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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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April 13, 2014

Rootworms and GMOs

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A recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences summarizes the spread of rootworm resistance to Bt poisons generated by GMOs. Two of the three commercial Bt traits against rootworm are widely ineffective. The problem is so severe that even a corporatist organization like the NAS feels compelled to discuss it.
 
This product failure, or to put it another way the triumphant counteroffensive of the rootworms, has been documented for many years now. It happened quickly following the commercialization of the first anti-rootworm GMO products in 2003.
 
The product genre is in response to an artificial problem, generated completely by the GMO regime itself. In a rational crop rotation and pest management system, as largely prevailed prior to the advent of GMOs in the mid 1990s, rootworm was seldom more than a nuisance to maize farmers. This pest only started becoming a serious problem when farmers were exhorted by Monsanto and the US government to grow corn every year. The Roundup Ready trait and the poison trait vs. the corn borer were alleged to enable this. The fact that it encouraged rootworm infestation, since now their larvae would find new corn to feed on the next year (which is what crop rotation is supposed to prevent, so that the pest can never become well-established), was an intentionally generated problem which Monsanto then answered with its rootworm-resistant poison trait.
 
Monsanto’s plan was not only to supply this artificially generated demand, but to use this demand as leverage for its “expanded trait penetration” strategy to force stacked products containing the anti-rootworm trait upon farmers who didn’t need it. In the face of a massive farmer outcry and whatever danger there was from the largely illusory Justice Department antitrust investigation, Monsanto backpedaled on this, and today there are plenty of Double Pro varieties without the anti-rootworm trait available. But these are still triple-stacks containing two anti-borer poisons, since borers have been waging their own victorious war against poison-based agriculture, and it’s a fact that the GMO regime can do nothing but try to fight the long defeat as slowly as possible.
 
The standard treadmill dynamic for both anti-weed and anti-insect GMOs quickly set in with anti-rootworm crops, as rootworms quickly developed resistance to the poison crops which pretended to suppress them. Now this new paper documents how quickly cross-resistance developed between two of the three anti-rootworm traits available. The first anti-rootworm Bt poison was Monsanto’s CryBb1 (“cry” means the crystalline form of the Bt toxin). This was the poison produced by the cells of the original M863 product in 2003, and it remains Monsanto’s anti-rootworm trait to this day. So much for innovation.
 
Rootworms developed resistance to this toxin, and then more quickly developed resistance to Syngenta’s modified Cry3A which is contained in its MIR604 product line, including the new Duracade line which contains a synthetic combo of Cry3A and an old anti-borer toxin. The paper finds that the Syngenta poison is similar enough to Monsanto’s that rootworms resistant to the latter were likely to also be resistant to the former, and that this is the likely reason for the accelerating resistance. Again, there’s the level of “innovation” among these geniuses. Sounds like such products as Monsanto’s Triple Pro and Syngenta’s Viptera wouldn’t be such good bets if you have a rootworm problem.
 
Only the Dow/Dupont DAS-59122 product line, containing the Cry34/35Ab1 toxin, still seems to be working for the time being. Of course the more GMO growers switch to the stacked varieties containing this version of the poison, the faster the rootworms will mop up that one too.
 
This is the same losing arms race as has already been occurring with the corn borer and with Roundup-resistant weeds. As the example of rootworm demonstrates, each new target for the GMO technology more quickly develops resistance to the product genre, just as this target does so more quickly for each new generation of the technological line.
 
This also gives the lie to the whole notion of “refugia”, which are stands of non-Bt corn which the EPA and similar regulators in other countries require poison crop growers to set aside. The idea is supposed to be that the non-Bt stand provides a “refuge” for insects without a propensity to resistance to survive and interbreed with the naturally resistant ones who have survived feeding on the Bt crop. Their offspring will be less likely to inherit the resistance trait, and therefore the overall conversion of the pest population to a resistant variety is supposed to be delayed.
 
As we see, the theoretical setting aside of refuges has done little to halt the march of Bt-resistant rootworms. Of course, such refuges were more of a political scam in the first place, since the EPA nor regulators in other countries have been vigilant about enforcing them, nor were they supposed to be. The idea of the refugia, as a way for regulators and corporations to reassure skeptics that the product will work, has always had more significance then their real world application.
 
This is proven by the fact that, in the same way that regulatory allowed herbicide levels in water and food is set not according to public health or any other scientific measure, but simply reflects whatever level will result from the amount of herbicides corporations need to sell and farmers need to spray, so the refugia percentages aren’t set according to any scientific measure, but at the lowest politically justifiable level.
 
Thus although USDA entomologists recommended 50% refuge planting if the policy was supposed to have any chance of being effective, the EPA originally set the requirement at 20% for single and then double trait Bt poison crops. Needless to say Monsanto originally opposed the refuge concept as such and has always lobbied for the lowest possible level. The EPA was happy to accept the cartel’s argument that stacked varieties, by incorporating multiple poisons, would attack target insects so many ways at once that the 20% refuge was no longer necessary and could be reduced to 5%. This “reduced refuge” requirement was inaugurated with SmartStax corn in 2009, and we have indeed seen rapid results where it’s come to rootworm resistance. No doubt this will hasten the toppling of that third Bt rootworm trait, since it too is part of SmartStax.
 
The entomologists are now back and saying “we told you so”. They’re being backed by some parts of the corporate media, which are singling out the reduced refuge policy as kind of anomalous policy “abuse”, along with the scapegoating of farmers standard in the propaganda of a GMO product’s failure stage. As always, the goal is to defend the honor of the insect resistance product genre, and of GMOs as such, by blaming a crisis which can’t be lied away on some extraneous factor.
 
But the fact is that pest resistance is inevitable when you present the pest with the same challenge year upon year upon year (corn-on-corn, as they call it). No matter what the crop’s defenses, the insect will always win. Even the best refuge policy, vigilantly enforced, would indeed only slightly slow down this process at best.
 
That GMO proponents have always denied this fact, and the parallel fact of inevitable and accelerating weed resistance, against which there’s not even the meager delaying measure of a “refuge” available, makes them perhaps the oddest group of evolution deniers we’ve ever seen. Odd, especially, given their absurd pretensions to be representatives of “science”.
 
What’s more, as I’ve written about many times, to believe that a government regulatory bureaucracy actually wants to enforce policy in the public interest, if such enforcement would hinder the corporate prerogative in any significant way, is to fail to understand the nature of this kind of bureaucracy. The EPA hasn’t “dropped the ball” on Bt refugia, or whatever term of expression one might use. It’s done exactly what we should expect: Under pressure from a wide array of public interest perspectives, it enacted a paper policy. It set the mechanisms of this policy at the lowest level of rigor it thought it could get away with, and has been lackadaisical about enforcing even this level. It then touted the policy idea as proof that farmers and the public could trust their judgement, and that things would be fine and work well as the Bt crop project went forward. The rootworms, as well as the borers, have answered.
 
The fact is that in addition to all their other proven and likely dangers, GMOs were always guaranteed to generate insect and weed resistance against themselves. They were always guaranteed to lead to nothing but an ever-escalating arms race, with the GMO products having to incorporate more and more endemic and sprayed poisons to be even the slightest bit effective. The products would have to become more and more expensive and be ever more poisonous to humans, livestock, and the environment. And the end result of this is guaranteed to be massive crop destruction and the wholesale abandonment of farmland to intractable weeds, as has already been happening in Georgia and elsewhere.
 
As I described above, much of this was premeditated as a form of planned obsolescence, and as a way of generating new demand, where it came to anti-rootworm crops as such.
 
Perhaps most of the cadres involved simply refuse to think about the inevitable end of this Tower of Babel, taking solace in the flat-earth fundamentalist mantra, “technology will think of something”. As we can see, it’s been working so well so far. Those who do think about it are simply psychopaths who expect to enjoy their own profits and power before the inevitable end. On Wall Street this way of looking at it is called IBGYBG – “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone”, so therefore let’s continue perpetrating these finance cons, constructing these pyramid schemes, blowing up this bubble, since by the time it all blows up we’ll have taken our fat bonuses and run. Individual cartel executives and investors must think the same way.
 
That’s part of why humanity cannot “coexist” with GMOs. That’s part of why our only option is total abolition. Nothing short of that can stave off the many modes of inevitable failure hardwired into an agricultural regime based on GMOs and poisons. As this example demonstrates well, we cannot rely on “regulators”, let alone the corporations themselves, to act in a way which makes any other course possible. It’s proactive abolition along with the affirmative building of the Community Food and Food Sovereignty movement, or else it’s a very dark future.

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March 9, 2014

Agroecology and Food Sovereignty Are the Future, GMOs and Corporate Agriculture Are the Past

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Over a hundred Indian farmer unions combined to issue a Charter of Demands upon all political parties as the country enters its Lok Sabha (national parliamentary) elections. The demands include a basic guaranteed income for farmers and a moratorium on GMO field trials. Such modest and rational measures would be a minimum for any sane society which intends to eat in the future.
 
The farmers emphasize how economically untenable their position is, and how this has resulted in history’s most prodigious and sustained suicide wave – over 300,000 to date, with another suicide every 30 minutes – and one of history’s most massive forced refugee migrations, as over 2300 farmers are forced off the land every day.
 
These overwhelming movements of tragedy are caused directly by globalized commodity agriculture, which renders smallholder farming economically impossible in globalized country economies where no socioeconomic protections or safety net for farmers exist. This was already a crisis prior to GMOs, and the advent of GMOs, in every way a doubling down on all the most pernicious aspects of corporate industrial agriculture, has made it much worse.
 
This record of agricultural globalization and corporatization is clear and unbroken across Latin America and Asia, and to a lesser extent North America and Europe. By now there can be no doubt about the effect of globalization in agriculture: It drives massive numbers of people off the land and into concentration camps called “shantytowns”, from which there’s no escape for the mass; and it accelerates landgrabbing, the concentration of land and resources in the hands of a tiny number of corporations and other 1% entities.
 
By now this record is clear enough that anyone who still supports any form of agricultural globalization, for example the looming “New Alliance” plan for a “Second Green Revolution in Africa”, is willfully planning the economic and physical destruction of many millions of African smallholder farmers. Just as anyone who supports globalization in India is by now a willful supporter of the ongoing mass expropriation and what has to be called a genocide there. What else can you call a campaign of economic aggression which has forced hundreds of thousands to suicide? If a gangster hounds a debtor to suicide, it’s really a murder. If a gangster syndicate hounds 300,000, it’s a genocidal campaign committing crimes against humanity.
 
The alternative is clear. Organizations like Campesino a Campesino and the Asian Farmer Field Schools already exist to propagate the most cutting edge agroecological knowledge and techniques to smallholder farmers. Of course this modern knowledge is really a refinement of and supplement to the age old techniques. But unlike fraudulent technologies like GMOs, these conceptual refinements and enhancements which require little in the way of expensive inputs really do produce great gains in yield and nutritional quality.
 
Helped by this knowledge, which Southern farmers can largely propagate among themselves with little help from the West (and this help too being primarily in the form of non-proprietary knowledge; and of course we in the West have at least as much to learn from the innovators of the South), Southern farmers can provide for themselves and their communities. Southern communities can attain prosperity and security through their own efforts, if the neoliberal corporate West would only leave them alone.
 
Meanwhile the appalling poverty of large parts of the South is primarily the result of the depredations of corporate imperialism, AKA globalization.
 
So the road to a human future is clear enough. Support and join the efforts of Indian farmer unions like these, and the efforts of the hundreds of farmer and citizen groups who have combined to form the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, and the efforts of the Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil and elsewhere across Latin America, and the efforts of La Via Campesina, the Peasant Way, and the efforts of those of us in the West who are trying to build such movements here.
 
If humanity is to have a future, this great movement must succeed. We must defend ourselves as farmers and citizens, we must preserve our ability to democratically produce and distribute the true crops and real food, and we must build this effort as a movement to ensure the future of humanity.

 
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February 26, 2014

Comment Against the US Government’s Sham “Coexistence” Policy

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“Coexistence” is a fraudulent propaganda term. Coexistence is physically impossible, as contamination of non-GM crops and wild relatives by GMO maize, cotton, canola and other types is already rampant, as is the feral spread of GMO canola in various forms.
 
The USDA wants to promulgate “coexistence” as the official ideology and practical recommendation of the US government. There’s currently a comment period open on this, which expires March 4. Here’s one of the several pre-written comment and submission forms available, if that’s easier.
 
The contamination problem will only get worse, the longer GMOs exist. Meanwhile the poisons associated with GMOs, so far primarily glyphosate, inevitably drift and contaminate soils, water, air, other plants, and accumulate in our bodies. This problem will significantly escalate as “second generation” GMOs resistant to the far more volatile and drift-prone 2,4-D are commercialized. There’s still time to comment on this as well, as the comment period has been extended to March 11.
 
All this is in addition to the malign socioeconomic and political effects of poison-based corporate agriculture. I’ve written on this many times; here’s just a few examples. Here too it’s impossible for human beings to coexist with GMOs. It’s untenable to have our very food dominated by corporations whose one and only imperative is to force us to apply the maximum poison in and on our food. Humanity’s only path forward is the complete abolition of GMOs.

 
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February 7, 2014

GMO News Summary February 7/2014

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I’m intending to do a weekly news summary. Here’s the first installment.
 
*If the monarch butterfly goes extinct, as it looks poised to do within our lifetimes, the main cause will be herbicide-based agriculture. GMO abolition can still prevent this outcome.
 
*Scotts’ GM Kentucky bluegrass is looking to be the first commercialized GMO to enter a non-regulatory black hole the USDA has created. GMO regulation in the US is already a joke, in principle and practice. But for newer varieties, as far as the USDA is concerned there’s to be no regulation at all.
 
(Another good example of how under Democrat power the GMO assault has been escalated and accelerated. In practice there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans, and GMO policy is one of the best examples of this. It’s impossible for anyone who cares about GMOs to think there’s anything to choose here. Obama’s been the most aggressively pro-Monsanto president yet in every way, and clearly considers this a core element of his presidency.)
 
*It’s a race to the bottom, and indeed probably illegal, to find experimental subjects for the alleged “cancer-fighting GM purple tomato”. The thing is probably not even meant to be commercialized. It’s more potentially useful as hype than as another failed GM product like the Kenyan GM sweet potato or any glyphosate-tolerant variety. It’s worthless and unnecessary. Meanwhile, as always in these cases, there exists a higher-quality, non-hazardous, less expensive non-GM variety. High-anthocyanin purple tomatoes have been conventionally bred in Brazil.
 
*The editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology refuses to retract a recently published bogus study, although in every way it’s inferior to Seralini study, including in being far less “conclusive”. Hayes gave as his reason for the retraction that the Seralini was “inconclusive”. This is not only a lie – the Seralini study is above average among scientific studies in general in the strength of its conclusions – but violates Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) guidelines, which allow for retraction only in the case of fraud, misconduct, or gross incompetence. Hayes cleared Seralini of any such problems. (Given his general willingness to lie, we have to figure the reason Hayes didn’t accuse Seralini of fraud while he was at it is that he’s a coward. Seralini has a history of successfully suing hacks for libeling him, so Hayes was probably too cowardly to cross a certain line in his lies.)
 
*New website dedicated to the rising protest of scientists against the suppression of the Seralini study and the corporate hijacking of science it exemplifies.
 
*Speaking of Seralini, he’s part of a team out with a new study comparing nine commercial poison formulations (three herbicides, three insecticides, three fungicides) with their official “active ingredients” in isolation. The study compares the toxicity of these poisons to human cells in vitro. The results: in 8 of 9 cases, the commercial formulation is more toxic, in most cases far more so, than the “active ingredient”.
 
This is further support for what citizens, scientists, public health workers, environmentalists, and many others have long been documenting, that regulation which focuses on a single arbitrary “active” ingredient rather than the true toxic brew which will be deployed in reality is a sham. The commercial formulations are far more toxic.
 
*Germany (the EU’s “rapporteur state” on glyphosate) recommends the EU recertify glyphosate and allow an increased level in food. As always, these recommendations of regulators that allowed levels of poisons be increased has zero to do with scientific evidence of safety (and usually directly contradicts the evidence), but simply authorizes whatever level the corporations want to deploy. This is regulator triangulation at its most stark and malevolent.
 
*Russian legislators are pushing a bill to ban all GM cultivation and restrict imports. Currently no cultivation has been approved, but several varieties are authorized for import in food and feed. The only restriction on these is that food containing them must be labeled. Meanwhile a new state registry for GMOs and products containing them is supposed to go into effect in June 2014. I’ve read conflicting reports on whether this is a good thing or not. Some campaigners oppose it claiming it will give the prime minister dictatorial discretion to allow GMO cultivation and expanded importation. The current PM, Medvedev, hasn’t sounded very pro-GMO, and in September ordered government agencies to study the prospect of a ban. Certainly a legal ban is much better instead of or on top of any government registry.
 
Although I haven’t had a chance to study Russia’s GMO situation yet, my default is to assume that their situation is similar to that of China. The elites don’t oppose GMOs out of the kindness of their hearts. If they have a go-slow or even oppositionist position, it’s because they view the Monsanto/US GMO cartel in the same way they’ve always viewed aggressive, domination-seeking US power. In that case they’re probably thinking in terms of building their own rival cartel.
 
*The latest experimental release of Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes will be in Panama this month. These frankenbugs allegedly are meant to help cut down on the population of mosquitoes which transmit dengue fever. Previous releases in the Cayman Islands and Malaysia, and an ongoing experiment in Brazil, have produced no evidence that this method works. The most likely result is that if it does work to reduce the target species, another species which also transmits dengue fever will expand to occupy the ecological niche. Such secondary pests are a regular result of GMO gambits, such as mirid bugs in China ravaging any Bt cotton which does temporarily work to suppress the target weevil.
 
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Let me know if there’s any other news. I didn’t get a chance yet to read about Bangladesh’s impending commercialization of BT brinjal (eggplant), an awful development. There’s zero reason for this product, and Southeast Asia is the world’s germplasm heritage center for eggplant. There are thousands of well-adapted varieties, including for insect resistance. No one on earth except for a handful of corporate gangsters needs or wants GM eggplant, and it would be a disaster for everyone except for these criminals.
 
This naturally effective biodiversity is exactly what GMO-based monoculture seeks to eradicate. That’s why Monsanto wants to eradicate the world’s resilient, public domain eggplant germplasm heritage and replace it with a hyper-vulnerable, genetically crippled and sterile, sure-to-fail proprietary enclosure.
 
So far Monsanto’s offensive has stalled out in India and the Philippines, but they’ve been hoping to break through in Bangladesh. The goal will then be to illegally infiltrate the rest of Southeast Asia, achieve a genetic coup, and present governments with an accomplished fact.
 
If this attack succeeds, the result could be the middle-run total enclosure of a radically diminished eggplant germplasm, and the long-run complete failure of the crop, with subsequent famine. This is what humanity is up against with all GMOs. This is why “coexistence” with GMOs is impossible, and why their total abolition is necessary.

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January 18, 2014

Health Hazards of Genetic Engineering: Overview and Perspective

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Before getting into detail about the health dangers of GMOs and their related poisons, I thought it would be well to put the whole topic in perspective.
 
The health hazards of GMOs taken in themselves is not at the core of my project, which will be focused more on the corporate domination of agriculture and food, the crisis of agricultural germplasm diversity, GM contamination of non-GM and organic agriculture and wild relatives of crop varieties, and the proven ruinous health, environmental, and agricultural effects of poisons like glyphosate and 2,4-D.
 
Nevertheless, the health hazard of genetic engineering as such is also one of the reasons we must abolish GMOs. There’s plenty of evidence of harm, more than enough to prove the need for the precautionary principle. Those who believe in trying to reform the system must therefore fight for a recall of existing commercialized GMOs and a moratorium on further commercialization until rigorous long-term independent safety testing has been done. We who think the system can’t and won’t reform itself must fight for the total abolition of GMOs. In this case, as in most others where it comes to agriculture and food, the practical goal is therefore similar, and is anti-GMO as such.
 
(In considering the health dangers of this technology, we must be aware that there’s three separate, but interrelated and probably mutually aggravating, aspects. There’s the health devastation wrought by herbicides like glyphosate. This is proven and severe. There’s the harm from Bt and other endotoxins taken in themselves. Here there’s considerable evidence of harm. And then there’s genetic engineering taken in itself. Here common sense would have said, and sufficient evidence has compiled, that no sane system would unleash this into the food supply without extensive safety testing. In practice this was never done or required.)
 
The abolition movement knows that the corporatist system will never undertake reforms which would at the very least significantly slow down the deployment of this enclosure system which is critical for its future economic control and domination, and would probably, if honestly undertaken, lead to a ban. Therefore anyone who truly cares about the future of agriculture, the environment, human health, and human prosperity and freedom, must move on to setting total abolition as the goal. We must then relentlessly seek that goal with zero extraneous prejudices.
 
As for the evidence of harm from GMOs as such, we have:
 
1. We have the lethal Showa Denko epidemic, incontrovertibly caused by GE and nothing but GE. This is proof of principle that the worst could happen at any time. The X-SCID leukemia incident reinforces the proof.
 
2. We have the StarLink allergic epidemic. In spite of the FDA’s attempt at a coverup, it’s clear beyond a reasonable doubt that the GMO caused an epidemic of allergic symptoms, some life-threatening.
 
3. Episodes like that of the soybean engineered with a transgene from the Brazil nut which was found to be allergenic prior to commercialization.
 
4. Plenty of animal and human cell studies demonstrating that GE by itself can be toxic, allergenic, carcinogenic, and/or have other chronic disease effects. The most important of these include the 2012 Seralini study, the 1999 Pusztai study, the 2005 CSIRO study on its GMO peas. There are many others where the GE effect can’t clearly be separated from the effects of glyphosate and/or Bt, but which nevertheless provide evidence of harm, and that GE could be the cause or a contributor.
 
5. Vast anecdotal evidence from working farmers who have studied the effects of non-GM vs. GMO-based diets on their livestock. This has been confirmed by scientific studies like the 2013 Carman study.
 
To sum up the main hazards:
 
*Glyphosate and other herbicides proven toxic to humans are assimilated into the crop tissue and are systemic in any food these crops become part of, including meat and dairy from GM-fed animals.
 
*Bt and other endoxins are also endemic.
 
*Antibiotic resistance among potentially pathogenic microbes is abundantly documented. The use of antibiotic resistance markers in GMOs is a major driver of this public health crisis.
 
*Genetic engineering in itself has probably greatly aggravated allergies and autoimmune diseases.
 
*Genetic engineering in itself probably causes liver and kidney disease, and has harmful effects on other organ systems.
 
*There’s also considerable evidence that genetic engineering as such can cause cancer.
 
I’ll document all this in the subsequent posts.
 
In assessing any evidence, we must always keep in mind the system’s near-complete refusal to undertake any safety studies itself, the barriers it has set up against such study, and the viciousness with which it has attacked the studies which have been done and the scientists who have done them, or who have even expressed any criticism at all of GMOs. This willful negligence and attempted intimidation and censorship on the part of corporations and governments is in itself strong proof that the system fears what the results of truly systematic, well-funded independent study would be. I’ll be writing lots more on this later, as we compile a Nuremburg brief.
 
What’s the probability of harm? Given the odds of a harmful mutation, promoter effect, harmful collateral protein etc., and considering all the stages through which a genetic modification must go to reach the human body, it may be unlikely in a given case that there will be a harmful effect from genetic engineering as such. (This leaves aside risks from pollen or crop dust inhalation, topical contact etc., as well as direct Frankenfoods which may be eaten cooked (sweet corn, salmon, “golden rice”, potatoes) or even raw (sweet corn, “non-browning apples”, papaya).)
 
But this is like air travel and plane crashes. The odds may be very low for any given flight, but have enough flights and plane crashes will happen. They do happen, sometimes catastrophic ones. So it is with GMOs. So far there’s only been one Showa Denko, and one StarLink. But no one knows how many lesser crashes there have been, since no epidemiological studies are done. Even more importantly, no one knows how gradual the most catastrophic crashes may be, where they involve later-developing chronic diseases like cancer. Again, the system assiduously avoids epidemiological study and tries to prevent independent researchers from carrying it out.
 
Lots of people say they don’t know what to think about this. If you’re not sure, here’s the basic default, for science, reason, and common sense:
 
1. WE DON’T KNOW what the health hazards are of GMOs. Anyone who claims to know GMOs are safe is expressing fundamentalist cult faith, or just lying. It’s not rational.
 
2. There’s copious evidence of harm to human health, and several incidents which prove the danger, including a lethal outbreak.
 
3. All this is for something worthless, a crappy product which doesn’t work and is good for no one but corporate gangsters, good for nothing but corporate profit and control.
 
4. All this is for nothing but to load our soil, water, crops, and food with severe poisons which are known to be destructive of human, livestock, and environmental health.
 
5. All this is to prop up an industrial agricultural system which is destructive and suicidal, and to forestall and suppress the great and necessary agroecology solution, which is the only possible way forward for agriculture and humanity.
 
GMOs are intended to destroy the future of humanity once and for all. Their health hazards are just one piece of this vast overall war. But knowledge and publicity of these hazards will help us protect ourselves and wage the political war. These hazards are one of the reasons we need to abolish GMOs, and the publicity of them will be one of the potent weapons in this abolition struggle.

 
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January 10, 2014

Malvinas Poison Factory Halted

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Great news from Argentina. The construction of the Monsanto poison factory at Malvinas has been temporarily halted by the combination of a physical blockade at the construction site and legal action. The Chamber of Labor just issued an injunction ordering construction to halt until the required environmental impact statement is completed. It also recommended that a referendum be held among the people of the region. Previous polls have indicated that most of the people who would have to live in the vicinity of the factory oppose it. These, of course, are the only real, legitimate stakeholders where it comes to approving such a project, while no one who would not want to live next door to it has any right to support it. Hypocrites have no rights. 
 
The blockade has been in place for nearly four months. It has withstood threats and violent assaults from police and goons. Activist Sofia Gatica received death threats and was beaten up by thugs. But none of this diminished the resolve of the people to prevent this invasion and toxification of their land and homes.
 
The Malvinas plant is slated to produce seeds which will endemically express their own Bt poison and will be coated with multiple neonicotinoid insecticides and fungicides. So it’ll be a veritable chemical weapons factory, with a constant influx of poison deliveries and a constant production of toxic waste, in addition to the inevitable spills and wind drift of poison dust and gas. Anyone who has any doubt about the likely safety procedures at the plant need only consult the record on how meticulous about safety and drift the glyphosate sprayers have been on the surrounding soy plantations, and what the result has been.
 
While the future is uncertain, the more we can slow down the onslaught, the better a chance we have of halting it completely and causing it to collapse. That’s what this exercise in democracy and direct action is doing so far at Malvinas. No matter what lawyers argued in court, the factory would already be underway to the point of being an accomplished fact if the people hadn’t physically stopped it. It’s a lesson for all of us, that legal action by itself accomplishes little or nothing, but must accompany direct action, wherever this is possible at all. By contrast, in the West we tend to complain and sometimes sue while the physical crime proceeds unhindered. But as a form of possession, physical facts (on the pro-corporate side) are also nine-tenths of the law.
 
These protestors understand this well. They vow that they’ll continue to maintain the blockade until the threat of the poison factory is removed once and for all. The courage, fortitude, and persistence of the blockaders sets an example for us all.

 
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January 5, 2014

USDA Expects to Approve Agent Orange GMOs

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The USDA has issued an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and announced that following a 45-day public comment period it expects to approve Dow’s line of GMO crops resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D. This poison is one of the two main constituents of the infamous chemical weapon Agent Orange. Up for approval are one maize variety and two varieties of soybeans. This impetuous approval process, taking less than eight months to draw up such an allegedly rigorous EIS, is part of the Obama administration’s drive to “streamline”, i.e. accelerate, what was already the USDA’s rubber-stamp procedure for deregulating GMOs. As always, we see how Obama is the most aggressively pro-Monsanto president yet.
 
This approval and the huge surge in 2,4-D use that will follow comprise a major escalation of an already insane and failed policy.
 
(Here’s the USDA’s request for public comments. Apparently the comment form isn’t up yet, but I’ll post a link to it when it’s available.)
 
These GMOs, manufactured by Dow and called the “Enlist” series, are part of what’s being touted as “second generation” herbicide resistant GMOs. There are similar dicamba-resistant types in the pipeline. “Second generation” is a marketing term meant to obscure the fact that these are the same highly toxic and environmentally reckless herbicides which cartel and government propaganda originally promised would be rendered obsolete by glyphosate-resistant GMOs.
 
What happened instead? Every knowledgeable and honest commenter predicted it from the start: The massive deployment of glyphosate-tolerant crops resulted in a tremendous increase in glyphosate use. Like clockwork, this unrelenting, unabated slathering of one poison encouraged the target weeds themselves to become resistant to glyphosate. Today glyphosate-resistant superweeds are a major, chronic, spreading problem, unsolvable by the industrial agriculture methods which created it. The Roundup regime is in ruins. Industrial growers must spray ever greater amounts of glyphosate to attain continually diminishing results. Monsanto no longer legally warrants that Roundup will actually suppress weeds.
 
Now we’ve come full circle. 2,4-D and dicamba, originally relegated by GMO propaganda to history’s garbage heap, are now touted as the solution to the artificial problem of glyphosate’s collapse. (I should note that glyphosate itself isn’t being phased out. No one in cartel or government wants to end or diminish the distribution and application of any type of profitable poison, no matter how useless it is. The Enlist crops are “stacked” varieties, resistant to both 2,4-D and glyphosate. So when the Agent Orange crops are grown, they’ll still be drivers of the escalating use of glyphosate, and will add a massive surge in 2,4-D application on top of the massive glyphosate use.)
 
What will the specific results be? 2,4-D is a viciously poisonous substance. It’s an endocrine disruptor and causes birth defects and cancer, as well as being linked to Parkinson’s disease and other health detriments. It’s more volatile than glyphosate and causes far more problems with drift, trespass, and the destruction of other farmers’ crops. This is why the Agent Orange GMOs originally generated an unusual coalition of industrial opponents, including many specialty crop farmers and processors. (These have since dropped their opposition, claiming to believe Dow’s lies about “special formulations” which will reduce drift. In other words, the leaders made some kind of deal to sell out the farmers.) Meanwhile, in the past the Center for Food Safety and a coalition of organic farmers said they may file suit once the USDA’s phony review procedure was concluded.
 
(For those who are interested in legal actions, I think that now would be a good time to start compiling a dossier of poison trespass, crop and other plant destruction, soil poisoning, and other torts. Every victim of drift, genetic contamination, soil toxification, well or water poisoning, should be invited to report and register his loss and place the blame. This can be for lawsuits right now, and for a future New Nuremburg. We abolitionists recognize the strict liability of anyone who produces, plants, cultivates, sprays, any GMO or other agricultural poison, for all damage caused by that poison. I emphasize that there’s no longer any doubt at all about the inexpediency and destructiveness of the agricultural poison regime.)
 
The USDA itself expects 2,4-D use will increase two- to sixfold. Other more independent assessments predict it’ll go up as much as fiftyfold. The only thing it will do is escalate the chemical/bioweapons arms race which, as we knew from day one, the weeds will inevitably win. They’ve already routed glyphosate. Meanwhile there are already many documented instances of weeds resistant to 2,4-D. These have already developed because any kind of evolved resistance to one herbicide (or antibiotic) may simultaneously manifest as a resistance to a whole genre. Thus for example waterhemp, one of the most bothersome weeds afflicting corn and soy growers, has been developing resistance to glyphosate for a long time now. And today, before Agent Orange corn and soy have even been deployed, 2,4-D resistant waterhemp is already out there in the fields issuing the taunt, “Bring it on!”
 
All this proves the fundamental lie at the core of the whole GMO regime. Herbicide tolerant GMOs as a genre already comprise a proven failure from any reality-based point of view, in the same way that corporate agriculture has long since been proven to be unable and unwilling to “feed the world”. If there was ever any doubt, there no longer is. Both of these now qualify as Big Lies, repeatable only by conscious liars and by those with a willful, reckless disregard and contempt for the truth.
 
What’s more, humanity is sustaining a world-historical disaster with the overwhelming poisoning of the earth by nearly twenty years of massive glyphosate use, all for no purpose at all but to amass profits and power for a handful of corporate gangsters, and for the benefit of the glyphosate-tolerant weeds. We’ve given ourselves nothing but a legacy of accelerated landgrabbing, sprawling shantytowns, the intensified debt enslavement of farmers, and the wholesale poisoning of our soil, water, and bodies. All this has gone for NOTHING. That we’re now planning to respond to this by building this most insane Tower of Babel even higher, to inflict upon ourselves an even worse scourge and destruction, is insane in the most profound sense of the term. And those who understand it and support it embody a radical evil seldom seen in history.
 
This proves the fundamental insanity of a civilization which has subordinated the production of our very food to the production of poisons for profit.
 
It’s difficult to find words, and the attempt to do so will be my main occupation, to convey the evil and insanity of this. Humanity has always started by seeking its bread. Now we’re shackled to a system which starts by producing poison, wants to force this poison upon us, and is doing so by hijacking our food and using it as the delivery mechanism.
 

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December 31, 2013

Bt Overview

Filed under: Dance of Death, Disaster Capitalism, Food and Farms, Tower of Babel — Tags: , — Russ @ 1:05 am

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One of the two basic types of GMOs is the type which endemically manufactures its own insecticidal poison. (The other type is that which is resistant to one or more herbicidal poisons.) This type is engineered to express a toxin derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Many such poison-generating genes have been commercialized. The latest “stacked” product, Monsanto’s SmartStax maize, generates six Bt poisons. This kind of escalation is necessary as the target insects, corn borers and rootworms, develop resistance to poisons which have been on the market for awhile. The same is true of the surge of herbicide-resistant superweeds, and the collapse of glyphosate as an effective herbicide.
 
This escalation is part of the design of GMOs. Monsanto’s profit and control follow from agriculture’s total dependency upon poisons which continually fail and therefore must continually be escalated. Not only must commodity corn farmers buy an endemically poisonous corn seed, but for it to be reliable, it now needs to produce no fewer than six such poisons.
 
This is why many commentators call these “poison plants”, or “pesticide plants”. It’s getting to the point where it’s not even as if agricultural poisons are applied to food, but rather that we’re supposed to be eating poison which allegedly has some food value. As much as I write about this, I haven’t yet ceased to marvel at the insanity of subordinating the production of our food to the production of poison, or at the evil of anyone who supports or tolerates this.
 
I’ll now be writing a series of posts on the health effects of these poisons we must ingest in order to get some food. I’ll start with Bt toxins. Unless otherwise linked, all the studies and information I mention in this post, along with their original sources, can be found in the 2012 Earth Open Source report “GMO Myths and Truths” and/or the 2013 paper “Don’t Look, Don’t Find”.
 
(Although I’ll be writing about the escalated use of agricultural poisons in future posts, here I’ll mention in passing that it’s Big Lie propaganda when the hacks claim that GMOs reduce pesticide use. If pressed, they try to refer only to sprayed insecticide. (GMOs indisputably cause a massive increase in herbicide use.) This is fraudulent accounting, since of course the insecticide generated by the crops themselves has to be counted as the environmental poison it is. If you count the endemic Bt production, GMOs also increase insecticide use. Then there’s the fact that seeds are increasingly coated with neonicotinoid insecticides and fungicides, which also become endemic in the cells of the poison crop. Finally, on account of accelerating development of insect resistance to these endemic poisons, old-style sprayed insecticides, after a brief period of reduced use need to be resumed as well. This is the pattern everywhere with Bt crops. Sure enough, whereas the use of sprayed insecticide is low in Europe (where few GMOs are cultivated) and continues to decline, this use in the US GMO-occupied zone has started to rise again. So the one and only stat the hacks can pseudo-plausibly cite, reduced sprayed insecticide, is only an ephemeral condition and is a false mode of accounting anyway.)
 
The way Bt poison crops work is that every cell of the plant oozes one or more Bt-derived toxins. When the target insect eats the poisonous cells, the poison busts open the insect’s gut, killing it. There’s also Bt-based sprays which have been used for many years. The alleged safety of these is often argued as sufficient to assert that endemic Bt is also safe. But the alleged safety of Bt sprays is questionable in itself. Sprayed “natural” Bt has been found to cause allergic and autoimmune responses in exposed farm workers. Natural Bt toxin also produces autoimmune responses in laboratory tests with mice. At any rate Bt sprays are less concentrated and quickly break down in the environment. By contrast, genetically engineered endemic Bt poison is far more concentrated and is constantly produced in every cell of the plant. Also, the GE-inserted Bt gene has often been damaged through shoddy engineering and produces a toxin different from the natural one it was based upon. For example, Syngenta’s Bt176 maize, linked with the deaths of cattle in Germany, produced a toxin at least 40% different from its original version. Similarly, the Monsanto’s MON810 maize contains a transgene damaged during insertion which has resulted in its expression of several altered proteins, including at least one known allergen.
 
So there’s no comparison between the two modes of poisoning.
 
One of the basic lies told about Bt poison is that it’s active only amid the alkalinity of the insect digestive tract. But this has been disproven. Here’s just a few of the many studies:
 
*A 2013 study found that Bt toxins were active when suspended in distilled water and were toxic to mammalian cells under these conditions. See below for the toxic effects this study found.
 
*Studies in 1999-2000 which administered Bt toxin to mice intragastrically and intraperitonially found that the toxin binds to the small intestine lining. The study also found evidence of autoimmune response.
 
*A 2013 study found that the toxin binds to the gut wall of salmon. Here it produced local intestinal effects, cell degradation, and an autoimmune response.
 
*It’s also allegedly non-toxic to human cells, but in a 2012 study Bt was found to kill embryonic human kidney cells in vitro at levels of 100ppm.
 
*A 2008 study found that in the presence of Bt toxin dissolved in water, the water flea Daphnia magna (a well-known indicator species) suffered higher mortality, sexual underdevelopment in females, and lower egg production.
 
Another standard lie (also told of genetically engineered DNA material in general) is that the Bt poison will be broken down in processing and/or digestion and can never reach the bloodstream. This too has been disproven. A sample:
 
*A 2013 study found that complete genes can pass from food to human blood.
 
*A 2011 study in Canada found Bt toxin proteins in the bloodstreams of 67% of non-pregnant women, 93% of pregnant women, and 80% of umbilical cord blood. Even protein fragments can cause allergies, autoimmune diseases, and chronic disease.
 
*Studies in 2010 demonstrated that the Bt toxin survives the digestive process both in vitro (in a study simulating human digestion) and in vivo (in a study testing cows who ingested MON810).
 
So we know for a fact that we ingest Bt poison with our food, that it enters our bloodstream, and that it may be active in our digestive tract and elsewhere in our bodies.
 
Here’s just a few of the studies have associated Bt with the following health effects with organ toxicity, digestive system disturbances, allergic responses, autoimmune responses.
 
*A study feeding Bt maize to rats over three generations found cell damage in the liver and kidneys.
 
*A 90-day study with rats and Bt maize found a lower albumin/globulin ratio, indicating a change in liver metabolism.
 
*A 2008 study feeding MON810 maize to weaning mice and old mice found intestinal inflammation, peripheral immune response, and evidence of allergic response.
 
*A 1998 study of rats fed Bt potatoes found ileum swelling, inflammation, and cell degradation.
 
*The 2013 study linked above found that Bt toxins target mammalian (mice) red blood cells, causing damage which is associated with anemia, suppression of bone marrow production, and leukemia. This finding is especially disturbing when we consider that most Bt crops are stacked with an herbicide resistance trait and will be sprayed with glyphosate, which is linked to hairy cell leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The study also found that, contrary to industry claims, Bt toxins can bioaccumulate and become more toxic.
 
*A report found the following correlations between plantings of Bt maize and hospital diagnoses since 1995: Strong correlations with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and functional bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation; and a moderate correlation with peritonitis. These epidemiological findings are consistent with laboratory findings that eating Bt poison is linked with gut inflammation and related diseases. As I’ll describe in more detail in a separate post, the linkage of Bt poison and glyphosate to gut inflammation and leaky gut is one of the most potent modes through which these poisons promote disease.  
 
The Canadian study I cited above did not establish where the Bt in the bloodstream was coming from. The researchers speculated that it came from meat and dairy in the diet. They thought it more likely that an animal would eat GMO feed and retain the poison in its own tissues (which even the pro-GMO European Food Safety Administration and UK Food Standards Agency admit happens), and that humans would ingest it from this dietary source, than that Bt toxin would survive food processing.
 
But another possibility is that when we ingest the Bt-expressing genetic material it may transfer to our gut bacteria via the process of horizontal gene transfer (HGT). If so, our gut bacteria may themselves become Bt poison plants, and our digestive tracts may become miniature Bt factories, constantly producing the poison, constantly eroding our gut wall exposing us to a vast array of diseases as well as the toxic effects of the Bt itself. I’ll leave this for the moment but shall be writing more about HGT, the health effects of digestive tract inflammation, and how GMOs and glyphosate cause this, in subsequent posts.
 
All the studies mentioned here were independent studies. We must always keep in mind and inform others that no government has ever required a safety test on ANY GMO, Bt or otherwise. Nor has any corporation performed a real safety test or been required to do so. Wherever an industry study has found evidence of toxicity (and this has happened many times), it was always in spite of the study testing only for non-safety parameters (matters of industry concern like weight gain) and having a design rigged against finding toxicity evidence (the studies are too short and contain bogus data groups meant to generate noise and drown out any signal).
 
Also, no government has ever performed or required an epidemiological study to find out what health effects GMOs have been causing since they’ve been commercialized.
 
In light of this willful official neglect, the difficulty of independent scientists obtaining research funds, the attempts of the cartel to deny research materials to any researcher who won’t agree to cartel control of the study and censorship of the results, and the propaganda machine’s demonization of any scientist who even questions the GMO imperative (which in itself proves that the hacks know they can’t win any scientific or rational debate), it’s impressive how much evidence we’ve amassed which documents the toxicity and allergenicity of GMOs, and provides evidence of their possible carcinogenicity. All the evidence has been compiled by independent scientists working diligently but necessarily in an ad hoc way. Imagine the evidence we’d have if society actually cared about the effects of eating poison and systematically studied it.
 
But then, the kind of society which would want to be conscientious about that probably would never have been so insane as to go the route of poison-based agriculture in the first place. It seems that complacency about studying the poisons’ effects goes along with complacency about poison as such. In that context, it becomes easier to understand public resistance to something so modest as GMO labeling. We have a massive case of the Stockholm Syndrome.
 
Therefore, the first task in building an abolitionist movement is to build the skeleton. For the moment the point’s not to persuade the masses, but to assemble the individuals who do care and do want to fight into a coherent whole. For the time being publicity’s goal is to recruit these cadres, and to get the abolition idea into the public consciousness. Not initially to sway the public, but to make it so that this idea is part of their regular thoughts, an alternative they always remember exists.
 
Then we prepare the organization for the day when large numbers of people, on account of whatever change, do want to pick up this idea and use it.

 
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