Category Archives: GMO

Monsanto Develops First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana

FYI…

The following was copied from a Google news search for “Marijuana” on 6.16.15 at 11:48pm CST.  The link to the story has been “deleted”.

Monsanto develops first GMO marijuana strain patent 6.16.15

 

Monsanto Develops First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana

Wisconsin Ag Connection
– ‎17 hours ago‎

 

Monsanto has announced it has patented the first genetically modified strain of marijuana. Global Ag Investing reports that the news has been welcomed by scientists and leaders of the agriculture business alike as a move forward towards the industrial

GMO Cannabis Monsanto 6.16.15 link deleted

 

DEA to Allow Huge Increase in Marijuana Production to Meet Research DemandsRegulatory Focus

DEA Wants the Feds to Grow More Marijuana (Again)Marijuana.com

See realtime coverage »

I also found this information, dated June 7, 2014 which states the following:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1016482/pg1

Link


U.S. corporation Monsanto plans to launch production of genetically modified marijuana, and companies such as Drug Policy Alliance y Open Society Foundation are going to create our own brand, which will be produced under cannabis, information portal La Red 21.
Organization of Open Society Foundation is under the control of the shareholder Monsanto, billionaire George Soros. Company Drug Policy Alliance y Open Society Foundation, funded by Monsanto will be responsible for market development of transgenic seeds of marijuana, particularly in Uruguay.

Oddly enough, the “Link” above goes to another “Page not found (404)” error…

When I searched Google for “Monsanto Develops First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana” I found the following:

 

http://www.drugpolicycentral.com/bot/article/wisconsinagconnection6559.htm

A “BOT” picked up the story on the DPA site rendering this screen shot:

Drug Policy Alliance 6.17.15 GMO Cannabis Monsanto

 

My question is this:  Who is trying to hide what from whom and why?  The story has been picked up by numerous blog sites:

Google search:

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Monsanto+Develops+First+Genetically+Modified+Strain+of+Marijuana

 

Whatever the reason for the secrecy or attempt thereof, this is a story that should be closely watched as the “Billionaire Cannabis Club” is “Now Open”….

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Do You Know What’s on Your Weed?

If You Care About Ingesting Weed Free of Harmful Pesticides, You Need to Know a Crucial Difference Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana

by Tobias Coughlin-Bogue

 

Before looking into it, I naively assumed Washington State’s groundbreaking marijuana legalization law had given us a unique opportunity to do things "right," which meant, to my mind, a crop that’s not only legal but pesticide-free, organic, and eco-friendly. Maybe we’ve all already given up hope when it comes to fruit and vegetables grown by giant agribusinesses, but weed, given all the tree-hugging, organic-food-eating, GMO-avoiding hippies who love it, must be different. Right?

Wrong. What I discovered was that legal weed is most certainly not pesticide-free, although to be fair, there are severe restrictions on the kinds of pesticides recreational marijuana growers are allowed to use. Pesticide use is so commonplace in agriculture that the question becomes one of degrees rather than absolutes. In a storybook version of reality, we would be smoking pesticide-free fatties with the Lorax and satisfying our munchies with unsprayed apples 100 percent of the time. But as glorious as that would be, that doesn’t reflect the economic or ecological reality of agriculture.

When the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) was inventing rules for pesticide use on recreational marijuana plants, they turned to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) for some expert advice. The WSDA studied pesticides typically allowed on hops (a close cousin of cannabis), tobacco, and food products. The rules in place are a result of that work.

The state appears to have done a good job at regulating a previously unregulated and unstudied area of agriculture—a plant the federal government still classifies as a Schedule I drug. All pesticides used on any crop in the state of Washington must be registered with the Department of Agriculture, and the list of approved pesticides is available via the Pesticide Information Center Online (PICOL), a database operated by Washington State University. There are, by my highly scientific estimate, a metric shit ton of allowed pesticides in our state. How many of those pesticides are recreational pot growers allowed to use on pot that ends up in your body? Two hundred and seventy-one.

That number is not nearly as upsetting as it may sound, given a little context. At a recent meeting of state and local officials working with the recreational cannabis industry, one attendee voiced concern that 271 legally allowed pesticides seemed like a large number. In response, Erik Johanson, the WSDA’s special pesticide registration program coordinator, offered this sobering bit of information: "If we were talking apples, the number would be 1,000."

When it comes to regulating recreational marijuana pesticides, the WSDA did what government agencies do best when faced with uncertainty: They played it safe. They chose to only allow pesticides that were exempt from any tolerance level requirements—thresholds established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that dictate the amounts at which pesticides become harmful when consumed, inhaled, or otherwise encountered. Being exempt from those requirements is the EPA’s way of saying a substance is so benign, they didn’t feel it necessary to study it further. Also, thanks to the popularity of edibles, the WSDA chose to consider the harvested buds as a food product—though they are not technically classified as such by the legislature—disqualifying a bunch of nasty stuff intended for use only on ornamental plants or otherwise inedible crops. This led to that relatively small list of 271 pesticides. It is primarily composed of the type of essential oils that might lead you to overpay for a bottle of shampoo.

Many of the allowed pesticides with scary names aren’t even that scary: azadirachtin is an extract of neem oil, potassium laurate is just soap, and bacillus subtilis is a bacteria with antifungal and probiotic properties that occurs naturally in our gastrointestinal tract. None of them are listed on the Pesticide Action Network’s list of "bad actors." Is each and every one of the 271 legally allowed pesticides something you would feel comfortable gently misting over a field of adorable puppies? No. I found two somewhat troubling substances on the list: pyrethrins and their trusty sidekick piperonyl butoxide (PBO). Pyrethrin is listed on PAN’s "bad actors" list, and while PBO is not, it is a chemical synergist for pyrethrin, working to enhance its effects. The duo is most commonly found in fogger-style bug bombs with brand names like Doktor Doom and X-clude.

Those two ominously named brands are not on the PICOL list, though they are still available for purchase at your average gardening supply store, a clear indication of their popularity. Doktor Doom and X-clude may not be on the PICOL list, but other fogger bombs with the same active ingredients are. (The PICOL list is organized by brand name, not active ingredients.) Pyrethrins are classified by the EPA as a botanical insecticide, being the active chemical ingredients of pyrethrum, an extract of chrysanthemum flowers. Pyrethrins and PBO are, given their inclusion on the PICOL list, exempt from residual tolerance requirements and thus safe for human consumption in any amount, according to the EPA.

But if you’ve ever used one of these foggers, you know they’re some pretty heavy shit. Before you use one in your house, you have to cover all exposed food products and remove yourself and your pets from the area for at least several hours. In the context of growing marijuana, they cannot be sprayed directly onto a plant or the plant will die. Most growers agree they should not be sprayed onto plants at all. "It leaves a lot of residue on plants," said Dustin Hurst, head grower at Monkey Grass Farms in Wenatchee, explaining that it’s especially risky to use these products late in the plant’s flowering stage when the flowers begin to enclose into buds, potentially trapping pyrethrin residue within. Daniel Curylo, "lead instigator" at Cascade Crops in Shelton, concurs: "You don’t want to be spraying all sorts of crap on your product, because the residue—I don’t care what anybody says—that stays on there."

Indeed, a 2002 fact sheet from the Journal of Pesticide Reform cites a study in which pyrethrin residues were found in carpet dust more than two months after application, which is a bit unnerving when one considers the crystal-encrusted tendrils of a flowering pot plant. A later study, published in 2013 in the Journal of Toxicology, found that up to 69.5 percent of pesticide residues can end up in flowers at the point of inhalation. So, if pyrethrin/PBO foggers are being used at any point during the flowering stage of the plant’s growth—which would not explicitly violate any of the WSLCB’s rules—you’re likely smoking some of it.

How big a problem is that, health-wise? The Journal of Pesticide Reform cites concerns about pyrethrin ranging from disruption of hormonal systems to the chemical’s EPA-granted status as "likely to be a carcinogen by the oral route." The EPA’s own human health risk assessment of pyrethrin suggests that long-term inhalation of pyrethrin in significant amounts can cause "respiratory tract lesions" in rodents. Scarier still, the JPR factsheet notes that pyrethrins are absorbed by humans most rapidly via the lungs.

If you’re curious about what may be on the marijuana you get in a recreational store, ask. Every pot grow operates differently, but under WAC statute 314-55-087, growers are required to keep accurate records of all pesticides applied—when, how much, by whom, etc. The WSLCB’s team of inspectors can check these records to ensure proper use at any time. And every grower is required to make this information available to recreational stores that carry their products.

What Kinds of Pesticides Are Recreational Marijuana Growers Using?

So why would any pot farmer worth a damn want to use the stuff on their plants? Because weed farmers have to deal with pests like any other farmers do. "I think you could bleach everyone and everything, and [spider mites] would still get in," Hurst, the Monkey Grass Farms grower, told me.

"Everybody gets it—spider mites, stuff like powdery mildew, it’s everywhere," said Curylo from Cascade Crops. Spider mites, which appear as little black dots on the bottom of a marijuana plant’s fan leaves (the part of the pot plant most likely to be superimposed over Bob Marley’s face on a T-shirt), are the bane of growers, along with mold and bacteria. Left unchecked, these infiltrators can ruin an entire harvest. Getting rid of them is a constant battle, and growers have typically employed a wide variety of weapons, most benign but some less so, like pyrethrin.

But pyrethrin does have legitimate uses. According to various gardening supply store managers I interviewed, if growers are using it right, it’s primarily as a "reset button" between grow cycles when all the plants have been removed from the grow room. Given the surfaces available for pyrethrin to cling to in the absence of fuzzy budding plants, it’s not likely to linger. Regardless, most of the growers I spoke with—both licensed and unlicensed—indicated that they preferred to use lower-impact pest solutions anyway, for both economic and ethical reasons. Most relied heavily on AzaMax, a brand name of azadirachtin. Azadirachtin, as I mentioned previously, is just an extract of neem oil, an age-old Indian cure-all and a very hot seller during scabies outbreaks at Evergreen. Curylo said he planned to stop using even AzaMax, because he has found it cheaper and just as effective to mist using a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution.

To keep growers from using products even nastier than a fogger bomb, the WSLCB maintains the authority to pull, at random, a sample of any grower’s weed to run a comprehensive pesticide residue panel on it. If any unapproved pesticides show up, growers face a $2,500 fine and 10-day license suspension to start. The penalties for repeat offenders escalate rapidly, culminating in a permanent loss of license.

There are, of course, recreational marijuana consumers who will argue that all weed should be subject to pesticide residue testing before sale. That was certainly my first reaction when I discovered that the residue test was not part of the required panel of tests that all pot goes through on its way to market. But the system of randomized testing seems to provide a significant enough disincentive for growers to ensure compliance. Given the amount of time and money most people have invested in their operations, a 10-day suspension is a pretty serious deterrent.

I asked Phil Tobias, who runs Sea of Green Farms in Seattle, whether randomized testing motivated him to stick to the approved list, and he replied, "Yes. One hundred percent. We would get fined if we were to use something else, and we can’t risk that." His primary methods of pest control? Ladybugs and ionized water. (Ladybugs think spider mites are delicious.)

Hurst, from Monkey Grass, concurred: "If there’s someone there watching over your shoulder, you’re gonna make sure everything is perfect."

Nick Mosely and Bobby Hines, from pot-testing lab Confidence Analytics in Redmond, were also quick to praise the PICOL list. Hines said the existence of the PICOL list "absolutely" put weed grown under I-502 a cut above everything else. "It’s not just the penalty," added Mosely, "but also that there’s a resource they can look to that guides them toward healthy alternatives." And indeed, a booklet distributed to regulators and enforcement personnel from various state and local agencies includes a section on encouraging integrated pest management, a holistic method of pest control that attempts to avoid the use of any pesticides at all. Mosely also suggested that many of the bad practices being employed were not due to maliciousness so much as an absence of education. "A lot of [underground growers] just don’t know that Avid is so poisonous. They just know their buddy told them it works," said Mosely. "If they know that Avid is dangerous—it’s not on the list, but here’s a list of things that do work—then they’ll go to that."

Mikhail Carpenter, a spokesperson for the WSLCB, says the agency’s inspectors have the power to decide what constitutes improper use of a pesticide, and can immediately shut down and quarantine any grow operation that they feel to be unsafe, pending appeal. He also stressed that the WSLCB’s enforcement officers, when checking grow facilities, will be examining these records closely to ensure accurate record-keeping and responsible usage. He assured me that if they were to find a grower using pyrethrin bombs dangerously close to harvest, they would put the kibosh on it. So while responsible use of foggers may not be specifically codified into the WSLCB’s myriad of regulations regarding legal weed, it is subject to the (hopefully) expert oversight of the WSLCB’s inspectors.

If the thought of any pesticides of any sort, no matter how benign, freaks you out, simply avoid growers who use them. There are plenty out there who don’t, and there is even a third-party organization—Certified Kind—that certifies weed as organic in the absence of USDA certification.

As far as pesticide disclosure goes at our local shops, Uncle Ike’s is ahead of the game, offering a small printed card listing all their suppliers and the substances applied to their products. Ganja Goddess isn’t far behind. I spoke with someone there identifying himself as Al Green, who did not serenade me with his rendition of "Can’t Get Next to You" but did assure me that, while they did not have a list printed up, they would be able to provide the required information to customers upon request. The gentlemen I spoke with at Cannabis City and Ocean Greens were both "not really sure," though I have no doubt they’ll amend that uncertainty once their bosses remind them it’s required.

The liquor control board hasn’t performed any pesticide audits yet, but Steve McNalley, senior microbiologist at cannabis testing lab Analytical 360 in Sodo, confirmed that his lab was setting up to perform the audits and expects to do so in the "next couple of months." He suspected that the WSLCB likely hadn’t performed any audits yet because they wanted to let growers get up and running before introducing any potential fines. Hines and Mosely told me that calibration for pesticide residual tests was also quite expensive and that screening for all the disallowed pesticides that might be out there was an arduous process, something like looking for a "needle in a haystack of needles." Arduous but worthwhile, according to the WSLCB. Carpenter indicated that the agency intended to scan for as broad a range of pesticides as possible, and will be shouldering the expense of the tests, at least initially.

What Kinds of Pesticides Are Medical Marijuana Growers Using?

You might be wondering: Why make all this fuss about the finer points of pesticides under I-502 if most growers play it safe? Well, because legal growers are facing extremely stiff competition from the unregulated medical and underground markets. The fact that legal recreational weed is verifiably free of mold, bacteria, and harmful pesticides is perhaps recreational stores’ most serious competitive advantage over the black market and the medical marijuana market. This distinction is a pretty important one, given the stakes, and I’m a bit surprised legal growers and retailers haven’t publicized it more aggressively.

A couple months back, I interviewed a few black-market marijuana growers about their take on the cannabis landscape in the wake of legalization, and one of them, Darryl, said something that stuck with me. I asked him why, if legal weed was tested to ensure it was free of mold and harmful pesticides, he nevertheless insisted that black-market weed was better. He replied, "Well, the black-market growers are much more boutique. It’s more of a craft market. They’ve been doing it longer, they’ve got more experience, and they don’t have the same restrictions the legal growers do as far as overhead and regulation."

Now, I believed Darryl when he told me he is personally dedicated to organic, additive-free growing. But something about his answer didn’t sit right with me. He was essentially claiming that the black market didn’t need testing or any governmental oversight whatsoever because consumers could just trust the experience of seasoned growers. That would be a great argument if the black market (and the medical market, which was not affected by the passage of I-502) were entirely composed of responsible, experienced growers. But…

I’ve witnessed questionable practices firsthand. I’ve heard countless tales of growers who are just in it for a buck, turning to harsh chemical pesticides for the quickest, easiest solution. Ian Eisenberg, the Ike of recreational marijuana store Uncle Ike’s, told me of buying weed at medical shops and listening to the budtenders extol the organic, locally grown pot they were selling, only to see those same budtenders buy pot from a guy who just pulled a black duffel bag out of a car with California plates.

When I asked another black-market grower, Josh, if he’d ever seen questionable growing practices, he replied: "Definitely. People using household pesticides out of Lowe’s or Home Depot. I’ve heard some wild stories."

And Chase, an all-natural home grower who also works at a larger medical grow, had a similar tale to tell. "It’s more common than you think, unfortunately," he told me, in regards to usage of sketchy pesticides in the black and medical markets. "You can go into a [medical] shop and they’re not going to tell you, ‘Oh, we had to spray that one last week.’" He also added that in certain urgent pest situations, his boss at the medical grow had instructed them to use stronger pesticides that would definitely not pass muster under I-502, though Chase did not specify which ones.

Not knowing where your weed came from or what’s on it is pretty scary when you start to delve into what’s out there. The worst pesticides that I’ve heard of being used on weed are all still available for purchase, as many of them have legitimate uses on the type of plants you look at but don’t eat or smoke. Aqua Serene, a gardening supply store in Fremont, sells both Forbid, an insecticide that was instantly described to me as "horrible," and Eagle 20, a fungicide that received a rating of "gross" from Markia Gwara, the store’s manager. I wanted to know why, exactly, they would still sell these if they wouldn’t use them in their own garden. She told me that there is still a market for them—albeit a shrinking one—and their store is, after all, a business. She was quick to emphasize that she does her best to steer people away from harsh pesticides in favor of natural methods, but regardless, they’re for sale. Most of the people asking for them were, according to her, "not as savvy of gardeners or old-timers who have stuck to their ways."

Would banning these products from stores help? Probably not. All of the worst culprits—Avid, Floramite, Forbid, Eagle 20, and their ilk—are available online for those who really want them.

Rick, who was working the counter at Hydro 4 Less in Tukwila when I stopped by to ask about the pesticides they stock, said that he occasionally gets customers in the store asking for the heavy hitters, which they don’t carry. He noted that often the same customers come back but don’t ask again, which he reads as a sure sign they’re getting it elsewhere—either online or from other shops.

And, harsh chemicals aside, there is always the possibility of mold when buying from untested sources. Much of the weed not legally sanctioned by I-502 is grown in dank basements, hung up to dry in dank basements, and trimmed in dank basements. "The stuff that comes out of people’s basements is often riddled with mold. Basements are moldy and it’s Seattle and it’s wet," McNalley, the microbiologist from Analytical 360, told me. "Basement molds are stuff that you really don’t want in your lungs." He continued, "I would recommend smoking the legal stuff as opposed to anything that’s unregulated. I’m for regulation. Having that limit [on microorganisms] is going to keep things safer overall. You could go to a dispensary, you could buy a nug, and it could test in at only 120 colony-forming units, but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t get the test done. And no one’s getting the test done." This could change—in Seattle at least—under the mayor’s proposed rules for medical shops, but until then it’s still the Wild West.

If You Aren’t Sure, Get It Tested

Getting weed from a medical shop or "the guy" will almost undoubtedly be cheaper than going to a recreational store, because unlicensed growers operate without the burdensome expenses and taxes involved in I-502 compliance. Testing is expensive. Rachel Cooper, from Monkey Grass Farms, estimated that the tests they run on their marijuana cost around $3,000 per month.

Of course, weed that’s been tested is much safer to consume. This quote, from a paper entitled "Testing Cannabis for Contaminants" by the BOTEC Corp., a California lab testing company that advised the WSLCB on its pesticide rules, sums up the situation in the unregulated market nicely: "As a high value crop, cannabis will no doubt prompt some growers to use any and all measures to maximize yields, regardless of burdens or risks placed upon employees, customers, or their surroundings."

It is an unfortunate truth that, in the absence of regulation, some people are going to cheat in pursuit of wealth. For every 10 medical growers who are dedicated to growing beautiful, organic weed and are willing to send their product in to the lab on their own dime, there’s one guy with dollar signs in his eyes spraying his plants down with Avid because it’s easier and passing it off as "all-natural." Provided he’s got his medical authorizations in order, there’s currently no way to stop that guy from using any pesticide legally available.

Beyond the fact that it still feels weird and amazing to be able to walk into a clean, brightly lit store and purchase weed, it feels even cooler to know that the weed you get from that store is pretty much guaranteed to be free of harmful pesticides and mold. People have made much of all the things that I-502 screwed up—and that list is not a short one—but it’s heartening to discover something it got right.

So unless your medical shop or your "dude" is willing to require suppliers to run testing through a certified lab, like Confidence or Analytical 360, and provide you with a list of pesticides used on their product, it’s probably worth paying the premium at the recreational store if you’re at all concerned about the purity of your pot. A sandwich board with a green cross and the word "organic" painted on it guarantees you nothing. A dude weighing out a sack on a cluttered coffee table while Phish videos play in the background is not a safe source. When it comes to weed safety, I think Uncle Ike put it best: "I don’t want to take someone’s word of honor, I want my shit tested." recommended

CONTINUE READING…

UK hemp crop growing well without fertilizer, pesticide

By Janet Patton

jpatton1@herald-leader.comJuly 30, 2014

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UK agronomist Dave Williams stood next to a plot of 7-foot hemp plants at the University of Kentucky Spindletop Research Farm in Lexington last Thursday. This hemp was planted in late May after the seeds were released by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Hemp’s comeback in Kentucky is going strong, tall and green.

A patch of hemp seeded at the University of Kentucky’s Spindletop research farm in Lexington in late May has climbed well over 6 feet in some places and is still going, without neither fertilizer nor pesticides.

"It’s doing just fine so far," said Dave Williams, a UK agronomist who, with Rich Mundell, is in charge of the test plots.

"We’ve had enough rain to keep it growing and enough heat to make it grow."

The first legal hemp planted in Central Kentucky appears to be off to a good start despite being planted later than originally hoped.

The seeds, imported from Italy, were seized by U.S. Customs officials in Louisville because the Kentucky Department of Agriculture did not have an import permit. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer sued the federal government to have them released.

The DEA agreed to expedite permits for the state and agreed that private growers also can be permitted by the department to grow cannabis sativa, which is almost identical to marijuana but with minuscule amounts of high-inducing chemicals.

The federal suit will be officially dismissed soon, said Holly VonLuehrte, Comer’s chief of staff.

Further shipments have come in without difficulty, and now about 15 Kentucky farmers have planted test plots for the department, she said.

Williams said his hemp, which includes a larger plot with 13 strains, all thought to be fiber varieties, will be harvested in late September or early October.

The variety in the test plot that has become the poster child for Kentucky hemp is called red petiole and will be evaluated for how much fiber it yields.

This planting is just a first step for what many farmers across the state hope will become a lucrative crop.

The KDA anticipates having at least 30 farmers growing hemp next year, VonLuehrte said.

Williams plans to plant much more as well.

"We’d like to test more varieties than what were available this year," he said. "There are lots of different fertility regimes we’d like to look at, planting densities we’d like to look at. Lots of research yet to do."

Other Kentucky universities also planted hemp this year — the first time it has been legally planted in the United States in decades. Murray State got seeds in the ground first, in mid-May.

The same varieties at Spindletop also have been planted at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond and at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. Data from all the locations will be compared with the Fayette County trials.

Next comes finding a processor and a buyer. Some processors have expressed interest, Williams said.

"We’re very excited about that," he said. "If farmers can’t sell it, can’t pack it up in a truck, drive it somewhere and sell it … And if it’s not worth more than whatever their lowest value crop is …" Williams shrugged.

"Really, establishing that market is key."

Decades ago, when hemp was a major crop in Kentucky, it was grown primarily for fiber, as it is today in Europe. But Canada’s hemp industry is built on seed, mainly processed for oil.

Williams and Mundell hope next year to grow some varieties for seed, rather than fiber.

"This is just a baby step in the research that needs to be conducted before we can make great recommendations to farmers in Kentucky," Williams said. "This is just the first step in the right direction."

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/07/30/3358896/uk-hemp-crop-growing-well-without.html#storylink=cpy

Evil Monsanto Aggressively Sues Farmers for Saving Seeds

 

 

 

 

Farmers have always saved seeds from their harvest to sow the following year. But Monsanto and other big seed companies have changed the rules of the game.

June 20, 2013 |  

The following content originally appeared on TruthOut.

There has been mixed news for the agrochemical giant Monsanto recently. On the one hand, there was the  surprise announcement on June 1 by company spokesman Brandon Mitchener: "We are no longer working on lobbying for more cultivation in Europe…  Currently we do not plan to apply for the approval of new genetically modified crops."

The embattled corporation has decided to stop tilting against the windmill of European resistance to its controversial biotech seeds. Eight EU nations have already prohibited GM (genetically modified) cultivation on their territory and banned the import of genetically modified foods from abroad.

But Monsanto’s prospects in the United States took a very different turn last month when the US Supreme Court ordered Indiana farmer Vernon Bowman to pay Monsanto over $80,000 for planting its GM soybean seeds. Bowman had purchased the seeds from a grain elevator rather than from Monsanto itself, as their corporate contract requires. The seeds had been saved from an earlier crop. 

For as long as humans have been growing food, farmers have saved seeds from their harvest to sow the following year. But Monsanto and other big seed companies have changed the rules of the game. They have successfully argued that they spend millions of dollars developing new crop varieties and that these products should be treated as proprietary inventions with full patent protection.  Just as one can’t legally reproduce a CD or DVD, farmers are now prohibited from copying the GM seeds that they purchase from companies like Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and Syngenta. 

In one sense, these corporations no longer sell seeds – they lease them, requiring farmers to renew their lease with every subsequent growing season. Monsanto itself compares its GM seeds to rental cars. When you are finished using them, rights revert to the owner of the "intellectual property" contained within the seed.

Some farmers have saved their seeds anyway (called "brown bagging"), in some cases to save money, in others because they don’t like the big companies telling them how to farm. Monsanto has responded with an all-out effort to track down the brown baggers and prosecute them as an example to others who might be tempted to violate its patent. By aggressively enforcing its "no replant policy," Monsanto has initiated a permanent low-grade war against farmers. At the time of this writing, the company had not responded to emailed questions about its seed saving policies.

"I don’t know of [another] company that chooses to sue its own customer base," Joseph Mendelson of the Center for Food Safety told Vanity Fair Magazine. " It’s a very bizarre business strategy."

Yet the strategy appears to be working. Over 90 percent of the soybeans, corn, canola and cotton grown in the United States are patented genetically modified organisms (commonly known as GMOs). The soybean variety that Bowman planted has proved popular with farmers because it has been modified to survive multiple sprayings by Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup, whose active agent is glyphosate. While Monsanto claims that GMOs increase crop yields, there is little evidence that this is the case. The chemical giant turned seed company also claims that the new technology decreases the need for agrochemicals. Yet 85 percent of all GM crops are bred to be herbicide resistant, which has meant that pesticide use is increasing as a result of the spread of GM crops. What GMOs were designed to do – and indeed accomplish – is create plants that can be grown efficiently in the chemical-intensive large scale monocultures that dominate American agriculture.

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U.S. House of Representatives Votes to Legalize Industrial Hemp

 

 

WhiteHouse

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 225-200 on June 20 to legalize the industrial farming of hemp fiber. Hemp is the same species as the marijuana plant, and its fiber has been used to create clothing, paper, and other industrial products for thousands of years; however, it has been listed as a “controlled substance” since the beginning of the drug war in the United States. Unlike marijuana varieties of the plant, hemp is not bred to create high quantities of the drug THC.

The amendment’s sponsor, Jared Polis (D-Colo.), noted in congressional debate that “George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. The first American flag was made of hemp. And today, U.S. retailers sell over $300 million worth of goods containing hemp — but all of that hemp is imported, since farmers can’t grow it here. The federal government should clarify that states should have the ability to regulate academic and agriculture research of industrial hemp without fear of federal interference. Hemp is not marijuana, and at the very least, we should allow our universities — the greatest in the world — to research the potential benefits and downsides of this important agricultural commodity.”

The 225-200 vote included 62 Republican votes for the Polis amendment, many of whom were members of Justin Amash’s Republican Liberty Caucus or representatives from farm states. But most Republicans opposed the amendment, claiming it would make the drug war more difficult. “When you plant hemp alongside marijuana, you can’t tell the difference,” Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) said in congressional debate on the amendment to the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013.

“This is not about a drugs bill. This is about jobs,” Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) countered King in House floor debate June 20. Massie, a key House Republican ally of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, opposes marijuana legalization but had signed on as a cosponsor of the Polis amendment.

The amendment would take industrial hemp off the controlled substances list if it meets the following classification: “The term ‘industrial hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” The amendment would allow industrial farming of hemp “if a person grows or processes Cannabis sativa L. for purposes of making industrial hemp in accordance with State law.” Most states have passed laws legalizing industrial hemp, in whole or in part, but federal prohibitions have kept the plant from legal cultivation.

However, the annual agricultural authorization bill subsequently went down to defeat in the House by a vote of 195 to 234. Sponsors of the amendment hope that it will be revised in conference committee, where it has strong support from both Kentucky senators, Rand Paul and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The legislation, originally offered as the bill H.R. 525, was sponsored by Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who represent states where voters recently considered ballot measures that legalized marijuana within their states, a fact King pointed out in House floor debate. Voters in Colorado and Washington approved the ballot measures in 2012, but voters in Oregon rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized cultivation of marijuana.

Recent polls have indicated that most Americans want legalization of marijuana, as well as hemp. Though support for marijuana legalization is by only a slim majority of the public, there’s a larger divide among age groups, with younger voters more heavily favoring legalization.

None of the debate on the amendment related to the constitutional authority of Congress to ban substances. Nor did any congressman reference the first time Congress banned a drug — alcohol. At that time, Congress followed proper constitutional protocol to amend the U.S. Constitution first, giving it the legitimate power to ban alcohol (i.e., the 18th Amendment). No comparable constitutional amendment has been passed for hemp, marijuana, raw milk, or any other substance prohibited by the federal government.

Cancer of Corruption, Seeds of Destruction: The Monsanto GMO Whitewash

By F. William Engdahl

Global Research, December 19, 2012

Because of the power vested in the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, with command over a space encompassing 27 nations with more than 500 million citizens and the largest nominal world gross domestic product (GDP) of 18 trillion US dollars, it’s perhaps no surprise in this era of moral promiscuity that powerful private lobby groups such as the tobacco industry, the drug lobby, the agribusiness lobby and countless others spend enormous sums of money and other favors—legal and sometimes illegal—to influence policy decisions of the EU Commission.

This revolving door of corrupt ties between powerful private industry lobby groups and the EU Commission was in full view recently with the ruling of the European Food Safety Administration (EFSA) trying to discredit serious scientific tests about the deadly effects of a variety of Monsanto GMO corn.

Cancer of Corruption

In September 2012, Food and Chemical Toxicology, a serious international scientific journal, released a study by a team of scientists at France’s Caen University led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini. Before publication the Seralini study had been reviewed over a four-month period by a qualified group of scientific peers for its methodology and was deemed publishable.

It was no amateur undertaking. The scientists at Caen made carefully-documented results of tests on a group of 200 rats over a two-year life span, basically with one group of non-GMO fed rats, a so-called control group, and the other a group of GMO-fed rats.

Significantly, following a long but finally successful legal battle to force Monsanto to release the details of its own study of the safety of its own NK603 maize (corn), Seralini and colleagues reproduced a 2004 Monsanto study published in the same journal and used by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for its 2009 positive evaluation of NK603.

Seralini’s group based their experiment on the same protocol as the Monsanto study but, critically, were testing more parameters more frequently. And the rats were studied for much longer—their full two year average life-time instead of just 90 days in the Monsanto study. The long time span proved critical. The first tumors only appeared 4 to7 months into the study. In industry’s earlier 90-day study on the same GMO maize Monsanto NK603, signs of toxicity were seen but were dismissed as “not biologically meaningful” by industry and EFSA alike. It seems they were indeed very biologically meaningful.

The study was also done with the highest number of rats ever measured in a standard GMO diet study. They tested also “for the first time 3 doses (rather than two in the usual 90 day long protocols) of the Roundup-tolerant NK603 GMO maize alone, the GMO maize treated with Roundup, and Roundup alone at very low environmentally relevant doses starting below the range of levels permitted by regulatory authorities in drinking water and in GM feed.” [1]

Their findings were more than alarming. The Seralini study concluded, “In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs…Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls; the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls…” [2]

Four times meant four hundred percent more large tumors in GMO fed rats than in normally fed ones of the control group. Because rats are mammals, their systems should react to chemicals or, in this case GMO corn treated with Monsanto Roundup chemical herbicide, in a similar way to those of a human test subject. [3]

seeds_2.jpgIn their study the Seralini group further reported, “By the beginning of the 24th month, 50–80% of female animals had developed tumors in all treated groups, with up to 3 tumors per animal, whereas only 30% of controls [non-GMO-fed—w.e.] were affected. The Roundup treatment groups showed the greatest rates of tumor incidence with 80% of animals affected with up to 3 tumors for one female, in each group.” [4]

Such alarming results had not yet become evident in the first 90 days, the length of most all Monsanto and agrichemical industry tests to date, a clear demonstration of how important it was to conduct longer-term tests and apparently why the industry avoided the longer tests.

Seralini and associates continued to document their alarming findings: “We observed a strikingly marked induction of mammary tumors by R (Roundup) alone, a major formulated pesticide, even at the very lowest dose administered. R has been shown to disrupt aromatase which synthesizes estrogens (Richard et al., 2005), but to also interfere with estrogen and androgen receptors in cells (Gasnier et al., 2009). In addition, R appears to be a sex endocrine disruptor in vivo, also in males (Romano et al., 2010). Sex steroids are also modified in treated rats. These hormone-dependent phenomena are confirmed by enhanced pituitary dysfunction in treated females.” [5]

Roundup herbicide, by terms of the license contract with Monsanto, must be used on Monsanto GMO seeds. The seeds are in fact genetically “modified” only to resist the weed-killing effect of Monsanto’s own Roundup, the world’s largest-selling weed-killer.

In plain language, as another scientific study led by Prof. Seralini noted, “GMO plants have been modified to contain pesticides, either through herbicide tolerance or by producing insecticides, or both, and could therefore be considered as ‘pesticide plants’” [6]

Further, “Roundup Ready crops [such as Monsanto NK603 maize-w.e.] have been modified in order to become insensitive to glyphosate. This chemical, together with adjuvants in formulations, constitutes a potent herbicide. It has been used for many years as a weed killer…GMO plants exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup…can even accumulate Roundup residues throughout their life…Glyphosate and its main metabolite AMPA (with its own toxicity) are found in GMOs on a regular and regulatory basis. Therefore, such residues are absorbed by people eating most GMO plants (as around 80% of these plants are Roundup tolerant).” [7]

Suspiciously enough, Monsanto had repeatedly refused scientific requests to publish the exact chemicals used in its Roundup aside from one—glyphosate. They argued that it was a “trade secret.” Independent analyses by scientists indicated, however, that the combination of glyphosate with Monsanto’s “mystery” added chemicals created a highly toxic cocktail that was shown to toxically affect human embryo cells in doses far lower than used in agriculture.[8]

Mammary tumors that developed in rats fed GMO corn and/or low levels of Roundup. From the paper “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.

What was more than alarming in the context of Seralini’s first long-term independent study of the effects of a GMO diet on rats was that it took place some twenty years after US President George H.W. Bush gave the commercial release of GMO seeds the green light and mandated no government safety tests before release. Bush did so following a closed-door meeting with top officials of Monsanto Corporation, the world’s largest GMO concern.

The US President decreed then that GMO seeds were to be permitted in the United States with not one single independent precautionary government test to determine if they were safe for human or animal consumption. It became known as the Doctrine of Substantial Equivalence. The EU Commission dutifully aped the US Substantial Equivalence Doctrine of “hear no bad effects, see no bad effects…hear no evil, see no evil.”

EFSA ‘science’ exposed

What the Seralini study has set off has been the scientific equivalent of a thermonuclear explosion. It exposed the fact that the EU “scientific” controls on GMO were nothing other than accepting without question the tests given them by the GMO companies themselves. As far as the irresponsible bureaucrats of the EU Commission were concerned, when it came to GMO, the Monsanto fox could indeed “guard the hen house.”

Suddenly, with worldwide attention to the new Seralini results, clearly the EU Commission and its EFSA was under fire as never in their history and how they reacted was worthy of a bad copy of an Agatha Christie murder novel. Only it was no novel but a real-life conspiracy that  evidently involved some form of collusion between Monsanto and the GMO agrichemical cartel, EU commissioners, the GMO panel members of EFSA, complacent major media and several member governments of the EU, including Spain and Holland.

The Brussels EU scientific food regulatory organization, EFSA, was under the gun from the damning results of the long-term Seralini study. EFSA had recommended approval of Monsanto’s NK603 Roundup-tolerant maize in 2009 without first conducting or insuring any independent testing. They admitted in their official journal that they relied on “information supplied by the applicant (Monsanto), the scientific comments submitted by Member States and the report of the Spanish Competent Authority and its Biosafety Commission.” EFSA also admitted that the Monsanto tests on rats were for only 90 days. Seralini’s group noted that the massive toxic effects and deaths of GMO-fed rats took place well after 90 days, a reason why longer-term studied were obviously warranted. [9]

The Spanish report cited by EFSA was itself hardly convincing and was anything but independent. It stated, “according to the current state of scientific knowledge and after examining the existing information and data provided by the Monsanto Company, the Spanish Commission on Biosafety could give a favorable opinion to the commercialization in the EU of maize NK603…” And the scientific comments submitted by Member States seemed to include Spain and Holland which applied to license the Monsanto seed in the first place. [10]

The EFSA concluded at the time of its approval in 2009 that, “the molecular data provided [by Monsanto-w.e.] are sufficient and do not raise a safety concern.” The Brussels scientific panel further declared amid scientific-sounding verbiage that, “The EFSA GMO Panel is of the opinion that maize NK603 is as safe as conventional maize. Maize NK603 and derived products are unlikely to have any adverse effect on human and animal health in the context of the intended uses.” [11]

Now, in September 2012, three years after the commercial introduction of Monsanto GMO maize in the EU, Seralini showed, complete with ghastly photos, that Monsanto’s GMO maize demonstrably caused severe rates of cancerous tumors and early death in rats.

The EU Commission in Brussels had guidelines that were as revealing for what they did not say as for what they did say about what precautions are taken to insure public health and safety from exposure to GMO plants and their paired toxic herbicides: “Toxicological assessments on test animals are not explicitly required for the approval of a new food in the EU or the US. Independent experts have decided that in some cases, chemical analyses of the food’s makeup are enough to indicate that the new GMO is substantially equivalent to its traditional counterpart…In recent years, biotech companies have tested their transgenic products (maize, soy, tomato) before introducing them to the market on several different animals over the course of up to 90 days. Negative effects have not yet been observed.” [12]

Because of US Government arm-twisting and of the obviously powerful lobby power of the Monsanto-led GMO agrichemical lobby in the US and EU, as of the time of the Seralini study, no regulatory authority in the world had  requested mandatory chronic animal feeding studies to be performed for edible GMOs and formulated pesticides. The only studies available were a tiny handful of 90 day rat feeding trials carried out by the biotech industry and no studies longer than that, apparently on the principle that conflict of interest in an area as important as the safety of food should not be taken as a serious matter.

Revealingly, the EU stated publicly their seemingly reassuring policy: “GMO critics claim that feeding studies with authorized GMOs have revealed negative health effects. Such claims have not been based on peer-reviewed, scientifically accepted evaluations. If reliable, scientific studies were to indicate any type of health risk, the respective GMO would not receive authorization.” [13] That was the EU official line until the 2012 Seralini bomb exploded in their faces.

EU Commission deception, coverup

Seeds of DestructionThe September 2012 Seralini study was peer-reviewed, and it was published in a highly respected international scientific journal after such review. What was the response of the EU Commission and the EFSA? Nothing short of fraudulent deception and coverup of their corruption by the Monsanto GMO lobby.

On November 28, 2012, only a few weeks after the study was published, EFSA in Brussels issued a press release with the following conclusion: “Serious defects in the design and methodology of a paper by Séralini et al. mean it does not meet acceptable scientific standards and there is no need to re-examine previous safety evaluations of genetically modified maize NK603.”   Per Bergman, who led EFSA’s work, said: “EFSA’s analysis has shown that deficiencies in the Séralini et al. paper mean it is of insufficient scientific quality for risk assessment. We believe the completion of this evaluation process has brought clarity to the issue.” [14] Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

At the very minimum, the precautionary principle in instances involving even the potential for grave damage to the human population would mandate that the EU Commission and its EFSA should order immediate further serious, independent long-term studies to prove or disprove the results of the Seralini tests. That refusal to re-examine its earlier decision to approve Monsanto GMO maize, no matter what flaws might or might not have been in the Seralini study, suggested the EFSA might be trying to cover for the GMO agrichemical lobby at the very least.

Instead of clarity, the EFSA statement once more fed EFSA critics who had long argued that the scientists on EFSA’s GMO Panel had blatant conflicts of interest with the very GMO lobby they were supposed to regulate. Corporate Europe Observer, an independent EU corporate watchdog group noted about the EFSA response, “EFSA failed to properly and transparently appoint a panel of scientists beyond any suspicion of conflict of interests; and it failed to appreciate that meeting with Europe’s largest biotech industry lobby group to discuss GMO risk assessment guidelines in the very middle of a EU review undermines its credibility.” [15]

More damaging for the shoddy EFSA coverup on behalf of Monsanto was the fact that over half of the scientists involved in the GMO panel which positively reviewed the Monsanto’s study for GMO maize in 2009, leading to its EU-wide authorization, had conflicts of interests with the biotech industry.[16]

A report by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) found that more than half of the GMO panel experts who signed the approval had conflicts of interest.

The conflicts ranged from receiving research funding from the biotech industry, being a member or collaborator in a pro-biotech industry association, to writing or reviewing industry-sponsored publications. Some conflicts revealed a conflict of scientific interests, with some panel members involved in working on the creation of transgenic plants – including potatoes – with antibiotic-resistant marker genes – including nptII.[17]

Secondly, although none of EFSA’s GMO panel members were medical experts in the use of antibiotics in human medicine, they decided that neomycin and kanamycin were antibiotics with “no or only minor therapeutic relevance”. The World Health Organisation (WHO) classified these antibiotics as “critically important” in 2005.

Dutch scientist Harry Kuiper, chair of the EFSA GMO panel who had close links to the biotech industry, played a key role in the framing of this disputed key scientific advice.

Kuiper himself is an open advocate of less controls on GMO seed proliferation in the EU. He has led the EFSA GMO panel since 2003, during which time EFSA went from no GMO approvals to 38 GMO seeds approved for human consumption. The criteria for approval were developed by Kuiper for EFSA in cooperation with Monsanto and the GMO industry and a Monsanto pseudo-scientific front group called ILSI, the Washington-based International Life Sciences Institute, between 2001 and 2003. The board of the noble-sounding ILSI in 2011 was comprised of senior people from Monsanto, ADM (one of the world’s biggest purveyors of GMO soybeans and corn), Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods (major proponent of GMO in foods) and Nestle, another giant GMO food industry user. [18]

One critic of the blatant conflict of interest in having the top EU food safety regulator in bed with the industry whose practices he is mandated to objectively assess noted, “During that period, Harry Kuiper and Gijes Kleter (both members of the EFSA GMO Panel) were active within the ILSI Task Force as experts and as authors of the relevant scientific publications. It is a scandal that Kuiper has remained as Chair of EFSA’s GMO Panel since 2003, and that he is still Chair in spite of the massive criticism directed at the Panel from NGOs and even from the Commission and EU member states.” [19]

The brazen conflicts of interest between Monsanto and the agribusiness lobby and the EFSA went further. In May 2012 Professor Diána Bánáti was forced to resign as Chairman of the EFSA Management Board when it was learned she planned to take up a professional position at the Monsanto-backed International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) in Washington. The same Diána Bánáti had been forced to resign, not as EFSA chairman but as a simultaneous Board Member of ILSI in 2010. Public interest groups made calls for her to resign from EFSA but to no avail. [20] At ILSI she will be able to use expertise and contacts gained from working for the EFSA to help GMO companies like Monsanto and other food industry companies influence policy across the world.

In sum, it came as no surprise to those familiar with the notorious “revolving door” in Brussels between the GMO industry and the regulatory body entrusted with making independent decisions on the risks of GMO in the EU, that EFSA condemned the Seralini study results. Most telling however of the brazen pro-GMO industry bias of EFSA’s GMO Panel members was the fact that the final ruling statement by the EFSA GMO Panel reviewing Seralini’s results announced, “Serious defects in the design and methodology of a paper by Séralini et al. mean it does not meet acceptable scientific standards and there is no need to re-examine previous safety evaluations of genetically modified maize NK603.” [21]

The EFSA is not the only source of blatant and reckless pro-GMO sentiment in Brussels. Some weeks before release of the embarrassing Seralini study, Anne Glover, chief scientific adviser of the EU Commission, said in an interview on 24 July, 2012, “There is no substantiated case of any adverse impact on human health, animal health or environmental health, so that’s pretty robust evidence, and I would be confident in saying that there is no more risk in eating GMO food than eating conventionally farmed food.” She added that the precautionary principle also no longer applies, which means the EU should not err on the side of caution on the approval of GMOs.[22]

Were there any pretense of scientific responsibility in the clearly corrupt EFSA panel, or Professor Glover’s office, they would have immediately called for multiple, independent similar long-term rat studies to confirm or disprove the Seralini results. They and the Monsanto GMO lobby influencing them clearly had no desire to do anything but try to slander the Seralini group with vague accusations and hope the obedient international media would take the headline and close the embarrassing story. It was typical of the entire history of the spread of patented GMO seeds and paired toxic herbicides like Roundup.

Notes:

[1] Seralini et al., Op. Cit.

[2] Ibid.

[3] WiseGeek, Why are Rats used in Animal Testing?, accessed in http://www.wisegeek.org/why-are-rats-used-in-animal-testing.htm

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Gilles-Eric Seralini et al, Genetically modified crops safety assessments: present limits and possible improvements, Environmental Sciences Europe 2011, 23:10, accessed in http://www.enveurope.com/content/23/1/10.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Aris, A., Leblanc, S., Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada, Reproductive Toxicology, 2011 May;31(4):528-33. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

[9] European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms on applications (EFSA-GMO-NL-2005-22 and EFSA-GMO-RX-NK603) for the placing on the market of the genetically modified glyphosate tolerant maize NK603 for cultivation, food and feed uses and import and processing, and for renewal of the authorisation of maize NK603 as existing product, The EFSA Journal (2009) 1137, 1-50.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] GMO-Kompass, Food Safety Evaluation–Evaluating Safety: A Major Undertaking, February 15, 2006, accessed in http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/safety/human_health/41.evaluation_safety_gm_food_major_undertaking.html

[13] Ibid.

[14] EFSA, Séralini et al. study conclusions not supported by data, says EU risk assessment community, EFSA Press Release, 28 November 2012, accessed in http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/121128.htm

[15] Corporate Europe Observatory, Op. Cit.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Corporate Europe Observatory,  Approving the GM potato: conflicts of interest, flawed science and fierce lobbying, CorporateEurope.org, November 7, 2011, accessed in http://corporateeurope.org/publications/approving-gm-potato-conflicts-in…

[18] ILSI, 2011 Annual Report, Board of Trustees, accessed in http://www.ilsi.org/Documents/ILSI_AR2011_rFinal.pdf

[19] Tore B. Krudtaa, Harry Kuiper Chair of EFSA GMO panel – Another regulator in the business of deregulation?, Monsanto.No, 22 September 2011, accessed in http://www.monsanto.no/index.php/en/environment/gmo/gmo-news/166-harry-kuiper-chair-of-efsa-gmo-panel-another-regulator-in-the-business-of-deregulation

[20] EFSA, FAQ on the resignation of Diana Banati as member and Chair of EFSA´s Management Board, accessed in  http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/faqs/faqresignationdianabanati.htm

[21] EFSA, Séralini et al. study conclusions not supported by data, says EU risk assessment community, EFSA Press Release, 28 November 2012, accessed in http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/121128.htm.

[22] EurAktiv.com, GMOs: “Anne Glover, you are wrong,” 27 July 2012, accessed in http://www.euractiv.com/cap/gmos-anne-glover-wrong-analysis-514185

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation
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KELLY: Hemp vs. oil: How corporate & gov’t collusion perverted the free market

Travis Kelly

 

mmj2

Since the days of Cain and Abel, hemp has been one of the world’s largest and most versatile crops, used to make textiles, paint, soap, rope, building materials, fuel oil, protein supplements, and medicines. An acre of hemp produces far more paper than an acre of trees — and you would have to smoke an acre of it to get high, as industrial hemp, though similar in appearance to its close cousin, marijuana (cannabis), contains almost no THC.
Today, in only one industrialized nation in the world, is the cultivation of hemp illegal. You guessed it: Ours truly. And it makes as much sense as outlawing ALL mushrooms because some of them are psychoactive or poisonous. How this travesty came about in 1937 is a lesson in the collusion of big corporations with big government and big media to pervert the free market and stymie competition.
In the early 1930s, Henry Ford’s experimental biomass plant in Michigan extracted methanol, charcoal, tar pitch, and other distillates from hemp, demonstrating that it was an alternative to fossil fuels as an energy source, as well as a competitor to other petrochemical products then being introduced by the DuPont corporation, DuPont had a powerful ally in Washington — Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon, a banker who also had a controlling interest in the Gulf Oil Corporation.
Mellon appointed his loyal nephew, Harry Anslinger, as chief of the new Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1932. Anslinger promptly began lobbying Congress to outlaw “marihuana,” using a series of hysterical propaganda stories run by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst — that era’s Rupert Murdoch. Hearst owned vast timber lands in the Northwest that supplied the wood pulp for most of the American newspaper industry; DuPont chemicals were used to process that pulp. The “reefer madness” scare featured lurid, racist stories of “Mexicans and Negroes” going on murderous rampages while stoned; innocent white women seduced into ruin; teenagers going instantly insane after a puff; and other fearmongering fictions.
Anslinger told Congress that hemp — ALL hemp, whether smokable or not — was “entirely the Monster Hyde, the harmful effects of which cannot be measured.” The Marijuana Tax Act was rammed through Congress in secret committees controlled by DuPont allies. That same year, 1937, DuPont filed its patent on Nylon, which took over the textile and cordage markets that had been dominated by hemp. DuPont also supplied GM, which produced more than half of all American cars, with its petrochemical paints, varnishes, plastics and rubber, all of which could have been produced equally well from hemp. But no more. The competition had been criminalized.
The prohibition was suspended during WWII, with a Hemp for Victory campaign, then reinstated in 1955. Since then, our closest cousins, England, Australia and Canada (1998), have all legalized industrial hemp. China is the world’s number-one producer, exporting most of it to us — the world’s leading hemp importer — exacerbating our trade imbalance.
As global oil supplies continue to decline versus growing demand, and become harder to extract and import due to geological and political factors, domestic hemp could easily replace many petrochemical products with significant advantages.
Hemp is a renewable resource, one of the fastest growing and most productive plants on earth, yielding four crops and 25 tons of dry matter per hectare per year. It requires few pesticides and no herbicides. It is now being used as a building material, Hempcrete, and, combined with fiberglass and flax, to make body panels for automobiles. It has also proved excellent as a “mop crop” for cleaning up contaminated soil. In all these cases, hemp is carbon neutral or even carbon negative, scrubbing and sequestering CO2 from our warming atmosphere.
Several states have licensed the growing of industrial hemp — California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia — but have not yet grown a single plant due to continued resistance by the DEA, who is still stuck in 1930s “reefer madness” paranoia, despite now overwhelming evidence that hemp’s cousin, marijuana, is far less harmful than alcohol for both health and public safety. To grow industrial hemp, the DEA must issue a permit under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act — and it never does.
Colorado can join that roster on Nov. 6 by voting for Amendment 64. Eventually, we will budge the DEA from its archaic stupidity, end the virtual dictatorship of the petrochemical industry, and safeguard our national security by again realizing Thomas Jefferson’s maxim: “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”
Travis Kelly is a web/graphic designer, writer and cartoonist in Grand Junction. See his work or contact him at www.traviskelly.com.

CONTINUE READING…

AFFIDAVIT OF FACT: HEMP

 RadicalJusticeMan

Monday, November 8, 2010

AFFIDAVIT OF FACT
AND NOTICE OF INTENT AND CLAIM OF RIGHT
TO CULTIVATE, POSSESS, USE, TRANSPORT AND DISTRIBUTE HEMP

Conrad Justice Kiczenski, herein known as Affiant, being first duly sworn upon oath does hereby declare and affirm the following facts:

1. You are hereby given lawful notice that the plant called Hemp (Cannabis genus) is a vital natural-resource for food, clothing, medicine, fuel, and paper; a religious sacrament, as well as being a “Strategic and Critical Material” for “military”, “essential civilian”, and “industrial” purposes as documented in Exhibits A, B, C, D, E, & F attached hereto, and as such is “accessible” and “protected” under International Law cited herein.
2. You are hereby given lawful notice of Affiants intent to cultivate, possess, use, distribute and transport the plant known as Hemp (Cannabis genus).
3. Affiant claims the right to carry out the foregoing intent under sanction of the following constitutionally ratified treaties (Pursuant to U.S. Const. Art. VI. Sec. 2):
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 11, Sections 1 & 2, Dec. 16, 1966,

International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, Article 12, Section 1, Dec. 16, 1966, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cescr.htm
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 18, Section 1, Dec. 16, 1966, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm


United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide, Article II (c), Dec. 9, 1948, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/genocide.htm
4. The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, in Article 11, Sections 1 & 2, states:
1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right…
2. The States Parties to the present Covenant, recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, shall take, individually and through international co-operation, the measures, including specific programs, which are needed:
(a) To improve methods of production, conservation and distribution of food by making full use of technical and scientific knowledge, by disseminating knowledge of the principles of nutrition and by developing or reforming agrarian systems in such a way as to achieve the most efficient development and utilization of natural resources;
(b) Taking into account the problems of both food-importing and food-exporting countries, to ensure an equitable distribution of world food supplies in relation to need.
4a. The interpretation for the right to adequate food, as given by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in General Comment Number 12 states:
The right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child…has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement.
The Committee considers that the core content of the right to adequate food implies:
The availability of food in a quantity and quality sufficient to satisfy the dietary needs of individuals…Dietary needs implies that the diet as a whole contains a mix of nutrients for physical and mental growth, development and maintenance…Availability refers to the possibilities…for feeding oneself directly from productive land or other natural resources…
Violations of the right to food can occur through…adoption of legislation or policies which are manifestly incompatible with pre-existing legal obligations relating to the right to food; SEE: http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/%28Symbol%29/3d02758c707031d58025677f003b73b9?Opendocument
4b. Affiant submit’s the following Exhibits as sufficient supporting evidence that Hemp qualifies as an “adequate food resource” and is therefore “accessible” under Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights:
Pursuant to Presidential Executive Order 12919, the “NATIONAL DEFENSE INDUSTRIAL RESOURCES PREPAREDNESS” order, Section 901 (e) & (l), attached hereto as Exhibit A, “Hemp” is defined as a “food resource” and qualifies as a ‘‘Strategic and Critical Material’’.
According to an excerpt from “Hempseed Nutrition” by Lynn Osburn, attached hereto as Exhibit B, a scientific analysis of hemp seed nutrition reveals that “Cannabis hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source provides complete protein in such an easily digestible form, nor has the oils essential to life in as perfect a ratio for human health and vitality. Hempseed is the highest of any plant in essential fatty acids.”.
4c. Affiant submit’s the following Exhibits as sufficient supporting evidence that Hemp qualifies as an adequate resource for “clothing”, “military”, “essential civilian” and “industrial” purposes, as well as other necessary resources for attaining an “adequate standard of living” including “paper” and biomass for “fuel” and is therefore further “accessible” under Article 11, Section 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights:
The transcript of a 1942 USDA film entitled “Hemp for Victory”, attached hereto as Exhibit C, states that “For thousands of years… this plant had been grown for cordage and cloth… For the sailor, no less than the hangman, hemp was indispensable…Indeed the very word canvas comes from the Arabic word for hemp…All such plants will presently be turning out products spun from American-grown hemp: twine of various kinds for tying and upholsters work; rope for marine rigging and towing; for hay forks, derricks, and heavy duty tackle; light duty fire hose; thread for shoes for millions of American soldiers; and parachute webbing for our paratroopers…hemp for mooring ships; hemp for tow lines; hemp for tackle and gear; hemp for countless naval uses both on ship and shore. ”.
According to a Popular Mechanics Magazine article, VOL. 69 February, 1938 NO. 2, pp. 238-240, entitled “NEW BILLION-DOLLAR CROP”, attached hereto as Exhibit D, states that “Hemp is the standard fiber of the world. It has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products, ranging from rope to fine laces, and the woody “hurds” remaining after the fiber has been removed contain more than seventy-seven per cent cellulose, and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane…The natural materials in hemp make it an economical source of pulp for any grade of paper manufactured, and the high percentage of alpha cellulose promises an unlimited supply of raw material for the thousands of cellulose products our chemists have developed…All of these products, now imported, can be produced from home- grown hemp. Fish nets, bow strings, canvas, strong rope, overalls, damask tablecloths, fine linen garments, towels, bed linen and thousands of other everyday items can be grown on American farms. ”.
According to an Excerpt from “Energy Farming in America,” by Lynn Osburn, attached hereto as Exhibit E, “BIOMASS CONVERSION to fuel has proven economically feasible, first in laboratory tests and by continuous operation of pilot plants in field tests since 1973. HEMP IS THE NUMBER ONE biomass producer on planet earth: 10 tons per acre in approximately four months.”
5. The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, in Article 12, Section 1, states:
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

5a. The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, in their General Comment Number 14, interprets the right to health to mean the following:
The right to health contains both freedoms and entitlements. The freedoms include the right to control one’s health and body… and the right to be free from interference… The entitlements include the right to a system of health protection which provides equality of opportunity for people to enjoy the highest attainable level of health… The Committee considers that indigenous peoples have the right to specific measures to improve their access to health services and care. These health services should be culturally appropriate, taking into account traditional preventive care, healing practices and medicines. States should provide resources for indigenous peoples to design, deliver and control such services so that they may enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals necessary to the full enjoyment of health of indigenous peoples should also be protected… In this respect, the Committee considers that development-related activities that lead to the displacement of indigenous peoples against their will from their traditional territories and environment, denying them their sources of nutrition and breaking their symbiotic relationship with their lands, has a deleterious effect on their health. By virtue of article 2.2 and article 3, the Covenant proscribes any discrimination in access to health care and underlying determinants of health, as well as to means and entitlements for their procurement. SEE: http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/%28symbol%29/E.C.12.2000.4.En
5b. Affiant submits the following Exhibit as sufficient supporting evidence that Hemp qualifies as a “traditional healing practice“, “medicine“ and “vital medicinal plant” that is “necessary to the full enjoyment of health” and therefore is “accessible” and “protected” under Article 12, Section 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights:
Lester Grinspoon, M.D. and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, in an article entitled “History of Cannabis as a Medicine” published on August 16, 2005, attached hereto as Exhibit F, documents the historical, technical and scientific knowledge of Cannabis’s extensive use as a medicine. Grinspoon quotes DEA Administrative law Judge Francis L. Young in a decision rendered on September 6, 1988, which states: “marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man…”
6. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in Article 18, Section 1, states:
Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

6a. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, in their General Comment Number 22, interprets the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion to mean the following:
The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (which includes the freedom to hold beliefs) in article 18.1 is far-reaching and profound;
Article 18 is not limited in its application to traditional religions or to religions and beliefs with institutional characteristics or practices analogous to those of traditional religions. The Committee therefore views with concern any tendency to discriminate against any religion or belief for any reason, including the fact that they are newly established, or represent religious minorities that may be the subject of hostility on the part of a predominant religious community…
The freedom to manifest religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching encompasses a broad range of acts. The concept of worship extends to ritual and ceremonial acts giving direct expression to belief, as well as various practices integral to such acts, including the building of places of worship, the use of ritual formulae and objects, also such customs as the observance of dietary regulations, the wearing of distinctive clothing or headcoverings, and participation in rituals associated with certain stages of life. SEE: http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/0/9a30112c27d1167cc12563ed004d8f15
6b. Affiant believes that Hemp (Cannabis genus) is equivalent to the “plant of renown” mentioned in Ezekiel 34:29 and the “tree of life” mentioned in Revelation 22:1-2 of the bible, which state:
And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. — Ezekiel 34:29
On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit…And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. — Revelation 22:1-2

6c. Affiant believes in accordance with Genesis 1:29-30 of the bible, which states:
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food…everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.” — Genesis 1:29-30
6d. Affiant believes that Hemp (Cannabis genus) is a sacred “plant of renown” and “tree of life” given by the Creator to be used for the feeding, clothing, and healing of the nations of the Earth.
6e. Affiant claims the right to manifest his foregoing belief in practice, through the act of cultivating, possessing, using, distributing and transporting Hemp (Cannabis genus).
7. The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide, in Article II (c), states:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
7a. The Report of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court of July 6, 2000, in Article 6 (c), interprets what elements constitute “Genocide“ through “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction”, and states:
The term “conditions of life” may include, but is not necessarily restricted to, deliberate deprivation of resources indispensable for survival, such as food or medical services, or systematic expulsion from homes.
SEE: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N00/724/27/PDF/N0072427.pdf?OpenElement
7b. You are hereby given lawful notice that the plant called Hemp (Cannabis genus) is a critical food staple in Affiants vegetarian diet, as well as being a vital resource for Affiants clothing, medicine, paper, fuel as well other central necessities to Affiants way of life, and is therefore indispensable for Affiants health, adequate standard of living, spiritual practice and long-term physical survival.
7c. Any action against Affiant and his family to confiscate Hemp harvests, blockade Hemp foodstuffs or other resources, any use of coercive measures to deter Hemp cultivation, possession, use, distribution, or transportation, including expulsion from homes or forced relocation into detention camps, will be considered a deliberate attack on Affiant and his families ability to sustain life and therefore an act of genocide pursuant to Article II (c) of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide.
8. You are hereby given lawful notice that Affiant grants you thirty (30) days to rebut the facts stated herein; If you fail to rebut the facts stated in this affidavit within the granted amount of time then Affiant will assume that you are in agreement with said facts, and that you acknowledge Affiants claim of right and intent to act as stated herein, as being valid and lawfully sanctioned.
9. Affiant affirms under the penalty of perjury under all constitutional Laws of the State of California and the 50 States of the American Union, that all that is written in this affidavit is true and correct to the best of Affiants knowledge and understanding.
Signed and Sealed:_____________________________ Dated:___________
Natural Person – In Propria Persona – Conrad Justice Kiczensk

i
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – WITHOUT PREJUDICE

State of California
Lake County
Subscribed and affirmed before me on this ____________ day of ______________, 20________, by Conrad Justice Kiczenski, who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the Person who appeared before me. Witness my hand and official Seal.
Signature:__________________________________
Seal:

 

Posted by RadicalJusticeMan at 9:28 AM

LINK TO ORIGINAL POST HERE

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

 

 

Key Facts: The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2012
Public Information: 202-712-4810
www.usaid.gov


The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a commitment by G-8 nations, African countries and private sector partners to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years through inclusive and sustained agricultural growth. It responds to strong African commitments to promote and protect food security and nutrition – articulated in multiple settings since 2003 and validated by tremendous progress made in Africa since 2009. The New Alliance builds upon and will continue the progress made by G-8 nations since 2009 at the L’Aquila Summit, and offers a broad, inclusive and innovative path to strengthen food security and nutrition.

The New Alliance supports the accelerated implementation of the African-developed and led agricultural plans (known as CAADPs), through assistance and by catalyzing private sector investment in African agriculture. It embraces the commitments made a L’Aquila and combines assistance with effective policies driven by African governments, increased private sector investment, new tools to scale innovation, and a focus on managing risk.

Initially launching in Tanzania, Ghana, and Ethiopia at the G-8 Camp David Summit, the New Alliance will expand rapidly to other African countries, including Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and other African nations that are participating in the Grow Africa Partnership. Over time, the New Alliance will expand to all African countries prepared to join.

Specific commitments in the New Alliance are from:

  • African leaders to refine policies in order to improve investment opportunities and accelerate the implementation of their country-led plans on food security;
  • Private sector partners who have already committed more than $3 billion to increase investments; and,
  • G-8 members who will support Africa’s potential for rapid and sustained agricultural growth with assistance and other development tools, and ensure accountability for the New Alliance.

Photo credit: PhytoTrade Africa

THE NEW ALLIANCE IS ALREADY UNDERWAY

G-8 and African partners have designed country cooperation frameworks in Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania. More will follow across Africa. Over 45 multinational and African companies have committed to specific agricultural investments that total more than $3 billion and span all areas of the agricultural value chain, including irrigation, crop protection, financing and infrastructure.

G-8 members are following through on L’Aquila commitments and continuing to make a down-payment of over $3 billion to kick-start this new approach. G-8 members are also taking joint actions to bring agricultural innovations to scale, support effective finance, reduce risk for vulnerable communities and economies, improve nutrition and reduce child stunting—focusing, in particular on smallholder farmers especially women, including:

  • INNOVATION: G-8 members are supporting the launch of new partnerships to identify key productivity technologies, set 10-year adoption and yield improvement targets, and promote commercialization and adoption of key technologies, including improved seeds and post-harvest management systems.
  • FINANCE: G8 members are supporting the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), with a pledge target of $1.2 billion over three years in pledges from existing and new donors for the public and private sector windows. G-8 members are also and supporting the preparation and financing of bankable agricultural infrastructure projects including through a new Fast Track Facility for Agriculture Infrastructure.
  • RISK MANAGEMENT: G-8 members support national risk assessment to help African governments formulate strategies for managing risks to women and men smallholder farmers, such as drought.
  • NUTRITION: G-8 members will actively support the Scaling Up Nutrition movement and welcome the commitment of African partners to improve the nutritional well-being of their populations, especially during the critical 1,000 days window from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday.

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE

At the G8 Summit held two weeks ago at Camp David, President Obama met with private industry and African heads of state to launch the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a euphemism for monocultured, genetically modified crops and toxic agrochemicals aimed at making poor farmers debt slaves to corporations, while destroying the ecosphere for profit.

For being a good little spokesman for the globalist thieves, Bono gets another payoff that maybe could make him the richest musician on the planet.
Not much new here. Just another example of social engineering to get us to support the rape of Africa…..all for the children of course.

Bono is now shilling for Monsanto and friends and partners with Hillary and Obama. He works the crowd and shows us how selling out is profitable.

Posted by theGIC.org on May 30, 2012 at 9:30am

Read more: http://www.thegic.org/profiles/blogs/bono-is-out-shilling-for-monsanto#ixzz1wT1onN8S

Open Seeds: Biopiracy and the Patenting of Life by grtv

 

Open Seeds: Biopiracy and the Patenting of Life

by grtv

As the world begins to digest the implications of intellectual property for online censorship, another IP issue threatens an even more fundamental part of our daily lives: our food supply. Backed by legal precedent and armed with seemingly inexhaustible lobbying funds, a handful of multinationals are attempting to use patents on life itself to monopolize the biosphere.

Find out more about the process of patenting life and what it means for the food supply on this week’s GRTV Backgrounder.

Transcript and sources:

The oft-neglected legal minefield of intellectual property rights has seen a surge in public interest in recent months due to the storm of protest over proposed legislation and treaties related to online censorship.[1] One of the effects of such legislation as SOPA and PIPA and such international treaties as ACTA is to have drawn attention to the grave implications that intellectual property arguments can have on the everyday lives of the average citizen.

As important as the protection of online freedoms is, however, an even more fundamental part of our lives has come under the purview of the multinational corporations that are seeking to patent the world around us for their own gain. Unknown to a large section of the public, a single US Supreme Court ruling in 1980 made it possible for the first time to patent life itself for the profit of the patent holder.

The decision, known as Diamond v. Chakrabarty, centered on a genetic engineer working for General Electric who created a bacterium that could break down crude oil, which could be used in the clean-up of oil spills.[2] In its decision, Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger ruled that:

“A live, human-made micro-organism is patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101”

With this ruling, the ability to patent living organisms, so long as they had been genetically altered in some novel way, was established in legal precedent.

The implications of such a monumental ruling are understandably wide-reaching, touching on all sorts of issues that have the potential to change the world around us. But it did not take long at all for this decision’s effects to make itself felt in one of the most basic parts of the biosphere: our food supply.

In the years following the Diamond v. Chakrabarty decision, an entire industry rose up around the idea that these new patent protections could foster the economic incentive for major corporations to develop a new class of genetically engineered foods to help increase crop yields and reduce world hunger.

The first commercially available genetically modified food, Calgene’s “Flavr Savr” tomato, was approved for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration in the US in 1992 and was on the market in 1994.[3] Since then, adoption of GM foods has proceeded swiftly, especially in the US where the vast majority of soybeans, corn and cotton have been genetically altered.

By 1997, the problems inherent in the patenting of these GM crops had already begun to surface in Saskatchewan, Canada. It was in the sleepy town of Bruno that a canola farmer, Percy Schmeiser, found that a variety of GM canola known as “Roundup Ready” had infected his fields, mixing with his non-GM crop.[4] Amazingly, Monsanto, the agrichemical company that owned the Roundup Ready patent, sued Schmeiser for infringing their patent. After a years-long legal battle against the multinational that threatened to bankrupt his small farming operation, Schmeiser finally won an out-of-court settlement with Monsanto that saw the company agree to pay for the clean-up costs associated with the contamination of his field.

In India, tens of thousands of farmers per year commited suicide[5] in an epidemic labeled the GM genocide.[6] Sold a story of “magic seeds” that would produce immense yields, farmers around the country were driven into ruinous debt by a combination of high-priced seeds, high-priced pesticides, and crop failure. Worst of all, the GM seeds had been engineered with so-called “terminator technology,” meaning that seeds from one harvest could not be re-planted the following year. Instead, farmers were forced to buy seeds at the same exorbitant prices from the biotech giants every year, insuring a debt spiral that was impossible to escape. As a result, hundreds of thousands of farmers have committed suicide in the Indian countryside since the introduction of GM crops in 1997.

As philosopher, quantum physicist and activist Vandana Shiva has detailed at great length, the effect of the invocation of intellectual property in enabling the monopolization of the world’s most fundamental resources was not accidental or contingent.[7] On the contrary, this is something that has been self-consciously designed by the heads of the very corporations who now seek to reap the benefit of this monopolization, and the monumental nature of their achievement has been obscured behind bureaucratic institutions like the WTO and innocuous sounding agreements like the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

Although the deck appears to be stacked in favour of the giant multinationals and their practically inexhaustible access to lobbying and legal funds, the people are by no means incapable of fighting back against this patenting of the biosphere.

In India itself, where so much devestation has been wrought by the introduction of genetically engineered crops, the people are fighting back against the world’s most well-known purveyor of GMO foods, Monsanto. The country’s National Biodiversity Diversity Authority has enabled the government to proceed with legal action against the company for so-called biopiracy, or attempting to develop a GM crop derived from local varieties of eggplant, without the appropriate licences.[8]

Although resistance to the patenting of the world’s food supply should be applauded in all its forms, what is needed is a fundamental transformation in our understanding of life itself from a patentable organism to the common property of all of the peoples who have developed the seeds from which these novel GM crops are derived.

This concept, known as open seeds, is being promoted by organizations around the globe, including Dr. Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya organization.[9]

PLEASE CONTINUE READING HERE…