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Friday, December 6, 2013

There Is No GMO Debate When the Masters of the Universe Leave Truth on the Cutting Room Floor

Dissident Voice: a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice

There Is No GMO Debate When the Masters of the Universe Leave Truth on the Cutting Room Floor

those who write the narrative and who win the military and marketing and financial wars . . . .

give us better living through chemistry

 “It’s a story with mythological resonance,” says Steven Aftergood, director of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists and the publisher of Secrecy News, an e-mail newsletter. “It reflects the view that knowledge is power and some kinds of knowledge have destructive power .The notion that the boundaries of knowledge are defined by what is published by Science and Nature is quaint,” he said, referring to the journals. “For better or worse, the way that knowledge is disseminated today is ever less dependent on the flagship journals. It’s done by global scientific collaboration, draft papers, online publication, informal distribution of preprints, and on and on.” NYT
Reverse the Presses and Blot Out  the Ink = Scientists and Others Decrying Censoring GMO Science

Thanks to Mae-Wan Ho, who got right down to business talking about the retraction of the famous Seralini study that was published a year ago and pretty much compiling scientific evidence around maize and tumors. She is compassionate and filled with the knowledge of how society needs complimentary science-ethics-civil society. You know, you’d think the WHO and world governments and editors worldwide would want to follow up on that since 90 percent of the food in many countries is polluted with corn and maize products, certainly, many countries polluted with GE-GMOs. That is the question now isn’t it? To bombard genes with genes from completely different species or families, to produce Frankenstein crops-hogs-fish-cows-sheep. Makes Dolly the cloned sheep look like a walk around Whole Foods.

Last blog here, with a petition to retract the retraction in the science journal: GMO Mafia Gets the Media to Break Science Writing Down to Prior Restraint.

So without further adieu, I give you a scientist working hard for sanity in science and culture and civil society and communities able to grow their food and protect their watersheds and determine the ecological connectivity within their bioregions.

 Ten (actually Eleven) Questions (by P. Haeder) & Answers by Mae-Wan Ho

1. Where is the GMO debate now worldwide?

M-W –The GMO debate should be over by now, at a time when the agronomic failures of GM crops are there for all to see (particularly in the United States, which has more than 40 % of global GM crops planted) together with serious health and environmental impacts from scientific studies that fully confirm what farmers have been experiencing in the fields for year. But all that is being smothered by a massive campaign of dissimulation perpetrated by even traditionally respected science magazines like Scientific American.

A measure of how desperate the GM proponents are is the recent decision of the journal editor to retract a thoroughly peer-reviewed paper – the famous Séralini study – published a year ago, basically because it found excessive early deaths, large tumors including cancers, and liver and kidney diseases in rats fed GM maize and/or exposed to Roundup herbicide compared to controls. This is unprecedented in the history of scientific publishing, a censorship that could spell the end of science, let alone science and democracy or science for the public good. A group of 28 scientists wrote an open letter in protest, pledging to boycott the publisher of the journal until it reverses this appalling retraction . It has already attracted hundreds of signatures from all over the world within the first days. We need your help to spread the word.

2. Why are GMO labeling initiatives failing in the USA?

M-W– The GMO labeling initiatives are failing in the USA because people are still being told lies and half-truths that GM products are no different from their non-GM counterparts. There has been saturation coverage in the media, not just in the USA but worldwide. Most people are not fooled, which is why GM crops are still confined to 28 countries with over 90 % within just 5 after 20 years of commercial growing.  But people do need to understand the dangers for themselves.

3. What’s your biggest reservation about GMOs?

M-W –GMOs are not only inherently unsafe, they are highly unsustainable, and most of all, obstructing the shift to non-GM organic, agro-ecological farming already taking place in local communities and entire countries around the world, which have proven to increase yields, mitigate climate change, and more able to adapt to climate change. I have a recurrent nightmare of aliens landing on our planet in the not too distant future finding a wasteland filled with giant cockroaches. That’s what could happen if we are forced and tricked into growing GM crops.

4. Is science at a crossroads, as you say, vis-a-vis the retraction of the Séralini article?

M-W–Yes, I think this appalling act is symbolic. The Séralini study is not the only scientific evidence of harm from GMOs and herbicide, nor the only published paper to be retracted recently (see our comprehensive review Ban GMOs Now). I was nearly a victim myself for a paper explaining why artificial genetic modification is inherently hazardous. It went through two rounds of reviews by 6 referees before it was accepted for publication, only to be suddenly withdrawn before it could appear in the journal. The order for it to be withdrawn coming from the publisher over the heads of the editors. Fortunately, the editors stood their ground and reinstated my paper. If we don’t stop such practice now, it really could mean the end of science. One scientist actually said to me: “it chills me to the bone to think they could do this.”

5. What can the average citizen do to get involved in the GMO debate?

M-W –Take it upon yourself to understand the science behind genetic
engineering, expose the lies and half-truths you’ve been told; that’s how to learn real science, and it is fun. Don’t be intimidated by the ‘experts’. Run informal teach-ins (combined with organic fests). Involve your whole family. Think of imaginative ways to explain things to other people. Scientists themselves are not very good at that, me included. I am still trying my best.

6. How has science from you experience changed over the years?

M-W –I am still a scientist in love with science. That was what motivated me to be a scientist in the first place. I am still inspired about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, the ‘big questions’. Nowadays, this sense of wonder and excitement is lost. No one asks big questions anymore, they want to know how to exploit nature rather than living sustainably with nature.

The new genetics, for example, is enchanting; it is completely different from the old obsolete genetics that motivated genetic engineering and genetic modification. It has turned conventional genetics upside down. Instead of a one way flow of information from DNA (the genetic material) to traits (biological function) to the environment, there is a circular feedback from the environment that marks which genes are to be expressed or not, and to change the genes themselves. I call this natural genetic modification. It is an intricate molecular dance of life that is essential for survival. Natural genetic modification is done with great finesse and precision by the organisms themselves, without damaging the genome. In contrast, artificial genetic modification done in the laboratory by genetic engineers is crude, imprecise, uncontrollable, and ends up scrambling and damaging the genome with totally unpredictable effects on safety. It also interferes inevitably with the natural genetic modification process, and is ultimately why it is inherently hazardous.

I would love to see more new genetics research being done. Instead, most postdocs and graduate students are trapped into doing mindless, soul destroying and excruciatingly boring genetic modification.

7. Why has the narrative around precautionary principle tied to GMOs turned into anti-science rhetoric coming from both scientists and the media?

M-W –There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the precautionary principle. It is absolutely based on scientific evidence. It is not anti-science at all, far from it. It just says that where there is scientific evidence for a hazard, the fact that the evidence may not be conclusive is not to be used as an excuse for ignoring the hazard. In most cases, it leads to creative, imaginative solutions and alternatives. Critics are using it as a refuge for weak mindedness and lack of imagination. Prof Peter Saunders from ISIS has written the best article on the subject, Use and Abuse of the Precautionary Principle here:

8. GE-GMO capitalists seem to have the upper hand, as all marketers have — just push through with the product, get it into every corner of society, and, a decade later, or earlier, well, its so pervasive that it’s normalized and the average citizen accepts the new normal. Is this true?

M-W –It is a subtle psychological warfare, and some critics actually play into their hand. They hype up the GM technology to be just the most powerful thing in the world, or that ‘the genie is out of the bottle’ and it is already everywhere, so resisting it is useless. This leads people to feel absolutely powerless and paralysis sets in, which is exactly where they want you to be.

9. What is your work?

M-W — My real research work is on the big question – what is life – Schrodinger posed in 1941. I have pioneered a totally interdisciplinary way of understanding life, which I call the physics of organisms, and I am very pleased to receive the 2014 Prigogine Medal for it. My inaugural lecture title is Circular Thermodynamics of Organisms and Sustainable Systems; for ‘circular thermodynamics’ read ‘circular economy’ of nature.

10. There seems to be a big disconnection between nature and industry, technology, economics? Discuss

M-W –Spot on. That’s the reductionist science way. I have spent my whole life recovering the organic holistic science that really enables us to live sustainably with nature where knowledge is all of a piece (art, science, music, philosophy in one), and we are immersed within nature.

11. Climate change is the big game changer, and seems to be the underpinning of the pro-GMO industries and sciences. Discuss how non-GMO farming might be the answer to some of the changes we will face because of climate change — i.e. hotter, wetter, dryer, irregular weather.

M-W — Climate change is definitely happening. There is no denying it. No, most scientists who point out the dangers of GMOs are not climate deniers. Please don’t conflate the two. I often tell climate skeptics that being sustainable is needed because we are running out of all kinds of resources, so renewables are in whether you believe in climate change or not. Circular economy is in.

As already mentioned, there is evidence that GMOs yield less, require more water, are more disease prone (even introduce more diseases), and less resilient to weather extremes. There is evidence that the predominantly GM crop system in the US is failing badly (US Staple Crop System ailing from GM and Monoculture.),  and not just because of the recent drought, which decimated harvests (see Surviving Global Warming ).This is not surprising, as GM crops are industrial monocultures, only more so. The numerous successes and benefits of organic, agro-ecological farming are no longer in doubt: more yields, more organic matter and carbon sequestration in the soil, more fertile soils, more water retention capacity (hence more resistant to drought) more nutritious, health promoting, more resilient to floods and hurricanes, more profitable, and less energy use, hence less carbon dioxide produced. Please see our comprehensive report, Food Futures Now, Organic, Sustainable, Fossil Fuel Free. 

End of Interview

Of course, the prior restraint and the attack on knowledge has been a concerted effort by elites — including religious, industrial, history, cultural, government zealots. Galileo anyone, or in this Century, Censoring James Hansen, NASA Godard climate scientist. Agnotology is a term around this planned and pretty psychological effort to erase truth, knowledge, and of course seed culture and societies with things that never happened.
 ”Anyone who thinks ignorance is nobody’s business has a lot to learn from these provocative essays. The distinguished authors offer compelling evidence that what we do not know is every bit as much a product of human choice and ingenuity as what we choose to know. Agnotology rescues ignorance from the no-mans-land of unexamined social phenomena. It makes us ask what is at stake when we don’t know things that are plainly before our eyes. This is a book for every thinking citizen.”   —Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard University
“In the past years there have been few new fields of research as timely as agnotology. Many a time one is puzzled by the widespread ignorance of some of the greatest challenges mankind faces today, be it global warming, the way to the Iraq war, or the global tobacco epidemic. Agnotology might very well be the tool to delve into the great black holes of modern knowledge and also find a way out.” —Andrian Kreye, arts and ideas editor, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany
The Green is the New Red, by Will Potter speaks to the attack on scientists and science-backed activists trying to stop the human and ecological genocide tied to ag chem pharm energy industry damming mining polluting companies backed by despots and governments and World Bank types.
 Welcome to GreenIsTheNewRed.com! This website focuses on how fear of “terrorism” is being exploited to push a political and corporate agenda. Specifically, I focus on how animal rights and environmental advocates are being branded “eco-terrorists” in what many are calling the Green Scare.
Top of the Terrorism List
“The No. 1 domestic terrorism threat,” says John Lewis, a top FBI official, “is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights movement.”
The animal rights and environmental movements, like every other social movement throughout history, have both legal and illegal elements. There are people who leaflet, write letters, and lobby. There are people who protest and engage in non-violent civil disobedience. And there are people, like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front, who go out at night with black masks and break windows, burn SUVs, and release animals from fur farms.
Animal rights and environmental advocates have not flown planes into buildings, taken hostages, or sent Anthrax through the mail. They have never even injured anyone. In fact, the only act of attempted murder in the history of the U.S. animal rights movement was coordinated by corporate provocateurs. Yet the FBI ranks these activists as the top domestic terrorism threat. And the Department of Homeland Security lists them on its roster of national security threats, while ignoring right-wing extremists who have bombed the Oklahoma City federal building, murdered doctors, and admittedly created weapons of mass destruction.
Defining the Green Scare
This disproportionate, heavy-handed government crackdown on the animal rights and environmental movements, and the reckless use of the word “terrorism,” is often called the Green Scare.
Much like the Red Scare and the communist witch hunts of the 40s and 50s, the Green Scare is using one word—this time, it’s “terrorist”—to push a political agenda, instill fear, and chill dissent. And much like the Red Scare, the Green Scare is operating on three levels: legal, legislative, and what we’ll call extra-legal, or scare-mongering.
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.  The Secrecy News blog is at: SN. Go to it, Read the Dec. 2013 newsletter here, and see just these that government overlords want squashed from memory:
New or updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.
Keystone XL Pipeline Project: Key Issues, December 2, 2013:
Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies, December 2, 2013:
Burma’s Political Prisoners and U.S. Sanctions, December 2, 2013:
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections, December 3, 2013:
Veterans and Homelessness, November 29, 2013:
Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda): U.S. and International Response to Philippines Disaster, November 25, 2013:
Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act, November 22, 2013:
Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy, November 26, 2013:
The 2013 Cybersecurity Executive Order: Overview and Considerations for Congress, November 8, 2013:
Paul K. Haeder lived one-year in Seattle working for "the" SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the largest private sector union in the USA (in their pro-Obama PR materials), to organize adjuncts in Bezos-Boeing-Gates land, after having worked as a communications, language, composition, writing instructor of the freeway flyer variety in El Paso for the University of Texas, the El Paso Community College, language institutes, Park College, the US Army, La Tuna Federal Correctional Institute, Packard Electric in Juarez, New Mexico State University, and several cities in Mexico. In Washington State, he taught at Gonzaga University, Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College. He's job hunting -- at that golden age of 56 (and counting down) ... just what the progressive-left-of-center non-profits in the Vancouver-Portland “area” want (NOT). He can be reached at: 

Ban GMOs Now

Dissident Voice: a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice

Ban GMOs Now

Executive Summary

Since the first commercial growing began in 1996, the global area of genetically modified (GM) crops is reported to have increased 100-fold. However, nearly 90 % are confined to 5 countries, with top grower the US accounting for more than 40 %. GM crops have been largely excluded from Europe and most developing countries because opposition has been growing simultaneously as widespread agronomical failures of the GM crops as well the health and environmental impacts are coming to light.

GM remains limited to three major crops – soybean, maize and cotton – and two traits: herbicide (mainly glyphosate) tolerance (HT) at nearly 60 % and insect resistance with toxins from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) at 15 %, with the remaining stacked traits (HT and one or more Bt) at 25%.

The failures and hazards of glyphosate and glyphosate tolerant crops and Bt crops are reviewed respectively in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. Chapter 3 reviews the range of hazards resulting from the uncontrollable, unpredictable process of genetic modification itself in the light of advances in molecular genetics within the past decade, which tells us why the technology cannot be safety applied to grow our crops or produce our food.

Glyphosate and glyphosate tolerant crops

Glyphosate use has gone up sharply worldwide since the introduction of glyphosate-tolerant GM crops. Herbicide use per acre has doubled in the US within the past five years compared with the first five years of commercial GM crops cultivation, the increase almost entirely due to glyphosate herbicides. Glyphosate has contaminated land, water, air, and our food supply. Damning evidence of its serious harm to health and the environment has been piling up, but the maximum permitted levels are set to rise by 100-150 times in the European Union with further hikes of already unacceptably high levels in the US if Monsanto gets its way.
  1. Scientific evidence accumulated over three decades documents miscarriages, birth defects, carcinogenesis, endocrine disruption, DNA damage, general toxicity to cells, neurotoxicity, and toxicity to liver and kidney at glyphosate levels well below recommended agricultural use.
  2. The major adjuvant POEA in glyphosate Roundup formulations is by far the most cytotoxic for human cells, ahead of glyphosate and its metabolite. It also amplifies the toxic effects of glyphosate.
  3. A recent review blames glyphosate for practically all modern diseases as its general chelating action affects numerous biological functions that require metal cofactors. It is the most pervasive environmental chemical pollutant that also inhibits enzymes involved in detoxification of xenobiotics, thereby increasing their toxicity. In addition, it kills beneficial gut bacteria that prevent pathogens from colonizing the gut and promotes the growth of the pathogenic bacteria, leading to autism and other diseases.
  4. Rats fed Roundup contaminated and Roundup tolerant maize beyond the required 90 days showed a startling range of health impacts. Females were 2 to 3 times as likely to die as controls and much more likely to develop mammary tumours. In males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5 to 5.5 times as frequent as controls, while kidney diseases were 1.3-2.3 times controls. Males also develop kidney or skin tumours 4 times as often as the controls and up to 600 days earlier. The harmful effects were found in animals fed the GM maize that was not sprayed with Roundup, as well as those that were, indicating that the GM maize has its own toxicities apart from the herbicide.
  5. Livestock illnesses from glyphosate tolerant GM feed including reproductive problems, diarrhoea, bloating, spontaneous abortions, reduced live births, inflamed digestive systems and nutrient deficiencies. Evidence has also emerged of chronic botulism in cattle and farmers as the result of glyphosate use.
  6. Glyphosate is lethal to frogs and Roundup is worse; it increases toxic blooms, and accelerates the deterioration of water quality. It use also coincides with the demise of monarch butterflies.
  7. Glyphosate poisons crops and soils by killing beneficial microorganisms and encouraging pathogens to flourish. Forty crop diseases are now linked to glyphosate use and the number is increasing.
  8. Glyphosate-resistant weeds cover 120 million ha globally (61.8 m acres in the US) and continue to spread; it is a major factor accounting for the enormous increase in pesticide use since herbicide tolerant GM crops were introduced.
  9. Contamination of ground water supplies, rain, and air has been documented in Spain and the US. Berlin city residents were found to have glyphosate concentrations above permitted EU drinking water levels.
Bt crops

Bt crops were sold on the premise that they would increase yields and reduce pesticide use; instead they have resulted in too many crop failures, and the introduction of Bt cotton is now acknowledged to be responsible for the escalation in farm suicides in India.
  1. Bt crops’ claim to reduce pesticide use is based on excluding the Bt produced in the crops in total ‘pesticides applied’; but the Bt toxins leach from the plants and persist in soil and water, with negative impacts on health and the ecosystem comparable to conventional pesticides.
  2. Fungicide use and insecticide treatment of corn and soybean have gone up dramatically since the introduction of Bt crops.
  3. The breakdown of Bt traits due to target pest resistance and secondary pests has resulted in increasing use of conventional pesticides; and pesticide companies are reporting 5 to 50% increase in sales for 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.
  4. Contrary to industry’s claim that Bt is harmless to non-target species, independent studies showed that Bt toxins elicit immune response in mammals in some cases comparable to that due to cholera toxin. This is consistent with farm workers’ reports of allergic symptoms affecting the eyes, skin and respiratory tract.
  5. A new study found Bt proteins toxic to developing red blood cells as well as bone marrow cells in mice.
  6. Toxicity to human kidney cells has been observed in vitro, consistent with in vivo experiments in lab animals showing toxicity to heart, kidney and liver.
  7. Bt crops fail to control target pests due to insufficient expression of Bt toxins, thereby promoting the evolution of resistance.
  8. Bt crops promote the emergence of secondary pests when target pests are killed. Primary and secondary pests are already huge problems in the US, India and China, and are now hitting multiple crops in Brazil since Bt maize was introduced.
  9. Stacked varieties containing multiple Bt toxins are predicted to hasten the evolution of multiple toxin resistance, as resistance to one toxin appears to accelerate the acquisition of resistance to further toxins.
  10. Bt toxins harm non-target species including water fleas, lacewings, monarch butterflies, peacock butterflies and bees, which are showing worrying signs of population decline across the world.
  11. Bt toxins leach into the soil via the root of Bt crops where they can persist for 180 days; this has been linked to the emergence of new plant diseases and reduced crop yields.
  12. Bt toxins also persist in aquatic environments, contaminating streams and water columns and harming important aquatic organisms such as the caddisfly.
New genetics and hazards of genetic modification

The rationale and impetus for genetic engineering and genetic modification was the ‘central dogma’ of molecular biology that assumed DNA carries all the instructions for making an organism. This is contrary to the reality of the fluid and responsive genome that already has come to light since the early 1980s. Instead of linear causal chains leading from DNA to RNA to protein and downstream biological functions, complex feed-forward and feed-back cycles interconnect organism and environment at all levels, marking and changing RNA and DNA down the generations. In order to survive, the organism needs to engage in natural genetic modification in real time, an exquisitely precise molecular dance of life with RNA and DNA responding to and participating fully in ‘downstream’ biological functions.  That is why organisms and ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the crude, artificial genetically modified RNA and DNA created by human genetic engineers. It is also why genetic modification can probably never be safe.

1. Genetic modification done by human genetic engineers is anything but precise; it is uncontrollable and unpredictable, introducing many collateral damage to the host genome as well as new transcripts, proteins and metabolites that could be harmful.

2. GM feed with very different transgenes have been shown to be harmful to a wide range of species, by farmers in the field and independent scientists working in the lab, indicating that genetic modification itself is unsafe.

3. Genetic modification done by human genetic engineers is different from natural genetic modification done by organisms themselves for the following reasons: it relies on making unnatural GM constructs designed to cross species barriers and jump into genomes; it combines and transfers genes between species that would never have exchanged genes in nature; GM constructs tend to be unstable and hence more prone to further horizontal gene transfer after it has integrated into the genome.

4. Horizontal gene transfer and recombination is a major route for creating new viruses and bacteria that cause diseases and spreading drug and antibiotic resistance. Transgenic DNA is especially dangerous because the GM constructs are already combinations of sequences from diverse bacteria and viruses that cause diseases, and contain antibiotic resistance marker genes.

5. There is experimental evidence that transgenes are much more likely to spread and to transfer horizontally.

6. The instability of the GM construct is reflected in the instability of transgenic varieties due to both transgene silencing and the loss of transgenes, for which abundant evidence exists. Transgenic instability makes a mockery of ‘event-specific’ characterization and risk assessmentbecause any change in transgene expression, or worse, rearrangement or movement of the transgenic DNA insert(s) would create another transgenic plant different from the one that was characterized and risk assessed. And it matters little how thoroughly the original characterization and risk assessment may have been done.  Unstable transgenic lines are illegal, they should not be growing commercially, and they are not eligible for patent protection.

7. There is abundant evidence for horizontal transfer of transgenic DNA from plant to bacteria in the lab and it is well known that transgenic DNA can persist in debris and residue in the soil long after the crops have been cultivated. At least 87 species (2 % of all known species) of bacteria can take up foreign DNA and integrate it into their genome; the frequency of that happening being greatly increased when a short homologous anchor sequence is present.

8. The frequency at which transgenic DNA transfers horizontal has been routinely underestimated because the overwhelming majority of natural bacteria cannot be cultured. Using direct detection methods without the need to culture, substantial gene transfers were observed on the surface of intact leaves as well as on rotting damaged leaves.

9. In the only monitoring experiment carried out with appropriate molecular probes so far, China has detected the spread of a GM antibiotic resistance gene to bacteria in all of its major rivers; suggesting that horizontal gene transfer has contributed to the recent rise in antibiotic resistance in animals and humans in the country.

10. GM DNA has been found to survive digestion in the gut of mice, the rumen of sheep and duodenum of cattle and to enter the blood stream.

11. In the only feeding trial carried out on humans, the complete 2 266 bp of the epsps transgene in Roundup Ready soybean flour was recovered from the colostomy bag in 6 out of 7 ileostomy subjects. In 3 out of 7 subjects, bacteria cultured from the contents of the colostomy bag were positive for the GM soya transgene, showing that horizontal transfer of the transgene had occurred; but no bacteria were positive for any natural soybean genes.

12. The gastrointestinal tract of mammals is a hotspot for horizontal gene transfer between bacteria, transfer beginning in the mouth.

13. Evidence is emerging that genomes of higher plants and animals may be even softer targets for horizontal gene transfer than genomes of bacteria.

14. The CaMV 35S promoter, most widely used in commercial GM crops, is known to have a fragmentation hotspot, which makes it prone to horizontal gene transfer; in addition. it is promiscuously active in bacteria, fungi, as well as human cells. Recent evidence also suggests that the promoter may enhance multiplication of disease-associated viruses including HIV and cytomegalovirus through the induction of proteins required for transcription of the viruses. It also overlaps with a viral gene that interferes with gene silencing, an essential function in plants and animals that protects them against viruses.

15. The Agrobacterium vector, most widely used for creating GM plants is now known to transfer genes also to fungi and human cells, and to share genetic signals for gene transfer with common bacteria in the environment. In addition, the Agrobacterium bacteria as well as it gene transfer vector tend to remain in the GM crops created, thereby constituting a ready route for horizontal gene transfer to all organisms interacting with the GM crops, or come into contact with the soil on which GM crops are growing or have been grown.

16. In 2008, Agrobacterium was linked to the outbreak of Morgellons disease. The Centers for Disease Control in the US launched an investigation, which concluded in 2012, with the finding: “no common underlying medical condition or infection source was identified”. But they had failed to investigate the involvement of Agrobacterium.
17. New GM crops that produce double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) for specific gene-silencing are hazardous because many off-target effects in the RNA interference process are now known, and cannot be controlled. Furthermore, small dsRNA in food plants were found to survive digestion in the human gut and to enter the bloodstream where they are transported to different tissues and cells to silence genes.

18. Evidence accumulated over the past 50 years have revealed nucleic acids (both DNA and RNA) circulating in the bloodstream of humans and other animals that are actively secreted by cells for intercommunication. The nucleic acids are taken up by target cells to silence genes in the case of double-stranded microRNA (miRNA), and may be integrated into the cells’ genome, in the case of DNA. The profile of the circulating nucleic acids change according to states of health and disease. Cancer cells use the system to spread cancer around the body. This nucleic acid intercom leaves the body very vulnerable to genetically modified nucleic acids that can take over the system to do considerable harm.


The serious harm to health and the ecological and agronomical impacts of glyphosate and glyphosate tolerant crops are the most thoroughly researched, and for which there is little remaining doubt. The same kind of evidence has now emerged for Bt crops and Bt toxins. Evidence that genetic modification per se is harmful is also convincing, and can be attributed to the uncontrollable process of genetic modification itself as well as the dangers from the horizontal transfer of the GM constructs, which can spread antibiotic resistance, create new pathogens and trigger ‘insertion carcinogenesis’, as well as taking over the body’s natural nucleic acid intercom to do harm.

There is a compelling case for banning all environmental releases of GMOs now, and with that the glyphosate herbicides. Action can be taken locally in communities, villages, towns, municipalities, regions, as well as nationally and globally. It must be done now; for time is running out. We need to shift comprehensively to non-GM sustainable ecological farming in order to feed ourselves under climate change. We the people need to reclaim our food and seed sovereignty from the corporate empire before they destroy our food and farming irreversibly.
Originally published at Institute of Science in Society.
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho is a geneticist known for her critical views on genetic engineering and neo-Darwinism. Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji is an ISIS researcher and staff writer. Read other articles by Mae-Wan Ho and Eva Sirinathsinghji, or visit Mae-Wan Ho and Eva Sirinathsinghji's website.

GMO Mafia Gets the Media to Break Science Writing Down to Prior Restraint?

Dissident Voice: a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice

GMO Mafia Gets the Media to Break Science Writing Down to Prior Restraint?

We’ll be seeing an interview of Mae-wan Ho, a 72-year-old “geneticist  known for her critical views on genetic engineering and neo-Darwinism. Ho has authored or co-authored a number of publications, including 10 books, such as The Rainbow and the Worm, the Physics of Organisms (1993, 1998), Genetic Engineering: Dream or Nightmare? (1998, 1999), and Living with the Fluid Genome (2003).” [Wikipedia]. That is forthcoming. Also, get into this powerful issue of retracting a scientist’s work, because that scientist has findings AGAINST the almighty, all-Garden-of-Eden magic of genetically transferred-bombarded-fixed-engineered crops (sic) and meat (sic) industry. Retracting work  so the feeding trough of chemical-oil-seed monopolies-BigAg can grow the  unnatural human and other flora-faun killing system that will be the new-new normal.

The thrust of this interest for me in Washington State are the thug-tactics of Monsanto, grocery association(s), and all the other cartels in the unnatural foods game who are holding human and ecological health in their financial cross-hairs. Another motive was some campaigning for Initiative  522 (whoopee, labeling GMO foods, not banning them!) which was ahead in WA state in August, but got trammeled in the November election with those $25 million or more coming in to propagandize these Monsanto-terminator gene companies and their lock-step-and-fearful-farming-giants as heroes in a world that has turned upside down. You have to call food ORGANIC, but the pesticide-fungicide-fumigated-artificially-fertilized stuff is regular or normal, AKA, Conventional Agriculture? Absurd. So, these kids and BabyBoomers with communications BAs and marketing masters and psychology PhDs just love any job, anything to keep their little brains stimulated, even working as Little Eichmanns in this powerful ecocide-generating force. They cut and paste, write white papers, do silly social media blasts, make up YouTube fun, and just run around like little servants of Edward Bernays’ ghost, Sieg Heil propagandist king:
[The] American business community was also very impressed with the propaganda effort. They had a problem at that time. The country was becoming formally more democratic. A lot more people were able to vote and that sort of thing. The country was becoming wealthier and more people could participate and a lot of new immigrants were coming in, and so on.
So what do you do? It’s going to be harder to run things as a private club. Therefore, obviously, you have to control what people think. There had been public relation specialists but there was never a public relations industry. There was a guy hired to make Rockefeller’s image look prettier and that sort of thing. But this huge public relations industry, which is a U.S. invention and a monstrous industry, came out of the first World War. The leading figures were people in the Creel Commission. In fact, the main one, Edward Bernays, comes right out of the Creel Commission. He has a book that came out right afterwards called Propaganda. The term “propaganda,” incidentally, did not have negative connotations in those days. It was during the second World War that the term became taboo because it was connected with Germany, and all those bad things. But in this period, the term propaganda just meant information or something like that.
So he wrote a book called Propaganda around 1925, and it starts off by saying he is applying the lessons of the first World War. The propaganda system of the first World War and this commission that he was part of showed, he says, it is possible to “regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies.” These new techniques of regimentation of minds, he said, had to be used by the intelligent minorities in order to make sure that the slobs stay on the right course. We can do it now because we have these new techniques.
This is the main manual of the public relations industry. Bernays is kind of the guru. He was an authentic Roosevelt/Kennedy liberal. He also engineered the public relations effort behind the U.S.-backed coup which overthrew the democratic government of Guatemala.
His major coup, the one that really propelled him into fame in the late 1920s, was getting women to smoke. Women didn’t smoke in those days and he ran huge campaigns for Chesterfield. You know all the techniques—models and movie stars with cigarettes coming out of their mouths and that kind of thing. He got enormous praise for that. So he became a leading figure of the industry, and his book was the real manual.  
—Noam Chomsky
So, for now, read and support the retraction of the retraction process for this big PharmJournal publisher. But, even as Washington State defeated I-522, we are NOW being forced with stopping more disease farming a la GE …. Well, Franken-Apples. Read this coming from one of my old groups where I was once a board member, WSFFN, Washington Food and Farming Network. Again, the plea is never just straightforward clean. Note the McDonald’s rejoinder. Really, McDonald’s, in the news for its GMO potatoes, it’s rotten food, and, well, TREATING workers like the VERY SLUGS their artificial foods kill! You know, breaking news of McD’s workers on strike, for a $15 an hour MINIMUM.
This from the Yes on 522 Coalition. Again, sustainability without SOCIAL Justice? We can’t trumpet McDonald’s for one greenwashing-ecoporn thing while they chop the heads off of PEOPLE, COMMUNITIES, LOCAL economies.

Yes on 522

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is poised to approve the first genetically engineered apples – the Arctic Golden Delicious and Arctic Granny Smiths.

We need your help before USDA’s final public comment period ends December 9. 

Please join us in telling USDA to reject approval.
The Washington State apple industry has declared its opposition to approval because key export markets, including Japan, China and India, won’t accept GE foods, or at least require labels. McDonald’s and Gerber recently joined Friends of the Earth in siding with apple growers and consumers urging rejection of this unnecessary, risky and unlabeled apple.

These GE apples already are being grown experimentally in Washington apple country, posing risks to our environment and apple farmers. They’re genetically engineered using an experimental technique for suppressing genes called RNA interference, which many scientists are concerned can have negative, unintended impacts on consumer health and the environment.

Now, the  Séralini issue follow. You can read another background report from Mae-wan Ho here at DV: “Ban GMOs Now.”


Retracting Séralini Study Violates Science and Ethics
Publishing giant of fake pharmaceutical journals fame now retracting damning research findings against GMOs and Roundup herbicide on behalf of the biotech industry Dr Mae-Wan Ho and Prof Peter Saunders

Please circulate widely and repost, but you must give the URL of the original and preserve all the links back to articles on our website. If you find this report useful, please support ISIS by subscribing to our magazine Science in Society, and encourage your friends to do so. Or have a look at the ISIS bookstore for other publications

Giles-Eric Séralini, a professor of molecular biology at Caen University, led a toxicological study on GM maize and Roundup herbicide involving 200 rats over a period of two years; it found an alarming increase in early death, large tumours including cancers, and diseases of the liver and kidney. The study, published in 2012 by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) [1], was by no means the first, nor the only one to show adverse health impacts from GM feed or Roundup herbicide (see [2] GM Cancer Warning Can No Longer Be IgnoredSiS 56; and ISIS report [3] Ban GMOs Now for a comprehensive review on the health and environmental hazards of GMOs). It was the latest warning – perhaps the most dramatic – and the most in-depth long-term toxicological study ever done. Significantly, many of the most damaging effects came after 90 days, the officially mandated period of feeding trials for regulatory approval of GMOs.

What followed was a concerted worldwide campaign to discredit the findings, including the appointment of ex-Monsanto scientist Richard Goodman to the newly created post of associate editor for biotechnology at FCT [4]. Soon after Goodman’s appointment, a study by researchers in Brazil also finding potentially harmful effects from GMOs was withdrawn from FCT, but reappeared almost immediately in another journal.

On 27 November 2013, FCT editor Wallace Hayes wrote to Séralini’s team requesting them to retract their paper published just over a year ago on grounds that it was “inconclusive”, not because there was fraud or errors [5]. In fact, the paper was published after peer review by 5 referees – the usual number being 2 or 3 – and the criticisms post-publication answered in full by the team, and appeared in the same journal [6].

The substantive criticisms boil down to two: the Sprague-Dawley strain of laboratory rats used is inappropriate, as it is prone to cancer, and the number of animals for testing cancer is too small. In fact, the study was explicitly aimed not at cancer but at toxicity, for which Sprague-Dawley is the strain most commonly used; and the number of animals, 10 in each group, was in accordance with the OECD guidelines.

The reason the OECD protocol specifies larger groups for cancer testing than for toxicity is that cancer is less common and takes longer to become apparent and is therefore more likely to be missed, i.e. the aim is to avoid a false negative.  The fact that excess tumours and cancer was detected even in 10 animals is arguably all the more significant, and may be due to the strong carcinogenic potential of the agents tested (see [7] Excess Cancers and Deaths with GM Feed: the Stats Stand UpSiS 56). Even though the study was not designed to test for cancer, it would have been totally irresponsible for Séralini and his group not to report what they had found. Equally it is important for the article to remain in the public record for its implications on public health.

As Séralini’s team pointed out, the retraction of their paper is a violation of the international ethical norms as prescribed by COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) accepted by FCT, as it had been most thoroughly reviewed, and by the clear admission of the FCT editor, absolutely no fraud or error was perpetrated [5]. In contrast, a study published by Monsanto in the same journal in 2004 does contain errors if not outright fraud, basically because the effect of GMOs was not compared with matched isogenic non-GMO controls, while the feed for controls was most likely contaminated with GMOs.  That paper should be considered for retraction, but the issue was never even raised.

A day later, a press release was put out by a PR company entitled, “Elsevier announces article retraction from journal Food and Chemical Toxicology” [8], making it clear that the decision came from the highest level, the publishing giant that describes itself as “a global company employing more than 7,000 people in 24 countries,” and “partner with a global community of 7,000 journal editors” [9].


Science in Scociety 60 cover

Just to let everyone know. Our statement has been launched and is open for signing for both scientists and non-scientists. We’ve had 20 new signatures within the past hour since launch. Please go to:


Thanks, Maewan
Open Letter on Retraction and Pledge to Boycott Elsevier
The background to this open letter is described in “Retracting Seralini Study Violates Science & Ethics” (ISIS report)

To:         Wallace Hayes, Editor in Chief
Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT)
Cc:          Elsevier

Re:  “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” by GE Séralini et al, published in  Food and Chemical Toxicology 2012, 50(11),  4221-31

Your decision [1] to retract the paper is in clear violation of the international ethical norms as laid down by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), of which FCT is a member. According to COPE, the only grounds for retraction are (1) clear evidence that the findings are unreliable due to misconduct or honest error, (2) plagiarism or redundant publication, or (3) unethical research. You have already acknowledged that the paper of Séralini et al (2012) contains none of those faults.

This arbitrary, groundless retraction of a published, thoroughly peer-reviewed paper is without precedent in the history of scientific publishing, and raises grave concerns over the integrity and impartiality of science. These concerns are heightened by a sequence of events surrounding the retraction:

  • the appointment of ex-Monsanto employee Richard Goodman to the newly created post of associate editor for biotechnology at FCT
  • the retraction of another study finding potentially harmful effects from GMOs (which almost immediately appeared in another journal)
  • the failure to retract a paper published by Monsanto scientists in the same journal in 2004, for which a gross error has been identified.
The retraction is erasing from the public record results that are potentially of very great importance for public health. It is censorship of scientific research, knowledge, and understanding, an abuse of science striking at the very heart of science and democracy, and science for the public good.

We urge you to reverse this appalling decision, and further, to issue a fulsome public apology to Séralini and his colleagues. Until you accede to our request, we will boycott Elsevier, i.e., decline to purchase Elsevier products, to publish, review, or do editorial work for Elsevier.

  1. 1. “Elsevier announces article retraction from journal Food and Chemical Toxicology,” PRNewswire, 28 November 2013.
Signed (26 scientists from 6 countries)

  1. Henry A Becker, BE, MSc, ScD,FCIC, Killam Laureate 1992, Engineering Medal 1990, Prof Emeritus, Queen’s university, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, ac.usneeuq.eehc@rekceb.yrneh
  2. E. Ann Clark, PhD, Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph (retired), Ontario, Canada ac.hpleugou@kralcae
  3. Joe Cummins, Ph D Genetics, Prof Emeritus of Genetics, Distinguished Fellow of ISIS, London, Ontario, Canada, ac.owu@snimmucj
  4. Robert M Davidson, MD PhD, FAIS, Internal Medicine, Fellow of the American Institute of Stress, Texas, USA moc.oohay@99snortap
  5. Emilio DelGiudice, PhD, High Energy and Quantum Field Theorist, Prigogine Medalist 2009, Milan, Italy, ti.nfni.im@eciduigled.oilimE
  6. James DeMeo PhD, Geographical Earth Science and Climatology, Orgone Biophyscial Research Lab, Ashland, Oregon, USA, ten.dnim@oemed
  7. Robert S. Dotson MD, Clinical Instructor, University of Washington Medical Center, Ophthalmology Department, Seattle, Washington, USA, ten.sdt@nostodr
  8. Christopher Exley PhD, Professor Bioinorganic Chemistry, Aluminium and Silicon Research Group, Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratory, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK, ku.ca.eleek@yelxe.c
  9. Julian Haffegee, M Sc Biophysics, Webmaster & Productions Editor, Science in Society, Milton Keynes, UK ku.gro.sis-i@seluj
  10. Mae-Wan Ho, Ph D. Biosafety Expert, Quantum Biologist, Prigogine Medalist 2014, Director, Institute of Science in Society, London, UK ku.gro.sis-i@oh.w.m
  11. Brian John, MA D Phil, Ex Durham University, Dept of Geography, Wales, UK, moc.cam@4nhojnairb
  12. Rosemary Mason MB ChB FRCA, Award winning ex-editor of medical journal, Scotland, UK, moc.tenretnitb@nosam.yramesor
  13. Ted Mendoza, PhD, Agronomist, University of the Philippines Los Banos, Philippines, moc.liamg@1102zdnm.mrafoce
  14. Eva Novotny, PhD Astrophysicist, Pollen flow, Cambridge, UK, ku.oc.espilc.ne@ne
  15. John W. Oller, Jr., PhD, Professor of Communicative Disorders, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA, ten.htuoslleb@rello
  16. John Palmer, PhD Prof of Mathematics (retired), University of Arizona, Tucson, USA, moc.gnisuohocaronos@nhoj
  17. Gerald Pollack, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Water, Prof Bioengineering University of Washington, Prigogine Medalist 2011, Seattle, Washington, USA, ude.notgnihsaw.u@phg
  18. Arpad Pusztai, FRSE, chemist/biochemist, expert on nutritional and toxicological studies, Budapest, Hungary, uh.enilno-t@aszusZ.zcodrab
  19. Peter T Saunders, Ph D. Theoretical Cosmology, Prof Emeritus Applied Mathematics, Biomathematician, Co-Director, Institute of Science in Society, London, UK ku.ca.lck@srednuas.retep
  20. Vandana Shiva, Ph D. Quantum physics, winner of Right Livelihood award & numerous other prizes, honorary degrees from numerous universities worldwide, Director of Navdanya, New Delhi, India,  moc.liamg@avihs.anadnav
  21. Eva Sirinathsinghji, Ph D. Neuroscience & Molecular Biology, Staff Writer for Science in Society, Institute of Science in Society, London, UK ku.gro.sis-i@ave
  22. Nancy Swanson Ph D. Quantum optics, 5 US patents & author of books, Seattle, Washingon, USA moc.tne-sucaba@nosnaws
  23. Stephanie Seneff Ph D. Senior Research Scientist, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Cambridge, Mass, USA,  ude.tim.liasc@ffenes
  24. Lucija Tomljenovic PhD, Senior Research Scientist, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Canada, moc.liamg@77tajicul
  25. Oscar Zamora PhD Professor and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of the Philippines Los Banos, The Philippines, moc.oohay@aromazbo
  26. Lucille Elna P. de Guzman, PhD, Seed Technology/ University of the Philippines Los Banos, hp.ude.pu@1namzugedpl

Read one of Maewan Ho’s works here:

 GM Ban Long Overdue: Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines

Unexplained sicknesses and deaths

In July 2003, a farmer living in a small village in the south of Mindanao Island of The Philippines, found himself and his entire family suddenly falling ill with fever and respiratory, intestinal and skin ailments. They were not alone; at least fifty-one residents of Sitio Kalyong (Barangay Landan, Polomolok, South Cotabato Province) had similar complaints at around the same time. They all lived within 100 m of a field planted with GM maize, and their illnesses coincided with the GM maize flowering time.

Another resident of Sitio Kalyong, said [1] that the GM-maize pollen made him dizzy, gave him severe headaches, chest pains and caused him to vomit. The field in Sitio Kalyong belonged to a local official who bought five bags of Monsanto’s Bt maize seed (Dekalb818YG with Cry1Ab from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis ), enough to plant 5 hectares. He paid 4 500 pesos per bag, which was more than twice as much as the non-GM variety at 2 200 pesos per bag. The premium price included the promise of a small vehicle if the harvest turned out to be good, as it was supposed to. In the event, the promise was broken on both counts: the harvest of 93 sacks compared poorly with the usual 150 sacks per ha, and the small vehicle was never delivered. The local official stopped planting the Bt maize after 2003.

As part of an investigation to determine what made the villagers ill, one of the farmers was “volunteered” to venture inside the Bt maize field in the presence of more than 10 witnesses, as he explained to me via an interpreter. “Within 5 minutes, I could not breathe and felt something extraordinary on my face,” he recalled. The others could see that his face had swollen up and remarked that it was “very dangerous”. In fact, the farmer is ill to this day. Every now and again, he feels weak in his limbs and numb in his hands and feet. He held up the back of his right hand to show me the index finger. A yellowish-brown discoloration and thickening of the fingernail had developed since he was exposed to the GM pollen. In October 2003, blood samples were taken from the affected villagers who still had symptoms, which were then frozen and analysed. Antibodies to the Bt toxin Cry1Ab expressed in the GM maize were found in all the blood samples taken from the 38 individuals.
Many if not all of the villagers exposed to GM-maize pollen in 2003 have remained ill to this day. Furthermore, there have been five unexplained deaths in the village. In total, 96 people got sick. In addition, nine horses, four water buffalos, and 37 chickens died soon after feeding on GM maize.

Denial and intimidation

The government’s doctors had dismissed the illnesses as “influenza” and refused to investigate further. Meanwhile, without additional funding to proceed with independent studies, no follow up of any kind has been done, despite the continuing unexplained illnesses and deaths.
No more GM-maize has been grown in Sitio Kalyong after 2003, but further planting took place elsewhere in Polomolok, in Tupi, Tampala Tampakan and in Marbel and several other towns in South Cotabato. The harvested cobs were sold as food in the open market, even though the yellow maize is intended for animal feed, and yellow maize is generally not eaten as food in the Philippines.

MASIPAG (a farmers-scientists organisation) had asked the government to stop distributing Bt maize in March 2004, and warned farmers to be vigilant when buying seeds to avoid Bt maize [2]. They pointed out that Monsanto’s Bt maize had been commercialised without adequate safety tests for health or the environment.

A concerned farmer travelled the country speaking of the plight of the villagers of Sitio Kalyong. This alerted people to further cases elsewhere in Mindanao (see below).

In November 2004, a Monsanto employee reportedly arrived in Sitio Kalyong accompanied by three large men on motorcycles that had no license plates. They asked for the activist farmer, indicating that they wanted to “negotiate” with him. Alarmed and intimidated, his neighbours said he wasn’t home; telling off the gang at the same time. No such visits have occurred since. The incident has made me wary about naming any individual in this report.

More illnesses in 2004

More illnesses were reported in July 2004 when GM maize fields in four separate villages of Mindanao came into flower, I was told by a farmer who fell ill in 2003. Thirty-two people in Tuka, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat, suffered from headache, stomach-ache, dizziness, diarrhoea, vomiting and difficulty in breathing. About 30 ha were planted with Dekalb 818YG, but most of the residents affected were tenants, and hence not aware that what they planted was Bt maize, or even what Bt maize really was. Most farmers in Bagumbayan were aware of “Bt maize” based only on what Monsanto has told them. Bagumbayan is a “pet area” of Monsanto, after having won an award in 1999 for being the second biggest user of Power herbicide in the world. In South Sepaka, Sto. Nino, South Cotabato, nine were reported sick, but 31 signed a petition circulated by a member of the Parish Social Action Center, claiming they fell ill during the flowering period of the Bt maize. Symptoms included red eyes, dizziness and weakness. Around two ha were planted with Pioneer 30Y 50, a Bt maize. The Bt maize belonged to a seed dealer who apparently failed to inform the village chairman that he had planted Bt maize. Most of the residents temporarily left their houses.

Around 20 children (aged 5-10 years) got sick during the flowering period of the Bt maize Dekalb 818YG planted near the elementary school in Magallon, M’lang, North Cotabato. They showed symptoms similar to those in other locations: cough, sneezing, asthma and difficulty in breathing. An authorized dealer had planted 10 ha without informing the community that it was Bt maize, but did say that the maize could not be roasted and eaten. One man ate a cob and got diarrhoea; the same happened to four goats that ate the maize.

Despite the unexplained illnesses and deaths, the Philippines government has failed to even initiate a safety enquiry, or set up post-market monitoring of health impacts. Instead it authorised commercial planting of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready maize in February 2005, and later, a new GM maize variety with stacked Bt-toxin and Roundup tolerance; and approved the import of 19 GM products for food, feed and processing.

Feelings were running high in the Philippines as I began my lecture tour at the International Conference on Safe Food, 9-10 December, in Manila, Luzon. At the closing plenary, more than 250 participants from religious and farmers organisations, local government officials and academics from all over the Philippines called for a ban on GMOs in food, agriculture and fisheries.

Similar sentiments were expressed in Mindanao at the forum on Safe Food and Food Security, 12-13, in Davao City, and also at the International Forum on Genetic Engineering and Sustainable Agriculture on 15 December, Central Mindanao University, Musuan, and especially at Xavier University, 16 December, Cagayan de Oro. Farmer after farmer spoke from the floor, denouncing the government for approving the commercial release of Bt maize without safety tests, then failing to ban the Bt maize or to conduct a proper enquiry after it was implicated in serious health impacts including deaths, and instead giving approval to further releases of potentially more dangerous GM crops and products, including Roundup Ready soya (see below). Roundup Ready soya was approved for food, feed and processing only, not for field releases; but this is an artificial distinction as the soya seeds processed as tofu are the same seeds that the farmers plant.

Global ban and safety enquiry long overdue as more damning evidence accumulates

For years, the pro-GM lobby has been denying and dismissing all evidence pointing to the health hazards inherent to the GM technology. Meanwhile, more damning evidence has surfaced.

A research team led by Dr Irina Ermakova of the Russian Academy of Sciences reported in October 2005 that 36 percent of rats born to pregnant rats fed Roundup Ready GM-soya starting from before the rats conceived were severely stunted, compared with 6 percent of rats born to those fed non GM-soya. Within three weeks, 55.6 percent of the progeny of GM-soya fed rats died; a death rate six to eight times that of progeny from rats fed non-GM soya, or a diet without added soya [3].
When interviewed on BBC recently [4], Dr Ermakova said that she has now repeated the experiment three times with very similar results each time; the average death rate within three weeks of birth was 51 percent in the group fed GM-soya compared to around 6 percent in the two control groups. In addition, a third of surviving animals in the GM-fed group show markedly reduced body weight and lack normal internal organ development.

New research in Canberra Australia demonstrated that a previously harmless protein in bean when transferred to pea caused inflammation in the lungs of mice and provoked reactions to other proteins in the feed [5]. Immunological and biochemical studies carried out for the first time on the transgenic protein revealed that it is processed differently in the alien species, turning the innocuous protein into a strong immunogen. In addition, the transgenic protein promoted immune reactions against multiple other proteins in the diet. In other words, it provoked dangerous food sensitivities. As practically all the transgenic proteins involve gene transfer to an alien species, they will be subject to different processing. All transgenic proteins, therefore, can potentially cause serious immune reactions including allergies [6]. Yet, none of the transgenic proteins commercially approved for food and feed had received the regimen of tests now carried out on the transgenic pea protein. This omission is a most serious public health issue; and warrants an immediate ban on GM food and feed until proper assessment on the immune potential of all the transgenic proteins has been carried out.

These latest developments are the most dramatic and revealing in the light of previous scientific and anecdotal evidence that have been suppressed and dismissed, or simply not followed up (see Box). I should mention a series of reports from the Universities of Urbino, Perugia and Pavia in Italy that have also come to light. They document many changes in the cells of young mice fed GM soya. The acinar (secretory) cells of the pancreas showed a pattern of changes associated with a decrease in the synthesis of the digestive enzyme a -amylase in mice fed GM-soya compared with controls [7, 8]. In liver cells, however, the GM-soya fed mice showed a pattern of changes associated with an increase in metabolic rate compared with controls [9, 10] (“liver of mice fed GM soya works overtime”, SiS 20). Some of those changes could be reversed by a change of diet from GM-soya to non-GM soya; but equally these changes could be induced in adult mice by switching their diet from non-GM to GM-soya [11]. There were also alterations in the Sertoli cells (cells nurturing the developing sperms) and the sperm cells in the testes associated with a decrease in transcription in young mice fed GM-soya compared with those fed non-GM soya [12].

Damning evidence against the safety of GM food and feed

* Pregnant female rats fed GM soya gave birth to severely stunted progeny and others in the litters that died within three weeks (see main article)
* GM-soya affected cells in the pancreas, liver and testes of young mice (see main article)
* Rats fed a Monsanto GM maize developed serious kidney and blood abnormalities [13]
* Villagers in the south of the Philippines suffered mysterious illnesses when a Monsanto GM maize hybrid came into flower; antibodies to the Bt protein in the GM maize were found in the villagers, and there have been five unexplained deaths (see main article)
* A dozen cows died after eating a Syngenta GM maize and more in the herd had to be slaughtered due to mysterious illnesses [14]
* Dr . Arpad Pusztai and colleagues found young rats fed GM potatoes damaged in every organ system including an increase in thickness of the stomach lining to twice that in controls [15]
* Scientists in Egypt found similar effects in mice fed another GM potato [16]
* The US Food and Drug Administration had data dating back to early 1990s showing that rats fed GM tomatoes had developed small holes in their stomach [15]
* Chickens fed Aventis’ glufosinate-tolerant GM maize were twice as likely to die compared with controls [17]
* New research demonstrated that a harmless protein in bean when transferred to pea caused inflammation in the lungs of mice and provoked reactions to other proteins in the diet (“Transgenic pea that made mice ill”, this series)

Commenting on some of the evidence presented here, Dr. Michael Antoniou, Reader in Medical and Molecular Genetics at King’s College London, had this to say [18]: “If the kind of detrimental effects seen in animals fed GM food were observed in a clinical setting, the use of the product would have been halted and further research instigated to determine the cause and find possible solutions. However, what we find repeatedly in the case of GM food is that both governments and industry plough on ahead with the development, endorsement and marketing [of] GM foods despite the warnings of potential ill health from animal feeding studies, as if nothing has happened. This is to the point where governments and industry even seem to ignore the results of their own research! There is clearly a need more than ever before for independent research into the potential ill effects of GM food including most importantly extensive animal and human feeding trials.”

A global ban on GM food and feed is long overdue. There must also be a comprehensive enquiry into the safety of GM food and feed, and into the systematic suppression and denial of the incriminating evidence.1
More — by Mae-wan Ho — “Chronicle of An Ecological Disaster Foretold.”
Interview of Mae-wan coming up!!!
  1. References. []
Paul K. Haeder lived one-year in Seattle working for "the" SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the largest private sector union in the USA (in their pro-Obama PR materials), to organize adjuncts in Bezos-Boeing-Gates land, after having worked as a communications, language, composition, writing instructor of the freeway flyer variety in El Paso for the University of Texas, the El Paso Community College, language institutes, Park College, the US Army, La Tuna Federal Correctional Institute, Packard Electric in Juarez, New Mexico State University, and several cities in Mexico. In Washington State, he taught at Gonzaga University, Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College. He's job hunting -- at that golden age of 56 (and counting down) ... just what the progressive-left-of-center non-profits in the Vancouver-Portland “area” want (NOT). He can be reached at: