Note: The Daily Sitka Sentinel printed the following Letter to the Editor on February 2, 2015.
The Sitka Sentinel ran an AP story last Thursday titled “Poll: Gap Between Scientists’, Public View.” The premise of the article is that science and scientists make up a monolithic body that deals only with facts, and when the public disagrees with that body, then science is right and the public is wrong.
The article quoted as evidence opinions gathered from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “the country’s largest general science organization. … In the most dramatic split, 88 percent of the scientists surveyed said it is safe to eat genetically modified foods, while only 37 percent of the public say it is safe and 57 percent say it is unsafe.”
Unfortunately, much of American-based science is bought and paid for by multi-national corporations. In 2012, GMWatch published an article titled “AAAS captured from the top down” which exposes the corporate bias of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The agri-business giant, Monsanto, is a regular major sponsor of the group’s annual gatherings. And yes, sponsorship has its privileges:
At AAAS’ 2010 annual meeting Robert T. Fraley (Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer and an AAAS fellow) delivered a half-hour keynote speech that was little more than a futuristic infomercial about how GMOs will soon feed the world and eliminate hunger. No one was invited to rebut Fraley, not even a representative from the Union of Concerned Scientists who was present in the audience, but instead was shunted off to the side, where all he could do was hand out a few leaflets.(1)
Best selling author, Michele Simon, further implicates the AAAS for releasing a statement “on GMO labeling that sounds like it was drafted by Monsanto.”(2)
Dr. John Ioannidis spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science. Not surprisingly, he found that corporate-backed science is tainted by corruption from start to finish. Ioannidis said, “There is an intellectual conflict of interest that pressures researchers to find whatever it is that is most likely to get them funded.”(3)
The biotech industry claims that “The GMO debate is dead,” and “There is scientific consensus on GMO safety.”(4) Nothing could be further from the truth. Numerous scientific organizations and independent experts state that GMOs are not safe, and that they should be labeled or banned.(5)(6) And no less important, countless moms report that their children have been cured of serious health conditions when they adopt a GMO free diet.(7)
Don’t expect Monsanto to change its tune any time soon regarding the dangers of GMOs. It still claims that Agent Orange “is not the cause of serious long-term health effects.”(8)
The question of GMO safety is important, but so are many other questions that lie beyond the purview of science—questions regarding the ethics and morality of GMOs. For example: Is it ethical to patent and privatize nature? Is it ethical to contaminate nature (salmon, trees, corn, etc.) with GMOs? Is it ethical to sue farmers whose crops have been contaminated by GMOs? Is it ethical to turn food crops into pesticide delivery systems? Is it ethical to kill soils with repeated applications of Roundup and other chemical cocktails? Is it ethical to block state, federal, and international legislation to label GMOs? Is it ethical to bribe legislators and government leaders? Is it ethical to fill key positions in regulatory agencies with Monsanto employees? Is it ethical for the U.S. government to provide aid to foreign countries on the condition that they accept GMOs? Is it ethical to use war to replace Iraq’s bio-diverse agricultural system with a handful of patented GMOs? Is it ethical to declare seed saving to be a criminal act? Is it ethical to commercialize Terminator technology, the technology that renders seeds sterile?(9)
On January 30, 2015, Alaska Representatives Geran Tarr and Scott Kawasaki introduced a GMO labeling bill.(10) That means Monsanto lobbyists and propagandists will soon infest Alaska, and they will employ the same scare tactics and disinformation campaigns they used to narrowly defeat GMO labeling in California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. Last summer, the citizens of Vermont prevailed against the multi-billion dollar GMO industry to become the first state to mandate GMO labeling. Let’s become the second—the second of fifty states to label GMOs. But remember that GMO labeling is so much more than a safety issue; it’s part of our stewardship as human beings and Alaskans to protect the Earth, sustainable food systems, and this precious state we call home.
— Brett Wilcox, Author of We’re Monsanto, Feeding the World, Lie After Lie
1. “AAAS captured from the top down,” GMWatch, November 2, 2012, http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2012/14388-aaas-captured-from-the-top-down
2. Michele Simon, “Serving Science or Monsanto?” Eat Drink Politics, October 29, 2012, http://www.eatdrinkpolitics.com/2012/10/29/serving-science-or-monsanto/
3. David H. Freedman, “Lies, Damn Lies, and Medical Science,” The Atlantic, October 4, 2010, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/
4. Jon Entine, “AAAS Scientists: Consensus on GMO Safety Firmer Than For Human-Induced Climate Change,” Huffington Post, January 30, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-entine/post_8915_b_6572130.html
5. “‘No scientific consensus on GMO safety’ statement published in peer-reviewed journal,” European Network of Scientists, January 29, 2015, http://www.ensser.org/media/0115/
6. “After opposition: Monsanto patent on tomatoes revoked: Monsanto implicated in fraud and abuse of patent law,” No Patent on Seeds!, December 22, 2014, http://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org/en/information/news/after-opposition-monsanto-patent-tomatoes-revoked
8. “Agent Orange Victims Sue Monsanto,” CorpWatch, http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11638
9. F. William Engdahl, Seeds of Destruction, Global Research, 2007
10. Tarr, Kawasaki, “House Bill No. 92,” January 30, 2015, http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/29/Bills/HB0092A.PDF