Genetically-Engineered Trees?? Yes, and Why Humanity Should be Petrified

Living Maxwell
by Max Goldberg

The more time that you spend in the organic industry, the more you learn about what is truly going on and what you find is pretty scary.

While I try to remain as optimistic as possible, the reality is that the organic industry is under a constant existential threat from genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

Even though organic food has never been more popular, nearly 80% of the food on supermarket shelves contains GMOs and organic farmland is shrinking, a very worrisome trend. While 64 nations around the world require GMOs to be labeled, the U.S. does not. Why?

Because the ag-biotech industry has “purchased” agricultural policy in our country, by spending $572 million on campaign contributions and lobbying from 1999-2010.

Furthermore, we have a President who is fully on board the GMO-train, despite having made a campaign promise in 2007 to label GMOs.

Since taking office, not only has President Obama NOT labeled GMOs, but his administration has approved every single GMO-application that has been submitted to the USDA.

Among many others, one of the real problems with GMOs is that they contaminate everything around them. So, nature as we know it is disappearing, and our children’s food supply is going to be one big science experiment fraught with huge unknown risks.

Yet, if you think the ag-biotech industry is solely concerned with controlling the world’s food supply, think again. As I wrote about a while ago, there is now genetically-engineered grass.

But what should really frighten all of us, because of the huge ecological risks, is the emergence of genetically-engineered trees. Yes, genetically-engineered trees.

Genetically-engineered trees are very different than GM-crops, such as soybeans or corn, because they can last for decades or centuries in the wild. Furthermore, they have the potential to spoil native forests, destroy organic ecosystems, are very flammable, and will further deplete our already small and precious water supply. (The U.S. Forest Service has released findings that certain GE-trees would use twice the water of native forests.)

Humanity relies on these native forests to serve as the “lungs of the Earth,” by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. If this were somehow jeopardized, how would we survive?

ArborGen, the leading company in this space who has has a request pending with the USDA to commercialize genetically-engineered, freeze-tolerant eucalyptus seedlings and is run by ex-Monsanto executives, doesn’t seem concerned at all about any potential side effects or risks. They see GE-trees as a way to produce paper in a more cost-effective manner, regardless of the dire environmental consequences.

To learn more about what is going on with genetically-engineered trees and the recent protests that took place in North Carolina, I STRONGLY URGE you to read this eye-opening article in Z Magazine by clicking HERE.

WHAT CAN YOU DO

There are a few immediate things that you can do to help stop the ag-biotech industry from destroying our forests and ultimately our food supply.

1) Sign the petition to stop GE-trees on the Global Justice Ecology Project’s website and donate to this organization.

2) Buy fewer paper products.

3) Donate to Washington State’s GMO-labeling intiative called I-522. This is a MUST-WIN state for us, and I will be writing about this more over the next few months.

It is imperative that we not rack up two critical losses, with last year’s Proposition 37 in California and now this Washington state ballot initiative. The future of GMO-labeling in the U.S. is truly at stake here.

Related:  EU plans 2-year carcinogenicity study on NK603 maize

Former Pro-GMO Scientist Speaks Out on the Real Dangers of Genetically Engineered Food

Mercola . com
by Dr. Mercola

Who better to speak the truth about the risks posed by genetically modified (GM) foods than Thierry Vrain, a former research scientist for Agriculture Canada? It was Vrain’s job to address public groups and reassure them that GM crops and food were safe, a task he did with considerable knowledge and passion.

But Vrain, who once touted GM crops as a technological advancement indicative of sound science and progress, has since started to acknowledge the steady flow of research coming from prestigious labs and published in high-impact journals – research showing that there is significant reason for concern about GM crops – and he has now changed his position.

Former Pro-GMO Scientist Cites GM Food Safety Concerns

Vrain cites the concerning fact that it is studies done by Monsanto and other biotech companies that claim GM crops have no impact on the environment and are safe to eat. But federal departments in charge of food safety in the US and Canada have not conducted tests to affirm this alleged “safety.”

Vrain writes:

“There are no long-term feeding studies performed in these countries [US and Canada] to demonstrate the claims that engineered corn and soya are safe. All we have are scientific studies out of Europe and Russia, showing that rats fed engineered food die prematurely.

These studies show that proteins produced by engineered plants are different than what they should be. Inserting a gene in a genome using this technology can and does result in damaged proteins. The scientific literature is full of studies showing that engineered corn and soya contain toxic or allergenic proteins.

… I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat.”

“The Whole Paradigm of Genetic Engineering Technology is Based on a Misunderstanding”

This misunderstanding is the “one gene, one protein” hypothesis from 70 years ago, which stated that each gene codes for a single protein. However, the Human Genome project completed in 2002 failed dramatically to identify one gene for every one protein in the human body, forcing researchers to look to epigenetic factors — namely, “factors beyond the control of the gene” – to explain how organisms are formed, and how they work.

According to Vrain:

“Genetic engineering is 40 years old. It is based on the naive understanding of the genome based on the One Gene – one protein hypothesis of 70 years ago, that each gene codes for a single protein. The Human Genome project completed in 2002 showed that this hypothesis is wrong.

The whole paradigm of the genetic engineering technology is based on a misunderstanding. Every scientist now learns that any gene can give more than one protein and that inserting a gene anywhere in a plant eventually creates rogue proteins. Some of these proteins are obviously allergenic or toxic.”

In other words, genetic engineering is based on an extremely oversimplified model that suggests that by taking out or adding one or several genes, you can create a particular effect or result. But this premise, which GMO expert Dr. Philip Bereano calls “the Lego model,” is not correct. You cannot simply take out a yellow piece and put in a green piece and call the structure identical because there are complex interactions that are still going to take place and be altered, even if the initial structure still stands.

Serious Problems May Arise From Horizontal Gene Transfer

GE plants and animals are created using horizontal gene transfer (also called horizontal inheritance), as contrasted with vertical gene transfer, which is the mechanism in natural reproduction. Vertical gene transfer, or vertical inheritance, is the transmission of genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction, i.e., breeding a male and female from one species.

By contrast, horizontal gene transfer involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results. Proponents of GM crops assume they can apply the principles of vertical inheritance to horizontal inheritance, but according to Dr. David Suzuki, an award-winning geneticist, this assumption is flawed in just about every possible way and is “just lousy science.”

Genes don’t function in a vacuum — they act in the context of the entire genome. Whole sets of genes are turned on and off in order to arrive at a particular organism, and the entire orchestration is an activated genome. It’s a dangerous mistake to assume a gene’s traits are expressed properly, regardless of where they’re inserted. The safety of GM food is based only on a hypothesis, and this hypothesis is already being proven wrong.

Leading Scientists Disprove GMO Safety

Vrain cites the compelling report “GMO Myths and Truths” as just one of many scientific examples disputing the claims of the biotech industry that GM crops yield better and more nutritious food, save on the use of pesticides, have no environmental impact whatsoever and are perfectly safe to eat. The authors took a science-based approach to evaluating the available research, arriving at the conclusion that most of the scientific evidence regarding safety and increased yield potential do not at all support the claims. In fact, the evidence demonstrates the claims for genetically engineered foods are not just wildly overblown – they simply aren’t true.

The authors of this critical report include Michael Antoniou, PhD, who heads the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College at London School of Medicine in the UK. He’s a 28-year veteran of genetic engineering technology who has himself invented a number of gene expression biotechnologies; and John Fagan, PhD, a leading authority on food sustainability, biosafety, and GE testing. If you want to get a comprehensive understanding of genetically engineered foods, I strongly recommend reading this report.

Not only are GM foods less nutritious than non-GM foods, they pose distinct health risks, are inadequately regulated, harm the environment and farmers, and are a poor solution to world hunger. Worse still, these questionable GM crops are now polluting non-GM crops, leading to contamination that cannot ever be “recalled” the way you can take a bad drug off the market … once traditional foods are contaminated with GM genes, there is no going back! Vrain expanded:

“Genetic pollution is so prevalent in North and South America where GM crops are grown that the fields of conventional and organic grower are regularly contaminated with engineered pollen and losing certification. The canola and flax export market from Canada to Europe (a few hundreds of millions of dollars) were recently lost because of genetic pollution.”

American Academy of Environmental Medicine Called for Moratorium on GM Foods FOUR Years Ago

In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium on GM foods, and said that long-term independent studies must be conducted, stating:

“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. …There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation…”

Despite this sound warning, GM foods continue to be added to the US food supply with no warning to the Americans buying and eating this food. Genetic manipulation of crops, and more recently food animals, is a dangerous game that has repeatedly revealed that assumptions about how genetic alterations work and the effects they have on animals and humans who consume such foods are deeply flawed and incomplete. Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant claims genetically engineered crops are “the most-tested food product that the world has ever seen.” What he doesn’t tell you is that:

Industry-funded research predictably affects the outcome of the trial. This has been verified by dozens of scientific reviews comparing funding with the findings of the study. When industry funds the research, it’s virtually guaranteed to be positive. Therefore, independent studies must be done to replicate and thus verify results.

The longest industry-funded animal feeding study was 90 days, which recent research has confirmed is FAR too short. In the world’s first independently funded lifetime feeding study, massive health problems set in during and after the 13th month, including organ damage and cancer.

Companies like Monsanto and Syngenta rarely if ever allow independent researchers access to their patented seeds, citing the legal protection these seeds have under patent laws. Hence independent research is extremely difficult to conduct.
There is no safety monitoring. Meaning, once the GM item in question has been approved, not a single country on earth is actively monitoring and tracking reports of potential health effects.

It Might Take More Than One Bite to Kill You …

“One argument I hear repeatedly is that nobody has been sick or died after a meal (or a trillion meals since 1996) of GM food,” Vrain said. “Nobody gets ill from smoking a pack of cigarettes either. But it sure adds up, and we did not know that in the 1950s before we started our wave of epidemics of cancer. Except this time it is not about a bit of smoke, it’s the whole food system that is of concern. The corporate interest must be subordinated to the public interest, and the policy of substantial equivalence must be scrapped as it is clearly untrue.”

Remember, Vrain used to give talks about the benefits of GM foods, but he simply couldn’t ignore the research any longer … and why, then, should you? All in all, if GM foods have something wrong with them that potentially could cause widespread illness or environmental devastation, Monsanto would rather NOT have you find out about it. Not through independent research, nor through a simple little label that would allow you to opt out of the experiment, should you choose not to take them on their word. As Vrain continued:

“The Bt corn and soya plants that are now everywhere in our environment are registered as insecticides. But are these insecticidal plants regulated and have their proteins been tested for safety? Not by the federal departments in charge of food safety, not in Canada and not in the U.S.

… We should all take these studies seriously and demand that government agencies replicate them rather than rely on studies paid for by the biotech companies … Individuals should be encouraged to make their decisions on food safety based on scientific evidence and personal choice, not on emotion or the personal opinions of others.”

At present, the only way to avoid GM foods is to ditch processed foods from your grocery list, and revert back to whole foods grown according to organic standards.

Keep Fighting for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November, by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people’s initiative 522, “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. As stated on LabelitWA.org:

“Calorie and nutritional information were not always required on food labels. But since 1990 it has been required and most consumers use this information every day. Country-of-origin labeling wasn’t required until 2002. The trans fat content of foods didn’t have to be labeled until 2006. Now, all of these labeling requirements are accepted as important for consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says we must know with labeling if our orange juice is from fresh oranges or frozen concentrate.

Doesn’t it make sense that genetically engineered foods containing experimental viral, bacterial, insect, plant or animal genes should be labeled, too? Genetically engineered foods do not have to be tested for safety before entering the market. No long-term human feeding studies have been done. The research we have is raising serious questions about the impact to human health and the environment.

I-522 provides the transparency people deserve. I-522 will not raise costs to consumers or food producers. It simply would add more information to food labels, which manufacturers change routinely anyway, all the time. I-522 does not impose any significant cost on our state. It does not require the state to conduct label surveillance, or to initiate or pursue enforcement. The state may choose to do so, as a policy choice, but I-522 was written to avoid raising costs to the state or consumers.”

Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn’t have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37 camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let’s not allow Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can, regardless of what state you live in.

No matter where you live in the United States, please donate money to these labeling efforts through the Organic Consumers Fund.

If you live in Washington State, please sign the I-522 petition. You can also volunteer to help gather signatures across the state.

For timely updates on issues relating to these and other labeling initiatives, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the Washington initiative.

Roundup Herbicide Linked To Overgrowth of Deadly Bacteria

GreenMedInfo

Could Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup be leading to the overgrowth of deadly bacteria in animals and humans consuming genetically-modified food contaminated with it?

This question follows from a new study published in the journal Current Microbiology titled, “The Effect of Glyphosate on Potential Pathogens and Beneficial Members of Poultry Microbiota In Vitro,” which found that the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, known as glyphosate, negatively impacted the gastrointestinal bacteria of poultry in vitro. The researchers presented evidence that highly pathogenic bacteria resisted glyphosate, whereas beneficial bacteria were moderately to highly susceptible to it.

Some of the beneficial species that were found to be suppressed by glyphosate were Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Bacillus badius, Bifidobacterium adolescentis and Lactobacillus spp. The pathogenic species which were found to resist glyphosate toxicity were Salmonella Entritidis, Salmonella Gallinarum, Salmonella Typhimurium, Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium botulinum.

The researchers stated that “A reduction of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract microbiota by ingestion of glyphosate could disturb the normal gut bacterial community.” Even more alarming was their observation that the toxicity of glyphosate to the most prevalent beneficial species, Enterococcus, “could be a significant predisposing factor that is associated with the increase in Clostridia botulinum-mediated diseases by suppressing the antagonistic effect of these bacteria on clostridia.” Clostridia are a class of anaerobic bacteria including some of the most dangerous known to man, such as C. tetani and C. botulinum, which produce tetanus and botulin toxin, respectively.

Consider that botulin is the most acutely toxic substance known, and that despite the fact it is FDA-approved for use “cosmetically,” e.g. Botox injections, it is being looked at as a potential bioweapon because it only takes 75 billionths of a gram (75 ng) to kill a person weighing 75 kg (165 lbs). It has been estimated that only 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) would be enough to kill the entire human population.

The researchers noted that the glyphosate-sensitive beneficial strains of bifodobacteria, lactobacilli, propionibacteria and enterococci were found to inhibit the growth of C.botulinum. They also found that pathogenic Salmonella and E.coli strains, increasingly found contaminating poultry products, were highly resistant to glyphosate. Lastly, the researchers pointed out that glyphosate also has the potential to induce genetic mutations within bacteria, making it possible for a new level of pathogenicity to emerge following chronic exposure to this chemical.

What Does This Mean For Our Food?

One of the obvious implications of this research is that poultry fed glyphosate-laced genetically modified corn or soy, for instance, would likely experience unhealthy changes in the make-up of their intestinal flora (known as dysbiosis), resulting in increasing harm not only to the animals, but to those consuming them. Factory-farmed chickens are already routinely fed antibiotics, arsenic and even antidepressants, all of which represent serious health threats, both by contributing to the generation of communicable disease vectors, as well as contamination of the meat itself.

This new study adds to a growing concern that concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) chickens may becoming a breeding ground for botulism, and related pathogenic organisms. Deadly botulism outbreaks in cattle, in fact, have recently been linked to poultry litter contamination in Ireland.[i] Also, this month the FDA broadened the use of highly controversial food irradiation by increasing the allowable dose in poultry from 3 to 4.5 Kilograys (keep in mind a Kilogray is equivalent to 2,500,000 chest x-rays (40 millirems each) or 166 times a human lethal dose (5 Grays)), citing concerns that lower levels do not eliminate radiation-resistant spore-forming bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum.[ii]

More Than Just A Food Contamination Problem

Research published earlier this year, also in the journal Current Microbiology, indicated that glyphosate formulations, at concentrations lower than presently used in agricultural applications, are capable of destroying food organisms widely used as starters in traditional and industrial dairy technologies, such as Geotrichum candidum, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus.[iii] The study authors concluded that Roundup herbicide’s inherent toxicity to soil organisms may explain what is behind “…the loss of microbiodiversity and microbial concentration observed in raw milk for many years.”

The reality is that GM farming practices, which are heavily reliant on glyphosate-based herbicide formulations, are creating a more serious long-term threat to our food security by drastically altering the composition of the soil, threatening its very fertility and ability to produce food for present and future generations.

Religious Exemptions to Vaccines are Life or Death Rights

Activist Post
by Sandor White

Over many years, the media and corporations have mounted a concerted effort to demean religious faith and to portray certain religious groups as dangerous to modern society. Darwin and evolution are often the means, pitting “modern science” against “religious dogma.”

The problem is that “science” has become the pawn of the corporations. People are recognizing that very keenly as they watch the endless lies by Monsanto about genetically engineered food be exposed.

A recent Stanford “study,” blasted all over the country by media, purporting to show that organic food is no different from pesticide-ridden crops, is a prime example, with only a bit of investigating revealing that the person behind the study had once done bogus studies for the Tobacco Industry as well. The study is so loose with reality that it even says agribusiness “slows pace of global warming” even though agribusiness’s seeds (and the pharmaceutical industries vaccines and pills) are based on petrochemicals, central to driving global warming.

Science is being cavalierly twisted by the corporations and media, and in a direction that is anti-life. One of the most important protections people have against such falsehoods is, ironically, religious belief.

That belief is meant to be based on conscience and morality. It was the truth-filled, loving force that rid India of the British Empire. It was a strong force against the Vietnam War as priests were willing to go to jail to stop it. It is a force in Burma where Buddhist monks have stood against a repressive government. It is a force in Tibet now as monks have burned themselves to death in response to the totalitarian Chinese rule attempting to stamp out religious life there. There has been a demonization of those opposed to abortion, but has anyone stopped to think what it would mean for this culture to be fine with killing fetuses, not faced with the moral questions raised by those arguing we have no right to take a life?

Right now, true concern for health is being ignored by the WHO, which has turned its back on 47,500 children paralyzed by Bill Gates’ polio campaign in India as well as children damaged or killed in Pakistan. The WHO, the World Bank and Gates are using media to tell the world that the vaccines are eliminating polio, when in fact the scientific community has known for 10 years that it can never be eliminated now that the biotech industry has synthesized the virus (which is twice as deadly as wild polio). Corporate media is a means to seek funds to continue this catastrophe, even suggesting American women personally participate, and to hide from the world that, in fact, polio is being systematically spread across Asia and Africa.

When imams in Africa or groups in Asia object to vaccines, worried that children are being crippled and dying, media is used to assault them for being anti-science, anti-progress, and often imply religious stupidity. Yet it was a religious group that exposed the reality of tetanus vaccines being used to sterilize people.

Americans are aware that the country is being plundered – losing its homes, its jobs, its farms, its access to real food, its economy, its rights – by politicians and corporations both operating without moral values. Americans’ bodies are also under assault. If those bodies can be made ill, they become the source, over a lifetime of sickness, of a fortune for corporations selling vaccines.

This is another form of the Idiot Cycle, in which the companies which sicken people with their toxins then provide the “medicines” to treat those illnesses.

Religious belief is a sizable roadblock to such power, and when it comes to vaccines, it is precisely moral commitment to the life of children and of their community that has stood in the way. That morality often (though not solely) comes from religious belief.

In that context, it is vital to note what is occurring in the US in terms of efforts to undermine religious rights.

The religious exemption to vaccination is now under heavy attack across the country. In the video below, Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), discusses this important exemption, and why it’s so vital we defend our right to opt out of vaccinations for medical, religious, or conscientious belief reasons.
All Americans need to know their options for legally opting-out of vaccinations, and you also need to know why it’s so important to protect this legal option, whether you choose to use every federally recommended vaccine for yourself and your children or not.

The Nuremberg Code was established after the Holocaust to prevent the pharmaceutical industry from ever again forcing “medical procedures” on people against their wil. It is this defense against such industry power that is under attack. Without exemptions, people would be forced to submit their children to vaccines (and perhaps submit themselves if laws are written to include adults). As it is becoming clear the vaccines are actually causing diseases, people are also recognizing that there is profit in diseases (the article is by a Jewish cardiologist).

People, faced with the thought that vaccines may not in fact be the saving miracle of modern medicine, often fall back on what they have been told about the polio and smallpox vaccines as evidence of people’s lives being saved. Polio and smallpox are the big threats that leave people vulnerable to doing whatever the government says if thet announce an outbreak of some infectious disease. Yet what we were told about the polio vaccine is as false as what we have been told about the Smallpox vaccine. We have been fed fear on a steady basis so the public will be willing to submit to whatever “solution” is suggested.

West Nile virus is the latest such scare, with people being told it’s incurable and that spraying of toxic chemicals to kill mosquitoes must be done. Yet West Nile virus has never even been isolated and may actually be a collections of symptoms related to toxins (in which case spraying more is an even more terrible idea that people know it already is), and there is cure but it has been suppressed (as was an easy cure for polio).

(In fact, there is a proven cure for over 70 infectious diseases – meningitis, anthrax, hepatitis, dengue, West Nile, polio, swine flu, etc. See this video), making vaccines obsolete, even if they weren’t dangerous.)

What if a Smallpox outbreak (or any other disease) were announced and the CDC said everyone must get the vaccine? Here is where religious exemptions become vital as a means to refuse, for the CDC has admitted the small pox vaccine caused Smallpox. And in addition, the CDC has admitted the vaccine causes heart problems and warns people should not get it if (quote):

You have been told by a doctor that you have high blood pressure.
You have been told by a doctor that you have high blood cholesterol.
You have been told by a doctor that you have diabetes or high blood sugar.
You have a first degree relative (for example mother, father, brother, or sister) who had a heart condition before the age of 50.

Powerful governments have a long history of undermining religious belief. In its quiet way, such beliefs stand against power and support the moral life and spiritual grounding of human beings. “Science” captured by corporations has been used to demean religious belief. Those same corporations have used media to promote vaccines, to cover up crippling and deaths, and to suppress actual cures. So human thoughts based on moral beliefs are vital protection for life. The assault on religious exemptions for vaccines is meant to remove morality as a roadblock to profits.

Just as morality in general is critical to maintain and even to expand, so too are religious exemptions. Some people may use such exemptions to say “No” to vaccines because they believe they violate a deeply held religious conviction that the body is a blessed gift from God and may not be intruded on by a government. Some may say “No” to being experimented on based on a historical awareness that the pharmaceutical industry worked to develop a means to sterilize people at doctor’s appointments without their knowing. Others may fight for religious exemption because they see the Nuremberg Code as a phoenix rising out of the Holocaust and believe it is their religious obligation to protect it (“the informed consent” of religious exemptions) as part of “Never again.” Other may from religious conviction object to the immorality of an industry generating “diseases for profits.”

Whatever the moral conviction, religious exemptions to vaccines are a spiritual counterbalance to power and profit, and in that, they are essential to all Americans.

Related: The Laws of the Pharmaceutical Industry