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Desc:One of the most frightening documentaries you will ever watch, concerning the huge dangers of GM/GE
Category:Crime, Nature & Places
Tags:Evil, monsanto, genetic engineering, crops, patents
Submitted:Rodents of Unusual Size
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Comment count is 46
kelpfoot - 2008-12-29
Do I have to watch this before one-starring it?
Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
Yes, you do. You really, really do.

kelpfoot - 2008-12-30
OK, but it didn't help.

bacrie - 2008-12-29
I always cringe whenever I see old photos of people, kids especially, walking or playing around in a huge cloud of DDT
Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
Monsanto has a reputation for inviting people to play in all of their products, all of which result in major horror.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
In addition, they claim all that Agent Orange does is cause a slight skin irritation.

Cena_mark - 2008-12-29
DDT is nontoxic to humans. The "Silent Spring" a fear mongering book that lead to the ban of DDT, allowed 20 million children to die from malaria. The DDT could have killed the mosquitoes that carry the disease, but people instead listened to Rachel Carson's irrational, unscientific, fear mongering.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
"DDT is nontoxic to humans"

uh, wow

Syd Midnight - 2008-12-29
DDT led directly to the discovery of nerve gas, which is merely insecticide for humans. That said, I'm not scared of a little insecticide, abnd I'm not scared of GM crops because I'm not a pussy. Eat venison if you're so scared of food.

bacrie - 2008-12-29
"I can't say I'm surprised if anti-GMO lobbying hasn't gotten very far if most of its most vocal proponents (no offense) don't even know what a citation is and how to formulate a scientific argument with it."

You mean hasn't gotten very far in America. Other countries are wary as hell.

bacrie - 2008-12-29
replied in the wrong column. fuck monsanto anyway. peace

Hooker - 2008-12-29
DDT is also heavily associated with Jake the Snake Roberts, which isn't good for anyone.

dueserpenti - 2008-12-29
Hippie cunts fuck off.
Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
Hey wow, way to tell off the people who are trying to save your life.

dueserpenti - 2008-12-29
Dude, just because you have a woman's sexual preference doesn't mean you have to have a woman's rationality.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
Spoken like a true intellectual!

By the way, I can tell you didn't even bother watching this so let me clue you in. GM/GE is untested, and has any number of claims that are bogus (lower yields more than anything), has a higher pesticide absorbency rate, is wildly dangerous to the world food supply due to the suicide gene plants and their threat to self sufficient farming, is unlabeled, and guided by Monsanto, who wants to monopolize all food in existence, taking away our rights to even choose what we consume. Lab tests done outside of Monsanto point to tumors and reduced life expectancy of all animals feeding off off GE/GM products.

But by all means, continue living in your flippant, blithe ignorance of what's actually happening in the world.

baleen - 2008-12-29

I didn't watch this, but everyone should be concerned about genetically modified foods...

My main problem with GM\GE is the blatant extortion that Monsanto uses to strongarm farmers into adopting it. If you start growing a certain form of potato that is highly resistant to a local fungus, for instance, those farmers that choose not to use the terminator seeds of Monsanto are left with growing potatoes that are less resistant to any mutations in the local ecosystem towards this newer, "stronger" strain.

It's irresponsible, and it should be illegal. I also don't like how Monsanto doubles up their products, coupling terminator crops with pesticides and fungicides that "work with" their product, making farmers reliant on a particular regimen of planting.

I'm not terribly afraid of EATING this shit though, because I'm not a healthy person. However I recognize the hypocrisy of a company that is using "lowered pesticide\fertilizer use" as a selling point when they've been saying that their pesticides are completely harmless for forty years, painting anybody that questions their health impact a leftwing environmentalist kook.

Aoi - 2008-12-29
But, but, but...science! SCIENCE!

Surely you're not suggesting some sort of dystopic nightmare land wherein remarkable scientific achievements being put to use by soulless and amoral global conglomerates for maximum profit should have some sort of oversight or regulation, are you?

Are you MAD?!

Aoi - 2008-12-29
Above was to dueserpenti, whom I respect and enjoy, not to baleen, whom I also respect and enjoy.

Cena_mark - 2008-12-29
Genetically altered foods don't hurt people. There has not been a single case of that ever reported. Its just hippy speculation.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
That is a lie.

Cena_mark - 2008-12-29
Show me a case. Even if you can find some, it doesn't justify the irrational fear you have of science. You're just trying to justify spending 3 times as much at Whole Foods. Stop shopping there, go to Walmart, and buy something cool with the money you save.

The silent spring was an unscientific fear mongering book that killed millions. DDT could have saved millions of lives in the third world, but fear mongering like The Silent Spring and this video work to deter people from the advances of agricultural biology.

baleen - 2008-12-29

hahahah mindless Rachel Carson fury-- GO!
Cena, I really like when you cut yourself. That is actually funny. More cutting videos please.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
Wow, Cena. I admit I didn't expect you to go after one of the most preeminent ecologists of an entire generation. Silent Spring is a classic and you owe Rachel Carlson for fighting for everyone's safety.

You know what? Never mind, forget I said anything. Please please spray DDT on whatever you ingest. It's not dangerous at all and I'm just being dramatic. It actually adds to the flavor.

minimalist - 2008-12-29

Do you have an exact citation(s) for the claim that GM food causes tumors and reduced life expectancy? I ask because some quick Google searching has only turned up third-party claims from organic/anti-GMO sites, with no direct references to the peer-reviewed literature.

It's important to remember that claims like this can be politicized as well, and simply having a published, peer-reviewed article isn't enough, even if they're on the "good" side. Publication does not equal absolute reliability -- a ton of crap gets into even the best journals -- and results that turn out to be sloppy or even faked can cast doubt on the movement as a whole.

Monsanto does a lot of skeezy, horrific shit, and the verifiable stuff alone is enough to pillory the bastards, and definitely there isn't nearly enough regulation. But half-cocked, barely-verified cries of 'cancer' aren't much help to the cause.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
as per your request

an article from the New York Times (originally the story was broken by the science magazine Nature) on how butterflies are affected through high mortality rates:


http://www.mindfully.org/GE/Transgenic-Pollen-Monarch20may99.h tm

Rat tests show cover up and potential threat to human health

http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/Newsletter/June05GMCorn HealthDangerExposed/index.cfm

from the same author


Europe is a lot more on the ball with this due to the level of suppression of evidence here in the States:

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/gm-food-a-danger-to-un born-babies-environmentalists-warn-116803.html

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
This has some citations:


This makes for an interesting list as well:

http://www.gefoodalert.org/takeaction/html/GE%20Regulations.pd f

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
more on rat testing results


This page has several links, mainly concerning Dr. Pusztai and Dr. Thorkild in Copenhagen, who was threatened by government officials and his experiments seized:



minimalist - 2008-12-29
"This link has some citations"

Actually, it has none. It makes references to studies that I could possibly find if I Googled hard enough. But in many cases they don't even refer to the researchers by name, much less the journal where they produced their results.

The Nature study is good, and that globalresearch.ca link has some actual citations. But in that Independent link, you know... Monsanto may be "evil", but they're right: unless the study is fully published, with full methodology and results, so that it could (at least potentially) be verified/duplicated, it doesn't mean a whole lot at the moment. And, like the "tumor" study I thought you were referring to before, it was a preliminary, unpublished study from the Russian Academy.

(Full petty prejudice disclosure: I haven't seen a whole lot of good bioscience research coming out of Russia, with some very few notable exceptions. And keep in mind that they lost several generations of their best geneticists and crop scientists thanks to Lysenko.)

The reason I'm needling you about this isn't personal or hostile, but rather because I see this as symptomatic of a serious problem with the anti-GMO cause as a whole. I'm trying to caution you against the "I heard that..." style of arguing. "Some researchers at X institution found...", "I read somewhere that...", and so on. It's crank-level stuff, the sort of crap that creationists and AGW deniers engage in, and it can be deceptive. Making it difficult to track down the actual research, so that the reader is more likely to take the author's interpretation at face value.

Basically what I'm saying is that there seems to be a serious disconnect between the anti-GMO campaigners and the scientists actually conducting the work critical of GMO. Now, obviously that work does exist: there are scientists doing research that points to real hazards... but some of the links you provided (and many/most of the links you come across Googling for anti-GMO information) are lurid popular-press articles or books by non-scientists, with manipulative scare-titles.

And it REALLY doesn't help when many of these same sites also promote "alternative medicine" scams that are based on some of the shakiest "evidence" and laughable philosophies (homeopathy I'm looking in your direction) ever presented. These movements are otherwise profoundly anti-science in both outlook and practice, in other words. Of course that's going to hurt you politically

So why are the lurid journalists and alt-med wackos the primary face of the movement? What bridges are being built toward the scientists, who can speak with the most authority against Monsanto? You get the distinct impression that most of these sites are run by people with little use, or respect, for science, other than a vague awareness that there are studies out there somewhere that they can wave their hands at and say "see? I told you so!" (And then on the other hand they can say "The studies are being suppressed!" when convenient.)

I can't say I'm surprised if anti-GMO lobbying hasn't gotten very far if most of its most vocal proponents (no offense) don't even know what a citation is and how to formulate a scientific argument with it. If anti-GMO lobbying is to make any headway, there needs to be a lot more scientific rigor in its public arguments, and there need to be more scientists organized and invited on board.

bacrie - 2008-12-29
I really don't understand the disconcerting American effort to side with faceless corporations that are out to hurt you for profit. Monsanto is powerful enough to push things through the FDA with little resistance and has. Bovine somatotropin was pushed through with very little investigation into its long term effects.

TinManic - 2008-12-29
thank you minimalist. that was very educational and certain to be ignored.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
Monsanto has spent hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars to suppress every study that disagreed with its findings since the 60s. The "demand for proof" is ridiculous to me. That's like saying "we invented this medication and we haven't tested it at all but we are 100% certain that it is safe and will have no long term effects. This is from the same company that has caused COUNTLESS cancer deaths with pesticides and PCBs and could very well be responsible for most of the troops in Vietnam being exposed to Agent Orange, which subsequently caused neural damage to our own people, as well as millions of innocent rural farmers.

When I say these people are not to be trusted, it's not because I'm a Luddite or afraid of the future. It's because they only care about money and power and not bettering anything.

The fact that leading plant scientists have been arrested and intimidated further proves that something very horrifying is happening. These people mean business, and Japan and Europe are right to have a 20 year moratorium on GE. They are literally waiting to study the deleterious effects on the next generation of Americans so that they can quantitatively take steps in whatever direction they decide. Venezuela has banned it entirely and thank God they have, other countries are examining this policy and hopefully we'll be next.

It's not that case studies are flimsy. There are no positive effects to GE on humans. More pesticide use with Roundup, which has been proven without doubt (no debate on this subject) cannot POSSIBLY benefit human health. It doesn't make sense.

Everything that Monsanto has ever done has subjugated the poor to its yoke and whim, and winds up profiting off of their suffering. I say seize their assets, storm their offices with the FBI, collect the evidence through force on all of their inner practices and policies, bring them to daylight and indict the whole damn corporation. Before its too late and even more people die as a result of, at the least, their tactics to attack and sue, attack and intimidate, attack and deny, attack and kill.

minimalist - 2008-12-30
Well, good luck with getting the FBI to storm their offices, even under an Obama administration. I actually agree with you on that point. Monsanto has done a ton of shitty things that deserve some sort of crackdown and I'm not arguing that one bit.

But you know what your best chances are? Call for increased regulation and oversight. This is the perfect political opportunity: people have seen what happens under years of negligent, Republican-run gov't oversight agencies (FDA, USDA, EPA, etc.), and they don't like it. You would definitely have a good-sized chunk of public opinion behind you, and that carries serious weight.

The net effect is, you will seriously hamstring Monsanto for years: they stop bullying farmers, and they actually are finally forced into taking their time finessing the tech for safe and effective shit or they drop it entirely because it's 'too expensive' to make things that won't kill people. And increased oversight means that law enforcement will have much greater insight into what they have done and are doing, and will be in a stronger position to bring them to justice for anything illegal they have done.

The problem is, right now there is a serious problem with overreaching (lobbying campaigns seem primarily to be based on STOP GMO NOW OH GOD NOW), and also with the mixing of good evidence with bad. Good evidence = the peer-reviewed science that demonstrates harm, as well as the issues with pesticides and growth hormones that you rightly bring up. Bad evidence = the more extreme conspiracy theory shit. Case in point: Arshad Puzstai claims that President Clinton got him fired (through Tony Blair) because they're totally in Monsanto's pocket. That's an explosive claim, and it requires serious evidence -- yet the only source for this is "these eminent scientists say they heard it somewhere, we won't or can't say where." (fact: British journalism is terrible)

If you want to bring a legal case against someone, you marshal your best evidence and you make sure it's airtight, especially against a multibillion dollar corporation with legions of lawyers. You can't point to some half-assed evidence, say "I don't need to show you no more proof! They're an evil corporation, you fill in the blanks!", because that instills doubt -- as in, what if all the evidence is like that, and you're engaging in circular logic to prove Monsanto is evil? What if Puzstai is falsely claiming persecution, just as creationists and global warming deniers do?

There are a lot of lessons that the anti-GMO movement can take away from the global-warming-awareness movement to be successful:

1. Get more scientists on your side, make them vocal and active, especially on the internet. Specifically, independent scientists doing current work that is directly relevant. Have them run blogs like realclimate.org.

2. Moderate the conspiracy-theory crap, and ditch the alt-med cranks. Nothing will turn people away faster.

3. Focus on what you can prove, focus on the peer-reviewed evidence; many published studies show problems with GMO stuff, and zoom in on those. They show a need for, at the very least, greater investigation and more regulation. This is a very attainable goal.

4. Couch it as an opportunity for economic growth: the global warming movement seriously pulled the rug under its critics by seriously advocating the funding of research and creating jobs in "green energy" -- the critics couldn't claim any longer that they were "just a bunch of hippies who want to set back Progress." Focus on the potential positives of GMOs that actually work as advertised, and the potential in other areas of biological research (improved in vivo recombination techniques could actually carry over to human gene therapy).

I guarantee the above will give the anti-GMO movement much of what they want. Except those who are simply, irrationally opposed to GMO in principle -- well, too bad, it's not going away, just like the energy companies aren't going to go away because of Al Gore. But you use government to rein in their excesses, and force them to make a safer product (or else make nothing at all).

Syd Midnight - 2008-12-30
Not much to add to Minimaliast, but RUS you might do better if you quit citing "nutritional activist" sources. They're biased, so they're not going to really be trusted. Part of defeating "Big GM" involves embracing GM technology so it is widely studied, regulated, and explored, not nebulous sorcery practiced by a few mighty conglomerates.

Most of the sources you cite are hysterical over GM, but also over flouride, Nutrasweet, meat, and MSG. You're never going to convince anyone by quoting Chicken Little, because even if the sky IS in fact falling, nobody will listen to the fringe that says aspartame causes every known illness. That only serves to help Monsanto by keeping it out of the mainstream where public opinion can really HURT them.

Same reason people tend to get haircuts and a nice suit before going to court, you want an air of respectability, not pot smoke and patchouli.

Cena_mark - 2008-12-29
I don't sweat what's in my food. Idiots watch shit like this to justify spending 3 times as much at Whole Foods.
These advances in agricultural technology save more lives than they take.
Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
Thank you, I'm glad an expert finally weighed in here.

Cena_mark - 2008-12-29
Oh yeah, make a sarcastic remark about me not being an expert. I guess everybody here at POETV, but me has degrees in political science, agricultural biology, and physics. Because you all comment on the videos because you're all experts.

Show me a case of GM foods hurting people Penis of Unusually Small Size, just show me a case.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2008-12-29
There's one in the documentary you ham hock.

Walt Henderson - 2008-12-29
I'm probably as close to an expert on this stuff as we're likely to find around here (MS in Human Nutrition; going for my PhD), and GE foods scare the shit out of me. They've got a lot of potential for good, but the unintended consequences could be deadly. Google "GE Klebsiella" for a terrifying example.

Also, Monsanto is a pretty goddamn evil company even without GE foods, and should not be trusted. And no, Cena, I'm not a damn hippy.

Syd Midnight - 2008-12-29
Cena, broken clock, etc.

Helena Handbasket - 2008-12-29
Hey Walt thanks for the info, I looked up the GE Klebsiella and that is pretty disconcerning, but also interesting (I have a weird thing knowing about gut bacteria).

chumbucket - 2008-12-29
won't matter once we reach the inevitable point of eating blue and green cubes like on Star Trek
Syd Midnight - 2008-12-30
We're halfway there. Think about how much you ate this week that someone from 1940 wouldn't even recognize.

I like the blue food pills. They taste just like purple cubes!

Samisyosam - 2008-12-29
I don't care if my corn grows eyes and hops out of the fridge and into the steamer pan with its own two legs. Genetic engineering to make hardier/cheaper plants is cool. I don't care how it's grown, as long as they don't fuck it up and create diseases and famines they can't fix.

The patenting thing pisses me the fuck off though. I think a good equivalent would be if the RIAA made mp3s into viruses that spread from computer to computer, but were still copyrighted. That patent law just doesn't make any fucking sense. Monsanto can go fuck itself.
glasseye - 2008-12-29
Terrifying for anyone with a brain in their head.
Doctor Frederick Odd - 2008-12-30
For the sake of hotlinking and the ease of reading longer bits of text I have posted my opinion of this documentary on the Movies section of POE News.
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