Mathaba News Network, 16 May 2007 http://mathaba.net/0_index.shtml?x=554330
India's Government appears to be firmly under the control of the buccaneers of biotechnology and spurious multinational corporations
Despite rules to the contrary, GM (Genetical Modification) experiments have been going on across India with the complicity of the Indian Government.
In the 67th Meeting of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee [GEAC] held on 22 May 2006, the GEAC brushed aside all such concerns and in utter defiance of the spirit of a Supreme Court Order it rubberstamped an astonishing 91 GM (Genetically Modified) products for multi-location trials [MLTs] - 91 approvals in one meeting.
Approvals were rushed through in anticipation of a possible full spectrum ban on field trials in India, while investigators have been stone walled from obtaining information on locations and type of seeds being tested. Only after a petition under the Right to Information [RTI Act of 2005] was filed, did the Department of Biotechnology reveal some information.
The United States of America declared a war on Indian rice and food security already in the early 1960s when India's No 1 scientist mole, Dr M.S. Swaminathan, stole the gene bank of rice, evolved over decades by Dr Riccharia, and passed it over to the Americans. Activists say that Monsanto, operating through its Indian Joint Venture partners Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Corporation or Mahyco, have committed crimes against humanity with the full connivance of officials of the Department of Biotechnology and members of GEAC, and that therefore several Ministries are also involved, chiefly, the Minister of Agriculture & the Ministry of Environment & Forestry.
India had 120,000 varieties of rice seeds; today, no more than 50 are available. This is the result of the United States' war on genetic diversity, ably supported by scientist-criminals like MS Swaminathan. The Indian Government is to have these criminals head Agriculture Policy of India: at age 75, Swaminathan lives to lord over many "Expert Committees", including crucial ones in the Ministry of Agriculture. The deadly tentacles of this hydra-headed monster extend in many ministries of the Government of India. From early 1960s, Swaminathan has been the front of the Rockefellers, implementing their agenda with full support of the US Government.
Emboldened by a deliberately errant Indian Regulator, which is malfunctioning with intent and deliberation to support a pro GE agenda, and the open support of USAID, the GM seeds producers are furthering the agenda of destroying India's food sovereignty and food security knowing fully well that GE seeds do not enhance productivity (yield), which is what Indian farmers need: "For example, the USAID-backed initiative, Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project-II (ABSP-II), is based and directed from Cornell. ABSP partners have included Asgrow, Monsanto, and Pioneer Hi-Bred. Promoting GM is, of course, an official part of USAID's remit - one of its roles being to "integrate GM into local food systems."
The repercussions of the Regulator's releases of GM foods in India will be global, and some of the best known scientists from around the world have joined hands with Indian activists and filed exclusive submissions to the Supreme Court, the activists point out.
"Dr. Arpad Pusztai, the world renowned toxicologist and leading expert in protein lectins in a telephone conversation with Petitioner No 1 said that in all these years of scrutinising industry studies, (and most of these have passed through his hands), he has never seen anything quite like this. According to David Schubert, the safety testing data on the Ministry (GEAC) website is "very poorly done and in the absence of REAL DATA it is impossible to make any assessment of the validity of their claims". Dr. Doug Gurian Sherman, Senior Scientist at the Centre For Food Safety concurs. Dr. Robert Mann formerly senior lecturer in biochemistry at the University of Auckland and Advisor to successive Ministry’s of Health in NZ, says, "I regard the 'Bt'-brinjal field-trial proposal as one of the most ill-conceived I have encountered in my three decades of critical appraisal of GM. The risks and hazards, while not exactly known or indeed precisely foreseeable, appear to be so grave that the proposed field-trials should be enjoined pending a thorough assessment such as has yet to be performed." Dr. Mae Wan Ho (of the Independent Science Panel) and Prof. Joe Cummins, Prof. Emeritus of Genetics, University of Western Ontario, Canada, say: "In India, brinjal would be comparable to potato or tomato in the American diet. GM Egg Plant Contains Bt Toxin Linked to Hundreds of Allergy Cases and Thousands of Sheep Deaths. It would be unthinkable and irresponsible to approve the genetically modified eggplant. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins find neither published studies nor experimental details on safety tests in the application for field releases of the Bt brinjal and raise serious questions. Instead of approving more GM crops, regulatory authorities in India should start a comprehensive enquiry into the health impacts of Bt cotton and impose a ban on further releases of all GM crops".
Monsanto in India
[Monsanto www.genewatch.org] has been operating in India since 1949, and is a market leader in agricultural chemicals. It operates three Indian subsidiaries: Monsanto India, Monsanto Enterprises and Monsanto Chemicals, and early in 1998, Monsanto acquired a 26 per cent stake in the Indian seed company Mahyco. Mahyco is accused of misleading local people about the nature of GM trials, even keeping the farmer on whose land the trial was being conducted in the dark. Bharatiya Kissan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said, "We found that trials of Bt rice were conducted under secrecy on the farm land of Paramjit Singh, who leased his two-acre land to Mahyco for Rs 15,000. He was not informed by Mahyco about what seeds were sown and for what purpose. We found blatant violation of biosafety norms in the field trial which may lead to genetic contamination of other rice fields. Singh after discovering the truth joined us along with 500 farmers in uprooting and burning of the crop."
Already in 2005-06, Indian rice exporters exported 5 million tonnes of rice valued at US$1.53 billion to 102 countries worldwide. Their main markets are Europe, North America, West Asia, and Australia. In each of these countries, the respective Governments must warn the Indian Government that consumers do not want GM (Genetically Modified) Indian Rice, the concerned activists say, giving a list of suggestions on actions concerned individuals can take worldwide, including to ask political representatives to tell the Government of India to stop all GM field trials because it will destroy the global environment. They point out that every farmer's association has come out against GM seeds. The All India Rice Exporters Association has expressed its readiness to work with all persons who refuse to fall in line with a pro-GM agenda because of the demonstrated risks of GE technology. They are also calling for lawyers to come forward to assist in taking lawsuits against the Government of the USA, including the US-FDA and USDA, USAID and others.
Monsanto even seeks to control water, the very basis of life. Monsanto is seeing a new business opportunity because of the emerging water crisis and the funding available to make this vital resource available to people. As it states in its strategy paper, "first, we believe that discontinuities (either major policy changes or major trendline breaks in resource quality or quantity) are likely, particularly in the area of water and we will be well-positioned via these businesses to profit even more significantly when these discontinuities occur. Second, we are exploring the potential of non-conventional financing (NGOs, World Bank, USDA, etc.) that may lower our investment or provide local country business-building resources." Thus, the crisis of pollution and depletion of water resources is viewed by Monsanto as a business opportunity.
Monsanto is not new to killing, being one of the suppliers of Agent Orange with its devastating after effects upon Vietnamese civilians and US Vietnam Veterans.
Politicians Lobbied, Bought and Sold
Head of the large Indian State of Andra Pradesh, Y S Rajasekhara "YSR" Reddy is currently on a visit to the United States of America with daily press releases by his spin doctors presenting him at various forums. He spoke at the World Agriculture Forum (WAF), of which Monsanto is one of the major sponsors, yet the bill for his speech was footed by Indian tax payers, at a whopping 700,000 Indian Rupees. The WAF was founded by Monsanto's former director of public policy Leonard Guarraia. The WAF focuses on lobbying government leaders the world over.
Other sponsors of the WAF, which some are terming the "World Annihilation Forum", include the giant chemicals and pesticides company DuPont, which has significant presence in the state seed marketing through Pioneer Hi-Bred. Other sponsors include Abengoa, a bio-fuels major, Bunge North America, a food supply chain "services" company and Novus, an animal agriculture giant. "Most of these firms have either a direct or an indirect interest in the Indian market owing to its dependence on agriculture", an analyst told the Times of India.
State governments in India have large powers to deal directly with large foreign corporations without adequate central control, which some analysts predict will hasten the break-up of India into largely independent states, each vying for foreign contracts in competition. Already countless communities have been uprooted by large companies moving in upon conclusion of contracts with Indian state governments, which then seek to forcibly evict them from the land.
Millions of India Farmers Join Lawsuit Against Monsanto & Biotech Industry over GMO Contamination
Over 6.5 million farmers from every state in India are asking the Supreme Court to let them join the case before the Court, saying GM crops risk irreversibly damaging India's farmland and biodiversity. This new move follows on from the application already filed in the Supreme Court by the Association of the Rice Millers and Exporters in India, who want a GM moratorium to protect the rights of farmers and consumers to grow and consume GM-free crops, as well as to ensure - in their interest and in the national interest - that exports don't suffer because of GM contamination.
Contamination has occurred with American Long Grain Rice. The announcement in August 2006 that an unapproved variety of genetically modified (GM) rice, i.e. not approved for human consumption, had been found at low levels in US long-grain rice shocked the global food industry. Bayer Crop Science's GM LL601 rice had last been grown in field trials in 2001 and was not intended for commercialization. Liberty Link 601 [LL601 rice] has been modified to be tolerant to Bayer's herbicide, Liberty (glufosinate), so farmers can use the weed-killer without harming the crop.
The global marketing of unapproved GM rice has led to product withdrawals in Switzerland, Germany, France, Sweden, Ireland and the UK. Exports to Europe require certification that foods are GM-contaminant free. Japan has zero tolerance for GM crops, has halted rice imports from the USA, and is carrying out extensive tests to detect the Liberty Link LL601 rice contamination level and extent.
Contamination, even the risk of contamination, from GM crops has been long denied by the GE Industry as a figment of the imagination of those opposing GM crops. However, it is a biological fact and the physical evidence of genetic contamination being reported from all over the world is now incontrovertible and conclusive. The recent GM rice contamination of US long-grain rice is so serious that the damage to the US rice industry is valued in billions of $s with countries moving to ban US rice imports and American farmers being stopped from planting rice in the current season. The GM contamination of rice in the US is spiralling out of control despite the best attempts of farmers, millers, exporters and the Regulator to contain it and clean up. Thus, the strategy of GM crop developers in the US and other parts of the world has now changed to demanding that they be allowed to contaminate Non GM crops! Regulation is being 'bent' to allow contamination.
Monsanto & Co's Crimes
"When I worked at Monsanto, I warned both scientists and executives that our GM foods may cause disease, but no one was even willing to listen, let alone investigate the unpredicted side effects. For them, it was all about profit. Now our whole population is threatened by the serious dangers described in Genetic Roulette." - Kirk J. Azevedo, DC
Monsanto's programme includes converting all crops to genetically engineered species which produce sterile seeds, and disenabling farmers to engage in the age-old practice of saving seeds from one crop to generate the next.
When purchasing Monsanto seed, farmers must agree to comply with Monsanto's herbicide and pesticide management regime. Should the wind blow pollen from a Monsanto client's crop onto a neighbour's, Monsanto will test the neighbour's crop and, if there is contamination with Genetically Engineered (GE) crop, the neighbour will be forced into court to compensate Monsanto for using its genetic property. More than one farmer is in prison for refusing to pay this blackmail.
GE contamination in a single food crop can mean that the entire country’s crops are banned by consumer nations; who understandably do not want contamination to enter their own crops or resident human metabolisms. The same principle applies to meat - that is, dairy animals and poultry that consumed contaminated GM feeds. Because of Monsanto’s GE interference, the entire corn export from America to Europe was terminated. Africa, too, bans GE material.
Meanwhile sick people have been used like laboratory rats in GM trials by Monsanto, The Monsanto Company dumped toxic waste in the UK, Starbucks is dropping milk products containing an artificial growth hormone manufactured by Monsanto, Globalization's Policy of Famine meets with success as Wheat Supplies Plunge, the US-India Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture gives US giants like Monsanto free access to the Indian market for their GM products], the European commission has been approving genetically modified crops for human consumption while secretly warning about their impact on health and the environment, and Monsanto's pesticide Roundup is killing amphibians worldwide.
Compelling evidence of GM food being unsafe comes from the animals themselves in experiments - preferring natural food to GM food and suffering internal injuries or succumbing to death after eating GM food.
Media Silence is Bought
National Public Radio (NPR) that long ago abandoned the public trust it was sworn to uphold when it was founded in 1970 as an independent, private, non-profit member organization of public radio stations in the United States, is now as tainted and corrupted as its television counterparts and now also gets a substantial proportion of its funding from corporate donors demanding control, and is careful to shy away from all controversial topics that may be sensitive to corporate interests that include those providing it funding support. Monsanto supports NPR with funds.
A full disclosure by Monsanto and its directors under oath is required to establish which politicians and which media networks have received funds from it, yet no such disclosure has been made. Mathaba News has not received any funds from Monsanto.
Mounting Opposition, More Needed to Prevent Irreversible Worldwide Contamination
Beginning in April 2007, organizations around the world will present Genetic Roulette to government officials as evidence that GM foods are unsafe and need to be banned immediately. Former British government environment minister Michael Meacher says that Genetic Roulette is "the authentic book on genetic modification that the world has been waiting for... The case presented is absolutely a smoking gun that should stop in its tracks any dabbling with GM foods, whether by individual families, food companies, or indeed nations."
In March this year, nearly 5,000 farmers from 84 villages spanning eight blocks of Gonda district in Uttar Pradesh, India, have pledged NOT to cultivate genetically modified (GM) crops and instead practice organic farming, whilst in February 2,000 farmers from 64 villages of Chitrakoot and Banda districts in Uttar Pradesh took a similar pledge. This brings the total number of UP villages, which have pledged to remain GM free to 148. An online petition to the Prime Minister of India against genetic engineering has also been set up.
According to New Delhi-based food and trade policy expert Devinder Sharma, more than 10,000 cotton farmers have killed themselves after the introduction of fourth-generation pesticides, called synthetic pyrethroids, less than 20 years ago. Farmers are caught in vicious cycles of debt to meet the high costs of green revolution cotton farming: debts they incur to purchase pesticides, fertilizers, water pumpsets and hybrid seeds. For many, the only way out of the debt trap is to swallow the very pesticides they purchase with their loans.
Contamination of all crops by GM will be so pervasive that we will all be faced with a 'fait accompli' everywhere, particularly in India and the developing world, so that it will be futile in future to oppose it. Hence action is required now, otherwise all 'natural' seeds will be virtually extinct. This is quite simply the objective of the Biotech GE industry led by Monsanto.
Activists say that the US Government is not only stealing genetic assets as mentioned above has been taking place since the 1960's, it is deliberately promoting near lethal food worldwide. Genetic Engineering if not stopped will lead to the irreversible contamination of the world's food at the molecular level and in perpetuity. This demonstrates the seriousness of the crisis we face, as a global agenda that aims to control the world's population as stated in US National Security Study Memorandum 200 (SSM-200), is being implemented militarily, economically and by means of pro-agenda companies such as Monsanto which have sponsored leading politicians including Britain's Tony Blair, with these western politicians also advocating production of Ethanol cash crops which will result in a genocidal famine with estimated deaths by hunger in future of 3 billion people as farmers will find Ethanol production more lucrative business than food production.