June 2020: A U.S. court overturned the registration of the herbicide dicamba, because of the “enormous and unprecedented” damage to neighbouring crops from pesticide drift. The court ruling means that three dicamba formulations – sold by Monsanto (Bayer), BASF, and Corteva (Dow-Dupont) – are now illegal, and their associated genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) dicamba-tolerant seeds are irrelevant. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the regulator responsible for allowing registration – has responded by allowing U.S. farmers to use up their existing stocks of dicamba. In 2017, Monsanto (now Bayer) introduced a new dicamba formulation to be sold along with the company’s new GM dicamba-tolerant seeds. About two-thirds of the soybeans and three-quarters of the cotton planted by U.S. farmers is now dicamba-tolerant.
Herbicide Sales Increased 243% (1994-2017)
Health Canada information shows an increase in herbicide sales of 243% from 1994-2017. The first genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops were introduced in 1995.
Call to Re-think Genetically Engineered Herbicide-Tolerant Crops
August 2019: The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and Prevent Cancer Now (PCN) are calling for a review of the use of genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) herbicide-tolerant crops in Canada, in response to Monsanto’s request for government approval of GM corn MON 87429 that can withstand applications of four herbicides, including 2,4-D and dicamba.
Click here to read the press release: “Call to Re-think Genetically Engineered Herbicide-Tolerant Crops: Proposed Monsanto corn tolerates four herbicides”, CBAN and Prevent Cancer Now, August 22, 2019.
As glyphosate-resistant weeds spread across North America and the herbicide glyphosate consequently loses its usefulness as a weedkiller, Monsanto (now Bayer) is replacing its GM glyphosate-tolerant soy with GM dicamba-tolerant soy. In the US, the new dicamba-tolerant varieties are increasing the use of the herbicide dicamba. Bayer says its new dicamba formula is less prone to herbicide drift but, across the US, neighbouring crops that are not dicamba-tolerant are being damaged. This is leading many farmers to buy GM dicamba-tolerant seeds as a strategy to protect their crops. Bayer estimates that U.S. farmers will plant about 50 million acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans in 2019, 60% of all the soybeans planted in the country. Corteva (DowDuPont) says it will widely launch its 2,4-D-tolerant soy in Canada in 2020, with some sales in 2019. Click here for some background on 2,4-D- and dicamba-tolerant crops
Glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”
In 2015, the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that:
Glyphosate, the world’s most-used chemical ingredient for weed control, is a “probable human carcinogen” (March 2015)
2,4-D, the second most-used herbicide in Canada, is a “possible human carcinogen” (June 2015)
Global Research – May 2, 2020 – F. William Engdahl
First published on March 20, 2020
Arguably, no one has been more active in promoting and funding research on vaccines aimed at dealing with coronavirus than Bill Gates and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From sponsoring a simulation of a coronavirus global pandemic, just weeks before the Wuhan outbreak was announced, to funding numerous corporate efforts to come up with a novel vaccine for the apparently novel virus, the Gates presence is there. What does it actually entail?
We must admit that at the very least Bill Gates is prophetic. He has claimed for years that a global killer pandemic will come and that we are not prepared for it. On March 18, 2015 Gates gave a TED talk on epidemics in Vancouver. That day he wrote on his blog, “I just gave a brief talk on a subject that I’ve been learning a lot about lately—epidemics. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a tragedy—as I write this, more than 10,000 people have died.” Gates then added, “As awful as this epidemic has been, the next one could be much worse. The world is simply not prepared to deal with a disease—an especially virulent flu, for example—that infects large numbers of people very quickly. Of all the things that could kill 10 million people or more, by far the most likely is an epidemic.”
That same year, 2015, Bill Gates wrote an article for the New England Journal of Medicine titled, “The Next Epidemic: Lessons from Ebola.” There he spoke of a special class of drugs that “involves giving patients a set of particular RNA-based constructs that enables them to produce specific proteins(including antibodies).Although this is a very new area, it is promising because it is possible that a safe therapy could be designed and put into large-scale manufacture fairly rapidly. More basic research as well as the progress of companies like Moderna and CureVac could eventually make this approach a key tool for stopping epidemics.” Moderna and CureVac both today receive funds from the Gates Foundation and are leading the race to develop an approved COVID-19 vaccine based on mRNA.
2017 and Founding of CEPI
A global flu-like pandemic in fact is something that Gates and his well-endowed foundation have spent years preparing for. In 2017 during the Davos World Economic Forum, Gates initiated something called CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, together with the governments of Norway, India, Japan, and Germany, along with the Wellcome Trust of the UK. Its stated purpose is to “accelerate the development of vaccines we’ll need to contain outbreaks” of future epidemics. He noted at the time that “One promising area of vaccine development research is using advances in genomics to map the DNA and RNA of pathogens and make vaccines.” We will return to that.
By 2019 Bill Gates and the foundation were going full-tilt boogie with their pandemic scenarios. He made a Netflix video which made an eerie imaginary scenario. The video, part of the “Explained” series, imagined a wet market in China where live and dead animals are stacked and a highly deadly virus erupts that spreads globally. Gates appears as an expert in the video to warn, “If you think of anything that could come along that would kill millions of people, a pandemic is our greatest risk.” He said if nothing was done to better prepare for pandemics, the time would come when the world would look back and wish it had invested more into potential vaccines. That was weeks before the world heard about bats and a live wet market in Wuhan China.
In October, 2019 the Gates Foundation teamed up with the World Economic Forum and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security to enact what they called a “fictional” scenario simulation involving some of the world’s leading figures in public health. It was titled Event 201.
As their website describes it, Event 201 simulated an “outbreak of a novel zoonotic coronavirus transmitted from bats to pigs to people that eventually becomes efficiently transmissible from person to person, leading to a severe pandemic. The pathogen and the disease it causes are modeled largely on SARS, but it is more transmissible in the community setting by people with mild symptoms.”After the Lockdown: A Global Coronavirus Vaccination Program…
In the Event 201 scenario the disease originates at a pig farm in Brazil, spreading through low-income regions and ultimately explodes into an epidemic. The disease is carried by air travel to Portugal, the USA and China and beyond to the point no country can control it. The scenario posits no possible vaccine being available in the first year. “Since the whole human population is susceptible, during the initial months of the pandemic, the cumulative number of cases increases exponentially, doubling every week.”
The scenario then ends after 18 months when the fictional coronavirus has caused 65 million deaths. “The pandemic is beginning to slow due to the decreasing number of susceptible people. The pandemic will continue at some rate until there is an effective vaccine or until 80-90 % of the global population has been exposed.”
Event 201 Players
As interesting as the prescient Gates-Johns Hopkins Event 201 fictional scenario of October, 2019 may be, the list of panelists who were invited to participate in the imaginary global response is equally interesting.
Among the selected “players” as they were called, was George Fu Gao. Notably, Prof. Gao is director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention since 2017. His specialization includes research on “influenza virus interspecies transmission (host jump)… He is also interested in virus ecology, especially the relationship between influenza virus and migratory birds or live poultry markets and the bat-derived virus ecology and molecular biology.” Bat-derived virus ecology…
Prof. Gao was joined among others at the panel by the former Deputy Director of the CIA during the Obama term, Avril Haines. She also served as Obama’s Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor. Another of the players at the Gates event was Rear Admiral Stephen C. Redd, Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The same CDC is at the center of a huge scandal for not having adequate functioning tests available for testing cases of COVID-19 in the USA. Their preparedness was anything but laudable.
Rounding out the group was Adrian Thomas, the Vice President of scandal-ridden Johnson & Johnson, the giant medical and pharmaceutical company. Thomas is responsible for pandemic preparedness at J&J including developing vaccines for Ebola, Dengue Fever, HIV. And there was Martin Knuchel, Head of Crisis, Emergency & Business Continuity Management, for Lufthansa Group Airlines. Lufthansa has been one of the major airlines dramatically cutting flights during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
All this shows that Bill Gates has had a remarkable preoccupation with the possibility of a global pandemic outbreak he said could be even larger than the alleged deaths from the mysterious 1918 Spanish Flu, and has been warning for at least the past five years or more. What the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also has been involved in is funding development of new vaccines using bleeding-edge CRISPR gene-editing and other technologies.
The Coronavirus Vaccines
Gates Foundation money is backing vaccine development on every front. Inovio Pharmaceuticals of Pennsylvania received $9 million from the Gates-backed CEPI, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, to develop a vaccine, INO-4800, which is about to test on humans in April, a suspiciously rapid time frame. In addition Gates Foundation just gave the company an added $5 million to develop a proprietary smart device for intradermal delivery of the new vaccine.
In addition Gates Foundation monies via CEPI are financing development of a radical new vaccine method known as messengerRNA or mRNA.
They are co-funding the Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech company, Moderna Inc., to develop a vaccine against the Wuhan novel coronavirus, now called SARS-CoV-2. Moderna’s other partner is the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Head of NIAID is Dr Anthony Fauci, the person at the center of the Trump Administration virus emergency response. Notable about the Fauci-Gates Moderna coronavirus vaccine, mRNA-1273, is that it has been rolled out in a matter of weeks, not years, and on February 24 went directly to Fauci’s NIH for tests on human guinea pigs, not on mice as normal. Moderna’s chief medical adviser, Tal Zaks, argued, “I don’t think proving this in an animal model is on the critical path to getting this to a clinical trial.”
Another notable admission by Moderna on its website is the legal disclaimer, “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: …These risks, uncertainties, and other factors include, among others: … the fact that there has never been a commercial product utilizing mRNA technology approved for use.” In other words, completely unproven for human health and safety.
Another biotech company working with unproven mRNA technology to develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 is a German company, CureVac. Since 2015 CureVac has received money from the Gates Foundation to develop its own mRNA technology. In January the Gates-backed CEPI granted more than $8 million to develop a mRNA vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
Add to this the fact that the Gates Foundation and related entities such as CEPI constitute the largest funders of the public-private entity known as WHO, and that its current director, Tedros Adhanom, the first WHO director in history who is not a medical doctor, worked for years on HIV with the Gates Foundation when Tedros was a government minister in Ethiopia, and we see that there is practically no area of the current coronavirus pandemic where the footprints of the omnipresent Gates are not to be found. If that is to the good of mankind or grounds to be worried, time will tell.
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F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
From wasted food, to the exploitation of farmworkers, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it painfully clear that this country’s food system must be changed. Politicians must pass further stimulus legislation that includes policy to reform our inflexible, consolidated food system to prepare for future crises.
Consider the many problems in the meat industry. Workers ill with COVID caused temporary processing facility closures, putting our nation’s meat supply in jeopardy. President Trump forced meatpacking plants to re-open by executive order, yet, further disruptions are likely. Roughly half of those plant workers are immigrants, living at or below the poverty line, forced to return to work, they are still at risk of getting sick.
Because these plants could not shift production to the retail market when restaurants, schools, and hotels closed, product could not move. These supply chain bottlenecks caused farmer prices to fall, even as processor profits rose.
And cattle ranchers were not the only farmers affected, dairy farmers were told to dump milk, and hog and poultry producers, to euthanize their animals and vegetable growers were forced to plow their crops under. Desperately needed food is wasted while grocery costs rise allowing retailers to cash in on supply chain breakdowns.
Before the pandemic hit, close to three million farmworkers who labor on some of the larger operations in this country already struggled. Most lived in poverty, earning between $15,000 to $18,000 a year and around 75% of farmworkers lacked legal status and lived in fear of deportation.
Now, farmworkers face the risk contracting COVID-19. In California’s Monterey county, around 40% of the people who have contracted the virus are those people who labor in the fields. USDA’s response? Instead of improving working conditions for farmworkers, the USDA wants to pay them less.
USDA has allocated $16 billion in direct payments to farmers, as well as creating the ‘farm to families box’ program – where suppliers, with larger operations having a seeming advantage, sell their produce to the government for distribution at food banks. Both initiatives are band-aids, with direct payments mirroring past trade deal mitigation payments, wherein larger operations and multinational agribusiness firms such as JBS are at the front of the line. This, as farm bankruptcies hit an eight-year high.
To really address the failures of the food system – and to position ourselves to adequately face the next crisis, we must reform our food system, ensure fair farm prices, empower agricultural workers and invest in rural infrastructure.
Farmworkers, in addition to citizenship, must be allowed to organize without fear of reprisal from their employer. Currently, only California guarantees this right because the National Labor Relations Act excludes rural workers from the right to unionize. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act includes citizenship for farmworkers, still, efforts should go further by allowing workers the right to organize.
Farmworkers should also have the chance to become farmers. Since 2008, through the Farm Service Agency’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) over $162 billion has been provided to former farmworkers, including women, veterans and Native Americans, to promote small-scale agriculture. Doubling, or tripling the resources dedicated to this program, could help create a more localized food system and put more farmers on the land.
All farmers, need fair markets and fair prices. The government must, as it has in the past, establish reserves for grains, as well as other products. Counter-cyclical government loans – a part of previous Farm Bills – would allow farmers to sell their produce either on the market, or into the reserves, with their decision based on a floor price that farmers, processors, and retailers would negotiate. Reserves would improve prices for farmers, prevent food shortages and stabilize consumer prices.
Smaller local processing facilities – for beef, dairy, as well as fruits and vegetables – would strengthen markets and make the supply chain more flexible. This should include more brick and mortar facilities, as well as mobile facilities that can travel from farm to farm, giving farmers multiple options for sales and consumers more options on how they buy.
Rural areas are in desperate need of improved communications and transportation infrastructure. The Post Office provides rural residents affordable access to the rest of the world and its viability must be ensured. Similarly, broadband internet access must be made available to everyone. And if farmers are to move their product, significant resources need to be spent on improving roads, dams, bridges and railroads.
The effects of the COV-19 pandemic have shown that large processors cannot meet the challenges of a crisis. A less consolidated food system that is more flexible, and supportive of farmers and workers will be better able to meet future challenges. Upcoming stimulus plans must address these problems in our food system now and for the long term. If they do, we might be ready for the next challenge.
Jim Goodman is an emeritus organic dairy farmer from Wonewoc, Wisconsin .
Anthony Pahnke is the Vice President of the Family Farm Defenders and Assistant Professor of International Relations at San Francisco State University.
A new study suggests that prior use of chemotherapy is associated with an increased risk of death among coronavirus patients with lung and other thoracic cancers.
Chemotherapy treatment is highly toxic. Killing cancer cells and billions of healthy cells alike, it indiscriminately intoxicates the entire body. To make things worse, chemotherapy particularly affects healthy cells in the body that multiply rapidly, such as the white blood cells of the immune system. As such, at the very time the body of a cancer patient has the greatest need for an effective defense against toxins, its immune cells are being systematically destroyed.
Seen in this light it is hardly surprising that prior use of chemotherapy is linked to a higher risk of death among coronavirus patients with some cancers. As the virus can weaken the lungs and cause complications such as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis, patients who have had chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer will obviously be particularly at risk.
To learn the facts about chemotherapy, visit the ‘Chemo Facts’ section of our website.
To learn about natural health approaches to cancer that can block all key mechanisms that make it a deadly disease, read the book ‘Victory Over Cancer’ by Dr. Rath and Dr. Aleksandra Niedzwiecki.
A major change to U.S. regulation of biotech will exempt some gene-edited plants from government oversight. The new policy, published in the Federal Register today, also calls for automatic approval of variations of established kinds of genetically modified (GM) crops, easing their path to market.
Industry groups are welcoming the new rule, whereas opponents are decrying the reduction of government oversight.
“The main good thing is that it will allow certain aspects of gene editing to move forward,” says Kent Bradford, a plant geneticist at the University of California, Davis. If researchers use gene editing to design a plant that could have been bred conventionally, the new plant will be exempt from regulation. But anything else—such as moving a gene between species or rewiring metabolism—will still require a regulatory review.
The gist of the shift is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will now focus on new traits themselves rather than the technology used to create them, a change of approach that plant scientists have long wanted. Several reviews by the National Academy of Sciences have concluded that the risk that GM plants will become weeds is generally low, and that molecular tools typically don’t pose new risks compared with traditional plant breeding techniques.
Seemingly hidden under cover of the mainstream media’s ongoing preoccupation with the coronavirus pandemic, the new U.S. biotech policy also calls for automatic regulatory approval of variations on certain types of GM crops. The goal appears to be to make it easier for biotech companies to get such crops onto the market. Predictably, therefore, industry groups are welcoming the new rules as they will inevitably profit from the reduction in U.S. government oversight.
Ultimately, of course, the main reason biotech companies are interested in GM crops is that their seeds can be patented. Patents on GM seeds, and the multibillion dollar potential profits and market control that may result from them, act as powerful incentives for biotech companies to find ways of forcing GM foods onto our dinner plates – regardless of the possible dangers to human health. This patent-based business model, with its focus on products that don’t exist in nature, is essentially the same as the one that is used by the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Not surprisingly, therefore, many pharmaceutical and chemical companies also now have biotech subsidiaries.
Bayer AG has reached verbal agreements to resolve a substantial portion of an estimated 125,000 U.S. cancer lawsuits over use of its Roundup weedkiller, according to people familiar with the negotiations, Fortune reported Monday.
The deals, which have yet to be signed and cover an estimated 50,000 to 85,000 suits, are part of a $10 billion Bayer plan to end a costly legal battle the company inherited when it acquired Monsanto in 2018, the people said. While some lawyers are still holding out, payouts for settled cases will range from a few million dollars to a few thousand each, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
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A surge in Roundup claims, along with some big court losses, have weighed on Bayer since the Leverkusen, Germany-based company spent $63 billion to buy agricultural giant Monsanto — which developed the weedkiller. The shares have dropped about 40% since the deal closed two years ago, wiping out some $39 billion of Bayer’s market value.
In May 2019, after less than two full days of deliberations, a California jury ordered Monsanto to pay just over $2 billion in punitive and compensatory damages to a married couple who both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma they say was caused by their many years of using glyphosate-based Roundup products.
In March 2019, a unanimous jury in federal court in San Francisco ordered Monsanto to pay roughly $80 million in damages for failing to warn plaintiff Edwin Hardeman of the cancer risks of Roundup herbicide.
In August 2018, jurors in state court in San Francisco ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to school groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, who is dying of non-Hodgkin lymphoma the jury found was caused by his exposure to Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicides. The judge in that case lowered the total verdict to $78 million and the verdict is now on appeal.
Evidence laid out in the three trials included numerous scientific studies that showed what plaintiffs’ attorneys said was proof Monsanto’s herbicides can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma. As well, the attorneys presented jurors with many internal Monsanto communications obtained through court-ordered discovery that show Monsanto has intentionally manipulated the public record to hide the cancer risks.
Among the many revelations that have emerged from the trials:
Monsanto never conducted epidemiology studies for Roundup and its other formulations made with the active ingredient glyphosate to evaluate the cancer risks for users.
Monsanto spent millions of dollars on covert public relations campaigns to finance ghostwritten studies and articles aimed at discrediting independent scientists whose work found dangers with Monsanto’s herbicides.
Monsanto enjoyed a close relationship with certain officials within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who have repeatedly backed Monsanto’s assertions about the safety of its glyphosate products.
The company internally had worker safety recommendations that called for wearing a full range of protective gear when applying glyphosate herbicides, but did not warn the public to do the same.
Studies have repeatedly linked glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup and Ranger Pro brands, to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a type of blood cancer. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.