Monsanto, Big Brother of The New World Agricultural Order

Monsanto, Big Brother of the New World Agricultural Order: An Interview With Marie-Monique Robin

Sunday 27 June 2010

Posted via René Volpi

by: Mickey Z., t r u t h o u t | Interview

photo
Journalist and filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin. (Photo: Razak / Ségolène Royal)

Award-winning French journalist and filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin is the author of “The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption and the Control of Our Food Supply” (The New Press) and the creator of the film by the same name.

In a review of these two projects, Leslie Thatcher writes: “What Marie-Monique Robin most effectively documents are the perverse effects – the moral, social, technological, economic and market failures – of Western society’s economic organization, most specifically with respect to science and the products of science and, ultimately, with respect to the preservation of the public commons and human life on the planet.”

My conversation with Marie-Monique Robin follows:

Mickey Z.: Was there an initial spark that led you to this project that took three years and investigations on four continents to complete?

Marie-Monique Robin: My “story” with Monsanto began in 2003, when I made three documentaries for the Franco-German channel ARTE (to which I pay a tribute for the quality of its programs) about the reduction of biodiversity.

MZ: Please take us through those documentaries and their connection to Monsanto.

MMR: The first, “Biopirates,” told how corporations like Monsanto were holding abusive patents on living organisms which are contributing to a new drastic reduction of biodiversity. At that I time, I heard about a company called Monsanto which already held more than 600 patents on living organisms. The second documentary, called “Wheat: Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” told the story of cultivation of that golden cereal, from the very beginning 10,000 years ago until today and explained how the practices of industrial agriculture that brought the “green revolution,” made thousands of local landraces and varieties disappear, a dramatic evolution which will be accelerated by GMOs [genetically modified organisms]. At the same time the so-called green revolution provoked a huge contamination of the environment through the massive use of chemical pesticides, “biocides,” which “entered into living organisms, passing one to another in a chain of poisoning and death,” as Rachel Carson wrote in “Silent Spring.” Finally, I made a documentary, called “Argentina: The Soybeans of Hunger,” about the cultivation of Roundup Ready soybeans in Argentina, where I depicted the environmental, social and health disasters which the introduction of Monsanto’s GMOs represent. Today, they cover 60% of the area under cultivation in the country.

MZ: What was the process like, creating these three films?

MMR: I traveled around the world for a year: Europe, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Israel and India. The ghost of Monsanto lurked everywhere, almost like the Big Brother of the new world agricultural order – the source of much anxiety. Therefore, I proposed a new investigation to ARTE about this powerful multinational, created in 1901 in St. Louis, Missouri, the world leader of GM foods (90% of genetically modified crops) which presents itself on its website home page as “an agricultural company” the purpose of which is to “help the world’s farmers to produce healthier food … while reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment.” But what it doesn’t say is that, before getting involved in agriculture, it was first of the largest chemical companies of the twentieth century and one of the biggest polluters in industrial history. My book, “The World According to Monsanto,” tells how the firm became one of the major industrial empires on the planet and one of the most controversial companies in the industrial history.

MZ: With so much background and research, how did you ever reach the conclusion that you had gathered enough material to write this important book?

MMR: Once more, I traveled a lot – to the US, Canada, Mexico, Paraguay, India, Vietnam, Europe – and met a lot of scientists, experts, whistleblowers (from the FDA, EPA, Berkeley University), lawyers, farmers and Monsanto victims. I consulted thousands of declassified documents from the EPA (on dioxin), FDA (GMOs), judiciary affairs (PCBs), scientific studies, reports from independent organizations and then decided it was enough!

MZ: Monsanto has given the planet “gifts” like Agent Orange and Roundup Ready crops, PCBs and GMOs, yet, for most humans, it has pretty much flown under the radar. To what would you attribute the fact that the vast majority of us rail mostly at governments, instead of the far more dangerous and powerful multinational corporations?

MMR: The problem is that the corporations act behind the scene, manipulating information, studies, press and the experts of the regulatory agencies. To speak quite frankly, I had never imagined before that a company could resort to such procedures, to sell its harmful products, in complete impunity, during decades: concealing scientific data, lying, manipulating regulations, corruption, pressuring scientists and journalists, threats. The problem is also that governments do not take any legal action against companies which are repeatedly affecting the environment and the health of consumers. If Monsanto were a private person, it would be convicted as a great criminal, but current law protects the criminal companies, which are never held accountable for the damage they cause.

MZ: What role does Monsanto play in the all-important areas of food safety and food supply?

MMR: Nowadays Monsanto is the world leader in biotechnology and the first seed company. Ninety percent of the GMOs grown in the world belong to it. During the last decade, the firm bought dozens of seed companies all over the world, pushing its transgenic seeds, which are patented. A patented seed means that the farmers who grow it may not keep a part of their crops to re-sow it the next year, as farmers used to do everywhere in the world. In the US and Canada, farmers who grow transgenic crops must sign a “technology agreement” – the no-sowing requirement is clearly expressed. If they don’t respect the agreement and violate the patent, they are harassed by the “gene police” and sued by Monsanto. Clearly, transgenic crops are just a tool to control the seed supply, which is the first link in the food chain, by forcing farmers to buy seeds each year.

MZ: How influential is Monsanto in the decision-making process at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other so-called protection agencies?

MMR: It was quite amazing to discover how Monsanto is using the “revolving door,” in order to control the decisions and policies that affect its products. Just one example: To avoid tests on GMOs to assess their possible harm on the consumer health and on the environment, the FDA invented the concept of “substantial equivalence,” which was based on no scientific data, as James Maryanski, the former chief of the Biotechnology Department, recognized in front of my camera. And who wrote the FDA’s May 1992 policy? A former Monsanto attorney named Michael Taylor, who was hired by the FDA as deputy commissioner for policy, and then became Monsanto vice president! Interesting enough, Michael Taylor went back to the FDA under the Obama administration.

MZ: What does it say about industrial civilization that Monsanto has become so rich and powerful by creating and selling what you call “some of the most dangerous products of modern times”?

MMR: Consumers and citizens played a role in this dramatic story. We all use the hazardous products, which characterize “modern life.” And the price we are paying is very high. In my next documentary and book, “Toxic Lies,” I explain how the chemical industry is “poisoning our plate.” I investigated the link between chemical exposure (pesticides, food additives, plastics, etc.) and the epidemics of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, obesity, reproductive disorders and diabetes, which can be observed in the so-called “developed countries,” and especially in the US. And if you investigate how all the chemicals are assessed and regulated, you finally understand that consumers are not protected at all against these dangerous hazards.

MZ: What can be done? What can readers take away from this interview and your book that will inspire immediate direct action? What steps would you recommend being taken to challenge not only Monsanto. but also an industrial culture seemingly hell bent on wiping out life on earth?

MMR: The key is held by consumers and farmers. That means that all of us should promote organic farming by buying organic food, which is the best way to protect our health and environment. That will be the end of Monsanto and similar companies for sure. Another suggestion: order “The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption and the Control of Our Food Supply.”

Marie  Monique-Robin received the 1995 Albert-Londres Prize, awarded to investigative journalists in France, and is the director and producer of over 30 documentaries and investigative reports filmed in Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

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This work by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


Posted by René Volpi
July1rst. 2010
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Would you give away Arizona?

Obama gave part of Arizona to Mexico?

posted by Rene Volpi

on June 22nd, 2010

Did your air conditioner go out?  Is your girlfriend riding you like a pack mule?  Did the dog chew up the rug?

Not to worry, because we have your scapegoat. Obama. That’s right.   Everything that’s wrong with your life can be blamed on the Pariah-in-Chief.  The reason for the oil spill? Obama’s not underwater with his mouth over the hole, inhaling.

And now he’s given part of Arizona back to the Mexicans.

Last week,  Fox News ran a story that many people took to mean Obama has handed over chunks of Arizona to Mexico. I called my friend who has a bed-and-breakfast in Clarkdale, Ariz., to warn him, but he said the Mexican Army had yet to arrive.

“Critics say the Administration is in effect giving a major strip of the Southwest back to Mexico,”  Fox reporter Shannon Bream said toward the beginning the story.  This led to a YouTube headline on the video that said “Obama Gives Back Part of Arizona to Mexico.”

I didn’t know the Mexicans wanted Arizona.  As far as I’m concerned, they can have Phoenix. And Jackass Flats, too.

The Fox story said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed part of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge along the border because of “heavily armed drug smugglers and human traffickers.”

Huh. U.S. Fish and Wildlife.  I didn’t realize the White House was in charge of duck stamps.

All of this monkey business led to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge running a notice on its Web page saying it was still open.  Bonnie Swarbrick, refuge spokeswoman, said the story was old news anyway.  Four years ago the refuge closed 3 percent of its land in part because construction of the big border fence was going on, and you had both National Guard members and hunters dressed in camo in the area.  And there was some fear they might shoot each other by mistake.

“We didn’t want any misunderstanding in case that would happen,” Swarbrick said.  Besides, if somebody had been bagged out of season, Fox would have planted the gun on Obama.

Also,  Swarbrick said, the refuge is less dangerous now than in 2006, when the place did the partial closing.  “The number of illegal immigrants coming through the refuge is way down, a fraction of what it used to be,”  she said.

Hmmm, 2006.  Does that mean George W. Bush gave part of Arizona back to the Mexicans?  I’ll bet W. doesn’t even realize it.

Anyway, Swarbrick said all the “erroneous information” swirling around caused some “angry citizens” to call the wildlife refuge.

But so what?  Maybe these folks don’t get out of the house much and they need something to get their blood pressure going.  Besides, you can always blame the big one on Obama.  And everything else.

Do you think you have problems?

I heard the news today, oh Lord!…Yeppers, you’ve got it. It’s a very well known Lennon-McCartney inspiration titled ” A day in the life”. However, it goes perfectly well with what we are all thinking: we are on the verge of an imminent disaster. And we don’t need to go too far to analyze it, just to your local worldly news. As it turns out, now they are saying that a DPRK (North Korea) torpedo struck the South Korean vessel that caused the death of dozens of its sailors, now that’s bad news. The head of the attacking party, Mr. Kim Jung Ill, told its military to be on full alert. That’s also bad news, and the world is holding its breath. Missiles are pointing to the South as we speak and everybody’s nervous. Next.
Israel Vs. the Palestinians Vs. most Arab nations Vs. the world’s opinion plus the media bringing it all home. Iran is already pissed about the sanctions and this could break the camel’s back; they have camels, right? And if that wasn’t enough, now it comes to light that, in fact, they could build an atomic weapon. So that is more bad news….Again, the world’s holding its breath. I’m just happy that the World Cup is finally on, even though blowing the vuvuzela is not going to save anybody.

Peace, (no pun intended)

René

RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD

————————————————–

Religious Body Number of Adherents



Posted by René Volpi

on June 10th –2010–

Catholic Church** 1,050,000,000
Sunni Islam* 900,000,000
Eastern Orthodox Church* 225,000,000
Jinja Honcho* 83,000,000
Anglican Communion* 73,000,000
Ethiopian Orthodox Church 35,000,000
Assemblies of God* 32,000,000
Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD)* 27,400,000
Sikhism 23,000,000
Juche (North Korea) 19,000,000
Jehovah’s Witnesses** 15,374,986
Southern Baptist Convention* 15,000,000
United Methodist Church* 11,708,887
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 11,394,522
Seventh-day Adventist Church 11,300,000
Soka Gakkai 11,000,000
New Apostolic Church 10,260,000
Veerashaivas (Lingayats) 10,000,000
Coptic Orthodox 10,000,000
Ahmadiyya 10,000,000
Sathya Sai Baba 10,000,000
Church of Uganda 8,000,000
Choge Buddhism 8,000,000
Church of Sweden 7,399,915
Church of God in Christ 6,500,000
Kimbanguist Church 6,500,000
Bahai World Faith 6,000,000
Universal Church of the Kingdom of God
(Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus)  6,000,000
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 5,500,000
China Christian Council 5,000,000
Rissho Koseikai 5,000,000
Swaminarayanism 5,000,000
Aglipayan Church 4,500,000
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland 4,400,000
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark 4,350,000
Iglesia ni Cristo (mostly in the Philippines) 4,000,000
Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) 4,000,000
Kale Heywet (SIM, Ethiopia) 4,000,000
Church of Norway (Evangelical Lutheran) 3,850,000
Armenian Apostolic Church 3,500,000
Christian Congregation (Brazil) 3,120,000
National Baptist Convention of America 3,106,000
“God is Love” Pentecostal Church (Igreja
Pentecostal “Deus e Amo”) 3,000,000
Zion Christian Church (South Africa) 3,000,000
Cao Dai 3,000,000
Ch’ondogyo 3,000,000
Church of the Lord Aladura 3,000,000
Reiyukai 3,000,000
United Church of Canada 3,000,000
International Church of the Foursquare Gospel 2,863,232
Church of South India 2,800,000
Balinese Hinduism 2,800,000
Christian and Missionary Alliance 2,644,296
Netherlands Reformed Church (NHK) 2,600,000
Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod 2,582,440
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 2,560,201
Protestant Christian Batak Church
(Huria Kristen Batak Protestan — HKBP, Indonesia)
2,500,000
Evangelical Churches of West Africa 2,500,000
Progressive National Baptist Convention 2,500,000
Tenrikyo 2,350,000
United Pentecostal Church International 2,300,000
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania 2,200,000
Presbyterian Church of Korea (Haptong) 2,094,338
Africa Inland Church (Kenya) 2,000,000
Brazil for Christ 2,000,000
Churches of Christ 2,000,000
Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar 2,000,000
Syrian Orthodox Church (“Jacobite”) 2,000,000
Radhasoami 2,000,000
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism 2,000,000
True (Old Calendar) Orthodox Church of Greece 2,000,000
Reformed Church in Hungary 2,000,000
American Muslim Society 2,000,000
Presbyterian Church of Korea (Tonghap) 1,660,248
Council of Baptist Churches of NE India 1,630,000
Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus 1,625,994
Baptist Bible Fellowship International 1,600,000
Salvation Army 1,500,000
Myanmar Baptist Convention 1,500,000
Malagasy Lutheran Church (Madagascar) 1,500,000
American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. 1,455,855
Brazilian Baptist Convention 1,440,000
Dutch Reformed Church (NGK; South Africa) 1,403,180
Alawi 1,400,000
Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches
of Latin America and the Caribbean  1,400,000
Uniting Church in Australia 1,386,000
United Church of Christ 1,377,320
Christ Apostolic Church (Nigeria) 1,300,000
Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Reform)
1,300,000
Pentecostal Church of Indonesia 1,280,000
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church 1,252,369
Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian (CCAP; Malawi)
1,250,000
Nigerian Baptist Convention 1,250,000
Church of the Nazarene 1,216,657
African Methodist Episcopal Church 1,200,000
Divine Light Mission 1,200,000
Church of God Miss. Intl. (Nigeria) 1,200,000
British Methodist Church 1,200,000
Church of North India 1,125,000
Christian Churches and Churches of Christ 1,070,000
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 1,043,943
United Orthodox Jewish Congregation of America 1,043,943
Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, USA
1,050,000
Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil
1,000,000
ISKCON 1,000,000
Syrian Orthodox Church of Malabar (Mar Thoma) 1,000,000
National Primitive Baptist Convention of the U.S.A.
1,000,000
Pentecostal Assemblies of the World 1,000,000
PL Kyodan 1,000,000
Sekai Kyuseikyo 1,000,000
Church of Christ in Nigeria 1,000,000
Unity Church 1,000,000
Igreja Evangelica Pentecostal (Brazil) 1,000,000
Church of Scotland 1,000,000
Sukyo Mahikari 1,000,000

Top 10 Largest Highly International Religious Bodies
These are religious bodies in which at least 30% of their world
membership live outside the “core country” (country with the largest
number of members).
Religious Body Number of Adherents
Catholic Church 1,050,000,000
Sunni Islam 875,000,000
Eastern Orthodox Church 225,000,000
Anglican Communion* 73,000,000
Assemblies of God 32,000,000
Jehovah’s Witnesses 15,374,986
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 11,394,522
Seventh-day Adventists 11,300,000
New Apostolic Church 10,260,000
Ahmadiyya 10,000,000
Bahai World Faith 6,000,0000

And,  just in case…if you have opened your own order, you may as well include it here.

Peace,


René

Posted on June 10th -2010-

Good advice on certain things

Here you have a couple posts that you just might enjoy

Posted by  Rene Volpi  via Annie Colbert to Holy Kaw!
on June 8th -2010-

Boast a mouth so dirty it could make drunken sailors blush? Well, if your mother, spouse, or priest have requested you to ease back on the four-letter word bombs, don’t listen to ‘em. Researchers say that swearing may help alleviate pain by increasing the heart rate and pushing the brain to a fight or flight state. Interestingly, women appear to benefit more from dropping a barrage of s**t, f*#k, and biznatches. The scientists behind the f**king experiment say more f**king research is needed to fully understand the impact of f**king cursing on the human body.

Full story at Science News.

Damn, that’s a lot of science news.

Photo credit: Fotolia


Here is a video you could enjoy!

Posted by same as above via  Annie Colbert to Holy Kaw!

What better way to kick off the Mother’s Day weekend than with a truly touching chit-chat between a young boy with Asperger’s syndrome and his devoted mother? Sarah Littman sat down with her 12-year-old son Joshua to answer a series of heartfelt questions. StoryCorps recorded the conversation and set it to animation in a short video sure to make you want to give your mom, or any mom, a huge hug.

 

Embedded media — click here to see it.

Full story at BuzzFeed.

All about moms.


Body odors hard facts

Posted by  HowStuffWorks.com to Holy Kaw!

Get fast facts on body odor causes, and learn what you can do to control body odor.

For example did you know?

  • Meat eaters smell worse than their vegetarian counterparts, according to a 2006 anthropological study performed in the Czech Republic.
  • Since the eccrine gland produces sweat that is mostly just water and salt, it is not responsible for body odor.
  • Because microorganisms on the skin, called florae, enjoy chomping on fats and proteins, it makes sense that foods heavy in these nutrients would produce a stronger body odor.
  • The apocrine glands remove waste like proteins and fats — although the sweat they produce does not naturally smell, it develops its odor when it reaches the surface of the skin. Microorganisms found on the skin eat apocrine sweat and produce the body-odor scent as a by-product of metabolism.

Full list at HowStuffWorks.com.

Leave me a comment if you like this blog; if you don’t, just keep your trap shut!

hehehehe…. René