Wednesday, October 12, 2016
by Andy Parx
(Parx News Net- PNN) Oct. 12,2016 --- (Kapa`a) Beck's Hybrids has purchased and will be taking over BASF's GMO corn seed pesticide experimental facilities in Kekaha, although a Beck's press release and web site attempt to downplay if not coverup their intent beyond "hybrid seed production."
Although the terms GMO. genetically modified seeds and in fact pesticides are absent from the release and apparently impossible to find at Indiana-based Beck's web site a spokesperson from Kauai Farming & Jobs Coalition (KFJC) who refused to be identified did confirm the nature of Beck's intentions for their purchase of the former "BASF Seed Research Facility" on the Westside of the island of Kaua`i.
In a "sponsored" post from their Facebook page, the spokesperson refused to be identified because "each of our admins have been personally attacked by activists in the past." (S)he accused PNN of engaging in "haphazard activist reporting."
"We're used to you spreading misinformation," we were told.
KFJC is a pro-GMO/pesticide group that bills itself as "an issue-based organization (that) seeks out and presents answers on issues raised in our public discourse (and) represents a wide range of individuals and organizations in our community.
The soft-sell approach continued as the spokesperson deflected and misrepresented Beck's intentions until persistent questioning by PNN and others forced an admission that Beck's produced more than "traditional hybrids" and in fact did intend to continue BASF's pesticide experiments on genetically modified seed corn.
Despite a thorough search of the Beck's web site the term "genetic modification" or references to either pesticide use (RUP or otherwise) specifically or generally could not be found. The closest we found to a disclosure of GMOs was the use of the term "trait introgression" under the research and development section
According to Wikipedia "Natural introgression does not have human direct interference while the exotic introgression is induced intentionally (as for instance genetically modified organism)."
Beck's web site does not differentiate between natural and "exotic" introgression. It does say that they "practice genome-wide selection with a state-of-the-art molecular marker laboratory," although they do not further expand on that statement.
Apparently due to these deceptive tactics many who have been active in opposing the chemical companies' genetic modification/pesticide experiments on Kaua`i actually "liked" the KFJC Facebook post linking to the Beck's press release.
In 2013 up to 4.000 people on Kaua`i (population appx. 60,000) marched in support of Ordinance 960 which required disclosure of pesticide and GMO use and required buffer zones.
"(N)obody is claiming that Beck's won't be growing any GE corn" the spokesperson finally disclosed following a series of evasive answers to both our and others' directed questions in the comments section of KFJC's Facebook post . "Beck's carries hybrid corn both in conventional and GE varieties.
"Beck's will be using some of the approved pesticides that you listed," (s)he said referring to questions regarding use of glycophosate (Roundup) and restricted use pesticides (RUPs) atrazine, 2-4D (part of "Agent Orange") and others.
"(I)t is likely that they will participate in the Good Neighbor Program on Kauai." (s)he said referring to a voluntary unverifiable project sponsored by the governor and mayors of the neighbor islands in response to the Kaua`i legislation and a temporary ban of GMOs on Maui and a permanent ban (except for papayas) Hawai`i Island.
The Good Neighbor Program falls well short of the disclosures and buffer zones required in Kaua`i Ordinance 960.
The three laws are currently before the 9th Circuit Federal Appellate court awaiting a decision after being blocked from implementation by local federal magistrates.
Though, as usual, invitations to "tour the facilit(ies)" were extended we were, as usual, refused permission to bring a camera crew to record questions and answers. The spokesperson questioned whether "you could pay attention to what someone is saying or be genuinely interested when you're just trying to catch something on film."
What we might "catch" was not further defined.
For the record PNN has done dozens of TV interviews in producing "The Parxist Conspiracy" newsmagazine during the 90's, as do all professional video journalists- even while "touring" facilities.
Despite repeated requests from PNN and many other national and international news organizations all requests for formal interviews from a Kaua`i-based chemical company spokesperson have been refused.
The industry, through spokespersons, paid bloggers, PR companies and trade organizations has insisted that there is no difference between traditional cross-breeding that has been creating hybrid seeds for millenia and modern "gene-splicing" genetic modification technology which has been producing commercial products for less than a quarter century.
Caution flags have been raised by many predominant independent geneticists who say that the industry engages in bad science and produces stilted studies that presume the absence of evidence is the same as evidence of absence when it comes to health concerns over but genetically modified foods and moreover the use of restricted use pesticides such as atrazine which has been found to be probable carcinogens by the World Health Organization.
Genetically modified foods have been banned across the globe but not in the USA where the presumption of safety until harm is proved defies the science-based "precautionary principle" and the logically fallaciousness of "proving a negative" which cannot, by definition, be done.
Evidence of RUPs have been found in Westside Kaua`i waterways outside the boundaries of the chemical company experimental facilities - a violation of federal law.