In recent months, quacks and charlatans of all kinds have been rubbing their hands with glee, as a novel coronavirus – which at this moment in time has no vaccine or specific treatment – brings the world to its knees. In an attempt to capitalise on this pandemic, these self-proclaimed experts both rely on, and amplify, the general public’s growing angst, whilst simultaneously shoehorning in their particular flavour of conspiracy and quackery. The spread of misinformation and disinformation by these parasitic profiteers has gotten so out of hand that the World Health Organisation has described it as an ‘infodemic’, a term which I personally love. With a quarter of the world’s population currently in lockdown, the time has never been better for these frauds, as they scramble to make the world a much worse place. Out of curiosity I thought I would check in on some old friends whose rackets I’ve reported on in the past and see how they are capitalising on the catastrophe, starting with Vandana Shiva.
Vandana is an Indian environmental activist and food sovereignty advocate who wags her finger at Western economic models and institutions. Her proponents would have you believe that she is the champion of the poor, but in reality, if she got her own way, millions would die. You see, Vandana fetishises the past. She wants to literally take us back to the dark ages and for us to ignore all the advancements in technology that have taken so many from the brink of starvation. To do this she perpetuates myths about farmer suicide rates in India, fans the flames of anti-GMO hysteria, and downplays the impact the Green Revolution had in India, where a population of 1.3 billion is now self-sufficient in food production which, at times, in certain places, has been on the brink of famine.
No, she is not the defender of the vulnerable; she is a danger to them. In 1999, ten thousand people were killed and a million were left homeless, when a cyclone hit India’s eastern coastal state of Orissa. The US government dispatched grain and soy to help feed the victims. In response, Vandana organised a press conference, stating that, “the United States has been using the Orissa victims as guinea pigs” for GMOs. India’s own intelligence bureau, in a leaked classified report, raised concerns about Vandana’s connections to foreign-funded NGOs, saying that they are hampering India’s growth and development. Yet, despite all this, some, especially here in the west, see her as a hero, when, if she had her way, a large chunk of the world’s population would be wiped off the face of the planet. Unbelievably, she has somehow turned her crackpot, nonsensical, genocidal nonsense into marketable outrage and now reportedly charges $40,000 per speaking event, where she convinces the rich that poor people should be denied the technology to feed their families.
At this point you’re probably asking yourself how Vandana could exploit the current COVID-19 crisis to further radicalise her avid fanbase and push her agenda? Well, recently Vandana has been fabricating a new story to strengthen her conspiracy narrative; that the recent coronavirus outbreak was caused by GMO animal feed in China. Yes, Monsanto is succeeding in its quest for the mass slaughter of humanity!!!!
Earlier in the year, Vandana was a guest on a panel discussing, “What the experts want you to know about GMOs” at the Real Truth about Health summit in America. Vandana would have you believe that she has a PhD in physics, specialising in quantum theory, when in reality, she has a PhD in philosophy, with her thesis focusing on the philosophy of physics. She sat next to such distinguished experts as: Caitlin Shetterly, a woman who believes that she became sensitised to not just genetically modified corn but everything that eats it; Carey Gillam, author of the book “Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science”, which claims among other things that glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp) causes Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (not shown to be the case in the scientific literature); and Jeffery Smith, whose only professional experience prior to taking up his crusade against biotechnology is as a ballroom dance teacher, yogic flying instructor, and political candidate for the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Natural Law Party. Smith also believes that chemtrails are part of Monsanto’s conspiracy to control the world food supply, and was a guest speaker at the 2012 Consciousness Beyond Chemtrails Conference.
At the 23-minute mark, after the panel has ended, Vandana takes the microphone from her fellow experts (all of which are sat behind the latest book you can buy) and begins making the most outrageous claims.
“The new epidemics of new viruses, a lot of scientists have said, are coming from the hybridisation of viruses that are used as promoters and the viruses in our gut.”
I appreciate she’s saying this on the fly but such a profound, yet undefined statement requires a citation or qualifier. Which scientists? Which new epidemics of new viruses? Is she referring to SARS in 2003 or H1N1 in 2009 perhaps? Sadly, we never find out, as Vandana abruptly changes gear and begins to blame GMO animal feed for SARS and H1N1.
“I got a letter from a Chinese scientist when the SARS epidemic broke, do you remember, and he said, ‘We are feeding all our animals GMO soya and it could so easily be that this horizontal gene transfer is happening and the animals are developing super-viruses which are then jumping from animals to humans.’”
Personally, I don’t believe for a second that Vandana received a letter from an unnamed Chinese scientist 17 years ago forewarning her about future lethal ‘super-viruses’.
Her implication that SARS is the result of horizontal gene transfer between livestock and GMO soya is farcical. In late 2017, Chinese scientists traced the virus through the intermediary of civets to cave-dwelling horseshoe bats in Yunnan province. To the best of my knowledge, neither civets nor cave-dwelling horseshoe bats are domesticated animals and therefore won’t have a diet high in GMO soya. The fact that the bat is an insectivore and there are currently no commercial GMO creepy-crawlies makes her implication even more idiotic.
“This also, some people have said, is related to the H1N1 which are very lethal viruses compared to earlier viruses.”
The 2009 swine flu (H1N1) pandemic responsible for more than 17,000 deaths worldwide originated in pigs from a very small region in central Mexico. A research team headed by investigators at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai discovered that the virus which caused the parent virus had been present in the pigs in central Mexico for at least ten years before a strain was generated which could jump into humans. That’s six years before Mexico’s senate passed a law allowing GMO soya to be grown in the country. Yes, transmission of swine influenza from pigs to humans is not common, but it’s also not impossible, and people with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk. There is nothing to suggest that the introduction of GMOs into Mexico had anything to do with the 2009 pandemic.
H1N1 was not pleasant, but no flu virus is. However, overall, the outbreak was not as serious as originally predicted, largely because many older people were already immune to it. Most cases in the UK were quite mild, with a relatively small number of cases leading to serious illness or death, mostly in children and young adults – particularly those with underlying health problems – and pregnant women.
As with the letter from the mysterious Chinese scientist, I believe she made up the people who suggested there was a link between GMOs and H1N1.
“Again, because the GM-chemical industry, the GM industry and the pharmaceutical industry is one industry for them it’s wonderful there’s more diseases. It’s a very good successful business model. But for the people … it’s not.”
Let’s for a second cut through the meaningless word play, weasel words and bravado, and summarise what Vandana is telling those at the conference. She is saying that there is a secret cabal between all GM, GM-chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, in which they have conspired to sell a product that repeatedly generates novel “super-viruses” like COVID-19, so that they can sell the cure.
Ignoring for a second that there is no vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19 at this moment in time, this is some next level David Icke bullshit! Even the Umbrella Corporation would think this plan doesn’t make sound business sense. This is why Vandana will never engage in open debate with an adversary, because if she did, her Alex Jones-esque, moronic, marketable outrage would be shot down for the pure conspiracy nonsense it is. No, she will never sit on a panel with people who might threaten or disagree with her, instead opting to spit poison at technology she doesn’t like in her echo chamber (for an extortionate fee of course).
She has become a parody of herself, spending more time and effort on her perceived image; as the defender of the defenceless, born in a Himalayan forest destined to bring us all back to nature, rather than the actual science she claims to be an expert in. In many ways she is a product like a GMO– herself fabricated with every posture, every expression, every word strategically choreographed to meet the demands of a market needing a conduit for their hatred, outrage and fear. This doesn’t make her any less dangerous and we must always stand up to people like Vandana, because they are a real threat to global food security and if they ever got their way, millions would suffer.