Wednesday, September 19, 2012

 

Maui News reports where the Star-Advertiser fears to tread on Occupy Monsanto rallies


by Larry Geller

A sign-waving rally was held Monday afternoon at the intersection of Piilani and Mokulele highways to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement and to show solidarity with the "Occupy Monsanto Global Protests" worldwide, according to an announcement.

[Maui News, Rallies to show solidarity, bring awareness to GMOs, 9/19/2012]

The Maui News also mentioned that rallies were held on Molokai, Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island, and that participation at the Maui event was said to be over 100. Occupy Maui posted the event on their Facebook page (you don’t have to be a member of Facebook to view it). Their page also shows the variety of interests that the Maui group supports—check it out.

The Hawaii events formed part of a nationwide protest, as documented by this Business Week article:

Noting the first anniversary of the Occupy Movement, protesters targeted the Monsanto Co. for demonstrations, they said, including a plant in Davis, Calif.

Carrying signs reading "Genetic contamination is forever" and "Occupy will bring Monsanto to its knees," about 50 protesters milled around the front of the plant Monday morning, the Sacramento Bee reported.

[Business Week, Occupy targets Monsanto, 9/17/2012]

California is at the forefront of the movement at present because of the pending Proposition 37 which would require labeling of food with GMO ingredients.

Actually, the Business Week article is a bare mention, but neither they nor the Maui News were afraid to use the “M” word, in contrast to our own Star-Advertiser (see Occupy coverage disappoints, .9/18/2012).

There is a website called “Occupy Monsanto” that is zealous in its coverage of GMO issues, and in particular those related to Monsanto and its Roundup brand insecticide. If you visit there today, or if you Google for it, you can read about the results of a new study reporting that genetically modified corn caused cancer in rats (see, for example, France orders probe after study questions GM corn). If sustained, this may blow the argument out of the water that GMO crops are safe to eat. Regardless of how this study fares, the use and over-use of pesticides and other chemicals is separate from the safety of GMO crops, and there are other significant concerns the industry would rather gloss over.

Monsanto grows seed corn extensively in Hawaii. The Star-Advertiser has covered this issue in the past. At the same time, they have failed to identify the players, for example, in an op-ed run during the legislative session, Folks already making informed food choices (Star-Advertiser, 3/4/2012). Two of the authors are listed as ED and president of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association. Behind that innocent enough name are the big guns in GMO in Hawaii. The truth that might have appeared in our daily paper but didn’t was posted on The Doug Note by H. Doug Matsuoka last year. Here is a snip showing the makeup of their board at that time:

 
Position
Name
From
President
Fred Perlak
Monsanto (Hawaii Lobbyist)
Vice President
Laurie Goodwin
Syngenta Hawaii
Treasurer
John Anderson
(anyone have info?)
Secretary
Alika Napier
DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred
Director
David Gilliland
Mycogen Seeds (sells Monsanto "Roundup Ready" seeds)
Director
Cindy Goldstein
DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred (Hawaii Lobbyist)
Director
Adolph Helm
Dow Agro-Science
Director
Kirby Kester
BASF Plant Science
Director
Steve Lupkes
BASF Plant Science
Director
Mark Phillipson
Syngenta Seeds
Director
Mark Stoutemeyer
DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred
Director
Alan Takemoto
Monsanto (Hawaii Lobbyist)

The corporations represented listed in alphabetical order:
BASF
Dow
DuPont
Monsanto
Syngenta
 
What we have is a who’s who of multinational GMO corporations.  As much as they try to represent themselves as “agricultural” companies, note that all of them are primarily chemical companies with a major portion of their sales in poisons such as herbicides and fungicides.
 
[The Doug Note, Competing GMO corporations sit at the same table in Hawaii , 12/5/2012]

So the op-ed authors included at least two key lobbyists for the GMO industry who were not identified in that role.

The least the S-A could have done was mention “Monsanto” in its reporting of the “Occupy Monsanto” rally on Oahu. Better yet, it could have mentioned the national movement.

If California should require GMO labeling, Hawaii could follow suit. The controversies should be covered fairly.

[See also The Monsanto Machine (Big Island Weekly, 1/3/2012) for details of industry lobbying and political contributions in Hawaii (including to two members of Governor Abercrombie’s cabinet when they were state senators)]



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