Wikileaks and GMO/GM food, More cables, more fun!Posted: December 28, 2010 Filed under: Economic Develpment, Farming, Food, Foreign Affairs, Wikileaks | Tags: Africa, cables, food, France, GM food, GMO, GMO food, monsanto, Spain, Wikileaks 24 Comments
Recently our own Grayslady posted an excellent article about Wikileaks, Monsanto and GMO Corn. She discussed a cable sent in late 2007 from our then Ambassador to France, Craig Stapleton, in which he discusses ways to force France and the EU to be more favorable towards the adoption of Monsanto’s GM BT enhanced, Roundup Ready corn. Other aspects of the information in that Wikileaks cable has been discussed in other places, for instance at Huffington Post by Jeffery Smith and at Truthout by Mike Ludwig.
What the cable suggested, in part, was publishing a ‘retaliation’ list of places, down to the actual fields, growing GMO foods in Europe in the hopes the fields and crops would be destroyed by activists, ’cause pain’ for officials and hopefully swing GMO acceptance in Europe around. The Ambassador went on to say that France was particularly culpable because scientists in France were attempting to change ‘knowledge’ by studying the effects of GMO products (even the ‘good’ GMO like BT enhanced products). These studies show that the effects of GMO food on those eating it may be more pronounced and drastic than the limited studies done by the FDA and USDA suggest (see for example the studies of Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini, Professor Andrés Carrasco, and others). And for more, see this interview of Jeffery Smith on Democracy Now.
This is very interesting, because a cable sent in 26 October 2007 is the subject of French President Sarkozky’s first visit to the USA, and his meetings with American business leaders, including pushers of GM foods. The cable suggests that the President’s support of more restrictive rules on GM products in France might be politically based and therefore, changeable.
But Wait, There’s more! The cable to France, although receiving a lot of attention because it suggests undercutting the rightful government of our supposed allies and creating civil unrest and ‘pain’, is not the only released cable to mention GMOs and Monsanto’s needs across the world. Over at Eats, Shoots and Leaves there’s a good rundown by Richard Brenneman of some of the cables.
For example, in a cable from 9 April 2009 concerning, in part, African development, one of the points of intelligence to be gathered is the African governments’ and peoples’ reactions to growing and using GM crops. Brenneman rightly asks, why would this be a concern of our State Department, unless our government is actively pushing and supporting Monsanto and the company’s GM stable of crops?
I’m going to drop a final h/t to Rady Ananda at the Food Freedom blog. She wrote about GMO and Wikileaks several weeks ago, and has been right on top of things. She brings forth the case of the food crisis of 2007-08 which wraps up some of the things we at Sky Dancing discuss into a tidy bundle.
In a January 2008 meeting, US and Spain trade officials strategized how to increase acceptance of genetically modified foods in Europe, including inflating food prices on the commodities market, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.
Some of the participants thought raising food prices in Europe might lead to greater acceptance of biotech imports.
It seems Wall Street traders got the word. By June 2008, food prices had spiked so severely that ‘The Economist announced that the real price of food had reached its highest level since 1845, the year the magazine first calculated the number,’ reports Fred Kaufman in The Food Bubble: How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it.
The unprecedented high in food prices in 2008 caused an additional 250 million people to go hungry, pushing the global number to over a billion. 2008 is also the first year ‘since such statistics have been kept, that the proportion of the world’s population without enough to eat ratcheted upward,’ said Kaufman.
Remember back in 2007/08 when food prices, especially bread prices, suddenly shot up? I remember being astounded when the price of a bag of hot dogs went from 99 cents to 1.29$ overnight. I figured maybe it was the result of the rise in oil costs going on about then, and perhaps it was, in part. But after reading the article by Kaufman I’m not so sure. There was no crisis in food production at this time. It was simply a manufactured bubble. About that time there were terrible food riots in Mexico amongst 29 other countries, because the price of tortillas had gone up so much people couldn’t afford to buy them. I note that the Mexican government has recently taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again, by buying corn futures to guarantee a flat price.
So, I wonder, how are the big fat cats and the government diddling in our food today? Surely food, at least food, should be relatively safe from bubbles, like electricity, water, and sewage service? Oh wait, those are being commoditized too. Ahd I would like to point out, the price of the bag of hot dogs has not come back down, although the bubble burst… makes ya wonder, doesn’t it?
Note: I’m going to be in and out all today, so consider this something of an open thread. I’m really keen to know what everyone thinks of the Kaufman article. When I read it I was stunned by the lengths to which the greedy people of Wall Street will go to make money.