37 responses

  1. MaryM
    June 24, 2013

    There was also that series of bombings of nanotech researchers, and one of the articles that discussed it mentioned this woman’s lab in Mexico:

    http://www.nature.com/news/nanotechnology-armed-resistance-1.11287

    The sentiment is echoed by Beatriz Xoconostle Cázares, a biotechnology researcher at Cinvestav, who is experimenting with transgenic crops resistant to drought and insects — and who regularly debates with ETC in public forums. Last September, Xoconostle arrived at work to find that her lab had been set on fire. A month later, arsonists attacked the lab of a neighbouring researcher.

    It’s really chilling. And if it was climate researchers, the whole world would be shouting about that. But barely anyone knows about these incidents.

  2. DebbieC
    June 24, 2013

    These incidents would all lead me to suspect the recent “rogue wheat” findings were likely some sort of sabotage?

    • Tom
      June 26, 2013

      “These incidents would all lead me to suspect the recent “rogue wheat” findings were likely some sort of sabotage?”

      Why not that the activists had legitimate concerns for your health as supported by the evidence of rougue wheat?

      • Loren E
        June 26, 2013

        And how do you get from wheat germinating in a field to any kind of health concern?

      • DebbieC
        June 27, 2013

        Even if there were health concerns, this is not the way to go about expressing those concerns.

    • Lisa
      June 28, 2013

      wow, so you’re suggesting that some anti gmo activists saved some GMO wheat seeds from a Monsanto field trial for over ten years, and then came out and planted them this year? Highly unlikely. Monsanto is the criminal for not keeping its field trial properly enclosed and the consequence was it genetically spread. The real criminal here is MONSANTO. There are sooo many TRULY independent studies proving adverse effects and probable cause for alarm if we continue to alter genes to suit our economy. Even the knowledge of Epigenetics proves that genetically altering living organisms can have unintended effects in the future. Even as precise as genetic engineering has become, so far as placement is concerned, to guarantee its safety is blasphemous. Every single cell communicates with others, and changing that communication for the sake of the economy will likely prove to be a disaster

      http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416

      • Karl Haro von Mogel
        June 28, 2013

        Blasphemy is the purview of religion, not science. I like your link to the evidence-free Entropy paper. Did you know that the author of that paper blamed roundup for the Boston Bombings? Careful what you consider to be a reliable source of information.

      • First Officer
        June 28, 2013

        LOL! Reminds me how Pat Robertson and Jerry Farwell blamed 9-11 on homosexuality.

        http://www.snopes.com/rumors/falwell.asp

      • Loren E
        June 28, 2013

        Hmmmm, Lisa it is far easier to believe that groups of people who’ve engaged in vandalism numerous times in the past 15 years pulled a fast one here than to believe this wheat just magically appeared after 10 years. No one saw it before this?? Was this the first time this grower ever used Round Up in his field? If it has been out there for the last ten years, why is it not showing up in the wheat supply?
        And an ‘enclosed field trial’? Enclosed by what exactly? That’s not how it is done. All field trial sites are checked for volunteers for several years after a trial. So I wouldn’t be calling them criminal without some hard evidence.

      • First Officer
        June 28, 2013

        It would not be the first time an anti-gmo organization stole gm seeds. The main anti-gmo hypothesis is that this had got out and spread. But from where and how? The seeds can’t survive in the wild more than two years so they can only spread if successive generations had germinated over the last several years. This would have left a trail of migration from where they were last grown to that field. Since no other field tested positive and no wheat in the supply pipeline has tested positive, that hypothesis seems to be dead.

      • Loren E
        June 28, 2013

        Another thing to consider is that if someone had this seed for 6-10 years, it would have to have been stored properly. As a boss of mine used to say “Stored seed is a product that dies a little bit each day.”

      • First Officer
        June 28, 2013

        This might shed some light.

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/28/monsanto-wheat-idUSL2N0F11KI20130628

        Perhaps the seeds were stolen during the incineration process. If Monsanto surrendered their entire stock of seeds to the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation then that would be the only place where they could have originated, if normal storage wouldn’t work and if all seeds were surrendered.

      • Karl Haro von Mogel
        June 28, 2013

        Interesting, so there was a place where the wheat seeds were stored for about 6-7 years. It is possible that accidental mixture or theft could have occurred there.

  3. Robert Wager (@RobertWager1)
    June 24, 2013

    After reviewing the available information. I have only one question. Was the GE wheat planted in drill rows or scattered in the ~1 acre of the 123 acre field? The USDA should publicly answer this important question.

    As far as I can determine all evidence so far points to deliberate planting of the GE wheat. No one has come up with a viable alternative explanation that takes into account the known facts. I want to be very clear. I am in NOT accusing the farmer of any involvement.

    The economic reasons behind a deliberate planting of GE wheat are easy to see by looking at the fall out of the GE wheat discovery.

    OK one more question.

    Isn’t it time for the FBI to get involved in this case of apparent “economic sabotage”?

    • Karl Haro von Mogel
      June 24, 2013

      Robert, you make an interesting point about the way that the wheat was planted. It certainly could shed light on the question. The reason why I emphasized the circumstantial nature of the deliberate sabotage claim with regard to the wheat is that we don’t have a clear test that could differentiate between accident and intent. Wheat plants that aren’t in line with a drilled field, if that is how it was planted, could show that.

      • Chris Preston
        June 25, 2013

        Karl, I believe the plants were identified when a fallow was sprayed out with glyphosate rather than a spray in a wheat crop. So it would be impossible to tell whether they were there by accident or deliberately placed there.

      • First Officer
        June 26, 2013

        This point was brought up before. If we can plot the distribution of the volunteer plants, in relation to how the regular crop is planted, that might tell us something. If it were intentional and from, “Nature Ninjas”, in the night, the pattern should be different than a normal planting. Even attempts by saboteurs to make it appear random would tend to produce patterns that look like an attempt at randomness rather than true randomness.

    • Rita
      June 25, 2013

      And then there is skepticism of sabotage claims regarding the wheat incident from Carol Mallory-Smith, a professor of weed sciences at Oregon State University who confirmed the event: “The sabotage conspiracy theory is even harder for me to explain or think as logical because it would mean that someone had that seed and was holding that seed for 10 or 12 years and happened to put it on the right field to have it found, and identified. I don’t think that makes a lot of sense” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/22/agriculture-oregon-monsanto-gm-wheat

      Interestingly…Carol Mallory-Smith also confirmed two other incidents of genetically engineered crops appearing where they shouldn’t in Oregon:
      1) the Scott-Monsanto RR creeping bentgrass incident in 2010 (the field trials of the crop originally planted in 2005, but found in multiple sites over several years after that).

      2)the RR sugarbeet male stecklings in May of 2009 that were supposed to be destroyed but got into landscaping compost, and then distributed to local gardeners, potentially spreading the trait at a time when a lawsuit was still ongoing regarding deregulation (which was evidence Center for Food Safety used in an attempt in the NEPA trial)

      Is she a part of the sabotage conspiracy? Three times the same scientist in the same state confirms that industry stewardship protocols have failed to contain transgenic events? Is she a paid agent of the Center, or (gasp)Organic Consumers Association?

      Or is she a skeptical scientist who happens to be doing her job, and finding that the stewardship protocols are less than foolproof, as anyone who has ever bred or produced seed has always known?

      • Neil
        June 25, 2013

        You realize this is the story behind the “Others find intention far less likely” link above, yeah?

      • Rita
        June 25, 2013

        Yes, but though writing out her entire quote to the commentator (robert) who is suggesting (without saying it directly) that sabotage is likely.

        I also wanted to point out that this scientist has been at the center of three such incidents, which either makes her an expert, or a suspect. I think this blog has done a fine job being objective on most things, but ever since the wheat incident there is an underlying thread of Organic Consumer Association-esque conspiracy to pin this on an anti-gmo activist, when anyone who works with seed knows that the genes flow, seed disseminates, and human systems to manage nature are imperfect. If there is any real ecological or true-risk impact of such a “leaky” system is a fine area for debate…but to suggest that it takes conspiracy to create such a leak is silliness.

      • Karl Haro von Mogel
        June 26, 2013

        I want to stab a pitchfork right through the heart of the suggestion that Carole Mallory-Smith would be a ‘suspect’ just as much as the idea that an activist is likely to have spread the seeds intentionally.

        The main reason why I wanted to mention the wheat incident in this story is to point out the temporal relationship (and provide links to skeptical looks at the claim of sabotage). The sugar beet attacks may have been a response to the discovery of the wheat.

      • First Officer
        June 26, 2013

        Agreed. Merely, she was asked, she told. No messenger shooting.

      • Arthur Doucette
        September 4, 2013

        At the time of this comment: “The sabotage conspiracy theory is even harder for me to explain or think as logical because it would mean that someone had that seed and was holding that seed for 10 or 12 years and happened to put it on the right field to have it found, and identified. I don’t think that makes a lot of sense”

        She apparently didn’t know that the seed was in fact HELD and kept in a secure and viable state for that length of time at National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation.

        This is key, because it takes SPECIAL handling to keep wheat seeds viable this long.

        It is just TOO MUCH of a coincidence (to me at least) that in the growing season that followed the seeds being taken out of secure storage and sent for destruction (a point where control of the seeds was likely at its lowest point) that these viable seeds get planted in just ONE field on ONE farm.

        As to having it found.
        No big surprise there either.
        The REASON that Glyphosate resistant wheat was not a commercial success is that at the same time Monsanto was developing it, farmers were discovering that by spraying mature wheat with Round-Up a week or so before harvest they could desiccate the plant and increase their harvesting efficiency, so all the person would have to do is have a few minutes access to a wheat farmer’s seed that he knew used this farming method.

        NOT THAT HARD TO UNDERSTAND how this was done.

  4. Steve Savage
    June 24, 2013

    Back in the 1990s someone destroyed a greenhouse at Washington State University that they thought was part of a biotech poplar program. It was actually full of native plant specimens

    • Karl Haro von Mogel
      June 25, 2013

      Oh, was that the one with the plant collection? I may have mixed the two incidents up. Washington State University sounds right. If you’ve got a link to a news story, please share it!

      • Neil
        June 25, 2013

        I live in the Pacific NW and I think it was University of Washington:
        http://www.washington.edu/alumni/columns/sept01/merrill.html

        Be careful – don’t confused the Cougars for the Huskies….you’ll cause yourself a world of hurt ;-)

      • Karl Haro von Mogel
        June 25, 2013

        Thanks for providing a link! I have corrected the article.

    • Loren E
      June 25, 2013

      Steve,
      You’re a west coast guy. Remember when the so-called ‘Future Farmers’ vandalized Seminis Vegetable Seeds (around 1998, I think). They damaged greenhouses, turned over trangenic tomato trials and ripped out a bunch of breeding material, including heirloom tomatoes. The rationale behind that….if you are using the profits from your business to fund GMO research, everything is fair game. That’s how these guys think.

  5. Neil
    June 24, 2013

    I like to remind people who donate money to Greenpeace that it goes towards legal fees for vandals and compensation to their victims. Greenpeace had to pay over $280,000 in compensation to the scientists at CSIRO and those scientists are repeating the experiment. So at the end of the day that act of vandalism completely wasted $280,000+ of donated money.

    • Karl Haro von Mogel
      June 24, 2013

      As I like to say, Greenpeace is now a De Facto financer of research and development of genetically engineered crops. :)

    • Loren E
      June 25, 2013

      Hey Neil,
      Given that GP operates across state lines and internationally, and that these acts of vandalism easily rise to level of a felony, could they be charged under RICO?

      • Neil
        June 25, 2013

        I dunno, I see Greenpeace less like the mafia and more like the real-world equivalent of an internet troll. And the worst thing you can do with a troll is feed it.

  6. Robert Wagerr
    June 24, 2013

    Interesting quote:

    “Fraley said Monsanto reached out to the farmer’s lawyer, who confirmed the genetically-modified wheat “appeared in patches or clumps and appeared here or there in the field.”

    from http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2013/06/monsanto-suspicious-of-gmo-wheat-in-oregon-field.aspx

  7. theoldtechnite
    June 26, 2013

    Good summary of anti-gmo vandalism and destruction. European incidents should be included as well, such as the baseball bat wielding anti-gmo incident in Germany. I believe the pro-gmo community needs to go a bit more on the offensive. Too long and much too often the anti-gmoers have control of the conversation, forcing the science to always be on the defensive. It is time to hold their feet to the fire of scrutiny. For instance, many anti-gmo proponents are also anti-vaccine and even anti-evolution (they have to be in order to keep crying, “totally unrelated species”). In a bizarre turn of events, what used to be a right wing crackpot conspiracy theory, now some anti-gmoers have taken up the fight against water fluoridation. Many anti-gmoers also advocate farming methods that can never feed the number of people we have now and, especially, in the future. Simple rate of natural nitrogen fixing per acre/hectare calculations show that. They need to be exposed for the charlatans that they are.

  8. La Coupe Est Pleine
    July 16, 2013

    I never knew USA lived so much vandalism on there own !
    (I am French)
    But you got to know that those peoples will never stop. This is not an entertainment, they KILLED all GMO research in France and most of the european countrys.
    Sadly politicians here, are trying recover a liability on the subject. But they gave so much credits to ecologism that most of the peoples here really think there is a hidden risk in growing, and also consuming engineered crops.
    Those organisations are dangerous, keep in mind that law appliance is the only way.
    In France law was not applied to those groups with the help of political cast…. But now our farming research is dying !
    when I see pictures of the organic garden of Michele Obama ….. I think USA is just at the begining of there green troubles !

  9. Mlema
    November 7, 2013

    well, I guess it’s heading for all out war. We’ve got anti-gmo-ers ripping up plants and Monsanto using strong-arm tactics to force gmo use in countries around the world.

    In 2010, Wikileaks revealed US State dept cables that ordered embassies around the world to push pro-Monsanto legislation – one strategy memo included an ‘advocacy toolkit’ for diplomatic posts. They were to push the idea that GE seeds could solve the food crisis.

    In 2005, South African ambassadors suggested to Monsanto and Pioneer that they try to fill open positions in the government’s biotech regulatory system by advancing their own applicants. In Indonesia the embassy was still lobbying on Monsanto’s behalf the same year that Monsanto paid $1.5 million in fines for bribing an Indonesian official to repeal rules that governed the planting of GMOs there.

    Lest we believe this is simply our State Dept.’s advancement of US technology and interests abroad, here’s a quote from one of the worst communiques (context is Europe’s resistance to GMO):

    “Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU… Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices.”

    sounds military, right? I was shocked to read this and angered that Monsanto has somehow managed to usurp our embassies to do it’s marketing and lobbying with this kind of stuff.

    Criminals on both sides of this issue evidently.

  10. Mlema
    November 7, 2013

    And, in case anybody thinks that we DO need Monsanto seeds to “solve the food crisis” – the UN has put a lot of energy into investigating just exactly what the best way to deal with world hunger might be. Their conclusions:

    http://www.unep.org/dewa/agassessment/docs/10505_Multi.pdf

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