"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Posts Tagged ‘De-population’

Why Is The U.S. State Department Using Public Money To Pimp For Monsanto?

In Uncategorized on November 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm

 Oldspeak:Yet another Bush Era policy carried through to the Obama Era. Why is U.S. Gov’t  still using front groups and “philanthropic” foundations to “push foreign governments to approve  genetically engineered (GE) crops and promote the worldwide interests of agribusiness giants like Monsanto and DuPont”, even though GE crops have been shown to cause “infertility and have significant impact on the health of plants, animals and humans; a whole host of deleterious effects like toxic pesticides that remain present in the blood of mothers and babies,  rises in food allergies, diabetes, obesity, autism,  immune system dysfunction, asthma, cancer and heart disease, low birth-weight babies, and infant mortality? Why is this government pressuring other governments to approve consumption of “food” they know is not good for them on behalf of private corporations, who with their products have cost the U.S. hundreds of billions in potential food export revenues. Simple really. The Corporatocracy is in control. And they want to control the population of this planet. Why else would you knowingly push for the widespread use of products known to sterilize and kill people?  Public health and well being is always secondary to profit.” My comments from the related story below, reposted. Nothing has changed since august. The U.S. Government has been funding and promoting the development of GMO’s since 1990, I don’t imagine it will change anytime soon, as far too few people are aware, or even care about the demonstrably dangerous and toxic chemicals causing long term damage in the environment, animals and humans. “Ignorance Is Strength”

Related Story:

New WikiLeaks Cables Show US Diplomats Continue To Promote Genetically Engineered Crops Worldwide

By Jill Richardson @ Alter Net:

People in India are up in arms about eggplant. Not just any eggplant — the fight, which is also raging in the Philippines, is over Monsanto’s Bt eggplant. Even as increasing scientific evidence concludes that biotechnology and its arsenal of genetically modified crops may be doing more harm than good, companies like Monsanto are still pushing them hard and they are getting help from the U.S.

The State Department is using taxpayer money to help push the agenda of Monsanto and its friends all across the world. Here’s a recent example: Assistant Secretary of State Jose W. Fernandez, addressing an event of high-level government officials from around the world, agribusiness CEOs, leaders from international organizations, and anti-hunger groups said, “Without agricultural biotechnology, our world would look vastly different. One of our challenges is how to grow more crops on the same land. This is where biotechnology plays a role.”

Many scientists would disagree with these statements, which are more controversial than Fernandez let on. The Union of Concerned Scientists found that biotech crops did not lead to reliable yield increases compared to conventional, non-GMO crops and that biotech crops actually required more pesticides than conventional crops. These conclusions are reiterated by the scientists who authored the “International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development” (IAASTD) report, a 2008 study written by 400 scientists from around the world concluding that agroecology was the best way to feed the world. And a recent 30-year study by the Rodale Institute found that organic methods provided excellent drought protection, whereas drought-tolerant GMOs are mostly still an idea of the future.

So why is Fernandez making speeches that sound like Monsanto talking points? His background prior to working at the State Department was as a lawyer specializing in international finance and mergers and acquisitions, particularly in Latin America. Now he heads up the State Department’s Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs (EEB), which works “to promote economic security and prosperity at home and abroad.” And part of such prosperity, according to EEB, includes promoting GMOs around the world.

Within EEB lies the Office of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Textile Trade Affairs(ABT), which has worked to promote biotechnology for nearly a decade, at least. The word “biotechnology” was added to the office’s name in 2003. ABT seeks to address “barriers and opening markets for American farm products, contributing to the development of effective food aid policies, promoting rural development and increasing agricultural productivity through biotechnology.”

Among other things, ABT is responsible for doling out half a million dollars per year in Biotechnology Outreach Funds. This amounts to pennies compared to the overall federal budget, but it goes a long way, as grants are often around $20,000 apiece, especially considering the cumulative impact of their use in promoting biotechnology around the world each year since 2003. Biotech Outreach Fund requests for 2010 included:

  • request from the U.S. embassy in Ecuador for $22,900 to fly five Ecuadorian journalists to the United States “to participate in a one-week biotech tour” to influence public opinion of biotechnology.
  • request from the U.S. embassies in Brazil and Mozambique for $64,590 to hold a trilateral three-day seminar on biotechnology in Maputo, Mozambique.
  • request from the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia for $5,500 to bring biotechnology experts from South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, and possibly the U.S. to a workshop on biotechnology held by the Ethiopian government.

The requests above were revealed in secret cables leaked by WikiLeaks. While the cables did not divulge which requests were accepted, they do tell the story of State Department employees whose jobs consist of promoting biotechnology around the world. Between 2005 and 2006, then senior adviser for agricultural biotechnologyMadelyn E. Spirnak traveled to Guatemala, Egypt, Slovenia, Taiwan, Turkey, South Africa, Ghana, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland to promote biotechnology.

In South Africa, Spirnak spent a week meeting with “government officials, researchers, private sector representatives and officials from the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to discuss agricultural biotechnology and biosafety issues.” The private sector representatives referred to include Monsanto and Cargill. According to a leaked State Department memo, Spirnak learned that the government of South Africa was planning to hire several new people to work on GMOs. The memo reads: “Note: we informed both Pioneer [DuPont] and Monsanto the following day about the two new positions and they immediately saw the benefits from encouraging qualified applicants to apply.”

The State Department promotion of biotechnology comes from the top. Both Hillary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice before her sent out annual memos to all U.S. embassies outlining State Department policy on biotechnology. In December 2009, Clinton wrote, “Our biotech outreach objectives for 2010 are to increase access to, and markets for, biotech as a means to help address the underlying causes of the food crisis, and to promote agricultural technology’s role in mitigating climate change and increasing biofuel production.”

ABT’s work dovetails with that of another State Department agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development. USAID’s work on biotechnology has focused on two main goals: developing GMOs for introduction in the Global South and pushing nations in Asia and Africa to write biosafety laws. Biosafety laws, a common theme in leaked State Department memos discussing biotechnology, basically mean “laws that keep Monsanto’s intellectual property rights on genetically engineered crops safe.”

USAID’s work funding the development of GMOs began in 1990, when it funded the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project (now known as ABSP I), a project based at Michigan State University’s Institute for International Agriculture that ran until 2003 but was continued in a successor project (predictably called ABSP II) that continues today.

Like its predecessor, ABSP II is funded by USAID. However, unlike ABSP I, it is led by Cornell University. ABSP II, which is ongoing, includes among its partners a number of U.S. universities, research organizations in partner countries, NGOs, foundations, and several corporations — including Monsanto. ABSP II projects include the development and commercialization of GM crops like a disease-resistant potato in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia; Roundup-Ready Bt cotton in Uganda (similar to the GM cotton already grown in the United States); and perhaps the most controversial, Bt eggplant, intended for India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Using Monsanto’s technology, Bt eggplant includes a gene from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis in its DNA. Like the bacteria, the eggplant will produce a toxin that kills insects that prey on it. Bt is a commonly used organic insecticide. When the bacteria is applied by organic farmers, it lasts for a short time in the environment, killing the insects but ultimately having little impact on the agroecosystem, and giving the insects no real opportunity to evolve resistance to the toxin. When the gene is engineered into a crop, the crop produces the Bt toxin in every cell during the entire duration of its life. As of 2011, there are now reports of insects evolving resistance to Bt in genetically engineered crops in the United States.

MAHYCO (Maharashta Hybrid Seed Company), which is 26 percent owned by Monsanto, applied to grow Bt eggplant commercially in India, but the application was denied after massive public outcry. India is the center of origin for eggplant, the country where the crop was first domesticated, and home to incredible biodiversity in eggplant. Adoption of Bt eggplant threatened both the loss of biodiversity as farmers traded their traditional seeds for new GM ones, as well as the genetic contamination of traditional seeds and perhaps even wild eggplant relatives.

Now, Bt eggplant is facing opposition in the Philippines, where anti-GMO activists have destroyed Bt eggplant in protest. The Filipino NGO SEARICE (Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment), which works on the conservation of traditional varieties and on expanding farmers’ rights, also opposes the introduction of Bt eggplant. (And, back in India, the government of India has now gone on the offensive, filing a biopiracy suit against Monsanto over the Bt eggplant.)

Given the two decades of State Department support for GMOs — and its bullying behavior toward countries that don’t wish to grow them or eat them — the question isn’t why a senior state department official is making a major speech extolling biotechnology, but rather, why the State Department isn’t listening to experts, including U.S. citizens, who provide evidence countering the usefulness and safety of biotechnology and supporting alternative methods of agricultural development. For a government department that frequently calls for “science-based” policy, ignoring the totality of evidence on biotechnology is not very science-based.

Jill Richardson is the founder of the blog La Vida Locavore and a member of the Organic Consumers Association policy advisory board. She is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It..

Fukushima Is Continually Blasting All Of Us With High Levels Of Radioactive Elements

In Uncategorized on September 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Oldspeak:”Most people do not have any concept of just how dangerous nuclear contamination can be. At this point, the vast majority of people living in the northern hemisphere have been exposed to radioactive material from Fukushima. As the years go by, many Americans will get sick and die and they will never even know that it was Fukushima radiation that caused it. Deadly radioactive elements that are being released at high levels at Fukushima include iodine, cesium, uranium and plutonium.  Large amounts of these radioactive particles have already been absorbed in the soil and in the water in the United States. Large amounts of these radioactive particles have also entered our food chain. Also, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of tons of highly radioactive water has been released into the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima. All of this radioactive water is going to circulate all over the globe.  It is going to be a nightmare that is never going to end. Right now there is no viable solution to what is going on at Fukushima, so it will continue to blast all of us with high levels of radiation and will slowly kill millions of people around the globe for years to come” -The American Dream. That last sentence is the most likely reason governments and media worldwide have declined to inform people of the definitive extistential threat this disaster is and will continue to pose to the global ecosystem in perpetuity. Why bother telling people the air, everything they eat and drink is contaminated with radioactive toxic material that will never go away, and there’s nothing that can be done about it?” “Ignorance is Strength”.

By The American Dream:

Fukushima is now far and away the worst nuclear disaster in all of human history.  Chernobyl was a Sunday picnic compared to Fukushima and the amount of cesium-137 released at Fukushima this year so far is equivalent to 168 Hiroshima bombs.  The crisis at Fukushima is far, far worse than you have been told.  We are talking about multiple self-sustaining nuclear meltdowns that will not be fully contained for years.  In an attempt to keep people calm, authorities in Japan (and around the rest of the world as well) have lied and lied and lied.  Over the months that have passed since the disaster began, small bits of the truth have slowly started to come out.  Authorities are finally admitting that the area immediately surrounding Fukushima will be uninhabitable indefinitely, and they are finally admitting that the amount of radioactive material that has been released is far higher than initially reported.  It is going to take the Japanese years to fully contain this problem.  Meanwhile, Fukushima will continue to blast all of us with high levels of cesium, strontium and plutonium and will slowly kill millions of people around the globe for years to come.

These days, the mainstream media does not talk about Fukushima much.  The reality is that there have been a whole lot of other disasters for them to talk about.

But just because Fukushima is a nightmare that is playing out in very slow motion does not mean that it does not deserve our full attention.

To get an idea of just how nightmarish Fukushima has turned out to be, just consider the words of nuclear expert Steven C. Jones….

1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Meltdown1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Meltdown

By way of comparison, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that occured in 1986 in the Ukraine, Russia- heretofore the worst nuclear disaster on record- burned for 10 days and cumulatively killed an estimated 1 million people worldwide. The Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster has 5 nuclear reactors burning, 2 in partial meltdown and 3 in full meltdown- and they’ve ALL been uncontrollably burning since March

Fukushima Diiachi Nuclear Power Plant

11th. Its been over 3 months and this nuclear disaster remains completely out of control. In fact, some industry estimates cite the possibility that these meltdowns will be contained (optimistically) in 1-3 years, at the very earliest.

The amount and intensity of the radioactive fallout from this particular nuclear disaster will assuredly kill hundreds of millions of people worldwide over time. Japan itself is, of course, the epicenter of this radioactive contamination that has spread out from these reactors.

Keep in mind that radioactivity from the Chernobyl disaster deeply contaminated77,000 square miles.

So if Fukushima is many times worse, what does that mean for us?

Just recently, authorities in Japan confessed that the amount of cesium-137 released by Fukushima is equivalent to 168 of the nuclear bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article inthe Telegraph….

Japan’s government estimates the amount of radioactive caesium-137 released by the Fukushima nuclear disaster so far is equal to that of 168 Hiroshima bombs.

I am no nuclear expert, but shortly after the Fukushima disaster began I postulated that much of northern Japan would be rendered uninhabitable by all of this radiation.

Well, it turns out that authorities in Japan have finally reached the same conclusion.  According to the New York Times, the Japanese government is acknowledging that large areas around the Fukushima nuclear facility may be uninhabitable for decades….

Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.

So what is the big deal?

Unfortunately, most people do not have any concept of just how dangerous nuclear contamination can be.

At this point, the vast majority of people living in the northern hemisphere have been exposed to radioactive material from Fukushima.

External vs. Internal Radiation

We can’t see them, but radioactive particles can do an insane amount of damage.  We can breathe them in, we can eat them in our food and we can even absorb them through our skin.  Once trapped inside our bodies, these particles can slowly “bake” us for years and years.  The following is from an opinion piece by Helen Caldicott in the Guardian….

Internal radiation, on the other hand, emanates from radioactive elements which enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Hazardous radionuclides such as iodine-131, caesium 137, and other isotopes currently being released in the sea and air around Fukushima bio-concentrate at each step of various food chains (for example into algae, crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil, grass, cow’s meat and milk, then humans). [2] After they enter the body, these elements – called internal emitters – migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, where they continuously irradiate small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years, can induce uncontrolled cell replication – that is, cancer. Further, many of the nuclides remain radioactive in the environment for generations, and ultimately will cause increased incidences of cancer and genetic diseases over time.

One of the most dangerous radioactive elements being released at Fukushima is strontium.  Strontium accumulates in the bones and in the teeth.  It is also known to cause cancer in humans.

It has been estimated that approximately 80 percent of the strontium that was released during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster entered the food cycle.

Considering the vast amount of strontium that has been released at Fukushima, that is a very frightening statistic.

The following is what NHK World recently had to say about the levels of strontium that are being found around Fukushima….

The utility detected up to 480 becquerels of radioactive strontium 90 per kilogram of soil. That’s about 100 times higher than the maximum reading recorded in Fukushima Prefecture following atmospheric nuclear tests carried out by foreign countries during the Cold War era.

TEPCO reported detecting 2,800 becquerels of strontium 89 per kilogram of soil at the same location.

Once you absorb strontium, it will stay in your bones for the rest of your life.  Just consider what Dr. Russell Blaylock recently told Newsmax….

When we look at Chernobyl, most of West Germany was heavily contaminated. Norway, Sweden. Hungary was terribly contaminated. The radiation was taken up into the plants. The food was radioactive. They took the milk and turned it into cheese. The cheese was radioactive.

That’s the big danger, the crops in this country being contaminated, the milk in particular, with Strontium 90. That radiation is incorporated into the bones and stays for a lifetime.

So would you like to have radioactive material in your bones that affects your health for the rest of your life?

It may have already happened to you and you wouldn’t even know it.

Other deadly radioactive elements that are being released at high levels at Fukushima include iodine, cesium, uranium and plutonium.  Large amounts of these radioactive particles have already been absorbed in the soil and in the water in the United States.

Large amounts of these radioactive particles have also entered our food chain.

As the years go by, a whole lot of Americans are going to get sick and die and they will never even know that it was Fukushima that caused it.

Remember, just because you cannot see these radioactive particles does not mean that they aren’t incredibly deadly.  Just check out what nuclear expertSteven C. Jones recently had to say about plutonium….

To give one an example of how lethal radiation is, one pound of plutonium evenly distributed into everyone’s lungs would kill every man, woman and child on Earth. There are literally “tons” of radioactive plutonium (among other radioactive elements) that have been released into the air and ocean environments since March 11th. Another critical fact to remember is that radioactive plutonium, for example, remains lethal (killing life) for thousands years as it has a half-life of 24,000 years. Some other radioactive elements such as uranium have a half-life of 4.47 billion years.

That is the scary thing with many of these radioactive elements.  Now that they have been released, many of them will be with us for as long as we live, for as long as our children live and for as long as our grandchildren live.

Yes, things are much worse than you have been told.

Up until now, the Japanese government has insisted that those living outside the 20 kilometer exclusion zone are safe.

But is that really the case?

According to Reuters, Greenpeace has found incredibly high levels of radiation at schools up to 60 km away…..

Greenpeace said on Monday that schools and surrounding areas located 60 km (38 miles) from Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear power plant were unsafe for children, showing radiation readings as much as 70 times internationally accepted levels.

In addition, a recent Japan Times article noted that high levels of cesium have been discovered at 42 incineration plants in seven different prefectures in Japan….

High levels of cesium isotopes are cropping up in dust at 42 incineration plants in seven prefectures, including Chiba and Iwate, an Environment Ministry survey of the Kanto and Tohoku regions shows.

Also, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal stated that incredibly high levels of cesium-137 have been found up to 100 km away from the Fukushima nuclear facility….

The first comprehensive survey of soil contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant showed that 33 locations spread over a wide area have been contaminated with long-lasting radioactive cesium, the government said Tuesday.

The survey of 2,200 locations within a 100-kilometer (62-mile) radius of the crippled plant found that those locations had cesium-137 in excess of 1.48 million becquerels per square meter, the level set by the Soviet Union for forced resettlement after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, Japanese authorities said.

Remember that Tokyo is only about 250 km away from the Fukushima nuclear facility.

So what happens if high levels of cesium start showing up in Tokyo?

According to some sources, things have already gotten very serious in Tokyo.

Dr. Chris Busby recently traveled to Japan with some very sophisticated testing equipment and found one sample in Tokyo that had levels of radioactivity that were higher than the exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl during that nuclear disaster.

But things are much worse for those living much closer to Fukushima.  High levels of cesium have been detected in the urine and in the breast milk of those living in the region surrounding the facility.  All over the area there are reports of people coming down with the symptoms of radiation sickness.

The truth is that the “evacuation area” should be far, far larger than it is now.  Just consider what Mike Adams of Natural News recently had to say about what recent tests have shown….

One soil sample taking 25 kilometers away from Fukushima showed Cesium-137 exceeding 5 million becquerels per square meter. This level, of course, makes it uninhabitable by humans, yet both the Japanese and U.S. governments continue to downplay the whole event, assuring their sheeple that there’s nothing to worry about. By their logic, since all the people are sheeple anyway, as long as the area is safe enough for sheep, it’s also safe enough for the human population.

A lot of people in Japan are going to die, and frustrations are rising.  According to an article in The Independent, a lot of Japanese feel totally abandoned by their government at this point….

It is the fate of people outside the evacuation zones, however, that causes the most bitter controversy. Parents in Fukushima City, 63km from the plant, have banded together to demand that the government do more to protect about 100,000 children. Schools have banned soccer and other outdoor sports. Windows are kept closed. “We’ve just been left to fend for ourselves,” says Machiko Sato, a grandmother who lives in the city. “It makes me so angry.”

But just because you don’t live in Japan does not mean that you are not in danger.  The Fukushima nuclear facility sits right on the Pacific Ocean.  When nuclear material gets released into the air at Fukushima, the first time much of it will encounter land is when it reaches the United States.

Also, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of tons of highly radioactive water has been released into the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima.

What this is going to do to our oceans nobody knows for sure.  But according to the Los Angeles Times, the seawater near Fukushima has been found to be incredibly radioactive….

Tokyo Electric Power Co. had said Tuesday that it had found iodine-131 at 7.5 million times the legal limit in a seawater sample taken near the facility, and government officials instituted a health limit for radioactivity in fish. Other samples were found to contain radioactive cesium at 1.1 million times the legal limit.

All of this radioactive water is going to circulate all over the globe.  It is going to be a nightmare that is never going to end.

Just because the mainstream media is not talking much about all of this radiation does not mean that it is not affecting the United States….

*Radiation from Fukushima has been detected in seaweed in Puget Sound.

*Radiation from Fukushima has been detected in the drinking water in numerous states.

*Radiation from Fukushima has been discovered in milk in numerous states.

*Very high levels of radiation continue to be detected in rainwater in the northwest United States.

This is a slow motion nightmare that is going to play out for years and years.

Some nuclear experts claim that it could be up to 50 or 100 years before any of the nuclear material at the Fukushima complex will cool down enough to be removed from the facility.

Right now there is no viable solution to what is going on at Fukushima, so it will continue to blast all of us with high levels of radiation and will slowly kill millions of people around the globe for years to come.

Former nuclear industry insider Arnold Gundersen recently put it this way….

“With Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and now with Fukushima, you can pinpoint the exact day and time they started,” he said, “But they never end.”

This is a nightmare that will be with us for the rest of our lives.  Millions are going to get sick and untold numbers of people are going to slowly die.

New WikiLeaks Cables Show US Diplomats Continue To Promote Genetically Engineered Crops Worldwide

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2011 at 11:04 am

Oldspeak:”Yet another Bush Era policy carried through to the Obama Era. Why is U.S. Gov’t  still using front groups and “philanthropic” foundations to “push foreign governments to approve  genetically engineered (GE) crops and promote the worldwide interests of agribusiness giants like Monsanto and DuPont”, even though GE crops have been shown to cause “infertility and have significant impact on the health of plants, animals and humans; a whole host of deleterious effects like toxic pesticides that remain present in the blood of mothers and babies,  rises in food allergies, diabetes, obesity, autism,  immune system dysfunction, asthma, cancer and heart disease, low birth-weight babies, and infant mortality? Why is this government pressuring other governments to approve consumption of “food” they know is not good for them on behalf of private corporations, who with their products have cost the U.S. hundreds of billions in potential food export revenues. Simple really. The Corporatocracy is in control. And they want to control the population of this planet. Why else would you knowingly push for the widespread use of products known to sterilize and kill people?  Public health and well being is always secondary to profit.

By Mike Ludwig @ Truthout:

Dozens of United States diplomatic cables released in the latest WikiLeaks dump on Wednesday reveal new details of the US effort to push foreign governments to approve  genetically engineered (GE) crops and promote the worldwide interests of agribusiness giants like Monsanto and DuPont.

The cables further confirm previous Truthout reports on the diplomatic pressure the US has put on Spain and France, two countries with powerful anti-GE crop movements, to speed up their biotech approval process and quell anti-GE sentiment within the European Union (EU).

Several cables describe “biotechnology outreach programs” in countries across the globe, including African, Asian and South American countries where Western biotech agriculture had yet to gain a foothold. In some cables (such as this 2010 cable from Morocco) US diplomats ask the State Department for funds to send US biotech experts and trade industry representatives to target countries for discussions with high-profile politicians and agricultural officials.

Truthout recently reported on front groups supported by the US government, philanthropic foundations and companies like Monsanto that are working to introduce pro-biotechnology policy initiatives and GE crops in developing African countries, and several cables released this week confirm that American diplomats have promoted biotech agriculture to countries like TunisiaSouth Africa and Mozambique.

Cables detail US efforts to influence the biotech policies of developed countries such as Egypt and Turkey, but France continues to stand out as a high-profile target.

In a 2007 cable, the US embassy in Paris reported on a meeting among US diplomats and representatives from Monsanto, DuPont and Dow-Agro-sciences. The companies were concerned about a movement of French farmers, who were vandalizing GE crop farms at the time, and suggested diplomatic angles for speeding up EU approvals of GE Crops.

In 2008 cable describing a “rancorous” debate within the French Parliament over proposed biotech legislation, Craig Stapleton, the former US ambassador to France under the Bush administration, included an update on MON-810, a Monsanto corn variety banned in France.

Stapleton wrote that French officials “expect retaliation via the World Trade Organization” for upholding the ban on MON-810 and stalling the French GE crop approval process. “There is nothing to be gained in France from delaying retaliation,” Stapleton wrote.

Tough regulations and bans on GE crops can deal hefty blows to US exports. About 94 percent of soybeans, 72 percent of corn and 73 percent of the cotton grown in the US now use GE-tolerate herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup, according to theUS Agriculture Department. 

2007 cable, for example, reports that the French ban on MON-810 could cost the US $30 million to $50 million in exports.

In a 2007 cable obtained by Truthout in January, Stapleton threatened “moving to retaliate” against France for banning MON-810. Several other European countries, including Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria, have also placed bans on MON-810 in recent years. MON-810 is engineered to excrete the Bt toxin, which kills some insect pests.

Monsanto And Gates Foundation Push Genetically Engineered Crops On Africa

In Uncategorized on July 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

Oldspeak:“Curious. With food prices at all time highs (and financial speculators making a KILLING), never before seen drought plaguing the U.S. Southwest, Africa, Russia; floods wiping out whole crops, Monsanto and the rest of the biotechnology industry happen to be furiously developing genetically modified drought-resistant corn and wheat to ‘help fuel the worlds fight against poverty and hunger” Why is this frankenfood that has been shown to cause “infertility and have significant impact on the health of plants, animals and probably humans; a whole host of deleterious effects like toxic pesticides that remain present in the blood of mothers and babies,  rises in food allergies, diabetes, obesity, autism,  immune system dysfunction, asthma, cancer and heart disease, low birth-weight babies, and infant mortality being pushed on weak, malnourished, immunologically compromised peeple? Why are billionaire supposed ‘philanthropists’ like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates throwing so much money behind this demonstratably dangerous and inadequately researched food technology, even when the research shows that natural food production methods outperform GM food production? De-population and complete control over the world’s food supply are my guesses.”

By Mike Ludwig @ Truthout:

Skimming the Agricultural Development section of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation web site is a feel-good experience: African farmers smile in a bright slide show of images amid descriptions of the foundation’s fight against poverty and hunger. But biosafety activists in South Africa are calling a program funded by the Gates Foundation a “Trojan horse” to open the door for private agribusiness and genetically engineered (GE) seeds, including a drought-resistant corn that Monsanto hopes to have approved in the United States and abroad.

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) program  was launched in 2008 with a $47 million grant from mega-rich philanthropists Warrant Buffet and Bill Gates. The program is supposed to help farmers in several African countries increase their yields with drought- and heat-tolerant corn varieties, but a report released last month by the African Centre for Biosafetyclaims WEMA is threatening Africa’s food sovereignty and opening new markets for agribusiness giants like Monsanto.

The Gates Foundation claims that biotechnology, GE crops and Western agricultural methods are needed to feed the world’s growing population and programs like WEMA will help end poverty and hunger in the developing world. Critics say the foundation is using its billions to shape the global food agenda and the motivations behind WEMA were recently called into question when activists discovered the Gates foundation had spent $27.6 million on 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock between April and June 2010.

Water shortages in parts of Africa and beyond have created a market for “climate ready” crops worth an estimated $2.7 billion. Leading biotech companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow are currently racing to develop crops that will grow in drought conditions caused by climate change, and by participating in the WEMA program, Monsanto is gaining a leg up by establishing new markets and regulatory approvals for its patented transgenes in five Sub-Saharan African countries, according to the Centre’s report.

Monsanto teamed up with BASF, another industrial giant, to donate technology and transgenes to WEMA and its partner organizations. Seed companies and researchers will receive the GE seed for free and small-scale farmers can plant the corn without making the royalty payments that Monsanto usually demands from farmers each season.

Monsanto is donating the seeds for now, but the company has a reputation for aggressively defending its patents. In the past, Monsanto has sued farmers for growing crops that cross-pollinated with Monsanto crops and became contaminated with the company’s patented genetic codes.

In 2009, Monsanto and BASF discovered a gene in a bacterium that is believed to help plants like corn survive on less water and soon the companies developed a corn seed know as MON 87460. It remains unclear if MON 87460 will out-compete conventional drought-tolerant hybrids, but the United States Department of Agriculture could approve the corn for commercial use in the US as soon as July 11. Monsanto plans to make the seed available to American farmers by next year.

GE crops like MON 87460 can only be tested and sold in countries that, like the US, are friendly toward biotech agriculture. WEMA’s target areas could add five countries to that list: South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique. The Biosafety Centre reports that WEMA’s massive funding opportunities pressure politicians to pass weak biosafety laws and welcome GE crops and the agrichemical drenched growing systems that come with them. Field trials of MON 87460 and other drought-tolerant varieties are already underway in South Africa, where Monsanto already has considerable political influence. Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are expected to begin field trials of WEMA corn varieties in 2011.

The agency that is implementing WEMA is the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), a pro-biotechnology group funded completely by the US government’s USAID program, the United Kingdom and the Buffet and Gates foundations. The AATF is a nonprofit charity that lobbies African governments and promotes partnerships between public groups and private companies to make agricultural technology available in Africa. The Biosafety Centre accuses the AATF of essentially being a front group for the US government, allowing USAID to “meddle” in African politics by promoting weak biosafety regulation that makes it easier for American corporations to export biotechnology to African countries.

WEMA and AATF swim in a myriad alphabet soup of NGOs and nonprofits propped up by Western nations and wealthy philanthropists that promote everything from fertilizer to food crops with enhanced nutritional content as solutions to world hunger. Together, these groups are promoting a Second Green Revolution and sparking a worldwide debate over the future of food production. The Gates Foundation alone has committed $1.7 billion to the effort to date.

There was nothing “green” about the first Green Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s. As population skyrocketed during the last century, multinationals pushed Western agriculture’s fertilizers, irrigation, oil-thirsty machinery and pesticides on farmers in the developing world. Historians often point out that promoting industrial agriculture to keep developing countries well fed was crucial to the US effort to stop the spread of Soviet Communism.

The Second Green Revolution, which is focused on Africa, seeks to solve hunger problems with education, biotechnology, high-tech breeding, and other industrial agricultural methods popular in countries like the US, Brazil and Mexico.

Africa has landed in the center of a global food debate over a central question: with the world’s growing population expected to reach nine billion by 2045, how will farmers feed everyone, especially those in developing countries? The lines of the debate are drawn. The Second Green Revolutionaries are now facing off with activists and researchers who doubt the West’s petroleum and technology-based agricultural systems can sustainably feed the world.

The African Centre for Biosafety and its allies often point to a report recently released by IAASTD, a research group supported by the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization, and others. IAASTD found that industrial agriculture has been successful in its goal of increasing crop yields worldwide, but has caused environmental degradation and deforestation that disproportionately affects small farmers and poorer nations. Widespread use of pesticides and fertilizer, for instance, cause dead zones in coastal areas. Massive irrigation projects now account for 70 percent of water withdrawal globally and approximately 1.6 billion people live in water-scarce basins.

Increasing crop yields is the bottom line for groups like the Gates Foundation, but the IAASTD recommends that sustainability should be the goal. The report does not rule out biotechnology, but suggests high-tech agriculture is just one tool in the toolbox. The report promotes “agroecology,” which seeks to replace the chemical and biochemical inputs of industrial agriculture with resources found in the natural environment.

In March, a UN expert released a report showing that small-scale farmers could double their food production in a decade with the simple agroecological methods. The report flies in the face of the Second Green Revolutionaries.

“Today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live – especially in unfavorable environments,” said Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food and author of the report. “Malawi, a country that launched a massive chemical fertilizer subsidy program a few years ago, is now implementing agroecology, benefiting more than 1.3 million of the poorest people, with maize yields increasing from 1 ton per hectare to 2 to 3 tons per hectare.”

De Schutter said private companies like Monsanto will not invest in agroecology because it does not open new markets for agrichemicals or GE seeds, so it’s up to governments and the public to support the switch to more sustainable agriculture. But with more than a billion dollars already spent, the Second Green Revolutionaries are determined to have a say in how the world grows its food, and agroecology is not on their agenda. To them, sustainability means bringing private innovation to the developing world. The Gates Foundation can donate billions to the fight against hunger, but when private companies like Monsanto stand to benefit, it makes feeding the world look like a for-profit scheme.

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