Despite Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) being touted as saviors, nations worldwide restrict or outright ban their use. That gouges their champion corporation–Monsanto– with deep profit wounds. That paradigm forces the company to get creative, and test all manner of boundaries. As agra-advancement demand grows, with GMO’s failing to catch on, Monsanto turns to countries like Vietnam to welcome its product.
The agra-giant once found success in Vietnam during 20th century struggles against colonialism. During the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese countryside drowned in massive amounts of the toxin known as Agent Orange across lush jungles. It acted as a kind of augmented herbicide, officially used to clear dense bush for troops. It was also useful for destroying food supplies, and tainting drinking water. A Vietnamese man interviewed for the 1975 documentary Hearts And Minds, who built coffins of a living, claimed many countryside children died due to the poison.
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In Brussels, hundreds of lobby consultants make a (rather generous) living by running lobby campaigns on behalf of anyone who pays them. The borders between communication and PR strategies, law expertise and traditional lobbying are blurred. Demonstrating the problematic symbiosis between corporate interests and the EU institutions in Brussels, the same lobbying consultancies often get hired by both, bringing serious risks of conflicts of interest. A case in point: Germany-based lobby consultancy Genius and its work for the Glyphosate Task Force.
The European Commission – as shown again recently in The Guardian – seems hell bent on granting glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s toxic herbicide Roundup, re-approval for another ten years. This is despite the fact that the World Health Organisation’s cancer institute IARC declared the substance as “probably causing cancer to humans”, and that EU pesticides rules say such substances should be banned.
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Experiencing a rise in coca cultivation, the Colombian government has resumed the use of a potentially carcinogenic herbicide in its efforts to tackle the source of the cocaine trade, despite serious questions about the method’s efficacy.
Use of the herbicide glyphosate in coca eradication efforts was halted last year following publication of an International Agency for Research on Cancer report pointing to its potentially carcinogenic effects. Colombia had been utilizing glyphosate in aggressive aerial fumigation campaigns against coca — the raw ingredient for cocaine — since 1994.
However, a recent uptick in coca cultivation levels — and consequentially the amount of cocaine produced in the country — have apparently prompted the government to begin using glyphosate once more. The difference this time, though, is that it will be used solely in manual eradication, as confirmed by Defense Minister Luis Villegas who noted that authorities will spray on the ground in such a way so that it does not contaminate surrounding areas.
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Since the unexpected refusal last month of three EU member states to go along with the decision of the EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to re-approve the world’s most widely used weed killing chemical, Glyphosate, dramatic and encouraging developments suggest that for the first time the power of GMO agrochemical giants like Monsanto and Syngenta, Dow and DuPont, BASF, Bayer could undergo a devastating defeat. Were this to happen, it could well be the death knell for the misbegotten Rockefeller Foundation Genetic Manipulation project that has destroyed much of Western farmland and poisoned hundreds of millions of GMO fed farm animals and humans.
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