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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Israel: NATO's other member state

Israel’s worst-kept secret has finally been revealed.

Documents published in recent days show that Israel not only has nuclear weapons –- something it has never officially acknowledged -- but that it considered selling them to South Africa’s white minority government in 1975. The evidence – contained in Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s new book “The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa” – appears strong and credible.

But will it cause Europe and America to rethink their relationship with Israel? The truth is that Israel already enjoys such a privileged level of access to their key institutions that any rethink is improbable – at least in the short-term. One of the most important aspects of this relationship relates to how Israel interacts with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In December 2008, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni visited the headquarters of NATO in Brussels to sign an "individual cooperation program" with its member states. By hooking up Israel to NATO's computer systems and facilitating its increased participation in the alliance's missions, this agreement has helped give Israel closer ties with NATO and its 28 member states than any other country outside the club.

Within a few weeks of that agreement being signed, Israel launched a brutal offensive against Gaza, killing more than 1,400 Palestinians. The slaughter did not deter then-NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer from making a public gesture of friendship with the Israeli state. While the death toll in Gaza was continuing to mount, he visited Israel in January 2009 to celebrate "the growing depth both of our practical cooperation and of our political dialogue." Even though Israel's armed forces caused almost all of the deaths in that three-week assault and had unilaterally broken off a ceasefire with Hamas by attacking it two months earlier, he repeated the official Israeli narrative of blaming the violence on Hamas.

Over the past week, NATO has published a paper recommending an update to the "strategic concept" that underpins its activities. Partly authored by Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, this report "NATO 2020: Assured Security; Dynamic Engagement," signals that the alliance is mired in a Cold War funk. As well as advocating that the US, Britain and France hold on to their nuclear missiles as long as these weapons "remain a reality in international relations," it identifies the development of a missile defense shield as "an essential military mission." This system is -- if you believe the propaganda -- supposed to protect the member countries against Iran, which is singled out as the state most likely to present a fundamental security challenge in the coming decade. Substitute Iran for the Soviet Union and the case for the system is almost identical to that put forward by US President Ronald Reagan when proposing his "Star Wars" initiative in the 1980s.

NATO has already signaled that Israel will be involved in the development of the defense shield (an Orwellian term, given that the project will probably only ratchet up tensions in the Middle East). Earlier this month, NATO representatives took part in an armaments conference in Airport City, a "business park" near Tel Aviv. Alan Berry, a senior NATO official, confirmed that he and his colleagues were studying Israel's own military interceptors and had helped preliminary discussions about how Israel could take part in the defense shield project.

So far Turkey appears to be the only NATO member to have indicated there is an inherent double standard in seeking Israel's assistance to ward off a perceived threat from Iran. Unlike Iran (and most other nations), Israel has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, with the result that its nuclear weapons program has never been subject to international scrutiny. Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, is reported to have raised this anomaly with his NATO peers at a meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, last month, telling them that "no country should be exempted from joining this treaty."

Meanwhile, Israel's reputation for inventing some of the most technologically advanced weapons used in modern warfare is attracting an increasing level of attention from that other powerful club based in Brussels: the European Union.

Sources in the European Defense Agency (EDA) -- a body set up following lobbying by leading arms manufacturers and dedicated to boosting military expenditure by EU governments -- have told this writer they are particularly excited by Israel's pilotless drones or unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). Many officials in the EDA regard the agency's work on drones as its most important activity. In July, the EDA will participate in a major conference here aimed at convincing the public that these sophisticated spy-planes can help achieve such laudable objectives as protecting the environment.

This exercise bears all the hallmarks of what ecologists call "greenwash." Far from being invented to save the planet, drones have been used in numerous attacks by Israel on Palestinian civilians, as well as by NATO forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Britain and the Netherlands are among the countries taking part in the war in Afghanistan to have signed contracts to buy or rent Israeli drones in recent months.

A spokeswoman for the EDA explained that while her agency keeps a close eye on Israel's arms industry, there are no plans for a formal cooperation agreement with Israel. The same cannot be said for the EU's multi-annual scientific research program, which has a budget of 53 billion euros ($66.7 billion) for the 2007-13 period. Israel is the largest foreign partner in this program and the country's arms-makers are intimately involved.

To prove that it was committed to former US President George W. Bush's "war on terror," the EU has decided in recent years to include security as a theme within the program. Nearly 60 projects have been financed under this category, with Israel taking part in 12 of them. Motorola Israel, for example, is signed up to a project designed to help the detection of "intruders" to buildings or areas deemed of high economic value. Motorola has ample experience in developing the kind of surveillance equipment that will probably feature in this project: it has installed a "virtual fence" around a network of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This "fence" uses thermal cameras and other sensory devices to pinpoint anyone -- such as a Palestinian -- who the Israeli authorities believe should not be allowed to enter settlements built illegally on Palestinian land in open violation of international law.

In another example of greenwash, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is playing a prominent role in the "Clean Sky" project, which is supposed to encourage the development of less-polluting aircraft engines. Far from being an eco-warrior, IAI is a top supplier of warplanes to the Israeli army.

Earlier this year, Irishwoman Maire Geoghegan-Quinn became the new European commissioner for science and research. When her spokesperson Mark English was asked if she has any ethical concerns about how EU-funded projects have been opened up to Israeli firms who have field tested their weapons against Palestinian civilians, rather than answering that question, he said that all of the EU's research activities "maintain an exclusively civilian orientation." He added: "our rules, however, do not preclude enterprises, which are also active in the defense industry -- be they in the EU or in an associated country like Israel -- from participating."

It is deceptive for EU officials to claim that activities that involve arms companies are entirely civilian, especially when those companies hail from a highly militarized country like Israel and are directly implicated in the occupation and its attendant abuses of international law. As it happens, other officials have acknowledged that the EU institutions are preparing a blueprint for extending the scope of its scientific research programs into more hardcore military research.

Nobody should be surprised if Israel's merchants of death and destruction will gobble up an even greater chunk of the EU's research pie in the coming years. The only positive aspect of this ever-deepening relationship with Israel is that it helps shatter all illusions that the EU is serious when bragging routinely of its commitment to human rights.

•First published by The Electronic Intifada (www.electronicintifada.net)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dublin's double standards on Israel

Visiting Gaza recently, Ireland’s foreign minister Micheál Martin found “amidst all the rubble and devastation, a population traumatised and reduced to poverty by an unjust and completely counterproductive blockade”. Perhaps Martin can now enquire if any of the technology that caused this devastation was manufactured in his native Cork.

In 1991, the New York-based firm Data Device Corporation opened a plant in Cork’s publicly-subsidised Business and Technology Plant. From there it made ‘data bus’ devices for Apache helicopters that were then sold on to other American companies, known to do business with Israel. During Israel’s merciless attacks on Gaza in late 2008 and 2009, Apache helicopters transported the Hellfire missiles that killed numerous civilians. “The Apache is not just equipment,” Shawan Jabarin, director of the Palestinian human rights organisation Al Haq, has noted. “For Palestinians it’s a symbol of indiscriminate military violence. From a young age, every Palestinian child learns to distinguish the Apache’s sound and to associate it with assassinations, destruction and blood on the street.”

It is true that the Irish government undertook in 2008 to subject exports of goods with a potential military application to closer scrutiny. That pledge followed an exposé published by Amnesty International on how firms enmeshed in the arms trade had been lured to Ireland by the tax sweeteners and other incentives that characterised the nation’s Celtic Tiger-era investment policy.

Yet while official statistics have been released suggesting that the value of Irish military-related exports worldwide rose to more than €6 billion in 2009 – three times that of the previous year – the precise nature of Irish cooperation with Israel’s war machine has not been properly revealed.

Staff at Intel’s European headquarters in Kildare frequently have to work overtime to meet the onerous demands made to them by their colleagues in Israel. The company chose Israel as the first country where it set up operations outside the US in 1974 and today is the country’s biggest private sector employer (a distinction it shares with Intel Ireland).

A spokesman for the company said: “Intel Ireland works closely with Intel Israel. We make computer parts – chips and microprocessors. We have no way of checking where they go. They are used in computers used by the military but they have no specific military applications.”

Jeff Halper, a veteran human rights campaigner who leads the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, has a different perspective. Irish science graduates, he believes, “put together the electronic brains” of the helicopters and warplanes that are a pivotal part of Israel’s arsenal. Pilotless drones – known too as unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) – frequently contain Intel processors. Israel is among the top producers of these hi-tech killing machines, which it has tested out in attacks on Palestinian civilians.

When I met Halper in Jerusalem last year, he suggested that Ireland’s reliance on major investors like Intel explained why the Dublin government was not prepared to go beyond its denunciations of Israel’s abuse of Palestinian rights and press for economic sanctions against Israel. “There is no country more pro-Palestinian in terms of public opinion and even government opinion to a certain extent than Ireland,” he added. “Yet Ireland doesn’t do anything.”

The protests emanating from Iveagh House – Ireland’s foreign ministry - over Gaza are at odds with the enthusiasm shown by other ministries for closer commercial links with Israel. Back in 1999, Mary Harney, then minister for enterprise and employment, signed an agreement with her Israeli counterpart Ran Cohen committing the two sides to work together on industrial development, with a particular focus on science and technology. Israeli entrepreneurs who met Harney were keen to learn how Ireland had stimulated its economy to notch up a rate of growth that was envied internationally and to ascertain if comparable stimulants could be introduced in their own country.

Although the overall value of Irish exports to Israel fell from €231 million in 1998 to less than €200 million a decade later, the exchange of technology has been considerable. Computers accounted for more than one-fifth of Irish exports to Israel in 2008, according to the most recently available data, with electronic components comprising a further 12%. As Israel’s technology boom is largely driven by its military industry, it is virtually certain that some of the weapons used to terrorise Palestinians contain “made in Ireland” ingredients.

In her book The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein explains how Israeli entrepreneurs that had been badly hit by the “dot com” collapse of 2000, exploited the opportunities afforded by the war on terror that George Bush declared a year later to build a technology sector with a strong emphasis on security (in the narrow sense that politicians usually employ that term). “The timing was perfect,” Klein wrote. “Governments around the world were suddenly desperate for terrorist hunting tools, as well as for human intelligence know-how in the Arab world. Under the leadership of the Likud Party, the Israeli state billed itself as a showroom for the cutting-edge homeland security state, drawing on its decades of experience and expertise fighting Arab and Muslim threats. Israel’s pitch to North America and Europe was straightforward: the War on Terror you are just embarking on is one we have been fighting since our birth. Let our high-tech firms and privatised spy companies show you how it’s done.”

As well as making specialised components for arms used by Israel, Ireland has been a valued customer of the Israeli arms industry. Between 2005 and early 2009, Ireland’s Department of Defence bought military equipment worth over €9 million from Israeli firms.

The appointment of Irish solider Pat Nash to command a European Union military operation in Chad – a mission generally dominated by troops from Chad’s former colonial overlord France – has been hailed by many politicians as an example of the determination of our army to bring peace to distant troublespots. The same politicians have for the most part kept mum about how Irish troops taking part in that mission have availed of mini-UAVs made by the Israeli company Aeronautics Defense Systems. In 2007, Ireland bought two Orbiters (as these drones are called), for €780,000.

Another Israeli firm Rabintex Industries won a €2.5 million contract in 2006 to supply Irish soldiers with 12,000 helmets. Israel’s war against Lebanon that year and the subsequent carnage caused by Israel in Gaza evidently did not prick the consciences of defence officials in Dublin. Early last year, the department of defence awarded Elbit Systems a €2.4 million contract to install surveillance pods and masts into a new fleet of tanks being developed for the Irish army.

Elbit is one of two main suppliers of surveillance equipment to the 450km “apartheid wall” that Israel has built in the West Bank. Norway’s government announced in September last that its state pension fund was prohibited from investing in Elbit. “We do not want to fund companies that so directly contribute to violations of humanitarian law,” the Norwegian finance minister Kristin Halvorsen said at the time. Unlike Norway, Ireland does not appear to have any qualms about handing over its citizens’ money to firms undertaking a project declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

Despite the widespread belief in political and intelligence circles that Mossad used fake Irish passports to hunt down and assassinate a leading member of Hamas in Dubai during January, Israeli arms companies remain eligible for lucrative contracts from the department of defence. According to The Sunday Independent, Israel Military Industries is in a prime position to win a deal to supply 10 million bullets to the Irish army. The department of defence did not respond, when I asked if Israeli firms had expressed an interest in the contract.

Ireland’s economic ties to Israel are by no means confined to purely military arrangements. In 2001 Dublin’s CRH acquired a 25% stake in Mashav, the holding company for Nesher, the principal Israeli cement manufacturer. Quizzed by Amnesty International in 2004, CRH acknowledged that Nesher cement had in “all probability” been used in building the “apartheid wall”.

“Most of this involvement in the wall is complete,” said Merav Amir, who runs whoprofits.org, a website naming companies that benefit from the occupation of Palestine. “But we do know that they use Nesher cement for many other things that are still being done in the West Bank: to construct Israeli settlements and roads and bridges.”

Through Mashav, CRH has also been linked to Hanson, the second largest building company in Israel. Hanson’s German parent company HeidelbergCement decided to sell it to Mashav last year but the deal has subsequently been cancelled after it was opposed by Israel’s competition authorities. Hanson has two concrete plants in the Israeli settlements of Atarot and Modin Illit, as well as controlling an asphalt plant and a quarry in the West Bank. Because international law forbids an occupying power from exploiting the natural resources of the land it occupies, the Hanson-run quarry at Nahal Raba has been subject to a legal challenge by Israeli environmentalists. Last year the Israeli high court ordered that there should be no expansion of quarries run by Israeli firms in the West Bank for a six month period.

Eircom, meanwhile, has been in discussions with a consortium that includes the Israeli firm Amdocs on establishing a multi-million euro computer billing system. A spokesman for Eircom was unable to confirm if the contract for the system has been signed yet but claimed that Amdocs would only be a subcontractor in the project, which is led by IBM. This “subcontractor” was formerly headed by Avi Naor, a founder of Mahal 2000, which carries out recruitment drives for the Israeli army abroad. Amdocs also bought the Irish software company Changing Worlds in 2008 for a princely €46 million.

Ireland’s cosy commercial relationship with Israel cannot be viewed in isolation from the EU’s ever-tightening embrace of Israel. All of the EU’s foreign ministers – Micheál Martin included – agreed in late 2008 that their links with Israel should be upgraded to the point that Israel would be a member of the Union in all but name. Although much of the formal follow-up work to that decision has stalled because of the subsequent war in Gaza, Israel is taking part in a wide variety of strategically and economically important EU programmes dealing with science, satellite navigation and enterprise development. Shortly before he stepped down as the EU’s foreign policy chief last year, Javier Solana said that no country outside Europe has a stronger bond with the EU than Israel.

In November 2007, the European Commission launched the “EU-Israel business dialogue”, a forum where chief executives can brainstorm about how to strip away any “barriers” they encounter to trade and investment (“barriers” in this context is code for social and environmental standards that corporations deem pesky). Even though Israel only has a population of 7 million, it was elevated to the same status as far larger economies like the US, India and Japan, with whom the Union had previously established such “dialogues”. Not surprisingly, the press pack that civil servants prepared for journalists covering the launch omitted any reference to how several of the firms taking part are active in the occupied territories. Alongside the aforementioned Elbit, were Bank Leumi and the book-sellers Steimatsky. Both have branches and shops in several Israeli settlements.

The French president Nicolas Sarkozy is among the senior European leaders who have been championing deeper European investment in Israel. Veolia, the Paris-based multinational, has been something of a pioneer in this regard. It is the lead contractor in a light rail project aimed at connecting Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem with the city centre.

Because Veolia has been adept at winning public works contracts in many countries, it has become the target of an international campaign to pressurise it into abandoning the racist-inspired railway. Councillors in Sligo and Galway have passed motions urging that contracts with Veolia should be cancelled, along with many other local authorities in several continents.

One of the key reasons why the occupation persists is that Israel has displayed significant ingenuity in building an economy around it. All of us committed to human rights have a duty to shed light on the Irish and European firms who profit from that economy and the pain it inflicts on Palestine.

•An edited version of this article was published in The Phoenix, May 21 issue (www.thephoenix.ie)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bank cornered over financing Israeli settlements

New evidence has been uncovered to show that Dexia, a major Belgian-French bank, is still financing Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories despite official assurances that such loans have ceased.

Jean-Luc Dehaene, a former Belgian prime minister and now Dexia’s chairman, announced last year that the bank had not approved any new loans to authorities located in Israeli settlements in the West Bank since June 2008.

This week, however, the Israeli human rights group Who Profits from the Occupation? obtained documents that contradict Dehaene. These papers give details of loans worth a total of more than 8 million shekels (2 million dollars) to the Shomron regional council, which covers 30 Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and to Gush Etzion, a bloc of settlements near Bethlehem. All of the loans were authorised by Dexia Israel between April and December 2009.

Earlier this month Who Profits? published details of a separate loan of 6.8 million shekels (1.8 million dollars) to the local authority in Gush Etzion. Earmarked for a water treatment plant, that loan was issued at the end of May last year – a fortnight after Dehaene’s announcement.

Merav Amir, a Who Profits? spokeswoman, said there is an “obvious discrepancy” between what Dexia Israel has been doing and what Dexia’s executives in its Brussels headquarters have been saying. Some 66 percent of Dexia Israel is owned by its Belgian-French parent company.

“The Belgians who have the controlling shares in Dexia Israel either don’t know what their subsidiary is doing or they have been misled,” Amir said. “Or else they have suppressed that information. We know for sure that their declarations are not correct.”

Dehaene, who is also a member of the European Parliament, did not respond to requests for a comment. But when addressing Dexia’s annual general meeting (AGM) for this year May 12, Dehaene said he was a “little bit surprised” by the high level of interest in Dexia Israel’s activities among the bank’s shareholders. A lively discussion ensued, in which one shareholder accused the bank of being an “accomplice in the murder” of Palestinian civilians.

Asked about the loan that had been issued to Gush Etzion in May 2009, Dehaene told a questioner: “If you have any evidence showing a commitment to invest (in an Israeli settlement) after 2008, please give it to us. According to the information I have, there was no investment.”

Dehaene was also criticised by Palestinian solidarity activists for remarks he made about Dexia’s work in Jerusalem. After he was asked about if the bank was financing Israeli settlement activities in East Jerusalem, Dehaene conferred with Pierre Mariani, Dexia’s chief executive. “East Jerusalem doesn’t exist, apparently,” Dehaene said, without elaborating.

At the previous year’s AGM, Dehaene had insisted that providing loans to Jerusalem was not problematic because “Dexia Group feels that Jerusalem is not contested territory”. That statement was at odds with the official stance of the United Nations, which has always considered Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 as unlawful. When Israel subsequently declared that Jerusalem was its capital in 1980, the UN Security Council insisted that no decision to alter the administrative or legal status of Jerusalem could be deemed as valid.

Mario Franssen, a campaigner with the Belgian human rights organisation Intal, described Dehaene’s comments on East Jerusalem as “shocking” and “weird”.

Because Dexia specialises in providing loans to local authorities, any finance it gives to the Jerusalem municipality would inevitably be assisting settlement activities in East Jerusalem, including the confiscation of Palestinian homes, Franssen said. “Any money that goes to East Jerusalem can be judged as helping the occupation,” he added. “The majority of houses destroyed in East Jerusalem have been destroyed on the order of the Jerusalem municipality. I was shocked to hear Dehaene say that East Jerusalem does not exist. I can’t understand why a politician would make a statement like that.”

Franssen took issue, too, with the assurances that Dexia is no longer lending to the settlements. “There is a difference between what Jean-Luc Dehaene and Dexia Bank say and what is happening on the ground,” he said. “It has now been proven that there is a difference. The Dexia Group controls at least two-thirds of Dexia Israel. If they want, they can impose (their will on Dexia Israel). But clearly, they don’t want to.”

Originally published by Inter Press Service (www.ipsnews.net)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Forcing Europeans to Eat GM Foods

Leading biotechnology companies have been granted privileged access to the European Union’s policy-makers as part of their efforts to speed up the approval of new genetically modified (GM) crops.

With opposition to GM foods high across this continent, the biotech industry has long been frustrated with the obstacles it has encountered in placing its products on the market. In a confidential 2006 letter, the trade association EuropaBio warned José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission’s president, that the political situation “might greatly diminish” its ability to prove its theory that cultivating GM crops is in the public interest.

Following that letter, EU officials agreed that a series of meetings should be held with EuropaBio on issues relating to new GM crops. Known as “tripartite meetings”, the process also includes the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the body tasked with assessing whether releasing GM seeds into the environment poses a risk to human health.

While giant chemical and agri-business companies such as Monsanto, Dow, DuPont and BASF have been represented at these talks, no comparable access to decision-makers has been granted to critics of the biotech industry.

“There are strong indications that the European Commission puts its relationship with industry before its relationship with people standing up for nature and people’s rights,” Adrian Bebb, a campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said. “This partnership between the Commission, EFSA and industry is far too close and sometimes is not in the public interest. The Commission wants to go ahead and push more crops on Europe; its agenda is very similar to the industry’s agenda.”

Unlike many of the EU’s 27 governments, the Commission – the bloc’s executive arm - has been eager to lift the Union’s de facto ban on planting many GM crops. During 2009 the Commission tried – without success - to prod France and Greece into ending the moratoria they had placed on Mon-810, a type of corn developed by the world’s most powerful seed company Monsanto. And in March this year, it chose a potato known as Amflora as the first GM crop to be approved for cultivation in the EU in 15 years.

Internal European Commission documents also demonstrate that Brussels officials have been providing advice to the biotech industry on how to avoid problems when seeking to have new crop varieties approved.

Robert Madelin, head of the Commission’s consumer protection department until last month, wrote to EuropaBio in November 2009, suggesting that applications for crop approvals made by its firms should contain more detailed data than they tended to.

Madelin expressed concerns that a controversy similar to one in the U.S. in 2000 could erupt in Europe. Known as the StarLink case, that controversy took place when it emerged that a GM corn used in taco shells for Mexican dishes had not been authorised for human consumption. StarLink – as the corn was named – was instead only permitted as animal feed and for industrial purposes like ethanol manufacture.

According to Madelin, similar issues may arise in Europe if biotech firms do not provide complete details of all GM ingredients in any foods they wish to introduce. He therefore recommended that all information provided when applying for approvals should be comprehensive. This advice was provided as part of his desire to see “loyal cooperation” between industry and the Commission, he said.

Marco Contiero, an agriculture campaigner with Greenpeace, said it is to be expected that senior officials would advise companies on how to respect EU rules. Yet he argued that Madelin’s support for biotech firms went beyond providing advice. Madelin, he said, had been instrumental in having the Amflora potato file endorsed by the Commission.

Frédéric Vincent, a Commission spokesman, claimed there is “nothing secret or hidden” about how EU officials have a close relationship with biotech firms. Vincent added that Brussels officials are hoping to bring forward a plan within the next few months on giving EU governments greater flexibility in deciding if they wish to allow GM crops on their territory. “The Commission is just doing its job” in consulting with business, he said.

The European Food Safety Authority – based in Parma, Italy – has also been counselling biotech firms on how they should present applications for new crop approvals. In 2008, EFSA’s director Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, wrote to EuropaBio urging that any bids should be flanked with the most up-to-date scientific information “in order to avoid unnecessary delays” in having them processed.

EFSA has been accused by ecological activists of being biased in favour of GM foods and of not assessing their likely effects with sufficient rigour.

In April, the German green organisation TestBiotech complained that EFSA had not studied the likely effects of a maize patented as Bt 1507 by the company Pioneer on butterflies and other common insects. Since then, EFSA has finalised new guidelines on risk assessment. According to TestBiotech spokesman Christoph Then, these guidelines are a “slight improvement” on those previously followed but will still mean that the factors taken into account are “too narrow”.

One major flaw, said Contiero of Greenpeace, is that the guidelines do not address what can happen if a plant or animal has its genetic structure altered through exposure to two separate GM organisms. “This is not like selling a car with two different seats: a yellow and a black one,” Contiero said. “What we are talking about is like having an entirely new car. Yet EFSA’s approach is that this would not be subject to a risk assessment. This is absolutely crazy.”

First published by Inter Press Service (www.ipsnews.net)