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Marching against Monsanto

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Marching against Monsanto

Mae-Wan Ho  The Institute of Science in Society   May 27, 2014

It is wonderful to be here with all of you. I have been marching against Monsanto for close to 20 years now since GM crops were commercialized and I first warned of the dangers of GMOs and Roundup herbicides.

Unfortunately, all my predictions and more have come true. Over the years, farm workers and their families across the world have been seeing sharp rises in birth defects, cancers, allergies, lethal kidney disease and so on. Their livestock die, get diarrhoea, become sterile, cannot conceive, or give birth to dead and deformed animals.

Scientists had to get through tremendous hurdles and obstructions to do the research, not just from Monsanto, but also from corrupt and/or misguided governments, including the UK. For years, practically the only research on safety of GMOs was carried out by the companies themselves, and their raw data are kept from the public as commercially sensitive information.

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World Bank and aid donors accused of enabling land grabs

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by Ellie Violet Bramley    Guardian   May 21, 2014

Aid donors and international institutions including the World Bank and World Economic Forum (WEF) have been accused of promoting an environment that fuels land grabs through policies and initiatives that pave the way for large-scale private investment.

In a report published on Tuesday, the NGO ActionAid says public money and policy incentives such as tax breaks and cut-price loans are facilitating land deals that threaten the lives and livelihoods of small-scale farmers in poor countries.

ActionAid warns that the consequences of such deals, which are too often happening behind closed doors and with little or no consultation with local communities, include “forced evictions, human rights violations, lost livelihoods, divided communities … rising food insecurity and, ultimately, increased poverty”.

A spokesman for the World Bank said it was also concerned about the risks of large-scale land deals and stressed that it did not support investments that took advantage of weak institutions in developing countries.

ActionAid’s report says weak governance and regulation of land use and agricultural investments have left millions of smallholder farmers and indigenous people in vulnerable situations “lack[ing] recognition over their land rights, even if they have resided in or used the area for generations”.

ActionAid’s campaign manager, Antoine Bouhey, said a “nexus of different policies” at the global level, which encourage private investment as a route to development, were also to blame.

“Governments are turning to private capital to fill the massive shortfall in public spending but too often this blind rush for investment is leading to land grabs which are leaving communities landless, homeless and hungry. Growth cannot be achieved at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable,” he said.

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“System Change, Not Climate Change” -how to get there from here

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climate and capitalism

A Left Solution to Climate Change

Climate change is occurring with extreme rapidity. Recent news headlines warn us: “Earth Could Warm 11 Degrees by 2100,” “Huge Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Collapsing,” and “Climate Change Risks Security and Wars.” — and this is just the beginning.

Had extreme measures been inaugurated worldwide 20 years ago to sharply curtail reliance on fossil fuels, much of what we are now experiencing — unwelcome temperature change, dangerous storms, droughts, floods, etc. — would have been minimized. But to this day Washington is among the tiny minority of countries that have refused to ratify the basic UN document on climate change, the Kyoto Protocol.

The current stage of the climate crisis will afflict our Earth for innumerable generations to come, creating increasing havoc. Stage one will eventually transform to a crueler stage two later this century and other stages eventually unless severe measures are introduced immediately. We know the dire consequences for future generations if we fail to act immediately.

David Suzuki got it right when he said on the Bill Moyers PBS program this month: “Our politicians should be thrown in the slammer for willful blindness…. I think that we are being willfully blind to the consequences for our children and grandchildren. It’s an inter-generational crime.”

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Engdahl: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation (video)

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The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, F. William Engdahl

Published on Jan 4, 2014
F. William Engdahl is an American German freelance journalist, historian and economic researcher. and author of “Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation”

This lecture at the Open Mind Conference 2013, focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish its control over the very basis of human survival, the provision of our daily bread. Control the food and you control the people. This is no ordinary lecture about the perils of GMO.

Engdahl takes the audience inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms and reveals a World of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. The lecture is based on Engdahls book “Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” which is an eye-opener, a must-read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and World peace.

Water Liberty: How Innovation Trumps Privatization

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By Rady Ananda
COTO Report     May 2, 2014

The World Bank joins Nestlé in wanting to privatize water, deeming it “extremist” to suggest that those born on this planet have a natural right to clean, potable water. Meanwhile, RT’s Abby Martin reports that the watchdog group Corporate Accountability International recently released a new analysis showing that:

“Investing in private water does not extend access and is also counterproductive for economic development. By contrast, infrastructure investment, abandoned by the corporate sector, is where real benefit can be achieved: the World Health Organization estimates more than $10 of economic benefit from every $1 invested in water infrastructure systems.”

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TPP Investment Map: New Privileges for 30,000 Companies?

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  Public Citizen

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) threatens so much of what we hold dear – this secret agreement will censor our Internet, send jobs overseas, undermine environmental regulations, and remove our most basic democratic rights.

Under previous presidential administrations, the United States signed a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) that grant foreign corporations extraordinary rights and protections beyond the rights of domestic companies. A little-known FTA mechanism called “investor-state” enforcement allows foreign firms to skirt domestic court systems and directly sue governments for cash damages (our tax dollars) over alleged violations of their new rights before UN and World Bank tribunals staffed by private sector attorneys who rotate between serving as “judges” and bringing cases for corporations. Using this extreme system, corporations have sued the U.S. government in foreign trade tribunals for enacting laws or regulations that “interfered” with the corporations’ expected profits.  This “interference” has included essential environmental regulations, health laws, and domestic court decisions. These cases are not just threats to domestic U.S. policies. U.S. corporations have also used FTAs to attack public interest laws abroad.

If a corporation wins its private enforcement case, the taxpayers of the “losing” country must foot the bill. Over $380 million in compensation has already been paid out to corporations in a series of investor-state cases under U.S. FTAs. Of the nearly $14 billion in the 18 pending claims under U.S. FTAs, all relate to environmental, energy, public health, land use and transportation policies – not traditional trade issues.

The Obama administration is currently negotiating a sweeping new FTA called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam — the first FTA negotiated by the Obama administration.  Despite Obama’s many campaign promises to scale down investor-state enforcement in trade agreements, the leaked investment chapter of the TPP reveals that the Obama administration intends to expand even further the extreme investor-state model of past FTAs. If passed, the TPP would grant thousands of corporations these extraordinary rights to sue governments over public interest policies for taxpayer compensation.

Below are the maps of the locations of multinational corporations that would get these new rights if Congress would pass the TPP.  More than 6,000 corporations with nearly 30,000 corporate affiliates would be able to use these rights, including over 300 financial services companies that could challenge essential financial sector regulations through investor-state provisions. These corporations could challenge the local zoning and environmental laws of your community, so zoom in using the “+” button to see which corporations are in your city.  Click on the dots to see the names of the corporations and their industry. The color of the marker indicates the country of the parent company. The red lines on the map are the borders of the districts of the U.S. House of Representatives. Click here for a full list of companies based in TPP countries that operate in the United States, sorted by congressional district.

[read the rest (and see the interactive graphic) here]

Sri Lanka Partially Bans Glyphosate for Deadly Kidney Disease Epidemic

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04/09/14  The Institute of Science in Society      roundup kills

Glyphosate’s metal-chelating activity causes bioaccumulation of toxic metals in the body, resulting in an estimated 400 000 cases in Sri Lanka and 20 000 deaths     Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

Sri Lanka is set to partially ban glyphosate-based herbicide use following a new peer-reviewed study linking it to a fatal chronic kidney disease epidemic badly affecting the country [1]. Kidney problems have been further documented in other global regions, prompting an earlier complete ban by El Salvador late last year [2]. A complete ban was initially proposed, but due to plantation sector representatives claiming a shortage of agricultural workers that would not sufficiently manage weeds without glyphosate, the government has now limited the ban to disease endemic areas [3]. Even Brazil, one of the largest growers of glyphosate-tolerant genetically modified (GM) crops has now filed a law suit by Federal Prosecutors to ban glyphosate along with 8 other dangerous pesticides [4]. It is becoming increasingly difficult for government regulators and glyphosate producers to justify the use of this herbicide when other nations are banning the chemical outright in order to protect their citizens.

Glyphosate can impact human health in a number of ways, one of which is through its potent metal chelating abilities. Indeed, glyphosate was originally patented by Stauffer Chemical Co. in 1964 (U.S. Patent No. 3,160,632) [5] for this very function. Chelating mineral ions can lead to nutritional depletion in plants and animals, which has already been shown to cause health problems in both. In the case of this kidney disease epidemic, its chelation of metals such as arsenic in the water supplies is now though to lead to their bioaccumulation in the body, resulting in kidney failure and even death, as proposed in a new study [6] by Channa Jayasumana (Rajarata University, Sri Lanka), Sarath Gunatilake (California State University, USA) and Priyantha Senanayake (Hela Suwaya Organization, Sri Lanka) published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Glyphosate has also been linked to many other health problems including cancers (see [7] Glyphosate and Cancer, SiS 62), infertility (see [8] Glyphosate/Roundup & Human Male Infertility, SiS 62), along with neurotoxicity, reproductive problems, birth defects, and other problems (see [9] Ban GMOs Now, special ISIS report). Read the rest of this entry »

Written by laudyms

April 9, 2014 at 8:41 am

Global Status of GMO and Non-GMO Crops

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4/03/14   The Institute of Science in Society monsanto2

Dr Mae-Wan Ho takes you behind the latest, most blatant scientific disinformation campaign to show how GMO crops have remained a minority sector in food production and shrinking from overwhelming consumer rejection; in contrast, non-GMO sectors are rapidly taking over the global food market, the largest, agro-ecological farming, is also the most sustainable, resilient and climate friendly, and currently produces over half of the world’s food.

Scientific disinformation on GMO plumbs new depths

Scientific disinformation on GMOs is rife; more so and more blatant than any other area where science has become enmeshed with corporate profit. The battle to reclaim people’s food rights intensifies worldwide as the failures and hazards of GMOs can no longer be concealed behind the relentless propaganda. Within the past 18 months, learned societies, science journals and sundry scientist have joined the fray, spreading false claims that the scientific debate is over and GM food is proven safe, that GM crops are a great success with more miracles on the way, and needed to feed the world [1-4] (see our response to one of them [5] Scientific American Disinformation on GMOs, SiS 60).

This most recent global disinformation campaign has been carefully orchestrated. Anne Glover, a molecular biologist at St. Andrews University in Scotland, was appointed the European Commission’s first chief scientific advisor in 2012, and since then, used a series of interviews with EurActiv news network to promote GMOs. In an open letter addressed to Glover, Dr Brian John of GM-Free Cymru wrote [6]: “Your claim that there is no evidence of adverse GMO impacts is a lie.” He referred to a recent list compiled by GM Free USA [7] consisting of more than 1 400 scientific papers on various adverse health and environmental impacts of GM crops and related pesticides, and a statement signed by nearly 300 scientists declaring there is no consensus on the safety of GMOs [8] (Scientists Declare No Consensus on GMO Safety, SiS 60). And ISIS has produced our own comprehensive report on the health and environmental hazards of GMOs especially in the light of the new genetics,  recommending individuals, families and local communities everywhere to institute their own ban on GMOs [9] (Ban GMOs Now). John’s timely letter [6] was released just before Glover went on a mission to sell GMOs to Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Read the rest of this entry »

Put Pressure on the Media to Expose the TPP!

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Colombian Farmers Defeat Monsanto: Win Back Control of Seeds

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Sept. 17, 2013  By Oscar León The Real News - reposted at Food Freedom News

Colombians in Trafalgar Square show their support for the farmers' strike in Colombia. Protesters are demonstrating against the free trade agreement with the US; seed multinationals; GMO crops, and seed patents. Photo by Andres Pantoja

Colombians in Trafalgar Square show their support for the farmers’ strike in Colombia. Protesters are demonstrating against the free trade agreement with the US; seed multinationals; GMO crops, and seed patents. Photo by Andres Pantoja

On Sept. 10 in Colombia, after 21 days of a nationwide strike by thousands of farmers, who were supported by bus and truck drivers, miners, students, and others joining massive demonstrations in cities and towns all around the country in places as far as Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Cauca, Huila, Putumayo, Caldas, Cundinamarca, and Nariño, and blocking more than 40 roads, in an historic moment, protesting farmers forced the Colombian government to negotiate the rejection of a farm bill and the release of detained protesters.

On Sunday, September 8, Vice President Angelino Garzón met with the Strike Negotiating Commission in Popayan and agreed to suspend Law 970, the one that gave control over seeds to the government [which made it illegal for farmers to save seeds, any seeds, forcing them to buy patented ones].

They also were promised the release of the 648 arrested during the strike and the creation of a new mining law.

Under this first and provisional agreement, the government will compensate the farmers for their losses when competing with cheaper products imported under as much as ten free market treaties with countries all around the world. In other cases it will suspend the importation of such products.

The strike was ended and negotiations started to discuss the farmers’ proposals. The process of negotiation, as well as the final agreement and its implementation, will be verified by the United Nations.

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