Defend the Defenders: Human Rights Law Network

The IB Report Generously Promotes Foreign Interests By Vandana Shiva

Intelligence agencies are supposed to protect the safety and security of a nation and its citizens from external threats. Tragically, we now have a report from the Intelligence Bureau that promotes the very foreign interests that are threatening our seed and food sovereignty, the livelihood of our farmers and the health of our citizens. The IB report, which was commissioned by the UPA government but submitted to the newly elected NDA government, blindly promotes genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods.

The report names seven agitations pursuing “anti-developmental activities”. The “Anti-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)” activism is ranked third and this section begins with this sentence: “The pro-GMO debate in India centres round the resounding success of Bt cotton in the last 10 years.” This sounds more like propaganda of the GMO industry than the result of an investigation by an Indian intelligence agency.

A later paragraph further reinforces the evidence that the IB was not investigating but transmitting messages from the foreign GMO industry and its lobbyists. In paragraph 35, the report cites Ronald Herring of Cornell University. Herring has systematically attacked Indian farmers, scientists and plant breeders and Cornell University has become a hub of the pro-GMO lobby. Cornell worked with USAID and Monsanto/Mahyco to try and impose Bt brinjal on India, unscientifically, undemocratically and illegally. That is why the then environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, ordered a moratorium on Bt brinjal after organising seven public hearings across the country.

India is governed by a biosafety law embodied in the “Rules 1989 for the manufacture/use/imp-ort/export and storage of hazardous micro-organisms/genetic engineered organisms and cells”. Biosafety laws are designed to protect the biodiversity, the environment and public health from the negative impacts of GMOs. I was appointed by the UN in an expert group to frame the international law on biosafety. I also worked with our government to strengthen our biosafety framework. The IB is clearly ignorant of the laws of the land, as well as our parliamentary and judicial processes. That’s why, in paragraph 34, it states that five individuals “contributed to the three year moratorium on Bt brinjal and the ban/moratorium regimes recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee (August 9, 2012) and the technical expert committee (TEC) appointed by the Supreme Court.”

The IB, like the foreign interests seemingly influencing its analysis, clearly holds the institutions created by the Constitution of India — the government, Parliament, the courts — in contempt of foreign commercial interests. It presents them as being manipulated by five individuals.

The IB report is not just biased in favour of foreign MNCs, it is also factually inaccurate. It states in paragraph 31 that the “anti-GMF activism was initiated in 2003 by Vandana Shiva”.

Let me inform the IB of the facts. In 1987, when I was attending a conference on biotechnology, organised by the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation at the UN in Geneva and Bogeve, the old agrichemical industry stated clearly that they were going to introduce GMOs in order to take patents on seeds, so that they could collect royalties from every farmer, in every season, in every country of the world. That is when I committed myself to defend our country’s seed and food sovereignty.

In 1998, when Monsanto, a US-based MNC, started field trials of its GMO Bt cotton illegally, I sued them in our Supreme Court for violation of our biosafety laws. That is why they could not commercialise their Bt cotton until 2002.

Read more @

Filed Under: NEWS

About the Author: