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Supreme Court rules against ban on GMO alfalfa, but requires complete safety study first

Posted in Basic GMO Information, Crop Failure by stopmonsanto on August 9, 2010

From NaturalNews.com

By Ethan Huff, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) The battle continues as agri-giant Monsanto pushes to have its genetically-modified (GM) alfalfa approved for use in the U.S. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Monsanto by ruling against a lower court’s nationwide ban on the GM alfalfa; however, the court is requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to complete a comprehensive safety study before the “franken-crop” can officially be approved.

The whole thing started when the USDA first approved Monsanto’s GM alfalfa back in 2007. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) immediately filed a lawsuit against the approval, citing valid concerns that the seeds would take over pasture lands and become uncontrollable. The federal district judge who heard the case agreed, ruling also that the USDA had acted irresponsibly by failing to complete an environmental safety study prior to approving the seeds for planting. The same judge banned GM alfalfa nationwide.

The reason why GM alfalfa is particularly dangerous is that alfalfa is an aggressive spreader, and would likely end up in all sorts of fields, including organic ones. Alfalfa is typically used to feed dairy cattle, so if GM alfalfa is ever approved, it could destroy the entire organic beef and dairy industry. In the long term, it could ruin the entire organic food industry.

However, the Supreme Court recently ruled 7-to-1 that a nationwide ban was inappropriate, but it has allowed the ban to stay in place until the USDA completes the necessary Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

According to the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), Monsanto was quick to spin the ruling as being in its favor, essentially telling the media that it had won a victory. But truth be told, the nationwide ban on GM alfalfa is still in place, and planting the crop is still illegal. Though the ruling allows Monsanto to move forward in trying to gain approval, there is no guarantee that the multi-national giant will be successful.

Part of the EIS process involves reviewing the more than 200,000 public comments received since December 2009 concerning GM alfalfa, most of which are likely in protest of the crop.

So it is important to keep letting your voice be heard on important issues like this one, especially when there is an open comment period. 200,000 people voiced their opinions about GM alfalfa, and this could greatly influence the USDA’s final decision in the matter.

Sources:

Supreme Court Kicks Critical Genetically Modified Alfalfa Issue Down The Road – Alliance for Natural Health

Genetically Modified Foods: More Reason to Avoid Them; Why They Threaten Organic Agriculture

Dangers of Genetically Engineered Foods – Institute for Responsible Technology

Monsanto: The world’s poster child for corporate manipulation and deceit

Posted in Basic GMO Information, Crop Failure, GM Health Effects by stopmonsanto on August 9, 2010

FWD: Naturalnews.com

Monsanto: The world’s poster child for corporate manipulation and deceit

by Jeffrey M. Smith

(NaturalNews) At a biotech industry conference in January 1999, a representative from Arthur Anderson, LLP explained how they had helped Monsanto design their strategic plan. First, his team asked Monsanto executives what their ideal future looked like in 15 to 20 years. The executives described a world with 100 percent of all commercial seeds genetically modified and patented. Anderson consultants then worked backwards from that goal, and developed the strategy and tactics to achieve it. They presented Monsanto with the steps and procedures needed to obtain a place of industry dominance in a world in which natural seeds were virtually extinct.

This was a bold new direction for Monsanto, which needed a big change to distance them from a controversial past. As a chemical company, they had polluted the landscape with some of the most poisonous substances ever produced, contaminated virtually every human and animal on earth, and got fined and convicted of deception and wrongdoing. According to a former Monsanto vice president, “We were despised by our customers.”

So they redefined themselves as a “life sciences” company, and then proceeded to pollute the landscape with toxic herbicide, contaminate the gene pool for all future generations with genetically modified plants, and get fined and convicted of deception and wrongdoing. Monsanto’s chief European spokesman admitted in 1999, “Everybody over here hates us.” Now the rest of the world is catching on.

“Saving the world,” and other lies

Monsanto’s public relations story about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are largely based on five concepts.

1. GMOs are needed to feed the world.
2. GMOs have been thoroughly tested and proven safe.
3. GMOs increase yield.
4. GMOs reduce the use of agricultural chemicals.
5. GMOs can be contained, and therefore coexist with non-GM crops.

All five are pure myths — blatant falsehoods about the nature and benefit of this infant technology. The experience of former Monsanto employee Kirk Azevedo helps expose the first two lies, and provides some insight into the nature of the people working at the company.

In 1996, Monsanto recruited young Kirk Azevedo to sell their genetically engineered cotton. Azevedo accepted their offer not because of the pay increase, but due to the writings of Monsanto CEO Robert Shapiro. Shapiro had painted a picture of feeding the world and cleaning up the environment with his company’s new technology. When he visited Monsanto’s St. Louis headquarters for new employee training, Azevedo shared his enthusiasm for Shapiro’s vision during a meeting. When the session ended, a company vice president pulled him aside and set him straight. “Wait a second,” he told Azevedo. “What Robert Shapiro says is one thing. But what we do is something else. We are here to make money. He is the front man who tells a story. We don’t even understand what he is saying.” Azevedo realized he was working for “just another profit-oriented company,” and all the glowing words about helping the planet were just a front.

A few months later he got another shock. A company scientist told him that Roundup Ready cotton plants contained new, unintended proteins that had resulted from the gene insertion process. No safety studies had been conducted on the proteins, none were planned, and the cotton plants, which were part of field trials near his home, were being fed to cattle. Azevedo “was afraid at that time that some of these proteins may be toxic.”

He asked the PhD in charge of the test plot to destroy the cotton rather than feed it to cattle, arguing that until the protein had been evaluated, the cows’ milk or meat could be harmful. The scientist refused. Azevedo approached everyone on his team at Monsanto to raise concerns about the unknown protein, but no one was interested. “I was somewhat ostracized,” he said. “Once I started questioning things, people wanted to keep their distance from me. . . . Anything that interfered with advancing the commercialization of this technology was going to be pushed aside.” Azevedo decided to leave Monsanto. He said, “I’m not going to be part of this disaster.”

Monsanto’s toxic past

Azevedo got a small taste of Monsanto’s character. A verdict in a lawsuit a few years later made it more explicit. On February 22, 2002, Monsanto was found guilty for poisoning the town of Anniston, Alabama with their PCB factory and covering it up for decades. They were convicted of negligence, wantonness, suppression of the truth, nuisance, trespass, and outrage. According to Alabama law, to be guilty of outrage typically requires conduct “so outrageous in character and extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency so as to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in civilized society.”(1)

The $700 million fine imposed on Monsanto was on behalf of the Anniston residents, whose blood levels of Monsanto’s toxic PCBs were hundreds or thousands of times the average. This disease-producing chemical, used as coolants and lubricants for over 50 years, are now virtually omnipresent in the blood and tissues of humans and wildlife around the globe. Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group says that based on Monsanto documents made public during a trial, the company “knew the truth from the very beginning. They lied about it. They hid the truth from their neighbors.” One Monsanto memo explains their justification: “We can’t afford to lose one dollar of business.” Welcome to the world of Monsanto.

Infiltrating the minds and offices of the government

To get their genetically modified products approved, Monsanto has coerced, infiltrated, and paid off government officials around the globe. In Indonesia, Monsanto gave bribes and questionable payments to at least 140 officials, attempting to get their genetically modified (GM) cotton accepted.(2) In 1998, six Canadian government scientists testified before the Senate that they were being pressured by superiors to approve rbGH, that documents were stolen from a locked file cabinet in a government office, and that Monsanto offered them a bribe of $1-2 million to pass the drug without further tests. In India, one official tampered with the report on Bt cotton to increase the yield figures to favor Monsanto.(3) And Monsanto seems to have planted their own people in key government positions in India, Brazil, Europe, and worldwide.

Monsanto’s GM seeds were also illegally smuggled into countries like Brazil and Paraguay, before GMOs were approved. Roberto Franco, Paraguay’s Deputy Agriculture Ministry, tactfully admits, “It is possible that [Monsanto], let’s say, promoted its varieties and its seeds” before they were approved. “We had to authorize GMO seeds because they had already entered our country in an, let’s say, unorthodox way.”

In the US, Monsanto’s people regularly infiltrate upper echelons of government, and the company offers prominent positions to officials when they leave public service. This revolving door has included key people in the White House, regulatory agencies, even the Supreme Court. Monsanto also had George Bush Senior on their side, as evidenced by footage of Vice President Bush at Monsanto’s facility offering help to get their products through government bureaucracy. He says, “Call me. We’re in the ‘de-reg’ business. Maybe we can help.”

Monsanto’s influence continued into the Clinton administration. Dan Glickman, then Secretary of Agriculture, says, “there was a general feeling in agro-business and inside our government in the US that if you weren’t marching lock-step forward in favor of rapid approvals of biotech products, rapid approvals of GMO crops, then somehow, you were anti-science and anti-progress.” Glickman summarized the mindset in the government as follows:

“What I saw generically on the pro-biotech side was the attitude that the technology was good, and that it was almost immoral to say that it wasn’t good, because it was going to solve the problems of the human race and feed the hungry and clothe the naked. . . . And there was a lot of money that had been invested in this, and if you’re against it, you’re Luddites, you’re stupid. That, frankly, was the side our government was on. Without thinking, we had basically taken this issue as a trade issue and they, whoever ‘they’ were, wanted to keep our product out of their market. And they were foolish, or stupid, and didn’t have an effective regulatory system. There was rhetoric like that even here in this department. You felt like you were almost an alien, disloyal, by trying to present an open-minded view on some of the issues being raised. So I pretty much spouted the rhetoric that everybody else around here spouted; it was written into my speeches.”(4)

He admits, “when I opened my mouth in the Clinton Administration [about the lax regulations on GMOs], I got slapped around a little bit.”

Read full article here.

Monsanto’s Patent Policies Restricted in Europe

Posted in Basic GMO Information, Crop Failure by stopmonsanto on July 17, 2010

Last week, Europe’s highest court decided that patents on DNA only apply to live plants.

Panna.org explains:
“The ruling comes as a result of a suit by Monsanto against Dutch companies who were importing soy meal from Argentina – where Monsanto doesn’t hold a patent and farmers can grow RoundupReady soybeans (designed to withstand heavy applications of Monsanto’s flagship herbicide, Roundup) without paying any of the licensing agreements or fees imposed on American and European farmers. After Monsanto found traces of its RoundupReady DNA in soy meal imported from Argentina to the Netherlands, the company filed suit in a Dutch court, demanding seizure of the imported soy meal. The Dutch court asked for a ruling, but Monsanto decided to settle out of court for an undisclosed amount after a preliminary opinion indicated that they would probably lose the suit. The European Court of Justice decided to proceed with its ruling in order to clarify the European Union’s biotechnology directive, which was passed in 1998.”

This recent court decision is wonderful news for it places restrictions on Monsanto’s patents and control of the food supply. However these restrictions are narrow and this ruling is just one small step in the right direction.

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Massive GM Corn Failure in South Africagm cr

Posted in Crop Failure by stopmonsanto on April 10, 2009

Workers in South Africa who were scammed into false promises by Monsanto were recently brought the truth about GM corn, but not without the cost of losing their jobs. Corn is the main staple in South Africa and this failure is destroying the lives of many. The three maize varieties which failed to produce seeds were designed with a built-in resistance to weed-killers, and manipulated to increase yields per hectare. 82,000 hectares of genetically-manipulated corn (maize) failed to produce hardly any seeds. As expected Monsanto underestimates the up to 80% crop failure and blames it on, “underfertilisation processes in the laboratory”.

Environmental activist and Director of the Africa-centre for biosecurity in Johannesburg, Marian Mayet, is calling for not only an immediate government investigation on the GM, maize crops, but also a ban on all GM-foods. “Monsanto says they just made a mistake in the laboratory; however we say that biotechnology is a failure. You cannot make a ‘mistake’ with three different varieties of corn”, says Mayet.

Just like the United States, South Africa does not require labels on GM food. Efforts to label the food do subsist, including the supermarket chain Woolworths, who banned all sales of GM food since 2000.

Health Affects of GM corn

• Infertility
• Abnormal Gene Expression
• Allergic Reactions
• Rats fed Monsanto’s Mon 863 corn, engineered to produce Bt-toxin, had liver lesions and other indications of toxicity.
• Chickens fed the herbicide tolerant “Liberty Link” corn died at twice the rate of those fed natural corn.
• About two dozen farmers reported that thousands of their pigs had reproductive problems when fed certain varieties of Bt corn

GM corn is undeniably dangerous to human health and the environment.



Sources


http://www.foodfirst.org/en/node/2336

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/270101

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Monsanto_and_GM_Foods:_Health_Risks

Monsanto Forces GMOs on Africa

Posted in Crop Failure by stopmonsanto on April 10, 2009

On March 31st the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved S.384 The Global Food Security Act of 2009. The bill says the U.S. must fund GMOs and Biotechnology. Section 22: Foreign Relations and Intercourse states, “(4) include research on biotechnological advances appropriate to local ecological conditions, including genetically modified technology. Please check La Vida Locavore for extensive information.

The fact that this bill even includes information for GMOs is big news. Passed bills have funded ag research and considered, “the special needs of small farmers, the interrelation between technology, institutional capacity, the environment and cultural factors, and extensive field testing of technology.” Now, all of a sudden Big Biotech is brought into the mix. Mandatory U.S. GM research programs are also trouble for countries that ban GM seeds and crops, like many in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. This bill could mean the difference of rejecting food aid, or letting GMOs into their countries.

In short this is a bill to further destroy the planet and ruin food crops with more Genetic Engineering. The government is sneaking these bills into legislation and the public has no say. Only one word enters my mind which is: tyranny, and we need to wake up from the matrix before it is too late and every food is Genetically Modified.


Sources
http://www.lavidalocavore.org/showDiary.do?diaryId=1338

http://www.ethicurean.com/2009/04/01/gmo-bill/