Tuesday, January 4, 2011


The recent Wikileaks expose of American double standards in dealing with other countries must be seen in the light of the unbridled power this country has been enjoying during the last two decades and it is a matter of speculation why this nation has frittered away the goodwill through arrogant behavior manifested in the cable messages from their embassies across the world. Whether these leaked out papers will pass muster from legal angle or not, they do serve a purpose in understanding the mindset of rich countries like the US towards other less fortunate counterparts in this planet. Leaving aside the political aspects, what strikes as odd is the pompous approach made by this country to the Christian religious Head at Rome to "canvas" for selling its GM technology to poor countries so that the giant US monopolies that sell dubious technologies make more money at the expense of poverty-ridden population of Africa, South America and Asia.

"US diplomats pushed the Roman Catholic Church to support biotech food in developing nations, according to secret U.S diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. Efforts to push genetically modified (GM) crops globally extended even into the halls of the Vatican. Embassy cables in Spain, Austria and even Pakistan indicate that US diplomats stand with the biotech industry, although issues are still disputed in court and the public at large eyes the biotechnology dubiously, states a Truthout report. The leaked cable documents a meeting that took place with a U.S. diplomat, a USAID official and Catholic leaders in Rome to discuss biotech foods in 2005. The U.S. representatives reported afterward that the Vatican seemed more concerned about the potential of the biotechnology to entrap farmers into economic subjugation and rather accepted the biologically altered products themselves. US diplomats used the vocabulary of a "moral imperative," citing the need to feed growing populations as an argument useful to respond to opposition to the biotech food industry among Catholic activists and clergy".

It is well known that genetic manipulation of food crops through biotechnological tools can yield many disease resistant varieties but their safety is not yet established beyond a shadow of doubt. Age old technique of hybridization which helped to usher in the Green Revolution of nineteen sixties and seventies is considered akin to natural evolution but manipulation of the gene at the molecular level to evolve new varieties is fraught with unpredictable consequences. It is true that more than 80% of the American foods to day are derived from GM crops, though most consumers are unaware of it and in the short term nothing catastrophic has happened so far, except for the phenomenal health down turn the population there is experiencing during the last decade or so. Since no mandatory labeling is in force for distinguishing between natural and GM crops, the consumers are forced to accept these foods with no choice. The "imperial" power cannot expect other democratic countries to shove these GM foods through the throat of their population who may be famished but are proud of their freedom and human rights

V H Potty

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