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26 July 2005

The slowest-motion train wreck in history

The slowest motion train wreck in history is the unfolding horror show of GM technology. (Disclaimer: I am not a Luddite, nor am I opposed to all "tampering with nature", nor am I an ill-informed granola-cruncher with knee-jerk oppostion to "evil GM". This is serious stuff here, and I am quite serious about it.) The reality of GM testing and its commercial deployment is so far from the cynically glib pronouncements of its deluded proponents that it leads one to begin to doubt literally every word they say. They mouth platitudes about careful testing and scientific consensus about safety, when they know that no such things exist or could even be faked up if required. The thing is, they probably won't be required. This is because the main community relations effort of the giant headless chicken corporations that produce the actual GM products consisted of a very effective pre-emptive smear of anyone who opposes GM technology for any reason. Now we have a scenario where they roll out GM rapeseed to a few willing UK farmers (surrounded by a small horde of vociferous protesters and a vast, worried but quiescent public) blandly assuring us that gene transfer to create "superweeds" is a billion-to-one improbability (note the scientific precision of that; they obviously did tests far too sophisticated for us to understand.) Within a mere three years there is the news of the discovery of a GM superweed that herbicides cannot kill. It rates a few anxious paragraphs and the world goes back to its nap. Meanwhile, in the jungles of South America, GM trees are the latest untested and almost unimagineable threat to the vital rainforest.

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