On the Front Lines of Hawaii’s GMO War

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Biotech agriculture facility and irrigation ditch near the beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. (Photo: Mike Ludwig)

By truth-out.org

Malia Chun lives just blocks away from the beach on the western shores of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. On a sunny November morning, local activist Josh Mori drives Chun and I down the beach in his truck. Children are surfing and swimming in the waves as fisherman wait for a tug on their lines. Hawaiian beaches are known for their sparking blue waters, but Chun worries that the water lapping on the beach in her small town of Kekaha is polluted.

The nearby residential neighborhood is a “homestead” area that is reserved for people of native Hawaiian heritage and boasts one of the highest numbers of native speakers of any neighborhood in the state. Chun calls the homestead “a gem.” She runs a cultural enrichment program for native Hawaiian students at a local community college, and she moved with her two daughters, ages 7 and 11, to the homestead community six years ago. As we ride past the men and their fishing poles, Chun explains that some locals are subsistence fishermen and their families rely on what they catch. Chun says there are rumors among fisherman that the offshore reef, a crucial habitat for fish, is dying.

Mori stops the truck near two chain link fences separating the beach from sandy lots full of equipment and storage containers. Facilities operated by the international agrichemical firms Syngenta and DuPont-Pioneer run right up to the beach, where the stretch of sand occupied by the swimmers and fisherman is split by an irrigation ditch that stretches back toward the agricultural fields near Chun’s neighborhood. The biotech giants BASF and Dow also operate in the area, and Monsanto has facilities elsewhere in the state. On Kauai, the four companies take advantage of The Garden Island’s three growing seasons to develop and produce varieties of seeds that are bred or genetically engineered to resist pests and pesticides and increase yields.

Stands of genetically engineered corn are not what you would expect to see on a tropical island that once hosted sugar cane plantations and has kept its population happy for generations with coconuts, breadfruit, taro and papaya. But high demand on the mainland has made biotech corn and other seeds one of Hawaii’s top agricultural commodities. Hawaii is the world’s leading producer of corn seed, which accounts for 96 percent of the state’s $247 million biotech agriculture industry, according to the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, which represents biotech companies. Virtually every genetically engineered seed variety has spent some time in development on a Hawaiian island.

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Biotech agriculture facility and irrigation ditch near the beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. (Photo: Mike Ludwig)

The transgenic seed varieties, also known as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are at the heart of a global controversy over the future of agriculture. Hawaii has become a flashpoint for the debate and a center of anti-GMO activism. In September, thousands of people marched in Lihue, the county seat of Kauai, to protest GMO agriculture and support a local initiative to regulate pesticide use. On November 19, the Hawaii County Council passed a controversial bill banning new GMO operationson Hawaii’s big island. All new GMO crop varieties except papaya, which was genetically engineered to resist a virus in the 1990s, would be illegal under the ban if the island’s mayor gives it his approval.

But in communities on the west side of Kauai, the most immediate controversy is not over genetic engineering, but the considerable amount of chemicals sprayed on the GMO development plots. The GMO seeds produced on Kauai are not considered food items, so the agrichemical companies are allowed to use more pesticides than traditional farmers. Together, the four biotech and agrichemical companies use an estimated 18 tons of “restricted use” pesticides on their plots each year, and local doctors and activists worry about the chemicals drifting in the air and water. Some of the 22 restricted-use pesticides in use on Kauai, such as atrazine, are linked to serious health problems and are banned in European countries, and federal law requires that they be applied by or under supervision of workers with special training. Sometimes the pesticides are combined, or “stacked,” with general-use pesticides in cocktails that have never been tested officially for safety.

A seed test plot is visible from Chun’s home in the homestead neighborhood. The only thing separating the plot from her neighbors’ backyard is some bare land and a drainage ditch. “There is no testing,” says Mori, looking out toward the biotech seed plot. “We are the lab rats.”

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Russia halts imports of Monsanto corn over cancer fears

AFP Photo / Philippe Huguen

Russian authorities temporary suspended the import and sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified corn after a French study suggested it may be linked to cancer.

The Russia’s consumer-rights regulator Rospotrebnadzor asked scientists at the country’s Institute of Nutrition to review the study. The watchdog has also contacted to European Commission’s Directorate General for Health & Consumers to explain the EU’s position on GM corn.

The report prepared by France’s University of Caen and published last week, claimed that rats fed over a two-year period with Monsanto’s genetically modified NK603 corn, developed more tumors and other pathologies than a test group fed with regular corn. The NK603, sold under the Roundup label, is genetically engineered to withstand glyphosate weed killer.

The company criticized the study, saying it “doesn’t meet minimum acceptable standards for this type of scientific research” and the data was incomplete.

Monsanto also said Russia’s ban will have little effect on its business as the country import small volumes of corn from the US. Besides that, the Russian government doesn’t permit farmers to plant GM crops. “Russia is a net exporter of grain, so the actual impact of their temporary suspension, if any, is likely to be small,” the spokesman said in a statement. Continue reading

Revealed: Monsanto GM corn caused tumors in rats

Combination image of two pictures featuring rats with tumors after they were fed a diet of genetically modified (GM) maize produced by US chemical giant Monsanto (AFP Photo / Criigen)

 

French scientists have revealed that rats fed on GMO corn sold by American firm Monsanto, suffered tumors and other complications including kidney and liver damage. When testing the firm’s top brand weed killer the rats showed similar symptoms.

The French government has asked its health and safety agency to assess the study and had also sent it to the European Union’s food safety agency, Reuters reports.

Based on the conclusion…, the government will ask the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health, measures that could go as far as an emergency suspension of imports of NK603 maize in the European Union,” the French health, environment and farm ministries said in a joint statement.

Researchers from the University of Caen found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 – a seed variety made tolerant to amounts of Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller – or given water mixed with the product, at levels permitted in the United States – died earlier than those on a standard diet.

The research conducted by Gilles-Eric Seralini and his colleagues, said the rats suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. Continue reading

Cargill and Others Behind anti-Organic “Stanford Study”

Anti-organic “study” is not news, rather, coordinated propaganda campaign.
by Tony Cartalucci

September 5, 2012 – Harry Wallop of the London Telegraph ends his anti-organic food editorial with the following sentence:

“Tomorrow, the baby is going to get an extra dollop of pesticide-sprayed carrots.”

Whether or not Wallop is as brain-addled as he leads on to being, the point of his editorial is to encourage similar attitudes amongst the Telegraph’s readership, attempting to manipulate public perception in the wake of a recent Stanford “study” regarding organic food.

Whether or not readers of the Telegraph will put their own health and that of their children at risk for the sake of protecting big-agri’s bottom line and the faltering paradigm that big-agri products are safe for human consumption simply because Harry Wallop thinks its good to feed his baby with pesticide-sprayed carrots remains to be seen.

The London Telegraph, when not fabricating news to support England’s latest imperial adventures overseas, is at the forefront of many of the largest corporate-financier funded lobbying campaigns. Recently, someone has splurged, and splurged big on anti-organic food lobbying built atop a suspect Stanford study.

A Flawed “Study” 

When entire news cycles are dominated by headlines built on a single university study, with editorials attempting to hammer in big-agri talking points, a lobbying effort is clearly afoot.

Two news cycles have already been dedicated to trashing organic food. Organic food is free of pesticides and genetic manipulation, both of which are proven to cause learning disabilities, decreased IQ, sterility, and a myriad of other health problems including a wide variety of cancers.

This most recent anti-organic food campaign began with a Stanford study out of its Center for Health Policy (a subsidiary of Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies), examining the nutritional value of organic food versus non-organic. Food with pesticides on it had nearly the same nutritional value, the study claims, as organic food – completely skipping over the whole point of eating organic.

Indeed, the nutritional value would be similar – but the entire point of eating organic is not because of vastly superior nutritional value, but to avoid the “extras” included with products from big-agri corporations.

The Stanford study intentionally dismisses concerns regarding the presence of pesticides by simply claiming levels were within legal tolerances. No discussion was made on whether legal tolerances equated to safe tolerances, nor was there any mention made of the harmful effects of genetically modified organisms (GMO) or other controversial food additives found in non-organic food products.

So why the strawman argument?

A Corporate-funded “Study”

The Stanford Center for Health Policy states the following  on its own website:

“The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) relies on support from its friends, as well as from national and international foundations and corporations, for the funding of the Institute’s research, teaching and outreach activities.”

The Center for Health Policy is a subsidiary of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). So who are these “friends,” national and international foundations and corporations funding the research of FSI and its subsidiary, the Stanford Center for Health Policy?

From Stanford Center for Health Policy’s own website it is admitted that ” national and international foundations and corporations” fund its research and “outreach activities.” This confirms the suspicions of an increasingly aware public who saw the “study” as biased, contradictory of both logic and ethics, and the result of insidious corporate-funding. Continue reading

State Seizes Property Under ‘Green’ Zoning Laws, Terrorizes Man To Death

genda 21′s eco-fascism bares its teeth

Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
Infowars.com
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The shocking story of Andrew Wordes, who had his property seized and was terrorized to death by the city of Roswell, GA, for the crime of keeping chickens on his land, underscores how “green” zoning laws introduced in accordance with the United Nations’ Agenda 21 policy are responsible for a new wave of brutal neo-feudalism now sweeping the United States.

Despite the fact that the city of Roswell allows chickens to be kept on properties less than 2 acres, Wordes was subjected to a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation by the state which began in December 2008 when the city issued Wordes with a citation for keeping the chickens after a complaint by a neighbor. Continue reading