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WikiLeaks Cables Reveal U.S. Sought to Retaliate Against Europe over Refusing to Allow Monsanto GM Crops

Then-U.S. ambassador to France Craig Stapleton was concerned about France's decision to ban cultivation of GM corn produced by Monsanto and threatened recourse.
 
 
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JUAN GONZALEZ: U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal the Bush administration drew up ways to retaliate against Europe for refusing to use genetically modified seeds. In 2007, then-US ambassador to France Craig Stapleton was concerned about France’s decision to ban cultivation of genetically modified corn produced by biotech giant Monsanto. He also warned that a new French environmental review standard could spread anti-biotech policy across Europe.

In the leaked cable, Stapleton writes, "Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the [European] Commission...Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice."

AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Stapleton goes on to write, "Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory," he wrote.

Well, for more, we’re going to Iowa City to speak with Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, author of two books, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating and the book Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.

Jeffrey Smith, talk about the significance of these documents leaked by WikiLeaks.

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, we’ve been saying for years that the United States government is joined at the hip with Monsanto and pushing GMOs as part of Monsanto’s agenda on the rest of the world. This lays bare the mechanics of that effort. We have Craig Stapleton, the former ambassador to France, specifically asking the U.S. government to retaliate and cause some harm throughout the European Union. And then, two years later, in 2009, we have a cable from the ambassador to Spain from the United States asking for intervention there, asking the government to help formulate a biotech strategy and support the government—members of the government in Spain that want to promote GMOs, as well. And here, they specifically indicate that they sat with the director of Monsanto for the region and got briefed by him about the politics of the region and created strategies with him to promote the GMO agenda.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, they apparently were especially interested in one Monsanto product, MON 810. Could you talk about that?

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes. This is the first seed that was approved for widespread planting. You see, the biotech industry was concerned initially about the European Union accepting genetically modified foods. Although that had been approved for years by the commission, the food industry had rejected it because consumers were concerned. And so, there hasn’t been a lot of food going to the European Union that’s genetically modified.

However, they had planned to allow the growing of genetically modified seeds. Now that MON 810 has been allowed, individual countries have stepped forward to ban in. And so, in 2007, they were concerned about that, and so they were trying to create a strategy to force these countries to accept the first of the genetically modified seeds. Since then, there’s been more evidence showing that this genetically modified corn damages mice and rats, etc., can cause reductions of fertility, smaller litter sizes, smaller offspring, immune responses, etc. And these have gone largely ignored by both the European Food Safety Authority and the United States FDA.

 
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