What does a Food Monopoly Look Like?

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 20, 2011

This is something that is always in my head, especially when I read Monsanto’s ideas to enhance and perpetuate their control of the food supply. Those ideas include the monopoly of every single form of food that exists; vegetable, animal, artificial and so on. Monsanto also wants to control the production of seed, as they already do with the Bt cotton and other genetically modified organisms.

The evil genius in this idea is clear. If you control food, you control people. The same happens with banking; if you control the money supply, you can control the economy. “We now believe that Monsanto has control over as much as 90 percent of (seed genetics). This level of control is almost unbelievable,” said Neil Harl, agricultural economist at Iowa State University.

Although some lawsuits have tried to curb Monsanto’s and other biotech companies’ thirst for food and seed monopolies, none of those lawsuits have been strong enough to effectively stop corporations from seeking their dreamed control of everything we grow and eat. But Monsanto is not alone, and neither is it all about controlling seed and food. The issue of control spreads to manipulating prices, markets, buying off politicians and braking previously signed agreements with farmers when things don’t go as planned.

So what would a food monopoly look like?

Recently, countries in Africa and even Australian farmers have gotten a taste of what a monopoly feels, sounds and looks like. In Australia, the government has officially allowed CISRO to begin GMO trials on people. This fact propelled re-known chefs to protest and call for a ban on food experiments with genetically modified organisms.

Meanwhile, in Africa things are even worse. It is widely known how debt drove farmers to suicide because their costs increased exponentially, their yields decreased enormously and their soils became so depleted that not even weeds would grow on them. Who hasn’t seen the film “The World According to Monsanto“?

A food monopoly means that not even during a time of bonanza do farmers get real benefits for adopting genetically modified seeds and planting their land with one single crop. In Burkina-Faso, a short boom in cotton prices ended abruptly after the government and regional cotton monopolies, decided to not only to increase the prices of fertilizers by 38 percent, but also to pay farmers as little as 39 percent of the world’s price for their ‘white gold”. That is what a monopoly look like, feels like and sounds like. Government and corporations in bed fighting against the farmers.

Companies such as Paris-based Geocoton and Paul Reinhart AG of Winterthur, Switzerland control the cotton markets in Burkina-Faso as the government allowed the creation of monopolies that mandate farmers to sell their cotton to them. A finger pointed committee is in charge of setting the rules that in turn determine cotton prices there. Now, those rules were changed, for the benefit of the corporations. The committee decided to alter the formula used to set prices. That cut payments for last season’s crop by 39 percent and reduced the base price announced in April.

Thomas J. Bassett, Illinois University

This should have been a year “when people can finally get a few dollars and put metal roof on their house,” said Thomas J. Bassett, a geography professor at the University of Illinois. Basset has written about west africa’s cotton farmers for many years and he believes these ways of doing business are the ones that spur poverty and misery, especially when they are adopted in places like Africa.  “… they result in poverty for producers and wealth for companies and traders. It’s subtle and it’s dastardly.”

So what might be the origin of the changes in the rules? According to Yannick Morillon, chief executive officer of Paris-based Geocoton, it is a math issue. His company, along with others that operate in Burkina-Faso had set up sale prices before the great boom in cotton prices occurred, therefore by following those contracts, they wouldn’t have ripped the results of an ever more valuable crop. The monopoly controllers decided to simply decrease payments and increase the price of fertilizers to make up for the “loss”. “The economic equation wasn’t possible any longer,” he said in an interview at Geocoton’s headquarters off the Champs Elysees. “And if the entire industry collapses, it’s the farmers that are affected.”

Although government complicity is one of the corporations’ closest allies, there is another component in this fraudulent formula. The companies that control the monopoly of cotton and other crops take advantage of the fact that most farmers are illiterate. Amado Kafando is one of those farmers. He says he doesn’t understand the formula used to pay him, and consequently, neither does he get the changes that affected the changes in prices. Although Kafando will get more money for his cotton than what he got last year, the total amount will be substantially less that he was supposed to obtain as profit from his cotton sale.

“The price has multiplied by three or four times, so at our level it should be multiplied three or four times as well,” Kafando said. “The monopolies are getting fat, and we are the ones who are feeding them.” One direct  result of the corporations’ fraudulent practices was the anger expressed by the farmers. The government’s response to that anger was a public relations campaign to pacify the farmers given their intentions to boycott the production of cotton. As it happens in many parts of the world, money spoke louder and farmers’ representatives were invited to meetings to talk about their anger and find a solution to the problem.

During one of those meetings, the agriculture minister, served as the corporations’ salesperson to calm everyone down and to offer them another deal. He said farmers should enter into a “new and dynamic contract” to allow the plantation and production of cotton to continue uninterrupted. With the government and the corporations playing in the same team, farmers really did not have any options to choose from. They had to hear the sales pitch, say yes, and hope for the best, or say no and go back home with their hands empty. Is that a real choice?

This is an example of what monopolies look like. It is simply another form of colonialism; legalized colonialism. Farmers must choose between not planting cotton, or growing it and selling it to the regional or national monopoly at whatever prices they want to pay.


Kenya makes it legal to produce and import GMO

Kenya has become the fourth country in Africa to open up to genetically modified (GM) crops after approving laws to allow their production and importation.

Business Live
July 5, 2011

East Africa’s leading economy follows South Africa, a leader in the continent on biotechnology and a major exporter of GM maize, as well as Egypt and Burkina Faso, but it faces growing resistance from lobbyists against the move.

In a Legal Notice dated June 22, acting Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Hellen Sambili said the laws would come into effect on July 1, ending restrictions on GM maize and other various products in the country.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 1 of the Biosafety Act, 2009, the Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology appoints the first (of) July, 2011, as the date on which the act shall come into operation,” said the Legal Notice seen by Reuters on Monday.

Kenya’s state-run National Safety Authority last week said it was in the process of creating a legal framework to approve importation of GM maize into the country to mitigate a looming shortage.

The law will open the Kenyan market, which faces frequent grain deficits, to major suppliers such as South Africa whose exports were affected by the previous ban.

The Kenyan government is anticipating a shortfall in the supply of maize of 14.8 million 90-kg bags in the 2011/12 season due to drought.

But lobby groups opposed to gene alteration, noting health concerns such as development of mutations and allergic reactions in humans, said they plan to oppose the law.

“We are going to hold a demonstration in Mombasa by the end of this week to boycott importation and consumption of GM,” said Betty Mwasia an officer at Telum Kenya, a lobby group that advocates organic farming. Mombasa is the port city and gateway into east Africa.

“We are also considering a court injunction to stop the GM shipment,” she said.

On Friday, another anti-GM group held a demonstration in the capital, opposing the laws allowing GM into the country.

The Legal Notice added that it was illegal to conduct any activity involving GM organisms without the written approval of the National Safety Authority.

“Genetically Modified Organism means any organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology techniques,” the Act said in part.

Other African economies are conducting research on GM crops such as maize, rice and wheat that could prove to be the first step towards adoption including Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Mali, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ghana.

OMS: Crianças vacinadas contra H1N1 sofrem Narcolepsia

Casos de Narcolepsia foram registados em 12 países em pacientes que recentemente tinham recebido a vacina Pandemrix.

Por Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
Fevereiro 9, 2011

Segundo a OMS, as pessoas afetadas são crianças e adolescentes, mas é necessária mais investigação para determinar com um 100 por cento de certeza que a causa da Narcolepsia é o uso da vacina.

A OMS doou 36 milhões de doses de 'Pandemrix' a 18 países em desenvolvimento.

A Organização Mundial da Saúde (OMS) anunciou nesta terça-feira que pelo menos 12 países relataram casos de narcolepsia em crianças e adolescentes que já haviam sido vacinados contra a gripe A.

O Comité Global de Consulta para a Segurança das Vacinas da OMS publicou uma declaração especificando que “desde Agosto de 2010, após a vacinação em massa contra o vírus da gripe AH1N1 em 2009, houve casos de Narcolepsia em crianças e adolescentes em pelo menos 12 países. ”

No entanto, o grupo afirmou que é preciso “mais pesquisas” para determinar a relação exata entre os casos de Narcolepsia e vacinação contra a gripe, com o produto Pandemrix ou outras vacinas.

Na semana passada, a OMS anunciou que estava investigando um aumento de casos de Narcolepsia, na Finlândia, que poderiam estar associados com a vacina ‘Pandemrix’ fabricada pela empresa GlaxoSmithKline, uma vez que todos os envolvidos parecem ter sido imunizada com o mesmo produto.
Finlândia descontinua o uso da vacina

O Governo da Finlândia tinha relatado casos de Narcolepsia entre os vacinados contra a gripe, todos eles com idades entre 4 e 19 anos.

Em Helsínquia, o Instituto Nacional de Saúde e Bem-Estar da Finlândia (THL) publicou um estudo mostrando que a vacina da gripe H1N1 Pandemrix, fabricada pela empresa farmacêutica GlaxoSmithKline, multiplica o risco de narcolepsia durante a infância.

Segundo este estudo, entre 2009 e 2010 foram diagnosticados 60 casos de Narcolepsia em crianças finlandesas e adolescentes entre 4 e 19 anos, dos quais 52 (quase 90 por cento) haviam sido vacinadas com Pandemrix.

O fenômeno levou as autoridades de saúde finlandês a parar de usar a vacina como medida preventiva, para determinar seus possíveis efeitos colaterais.

A Narcolepsia é um estado patológico que faz com que o paciente sinta uma vontade de dormir irresistível a qualquer momento.

Possíveis países afetados

A OMS que doou 36 milhões de doses da vacina ‘Pandemrix’ a 18 países, três deles latinos, mas até agora não ouviu falar de casos de Narcolepsia.

A lista de países que receberam ‘Pandemrix’ é a seguinte: Arménia, Azerbaijão, Bangladesh, Bolívia, Burkina Fasso, Cuba, Coréia do Norte, El Salvador, Etiópia, Gana, Namíbia, Filipinas, Tadjiquistão, Togo, Ruanda, Quênia, Mongólia e Senegal.

O relatório de conclusão final sobre a relação entre narcolepsia e esta vacina vai ser divulgado em 31 de agosto.

Children Vaccinated against AH1N1 suffer from Narcolepsy

The World Health Organization reports that cases of Narcolepsy are possibly related to the vaccine Pandemrix

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
February 8, 2011

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Tuesday that at least 12 countries reported cases of narcolepsy in children and adolescents who had previously been vaccinated against influenza AH1N1.

Pandemrix is produced by GlaxoSmithKline

The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, WHO has published a statement specifying that “since August 2010, following massive vaccination against influenza virus H1N1 in 2009, there were cases of narcolepsy in children and adolescents in at least 12 countries. ”

However, the group has said it takes “more research” to determine the exact relationship between cases of narcolepsy and influenza vaccination, through the use of the vaccine Pandemrix or another one.

Last week, the WHO announced it was investigating a rise in cases of narcolepsy in Finland which could be associated with the vaccine ‘Pandemrix’ manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, since all patients seemed to have been immunized with the same product.

Finland discontinued use of the vaccine

The Government of Finland had reported cases of narcolepsy among people ages 4 -19 years old, vaccinated against influenza AH1N1.

In Helsinki, the National Institute of Health and Welfare of Finland (THL) published a study showing that the H1N1 flu vaccine Pandemrix, manufactured by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, increases the risk of childhood narcolepsy.

Since August 2010, following massive vaccination against influenza virus H1N1 in 2009, there were cases of narcolepsy in children and adolescents in at least 12 countries, "WHO says

According to this study, between 2009 and 2010 authorities diagnosed 60 cases of narcolepsy in Finnish children and adolescents between 4 and 19 years, of which 52 (almost 90 per cent) had been vaccinated with Pandemrix.

The phenomenon led the Finnish health authorities to stop using this vaccine as a preventive measure to determine the possible side effects.

Narcolepsy is a pathological state that causes the patients to suffer irresistible sleep at any time.

Possible affected countries

The WHO has donated 36 million doses of the vaccine ‘Pandemrix’ to 18 countries. Three of those countries are Latin American ones, but so far non of those nations have reported cases of narcolepsy.

The list of countries that received ‘Pandemrix’ includes: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cuba, North Korea, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Namibia, Philippines, Tajikistan, Togo, Rwanda, Kenya, Mongolia and Senegal.

The completed final report on the relationship between narcolepsy and this vaccine will be published on August 31.


OMS: Niños vacunados contra H1N1 sufren de narcolepsia

Registrados en 12 países casos de narcolepsia con la vacuna de la gripe A

Terra.es

Según la OMS, los afectados son niños y adolescentes, pero hace falta más investigación para determinar que la causa sea la ingesta del medicamento.

La OMS donó 36 millones de dosis de 'Pandemrix' a 18 países en desarrollo.

 

La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) ha anunciado este martes que al menos 12 países registraron casos de narcolepsia en niños y adolescentes que previamente habían sido vacunados contra la gripe A.

El Comité Consultivo Mundial de la Seguridad de Vacunas de la OMS ha publicado un comunicado en el que especifica que “desde agosto de 2010, y tras masivas vacunaciones contra el virus de la gripe H1N1 en 2009, se detectaron casos de narcolepsia en niños y adolescentes en al menos 12 países”.

No obstante, el grupo ha señalado que hace falta “más investigación” para determinar la relación exacta entre los casos de narcolepsia y la vacunación contra la gripe, sea con la vacuna Pandemrix o con otra.

La semana pasada, la OMS anunció que investigaba un aumento de casos de narcolepsia en Finlandia que podría tener relación con la vacuna ‘Pandemrix’ del fabricante Glaxo, dado que todos los afectados parecían haber sido inmunizados con el mismo producto.

Finlandia interrumpe el uso de la vacuna

El Gobierno de Finlandia había informado de casos de narcolepsia entre vacunados contra la gripe A de entre 4 y 19 años.

 

Las autoridades de Finlandia han suspendido el uso de la vacuna, tras detectar varios casos de afectados de entre 4 y 19 años.

En Helsinki, el Instituto Nacional de Salud y Bienestar de Finlandia (THL) publicó un estudio según el cual la vacuna contra la gripe AH1N1 Pandemrix, fabricada por la compañía farmacéutica GlaxoSmithKline, multiplica el riesgo de contraer narcolepsia infantil. 

Según ese estudio, entre 2009 y 2010 se diagnosticaron 60 casos de narcolepsia en niños y adolescentes finlandeses de entre 4 y 19 años, de los cuales 52 (casi el 90 por ciento) habían sido vacunados con Pandemrix.

El fenómeno llevó a las autoridades sanitarias finlandesas a interrumpir el uso de esta vacuna de forma preventiva hasta determinar sus posibles efectos secundarios.

La narcolepsia es un estado patológico que produce en el afectado accesos irresistibles de sueño en cualquier momento.

Posibles países afectados

La OMS ha donado 36 millones de dosis de la vacuna ‘Pandemrix’ a 18 países en desarrollo, tres de ellos latinoamericanos, pero hasta el momento no se han tenido noticias de que se hayan dado casos de narcolepsia.

La lista de países que recibieron ‘Pandemrix’ es la siguiente: Armenia, Azerbaiyán, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Corea del Norte, El Salvador, Etiopía, Ghana, Namibia, Filipinas, Tayikistán, Togo, Ruanda, Kenia, Mongolia y Senegal.

El informe completo y definitivo sobre la relación entre la narcolepsia y esta vacuna se difundirá el próximo 31 de agosto próximo.