Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sanders to Iowa AFL-CIO: It's Time for a Political Revolution


Subject: the Pope makes public a letter from indigenous people against GM seeds

Image: Pope Francis wears an indigenous feathered hat given to him by representatives of one of Brazil’s native tribes during a meeting at the Municipal Theater in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 27, 2013. From (

At the request of major peasant organizations, and with the permission of Pope Francis, a group of scientists and agricultural experts have now made public a letter and document on the problem of genetically modified seeds that was sent to the Vatican on 30 April 2014.

 Signed by eight experts from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, India and Canada, the letter and accompanying document (attached) call upon His Holiness to speak out against the negative impacts of GM seeds on the world’s peasants and global food security.

The document questions the scientific basis of GM technology, its failure to increase yields, the exponential increase in pesticide use, the dangers of transgenic  contamination of peasant crops, the threat to human health and the concern that GM seeds are patented and monopolized by a handful of transnational corporations.

The scientists particularly identify GM maize contamination in its Centre of Origin and Diversity in Meso-America and the imminent threat of GM Rice in Asia – that crop’s Centre of Origin and Diversity.  The scientists are also concerned that bills currently in the Brazilian Congress could legalize the commercial use of Terminator seeds (GM seeds that die at harvest) potentially overturning the long-standing UN moratorium against the suicide seed technology.

MST, The Landless Rural Workers Movement in Brazil, a founding member of Via Campesina – the world’s peasant organization representing 200 million smallholder producers – asked the scientists to prepare their report late in 2013 following a meeting with Pope Francis held at the Vatican.  The Rome meeting brought together marginalized and unemployed people’s to discuss livelihoods.

The threat of GM seeds came up as peasant leaders from Brazil’s MST described the land threats, high costs and food insecurity created by the widespread imposition of GM crops in their country.  Following this, the Vatican asked the peasant movement for a short list of scientists knowledgeable about the negative impacts of GM crops.

Preparation of the text was complicated by the sudden illness and eventual death of Prof. Andrés Carrasco of Argentina who played an important role in the process. Prof. Carrasco was the author of a breakthrough scientific report related to the negative health impacts of Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide in Argentina.

Pope Francis has agreed that the letter and study be made public.The other seven signatories to the submission are Ana María Primavesi (Austria/Brazil), Elena Álvarez-Buylla (Mexico), Pat Mooney (Canada), Paulo Kageyama (Brazil), Rubens Nodari (Brazil), Vandana Shiva (India), and Wanderley Pignati (Brazil).

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has identified specific Centres of Origin and Diversity around the world where the greatest genetic variability of major crops can be found. The genetic diversity in these Centres is considered by the scientific community to be vital for long-term food security and for farmers to respond to Climate Change. GM contamination in these Centers could wipe out this diversity.

Terminator seeds have been condemned by FAO and are the subject of a 2000 moratorium by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Under public and UN pressure, major seed companies have agreed to honor the moratorium.

Because the GM seeds die at harvest time, farmers would be obliged to buy new seed each growing season at enormous cost and with a devastating loss in diversity.

For further information, please contact:
Pat Mooney,, Canada, +1 613 241 2267 ext. 23
Silvia Ribeiro,, Mexico, +52 55 5563-2664
Veronica Villa,, Mexico, +52 55 5563-2664
Unión de Científicos Comprometidos con la Sociedad, UCCS,
The letter to Pope Francis and the document, entitled “Why Genetically Modified Crops Pose a Threat to Peasants, Food Sovereignty, Health, and Biodiversity on the Planet” can be found here.

POSTED: 8/14/2014 EDITOR: 


Thursday, August 21, 2014


GMO Debate Heats Up on Mainstream News

Article imageChristina Sarich

NationofChange / News Report

Published: Wednesday 20 August 2014

Why are scientists hell-bent on maintaining the human gene theory and their ability to alter it? Watch out because the rest of us are just starting to figure it out.

The debate on the dangers of GMO seem like they should already be a foregone conclusion, but with industry cover-ups of scientific data, and rigged research, biotechnology advocates are still pushing the safety of genetically modified organisms unchecked. In another attempt to discredit non-GMO supporters, C-Span recently debuted a 2-hour debate at the Vail Symposium in Colorado, between consumer advocate and Executive Director ofInstitute for Responsible Technology, as well as maker of the documentary, Seeds of Deception, Jeffrey Smith, and doctor of biotechnology and entrepreneur Gregory Stock who has written a book called, “Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future.” I can’t help but add that this title alone smacks of the ideas of ‘the singularity’ – the notion that scientists can create a ‘super-human’ while discarding those of us who are merely just ‘human’.
As usual, the biotechnology side tried to discredit the messenger, and not the clear scientific message, by discounting Smith’s background, but during the long discussion, topics ranging fromthe ethics of GMOs, the role of the government in GMO production and licensing of GM seed, GMO labeling, and the potential for GMO to solve world hunger were contended. Audience member questions were also addressed.

As Smith explained, currently there are nine GMO crops planted across our nation: soy, corn, canola, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, zucchini, yellow squash and papaya. These genetically altered crops are on our plates due to a sentence in the US Food and Drug Administration’s policy from 1992, which basically states that the agency is not aware of any information which shows that GMOs are significantly different than non-GMO foods, and therefore no safety testing is necessary, and no labeling is necessary.
This logic can be traced to vintage propaganda campaigns when our physicians told us that smoking cigarettes was good for us. Warning labels did not appear on packages of RJ Reynolds products until the 1970s. While American Indians smoked natural herbs, cigarettes full of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals were not labeled for over a hundred years after their introduction into mainstream consciousnessWe can’t wait that long with GMOs
 The ‘science’ which biotech experts hold on to is unproven. It is based on assumptions made about GMO without long-term trials and much of truth about GMO dangers is dismissed or blatantly ignored. Furthermore, Stock’s own bio states that he believes in “aggressive biomedical funding and research, and for cautious governmental oversight.” Our government, has in fact, provided scant intervention for the good of public health and has done little more than give Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, and the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association carte blanche to wield genetically modified crops on the world like more of a bio-terror weapon than a food source. Many have called Monsanto the ‘poster child for corporate deceit and manipulation.’ The reach of this monstrosity of a company goes further than our own shores, too.

In Indonesia, Monsanto executives infiltrated and paid off more than 140 officials in order to get their modified cotton seeds approved. In 1998, six Canadian scientists testified that they were being pressured by their Monsanto-influenced superiors to approve rbGH, a genetically created growth hormone imagined by the biotech giant. They attest that documents were stolen from a locked file cabinet and Monsanto offered them a $2 million bribe to pass the drug without further testing. In India, one officialtampered with the report on Bt cotton to increase the yield figuresto favor Monsanto. These tactics have been repeated in Brazil, Europe, and other countries worldwide.

Even more shocking is that Monsanto has been working with Blackwater (Academi), a private security firm, to target non-GMO activists and organizations.  Why does a food-making company need a black-ops association if their food is so safe to eat? With facts like these becoming abundantly apparent, it makes listening to any GM-advocate leave a bad taste in your mouth. How can you trust them? Were they paid off? Are they a spy sent by Blackwater to spread disinformation? Why are there no long-term trials on GMO before they are given government approval, and how have our 1000-year old farming practices been so completely devastated after just 50 years of Big Ag intervention? Is this all just a sneaky campaign to get us to accept genetically modified humans?

GM scientists seem hell-bent on maintaining the human gene theory, and their ability to alter it. And GMO crops are possibly the predecessors.

Other applications of genetic engineering change the genes in eggs, sperm, or very early embryos. This affects not only any children you might have, but also all succeeding generations. It opens the door to the reconfiguration of the human species. The technical term for this application is "germline" genetic engineering (because eggs and sperm are the "germinal" or "germline" cells). Altering mosquitoesbananas, cotton, or soy is just the beginning.

While Scott addresses the dangers of biotech’s creations, Stock ignores a longer-range ideology, which he seems to hold for himself. When will people ask the real questions associated with GMO? We’re just beginning to figure this all out.
You can see the entire two-hour video aired on C-span, here