GMO Cables Go Mainstream

I was all tickled this morning to find out that the leaked cables about the U.S. push for genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe finally made it to the European mainstream press. In good English-journalism tradition, The Guardian kept its story clean of all opinion and conspiracy-leaning assertions, and simply presented the naked truth (unlike here, I acknowledge). The result is scarier and creepier than anything I had read on various activist blogs and websites on both sides of the Atlantic these past couple of weeks.

“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,” wrote US Ambassador in Paris, Craig Stapleton, in the wake of a decision by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007. “The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices,” he added.

Should there be any remaining illusion out there that “free market” refers to anything else but a rhetorical tool that politicians throw around to cover their true agenda, this last revelation should serve as a drastic reality-check.

To his credit, Craig Stapleton (who co-owned the St. Louis-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s with George W. Bush) turned out to be a decent strategist. Last March, the European Commission (the executive body of the EU) approved the first new GM crop for cultivation in Europe since 1998: the Amflora potato developed by the German chemicals giant BASF. A storm of protests ensued. Nevertheless, the Commission went further in July and published proposals to put an end to a 12-year moratorium on new Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in the European Union and crack the European market wide open for the benefit of Monsanto and its ilk. The European Parliament and member states still had to approve it however. So far, resistance has prevailed.

In their search for influencers to support the GMO cause, American lobbyists did not stop in Bruxelles. They also settled in the Vatican–a mere 3 miles from the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “Opportunities exist to press the issue with the Vatican, and in turn to influence a wide segment of the population in Europe and the developing world,” indicated a cable in 2008.

Efforts with the Holy See have been inconclusive however. Relationships proved unreliable and contradictory reports about the Pope’s stance on GMO appeared as recently as this past month.

Where does this leave us? Will the public opinion care? I can only hope that mainstream publications across the continent will follow en masse in The Guardian‘s footsteps and take the story to the front page. At the very least, light was shone on the subservient loyalty of U.S. officials to the biotechnology industry, and I wonder whether this will create enough outrage among the public to have European citizens oppose GMO on a matter of principle–with all due respect to my country of adoption, the threat of “American imperialism” would not be an empty phrase in this context.

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Neil A.
Neil A.3 years ago

I would have said I could not believe this a while back but now know that politicians & GMO Lobbyists have absolutely no morals particularly in the USA trying to impose its stupid damaging science on everybody the EU & OTHERSW MUST RESIST this UN GODLY?? science.

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p.4 years ago

i don`t want any gmo rubbish, but the eu parliament will eventually approve more and more.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman4 years ago

Noted, thanx

Rachel R.
Rachel R.4 years ago

Interesting! I'm not against GM in all forms, but I am against Monsanto and their friends stopping people saving seed etc!

Lynn C.
Lynn C.4 years ago

Thank you so much and, like you, I hope the outcry is huge! When are we going to wake up?
Of all the scary things happening to our world. I find this one of the scariest!
All those people in the poor countries living beyond subsistence and Monsanto says they must buy the seed from them? Why haven't we heard front-page stories about the Indian farmers who have committed suicide because one Monsanto crop failure meant they couldn't buy seed for the next year? (Can't save Monsanto seed).
What will it take to make people understand and react to the takeover of their food and water?

heather g.
heather g.4 years ago

The only positive change I have noticed in our world today is that secrets and underhand dealings seem to find the light of day quicker and quicker. We needs more Wikileaks-type organisations and more people looking for answers and educating people into questioning the media.

Linus Schonnings
Linus Schonnings4 years ago

I am against GMO products, that is why I buy eco

Pat Hippert
Patricia H.4 years ago

Many people oppose what Monsanto is doing with the crops in our country and trying to introduce them in Europe. Soon the only place you will be able to get seeds is from Monsanto. Just like big Pharma it a giant that will be almost impossible to kill.

Rita B.
Rita B.4 years ago


J. Goodacre
J. G.4 years ago

Everytime I read anything about Monsanto trying to introduce GM food into the UK and Europe it just makes me seethe with anger - we don't want this evil rubbish. Already all soya has been contaminated and I have tried to eliminate it from my diet (which is a near impossibility). Organic food has been quite big in the UK for a long time and it will end up contaminating everything. I just hope people do not give up protesting loudly and end up like lambs to the slaughter.