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EUROPEAN REFERENDUM INITIATIVE

Joining the Dots: The EU is designed to protect patents and corporate control – not the health and interests of its citizens

By Paul Anthony Taylor

To add your name in support of the constitution for a Europe for the people by the people click here.

The European Commission's Directorate General for Health and Consumers claims that its job is to "help make Europe's citizens healthier, safer and more confident." In reality however, and as more and more people are beginning to discover, the European Union's primary concerns are not those of ordinary citizens but rather the interests of multi-billion euro European corporations and their patents on health-endangering products such as GMO seeds, pharmaceutical drugs, artificial food additives and pesticides.

As this article shows, the root-cause motivation behind the recent absurd attacks on organic farming and vitamin supplements is the fact that organic seeds and vitamins cannot be patented and, along with other natural products, therefore threaten the multi-billion euro profits from the sale of GMOs and pharmaceutical drugs.

Read on to discover how the European Union is misleading you about your health and why a Europe for the People, by the People – as opposed to a Europe of Big Business – is now more urgently needed than ever.

The European Union conspiracy over GMOs

The European Union conspiracy over GMOs

Patents on genetically modified seeds, and the multi-billion euro potential profits and market control that may result from them, are acting as powerful incentives for GMO manufacturers to find ways of forcing these foods onto European consumers' dinner plates, regardless of the possible dangers to human health.

There can surely be little doubt that consumers are overwhelmingly opposed to eating genetically modified foods. Time and again, surveys and polls in countries throughout the European Union have proven this beyond any reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, the fact that genetically modified seeds can be patented – because (unlike regular seeds) they are created in laboratories and do not exist in nature – continues to make them a highly attractive investment proposition to the biotech and pharmaceutical companies that produce them. Patents on genetically modified seeds, and the multi-billion euro potential profits and market control that may result from them, are acting as powerful incentives for these manufacturers to find ways of forcing such foods onto European consumers' dinner plates, regardless of the possible dangers to human health.

In May 2005, for example, a GM watchdog group based in Wales revealed the full extent of a conspiracy by UK and EC officials which, against the public interest, had apparently enabled a highly damaging study on the safety of GM maize to be held on a secret dossier. Scientists who had seen it were said to have been "gagged". Leaked reports and documents from France, Germany and Belgium reportedly suggested that the maize variety, MON863, was unsafe for animal or human consumption, and that a major cover-up was under way, designed to protect the corporate giant Monsanto and the regulatory authorities who had advised that the variety was safe. Despite these concerns however, MON863 remains authorized for use in the European Union.

Long-term, the potential profits from GMOs are so colossal as to compare with the market in pharmaceutical drugs, currently worth $712 billion annually. Perhaps not surprisingly therefore, some of the European Union's major players in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, such as Bayer and BASF, are also now becoming major players in the GMO industry.

Attacks on organic food

Attacks on organic food

Unlike genetically modified seeds, organic seeds can't be patented. As such, GMO manufacturers see the rising popularity of organic food as putting at threat multi-billions of euros of potential profits and market control.

Attacks on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and agriculture have become increasingly common in some European Union countries in recent years.

However, given the fact that, unlike genetically modified seeds, organic seeds can't be patented, it is not difficult to understand why these attacks are taking place.

In short, the rising popularity of organic food is putting at risk the multi-billions of euros of potential profits and market control discussed above, and, as a result, GMO manufacturers are becoming increasingly desperate. Not surprisingly therefore, representatives of pro-GMO European lobby groups are becoming particularly vocal in their criticism of organic farming. Dick Taverne for example, the Chairman of Sense about Science – a group funded by organizations that include the drug company AstraZeneca and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain – has even gone so far as to make the outrageous claim that organic food is a "costly fraud."

However, and in sharp contrast to the growing evidence that GMOs are harmful to health and that the risks of GM technology outweigh their supposed benefits, the reality is that research has repeatedly shown that organic fruit and vegetables are better for you than conventionally grown crops.

In a study carried out over a period of ten years at the University of California, for example, researchers found that organic tomatoes on average contain almost double the level of two important flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol, compared to conventionally-grown tomatoes. This is a very important finding, as higher levels of flavonoids have been linked with reduced rates of some types of cancer and dementia.

Researchers from the University of California at Davis, meanwhile, have carried out a study comparing organic and non-organic kiwi fruits grown next to each other on a farm in Marysville, California and found that the organically-grown kiwi fruit had 17 percent more polyphenols – antioxidants that reduce the body's production of free radicals – and 14 percent more Vitamin C. In addition, the organic kiwi fruit also had higher concentrations of minerals such as potassium and calcium.

Similarly, even research funded by the European Union itself has shown that organic food is more nutritious than ordinary produce and may help to lengthen people's lives. Carried out on adjacent organic and non-organic sites on a 725-acre farm attached to Newcastle University, and at other sites in Europe, a four-year European Union funded study costing £12m found that up to 40% more antioxidants could be found in organic fruit and vegetables than in produce grown using pesticides. Organic produce was also shown to have higher levels of key minerals such as iron and zinc. Even more impressively, levels of antioxidants in milk from organic cattle were between 50% and 80% higher than regular milk.

Moreover, whilst opponents of organic agriculture claim that it is not as efficient as conventional farming and gives low yields, a team of scientists at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the United States has now refuted this common misconception. After analyzing 293 different examples of published studies on yields from organic farming, these researchers found that organic farming can yield up to three times as much food as conventional farming in developing countries, and that it holds its own against standard methods in rich countries.

The European Union aims to become the "pharmacy of the world"

The European Union aims to become the "pharmacy of the world"
The European Union aims to become the "pharmacy of the world"

The European Commission is aiming to ensure that in the future, pharmaceutical-based medicine will essentially be the only option left available to you.

Given its recent announcement of a 2 billion euros scheme to boost drug discovery and establish itself as the "pharmacy of the world", nobody should be under any illusion that the European Union's relationship with the pharmaceutical industry is anything other than close and sympathetic. Offering grants to academic institutes and drug companies, the European Commission is to contribute 1 billion euros to this scheme over seven years, with large drug companies providing a similar amount "in kind" by supplying staff and equipment.

Not surprisingly therefore, completely ignoring the highly fraudulent nature of the pharmaceutical "business with disease", and the serious – and sometimes fatal – side-effects of its products, the European Commission also wants to allow pharmaceutical companies to sidestep the ban on advertising drugs to the public and permit them to provide "information" about their drugs to the public on TV, the internet and in print.

Meanwhile, highly restrictive European Union laws such as the Food Supplements Directive and the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive are specifically designed to protect the financial interests of European drug companies. By removing the most effective nutrient supplements and herbs from sale throughout the entire 27 countries that make up the European Union, the Commission is aiming to ensure that pharmaceutical-based medicine will be the only option left available to you.

Why does it want to do this? Because, unlike natural substances such as vitamins – which, because they exist in nature, cannot be patented – the synthetic chemical drugs produced by the pharmaceutical industry can be patented. As a result, total pharmaceutical sales in the European Union grew by 6.7% in 2007, reaching a staggering 206.2 billion dollars (132.5 billion euros / 105.2 billion pounds). It is worth remembering this startling fact the next time someone asks you to donate money to a charity for research into new drug treatments for cancer and other chronic diseases. After all, with astronomical sales figures like these, shouldn't the pharmaceutical industry be able to afford to do its own research?

The reality, however – regardless of how shocking this might seem – is that the pharmaceutical industry isn't interested in either curing diseases or in promoting treatments using substances that can't be patented.

To put it simply, from the perspective of the pharmaceutical industry, the promotion and expansion of diseases increases the number of its customers. Prevention and root cause treatment, on the other hand, are bad for business as they decrease long-term profitability. As a result, the prevention and root cause treatment of disease is largely avoided by this industry or even outright obstructed. Worst of all, the eradication of diseases is by its very nature incompatible with and diametrically opposed to the interests of the super-wealthy financial investors who support the industry. In short, the marketplace for the pharmaceutical industry is the human body – but only for as long as the body hosts diseases. Thus, maintaining and expanding diseases is a precondition for the industry's growth.

A key strategy to accomplish this goal is the development of drugs that merely mask symptoms while avoiding the curing or elimination of diseases. This fact explains why most prescription drugs marketed today have no proven efficacy and merely target symptoms.

Contamination of the water supply with pharmaceutical drugs

Contamination of the water supply with pharmaceutical drugs

Contamination of the water supply with pharmaceutical drugs is becoming a growing and increasingly disturbing problem in the European Union.

Contamination of the water supply with pharmaceutical drugs is becoming a growing and increasingly disturbing problem in the European Union. In the UK, for example, powerful cancer and psychiatric drugs have been found in tap water, leading doctors to express concern about exposing pregnant women to drugs that could harm an unborn child.

Whilst it is claimed by some that this does not present any risk to health, the fact that such contaminations are increasingly now in evidence worldwide, rather than simply being confined to the European Union, shows there are real grounds for concern. In Dallas, Texas, for example, a vast array of pharmaceuticals – including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones – have been found in drinking water supplies. Similar findings have been made in Chicago and almost everywhere else in the United States.

Clearly therefore, the very fact that the European Union has not taken decisive action to prevent consumers from being forcibly medicated with toxic patented pharmaceutical chemicals through the water supply proves that it sees protecting corporate interests as being more important than the interests of European citizens.

Attacks on vitamin supplements

Attacks on vitamin supplements

The risk assessment science being used to justify the European Union's bans on supplements is so deeply flawed that the maximum permitted level for beta-carotene may be set at a level less than that contained in two carrots whilst the maximum level for selenium may be set at a level less than that contained in a mere two brazil nuts.

An abundance of knowledge and scientific studies on the health benefits of vitamins, micronutrients and nutrition has been available for more than 60 years. These studies clearly document the paramount importance of micronutrients and nutrition in maintaining optimum health.

However, therapies based upon the use of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other naturally-occurring essential nutrients are of no interest to the pharmaceutical industry, because they cannot be patented. Non-patentable substances such as these threaten the pharmaceutical "business with disease" because they target the cellular cause of today's most common diseases.

As a result, the pharmaceutical industry and its collaborators are often found to be behind attempts to discredit vitamin therapies. In some cases, newspaper editors even put journalists under pressure to back studies purporting to show that vitamins are a waste of money and that taking them may shorten life expectancy.

However, despite the fact that vitamin and mineral deficiencies are widespread in Europe, the European Union's Food Supplements Directive is increasingly threatening to destroy consumer access to effective doses and varieties of nutrients.

Moreover, and astonishing though it might seem, the risk assessment science being used to justify these bans is so deeply flawed that the maximum permitted level for beta-carotene may be set at a level less than that contained in two carrots, whilst the maximum level for selenium may be set at a level less than that contained in a mere two brazil nuts.

The situation regarding herbal medicines is just as bad, with literally hundreds of herbal products now facing removal from sale.

Artificial food additives

Artificial food additives

Although research clearly shows that artificial food additives can have significant adverse effects, such as causing hyperactivity in children, the European Food Safety Authority remains mostly in denial regarding concerns over their safety.

Although research clearly shows that artificial food additives can have significant adverse effects, such as causing hyperactivity in children, the European Food Safety Authority remains mostly in denial regarding concerns over their safety.

Whilst it may be the case that some artificial food additives are essentially safe when consumed in small amounts and in isolation from one another, the reality is that no substantive attention is being paid by global regulatory authorities to the fact that such chemicals are consumed not in isolation, but in tandem with each other. As such, and to the benefit of their manufacturers, the cumulative long-term effect that the consumption of multiple patented chemicals and artificial food additives has on the health of consumers is largely being ignored.

Revealingly, therefore, many artificial additives are being manufactured by some of the same European pharmaceutical and chemical companies that would like to ban vitamin supplements and force foods containing GMOs onto our dinner plates. And, as is similarly the case with pharmaceutical drugs and GMO seeds, the main reason why many of these substances exist is because they can be patented – thus producing higher profits.

Pesticides

Pesticides

Diseases caused or aggravated by the long-term consumption of pesticides increase the potential market for pharmaceutical drugs.

An EU report published in 2003 found high levels of pesticide residues in vegetables and cereals. Given that the pesticides concerned are known to be hazardous, it seems clear that the long-term risks and synergistic effects of multiple pesticide intake, in particular for foetuses, babies and children, have been very poorly investigated.

Nevertheless, and despite recent moves within the EU to cut the permitted numbers of these chemicals, it remains the fact that regulatory authorities continue to examine the safety or otherwise of individual pesticides in isolation from one another. Meanwhile, the long-term effect that their collective presence might have upon the body is mostly ignored. Given therefore that many of these dangerous chemicals are manufactured by pharmaceutical and chemical companies, it is not difficult to imagine that their widespread usage may be seen by these industries as having a dual financial benefit, in that they potentially increase the size of the market for – and hence the profits to be made from – the patented synthetic chemical drugs used as treatments for any diseases that their long-term consumption or exposure might cause.

However, it is not only human life that is damaged by these chemicals.

The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) recently suspended the registration of eight neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatment products used in oilseed rape and sweetcorn after honeybee keepers in the southern state of Baden Württemberg reported a wave of honeybee deaths linked to one of the pesticides, clothianidin. The incriminating evidence against clothianidin was so convincing that a press release from the Julius Kuehn Institute (JKI), the German federal agricultural research agency, stated: "It can unequivocally be concluded that a poisoning of the bees is due to the rub-off of the pesticide ingredient clothianidin from the corn seeds." Tests on dead bees showed that 99 percent had a build-up of clothianidin (sold in Europe under the trade name Poncho) produced by Bayer CropScience.

Finally, and perhaps most crucially of all, it should be noted that safe natural pesticides and methods of pest control do exist and are widely used in organic agriculture. However – and just as is also the case concerning natural health-promoting substances such as vitamins – pharmaceutical and chemical companies prefer to concentrate upon producing synthetic varieties of these chemicals because they can be patented, thus bringing higher profits.

Why a Europe for the People, by the People is urgently needed

After reading this article, you might well be asking yourself who gives the European Union the right to do all this? The answer, unfortunately, is that you do – but only for as long as you allow it to do so.

The debate over the Lisbon Treaty occurs at a time when the Auschwitz survivors from WWII are still giving their testimony as to the consequences of the disregard for human lives and the needs of people.

Europe was supposed to be built on the memory of the past and on the fundamental principle of a Europe for the people, by the people. As things stand, however, this principle is ever more regularly being violated and the world has become increasingly resistant to the Auschwitz survivors' testimony about hunger and misery, about annihilating slave labor, about war and hatred, and other Nazi crimes.

As is now documented on the Profit-Over-Life website, hundreds of thousands of men and women from across Europe imprisoned in concentration camps lost their lives as slave laborers during WWII in the name of corporate greed. Even more, many thousands of them lost their lives in criminal medical experiments conducted on prisoners in order to obtain patents for various drugs on behalf of the chemical cartel IG Farben, composed of Bayer, BASF, Hoechst and other companies. The historical successors to the IG Farben cartel continue to threaten the lives of millions today – by yet more subtle means.

The political stakeholders of the financial interest groups supporting the pharmaceutical industry, for example, such as George Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy, are now telling us to prepare for war and are openly discussing WWIII. As such, if there was ever a time for European citizens to demand the right to health; the right to life; the right to natural food; the right to a healthy environment; respect for human dignity and the protection of social values – that time is now.

A Europe for the People, by the People is possible, but it needs your support to help bring it about. Click here to sign the petition and help make it a reality.