and sooner or later will collapse from any of a number of possible death blows: The end of cheap fossil fuels, the failure of fossil water (effectively non-renewable aquifers) or industrially mined phosphorus, the collapse of the wrecked and poisoned soil, the failure of the crops which are physiologically weakened by genetic engineering, their endless bombardment by enervating herbicides (genetically engineered herbicide tolerance doesn’t let the crop get off unscathed, but merely enables it to survive in a weakened state and produce a nutritionally denuded harvest), and/or out of their extreme vulnerability to pests and disease on account of their insanely narrowed genetic base.
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The extreme narrowing of agricultural germplasm has been an intentional and necessary aspect of monoculture agriculture. The same is true of crop epidemics like the 1970 Southern corn leaf blight which decimated the US crop and was widely forecast among agronomists right before it happened (cf. Jack Kloppenburg’s First the Seed, 2nd edition p. 122). This was on account of the parlous state of US corn genetics, specifically how the cytoplasmic male sterility gene (to save the labor costs of detasseling during hybrid seed production), deployed in all US hybrid varieties at that time, also rendered the crop more vulnerable to that exact disease.
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This campaign of agricultural biodiversity destruction constitutes the destruction of the genetic basis for all future agriculture. If Big Ag intentionally set out to set up humanity for mass famine from systemic crop failure, it could hardly have done better than it has in setting up the system based on poisons, monoculture, hybridization, and GMOs.
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Speaking generally, globalization renders us all ever more vulnerable to an ever greater array of diseases and disasters.
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7. Then there’s the proven health and environmental devastation of such agricultural poisons as commercial glyphosate, DDT, 2,4-D, atrazine, neonicotinoids, chlorpyrifos, industrialized Bt (in GMO form), and many others. These are known to cause reproductive damage, sterility, miscarriages, stillbirths, birth defects, developmental difficulties, DNA damage, neurological disease, organ toxicity, and cancer. We must keep in mind how Mad Cow Disease, horrific as it was, was a relatively minor example of the diseases which CAFO diets can spread through our meat and dairy. Then there’s how the Showa Denko and X-SCID incidents prove that any genetically engineered product has the potential to cause a lethal outbreak. Meanwhile the exponential surge of chronic diseases such as cancer, gastrointestinal tract diseases, allergies, asthma, Crohn’s disease, and autism has gone in tandem with the radical escalation of pesticides and GMOs in our food.
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8. These are examples of what Black Swan author Nassim Taleb recently wrote about in his paper, “The Precautionary Principle: Fragility and Black Swans from Policy Actions”. Taleb and his co-authors concluded that globalized monocultural GMO deployment comprises a systemic risk of massive destruction, through health, environmental and/or agricultural destruction, and for that reason must be subject to the Precautionary Principle. I’ll add that GMOs comprise two shoddy, badly designed, badly performing, failed product lines (herbicide resistance and insecticide expression; i.e. two kinds of poison plants) and serve no purpose at all according to the Need Principle (do we need it). GMOs have zero benefits for farmers or eaters. Therefore, given the proven harms and the even greater risks, GMOs should never have been deployed and now must be abolished.
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9. GMOs and corporate industrial agriculture also fail the Alternatives Principle – is there a better alternative? The alternative to high-risk, doomed-to-fail, astronomically expensive, horrifically destructive industrial monoculture poison-based agriculture set up to produce export commodities is robust, resilient, inexpensive, healthy, environmentally and socially productive decentralized polyculture agroecological practice, set up to produce food for human communities. Scores of studies and trials have proven that acre for acre agroecology produces more calories and nutrition than industrial ag. This is true right now while we’re still in the time of cheap fossil fuels. Once cheap oil is a thing of the past, as it shall soon become, this difference will become infinite, as industrial ag will become physically impossible. Therefore decentralized polyculture agroecology is the most productive form of agriculture in an absolute sense, and it shall inevitably be the most productive in the future, as it shall be the only form possible.
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10. All such prospects are contingent on humanity making it that far. But the pro-GMO activists are doing their best to wipe out any possible future for humanity, as they’re implicitly working hard to generate the lethal pandemic that’ll wipe us out. If they can’t do it with ebola, they’ll try with something else, whether they can incubate it in the shantytown or in the CAFO. And if the pandemics fail there’s always the mass famines they implicitly have planned.
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Whatever comes, humanity must become conscious of this stark fact. The activists of corporate agriculture and food, and the political and economic elites who give them their marching orders are, out of conscious malice or willful disregard for human life, preparing mass murder. When these pandemics come, or any of the other likely disasters I’ve surveyed here, humanity must treat these as the world-historical crimes they are and deal with these malefactors according to the dictates of justice.
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Or better yet, let’s reattain sanity in time. We can take preemptive self-defense action before it’s too late. We can forestall the worst by abolishing GMOs, ending the reign of corporate agriculture, dissolving globalization. We can restore human economies based on producing goods, and above all food, for human beings. This is the only way forward, the only solution to our crises and problems, the only way we can regain freedom and prosperity, the only way we can save and redeem ourselves.
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August 29, 2014

Total Failure: The Fraudulent Promises of the Two Types of GMOs

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Farmers originally embraced the Roundup Ready system, not because they expected it to directly increase crop yields or reduce costs (it doesn’t and never did), but because by greatly simplifying weed management through the one-time application of one herbicide, it freed up time and conceptual space so the farmer could farm more acres.
 
Under conditions of commodity agriculture, farmers are under constant pressure to maximize their acreage and in this way their production. So while herbicide tolerant GMOs never increased yield acre-for-acre, and often have decreased it, they enable the farmer to cover more acres and in this way “make it up on volume”. It’s a version of Taylorism, a speed-up device, and also saves labor costs. Monsanto and the USDA touted these virtues for the farmer, and to this day still claim that the product benefits farmers in this way.
 
All this describes the attraction of the Roundup Ready system for farmers, during the few years that it worked as advertised. But with the rise of glyphosate-resistant superweeds, all these benefits have been lost. All the touted simplicity has been replaced by a regression to an even more costly complexity than farmers faced prior to the advent of herbicide tolerant GMOs.
 
Farmers were promised by Monsanto and the US government that they could schedule their plantings without having to coordinate them with herbicide applications. They could later apply glyphosate whenever they wanted, needing just one application (or in the case of cotton two). But with the evolution-predicted rise of glyphosate-resistant weeds, farmers now find themselves having to revert to the old complex choreography. Increasingly, they need a non-glyphosate pre-emergence application, followed by a post-emergence glyphosate application at exactly the right time to catch Palmer amaranth when it’s small enough to be affected. That’s assuming the P. amaranth isn’t a Roundup Ready superweed, as they increasingly are. If it’s resistant to the herbicide, then it has to be hand-weeding or the hoe, when the weeds are still small enough. Then more applications of glyphosate and other herbicides.
 
Farmers were similarly promised they could forever plant corn-on-corn or corn-on-soy (again, something implicitly demanded by the economics of commodity monocropping), since the Roundup Ready system would make weed management such a snap that you could forever plant Roundup Ready-on-Roundup Ready and never have a problem. In spite of the previous history of weeds developing resistance to triazine and ALS-inhibitor herbicides, as a matter of evolutionary clockwork, Monsanto explicitly promised that glyphosate-resistant weeds would not develop no matter how massively and long they were doused with Roundup. Their technical hacks published “studies” to that effect.
 
Today such rotations accomplish nothing against the superweeds, and weed scientists can only recommend rotations which include wheat or lesser crops like oats and barley. Some recommend that farmers ration their use of glyphosate. This of course is tantamount to rejecting the Roundup Ready GMO system as such, since the only thing which could possibly in theory justify the massively higher cost of RR seeds is the efficacy and simplicity of idiot-proof drenching with Roundup.
 
Meanwhile, not only have GMO farmer/contractors made their own weed management increasingly complex and economically unviable, but they’re inflicting worse weed infestations on their non-GM conventional neighbors.
 
To sum up, the corporate system promised farmers and the public that the Roundup Ready system would simplify weed management and render it less toxic, as glyphosate was allegedly less toxic to human and environmental health than older herbicides. Today “The Party’s Over” as weed scientist Aaron Hager says, and “the ‘simplicity’ of glyphosate as a stand-alone weed management tool will be relegated to the annals of history”. Or as former Dupont cadre Alberto Bianchi puts it, “today we have to fight pests worse than 15 or 20 years ago, but with fewer weapons than we had before”. Desperate weed consultants advise better crop rotations, using greater amounts of more different kinds of herbicides more often, and returning to the antiquated practice of deep tillage. Capping this reactionary program is the ultimate dark age regression, the deployment of GMOs engineered to be resistant to the exact same, far more toxic retrograde herbicides which the corporations and government originally promised us would be rendered permanently obsolete.
 
This proves the malign intent of corporations and governments, that they’re actually trying to repeat this same “mistake”, albeit at a vastly more destructive level. The failure of 2,4-D and dicamba resistant systems is already a proven fact. History proves it. No one who supports it can escape criminal culpability, and must and shall be held criminally responsible for every harm that follows.
 
Farmers have went through the same history with GMO corn engineered to resist rootworm (CRW) predation. Monsanto introduced CRW-resistant corn in 2003 with promises that it would forever relegate soil insecticides, previously the main pesticide used vs. CRW, to the scrap heap. Here the target pest counterattacked more quickly than even the weeds did. The Bt toxin itself was weak vs. rootworms from the start, serving to accelerate the development of resistance. Farmers saw very little insecticide dividend, and had to go back to soil insecticide application so quickly that by 2008 the University of Illinois felt the need to assure farmers that supplementing anti-CRW GMOs with soil insecticide doesn’t “always make sense”. That’s how ubiquitous the field reports of Bt-resistant rootworms already were.
 
Lab confirmation quickly followed. Using specimens collected from ravaged Iowa fields in 2009, a team at Iowa State documented resistance in a 2011 study. Subsequent studies in 2013 and 2014 reinforced the documentation. This latest study, published in the National Academy of Sciences, documented that rootworms which developed resistance to Monsanto’s original Cry3Bb1 trait were also cross-resistant to Syngenta’s Cry3A set of anti-rootworm traits.
 
According to this study, Dow’s Cry34/35Ab1 toxin still worked well vs. rootworms. But that was only for the moment. In 2014 Iowa farmers have reported rootworm damage in fields planted to Bt varieties containing the Cry34/35Ab1 trait. So what was the last trait standing is now staggering.
 
Thus farmers have had to go back to the bad old days of applying soil insecticides, and it’s commonplace among system entomologists to recommend this as part of the remedy farmers need to deploy as the Bt GMO system increasingly fails to live up to its promises.
 
Here too a return to crop rotation is a common recommendation. But if the idea is the pseudo-rotation of corn-on-soy, previously effective vs. rootworm, it’s becoming too late for this as well. As early as 1999 rootworms were discovered which could lay their eggs amid a corn-planting and then endure through a soybean season, awaiting the next corn planting. These “rotation-resistant” rootworms have since then been documented in Illinois and Iowa. They’re a product of the industrial corn/soy monoculture; corn-on-soy is really is no kind of legitimate rotation at all. And there’s many possible ways in which their rotation resistance may have been fostered by elements of the Roundup Ready GMO system itself.
 
Here again, GMO contract growers are not only destroying their own ability to exist, but are making production more difficult for non-GM farmers who must contend with more common and virulent rootworm infestations than occurred prior to Roundup Ready’s corn-on-corn campaign and the advent of the anti-rootworm Bt campaign.
 
The inexorable march of the superweeds and the rising insurrection of the rootworms exemplify the proven complete failure of the two basic genres of GMOs, herbicide tolerance and insecticide expression. Farmers increasingly wish to get off the GMO treadmill and resume conventional agriculture, or even to switch to direct retail and/or organic agriculture. This is definitely the rational choice, as confirmed by every portent.
 
But if farmers want to get off the treadmill, they may find many obstacles. The superiority of non-GM conventional production is well documented. With every new year of greater seed costs, poison costs, and ever expanding and intensifying superweed and superbug development, more and more industrial farmers are interested in getting off the GMO treadmill and resuming conventional production. But for corn and soy, non-GM varieties are often difficult to find. Thanks to the dereliction of the public breeding sector and the widespread enclosure of new varieties which are released to the public only in GMO (i.e. Roundup Ready and/or Bt expressing) form, the varieties which are available are often of lower quality. (This also reveals the fraud involved in cartel studies which allege higher yields for some Bt varieties over conventional. These “studies” never compare a GMO variety with its isogenic non-GM equivalent, but rather what’s likely to be a superior conventionally-bred variety which was then subjected to Bt transgene insertion and made publicly available only in this GMO form, vs. an inferior conventional variety.)
 
The cartel and the US government are responding to the proven complete failure of the very concepts of herbicide tolerant and insecticide-expressing GMOs by striving to double down on them and render vastly worse the failure and the collateral health, environmental, and economic destruction which shall go along with them. This is smoking gun proof that all the blathering in favor of GMOs is nothing but lies, and that for GMO proponents, the consciously, intentionally held one and only goal is to maximize corporate profit and power.

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August 21, 2014

GMOs, Always A Backward Technology, Get More Regressive All the Time

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For all practical purposes, there’s just two kinds of GMOs. There’s those which are resistant to one or more herbicides, and there’s those which produce one or more of their own endemic Bt insecticides. Increasingly, GMO varieties do both of these, for multiple poisons in each case.
 
Weed resistance to herbicides and insect resistance to insecticides went back decades prior to the deployment of GMOs. It was widely predicted by everyone but corporate and government flacks that the incestuous focus on one herbicide, glyphosate, and a handful of Bt toxins, to the overthrow of any rational crop rotation and weed/pest management strategy, would quickly lead to weed and pest resistance which would render GMOs impotent. Within a few years of GMO commercialization these predictions started coming true. By ten years in, weed and pest resistance were accelerating toward disaster. Today the Roundup Ready regime is in ruins, and over much of the world most of the original Bt varieties are worthless against pests. For anyone who’s not an evolution denier, the failure of these two product genres is proven and complete.
 
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready product line, engineered to be resistant to glyphosate, has been the foundation of the GMO regime. US acreage planted to RR varieties in 2011 comprised 94% of soybeans, 72% of maize, and 96% of cotton (Benbrook 2012 p.2). Glyphosate use surged from 15 million pounds of active ingredient in 1996 to 159 million in 2009 (FWW 2013 p.2). According to Charles Benbrook’s 2012 analysis, RR crops caused overall herbicide use to increase over what would have been sprayed on exclusively non-GM conventional crops by a total of 527 million pounds from 1996 to 2011, the great bulk of this being extra glyphosate, with RR soybeans accounting for 70% of the total increase.
 
Glyphosate-based herbicide first went on sale in 1976, but because it wasn’t heavily used there weren’t reports of weeds resistant to it until the latter 90s, as the Roundup Ready system started becoming widely deployed. The first confirmed glyphosate-resistant superweed in the US was rigid ryegrass in California in 1998. Resistant horseweed, destined to become the most common Roundup Ready superweed, was first confirmed in Delaware in 2000. It quickly began a triumphal march across the southern US, while several other glyphosate-resistant weeds emerged, most notably Palmer amaranth and waterhemp. By 2012 Roundup-resistant horseweed was confirmed in 21 states, Palmer amaranth in 17, and waterhemp in 12 (FWW p.3). Today these superweeds are embarked upon a veritable march of conquest, while Roundup Ready crops are being driven back in what’s turning into a total rout. The Stratus Glyphosate Tracking Survey has documented the accelerating phenomenon. In 2013 over 70 million US acres were reported to be afflicted with glyphosate resistant weeds, up from 61.2 million in 2012, 40.7 in 2011, 32.6 in 2010. In 2012 50% of corn, soy, and cotton farmers reported such superweeds in their fields, up from 34% in 2011. 27% reported multiple superweed species, up from 15% in 2011. The numbers have been much higher in the worst-hit states of the South and Midwest.
 
All this has driven the great surge in glyphosate use and increases in the use of other herbicides including 2,4-D (up 3.9 million pounds per year from 2000 to 2009, a 90% increase) to supplement the faltering Roundup (FWW p.7). In 1996 RR cotton growers applied glyphosate an average of once a year at a rate of .63 pounds per acre (Benbrook 2009 p.30). By 2007 they were up to 2.4 applications for an average 1.89 pounds/acre, so the amount applied each time is also increasing. For RR soybean growers the 1996 numbers were 1.1 applications totaling .69 pounds per acre, while by 2006 the were up to 1.7 applications for a total of 1.36 pounds/acre.
 
As I’ll detail in a subsequent post, the failure of herbicide tolerance technology is already costing farmers severely.
 
There’s no longer a debate among honest, rational people. We have complete consensus that herbicide tolerance is a failed product genre which must be discontinued immediately and replaced by integrated weed management programs including rational crop rotation and cover cropping. (That’s still within the framework of industrial agriculture, which has one last chance to give itself some extra time. Of course the real agroecological solution goes far beyond this.)
 
But the corporatist system has no honesty or rationality to work with. The system’s only answer to the collapse of Roundup is the reactionary, luddite answer: To double down on proven failure by regressing to GMOs tolerant of older, even more destructive herbicides. This is the context in which the evolution-denialist system is promulgating the backward, luddite “solution” of corn and soybeans engineered to tolerate the retrograde herbicide 2,4-D, one of the two primary components of the chemical weapon Agent Orange. This is one of the dark age poisons which Monsanto and the US government originally promised would be permanently relegated to the scrap heap by the Roundup Ready system. Dicamba is another such regressive chemical being poised by Monsanto for a comeback.
 
The evolution-denier character of this policy is revealed by the fact that there are already many weeds documented to be resistant to 2,4-D, including the waterhemp which is among the big three rampaging with impunity across the Roundup Ready fields.
 
Agent Orange corn and soy will therefore be greeted by 2,4-D resistant weeds already prepared for them, and as the slathering of 2,4-D escalates, resistance to it will accelerate and spread. It’ll happen like clockwork, because it’s the standard mechanism of evolution, understood by everyone but the corporate liars and scientistic evolution deniers.
 
2,4-D and dicamba-tolerant GMOs, and any other herbicide tolerant GMO product such as Bayer’s isoxaflutole-tolerant soybean approved by the USDA in 2013, will also speed the development of weeds which possess metabolism-based general resistance across many or all herbicide classes.
 
Along the way, the promiscuous deployment of these hitherto restricted-use growth regulator herbicides will vastly escalate the damage they cause to other crops like tomatoes and grapes when they drift. 2,4-D is already notorious for this, causing by far the greatest number of agricultural collateral damage incidents even given its limited use hitherto. That’s why the Save Our Crops Coalition, which for a time lobbied the USDA to refuse approval of Agent Orange GMOs, included several major processors and canners. In 2012 Steve Smith, Agriculture Director of Red Gold, testified before Congress that “the widespread use of dicamba possesses the single most serious threat to the future of the specialty crop industry in the Midwest.”
 
This group dropped its opposition in 2012, claiming to have been reassured by Dow that its “Enlist” 2,4-D formulation won’t be drift-prone. I don’t know if they were really stupid enough to believe this or if they were bought off or intimidated, but regardless it’s an extremely foolish thing to believe. Even if by some miracle Dow were now capping its fifty year history of lies about 2,4-D and related poisons with a true statement for once, that wouldn’t affect the many other 2,4-D formulations on the market. The commercialization of Agent Orange crops will cause as much as a 30-fold increase in 2,4-D application (Benbrook 2012 p.5). According to one study, 2,4-D and dicamba are respectively 400 times and 70 times as likely as glyphosate to drift and damage or destroy other crops. We see again how only the most diehard, hunker-in-the-bunker luddite would want to respond to the proven failure of Roundup Ready, and therefore of herbicide tolerance as such, by doubling down with such a destructive escalation of the failure.
 
Then there’s the public health consequences of such a massive increase of this extreme poison. 2,4-D is an endocrine disruptor and causes birth defects and cancer. It’s been linked to Parkinson’s disease. The manufacture of 2,4-D chronically produces dioxins as a byproduct. How much dioxin produced is a function of the production process. Dow of course claims its own process is clean, but the historical record gives good reason to doubt this. Ad hoc measurements of dioxins in 2,4-D have found levels below WHO and FAO maximums. This begs the question of how valid those maximums are; as a rule regulator allowable maximums have zero to do with science or public health, but are mechanically raised to whatever level the poison companies require. At any rate testing has been sporadic and rare. We really have no idea how much dioxin laces the 2,4-D being used in agriculture, and so we have no idea to what extent GMO agriculture is permanently toxifying the soil with deadly dioxin.
 
Environmentally, the EPA deems 2,4-D “very highly toxic to slightly toxic to freshwater and marine invertebrates”, while the National Marine Fisheries Service considers it a dire threat to endangered and threatened salmon species (FWW p.11).
 
And all this is for the sake of no practical or rational goal, nothing which could ever benefit human beings even the slightest bit, but merely to escalate the poison sector’s campaign of planned obsolescence and disaster capitalism. All for the sake of nothing but corporate profit and power.
 
This is indisputable, since the collapse of glyphosate renders it indisputable that herbicide tolerant GMOs comprise a failed technology. Today it’s impossible to support this technology “by mistake”. It’s only possible to be consciously, willfully, criminally committed to forcing humanity to remain on this ever-accelerating poison treadmill, with ever-increasing agricultural, economic, environmental, and health detriments, all for the sake of nothing but corporate domination. Humanity must fight this regressive luddite campaign which seeks to drag us back to the agricultural dark ages. We must overthrow the corporations which seeks to prevent by force our emergence into the light of the most vanguard agroecological technologies and science.

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July 9, 2014

There’s No Debate: GMOs Are Nothing But A Corporate Poison Regime

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As Beyond Pesticides points out in its brief opposing the application to the EPA from Texas cotton contractors for an “emergency” deregulation of the extremely toxic herbicide propazine, there’s no legitimate emergency here at all. On the contrary, the superweeds which are crippling industrial cotton production over large and increasing parts of the US were anticipated many years ago, and corporate agriculture made the conscious policy choice to embark upon a campaign guaranteed to bring this result. So how can the premeditated result now be called an “emergency”? The answer, of course, is that this is typical disaster capitalism propaganda meant to justify the increased use of poisons whose use was previously restricted on the grounds of their proven health hazards.
 
The Roundup Ready GMO system, these days called the “first generation” of herbicide resistant GMOs, was originally touted with the promise that by relying on the allegedly less toxic glyphosate (also a lie) it would once and for all render more toxic herbicides obsolete. This marketing theme seemingly confirmed earlier bans and restrictions on various poisons, enacted during the period of the public’s maximum concern with environmental problems.
 
Today we have the long anticipated collapse of the Roundup Ready regime and subsequent propaganda campaign on behalf of “second generation” GMOs resistant to 2,4-D, dicamba, and other poisons which are the exact herbicides Roundup Ready originally promised to render obsolete once and for all. With this we can see how the whole arc of GMO propaganda was a maneuver to not only sell vastly more glyphosate but to rehabilitate all the “restricted” poisons and render the old environmental concept of restrictions as such obsolete. This attempt at the rehabilitation of propazine is an example of this. The regulation regime is now recast in terms unrelated to human and environmental health, but focused solely on the artificially, intentionally generated crisis of herbicide-resistant superweeds and pesticide-resistant superbugs. That the only answer to this escalating pest resistance is escalating poison use is, as much as possible, being pushed by the US government as normative.
 
We can see the proof, clear as day, that the overriding goal of the US government and the GMO cartel are to sell and apply poison, and that the agriculture and food sectors must be seen as nothing but a chemical poison sector where “food” is nothing but an afterthought.
 
There’s no rational rebuttal to these facts. Herbicide resistance and pesticide expression are failed product genres. This is indisputable, and any debate is over. No sane, honest person could think humanity ought to continue with either of these product genres, let alone escalate them.
 
On the contrary, this is proof that the one and only purpose of the GMO regime and corporate agriculture in general is profit and control based on the economic and physical use of poison. Humanity’s very food has been hijacked and is being held hostage toward this evil purpose.
 
It’s no longer possible to be innocently mistaken about any of this.

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June 29, 2014

Notes on GMO Scientism and its Ideological Threads

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One of the constant ideological threads among scienticians and adherents of the scientism cult is denial of how poisoning our bodies damages our health, and shrill hostility toward anyone who states the fact that our food and water are being poisoned.
 
This is part of their hostility toward the body and their resentment of the fact that the conscious mind, itself just an epiphenomenon of neurobiology, needs to concern itself with care of the mere physical body.
 
Support for GMOs and other agricultural poisons is therefore, for many, a gesture of anti-body defiance, and is self-evidently an expression of homicidal-suicidal resentment toward one’s own body.
 
This is obviously the basis of the transhumanist religion. Ironically, although the devotees of this cult see themselves as rational technologists in thinking that some aspect of the mind can be transferred to a computer, this is really just a rehash of age-old metaphysics and mysticism of “the soul” as distinct from the inferior, mechanical body. The transhumanists are merely epigones of a prehistoric mindset.
 
It’s also ironic that they despise this marvelously crafted work, the human body, so well designed by millions of years of evolution, in favor of a relatively shoddy machine which imperfectly conscious humans constructed over the last few years. This is one of the many manifestations of anti-evolutionism and creationist ideology expressed by today’s scientism cult. They deny the craftsmanship of evolution while religiously fetishizing the idea of what their own alleged godhead can “create”.
 
So we can see how support for poison-based agriculture has, as one of its ideological threads, a deranged epigone version of an ancient religious cult notion, the duality of mind and body. This of course dovetails excellently with the debunked genetic engineering ideology, that one gene = one trait, and so an engineer can remove a gene from one organism and insert it into another with predictable results. It also dovetails with the broader NPK ideology, that agriculture is just the sum of its inputs, which can be dismantled, reassembled, mixed and matched, in any way the manipulator desires. GE ideology is just a subset of this broader fallacy. I’ll be writing more about how it dovetails with eugenics, and how today’s genetic engineering cadres are direct descendants, ideologically and institutionally, of the original, more honestly racist eugenicists.
 
In every case we have a hatred for holistic systems, and especially for ideas about these systems. It’s all grounded in the worst aspects of human nature – greed, hatred, lust for domination, self-loathing. These ideological threads offer the delusion that one man can be an island, that the food he eats and the water he drinks aren’t the same as those he poisoned for everyone else, and most of all that someday, somehow, the pure soul shall break free of this disgusting prison of the body. So even if we are poisoning the body, it won’t matter since we’ll soon break free of it anyway. The “get off this rock” fantasy, and the hatred of the earth it expresses, is another version of the same pathology, and leads to the same nihilist practical conclusion. Since we’ll be “breaking free” of the earth anyway, there’s no reason not to destroy it while we’re here.
 
These are all, in turn, clearly versions of another age-old religious doctrine, that there’s going to be a “second coming” or some other kind of apocalypse. Therefore, as Reagan’s interior secretary James Watt said, why worry about poisoning and destroying the environment? IBGYBG (I’ll-be-gone-you’ll-be-gone), as they say on Wall Street.
 
So there’s some notes on the ideological basis of support for poison-based agriculture and how it dovetails with the corporate drive for profit, power, control, and domination.

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June 24, 2014

GMO Arms Race, GMO War

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In the latest example of how the herbicide tolerance genre of GMOs is a failure, by now turning into a horrific hoax, Texas cotton contractors are applying for permission to use propazine on Roundup Ready pigweed.
 
Pigweed, AKA palmer amaranth, is one of the most aggressive agricultural weeds, and has been one of the most successful superweeds which have become resistant to Roundup (glyphosate).
 
Propazine is acknowledged even by the government to be so toxic and cancer-causing that it’s on a restricted-use list, and special EPA permission will be needed for this proposed use.
 
Monsanto and the US government originally promised that the Roundup Ready (RR) system would render a wide array of extremely toxic herbicides like propazine, 2,4-D, and dicamba obsolete. This was in fact a monumental lie, as weeds predictably became resistant to glyphosate. By now there are several dozen documented superweeds spreading rapidly across the US. Large swaths of arable land have been all but taken over by these weeds. As we see here, corporatized “farmers” are helpless to deal with the crisis, having lost all real farmer skills. By now they’re little more than corporate overseers who understand nothing but poison, poison, and more poison. Just like corporatism in general understands nothing but force and more force.
 
Herbicide tolerance, one of the two genres of GMOs which effectively exist (the other genre endemically produces its own Bt poison vs. insects), is a complete failure from any rational point of view or any point of view concerned with human well-being. Any decent, rational human being agrees that the HT genre needs to be discontinued.
 
But HT GMOs were never developed in the first place to help humanity. They were developed for the standard sociopathic corporate goals – selling more poison, eliminating labor costs, expanding enclosure via intellectual property, and imposing greater control. (The same is true of the Bt genre.)
 
GMO proponents are evolution deniers who continue to deny this ever-escalating biological arms race which the weeds and insects are guaranteed to win.
 
But for the corporations themselves, this arms race is simple planned obsolescence. Each iteration of the product line is supposed to fail even more quickly than the last so that the next, even more profitable and coercive generation can be deployed. Thus Agent Orange ingredient 2,4-D, one of the viciously toxic herbicides the government promised would be rendered permanently obsolete by the RR system, is now the centerpiece of the so-called “second generation” HT GMOs. Agent Orange GMOs are set to be planted in the US in 2015. The only result of this will be a massive escalation of 2,4-D use which will be monstrously destructive to other crops and the environment (2,4-D is far less controllable than glyphosate, which itself often drifts from the intended application site), will leave vast stretches of soil laced with dioxin (picture a large portion of America’s farmland as one big Times Beach), and generate 2,4-D resistant pigweed and other superweeds even more quickly than the glyphosate resistant ones evolved.
 
Of course glyphosate, itself vastly more toxic than the propaganda claimed, is not being retired or anything. 2,4-D and other retrograde poisons like propazine will just be slathered on top of the ever escalating amount of glyphosate which has to be sprayed to get any effect at all.
 
Eventually all existing herbicides will be massively sprayed everywhere in sight with no effect. This is the clear logic of poison-based agriculture. The earth and humanity will be tortured to death by this insane poisoning, which will never stop for as long as the system can prop itself up and humanity allows the attack to continue. As I wrote the other day, under corporate control the “agriculture and food” sector is really the poison sector, with food production being merely the pretext to sell and apply poison, toward no goal at all but profit, power, and control.
 
That’s what this war is about. 

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June 4, 2014

The Seralini Study is a Good Study and is Good Enough for Action

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Gilles-Eric Seralini and his CRIIGEN team are withdrawing from participation in a French government study which was allegedly supposed to follow up the findings of the team’s 2012 study of Monsanto’s GM maize variety NK603 and its affiliated poison, Roundup. I’ve written before about how the 2012 Seralini study forced the French government and the EU to announce that they would conduct the very first government safety tests of a GMO ever. If these tests were scientifically conceived and were conducted by independent scientists, they’d be the first such government-ordered tests ever.
 
Now the French regulator ANSES has announced a bogus “subchronic” toxicity test design, little better than the discredited 90-day test it was allegedly going to improve upon. Seralini has set the standard, that any valid study must be a full-length two year study. Anything less is self-evidently bogus. ANSES also invited Monsanto to participate in the study design. Seralini judged that for he and his team, who carried out their vastly superior study in 2012, to participate in this retrograde step would be to endorse it. It would be a betrayal of their own work. Seralini has set the standard – nothing less than a two year study by independent scientists is acceptable. No one who cares about the health effects of glyphosate and GMOs, or about science itself, can ever again accept less.
 
That’s one down and one to go. As for the EU’s projected 2-year carcinogenicity study, no details have been made public yet, but it’s already rumored that a cartel-affiliated group will get the contract. So much for scientific independence, and that will be the end of that as far as a study which has any legitimacy.
 
Seralini’s team also recently published a new paper in FCT (FCT is said to have been forced to publish this rebuttal by its parent company Elsevier, which is evidently embarrassed by the scandal) detailing the anti-scientific double standards involved in the decision of Food and Chemical Toxicology to retract their 2012 study for being “inconclusive”, which was an unprecedented rationale and one that is inadmissible according to Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) guidelines. FCT is a member of the COPE. Seralini’s study, a full length two-year toxicology study, the only one which has ever been performed, was suppressed, declared an unstudy which doesn’t need to be cited in subsequent literature, and slandered in the corporate media. At the same time, fraudulent pro-GMO “studies” published in FCT by Monsanto prior to 2012 (Seralini’s study was an avowed replication of Monsanto’s studies, as per proper scientific procedure) and subsequent to FCT’s suppression of the Seralini study remain on the books in good stead. This is in spite of the fact that these were all studies of intentionally inadequate duration (90 days; “subchronic” studies in the parlance), using fraudulent tricks like “historical reference groups” to try to drown out any signal of toxicity, designed not as toxicological studies but simply to test industry-important parameters like weight gain, and which in spite of all these hurdles still found evidence of toxicity.
 
The Seralini study sought to replicate Monsanto’s own study, and did so changing only the duration (2 years vs. 90 days) and what it was measuring (toxicity vs. weight gain and feed conversion). Otherwise it kept things the same, including using the exact same rat variety and the same sample sizes, albeit improving the methodology. This refutes the two most common canned lies about the Seralini study. The only other tack the enemy’s had has been to fraudulently attack this excellent toxicity study as a “bad” cancer study. This is meant to misdirect attention from the fact that it was a toxicity study and thus to suppress the data on the toxic effects.
 
The 2012 study was the culmination of many years of work. The initially pro-GMO Seralini first participated on a scientific review board where he questioned the flimsy basis of EFSA’s approval of MON863 maize. In 2007 he published a review of the shoddy procedures and evidence of health risk revealed by Monsanto’s own trials of MON863. In 2009 the CRIIGEN team published a review of how Monsanto’s own trials of MON863, MON810, and NK603 found evidence of liver and kidney toxicity. That same year Seralini refuted the validity of 90-day subchronic tests and called for a full two-year study. In 2011 the team published another review, this time of 19 studies including industry tests which consistently found evidence of liver and kidney toxicity. That’s the history which led up to the 2012 publication. 
 
This is how science is supposed to work, and Seralini’s study is a fine example of good scientific study by any measure, as well as the best to date on a GMO. It’s the one and only full toxicity study. That the EU and French governments felt forced to announce their own studies is a testament to the legitimacy of this one.
 
What was the system response to science at its best? The 2012 study was subject first to a preemptive UK media counterattack, and then to a relentless smear campaign in the UK and Europe. (The US corporate media largely ignored it.) All this was based on prefabricated lies. The lies were fabricated by Monsanto publicists, propagated by corporate fronts like the UK Science Media Centre and by the EFSA, whose honor was directly at stake since the study results condemned EFSA’s rubberstamping of Monsanto’s own bogus “safety tests”. The lies were eventually taken up and became dogma at mainstream media like the NYT. Seldom if ever has a piece of scientific work been so persecuted and smeared in the Western media machine. Finally the study was suppressed and censored.
 
That FCT suppressed it under intense pressure from Monsanto and the US and UK governments, and at the dictates of a Monsanto cadre who had a new editorial position at FCT created especially for him, is obviously nothing more or less than ideologically motivated censorship. Vastly inferior “studies” which find for GMOs and Roundup, on the other hand, are waved through. The whole affair has been an extreme example of the increasingly typical corruption and corporatization of “peer review”, which renders the whole concept of the people’s reliance upon the findings of establishment scientific procedure more and more dubious.
 
The whole scandal has provided a case study in scientistic authoritarianism. No honest, rational person could or would dispute the basic legitimacy of the Seralini study. Although like any other study it would benefit from repetition and further tweaking, the objections to its legitimacy as such are pathetically transparent and spurious. But corporatist ideologues, including regulators and corporate media personnel, are not rational or honest. To varying extents these ideologues irrationally believe that what corporations want to do should be considered automatically the normative baseline. Anyone who dissents, disputes, or presents evidence contrary to corporate assertions should be considered abnormal, even as a kind of aggressor, and should be held to a higher standard of proof.
 
In the Seralini era, GMO propaganda has begun openly to assert that independent science should be held to a higher standard of proof than corporate claims, however unevidenced. This anti-scientific dogma started out as a corollary to the Big Lie about a nonexistent “scientific consensus” in favor of GMOs. But as it’s become impossible to maintain this self-evidently absurd lie, the hacks have become more brazen about proclaiming a double standard for evidence. Thus they can try to revive their demolished “consensus” claim by segregating evidence-based science into a kind of ghetto and dismissing it as not the real science, while maintaining their conformist, nihilist consensus of anti-evidence, pro-dogma scienticians as the body of “sound science”, to use one of their favorite propaganda terms, recycled from old pro-cigarette campaigns.
 
(That the term “sound science” has evolved from its invention by Big Tobacco lobbyists to become today the official language of the US Trade Representative and other US government bodies where it comes to GMOs, fracking, and similar corporate assaults is a perfect symbol of the extreme communion between the US government and the most vicious, predatory assaults of corporations. It’s also proof of the elemental hostility and cynicism toward science and reason on the part of the government and corporate media. Similarly, the evolution of the Republican Frank Luntz code word “patchwork” to become a recent favorite of Democrats and the “liberal media” is a good crystallization of the identity of liberals and conservatives today. Examples like these epitomize how today the only meaningful distinction and divide is corporatism against humanity, and how this has redefined every other distinction and issue.)
 
Now Seralini and his CRIIGEN team have withdrawn from the French study. This incident rebuts a common theme among GMO skeptics and dissenters that we need more study. Perhaps these people are even dismayed at Seralini’s withdrawal, as progressives are prone to regard the “seat at the table” as more important than any actual result, and in this case may regard any study, however bogus and retrograde and likely to be rigged to produce a pro-Monsanto result, as better than nothing.
 
What’s bizarre about this is that we already have such a good study as the Seralini study, and we see how the system reacted to it. The evidence record is that no study which finds results adverse to the GMO cartel propaganda will ever be acceptable to the establishment, and that we shouldn’t be focusing on being acceptable to the establishment and its media. Indeed, the call for more study often sounds like an attempt to prop up faith in Good Government, and the faith that the people can somehow get regulators to act like the good government textbook depiction of regulators in the public interest.
 
It’s good that people want to reform GMO approval systems to make them more rigorous. But we must put GMOs in their socioeconomic and political context. When we do, and we realize how critical the GMO project is to the corporate system, we can see how unlikely it is that such “petitioning” type reformism can ever work.
 
If we’re to reform anything, we’ll do it only through massive bottom-up pressure which forces elites to change in order to save their own skin. In that case, the right focus for activist appeals isn’t to the system itself, but directly to the people.
 
Similarly, when we truly comprehend the socioeconomic and political evils of the GMO regime, its existential threat to agricultural biodiversity, and the way agricultural poison use threatens a cataclysm which shall destroy human and animal health, environmental health, and the soil itself, we can see that nothing short of the total abolition of GMOs and poison-based agriculture shall suffice. For this purpose as well, we must speak directly to the people.
 
But although we’ll welcome and use all new evidence as it continues to pile up, we don’t need to wait for more of any particular kind of evidence. On every front, we have far more than all the evidence we need. That includes the evidence of the health hazards of glyphosate (abundantly proven) and GMOs as such.
 
The Seralini study is among the best of these compilations of evidence, and along with the rest of the health evidence is enough to move forward with action. According to The Peter Principle one of the symptoms of having no idea what to do, or just not wanting to take any action, is to keep calling for more data even though you already have far more than enough. Let’s not exemplify such a mournful example by implicitly echoing the system’s lies about the alleged inadequacy of the evidence we have.
 
We the people don’t lack evidence, so far we simply lack action.

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May 27, 2014

The Corporate Poison Regime and Regulatory Shamming: The EFSA’s “Public Consultation” on Glyphosate

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GM-Free Cymru has filed a formal complaint over the EFSA’s farcical “public consultation” over whether the EU should renew its approval of glyphosate and raise the allowable level of the poison in water and food, as Germany, the EU’s “rapporteur state” for glyphosate, recently recommended.
 
Although the EFSA is legally required to receive public comments, it flouted this requirement by setting up a tortuous, arcane online submission system which was designed to make it near-impossible to submit substantive comments. Respondents were required to tailor their comments to EFSA specifications including tight space restrictions. The EFSA required commenters to sign a waiver basically disavowing their right to have their comments published at EFSA discretion. This too is designed to evade the law. There are several other parts of GM-Free Cymru’s complaint detailing how the process is openly discouraging to potentially adverse commenters, and how the initial German assessment is corrupt and has had information illegally and unscientifically redacted from public releases. 
 
Most substantively fraudulent, the EFSA declared that it would delete any comments which referred to Roundup. Respondents are allowed to comment only on glyphosate. This is in spite of the fact that in agricultural practice it’ll be Roundup and similar formulations which are actually sprayed, while pure glyphosate is never used anywhere but in the laboratory test.
 
This is a standard scam on the part of poison manufacturers and regulators. The regulatory process, meager and inadequate as it is, deals only with an isolated so-called “active ingredient” such as glyphosate. It never deals with the kind of commercial formulation which will be used in the real world. Therefore it’s a fraud from any scientific or government ethics point of view. “Active ingredient” isn’t a practically meaningful term, since the commercial formulation will contain several bioactive ingredients. Instead this is an ideological term meant to isolate one ingredient in an unworldly ivory tower manner. Under such isolation of a single ingredient which never appears in isolation in reality, it’s easier for corporations and regulators to manufacture the sham semblance of testing and assurances of safety.
 
Meanwhile independent testing and epidemiological evidence has abundantly documented that many such commercial poisons are far more toxic in their real-world form than the “active ingredient” is in laboratory isolation.
 
In the case of glyphosate, the evidence proves that the combination of glyphosate with the surfactant POEA is far more toxic to human health than glyphosate in isolation. This combination, along with several other truly active poisons, is typical of glyphosate’s commercial formulations including Roundup.
 
Regulators are practically robotic in mechanically raising allowable levels of industrial poisons in air, water, soil, crops, food, and human bodies in response to corporate demands. It’s literally the case that the regulator sets the “safe” level of the poison based on how much of the poison the corporations expect to sell. When the corporations project a market expansion and concomitant increase in the environmental presence of the poison, they lobby the regulator to raise the “safe” level commensurately. The regulator invariably complies, since the regulator sees its job as to assist the corporate prerogative, never to hinder it.
 
I’ve described this process before, calling it “regulator triangulation”. By triangulation I mean the regulator pretends to be a public servant but is really trying to represent a corporatist agenda as “public service”.
 
1. The government regulator regards the corporate prerogative as normative. Indeed, as an EFSA memo discussing the EU law which would gradually ban endocrine-disrupting chemicals like Roundup openly says, the regulator ideology is based on an assumed corporate right to maximum profit. Any competing value is generally considered an irritant to be quashed. Under no circumstance will even the most conscientious regulator do anything which would seriously hinder corporate profit and control.
 
2. Given (1), a regulator may or may not try to ameliorate the worst harms and “abuses”. As we see in this case and many others, the EFSA is the kind of bureaucracy which doesn’t even want meager amelioration, but is gung ho on behalf of the full corporate onslaught.
 
3. The regulator then places its imprimatur on the resulting policy. It calls this the result of meticulous deliberation which takes the public interest into account. It declares the product “safe” and promises its own professional vigilance in ensuring the policy is carried out. But in fact only the corporate agenda and how to camouflage it went into the deliberation, “safe” is an Orwellian term which means, “what’s the minimum paper restraint we can politically get away with?”, and there’s seldom even a modest attempt on the regulator’s part to enforce this sham minimum. The US EPA’s “refugia” policy for Bt crops is a good example of a policy which is weak and insufficient in principle and is indifferently enforced in practice, whose only real purpose is as propaganda.
 
By means of this parallax effect the regulator helps direct public attention to a sham depiction of “good government” and “public health” while the real position is a direct, coordinated assault of the corporate state on public health and on every other human value.
 
The EFSA’s campaign to help force more of this viciously toxic poison upon us while making it look “safe” is a typical example. As is the contempt for democracy and accountability it’s demonstrating in the process. But then, the whole “public comment” process is intrinsic to the basic regulation scam.

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