May 11, 2017

The “New” Old Monsanto, Attempting a Cult Revival


For all its current power Monsanto has a bleak future. In a sector scrambling to consolidate because its real opportunities for the future are increasingly constrained, Monsanto is especially vulnerable. The company is dependent upon Roundup for about 70% of its revenues. Roundup accounts for half its sales, while GMOs dependent upon it make up much of the rest. That’s why Syngenta had little interest even in Monsanto’s GMO business. In 2015 the entire world learned for keeps what campaigners, Monsanto, and regulators have long known, that glyphosate causes cancer. With the WHO’s announcement the clock is now ticking, counting down the rest of glyphosate’s legal life. The people will now slowly but surely force the complete ban of glyphosate-based poisons. The bell is tolling for Roundup, Monsanto knows it, everyone knows it. They must find new products or die. They’re hyping everything in sight, from slapping new ad slogans on old, pointless, narrow-market products to touting the idea of RNA interference GMOs. But if these ever came to market they’d still be the same kind of shoddy insecticidal GMOs which in Bt form are already a failure with a gradually diminishing market.
The structural reason driving the current consolidation is that GMOs are a shoddy product and don’t have much of a market or a future in themselves. On the contrary, there’s a growing consensus inside and outside the sector, including on Wall Street, that the pesticides remain primary, with the GMOs being secondary to these and dependent upon them. Their fundamentals are bad. In other words the finance sector now agrees with what GMO critics have said from the start, that GMOs in the real world are nothing but pesticide plants, poison plants. Although Wall Street is poor at acknowledging its own pyramid schemes, it knows how to call them out in other sectors. GMOs are a scam.
By now all the GMO cartel has is the hype and hoaxes of the pro-GM activists and the corporate media. Monsanto in particular is desperate to tout its new GMO campaign, and with media fanfare is licensing two CRISPR “gene editing” processes. Monsanto’s Roundup business is seen as having a highly questionable future, and in all the merger talk the only thing which has really interested anyone is the company’s potential to develop GM traits other than those based on glyphosate. Here we see Monsanto desperate to reassure skeptical Bayer shareholders. Indeed, the hype over “new GMOs” may continue fooling the business world for awhile, but hype is all it is. As a practical way for the GMO project to get on track and start delivering on its promises, the retread GMOs are a vain ploy and a malign lie.
Here’s all anyone needs to know about CRISPR etc., the whole false notion of a retread “second generation” of GMOs based on “gene editing”, RNA interference, and similar tricks: These retreads are the same failed technology, the same failed GMOs, the same failed mode, the same failed agricultural paradigm based on poison, guaranteed to have the same result as all prior pesticides and GMOs. Pests will quickly overcome it, it will function only on the same ever-accelerating pesticide treadmill which already spins endlessly, it will poison people, animals, and the environment, and it will contaminate non-GM crops and wild plants. It’s not possible to be mistaken about any of this. Indeed, these are proven to be intentional primary effects of every technology deployed as part of poison-based agriculture. As its name says, this is the project of maximizing the production and use of poisons in order to maximize the poisoning of people and the Earth. All of this is being done for its own sake, as well as for the sake of profit and power. All of it is disguised with the lie that any of it has anything to do with producing food.
By now all we have are conscious, willful liars on the one hand, vast amounts of gratuitous, self-willed ignorance on the other, with a few scattered truth-tellers who recognize the clear facts.
The health dangers of the retread GMOs are the same as for the old GMOs. Scrambled genomes, insertional and tissue culture mutations, and the effects of these: A gene producing too much or too little of a protein with toxic or other ill effects, producing the wrong protein with toxic effect, producing a misfolded protein with toxic effect (Mad Cow disease is caused by a misfolded protein), toxically excessive or foreign metabolites, gene or cell damage leading to cancer or any number of other health destructions, “silencing” the genes of humans who come into contact (topical, inhaled, ingested) with the RNAi pesticide, and any number of other predictably unpredictable chaotic effects. The retread GMOs are the same as the old GMOs.
In the same way the health dangers are the same as for any other pesticide. The engineers and propagandists have no more idea how genotoxic, hormone disrupting, neurotoxic, organically toxic, and carcinogenic the RNAi pesticides will be than they originally had for the other classes of pesticides, all of which proved to be lethal to humans in all these ways. To put that another way, they know perfectly well that the RNAi pesticides will almost certainly have the same effects that all other pesticides have. The new pesticides are the same as the old pesticides, and will fail against pests and poison people in the same way the old ones always do.
It’s not possible to be mistaken about any of this. These are all known facts.
Of course the “new” retread GMOs are designed to aggravate the socioeconomic and political evils of corporate agriculture and commodity-based production the same way all previous GMOs were designed. Just like all prior GMOs, the goal of the retread GMOs is to starve the world in order to feed a handful of gluttons.
All the hype surrounding the new GMOs is based on the junk science of genetic determinism, same as for the old GMOs. In both cases the facts are:
1. On the most basic factual level, the engineers and their supporters have no idea what they’re doing. Jonathan Latham writes,

[The industry and media’s] exposition is belied by the evidence. If CRISPR were already precise, accurate and specific there would, for example, be no publications in prominent scientific journals titled “Improving CRISPR-Cas nuclease specificity using truncated guide RNAs“. And these would not begin by describing how ordinary CRISPR “can induce mutations at sites that differ by as many as five nucleotides from the intended target”, i.e. CRISPR may act at unknown sites in the genome where it is not wanted (Fu et al., 2014).

…[I]t is technically not possible to make a single (and only a single) genetic change to a genome using CRISPR and be sure one has done so (Fichtner et al., 2014). As Fichtner noted “in mammalian systems Cas9 causes a high degree of off-target effects”…There is, furthermore, no guarantee that more precise versions of CRISPR are even biologically possible. Technically therefore, precision is a myth: no form of genome editing can do what is currently being claimed.

2. In addition to their complete ignorance of ecology and agronomy, they know nothing about the science of genetics or biology. To believe in genetic determinism requires ignorance of even the most basic elements of the state of the science. Here’s Latham again.

[A] defined, discrete or simple pathway from gene to trait probably never exists. Most gene function is mediated murkily through highly complex biochemical and other networks that depend on many conditional factors, such as the presence of other genes and their variants, on the environment, on the age of the organism, on chance, and so forth. Geneticists and molecular biologists, however, since the time of Gregor Mendel, have striven to find or create artificial experimental systems in which environmental or any other sources of variation are minimised so as not to distract from the more “important” business of genetic discovery.

But by discarding organisms or traits that do not follow their expectations, geneticists and molecular biologists have built themselves a circular argument in favour of a naive deterministic account of gene function. Their paradigm habitually downplays the enormous complexities by which information passes (in both directions) between organisms and their genomes. It has created an immense and mostly unexamined bias in the default public understanding of genes and DNA.

Where this isn’t willful lying, it’s the common mode of being seduced by a crackpot version of “scientific method”. They reify these ivory tower experimental conditions of limited usefulness into the lie that these are real conditions which give real knowledge.
The primary lie making up the marketing campaign for the retread GMOs is that they’ve been made with extra-special “precision”. The propaganda theme that the retread GMOs have been engineered with precision is the exact same lie as the theme that the old GMOs were the result of precision engineering. In reality all genetic engineering is an extremely sloppy, wasteful, scattershot empirical process relying on brute force and massive reiteration to produce an adequate result once in awhile. Genetic engineering and its results is best represented by the proverbial stopped clock which is correct twice a day. So it’s been for all GMOs to date, and so it is for the “new” GMOs.
In itself, precision is only as intelligent or moronic as allowed by the extent of one’s knowledge. Latham gives a good analogy: “Suppose, as a non-Chinese speaker, I were to precisely remove from a Chinese text one character, one line, or one page. I would have one hundred percent precision, but zero control over the change in meaning. Precision, therefore, is only as useful as the understanding that underlies it.” In reality, even legitimate science knows little about the details of genomes and next to nothing about the chaotic genome effects of genetic engineering. When we add to this ignorance of the details and repercussions the engineers’ junk science of biological determinism and their complete ignorance of the state of genetic and biological science, we see how even if they did have a precision technique they’d still have absolutely no idea what they were doing. They’d be firing with good marksmanship into a soundless, pitch black void. But to say again, they have no precision technique either. They’re really hurling handfuls of gravel into that void.
The “precision” lie is a core article of the religious faith of scientism, going back centuries to the de jure Christian roots of the engineering ideology. Although engineers and scientists have never had such precision control of anything, they’ve always prayed to themselves and lied to the world that they did possess such precision knowledge and control. Here again, the hype about CRISPR is just the latest incarnation of the most hackneyed lies. Here too it’s not possible to be mistaken. Anyone familiar with the history of science and engineering, especially the history of pesticides and GMOs, knows the lie by heart.

Technologies based on the reductive, poisonist junk science like genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, synthetic “life”, robotics, nanotech, geoengineering and others share the fantasy of the engineer exercising total control through the precision use of control technologies and engineering techniques. Science has seldom been more than a servant of this cult religion of control. More often than not the process by which these technologies are developed has little to no “precision” involved, but is a very messy process based on profligate, wasteful deployment of brute force empiricism toward whatever approximate result is “close enough” in practice as long as it can be transformed through the fantasy into an idea of precision. In the same way, as a rule these technologies don’t work in the real world. The real world performance of GMOs ranges from temporarily adequate as long as supported by the most lavish, expensive panoply of inputs – bank credit, machinery, fertilizer, irrigation, pesticides – to a complete disaster from the start. Nowhere on Earth have GMOs ever consistently performed as well as the much healthier, much less expensive true crops. But as long as cheap oil, industrial inputs, and corporate welfare can provide enough brute force to keep GMOs in the field at all, this is enough for the scientism cultists and their fanboys to fetishize GMOs into a transcendent religious ideal.
When we consider the origin and circumstances of the STEM cadre this cultism isn’t surprising. STEM disciplines attract the most hierarchically-oriented, authoritarian, reductive, order-obsessed types who are also the most alienated from physical (ecological) reality and at the same time possessed of the most intense religiosity. In the modern era scientism and “Progress” have presented themselves as secular civil religions, but this pseudo-secularity is just a temporary variation on the Christian millennarian roots of technology worship and science ideology. For over 900 years inventors and practitioners of engineering and science explicitly saw themselves as imitating Adam in the Garden of Eden, creating in the image of the Creator, becoming co-Creators with God, and as preparing the human condition for the Second Coming. To this day these apocalyptic religious themes remain explicit and normative among aerospace and weapons engineers. It’s also standard rhetoric among AI cultists and “transhumanists”.
The explicit Christian rhetoric is also common among genetic engineers and GMO cultists, and the transcendent tone, evangelical attitude, and warnings/hopes of the imminent apocalypse are exactly the same. It’s the same millennarian Christian religiosity, even where temporarily submerged by civil religious ideology.
Given this extremist interior, the fact that the engineers usually must function as lower-level cogs in the corporate machine, obeying the dictates of executives and marketers, the whole endeavor just a subdivision of the much more comprehensive Mammon religion, must bother them. To give just one example, Lords of the Harvest describes the initial cultural conflict at Monsanto between the high-flown fantasies and pretensions of the genetic engineering division and the agrochemical division, which the genetic engineers at first disdained as a gang of backward luddites. It was only after the GE division put up a perfect record of failure over years of very expensive confusion that they finally lowered their sights and began working on poison plants. (They failed at this too; one day soon I’ll write a piece documenting Monsanto’s near-perfect record of failure and theft.)
When we put all this together, it’s no wonder the techno-cultists exalt the fantasy of precision and control and keep telling themselves and the world lies about it. And although they continue to tell these lies about the GMOs which have been deployed so far, at the same time they implicitly admit they were always lying about these when they hype the alleged “new” kinds of GMOs, even going so far as to deny these GMOs are GMOs, which also disparages the existing types. They’re trying first to convince themselves that this time the “precision” really is precise, the “control” real control. But it’s all nothing but a retread of the same old lies, same old failures, same old bottleneck.
Most profoundly, we see in these phenomena some of the sources of the indelible culture of the lie among technocrats and scientism cultists. Humanity should have demanded of the very first scientist, “What is Truth?” The idealization of some notion of Truth, which is touted as the ultimate justification of science, originated in Christian theology and to this day remains a religious justification. Scientific “Truth” is therefore Truth as revealed by religious transcendence. As the engineers and scientists constantly say, with their technology they seek to transcend reality – the environment, biology, mortality, the irrationality and emotionality of human beings, the physical Earth. Their will to truth means the will to another world, an otherworld, an afterworld. Their will to truth must go hand in hand with the cult of technology. This means their “Truth” has always been purely instrumental. So from both directions – Truth as a theological article, and Truth as whatever idea of control technology is able to effect, right down to boosting profit margins – the culture of the lie is inherent in the technological version of Truth. As with all fundamentalist cults, the scientism cult recognizes only its transcendent ideal and its day to day empirical work, but displays absolute faithlessness toward any and all day to day measures of fact or truth. As for science itself, for the STEM cult this is nothing but an appendage of instrumental engineering. At best it can sometimes serve as a methodological guide, but is most commonly a propaganda facade. Just as the pseudo-democratic, pseudo-political ideology which has supplanted classical liberalism is called “neoliberalism”, so bona fide science has become a fraudulent “neoscience” completely engulfed within the corporate science paradigm of today’s STEM establishment. Between this mercenary hijacking and the religious basis of science as such, there’s little left of the exalted, allegedly rationalistic Enlightenment mythology. It’s the practicing engineers and scientists themselves who present the most extreme manifestation of human irrationalism and human emotionalism, as well as malignity, faithlessness, and absolute practical nihilism. But in their minds they dwell in a cloud city presided over by their own god. They see their task as to wipe out the ecological reality of the real Earth and humanity and replace it with a technology-dominated co-Creation between themselves and this god. If humanity is to survive, we must put a stop to them.
Thus Monsanto’s media advertorials for its future CRISPR projects are more than just typical corporate media hype. Underlying this is the will of the cult to arise from the muck of the bogged-down GMO/pesticide project and transcend on the wings of the gloriously retreaded “new” version of the same old anti-scientific, failure-mongering notions. In the end the CRISPR hype is still just hype, still just the same old lies. But the goal is far more than just propping up the stock price. The goal is to reinvigorate the flagging religious crusade. In the end, since Monsanto has no practical basis for future profit and power, it hopes to harness the power of religion to keep itself on top.
Help propagate the necessary actions.

May 10, 2017

GMO Field Trials and the Deliberate Contamination Campaign


Corporate agriculture sows disorder and chaos.

The British government has approved the Sainsbury lab’s application for open air field trials of GM potatoes which not only have not been subjected to controlled greenhouse tests but don’t yet even exist.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, Sainsbury’s application for an as yet nonexistent product, and its invitation to the regulator to assure the public of the safety of this product which doesn’t yet exist, is the best commentary on the fact that everything the corporate system tells us about GMOs, in addition to being always a lie, is always a pure fabrication. The corporations and governments tout nothing but the idea of “GMOs” as such, while in reality the actual GM crops are always poorly-designed, shoddy, backward, failure-prone products.
This is also the best commentary on the fact that field trials have no scientific basis or purpose, but rather are propaganda exercises. They propagate the fraud that GMOs are tested for environmental safety and agronomic performance when in reality the tests are designed to give no meaningful information on either of these, just as corporate feeding trials test nothing but industrial parameters irrelevant to food safety.
Therefore field trials are designed to serve as propaganda vehicles. They’re meant to normalize the GMO ideology as such and to impress upon the people the sense of the alleged ubiquity and necessity of GMOs and the alleged inevitability of GMO domination.
We see how GM field trials serve as a stage of the GM propaganda process just as they comprise a stage of the GM crop development process. This parallel is poetically appropriate since GMOs as such serve only fictive purposes, including an overall propaganda function. Their ultimate purposes – profit, power, control – have nothing to do with natural reality, but only with the totalitarian will to obliterate existing reality and replace it with a malign, ideologically determined reality. And thus it’s also appropriate, and was always inevitable, that all of the real-world effects of GMOs – environmental, health, agronomic, economic – are purely destructive.
Therefore the GM regime won’t be content with just the verbal propaganda threatening total GMO domination. Propaganda is never separable from action, and GM propaganda always accompanies the aggressive campaign physically to propagate GMOs as far and wide across the surface of the globe as possible. This includes not just the legal deployment of commercial GMOs but illegal deployment as well as the systematic contamination of non-GM crops and wild relatives with GM genetics.
We can sum up what we know:
1. GMOs in the open environment cannot be controlled. They automatically contaminate non-GM crops and wild relatives. This is true of field trials as well.
2. The intent and goal of corporations and government regulators is maximal contamination. This is proven by the systematic illegal cultivation of GMOs by corporations such as Monsanto and the way the briar-patched governments such as those of Brazil and India then legalize this illegal campaign. It is proven also by the consistent pattern of action of regulators.
3. We know field trials have the propaganda goals I described above.
4. So we can deduce that, although the experimentalists may not yet have used field trials this way, they hold in reserve the intent to launch new experiments in GM contamination by turning “field trials” (always a pretext and proxy) into a general, uncontrolled environmental release.
Consider the example of a joint corporate-university algae agrofuel experiment. Agrofuel GMOs are most symbolic of how wasteful and worthless GMOs are, and therefore are emblematic of the overall destructive goal of the corporate-technocratic project.
Here the experimenters tout how the GM algae “disperse[s] from the cultivation ponds” though they claim they’ve been unable to document aggressive “colonization…with increasing distance.” But they’ll keep trying. If the reader is in any doubt about the kind of language used in this study, consider this proclamation: “[T]he gains in productivity measured in GE terrestrial crops are predicted to be mirrored in GE algae..” Since these gains are known to be zero, indeed negative, here’s the experimenters acknowledging that the GM algae project is part of the project of waste and destruction, and broadcasting the Orwellian character of their communication throughout. We must apply this knowledge to our assessment of their real purpose in gauging the what the experimenters themselves call the “colonial” potential of their monster. Did any monarch ever send out a colonial expedition without intending far-reaching violent conquest? We already know that this algae is intended to be deployed worldwide. Only a fool thinks the difference between controlled and uncontrolled deployment, legal and illegal, is anything but purely methodological in the minds of the experimenters.
For another key example, the USDA’s ongoing GM grass approvals in the aftermath of the permanent escape of GM creeping bentgrass from a field trial and its subsequent environmental colonization proves:
1. The USDA agrees with the corporations and experimenters that all GMOs should be given full release with zero regulation and zero concern for the consequences except insofar as these provide data toward future controlled experimentation.
2. The USDA wants to maximize GM contamination. This is its intent and goal.
3. This is the ideology of regulators, prior to any mundane corruption and revolving door careerism.
This regulator consciousness, this willful intent, is proven by the fact that even as the USDA washes its hands of the earlier disaster it is allowing new releases. This proves that the regulator actively, consciously wants total contamination. Therefore “co-existence” is a lie, and not just physically. In cases like GM grass, alfalfa, canola, maize, cotton, and many others, where the physical impossibility of controlling the spread of the transgene is proven, regulator actions prove that governments want the eradication of all non-GM crops.
It’s appropriate that so many of these trials and releases are for products that are worthless even by GMO standards – crops for fuel, herbicide tolerant grass for golf courses. It goes to the core of the culture of the lie incarnated in the very idea of GMOs: The most ardently touted GM products are those which most directly, in principle, contradict the #1 GMO lie, that they’re supposed to help “feed the world”.
And this in turn exposes the entire GMO endeavor as having literally zero to do with anything which could ever benefit humanity. On the contrary genetic engineering is a campaign of corporate and government power and the object of religious worship by a particularly noxious strain of vermin, the scientism cult.
Therefore all the pro-GM activists cherish the program of spreading GM contamination as such. It forces corporate power upon agriculture and food, it concentrates government power, it destroys the integrity of communities and the environment, it’s a campaign of uncontrolled human experimentation as a step toward controlled eugenic experimentation and technological development, and it’s a form of fundamentalist proselytization, propaganda by deed.
GM field trials offer great opportunities for expansion of this deed of deliberate contamination. This campaign which transforms propaganda into action is the logical extension of the general propaganda character of the whole field trial endeavor.
The contamination campaign has the goal of finally forcing through attrition the mindset of “you just sort of surrender” which Monsanto long ago verbalized as the mindset it works to force upon humanity. But this is just the beginning of its goals. All totalitarians regard the initial physical conquest as just the beginning of their aggression and violence.
The pro-GM activists are betting that the result of their contamination campaign will be to sow this surrender mentality rather than to spur real movement resistance and counterattack.
Co-existence with GMOs is physically impossible. The goal of government regulators, corporations, and GM farmers is total contamination of all crops. Therefore co-existence is politically impossible as well, and the only viable political position and goal is total abolitionism.
For as long as the GMO deployment continues the contamination will become worse and worse, and the chances of it becoming indelible, with all the agronomic and ecological destruction that will follow, will increase. Which is all the more reason to Abolish GMOs Now.
Help propagate the necessary actions.

April 27, 2017

The Corporate Science Establishment Vs. the Scientific Method


Conclusion first – experiment afterwards! In fact genetic engineering is nothing but mass non-consensual human experiment and religiously pre-determined “conclusion”, with zero concern for data which doesn’t fit the dogma. Nor is any hypothesis or scientific theory ever involved. There is no science of genetic engineering.
What is scientific method? Science is not qualitatively different from other belief systems, but is part of the same general complex as philosophy, political theory, and religion. Where actually practiced according to the theory of how it’s supposed to be practiced, science is a well-defined set of actions performed in accord with reason which attains a limited but reasonably reliable result. The rationality which prescribes the actions and the reliability of the result are sound within rationally circumscribed limits and as long as the practitioners and everyone else acknowledge these limits. Therefore science is a form of practical philosophy which is more applicable to physical objects and processes than most other kinds. According to the scientists themselves, as most fully elaborated by Karl Popper, explicator of “the scientific method”, what distinguishes science from other forms of philosophy is that its results must always be falsifiable. This means that at least in principle there must be an experiment which could generate data which disproves a scientific contention. If no such experiment can be conceived even in principle, a proposition automatically is supposed to be ruled out of science.
That’s how it’s supposed to work. Of course in reality people tend to conform, to seek agreement and consensus, and for several reasons STEM types are among the most congenitally conformist and authoritarian. So it was always dubious and indeed suspicious that the scientific fraternity exalted an ideal which is so uncongenial to human nature and especially to their own nature, this heroic notion of the eternal vigilance and critical nature of everyday science practitioners. The falsification ideal also goes against simple careerism. No rational person would expect eminent scientists with influence over research funding to prefer aspiring falsifiers of their work over aspiring conformists and reinforcements.
Any fraternity, especially one which combines such extremes of tribalism, arrogance, and persecution complex as the scientific fraternity does, generally seeks tribal compaction over assimilation to any idea which is more universal, or one which contradicts one of the tribe’s defining tenets. The Mafia calls this sticking up for Cosa Nostra, “Our Thing”. The average STEM cadre, as well as post-graduate types in general, is completely ignorant about genetic engineering and GMOs but does know that a hard core of the fraternity is fanatically in support of this campaign, and that’s all these authoritarian followers need to know: It’s Our Thing. So from the evidence of history we’d expect that, once the scientific fraternity has committed itself spiritually to the exaltation of genetic engineering, it would tend automatically to rally around the GMO rallying cry and to despise anyone with questions, criticisms or, most wickedly, falsifications.
Now we understand how the proposition that “GMOs are safe for human consumption”, while readily falsifiable in principle given sufficient research resources, became unfalsifiable in practice. What do we learn from the scientific establishment’s institutional obstructionism and refusal to fund whole genres of theoretically possible and morally imperative testing? This rationally implies that the obstructionists – corporations and governments – believe their theory is false and are using lies and obstructionism to shield it from the test of falsifiability.
The scientific establishment always has refused to perform scientific safety tests on GMOs. Instead:
1. They promulgated the religious dogma that GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to non-GM crops and foods. This is part of the prior religious Conclusion of genetic engineers and their cultists I cited above.
Of course this equivalence was always self-evidently a lie since plants suffused with herbicide and/or endemic Bt toxins automatically are very different from plants which are not poisonous in this way. And even according to the system’s own narrow, technical concept, the equivalence dogma has been disproven many times. But the scientific establishment continues to promulgate it as dogma.
2. The scientific establishment has systematically lied in representing industrial testing of such parameters as fast weight gain in CAFO inmates to be legitimate food safety tests relevant to human food safety. Corporations, governments, and the mainstream media then parrot these lies, but it’s the scientists themselves who design and initially propagate the lies.
3. They claim to possess evidence, e.g. that glyphosate doesn’t cause cancer, but say they cannot show it to us. This alleged evidence must remain secret, and the world must trust the corporate science establishment on faith. What would Popper say about that?
4. They’ve presented a united front in trying to suppress actual scientists who attempt falsification on their own.
It’s clear that establishment science systematically has evaded its obligation to test GMOs for safety, systematically has lied about its dereliction, and systematically has sought to obstruct science and repress real falsification-seeking scientists. This proves the general malignity of this establishment and its complete lack of scientific credibility, authority, and legitimacy.
To say a few more words about secret science, its purpose is to exalt the corporate-technocratic establishment as an authoritative priesthood. This means that it must prefer assertion and obfuscation over rational argument and the presentation of evidence, since no one who wants to be seen as an authoritarian command figure can afford to let the peasants question his authority, for example by demanding rational debate and evidence. This is a major reason why genetic engineers and their fanboys historically never were willing rationally to answer questions and objections to their endeavor, but rather resorted from day one to vague utopian rhetoric, epithets, and insults. The other reason was that rationality and the evidence have always been strongly against genetic engineering.
From this perspective we see that the proximate reason given for the secrecy, intellectual property, is more a pretext than a cause. Both the patenting and the secrecy that goes with it are important for profiteering, but they’re more important for power as such. One must never be distracted by the kind of idiot who would rationalize secret science by invoking IP privilege. IP is a pure fiction which has no reality-based purpose, but which is only a weapon of corporate and scientism cultist power.
And as we see, IP cannot co-exist with the scientific method. You can have one or the other, never both. The entire Western political and STEM class, as well as the voters, have chosen to exalt corporate intellectual property and to degrade science. This is part of the complete enclosure of all of “science” within the corporate science paradigm.
The scientific method dictates that even in principle we never reasonably can conclude that “GMOs are safe”. The genetic engineering process guarantees that each “event” will have unique chaotic effects since there’s so many random mutations from each transgenic insertion and each tissue culturing.
Random variation and its sometimes major real-world effects is the first premise of Darwinism. Since genetic engineering ideology lies about its precision and dogmatically decrees that it generates no significant mutations, we see how this pseudo-science is denialist, not just of evolution as such but specifically of Darwinism.
The radical overall evolution denialism of the genetic engineers and their religious following is part of their eugenics agenda. They despise natural evolution and intend to break out of all of its mechanisms and leap over all of its safeguards. Their campaign to deploy GM crops as universally over the globe as possible, as quickly as possible, with an ostentatious contempt for the effects of this, is extremely reckless and dangerous from any rational or scientific point of view.
But we must understand that from the religious crusading point of view of eugenic scientism, the recklessness and danger of this deployment is precisely why it should be done, on principle. The massive non-consensual human feeding experiment ultimately has eugenic goals. In the same way, the so far uncontrolled experiment of the vast-scale environmental release of GMOs ultimately has the goal of forcibly overriding evolution and imposing technocratic creationism over the entire globe. This is the richer significance of the malign experimentalism of the STEM establishment. Both of these experiments are being carried out with the most extreme, radical, reckless indifference to human and ecological well-being, precisely because the technocratic mentality does not recognize such well-being as a value at all and has nothing but contempt for it. This goes to the core of why technology in general so seldom works to make our lives better: Such a value has always meant nothing to the scientists and engineers. They seek nothing but control for the sake of control. Therefore they campaign to impose their vast uncontrolled experiments upon humanity and the Earth toward the goal of one day turning these into controlled experiments, and eventually being able to enforce total eugenic control. At that point they’ll completely have eradicated nature and history and replaced these with divinely willed creationism. As insane and physically impossible as it is, this is their goal. They’ve hijacked science to serve this goal.
Thus, where it comes to genetic engineering where would you even get started with “scientific method”? There’s no theory, and the engineers despise observation. Otherwise they’d reject the project as having no possible benefit, only risks and harms. Rather, they start with the experiment itself, for its own ultimately eugenic sake and for corporate profit. If one makes a prediction it’s nothing but wishful thinking and not part of scientific method at all, since they have no theory or evidence upon which to base it. Therefore what they really do is invent the religious conclusion that GMOs are beneficial, indeed utopian, then embark upon the experiment, accompanied with lies and corporate hype. This is another reason genetic engineers started out with such a belligerent, anti-rationalist attitude – they had no other option.
Of course the proposition that GMOs as such are safe and that genetic engineering never has harmful effects already has been falsified many times: The lethal Showa Denko epidemic, the StarLink allergenic outbreak, allergenic GM soy engineered with a gene from Brazil nuts, GM corn which has toxic liver and kidney effects, just to name a few.
Thus we see how according to the scientific method, which the science establishment, the scientism cult, academia and the mainstream media all claim is the method they practice and/or consider legitimate, genetic engineering is anti-science and anti-evolution. And yet all these institutions don’t just support GMOs but ardently exalt them. This proves that they lie when they claim to practice and respect the scientific method.
There are many proofs that the modern corporate science establishment is systematically anti-science and has no credibility and should be accorded no legitimacy by humanity. The best proof is the STEM establishment’s bizarre love affair with this backward, shoddy, failed technology which never had any real-world purpose but to help a few agrochemical corporations sell more poison. It’ll go down as one of history’s great marvels of depravity that science threw it all away for the sake of something so stupid, worthless, and mean.
Help propagate the necessary ideas.

April 26, 2017

De Jure Corruption is Just A Small Part of Systemic Corruption


Get your microscope and we’ll search for the conflicts within.

A few weeks ago I commented on a new study which reviews the derelictions of the National Academy of Science regarding its cover-up of the conflicts of interest, these measured according to the system’s own standards, of six out of twenty panelists on its GMO review.
Initially the NAS rejected the criticisms of study authors Sheldon Krimsky and Tim Schwab. But now, as a result of this and similar pressure, they’re talking about some lukewarm reforms.
These lame promises don’t comprise even the most reasonable minimum by reform standards. For example, they say they’ll now include acknowledgements of conflict within the text of the published study instead of hidden somewhere on the NAS website. Big of them. But they say nothing about changing their policy that a panelist or researcher declare only “current” industry financial ties rather than relations over the past several years. In other words the NAS denies there’s any such thing as a revolving door.
But the squabbling over such reforms implies the much greater scope of the problem, a problem which cannot be confronted through such lukewarm reformism. The 6 of 20 panelists with de jure conflicts is a problem peripheral to the certain fact that all twenty panelists have a strong bias in favor of productionism, technocracy, capitalism, and corporate rule, and the mode of “science” which is dictated by this prior ideological commitment, the corporate science paradigm. It follows that all panelists, regardless of their formal corporate ties, agree that agriculture should be centralized, commodified, and that it should maximize deployment of high-maintenance technology and poisons. All this comprises an ideological commitment which automatically engenders a very strong pro-GMO bias, which comes prior to any scientific mode, and which dictates this mode. That’s the primary way such a panel is biased, rather than some additional de jure corruption.
The piece includes some of the original peer reviewers* of the NAS report defending it. But the same structural bias and corruption is endemic to peer review itself. Just like the careerist system of corporate science itself, a peer reviewer receives more or fewer invitations based on his willingness to review within the ideological/religious framework of the corporate science paradigm. Anyone who questions this framework is ostracized as a rogue, as “anti-science”. Indeed, from the corporate-technocratic perspective he is such a rogue, regardless of what Karl Popper would say.
The fact is that the entire scientific establishment is systemically corrupt from the point of view of true falsificationist science, especially ecology, as well as from any rational point of view. Everything we’re talking about here with de jure “conflicts” is only a squabble within the corporate science paradigm.
The PLOS One study points out that no panelists had any link to GMO-skeptic groups. This is a specific manifestation of the general fact that this panel, like almost all others, includes no critics of the extreme energy mode of civilization as such. If you accept that extreme energy consumption, productionism, technocracy, capitalism, and corporate rule are normative and dogmatically “right”, that these are beyond debate and that there’s no scientific debate to be had about them, then it’s only a small step further to accept what the pro-GMO activists claim, that “the debate is over” and that the alleged safety of GMOs should simply be accepted as science dogma without further ado, as the FDA and regulators worldwide did from the outset with their religious doctrine of “substantial equivalence”. The NAS panelists and peer reviewers all accept GMO benevolence as this kind of religious tenet, as a logical extension of their religious faith in technocracy, corporate rule, and corporate poisonism.
If this is all most people are arguing over – the pro-GMO activists, the GM critics, the NAS, the PLOS One authors – within an overall consensus on extreme energy consumption and technocracy, then isn’t this just a narcissism of small differences, just like all reformism?
By contrast, if your objection to GMOs and pesticides is primarily that they aggravate and escalate every pathology of corporate industrial agriculture and portend a resurrected eugenics campaign, then the anti-GMO fight is one part of the great struggle against corporate rule and technocracy itself, and the necessary goal is nothing less than the total abolition of GMOs and all other agricultural poisons.
In that case, our main objection to the NAS and the model of “science” practice it represents isn’t to the 6 of 20 de jure corrupt panelists, but to the systemic corruption of all twenty as well as their peer reviewers. In truth, our main enemy isn’t the consulting gigs of panelists and Monsanto’s donations to the NAS, but the fact that the NAS as such is a pillar of the corporate science establishment and a lead propagandist for the corporate science paradigm as such.
There’s not really a “conflict of interest” given the Kuhnian framework of the modern corporate-technocratic establishment and the mode of science it controls. The real conflict of interest is that of this establishment against humanity and the entire ecology of the Earth.
*Why, one might ask, is communications professor, frequent media pundit, and all-around pro-corporate ideologue Kathleen Hall Jamieson among the peer reviewers of what’s allegedly a scientific report dealing with such subjects as public health, human medicine, and ecology? In fact this indicates the real character and purpose of the NAS report: Pro-GMO propaganda, plain and simple, dressed up in pseudo-scientific garb. Thus they not only consulted a media professor on their “messaging” but actually made her part of “peer review”, trying to make their propaganda look more science-y.
Ironically, according to the standards of credentialism she’s far more qualified for the real purpose of this report than is the average scientist whenever he or she comments on GMOs.

April 15, 2017

GMOs, Corporate Science, and the Culture of the Lie (The Cornell/Monsanto Alliance)


Today’s establishment science is corporate “science”

The so-called Cornell Alliance for Science has nothing to do with science but rather is a political front funded by Bill Gates and designed to muster pro-GM activism and package it with a fraudulent pseudo-scientific sheen. Its existence is exemplary of the complete fraudulence and lack of the most basic integrity on the part of today’s universities and scientific establishment. These have long since jettisoned any scientific integrity they ever had and have transformed themselves into nothing but corporate PR fronts. The Cornell/Monsanto project is among the most prominent and formally instituted of these front groups.
Today the Alliance has a new scam going. This is a survey of selected industry tests which purports to analyze whether or not the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is correct in asserting a “consensus” on GMO safety. Self-evidently there is no such consensus, so on its face the AAAS is simply propagating a political lie in claiming there is. See here for another typical AAAS systematic fraud on the public, this one in collaboration with the Pew Center.
As we see, the AAAS itself is a corporate marketing division, not a science organization. So when Cornell’s Alliance analyzes the AAAS’s claim it’s pure theater, one propagandist trying to launder another. I suppose the AAAS then can review the Alliance’s proclamations and find them correct. But just as regulators like the EPA and EFSA do nothing but launder propaganda which is conveyed to them by Monsanto, so these sham pseudo-scientific outfits do nothing but the same. See here for similar lies on the part of the National Academy of Science. Someone needs to design a meme: Monsanto in big letters in the center, with arrows radiating out directly to the names of regulatory agencies and “science” fronts, these names circling the center. That would be an accurate symbolic rendering of reality.
Today’s STEM establishment comprises nothing more or less than a corporate research and propaganda bureau. It considers this corporate science paradigm to constitute science as such, and when they say “science” they mean, in all sincerity, “whatever the corporate marketing department decrees.” History will look back in astonishment and disgust at how the science community threw away its entire legitimacy, laboriously built over centuries, for nothing but to serve as PR flacks for a handful of agrochemical, tobacco, and similar poison-peddling corporations. Why did they do throw it all away? For nothing but the most gutter impulses of hate and power.
Thus the Gates/Cornell Alliance is recruiting “citizen scientists”, which means paid and volunteer Monsanto operatives and techno-fundamentalists, to survey only the abstracts of the selected industry “studies”. This is because all industry tests engage in many kinds of methodological fraud. By sticking only with the abstracts, each of which is just a non-technical summary of the study written according to the interpretative biases of the researchers, the Cornell Alliance plans to suppress knowledge of the massive scientific fraud and propagate only a summation of the non-scientific, political covering statements of the corporate-funded researchers.
For a quick review, all industry tests have been rigged in at least one way: Their length is far shorter than the normal lifespan of the animal, two years in the case of rats. Ninety days is a standard length for corporate rat studies. This is meant to ensure that chronic health dangers are unlikely to manifest during the duration of the test. Most studies also don’t compare the effects of eating the GM feed to the effects of a non-GM diet based on the non-GM equivalent of the GM variety. Nor are the alleged control groups fed a non-GM, non-pesticide laden diet. This is meant to obfuscate any effect which might manifest.
Almost all industry tests are the most minimal kinds of feeding tests, meant to ensure that a CAFO animal fed on GM-based feed will quickly put on weight and not immediately drop dead from acute toxicity. These trials never tested for other kinds of toxicity or for chronic health effects. But the corporations, mainstream media, and pseudo-science media like the Cornell Alliance and the AAAS then fraudulently claim these were legitimate food safety tests with relevance for humans eating such a diet over a lifetime. Picture if we organized a test which would feed human subjects nothing but large amounts of cake, pastries, ice cream, candy, etc. for 60 days (and with no exercise), with our only measure being to test whether the subjects would gain weight and not drop dead. Then afterward we trumpet the test as having proven that such a diet is healthy over the long run. That’s what’s been going on with these corporate feeding trials. True scientists reject these industry tests as nothing but systematic fraud. According to Nuremburg standards the Cornell Alliance propagandists are criminals for propagating this lie.
Even many of these tests nevertheless have found evidence of biological changes and toxicity. Such evidence is routinely dismissed as “insignificant” or suppressed completely by the researchers, often through the methodological fraud of trumping up enough “historical control groups” to introduce enough irrelevant noise to drown out whatever data signal the experiment actually generated. Of course all such evidence is censored out of the study abstracts. This is why Cornell will be citing only the abstracts and not the studies themselves, to censor out of existence any element of the actual studies which goes against the party line.
This latest gambit of the Cornell/Monsanto Alliance for Junk Science is typical of the relentless, congenital lying of all pro-GMO activists. (This is a historical fact. From the beginning in the early 1970s genetic engineers and their publicists and fanboys never were willing rationally to justify and defend their endeavor. On the contrary, from day one they resorted to epithets and insults, and quickly to systematic lying. The culture of the lie is endemic to all such technocratic endeavor.)
Credentialed “scientists” and other cadres are especially shameless and aggressive in their lies, and they provide the lies which then are widely deployed in the mainstream media and by politicians and other publicists. The Cornell Alliance for Science is dedicated to this propaganda mission, receiving the lies from the corporations and re-packaging them as “scientific” truth. Thus they’re now distilling the political abstracts from the industry’s own fraudulent feeding trials and will make their most aggressive attempt to claim these were food safety tests in the first place, and that these tests have found GMOs to be safe.
Thus the Cornell Alliance for Science, with full conscious malice aforethought, will tell the people that dangerous poison is safe to eat. This is the act of a gang of insidious murderers. Humanity must hold them to account.

March 31, 2017

The Role of GM Trees


Belgium’s Field Liberation Movement (FLM) has released a video opposing the latest Belgian field trial of GM poplar trees engineered for ready processing into biofuels. See here for more on the concept of biofuel-ready GMOs. The FLM is best known internationally for its 2011 action against an illegal field trial of GM potatoes, and the Belgian government’s subsequent, much-condemned attempt to prosecute these participatory citizens as a criminal organization. This was a typical example of the corporate gangsters calling the kettle black.
GM trees are easy to understand. Their purpose is the same as the purpose of corporate agriculture in general, albeit in a specially radical way, and they’re designed and deployed toward the same goals.
1. The goals of GM tree plantations are to drive deforestation, destroy ecosystems, and drive the people off the land. The goal is to destroy all human cultural diversity and wild biodiversity.
2. The goal is to destroy all diversity and impose social and environmental monoculture. The goal is to replace humanity and the Earth with a monocultural dead zone.
3. Corporations and governments do this for the sake of power. They and the scientism cult work to generate the monocultural dead zone for its own sake, on religious/ideological principle, and because monoculture, physically and culturally, always helps concentrate power and wealth.
4. For public consumption, this is for the sake of the propaganda idea of sustaining the extreme energy consumption mode of civilization and of doing so while finding solutions to climate change and environmental destruction.
Of course this always is only the idea of these, never the reality, always the contrary. Nothing can replace fossil fuels to enable the continuation of modernity’s extreme energy consumption, nor can such consumption be done in a way which doesn’t radically aggravate climate change and every other environmental crisis.
Biofuels are among the worst criminal frauds in both ways: Like other so-called “alternative” energy sources they depend completely on the foundation of fossil fuels; they’re less efficient than fossil fuels as energy sources; and they’re even worse greenhouse gas emitters and destroyers of carbon sinks. Meanwhile they function effectively to destroy agricultural land and food production by taking this land out of food production and consigning it to this purely worthless, destructive purpose. Biofuel-ready GM trees aggravate deforestation and climate chaos in the name of mitigating them. Other types of GM trees serve similar criminal purposes.
All GMOs are hoaxes and frauds in these same ways, in addition to their many other evils. GM tree plantations, which add a great escalation of the direct destruction of forests to the direct and indirect deforestation driven overwhelmingly by corporate industrial agriculture, comprise a new level of criminal destruction and evil being premeditated and carried out by those responsible, from the engineers to the media propagandists.
GM agriculture, and corporate industrial agriculture, offer nothing to humanity and the Earth but social and economic destruction, environmental destruction, famine, pandemics, war, and death. It’s clear that here is no way forward, only the deadest of dead ends.
The only way forward to survival, transcendence, and victory is the return home to the Earth. The broad highway home is the necessary global transformation to agroecology and Food Sovereignty. We must turn the clock forward.

March 23, 2017

Case Study: The Politics and Anti-Science of GM Potatoes


Every valley shall be techno-salted. Every field shall be a simultaneous bio-warfare lab and deployment.

Britain’s Sainsbury Laboratory, a typical publicly funded corporate research division, continues its program to develop inferior, dangerous, highly expensive “hi-tech” GM potatoes as a substitute for already existing non-GM potatoes which are much less expensive and superior in every way. Why would anyone want to do something so pointless and stupid? As with every other GMO and the GM endeavor as such, the only reasons are religious cultism and corporate power.
Sainsbury has applied to British regulators for permission for an open-air field trial. Field trial applications always are flimsy where it comes to substantive information, since both corporate applicant and pro-corporate regulator are in the business of making the project go forward with only the minimum politically necessary fake “regulation” to hinder it along the way.
For example, a field trial application usually includes rudimentary information on the genetic composition of the original laboratory-cultured GM crop. This information is at best irrelevant to real-world conditions, and usually fraudulent even on its own terms. But this charade allows the corporate applicant and the regulator to claim to the public that the GMO has been tested and assessed for safety.
The current Sainsbury application is attempting an innovation on this fraudulent process. They haven’t performed even the fake analysis, and indeed “most of the transgenic plants described in this application are currently in the transformation pipeline”, meaning that they don’t yet exist even in the laboratory stage.
Vegetatively propagated direct-food GMOs like potatoes are the most dangerous because 1. They’re direct food or just minimally processed, which means genetically modified and other mutated genetic fragments will be least broken down during processing; 2. Since they’re clones they carry along unexpurgated all the mutations of the entire genetic engineering process. (As opposed to crops like maize where the original genetically engineered plants then may have been back-crossed with another variety, and therefore may have had some of the mutations bred out of them. Not so for cloned potatoes.) Plus, industrial potatoes are among the most pesticide-laden crops.
That’s one of the reasons why an accurate genetic analysis would be even more critically necessary for GM potatoes than for most other GMOs. In fact we know that all GMO genomes are riddled with mutations from the engineering process. Even the few independent analyses have only begun to catalog the extent of the genetic chaos. What they’ve proven clearly is that GMOs comprise an extremely hazardous flouting of evolutionary safeguards and that by forcing GMOs into the food supply, governments and corporations are performing a massive, nonconsensual feeding experiment upon all of us. The US government and the GM corporations believe that GMOs are poisonous and will harm human health. If they didn’t believe this they would have performed legitimate safety tests from the outset. They always have refused to do this, and always have lied about it. This proves that they believe the product is highly dangerous. Since they felt it was politically impossible to perform real food safety science, they’ve instead embarked upon this massive human feeding experiment to find out the extent of the harm. They figure by the time the results are in, corporate control of food and agriculture will be total, and it will be too late for humanity to do anything about its biological poisoning and servitude. The experiment’s results then will help technocracy design a more truly scientific genetic engineering program toward eugenic goals. That’s the way in which agricultural GMOs are a stalking horse for eventual GE-based human eugenics.
Sainsbury’s application for an as yet nonexistent product, and its invitation to the regulator to assure the public of the safety of this thing which doesn’t yet exist, is the best commentary on the fact that everything the corporate system tells us about GMOs, in addition to being always a lie, is always a pure fabrication. The corporations and governments tout nothing but the idea of “GMOs” as such, while in reality the actual GM crops always have comprised a poorly-designed, shoddy, backward, failure-prone product.
This is also the best commentary on the fact that field trials have no scientific basis or purpose, but rather are propaganda exercises. They propagate the fraud that GMOs are tested for environmental safety and agronomic performance when the tests are designed to give no meaningful information on either of these, just as corporate feeding trials test nothing but industrial parameters irrelevant to food safety.
Therefore field trials are designed to serve as propaganda vehicles. They’re meant to normalize the GMO ideology as such and to impress upon the people the sense of the alleged ubiquity and necessity of GMOs and the alleged inevitability of GMO domination.
Typically a high-profile field trial combines the “positive” side of the propaganda – how great the product is, why it’s necessary, how it’s going to save the world – with the negative side meant to reinforce the sense that GMOs are omnipresent, unstoppable, and that there’s no alternative but to surrender to them. As with all such propaganda, this has the dual purpose of reinforcing cult worship as well as the intimidation of opponents.
We see how GM field trials serve as a stage of the GMO propaganda process just as they comprise a stage of the GM crop development process. This parallel is poetically appropriate since GMOs as such serve only fictive purposes, including an overall propaganda function. Their ultimate purposes – profit, power, control – have nothing to do with natural reality, but only with the totalitarian will to obliterate existing reality and replace it with a malign, ideologically determined reality. And thus it’s also appropriate, and was always inevitable, that all of the real-world effects of GMOs – environmental, health, agronomic, economic – are purely destructive.
As with every GMO case, to say again, there already exist much better, safer, less expensive non-GM potato varieties for all the traits touted for the high-maintenance product. We call this the Law of the Inferiority of GMOs, and it is a law because there are no exceptions to it. GMOs invariably are worse performing, more dangerous, and far more expensive than already existing non-GM varieties. (The link is to my piece on Simplot’s GM potatoes; the same criticisms and disproofs apply even more firmly in this case.) As always, GMOs have zero purpose but to reinforce corporate industrial prerogatives and to serve as propaganda for the cult of technocracy as such.
In the final analysis that’s all that GMOs are about: Whether one is to be an anti-science, flat-earth cultist of technocracy, or whether one chooses to embrace reality. Technocracy is already a proven failure according to all its claims, and the inevitable final, complete collapse of hi-tech industrial agriculture shall be its final and worst failure. The GM cult is designed to induce and force humanity to remain shackled to this sinking ship until we’re all engulfed by famine. That’s what the GMO regime is designed to do, nothing more or less.
We know the true and only way forward, the way of health, vibrancy, and abundance: Agroecology, a fully demonstrated science and set of practices ready for full global deployment, needing nothing but the fully renewable resources we already have, thus needing only the commitment and will to do it.
Help propagate the new and necessary ideas.

March 6, 2017

The Corporate Science Paradigm and STEM’s Culture of the Lie: NAS Example

Filed under: GMO Corporate State, GMO Hoaxes, Mainstream Media, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: — Russ @ 1:08 pm


The NAS demonstrates several ways.

The National Academy of Science consciously, willfully, deliberately lied about what, from the point of view of the mythology of “scientific method”, is the conflicts of interest of panelists in the body’s 2016 review of the record of GMOs. That’s in addition to the many substantive lies it told about this fraudulent, failed technology.
But this, and the open corporate funding for the group’s propaganda campaign touting the report, demonstrates the real state of science under the corporate science paradigm. Today’s scientific establishment believes, in the most literal sense of these words, that corporate profiteering interests are in fact part of science. The scientific establishment truly believes that scientific method rightly includes taking into account how a line of research can be monetized by corporations, and how the results of research can affect corporate profits. This is the ideology of the NAS, it’s the ideology of all regulatory agencies, it’s the ideology of most or all university science departments, and it’s the ideology of science writers in the mainstream media.
This doesn’t change the fact that the NAS consciously, willfully lied about what it knows is considered by almost all non-STEM people to be conflicts of interest, even though the NAS itself considers such a corporate-science combined organism to be normative.

March 3, 2017

The “Drought” Lie, Amid Power Struggles in Kenya


Set up to die of thirst

Set up to die of thirst

GMO field trials are part of a power struggle among Kenyan officials. The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) gave the Kenyan Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) the go-ahead for open-air field trials of GM maize. These are publicly funded organizations which perform corporate research on the taxpayer dollar, with the product then privatized at the juncture most profitable for the corporations. The AATF is funded by the Gates Foundation, Cornell University, and USAID. The first two of these specialize in transforming public money into corporate welfare. USAID is a de jure government body explicitly dedicated to capitalist goals.
Health and environmental officials have blocked the approval on the grounds that Kenya’s existing ban on GM imports applies to field trials within the country as well. Evidently they have enough clout to force a deadlock. I’m not well enough versed in internal Kenyan politics to know the underlying issues of the power struggle, but our default always is to assume no government official has any principled objection to any GMO deployment. Our attitude toward any such delay must be to do what we can to encourage and support it but never to regress to any faith-based view of government.
The US government will be displeased. The US has been pressing Kenya to commit to the GMO campaign for many years, since the inception of its “New Alliance” plan for a “second Green Revolution in Africa”. This is a typical US-fomented “color” revolution indeed. (The “green” revolution was so-named in the 1960s in contradistinction to “red” rhetoric. It’s a Cold War propaganda term.)
(I stress, the US government, which remains the same no matter which criminal heads it up. Many people seem especially confused about that these days. But in 2009 the Obama/Clinton state department, in one of its first memos to department personnel defining the new administration’s priorities, included using US muscle to force “Government acceptance of genetically modified food and propagation of genetically modified crops” at the top of its list of the attacks it planned in Africa.)
The article says Kenya has been importing maize from Mexico and Ukraine “because of drought.” Maize yields in Kenya have been halved “because of drought.”
This is standard deceptive framing. “Drought” almost always is an artificial problem. Drought happens when a society deploys modes of cultivation and grows crop varieties which aren’t well-suited to the rainfall conditions of the region. Historically, drought was seldom a problem for traditional agriculture, and today it’s seldom a problem for agroecology, for these are designed to be diverse and resilient in the event of dry seasons. It’s only industrial commodity monoculture which is designed to be highly vulnerable to drought.
What’s more, today’s increasingly volatile rainfall patterns and periods of low rainfall are features of the climate chaos being driven most of all by that same industrial agriculture. This sector is the worst greenhouse gas emitter and by far the worst destroyer of carbon sinks.
In both these ways “drought” is a man-made, intentional crisis. And as we see here, in classic exploitation manner the drought which is driven intentionally by corporate agriculture then is used as a propaganda pretext on behalf of GMOs. These would only escalate the crisis since GMOs do nothing but escalate every pathology of corporate industrial agriculture. GMOs require even more water and synthetic fertilizer (the primary source of nitrous oxide emissions, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) than non-GM crops.
The solution to all these artificially and intentionally generated problems – food insecurity, drought, climate chaos, hunger – is one and the same solution, and it is the only solution. Humanity must abolish corporate agriculture and transform its food production to agroecology. Even amid such a hostile political environment agroecology is accomplishing great things already in Africa. Agroecology is a fully demonstrated science and set of practices and is ready today for full global deployment, wherever humanity has the wisdom and will to do it.
Meanwhile everyone knows the quote: Insanity/stupidity/evil is doing the same thing over and over while expecting/claiming to expect a different result. Nowhere is this more true than with GMOs.
Please propagate these pieces.

March 2, 2017

The Scourge of Bt Cotton


Humanity’s struggle against corporate agriculture, especially in the form of GMOs, becomes increasingly fierce around the world. One of the most critical and infamous battlegrounds is India. Here, Bt cotton is the locus of the struggle over commodification, the agronomic performance and socioeconomic character of GMOs, and this false crop’s role in history’s greatest suicide epidemic. It failed immediately for the small farmers of India and Africa. More recently it failed for the better-equipped farmers of the South. It soon will fail completely for all cotton farmers everywhere. India’s ongoing sea change against Bt cotton and against commodity cotton in general is only the tip of the iceberg. The consensus is changing. This most typical of GMOs is nearing the end of its time as a marketable product and useful propaganda item.
Bt cotton is one of the most notorious examples of how GMOs and the propaganda campaigns that tout them comprise a massive hoax and fraud on farmers and society. India’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture found in its 2012 report that “After the euphoria of a few initial years, Bt cotton cultivation has only added to the miseries of small and marginal farmers”. In 2014 this committee followed up with the finding that government claims of rising cotton farm income are false. Only debt and risks have risen, giving “ample proof to show that the miseries of farmers have compounded since the time they started cultivating Bt cotton”.
GMOs are a rich man’s technology. This is true of the corporations which control and distribute them, tightening their control of agriculture and food. It’s true for the farmers themselves. The only way GMOs may work temporarily as advertised is in the context of high-input industrial agriculture. GMOs require lavish external inputs and best case scenarios. They need to be supplemented heavily with irrigation, synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and mechanization. GMO seed sellers are also sellers of agricultural poisons such as herbicides and insecticides. The corporate goal always is to maximize both seed revenue and poison sales. That’s what GMOs are designed to do. They’re very costly to grow and require either huge cash reserves or that farmers go into debt. Only rich growers who can afford these expensive inputs can have any hope of getting GM crops to perform in the field as advertised so they can turn a profit on these very expensive crops. That’s why GMOs are an abject failure everywhere they’re not propped up with massive government subsidies.
In spite of these facts, corporations and governments consistently have targeted small farmers for GMO marketing. These farmers, who comprise the great majority of food producers worldwide, lack the resources to get the crop to grow as advertised or to render it economically viable. Across the global South the pattern has always been the same. Corporations and government launch a propaganda blitz targeting small farmers, promising high returns and threatening with economic extinction those who are slow to adopt the technology. The marketing campaigns promise lower pesticide costs, more effective pesticide coverage, and higher yields and revenues. Governments promise subsidies and generous credit. Lacking independent sources of information, often following local leaders in the pay of the cartel, small farmers buy the GM seeds. The GMO corporations use every tactic, from buying seed companies to imposing contracts on seed growers and sellers to having governments offer temporary subsidies to having “unapproved” seeds outlawed, in order to drive non-GM alternatives out of the market.
The farmer pays far more for this seed with its added “technology tax”. He quickly finds he must increase fertilizer application. Pesticide savings never materialize. He must go into debt to procure the expensive inputs he now needs. His farming dependent on rainfall, he learns too late that the Bt crop needs artificial irrigation to get enough water. Pests and diseases ravage the GMO crop in a way they hadn’t with conventional crops. The harvest is poor. Meanwhile the same corporate system is dumping globalized commodity crops on the market. The harvest price plummets. The farmer is wiped out. He’s driven off his land and into a shantytown. In India, he may kill himself by drinking his own pesticide. This individual tragedy is multiplied over hundreds of thousands, millions of small farmers. These millions are economically destroyed, forcibly subject to a mass expulsion from the land, one-way tickets to the terminal slums thrust into their worn hands. These slums have sprawled out from the fringes of the Southern cities in proportion to the intensifying death grip of corporate agriculture, their inmates the cast-off human destruction of this corporate assault.
This pattern has been unbroken wherever corporate agriculture has gone. Wherever commodity cropping has prevailed its primary effect has been to destroy community farmers and drive the people off their land. GMOs reinforce and intensify every pathology of corporate industrial agriculture and especially are evil in how they aggravate this social carnage. Today the goal of corporations and governments in pushing GMOs upon small farmers is to squeeze them for every cent possible, then drive them out. For small farmers and for society as a whole, GMOs are history’s most monumental socioeconomic fraud. That’s why the 2009 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development (IAASTD) rejected GMOs as unable to play any constructive role in the future of farming and food.
Bt cotton is the best-documented example of this pattern of fraud, failure, and human destruction. In India a human drama unequaled in history has been playing out, with millions of small farmers under economic assault by globalized agriculture. They’ve been viciously duped by Monsanto and the Indian government. They’ve been subject to a “ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops”. The story begins in the mid 1990s. Under economic pressure and in thrall to commodification propaganda, small cotton farmers began switching from their traditional diversified polycultural practices, which included intercropping with food and other crops for personal use and local sale, to monoculture based on hybrid varieties and destined for global markets. This first put them on the treadmill of rising input costs, pesticide use, and debt. According to government data, 75% of rural debt in India is from the need to purchase farming inputs. The seed dealers themselves double as moneylenders at usurious rates, thus repeating the 19th century American tragedy of impoverished sharecroppers and “the man”. The suicide epidemic is caused by this vicious circle. In Maharashtra state, ground zero of the epidemic, 2.8 million of 3.6 million farmers were in debt in 2006.
Hybrid varieties are highly vulnerable to insect pests. Each year farmers had to invest more borrowed money, time, sweat, and anguish into applying an ever more prodigious and complex mix of poisons. As if their situation wasn’t parlous enough, in 2001 the US radically stepped up the dumping of its own heavily subsidized cotton on the Indian market, causing the price to collapse. For all its cotton production, third in the world, India became a cotton importer on account of the low global price. India’s small cotton farmers were desperate.
This was the context for the commercialization of Bt cotton. It was first grown illegally in the Gujarat province starting in the late 1990s, then launched legally across the whole cotton belt in 2002. The first legal varieties were a joint project of Monsanto and its Indian subsidiary Mahyco. Farmers, trapped on the treadmill paying ever more for pesticides that worked ever more poorly, were desperate for a solution. It’s no surprise that they ardently listened when the massive Mahyco advertising blitz, bolstered with bullish government and media testimonials, promised them a Bt panacea. Bt cotton came from “magic seeds” which would solve all their problems and give them a prolific, profitable crop. It would rout pests once and for all, cost less to grow, yield better, and gross more at harvest time. Bollywood stars toured the countryside exhorting farmers to get on board. The government promised support and lenient credit.
Small farmers faced this marketing offensive with few independent sources of information. “There are no independent expert agencies in this country”, according to a 2014 panel report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. There’s practically no one but industry and its government flunkeys to advise farmers. Because of this, the adoption of Bt cotton has had little to do with knowledge and experimentation but was mostly a social response. In a time of agricultural deskilling and economic uncertainty, farmers fell back on following a leader or following their neighbors. This environment was rich to be manipulated by Monsanto/Mahyco’s propaganda blitz.
Most Indian cotton farmers heard about Bt cotton through word of mouth, from neighbors who had been tapped by Mahyco to serve as proselytizers, or from advertising coordinated by seed dealers. In Maharashtra 79% of farmers said they’d heard of it from seed dealers. These Mahyco-licensed dealers are often also peddlers of the expensive inputs needed as accessories to Bt crops and loansharks offering the credit needed to buy this expensive apparatus.
This information problem is aggravated by the fact that Bt seeds have been highly unreliable in germination, Bt expression, and yield. This again is a function of how lavishly expensive external inputs are applied, but is also inherent to the shoddy GMO seed itself. If small farmers who are unable financially to deploy the whole input apparatus follow the lead of a local bigshot who can afford it, or believe the lies of government and industry, this is a recipe for economic self-destruction.
Throughout its history the private seed business has been about nothing but marketing, trivial “product differentiation” which even the National Academy of Sciences derided as “pseudo-varieties” representing no kind of actual improvement, destroying farmer choice through enforcing monopoly, and fiercely resisting attempts to enforce transparency and quality control. Jack Kloppenburg’s First the Seed gives an excellent historical account. Just from this historical record it was easily predictable that GMO seeds would comprise a shoddy, fraudulent product. This prediction has been borne out. Bt cotton may be the best case study of how high maintenance GM crops are, how they require a vast, exorbitantly expensive apparatus of inputs and optimal conditions in order to work as advertised, and therefore how inappropriate they are for small farmers. GMO agriculture and smallholder agriculture are antithetical and cannot “co-exist”, to use the GM cartel’s favored propaganda term. Any assertion or advertisement to the contrary is perpetrating a hoax and a fraud. It’s a Nuremburg level crime. As is Monsanto’s aggressive campaign to impose a near-monopoly on cotton seed in India.
The lies were aggressive and virulent from the start and remain so to this day. “Bollgard protects you! Less spraying, more profit! Bollgard cotton seed: the power to conquer insects!”, blared an early poster. “Our products provide constant and significant benefits to both large- and small-holder growers. In many cases farmers are able to grow higher quality and better-yielding crops.” That’s from Monsanto’s “Pledge Report” for 2006, which was the exact time it was rolling out Bollgard II with two Bt toxins. This was in response to the collapse of the original Bollgard on account of bollworm resistance to its single toxin. Clearly the only “constants” are the ever-escalating pesticide treadmill, the ever-rising Tower of Babel as GMOs have to incorporate more and more stacked poisons, and Monsanto’s revenue from this business model of captive markets and planned obsolescence. The other constants are the vicious circles of farmer struggles, debt, misery, exodus from the land and into slums, and suicide. And the lies march on, as the Advertising Standards Council found when it recently flagged Monsanto-Mahyco’s campaign for falsely claiming “Bollgard boosts Indian cotton farmers’ income by over Rs.31,500 crores” (over 315 billion rupees, which is around $4.725 billion as I’m writing this but was much more at the time).
Taking advantage of Indian cotton farmers’ parlous economic circumstance and their lack of information, the propaganda campaigns worked. In spite of the unprecedented high price of the seeds, farmers began planting Bt cotton. By the time they realized the debt and monopoly trap they were in, it was too late. The result has been a disaster.
We’ll survey in detail the real world performance of Bt cotton in India. This is in contrast to the “studies” of Monsanto flacks like Matin Qaim, much touted in the corporate media. Qaim, who barely set foot outside the Mahyco greenhouses and field test sites during his few visits to India (he’s based in Germany), simply propagates corporate-asserted numbers based on secret data from the corporate trials. There’s no reason to trust these numbers in the first place, and even if they were true they’d be valid only for the ivory tower conditions of the trial sites. Either way these figures have zero validity for real world agriculture of any sort, let alone that practiced by small farmers. Yet this person is the main “scientific” source for the corporate media and pro-GMO activists everywhere. Since we can assume Monsanto provides the best flackery it can, in dismissing Qaim we can dismiss the entire pro-Bt “side of the story” as fraudulent and invalid. Now let’s move on to what reality testifies.
*In reality Bt cotton never improved yields. Data compiled by government and trade groups tells a stark story: The great bulk of the yield increase (measured by nationwide average kilograms per hectare) of the commodity cotton era in India occurred from the 2000-01 to the 2004-05 seasons, at which point only 5.6% of cotton acreage was planted to Bt varieties. During the Bt acreage surge from 2005-06 (18% of cotton acreage) to 2008-09 (84%) yield increased only a slight amount, then stagnated and declined. In the ensuing years as Bt acreage crept up above 90%, yields have declined. Overall, yield increased 70% from 2000-01 to 2004-05 when Bt acreage was negligible, and increased only 2% from 2005-06 to 2011-12, with a decline since the 2007-08 peak.
This proves that the entire increase was from other causes and had nothing to do with the GMO. The real cotton yield surge came from the switch from traditional polyculture-based cotton farming to hybrid monoculture deploying massive, expensive inputs – irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides. This is only monocultural yield, not food for people or farmer income. “Yield” by itself is a crackpot measure with no inherent meaning. It can have meaning only within some socioeconomic, political, or environmental context.
In fact almost the entire yield increase came from improvements in conventional hybrids and expanded irrigation. As for pesticides, Keshav Kranthi of the Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) scoffs at the notion that Bt crops can hold their own. On the contrary, he attributes the viability of any kind of hybrid cotton, Bt or conventional, versus a wide range of what from the Bt point of view are secondary pests (Bt cotton’s target pest is the bollworm; secondary pests include whiteflies, jassids/leafhoppers, mealy bugs, mirid bugs, thrips, stink bugs, and many others), to the standard seed treatment with the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. This too is a deadly poison we need to abolish, and jassids increasingly are resistant to it. Therefore, to the extent poisons contribute to yield at all, this non-GM poison is far more important than genetically engineered Bt. The great increase in the years of low Bt acreage and stagnation of the years of Bt domination prove that this GMO offers no yield benefit whatsoever and is actually inferior to conventional cotton hybrids.
These numbers, damning as they are, actually exaggerate GMO performance since they’re skewed by the relatively better results from Gujarat state. Gujarat is an outlier in that its agriculture is dominated by fewer, bigger, richer farmers than is typical in other states. Gujarat is far better served by irrigation projects and fertilizer subsidies. Its more capital-rich farmers can better afford the expensive inputs Bt cotton requires. The better Bt cotton production in this state therefore confirms the thesis that GMOs work only for rich growers who can afford lavish outlays for irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides. Take Gujarat out of the equation and Bt’s performance for small farmers across the cotton belt has been dismal and worsening.
Besides its overall poor yield, Bt cotton (and Bt crops in general, everywhere on earth) has performed in an extremely variable way. There have been several regional crop failures, most recently in Karnataka in 2014. In general the national and state averages obscure extreme local variability. As a rule, how the GM crop will perform is a crapshoot and will vary from farmer to farmer. Seed quality is often poor and Bt expression in the crop is highly variable. Is this caused by the chaotically modified genetics, by agronomic factors like watering levels or soil quality, by environmental factors like temperature? Who knows? No government or corporation has ever studied this in Bt cotton. Not Monsanto, not the US government, not the Indian government, no one. An independent study of Bt expression in GM maize, however, found great variation depending on climatic conditions. We see how climate chaos driven by the corporate system is intended to maximize the chaos of all aspects of agriculture, right down to the performance of the corporate flagship product.
At the farm level, Bt cotton intrinsically yields less than conventional hybrids. Given high inputs it may have better operational yield for the first few years until the bollworms develop resistance. Given the low inputs which comprise the limit for indebted small farmers, Bt always yields much less, along with many acute failures. Yields have always been far less, often by more than half, than what Monsanto’s advertising promised. Poor yields continue to this day. The meager overall numbers conceal a vast number of individual tragedies.
For the individual farmer, growing Bt cotton is like “playing Russian roulette in order to get out of poverty”, as Nassim Taleb put it regarding civilization and GMOs as a whole.
*Here’s a good place to add a critical point. While the individual small farmer crushed by commodity agriculture is often impoverished, the opposite is true of agriculture as a whole. Here we’re talking about cotton, which isn’t directly a food although the seeds are pressed into oil which is used in processed foods. Nevertheless in any discussion of GMO yields we must always stress the fact that industrial agriculture produces far more than enough food for everyone on earth today, and more than enough even for the highest future population projections. The fact is that there’s zero problem with the quantity of food produced, today or at any time in the future for as long as industrial agriculture persists. (It won’t for much longer. Humanity must transform to agroecology and food sovereignty if we want to continue eating.) Therefore there’s zero need to increase yields in order to “feed the world”. Feed the World is a classical Big Lie. The world currently produces enough food for 10 billion people, yet of the 7 billion here, one billion go hungry (and another 2 billion suffer from dietary diseases such as malnutrition or obesity, often both at the same time). This is caused purely by pathological economic and political systems for maldistributing the cornucopia we have. For example, India has vast food stocks, indeed it allows vast amounts of stockpiled food to rot, yet 250 million go hungry. The problem, today and tomorrow, is 100% from corporate maldistribution, 0% from insufficient production. It’ll be a great leap forward for civilization when we can completely purge the “Feed the World” notion from rational and moral discussion as the criminal Big Lie it is.
*Perhaps the core lie Monsanto-Mahyco and the Indian government told cotton farmers is that Bt cotton is suitable for rainfed cultivation. In reality Bt cotton is dependent upon artificial irrigation. In fact Bt cotton requires as much as twice the water needed by conventional hybrids and cannot be effectively grown without expensive artificial irrigation. The vast majority (70%) of India’s farmers depend completely upon rainfall. In Karnataka state where yields collapsed in 2014, most cotton cultivation is rainfed. Gujarat is the exception again, reversing the proportions of irrigated (65%) and rainfed (35%) farms. Here the irrigated area has accounted for 84% of the state’s cotton production, 689 lint kg/ha, while the rainfed area produces only 247 kg/ha. That’s a typical yield difference between Bt cotton grown with irrigation vs. rainfall.
To try to sell Bt cotton, or any GMO, to a rain-dependent farmer is criminal fraud. Investigative journalist PJ Sainath went further – “promoting [Bt cotton] in a dry and unirrigated area like Vidarbha [ground zero for the cotton farmer suicide epidemic] was murderous. It was stupid. It was killing.”
*Another core lie is that the Bt technology can be a permanent panacea against insect pests. On the contrary, Monsanto knew from the start that pests would develop resistance to any Bt toxin just as they do with any other pesticide. This is elementary knowledge of how evolution works. Monsanto built the planned obsolescence of each GMO variety and its being superceded by ever more complex and expensive “stacked” varieties into its business strategy. They called this marketing plan “expanded trait penetration”. But in the early 2000s Monsanto was promising the opposite, that single trait Bt cotton would maintain its potency versus the bollworm indefinitely.
Farmers who believed the lies were quickly disabused. Overall there was never a real decline in pesticide use in Indian cotton farming. Indeed, nationally pesticide use went up 10% during the peak years of Bt expansion. This was despite the increased use of lower-volume, higher-toxicity poisons during these years. In some regions Bt may have used less pesticide than conventional hybrids for the first few years, with a difference range from minuscule to significant. It’s a function of how much water and fertilizer the crop gets. (As always, every possible agronomic benefit of a GMO is dependent upon lavish and expensive artificial inputs. To spend less on pesticides you need to spend more on water and fertilizer.) Any temporary relief also depends upon high-quality trait expression. But many varieties are inconsistent, shoddy, or just fraudulent. There’s never a lasting decline. After four years at most the pesticide use and cost equals out. A few more years and Bt cotton needs more applied pesticides than non-GM conventional cotton. In terms of aggregate poison use and environmental and health hazards all the numbers comprise a false accounting because they don’t account for the Bt endotoxins themselves. But these too are pesticides and must be counted as such.
Meanwhile all commodity cotton, even Bt cotton, always needs sprayed and seed-treated pesticide since cotton is attacked by the widest array of insect types. In the case of anti-bollworm Bt cotton, secondary pests quickly move in to fill any temporary void left where the Bt toxin has temporarily killed the target pest. As I mentioned above, according to the CICR’s Kranthi without neonic seed treatments Bt cotton would be routed by whiteflies, jassids, mirids, aphids, thrips, and many others. As Monsanto’s own propaganda often emphasized, Bt adoption has to be put in the context of the failure of earlier pesticides. Since the same companies propagate both kinds of poisons, applied and GMO endemic, it’s obvious that the poison treadmill culminating in stacked Bt poisons is planned obsolescence, a form of disaster capitalism.
In some cases the Bt cotton never worked against the target bollworms at all. In every case bollworms developed resistance within a few years. In 2006 Monsanto introduced Bollgard II containing two Bt toxins, the original Cry1AC plus Cry2AB, thus admitting that the original Bollgard no longer worked. Bollworms have since developed resistance to Cry2AB. This is standard for the GMO pesticide treadmill.
The result of all this has been that farmers found any reduced-pesticide dividend to be minimal and temporary at best. While pesticide use and cost may have declined by a small amount at first, within a few years these were back to pre-Bt levels. Today Bt cotton farmers have to spend more on pesticides than farmers growing non-GM conventional hybrids. And to correct the false accounting again, the great expense of Bt seeds has to be entered as a pesticide cost, since farmers are purchasing the Bt endotoxins the crops allegedly will produce.
This ongoing pesticide disaster of insurgent secondary pests, resistant target pests, and soaring pesticide use and costs has reached new levels of infamy since 2015, as Bollgard II is collapsing in the face of resistant bollworms even as secondary whiteflies decimate the crop in many states. There’s a rising consensus among Indian farmers, agronomists, and even officials that the Bt cotton experiment has been a disaster India needs to purge.
*As Monsanto flooded the market with its seeds it pressured seed growers and sellers to stop producing and offering non-GM seeds. Monsanto calls this tactic “seed replacement”. Once enough farmers had adopted Bt cotton and GM seeds had attained a dominant market position Monsanto jacked up the price to astronomical levels. Here too there has been great variation over time and across regions, but distilling from many sources tells us that seed prices soared to 2-10 times as much as the price of non-GM hybrids. Prices have run from 700-2000 rupees per packet. For contrast, the original Desi varieties cost 5-10 rupees a packet. The bulk of this price explosion is Monsanto’s technology tax. By one estimate, by spring 2014 Monsanto had extracted 5000 crore in taxes (50 billion rupees; c. $810 million in contemporary dollars) from Indian cotton farmers. Imagine what this wealth could have accomplished if Indian society had invested in agroecological food production instead of throwing it down a corporate commodification rathole.
This extremely high priced seed input and accompanying tax is unique to the GMO varieties and therefore piles a new burden on the backs of already beleaguered farmers.
Various Indian state governments and some central government officials have made half-hearted attempts to relieve the crisis. In 2005 the government of Andhra Pradesh banned three Monsanto-Mahyco varieties for poor performance and sought in vain to force Mahyco to compensate farmers. In 2006 the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) issued an anti-monopoly pricing order against Monsanto-Mahyco, which Mahyco has done all it can to flout. The central government in 2008 as well as the state governments of Maharashtra in 2008, Maharashtra again in 2011 and 2012, and Karnataka in 2014 undertook regional farmer bailouts in response to atrocious Bt performance and crop failures. At various times Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have banned Mahyco seeds for bad performance and fraudulent sales practices. But these ad hoc, piecemeal measures have been utterly insufficient. In 2016, even as Karnataka geared up for its second farmer bailout, the Indian central government ordered price caps on cotton seed and the tax Monsanto imposes on the seeds. The government also threatened to revoke the Monsanto’s Bollgard II patent on the grounds that the product is a failure and a fraud.
The result of these escalating input costs has been that Bt cotton is considerably more expensive to grow than non-GM hybrids. At the same time cotton prices forcibly have been depressed and kept low by US dumping of heavily subsidized cotton. The result is that even for the best-equipped farms, Bt cotton’s profit margin is razor-thin, worse than for non-GM conventional. For small farmers, it’s a wipeout. It’s near impossible for them to do anything but lose even more and sink deeper into debt each year.
As all this has been going on India’s conventional agricultural credit structure, based on nationalized banks and lenient payment terms (obviously the right way for society to handle its food producers if it’s to force them to incur debt at all, which of course it should not), has been gutted by the same globalization process which has driven first monoculture hybrid commodification and then Bt commercialization. As a result farmers have been forced to turn to usurious “microlenders” and the seed and poison dealers themselves who often double as loansharks. This sinks them even deeper in the quicksand.
Around the world this pattern has held everywhere, from the richest countries like the US and Australia (both suffered yield declines and subsequent reduced Bt plantings during the drought of 2013) to Asia to Latin America. In Argentina the same pattern of partial but fleeting success for wealthy growers, failure and bankruptcy for small farmers, prevailed. The Colombian government fined Monsanto for the awful performance of its Bt cotton seeds. It was the same story: for small farmers Bt cotton didn’t perform well against pests, didn’t reduce pesticide use or costs, yielded poorly.
Returning to Asia, Chinese production, long afflicted by the secondary mirid bug, is suffering from surging bollworm resistance. Chinese problems with Bt cotton aren’t new. A 2006 Chinese/Cornell study already documented the standard pattern: Seven years of Chinese Bt cotton cultivation had seen a temporary decline in pesticide use and rise in income, then the surge of secondary pests drove farmers back to spraying as much as 20 times a year. Soon they were paying more for pesticides and making less money than non-GM conventional farmers. In Pakistan pesticide use and costs are rising steeply on account of the rampant fraud and the generally dismal performance of the seeds against pests. In Africa’s Burkino Faso farmer success or failure with Bt cotton has been a function of farmer access to credit on rational terms and the ability of farmers to pay for expensive inputs.
African cotton farmers, like the small farmers of India, are especially devastated by US dumping of its heavily subsidized cotton. The same US government which touts GMOs around the world as a great bet for small farmers is ruthlessly dumping its corporate welfare crops on the heads of those same farmers like hot coals. China and the EU also subsidize cotton.
Second to the Indian debacle, the most infamous Bt cotton rollout was the abortive deployment in the Makhathini Flats region of South Africa from the latter 1990s to 2005. In Makhathini, the neoliberal government deployed the same kind of propaganda campaign, promised loans and subsidies, told the same high-flying lies. This propaganda was directed at the international community and world media at least as much as at Makhathini’s farmers. (The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization bit. Its 2004 State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report swallowed the lies whole and has been a favorite citation of corporate and media flacks to this day.) The seed cartel enlisted local leaders to attest to the alleged benefits of Bt cotton. Economically beleaguered small farmers responded by adopting the Bt technology with the same result as in India – increased costs, crop failure, the poison treadmill, the debt trap, ending in their being driven off the land. Some were able to stick around as laborers on land they’d once stewarded. Most survivors abandoned cotton completely. By the late 1990s over 90% of Makhathini cotton farmers had adopted Bt varieties. By 2004 drought (lack of irrigation), pesticide costs (secondary pests and then target resistance), depressed cotton prices (US dumping), and impossible debt had caused most farmers to abandon cotton completely.
The worldwide evidence record of the agronomic and environmental performance of Bt cotton has been the same everywhere. It has always led to failure and disaster for small farmers. The fact that Monsanto, governments, academia, and the media continue to hype Bt cotton as appropriate for small farmers constitutes one of history’s ultimate frauds. It “works” for no one but the destructive, parasitic elites who profit off it and use it to exert ever greater control over agriculture. By Nuremburg standards it’s a crime against humanity.
From this history we see how Bt cotton has aggravated the poison/debt agronomic treadmill and economic trap which enclose small farmers in hopelessness and misery, to the point that in the end their only avenues of escape are suicide or to flee the land for the terminal shantytown slums. Bt cotton has turned an agricultural crisis into a catastrophe.
This result was no accident, nor was it unforeseen. On the contrary, it’s simply an escalation of standard “green revolution” phenomena: The replacement of food-based (or in this case textile-based) agriculture with a poison and commodity basis; the enclosure and concentration of agricultural power and profitability on an elitist basis; the forced mass expulsion of the people from the land. The fact that government, corporate, academic, and media elites touted Bt cotton to small farmers knowing it could lead only to their destruction comprises a great crime against humanity. The same is true of all GMO deployment.
It’s clear that Bt cotton is a product which, where it works at all, works only for a brief period and only where supplemented by an expensive, cumbersome apparatus of artificial inputs. Like all other GMOs, it’s an extremely high maintenance hothouse flower. Industrial agriculture as such is highly destructive, wasteful, and unsustainable. GMOs represent an escalation of all the worst aspects of corporate industrial agriculture while conferring no benefits. As a whole GMOs are the extreme manifestation of a backward, economically cramping, agronomically destructive, retrograde technology and mindset. Collectively GMOs are a hoax and a fraud, and most of all where touted for small farmers. The goal of marketing GMOs to small farmers is to destroy them economically and drive them off the land so that large-scale corporate industrial plantations can more “efficiently” enclose and monopolize agriculture. In First the Seed Jack Kloppenburg discusses how the corporations faced barriers to the full commodification of farming itself (as opposed to the system of agricultural inputs and processing). Here we see the answer: One of the basic purposes of GMOs is to drive up the costs of farming to the point that it becomes economically impossible for small independent farmers to exist. Bt cotton provides one of the best case studies.
In fact, the failure of Bt cotton and the great fraud it incarnates are typical of the insecticidal and herbicide tolerant GMOs in general. These essentially are the only two types of GMOs. Both are literally poison plants. They’re engineered to produce their own endemic Bt insecticide and/or to tolerate copious slatherings of herbicide, usually Monsanto’s Roundup. The herbicide is taken into the crop itself and suffuses all its cells. Therefore GMOs add two completely new, massive, indelible presences of extreme poison in our food.
In both cases the poison treadmill and the business strategy of planned obsolescence are fully operational. Except for a few trivial exceptions like the small and declining acreage of MON810 cultivation in Spain, no single-trait Bt maize variety has been effective for years. They’ve been replaced by stacked varieties which produce as many as six Bt toxins. Varieties which produce even more are in the pipeline, as pest resistance escalates and accelerates. Meanwhile the Roundup Ready GMO regime no longer works, as over a dozen glyphosate resistant superweeds rampage across North America, Brazil, and elsewhere. The only solution the system offers is to stack herbicide tolerances. Monsanto originally touted Roundup Ready GMOs as rendering even more toxic poisons like 2,4-D and dicamba obsolete while glyphosate (the main ingredient of Roundup though not the only actively toxic ingredient) would never suffer weed resistance.
Today Roundup Ready is in ruins, and the cartel and governments are pushing GMOs tolerant of the exact same ultra-toxic 2,4-D and dicamba which those same corporations and governments promised us would be a thing of the past if we just believed them about Roundup Ready. The results with each of these shall be exactly the same total failure, but with even worse socioeconomic, agronomic, environmental, and health destruction wrought along the way. This is why the Technical Expert Committee appointed by India’s supreme court to advise it on GMOs recommended, among several other important restrictions, that herbicide tolerant GMOs never be commercialized because of how badly they would aggravate the ongoing socioeconomic carnage by wiping out vast numbers of agricultural laborers. Economically, herbicide tolerant crops are meant to be standard “labor-saving”, job-destroying devices. They’re also designed to save time so the farmer can expand his acreage, thus feeding the classical vicious circle of agricultural overproduction and trying to “make it up on volume”. This of course also adds to the Get Big or Get Out pressure.
We can see how both the insecticidal and herbicide tolerance genres as a whole are massive frauds of the exact same character as Bt cotton. Bt cotton just provides the most clear example of how GMOs as such comprise a monumental fraud and crime.
GMOs are worthless, wasteful, counterproductive, and destructive. They impose a severe constraint and bottleneck on all attempts to innovate and advance in agriculture, farming, and food. They are designed and intended to drive out all small and independent producers and, through attaining total corporate control of agriculture and food, impose such a strangulation grip on the throat of humanity that we’ll never break free.
GMOs must be completely abolished.
If you agree with the ideas in these posts, propagate them.


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