On Tuesday, 9 September 2015 I tuned in to the ABC broadcast of the address given to the National Press Club , by John Entine, described as a “journalist, scholar, skeptic and GMO advocate.
I have followed the genetically modified organism (GMO) debate for some years and had personally arrived at a conclusion that GM foods are a potential and actual threat to health and that the methods used by GM corporations to promote their patented sterile seeds and toxic pesticides/herbicides, resembles very closely those used by major Pharma companies.
John Entine’s address to the National Press Club pulled no punches in regard to his defence of genetically modified crops and indeed, portrayed this development as the only way to feed the world’s continually expanding population.
At the end of his address I was surprised at the very meek questioning by very experienced journalists to this supposed independent journalist.
In fact it disturbed me to see this non-investigative response by our mainstream media.
But as I began my research for this story, I realised I should not have been surprised.
It is surprising the amount of activity that is not reported on in the Australian media and it obviously reaches within our national broadcaster.
The ABC link to the summary of John Entine’s address can be found at the following link.
In the introduction of the ABC summary they say (quoting John Entine):
“Australia could be a leader in food biotechnology if politicians were willing to ‘make some real hard choices’.
Jon Entine, a senior research fellow at prominent American agricultural school, the University of California, Davis, said Australian scientists were instrumental in developing a new apple that’s resistant to browning after it’s been cut.
But, he said Australia wouldn’t see commercial benefits of the work.
“Australia helped develop the technology that developed the Arctic Apple, but they had to export it to Canada because there’s no path to development in Australia,” Mr Entine said.
“Do you want [Australia] to be an exporter of technology and ultimately see that part of the industry wither away?
“Or do you want to be on the forefront of technological change that can actually feed the world in a constructive way?
“I think politicians need to make some real hard choices.”
My view on the above is that John Entine is the spearhead of the GM manufacturers, mostly US-based, embarking on a campaign to steamroll Australian politicians and opinion makers into supporting their view of the world.
In an unexpected expose’ the New York Times writes in detail about the GM manufacturer lobby spending millions of dollars and questionable tactics in a story titled: Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War, Emails Show
It’s worth a read, and surprisingly it is the only mainstream medium that has covered this activity.
That they took it on is quite surprising given their past track record.
Australia is famous for its clean and green food production which is a major export and valued by purchasers for that very fact.
To weaken and become growers of mostly inferior GM versions of the same foods that would eventually convert to very expensive crops (because the seed is sterile and patented) means that eventually all food will be controlled by a small group of very powerful Monsanto-type companies.
At no stage of John Entine’s address did he mention adverse events with human health, and he was very scathing of organic farmers and their advocacy organisations.
Nor did he discuss the bankrupting of entire communities in Third World countries such as India that had lost their natural crop seeds after the planting of genetically modified crop seed – and were not able to afford the escalated prices they had to pay after a period of time for the GM seed.
Nor did he discuss soil degradation and toxicity by the insecticides such as glyphosate (Roundup) has had on the soil microbiome that is produced as an intended result of the genetically modified plant.
Nor indeed the new evidence that is appearing illustrating that glyphosate is associated as a cause of cancer and autism.
Organic farming in Australia is a growth industry and has become very profitable and successful.
John Entine criticised organic farmers for being able to extract a premium for their produce and insinuated that Australian consumers would prefer to purchase lower cost GM food.
Also, he claimed that because organic farming relied on cows and their manure, their carbon emission footprint was greater than for GM crop production.
John Entine appears to be far from independent in his promotion of GM science.
He is certainly a media-savvy corporate propagandist and pseudo-journalist who fronts the opinions and positions of chemical corporations by pretending to be an independent journalist.
He has ties to biotech companies Monsanto and Syngenta while playing a key role in another industry front group known as the American Council on Science and Health, a thinly-veiled corporate front group that Sourcewatch describes as holding “a generally apologetic stance regarding virtually every other health and environmental hazard produced by modern industry, accepting corporate funding from Coca-Cola, Kellogg, General Mills, Pepsico, and the American Beverage Association, among others.” (Sourcewatch.org)
Entine knowingly and repeatedly publishes allegedly misleading information in mainstream publications including Forbes.com, and his posts are often retracted after being challenged on their lack of factual basis.
So what are his academic qualifications?
Science degree? No.
Statistics degree? No.
Medical degree? No.
Media communications degree? No.
His degree? BA in philosophy.
So what is Entine doing advising the public on medical, statistical and health issues?
What is Entine’s meal ticket?
Why would Bill Gates and Monsanto finance his empire?
Answer: Mainstream media access.
Entine was a producer for Tom Brokaw (NBC News) and the US ABC News.
Entine’s empire is based on tapping his media background to counter consumer resistance to genetically modified products.
The mainstream media takes it up, because Entine is one of them – which is why he gets such big exposure.
Another recent case in the US involving Monsanto, and one of these allegedly objective scientific researchers, Kevin Folta, is a perfect illustration of just how far from being independent many of these “experts” really are.
Kevin Folta is simply one more academic who fronts for the GM industry.
An August 6 article published by Nature.com details some of the results of an ongoing investigation by activist group US Right to Know, which aims to reveal “collusion between the agricultural biotechnology industry and academics who study science, economics and communication.”
Part of the focus of the investigation is on a website called GMO Answers, which is financed by GMO industry giants including Monsanto, DuPont, BASF, Bayer and Syngenta.
One of the frequent contributors to the site is an academic named Kevin Folta, who labels himself as an “independent expert” in the field of GMOs (similar to John Entine).
Through the use of freedom of information laws, US Right to Know has been able to obtain the contents of thousands of emails exchanged between scientists such as Folta and GMO Answers, whose site the activist groups considers a “straight-up marketing tool to spin GMOs in a positive light”.
It is managed by a GMO public relations company called Ketchum.
Ketchum is also involved in direct and indirect dispersion of funds to academics and their parent institutions.
Folta’s email correspondence revealed that he accepted a $25,000 grant from Monsanto last year and was told that the money “may be used at your discretion in support of your research and outreach projects.”
He maintains he has no ties to Monsanto.
…Folta’s e-mails show him to be frequent contributor to GMO Answers.
Ketchum employees repeatedly asked him to respond to common questions posed by biotechnology critics. In some cases, they even drafted answers for him. ‘We want your responses to be authentically yours,’ one Ketchum representative wrote in a message on 5 July 2013. ‘Please feel free to edit or draft all-new responses.’
It’s abundantly clear that in this case, a private-sector scientist has completely compromised his credibility by denying that he was a paid propagandist for Monsanto. If it weren’t for the efforts of US Right to Know, we would probably have never learned the truth.
This type of activity is very similar to the methods used by Big Pharma drug companies to falsify evidence and corrupt academics.
Australia can now look forward to a PR and “spin” onslaught promoting false and misleading information regarding GM food.
i2P has previously promised to report on the health issues involved before Australian consumption of GM foods gains traction because front line pharmacists will be the first to try and identify ailments that may not have appeared previously.
Medical researchers often ask the question why are we experiencing epidemics of obesity, cancer, diabetes, parkinsonism and autism.
I think GM foods provide some of the answers and i2P will continue to research and provide information for its readers
Companies like Monsanto spend enormous sums of money to prevent food labels illustrating what GM content various processed food products contain.
And remember, a large proportion of GM grains are already used as feed for animals which is absorbed and passed on through the food chain for human consumption.
Much like the antibiotics used in factory farming – and we wonder why there is so much resistance to antibiotics in our communities.
Some is caused by medical prescribers but who is investigating the problems in the food chain caused by farm antibiotic use?
We are seeing erosions of consumer rights and corresponding erosions of democracy if we do not protect our rights.
And don’t rely on our Human Rights Commissioner to protect us because he can’t see that our rights are being abused through coercive mandatory vaccination.
And vaccination manufacturers are first cousins to the GM industry employing similar methods.
Additionally we are hearing through leaks that the Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty (almost ready to sign) has the potential to seriously compromise Australian sovereignty while delivering almost nothing in economic terms – and that the corporates mentioned above will derive enormous powers as the treaty overrides local legislation.
Wake up Australia!