Pro-GMO chemical polluter becomes Obama’s ag trade negotiator

Islam Siddiqui, Obama's latest Monsanto Man: chief Ag Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Image at bit.ly/bv8CYD with a hat tip.

By Rady Ananda

Despite declining bee and butterfly populations from agricultural chemicals, on Saturday the US Senate approved President Barack Obama’s nomination for chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Monsanto lobbyist Islam Siddiqui.

“Dr. Siddiqui’s confirmation is a step backward,” said Tierra Curry, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity (the “Center”). “His appointment ensures the perpetuation of pesticide- and fossil-fuel-intensive policies, which undermine global food security and imperil public health and wildlife.”

As undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Siddiqui oversaw the development of the first national organic labeling standards, which allowed sewage sludge-fertilized, genetically modified, and irradiated food to be labeled as organic, reports the Center. After a nationwide campaign by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) in which the USDA was deluged with 280,000 irate letters and emails, Siddiqui, Monsanto, and the USDA backed off.

Apparently to no avail.

Siddiqui is a former pesticide lobbyist and is currently vice president of science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America, a biotech and pesticide trade group that lobbies to weaken environmental laws. He takes the absurd position that pesticides are not pollutants because they’re not intended to be pollutants.

He also posits that regulations of pesticide use in the name of human health and other concerns violates international trade laws. Spoken like a true corporatist: profits supercede health.

CropLife has lobbied to allow pesticides to be tested on children and to allow the continued use of persistent organic pollutants and ozone-depleting chemicals, like methyl bromide, Pesticide Action Network reports. It also launched a petition asking Michelle Obama to use pesticides in the organic White House garden and fought county initiatives in California banning genetically modified foods.

Siddiqui vowed to further pressure the European Union to accept more genetically modified crops (GMOs). As an Indian-American, Siddiqui’s appointment will likely assist Monsanto’s spread in India, where the press already welcomes him. In February, we saw a dramatic power play between the biotech industry, along with its supporting governmental agencies, and a well-organized public resistance to the spread of GMOs. The dynamic is ongoing, with one vote set for April 14.

Choosing Siddiqui, according to OCA, “signals to the rest of the world that the United States plans to continue down the failed path of high-input and energy-intensive industrial agriculture by promoting toxic pesticides, inappropriate seed biotechnologies and unfair trade agreements on nations that do not want and can least afford them.”

Third World Ag Experiment in Detroit

In a related current event, biotech ag developers and investors are buying up parcels of land throughout the economically depressed city of Detroit, Michigan, which was once the fourth most-populated city in the U.S. Lots are monocultured with genetically modified corn for use as a biofuel, or monocultured with organic vegies for food, or with trees.

Several questions arise with this plan. Is biotech the best use of that land, considering all the petro-ag chemicals that will toxify the lake and the groundwater? Also consider that that land and water table have had decades of industrial waste abuse, and now will endure chemical runoff. How lot owners plan to protect organic lots from contamination by petro-ag chemicals remains to be seen.

When biotech ag developers go after the land of poor folks (as in Africa or India, Brazil or Peru), poor folks lose. One has to wonder if in the Detroit experiment we see a recipe for Love Canal, Motown Style.

References:

Rady Ananda, Biotech Battle Escalates; India Prepares to Sue GMO Giants, 21 Feb 2010.

Center for Biological Diversity, Obama Puts Pesticide Pusher in Charge of Agricultural Trade Relations, 28 Mar 2010.

Environmental Justice, Dioxin Homepage (Monsanto’s Dioxin-Agent Orange in Love Canal), 2006.

Vera Glavova and Lindsey Schneider, Islam Siddiqui and CropLife: Positions and Statements, Pesticide Action Network North America, Dec. 2009.

GMWatch, Obama Backs Public Subsidy of Biofuels despite Eco-trash, Food Shortages, 16 Mar 2010; includes: 

Ethan Huff, Investors are buying up Detroit and turning it into farmland, Natural News, 27 Mar 2010.

Organic Consumers Assn, 98 Organizations Oppose Obama’s Monsanto Man, Islam Siddiqui, for US Agricultural Trade Representative, Feb 2010.

Sonia Shah, Behind Mass Die-Offs, Pesticides Lurk as Culprit, Yale e-360, 1 Jan 2010.

Survival International, Genocide for Land Grab: News from Survival Tribes, Aug 2009.

The Hindu, Islam Siddiqui appointed U.S. chief Agriculture Negotiator, 28 Mar 2010.

Frosty Woolridge, Woolridge Report of Detroit and Why the US Is Next, Oct 2009.

Last updated 5 April 2010 to provide a working link to Pesticide Action Network’s background on Siddiqui and CropLife.

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7 responses to “Pro-GMO chemical polluter becomes Obama’s ag trade negotiator

  1. Sometimes it seems that these people are bent on murder-suicide on a grand scale. By anyone’s risk-reward evaluation, they are playing at massive starvation if pollinators continue to die off.

  2. Eugenics marches on.

    When you tell people that our government, or more precisely, the elites of this world, are doing everything in their power to murder a majority of us, you are more often than not looked upon as a nut, even though evidence of this is to be found everywhere. Fluoride, chemtrails, GMO foods, CODEX, tainted vaccines, consolidation of food suppliers, aspartame, soil depletion and of course the appointment of people that have pushed eugenics programs openly into positions of influence.

    They want us dead. Of this I have no doubt. And it seems as though they’re doing a damn good job of accomplishing this plan.

    We are at war on all fronts with the very people entrusted to protect us. It is said that good always wins out, and one can only hope that to be true in this case too. But good better get it’s ass in gear soon, or the odds about “always” might finally meet its end.

    • I’m now convinced, Mr M, that Obama is worse than Bush, because he lies about nearly everything and is believed by a wide majority of citizens.

      he’s bush on steroids

  3. Pingback: Pro-GMO chemical polluter becomes Obama’s ag trade negotiator : Infowars Ireland

  4. I’m reposting this PANNA comment from Axis of Logic, where the good doctor took time to explain and highlight some key themes:

    http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_59121.shtml

    Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, on April 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm Said:

    Thanks for this great piece.

    When 90,000 people petition our public servants (which is what Senators and the President are, after all) to say that a nomination is unacceptable, and that these revolving door appointments have to stop, and the President proceeds anyhow, what I see is a dereliction of duty. Expediency trumping democracy is how we end up with industry lobbyists running the regulatory agencies in the first place.

    Both Siddiqui and Congress now face a well-informed and outraged public. We will be closely monitoring Siddiqui at his new job, and evaluating whether his actions will truly benefit small-scale family farmers in the US and abroad, workers, consumers and the environment—or whether they will benefit large corporations such as Monsanto, JPS, Cargill and Archer Daniel Midlands.

    For more info, visit Pesticide Action Network , http://www.panna.org/jt
    Our press release on Siddiqui is posted here: http://www.panna.org/node/2536.

    PAN’s Backgrounder/Fact Sheet on Siddiqui and CropLife is at:
    http://www.panna.org/files/SiddiquiFactSheet_Jan10_PAN.pdf

    PAN’s letter to Senators, signed by 113 groups is at: http://www.panna.org/files/Senate_Letter_Siddiqui_1Mar10.pdf

    See also: http://www.theatlantic.com/food/archive/2010/04/how-obama-sold-the-farm/38288/
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paula-crossfield/pesticide-lobbyist-gets-p_b_517662.html

    • shoot… wish I had known that 113, not 98, petitioned O to stop spraying us. this should’ve been in my piece.

      political ponerology.

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