Wednesday, January 25, 2012

US Embassy recommends retaliation for GM rejection

Five more cables related to GM crops were published on the Wikileaks website last night.

Probably the most chilling recommendation came from the Paris embassy in 2007 following France’s persistent rejection of Monsanto’s GM corn:

“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.” [07PARIS4723]

In cables GM looks more like a US strategic interest than science and a way to feed the world. A cable written a few weeks earlier on key policy issues with France covered:

Iraq, Iran, NATO, Afghanistan, Climate Change, Democracy/Burma, Russia Georgia, Kosovo, Missile Defence, Conventional Armed Forces of Europe, Lebanon, Middle East, France/EU, Colombia, GMO Moratorium, and Darfur [07PARIS4357].

There is one cable from the Vatican Embassy with a frightening statement showing tradeoffs between support for GM and criticism of the Iraq war:

“A Martino deputy told us recently that the cardinal had cooperated with Embassy Vatican on biotech over the past two years in part to compensate for his vocal disapproval of the Iraq war and its aftermath — to keep relations with the USG” [05VATICAN514]

The cables also demonstrate direct corporate lobbying at the highest government levels:

In a cable briefing for US President Obama’s visit to French President Sarkozy the issue of the French ban on Monsanto’s MON810 corn was raised [08PARIS957].

A cable briefing for the US Deputy Secretary visit to Spain read “we are seeking to obtain approval for Monsanto’s NK 603 variety…” [05MADRID1141]

There is good news however; the cables also show a resignation on the part of the US where the population actively opposes GM.


The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, appointed by President Obama, is Tom Vilsack, former Iowa Governor and apparent deeply committed proponent of biotechnology in agriculture. Vilsack’s ties to the Monsanto corporation include being named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a lobbying group.

When the U.S. government allowed GMO alfalfa, it effectively eliminated organic feed for farm animals. The GMO seed contaminates organic crops grown in other fields, preventing farmers from growing uncorrupted feed.

Why does this matter? U.S. citizens have increasingly reported allergies, over the last thirty years, as GMO food has entered the food supply. While few doctors had experience with allergies in 1981, few families can report that all members are allergy-free today. While there is no “proof” that GMO food causes allergies . . . there was no “proof” that cigarettes caused lung cancer for thirty years, either. Then again, there is also no one looking for that proof. When the health of people and the protection of the food supply is at risk, why are we asking for proof that something is dangerous, rather than asking for proof that it is safe?

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