By Mark Wachtler
January 4, 2015. Manchester, NH. (ONN) With poll after poll showing that 90 percent of Americans want Genetically Modified Foods (GMO) labeled as such, it’s been a head-scratching mystery why the anti-GMO movement has suffered defeat after defeat. Now, GMO labeling proponents are accusing one of the most prominent and politically connected anti-GMO organizations and its founder of being an infiltrator working for Washington-Wall Street pro-GMO forces. Is the group Just Label It and its founder Gary Hirshberg sabotaging the GMO labeling cause? You decide.
Gary Hirshberg, founder of Just Label It, is accused of working for pro-GMO forces to sabotage the GMO Labeling effort. Image courtesy of SentinelSource.com.
Thirty-three years ago, investigative journalist Jon Rappoport was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Today, he runs the website NoMoreFakeNews.com. Together with ActivistPost.com, Rappoport recently published a scathing and accusatory two-day, two-part report on the organization ‘Just Label It’ and its founder Gary Hirshberg. They are accused of secretly working for Big Ag corporations like Monsanto and of sabotaging the GMO labeling movement from the inside.
Who is Gary Hirshberg and why is he bankrolling a losing anti-GMO campaign?
That was the question Jon Rappoport asked in the title of his first report. He answers his own question in the introductory paragraph writing, ‘Gary Hirshberg is the CEO of Stonyfield Organics...He is a founding partner of the Just Label It group. You know, “consumers have a right to know what’s in their food yada yada yada.” That was the exclusive mantra of the losing GMO-labeling campaigns in California, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado.’
The article calls Hirshberg, ‘the most overtly political leader in the labeling movement.’ But then goes on to detail what they call his, ‘strange track record.’ Rappoport introduces his first piece of evidence in the form of the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary. Hirshberg was an early backer of candidate Tom Vilsack before he dropped out. The wealthy activist’s loyalty and funding then switched to little-known Barack Obama. Vilsack is now one of the most pro-GMO Agriculture Secretaries in history, after being awarded the Governor of the Year Award by the GMO biotech industry.
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And Obama is probably the most pro-GMO President in history. As Rappoport reminds readers, ‘Obama, despite his nods and winks, was, from the beginning, Monsanto’s man in Washington, allowing a parade of new GMO crops to enter growing fields and the marketplace, and appointing staunch biotech allies to key posts in his administration.’
The report next moves on to Gary Hirshberg himself. It points out that he is co-Chair of AGree, a proponent of finding compromise and consensus between Big Ag corporations, government regulators and consumers. The group’s founding partners include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Rappoport writes, ‘It would be hard to find foundations more friendly to, and supportive of, big corporate agriculture and GMOs.’
The author gives his own opinion that the GMO Labeling movement should actually be a Ban GMO movement. Its objective should be, according to the report, ‘To make Monsanto’s threat to health and life and liberty very real and very personal.’ The suggestion concludes, ‘It should be enlisting artists of all kinds to make ads that move people, that attack the poisoners of the food supply, that hold up to ridicule the corporate agenda of monopolizing and degrading the food of this planet. Gary Hirshberg isn’t the man for the job.’
He’s with the wrong people, on the wrong side
That’s another direct quote from the piece describing Just Label It founder Gary Hirshberg. ‘Get the picture?’ the author asks readers, ‘Gary Hirshberg doesn’t. Or maybe he does but he isn’t on our side. Never was.’ Jon Rappoport concludes his first report writing, ‘While his soft and weak “label-it” ballot initiatives suck up time, energy, money, and distract people from the real answer - banning GMOs - the clock keeps ticking: More toxic Roundup invades the air, land, water, humans, and animals; Monsanto genes drift on the wind and infect plants and crops across America. Which is exactly what Monsanto is hoping for: a fait accompli. Too little, too late.’
The follow-up report one day later takes the next step and delves deeper into Just Label It and Gary Hirshberg, ‘“You have a right to know what’s in your food.” “The right to choose.” - All four of these ballot campaigns have failed: California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado. Where did these dumbed-down weak slogans come from? They were justified as a result of a 2012 poll conducted for Just Label It, Gary Hirshberg’s organization.’
The Mellman Group
‘Remember this name,’ the second in the two-part series begins, ‘The Mellman Group.’ The author goes on to ask, ‘Who conducted that poll for Just Label It and Hirshberg? A powerful PR agency based in Washington DC: The Mellman Group.’ Jon Rappoport and NoMoreFakeNews.com seemingly produce a smoking gun with the next revelation.
‘Who has The Mellman Group represented?’ the report asks, ‘Get a load of a few of its clients: Coca Cola. Nestle. Pepsico. The FDA. The World Bank. Do these names mean anything special to you? Coca Cola, Pepsico and Nestle were major funders AGAINST passage of the GMO-labeling initiatives in Western states.’
The author reminds readers, ‘The FDA is the criminal agency that allowed GMO crops through the door to begin with, in 1996, by saying, based on zero research, that GMO and non-GMO crops were identical. The World Bank heads up massive land-grab actions in Africa to turn small farms into corporate plantations, certainly featuring GMO crops. How incredibly bizarre was it to go to The Mellman Group for a good poll that would determine the future course of the anti-GMO movement in America? Stupid? Crazy? Naïve? Or intentional?’
The author and the two grassroots news outlets conclude their observation by asking anti-GMO activists why their biggest and most powerful leader is working hand-in-hand with the wealthiest and most powerful pro-GMO entities on Earth. Their answer is that the anti-GMO movement has been infiltrated, hijacked from the top and sabotaged.