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March 22, 2018

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

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

 
 
A major role of regulatory agencies is to serve as corporate propaganda outlets. Specifically, the regulator places its imprimatur on the alleged safety of a corporate product whose safety was never really confirmed at all. Indeed, as with the cancerousness of glyphosate, the regulator has prior knowledge of the harmfulness of the product but helps the corporation suppress this knowledge. This imprimatur is the third part of what I’ve long called the corporate regulatory template.
 
Today we have a particularly clear example of this propaganda process. Health Canada, as well as the regulators of Australia and New Zealand, are putting their safety imprimatur on “golden rice”, even though golden rice doesn’t exist in any commercial-ready form and therefore couldn’t possibly be safety-tested even in principle. Of course in practice no actual scientific tests were done at all, same as for every other GMO.
 
Health Canada was unusually frank in explaining its propaganda services: “Developers often choose to seek authorization in Canada as a first step in their regulatory plan even if they do not plan to sell the product in Canada.” This regulatory plan of course is to get corporate-friendly Western regulators to lend their imprimatur to the product. This often is sufficient to then force other countries to accept the product; globalization pacts often require such cross-acceptance. And where this isn’t in force, the imprimatur still serves the corporation in its pressure campaigns against resistant countries: If it’s safe enough for Canada, how can you say it’s not safe enough for here?
 
(Meanwhile there’s good reason to doubt the safety of golden rice. The food safety concern is especially critical here since golden rice, if it ever were deployed the way the pro-GMO activists claim to intend, would be the first GMO ever deployed as a staple direct food.)
 
This propaganda role is inherent to regulatory agencies in any productionist system, for example any capitalist system. It’s not an “abuse”, and you can’t “reform” it. It’s inherent to the regulatory model itself, which is dedicated to helping to foster maximal production for the sake of maximal production, inducing or forcing “demand” for this production, and managing any problems along the way. This “management” includes every kind of management, most obviously the management of how rapidly the system physically poisons humanity and the Earth, but not least the political management of any political problems the corporations encounter. From the inception of GMOs the regulators have performed this political service on behalf of the corporations. Today’s regulatory PR campaign on behalf of the idea of “golden rice” is a clear example.
 
I stress, the idea of golden rice. The real thing doesn’t exist as any kind of finished product. As the GMO regime of lies diverges ever further from reality, it’s fitting that the regulatory propaganda fog machine is being deployed on behalf of this longest-running media hoax. Golden rice itself is nothing but a dirty-yellow smog.
 
 
 
 
 
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December 15, 2017

Fool’s Gold

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Golden rice is only about one kind of gold

 
 
No form of “golden rice” has ever gotten past the test stage. The pro-GMO activists lie when they tout this hoax product. All lies: That the product exists, that it’s ready to go, that it’s only being held up by the likes of Greenpeace. The truth is that golden rice has never worked in reality and has never been anything but a media hoax. The lies are part of the hoax.
 
In its test form the original “golden rice 1” contained only a meager amount of vitamin A. To use it as a vitamin supplement would’ve required eating unthinkable amounts of it every day.
 
These days they’re working on “golden rice 2” which allegedly produces greater amounts of vitamin A so that people could eat it without turning into a big grain of yellow rice. But they’re having all sorts of technical problems back-crossing it from the japonica variety they first engineered to any kind of indica variety which is readily commercial. It’s not only a media hoax but a very expensive technical boondoggle.
 
And let’s say this hypothetical product ever did become ready for release.
 
1. By design it would be the first direct-to-eat Frankenfood which is meant to be consumed on a mass basis. Compare it to other direct-food GMOs: Virus resistant zucchini or papaya, Bt sweet corn, GM salmon, the “non-browning” apple, GM potatoes. As dangerous as these may be, none of them is designed to be a daily dietary staple. But the designers of golden rice want for the first time for a direct-food GMO to be a daily staple.
 
There’s only one place where significant numbers of people have eaten GMOs directly on a large scale, and that’s among the farm workers and rural population of South Africa who eat large amounts of the Bt corn from the farms where they labor. No funding being available, the effects haven’t yet been subjected to a scientific study, but many severe neurological and organ damage effects have been documented on an anecdotal basis.
 
Michael Hansen of Consumers Union has theorized that there could be a severe problem with retinoic acid oversignaling if a product like golden rice were to be eaten in large amounts, which is how the engineers intend for it to be eaten. This would be a pathway to cancer and birth defects. This is just one of the potential dangers of making a GMO the very basis of one’s diet.
 
2. Any deployed golden rice would also be engineered to be herbicide tolerant and/or to express Bt toxins. So this direct food will also be laden with endotoxins and herbicide residue. Not only is the idea of golden rice meant to distract from the fact that the only real-world GMOs are pesticide plants; any real world version of golden rice would itself be such a poison plant.
 
3. Syngenta’s promise to donate its patented golden rice transgene applies only to pilot “humanitarian” programs. It would not apply to any general commercial deployment. That’s why the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the organization in charge of actual development, has reserved the right to take out patents of its own. Beyond that, Syngenta wouldn’t give away the herbicide tolerance and Bt traits free of charge. So the alleged “humanitarian donation” aspect of the thing is also a scam. (We also don’t know how ChemChina’s imminent purchase of Syngenta will affect the disposition of the patent.)
 
 
The idea of golden rice is part of monoculture ideology. Vitamin A deficiency disease is the deliberate result of how corporate industrial agriculture has driven millions off their land and stripped them of their ability to grow nutritious food for themselves. Therefore both in principle and in practice the deployment of golden rice or any other “biofortified” GMO would be the disaster capitalist treatment of a symptom caused by the same system which deploys the “cure”.
 
This puts in perspective the 2013 direct action of Philippine farmers against the IRRI’s golden rice field trials. The people took action in self-defense against the corporate program to economically liquidate them, drive them off their land, and doom them to the same misery and illness which the “golden rice” slogan mocks with its fake solicitude.
 
So, ultimately, must we the people, everywhere on Earth, take all necessary action to abolish corporate agriculture and undertake the necessary transformation and renaissance of agroecology and food sovereignty. This and only this will solve vitamin A deficiency, and every other problem and crisis afflicting us.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
 

February 17, 2017

Golden Rice – A Supreme Hoax, Part of A Supreme Crime

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The corporate world is full of hazards for rice. Genetic engineering adds to them.

The corporate world is full of hazards for rice. Genetic engineering adds to them.

 
 
The program to breed a commercially deployable version of “golden rice” continues its perfect record of failure. In the latest screw-up, an attempt to back-cross a GM rice variety with a conventional Indian variety resulted in a crop with reduced yield, stunted growth, and growth abnormalities.
 
The authors of the new study documenting this result blame the effects on transgenic interference with the plant’s growth hormones. Worse, the transgene is fully active not just in the rice grains as “intended”, but in the leaves as well. This resulted in reduced photosynthetic ability.
 
These visible effects had not manifested in the GM variety. Therefore the engineers assumed the transgenic effect was “stable”, and that this stability of transgenic effect could be taken for granted throughout the process of back-crossing the transgene into the Swarma variety, perfecting this Indian version of golden rice, increasing the seed, and commercially deploying it.
 
This is typical of how GMOs are developed. The entire process, from tissue culture to seed increase, focuses only on whether the crop visibly seems to meet commercial standards. That’s the full extent of the quality control and safety testing. It’s the same as how all alleged safety tests in the lab really have been tests of nothing but whether CAFO inmates can reach their slaughter weight being fed grain from the crop. This and similar industrial parameters comprise the sum total of the “safety tests” performed by corporations, accepted by regulators, and touted by regulators and media. The same paradigm applies to agronomic testing. Therefore it’s no surprise that under new conditions, conditions not as controlled as the laboratory greenhouse, GMOs often break out with completely unexpected deficiencies, sicknesses, and crop failures. This is especially true under real world agronomic conditions.
 
Michael Antoniou commented that this latest GMO failure is probably yet another example of the pathology of the GM insertion process. “The GM transformation process as used in the development of GMO crops selects for the insertion of the GM gene into active regions of the genome (areas where plant host genes are switched on and functioning). This bias in the GM gene insertion into active regions therefore maximises the possibility of disrupting the function of one or more host genes, with potentially adverse effects such as poor crop performance or even toxicity.” In order for the GM process to work the transgene must be inserted into the most active part of the recipient genome, and the gene cassette usually includes an epigenetic component called a “promoter” which keeps the transgene turned on to maximum expression mode at all times. Therefore the entire development and deployment process selects for maximum effects of the transgene, both the advertised effects as well as the unheralded ones.
 
Evolution crafted our genomes in an exquisitely nuanced way, including a complex orchestration of notes, volumes, and rests for all genetic elements. Genetic engineering, being a very stupid, imprecise, blunt-force tool, is incapable of any kind of nuance whatsoever, and engineers have always had a fundamental contempt for complex systems which reflects the limitations of their own minds. Their only tool isn’t even a hammer but a caveman’s club. That’s why they loathe evolution and its works and yearn so fervently to subjugate evolution to the brute force simplifications of their concepts and engineering processes. That’s why they’re congenitally incapable of comprehending the fact that nature works, genetic engineering does not. And that’s why they carry their evolution denial to the extreme of wanting to leap over all the evolutionary tests and safeguards of competition, space, and time, to deploy their shoddy, half-baked, failure prone product as completely across the entire planet as possible, and completely to eradicate as much of non-GM agricultural biodiversity and wild biodiversity as possible. It’s a fundamentalist hatred of evolution, of nature, of life itself.
 
The effects of this have always been well known to all. Contrary to the standard lie, genetic engineering has zero in common with conventional breeding and disavows all principles of sound breeding. Unlike conventional breeding, unlike conventional sexual reproduction, this technological evasion of sex generates an artificially hyper-active section of the genome which can generate severe unpredicted effects at any time. (CRISPR “gene editing” is designed to render this genetic chaos far more severe.)
 
The crisis points especially occur wherever there’s a discrete change in circumstances, as in the case of this golden rice back-crossing project. Such crisis points occur often in the real world, amid the general environment, wherever GMOs are commercially deployed. These real world crisis points will become far more common as the climate chaos driven by corporate industrial agriculture becomes more intense. As Antoniou points out, this breeding blunder goes to show that any golden rice variety, if released so that it can cross with non-GM varieties, may cause general rice crop failures and endanger harvests over vast regions. (Rice has moderate cross-pollination, and GM contamination has been rife in China where Bt rice was widely if illicitly released.) And yet certain smug, racist Westerners, even among “GMO critics”, have seen fit to lecture Philipino farmers about how uncivil it was for them to tear up a golden rice field trial in 2013.
 
We must stress that there is nothing at all “unintended” about these effects. The effects of genetic engineering are grossly unpredictable, but this unpredictability is known and embraced ahead of time. “Unpredictable” has nothing conceptually in common with “unintended.” We can compare the typical operations of poison-based agriculture to spinning a roulette wheel where the various colors and numbers indicate various chaotic effects, many of them to be a surprise. Which number will come up is unpredictable, but one spins the wheel with full malice aforethought, full intent to trigger the chaos.
 
Genetic engineers and breeders involved in developing GM crops for commercial release have full knowledge of their inability to predict anything, therefore they intend chaotic results, just as they do with their broader mandate to drive climate change and pump as much synthetic poison into ecosystems as possible. The pro-GMO activists simply lie about all this when they make any claim to “precision” or predictability. No one who wanted stable, predictable results would still be working with genetic engineering. Where it comes to our food, agriculture, and environment, we’re not just spinning the roulette wheel. We’re playing Russian roulette, as Black Swan author Nassim Taleb put it.
 
Therefore I recommend to anyone interested in conceptual and terminological discipline that we discard the whole false notion of “unintended” effects of GMOs, pesticides, climate change, etc. This is factually wrong and morally far too lenient. Chaos is the predictable effect of genetic engineering, therefore the pro-GM activists intend chaos. That’s one of the purposes of this massive uncontrolled human feeding experiment, to log the unpredictable effects of the globally promiscuous deployment of GMOs in the environment and diet. They premeditate the chaos so they can hope someday to understand it, toward vastly more far-reaching eugenic goals. As a US mayor once said following a police riot, in a profound slip, “The policeman is there to preserve disorder.”
 
 
And what if golden rice ever were to overcome the incompetence of its designers and actually “worked” to the point it could be deployed commercially? Like every other technological dodge, and like every other element of corporate agriculture, it would only increase hunger and aggravate the very malnutrition diseases it’s allegedly being designed to treat.
 
This is because golden rice, like all other forms of “improved seed”, is designed for industrial monoculture commodity agriculture in a globalization framework. Therefore in addition to the special contamination problems golden rice presents, it would make the standard contribution to corporate agriculture’s general destruction of soil, environment, farmers and communities, and the standard contribution to increasing hunger and malnutrition.
 
What’s the real market for a commercialized golden rice, beyond some token food aid shipments paid for by taxpayers? I suppose it could become an ingredient in “biofortified” processed foods, similar to enriched and fortified breakfast cereals. But how could it ever actually do the thing it’s allegedly supposed to do, provide vitamin A to impoverished people suffering from deficiency disease? How are the people who need it supposed to pay for it? The reason they suffer the night blindness symptom is that they can’t afford real foods containing vitamin A like green, yellow, and orange vegetables. The reason they have no money to pay for these is the same reason they can’t grow real food themselves: They were driven off their land by the same corporate agriculture now offering this techno-solution in exchange for the same money these people don’t have.
 
It’s clear that “golden rice” has always been a media hoax. After nearly twenty years of hype the thing doesn’t exist in deployable form and there’s no evidence it ever will be worked into such a form. Nor is there any evidence that there’s any system intent truly to deploy it, since it’s very hard to see what the commercial market is. Unless the plan is for Western taxpayers to pay for the whole production and distribution shebang, 100% corporate welfare for Syngenta and the rice commodifiers. It’s true that each individual corporation contemplates the taxpayers as an infinitely deep trough. But how much longer can they all maximize their gorging?
 
Far worse, golden rice is a core part of the overall “Feed the World” hoax. Corporate agriculture causes hunger, drives hunger, maximizes hunger. It can never do otherwise, nor can any element of it do otherwise. Just like every other product of corporate industrial agriculture, golden rice is designed to cause malnutrition, it’s designed to cause hunger. It’s designed to force ever more people into the trap where they have no money, can get no money, and yet need money to get food.

 
Night blindness resulting from vitamin A deficiency has one and only one cause: Corporate agriculture destroys food production, drives people off their land, requires them to use money it denies them the ability to get, and leaves them to sicken and starve. Golden rice, like every other technological solution, every other alleged “silver bullet”, represents no alternative to this hunger-mongering paradigm. On the contrary golden rice, and GMOs as such, represent nothing but the escalation of this destructive system. GMOs stand for nothing but disease, hunger, starvation, famine. They’re designed to make all of these worse. This design is intentional. And in this case the effect is 100% predictable.
 
 
 
If you like these pieces, propagate them! Like heirloom crop varieties, ideas die if they’re not planted far and wide.
 
 
 

November 15, 2016

There Are No Scientists Within the Establishment

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(Perhaps some poetic exaggeration in that headline. But if we are to have a rigorous definition of a scientist, this must include the fraternity’s own criterion of speaking “as a scientist” only within the bounds of one’s formal discipline, and clearly stipulating where one speaks purely as an opinionated layman. That, of course, is always the case with STEM-credentialed pro-GMO activists, as I demonstrated in this classic piece.)
 
 
Besides the other things wrong with the pro-GMO activists – the fact that they’re liars in everything they say, that they’re corrupt to the core, that they’re factually wrong on every single point – it can’t be stressed enough that every time “scientists” publicly comment on pesticides and GMOs (and many other things), they’re proving they’re not scientists at all, but just typically stupid and ignorant blowhards. Just to cite the example of the ringleader of the “Nobel laureates” (as it pleases GMWatch still to call them) who signed a Syngenta manifesto on behalf of the golden rice hoax, Richard Roberts is not a scientist or an expert in any way relevant to almost any discussion of golden rice or GMOs as such. He’s a pure ignoramus and idiot who has zero credentials or knowledge of agriculture, ecology, economics, history, or political theory, yet who specializes in pontificating about these while the media fraudulently depicts him as some kind of expert on these subjects. See here for another typical example of alleged “scientists” (the AAAS), an NGO (Pew), and the media collaborating to propagate a massive intellectual fraud by fraudulently representing ignorant and corrupt laymen as “scientists”. Roberts, of course, is not a scientist but a profiteering biotech subsidy-miner, and is simply talking his book.
 
If there’s to be such a thing as a real anti-GMO movement, this movement needs systematically to discredit and de-legitimize the so-called scientific establishment, which we know is nothing but a propaganda front. We must systematically apply the standard that anyone who claims to uphold the credentialist principle is automatically being anti-science the moment he claims to speak with authority on any subject which is not part of his formal credential. We must publicly assert this standard at every opportunity.
 
(Meanwhile, ironically, for anyone who actually does care about science, Roberts is one of those who in his actual scientific work has debunked the entire theoretical basis of genetic engineering and beanbag genetics as such by contributing to the demonstration of how chaotic the genetic functioning really is. The fact that as a lying hack ideologue he misrepresents his own scientific work says it all about his absolute lack of integrity.)
 
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“If Only the Czar Knew!” To toss in a related point, I’ve noticed people trying to exonerate pollsters for their rather poor performance in projecting the outcome of the plebiscite. They blame the media for dumbing down the intricacy of the statistical forecasts, the public for not reading the fine print, etc.
 
Now let’s get this straight. No one propagates the cult of any group of “experts” more relentlessly than the experts themselves. The mainstream media just follows the experts’ lead. As it must, since the media receives all its propaganda themes from the experts themselves. The most inveterate and reckless popularizers are always the experts themselves. The worst scientism wingnuts are the scientists themselves. The most demented theologians of engineering are the engineers themselves. The most arrogant pomposities of the economist priesthood are spewed by the economists themselves. And no one touts the infallibility of the polls more disingenuously than the pollsters themselves. The whole business of blaming things on the media, on popularizers, and of course on the people themselves, is just another version of “if only the czar knew.” But anyone who knows history knows that the most radical, aggressive, insane part of the autocracy is always the autocrat himself. And so it is with the many cults of the “experts” currently afflicting humanity like a plague. Here most of all we need the vaccine and the purgative.
 
 
 

October 27, 2016

The Community Food Sector Must Fight to Survive and Win (Also Some GMO Comments)

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Have to be hid in attics from Big Ag.

Have to be hid from Big Ag in attics.

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1. The case of Mark Baker may seem to be extreme, but it’s also typical of the attitude of corporate agriculture’s servant bureaucracies toward the rising Community Food sector, the most clear and present danger to the continued domination of poison-based agriculture and corporate “food”. What Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is trying to do to heritage pig farmer Baker is typical of many other cases of federal* and state thugs attempting, legally and illegally, to destroy our movement. In their minds the bureaucrats, from the lowest state thug to the federal agriculture secretary himself, are completely eradicating Community Food by whatever means necessary. In practice they’ll do so by whatever means are possible.
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This means whatever’s politically possible. The measure of that will be how intrepidly growers and citizens of food (that ought to be all Americans, though so far it’s still far too few) affirmatively organize ourselves to take back the land and grow real crops and distribute real food, and how fiercely we fight back against the corporate state’s attempt to destroy all we’re building.
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*For example the FDA, which bizarrely is much beloved among “anti-GMO” people and among the NGOs which usually claim to support Community Food but which turned around and abetted Monsanto’s “Food Safety Modernization Act.” (FSMA).
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2. From the outset of the pro-marijuana movement there were many who strongly insisted on the word and concept “decriminalization” rather than “legalization”. In addition to the philosophical implications of the difference, we see the very practical, big difference between legalization under corporate control only vs. true decriminalization, i.e. control in the hands of the people.
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This distinction can be applied very widely. For example, GMOs don’t naturally exist nor is it a simple, inexpensive thing to create them. Rather they had to be very aggressively legalized through corporate welfare, radical changes in patent law, changes in regulatory law and disregard of existing law by regulators. They could easily be abolished simply by removing the Rube Goldberg legalization structure they depend upon. No corporate welfare, no GMOs. No patents, no GMOs. In that case a legal ban would be redundant, although a legal ban would simply de-legalize something that was a purely fabricated, “legalized” government confection in the first place. This also shoots down the dumbest objection to labeling, that it’s “government interference”. No, the government massively interferes by artificially building the astronomically expensive structure that sustains GMOs in the first place. Think of it as a trillion dollar greenhouse the taxpayers pay for. Is the hothouse flower being grown within a natural creation of a “free market”?
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Here I’m applying to GMOs an analysis I first developed for everything Wall Street does. (I wrote about it in dozens of posts, go check ’em out. Like this one.) Un-legalize the legalized gambling the big banks do, and Wall Street will cease to exist. Finis. The same goes for much of the rest of Mammon’s evils.
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3. With this conventionally bred “orange maize” we once again have proof of one of the iron laws of GMOs, proven anew every time: Where it comes to any GMO touted for its alleged “product quality” (nutrition, taste, storability, etc.) or “agronomic trait” (drought resistance, etc.), there already exists a better, higher quality, safer, less expensive non-GM version. There are no exceptions. (And then the GM version is more often than not a hoax anyway. “Golden rice” in particular is one of the most flamboyant media hoaxes in modern memory.)
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The piece I linked demonstrates the pitfall of wanting to imitate the corporate hype surrounding techno-miracles, merely counterpoising “alternative” miracles which are otherwise just as unanchored, uncontexted, and imply that silver bullet solutions are possible. (The piece and GMWatch’s commentary keeps calling such varieties “enriched” and “fortified”. If they inherently contain the nutrient out of conventional breeding they’re neither.)
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It’s constructive to talk about these non-GM anodynes only within the context of stressing that all problems of diet and hunger are caused completely by poison-based commodity agriculture itself and can be solved only by restoring community food production and distribution, as is ecologically and economically natural. But then the orange maize is a product of the corporate state’s CGIAR “HarvestPlus” project and therefore is designed to be perceived only as an anodyne within the context of continued globalization.
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As we see with these examples, this kind of project can bring results which the people can then put to good use, and indeed the piece says the Zambian government claims it will prevent export commodity production of the orange maize but instead reserve it for national food production. That’s an excellent idea, and a motivated, well-organized, vigilant people can maintain control of such agronomic research and development and see to it that these products truly are advances. But a prerequisite is to understand clearly that where it comes to a putative public-private partnership like this, the developers themselves regard everything we’re talking about here as a transitional stage and fringe benefit at best, and more likely a propaganda front. The real goal, as with every other globalization project, no matter how ostensibly “public” and “national” in its form, and no matter what the PR presentation, is patent-based, profiteering commodity production. Again, golden rice provides the original template, with Syngenta claiming it would forego its patent prerogatives (but with lots of fine print the newspapers didn’t mention), while at the same time the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the “public” front of the Syngenta/Gates campaign and actual developer of the pseudo-rice, has explicitly reserved the right to take out patents of its own. This too is just another permutation of the corporation retaining all control and freedom of action.
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See here for the same dynamic in the case of the African project to develop “drought-resistant maize”, another Syngenta/Gates campaign.
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The takeaway: Don’t trust anything the corporate-controlled system does, because it’s not meant for us, and by us I mean humanity. The projects of the corporate system, no matter what the nominal form of the organization leading the project or performing the action, are corporate projects being done under corporate control toward corporate goals. No self-respecting big shareholder would ever settle for less in any of these cases.
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The takeaway: As always, we the people need our own organizations, our own projects, our own actions, our own movement.
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April 3, 2015

GMO News Report April 3rd, 2015

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*The EPA is unlikely to change its pro-poison course of action on account of the WHO’s recent admission of what everyone has long known, that Roundup/glyphosate causes cancer. But it is being forced to change its official policy by a far more implacable foe, the 32 species of Roundup resistant superweeds triumphally marching across the American heartland. According to Reuters the EPA will be formally requiring farmers to adhere to a stewardship program when they purchase Roundup. This theoretical stewardship will be similar to that the EPA is already imposing on the new Agent Orange corn and soy types being released in 2015.
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This EPA stewardship requirement is likely to be a scam of the same character as the agency’s “refuge” requirements for Bt-expressing crops. The refuges are set at too small a percentage and aren’t enforced, and are therefore widely flouted, even at those inadequate acreages. But the idea of the refuges lets the EPA pretend to have a policy in place to prevent the development of Bt-resistant superbugs, and when these superbugs inevitably evolve, it gives Monsanto and the government a convenient way to scapegoat the farmers for not honoring a policy which was never intended to be honored. Similarly, Monsanto and the corporate media scapegoat farmers for using “too much Roundup”, which is an absurd lie. Farmers have never used a drop more of Roundup than the amount urged upon them by Monsanto and the USDA.
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This ability to scapegoat farmers is one of the reasons superweeds and superbugs are allowed to be acknowledged in the media discourse instead of being directly lied about the way pesticide use (GMOs really increase it) or yields (GMOs yield less than non-GM) are.
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*Field trials are set to begin in Maharashtra state in India, where in 2014 the government broke earlier promises and issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for the open-air trials. Monsanto, its Indian partner Mahyco, BASF, and others plan to test types of GM corn, cotton, chickpeas, and rice.
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*Remember the Friedman Unit? Charles Margulis of the Centre for Environmental Health has put together a timeline documenting the similar golden rice unit. He rightly calls it an example of vaporware. I’ve long been calling golden rice a myth and boondoggle and a hoax.
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*Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed a petition with the USDA calling upon it to end its harassment of staff researchers who perform science which may or does lead to results contrary to corporate interests and lies. The PEER brief cites the effects of glyphosate and neonicotinoids as areas where honest research is especially subject to persecution. The USDA denies the charge and claims its existing complaint and review procedure is adequate, though the numbers it gives are self-refuting. According to Reuters, “An agency spokesman confirmed that from May 2013 through April 2014 eight complaints were filed. Five of those were deemed worthy of investigation and one was deemed to have merit, the agency spokesman said.”
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Given how hostile the USDA environment is for whistleblowers, and how thankless their task, this is one of those contexts where my default is to assume that someone who files a complaint is telling the truth. So the fact that only one complaint “was deemed to have merit” is strong evidence for PEER’s point, that the USDA’s existing system is a sham. Meanwhile the fact that only eight complaints were filed in the first place is eloquent testimony to a climate of fear and self-censorship, and of the overall self-conformity.
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*As the EU’s new “subsidiarity” policy on GMO approvals and opt-out bans goes into effect, pro-GMO activists continue with their bureaucratic shenanigans. That’s the basic purpose of the policy – to provide a propaganda fig leaf while EFSA approvals are “streamlined” and a legalistic catch-22 is set up against any long-term abolition policy. Meanwhile IFOAM has again denounced “co-existence” as a scam and called for EU member state bans on GM cultivation as the only rational policy. This is of course the truth. Note the huge difference from the US, where even county-level bans are widely considered to be “radical” even among GMO critics. Yes, we American abolitionists have a tough row to hoe.
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*A Monsanto cadre speaking to an audience mostly of agricultural students confessed that Monsanto maintains “an entire department” dedicated to lies and smearing the science which continually piles up against Monsanto’s products. Author Stephanie Hampton of the Benton County Community Rights Coalition calls it Monsanto’s “Discredit Bureau”.
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This incident again confirms that Monsanto continues its pattern of systematically lying about the many severe harms caused by its products. One of the most extreme examples of today’s depravity is the way so many people refuse to believe that corporations like Monsanto or Dow will always lie about the safety of their products, whenever they consider this necessary to hang onto “even one dollar of profit”, as a secret internal memo cried out in the course of Monsanto’s decades-long suppression of data about the hideously toxic effects of PCBs on human beings. Monsanto and its supporters today continue this infinitely vile crime against humanity.

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November 29, 2014

Pro-GMO Activists Are Also Climate Change Deniers

Filed under: Climate Crisis, GMO Hoaxes, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , — Russ @ 2:06 am

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Patrick Moore has generally been considered a bottom-feeding lowlife even among his fellow hacks and paid liars. For example, his 2013 attempt to get a pro-Monsanto demonstration going outside Greenpeace’s Toronto headquarters was a pathetic flop, without even a paid claque showing up.
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But at least some of his criminal colleagues may be warming to him, as they circulate an online petition to get him appointed as an “ambassador” to the EU’s Expo 2015. The list is headed up by two big names: Marc von Montagu, co-winner of the 2013 Monsanto Prize (AKA “World Food Prize”), and leading “golden rice” hack Ingo Potrykus.
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Potrykus may be an incompetent rice breeder, but he knows what he likes in climate change denial, Moore’s specialty: “Over the past 15 years, Mr. Moore has been involved in activities related to climate change and food shortage in general adopting an original, but not isolated, approach in the environmental movement: the systematic control of the scientifically proved data.” Montagu and the rest of the signees are equally clear in their endorsement of Moore’s “scientific” rejection of the climate change evidence and science. We’ve seen how the pro-GMO activists bring this same attitude toward science to their views of genetics, biology, ecology, and agriculture.
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Be sure to check out the extended list of climate change deniers, all or almost all STEM-credentialed. True, many of them seem unable to tell the difference between their first and last names, but the list is still a stark testimony to the character of today’s establishment scientism.
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I’m tempted to say that this petition is an excellent idea. What could be better than the pro-GMO activist movement proclaiming its formal endorsement of climate change denial before the world? It would certainly be more refreshing and clarifying than Monsanto’s concern-trolling with its “no-till” scam.
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(This post isn’t about climate change skepticism as such, which is a separate phenomenon. It’s about denial among scienticians. These are religious cultists who fraudulently claim the mantle of “science”, and most of whom have formal “credentials”, but whose ideology is really dictated by corporate executives. As we see here, these pseudo-scientific charlatans happily embrace climate change denial when that’s the marching orders they receive from their Big Ag masters. They really have no ideas, no principles, no knowledge, no method, no values, no human existence at all. They’re the lowest, most loathesome form of lying mercenary hack.)

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May 17, 2014

Make It Up on (Propaganda) Volume – The Golden Rice Hoax Marches On

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The hoax product “golden rice” continues to be touted through the corporate media and academia bullhorn. This is even though it doesn’t exist except in flawed experimental form while its own proprietor, the International Rice Research Institute, admits that even if it ever were perfected and available to the public, it may not actually work to reduce vitamin A deficiency. The PR campaign has an inverse ratio of noisy lies to real world achievement.
 
The media continues to spew the typical lies. The fact is that never once has anyone actually tried to deliver “golden rice” anywhere and been prevented from doing so by citizen action. That’s because the product doesn’t exist in deployable form. Researchers continue to struggle to breed an indica variety of the product. Any phony regulatory struggle hasn’t even begun yet, as the technical problems of the project remain insurmountable. Yet we keep being told by professional liars that the US government and the GMO cartel, the most powerful government and one of the most powerful corporate oligopoly sectors on earth, are being thwarted by “powerful forces”. When I ponder the flimsiness and sheer idiocy of the lies GMO proponents tell, I don’t know what’s greater, these people’s moral depravity or their intellectual stupidity.
 
Of course, citizens will indeed fight wherever we have to, as we do vs. every other predatory poison GMO.
 
The fact is that golden rice has never been anything more than a media hoax. Since all real-world GMOs are simply poison delivery systems (they either produce insecticide inside their own tissues, and/or can withstand having herbicide sprayed upon them, which then suffuses all their tissues), the core propgagnda gambit of the GMO cartel, that GMOs are necessary to “feed the world”, seems suspicious on its face. This has actually long since been proven to be false. Since corporate agriculture has been in control of global agriculture and food systems for over fifty years, and the world now produces enough food for 10 billion people, and yet of 7 billion alive now over 1 billion go hungry, it’s a proven fact that corporate agriculture cannot feed the world and does not want to. Which stands to reason, since corporate agriculture doesn’t produce food, it produces commodities.
 
When you think about it for a moment, and add the fact that GMOs do nothing but double down on every aspect of corporate industrial agriculture, it becomes obvious that “feed the world” is nothing more or less than a classical Big Lie.
 
That’s the huge hurdle the pro-GMO liars have to surmount in their propaganda. How to get people not to think! The “golden rice” hoax was concocted toward this goal. It’s said to be humanitarian, it’s about vitamins rather than poison, it piggybacks on the immiseration/helplessness theme of the Green Revolution and 80s-era celebrity philanthropy, it’s allegedly being offered to the disadvantaged “Third World” as charity.
 
These are all standard lies. What the global South needs is the revitalization and strengthening of its own agricultural systems in order to produce food for itself on its own land, rather than the accelerating destruction of its self-sustaining community agriculture in favor of corporate commodity plantations on stolen land.
 
The epidemic of vitamin A deficiency is a direct result of this destruction of sustainable agricultural communities. Throughout agricultural history people have grown a plethora of regionally-adapted nutrient-rich crops, including the root crops and leafy vegetables which are rich in vitamin A. But all this is lost to industrialized farmers who grow not food but export commodities, and the much vaster mass of ex-farmers driven off their land and into shantytowns. Those who are driven off their land lose all ability to provide any food for themselves and their people, while those who hang on as industrial farm laborers also lose their ability to grow nutritious food, since they now grow only commodities.
 
The epidemic of night blindness is a typical proof that those economically destroyed by commodification cannot use cash to buy what they need. Specifically, it’s one of many pieces of proof that corporate ag cannot “feed the world”. Since it was the corporate control of agriculture which generated the epidemic in the first place, why would any sane person trust them to provide the solution using their own methods? It’s self evidently a lie.
 
Meanwhile in the Philippines a government program of vitamin A supplementation has already temporarily treated the symptom, and vitamin A deficiency is no longer a major problem, or won’t be so long as this program exists. So why is such a golden rice propaganda offensive being undertaken there? Precisely because the corporate system seeks to eradicate the few effective government programs which still exist. The successful Philippine program is an ongoing affront to corporatism. The privatization of all “solutions” is of course a major goal in itself.
 
Of course supplementation is no real solution. The problem is the destruction of humanity’s organic presence on the land and the naturally nutritious diet which goes with this. The true solution is to transform our agriculture on an agroecological basis and our communities and economies on a food sovereignty basis. This is the only way forward, from the point of view of big problems like the unsustainability of industrial agriculture, the wholesale toxification of our natural environment, climate change, and escalating economic and political tyranny, all the way down to specific problems like vitamin A deficiency disease.
 
Meanwhile “golden rice”, if it worked, would be nothing but a glorified vitamin supplement. But this vitamin supplement would be the result of a properly configured “public-private partnership”, where the public pays all the costs and bears all the risks while the corporations glean all the profit. Although Syngenta claims to have “donated” its patents on golden rice, this only contemplates the product’s targeted humanitarian “demonstration” stage. If the product were ever truly commercialized, this commercialization would be on the standard proprietary basis. Even the IRRI explicitly reserves the right to take out patents. But the fact that Syngenta seeks to drum up such an altruistic propaganda nimbus is in itself a strong indication that the product is not expected to ever work in a practical way, but is intended to never be anything more than the sum of its hype.

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October 7, 2013

The “Golden Rice” Myth Will Always Be With Us (For the Real Thing, Keep Waiting)

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In spite of the decades-long, massive propaganda barrage by governments and the corporate media, the people have always been skeptical of GMOs. It doesn’t work for proponents to tell the truth, and most of the lies are similarly unimpressive. The flacks need special angles to try to make their cause look sympathetic.
 
For fifteen years now the “golden rice” scam has been a big part of GMO propaganda. Golden rice is fraudulently called the answer to vitamin A deficiency in the diets of children in many parts of the non-industrialized world. In spite of the golden rice scam having been debunked a long time ago, it’s still chugging along in the corporate media to this day, promoted by the cartel’s go-to hacks like Mark Lynas, Patrick Moore, and Stewart Brand. (These same clowns are shills for nukes, geoengineering, fracking, nanotechnology, climate change denial, etc.)
 
The original golden rice, called “GR 1”, had such a meager amount of vitamin A that you’d need twelve times the normal daily intake to get the nutritionally necessary amount. Meanwhile even this amount must be accompanied by the sufficient right kinds of fats and oils in the diet to digest it. This tends to be lacking in the overall diets of the people this rice is supposed to be “fed to”. So this alleged vitamin A source is also non-holistic with the diet of the people who would be eating it, and would for that reason be ineffective, even if it contained significant amounts of the vitamin, which it does not. African diets, for example, are not holistic with it. As for addressing famine (caused by corporatism itself), another alleged miracle of golden rice, by definition people who are starving won’t be consuming sufficient fats to properly digest rice, so it’s a fraud to give a hungry person rice and claim he’s getting the micronutrients from it.
 
The new paradigm is “Golden Rice 2” (GR2), which allegedly would provide enough vitamin A in a normal serving. (It still wouldn’t work outside the right cuisine.) But this version, just like its forerunner, has languished in the test fields for years as breeders try to backcross the Japonica cultivar (the only type which has actually existed in the laboratory, but which isn’t suited for field production) with Indica varieties actually grown by farmers. So far an Indica variety of golden rice doesn’t exist. And there’s lots of other technical difficulties which still haven’t been worked out over these fifteen years.
 
The fact is that “golden rice” is a technical boondoggle, and all the claims that “environmentalists” are obstructing it are false. If everyone on Earth supported golden rice, it still wouldn’t be ready for prime time, and probably never will be. But then, this bogus claim is part of the propaganda value of the idea of “golden rice”, which is far more valuable to the cartel than the actual rice itself will ever be. That’s why Syngenta’s made such a big show of “donating” its patent. It has no expectation that golden rice will ever be widely commercialized. (Of course, the donation is contingent on this lack of broad commercialization, and applies only to some Potemkin “humanitarian” distribution. Any real commercialization would take place under the normal circumstances of enclosure, indenture, domination. That’s why Philippino farmers are united in opposing golden rice, to the point of engaging in direct action against field trials.)
 
(Meanwhile the propagandists, telling one lie about environmentalist obstruction out of one side of their mouths, out of the other side are simultaneously claiming that golden rice is already saving lives. Obviously these can’t both be true at the same time. In fact neither are true. The rice doesn’t really exist, and the reason for this is technical, not political.)
 
The main front group working on and publicizing golden rice, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), has itself admitted that not only is golden rice nowhere near ready for field production, but that even if it ever becomes so, it’s not clear that the rice would do anything to relieve blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency.
 
(Meanwhile in the Philippines there are already programs in action right now which are using dietary supplements to alleviate VAD and visual problems related to it. These programs are far less expensive than golden rice research, and far less expensive than the subsidies required for its commercialization would be.) 
 
Of course, “golden rice” is not in fact intended to supply anyone with sufficient dietary vitamin A. It’s intended to be a media ploy, and it’s been very successful at that. The GMO complex, as part of its “Feed the World” Big Lie, propagated the fraud that golden rice was an imminent miracle food. All around the world the corporate media took up and amplified the message: Golden Rice, and GMOs in general, were a wondrous boon to humanity. Picture if The Loch Ness chamber of commerce were to fabricate a press release declaring that there was documentary proof the monster is a dinosaur and that tourists from around the world should rush to the Loch to see it while they can, and the New York Times were to uncritically plaster this on the front page. That’s exactly what’s happened with ”golden rice” and similar GMO publicity stunts. 
 
This kind of PR campaign has been necessary because the facts of GMOs are more prosaic and mercenary: There are only two “real” kinds of GMOs, those engineered to resist insects (almost all of them are modified to express the insecticide Bt, Bacillus thuringiensis, in their cells), and those for herbicide tolerance (HT; so far they’ve been engineered to resist glyphosate; but with the rise of glyphosate-resistant superweeds and subsequent collapse of glyphosate as an effective herbicide, there are new generations of HT varieties in the pipeline, resistant to ever more toxic herbicides – 2, 4-D, dicamba, etc.).
 
All other alleged GMO types are really conventional varieties with a particular trait, engineered to be Bt-expressing and/or HT. For example the USDA itself admits that so-called “drought resistant” GM corn is really no more drought resistant than the conventional varieties which the corporations pirated, but is merely these same varieties engineered to be Roundup Ready.
 
That truth is the reason the GMO complex needs poster children which will allegedly “feed the world”, cure disease, serve as nutritional panaceas, etc. That these are all lies, that these varieties either never effectively exist in the first place (for example the Kenyan GM sweet potato), or are redundantly engineered versions of things that already conventionally exist (for example the allegedly cancer-fighting purple tomato), are irrelevant to the corporate media, which slavers over these stories. Even the rare MSM outlets which are usually skeptical of GMOs tend to turn into Monsanto groupies where it comes to these kinds of stories.
 
These ploys are also Trojan horses. “Golden rice” is pushed by USAID and other corporate front organizations posing as “humanitarian”. In the guise of offering GMO-based ”humanitarian aid” they try to get countries to lift import restrictions on GMOs. If this works they can then dump the “aid”, further ravaging the already-devastated indigenous food production of these economies (all hunger on Earth today is artificially caused by corporate globalization). Then the “humanitarian” GMOs will be followed through the protective door they kicked down by the regular onslaught of Bt and HT varieties, whose only purpose is commodification, enclosure, and enslavement.
 
Meanwhile, as always the true solution is ready at hand. Indigenous farmers can supply all the vitamin A any population needs with a regionally adapted diversity of green vegetables. But this would help keep communities intact, organic, and self-reliant. It would maintain community prosperity and happiness. It would decentralize power and freedom. It would hinder corporate hierarchy, enclosure, and tyranny. That’s why in the eyes of corporations, government, and media, it’s a non-solution.
 
So even if golden rice worked, it would still be just a stopgap within the same industrial agricultural framework which created the problem in the first place. The IRRI itself admits it doesn’t know if GR2 can ever work. GR1 definitely doesn’t work.
 
But the fact is that golden rice is far more useful in theory, as a propaganda ploy and as an example of the wickedness of “obstructionists”, than as a deployed reality. In this case it simply wouldn’t work. It would fail according to its own unique promises, and it would fail in the usual ways all GM crops fail (yield, increased pesticide use, superweeds/superbugs, crop and environmental contamination, soil degradation, endemic crop weakness, health problems). It would fail, and the hacks wouldn’t be able to blame obstuctionists. They’d be back to their usual dismal position of telling outright lies about how it’s performing.
 
That’s why we can expect “golden rice” to remain a permanent mirage.

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