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When Cocaine and Monsanto's Roundup Collide

When Cocaine and Monsanto's Roundup Collide

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Published by: ed_cobb_1 on Jun 08, 2011
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When Cocaine and Monsanto's Roundup Collide,War on Drugs Becomes a Genetically-ModifiedWar on Science
Submitted byAnonymous onMon,08/31/2009 -1:40pm.
BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSISby Meg WhiteAt the intersection of cocaine and Roundup in rural South America,Monsanto and the U.S. government are struggling to keep upappearances. That's becoming more and more difficult as theunanticipated hazards of genetic modification become clearer.Back in April, Argentinean embryologist Andrés Carrasco gave an interview with a Buenos Aires newspaper describing his recentfindings suggesting the chemical glyphosate, a chemical herbicidewidely used in agriculture as well as in U.S. anti-narcotic efforts,could cause defects in fetuses inmuch smaller doses than those towhich peasants and farmers in his country were already beingexposed. Loud calls for a ban on the substance were issued byArgentinean environmental lawyers, and the country's Ministry of Defense banned the planting of glyphosate-resistant soya crops inits fields.Then came the backlash. An articlein an Argentinean paperrecently reported that
Carrasco was assaulted in a way hedescribed as "violent" byfour men associated withagricultural interests
:Two of the men were said to be members of an agrochemicalindustry body but refused to give their names. The other twoclaimed to be a lawyer and notary. They apparentlyinterrogated Dr. Carrascoand demanded to see details of theexperiments. They left a card Basílico, Andrada & Santurio,attorneys on behalf of Felipe Alejandro Noël.It's still unclear who these people are. But the interest in keepingsuch information quiet or discrediting Carrasco and his findings arestrongest with Monsanto, the agricultural company who firstpatented a glyphosate product (sold as Roundup) and also createdgenetically-modified crops specifically to resist the herbicide.GRAIN, an international non-profit supporting small-scale farmersand biodiversity in community agriculture,
originally reported thestory
, evidently before the reports of threats against Carrascowere known. GRAIN has also done extensive
reporting onMonsanto's genetically-modified soya crops in Argentina
(which, according to the group, have increased five-fold since theirintroduction there, and have taken over more than half of Argentina's farmland) as well as on the use of glyphosate (whichhas increased fourteen-fold since its introduction, contrary toMonsanto's promises that its crop would decrease pesticide use).The so-called "Roundup Ready" crops have interbred with otherplants, creating "superweeds" which in turn necessitate the use of other poisonous herbicides such as atrazine.The dangers of glyphosate are hotly debated. The U.S.Environmental Protection Agency
does regulate the allowableamount in drinking water
, but the
data it has on the dangersof the chemical are all nearly two decades old, and manystudies were sponsored by Monsanto
. But rural agriculturalworkers across South America have been protesting the sprayingfor well over a decade, pointing to
increases in local cancerrates and birth defects
as proof.The Transnational Institute (TNI), a nonpartisan international groupof scholars, has drawn attention to the
inconsistencies and
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basic errors in studies refuting the dangers of glyphosate
.This should come as no surprise, since Monsanto has been involvedin
several known cases of scientific fraud
regarding the samechemical, wherein the EPA found multiple instances in which labswere paid to falsify preferred results for the company. Monsantohas also been charged in multiple jurisdictions for
disseminatingmisleading information
about its Roundup products
glyphosate is still the top-selling herbicide around theworld
. And it's not just used to kill weeds, either. The U.S. militarysprays glyphosate from airplanes onto drug crops as part of itsworldwide anti-narcotic strategy. The best known example of suchan effort was named Plan Colombia by the Clinton Administrationand persists today.But punishment is meted out unequally. Because glyphosate is anherbicide and is not specifically targeted to work against drugcrops (as is easily deduced by the fact that it's used against cocaand poppy plants as well as against household weeds in the U.S.),the spray kills legitimate crops, too.That is, unless you're growing Monsanto's specially-formulated"Roundup Ready" crops. The you can spray nearly unlimitedamounts of the stuff, which is what it seems farmers (as well asthe U.S. military) are doing.It seems that the whole operation may have backfired though, atleast from the perspective of the governments that are promotingsuch a strategy. The effort has lead to coca growers cutting downnational forests -- where such spraying is often against the law --to produce their illicit crops. But Mother Nature may be rebellingagainst drug policy as well.
coca plants appear to be eitherevolving
on their own (or
with the help of coca farmers' activeselection
) -- or they are possibly crossing with Roundup Readycrops already on the ground -- to produce a glyphosate-resistantcrop known as
Boliviana negra
.One TNI study looked at the
political and commercial motivesfor continuing to spray the chemical
on drug crops in SouthAmerica regardless of findings that the effort is counterproductiveat best:It is true that the United States is behind fumigation, backedby the economic interests of companies such as Monsanto andDynCorp, who share in this lucrative business -– which is oneof the reasons it meets with opposition. But it is also true thatthe disastrous consequences of the current anti-drug policy,of which fumigation is but one component, are a reality thatsurpasses ideologies, and the nations that suffer itsconsequences firsthand must find a solution instead of becoming polarised...Colombia would not fumigate if it weren’t for pressure from theUS. It would be implementing other forms of eradication oroffering alternative development programmes that provideincome to the population.The group suggested that South American countries band togetherto refuse U.S. anti-narcotic spraying on environmental and humansafety grounds, as
has been done in Afghanistan
.In 2004, Joshua Davis had the
Boliviana negra
plant tested todetermine its provenance for Wired Magazine. He concludes thatthe glyphosate-resistant coca plant he found in Colombia was
most likely developed in the fields by farmers grafting onchance genetic mutations
.But the resulting article is perhaps most interesting for the taciturnresponse on all sides of the issue. Davis suggests that SouthAmerican authorities don't want to talk about the situationbecause the revelation might cost countries that receive a largeamount of U.S. aid to combat drug traffickers. The U.S.government doesn't want coca farmers who don't already know tofind out about the new strain, because it can still eradicate oldstrains with glyphosate. And drug growers who do have the newstrain certainly don't want the status quo to end, becausecurrently the U.S. government is doing their weeding for free.But on the larger cost-benefit analysis, the biggest winner isMonsanto. The more Roundup Ready crops there are out there, theMainstream Media Shut OutBernie Sanders?
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more Roundup farmers need to get rid of the weeds, as isevidenced by the GRAIN research in Argentina. The real foe of Monsanto is not drug cartels or government entities. It's scientists.When you put together the studies referenced above, which showthat spraying glyphosate is harmful to humans and the environmentand that it does not hamper the production of coca or weeds, theanswer to almost everyone's problems is eliminating Monsanto.So while there's no solid proof that the men threatening AndrésCarrasco belong to the same corporation that falsified lab resultson the harm caused by glyphosate or the group that told lies aboutRoundup, there's no doubt in my mind that they belong in the samesick club.BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS»
to post comments
I think there are a lot of 
Submitted by lonnie on Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:48pm.
I think there are a lot of things we don't know in this story that'swhy wouldn't launch any accusations without clear proofs. Cocainemay cover genetically modified science actions and vice versa,none of these two is good for humanity in my opinion, thus I thinkthe humanity is entitle to act against these actions. Lonnie,
California drug treatment
to post comments
Just legalize it.
Submitted by VintageV12 on Wed, 09/02/2009 - 1:22am.
The problems of drug illegality far outweigh the problems of thedrugs themselves.»
to post comments
Here's a link to the Argentina article
Submitted by Kevin Schmidt S... on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 7:10pm.
 If corporations are persons, then when they kill peopleintentionally, as does Monsanto everytime they sell more Roundup,then those corporations should face the death penalty.
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Scott Miller
Jun 7
The corporate sabbatean masonic elite will stop at nothing in their 'swan song' of l l lrunning out of time!
Bob Peterson
Jun 7
The global corporate mafia at work.
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