those who write the narrative and who win the military and marketing and financial wars . . . .
give us better living through chemistry
“It’s a story with mythological resonance,” says Steven Aftergood, director of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists and the publisher of Secrecy News, an e-mail newsletter. “It reflects the view that knowledge is power and some kinds of knowledge have destructive power. The notion that the boundaries of knowledge are defined by what is published by Science and Nature is quaint,” he said, referring to the journals. “For better or worse, the way that knowledge is disseminated today is ever less dependent on the flagship journals. It’s done by global scientific collaboration, draft papers, online publication, informal distribution of preprints, and on and on.” –NYT
Reverse the Presses = Scientists and Others Decrying Censoring Science investigating GMOs
Thanks to Mae-Wan Ho, who got right down to business talking about the retraction of the famous Seralini study that was published a year ago and pretty much is a compiling scientific case i.e .evidence around GE maize and tumors. A call to action, that is, a call to put a stop to the unsustainable and destructive and now human-other-animal eviscerating science of money and ag and taking over our right to soil, seed and sowing what we want to feed our people. She is compassionate and filled with the knowledge of how society needs complimentary science-ethics-civil society to create solutions for food insecurity, inequity and dissolution. You know, you’d think the WHO and world governments and editors worldwide would want to follow up on that Seralini study since 90 percent of the food in many countries is polluted and corn and maize products feed a large chunk of the people on earth. Putting pesticide-resistant codes into genomes by splicing genes from other species and creating super-weeds and species frailty and bad soil and soul technology, well, certainly, many countries polluted with GE-GMOs would want MORE studies on the potential problems, not LESS . . . in this case retracted science.
That is the question now isn’t it? To bombard genes with genes from completely different species or families, to produce Frankenstein crops-hogs-fish-cows-sheep. Or not! Makes Dolly the cloned sheep look like a walk around Whole Foods.
The last blog here, with a petition to retract the retraction in the science journal: GMO Mafia Gets the Media to Break Science Writing Down to Prior Restraint.
So without further adieu, I give you a scientist working hard for sanity in science and culture and civil society and communities able to grow their food and protect their watersheds and determine the ecological connectivity within their bio-regions.
Ten (actually Eleven) Questions (by P. Haeder) & Answers by Mae-Wan Ho
1. Where is the GMO debate now worldwide?
M-W –The GMO debate should be over by now, at a time when the agronomic failures of GM crops are there for all to see (particularly in the United States, which has more than 40 % of global GM crops planted) together with serious health and environmental impacts from scientific studies that fully confirm what farmers have been experiencing in the fields for year. But all that is being smothered by a massive campaign of dissimulation perpetrated by even traditionally respected science magazines like Scientific American.
A measure of how desperate the GM proponents are is the recent decision of the journal editor to retract a thoroughly peer-reviewed paper – the famous Séralini study – published a year ago, basically because it found excessive early deaths, large tumors including cancers, and liver and kidney diseases in rats fed GM maize and/or exposed to Roundup herbicide compared to controls. This is unprecedented in the history of scientific publishing, a censorship that could spell the end of science, let alone science and democracy or science for the public good. A group of 28 scientists wrote an open letter in protest, pledging to boycott the publisher of the journal until it reverses this appalling retraction . It has already attracted hundreds of signatures from all over the world within the first days. We need your help to spread the word.
2. Why are GMO labeling initiatives failing in the USA?
M-W– The GMO labeling initiatives are failing in the USA because people are still being told lies and half-truths that GM products are no different from their non-GM counterparts. There has been saturation coverage in the media, not just in the USA but worldwide. Most people are not fooled, which is why GM crops are still confined to 28 countries with over 90 % within just 5 after 20 years of commercial growing. But people do need to understand the dangers for themselves.
3. What’s your biggest reservation about GMOs?
M-W –GMOs are not only inherently unsafe, they are highly unsustainable, and most of all, obstructing the shift to non-GM organic, agro-ecological farming already taking place in local communities and entire countries around the world, which have proven to increase yields, mitigate climate change, and more able to adapt to climate change. I have a recurrent nightmare of aliens landing on our planet in the not too distant future finding a wasteland filled with giant cockroaches. That’s what could happen if we are forced and tricked into growing GM crops.
4. Is science at a crossroads, as you say, vis-a-vis the retraction of the Séralini article?
M-W–Yes, I think this appalling act is symbolic. The Séralini study is not the only scientific evidence of harm from GMOs and herbicide, nor the only published paper to be retracted recently (see our comprehensive review Ban GMOs Now). I was nearly a victim myself for a paper explaining why artificial genetic modification is inherently hazardous. It went through two rounds of reviews by 6 referees before it was accepted for publication, only to be suddenly withdrawn before it could appear in the journal. The order for it to be withdrawn coming from the publisher over the heads of the editors. Fortunately, the editors stood their ground and reinstated my paper. If we don’t stop such practice now, it really could mean the end of science. One scientist actually said to me: “it chills me to the bone to think they could do this.”
5. What can the average citizen do to get involved in the GMO debate?
M-W –Take it upon yourself to understand the science behind genetic engineering, expose the lies and half-truths you’ve been told; that’s how to learn real science, and it is fun. Don’t be intimidated by the ‘experts’. Run informal teach-ins (combined with organic fests). Involve your whole family. Think of imaginative ways to explain things to other people. Scientists themselves are not very good at that, me included. I am still trying my best.
6. How has science from your experience changed over the years?
M-W –I am still a scientist in love with science. That was what motivated me to be a scientist in the first place. I am still inspired about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, the ‘big questions’. Nowadays, this sense of wonder and excitement is lost. No one asks big questions anymore, they want to know how to exploit nature rather than living sustainably with nature.
The new genetics, for example, is enchanting; it is completely different from the old obsolete genetics that motivated genetic engineering and genetic modification. It has turned conventional genetics upside down. Instead of a one way flow of information from DNA (the genetic material) to traits (biological function) to the environment, there is a circular feedback from the environment that marks which genes are to be expressed or not, and to change the genes themselves. I call this natural genetic modification. It is an intricate molecular dance of life that is essential for survival. Natural genetic modification is done with great finesse and precision by the organisms themselves, without damaging the genome. In contrast, artificial genetic modification done in the laboratory by genetic engineers is crude, imprecise, uncontrollable, and ends up scrambling and damaging the genome with totally unpredictable effects on safety. It also interferes inevitably with the natural genetic modification process, and is ultimately why it is inherently hazardous.
I would love to see more new genetics research being done. Instead, most postdocs and graduate students are trapped into doing mindless, soul destroying and excruciatingly boring genetic modification.
7. Why has the narrative around precautionary principle tied to GMOs turned into anti-science rhetoric coming from both scientists and the media?
M-W –There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the precautionary principle. It is absolutely based on scientific evidence. It is not anti-science at all, far from it. It just says that where there is scientific evidence for a hazard, the fact that the evidence may not be conclusive is not to be used as an excuse for ignoring the hazard. In most cases, it leads to creative, imaginative solutions and alternatives. Critics are using it as a refuge for weak mindedness and lack of imagination. Prof Peter Saunders from ISIS has written the best article on the subject, “Use and Abuse of the Precautionary Principle” — here!
8. GE-GMO capitalists seem to have the upper hand, as all marketers have — just push through with the product, get it into every corner of society, and, a decade later, or earlier, well, it’s so pervasive that it’s normalized and the average citizen accepts the new normal. Is this true?
M-W –It is a subtle psychological warfare, and some critics actually play into their hand. They hype up the GM technology to be just the most powerful thing in the world, or that ‘the genie is out of the bottle’ and it is already everywhere, so resisting it is useless. This leads people to feel absolutely powerless and paralysis sets in, which is exactly where they want you to be.
9. What is your work?
M-W — My real research work is on the big question – what is life – Schrodinger posed in 1941. I have pioneered a totally interdisciplinary way of understanding life, which I call the physics of organisms, and I am very pleased to receive the 2014 Prigogine Medal for it. My inaugural lecture title is Circular Thermodynamics of Organisms and Sustainable Systems; for ‘circular thermodynamics’ read ‘circular economy’ of nature.
10. There seems to be a big disconnection between nature and industry, technology, economics? Discuss.
M-W –Spot on. That’s the reductionist science way. I have spent my whole life recovering the organic holistic science that really enables us to live sustainably with nature where knowledge is all of a piece (art, science, music, philosophy in one), and we are immersed within nature.
11. Climate change is the big game changer, and seems to be the underpinning of the pro-GMO industries and sciences. Discuss how non-GMO farming might be the answer to some of the changes we will face because of climate change — i.e. hotter, wetter, dryer, irregular weather.
M-W — Climate change is definitely happening. There is no denying it. No, most scientists who point out the dangers of GMOs are not climate deniers. Please don’t conflate the two. I often tell climate skeptics that being sustainable is needed because we are running out of all kinds of resources, so renewables are in whether you believe in climate change or not. Circular economy is in.
As already mentioned, there is evidence that GMOs yield less, require more water, are more disease prone (even introduce more diseases), and less resilient to weather extremes. There is evidence that the predominantly GM crop system in the US is failing badly (US Staple Crop System ailing from GM and Monoculture.), and not just because of the recent drought, which decimated harvests (see Surviving Global Warming ).This is not surprising, as GM crops are industrial monocultures, only more so. The numerous successes and benefits of organic, agro-ecological farming are no longer in doubt: more yields, more organic matter and carbon sequestration in the soil, more fertile soils, more water retention capacity (hence more resistant to drought) more nutritious, health promoting, more resilient to floods and hurricanes, more profitable, and less energy use, hence less carbon dioxide produced. Please see our comprehensive report, Food Futures Now, Organic, Sustainable, Fossil Fuel Free.
End of Interview
Of course, the prior restraint and the attack on knowledge has been a concerted effort by elites — including religious, industrial, history, cultural, government zealots. Galileo anyone? Or in this Century, Censoring James Hansen, NASA Goddard climate scientist. Agnotology is a term around this planned and pretty psychological effort to erase truth, knowledge, and of course seed culture and societies with things that never happened.
”Anyone who thinks ignorance is nobody’s business has a lot to learn from these provocative essays [Agnotolgy: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance]. The distinguished authors offer compelling evidence that what we do not know is every bit as much a product of human choice and ingenuity as what we choose to know. Agnotology rescues ignorance from the no-mans-land of unexamined social phenomena. It makes us ask what is at stake when we don’t know things that are plainly before our eyes. This is a book for every thinking citizen.” —Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard University
“In the past years there have been few new fields of research as timely as agnotology. Many a time one is puzzled by the widespread ignorance of some of the greatest challenges mankind faces today, be it global warming, the way to the Iraq war, or the global tobacco epidemic. Agnotology might very well be the tool to delve into the great black holes of modern knowledge and also find a way out.” —Andrian Kreye, arts and ideas editor, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany
The Green is the New Red, by Will Potter speaks to the attack on scientists and science-backed activists trying to stop the human and ecological genocide tied to ag chem pharm energy industry damming mining polluting companies backed by despots and governments and World Bank types.
Welcome to GreenIsTheNewRed.com! This website focuses on how fear of “terrorism” is being exploited to push a political and corporate agenda. Specifically, I focus on how animal rights and environmental advocates are being branded “eco-terrorists” in what many are calling the Green Scare.
Top of the Terrorism List
“The No. 1 domestic terrorism threat,” says John Lewis, a top FBI official, “is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights movement.”
The animal rights and environmental movements, like every other social movement throughout history, have both legal and illegal elements. There are people who leaflet, write letters, and lobby. There are people who protest and engage in non-violent civil disobedience. And there are people, like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front, who go out at night with black masks and break windows, burn SUVs, and release animals from fur farms.
Animal rights and environmental advocates have not flown planes into buildings, taken hostages, or sent Anthrax through the mail. They have never even injured anyone. In fact, the only act of attempted murder in the history of the U.S. animal rights movement was coordinated by corporate provocateurs. Yet the FBI ranks these activists as the top domestic terrorism threat. And the Department of Homeland Security lists them on its roster of national security threats, while ignoring right-wing extremists who have bombed the Oklahoma City federal building, murdered doctors, and admittedly created weapons of mass destruction.
Defining the Green Scare
This disproportionate, heavy-handed government crackdown on the animal rights and environmental movements, and the reckless use of the word “terrorism,” is often called the Green Scare.
Much like the Red Scare and the communist witch hunts of the 40s and 50s, the Green Scare is using one word—this time, it’s “terrorist”—to push a political agenda, instill fear, and chill dissent. And much like the Red Scare, the Green Scare is operating on three levels: legal, legislative, and what we’ll call extra-legal, or scare-mongering.
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists. The Secrecy News blog is at: SN. Go to it, Read the Dec. 2013 newsletter here, and see just these that government overlords want squashed from memory:
- New or updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.
- Keystone XL Pipeline Project: Key Issues, December 2, 2013:
- Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies, December 2, 2013:
- Burma’s Political Prisoners and U.S. Sanctions, December 2, 2013:
- Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections, December 3, 2013:
- Veterans and Homelessness, November 29, 2013:
- Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda): U.S. and International Response to Philippines Disaster, November 25, 2013:
- Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act, November 22, 2013:
- Geoengineering: Governance and Technology Policy, November 26, 2013:
- The 2013 Cybersecurity Executive Order: Overview and Considerations for Congress, November 8, 2013: