Category Archives: Monsanto (now Bayer)

The Right to Healthy Food: Comorbidities and COVID-19

In early 2020, we saw the beginning of the COVID-19 ‘pandemic’. The world went into lockdown and even after lockdowns in various countries had been lifted, restrictions continued. Data now shows that lockdowns seemingly had limited, if any, positive impacts on the trajectory of COVID-19 and in 2022 the world – especially the poor – is paying an immense price not least in terms of loss of income, loss of livelihoods, the deterioration of mental and physical health, the eradication of civil liberties, disrupted supply chains and shortages.

The mortality rate for COVID-19 patients is linked to their comorbid conditions. In the US, the Center for Disease Control provides a list of comorbid conditions in COVID-19 patients, which includes cancer, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, Down syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Research conducted in a German hospital shows that for those who died after SARS-CoV-2 infection the median number of chronic comorbidities was four and ranged from three to eight. Arterial hypertension was the most prevalent chronic condition (65.4%), followed by obesity (38.5%), chronic ischemic heart disease (34.6%), atrial fibrillation (26.9%) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (23.1%). Of all patients, 15.4% had diabetes type II and chronic renal failure was noticed in 11.5%. The data suggests severe chronic comorbidities and health conditions in the majority of patients that had died after COVID-19.

The meta-analysis Prevalence of comorbidities in patients and mortality cases affected by SARS-CoV2: a systematic review and meta-analysis (2020) found that hypertension was the most prevalent comorbidity (affecting 32% of patients). Other common comorbidities included diabetes (22%) and heart disease (13%). The odds ratio of death for a patient with a comorbidity compared to one with no comorbidity was 2.4. The higher the prevalence of comorbidities the higher the odds that the COVID-19 patient will need intensive care or will die, especially if the pre-existing disease is hypertension, heart disease or diabetes.

In 2020, just 1,557 people aged 1-64 with no underlying co-morbidities were listed as having died from COVID in England and Wales out of a population of about 59 million. For the tens of thousands who were categorised as dying with COVID, co-morbidities were a major factor. UK data for 2020 shows that for ages 1-64 years, those who died with COVID had on average 1.71 co-morbidities. For those aged 65 and over, the figure is 2.02.

Patients with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases have a 54% increased risk for COVID-19 infection and more than twice the risk for COVID-19 death, versus the general population, according to data published in the journal Rheumatology (2021).

In the paper ‘COVID-19 in patients with autoimmune diseases: characteristics and outcomes in a multinational network of cohorts across three countries’ (2021), which also appeared in Rheumatology, researchers compared influenza with COVID-19 and concluded that the latter is a more severe disease for people with these conditions, leading to added complications and higher mortality.

Of deaths in England and Wales where COVID-19 is listed, official government data shows the most common pre-existing condition recorded on the death certificate is diabetes (July to September 2021). This was identified in almost a quarter (22.5%) of ‘COVID deaths’.

Emerging data also suggests that obesity is a big risk factor for the progression of major complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), cytokine storm and coagulopathy in COVID-19.

A paper posted on the Center for Disease Control website provides an overview of factors associated with Covid-19 deaths for a 12-month period. The study, Underlying Medical Conditions and Severe Illness Among 540,667 Adults Hospitalized with COVID-19, March 2020–March 2021, looked at records of hospitalised adults and found that 94.9% had at least one underlying medical condition. The authors conclude that certain underlying conditions and the number of conditions were associated with severe COVID-19 illness. Hypertension and disorders of lipid metabolism were the most frequent, whereas obesity, diabetes with complication and anxiety disorders were the strongest risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness.

Based on the findings, Dr Peregrino Brimahdata (a molecular biologist, medical doctor, college professor and a published researcher) notes that obesity by itself gave a 30% increased death risk, anxiety disorders gave a 29% increased risk of death and diabetes led to a 26% increased risk of death.

Brimahdata concludes that about two thirds of ‘COVID deaths’ were patients who may be regarded as grossly unhealthy.

From the data presented above, it is clear that the vast majority of ‘COVID deaths’ (dying with COVID) are people who has serious, ongoing health conditions, the prevalence of which among the population has been rising year on year for decades and accelerating.

Food system

Although hereditary factors are involved, scientists at the Francis Crick Institute in London believe the growing popularity of Western-style diets is a major reason why autoimmune diseases are rising across the world by around 3% to 9% a year.

Professor James Lee from the institute recently told The Observer newspaper that human genetics has not altered over the past few decades, so something is changing in our environment that is increasing predisposition to autoimmune disease. His research team found that Western-style diets based on processed ingredients and with a lack of fresh vegetables can trigger autoimmune diseases.

Lee says that numbers of autoimmune cases began to increase about 40 years ago in the Western countries but are now also emerging in countries that never had such diseases before. These diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

It is estimated that approximately four million people in the UK have an autoimmune disease.

A Western-style diet is characterised by highly processed and refined foods with high contents of sugars, salt, and fat and protein from red meat. It is a major contributor to metabolic disturbances and the development of obesity-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease – the top comorbidities where ‘COVID deaths’ are concerned.

But it goes beyond that because a lot of the health-related problems we see can also be traced back to modern farming methods and how food is cultivated, not least the toxic agrochemicals used. Michael McCarthy, writer and naturalist, says that three generations of industrialised farming with a vast tide of poisons pouring over the land year after year after year since the end of the Second World War is the true price of pesticide-based agriculture, which society has for so long blithely accepted.

Professor Carola Vinuesa, who heads another research team at the Francis Crick Institute, argues that fast-food diets can negatively affect a person’s microbiome – gut microorganisms which play a key role in controlling various bodily functions.

The gut microbiome can contain up to six pounds of bacteria and agrochemicals and poor diets are disturbing this ‘human soil’. Many important neurotransmitters are located in the gut. Aside from affecting the functioning of major organs, these transmitters affect our moods and thinking.

Findings published in the journal ‘Translational Psychiatry’ provide strong evidence that gut bacteria can have a direct physical impact on the brain. Alterations in the composition of the gut microbiome have been implicated in a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including autism, chronic pain, depression and Parkinson’s Disease. Gut bacteria are also important for cognitive development in adolescence.

Changes to the gut microbiome are also linked to obesity. Increasing levels of obesity are associated with low bacterial richness in the gut. Indeed, it has been noted that tribes not exposed to the modern food system have richer microbiomes. Environmental campaigner Rosemary Mason lays the blame squarely at the door of agrochemicals, not least the use of the world’s most widely used herbicide, glyphosate.

Mason has written to the two professors from the Francis Crick Institute mentioned above, making it clear to them that it would be remiss to ignore the role pesticides play when it comes to the worrying rates of disease we now see. She brings their attention to concerning levels of glyphosate in certain cereals in the UK.

Based on an analysis of these cereals, Dr John Fagan, director of Health Research Laboratories, has concluded:

The levels consumed in a single daily helping of any one of these cereals… is sufficient to put the person’s glyphosate levels above the levels that cause fatty liver disease in rats (and likely in people).

Mason also refers the two academics to the paper Genetically engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration of health in the United States of America in Journal of Organic Systems (2014)

It notes:

The herbicide glyphosate was introduced in 1974 and its use is accelerating with the advent of herbicide-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) crops. Evidence is mounting that glyphosate interferes with many metabolic processes in plants and animals and glyphosate residues have been detected in both. Glyphosate disrupts the endocrine system and the balance of gut bacteria, it damages DNA and is a driver of mutations that lead to cancer.

The researchers searched US government databases for GE crop data, glyphosate application data and disease epidemiological data. Correlation analyses were then performed on a total of 22 diseases in these time-series data sets. The Pearson correlation coefficients were highly significant between glyphosate applications and a wide range of diseases, including hypertension, stroke, diabetes prevalence, diabetes incidence, obesity, Alzheimer’s, senile dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal infections, end stage renal disease, acute kidney failure and various cancers. The Pearson correlation coefficients were also highly significant between the percentage of GE corn and soy planted in the US and most of the conditions listed above.

In 2017, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak, said:

Paediatricians have referred to childhood exposure to pesticides as creating a ‘silent pandemic’ of disease and disability. Exposure in pregnancy and childhood is linked to birth defects, diabetes and cancer. Because a child’s developing body is more sensitive to exposure than adults and takes in more of everything – relative to their size, children eat, breathe and drink much more than adults – they are particularly vulnerable to these toxic chemicals.

Consider that little is being done to address the food-related public health crisis which, according to the data on co-morbidities, seems to be a major contribution to increased risk where COVID is concerned. Then consider that governments are going all out to vaccinate children for a virus that poses minimal or virtually no risk to them. There is no logic to this approach.

While there is currently much talk of the coronavirus placing immense strain on the NHS, the health service was already creaking due to spiralling rates of disease linked to the food we eat. But do we see a clampdown on the activities or products of the global agrochemical or the food conglomerates? Instead, we see that successive governments in the UK have worked hand in glove with them to ensure ‘business as usual’.

The UK government is going out of its way under the guise of a health crisis to undermine the public’s rights in order to manage risk and to ‘protect’ the NHS but is all too willing to oversee a massive, ongoing health crisis caused by the chemical pollution of our bodies.

The unvaccinated are being cast as irresponsible or much worse if we listen to the recent reprehensible outbursts from leaders like Macron or Trudeau (concerning a disease that is as risky as the flu for the vast majority of the population) for having genuine concerns about vaccine safety, waning efficacy and the logic behind mass vaccination across all ages and risk groups.

Given that underlying health conditions substantially increase risk where COVID-19 is concerned, it is clear where the real irresponsibility lies – with government inaction for decades in terms of failing to tackle the corporations behind the health-damaging food they produce.

The post The Right to Healthy Food: Comorbidities and COVID-19 first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Living in Epoch-Defining Times: Food, Agriculture and the New World Order

Farmerless farms manned by driverless machines, monitored by drones and doused with chemicals to produce commodity crops from patented genetically engineered seeds for industrial ‘biomatter’ to be processed and constituted into something resembling food. Data platforms, private equity firms, e-commerce giants and AI-controlled farming systems.

This is the future that big agritech and agribusiness envisage: a future of ‘data-driven’ and ‘climate-friendly’ agriculture that they say is essential if we are to feed a growing global population.

The transformative vision outlined above which is being promoted by the likes of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation amounts to a power grab. Whether through all aspects of data control (soil quality, consumer preferences, weather, etc), e-commerce monopolies, corporate land ownership, seed biopiracy and patenting, synthetic lab-made food or the eradication of the public sector’s role in ensuring food security and national food sovereignty, the aim is for a relative handful of corporations to gain full control of the entire global food system.

Smallholder peasant farming is to be eradicated as the big-tech giants and agribusiness impose their  ‘disruptive’ technologies.

This vision is symptomatic of a reductionist mindset fixated on a narrow yield-output paradigm that is unable or more likely unwilling to grasp an integrated social-cultural-economic-agronomic systems approach to food and agriculture that accounts for many different factors, including local/regional food security and sovereignty, diverse nutrition production per acre, water table stability and boosting rural development based on thriving local communities.

Instead, what is envisaged will lead to the further trashing of rural economies, communities and cultures. A vision that has scant regard for the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food and the right of people to define their own food and agriculture systems.

But is any of this necessary or inevitable?

There is no global shortage of food. Even under any plausible future population scenario, there will be no shortage as evidenced by scientist Dr Jonathan Latham in his paper The Myth of a Food Crisis (2020). Furthermore, there are tried and tested approaches to addressing the challenges humanity faces, not least agroecology.

Reshaping agrifood systems

An organic-based, agrifood system could be implemented in Europe and would allow a balanced coexistence between agriculture and the environment. This would reinforce Europe’s autonomy, feed the predicted population in 2050, allow the continent to continue to export cereals to countries which need them for human consumption and substantially reduce water pollution and toxic emissions from agriculture.

That is the message conveyed in the paper Reshaping the European Agro-food System and Closing its Nitrogen Cycle: The potential of combining dietary change, agroecology, and circularity (2020) which appeared in the journal One Earth.

The paper by Gilles Billen et al follows a long line of studies and reports which have concluded that organic agriculture is vital for guaranteeing food security, rural development, better nutrition and sustainability.

For instance, in the 2006 book The Global Development of Organic Agriculture: Challenges and Prospects, Neils Halberg and his colleagues argue that there are still more than 740 million food insecure people (at least 100 million more today), the majority of whom live in the Global South. They say if a conversion to organic farming of approximately 50% of the agricultural area in the Global South were to be carried out, it would result in increased self-sufficiency and decreased net food imports to the region.

In 2007, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted that organic models increase cost-effectiveness and contribute to resilience in the face of climatic stress. The FAO concluded that by managing biodiversity in time (rotations) and space (mixed cropping), organic farmers use their labour and environmental factors to intensify production in a sustainable way and that organic agriculture could break the vicious circle of farmer indebtedness for proprietary agricultural inputs.

Of course, organic agriculture and agroecology are not necessarily one and the same. Whereas organic agriculture can still be part of the prevailing globalised food regime dominated by giant agrifood conglomerates, agroecology uses organic practices but is ideally rooted in the principles of localisation, food sovereignty and self-reliance.

The FAO recognises that agroecology contributes to improved food self-reliance, the revitalisation of smallholder agriculture and enhanced employment opportunities. It has argued that organic agriculture could produce enough food on a global per capita basis for the current world population but with reduced environmental impact than conventional agriculture.

In 2012, Deputy Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Petko Draganov stated  that expanding Africa’s shift towards organic farming will have beneficial effects on the continent’s nutritional needs, the environment, farmers’ incomes, markets and employment.

meta analysis conducted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UNCTAD (2008) assessed 114 cases of organic farming in Africa. The two UN agencies concluded that organic agriculture can be more conducive to food security in Africa than most conventional production systems and that it is more likely to be sustainable in the long term.

The 2009 report Agriculture at a Crossroads by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, produced by 400 scientists and supported by 60 countries, recommended agroecology to maintain and increase the productivity of global agriculture. It cites the largest study of ‘sustainable agriculture’ in the Global South, which analysed 286 projects covering 37 million hectares in 57 countries, and found that on average crop yields increased by 79% (the study also included ‘resource conserving’ non-organic conventional approaches).

There are numerous other studies and projects which testify to the efficacy of organic farming, including those from the Rodale Institute, the Oakland Institute, the UN Green Economy Initiative, the Women’s Collective of Tamil NaduNewcastle University and Washington State University. We also need look no further than the results of organic-based farming in Malawi.

In Ethiopia, agroecology has been scaled up across the entire Tigray region, partly due to enlightened political leaders and the commitment of key institutions. But Cuba is the one country in the world that has made the biggest changes in the shortest time in moving from industrial chemical-intensive agriculture to organic farming.

Professor of Agroecology Miguel Altieri notes that, due to the difficulties Cuba experienced as a result of the fall of the USSR, it moved towards organic and agroecological techniques in the 1990s. From 1996 to 2005, per capita food production in Cuba increased by 4.2% yearly during a period when production was stagnant across the wider region.

By 2016, Cuba had 383,000 urban farms, covering 50,000 hectares of otherwise unused land and producing more than 1.5 million tons of vegetables. The most productive urban farms yield up to 20 kg of food per square metre, the highest rate in the world, using no synthetic chemicals. Urban farms supply 50 to 70% or more of all the fresh vegetables consumed in cities such as Havana and Villa Clara.

It has been calculated by Altieri and his colleague Fernando R Funes-Monzote that if all peasant farms and cooperatives adopted diversified agroecological designs, Cuba would be able to produce enough to feed its population, supply food to the tourist industry and even export some food to help generate foreign currency.

Serving a corporate agenda

However, global agribusiness and agritech firms continue to marginalise organic, capture public bodies and push for their chemical-intensive, high-tech approaches. Although organic farming and natural farming methods like agroecology offer genuine solutions for many of the world’s pressing problems (health, environment, employment, rural development, etc), these approaches challenge corporate interests and threaten their bottom line.

In 2014, Corporate Europe Observatory released a critical report on the European Commission over the previous five years. The report concluded that the commission had been a willing servant of a corporate agenda. It had sided with agribusiness on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticides. Far from shifting Europe to a more sustainable food and agriculture system, the opposite had happened, as agribusiness and its lobbyists continued to dominate the Brussels scene.

Consumers in Europe reject GM food, but the commission had made various attempts to meet the demands from the biotech sector to allow GMOs into Europe, aided by giant food companies, such as Unilever, and the lobby group FoodDrinkEurope.

The report concluded that the commission had eagerly pursued a corporate agenda in all the areas investigated and pushed for policies in sync with the interests of big business. It had done this in the apparent belief that such interests are synonymous with the interests of society at large.

Little has changed since. In December 2021, Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE) noted that big agribusiness and biotech corporations are currently pushing for the European Commission to remove any labelling and safety checks for new genomic techniques. Since the beginning of their lobbying efforts (in 2018), these corporations have spent at least €36 million lobbying the European Union and have had 182 meetings with European commissioners, their cabinets and director generals: more than one meeting a week.

According to FOEE, the European Commission seems more than willing to put the lobby’s demands into a new law that would include weakened safety checks and bypass GMO labelling.

Corporate influence over key national and international bodies is nothing new. From the World Bank’s ‘enabling the business of agriculture’ and the influence of foreign retail on India’s NITI Aayog (the influential policy commission think tank of the Government of India) to the Gates Foundation’s role in opening up African agriculture to global food and agribusiness oligopolies, democratic procedures at sovereign state levels are being bypassed to impose seed monopolies and proprietary inputs on farmers and to incorporate them into a global agrifood chain dominated by powerful corporations.

But there are now also new players on the block. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others are closing in on the global agrifood sector while the likes of Bayer, Syngenta, Corteva and Cargill continue to cement their stranglehold.

The tech giants entry into the sector will increasingly lead to a mutually beneficial integration between the companies that supply products to farmers (pesticides, seeds, fertilisers, tractors, etc) and those that control the flow of data and have access to digital (cloud) infrastructure and food consumers. In  effect, multi-billion dollar agrifood data management markets are being created.

In India, Walmart and Amazon could end up dominating the e-retail sector. These two US companies would also own India’s key consumer and other economic data, making them the country’s digital overlords along with Google and Facebook.

The government is facilitating the dominance of giant corporations, not least through digital or e-commerce platforms. E-commerce companies not only control data about consumption but also control data on production, logistics, who needs what, when they need it, who should produce it, who should move it and when it should be moved.

These platforms have the capacity to shape the entire physical economy. We are seeing the eradication of the marketplace in favour of platforms owned by global conglomerates which will control everything from production to logistics, including agriculture and farming.

The farmer will be told how much production is expected, how much rain is anticipated, what type of soil quality there is, what type of (GM) seeds and proprietary inputs are required and when the produce needs to be ready.

E-commerce platforms will become permanently embedded once artificial intelligence begins to plan and determine all of the above.

In April 2021, the Indian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft, allowing its local partner CropData to leverage a master database of farmers. The MoU seems to be part of the AgriStack policy initiative, which involves the roll out of ‘disruptive’ technologies and digital databases in the agricultural sector.

CropData will be granted access to a government database of 50 million farmers and their land records. As the database is developed, it will include farmers’ personal details, profile of land held, production data and financial details.

In addition to facilitating data harvesting and a data management market, the Indian government is trying to establish a system of ‘conclusive titling’ of all land in the country, so that ownership can be identified and land can then be valued, bought or taken away.

The plan is that, as farmers lose access to land or can be identified as legal owners, predatory global institutional investors will buy up and amalgamate holdings, facilitating the further roll out of high-input, corporate-dependent industrial agriculture.

This is an example of stakeholder-partnership capitalism, much promoted by the likes of the World Economic Forum, whereby a government facilitates the gathering of such information by a private player which can then, in this case, use the data for developing a land market (courtesy of land law changes that the government enacts) for institutional investors at the expense of smallholder farmers who will find themselves displaced.

By harvesting information – under the benign-sounding policy of data-driven agriculture – private corporations will be better placed to exploit farmers’ situations for their own ends.

Imagine a cartel of data owners, proprietary input suppliers and retail concerns at the commanding heights of the global economy, peddling toxic industrial (and lab-engineered) ‘food’ and the devastating health and environmental impacts associated with it.

As for elected representatives and sovereign state governments, their role will be highly limited to technocratic overseers of these platforms and the artificial intelligence tools that plan and determine all of the above.

But none of this is set in stone or inevitable. The farmers victory in India in getting the corporate-friendly farm laws repealed show what can be achieved, even if this is only viewed as a spanner in the works of a global machine that is relentless.

New world order

And that machine comprises what journalist Ernst Wolff calls the digital-financial complex that is now driving the globalisation-one agriculture agenda. This complex comprises many of the companies mentioned above: Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), Apple, Amazon and Meta (Facebook) as well as BlackRock and Vanguard, transnational investment/asset management corporations.

These entities exert control over governments and important institutions like the European Central Bank (ECB) and the US Federal Reserve. Indeed, Wolff states that BlackRock and Vanguard have more financial assets than the ECB and the Fed combined.

To appreciate the power and influence of BlackRock and Vanguard, let us turn to the documentary Monopoly: An Overview of the Great Reset which argues that the stock of the world’s largest corporations are owned by the same institutional investors. This means that ‘competing’ brands, like Coke and Pepsi, are not really competitors, since their stock is owned by the same investment companies, investment funds, insurance companies and banks.

Smaller investors are owned by larger investors. Those are owned by even bigger investors. The visible top of this pyramid shows only two companies: Vanguard and Black Rock.

A 2017 Bloomberg report states that both these companies in the year 2028 together will have investments amounting to 20 trillion dollars. In other words, they will own almost everything worth owning.

The digital-financial complex wants control over all aspects of life. It wants a cashless world, to destroy bodily integrity with a mandatory vaccination agenda linked to emerging digital-biopharmaceutical technologies, to control all personal data and digital money and it requires full control over everything, including food and farming.

If events over the last two years have shown us anything, it is that an unaccountable authoritarian global elite knows the type of world it wants to create, has the ability to coordinate its agenda globally and will use deception and duplicity to achieve it. And in this brave new Orwellian world where capitalist ‘liberal democracy’ has run its course, there will be no place for genuinely independent nation states or individual rights.

The independence of nation states could be further eroded by the digital-financial complex’s ‘financialisation of nature’ and its ‘green profiling’ of countries and companies. If we take the example of India, again, the Indian government has been on a relentless drive to attract inflows of foreign investment into government bonds (creating a lucrative market for global investors). It does not take much imagination to see how investors could destabilise the economy with large movements in or out of these bonds but also how India’s ‘green credentials’ could be factored in to downgrade its international credit rating.

And how could India demonstrate its green credentials and thus its ‘credit worthiness’? Perhaps by allowing herbicide-resistant GMO commodity crop monocultures that the GM sector misleadingly portrays as ‘climate friendly’.

As for concepts such as localisation, food sovereignty, self-reliance and participatory democracy – key tenets of agroecology ­– these are mere inconveniences to be trampled on.

Olivier De Schutter, former UN special Rapporteur on the right to food, delivered his final report to the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, based on an extensive review of scientific literature. He concluded that by applying agroecological principles to the design of democratically controlled agricultural systems we can help to put an end to food crises and address climate variabilities and poverty challenges.

De Schutter argued that agroecological approaches could address food needs in critical regions and double food production within 10 years. However, he notes there is insufficient backing for organic-based farming which seriously hinders progress.

But it is not just a case of insufficient backing. Global agribusiness and agritech corporations have leveraged themselves into strategic positions and integral to their strategy has been attacks on organic farming as they attempt to cast it as a niche model which cannot feed the world. From the false narrative that industrial agriculture is necessary to feed a growing population to providing lavish research grants and the capture of important policy-making institutions, these firms have secured a thick legitimacy within policy making machinery.

These conglomerates regard organic approaches as a threat, especially agroecology which adheres to a non-industrial, smallholder model rooted in local independent enterprises and communities based on the principle of localisation. When people like De Schutter assert the need for a “democratically controlled” agroecology, this runs counter to the reality of large agribusiness firms, their proprietary products and their globalisation agenda based on long supply chains, market dependency, dispossession and the incorporation of farms and farmers into their agrifood regime. And as we can see, ‘democracy’ has no place in the world of the digital-financial complex.

The 2015 Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology argues for building grass-root local food systems that create new rural-urban links, based on truly agroecological food production. It says that agroecology should not be co-opted to become a tool of the industrial food production model; it should be the essential alternative to it.

The declaration stated that agroecology is political and requires local producers and communities to challenge and transform structures of power in society, not least by putting the control of seeds, biodiversity, land and territories, waters, knowledge, culture and the commons in the hands of those who feed the world.

According to Pat Mooney of the ETC Group, this involves developing healthy and equitable agroecological production systems, building short (community-based) supply chains and restructuring and democratising governance systems that could take 25 years to accomplish: in effect a ‘long food movement’.

We are currently living through epoch-defining changes and the struggle for the future of food and agriculture is integral to the wider struggle over the future direction of humanity. There is a pressing need to transition towards a notion of food sovereignty based on agroecological principles and the local ownership and stewardship of common resources.

The post Living in Epoch-Defining Times: Food, Agriculture and the New World Order first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Saving Capitalism or Saving the Planet? 

The UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team helped to push the public towards accepting the COVID narrative, restrictions and lockdowns. It is now working on ‘nudging’ people towards further possible restrictions or at least big changes in their behaviour in the name of ‘climate emergency’. From frequent news stories and advertisements to soap opera storylines and government announcements, the message about impending climate catastrophe is almost relentless.

Part of the messaging includes blaming the public’s consumption habits for a perceived ‘climate emergency’. At the same time, young people are being told that we only have a decade or so (depending on who is saying it) to ‘save the planet’.

Setting the agenda are powerful corporations that helped degrade much of the environment in the first place. But ordinary people, not the multi-billionaires pushing this agenda, will pay the price for this as living more frugally seems to be part of the programme (‘own nothing and be happy’). Could we at some future point see ‘climate emergency’ lockdowns, not to ‘save the NHS’ but to ‘save the planet’?

A tendency to focus on individual behaviour and not ‘the system’ exists.

But let us not forget this is a system that deliberately sought to eradicate a culture of self-reliance that prevailed among the working class in the 19th century (self-education, recycling products, a culture of thrift, etc) via advertising and a formal school education that ensured conformity and set in motion a lifetime of wage labour and dependency on the products manufactured by an environmentally destructive capitalism.

A system that has its roots in inflicting massive violence across the globe to exert control over land and resources elsewhere.

In his 2018 book The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequalities and its solutions, Jason Hickel describes the processes involved in Europe’s wealth accumulation over a 150-year period of colonialism that resulted in tens of millions of deaths.

By using other countries’ land, Britain effectively doubled the size of arable land in its control. This made it more practical to then reassign the rural population at home (by stripping people of their means of production) to industrial labour. This too was underpinned by massive violence (burning villages, destroying houses, razing crops).

Hickel argues that none of this was inevitable but was rooted in the fear of being left behind by other countries because of Europe’s relative lack of land resources to produce commodities.

This is worth bearing in mind as we currently witness a fundamental shift in our relationship to the state resulting from authoritarian COVID-related policies and the rapidly emerging corporate-led green agenda. We should never underestimate the ruthlessness involved in the quest for preserving wealth and power and the propensity for wrecking lives and nature to achieve this.

Commodification of nature

Current green agenda ‘solutions’ are based on a notion of ‘stakeholder’ capitalism or private-public partnerships whereby vested interests are accorded greater weight, with governments and public money merely facilitating the priorities of private capital.

A key component of this strategy involves the ‘financialisation of nature’ and the production of new ‘green’ markets to deal with capitalism’s crisis of over accumulation and weak consumer demand caused by decades of neoliberal policies and the declining purchasing power of working people. The banking sector is especially set to make a killing via ‘green profiling’ and ‘green bonds’.

According to Friends of the Earth (FoE), corporations and states will use the financialisation of nature discourse to weaken laws and regulations designed to protect the environment with the aim of facilitating the goals of extractive industries, while allowing mega-infrastructure projects in protected areas and other contested places.

Global corporations will be able to ‘offset’ (greenwash) their activities by, for example, protecting or planting a forest elsewhere (on indigenous people’s land) or perhaps even investing in (imposing) industrial agriculture which grows herbicide-resistant GMO commodity crop monocultures that are misleadingly portrayed as ‘climate friendly’.

FoE states:

Offsetting schemes allow companies to exceed legally defined limits of destruction at a particular location, or destroy protected habitat, on the promise of compensation elsewhere; and allow banks to finance such destruction on the same premise.

This agenda could result in the weakening of current environmental protection legislation or its eradication in some regions under the pretext of compensating for the effects elsewhere. How ecoservice ‘assets’ (for example, a forest that performs a service to the ecosystem by acting as a carbon sink) are to be evaluated in a monetary sense is very likely to be done on terms that are highly favourable to the corporations involved, meaning that environmental protection will play second fiddle to corporate and finance sector return-on-investment interests.

As FoE argues, business wants this system to be implemented on its terms, which means the bottom line will be more important than stringent rules that prohibit environmental destruction.

Saving capitalism

The envisaged commodification of nature will ensure massive profit-seeking opportunities through the opening up of new markets and the creation of fresh investment instruments.

Capitalism needs to keep expanding into or creating new markets to ensure the accumulation of capital to offset the tendency for the general rate of profit to fall (according to writer Ted Reese, it has trended downwards from an estimated 43% in the 1870s to 17% in the 2000s). The system suffers from a rising overaccumulation (surplus) of capital.

Reese notes that, although wages and corporate taxes have been slashed, the exploitability of labour continued to become increasingly insufficient to meet the demands of capital accumulation. By late 2019, the world economy was suffocating under a mountain of debt. Many companies could not generate enough profit and falling turnover, squeezed margins, limited cashflows and highly leveraged balance sheets were prevalent. In effect, economic growth was already grinding to a halt prior to the massive stock market crash in February 2020.

In the form of COVID ‘relief’, there has been a multi-trillion bailout for capitalism as well as the driving of smaller enterprises to bankruptcy. Or they have being swallowed up by global interests. Either way, the likes of Amazon and other predatory global corporations have been the winners.

New ‘green’ Ponzi trading schemes to offset carbon emissions and commodify ‘ecoservices’ along with electric vehicles and an ‘energy transition’ represent a further restructuring of the capitalist economy, resulting in a shift away from a consumer oriented demand-led system.

It essentially leaves those responsible for environmental degradation at the wheel, imposing their will and their narrative on the rest of us.

Global agribusiness

Between 2000 and 2009, Indonesia supplied more than half of the global palm oil market at an annual expense of some 340,000 hectares of Indonesian countryside. Consider too that Brazil and Indonesia have spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid from the UN to prevent it.

These two countries gave over $40bn in subsidies to the palm oil, timber, soy, beef and biofuels sectors between 2009 and 2012, some 126 times more than the $346m they received to preserve their rain forests.

India is the world’s leading importer of palm oil, accounting for around 15% of the global supply. It imports over two-­thirds of its palm oil from Indonesia.

Until the mid-1990s, India was virtually self-sufficient in edible oils. Under pressure from the World Trade Organization (WTO), import tariffs were reduced, leading to an influx of cheap (subsidised) edible oil imports that domestic farmers could not compete with. This was a deliberate policy that effectively devastated the home-grown edible oils sector and served the interests of palm oil growers and US grain and agriculture commodity company Cargill, which helped write international trade rules to secure access to the Indian market on its terms.

Indonesia leads the world in global palm oil production, but palm oil plantations have too often replaced tropical forests, leading to the killing of endangered species and the uprooting of local communities as well as contributing to the release of potential environment-damaging gases. Indonesia emits more of these gases than any country besides China and the US, largely due to the production of palm oil.

The issue of palm oil is one example from the many that could be provided to highlight how the drive to facilitate corporate need and profit trumps any notion of environmental protection or addressing any ‘climate emergency’. Whether it is in Indonesia, Latin America or elsewhere, transnational agribusiness – and the system of globalised industrial commodity crop agriculture it promotes – fuels much of the destruction we see today.

Even if the mass production of lab-created food, under the guise of ‘saving the planet’ and ‘sustainability’, becomes logistically possible (which despite all the hype is not at this stage), it may still need biomass and huge amounts of energy. Whose land will be used to grow these biomass commodities and which food crops will they replace? And will it involve that now-famous Gates’ euphemism ‘land mobility’ (farmers losing their land)?

Microsoft is already mapping Indian farmers’ lands and capturing agriculture datasets such as crop yields, weather data, farmers’ personal details, profile of land held (cadastral maps, farm size, land titles, local climatic and geographical conditions), production details (crops grown, production history, input history, quality of output, machinery in possession) and financial details (input costs, average return, credit history).

Is this an example of stakeholder-partnership capitalism, whereby a government facilitates the gathering of such information by a private player which can then use the data for developing a land market (courtesy of land law changes that the government enacts) for institutional investors at the expense of smallholder farmers who find themselves ‘land mobile’? This is a major concern among farmers and civil society in India.

Back in 2017, agribusiness giant Monsanto was judged to have engaged in practices that impinged on the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health. Judges at the ‘Monsanto Tribunal’, held in The Hague, concluded that if ecocide were to be formally recognised as a crime in international criminal law, Monsanto could be found guilty.

The tribunal called for the need to assert the primacy of international human and environmental rights law. However, it was also careful to note that an existing set of legal rules serves to protect investors’ rights in the framework of the WTO and in bilateral investment treaties and in clauses in free trade agreements. These investor trade rights provisions undermine the capacity of nations to maintain policies, laws and practices protecting human rights and the environment and represent a disturbing shift in power.

The tribunal denounced the severe disparity between the rights of multinational corporations and their obligations.

While the Monsanto Tribunal judged that company to be guilty of human rights violations, including crimes against the environment, in a sense we also witnessed global capitalism on trial.

Global conglomerates can only operate as they do because of a framework designed to allow them to capture or co-opt governments and regulatory bodies and to use the WTO and bilateral trade deals to lever influence. As Jason Hickel notes in his book (previously referred to), old-style colonialism may have gone but governments in the Global North and its corporations have found new ways to assert dominance via leveraging aid, market access and ‘philanthropic’ interventions to force lower income countries to do what they want.

The World Bank’s ‘Enabling the Business of Agriculture’ and its ongoing commitment to an unjust model of globalisation is an example of this and a recipe for further plunder and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few.

Brazil and Indonesia have subsidised private corporations to effectively destroy the environment through their practices. Canada and the UK are working with the GMO biotech sector to facilitate its needs. And India is facilitating the destruction of its agrarian base according to World Bank directives for the benefit of the likes of Corteva and Cargill.

The TRIPS Agreement, written by Monsanto, and the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, written by Cargill, was key to a new era of corporate imperialism. It came as little surprise that in 2013 India’s then Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar accused US companies of derailing the nation’s oil seeds production programme.

Powerful corporations continue to regard themselves as the owners of people, the planet and the environment and as having the right – enshrined in laws and agreements they wrote – to exploit and devastate for commercial gain.

Partnership or co-option?

It was noticeable during a debate on food and agriculture at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that there was much talk about transforming the food system through partnerships and agreements. Fine-sounding stuff, especially when the role of agroecology and regenerative farming was mentioned.

However, if, for instance, the interests you hope to form partnerships with are coercing countries to eradicate their essential buffer food stocks then bid for such food on the global market with US dollars (as in India) or are lobbying for the enclosure of seeds through patents (as in Africa and elsewhere), then surely this deliberate deepening of dependency should be challenged; otherwise ‘partnership’ really means co-option.

Similarly, the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) that took place during September in New York was little more than an enabler of corporate needs. The UNFSS was founded on a partnership between the UN and the World Economic Forum and was disproportionately influenced by corporate actors.

Those granted a pivotal role at the UNFSS support industrial food systems that promote ultra-processed foods, deforestation, industrial livestock production, intensive pesticide use and commodity crop monocultures, all of which cause soil deterioration, water contamination and irreversible impacts on biodiversity and human health. And this will continue as long as the environmental effects can be ‘offset’ or these practices can be twisted on the basis of them somehow being ‘climate-friendly’.

Critics of the UNFSS offer genuine alternatives to the prevailing food system. In doing so, they also provide genuine solutions to climate-related issues and food injustice based on notions of food sovereignty, localisation and a system of food cultivation deriving from agroecological principles and practices. Something which people who organised the climate summit in Glasgow would do well to bear in mind.

Current greenwashed policies are being sold by tugging at the emotional heartstrings of the public. This green agenda, with its lexicon of ‘sustainability’, ‘carbon neutrality’, ‘net-zero’ and doom-laden forecasts, is part of a programme that seeks to restructure capitalism, to create new investment markets and instruments and to return the system to viable levels of profitability.

The post Saving Capitalism or Saving the Planet?  first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Address the Global Public Health Crisis: Ban Glyphosate Now! (Part 2)

Environmentalist and campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason recently wrote an open letter to the head of the Pesticides Unit at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Jose Tarazona.

(Since this article was written, Jose Tarazona has stepped down from his position and the letter has been forwarded to his successors, Manuela Tiramani and Benedicte Vagenede.)

Mason wrote to Tarazona  because the licence for glyphosate is up for renewal in the EU in 2022 and the Rapporteur Member States (France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden), tasked with risk assessing glyphosate and appointed by the European Commission in 2019, said in June 2021 that there was no problem with glyphosate-based herbicides, the world’s most widely used weedkillers in agriculture.

Mason informs Tarazona that the European Commission has colluded with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow Bayer to keep glyphosate on the market. A substance that is toxic to both human health and the environment.

To set out her case, Mason enclosed a 5,900-word report informing Tarazona of the malfeasance and corruption that have resulted in environmental devastation and a severe, ongoing public health crisis. Her report brings together key research and analyses into the toxicity of glyphosate and industry dominance over regulatory processes.

What appears below is the second part of an article based on Mason’s report. Part one can be read here. This second part questions why a proven toxic substance like glyphosate is still sanctioned for use in the EU.

Industry PR and reality

Although the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Committee for Risk Assessment agreed that glyphosate causes serious eye damage and is toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects, in December 2017 the then European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker still reauthorised glyphosate use in the EU for five more years.

The European Glyphosate Renewal Group (GRG) has lobbied hard to ensure that the licence for glyphosate will again be renewed in 2022. The GRG is a collection of companies that have prepared a dossier with scientific studies and information on the supposed safety of glyphosate. This dossier was submitted to the evaluating member states and the EFSA as part of the EU regulatory procedure to evaluate whether glyphosate and glyphosate-containing products should be kept on the market in the EU.

Current members of the GRG are Albaugh Europe SARL, Barclay Chemicals Manufacturing Ltd., Bayer Agriculture bvba, Ciech Sarzyna S.A., Industrias Afrasa S.A., Nufarm GMBH & Co.KG, Sinon Corporation and Syngenta Crop Protection AG.

Cristina Alonso is the chair of the GRG and is also the head of Regulatory Affairs Crop Protection at Bayer AG. On the GRG website, Alonso writes:

As GRG Chairman, I am personally committed to ensuring the decisions made during the regulatory process are based on sound science and supported with transparent, honest and cooperative dialogue among all stakeholders, while also respecting different viewpoints.

Based on what is set out in this article, it could be concluded that Alonso’s notion of “sound science” has little to do with the regulatory process that she refers to.

Bayer CropScience was also part of the European Glyphosate Task Force (GTF) which lobbied for the reauthorisation of glyphosate in the EU back in 2017. Mason argues that the GTF conveniently overlooked many critical papers from South America in its submission as part of the EU glyphosate reapproval process. She fears that what we are currently seeing is a repeat of the previous process which led to the reauthorisation of glyphosate.

It raises the question, do sound science, honesty and transparency really govern how Bayer et al act in general and, more specifically, where the glyphosate regulatory process is concerned?

A pertinent question given the situation described by the Declaration of the 3rd National Congress of Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns of Argentina in late 2015:

In the last 25 years, the consumption of pesticides increased by 983%, while the cultivated area increased by 50%. A production system based on the systematic application of agricultural poisons means, inevitably, that nature responds by adapting, forcing farmers to apply greater quantities of pesticides in the field to achieve the same objectives. Over the years, a system has been created by and for sellers of pesticides, who every year increase their net sales (in 2015, the increase was 9%) while our patients, too, year after year are being exposed to this pesticide pollution more and more.

The doctors stated that the massive and growing exposure to pesticides has changed the disease profile of Argentine rural populations and that cancer is now the leading cause of death. They noted that exposure to glyphosate or agricultural poisons in general leads to increases in spontaneous abortions and birth defects as well as increased endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism, neurological disorders or cognitive development problems and soaring of cancer rates to a tripling of incidence, prevalence and mortality.

The physicians warned about the toxic nature of modern agriculture which results from the immense influence of large multinational pesticide companies.

As explained in part one of this article, this public health crisis is not limited to South America. People elsewhere, not least in the US and UK, are experiencing the devastating health impacts because of the huge increase in glyphosate-based herbicides being sprayed on food crops in recent decades.

The agrochemical conglomerates are more concerned with increasing their sales regardless of the damage to the environment and public health. No number of sound-bites about sound science or transparency can disguise their genuine motives and the impacts of their actions.

Glyphosate is a multi-billion-dollar cash cow for these companies and protecting that revenue stream is their priority. In 2015, for example, Monsanto made nearly $4.76 billion in sales and $1.9 billion in gross profits from herbicide products, mostly Roundup.

Sound science?

A new scientific analysis confirms the dominance of industry in driving policy and its reliance on selective science and dubious studies when lobbying to keep glyphosate on the market.

‘Evaluation of the scientific quality of studies concerning genotoxic properties of glyphosate’, by Armen Nersesyan and Siegfried Knasmueller of the Institute of Cancer Research at the Medical University of Vienna, concludes that the claim of glyphosate not being genotoxic cannot be justified on the basis of manufacturers’ studies. (Genotoxic substances induce damage to the genetic material in cells through interactions with the DNA sequence and structure.)

Of the 53 industry-funded studies used for the EU’s current authorisation of glyphosate in 2017, the evaluation concluded that some 34 were identified as “not reliable”, with another 17 as “partly reliable” and only two studies as “reliable” from a methodological point of view.

In response to this new research, Angeliki Lyssimachou, environmental scientist at the Health and Environment Alliance, says:

This new scientific analysis shows yet again that the European Union’s claim to having the most rigorous pesticide authorisation procedure in the world has to be taken with a heavy grain of salt. The authorisation procedure in place is evidently not rigorous enough to detect errors in the execution of the regulatory studies that are blindly considered the gold standard. Yet these were at the heart of the 2017 EU market approval of glyphosate, and they have now been submitted again in an effort to water down scientific evidence that glyphosate may cause cancer and is a danger to human health.

Helmut Burtscher, biochemist at GLOBAL 2000, argues that if you subtract from the 53 genotoxicity studies those studies that are not reliable and those studies that are of minor importance for the assessment of genotoxicity in humans, then nothing remains. He asks on what basis are the EU authorities claiming that glyphosate is ‘not genotoxic’?

According to Peter Clausing, toxicologist at Pesticide Action Network Germany, in 2017, EU authorities violated their own rules to ensure an outcome that pleased the chemical industry.

A point reiterated by Nina Holland, researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory, who argues that national regulators and EU authorities alike do not seem to pay close scrutiny when looking at the quality of industry’s own studies.

Holland states that regulators exist to protect people’s health and the environment, not serve the interests of the pesticide industry.

Eoin Dubsky, Campaigner at SumOfUs, goes a step further by saying that people are sick of glyphosate and of being lied to.

Dubsky asks:

How could EFSA give glyphosate a thumbs-up based on such shoddy scientific studies when IARC warned that it is genotoxic and probably cancer-causing too?

The IARC is the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Unsound studies aside, there is sound scientific research that should be driving the risk assessment but which seems to have been overlooked. A point not lost on Dr Mason.

She asks why key scientific studies have been side-lined, especially those from Latin America where  Monsanto has grown GMO Roundup Ready crops since 1996 (glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedicide).

She also asks why was a 2010 groundbreaking study showing that Roundup causes adverse impacts on embryonic development and produces birth defects side-lined? Why have scientific studies that show that glyphosate is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that causes infertility been overlooked? Why have papers that show that glyphosate causes cancer been missed? And why have the effects of exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides on the brain not been properly considered?

Some key studies documenting the adverse effects of glyphosate are listed at the end of this article.

Ban Glyphosate Now!

In April 2017 (before Bayer purchased Monsanto), Bart Elmore, assistant professor of environmental history at Ohio State University, wrote a telling piece for Dissent Magazine that pointed out some of the real costs of producing glyphosate. These included radioactive waste piles, groundwater pollution, mercury emissions and poisoned livestock.

Glyphosate is derived from elemental phosphorous extracted from phosphate rock buried below ground. Monsanto got its phosphate from mines in Southeast Idaho near Soda Springs, a small town. The company has been operating there since the 1950s.

Elmore visited the site and watched as trucks dumped molten red heaps of radioactive refuse over the edge of a mountain of waste. The dumping happened about every 15 minutes. Horses grazed in a field just a few dozen yards away and rows of barley waved in the distance.

When phosphate ore is refined into elemental phosphorous, Elmore explains, it leaves a radioactive by-product known as slag. Monsanto’s elemental phosphorous facility, situated just a few miles from its phosphate mines, produces prodigious quantities of slag that contains elevated concentrations of radioactive material.

In the 1980s, the EPA conducted a radiological survey of the community and warned that citizens might be at risk from elevated gamma ray exposure and thus cancer.

Of course, the cancerous effects of glyphosate are not restricted to the community of Soda Springs. Due to its prevalence in agriculture and its use by municipal authorities, glyphosate is in our food and in our bodies. Marius Stelzmann of the Coordination gegen BAYER-Gefahren (CBG), refers to the ongoing court cases in the US regarding glyphosate use and cancer.

Marius says:

… despite more than a year and a half of negotiations for a settlement in the glyphosate affair, the global player (Bayer) still cannot present a solution. It still has not reached agreements for compensation with all of the 125,000 US plaintiffs who accuse the herbicide of being responsible for their cancers. As a response to these actions, the CBG has launched the campaign ‘Carcinogen. Climate killer. Environmental toxin. Ban glyphosate now!

In a recent press release, the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) demanded an immediate ban on glyphosate. It also called for more investments in the promotion of alternatives to the use of glyphosate and other harmful pesticides and urges a clear governance in charge of a smooth transition with the involvement of trade unions.

The EFSA, ECHA and the European Commission should carry out their current assessment of glyphosate in a transparent and reliable way. Instead, it seems that, as in 2017, the agrochemical industry is still manipulating and driving the process.

The EFFAT says that alternatives to the use of glyphosate and other harmful chemicals already exist and must be further promoted, not least appropriate agronomic practices, mechanical and biological weed control, animal grazing and natural herbicides.

Readers can access Rosemary Mason’s new report, with all relevant references, here.  All of Dr Mason’s previous reports can be accessed here.

Selected key studies documenting serious adverse health impacts of glyphosate: 1

  1. Avila-Vazquez, M. et al (2017). Association between Cancer and Environmental Exposure to Glyphosate. International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8, 73-85; Carlos Javier Baier, C.J. et al. (2017). Behavioral impairments following repeated intranasal glyphosate-based herbicide administration in mice, Neurotoxicology and Teratology 64:63–72; Cattani, D. et al. (2014). Mechanisms underlying the neurotoxicity induced by glyphosate-based herbicide in immature rat hippocampus: Involvement of glutamate excitotoxicity, Toxicology 320:34–45; Nardi, J. et al. (2017). Prepubertal subchronic exposure to soy milk and glyphosate leads to endocrine disruption, Food and Chemical Toxicology 100:247262; Lesseur, C. et al (2022). Urinary glyphosate concentration in pregnant women in relation to length of gestation. Environmental Research 203, January 2022, 111811. Martínez, M. A. et al. (2018), Neurotransmitter changes in rat brain regions following glyphosate exposure, Environmental Research, 161:212–219. Mesnage, R. et al (2021), In-depth comparative toxicogenomics of glyphosate and Roundup herbicides: histopathology, transcriptome and epigenome signatures, and DNA damage, bioRxiv; Paganelli, A. et al (2010). Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signalling. Chem. Res. Toxicol., August 9.
The post Address the Global Public Health Crisis: Ban Glyphosate Now! (Part 2) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Smashing The Heads of Farmers: A Global Struggle Against Tyranny

According to Reuters, more than 500,000 farmers attended a rally in the city of Muzaffarnagar in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on 5 September. Hundreds of thousands more turned out for other rallies in the state.

Rakesh Tikait, a prominent farmers’ leader, said this would breathe fresh life into the Indian farmers’ protest movement.

He added:

We will intensify our protest by going to every single city and town of Uttar Pradesh to convey the message that Modi’s government is anti-farmer.

Tikait is a leader of the protest movement and a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers’ Union).

Since November 2020, tens of thousands of farmers have been encamped on the outskirts of Delhi in protest against three new farm laws that will effectively hand over the agrifood sector to corporates and place India at the mercy of international commodity and financial markets for its food security.

Aside from the rallies in Uttar Pradesh, thousands more farmers recently gathered in Karnal in the state of Haryana to continue to pressurise the Modi-led government to repeal the laws. This particular protest was also in response to police violence during another demonstration, also in Karnal (200 km north of Delhi), during late August when farmers had been blocking a highway. The police Lathi-charged them and at least 10 people were injured and one person died from a heart attack a day later.

A video that appeared on social media showed Ayush Sinha, a top government official, encouraging officers to “smash the heads of farmers” if they broke through the barricades placed on the highway.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar criticised the choice of words but said that “strictness had to be maintained to ensure law and order”.

But that is not quite true. “Strictness” – outright brutality – must be imposed to placate the scavengers abroad who are circling overhead with India’s agrifood sector firmly in their sights. As much as the authorities try to distance themselves from such language – ‘smashing heads’ is precisely what India’s rulers and the billionaire owners of foreign agrifood corporations require.

The government has to demonstrate to global agricapital that it is being tough on farmers in order to maintain ‘market confidence’ and attract foreign direct investment in the sector (aka the takeover of the sector).

The farmers’ protest in India represents a struggle for the heart and soul of the country: a conflict between the local and the global. Large-scale international agribusiness, retailers, traders and e-commerce companies are trying to displace small- and medium-size indigenous producers and enterprises and restructure the entire agrifood sector in their own image.

By capitulating to the needs of foreign agrifood conglomerates – which is what the three agriculture laws represent – India will be compelled to eradicate its buffer food stocks. It would then bid for them with borrowed funds on the open market or with its foreign reserves.

This approach is symptomatic of what has been happening since the 1990s, when India was compelled to embrace neoliberal economics. The country has become increasingly dependent on inflows of foreign capital. Policies are being governed by the drive to attract and retain foreign investment and maintain ‘market confidence’ by ceding to the demands of international capital which rides roughshod over democratic principles and the needs of hundreds of millions of ordinary people.

The authorities know they must be seen to be acting tough on farmers, thereby demonstrating a steely resolve to foreign agribusiness and investors in general.

The Indian government’s willingness to cede control of its agrifood sector would appear to represent a victory for US foreign policy.

Economist Prof Michael Hudson stated in 2014:

American foreign policy has almost always been based on agricultural exports… It’s by agriculture and control of the food supply that American diplomacy has been able to control most of the Third World. The World Bank’s geopolitical lending strategy has been to turn countries into food deficit areas by convincing them to grow cash crops – plantation export crops – not to feed themselves with their own food crops.

On the back of India’s foreign exchange crisis in the 1990s, the IMF and World Bank wanted India to shift hundreds of millions out of agriculture. In return for up to more than $120 billion in loans at the time, India was directed to dismantle its state-owned seed supply system, reduce subsidies, run down public agriculture institutions and offer incentives for the growing of cash crops to earn foreign exchange.

The drive is to drastically dilute the role of the public sector in agriculture, reducing it to a facilitator of private capital and leading to the entrenchment of industrial farming and the replacement of small-scale farms.

Smashing protesters’ heads

A December 2020 photograph published by the Press Trust of India defines the Indian government’s approach to protesting farmers. It shows a security official in paramilitary garb raising a lathi. An elder from the Sikh farming community was about to feel its full force.

But “smashing the heads of farmers” is symbolic of how near-totalitarian ‘liberal democracies’ the world over now regard many within their own populations.

The right to protest and gather in public as well as the right of free speech has been suspended in Australia, which currently resembles a giant penal colony as officials pursue a nonsensical ‘zero-COVID’ policy. Across Europe and in the US and Israel, unnecessary and discriminatory ‘COVID passports’ are being rolled out to restrict freedom of movement and access to services. And those who protest against any of this are often confronted by a massive, intimidating police presence (or actual police violence) and media smear campaigns.

Again, governments must demonstrate resolve to their billionaire masters in Big Finance, the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, the World Economic Forum and the entire gamut of forces in the military-financial industrial complex behind the ‘Great Reset’, ‘4th Industrial Revolution, ‘New Normal’ or whichever other benign-sounding term its political and media lackeys use to disguise the restructuring of capitalism and the brutal impacts on ordinary people.

This too, like the restructuring of Indian agriculture – which will affect India’s entire 1.3-billion-plus population – is also part of a US foreign policy agenda that serves the interests of the Anglo-US elite.

COVID has ensured that trillions of dollars have been handed over to elite interests, while lockdowns and restrictions have been imposed on ordinary people and small businesses. The winners have been the likes of Amazon, Big Pharma and the tech giants. The losers have been small enterprises and the bulk of the population, deprived of their right to work and the entire panoply of civil rights their ancestors struggled and often died for. If a masterplan is required to deliver a knockout blow to small enterprises for the benefit of global players, then this is it.

Professor Michel Cossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalization says:

The Global Money financial institutions are the ‘creditors’ of the real economy which is in crisis. The closure of the global economy has triggered a process of global indebtedness. Unprecedented in World history, a multi-trillion bonanza of dollar denominated debts is hitting simultaneously the national economies of 193 countries.

In August 2020, a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) stated:

The COVID-19 crisis has severely disrupted economies and labour markets in all world regions, with estimated losses of working hours equivalent to nearly 400 million full-time jobs in the second quarter of 2020, most of which are in emerging and developing countries.

Among the most vulnerable are the 1.6 billion informal economy workers, representing half of the global workforce, who are working in sectors experiencing major job losses or have seen their incomes seriously affected by lockdowns. Most of the workers affected (1.25 billion) are in retail, accommodation and food services and manufacturing. And most of these are self-employed and in low-income jobs in the informal sector.

India was especially affected in this respect when the government imposed a lockdown. The policy ended up pushing 230 million into poverty and wrecked the lives and livelihoods of many. A May 2021 report prepared by the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University (APU) has highlighted how employment and income had not recovered to pre-pandemic levels even by late 2020.

The report, ‘State of Working India 2021 – One year of Covid-19’ highlights how almost half of formal salaried workers moved into the informal sector and that 230 million people fell below the national minimum wage poverty line.

Even before COVID, India was experiencing its longest economic slowdown since 1991 with weak employment generation, uneven development and a largely informal economy. A recent article by the Research Unit for Political Economy highlights the structural weaknesses of the economy and the often desperate plight of ordinary people.

To survive Modi’s lockdown, the poorest 25% of households borrowed 3.8 times their median income, as against 1.4 times for the top 25%. The study noted the implications for debt traps.

Six months later, it was also noted that food intake was still at lockdown levels for 20% of vulnerable households.

Meanwhile, the rich were well taken care of. According to Left Voice:

The Modi government has handled the pandemic by prioritising the profits of big business and protecting the fortunes of billionaires over protecting the lives and livelihoods of workers.

Michel Chossudovsky says that governments are now under the control of global creditors and that the post-Covid era will see massive austerity measures, including the cancellation of workers’ benefits and social safety nets. An unpayable multi-trillion dollar public debt is unfolding: the creditors of the state are Big Money, which calls the shots in a process that will lead to the privatisation of the state.

Between April and July 2020, the total wealth held by billionaires around the world has grown from $8 trillion to more than $10 trillion. Chossudovsky says a new generation of billionaire innovators looks set to play a critical role in repairing the damage by using the growing repertoire of emerging technologies. He adds that tomorrow’s innovators will digitise, refresh and revolutionise the economy: but, as he notes, let us be under no illusions these corrupt billionaires are impoverishers.

With this in mind, a recent piece on the US Right To Know website exposes the Gates-led agenda for the future of food based on the programming of biology to produce synthetic and genetically engineered substances. The thinking reflects the programming of computers in the information economy. Of course, Gates and his ilk have patented, or are patenting, the processes and products involved.

For example, Ginkgo Bioworks, a Gates-backed start-up that makes ‘custom organisms’, recently went public in a $17.5 billion deal. It uses ‘cell programming’ technology to genetically engineer flavours and scents into commercial strains of engineered yeast and bacteria to create ‘natural’ ingredients, including vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and flavours for ultra-processed foods.

Ginkgo plans to create up to 20,000 engineered ‘cell programs’ (it now has five) for food products and many other uses. It plans to charge customers to use its ‘biological platform’. Its customers are not consumers or farmers but the world’s largest chemical, food and pharmaceutical companies.

Gates pushes fake food by way of his greenwash agenda. If he really is interested in avoiding ‘climate catastrophe’, helping farmers or producing enough food, instead of cementing the power and the control of corporations over our food, he should be facilitating community-based and lead agroecological approaches.

But he will not because there is no scope for patents, external proprietary inputs, commodification and dependency on global corporations which Gates sees as the answer to all of humanity’s problems in his quest to bypass democratic processes and roll out his agenda.

India should take heed because this is the future of ‘food’. If the farmers fail to get the farm bills repealed, India will again become dependent on food imports or on foreign food manufacturers and lab-made ‘food’. Fake food will displace traditional diets and cultivation methods will be driven by drones, genetically engineered seeds and farms without farmers, devastating the livelihoods (and health) of hundreds of millions.

This is a vision of the future courtesy of Klaus Schwab’s (of the elitist World Economic Forum) dystopic transhumanism and the Rockefellers’ 2010 lockstep scenario: genetically engineered food and genetically engineered people controlled by a technocratic elite whose plans are implemented through tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership.

Since March 2020, we have seen the structural adjustment of the global capitalist system and labour’s relationship to it and an attempted adjustment of people’s thinking via endless government and media propaganda.

Whether it involves India’s farmers or the frequent rallies and marches against restrictions and COVID passports across the world, there is a common enemy. And there is also a common goal: liberty.

The post Smashing The Heads of Farmers: A Global Struggle Against Tyranny first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A Message to the EU: Address the Real Public Health Crisis by Banning Glyphosate (Part One)

The herbicide glyphosate – the most widely used herbicide on the planet – is authorised for use in the EU until December 2022. The EU is currently assessing whether its licence should be renewed.

Environmentalist and campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason has just written an open letter to the head of the Pesticides Unit at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Jose Tarazona.

Mason wrote to Tarazona  because the Rapporteur Member States (France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden) tasked with risk assessing glyphosate and appointed by the European Commission in 2019, said on 21 June 2021 that there was no problem with glyphosate-based herbicides.

A tireless campaigner against glyphosate, Mason has produced dozens of lengthy reports over the last decade documenting how her former nature reserve in South Wales was destroyed by glyphosate used on adjoining areas and how that substance is a major contributory factor in spiralling rates of disease – a ‘silent’ public health crisis; silent only because the media and officials fail to acknowledge or report on it.

Indeed, to explain away the huge increases in various cancers and neurological disorders, officials cite ‘lifestyle behaviour’, poor diets or lack of exercise to divert attention from the elephant in the room and government collusion with the agrochemical sector.

Drawing on hundreds of peer reviewed papers and official reports over the years, Mason has described in detail the devastating health and environmental impacts of glyphosate as well as the malfeasance and corruption that has led to this state of affairs.

Mason informs Tarazona that the European Commission has colluded with the US Environmental Protection Agency to allow Bayer to keep glyphosate on the market.

To support her claims, she enclosed a 5,900-word report with her letter informing Tarazona of the environmental devastation and severe public health crisis. Her report brings together recent research and analyses into the toxicity of glyphosate and industry dominance over regulatory processes.

What appears below is the first part of a two-part article based on Mason’s report. This first part briefly highlights aspects of the public health crisis resulting from the use of glyphosate-based herbicides. The second part will argue that glyphosate remains in use due to industry influence over regulatory processes.

Toxic Legacy

Dr Stephanie Seneff, a US scientist who works at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has just published the book Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate is Destroying Our Health and the Environment.  She has written an article on her family background and why she wrote the book.

Seneff says:

This organic chemical compound, C3H8NO5P, is much more toxic to life forms than we have been led to believe. Glyphosate’s mechanism of toxicity is unique and diabolical. It is a slow killer, slowly robbing you of your good health over time, until you finally succumb to incapacitating or life-threatening disease.

Dr Don Huber, emeritus professor of plant pathophysiology at Purdue University, who has been studying glyphosate for 40 years and genetically modified (GM) Roundup-ready crops for 25 years, said some years ago:

Future historians may well look back upon our time and write, not about how many pounds of pesticide we did or didn’t apply, but how willing we are to sacrifice our children and future generations for this massive genetic engineering experiment that is based on flawed science and failed promises just to benefit the bottom line of commercial enterprise.

When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was elected in 2019, he stood outside Downing Street and committed himself to:

… liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules.

Mason notes that the Department for Envionment & Rural Affairs authorises farmers to use all forms of Roundup (Monsanto’s – now Bayer – proprietary glyphosate-based herbicide) on crops in the UK. Many farmers in the UK claim they cannot do without it and are keen to start using GM Roundup-ready crops post-Brexit.

There is strong pressure on the European Commission from the Glyphosate Renewal Group, a group of manufacturers of glyphosate, who have asked for the licence for glyphosate to be renewed for 15 years from December 2022.

In June 2021, the Rapporteur Member States from France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden apparently gave the green light. They see no signs that glyphosate can cause cancer or any other issue. But evidence is emerging that they used flawed industry science (to be described in part two of this article).

Devastating health impacts

In August 2018, samples of four oat-based UK cereals were sent to the Health Research Institute Laboratories in the US following a newspaper report about US children eating weedkiller in their oat-based cereals.

Dr John Fagan, the director of the lab, said:

These results are consistently concerning. The levels consumed in a single daily helping of any one of these cereals, even the one with the lowest level of contamination, is sufficient to put the person’s glyphosate levels above the levels that cause fatty liver disease in rats (and likely in people).

Washington State University (WSU) researchers have found a variety of diseases and other health problems in the second- and third-generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate. In the first study of its kind, the researchers saw descendants of exposed rats developing prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity and birth abnormalities.

Michael Skinner, a WSU professor of biological sciences, and his colleagues exposed pregnant rats to the herbicide between their eighth and 14th days of gestation. The dose – half the amount expected to show no adverse effect – produced no apparent ill effects on either the parents or the first generation of offspring.

But, writing in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers say they saw “dramatic increases” in several pathologies affecting the second and third generations. The second generation had ‘significant increases’ in testis, ovary and mammary gland diseases as well as obesity. In third-generation males, the researchers saw a 30% increase in prostate disease – three times that of a control population. The third generation of females had a 40% increase in kidney disease or four times that of the controls.

More than one-third of the second-generation mothers had unsuccessful pregnancies, with most of those affected dying. Two out of five males and females in the third generation were obese.

Skinner and his colleagues call this phenomenon generational toxicology and they have seen it over the years in fungicides, pesticides, jet fuel, the plastics compound bisphenol A, the insect repellent DEET and the herbicide atrazine. At work are epigenetic changes that turn genes on and off, often because of environmental influences.

Roundup kills bumble bees

Although Mason mainly discusses the health impacts of glyphosate in her report to Tarazona, she did mention at least one disturbing environmental impact. In April 2021, the Journal of Applied Ecology published an article ‘Roundup causes high levels of mortality following contact exposure in bumble bees.’

The article’s abstract stated that pollinators underpin global food production but are suffering significant declines across the world.

It went on to say:

Pesticides are thought to be important drivers of these declines. Herbicides are the most widely applied type of pesticides and are broadly considered ‘bee safe’ by regulatory bodies who explicitly allow their application directly onto foraging bees. We aimed to test the mortality effects of spraying the world’s most popular herbicide brand (Roundup) directly onto bumble bees (Bombus terrestris audax).

The authors argue that Roundup products pose a significant hazard to bees, in both agricultural and urban systems and exposure of bees to them should be limited. They added that surfactants, or other co‐formulants, in herbicides and other pesticides may contribute to global bee declines.

They called for pesticide companies to release the full list of ingredients for each pesticide formulation, as lack of access to this information hampers research to determine safe exposure levels for beneficial insects in agro‐ecosystems.

Bayer’s multi-million-dollar headache

Mason asks Tarazona whether he has been following the trials against Monsanto in the US for concealing that its herbicide Roundup caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

She explains to him that three cases have been won against Monsanto/Bayer (Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018) and in 2021 there are thousands more awaiting to have their cases heard in court.

Attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr said in 2018 that Bayer needs more than an aspirin to cure its Monsanto-sized headache.

Kennedy has been involved with some of these cases and has read enough of the scientific literature on glyphosate to conclude that there is cascading scientific evidence linking glyphosate to a constellation of other injuries that have become prevalent since its introduction, including obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, kidney and inflammatory bowel disease, brain, breast and prostate cancer, miscarriage, birth defects and declining sperm counts.

He added that strong science suggests glyphosate is the culprit in the exploding epidemics of celiac disease, colitis, gluten sensitivities, diabetes and non-alcoholic liver cancer which, for the first time, is attacking children as young as 10.

As if that is not worrying enough, Kennedy noted that researchers peg glyphosate as a potent endocrine disruptor, which interferes with sexual development in children. It is also a chelator that removes important minerals from the body and disrupts the microbiome, destroying beneficial bacteria in the human gut and triggering brain inflammation and other ill effects.

Although a Monsanto scientist claimed that glyphosate is excreted unchanged from the body, Mason cites a study by Ridley & Mirly (1988) which found bioaccumulation of glyphosate in bone, marrow, blood and glands (including thyroid, testes and ovaries) and major organs (heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen and stomach). The paper was commissioned by Monsanto but was not published.

In a 1990 study conducted by Monsanto between 1987 and 1989 (again unpublished), glyphosate was found to induce a statistically-significant cataractous formation in the eyes of rats. Over the course of the study, cataract lens changes were seen in the low-, mid- and high dose groups in both male and female rats. The pathologist concluded that there was a glyphosate-treated related response for lens changes to the eyes.

Mason notes that the Assessment by the Rapporteur Member States tasked with risk assessing glyphosate have concluded that, based on the available ecotoxicological information glyphosate the current classification “Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects” should be retained and the current classification as “causes serious eye damage” (H318) should be retained.”

She therefore asks: how can a chemical like glyphosate still be on the market?

Mason states that, according to the UN’s Global Chemicals Outlook II, glyphosate was at the top of the top ten products used on major crops in the United States, by volume, in 2016. Clothianidin (also manufactured by Bayer) is number ten.

She says:

No wonder Bayer doesn’t want to lose its licence for glyphosate or for clothianidin, a long-acting neonicotinoid insecticide that is very persistent in the soil. Both chemicals are on the market illegally thanks to the corrupt EU and US regulatory authorities.

And that is an issue which Mason draws Tarazona’s attention to and will be touched on in the second part of this article.

•  Readers can access Rosemary Mason’s new report, with all relevant references, here.

•  Recommended reading for Jose Tarazona and readers who want to dig deeper into the issues: all of Rosemary Mason’s previous reports can be accessed here.

The post A Message to the EU: Address the Real Public Health Crisis by Banning Glyphosate (Part One) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Science, Salvation and Heretics: From Monsanto to Pfizer, Same Old Playbook

Why are numerous ‘independent alternative’ media outlets and writers not questioning the COVID-19 vaccine rollout? If anything, they are promoting it without even considering the serious concerns being voiced by top scientists.

When there are experts like cardiologist and epidemiologist Professor Peter McCullough, Dr Robert Malone (credited with inventing mRNA vaccine technology), former vice president of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Dr Michael Yeadon, vaccine researcher and immunologist Dr Byram Bridle, world-renowned microbiologist Dr Sucharit Bhakti and hundreds of other respected scientists, immunologists and virologists expressing serious concerns or even calling for a halt to the rollout, surely their views must be given space.

However, from the outset, these self-proclaimed ‘anti-establishment’ platforms and journalists threw their hand in with the official COVID-19 narrative. They are now supporting the vaccine rollouts and by implication the entities pushing the vaccines – governments, mainstream media, the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, Big Pharma and Silicon Valley and its bedfellow, the US military.

In effect, the full weight of the establishment has been brought to bear on pushing the COVID narrative and the vaccines. The very establishment that these ‘independent’ media outlets have previously challenged over the devastating ‘humanitarian’ conflicts in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria.

To show such contempt for human life (civilian ‘collateral damage’) via geopolitical and resource-grabbing wars sold under the thin veneer of ‘the war on terror’ or ‘humanitarian intervention’ but then feel a need to save humanity from the ‘deadly’ virus must make some of those supporters of the official line on COVID just a little suspicious of the motives.

As critical care physician Dr Pascal Sacre recently wrote:

If people want trustworthy rulers, honest politicians, they should always judge rulers, financial elites and politicians by their actions rather than by their words.

By not giving space to top scientists in the field of vaccine technology, immunology or virology who express deep concerns, these outlets are, in fact, engaging in censorship as much as the mainstream media, Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube.

Science involves open debate and transparency, not censorship.

Same old playbook

There are strong similarities between the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in agriculture and the COVID ‘pandemic’ in terms of the framing of debates in both fields: a type of ‘the science is decided’ mentality and a smearing of critics in an attempt to demonise and close down debate.

Some years ago, Robert T Fraley, Monsanto’s former vice president and chief technology officer, asked on Twitter: “Why do people doubt science?”

Accompanying his question was a link to an article that implied people who are suspicious of vaccines, GMOs, climate change or fluoridated water are confused, adhere to conspiracy theories, are motivated by ideology or are simply misinformed.

But science is not the giver of ‘absolute truth’. That, in itself, should allow us to develop a healthy scepticism towards it. Scientific knowledge is built on shaky stilts that rest on shifting foundations. Science historian Thomas Kuhn wrote about the revolutionary paradigm shifts in scientific thought, whereby established theoretical perspectives can reinforce prevailing paradigms and serve as a barrier to the advancement of knowledge, until the weight of evidence and pressure from proponents of a new theoretical outlook is overwhelming. The old faith then gives way and the new ‘truth’ changes.

The manufacture of scientific knowledge involves a process driven by various sociological, methodological and epistemological conflicts and compromises, both inside the laboratory and beyond.

Why do people doubt science? Not because they are ill-informed or have read Kuhn or some sociology journal, but because they can see how science is used, corrupted and manipulated by powerful corporations and governments to serve their own ends.

Take US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, for instance. He once called for “sound science” to underpin food trade that involves GMOs. Despite what Vilsack would have us believe – that there are no concerns about GMOs – many studies show that they present risks to human health and are having serious environmental, social and economic consequences.

Sound science and the GMO agritech sector are too often perfect strangers. The industry carries out inadequate, short-term studies and conceals the data produced by its research under the guise of ‘commercial confidentiality’, while independent research highlights the dangers of its products. It has in the past also engaged in fakery in India, bribery in Indonesia and smears and intimidation against those who challenge its interests as well as the distortion and the censorship of scientific findings that undermine its agenda.

In the US, policy makers released GM food onto the commercial market without proper long-term tests, citing the belief that it is ‘substantially equivalent’ to ordinary food. But foreign genes are being inserted into organisms that studies show make them substantially non-equivalent. Substantial equivalence is a trade strategy on behalf of the GMO sector that neatly serves to bypass science by removing its GMOs from the type of scrutiny usually applied to potentially toxic or harmful substances.

Ultimately, it is not science, itself, that people have doubts about but science that is pressed into the service of immensely powerful private corporations and regulatory bodies that are effectively co-opted and adopt a ‘don’t look, don’t find’ approach’ to studies and products.

There is a tendency to label anyone who opposes GMO as anti-science, not least because they are arguing against a supposed ‘scientific consensus’ in favour of GMOs. But this ‘consensus’ is nothing but a fiction of the collective imagination of the pro-GMO lobby.

The first rule of risk-taking is to not cross the street blindfolded, which is what the GMO and COVID-19 vaccine lobbies would like us all to do, even though there are serious risks associated with these technologies. Furthermore, based on the work of US lawyer Steven Druker, we can see that the processes involved in getting GMO crop technology onto the commercial market were fraudulent and there has not been a single independent long-term epidemiological study on GMOs. With clinical trials still ongoing, similar concerns dog the ‘emergency use authorisation’ experimental COVID-19 vaccines.

The ‘technological salvation’ argument being put forward in favour of the vaccines is also present with GMOs: the technology is needed to ‘feed the hungry’ or ‘save dying children’. When an argument cannot be won using rational debate and science, we usually see the emotional blackmail fallback position and ad hominems against critics.

Whether it is GMO crop technology or COVID vaccines, we are seeing a huge unscientific experiment using people as human guinea pigs to rake in massive profits. In the case of the vaccines, there is also a wider agenda involving a ‘great reset’ of the economy and labour’s relationship to an increasingly authoritarian state whose role is to produce the conditions that will subordinate ordinary people to the ‘new normal’ required by private capital: mass surveillance, worklessness and the eradication of civil and political rights in favour of technocratic rule. In fact, genetically engineered food and crops are an integral part of this reset.

Part of the vaccine rollout involves accusing critics and the unvaccinated of being irresponsible and dangerous fearmongers. There is a huge government-media campaign to marginalise and demonise those who question the vaccines or refuse to take them due to valid concerns.

Instead of indulging in smear campaigns and censorship, what society should be facilitating is open debate and taking very seriously what critics are saying. When people engage in the former and run from the latter, it indicates that their arguments will not and do not withstand scrutiny.

Vaccine billionaires

In finishing, let us return to the world of Robert T Fraley and Monsanto and the type of ‘science’ he pushes. Bayer, which took over Monsanto in 2018, has just lost another appeals court decision in the US regarding its glyphosate-based herbicide, Roundup, often used with GMO ‘roundup ready’ seeds and thus a key component of the GMO agenda. It faces tens of thousands of claims alleging that this herbicide causes cancer.

In a recent decision by a court of appeal in California, it was stated:

Monsanto’s conduct evidenced reckless disregard of the health and safety of the multitude of unsuspecting consumers it kept in the dark. This was not an isolated incident; Monsanto’s conduct involved repeated actions over a period of many years motivated by the desire for sales and profit.

There is a clear lesson here with regard to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Unlike Monsanto, however, Pfizer and the other vaccine manufacturers have received indemnities against the costs of compensation for adverse effects that might come from their COVID vaccines.

A shrewd business move considering Pfizer’s corporate rap sheet which does nothing to inspire trust in that company. Its track record includes product safety, pricing, advertising and marketing, environment, human rights, labour, worker safety and tax and subsidy crimes and scandals.

It is also claimed by the UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism that Pfizer bullied governments to put up federal bank reserves, embassy buildings or military bases as a guarantee against the cost of future legal cases stemming from the adverse effects of its COVID-19 vaccine. This would mean that governments rather than the company would shoulder any legal costs.

Vaccine manufacturers might well face bankruptcy sooner rather than later given the rising numbers of deaths and serious adverse effects being reported. But shielded from liability, the new vaccine billionaires, among them Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel and Ugur Sahin, the CEO of BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine with Pfizer, will be able to hold onto their loot.

Although nothing will bring back those who succumbed to the deadly effects of glyphosate, at least Monsanto (via Bayer) is now in the dock and has already been forced to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars to its victims or their families.

Through these legal cases involving glyphosate, it has been made clear just how powerful corporations can and do corrupt science for their own ends.

Robert F Kennedy Jr, one of the attorney’s fighting Bayer-Monsanto in the US courts, has explained that for four decades Monsanto manoeuvred to conceal Roundup’s carcinogenicity.

He also says that Monsanto faces cascading scientific evidence linking glyphosate to a constellation of other injuries that have become prevalent since its introduction, including obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, brain, breast and prostate cancer, miscarriage, birth defects and declining sperm counts.

This is what smearing and ignoring critics, malfeasance in public office, the capturing of regulatory agencies and scientific fraud leads to.

It is interesting that governments and public officials sat on their hands and facilitated the rollout of glyphosate and other toxic agrochemicals and watched what is now a major public health crisis spiral out of control. They prioritised the needs of the agrochemical sector ahead of public health and side-lined science that challenged the adverse effects of its products.

But governments are now suddenly expressing great concern for everyone’s well-being by locking them down, waging a fear campaign and cajoling and bribing people to take risky vaccines with dubious efficacy and which are arguably not needed. So, whose needs are they prioritising this time around?

Although we are still in the relative early days of the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, disturbing evidence is mounting of the actual harm resulting from these poorly tested vaccines and the potential risks (infertility, cognitive, cancer, cardiovascular, etc) that lie in store. Dr J Patrick Whelan, a paediatric rheumatologist, warned the US Food and Drug Administration in late 2020 that mRNA vaccines could cause microvascular injury to the brain, heart, liver and kidneys in ways not assessed in safety trials.

This is deeply concerning.

But not for some. Not least the nine new vaccine billionaires worth a combined $19.3 billion courtesy of COVID-19 vaccines that were largely funded with billions of dollars from the public purse.

The post Science, Salvation and Heretics: From Monsanto to Pfizer, Same Old Playbook first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Toxic Corporations Are Destroying the Planet’s Soil

A newly published analysis in the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science argues that a toxic soup of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides is causing havoc beneath fields covered in corn, soybeans, wheat and other monoculture crops. The research is the most comprehensive review ever conducted on how pesticides affect soil health.

The study is discussed by two of the report’s authors, Nathan Donley and Tari Gunstone, in a recent article appearing on the Scientific American website. The authors state that the findings should bring about immediate changes in how regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assess the risks posed by the nearly 850 pesticide ingredients approved for use in the USA.

Conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and the University of Maryland, the research looked at almost 400 published studies that together had carried out more than 2800 experiments on how pesticides affect soil organisms. The review encompassed 275 unique species or types of soil organisms and 284 different pesticides or pesticide mixtures.

Pesticides were found to harm organisms that are critical to maintaining healthy soils in over 70 per cent of cases. But Donley and Gunstone say this type of harm is not considered in the EPA’s safety reviews, which ignore pesticide harm to earthworms, springtails, beetles and thousands of other subterranean species. The EPA uses a single test species to estimate risk to all soil organisms, the European honeybee, which spends its entire life above ground in artificial boxes. But 50-100 per cent of all pesticides end up in soil.

The researchers conclude that the ongoing escalation of pesticide-intensive agriculture and pollution are major driving factors in the decline of soil organisms. By carrying out wholly inadequate reviews, the regulatory system serves to protect the pesticide industry.

The study comes in the wake of other recent findings that indicate high levels of the weedkiller chemical glyphosate and its toxic breakdown product AMPA have been found in topsoil samples from no-till fields in Brazil.

Writing on the GMWatch website, Claire Robinson and Jonathan Matthews note that, despite  this, the agrochemical companies seeking the renewal of the authorisation of glyphosate by the European Union in 2022 are saying that one of the greatest benefits of glyphosate is its ability to foster healthier soils by reducing the need for tillage (or ploughing).

This in itself is misleading because farmers are resorting to ploughing given increasing weed resistance to glyphosate and organic agriculture also incorporates no till methods. At the same time, proponents of glyphosate conveniently ignore or deny its toxicity to soils, water, humans and wildlife. With that in mind, it is noteworthy that GMWatch also refers to another recent study which says that glyphosate is responsible for a five per cent increase in infant mortality in Brazil.

The new study, ‘Pesticides in a case study on no-tillage farming systems and surrounding forest patches in Brazil’ in the journal Scientific Reports, leads the researchers to conclude that glyphosate-contaminated soil can adversely impact food quality and human health and ecological processes for ecosystem services maintenance. They argue that glyphosate and AMPA presence in soil may promote toxicity to key species for biodiversity conservation, which are fundamental for maintaining functioning ecological systems.

These studies reiterate the need to shift away from increasingly discredited ‘green revolution’ ideology and practices. This chemical-intensive model has helped the drive towards greater monocropping and has resulted in less diverse diets and less nutritious foods. Its long-term impact has led to soil degradation and mineral imbalances, which in turn have adversely affected human health.

If we turn to India, for instance, that country is losing 5334 million tonnes of soil every year due to soil erosion and degradation, much of which is attributed to the indiscreet and excessive use of synthetic agrochemicals. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research reports that soil is becoming deficient in nutrients and fertility.

India is not unique in this respect. Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization stated back in 2014 that if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years. She noted that about a third of the world’s soil had already been degraded. There is general agreement that chemical-heavy farming techniques are a major cause.

It can take 500 years to generate an inch of soil yet just a few generations to destroy. When you drench soil with proprietary synthetic agrochemicals as part of a model of chemical-dependent farming, you harm essential micro-organisms and end up feeding soil a limited doughnut diet of toxic inputs.

Armed with their multi-billion-dollar money-spinning synthetic biocides, this is what the agrochemical companies have been doing for decades. In their arrogance, these companies claim to have knowledge that they do not possess and then attempt to get the public and co-opted agencies and politicians to bow before the altar of corporate ‘science’ and its bought-and-paid-for scientific priesthood.

The damaging impacts of their products on health and the environment have been widely reported for decades, starting with Rachel Carson’s ground-breaking 1962 book Silent Spring.

These latest studies underscore the need to shift towards organic farming and agroecology and invest in indigenous models of agriculture – as has been consistently advocated by various high-level international agencies, not least the United Nations, and numerous official reports.

The post Toxic Corporations Are Destroying the Planet’s Soil first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Microsoft vs Indian Farmers: Agri-Stacking the System

In April, the Indian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft, allowing its local partner CropData to leverage a master database of farmers. The MoU seems to be part of the AgriStack policy initiative, which involves the roll out of ‘disruptive’ technologies and digital databases in the agricultural sector.

Based on press reports and government statements, Microsoft would help farmers with post- harvest management solutions by building a collaborative platform and capturing agriculture datasets such as crop yields, weather data, market demand and prices. In turn, this would create a farmer interface for ‘smart’ agriculture, including post-harvest management and distribution.

CropData will be granted access to a government database of 50 million farmers and their land records. As the database is developed, it will include farmers’ personal details, profile of land held (cadastral maps, farm size, land titles, local climatic and geographical conditions), production details (crops grown, production history, input history, quality of output, machinery in possession) and financial details (input costs, average return, credit history).

The stated aim is to use digital technology to improve financing, inputs, cultivation and supply and distribution.

It seems that the blueprint for AgriStack is in an advanced stage despite the lack of consultation with or involvement of farmers themselves. Technology could certainly improve the sector but handing control over to powerful private concerns will merely facilitate what they require in terms of market capture and farmer dependency.

Such ‘data-driven agriculture’ is integral to the recent farm legislation which includes a proposal to create a digital profile of cultivators, their farm holdings, climatic conditions in an area, what is grown and average output.

Of course, many concerns have been raised about this, ranging from farmer displacement, the further exploitation of farmers through microfinance and the misuse of farmer’s data and increased algorithmic decision-making without accountability.

The displacement of farmers is not lost on the Research Unit for Political Economy (RUPE) which, in a three-part series of articles, explains how neoliberal capitalism has removed peasant farmers from their land to facilitate an active land market for corporate interests. The Indian government is trying to establish a system of ‘conclusive titling’ of all land in the country, so that ownership can be identified and land can then be bought or taken away.

Taking Mexico as an example, RUPE says:

Unlike Mexico, India never underwent significant land reform. Nevertheless, its current programme of ‘conclusive titling’ of land bears clear resemblances to Mexico’s post-1992 drive to hand over property rights… The Indian rulers are closely following the script followed by Mexico, written in Washington.

The plan is that, as farmers lose access to land or can be identified as legal owners, predatory institutional investors and large agribusinesses will buy up and amalgamate holdings, facilitating the further roll out of high-input, corporate-dependent industrial agriculture – which has already helped fuel wide-scale financial distress among farmers and a deep-rooted agrarian and environmental crisis.

By harvesting (pirating) information – under the benign-sounding policy of data-driven agriculture – private corporations will be better placed to exploit farmers’ situations for their own ends: they will know more about their incomes and businesses than individual farmers themselves.

Open letter

Some 55 civil society groups and organisations have written to the government expressing these and various other concerns, not least the perceived policy vacuum with respect to the data privacy of farmers and the exclusion of farmers themselves in current policy initiatives.

In an open letter, they state:

At a time when ‘data has become the new oil’ and the industry is looking at it as the next source of profits, there is a need to ensure the interest of farmers. It will not be surprising that corporations will approach this as one more profit-making possibility, as a market for so-called ‘solutions’ which lead to sale of unsustainable agri-inputs combined with greater loans and indebtedness of farmers for this through fintech, as well as the increased threat of dispossession by private corporations.

They add that any proposal which seeks to tackle the issues that plague Indian agriculture must address the fundamental causes of these issues. The current model relies on ‘tech-solutionism’ which emphasises using technology to solve structural issues.

There is also the issue of reduced transparency on the part of the government through algorithm-based decision-making.

The 55 signatories request the government holds consultations with all stakeholders, especially farmers’ organisations, on the direction of its digital push as well as the basis of partnerships, and put out a policy document in this regard after giving due consideration to feedback from farmers and farmer organisations. As agriculture is a state subject, the central government should consult the state governments also.

They state that all initiatives that the government has begun with private entities to integrate and/or share multiple databases with private/personal information about individual farmers or their farms be put on hold till an inclusive policy framework is put in place and a data protection law is passed.

It is also advocated that the development of AgriStack, both as a policy framework and its execution, should take the concerns and experiences of farmers as the prime starting point.

The letter states that if the new farm laws are closely examined, it will be evident that unregulated digitalisation is an important aspect of them.

There is the strong possibility that monopolistic corporate owned e-commerce ‘platforms’ will eventually control much of India’s economy given the current policy trajectory. From retail and logistics to cultivation, data certainly will be the ‘new oil’, giving power to platforms to dictate what needs to be manufactured and in what quantities.

Those farmers who remain in the system will be tied to contracts and told how much production is expected, how much rain is anticipated, what type of soil quality there is, what type of inputs are required and when the produce needs to be ready – and how much money they will receive.

Handing over all information about the sector to Microsoft and others places power in their hands – the power to shape the sector in their own image.

The data giants and e-commerce companies will not only control data about consumption but also hold data on production, logistics, who needs what, when they need it, who should produce it, who should move it and when it should be moved.

Bayer, Corteva, Syngenta and traditional agribusiness will work with Microsoft, Google and the big-tech giants to facilitate AI-driven farmerless farms and e-commerce retail dominated by the likes of Amazon and Walmart. A cartel of data owners, proprietary input suppliers and retail concerns at the commanding heights of the economy, peddling toxic industrial food and the devastating health impacts associated with it.

And elected representatives? Their role will be highly limited to technocratic overseers of these platforms and the artificial intelligence tools that plan and determine all of the above.

As for farmers, many, if not most, will be forced to leave the sector. Tens of millions unemployed and underemployed ‘collateral damage’ stripped of their means of production.

Centuries’ old knowledge of cultivation and cultural practices passed on down the generations – gone. The links between humans and the land reduced to an AI-driven technocratic dystopia in compliance with the tenets of neoliberal capitalism.

As it currently stands, AgriStack will help facilitate this end game.

The open letter referred to can be read on the website of the Alliance For Holistic and Sustaibable Agriculture. For a summary of the recent farm legislation and the implications see this segment by Colin Todhunter on UK-based KTV.

The post Microsoft vs Indian Farmers: Agri-Stacking the System first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Mette Frederiksen, Boris Johnson: Reject Industry PR, Ban Glyphosate, Protect Public Health! 

On 9 April 2021, retired physician and health and environmental campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason wrote to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (DEPA). She wanted to draw the agency’s attention to the findings that indicate the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup causes high levels of mortality following contact exposure in bumble bees (glyphosate-formulated herbicides are the most widely used weedicides in agriculture across the globe).

This, Mason argued, has led to a decline of bumblebees in Denmark. She asked the agency why it had used “fraudulent science” on glyphosate from the European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency, which in turn take their ‘science’ from Monsanto/Bayer, rather than from the direct observations of The Danish Nature Agency.

Mason’s correspondence focused not only on the destructive environmental impacts of glyphosate but also on the devastating human health aspects.

In relation to sanctioning the continued use of glyphosate in Europe, Mason has previously noted that it was totally unacceptable, possibly negligent or even criminal, for the European Union to have allowed a group of plant scientists on the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) – whose knowledge of human physiology was so lacking that they did not recognise that glyphosate has effects on humans – to make decisions that affect human health.

PAFF’s role was pivotal in the decision to re-licence the use of glyphosate in the EU in 2017.

To date, aside from the DEPA acknowledging receipt of Mason’s letter, there has been no response to the issues raised.

As a follow up, Mason has sent the latest insights to DEPA on the Monsanto-Bayer lawsuits in the US. Three cases brought by Lee Johnson, Edwin Hardeman and Alva and Alberta Pilliod have already gone to trial. In each case, the courts found that Roundup caused their cancers and that Monsanto hid the risks of its product.

Mason also forwarded information to Magnus Hennicke, the health minister, indicating the role glyphosate plays in fuelling cancers and other diseases in Denmark. Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fishery Rasmus Prehn and Special Adviser Casper Steen Petersen also received copies of this information.

Their attention was drawn to the Institute for Responsible Technology claims that cancers caused by Roundup include non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bone cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, melanoma, pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer.

Mason also quoted Robert F. Kennedy Jr, the renowned environmental attorney, who in 2018 talked of:

… cascading scientific evidence linking glyphosate to a constellation of other injuries that have become prevalent since its introduction, including obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, kidney disease, and inflammatory bowel disease, brain, breast and prostate cancer, miscarriage, birth defects and declining sperm counts. Strong science suggests glyphosate is the culprit in the exploding epidemics of celiac disease, colitis, gluten sensitivities, diabetes and non-alcoholic liver cancer which, for the first time, is attacking children as young as 10.

Mason concluded her correspondence by saying:

I will leave Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (to whom I have also sent a copy) and other ministers to demand answers from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. Are they or their relatives suffering from any of these diseases – Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc? Until Roundup is eliminated from food and from drinking water, these conditions will continue to afflict us all. That means that farmers must stop using Roundup.

Rosemary Mason has been writing to officials in the UK and Europe about the effects of Roundup and other agrochemicals for over a decade, documenting the health and environmental impacts as well as the institutional corruption that has led to their continued use. Her many reports are littered with peer reviewed scientific literature to support her claims and can be accessed on the academia.edu website.

New study

It seems that not a month goes by until some new paper or study appears and supports what Mason has been saying for a long time. For example, according to the recent multiple author paper ‘In-depth comparative toxicogenomics and Roundup herbicides’, glyphosate and Roundup changes gene function and causes DNA damage.

The research found that glyphosate and glyphosate-formulated herbicides activate mechanisms involved in cancer development, including DNA damage – and these effects occur at doses assumed by regulators to have no adverse effects. The study found that DNA damage was caused by oxidative stress, a destructive imbalance in the body that can cause a long list of diseases.

Writing on the GMWatch website, Claire Robinson summarises the findings and the policy implications. She states that the findings, according to the EU’s pesticide law, should result in a ban on glyphosate and all its formulations.

The study was led by Dr Michael Antoniou and Dr Robin Mesnage at King’s College London. It builds on the findings of a previous study by the same authors. In that study, the findings showed that glyphosate and Roundup, given at doses that regulators say are safe, result in gut microbiome disturbances and oxidative stress, with indications that the liver is affected and possibly damaged.

In the new follow-up study, the researchers carried out some of the standard tests that regulators require the pesticide industry to conduct to gain market authorisation for their products – namely blood biochemistry and kidney and liver histopathology (microscopic examination of tissue).

They also carried out in-depth tests (molecular profiling) that are not demanded by regulators or typically carried out by the industry. In addition, the researchers undertook tests that can detect direct damage to DNA.

Robinson notes that, worryingly for public health, it was the non-standard molecular profiling tests that are not required by pesticide regulators that were most revealing.

Roundup was found to alter the expression of 96 genes in the liver specifically linked to DNA damage and oxidative stress as well as disruption of circadian rhythms or ‘body clocks’. The findings strongly suggest that the key changes in gene function reflective of oxidative stress and DNA damage was due to glyphosate and not the additional substances (adjuvants) present in the Roundup formulation. Direct DNA damage to the liver was found to increase with glyphosate exposure.

Protect public health

Claire Robinson says that these findings potentially constitute a bombshell that could end the authorisation of glyphosate in the EU because the EU pesticide regulation (1107/2009) has what is known as hazard-based cut-off criteria.

She states:

This means that if a pesticide active ingredient is shown to cause a certain type of harm to health at whatever dose, it must be banned. One of the named types of harm is damage to DNA. The discovery that glyphosate alone damages DNA in a living animal should, if regulators follow the law, result in a ban on glyphosate.

The study indicated that both glyphosate and its commercial formulation Roundup activate mechanisms involved in cancer development, causing gene expression changes reflecting oxidative stress and DNA damage.

The UK is currently pushing for the deregulation of genetically engineered crops and products and the non-regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) derived from newer techniques like gene-editing. This in itself is worrying given the scientific evidence pointing to the health and ecological dangers associated with this technology.

At the same time, however, the government’s proposed strategy would only further serve the bottom line of the agrochemical companies while contributing to the ongoing public health crisis brought about by their products.

For instance, the recent paper ‘Herbicide Resistance: Another Hot Agronomic Trait for Plant Genome Editing’ (in the peer reviewed journal ‘Plants’) says that, in spite of claims from GMO promoters that gene editing will reduce pesticide use, what we can expect is just more of the same – GMO herbicide-tolerant crops and increased herbicide use.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that he wants to “liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules”. The type of ‘liberation’ Johnson really means is the UK adopting unassessed GM crops and food and a continuation of the chemical bombardment of our food, environment and bodies.

It is time for Johnson to serve the public not the bottom line of the government’s corporate masters.

It is time for the EU to ‘follow the science’ and side-line industry influence.

The post Mette Frederiksen, Boris Johnson: Reject Industry PR, Ban Glyphosate, Protect Public Health!  first appeared on Dissident Voice.