Correlation between GMOs and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis---Ingrid Blank   
I've just sent my comments (below) to various newspapers in response to the sharp rise in multi-drug resistent tuberculosis cases in South Africa.

"Instead of blaming multi-drug-resistent tuberculosis on patients and their alleged non-adherence to the prescribed drug regime, it would be prudent to investigate and eradicate the underlying cause for multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis and other drug and antibiotic resistant infectious diseases first - namely commercial gene technology!

The disaster unfolding on a global scale is exactly the reason why the first genetic engineers called for a moratorium in the Asilomar Declaration of 1975. For decades, reputable and ethical scientists have warned -substantiated by scientific evidence - that horizontal gene transfer, i.e. the transfer of genes by vectors (viruses and other infectious agents)designed to cross species barriers and thus enhancing the potential for creating new viral and bacterial pathogens, will result in the creation of superbugs and multi-drug resistant diseases. According to eminent genetic researchers, strains of bacteria "crippled" in the laboratory can survive in the environment and exchange genes with other organisms. DNA from dead and living cells persists in the environment and transfers to other organisms. Naked viral DNA (virus without its viral coat)is even more infectious and may well be taken up by mammalian cells including our own! In addition, viral DNA has shown to resist digestion in the gut of mice, enters the blood stream to infect white blood cells, spleen and liver cells. One such virus most commonly used as a promoter in genetic engineering is the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV)which, due to its recombination hotspot, is prone to break and join with other DNA to integrate into the cell's genome, which could activate host genes and lead to cancer. In addition, CaMV is closely related to the Hepatitis B and HIV virus and due to its ability to propagate in plant and insect hosts after recombination may also recombine with related Hepatitis B and HIV to create a most powerful disease in a large number of people consuming large numbers of virus genes incorporated into crop plants.

In the South African setting, the number of people at risk could not get any larger, since our government unilaterally decided without the peoples' knowledge and above all prior CONSENT, to grow our staple food (white maize) in genetically modified form without adhering to the precautionary principle, thus violating our constitutional rights to a healthy environment and healthy food. For the reasons described above it is therefore imperative to demand immediate implementation of mandatory labeling of genetically modified food products in compliance with our constitutional rights of informed choice and consent, participation in decision-making processes and above all the individual's right to bodily integrity, the latter being the most significant provision of the Nuremberg Code, which sets forth the legal requirements for human experimentation, i.e. " voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential". Likewise, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares bodily integrity central to both human rights and human dignity and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights unmistakably declares that "no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation". By deliberately ignoring the precautionary principle and refusing to implement mandatory labeling of GM products, this government allows its citizens to be used as guinea pigs, sacrificing the nation's health for corporate greed.

There is no such thing as "substantial equivalence". This phrase was coined by scientifically illiterate lawyers of the biotech industry and in 1992 written into law by H.W. Bush, who proclaimed GM plants to be "substantially equivalent" to their traditional counterparts and therefore did not need any special health safety study or testing. Ethical scientists and researchers consider this the biggest farce and fraud ever committed in the science field. Contrary to what the corporate yarn spinners of biotech companies want the public to believe, not one single human safety study has ever been conducted!

One does not need a PhD in genetics to see the correlation between GMOs and the sharp rise in HIV infections and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and other diseases.The decision-makers who keep violating our human right to bodily integrity by unleashing these toxins into our environment and food chain without our knowledge and consent must be held accountable.

Ingrid Blank