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April 22, 2016

Earth Day: Poisoner News Summary April 22nd, 2016

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*Earth Day. If a god created this world, this ecology, the beauty of it all, the intricacy and logic of it all, it’s inconceivable this god would have wanted humans to trash it, to defile it, to desecrate it. This, I believe, is the incontrovertible a priori for any meaningful theology or philosophy, whatever one’s personal state of faith. The much abused translation “dominion” in Genesis can mean only stewardship, if it has any meaning at all.
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This perception is reinforced by the fail-safe mechanism God created, the way nature imposes a correction wherever, on account of whatever temporary environmental circumstance, a species runs out of control. From any point of view including that of secular biology, Homo sapiens is certainly out of control. The circumstance enabling this has been the temporary availability of cheaply extractable fossil fuels. When we factor in humanity’s moral character, we must also recognize the rogues of the species, those who seek to poison us all, as evil.
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The stewardship model has been proven unanimously, on every level from the religious to the most nuts-and-bolts secular, to create the best life and greatest happiness for all even as it preserves and enhances the ecology at every level from the local to the global.
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This is the only true religion, the only true philosophy, the only true science. This is the one and only Truth. Do we still dream of the Garden of Eden? But this Earth is the one and only Garden of Eden, because it is humanity’s one and only home. Time’s up, and we must choose.
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*Climate scientists admit they’re “censoring their own research”, because the evidence indicates a current status and prognosis far worse than what they’ve generally been willing to report. Even as it is, what’s already been publicized proves that none of the popular “reforms” can have any effect and simply comprise a form of denialism, the form of putting off real action. If scientists told the truth about how bad things really are, even those willing to pay lip service to caring about the climate crisis would tune out the science completely and become de jure deniers.
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This is because even among those who wring their hands over climate change there’s a near-complete unwillingness to face up to the fact that there is one way and only one way to do anything about this crisis: Emit far less GHGs, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
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That makes the hand-wringers and crocodile-criers climate deniers as well.
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*The Chinese government is about to launch the campaign we’ve been predicting for years, its attempt to propagate its own GMO cartel to compete with that of the West. This will complement its longstanding campaign of land-grabbing in Africa and elsewhere. The goals are to ensure China’s own CAFO feed chain and to open a new front in its challenge to US power. ChemChina’s deal with Syngenta intends to co-opt some top-of-the-line Western technical expertise and start splitting the EU’s interest in this intensifying geopolitical struggle.
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China would be better off bolstering its own agricultural resiliency and that of the allies it’s trying to cultivate by fully deploying agroecology for food production. This would make for far greater food security in times of climate chaos, ecological collapse, and geopolitical conflict. Europe still has the chance to do this if it chooses, but EU elites are dead set on collective suicide, judging by their ardent embrace of the TTIP and CETA and their increasingly aggressive attempts to force GMOs on Europe. Similarly, China’s elites are basically the same as Western elites. They too are incapable of thinking in terms other than globalization and commodity agriculture. Deng Xiaoping said, “Black cat, white cat, as long as it catches mice it’s a good cat.” But any cat operating in the oil-dependent industrial monoculture commodity fields won’t be catching mice much longer, as his nine lives are just about used up. Indeed, even by the conventional economic outlook China looks to be trying to get into the GMO market at its peak, as the product has reached market saturation and stalled out around the world. The Western agrochemical/GMO sector is cannibalizing itself, which is what drove Syngenta into the Chinese orbit in the first place, after the Swiss company at first hoped it could maintain a “neutral” independence. It’s not clear what incentives the Chinese will offer the farmers of the world, and what new lies they’ll tell, in order to continue with the GMO paradigm but get the world to switch from the West to the Orient. One thing we can be sure of, the Chinese product won’t work any better than the Western, nor will it force the use of any less poison.
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*One critical battlefront where Monsanto, and the GMO ideal itself, is facing rejection is among Africans who are rejecting Bt cotton. Africans have seen the havoc wrought in India as well as closer to home in South Africa. They know the product is disastrous for farmers. Burkina Faso’s attempt to flout this fact led quickly to one of the typical outcomes: Even when the GM cotton crop isn’t decimated by pests and yields well on paper, the lint is of subpar length and therefore makes for an inferior product which can be sold only at inferior prices. All this is after paying a premium price for the seed. Therefore the government is now planning to phase out the fraudulent GM seeds and replace them completely with non-GM conventional seeds by 2018. This parallels and goes beyond India’s so far more modest program to encourage the use of native, non-GM cotton seeds.
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*Pakistan has had nothing but travails of its own with Bt cotton, and now must cope with the corrupt politics of GM maize. Here too there’s a scandal driven by the climate change minister’s surreptitious and illegal approval of commercial release of Monsanto’s GM maize without prior field trials. This violates the national biosafety law. Under pressure from farmers and scientists the government is halting the sale of the seeds. Leaving aside its usual, long-debunked lies about GMOs being good for farmers, Monsanto openly says the purpose of GMO commercialization is for commodity globalization, and even more for the propaganda of the commodification idea: “Monsanto official Aamir Mirza said…that the promotion of biotechnology will…send strong signals that the country is welcoming investments in research into cutting-edge technologies. ‘This will improve the agriculture sector’s international competitiveness over the long term,’ he remarked.”
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ALL problems of hunger and malnutrition among the poor have been known at least since the 1970s to be directly caused or greatly aggravated by agricultural commodification. Monsanto and its flunkeys like to tell lies about “feeding the world”, but their conscious, intentional goal and action sums up to GMOs Starve the World
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*Monsanto faces mounting problems collecting its tax in Latin America. Brazil and Argentina don’t have the same draconian intellectual property laws as those of the US. Therefore Monsanto has to rely on the farmer’s contractual agreement to pay the Monsanto Tax. This is readily enough collected at the point of sale when farmers formally purchase Roundup Ready or Intacta soybean seed. But how to force farmers who save and replant GM seed (or are just accused of doing so) to pay the tax, in a place where you can’t so easily sue them? Monsanto’s idea has been to make each farmer produce his tax document when he brings in his soybean harvest to the trader. If the farmer can’t produce proof he paid the tax, Monsanto demands that the trader to collect the tax on Monsanto’s behalf, or else refuse to accept the shipment if the farmer refuses to pay. The shipment is assumed to be GM unless the farmer can prove he used only non-GM seeds, but Monsanto sets the bar for this proof so high as to be near impossible to meet. The tax is then remitted to Monsanto. The trader gets nothing for acting as Monsanto’s collection agency.
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It’s not surprising that most traders have objected to this arrangement (that’s our Monsanto, making friends everywhere it goes), and now the Argentine government, which has already disappointed Monsanto many times in failing to meet the company’s demand to tighten seed patent law, is intervening. The government says it will exercise oversight and must approve of any arrangement where Monsanto or its dragooned agents demand a tax from farmers.
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This unfavorable environment for Monsanto’s patent privilege is a major motivation for the company to commercialize the Terminator gene as quickly as is politically possible.
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*Case study in the corporate science paradigm. Where scientists aren’t sufficiently self-policing, authoritarian regimes will deploy varying levels of coercion to enforce the party line in “science”. We see it with US regulators like the USDA and EPA, and we see it now even more aggressively official with the British government.
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These are all manifestations of the total assault on democracy by the corporations, which are totalitarian organizations recognizing zero right for any value to exist other than their own profit prerogatives. In the case of science, part of the whole mythology as elaborated by Karl Popper is that science is an integral part of the “open society”. This means that science, in order to be socially constructive and true to itself, can be undertaken only under conditions of complete transparency and intellectual freedom. Thus true science and democracy go hand in hand, while any kind of secrecy or censorship of science is automatically an assault on democracy as well. (That’s part of mythology because establishment science has never in fact functioned that way, nor have most of its practitioners ever agreed with democratic values.)
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*Lawsuits are part of a general delaying action. Since as a rule those who file lawsuits would be unwilling to engage in more radical forms of action, it’s good that they at least do this. Lawsuits have the primary effect of delaying the Poisoner progress, as the USDA recently complained about the EPA. They can also be excellent occasions for public education and agitation by abolitionists, and we must use these opportunities far more effectively. But like any other reform action condoned by the establishment, they’re insufficient and are no substitute for the necessary work of building and enacting the abolition movement and the food sovereignty way of life.
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*Perhaps the most astonishing thing about the whole Poisoner campaign is how right out in plain sight governments and corporations are intentionally, systematically destroying antibiotics as an effective medical treatment, and no one cares.
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*Tom Philpott softens under the Bill Nye treatment. No surprise there.
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Monsanto’s record is absolutely perfect throughout its history: It sells as much poison as it can and tells every lie imaginable about it. Philpott knows this perfectly well and yet pretends to find these lies believable. He goes so far as to imply that Monsanto can be an honest broker. Once again the rule is proven, that every system propagandist, including the “reformer” types, has his price for becoming a de jure liar. In the case of Nye, Philpott, and the labeling “leaders” who were willing to endorse the secret Vilsack/GMA conclave, the price may be rhetorical, the “quality” of the lie. But make no mistake, all such persons are, in the final analysis, on the Monsanto side.
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*A new study has found that quinone outside inhibitors, a class of fungicide whose use on vegetables and grains in the US has surged exponentially in recent years, affect mouse neural cells in vitro in ways similar to the neural cell effects found in humans suffering from autism, advanced age, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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Now, it’s important to note, Zylka told me in an interview, that in vitro research like the kind his team conducted for this study is only the first step in determining whether a chemical poses risk to people. The project identified chemicals that can cause harm to brain cells in a lab setting, but it did not establish that they harm human brains as they’re currently used. Nailing that down will involve careful epidemiological studies, Zylka said: Scientists will have to track populations that have been exposed to the chemicals—say, farm workers—to see if they show a heightened propensity for brain disorders, and they’ll have to test people who eat foods with residues of suspect chemicals to see if those chemicals show up in their bodies at significant levels.

That work remains to be done, Zylka said. “What’s most disturbing to me is that we’ve allowed these chemicals to be widely used, widely found on food and in the environment, without knowing more about their potential effects,” he said.

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Contrary to this nonsense, we know for a fact that all agricultural poisons are severely harmful to humans and other animals. In the hundred year history of poison-based agriculture there has never been an exception among the poisons for which evidence has been compiled at all. So by now, for any rational person, the first step is to regard the case as closed and to abolish all agricultural poisons forthwith. The endless whack-a-mole of testing which is mechanically called for by every lukewarm critic of these poisons is nothing but procrastination, at best. That is, where it’s not a willful delaying tactic.
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Our supposition that the call for “more testing” is a scam is reinforced when we consider the fact, known perfectly well by Philpott and Zylka, that the kind of epidemiological studies they call for here are seldom sought or funded, and when they are carried out their results are dismissed out of hand by regulators like the EPA, FDA, and the German BfR and EU’s EFSA as we saw most recently in the case of their whitewash of glyphosate’s proven carcinogenicity. So epidemiological study is, for official regulatory purposes, unscience. Meanwhile testing people who have ingested residues is never done, and the many preliminary studies which would have to be performed, in order to ascertain the presence of pesticide residues in the food supply in the first place, are also evaded by regulators and can be carried out by independent researchers only in the most sporadic, ad hoc way. (Meanwhile the FDA illegally refuses to regulate pesticides as the food additives they self-evidently are.) So this prescription for “more and better testing” describes a scenario which no one within the establishment will ever enact, and no one outside the establishment would ever have the resources to enact.
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Nor should dissidents want to use our scarce resources this way, since as I said we already know that all these poisons cause cancer, birth defects, and neurodisease, along with a host of other harms. We have vastly more than enough evidence already, compiled over the course of a century. We need better use of the sufficient evidence we have, not the insufficient course of procrastination, filling the wasted time with vain calls for “more and better testing”.
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The political dance between “reformers” and the poison manufacturers is made complete with the corporate retort.
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In an emailed statement, a BASF spokeswoman wrote that cell tissue studies like Zylka’s “have not demonstrated relevance compared with results from studies conducted on [live] animals.” She added, “While the study adds to the debate of some scientific questions, it provides no evidence that the chemicals contribute to the development of some diseases of the central nervous system. This publication has no impact on the established safety of pyraclostrobin when used according to label instructions in agricultural settings.” A Bayer spokesman told me that the company’s scientists are looking into the Zylka study and “don’t have any initial feedback to offer right now.” He added that “our products are rigorously tested and their safety and efficacy is our focus.”

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In fact all establishment scientists and commentators on science flip-flop constantly on whether entire classes of research are valid or not. Thus when BASF contemplates this case, they suddenly discover that in vitro research as such is invalid. Yet like the Stalinists who officially rejected quantum mechanics even as they applied it for the Soviet nuclear program, so BASF constantly uses in vitro research itself, especially in the genetic engineering process. Similarly, in vivo lab studies are generally considered the gold standard in science (a notion which has problems of its own, which I’ll leave aside for now), except where these must suddenly be thrown out because they don’t adequately reflect real world conditions or allegedly have faulty methodology even though the methodology is the same as that of prior studies the corporation itself carried out. This suddenly becomes the corporate position when in vivo studies provide evidence adverse to corporate interests. The most infamous example is the scientific establishment’s defamation of the 2012 Seralini study, which was a perfect example of the classic falsificationist scientific method in action. To this day pro-GMO activists will say with a straight face that the Seralini study, nearly identical to prior Monsanto studies in every way except in its longer duration and the parameters it measured, was a bad study while the near-identical Monsanto studies were good.
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Finally, epidemiological studies which actually do measure things under real world conditions are rejected as a class on the opposite grounds, that they’re not well enough controlled, the moment they provide evidence adverse to a corporate campaign. Like we said, this is invariably the case where it comes to agricultural poisons. This is why regulators, on principle, refuse to recognize the existence of epidemiological science.
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As we can see, contrary to its lies about itself “science” has no stable canons of practice or evidence, but is the same game of doing whatever you have to do to get the “evidence” you want and suppress the evidence which is against you as is standard in every other branch of politics. To continue playing the corporate science game is to condemn oneself to a literally endless round of whack-a-mole. The actual science is unequivocal and overwhelming, and confirms what reason and common sense always knew: Poison is poisonous to us, and the campaign of putting it on our food is insane and evil and must be put to an end with all due speed. But as we also see, the lukewarm have a different agenda which is more in line with that of the corporations. Whether it’s that they lack confidence in reason and real science, or whether they actively support corporate capitalism and are willing to tolerate a certain level of intentionally caused cancer (thus the regulatory concept of “tolerances”), or most likely a combination of this cowardice and this evil, they end up in agreement with the corporate poisoners that no level of evidence will ever be enough to convict poisons of being poisons.
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Self-evidently, this is not the way forward.
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January 5, 2016

How Does Monsanto Plan to Deploy the Terminator on a Mass Scale?

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According to lore, Monsanto halted its drive to commercialize GMOs containing the Terminator gene when Gordon Conway of the Rockefeller Foundation warned the company that its extreme aggressiveness was becoming so politically reckless and counterproductive as to put the entire GMO project at risk.
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Whatever the motivation, it’s true that Monsanto announced in 1999 it was not pursuing commercialization of the Terminator. This was followed in 2000 by an international moratorium on development and commercial approval of this technology, voted under the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The moratorium was reaffirmed in 2006 at the CBD meeting held in Brazil.
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[The Terminator, AKA a “GURT” (Genetic Use Restriction Technology), is a transgene which would cause the plants containing it to produce sterile seeds. This would render patent enforcement moot, since it would become physically impossible to save and replant seed from such a GMO. Some versions can be rendered fertile, i.e. the Terminator gene can be counteracted if the seed is coated with an antibiotic or some other chemical. So we see how, in addition to simplifying seed monopoly, the Terminator allows those deploying it to dream of inserting it into all commercial crop seed and then forcing all seed growers to buy the antidote from them.
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Could the Terminator spread chaotically to other crops and wild plants, rendering them sterile? As usual with genetic engineering, no one has the slightest idea. Anyone who claims to know this wouldn’t happen is a liar.
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The Terminator was developed jointly by Delta & Pine Land seed company and the USDA. These jointly hold the patent. In the late 1990s Monsanto’s attempt to buy DPL fell through, in part because of political outcry over the prospect of Monsanto’s gaining control of the Terminator technology. But in 2006 Monsanto was able to buy the company with little opposition.]
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We can take it for granted that Monsanto’s own Terminator moratorium has been purely a temporary expedient, and that their plan remains the same as always, to deploy the Terminator on a mass scale. The GURT must look especially attractive as GMOs expand beyond the range of the secure Western intellectual property regime. Brazil is troublesome for IP control in seeds, with many farmers allegedly saving and replanting GM soybeans without paying Monsanto’s tax. This has led to politically draining court battles and the very difficult process of Monsanto’s attempt to force traders to collect the tax on its behalf. Monsanto faces similar headaches collecting its taxes in Argentina. China of course is a problematic market from the point of view of patent enforcement. Africa’s an unknown quantity even if the US/UK/Monsanto colonization plan is able to conquer significant territory. Monsanto’s dream of conquering Iraqi agriculture, impeccable on paper as decreed by the US occupation regime, fizzled out for the inability to enforce it in physical reality.
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It’s clear that Monsanto needs to deploy the Terminator if it’s to have any hope of gaining the total control and power it seeks. So what’s one way this might happen? Here’s a way which seems plausible to me. Let’s list some facts.
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1. Monsanto’s Intacta soybean, developed specially for cultivation in Brazil and commercially introduced in 2013, is the first Monsanto product developed for a non-US market. (Intacta is a stacked product which is Roundup Ready and contains the Cry1AC Bt toxin vs. lepidopteran pests. But in Brazil glyphosate is failing against resistant superweeds and may render the soybean crop more susceptible to fungal infections. Across the world Cry1AC has widely failed in cotton, generating resistant superbugs. Just as Cry1F, deployed in maize GMOs, has widely collapsed in Brazil against the target armyworm, so we can anticipate Intacta’s vulnerability. According to Monsanto itself, feeding upon it may even strengthen some of the intended target pests. A 2015 study also found that Intacta yields less than non-GM conventional soybeans. So Intacta is triply a plagued, failing product just two years after it was put on the market.)
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2. In 2013 Brazilian officials negotiated a deal to export Intacta soybeans to China. In spite of some early indications that China would insist on a non-GM supply, it eventually agreed to accept Brazil’s general soybean commodity stream.
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3. For years China has been trying to develop its own GMO industry. Chinese state enterprises have worked on this themselves (many entries in the Developer list to the right), and perhaps in collaboration with DuPont (the story here is sketchy). In 2015 ChemChina made a bid to buy Syngenta.
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4. China is notorious for being an intellectual property scofflaw. Western patents and copyrights are frequently disrespected there.
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5. Soybeans are the most easily pirated crops, since they’re not hybrids like commodity maize, but open-pollinated.
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6. Obviously Monsanto’s Intacta patents are at some risk here.
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7. In late 2013 pro-Monsanto forces in Brazil launched a new attempt to gut the country’s 2005 Biosafety Law and have the country break the 10+ year moratorium on the Terminator. (These legislative attempts have been ongoing since 2005.) This is ironic since the moratorium was last reaffirmed in Brazil. Proponents claim to want to put the Terminator only in GM eucalyptus and other vegetatively propagated crops, but the proposal has enough loopholes and vagueness as to be indefinitely stretchable. So far this attempt has been beaten back, largely as the result of massive international grassroots pressure organized by the ETC Group. But the pro-GMO activists in the legislature continue to reintroduce the bill.
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8. Brazilian regulators approved GM eucalyptus in 2015.
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There’s the facts. What can we deduce from there? Obviously if the Terminator were to be incorporated in one product, it would quickly be deployed in others. In this case GM eucalyptus would be the camel’s nose in the tent. All of Monsanto’s interests say that Brazil and China are two places it would find the Terminator most useful. Therefore the indications point to Intacta as being the first major GMO into which Monsanto would want to engineer the Terminator gene. Grown in Brazil, exported mostly to China and other non-Western countries – perhaps it might not immediately generate a political firestorm in the West. (Some Intacta is exported to the EU for use in food and feed. European campaigners, recently seconded by a Norwegian government scientific assessment, have opposed it on food safety grounds. But no doubt the EFSA would deem a Terminator version of Intacta not to require a new review.)
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And then, once the Terminator was deployed in one major commercial GMO, it would be expanded to many or all of the others.
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So there’s one plausible scenario for the Terminator’s future.
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Campaigners around the world need to join with ETC and Brazilian campaigners to hinder the GM eucalyptus project and thwart the plan to have Brazil break the Terminator moratorium.
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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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March 6, 2015

GMO News Report, March 6th 2015

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*Gambia’s president declared that his administration is seeking to build an agricultural sector “strictly maintaining organic agriculture for both our consumption and export”, including “never accepting” GMO cultivation. The proclamation promised strong public investment in agriculture but also, incongruously, the corporate welfare “public private partnerships”. We’ll see how it plays out.
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*A few weeks ago I wrote about Food Sovereignty Ghana’s lawsuit against the country’s National Biosafety Committee and the Food and Agriculture Ministry, alleging the Committee is trying to approve GMO cowpea and rice cultivation without having met the legal requirements for safety testing and public notification and comment. Ghana’s high court has issued a stay halting the GMO commercial release process while the case is refiled and other government ministries join the case as co-defendants. The court is scheduled to issue a judgement April 2nd. As I wrote about last week, Friends of the Earth recently put out a report detailing how USAID and the Gates Foundation are trying to use bogus “biosafety authorities” as pro-Monsanto Trojan horses in African countries. Ghana’s Committee was tailor-made for this purpose.
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*A new study from researchers at the University of Naples documents that the milk of mother goats fed a diet of Roundup Ready soybeans contained 40% less immunoglobulin G (an immune system nutrient) and that kids nursing on this milk has less of the substance in their blood and lowered body weights. A previous study from the same research team documented DNA sequences from RR soybeans in goat’s milk, thus proving that at least with goats the transgenic DNA fragments survive digestion and are in the milk. The new study is the latest of a long line of studies proving that GMO-based diets affect the immune systems of mice, rats, pigs, and fish. To this day no such study has been done with humans, except of course for the monumental, ongoing, uncontrolled, nonconsensual GMO feeding trial using just about all of us as guinea pigs.
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*Egyptian actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mahmoud Kabil has joined the board of the Factor GMO study. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I recommend steering clear of the hype on this one and reserving judgement as we see how the PR campaign goes, who else becomes associated with the study, and how the methodology plays out.
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The fact is, if this study brings a result adverse to the GMO and/or to Roundup, it’ll be slandered in exactly the same way the Pusztai and Seralini studies have been, along with the rest of the true independent science that’s been done on these poisons. We already have a solid body of science adverse to GMOs, and the case against Roundup is conclusive: It should be banned as a carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, causer of reproductive problems and birth defects, and for its organ toxicity, along with its many other malign health, environmental, and agronomic effects.
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Meanwhile all the GMO cartel has are lies and frauds. 100% of its “evidence” is fraudulent. Most condemning of all is the negative proof: The fact that Monsanto and the US government refuse to spend the relative pennies it would cost to replicate the Seralini, Pusztai, or any other study to which they claim objections. The fact that the cartel and the government decided from day one to REFUSE to perform ANY safety tests at all on ANY GMO, comprises proof that Monsanto and the government believe GMOs and Roundup are harmful to human and animal health, and that any legitimate study they ever performed would bring this result. That’s the one and only reason they’ve always refused to do any tests.
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Certainly we want and will use all the new science we can get, but I fail to understand activists who seem to think we don’t have enough science and facts to work and win with as it is. The problem isn’t a lack of evidence. We’re buried in evidence for our side, while the enemy has zero evidence on its side. The problem is the lack of relentless, coherent movement discipline in presenting the evidence and asserting the case. Saying we need more evidence is most likely a pretext for continued procrastination, where it’s not concern trolling.
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*Friends of the Earth Europe and Testbiotech are calling for an end to GM maize cultivation in Europe following the publication last year of the most comprehensive study yet on the geographical dispersal of maize pollen, which travels by wind. The study tested at ranges up to 4.45 kilometers and found that given favorable winds pollen disperses greater distances at greater concentrations than previously thought. In particular, the EFSA’s model for pollen dispersal greatly underestimates concentration at significant distances. In response to the study the EFSA announced in December that it would conduct its own investigation, to be concluded by the end of May. Currently the EFSA recommends a farcical 20-30 meters as a buffer between GM and non-GM maize or protected nature sites. MON810 maize is the only GMO currently authorized to be cultivated in Europe, though approval for commercial release of DuPont’s 1507 variety seems imminent for this planting season.
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*Another possible effect of the TTIP. A report by the German parliament’s Scientific Service leaked to Der Spiegel opined that the TTIP could outlaw the government’s proposal to require labeling of meat and milk from animals fed GM feed. Although almost always excluded from GMO labeling policies and proposals, this is inherent to the logic of labeling. Science has proven that GM DNA fragments, Bt toxins, and herbicide residues persist in milk and meat from animals fed GMO feed.
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I don’t know why it was leaked to the media. Was it leaked by TTIP opponents looking to help muster opposition to the TTIP? Or was it the opposite, the typical trick of a government trumping up a pretext to backpedal on a popular policy it had pretended to support but which it really never wanted to enact in the first place. The proof will be in whether the government goes ahead or not.
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The piece analyzing this development comes from the USDA’s “Foreign Agricultural Service”. Why does the USDA have its own Foreign Service? Could it be anything other than a taxpayer-funded corporate lobbying arm? Read the link and see – it’s the GMO corporate state in action, the US government as lobbyist on behalf of export commodities. We’ve recently seen the USDA negotiating with China on (Swiss-based) Syngenta’s behalf. This piece also is a corporate marketing report, very concerned about the costs and regulatory burdens such a labeling policy allegedly would impose on the corporations.
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*Steven Druker has written a new book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, on the FDA’s criminal dereliction in the way it refused to follow the laws which required it to seriously regulate GMOs and the way it has systematically lied on the GMO cartel’s behalf. This is already a story well documented in such books as Marie-Monique Robin’s The World According to Monsanto and Jeffrey Smith’s Seeds of Deception but Druker, an attorney who filed a public interest lawsuit against the FDA in 1998, has focused especially on this piece of the monstrous puzzle.
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Here Druker sticks it to the corrupt UK Royal Society.
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*Good to see more people being outspoken about the truth, that the science is 100% against GMOs and other agricultural poisons. Far too many even among GMO critics are prone to implicitly make the wrongheaded concession that there’s some doubt about the science. There’s not.
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*Continued pressure on Costco to pledge not to carry GM salmon when the FDA approves this poisonous altered fish. Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, and Trader Joe’s along with hundreds of smaller retailers have already pledged to shun the false salmon. Two petitions at the link.
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*Farmers and democracy participants won a temporary victory and respite against GM eucalyptus commercial release in Brazil through two simultaneous actions. 300 peasants organized by the farmer movement La Via Campesina occupied the headquarters of Brazil’s pro-industry biotech regulator (is there any other kind?) CTNBio and forced it to close its meeting where it was slated to approve GM eucalyptus. At the same time over a thousand women of the Landless Workers’ Movement occupied a factory run by Futuragene, a subsidiary of the timber company Suzano, the company planning to release the toxic trees, and destroyed the GM seedlings there. Since the government is on the verge of approving the product, it’s probably at a completed development stage and so the direct action isn’t likely to have set back R&D much. But it will at least hamper supply.
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The farmers decry the destructive environmental and socioeconomic effects this intensification of industrial timber will inevitably have. This includes accelerating rainforest destruction as more land is destroyed to make way for eucalyptus plantations, and greater pressure on water tables since GM eucalyptus, like other GMOs, requires far more water than non-GM true crops. It’ll also escalate landgrabbing and the dispossession of small farmers and indigenous tribes.
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These GM trees were originally proposed to become the first commercial vectors of the Terminator gene, which causes plants to produce sterile pollen and/or seeds. This plan seems to have been shelved in the face of massive public opposition, but why was Brazil’s government planning to become the first to break the longstanding international moratorium on deployment of this technology? I can’t help think of Monsanto’s Intacta soybeans, the first GMO product developed specifically for Brazil, and which China approved for importation in food and feed in June 2013. Given China’s evident plan to develop its own GMO industry and its well known contempt for Western intellectual property, Intacta would be highly vulnerable to be copied if it were to reach China in seed form. Since GM eucalyptus is a relatively minor product, certainly minor compared to Intacta soybeans, I wonder if the plan to incorporate the Terminator into it was a camel’s-nose-in-the-tent idea, to be followed by the Terminator’s incorporation into Intacta. Monsanto holds the Terminator patent via its 2006 purchase of Delta and Pine Land.

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