Stephanie Seneff on Glyphosate – the 900 pound gorilla at our dinner table.


Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT straddles multiple scientific disciplines and has pooled
in her resources, including jointing hands with specialists that had knowledge beyond her reach, to create tools that dots the ‘I’ and crosses the ’T’ on how Glyphosate is perhaps the most dangerous manmade product to be unleaded on the planet, as an agent of mass extinction.

It is a 45 minute podcast. The relevant points might be :

  1.  Biology, & Computer : Stephanie explains how she studied both subjects and more, and how her knowledge and expertise with both has helped her in her work.
  2. Stephanie mentions Dr. Don Huber, Dr. Anthony Samsel, as people who have done seminal work that have been important in this area.
  3. Autism – Stephanie talks about the rising tide of autism and its link with Glyphosate. Where is the autism spectrum leading ?
  4. Cancer and the sad story of the province of Punjab in India. Can Glyphosate be behind it too ? Stephanie Seneff says yes, and mentions work of Dr. Nancy Swanson in this regard, even naming the kinds of cancer that might be relevantLab test on effect of Glyphosate on individual bacteria – can be done and has been done, including studies involving E.Coli that changes its function when in contact with Glyphosate. One can also test effect indirectly with animals by study in the change of their fecal material, mentioning Judy Carman’s pig study.
  5. Cat-ions (metal ions), and minerals and enzymes – how important are they and why are our micro biota important with regard to these items? Dr. Seneff explains this big question on how our body needs many such minerals even though in small doses and how it depends on our gut bacteria to manage this function since we cannot perform them ourselves and how Glyphosate disrupts these processes by attacking these beneficial bacteria.
  6. Kids getting violent reactions from vaccines is on the rise – and Glyphosate is partially responsible for it – as Dr. Seneff explains.
  7. Autism is not only found at birth, but can increase in what is ‘regressive autism’, through causes that are linked to complex interactions between unhealthy ingredients in our food, environment as well as vaccines, and other factors.
  8. Sri-lanka story of arsenic, Glyphosate, sugarcane farming and kidney failure – Stephanie links these to explain the unfolding horror story in Sri-Lanka, which is prompting their Govt to ban the use of Glyphosate.
  9. Why do they include Aluminum and Mercury in vaccines, if these are dangerous metals?
  10. Is microbiome, or gut bacteria identical between people, or are the colony of bacteria unique for each person? It is unique for each.
  11. What is Shikimate pathway, and is it really right to say that we humans do not use it, and therefore Glyphosate is safe for us. The answer is we humans do use it, but indirectly through our micro biome and it is therefore very unsafe for us to be exposed to Glyphosate. And yet, it is approved for use. The argument that Glyphosate is safe for humans – is false.
  12. If Glyphosate in the food and the ground water is damaging to humans, can it also be damaging to wild animals, birds, insects and the living world? Yes it can, it is, and is a disaster of global proportions in the making.
  13. How does roundup ready crop survive Roundup? Also, the extra energy used by GM crop to do work as designed by the inserted gene, not take away from what the crop would otherwise do, i.e add nutrient to its seed or fruit?
  14. The story of the super weeds and the chemical treadmill.
  15. Corporate funding of science, as against public funding: Is science losing its neutrality, and objectivity ? Talks on what happened to Seralini.
  16. If Govts will not fund science, and if corporate funding is making science biased, what is the alternative?
  17. How does Roundup ready crops manage to survive when weeds and other organisms cannot ?
  18. Can super weed develop if pesticides are used continually?
  19. Is development of super weeds a more or less given? Does this mean more herbicides in quantity, more toxic herbicides will be needed? Are we on a chemical treadmill ?
  20. BIotech funding and control of Universities, journals and media. Is science losing its independence and objectivity ?
  21. If Governments will not fund science research any more and corporate funding is turning science to have a biased stance – what is the alternative ?
  22. Is Stephanie Seneff also facing corporate backlash because of her work ? Yes.
  23. Is funding for her work drying up as a result? No. She is not funded by the biotech industry, but by the computer industry, which hopes she will develop computer tools that can be used by other biologists, and other scientist to study biophysics without having her level of expertise in Computer systems.
  24. So, to study Glyphosate, does one need to be primarily in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, or biophysics and electrical engineering ? All of it and then some.
  25. Advice to listeners – go organic as if your life depends on it, and try to grow you own food, even if small quantities, because sooner or later sh*t is going to hit the fan. This may turn out to be the most important life saving skill for all young people of today.

You can play the podcast by clicking on the player at the bottom of this page, or download it to listen at leisure.

I shall be glad to hear your comment or suggestion. Send me a note at tony.mitra@gmail.com

Cheers.

Tony Mitra

A letter to a minister

Honourable George Webster,

Minister of Agriculture

Prince Edward Island

Dated: Friday, April 18, 2014

cc: Minister of health, honourable Mr. Doug W. Curie, PEI

cc: Lori Barker, Executive Director, Canadian Cancer Society, PEI division,

cc: Dr. Thierry Vrain, retired genetic engineer and spokesperson against GMO and pesticides in Agriculture.

Subject : Use of Glyphosate, 2,4-D and other pesticides/herbicides and fungicides in agriculture and cosmetic lawn use in Prince Edward Island and possible links with rise of various illness in the Province.

Dear Honorable Minister Mr. Webster

 

Good day.

I am an engineer by profession, a resident of British Columbia and a food security activist and citizen journalist on food security and food safety issues, and have a reasonably wide connection with scientists, agriculture policy analysts, NGOs, grassroots organizations, MLA and MPs from multiple continents including in Canada. I was born in India, lived for extended periods in Hong Kong, USA and now in Canada. I am a Canadian citizen.

I write this letter with some concern and questions with regard to health issues that might be of concern for residents of Prince Edward Island. There has been messages and articles and talks about rise of illnesses in Prince Edward Island which may be higher when compared to the rest of Canada. This is on top of awareness that diseases in Canada in general may also be rising rapidly in the past two decades or so. There is more reliable data and research done on the same issue across the border in the US, with Government released data, that shows an alarming rise in various chronic illness from Cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, to leaky guts, Chrone, obesity, diabetes and autism.

There is a rising awareness that some of it may be linked with a corresponding rise in the release of pesticides in the environment, as well as rise in the use of GMO (Genetically modified organisms) that entered into our food chain without any independent safety analysis by anybody within Canada or elsewhere.

Dr. Nancy Swanson had plotted a series of Graphs of rising of the chronic illnesses mentioned in my letter above, and release of Glyphosate, the active ingredient of Monsanto’s herbicide brand named Roundup. She obtained both sets of data (illness records and Glyphosate release) from the respective departments of the US Govt. It shows a striking and uncanny correlation in the rise of illness trend that seems to match to a ’T’ the rise of release of Glyphosate pesticide.

Such correlation graphs show there is a similarity in trend. it does not prove that the illness is directly attributed to the rise in pesticide level. However, such similarity does show a strong possibility that the two might be linked. Therefore, precautionary principle would demand that a serious and independent (meaning not influenced by either Government or pesticide industry) scientific tests be done, especially in labs using scientists that are not funded by the Biotech corporation in any way. Unfortunately, this has never been done by anybody.

So, back to the issue of possible rise in Cancer, obesity and various other illnesses in PEI, I tried to check on two items :

  1. If the Municipalities in PEI have, or have not, passed any bylaw banning the use of cosmetic lawn pesticides.
  2. If anybody tried to get people’s blood, or urine or mothers breast milk, tested for presence of Glyphosate.

I found out that the answer to both are in negative. I would like to get a confirmation of this from your good office.

Further, I am told that the Government of PEI has apparently a special kind of act, or law, in force that limits the ability of the elected Municipal Governments and does not allow them to even pass bylaws banning cosmetic lawn pesticides. This is a routine bylaw passed by many municipalities across Canada. I am not aware of any special law enacted by the Government of PEI that denies this right to its own Municipalities.

I would request you to advise me if this is true, and what the text of that law or act is, and how it may be overturned to allow the PEI municipalities the same rights as the rest of Canada in fulfilling the wish of its people and pushing back at use of poisons for cosmetic purpose.

About the other item, we are a large group of organizations and concerned people in Canada that are looking towards getting the ground water, as well as human urine tested for presence of Glyphosate by a reputed lab. We are in contact with scientists across the border in USA that have helped labs in the US do such tests for people in the US. We are also looking for labs in Canada that might do similar tests without having to send the samples far away.

Based on the results, especially in Prince Edward Island, and especially from people that might be living closer to the agricultural lands and or otherwise exposed to the pesticides, as well as those who are already sick including the children – we are trying to get scientists to agree to analyze the data and come up with their comments and suggestions if there is a cause for concern and if so, what might be the likely environmental factors that are leading to this malady.

I seek your assistance, as well as that of the ministry of health and the local office of Canadian cancer society, in this endeavour. The public will likely take initiative on their own. But it would be better, and look better, if the branches of Government that should be concerned about safety of its people are also on board in this effort.

Incidentally, Dr. Thierry Vrain, retired genetic engineer and myself will be in Prince Edward Island to speak at a gathering to alert the people about potential risks in cultivating and consuming either GMO or food grown with methods that employ heavy use of pesticides. It would be an honour if you all will also attend so we could meet and shake hands.

As a last request, may I ask for data on year upon year release of various pesticides in PEI as well as total reports of diseases such as Cancer, Autism, Obesity, Parkinson’s, leaky guts, Diabetes etc from say the beginning of the 1990s till date, specifically for Prince Edward Island ?

Thanking you and hoping for a response

Tony Mitra

10891 Cherry Lane, Delta, BC, V4E3L7, Canada

604-649 7535

www.tonu.org

tony.mitra@gmail.com

Dr. Don Huber talks on his work on Glyphosate in agriculture

Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus of Purdue University, Idaho, is a microbiologist and plant pathologist that has worked for over half a century on chemicals such as Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s patented herbicide Roundup. He is well aware of how the chemical damages plants, as well as soil organisms, and how it damages the colony of gut bacteria that perform essential symbiotic services for humans and other higher animals. IN short, Glyphosate in our environment is a disaster that will have long term effects, spanning several generations, and there seem to be no end in site of this avalanche of bad chemicals permeating our neighbourhood.

 I spoke with him a few times over the past one month, to compile a 37 minute podcast. Further, he has sent me a CD full of information of his papers and independent studies, powerpoint presentations, PDF files, charts and other material related to this subject.

 Salient points of the talks are:

  • Dr. Huber has been researching and working on the ill effects of Glyphosate and other herbicides for 55 years.
  • Glyphosate is not just a herbicide but also patented as an antibiotic. Both these functions, and its ability to chelate or capture important metals and minerals – essentially deny a whole host of micro organisms that depend on those metals to do their work, and often will kill classes of bacteria even in human guts, wrecking the persons biology and health.
  • It disrupts the Shikimate pathway used by many gut bacteria for biosynthesis of important amino acids that we need. Also, while such beneficial bacteria are denied sustenance and are often killed off by Glyphosate. Not just that. Some of these bacteria prevent space for some of the harmful pathogens that are also in the plants we eat, thus protecting us from harm. However, when Glyphosate damages the good bacteria, it creates vacancy in our gut that can now be filled by the harmful pathogens which are also insensitive to Glyphosate, dealing us a double blow.
  • Dr. Samsel and Seneff have worked on how Glyphosate helps increase our susceptibility to disease. These studies should be read and understood.
  • Dr. Nancy Swanson has plotted the correlation graphs from information obtained from official sources such as Centre for Decease Control that points to identical rise of Glyphosate application and rise of chronic illnesses reported in hospitals.
  • Soybean oil has been found to have 40 ppm of Glyphosate, which will kill all sorts of useful bacteria in our gut. The herbicide will also chelate and immobilize cobalt, manganese, iron, zinc and copper that we need ourselves for our own good health. Livers are affected. A very small part 1/10 of a ppm is often enough to cause serious harm. Even illness such as E.oli, salmonella etc can rise directly proportional to the increase of Glyphosate and GMO, along with autism, leaky gut, gluten intolerance,  Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diarrhoea, and similar very major illnesses begin to come back in pandemic proportions because of the disruption and destruction of our micro-biome.
  • Once a patient’s gut bacteria has been seriously damaged, the only good cure may be fecal transplant. fecal bacteriotherapy or stool transplant. This essentially means taking stool from a healthy person and re-inserting it anally into a patient, transplanting the healthy bacteria to recolonize the gut. This has a high chance of recovery, but the patient has to onto organic diet, else he or she is likely to fall sick again.
  • Independent science research through public funding is nearly gone. Science is now mostly funded by corporations who have a vested interest in funding studies that find good effects of their technology rather than possible unwanted side effects. So, science and technology is losing its neutral position and objectivity. Normally, Dr. Huber would not get funding for his work that mostly finds the dangers of using Glyphosate. He managed to conduct his long term study by doing independent consulting work and then donating to the Purdue University as grant money to support his research on herbicides. In other words he was partially or wholly, funding himself.
  • There are written public statements of 26 scientists selected by the USDA to determine safety of genetically engineered plants, back in the 1960s. All 26 scientists wrote to the Govt. that they were unable to perform their work as the corporations would not provide access to information and were also prohibited to publish any finding to the public. Therefore they could not be objective in their investigation and without it the scientists could not do justice to the task.
  • When asked why so many deceases are increasing to pandemic levels, the official response is they do not know why. There is a perception that the relevant departments of the Govt does not want to know the cause.
  • Local troubles such as Yakima valley birth defect epidemic is a case in point where babies are still born and birth defects involving half the brain fails to develop in babies. This is suspected to be directly related to excessive application of Glyphosate in the farm and even in the water streams.
  • Some Cattle Farmers are going out of business because cattle fertility has dropped so much that half the newborns are still born and the business becomes economically unviable.
  • Europe is realizing they are in a dangerous situation with regard to Glyphosate, although their exposure is less than in USA. Yet, Dr. Huber laments that in USA people do not appear to be as alarmed as in Europe.
  • 300 million pounds  of Glyphosate is being used in agriculture annually in the US, and providing such food to animals and dumping such powerful herbicides in the environment indiscriminately – we can expect dangerous effects on our environment.
  • This is a crisis for our children. Autism is around 1 in 50 today. it is going to rise to 1 in 2 in the next seven to 14 years. Back in 1960 it was 1 or 2 in a hundred thousand.
  • Fecal transplant can be beneficial treatment for a number of illness – autism in kids, leaky guts, crone, celiac, Parkinson’s and even diabetes. Glyphosate is also related to cancer – childhood cancer. Dr. Huber does not know if fecal transplant can cure this kind of cancer once initiated by effects of Glyphosate. Seralini research is an example. Although his study was not set up to check cancer, it did show signs of cancer development in rats.
  • Regarding testing water, human blood or urine for presence of Glyphosate – Microbe Inotech Laboratories (http://www.microbeinotech.com/) can conduct these tests./ It might be useful to check with them if they also test for AMPA, especially if water sample are to be tested. IN Human Urine sample, presence of AMPA is expected to be rather small and could be ignored. AMPA is the first breakdown product of Glyphosate and is just as toxic as Glyphosate. Therefore, for testing soil or water, testing for both Glyphosate and AMPA combined would give a better result, since the percentage of AMPA can be more than 50% at times, the rest being Glyphosate that has not yet broken down.
  • If there is shortage of funds for large scale testing, then first concentrating on testing of Urine would be a better way to give an indication of exposure by humans to this dangerous herbicide.
  • How does one get rid of Glyphosate ? Detoxifying soil or water from Glyphosate is possible, through chelation. But if Glyphosate is in the human body already, it needs to be eliminated, and that can cause difficulties. Kidney failure in central America and Sri Lanka are relevant here, as Kidney shuts down and cannot handle the accumulation of Glyphosate.
  • Dr. Huber goes to Guatemala, as a consultant, regularly, as they in central America and many other countries there are trying to find ways to ban or remove Glyphosate from their environment. Their effort to ban Glyphosate is being challenged at courts, and the corporations have tried to confuse the issue and applying pressure on the Govts. A lot of farm workers in sugar plantations have died last year due kidney failure. Brasil and Argentina are also looking at banning Glyphosate. Hawaii has banned it but they are being sued now.
  • You can listen to the podcast by clicking the link below or check it up at iTunes as a podcast under my name (Tony Mitra).

Feel free to send me a note or a suggestion at  tony.mitra@gmail.com

Ukraine, Crimea and Russia – my first impression

Ukraine has been in the news, for the past few days, but for the wrong reason.

Today I saw a video clip of Pro-Russian Soldiers patting the hand of a Pro-Ukraine counter part in a friendly gesture. This prompted me to write my first impression of the place. I remember visiting parts of Ukraine when I was 20 years old, on a ship, as a junior engineer. The ship was a general cargo vessel of 10,000 ton size and carried a variety of goods from India, to be off loaded in various Soviet Ports. My first port of call was Odessa, a black sea port, not far from the Rumanian border.

Yes, it was part of the Soviet Union at that time.

I remember the intense cold and mounds of snow everywhere. I remember visiting some of their large department stores. I remember the blast of hot air that came through the air ducts and me standing right next to it warming my hands. I was wearing a parka that I had bought just a few weeks before, in Las Palmas, which was a Spanish island at the entrance to the Mediterranean.

I remember visiting the Interclub, a sort of “foreigners club” that the Soviets set up for those that could not speak the local language. The club had an English Language Library, where there were not only English translations of Great Russian authors like Tolstoy, but also books like The Catcher in the Rye.

I had almost no money in my pocket, since the pay for a junior engineer working in an Indian shipping company was really poor those days. I had something like 5 US dollars to spend over the next ten days in Ukraine.

And yet, I had lots of fun. First of all, I got a free bus ride to the Interclub, from the port area. Since I did not know where to go, or how to get there and how much it might cost, I took the free ride.

Next, the women that attended the club, who spoke English, did help me get a booklet of transport tickets. These are actually very similar to the ones in Vancouver these days. The same passes can be used on a bus, a train, or a ferry. What was different for me, is that I got a booklet of a dozen or so tickets (forgot how many where there) without having to pay for it. Apparently, it was a present, from the Soviet Union.

So, armed with that booklet, I was free to take any bus or other transport anywhere, and it cost me absolutely nothing. This was a novel experience for me, since I had never been given a free travel pass in any other country.

I also remember few other incidences of basically meeting up young people that wished to speak with me, on the street, or in a cafe, but we could not manage much of a talk because they spoke Ukrainian, Russian or Romanian, and I spoke only Bengali, Hindi and English. Nonetheless, we smiled at each other a lot, shook hands, and I got patted on my back often.

A young women kissed me on my cheek, which caused quite a bit of embarrassment for me. Coming fresh from India, I was not used to sudden display of affection from strangers on streets. On the whole, I came away with really nice feelings about the people of the Soviet Union.

My next stop was in Kherson, at the mouth of Dnieper River. I was there for only a few days. The place needed a different set of travel tickets. I also managed to see a sort of musical play. It was not quite the Bolshoi ballet, but it was very good, in my untrained eye. How did I afford to buy the ticket? Well, once again, I was gifted by a free pass by the Soviet Union. It was one of the best seats, in the second row from the front.

I was invited to a “chess” game. Russians were champion chess players. But the game was invented in India. So I went to play. I knew the basic rules, but was less than an average player. Consequently, I lost both the games, one as white and the next as black. The opponent was a man about twice my age.

What I remember from the game is – we were sitting on the sidewalk across a small round table with the chess board on it. I had a mug of hot Russian tea (actually the tea came from India), while the opponent had Vodka.

People stopped to watch the game. Some stood around us, and spoke among themselves in whispers – probably discussing the game, and no doubt wondering why I was not making smarter moves. Some looked at me encouragingly and even tried giving me advise, which of course I could not follow.

My last stop was in Crimea itself, a small jetty near the Naval port of Sevastopol. I had learned about the recent Russian history, about Balaclava and the Charge of the Light Brigade. About the Yalta conference between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. But it was while in Sevastopol that I learned that, for most of history, Crimea had been a part of Russia, and that a majority of the population in crimea were ethnic Russian. I knew by then that Russians were not exactly same as the Ukrainians. I had by then also learned a bit more about the links the place had with Tartars, Greeks and even Romans.

I did not know at the time, that I was never to return to those places again. I have had opportunity to visit the northern parts of Russia as well as parts of the former Soviet block nations by the North Sea. I was also to visit neighbouring Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia etc subsequently. But never again did I get a chance to visit Ukraine on the black sea, or Crimea.

On the whole, I only have pleasant memories of the place.

Allan Patton’s effort of stopping GMOs through the Municipalities of Canada

Allan Patton is the Director for Electoral Area “C” (Rural Oliver) and has been a full-time Oliver area farmer since 1981. He is a Past Director and Vice-President of the BC Fruit Growers Association, Past Director for BC Agriculture Council, Past Chair of Area “C” Advisory Planning Commission as well as Past Oliver and District Community Economic Development Society Director.

Allan Patton

He has been active in getting the Union of British Columbia Municipalities to pass the recent resolution to declare itself wishing to be GMO free. He is currently proposing a similar motion to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) who will hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Niagara Falls this summer.

The motion states :

——————————

Claude Dauphin, President
Federation of Canadian Municipalities
24 Clarence Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 5P3
 
WHEREAS The Okanagan Tree Fruit Industry and the Canadian Horticultural Council Apple Working Group are very concerned about protecting Food Safety and CanadaGap requirements and Asian and European export Markets;
 
AND WHEREAS Certified Organic producers and retailers have expressed grave concerns on the continued existence of their industry;
 
AND WHEREAS the public are expressing increased scepticism on the purported benefits of GE food and animal feed crops;
 
AND WHEREAS the Union of BC Municipalities, at their 2013 Annual General meeting, carried a resolution “to ask the Provincial Government to legislate the prohibition of importing, exporting and growing plants and seeds containing genetically engineered DNA, and raising GE Animals in BC and to declare through legislation that the Province o BC is a GE Free area in respect to all plants and animal species” and an identical addendum to send it to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for similar consideration by the Federal Government;
 
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities recommend to the Government of Canada that:
A moratorium be placed on all present and future Food and Animal Feed Genetically Engineered registration application, subject to:
– a non-partisan review be undertaken by Parliament to assess all aspects of GE crops now in existence.
- a public and consumer input and consultation process be developed and undertaken across Canada with recommendations presented to parliament for consideration.

If you need any further information regarding this item please call Christy Malden, Deputy Corporate Officer at (250)-490-4146

Mark Pendergraft
RDOS Board Vice Chair

——————————

I spoke with District Director Allan Patton about his efforts to see that this motion does get tabled at the coming FCM and go to a vote, and does not get rejected and end up under the carpet.

I also asked him what the listeners, or the people of Canada might do, to help this motion along.

This is one more example of democracy working from the bottom up. The municipalities are the lowest level of Government and the closest to the people, and it is through them, rather than through the provincial or federal Government, that the voice of the people may get heard.

You can hear the podcast by clicking on the play button at the bottom of this page. You may also save it through my podcast channel in iTunes (search Tony Mitra) and play it through your music player off line.

I would welcome feedback – at tony.mitra@gmail.com

Thank you.

Sheryl McCumsy of Alberta and her efforts to ban lawn pesticides

I met Sheryl in December 2013 during the GE Foods Talk event at Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She is among the many ordinary citizens of Canada attempting to engage in extra-ordinary work, of singly and collectively trying to wrench Canadian democracy back from the clutches of lobby power, in the field of food, health and environment.

Sheryl McCumsy

It has been my perception that this war on our soil, water and air by an unending avalanche of toxic GMO and pesticides in the name of corporate profit, will be won or lost not so much by bigwigs, famous people, NGOs, politicians, scientists or activists, but by the ordinary people like Sheryl McCumsy that are coming out of the woodwork everywhere, in their effort to do something to resist this menace.

Sheryl is a homemaker and a student with a background in microbiology. She intends to meet with the Municipality of Edmonton, Alberta, to enquire and cajole them into adopting a by-law that bans use of harmful cosmetic lawn pesticides. This is something that has been done by hundreds of Municipalities across Canada, but not so much in Alberta and not in Edmonton. She also intends to work with groups such as Albertans for food safety, to further take on the issues of Municipalities adopting resolutions to declare themselves to be GMO free.

I spoke with Sheryl on phone on December 22, 2013, to prepare this podcast of her hopes and plans. It is a 20 minute podcast. You can listen to it by directly clicking the player at the bottom of this page. You can also subscribe to it through iTunes, where my podcasts are available under my name – Tony Mitra – save it on your iPod, iPhone or other music players, and listen to them at leisure. The logo of my podcast in iTunes is shown at right.

Cartagena Protocol, GMO, and Canada

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bt.Eggplant, or BT-Brinjal, as it is called in the Indian subcontinent – is a Monsanto product that is banned in India for multiple reasons, the primary one being huge ground swell of resistance from the public. This was the first ever GM food being introduced into India on a commercial scale (the other product already introduced was Bt-Cotton).

The product was approved by the Agriculture Ministry. IN that sense – the ministry of Agriculture in India is very similar to that in Canada, and appear to be sharing its bed with the devil himself.

However, the product was banned through the Ministry of Environment, raising the issue that Genetically Modified crops are not only an subject of agriculture, but also an Environmental concern.

 There are two related court cases on this subject that is not so well known outside of India. These are :

Aruna Rodrigues versus India : An ordinary citizen of India, Ms Aruna Rodrigues, had taken the Government of India to the Supreme Court in a Public Interest Litigation, for releasing potentially harmful GMO products on the population without proper independent health and safety analysis. She has an even chance of winning her case. That case has brought lots of information to light, including how Monsanto may have been falsifying its own test records on the safety of its products. These issues strengthen the argument that asking the promoter of GM products to carry out honest safety tests produces a conflict of interest and should not be encouraged. I have spoken with Aruna myself, and created an awareness Podcast on it. You can find it here.

 The UN Convension on preservation of biological diversity is another watershed event in the sense that it encouraged individual nations to safeguard their biological diversity and prevent its contamination or theft by biotech corporations or unfair trade deals etc. The specific meeting that resulted in creating the frame work that nations could follow, happened in the town of Cartagena, and hence it is also often referred to as the Cartagena Protocol. Hundreds of countries signed into it. Canada signed it, but did not follow through. USA did not even sign it.

But, nations like India not only signed it, but created a special law following the guidelines of this UN convention. The law is called “Preservation of Biological Diversity” – an act brought into force in 2002. It stated that all organisms, be it plants, animals or micro organisms, that either lived in the land, waters of airs of the nation, whether naturally evolved or through generations of selective breeding by the people of India – are the collective intellectual property of the nation. No corporation may study, analyze, sequence, modify, tamper with, produce, patent, or aim to sell a product made from these organisms, without express agreement with the Government. Failing to do so places the offending body liable to be sued.

India versus Monsanto on Biopiracy: And then, another activist and member of an Indian NGO named Environment Support Group (ESG), Mr. Leo Saldana, found out that Monsanto had broken this law when it developed the Bt_Eggplant by “stealing” the genome of three kinds of Indian eggplant (eggplants originated in the Indian subcontinent, and India boasts 6,000 varieties of it today). So, Leo, on behalf of ESG sued the Govt of India in a provincial high-court, providing evidence that Monsanto and its partner had broken the Indian law, and therefore it was the duty of the Govt of India to sue Monsanto for “biopiracy”.

The court saw the evidence, was convinced of the misdeed, and has instructed the Govt to sue Monsanto. The Govt, wishing more to be in bed rather than estranged with Monsanto, has been dragged willy nilly by the court order and has now filed a case against Monsanto for stealing the Eggplant genome and breaking the indian .

I spoke with Leo Saldana about it and have covered it on another podcast.

I find both these court cases to be very relevant not just for India – but even for Canada. There is much to learn from these. To start with, there should be a push for Canada to enact a law like the one India has, so that Canadian biodiversity is not stolen from under Canada’s feet.

Canola is a good example. It was a Canadian invention. But now, it is owned by Monsanto. More thefts are on the way – Alfalfa, Salmon, apple, etc.

To stop all these and further thefts, Canadians should, I feel, push its Government to protect Canada’s biodiversity, instead of confusing and obfuscating the issue to promote biotech corporate interests in the name of “Development”.

Meanwhile, having failed in India, Monsanto is busy trying to introduce it in neighbouring Bangladesh. Resistance groups in Bangladesh meanwhile seem to have coined a new phrase : BT = Biological Terrorism !

Harold Steves – and his battle to save British Columbia from GMO attack

British Columbia, as much as all of Canada, needs a a few saviours that will stand tall, and fight long and hard, to save this land from the ravages brought on by mindless greed that brings toxicity into our food, our water, our air, and our lives, through GMO and its associated pesticide culture.

Harold Steves

And just like weeds and organisms are known to develop resistance to poison over time, some people seem to rise to challenge this newfangled toxic invasion in our lives.

Harold Steves of Richmond, BC is one such – a hero just in time, whose singular vision and effort may yet save British Columbian farmlands, as well as residents, from the ravages of GMO, and who efforts are being recognized and copied across the land, within and without British Columbia.

It is our hope, that Canada produces scores of Harold Steves across the land, and return Canada to what this country was decades ago, a land so beautiful and pure that it compared with our notions of Gods own land.

Apart from being an organic farmer that raises grass fed beef, Harold has been a city Councillor for Richmond, BC, continuously since 1977. His efforts to move the region against further encroachment of Genetically Engineered Organisms is an excellent example of how democracy can be taken back by the people, community by community, and municipality by municipality, from the clutches of Industrial greed, lobby power of the biotech corporations, and corrupt politicians.

Shiv Chopra on how Corruption in Canadian Govt is spoiling our food

Dr. Shiv Chopra compliments Dr. Thierry Vrain in the joint talk tour across Canada, alerting Canadians on how their food security and sovereignty may be compromised through corruption in the Government. Not willing to bow to corporate and miniterial pressure, he refused to accept the recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone from being approved by Health Canada bypassing safety checks and Canadian law on food safety. He paid for it by losing his job in Health Canada.

Now on a talk tour, he addresses a packed hall in Squamish on November 20, 2013 at the Sea to Sky Hotel, organized by many locals and hosted by Ms Kati Palethorpe.

Dr. Chopra explains five pillars of food safety – which are illegally into our food, each of which is harmful to health. These are :

  • Hormones
  • Antibiotics
  • Slaughterhouse waste recycled as animal feed
  • GMO
  • Pesticide.

All are used into the food cycle without independent testing. All are harmful to health. Europe, for example, bans or regulates at least four out of these five products. But Canada does not. As a result, Dr. Chopra argues, Canadian food has gotten to be among the most toxic in the entire planet. IF we can remove these ingredients, all food will be organic, and there would be no need for labelling.

Dr. Chopra with local volunteers and organizers

With the story of his struggle within Health Canada to protect Canada’s food and health, he often brought the house to thunderous applause, and Squamish was no different.

Not happy with only explaining how GMO is harming Canadian health, security and environment – he goes on to ask British Columbians what they are prepared to do about it – and how the people can snatch democracy back at the ground level from clutches of corporatocracy. Drawing examples of what Hudson, Quebec did twenty years ago, and what BC has done through UBCM more recently, he envisions a new dawn spearheaded by the people of the nation – to exert their divine and constitutional right – to feed themselves and their family with what nature makes. No corporation or Govt can force onto the people food that are considered harmful. And that is the reason Shiv Chopra started his second national pilgrimage from British Columbia.

Here we offer the video recording of his speech.

We also have Thierry Vrain speaking to the crowd, presenting his “Gene Revolution“.

Gene Revolution – by Thierry Vrain

Retired genetic engineer Dr. Thierry Vrain deconstructs the biotech myth that GMO plants :

  • reduce pesticide use
  • have no effect on environment
  • have improved yield
  • are safe to eat

One of a shrinking pool of scientists not yet muzzled by the Governments or the biotech scientific community, he shows how GMO technology is faulty to start with, and were not really designed to provide any benefit to mankind, and were basically produced to increase the sale of dangerous chemicals.

Drs Vrain and Chopra with local support group in Squamish, BC

Dr. Vrain and Health Canada scientist and scientist Dr. Shiv Chopra are on a cross country talking tour in Canada starting in November 2013 to alert the people about how the biotech industry is engaged in a campaign of misinformation, and their efforts are often helped by a corrupt political system in North America, where national regulatory systems fail to protect the people and allow what amounts to untested and potentially unhealthy foods to be marketed.

In this video, Dr. Vrain presents his case – Gene Revolution, a tale of two molecules, in the beautiful hill town of Squamish on November 20 at Sea to Sky Hotel. The event was organized by residents and health food promoters who wish to see Squamish declare itself GMO free.

And here is Shiv Chopra – presenting his case about the Corruption in Health Canada and what people should be doing to snatch democracy back from the clutches of corporatocracy.