Tag Archives: GMOs

How Monsanto Silences Scientific Critics

By Christina Sarich
July 10, 2015
Collective Evolution

 

monsPicture courtesy of deesillustration.com

A new survey from Pew Research Center states that  two-thirds of Americans don’t believe biotech scientists. Why is this exactly?

Recommended reading:Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public.” 

“Altered Genes, Twisted Truth will stand as a landmark. It should be required reading in every university biology course.” – Joseph Cummins, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Genetics, Western University, London, OntarioBiotech Infiltration of Academia

Many already suspect that Monsanto and other biotech companies have bought out universities who conduct studies on GM crops with healthy endowments and even donations, which go towards building entire departments within the campuses of higher learning. When Iowa State University faculty and students called GM banana trials into question for being heavily invested in biotechnology, for example, the mainstream media simply brushed it aside.

Biotech Infiltration of Industry Journals

When a controversial study from a research group led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen, France, was published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, it was later retracted due to industry pressure, even though it showed “no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.” Séralini’s study showed that rats developed “colossal” cancerous tumors after eating GM corn. Only after fellow researchers went to bat for Séralini was his paper republished. (source) (source)

An Entire Department Dedicated to Debunking Critics

More recently, when Dr. William Moar was speaking at a public event for Monsanto, perhaps forgetting that he was indeed speaking to the community at large (and not a bunch of biotech industry tycoons), he revealed that Monsanto has “an entire department” dedicated to debunking science which disagrees with that of the company’s.

As Stephanie Hampton writes for the Daily Kos, “…this is the first time that a Monsanto functionary has publicly admitted that they have such an entity which brings their immense political and financial weight to bear on scientists who dare to publish against them. The Discredit Bureau will not be found on their official website.” (source)

Get the Whole Story

Now, James Corbett makes things even more crystal clear in a video showing just how Monsanto discredits any professional who tries to “out” the faulty claims backing up genetically modified organisms. Have a listen. It’s more than enlightening.


 

Survey: 68% of Doctors Think GMOs Should be Labeled

Yet we’re STILL fighting for GMO labeling

By Christina Sarich
July 9, 2015
Natural Society

 

gmo-word-white-735-350Most Americans aren’t waiting for doctors to support GMO labeling. We have been very clear; we want GMO labeling now, and we are even willing to go to court for it. Now, mirroring what millions of Americans have voiced over the past years, a leading network of doctor’s has voted on GMO labeling, and they overwhelmingly support it.

SERMO currently consists of 358,000 members – all verified and credentialed physicians. For the moment, they represent doctors primarily in the United States and Canada, but the network is expanding to include a global community.

Of all the doctors asked if GM foods should be labeled, a whopping 68 percent thought people should be given the right to know what is in their food – for obvious health concerns associated with genetically modified food. And of course the basic right to know what we’re really consuming.

 

SERMO is essentially like Facebook for doctors, where they can, according to the SERMO website, ‘talk openly and anonymously.’

gmo-unnamed

That means no biotech industry infiltration, except for the likely-visiting shills and trolls which infiltrate most social media. Reportedly, an honest discussion among medical professionals can be had at this network. If that’s truly the case, the 68 percent who agree with labeling GMOs is even more significant, because it is a number which is likely more accurate than even the polls which found that 66+ percent of Americans wanted GM labeling, as reported by mainstream media.

Surveys repeatedly show that 80 percent to 95 percent of people want foods that contain genetically modified organisms to be labeled, in the least. Here is a simple breakdown of some reported polls on consumer demand for GMO labeling:

  • ABC News: 93% want federal GM labeling mandate

What’s more, in a recently published Nielsen study of 30,000 consumers, 80 percent of respondents said they would pay more for foods that indicate a degree of healthfulness, such as those labeled ‘Non-GMO.’ Do we really need more proof that people are turning their backs on biotech-altered poison crops?

Even doctors desire GMO labeling – but you can bet the biotech industry will have a way to skew those facts as well.

The Warped World of the GMO Lobbyist

By Colin Todhunter
July 7, 2015
Counter Punch

 

ee110-evil-monsantoThere’s a massive spike in cancer cases in Argentina that is strongly associated with glyphosate-based herbicides. These herbicides are a huge earner for agribusiness. But don’t worry, Patrick Moore says you can drink a whole quart and it won’t harm you. Who needs independent testing? He says people regularly try to commit suicide with it but fail. They survived – just. So what’s the problem? Perfectly safe. Patrick Moore says he is ‘not an idiot’. So he must be right. Right?

Anyway, all that scare mongering about GMOs and glyphosate is a conspiracy by a bunch of whinging lavishly funded green-blob types. Former UK environment minister Owen Paterson said as much. He says those self-serving anti-GMO people are damaging the interests of the poor and are profiting handsomely. They are condemning “billions” to lives of poverty.

He voted for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which has led to the death of almost 1.5 million Iraqis. His government has plunged millions into poverty and food insecurity in the UK. He now wants to help the poor by giving them GM courtesy of self-interested, corporations and their lavishly paid executives. What was that about self-serving, lavishly funded groups? As a staunch believer in doublespeak, hypocrisy and baseless claims by self-appointed humanitarians with awful track records, Paterson’s sound-bite smears and speeches are good enough for me.

So with that cleared up, hopefully we can move on.

Then there’s all that ‘anti-capitalist twaddle’ (another pearl of wisdom from Patrick Moore) about smallholders being driven from their lands and into poverty due to a corporate takeover aimed at expanding (GM) chemical-intensive agriculture. I showed Mr Moore a paper by an economics professor who had studied the devastation caused by the above in Ethiopia. That’s where the ‘anti-capitalist twaddle’ retort came in. As I’m also a staunch believer in the power of baseless, ill-informed abuse, I was once again convinced.

What about all that rubbish about GM not having enhanced the world’s ability to feed itself? You know, all that stuff about the way it has been used has merely led to greater food insecurity. Nonsense. I watched a prime-time BBC programme recently. Some scientist in a white coat in a lab said that GM can feed the world. He’d proved it in his lab. In reality (not in a lab), the fact it hasn’t done anything of the sort over the past 20-odd years doesn’t matter. He wore a white coat and held GM patents, so he definitely knows best!

I once read that industrialised agriculture is less productively efficient than smallholder agriculture that feeds most of the world. And then I read that the world can feed itself without GMOs. According to all of this, it is current policies and the global system of food production that militate against achieving global food security.

That’s just a big old load of rubbish put together by a bunch of conspiracy mongers. Who are these people? Food and trade policy analysts, political scientists, economics professors and the like. A bunch of whining anti-capitalist promoters of twaddle. None of them have studied molecular biology so how can they possibly be qualified to talk on this? I’d rather listen to a man in a lab who says GM can feed the world. He’s much more qualified to speak on politics, trade, the environment or anthropology than a bunch of lefties who don’t know one side of a petri dish from the other.

I happen to believe a profitable techno-fix is the way to go. A techno-fix that comes courtesy of the same companies whose global influence and power are helping to destroy indigenous agriculture across the world. But this is for the good of the traditional smallholder because these companies really, really care about the poor. Okay, okay, I know the top execs over at Monsanto are bringing in a massive annual cheque – but $12.4 million per year helps motivate a CEO to get out of bed in the morning and to develop empathy with the poor – unlike that elitist, self-serving green blob lot who rake in big money – according to hero-of-the-poor, the handsomely rewarded millionaire Owen Paterson… err, let’s swiftly move on.

To divert your attention away from all that scare mongering, conspiracy theory twaddle, I want you to concentrate solely on the science of GM and nothing else. But only on the version of ‘science’ as handed down from the great lawgiver in St Louis which creates it in its own image, not least by dodging any problematic questions that may have prevented GM from going on the market in the first place. Some troublemaker recently wrote a book about that, but someone said it wasn’t worth reading – so I didn’t bother (‘Altered Genes, Twisted…’ something or other – the word escapes me; it doesn’t appear in my lexicon).

So how about joining like-minded humanitarians and the handsomely-paid people over at big bioworld? We believe in mouthing platitudes about freedom and choice while serving interests that eradicate both. And let me add that scientists know that anyone who disagrees with them is just plain dim. C S Prakash recently posted a claim that implied such on Twitter. He’s a molecular biologist, so it must be true. Of course, there are scientists who disagree with us but they are quite clearly wrong – wrong methodology, wrong findings, wrong career turn – we’ll make sure of that!

In finishing, let me make the case for GM clear, based on logic and clear-headed rationality. There are those who are just too dim to understand any of the issues to do with GM so they should put up, shut up or go away and read or write about conspiracy theories on their blogs or in their peer-reviewed non-science journals that aren’t worth the paper they are written on given that the ‘peers’ in question are probably also a bunch of left-leaning wing nuts.

By comparison, unlike those self-serving ideologues, we are totally non-political. Okay, we might be firmly supporting a neoliberalism that is dominated by unaccountable big corporations which have captured policy-making space nationally and internationally, but any discussion of that is to be avoided by labelling those who raise such matters as politically motivated. We get you to focus on ‘the science’ – that is ‘our science’ – and nothing else. The fact that some of us tend to label anyone who disagrees with us as anti-science, anti-capitalist, socialists or enemies of the poor (or even ‘murdering bastards‘) says nothing at all about our political agenda.

And the lavish funds and powerful strategic position of big agribusiness means the pro-GMO lobby can smear, exert huge political influence and also restrict choice by preventing the labelling of GM food. You see, too much choice confuses people. We take the public for fools who will swallow anything – hopefully GMOs and our sound-bite deceptions.

So rests the case for GMOs. Eloquently put? I certainly think so. But I would say that, wouldn’t I? I’m paid to.

Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India.

New Study Finds GMO Corn Makes Rats Infertile

Unlike GM corn, non-GMO corn doesn’t cause sterility

By Christina Sarich
July 01, 2015
Natural Society

 

Rat in templeStill think GMOs and their non-GMO counterparts are equivalent? Think again. Unlike GM corn, non-GMO corn doesn’t cause sterility. A new study released by Egyptian scientists found that rats fed a GMO diet suffer from infertility, among other health issues.

Researchers from the Food Technology Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Anatomy and Embryology, and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt, have found that several unsavory changes occur when rats were fed GM corn.

The rats’ organs/body weight and serum biochemistry were altered, indicating potential adverse health and toxic effects.

“GM corn or soybeans leads to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, particularly in livers and kidneys. In addition they found other organs may be affected too, such as heart and spleen, or blood cells. The kidneys of males fared the worst, with 43.5% of all the changes, the liver of females followed with 30.8%”

Additionally, by day 91, many of the rats fed a GM diet were completely sterile.

As reported by Sustainable Pulse:

In the third study, histopathological examination was carried out on the rats fed the GM maize, and the results were compared with rats fed non-GM maize. The study found clear signs of organ pathology in the GM-fed group, especially in the liver, kidney, and small intestine. An examination of the testes revealed necrosis (death) and desquamation (shedding) of the spermatogonial cells that are the foundation of sperm cells and thus male fertility – and all this after only 91 days of feeding.”

Read: GMO Soy Linked to Sterility, Birth Defects, Infant Mortality

How long do you think this effect will take to show up in human beings who eat GM food?

The study abstract reads:

“This study was designed to evaluate the safety of genetically modified (GM) corn (Ajeeb YG). Corn grains from Ajeeb YG or its control (Ajeeb) were incorporated into rodent diets at 30% concentrations administered to rats (n= 10/group) for 45 and 91 days…General conditions were observed daily…and serum biochemistry were measured. The data showed several statistically significant differences in organs/body weight and serum biochemistry between the rats fed on GM and/or Non-GM corn and the rats fed on AIN93G diets. In general, GM corn sample caused several changes by increase or decrease organs/body weight or serum biochemistry values. This indicates potential adverse health/toxic effects of GM corn and further investigations still needed.”

This study simply corroborates previous findings, proving the same deleterious effects. Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov and his colleagues found that Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soy, grown on 91% of US soybean fields, leads to problems in growth or reproduction – in many cases, causing infertility. Animals who ate GM soy were sterile by the third generation.

Years ago, Natural Society unveiled proof that hamsters fed Monsanto’s GM soy for two years had growth and development abnormalities, and also – became sterile.

If you don’t see a pattern here, you might need to look again.

 

 

Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.

What Does “Low Dose” Mean When It Comes to Exposure to Toxic Chemicals?

A major study reveals how exposure over 80 different chemicals could have synergistic impacts on the development of cancer.

By Genna Reed
July 01, 2015
AlterNet, June 29, 2015

 

The chemicals that we’re exposed to in our daily lives are often approved by the government under the assumption that they’re safe in small doses, even over a long period of time. For years, regulators relied on the old adage “the dose makes the poison” to try to explain their logic. While that might have appeared true for certain chemicals for many years, we now live in a world where exposure to a large variety of chemicals is unavoidable and it’s finally becoming clear that we can’t evaluate these chemicals in isolation.

Think about a simple picnic in a city park. The air you breathe is filled with particulate matter from car exhaust, the landscaping was likely treated with chemical fertilizers and Roundup or another weedkiller, the plastic surrounding your food or drink items might contain BPA or phthalates, your drinks could contain preservatives, the antibacterial spray you use on your hands after eating might contain triclosan and the sunscreen you apply on your skin probably contains nanomaterials. Now extrapolate that scenario to each and every activity you partake in on a daily basis.

The agriculture sector experiences this chemical cocktail at a more extreme level. The inputs that may go onto a farm in a growing season could include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium–filled fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. These chemicals have individual limits to how much can be used in a season, but these limits don’t take into account all of the other chemicals that will be applied throughout the year. Herbicide use has gone up as weeds have become resistant to the most popular herbicide, glyphosate (Roundup), requiring the use of older, more toxic herbicides like 2,4-D and dicamba. In effect, agricultural workers, farmers and surrounding communities are exposed to a mix of chemicals, the combined, or “synergistic,” effects of which have never been studied.

But this month, a study by 174 scientists from 28 countries was released that, for the first time, looked at how low levels of exposure to 85 different chemicals over time could have synergistic impacts on the development of cancer. All of the chemicals were selected because they are ubiquitous in the environment and are not classified as human carcinogens on their own. However, because each of these chemicals disrupts different pathways and mechanisms in people, the authors hypothesized that interactions between different chemicals and pathways could elevate the risk of cancer.

The teams found that 50 out of 85 of the chemicals could impact cancer-causing pathways at low doses that are realistic in the environment. The research is compelling but preliminary, and calls on regulators to change their risk assessments to consider the impacts of chemical mixes and conduct more research on environmental triggers of cancer and on different chemical mixes and their effects on various cancer-related disruptions.

You may remember that The World Health Organization’s cancer research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently issued an evaluation of Roundup that determined that it should be classified as a 2A carcinogen, meaning it is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” This week, the IARC reviewed 2,4-D and did not alter its opinion on the chemical (it remains classified as group 2B, “possibly carcinogenic to humans”), though they found that there was evidence of its ability to create genetic mutations and to negatively impact the human immune system. It is important to add that although the IARC task force did not find 2,4-D to be carcinogenic, it’s possible that thepresence of Dow (the maker of 2,4-D) representatives and other agribusinesses on the panel influenced the majority opinion. Earlier this month, Food & Water Watch and other coalition groups raised concerns about conflicts of interest within WHO taskforces.

Since Dow’s Enlist 2,4-D and glyphosate tolerant corn and soybeans were approved, the probable and possible carcinogens are now being used together on farms, yet the two chemicals’ interactions have never been studied. However, there is emerging research on some of the impacts of other chemical interactions possible in agriculture. For example, astudy published in mBio showed that the presence of glyphosate, 2,4-D or dicamba at application levels recommended to farmers, can induce the ability of bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotics. There is also evidence that certain fungicides can actually amplify the toxicity of some neonicotinoids (an insecticide class) to honey bees. These are just a couple of examples of research that have only scratched the surface of the interactions that can occur between mixtures of chemicals, let alone all of the chemical cocktails present in the environment.

Just this week, Food & Water Watch submitted comments to the USDA because it is planning to make changes to its biotechnology regulations. We urged the department to consider the herbicides used with GMOs as they decide whether or not to approve a new crop. This kind of approach could lead to a decision to reject a new GMO crop due to the risks associated with the chemicals that are used to grow that crop.

Stay tuned for ways to weigh in on USDA’s approval process and the fight to get meaningful evaluations of the safety of GMO crops and the chemicals that come with them.

“Intolerable Levels” of Monsanto’s Glyphosate (Roundup) Found in Breast Milk

By Christina Sarich
June 30, 2015
Natural Society

 

baby-breast-milk-735-350After testing 16 women from different regions all over Germany, the Green Party has found that traces of the chemical glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Round Up, are appearing in breast milk at ‘intolerable levels’ that could harm a developing baby and the mother.

The weed killer traces in breast milk were found to be between 0.210 and 0.432 nanograms per millilitre (PPB). Drinking water is allowed to have no more than 0.100 nanograms of glyphosate.

Irene Witte, professor of toxicology at the University of Oldenburg, described the findings as “intolerable.”

Witte stated:

“I would never have guessed that the quantities are so high.”

Though the sample size in these initial tests was small, and Witte believed it should be expanded, it is still indicative of a major problem. These 16 women indicate that larger sections of the population are being poisoned with glyphosate – a substance which the WHO has called carcinogenic. If Monsanto is allowed to keep selling these chemicals, it amounts to mass-murder.

Witte explained that if the chemical has been proven to cause cancer, then no amount should be tolerated in our food supply. As a reminder, the World Health Organization recently delivered a huge blow to Monsanto, pronouncing that glyphosate – and subsequently Monsanto’s Round Up – is ‘probably carcinogenic.’ The organization also recent declared 2 other pesticides – Lindane and DDT – as being cancer-causing to humans.

Further commenting on the glyphosate residues found in breast milk, Witte said:

“There is not upper limit you can then put on the quantity. Every molecule could cause cancer.”

The chair of the Environmental Committee in the Bundestag (German parliament) Bärbel Höhn of the Green Party said:

“The government needs to take glyphosate out of circulation until the question of its links to cancer has been cleared up.”

Sadly, past studies have found similar results to this. The herbicide has been found in breast milk, urine, and even blood:

  • A piece of research found that the toxic ingredient is actually found in the breast milk of women, leading to damage to underdeveloped human beings.
  • In addition to being found in urine and breast milk, glyphosate has also been found in people’s blood in 18 different countries.

The link is clear. It’s time to stop these biotech companies, now.

Learn how to test for Glyphosate Residues, here.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister: GMOs Will Not be Tolerated

By Christina Sarich
June 26, 2015
Natural Society

 

gmo_sign_Crops_735_350Russian President, Vladimir Putin has led a strong stance against biotech and their cultivation of GM crops in his country. Now, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, has announced at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that Russia WILL NOT use GM crops to boost agricultural production.

Dvorkovich stated that the good quality of the soil across Russia’s land will allow the country to use other technological advances in agriculture, but GMOs won’t be one of them.

“Russia has chosen a different path. We will not use these [GM] technologies,” he said.

Due to Russia refusing GM seed, Russian products will be “one of the cleanest in the world,” according to Dvorkovich.

This proves that Putin wasn’t blowing hot air when he stated that Russia must protect its citizens from over-consumption of products containing genetically modified organisms in 2014.

Putin believes that he can keep GMOs out of the country, even while staying in compliance with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) commandments. In a meeting addressing the members of the Board of the Russian Federation Council he stated:

“We need to properly construct our work so that it is not contrary to our obligations under the WTO. But even with this in mind, we nevertheless have legitimate methods and instruments to protect our own market, and above all citizens.”

Arkady Dvorkovich
Arkady Dvorkovich

The VP of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety, Irina Ermakova, has said:

“It is necessary to ban GMOs, to impose moratorium (on) it for 10 years. While GMOs will be prohibited, we can plan experiments, tests, or maybe even new methods of research could be developed. It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous. Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect, therefore, at this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals. Bio-technologies certainly should be developed, but GMOs should be stopped. We should stop it from spreading. ”

Bill Gates and George Soros purchased 900,000 and 500,000 shares of Monsanto, respectively, in 2010.

WHO Says Widely-Used Dow Herbicide 2,4-D “Possibly Carcinogenic” to Humans

Advocacy groups warn new classification is latest proof that ‘we cannot continue down the path of dousing our fields with ever more toxic chemicals’

By Sarah Lazare
June 24, 2015
Common Dreams

 

"We have known for decades that 2,4-D is harmful to the environment and human health, especially for the farmers and farm workers applying these chemicals to crops," said Mary Ellen Kustin, Environmental Working Group. (Photo: Chafer Machinery/flickr/cc)

“We have known for decades that 2,4-D is harmful to the environment and human health, especially for the farmers and farm workers applying these chemicals to crops,” said Mary Ellen Kustin, Environmental Working Group. (Photo: Chafer Machinery/flickr/cc)

The World Health Organization revealed on Tuesday that 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic, a key ingredient of a widely-used herbicide produced by Dow, is “possibly carcinogenic” to humans—a classification that public health and environmental advocates say is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the overall dangers the chemical poses.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer—a Lyon, France-based wing of the WHO—published the findings Tuesday in The Lancet Oncology and also disclosed them in a public statement (pdf).

The agency said there is “strong evidence that 2,4-D induces oxidative stress that can operate in humans and moderate evidence that 2,4-D causes immunosuppression, based on in-vivo and in-vitro studies.”

The classification of “possibly carcinogenic” puts 2,4-D two levels above “probably not carcinogenic” but one below “probably carcinogenic.”This development did not come as a shock to public health and environmental advocates.

“We have known for decades that 2,4-D is harmful to the environment and human health, especially for the farmers and farm workers applying these chemicals to crops,” said Mary Ellen Kustin, senior policy analyst for the Environmental Working Group, in a press statement.

However, advocacy groups say that the agency’s findings come at a particularly critical time.

“Now that farmers are planting 2,4-D-tolerant GMO crops, this herbicide is slated to explode in use much the way glyphosate did with the first generation of GMO crops,” said Kustin. “And we know from experience—and basic biology—that weeds will soon grow resistant to these herbicides, making GMO crop growers only more dependent on the next chemical fix.”

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist at Pesticide Action Network, said that this dependency underscores the importance of immediate action: “We must heed the warning: we cannot continue down the path of dousing our fields with ever more toxic chemicals as a temporary solution to today’s epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds—a problem greatly exacerbated in recent years by dependence on glyphosate, now classified as a probable carcinogen.”

Troublingly, 2,4-D is just one key ingredient in Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide that was approved in April for use in 15 states by the Environmental Protection Agency. The other key ingredient is glyphosate, which the WHO said in March is a “probable carcinogen” for humans.

What’s unknown, and perhaps even more alarming, is the fact that “when the EPA approved Enlist Duo for use on GMO crops, the agency did not consider the effects the two harmful defoliants may have on human health when mixed together,” EWG warned Tuesday.

Corruption in Unaccountable EU Bureaucracy Cancels Pesticide Bans

By F. William Engdahl
June 16, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

43421123Using the argument of the top secret Trans-Atlanic Trade and Investment Partnership talks, as well as enormous reported lobbying pressure from such chemical giants as Bayer AG and BASF as their excuse, the EU Commission has quietly abandoned plans for tighter safety regulations on pesticides. This is no minor bureaucratic issue. The health and safety of hundreds of millions of people in the EU are at risk to say nothing of animals, birds and insects, and nature at all.

Way back in 1999, sixteen years ago, the EU Commission began to look at possible health dangers from a class of chemical pesticides known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Until now, tragically, nothing has been done by Brussels to safeguard the health and safety of her citizens based on the “precautionary principle,” otherwise stated, if it might harm, there is evidence it does, and you cannot be more precise, ban it until you are absolutely certain, whether GMO crops and glyphosate herbicide Roundup or ECDs or DDT.

Scientists link ECD exposure, even in low doses, to a rise in foetal abnormalities, genital mutations, lowered sperm counts, genital malformations, non-descended testes, misplaced penis holes, infertility, cancer and even to IQ loss. One recent study by the Washington University School of Medicine linked 15 EDCs found in plastics, personal care products, cosmetics and many household items, to early onset of menopause.

There is an estimated health cost in the EU of between €157 to perhaps €270 billion annually dealing with the health damage from EDC exposure. Endocrine disruptors can be found in food containers, plastics, furniture, toys, carpeting and cosmetics. Professor Philippe Grandjean of Harvard University, one of a group of 18 of the world’s foremost experts on endocrine science scientists which did a study on effects of endocrine disruptors remarked, “The shocking thing is that the major component of that cost is related to the loss of brain function in the next generation.”

Scientists recommend against pregnant women and children using plastic containers for food, especially in the microwave due to endocrine disruptors. Photograph: Fir Mamat/Alamy

Based on such scientific studies, the EU had prepared a list of 31 endocrine-disrupting chemicals that were to be completely banned in 2014. More and more scientific studies had documented that the ECDs produce toxic effects in extremely low doses and are not suitable to regulate intensity of exposures but require a complete ban.

Angeliki Lyssimachou, environmental toxicologist with Pesticides Action Network-Europe (PAN), said: “If the draft ‘cut-off’ criteria proposed by the commission had been applied correctly, 31 pesticides would have been banned by now, fulfilling the mandate of the pesticide regulation to protect humans and the environment from low-level chronic endocrine disrupting pesticide exposure.”

Instead, now the EU favors industry-supported options for “potency-based” measurements of EDCs. These would set thresholds, below which exposure to low-potency EDCs would be deemed safe, even if no comprehensive testing for longer-term effects on humans had been conducted.

Chemical Industry wins over our Health, Safety

Apparently the interests of international trade in toxic substances were deemed more important by the opaque, unelected, faceless bureaucrats in the Brussels EU Commission who have such enormous anonymous power over our daily lives, so far away from democratic checks and balances.

The key faceless one who killed the proposed ban now gets a face. Her name is Catherine Day. She sits next to EU President Jean Claude Junker and arguably wields more power as Secretary General current Secretary-General of the European Commission, a post she has held for ten years and two presidents.

EU Faceless Bureaucrat Catherine Day gets a face (source:IIEA.com)

Day, the Irish-born Secretary-General, according to EU documents obtained by the UK Guardian that are just now made public, cancelled the planned EDC ban on 2 July 2013, only hours after a same day visit to Brussels by representatives of TTIP officials from the US Mission to Europe. Secretary General Day, the same day, sent a letter to the Director General for Environment, Germany’s Karl Falkenberg, telling him to abandon the draft criteria that would have banned EDCs on the prudent “precautionary principle” pending years of independent health and safety tests.

EU chemical industry giants such as Bayer AG and BASF were joining the American Chamber in the heavy Brussels lobby pressure to get the ban lifted.

In the weeks before 2 July 2013, the US TTIP committee of the American Chambers of Commerce in Washington sent a letter to the EU Commission before flying to Brussels where they stated, “We are worried to see that this decision [to ban-f.w.e.], which is the source of many scientific debates, might be taken on political grounds, without first assessing what its impacts will be on the European market.” BASF also complained that bans on pesticide substances “will restrict the free trade with agricultural products on the global level.”

The EU internal documents obtained by the Guardian reveal that a high-level delegation from the American Chambers of Commerce (AmCham) visited EU trade officials on 2 July,, 2013 to insist that the EU drop its planned criteria for identifying EDCs in favor of a value new “impact study” that would leave EDCs untouched. They report that minutes of the meeting show EU Commission officials pleading that “although they want the TTIP to be successful, they would not like to be seen as lowering the EU standards.”

Even were all proposed 31 EDCs banned as originally planned, the impact on chemical sales in the EU of perhaps annually €9 billion. Compare that with health costs arising from EDC exposures of as much as €270 billion annually.

When journalists requested the EU Commission to make public the background memos and discussions, a Commission spokesperson retorted, “The commission is under no obligation to publish internal working papers. As you know, the European commission acts in full independence and in the general European interest.”

Excuse me, madam spokesperson, could you say that again, slowly? “As you know, the European commission acts in full independence and in the general European interest?”

Catherine Day, defending her killing of the ban, lied and stated that, “Needless to say, there is absolutely no truth in the allegation that our position was influenced by industry or anyone else. Our concern is only for the quality and coherence of the commission’s work – but not everyone wants to wait for that.” Coherently destructive to the population of the EU is her Commission’s work, but that is why Brussels prefers to remain as faceless as possible.

We continue to let the EU unelected faceless immoral bureaucrats wield power over our health, our childrens’ health, our very lives, whether allowing toxic GMOs or EDCs. We seem to be hypnotized by something that keeps us passive in the face of unbelievable actions clearly harmful to all of us. Isn’t that interesting?

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Ignoring Reality, Subverting Morality: GMOs and the Neoliberal Apologists

By Colin Todhunter
June 14, 2015
Global Research

 

ee110-evil-monsantoMonsanto is often called one of the most ‘evil’ companies on the planet. It has a history of knowingly contaminating the environment and food with various poisons, cover ups and criminality (see this, outlining the company’s appalling history). In recent times, there has been much focus on its promotion and patenting of GMOs, the deleterious impacts of its glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup and how GMOs pose a threat to human and animal health, ecology and the environment (see this, for example).

Campaigners and activists have described how global agribusiness players like Monsanto are threatening food security and food democracy. Monsanto and others have been able to capture or unduly influence government regulatory/policy agendas, important trade deals and global trade policies via the WTO. Monsanto is a major player and wields enormous political influence and receives significant political support.

 

Little wonder then that we now have campaigns specifically targeting Monsanto. While it is laudable and correct to highlight the actions of Monsanto and indeed its partners like The Gates Foundation, we should not be side tracked from developing a wider analysis to understand the underlying forces that drive companies like Monsanto.

A recent piece by Christina Sarich shows that any shares held by Gates or the individuals at the top of the Monsanto corporate structure like CEO High Grant or CTO Robb Fraley are dwarfed by those held by institutional shareholders, such as Vanguard, Capital Research and State Street.

While it is difficult to specify the individuals behind these entities and others like them in the financial-corporate world, existing research (and in the absence of data, informed speculation) indicates the name Rothschild crops up time and again along with Goldman Sachs, Loebs Kuhn, Lehmans, Rockefeller, Warburg, Lazard and Israel Moses Seif. Moreover, the eight largest US financial companies (JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, US Bancorp, Bank of New York Mellon and Morgan Stanley) are entirely controlled by 10 shareholders and four companies appear as shareholders in these many of these: Black Rock, State Street, Vanguard and Fidelity. In fact, these four appear to be major stock holders in many major US and European companies. (See this broader breakdown of big money and ownership.)

Some try to divert your attention from these highly concentrated and overlapping patterns of ownership and the influence it brings by saying it all belongs in the realm of conspiracy theory and merely mouth tired cliches about ‘democracy’, but many of the families and individuals who own or control the world’s biggest corporations have not been sitting idly by. In some cases, they and their ancestors have been amassing wealth and exerting their power over a period of centuries. They haven’t appeared overnight, it’s taken them a long time for them to get to this stage and mold or set up institutions like the IMF, World Bank or WTO to do their bidding. So much so in fact that David Rothkpf estimates there are between 6-7,000 individuals who now form a global superclass.

Rothkopf is former managing director of Kissinger Associates and deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade policies. In 2008, he published his book ‘Superclass: the Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making’:

“The superclass constitutes approximately 0.0001 percent of the world’s population. They are the Davos-attending, Gulfstream/private jet–flying, money-incrusted, megacorporation-interlocked, policy-building elites of the world, people at the absolute peak of the global power pyramid. They are 94 percent male, predominantly white, and mostly from North America and Europe. These are the people setting the agendas at the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, G-8, G-20, NATO, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. They are from the highest levels of finance capital, transnational corporations, the government, the military, the academy, nongovernmental organizations, spiritual leaders and other shadow elites. Shadow elites include, for instance, the deep politics of national security organizations in connection with international drug cartels, who extract 8,000 tons of opium from US war zones annually, then launder $500 billion through transnational banks, half of which are US-based.” Project Censored (Exposing the transnational ruling class)

Although we must not assume that this elite is a unified entity, there is an interlocking directorate of state-corporate entities that have a unity of interest in maintaining its wealth, power and the economic and political structures that facilitate this, while eradicating challenges to its power.

Through its control or membership of powerful think tanks, directorships, board memberships, horizontal and vertical integration of parent/sister corporate entities and cross-ownership, this club ensures the corporate media says what it wants it to say, opposition is muzzled, controlled or subverted, wars are fought on its behalf and the corporate control of every facet of life is increasingly brought under its influence – and that includes food: what is in it, who grows it and who sells it. Fail to understand the set up described here and you will fail to grasp that companies like Monsanto are but a tentacle of elite interests.

Jon Rappaport highlights how this interlocking directorate works on a company level by looking at Monsanto and Whole Foods. He shows that five out of the top 10 shareholders for each company – the holders of the most stock – are the same. The five are investment funds and they buy stocks in many companies. But this should not be regarded as some kind of conscious conspiracy to control the food market, although such a practice should not be discounted. Rappaport says these funds make automatic purchases of stocks, based on computer calculations and based on the rankings of companies.

The point is that when you focus solely on Monsanto, you may be failing to grasp the fact that if it weren’t Monsanto, or if Monsanto were to disappear, another company would appear because in a world of vulture corporations, profit compulsion and market capture, there is money to be made from GMO technology, markets to be ‘exploited’ and indigenous agriculture to be uprooted. The Rockefeller family and US agribusiness corporations realised this when they facilitated the ‘green revolution’ just as institutional speculators in land or commodity crops know it today.

Monsanto is integral to a system of globalisation that benefits Western oligarchs, which is underpinned by an increasingly powerful military-industrial complex that ensures these interests are served if other means fail (watch John Perkins here discussing his time as an economic hitman). And the result has often been highly profitable on the back of economic and social devastation. Look no further than Michel Chossudovsky’s analysis of Somalia or Ethiopia to see how agribusiness made a killing from policies that destroyed local economies and farming. The US and its corporations, facilitated by the IMF and WTO, effectively dismantle agrarian economies and then offer the problem as the cure.

Ultimately, the GM issue is not about ‘marching against Monsanto’, labelling or ‘choice’ – as important as all of that is – it is about the geopolitics of food and agriculture and challenging an increasingly integrated global cartel of finance, oil, military and agribusiness concerns that seek to gain from war, debt bondage and the control of resources, regardless of any notions relating to food security, good health and nutrition, biodiversity, food democracy, etc.

Instead of being informed about any of this, the public must listen to slick corporate mouthpieces like media-savvy Mark Lynas, or watch TV programmes like BBC Panorama that play fast and loose with facts and viewers’ emotions that tell us all is safe with GMO and this technology can rid the world of hunger. You see, it’s all about the ‘science’ (or debasement of it) and ‘helping the poor’ (while betraying a colonialist mindset) and nothing else, so we should just put up and shut up.

That’s the way they like it. Because any type of critical analysis that links the GMO issue with the system these neoliberal mouthpieces defend and which touches on the concerns outlined in this article is met with mockery and name calling from them – it’s all ‘anti-capitalist’ twaddle or conspiracy theory mouthed by a bunch of ‘green blob’, immoral, self-serving hippies, so they say.

They seem to think projection passes for debate. It doesn’t.