Monsanto, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Global Food Dominance

by on December 12, 2013 · 13 comments

in Environment, History, Organizing

monsanto279By Ellen Brown / EllenBrown.com

Control oil and you control nations,” said US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. ”Control food and you control the people.”

Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity with GMO (genetically modified) seeds that are distributed by only a few transnational corporations. But this agenda has been implemented at grave cost to our health; and if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes, control over not just our food but our health, our environment and our financial system will be in the hands of transnational corporations.

Profits Before Populations

According to an Acres USA interview of plant pathologist Don Huber, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, two modified traits account for practically all of the genetically modified crops grown in the world today. One involves insect resistance. The other, more disturbing modification involves insensitivity to glyphosate-based herbicides (plant-killing chemicals). Often known as Roundup after the best-selling Monsanto product of that name, glyphosate poisons everything in its path except plants genetically modified to resist it.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Glyphosate is an essential partner to the GMOs that are the principal business of the burgeoning biotech industry. Glyphosate is a “broad-spectrum” herbicide that destroys indiscriminately, not by killing unwanted plants directly but by tying up access to critical nutrients.

Because of the insidious way in which it works, it has been sold as a relatively benign replacement for the devastating earlier dioxin-based herbicides. But a barrage of experimental data has now shown glyphosate and the GMO foods incorporating it to pose serious dangers to health. Compounding the risk is the toxicity of “inert” ingredients used to make glyphosate more potent. Researchers have found, for example, that the surfactant POEA can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. But these risks have been conveniently ignored.

The widespread use of GMO foods and glyphosate herbicides helps explain the anomaly that the US spends over twice as much per capita on healthcare as the average developed country, yet it is rated far down the scale of the world’s healthiest populations. The World Health Organization has ranked the US LAST out of 17 developed nations for overall health.

Sixty to seventy percent of the foods in US supermarkets are now genetically modified. By contrast, in at least 26 other countries—including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia—GMOs are totally or partially banned; and significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries.

A ban on GMO and glyphosate use might go far toward improving the health of Americans. But the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade agreement for which the Obama Administration has sought Fast Track status, would block that sort of cause-focused approach to the healthcare crisis.

Roundup’s Insidious Effects

via PopularResistance.org

via PopularResistance.org

Roundup-resistant crops escape being killed by glyphosate, but they do not avoid absorbing it into their tissues. Herbicide-tolerant crops have substantially higher levels of herbicide residues than other crops. In fact, many countries have had to increase their legally allowable levels—by up to 50 times—in order to accommodate the introduction of GM crops. In the European Union, residues in foods are set to rise 100-150 times if a new proposal by Monsanto is approved. Meanwhile, herbicide-tolerant “super-weeds” have adapted to the chemical, requiring even more toxic doses and new toxic chemicals to kill the plant.

Human enzymes are affected by glyphosate just as plant enzymes are: the chemical blocks the uptake of manganese and other essential minerals. Without those minerals, we cannot properly metabolize our food. That helps explain the rampant epidemic of obesity in the United States. People eat and eat in an attempt to acquire the nutrients that are simply not available in their food.

According to researchers Samsell and Seneff in Biosemiotic Entropy: Disorder, Disease, and Mortality (April 2013):

Glyphosate’s inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes is an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals. CYP enzymes play crucial roles in biology . . . . Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body. Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

More than 40 diseases have been linked to glyphosate use, and more keep appearing. In September 2013, the National University of Rio Cuarto, Argentina, published research finding that glyphosate enhances the growth of fungi that produce aflatoxin B1, one of the most carcinogenic of substances. A doctor from Chaco, Argentina, told Associated Press, “We’ve gone from a pretty healthy population to one with a high rate of cancer, birth defects and illnesses seldom seen before.” Fungi growths have increased significantly in US corn crops.

Glyphosate has also done serious damage to the environment. According to an October 2012 report by the Institute of Science in Society:

Agribusiness claims that glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant crops will improve crop yields, increase farmers’ profits and benefit the environment by reducing pesticide use. Exactly the opposite is the case. . . . [T]he evidence indicates that glyphosate herbicides and glyphosate-tolerant crops have had wide-ranging detrimental effects, including glyphosate resistant super weeds, virulent plant (and new livestock) pathogens, reduced crop health and yield, harm to off-target species from insects to amphibians and livestock, as well as reduced soil fertility.

Politics Trumps Science

In light of these adverse findings, why have Washington and the European Commission continued to endorse glyphosate as safe? Critics point to lax regulations, heavy influence from corporate lobbyists, and a political agenda that has more to do with power and control than protecting the health of the people.

In the ground-breaking 2007 book Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, William Engdahl states that global food control and depopulation became US strategic policy under Rockefeller protégé Henry Kissinger. Along with oil geopolitics, they were to be the new “solution” to the threats to US global power and continued US access to cheap raw materials from the developing world. In line with that agenda, the government has shown extreme partisanship in favor of the biotech agribusiness industry, opting for a system in which the industry “voluntarily” polices itself. Bio-engineered foods are treated as “natural food additives,” not needing any special testing.

Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, confirms that US Food and Drug Administration policy allows biotech companies to determine if their own foods are safe. Submission of data is completely voluntary. He concludes:

In the critical arena of food safety research, the biotech industry is without accountability, standards, or peer-review. They’ve got bad science down to a science.

Whether or not depopulation is an intentional part of the agenda, widespread use of GMO and glyphosate is having that result. The endocrine-disrupting properties of glyphosate have been linked to infertility, miscarriage, birth defects and arrested sexual development. In Russian experiments, animals fed GM soy were sterile by the third generation. Vast amounts of farmland soil are also being systematically ruined by the killing of beneficial microorganisms that allow plant roots to uptake soil nutrients.

In Gary Null’s eye-opening documentary Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs,Dr. Bruce Lipton warns, “We are leading the world into the sixth mass extinction of life on this planet. . . . Human behavior is undermining the web of life.”

The TPP and International Corporate Control

via ultraculture.org

via ultraculture.org

As the devastating conclusions of these and other researchers awaken people globally to the dangers of Roundup and GMO foods, transnational corporations are working feverishly with the Obama administration to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that would strip governments of the power to regulate transnational corporate activities. Negotiations have been kept secret from Congress but not from corporate advisors, 600 of whom have been consulted and know the details. According to Barbara Chicherio in Nation of Change:

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has the potential to become the biggest regional Free Trade Agreement in history. . . .

The chief agricultural negotiator for the US is the former Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddique. If ratified the TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented right to demand taxpayer compensation for policies that corporations deem a barrier to their profits.

. . . They are carefully crafting the TPP to insure that citizens of the involved countries have no control over food safety, what they will be eating, where it is grown, the conditions under which food is grown and the use of herbicides and pesticides.

Food safety is only one of many rights and protections liable to fall to this super-weapon of international corporate control. In an April 2013 interview on The Real News Network, Kevin Zeese called the TPP “NAFTA on steroids” and “a global corporate coup.” He warned:

No matter what issue you care about—whether its wages, jobs, protecting the environment . . . this issue is going to adversely affect it . . . .

If a country takes a step to try to regulate the financial industry or set up a public bank to represent the public interest, it can be sued . . . .

Return to Nature: Not Too Late

There is a safer, saner, more earth-friendly way to feed nations. While Monsanto and US regulators are forcing GM crops on American families, Russian families are showing what can be done with permaculture methods on simple garden plots. In 2011, 40% of Russia’s food was grown on dachas (cottage gardens or allotments). Dacha gardens produced over 80% of the country’s fruit and berries, over 66% of the vegetables, almost 80% of the potatoes and nearly 50% of the nation’s milk, much of it consumed raw. According to Vladimir Megre, author of the best-selling Ringing Cedars Series:

Essentially, what Russian gardeners do is demonstrate that gardeners can feed the world – and you do not need any GMOs, industrial farms, or any other technological gimmicks to guarantee everybody’s got enough food to eat. Bear in mind that Russia only has 110 days of growing season per year – so in the US, for example, gardeners’ output could be substantially greater. Today, however, the area taken up by lawns in the US is two times greater than that of Russia’s gardens – and it produces nothing but a multi-billion-dollar lawn care industry.

In the US, only about 0.6 percent of the total agricultural area is devoted to organic farming. This area needs to be vastly expanded if we are to avoid “the sixth mass extinction.” But first, we need to urge our representatives to stop Fast Track, vote no on the TPP, and pursue a global phase-out of glyphosate-based herbicides and GMO foods. Our health, our finances and our environment are at stake.

____________________________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar tony December 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I work for Monsanto neither I nor my co-workers would work there if we thought any of this was true. This really is complete nonsense its sad how badly informed people have become and how easily they are fooled by this recycling of scare stories – that are stories fiction

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avatar John December 13, 2013 at 9:57 am

Tony. Let me tell you about companies like Monsanto:

They have been so successful and have so much money that they have deluded themselves into genuinely believing they know what is best for everyone, and they are trying to exert their power to this end. The TPP is a corporate nationalism and corporatist riddled venture in idiocy.

They are fools. They do not know what is best for everyone, and because the people have opposed them for their “benevolent ends” they are now trying to obtain what they need to exert their control via a falsely-named “Free Trade Agreement”, since they couldn’t get support from us, they decided to use their money to gain favor.

Do you have any actual proof to disprove these claims. He has provided supporting evidence, yet all you have is your word. It doesn’t matter if you work there or not, if the best you can come up with in response is that “It’s complete nonsense” and nothing but “scare stories”, your argument doesn’t amount to anything. At all. It’s flimsy, and probably based on your Stockholm-based love for the company.

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avatar tony December 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I am not seeing any facts that I need to refute just generalizations that are not useful. They quote a film. Since when is a film facts. He quotes other anti-GM groups. This is very common. no facts just quoting others as proof. Yes companies do what they think will make them a profit and in a way that will mean that their customers will want to buy their products. That is what Monsanto does. They motivate themselves with a vision (a common idea even for a football team) or what they do and how they can differentiate themselves from competitors. Monsanto is not a chemical company its a seed company versus Syngenta who is the chemical pesticide version.

something very simple I can tell you, I know the people at the highest levels in Monsanto and they aren’t into heavy handling government people or anything else sneaky. I will give you an example – if we are at a science meeting we can’t go up to a person and push them for data and information without first identifying ourselves as Monsanto employees – this is to make sure they don’t reveal something their bosses or people wouldn’t be comfortable with them talking about. This is a typical example of the ethics training we get. Have a USDA person visiting – can’t buy them even lunch – its against the government rules. If we see a rule violation in a field trial don’t ignore it but report it to the Monsanto reg people who will report in a proactive manner to the USDA or EPA even if it means a fine. This has happened and I have seen it in action. The field responsible gets some grief for having a violation in the field they manage but also get a positive response from the company for doing the right thing. Also have a 1800 number report directly to the ethics oversight team — this is just very good management practices.

I really doubt that Greenpeace or any of the anti-Gm activist groups have anything like these codes of ethics. from what I see in posted to the web they appear to total lack any ethics about checking facts.

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avatar tony December 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm

For this TPP where is the evidence that this involves Monsanto? Also wouldn’t we all want to have consistent regulatory safety across countries so that we can trust food from the US, Mexico or the EU etc?

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avatar tony December 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm

How are US regulators forced Gm crops on Americans? Why is it OK they are allow organic crops that kill people? I mention organic as a comparison. We hear of bacterial contamination of food and deaths from organic food but we don’t hear report of bacteria contamination and deaths from GM food. Why is that Gm food is therefore more harmful? How does the organic industry get away with it?

Do you believe that GM crops increase the use or decrease the use of chemical insecticides? I know the answer but do you?

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avatar tony December 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm

You just need to look at food production before modern ag and after to see the level of food production. If you want to produce your own food good luck to you. There is none to stop you. No activist crazies in your way.

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avatar tony December 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Why do you think organic food production is so low? If you believe the web it is highly profitable and more healthier for you. How come organic farming is so productive but the produce is higher priced?

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avatar Gregory Harries December 14, 2013 at 12:21 am

Tony, you clearly get paid to write for the agribusiness side of the argument. Get bent

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avatar sean M December 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Wikipedia lists gmos and Monsanto as conspiracy theories under space aliens, birthers 9/11 truth etc. Seriously. The editorialist’s sources are incredible.

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avatar Frank Gormlie December 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Your views are incredible. That is a bunch of bull pucky; here straight from wikipedia:
Monsanto is notable for its involvement in high-profile lawsuits, as both plaintiff and defendant. It has been involved in a number of class action suits, where fines and damages have run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, usually over health issues related to its products. Monsanto has also made frequent use of the courts to defend its patents, particularly in the area of agricultural biotechnology,…

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avatar sean M December 17, 2013 at 11:25 am

Frank, look up wikipedias list of conspiracy theories and search for Monsanto or genetically modified crops. It is two sections below the fake moon landing theory. I stand by my assertion that the sources stated are incredible. I elaborated why in an earlier post that was deleted, or should I say ‘suppressed’ by a moderator. ;-)

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avatar Frank Gormlie December 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

I don’t have to look up wikipedias anything; there’s already mucho research on these issues and you’re playing a delaying game. Seems like most of the country understands this, but you, Sean M, are bent on defending Monsanto. Why?

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avatar sean M December 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm

You are correct about the anti gmo bandwagon frank reaching much of the country. I am in the minority on this issue, but thsankfully not in the state ballot boxes so far.

It amazes me that what so many people consider clickbait pseudoscience to be ‘health research.’ I got into the issue after reading the text of prop 37 and realized the nightmare of labor and administrative costs it would impose on retailers in ca, but grant that proposition would benefit attorneys and those in the pay-for-certification industry. i do lol at the creativity and drama that the anti gMO lobbyists express in memes and in dance.

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