From Agrichemicals to Crops,

US Corporate Control!

Recently there were heated debates in India on the use of Genetically Modified (GM) seeds, in regard to the vegetable brinjal, not always well informed or unbiased, since politicians and so called experts are for sale or in for making a fast buck.

As the ongoing sleaze oozing out of Indian Cricket’s Premier League shows, bhagidari - a nexus between corrupt Indian politicians almost across the spectrum, corporate houses and administrators, has emerged, circumventing rules and making opacity the norm. Many millennia old Brahmin imposed hierarchic order doesn’t comprehend the rule of law or equality before law, a European construct which emerged out of prolonged social evolution and bloody revolutions.

Discussions in media did not bother to bring out fully the long term damage of GM cotton when efforts were being made to bulldoze use of GM brinjal, which is sometimes used even for medicinal purposes. (Turks have created dozen of delicious dishes out of brinjal known as patli jan in Turkish). Any thing which could expose western, mostly US corporate interests is soon suppressed by their agents in India.

While the environment ministry imposed a moratorium on the release of GM brinjal until independent studies established its safety and there is scientific consensus, the pressure from the agriculture and food ministry, US corporate interests and their agents in India continues.

Regarding GM cotton, Dr Keshav Kranthi acting director of the Central Institute of Cotton Research in Nagpur, warned that poor management of the technology has spawned an abundance of predictable and unexpected problems. The rapid adoption of GM cotton by farmers across the country has coincided with the rise of hitherto unknown insect pests, increased pesticide applications by farmers, and declining cotton productivity over the past three years.

Indian regulators approved GM cotton engineered with a bacterial gene to resist an insect — based on technology similar to that in GM brinjal — in 2002. GM cotton, now grown in up to 90 per cent of the crop in some areas, has virtually eliminated its target pest — bollworms. India’s annual cotton output has jumped from 3 billion kg to 5.3 billion kg over the past decade.

But new insects, including one called a mealybug, not known as cotton pests, have emerged, causing significant economic losses, Kranthi said in a government report with his comments on GM brinjal. “Cotton is a tricky crop — we should have been more careful.” “There are lessons to be learnt from this experience for future genetically modified crops, brinjal or anything else,” he added.

Dr Shiv Chopra, a Canada-based microbiologist and well known human rights activist, in his book, Corrupt to The Core - Memoirs of A Health Canada Whistleblower, writes that the corruption in governments around the world endangers public food supply and health of the people. He succeeded in getting the Bovine Growth Hormone banned in Canada and the European Union in 1999. He says that hormones, antibiotics, slaughterhouse waste, genetically modified organisms and pesticides are unsafe. The European Union, led by Denmark, has banned hormones, antibiotics and slaughter house wastes entering the food supply.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) first of all, do not bring any benefit to either health or the economy in terms of increased production. The increased production is because pesticides are attached to them, which will kill any kind of life, even insects which normally share some of nature's bounty. “Roundup” of Monsanto, will kill absolutely anything that is green in sight; grass, trees, plants, anything that is green and in soil. Except the crop that one wants to grow, everything else will be killed. When you kill plants, on the plant there are insects, worms and nitrogen fixing bacteria; all that gets destroyed.

The multinational companies like Monsanto and others are so powerful that one does not hear many scientists or politicians talking about the harmful effects of GMOs? In his book, Dr Chopra quoted from a 1990 speech given in Canada by a Monsanto executive, who said, “MNCs will soon rule the world through intellectual property rights. We can take over the White House, the Parliament of England, France, Japan and Germany, and once we do that, we will see that China and India would come along and then we can take Africa for granted.” This is what is happening. America is not run by the American people any more; but by these multinational corporations. Sadly, everywhere neither the media nor the scientific journals report the correct facts.

In a calculated move GM brinjal was chosen first for Indian market: a simple vegetable that many people do not even like? Brinjal is an unimportant vegetable belonging to the Solanaceae family, of other popular vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and chillies.

The release of GM brinjal would be the beginning of the end of Indian agriculture. US Agri-multinationals are here to make money as do others by selling arms to opposing countries and militias, which brings death and destruction and profits to the multinationals.

If GM brinjal enters the farms in India, everything will automatically becomes GM. Once GM brinjal is widely grown, they do not have to introduce GM potato, GM chilly and GM tomato; the GM gene will automatically get into the food supply. Soon potato, tomato, chilli will contain the GM gene and there will be no ordinary tomato or potato crop that can be grown by the farmer. Only the GM species will thrive. Even crops like rice and maize can get contaminated.

With only GM seeds in the farms, all the seeds needed for Indian agriculture will be owned by a private company and thousands of varieties of, say, brinjal will automatically get wiped out. That is because we will be forced to buy only one kind of seed.

Following the introduction of various harmful medicines, pesticides, GM foods the Americans are far from healthy people not as projected by Bay Watch series with silicone busts. Just look at the people at the US airports, streets, unwieldy ill-formed bodies fed on hormones and GM foods. US spends 16 per cent of their GDP on healthcare, it will be 20 per cent after the recent bill but with millions still without any healthcare. Never mind most of it is pocketed by the medical, pharmaceuticals and insurance mafias. Americans do not live any longer than other people in the world.

A recent report in French Le Monde shows how powerful US corporate interests can even bend the Europe Union. On March 2 the first notable act of the new European Commission presided over by José Manuel Barroso was to shatter the 1998 moratorium on authorization of genetically modified organisms (GMO) that had been established in Europe. Mr. Barroso - and the "elites" - deem the citizens wrong. So the commission chose to authorize the cultivation of a transgenic potato. The decision was taken without a meeting of the commissioners and transferred from the environment commissioner, to the commissioner charged with "health and consumer protection," as though the GMO question were nothing but a health issue.

The authorization involves a GMO that contains an inserted antibiotic-resistant gene, which the discussions during the 1990's had concluded that such genes must not be used. The report concluded that it was a ratification of Europe's weakness in the direction desired by the "godfather" it never succeeds in ridding itself of - the United States. The Godfather’s hand was also manifest in Copenhagen.

But campaigning by environmental groups and the general public has weakened the Bulgarian government’s resolve to allow the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops. In January 2010, the Bulgarian parliament voted, on a first reading, legislation allowing the release of GM organisms into the environment. But the Environmental Parliamentary Committee under public pressure accepted a five-year moratorium on GM cultivation and a ban on testing near organic fields and beehives.Environmentalists are now want the new legislation to be dropped completely.

India is in serious danger from the use of GM seeds in agriculture , says Tom Mysiewicz, political commentator, researcher, and creator of newsletter BioEngineering News and DJM Enzyme Report in addition to the annual Bio1000 Directory of Biotechnology Companies.

By tying everything to non-reproducible seed - and in the process damaging the crops of neighboring farmers who attempt to retain traditional cultivars - they will eliminate millions of Indian farmers. Large corporate farms will become the norm. What will happen to the surplus rural population?” He writes that India being a largely vegetarian nation and MORE dependent on agriculture (as opposed to Brazilian-type ranching), will feel the impact of declines in food quality, food-related diseases due to incorrect protein conformation and amino-acid structure, and increases in food costs due to hikes in GM seed prices.

If India must introduce GM seeds in India, their use be limited to restricted areas - ones where the wind patterns do not spread the pollen to non-GM crops. (Recombinant plant-virus vectors can be spread through pollen and can "infect" other crops with exogenous DNA.) Also GM food products should be clearly labeled for Indian consumers for those who wish to avoid them.

Here is what Tom Mysiewicz has to say on GMOs and related multinationals.

Early History
of Plant Genetic Engineering

by Tom Mysiewicz

I was editor of the weekly biotechnology news service BioEngineering News from 1980 through 1993. I covered plant genetic engineering from its inception and was even allowed (under secrecy agreement) to attend the first Gordon Research Conference on plant genetic engineering. (No reporter had ever been allowed to attend one of these conferences before - since the secrecy agreement later hampered me as to what I could write about the subject, I suspect that may have been the reason.)

The main push behind this technology was to move profit centers from agrichemicals into the seeds, thereby securing complete commercial control of food crops.

In the U.S., seed companies traditionally were money losers and used as tax shelters by wealthy families. Starting in the early 1980s a Rothschild-created company in Wisconsin, Agrigenetics, was formed ostensibly to develop genetically engineered cultivars. However, BioEngineering News discovered investors' monies were mostly being plowed into the rapid purchase of U.S. seed companies rather than the fertile soil of Wisconsin! The story was even briefly covered in an issue of the Spotlight.

So angry was a (Jewish) top executive of this company that he would actually stand up at scientific meetings, red-faced, and yell at me and denounce me, to the chagrin of his colleagues. He even sent mailings around calling my publication a "mendacious yellow rag". However, with the exposure, investment sources dried up and the company's pyramid scheme ran into financial difficulty. The assets and seed companies were ultimately sold to Lubrizol, a manufacturer of industrial adhesives' and specialty products and lubricants.

The USDA and FDA gave plant genetic engineering a big boost by recognizing the products of such research as GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) meaning they were not subjected to rigorous animal testing.

Initial genetic modification of plants was done with recombinant strains of crown-gall virus Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Subesquently, other plant-disease vectors were developed as was non-disease "shotgun" genetic technology (which fired genes directly into plant cells whose cell walls had been enzymatically removed--so-called protoplasts.) Surprisingly (to some) it turned out many of the genetic modifications were passed on through the seeds. To help safeguard DNA technology, some companies developed "suicide gene" technology that would cause a seed line to self destruct after a few generations, preventing farmers from saving and planting their own seeds.

I have been out of the industry a long time and have not had time to review papers on cumulative health effects of GM crop ingestion. My suspicion is that the culprit in ill-health effects could be mutant amino acids (resulting from genetic engineering) whose structure is different from those found in nature. This could also relate to breathing of pollen and the transmission of cloned genes into humans and animals.

There have been cases of genetic engineering companies, like Monsanto, suing farmers for patent infringement and theft of trade secrets whose non-GM crops were contaminated by pollen from adjacent fields. I have suggested these farmers countersue the GM-crop companies for contaminating their crops!

In my estimation, the spread of GM pollen around the world may be killing honeybees and bats (who ingest pollinating insects) and spreading to non-GM crops and even wild plants. A worst-case scenario would be a large-scale die-off of useful plant species, resulting in worldwide famine.


More by :  K. Gajendra Singh

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