A WikiLeaks release of U.S. diplomatic cables has revealed that the Bush administration planned ways to retaliate against Europe for its refusal to use genetically modified seeds.
According to Democracy Now:
"In 2007, then-U.S. ambassador to France Craig Stapleton was concerned about France's decision to ban cultivation of genetically modified corn produced by biotech giant Monsanto. He also warned that a new French environmental review standard could spread anti-biotech policy across Europe ...
In the leaked cable, Stapleton writes, quote, '... Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice.'"
Stapleton recommended retaliations that would cause "some pain" across the EU. Folks, this is pretty much conclusive proof that the U.S. government is working towards Monsanto's pro-GM goals.
(For video transcript, see Democracy Now link below.)
Monsanto has a long and sordid history of manipulation and questionable business practices, so this latest development doesn't really surprise me. It's quite clear that the US government has been aiding and abetting Monsanto's quest to control the world's food crops, and as Jeffrey Smith says in the Democracy Now interview above, these leaked documents "lays bare the mechanics of that effort."
According to U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, the Bush administration conspired to find ways to retaliate against Europe for refusing to use genetically modified (GM) seeds, mainly by engaging in aggresive trade wars against reluctant nations.
Wikileaks Reveals Plan to Retaliate Against Europe for Non-GMO Stance
In a leaked cable from 2007, Craig Stapleton, who was the U.S. ambassador to France at the time, comments on France's decision to ban cultivation of genetically modified (GM) corn:
"Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the [European] Commission... Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice.
... Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.
The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory."
WikiLeaks also released a cable from 2009; this one from the US ambassador to Spain, asking the US government to help formulate a strategy to support the members of the Spanish government interested in promoting GMOs.
According to Smith, the information specifically indicates that they'd been briefed by the director of Monsanto for the region, and that strategies to promote the GMO agenda were created during that meeting.
The Guardian reports that,"[T]he cables show US diplomats working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto.
"In response to recent urgent requests by [Spanish rural affairs ministry] state secretary Josep Puxeu and Monsanto, post requests renewed US government support of Spain's science-based agricultural biotechnology position through high-level US government intervention."
It also emerges that Spain and the US have worked closely together to persuade the EU not to strengthen biotechnology laws. In one cable, the embassy in Madrid writes: "If Spain falls, the rest of Europe will follow."
The cables show that not only did the Spanish government ask the US to keep pressure on Brussels but that the US knew in advance how Spain would vote, even before the Spanish biotech commission had reported."
The Guardian also mentions leaked cables from the US embassy in the Vatican, quoting a cable from 2008:
"Opportunities exist to press the issue with the Vatican, and in turn to influence a wide segment of the population in Europe and the developing world."
The Guardian also reports that,"[I]n a setback, the US embassy found that its closest ally on GM, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the powerful Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the man who mostly represents the pope at the United Nations, had withdrawn his support for the US.
"A Martino deputy told us recently that the cardinal had co-operated with embassy Vatican on biotech over the past two years in part to compensate for his vocal disapproval of the Iraq war and its aftermath – to keep relations with the USG [US government] smooth. According to our source, Martino no longer feels the need to take this approach," says the cable."
Fred Branfman, writing for AlterNet sums it up when he says that the most terrifying revelation of Wikileaks is just how much our government lies to us, referring to our government and military as a "vast lying machine that perpetuates mass murder in our name."
This is true in the case of manipulating and forcing countries to implement the Monsanto agenda as well. In fact, I've often stated that genetically modified foods is a major threat to the very existence of human life on this planet.
Genetically Modified Corn High on the Agenda
One of the genetically modified (GM) products of particular interest appears to have been Monsanto's first GM corn, known as MON 810. This was the first genetically modified seed to be approved for widespread planting.
Today, GM corn currently represents over 90 percent of all corn acreage in the US.
Europe, however, has been slow to accept this and other GM crops. The European Commission has given GM crops its stamp of approval, but the food industry has remained resistant as European consumers were, and still are, concerned about potential ill effects.
Some European countries have even decided to ban GM crops within their own borders regardless of the EU Commission's approval.
The Health Hazards of GM Corn
There's very convincing evidence that genetically modified foods spell nothing but trouble for your health. As Smith discusses in his interview, scientists have discovered a number of health problems related to genetically modified foods in general, and GM corn in particular.
However, these studies have been repeatedly ignored by both the European Food Safety Authority and the US FDA...
Monsanto's GM corn is genetically engineered to ward off rootworm by producing its own pesticide, a toxin called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt toxin).
In a 2005 article, Jeffrey Smith describes the findings from animal studies, in which rats developed a number of significant reactions when fed Bt corn, including:
- Increased basophils, which is a typical indication of allergies
- Increased lymphocytes and white blood cells, which is an indication of a response to infections, toxins and various diseases including cancer
- Blood pressure problems
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Kidney inflammation
- Liver and kidney lesions, and other changes
In Germany and the Philippines, GM corn has also been blamed for the deaths of buffaloes, cows, horses, and poultry.
Damaging Research Remains Ignored
One researcher deserving of particular mention here is Dr. Arpad Pusztai, a biologist with more than 300 articles and 12 books to his credit and considered the world's top expert in his field.
In the early 1990's, he worked on a $3 million grant from the U.K. government, with a mission to design the system for safety testing of GMOs. But when he accidentally discovered that genetically modified (GM) foods are inherently unsafe, he quickly became the industry's bad-boy poster child, setting an example for other scientists thinking about blowing the whistle.
The results of Pusztai's work were supposed to become the required testing protocols for all of Europe. But when he fed supposedly harmless GM potatoes to rats, he made a shocking discovery.
Within just 10 days, the animals developed:
- Potentially pre-cancerous cell growth
- Smaller brains, livers, and testicles
- Partially atrophied livers
- Damaged immune systems
Moreover, the cause was almost certainly caused by side effects from the process of genetic engineering itself, not from the added material.
Jeffrey Smith explains:
"[H]e was testing with rats that were eating the genetically modified potato, engineered to produce an insecticidal protein. But he also tested other groups of rats that were eating natural potatoes that were spiked with that same protein, and then a third group that was just eating natural potatoes without the insecticide.
Only the group that ate the genetically engineered potato got these problems, not the group that was eating the potatoes along with the insecticide. So it clearly wasn't the insecticide; it was somehow the process of genetic engineering.
That process creates massive collateral damage inside the DNA of the plant. Hundreds and thousands of mutations can be formed. There could be hundreds or thousands of genes that are natural genes in the plant that change their levels of expression.
For example, with MON 810 corn, they found there's a gene that is normally silent that is switched on and now creates an allergen in corn.
They found 43 different genes that were significantly up-regulated or down-regulated, meaning that there are massive changes in these crops, and they're not being evaluated by the U.S.—by the FDA or any other regulatory authority around the world, before being put onto the market."
It's quite feasible that the GM foods on the market—which are created from the same process—might have similar affects on humans, yet all our regulatory agencies are turning a blind eye!
Worse yet, researchers have been actively silenced to hide this information.
Dr. Pusztai, for example, was interviewed on TV and became a hero at his institute -- for two days.
Then, following phone calls from the pro-GMO prime minister's office, he was fired from his post and further silenced with threats of a lawsuit. His team was dismantled, and the protocols he developed were never implemented.
Eventually, an invitation to speak before Parliament lifted his gag order and his research was published in the prestigious Lancet in 1999.
Other Examples of Dangerous GM Foods
In addition to corn, there are six other GM foods currently on the market. And all of them have been linked to potential health problems.
- Soy -- GM soy is highly allergenic and accounts for about 90 percent of soybeans planted in the U.S. It is present in about 70 percent of all food products found in American supermarkets. Rats fed GM soy had increased mortality, lower birth weight, and damaged sperm and reproductive ability.
- Cottonseed (used in vegetable cooking oils) -- Sheep that grazed on GM cotton eventually died after developing severe irritation and black patches in their intestines, and enlarged bile ducts.
- Canola -- Three different mutant weeds resistant to three common herbicides – Monsanto's Roundup, Cyanamid's Pursuit, and Aventis' Liberty – were produced when Canadian farmers began planting GM canola seeds.
- Sugar from sugar beets -- Sugar beets easily cross pollinate, meaning GM beets could "infect" organic varieties and destroy their value.
- Hawaiian papaya -- GM papaya was introduced in 1998. After six years, a test was conducted on 20,000 papaya seeds. Eighty percent were taken from organic farms. Half of the seeds were found to be genetically modified! This means that it's virtually impossible to safeguard non-GM crops from GM crops.
- Zucchini and yellow squash -- GM squash contains 68 times less beta-carotene and four times more sodium than non-GM varieties.
How You Can Avoid GM Foods, and Help Others Do the Same
Most people want to avoid GM foods but it is virtually impossible to do so, since the government prevents GMO labeling.
However, Jeffery Smith has compiled an excellent resource for you to avoid the government block of information. It is the free Non-GMO Shopping Guide. Print it out, and share it with your friends and family, and post it to your social networks.
Alternatively, you can download a free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
If you're feeling really ambitious you can also order the Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure in bulk, and bring them to the grocery stores in your area. Talk to the owner or manager and get permission to post them in their store.
For More Information
Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology has authored two excellent books on this topic which I highly recommend reading:
- Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating
- Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.
There are also a number of great films and lectures available, including:
- Hidden Dangers in Kid's Meals
- Your Milk on Drugs - Just Say No!
- Everything You Have to Know About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods
It's quite clear that our government will NOT take a stand and protect you from these dangerous foods. On the contrary, it appears they're actively backing Monsanto's agenda to flood all markets with their genetically modified wares—without any proof of safety whatsoever.
So please, do your homework. Together, we as consumers have the power to stop them! All we need is about five percent of consumers to simply stop buying GM foods, and the food industry would have to reconsider their source of ingredients.
Keep educating yourself on this issue, and help others do the same.