Volatility

July 30, 2015

The Spirit of Science

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Across the board, in general and at every point of detail, science affirms and supports agroecology and Food Sovereignty and condemns the failures, poison, and destruction wrought by corporate agriculture.
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Rationally speaking, science is a tool whose goal is the practical well-being of humanity. It should work to improve our health, increase our prosperity, and enhance our freedom of action. For some science is also a passion. The spirit of science is the mindset, out of passion or practicality or both, which seeks to use this tool this way, or which admires and respects science where it serves humanity and only where it serves humanity.
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True science is the province of the active people, especially where we engage in our own democratic work, toward our individual and community weal, unalienated by any anti-human artificial system. The most important science was preceded by the empirical work of the active labor field, usually by regular people without any formal, specifically scientific training. Isaac Newton, not known for his humility, affirmed that scientists merely “stand on the shoulders of giants”. The best example of this is the ten thousand years of practical agronomic development by regular farmers, as part of their day-to-day work. In modern times this massive empirical foundation has been supplemented with theoretical scientific work. The result is that the science of agroecology and organic farming now stands as the most fully researched and developed, demonstrated, and ready-for-deployment science of all. Organic agriculture stands ready as science at the pinnacle of potential human benefit. It was built primarily by the people, it’s the province of the people, and it shall be deployed by the people, from the bottom up, in accord with the need and will of the people.
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This can stand as the ultimate example, which sets the pace for all other human endeavor. We were, for thousands of years, successful empiricists, and barring artificial, self-inflicted woes, we can continue to be for the rest of humanity’s tenure. Make no mistake – science is a luxury. As a passion it’s merely the province of a small intellectual elite, similar to the small elite group who can find psychological succor from secular philosophy instead of spirituality/religion. And of course in practice both scientism and philosophy usually contain a high admixture of mysticism.
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Therefore we confirm that science has built upon its prerequisite foundation, and this gives us the general principle for how to use science in the most humanly constructive, beneficial, and just way, and the way most productive of knowledge. The key, as I described in my Food Sovereignty pamphlet, is to apply science to regionally developed and adapted empirical knowledge. No one who lacks this foundation knowledge can be an authority in any practical context. Anyone who lacks a foundation but tries to assert authority is an intellectual drifter at best, more likely a corporate propagandist and thug. The scientist who wishes to contribute to the human condition either provides general propositions which he sets free in the world to be regionally adapted, or she becomes such an adaptive worker herself.
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But the corporate/government system says science only trickles down from formally accredited cadres. Only such credential-holders can participate in scientific analysis, from which all political policy must then flow in the form of technocracy. Anyone outside this bureaucratic process who disagrees with this and rejects it is attacked as being “anti-science”. That’s almost always the only thing the brain-dead “anti-science” epithet means today: Rejecting this manifestation of authoritarianism and might-makes-right.
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The truth is the opposite. True science, practical science, starts with experimentation which leads to empirical success. Thus for ten thousand years farmers have proven themselves by far the most successful proto-scientists of the human project. Meta-knowledge of empirically established truth can then follow. For science the preliminary induction leads the way, with science as a version of deduction then later building upon that. Ironically, the only place where the mythical “scientific method” really applies is to the empirical prehistory of science. Those who deny this, like the “pure” (i.e. pro-corporate) scienticians of today, are merely engaging in a version of being born on third base and claiming they hit a triple.
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I said that true science is the most productive of knowledge. By contrast, corporate “science” is destructive of knowledge and of the very processes of thinking.
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1. Its monoculturism, in ideology and practice, seeks to constrain severely the range of agronomic knowledge in the first place, limiting it to mechanical poison-based algorithms. (I’ll add in passing that it also seeks to restrict severely the genetic range of agriculture. Monsanto’s original cluelessness about germplasm wasn’t just flat-earth arrogance. The attitude was hard-wired into the corporate agricultural ideology, and remains so. I’ll be returning to this subject.)
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2. It actively suppresses much of the knowledge that does exist. It systematically withholds from the public and from science most of the data it gathers. It releases only what it chooses to release, and only in tendentious propaganda forms.
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3. Wherever challenged it resorts, not to open, rational debate, but to a massive money-amplified lie machine.
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From these we can see how corporate “science” is the radical enemy of science and knowledge.
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So science starts with and builds upon what works. At every point it follows the empirical evidence. By contrast, today’s corporate scientism (including the vast majority of credentialed technicians) starts by deducing from corporate ideology and the profit imperative, preemptively asserts dogmatic “conclusions” like “GMOs are equivalent to regular crops and are therefore safe”, and then denies the contrary empirical evidence that follows, however massive its accumulation. Publicity of the evidence is left to non-credentialed citizens and to the few real scientists who are still practicing. From the official point of view, we are disenfranchised and relegated to the official unscience and anti-science category.
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This remains true no matter how much the evidence and therefore science itself reject lies like “GMOs increase yield” or “GMOs reduce pesticide and herbicide use” or best of all “GMOs are needed to feed the world”. As always we must stress the overwhelming implicit proof provided by the corporations and regulators themselves.
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1. Government and corporations systematically refuse to perform legitimate scientific studies of GMOs or any other agricultural poison.
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2. The corporation will always lie, so any test it does perform will be rigged in several ways. There are no exceptions to this. Government regulators knowingly base their own assessments on nothing but this worthless junk science while rejecting any real scientific evidence generated by independent studies.
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3. They suppress, cover up, keep secret the large amounts of adverse evidence even their own rigged tests generate. “Secret science” is a contradiction in terms. By definition science has to be public. Anything kept secret, under whatever fraudulent pretext (“trade secret” is their favorite), is by definition not part of science, and can have no place in scientific discussion other than as implicit proof that the evidence is against whichever party wants to keep it secret.
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Together these three facts prove that corporate “science” is nothing but a top-heavy tower of lies. It proves that governments and corporations themselves live in absolute terror of what would become of them and their poisons if true science were to prevail.
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Thus we have a final conflict between true, human science, and prostituted corporate anti-science. Most of the professionals are on the side opposed to humanity and the earth.
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This struggle between science and corporate anti-science is in turn one of the array of battlefields comprising the final war between humanity and corporate domination. In the next of these orientation pieces I’ll discuss the abdication of establishment science, its complete surrender to corporate domination and its complete embrace of the corporate “science” paradigm.

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July 25, 2015

If the DARK Act Passes, What Then?

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See here and here for more on what the DARK Act is about; it seeks to enshrine the “voluntary” labeling sham, along with ferocious pre-emption as I described here.
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1. What would the preemption of labeling mean in itself? Labeling is certainly not sufficient, and is conceptually flawed if envisioned as a worthwhile goal in itself. It implies the continuation of industrial agriculture and food commodification, and globalization as such. It merely seeks Better Consumerism within that framework.
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If people saw labeling as a temporary measure within the framework of an ongoing movement to abolish industrial agriculture and build Food Sovereignty, that could be good. If people saw the campaign for labeling as primarily a movement-building action, an occasion for public education, for democratic participation in a grassroots action, and to help build a permanent grassroots organization, that would be good. POE as I call it – Participation, Education, Organization.
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But many of the advocates seem to see it as a panacea. They at least claim to expect miracles from it: Labeling = the end of Monsanto. This is highly doubtful. Just because a labeling initiative or law is passed doesn’t mean it will be enforced with any alacrity. It’s still the same old pro-Monsanto government which would be in charge of enforcement. That’s why getting an initiative or law passed would be just the first and easiest step. Then the real work of vigilance, forcing the enforcers to follow through, would begin. That, too, was a reason why the campaign needs to be, even more than just an intrinsic campaign, the building ground of a permanent grassroots organization.
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Then there’s the fact that most if not all of these initiatives and laws are riddled with loopholes, categories of food which don’t need to be labeled. That almost always includes GMO-fed meat and dairy. Actually, labeling would apply mostly to the same corporate-manufactured processed foods we ought to be getting out of our diets and economies regardless.
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When we combine the picayune content of these labeling proposals with the fact that their advocates do often call them a self-sufficient panacea, and with the fact that the efforts have often been designed like one-off electoral campaigns rather than as processes of building permanent grassroots organizations, we can see the some of the inherent political limits of labeling campaigns.
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2. The people consistently indicate that they don’t really want labeling. That is, they don’t want it as a stand-alone consumerist feature, sundered from the context of a complete affirmative (Food Sovereignty) and negative (abolitionist) movement.
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It’s clear that although the people overwhelmingly support the idea of GMO labeling in theory, their commitment to it is skin deep. As soon as the money starts flying and the propaganda noise starts booming, people are easily thrown off balance. They focus pre-existing feelings of dread on the controversy and recoil from such a picayune thing as labeling, which seems to offer only a greater sense of helplessness.
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A survey done in California in September 2012 prior to the vote found that even the mention of an increase in food prices would “slightly diminish support”. This was prior to the big propaganda surge which hammered away with this lie. This musters every kind of inchoate fear. Since these days people are fearful and conservative, they shy from stimulation and don’t want anything to change. They’re easily convinced that any change will only make things worse. At any rate, they’re disinclined to undertake any change themselves. It’s clear that to undertake a one-off political campaign, which is prone to muster such elemental anxieties – about poison in our food and the food we’re feeding to our children, about our ever more beleaguered personal financial position, about corporate power over us – and which becomes the scene of a media firestorm, where people are asked, as consumers, to do nothing but vote a certain way and then implicitly to lapse back into their usual passivity, with the only payoff for having had all these fears aroused is to gain even greater knowledge of what there is to fear, but with no greater sense of what to do about any of it – is it any wonder that so many people choose to believe the lies and vote No?
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People don’t really believe the propaganda, but are numbed into passivity by the volume and omnipresence of it. This is part of the job of the corporate media, to instill a sense of hopelessness in the individual, and a false sense that she’s all alone with whatever objections she has, alone with whatever dissent and activism for change she’d like to undertake. The labeling campaign also instills fear about the safety of the food, but doesn’t offer a productive context and course of action for this fear, but implicitly wants to leave you alone with your Yes vote and your new information.
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This is why many consumers don’t want to exercise their right to know. They’re settled in certain habits, have so many other stresses, they already know their food is poisoned and try to exist in a precarious psychological complacency about that. So they’d rather not hear about GMOs on top of everything. This supposition fits the data, that as the No propaganda surges and the noise level of the whole fight escalates, the weakly committed Yeses and the Undecided move toward No. If you’re going to stay within the bounds of passive consumerism, then does a GMO label really give you much of a new choice? Especially if you suspect, in most cases correctly, that the only result will be to discover that all your available choices have GMO labels, so that you really didn’t get more choice anyway, merely more stress.
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Labeling advocates point out that there is an individual, consumerist course of action available – change your eating habits, shun GMO products, petition manufacturers to purge them, retailers not to carry them. (Here we’re talking about doing these in an individual consumer context, not as part of a movement context.)
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But is this the likely result? What about the opposite possibility – that if labeling is enacted, people will just shrug and not change their buying and eating habits? Indeed, it might even help normalize GMOs.
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Since consumerism is inherently passive and not active, since “choice” is a pseudo-ideal that few people really want (their political and economic actions prove it), and since fear-itself induces conservatism in the choices people make, the campaign to label GMOs is bound to be at a disadvantage as soon as it becomes embroiled in a struggle. People naturally support the idea, but not enough so that they don’t abandon it as a kind of “rocking the boat” the moment they’re given a reason to fix their fears upon it.
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In itself labeling is a meager, insufficient measure. Most importantly, it’s conceptually wrong, as it frames this critical political, socioeconomic, environmental, agronomic, and scientific issue as a matter of consumerist choice. Finally, the labeling idea is ripe to be hijacked by corporate interests or preempted by the central government, as we’re now seeing with this latest attempt in Congress.
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We can’t expect people to rouse themselves and go against the grain of their mass consciousness in any kind of ad hoc way, let alone in a way which they’ll have strong psychological reasons to resist. In order to get organic change, we first need to build an organic movement. We need to take the time and put in the work to build a movement culture where individuals find themselves as citizens, community members, members of a movement. We need to build a movement where people develop the individual self-respect to know that their action which seeks change will bring them a better world, and where they develop the political self-confidence to know that their collective action will work to bring about this bountiful change.
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We need to build a true grassroots movement, this movement has to be affirmative, and it has to seek the stark goal of total abolition. If we can offer people the opportunity to fight to abolish GMOs, or to support this abolition movement with money, a vote, etc., and to do so toward affirmative goals like food freedom, food sovereignty, this offers vastly more on a psychological level than labeling by itself, which is more like yet another annoying consumer “choice”.
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3. Consumerist labeling is really part of the “co-existence” notion. A core part of campaign rhetoric lauds “choice”, thereby echoing a standard pro-GM lie and implying that GMO agriculture can co-exist with any other kind of agricultural practice. But co-existence is impossible, politically as well as physically. Corporate agriculture envisions its own total domination of agriculture and food, and all its actions are dedicated to this goal. GMOs were developed as a classical public-private partnership and are aggressively supported by governments because they’re designed to attain the twin goals of physical (genetic) and economic (commodification and patents) domination. Therefore the only possible outcomes for humanity are complete abolition of GMOs or complete surrender to them. Given this circumstance, the constructive place of a labeling campaign or policy, or just the idea of labeling as such, is as a tactical element of the abolition movement. Anything outside of this movement context is at best a misdirection and waste of effort and time we don’t have to spare.
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4. We know the history of corporate lobbying for an FDA preemption policy, the central government’s complete support for GMO domination, its disdain for and hostility toward any meaningful labeling, the Monsanto Protection Act, and now the yearlong attempt to pass the DARK Act. We have clear proof that the central government will not allow political life and democracy to prevail on this, including at the state level, let alone the regional. Even if the DARK Act is forestalled in the Senate, the US government won’t give up. In the end, the only thing which will work will be defiance of the central government power, by whatever means, at lower government levels and especially through political action of the people from the ground up. This includes organized renunciation and replacement of the corporate industrial food system.
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If this is right, then our time requires a far more comprehensive goal.
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5. Abolitionists must use this crisis to reinforce the Community Food movement and goal. Just “buying organic” won’t suffice. Anyway much of organic is the industrial organic sector which is part of the overall corporate problem, and which has previously indicated its own desire to bring “organic” under Monsanto’s domination. We do have the Right to Know, but we’ll know little and have little until we rebuild the Community Food sector and protect it, toward the great affirmative goal of Food Sovereignty.
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We must lift our vision and expand our goal. We need the will to renew political life from the ground up, where necessary in defiance of the central government and corporate rule. We must use the government’s assaults as a political/moral lever to change the political consciousness from an individual consumerist consciousness (uncontexted labeling) to the abolitionist movement commitment, and the broader consciousness aspiring to freedom and demolishing the corporate-imposed bottlenecks against our prosperity.
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The corporate state’s goal is all-encompassing of the political and economic realms, from globalized corporate rule to strangling the rising Community Food movement in its youth. We can see how the DARK Act is not only anti-labeling but, with measures like preemption of local and state pro-democracy, anti-corporate laws, it’s also designed to provide more government power against the Community Food sector and movement as such. It will seek to do this in tandem with the Orwellianly named “Food Safety Modernization Act”, really a pro-big ag Food Control Act. But with the right kind of education campaign about how the government is trying to make it impossible for the people to know how toxic the industrial food supply is, we might be able to turn these assaults to our advantage. Certainly the one and only way to really KNOW what’s in our food and be citizens of agriculture and food production is to support local/regional retail agriculture, visit and know our farmers and processors, build up that sector. The central government and corporations are doing all they can to prove this.
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6. In the past I’ve sometimes been fatalistic about what the system “will do”, and how possible it is for political action to stop it. I’ve said things like, “the system will extract all the economically viable fossil fuels”, acknowledging various impersonal natural/physical/economic constraints on extraction while discounting political action as potentially such a natural force.
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Where it comes to fossil fuel extraction this is no doubt true for the low-hanging fruit, the reserves easiest and least expensive to extract. But as extraction proceeds along the line of deteriorating cost effectiveness, increasing complexity costs, and mounting physical difficulties, political action against it becomes more potent in proportion to the increasing overextension of its opponent. This can happen in the same way that various technical alternatives to fossil fuels become economically viable as oil prices rise.
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So it follows that as corporate agriculture finds its own position ever more costly and physically difficult to maintain, as costs increase, as natural (pest and weed) resistance mounts, as each new set of GMOs is more dubious, its economic rationale less coherent, its lies less viable, the legitimacy of establishment “science” and mainstream media more eroded, while public fear, skepticism, and opposition continues to rise, our action shall become more effective, and our ability to propagate all-encompassing ideas and desires more potent. There will be an ever greater will on the part of the people to organize against this enemy and to realize our affirmatives.
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In making these criticisms, I’m not disputing the basic truths of the pro-labeling argument. On the contrary, I avow these myself. I’m pointing out why, where labeling is presented as a typical ad hoc consumerist electoral campaign, rather than from within a movement context, the labeling campaigns are ineffective politics.
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At the moment the labeling campaigns comprise the main anti-GMO vehicle, and they can serve as good occasions for participation, organization, education – POE. In principle and in action abolitionists should support and join the campaigns. But we insist that labeling is insufficient, is no panacea, and that the fight for labeling is just one step toward building the consciousness toward building what’s great and necessary, a true abolition movement.
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For the moment, what’s a good proximate strategy?
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1. It’s important to defeat the DARK Act through whatever conventional within-the-system means, if possible. This is the system’s attempt to kneecap our movement through legalistic preemption. If this fails, they’ll try again, or else try for a more subtle “mandatory” scam. Anti-GMO people must reject any subsequent “softer” FDA scam. The same for the TTIP, though here it looks like our only chance is for European Parliament and/or member countries to reject it.
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If the DARK Act is passed, our campaigns must pressure the states and localities to go ahead anyway on democratic moral-political and constitutional grounds, including legal challenges (though we shouldn’t hold our breath in expectation of the court route succeeding). The central government’s ability to enforce its tyrannical policy will be a direct measure of the people’s willingness to crumble and obey, or our determination to stand tall and fight.
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2. Nevertheless, labeling in itself could never suffice. What we must have, what is necessary, is to drive out GMOs completely. Indeed, the worst aspect of the DARK Act is the legal assault it would make on county-level GMO bans.
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3. So in addition to POE, the main purpose of labeling campaigns is to provide an occasion to pressure manufacturers and retailers, and to supplement campaigns directly pressuring them.
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4. In this connection, a primary publicity component is to continue hammering away, not just at Monsanto, and not at the GMA, as for example who is providing the funding for the lawsuit against Vermont. Rather, it is Kellogg’s, Kraft, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, General Mills, General Foods, who are most responsible for inflicting these physical and political assaults upon us. The campaigns have often done a good job of this and should escalate. Combine this brand-condemning publicity campaigning and boycott organizing against these manufacturers with targeted pressure on retailers. These kinds of actions have the best track record, among reform campaigns.
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5. As I described in the strategy posts I linked here, both direct pressure and labeling advocacy must be enfolded within a comprehensive abolition movement and serve the abolition goal. Once we have a movement whose members and sympathizers see the world with the eyes of active citizens of a community, rather than with the eyes of atomized passive consumers among an unfathomable mass, then we’ll have the social foundation from which to launch any kind of political campaign. The campaigns will be organic, they’ll be part of an ongoing social and political context, and they’ll be waged and supported by citizens speaking to potential citizens who can see the living reality of the movement before them, rather than just a seemingly disposable campaign and stand-alone ad hoc policy proposal with no context for systemic change or human hope.
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If we want to do what’s necessary and do it right, in the process inspiring people to join a movement or support it (and this is what’s needed, rather than any quick fix electoral solution), we need to build a true movement toward a goal that’s necessary and great. The great goals available to us are the complete abolition of GMOs and breaking the power of corporations over our agriculture and food, in the process putting an end to their onslaught poisoning our food, water, soil, and air. The companion goal is to rebuild our community food economies on the basis of agroecology and food sovereignty, thus combining the best of freedom, health, democracy, and science. There’s no substitute for the patience and hard work required to build this new anti-corporate movement from outside the system. Along the way this movement can absorb whatever existing forces are available, so long as they’re compatible with the stark and non-negotiable goal of the abolition of corporations. But its inception and the main thrust of its action must always be toward building a new human world.
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If the DARK Act passes and the TTIP/TPP globalization compacts are forced upon us, raising our sights and escalating our demands upon fate is one of our options. Giving up is another. But it seems that the status quo will no longer be an option.

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Module: Glyphosate Residues in Our Bodies and Food

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This is the first of a series of modules, each being a short assembly of the evidence to date. I’ll add to each as new evidence rolls in, which it will continue to do. The modules will then be easily linkable for subsequent analytical pieces.
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This module will assemble the findings on glyphosate residues which independent research, in spite of its starvation ration of financial resources, has detected in our bodies, food, and crops. If anyone’s aware of evidence I don’t have here, please add it in comments. A subsequent module will assemble the experimental evidence which found harmful health effects of glyphosate and Roundup exposure, comparing the exposure levels in those studies to the residue levels documented here in our food and bodies. Another piece will compare the levels proven harmful to the levels allowed by regulators in our food and water.
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Many of the levels detected are high even compared to the invariably industry-friendly regulatory levels. But even low residue levels are significant and dangerous, since glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor. This means it can cause cancer and birth defects even at very low doses.
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*In 2013 Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse jointly gathered ten breast milk samples, as well as 35 urine samples and 21 drinking water samples, and had these sent for testing. The lab tests found “high” levels of glyphosate residue, ranging from 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l, in 3 of the milk samples. These levels “are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides.” Of the 35 urine samples collected from across the US, 13 were “above the minimum detectable level”, as much as 10 times the level found in a 2013 European survey (see below). 13 of the 21 samples of drinking water “contained glyphosate levels of between 0.085 ug/l and 0.33 ug/l. This is below the levels found in both urine and breast milk but is still cause for concern, as the European (EU) maximum allowed level for glyphosate in drinking water is 0.1 ug/l.”
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Corporate science asserts without evidence that glyphosate does not bioaccumulate. This is why no regulator anywhere in the world has set a regulatory limit for the amount of glyphosate in breast milk. It’s a classical tactic: by refusing to acknowledge the phenomenon in theory or in policy, a bureaucratic system tries to disappear it from reality.
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The levels found in the breast milk testing of 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides. They are however less than the 700 ug/l maximum contaminant level (MCL) for glyphosate in the U.S., which was decided upon by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on the now seemingly false premise that glyphosate was not bio-accumulative.

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These findings are especially damaging to Monsanto and the EPA because they falsify the corporate-science dogma that glyphosate does not bioaccumulate. We now know it does. This is the main fact which Monsanto is now desperate to obfuscate, as I describe below.
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*In Germany the Green Party had its own similar 2015 test done using 16 breast milk samples. The testing found residues between 0.210 and 0.432 ug/l. This is over 2-4X the EU’s allowed level in drinking water, and provides further proof of bioaccumulation.
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*In 2013 Friends of The Earth Europe commissioned a survey of people in 18 European countries, testing urine samples for glyphosate residues. “The maximum levels of glyphosate found in the tests ranged from 0.16 ug/l in Switzerland to 1.82 ug/l in Latvia.”
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*In 2013 Testbiotech found high levels of glyphosate residue in Argentine soybeans. 7 of 11 samples had levels higher than the allowed level of 20 mg/kg for EU importation. The levels were as high as almost 100 mg/kg.
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*In 2014 independent scientists performed a compositional study of an array of soybean varieties grown under commercial conditions in Iowa. The study found that soybeans engineered to be Roundup Ready and subsequently sprayed during the growing season contain extremely high levels of glyphosate and its breakdown product AMPA, an average of 9.0 mg/kg. This is a level much higher than the 5.6 mg/kg which Monsanto itself called “extreme” in a 1999 publication.
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The poison and its breakdown residues are incorporated into the tissues of the crop, which is engineered merely to assimilate them, sustaining significant weaknesses and nutritional deficiencies along the way but not dying. The poison is then an intrinsic part of the food people and livestock eat. It can’t be washed off, any more than endemic Bt insecticidal poisons, or the many other agricultural poisons which are designed to be suffused through all the tissues of the crop. When we eat any of these false crops, we are eating what are literally poison plants.
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Charles Benbrook, author of magisterial surveys of how GMOs have driven increased pesticide use, has stated that “Most genetically engineered soybeans now moving through trade channels worldwide contain 2 ppm to over 10 ppm of glyphosate plus its major metabolite, AMPA.”.
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*The US Geological Survey published a study which found that 75% of air and rain samples collected in Mississippi in 2007 contained glyphosate residue. The study compared 2007 levels in the air and water of various agricultural poisons with levels from 1995. In 2007 glyphosate, the main ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was by far the most common poison. This is entirely on account of the explosive surge in its use since the commercialization of GMOs. In pre-GMO 1995 its usage was so low it wasn’t even measured. For comparison, atrazine, metolachlor, and propanil were detected in 50% or more of the samples in both 2007 and 1995. This is a good demonstration of how the claim made for Roundup Ready GMOs, that they would lower overall poison use, was a lie. Instead, glyphosate use has skyrocketed while the use of other herbicides has remained steady.
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*Researchers found significant glyphosate residues in honey, pancake and corn syrup, soy sauce, soy milk and tofu purchased in the Philadelphia region.
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*GMO Free USA, as part of its ongoing investigation of poison levels in popular foods including those marketed to children, has commissioned tests which found glyphosate residues (as well as identifiably GM DNA fragments) in Kellogg’s Froot Loops and Frito-Lay Sunchips.
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*Government testing for glyphosate residues in food is sporadic in Europe and nonexistent in the US. Nevertheless spotty testing in European countries has consistently found glyphosate residues in UK bread and wheat bran and German barley.
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This evidence is damaging enough to Monsanto that it has taken the step of commissioning its own fraudulent counter-study at Washington State University. The Monsanto project is directed and spoken for by a Michelle McGuire, a typical corporate-science cadre who has spent her career as a Monsanto propagandist. Propagandists like these authors (one of them is named “Lackey”, I kid you not) don’t even pretend to be real scientists anymore. Every Monsanto “study” already has two elements which automatically exclude it from the realm of science: The use of secret data and/or methods (by definition scientific information has to be fully public), and that it’s performed by or at the commission of the corporation itself. Both reason itself and the historical evidence record absolutely rule out accepting the corporation’s own “evidence” as having any validity whatsoever. We know the corporation does nothing but lie, and we know the fox cannot guard the henhouse.
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Another element we see here as well as with other pro-GMO “studies” like the recent sweet potato/HGT paper, is blatantly political and
anti-scientific editorializing by the “researchers” and their signal boosters. Based on the existing evidence, no legitimate scientist would say anything like “glyphosate does not bioaccumulate and is not present in human milk” or that “the Moms Across America study flat out got it wrong”. The evidence calls for vastly more modest statements than these, if one is a scientist. Will Ferguson, the corporate publicist who wrote the press release, tells various direct lies, such as that Covance Labs, the “independent verifier” of the original study’s analysis which was conducted by Monsanto itself (!), has no relationship with Monsanto. In fact Covance has a longstanding close professional relationship with Monsanto. Ferguson also claims to be one of those idiots who wouldn’t be able to find the US on a map, since according to his headline he thinks two small Northwest cities comprise “the US”. The Orwellian character of these studies and their publicity methods proves that they’re not scientific nor meant to be, but are meant to be propaganda blasts dressed up in pseudo-science garb.
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McGuire is not a scientist but a fraud and a criminal liar. I propose that fighters for Food Sovereignty become more relentless and assertive in publicizing this fact, in every such case of Science Fraud. This example is also the first of a series.
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April 21, 2015

Glyphosate and Its Advocates Are Cancer

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Since the 1980s we’ve been gathering the evidence that glyphosate, AKA Roundup and other commercial formulations, causes cancer. From the start Monsanto and the US EPA were aware, based on toxic and pre-cancerous kidney effects which manifested in studies commissioned by Monsanto itself, that glyphosate was a likely cancer agent. EPA collaborated with Monsanto in keeping the study data secret, thus inaugurating for glyphosate the currently dominant paradigm of “science” as subject to corporate secrecy and information control.
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Since then laboratory researchers, epidemiologists, and health statisticians have gathered the evidence that glyphosate causes lymphoma and cancers of the brain, breast, prostate, and testicles. Even as the science has developed the links between these cancers and glyphosate, we’ve seen surges in their incidence, just as we’d expect during the period of the great surge of Roundup use as a result of the deployment of Roundup Ready GMOs. We reached a milestone with the official acknowledgement of the UN World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
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Contrary to the Monsanto lies which smeared the IARC as having conducted a cursory review, the IARC has been monitoring the science for many years. In April 2014, nearly a year prior to the 2015 declaration, the IARC published a study reviewing thirty years of scientific evidence linking many agricultural poisons including glyphosate and 2,4-D to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
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Today we have the latest study confirming that glyphosate causes cancer. This comes out of Argentina where the truth about glyphosate has long been manifest. Nowhere on earth has glyphosate wrought such health devastation among a populace of innocent bystanders as in the “soy republic” of Argentina and neighboring countries. Here entire landscapes have become sacrifice zones to industrial soy being grown for biodiesel and CAFO feed (NOT for food for people; see below on the “feed the world” Big Lie). Just part of the health carnage has been the doubling, quadrupling, and quintupling of cancer rates and cancer mortality in regions dominated by glyphosate-based soy agriculture.
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What’s significant about the World Health Organization’s finding that glyphosate is a probable cancer agent isn’t that it tells us anything new, but that it’s a major break in the system’s propaganda front. This is why Monsanto and its flacks have reacted so hysterically.
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(Although the WHO as a whole has been consistently pro-Monsanto, the IARC is out of step with the dominant corporate/reductionist ideological framework, instead emphasizing environmental factors in cancer causation.
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Emphasis is placed on elucidating the role of environmental and lifestyle risk factors and studying their interplay with genetic background in population-based studies and appropriate experimental models. This emphasis reflects the understanding that most cancers are, directly or indirectly, linked to environmental factors and thus are preventable.

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The proposition that cancer is preventable runs directly counter to the dominant “science” ideology which views cancer as arising from genetic determinism and the acceptable response to be massively expensive and interventionist cures supervised by Big Drug and other corporate sectors. This ideology is driven by the need of the poison-peddling corporations to obscure and deny the fact that profitable products like glyphosate are in fact major cancer drivers. The corporate flacks are abetted by scientism’s religious zealots who refuse to hear any evil spoken of their technological rabbits’ feet.)
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Since the WHO has historically been pro-GMO and pro-poison, the Poisoners have been able to react only awkwardly, absurdly calling for the WHO to “take back” what it said, or inventing such anti-science talking points as that the WHO’s finding applies only to extremely high concentrations. This is contradicted by the evidence the IARC cites, and in general isn’t supported by any rational or scientific proposition or evidence.
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Similarly, pro-poison government regulators have scrambled to limit the damage. We can take Health Canada’s quickly-cobbled-together position as a textbook exercise in the regulator scam. Health Canada says it’ll jigger the labels on Roundup and other glyphosate formulations in order to lessen the probability of poison drift beyond the spray zone and the exposure of farm workers. As I’ve previously described it:
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1. The corporate project is normative and must go on regardless of how worthless, expensive, and destructive it is. Under no circumstances shall the government do anything which would significantly hinder, let alone block, the corporate imperative. Nowhere is this more obviously true than in the case of GMOs, a completely failed, worthless, and destructive product which humanity never wanted, for which no natural market ever existed, which could never have endured even a modestly objective regulatory process, and which has always been 100% dependent on government regulator forbearance and support, corporate welfare, and monopoly muscle.
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In today’s case, Health Canada takes it for granted that overall sales of the #1 herbicide must not be hindered even though it’s a human carcinogen.
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2. Given the parameters of (1), the regulator may try to ameliorate the worst “abuses”, or may just pretend to do so, or may not even pretend. For years Western regulators haven’t cared even to pretend there should be any limit to glyphosate’s license to assault our health. But as we see here, the WHO’s breaking ranks has forced Health Canada into the position of running interference and issuing a sham limitation. Health Canada doesn’t want to thwart Monsanto’s domination or profit, but it feels under enough pressure that it’s introducing an anodyne “reform” which it won’t enforce. (This label change will have added bonus of putting another legal barrier between Monsanto and liability, since it’ll be easier to claim farmers violated the directions on the the label. As we’ve seen, the few exceptions to the united front of regulators and media blacking out any acknowledgement of the failures and harms of GMOs is in cases like the rise of superweeds and superbugs where the system can scapegoat the farmers.)
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3. The regulator then puts its imprimatur on the sham policy. It assures the public that the product is safe and that oversight is in the good hands of a vigilant government alert to the public interest, and so the people should go back to sleep, get on with their private lives, not worry our little heads about anything to do with public affairs including the safety of system agriculture and food.
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Here we see the political, or I should say the generally anti-political and elitist, manifestation of corporate ideology. In cases having to do with agriculture and food we see with special clarity how this anti-political ideology dovetails with the dominant “scientific” framework of recent decades, which can be summed up as “science is whatever the corporations decree it to be”. Through conventional corruption and systemic capture of universities, professional organizations, and government bodies, and of course through near-complete control of career paths, the corporations have procured a comprehensive level of discipline and coordination among the STEM fraternity in a short period of time. Today the vast majority of STEM types agree that science is whatever the corporate publicity divisions say it is, and they formulate their scientific and political opinions and proceed about their day-to-day work accordingly.
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That’s why the response among them to the WHO’s indiscipline has been such a combination of confusion, panic, furious rejection, and improvised lies. Monsanto having failed to get the WHO to immediately reverse itself, the Poisoners are starting to settle on the combination lie of “glyphosate is basically safe, and the WHO’s finding applies only to extreme circumstances, if that, but there’s no alternative to GMOs and these poisons since these are needed to feed the world”. Scientific American offers a typical example.
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We see how determined these fanatics are to continue to poison us. As their scrambling to defend Roundup proves, they have not even a shred of human decency and literally no thought process beyond the monomania of poison – the crop genomes, the plant tissues, the soil, the food, the water, the air, the ecology, the bodies of animals and people, all must be poisoned to the maximum extent possible. That’s why they react with such lies and hatred to the evidence and prescriptions of ecological science and the science and practice of agroecology. We have the corporations whose profits and power, whose literal existence, is completely dependent on the poison paradigm; we have the governments who also look to such corporate paradigms as guarantors of their own power and control; and we have the ideological and religious fanatics, the scientism cultists and general authoritarian followers who are psychologically invested in technophilia, the war of man vs. nature, the worship of power, and the ardent desire to construct a malign new religion out of all this filth, to replace the older religion where they can no longer find any kind of validation.
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All this would be contemptible enough if it existed only in these people’s minds. But right now they have the power, and they’re using it to force these poisons upon us and the environment. They’re literally giving us cancer, and will continue to do so until humanity stops them once and for all.
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I’ll be dealing more with the “feed the world” Big Lie. For now it’ll suffice to say that this is in fact a pure lie. The world already produces far more than enough food for everyone who is alive now or ever will be alive according to the highest UN projections of future population. Yet even though the world now produces enough food for 10 billion people, of the 7 billion alive today 1 billion suffer from hunger, while at least another 2 billion suffer from diet-related diseases. All of this is 100% the result of a malevolent distribution system, and nothing can ever change until this system is radically changed. Until then it won’t matter if there’s enough food for fifty billion people: hunger will only continue to spread. GMOs and poison-based agriculture represent the escalation of this malign, hunger-causing and malnutrition-causing system. These are not and cannot represent any alternative to it, as they’re physically based in industrial agriculture and politically and economically based in corporate profit-seeking. I’ll add that they’re also completely based in the corporate scientism ideology/religion, of which they’re not just a product but a religious ritual and icon.
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So in all these ways – agronomic, economic, political, scientific/religious – humanity and the Earth cannot coexist with the regime of poison-based agriculture or with the Poisoner movement which exalts it. These people, their ideas, their practices, are totalitarian and viciously destructive. They are cancer. We must put a stop to them once and for all.

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April 17, 2015

GMO News Report April 17th, 2015

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*Putting the AMA and similar Western professional organizations to shame, the Federation of Health Professionals of Argentina (FESPROSA) representing 30,000 doctors and health care workers has issued a statement demanding a ban on glyphosate in light of the WHO’s acknowledgement that it causes cancer. They add that Argentine researchers and doctors have also proven glyphosate causes reproductive problems, birth defects, and neurological disease. They condemn the Argentine government for its complicity in this massive poisoning of the people.
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Argentina is often called the Soy Republic (though Soy Regime would be more accurate), as the complete domination of the national economy by the Roundup Ready soy system is far more advanced here than for GMOs in any other country. But through the same circumstance Argentina has also seen the most comprehensive gathering of evidence documenting the health devastation wrought by Roundup.
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*A federal court is now extending the same hooded-judge in camera secrecy provisions we’re already enduring in cases where the government fraudulently invokes “national security” to corporate invocations of secrecy and “security”. The judges in Monsanto’s SLAPP suit against the people of Maui have accepted corporate submissions as evidence but are making only heavily redacted versions accessible to the defense. This is of course standard procedure in the corporate tribunals convened under globalization pacts like NAFTA, a jurisdiction of direct corporate dictatorship which will be vastly expanded if the TTIP and/or TPP go into effect.
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But as we see, the US federal courts are avoiding the rush. This secrecy regime, which already encompasses the void left behind where the scientific and academic establishment has abdicated even the pretense of integrity and legitimacy, is now being extended even to the basics of courtroom procedure. The courts shall increasingly be nothing but corporate kangaroo courts. This is the only way Monsanto can sustain its lies.
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These must be our principles: 1. Where it’s kept secret, and where they refuse to test at all, we can assume the worst must be true. The corporations and government would certainly trumpet to the skies any bona fide evidence which was good for their position.
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2. We reject all their secretive “studies” out of hand since these are based on secret alleged data which may not even exist at all, and at any rate does not scientifically exist, since only public data can scientifically exist.
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*Brazilian bioregulator CTNBio went ahead as expected and approved commercial cultivation of GM eucalyptus trees. The Campaign to Stop GE Trees denounces the decision as an illegal violation of the Convention on Biodiversity (to which Brazil is a signatory) and the Precautionary Principle. GM eucalyptus, if it is in fact more profitable for industrial foresters as expected on account of its faster growth, will only accelerate Brazilian rainforest destruction escalate the resultant carbon emissions and destruction of biodiversity. Contrary to the lies of pro-GM activists, all previous “efficiency” gains in industrial forestry only led to greater acreage being destroyed and given over to monoculture plantations. Of course GM trees growing for over five years will also spread their contaminated pollen far more widely than GM annual crops, to related trees and to honey production. And we can still expect a revival of 2013’s attempt to use GM eucalyptus as the camel’s nose in the tent for the Terminator gene, which Monsanto must be ardent to deploy in such crops as Brazil’s Intacta soybean.
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*This month the European Commission is expected to release rules for a new regulatory protocol for EFSA approval of GMOs for importation in food and feed. Friends of the Earth is criticizing a leaked draft promising the new importation approval system will be the same kind of sham as the cultivation approval protocol. In both cases, member states are allegedly to have an improved way to opt out of any GMO approvals. But these opt out provisions will actually be more onerous than the status quo, and will explicitly disallow national bans based on criteria the EFSA assesses, namely health and environmental concerns. This means that the pro-GM EFSA shall be officially enshrined as the only legal arbiter of the science of GMO-related health and environmental issues, which also happen to be the only WTO-allowed criteria for enacting what it would otherwise ban as “barriers to trade”. Meanwhile, the criteria which the new EU opt-out protocol will allow, such as socioeconomic and cultural effects, are precisely those banned by the WTO. So the goal here is to effectively outlaw EU member state bans on GMO cultivation or importation through a bureaucratic Catch-22. The new plan makes some noises about “co-existence” and anti-contamination measures, but will have zero enforcement provisions. Nor does anyone seriously think it will be possible to police the intra-European borders vs. the free flow of imported GM products.
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And what do member states have to give in return for this treacherous form of “opt-out”? Nothing but the surrender of their prior power to block Europe-wide approvals in the European Council, and their acquiescence in a general “streamlining” of the EFSA approval system.
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So the EC’s goal is to open the floodgates to EFSA approvals Europe-wide, inundate the continent with imported GM products (and undermine labeling rules), and make it easy for rogue states who want to allow chaotic GMO cultivation to do so, thereby greatly increasing the rate of general European contamination by GMOs.
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Of course all of this is just the prelude to what the GMO cartel and the EC hope to accomplish if the TTIP is enacted.

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April 11, 2015

Yet Another Study Proves GMOs Are Not “Substantially Equivalent” Even Among Themselves, Let Alone To Non-GM Crops

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A new study compared two varieties of Monsanto’s MON810 insecticidal maize under optimal conditions and under two kinds of environmental stress: Cold and wet conditions, and hot and dry. According to the pro-GM activists, in the case of both varieties: 1. The transgene should be equally active. 2. It should express equal levels of the Bt toxin (Cry1AB, vs. corn borers and other lepidopteran larvae). 3. There should be a clear, constant ratio of transgene activity to Bt expression. 4. Environmental stresses should have no effect on 1-3. 5. If there is any effect, it should be the same in both varieties.
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The results were quite different:
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1. Under optimal conditions, transgenic action (gauged by the RT-PCR test) was similar, but the average Bt content (tested by ELISA) was higher in one variety than the other.
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2. Under cold/wet conditions, the Bt content increased in one variety but not the other.
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3. Hot/dry conditions, transgenic expression was significantly lower in one variety, but this did not affect Bt content.
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The researchers concluded that even though transgene expression was similar under “normal” conditions, Bt content is affected also by the genetics of the original maize variety, and will therefore vary chaotically from variety to variety (a given transgene will be bred into often dozens of varieties). Under stress conditions the Bt content is highly unpredictable. Inconsistent Bt expression will help the target insects develop resistance, another refutation of the scam “refuge” policy.
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Based on these results, the crop science group Testbiotech is calling for all authorizations of Bt GMOs to be suspended while a new safety review protocol is drawn up and put into effect, as this study demonstrates how chaotic the real-world transgenic behavior and Bt production of these GMOs is. Researcher Angelika Hilbeck noted that this study, along with several previous studies which also found chaotic variation in Bt expression, refute the entire paradigm of “safety assessment” as deployed by regulators, as this assumes consistent levels of the poison in the product. It also refutes advertising which promises a given level of “active ingredient” in the product. Buying the seeds of a poison plant is, after all, the same thing as buying a gallon of chemical pesticide.
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As is standard with regulators all over the world including in the US, the EU’s EFSA assessments do almost nothing to assess the real-world performance of GMOs. (Much like how only ivory tower glyphosate is subjected to only meager testing, while real-world Roundup is subjected to none, and the bogus testing of Roundup Ready GMOs doesn’t include spraying them with Roundup!) No one has the slightest idea what the real world effects of changing environmental conditions will be on GMO performance, and the subsequent effects on human and animal health, beneficial insects, and soil ecosystems.

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April 10, 2015

GMO News Report April 10th, 2015

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*Unlike comparable organizations in the West, Brazil’s National Cancer Institute (INCA) is capable of connecting simple dots. Even the WHO now acknowledges that glyphosate causes cancer. INCA reiterates this and the many other health afflictions caused by glyphosate and other poisons, and goes on to state the obvious, that it’s herbicide tolerant GMOs which are by far the main driver of this great surge of glyphosate use, and therefore of the cancer caused by it.
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As if in direct contradiction of the Cancer Institute, Brazil’s “regulator” CTNBio issued cultivation approvals for soybeans and corn engineered to be tolerant to another cancer-causing herbicide, 2,4-D, as well as water-guzzling, deforestation-driving GM eucalyptus, whose prolific pollen spread promises to quickly contaminate all related trees across the environment.
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*Chinese citizens are suing the government trying to force it to disclose the secret information it has on Roundup and the process by which it approved Roundup. We see how the Chinese government is at one with those of the US and EU in wanting to help Monsanto and other corporations keep the actual evidence about the effects of chemicals like Roundup secret from the people. The escalating democracy campaign to force disclosure of how much the corporations and governments really know about how deadly these agricultural poisons really are becomes all the more critical as we learn more and more about the health and environmental devastation being wrought by Roundup, including the gathering avalanche of knowledge about how it causes cancer.
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The fact is that by definition there cannot be secret scientific evidence. By definition evidence has to be publicized, so we can assume that the secrecy is in fact a cover-up. We must assume that whatever evidence does exist condemns glyphosate (and GMOs) as harmful to health and the environment, which is the reason why corporations and governments want to keep this evidence secret. Meanwhile the public assurances are nothing but propaganda and lies. No legitimate model of science or democracy can come to any other conclusion.
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*Food and Water Watch filed a pair of petitions with the FDA calling upon the agency to follow the law and regulate GMO salmon as the food containing a new additive it clearly is, rather than as an “animal drug”, the way the FDA has been preferring to do. The food additive review process is, in theory, more rigorous and more strongly applies the precautionary principle.
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*In a court filing forced out of it, Monsanto now admits it bankrolled the legal defense of the contract GMO “farmer” who trespassed upon and contaminated West Australian organic farmer Steve Marsh’s land, causing him to lose his certification and costing him his livelihood. It’s no surprise that Monsanto would see the outcome of this case as important for its future revenue and power, since one of the basic elements of government assistance it depends upon is the “co-existence” lie in general and in particular the de facto legal doctrine that where it comes to transgenic trespass and vandalism, the law is presumptively on the side of the aggressor, while it’s the legal and financial responsibility of the target to avoid being assaulted, or simply to submit to it and plant the herbicide tolerant GMOs himself. So among other things it’s a protection racket. In this case, the 2014 trial decision admitted that “co-existence” is impossible even as it reaffirmed the pro-polluter, pro-trespasser, pro-vandal, pro-aggressor doctrine. Since then the legal dispute has been over the trial judge’s order that March pay the Monsanto contractor’s legal fees. It was in that context that Marsh’s legal team was able to force Monsanto’s divulgence, since legal costs can be awarded only for a principal’s out of pocket expenses.
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*Most of the attention to the EU’s revamped “subsidiarity” policy for GMO approvals has focused on GMO cultivation. Now the Commission is about to release its new rules for approval of imported GMOs in food and feed. The main loophole in the EU’s GMO labeling policy is that meat and dairy from animals which were fed GMOs doesn’t have to be labeled, although many supermarket chains eschew GM feed for their own meat and dairy brands. Member states opposed to GM importations have generally been unable to prevent imported feed from entering their own supply chains, but have instead focused on blocking import approval in the first place. Although the details are unclear right now, both the Commission and civil society campaigners are expecting that the new rules, generally dedicated to “streamlining” regulation (i.e. making it more pro-corporate), will make it harder for member states to block EFSA import approval at the outset. There will be fig-leaf “opt out” provisions, but as a practical matter for a member state to opt out of allowing an imported processed product, which will easily cross the border in any number of ways, will be more difficult than opting out of allowing cultivation of a GMO.
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*In its desperation to claim some kind, any kind of support for the TPP and TTIP globalization assaults, the Obama administration released a set of quotes from the always reliable corporate environmentalist front groups the WWF and the Nature Conservancy, along with some other bogus NGOs, which expressed these groups’ “environmentalist” support for the pacts. Although the cowards are now trying to backpedal by claiming they have not technically endorsed these corporate anti-constitutions, the pieces and submissions are loaded with the sycophancy, lies, and neoliberal propaganda we’d expect from the the WWF and their treacherous like.

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April 9, 2015

Scientism and the Secret “Science” on Roundup

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Three Chinese citizens are suing the government trying to force it to disclose the secret information it has on Roundup and the process by which it approved Roundup. We see how the Chinese government is at one with those of the US and EU in wanting to help Monsanto and other corporations keep the actual evidence about the severely toxic and cancer-causing effects of chemicals like Roundup secret from the people. What’s more, these corporations and governments evidently hold to an entirely new concept and paradigm of “science” under which the alleged scientific evidence is to be kept secret from the people, and research materials themselves made available to researchers only under corporate supervision. Instead, government and media elites are to publicly release whatever information the corporations see fit to publicize, this is to be christened as “science”, and the people are supposed to believe it on faith. This is a significant departure from previous scientific practice and in direct contradiction of the self-image and propaganda of today’s capital-S “Science” (i.e. scientism). Yet evidently the mainstream of the STEM and academic establishment supports this new concept and practice of secret alleged science. Therefore, today’s scientific establishment is nothing more or less than an authoritarian cult.
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The fact is that by definition there cannot be secret scientific evidence. By definition evidence has to be publicized, so we can assume that the secrecy is in fact a cover-up. We must assume that whatever evidence does exist condemns glyphosate (and GMOs) as harmful to health and the environment, which is the reason why corporations and governments want to keep this evidence secret. Meanwhile the public assurances that agricultural poisons are safe, indeed that the system ever tested them for safety at all, are nothing but propaganda and lies, and “our” regulators and media are part of this conscious, willful campaign of deceit. No rational model of science or democracy can come to any other conclusion.

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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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March 27, 2015

GMO News Report March 27th, 2015

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*Polish farmers continue their protests and vigils, now centered on the “Green City”, a small Occupation-style camp they have set up across the street from the prime minister’s palace. Here, groups of farmers camp in shifts, their presence an ongoing Bonus Army-style protest against the agricultural globalization which is systematically liquidating farmers everywhere, from the US and Europe to Africa and India.
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*Farmers are similarly protesting in India. Thousands convened a Kisan Maha Panchayat (farmer meeting) sit-in where they demanded pro-farmer reforms and the rolling back of pernicious globalization pacts. Meanwhile conflicts over GMOs continue within the Modi government’s political coalition in India. The nationalist Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has again objected to the new wave of field trials in Maharashtra state, and the central government’s political support for these. The Modi government is ideologically neoliberal and wants to drag India into further servitude to the US government and its corporations, while its coalition allies the SJM and RSS seem to be more like our paleoconservatives here in the US. Although some of them (the Indians, not the US version so far as I’ve seen) have pointed out the evidence against GMO safety, their main concern is globalization’s anti-nationalist economic and political effects.
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*Food sovereignty campaigners protested at the corporate conference convened in London by USAID and the Gates Foundation. They condemned the Western plan to recolonize Africa along corporate industrial agriculture lines. The corporate assault seeks to destroy the existing system of millions of community farmers producing food for their families and communities and replace it with industrial plantations growing industrial GMOs for Asian factory farms and Western ethanol. This is meant to force into being a vast new market for Western proprietary seeds as well as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides produced by Western corporations. It’s also meant to force the African people as a whole to stop producing their own food and instead buy imported food controlled by, yes, Western corporations. These millions of people currently living in farming-based communities are to be driven off their land and into shantytowns. In the end they’re supposed to become ill and eventually die off from disease and starvation. That’s the Monsanto/Gates/US administration plan. More about the London conference here.
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*First reports are that for the second time in two tries, the Bangladesh experiment with Bt brinjal (eggplant) is an agronomic failure and economic disaster for many of the participating farmers. The initial reports are that many plants died prematurely, others that had seemed to be growing well suddenly died of disease or of unknown causes, while plants which produced fruit often yielded poorly. Just as in 2014, there are some reports of plants which failed to resist the target pest, the fruit-and-shoot borer. The director of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) shrugged off most of the disaster, quipping “we never said the plants wouldn’t be vulnerable to disease”. BARI has been running the breeding program and the limited commercial experiments. The initial technical development was done by Monsanto-Mahyco, and most funding came from the US public via USAID. So this worthless project, which gravely threatens the genetic basis of the world’s center for brinjal biodiversity, and which can benefit no one but Monsanto, is being paid for by American taxpayers.
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*Some good news for Australian organic farmer Steve Marsh in his legal battles with a neighboring contract farmer, Michael Baxter, whose GMO canola contaminated Marsh’s farm and cost him his organic certification. Marsh is currently appealing the pro-Monsanto trial decision, where the judge essentially ruled that GMO contamination is inevitable and normative, and that if organic farming can’t move its face from where Monsanto wants to swing its fist, then it deserves to be hit. The decision included an order that Marsh pay the polluter’s legal bills. But the appeals court has ruled that Baxter must disclose to the court how much legal assistance he got from trade groups and from any corporation such as Monsanto itself. This is significant since Australian law says that awards of legal expenses can cover only what a litigant spent out of his own pocket. Australian industry groups adopted Baxter as a poster child from the beginning of the original lawsuit, but never publicly disclosed how much money they or Monsanto were paying for his legal defense.
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*The Mexican people continue to rack up victories in court as Acción Colectiva del Maíz announces four court victories in February rejecting Monsanto’s appeals of court decisions upholding Mexico’s moratorium on commercial release of GM maize and the injunction against the government’s abrogating this moratorium. The moratorium is based on defending Mexico’s place as a center of origin and diversity of maize and teosinte germplasm, a critically important place which is under assault from contamination by genetically monocultural GMO maize.
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*Monsanto has announced another farcical settlement of claims by seven groups of Midwestern and Southern US wheat farmers arising from the 2013 Oregon incident where a farmer discovered feral Roundup Ready wheat in his field, sparking a collapse in wheat exports as Asian markets rejected potentially contaminated shipments. According to the company, the settlement is in the form of $350,000 in donations to various agricultural schools. In other words, Monsanto gets to have its standard financial controls over university agriculture departments double as lawsuit settlements. Pretty sweet. This is even better than last November’s settlement with Oregon wheat farmers. There, although most of the money went to pro-GM wheat trade groups, a modest amount went to the farmers themselves. Here it sounds like no farmer is getting a penny. All the money basically goes back to Monsanto itself, in the form of value from lobbying and corruption. This kind of thing is becoming more common with corporate “settlements”.
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*More buffoonery from Patrick Moore. This time he was claiming in a taped interview that glyphosate was safe enough to drink and that “I’d be happy to” drink some if it were offered. When the interviewer, a documentary filmmaker exposing the health and socioeconomic ravages of the industrial soy system in Argentina, produced a glass, Moore flip-flopped, refused to drink it, and stomped out. We must stress that in spite of his generally stupid and undignified demeanor, Moore is one of the most prominent professional climate change deniers and is celebrated by the most respectable figures of the pro-GMO establishment. In particular, “World Food Prize” winner Marc von Montagu and “golden rice” lead developer Ingo Potrykus recently led an effort to endorse Moore’s “contributions to science” on behalf of the GMO establishment, thus rendering official the ideological unity of pro-GMO activism and climate change denial. No GMO supporter objected to the Moore anointment.
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*In 2013 the Maine legislature passed a GMO labeling law which, like Connecticut’s, requires that several other states pass similar laws before it becomes effective. This is called a “trigger”. This immediately proved a problem since Maine’s trigger specified that adjoining New Hampshire would have to be one of the states enacting a similar policy, but a legislative attempt there soon afterward failed. Now a new proposed bill in Maine would upgrade the 2013 law by removing the trigger. If this bill passes Maine would join Vermont as the second state to pass a true labeling law without the self-negating trigger. Obviously a law with a trigger is, at best, a study in ambivalence. Most likely it indicates a government which wants to pretend to be doing something without actually having to do it.

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