Dispatches from the Codex Commission #6
Natural Solutions Foundation, Public Observer
Dispatches from Codex Commission Meeting
Dispatch No. 6 – 02 July 2008
Please see the link to today’s new, 2nd Video Report from Codex at the end of this blog entry. That video report amplifies some of the issues discussed here.
At the very first Codex meeting I attended, Dr. Kirsten Leitner, the WHO Undersecretary of Sustainable Development, responded to the questions of why WHO had not increased its financial contribution to Codex. Her answer stunned the assembly, â€œBecause Codex has failed to make a meaningful contribution to human health in its [then] 42 years of existence.â€ That response was so significant that the audio tape showing it which had been mounted on the Codex Alimentarius site, www.Codexalimentarius.net/en was, following the Press Release I wrote on this response, taken down and a doctored AUDIO tape was inserted in which her response was missing.
Oddly enough, certain people on the “health freedom” side of the house, who were in the room and commented excitedly on that event later chose to publicly take the opposition position that this comment â€œneverâ€ happened. Whatever you choose to make of that aside, there has been a great deal of discussion about the fact that FAO has been forced to increase and increase its financial support to the point where now WHO provides a mere 15% of the budget while FAO provides the rest. Since the deal is supposed to be 50-50, one wonders if, in the halls of WHO power, the same problem is still perceived. I would share that opinion if it were.
Today, in what was a highly surprising move from Brazil, another iteration of the same theme was brought forward and it causes all â€œheckâ€ to break loose!
I have been saying for some time that the system here is rigged. Developed (read, â€œrich, US supportersâ€) countries send full delegations to every single Codex meeting, sub meeting, task force, regional meeting and so on. They tend to be well informed, well prepared and have no trouble getting here. They do not have their visas refused or denied. They do not have trouble getting plane tickets or get turned out of hotels. Delegates from the Developing world (read, â€œpoor, black, opposing the US on vital issuesâ€), on the other hand, have no end of difficulty getting here.
First, the meetings are very expensive for them to get to. Second, they often have enormous difficulty with their visas. For example, the Ugandan representative to the Codex Committee on Food Labeling, where GM labeling was the hot item on the docket, is from a country that has a moratorium on GM food — and a leading academic conducting safety assessments on those foods (they are failing miserably, of course) had his visa request to Canada denied twice.
China, hardly a minor player, was unable to secure a visa to the Codex Committee on Veterinary Drug Residues held in the US. You read that correctly. And then, at this Commission meeting, after the US had denied Chinese diplomats entry to the relevant committee meeting, its Codex delegation rejected to Chinese objections to dosing pigs with growth-stimulating drugs dangerous to humans by noting that China was not at the CCVDR meeting!
Even if not having Visa problems, countries from the Developing world, who are often dependent on funding from the Codex Trust Fund for their ability to attend these meetings, may find themselves penalized for taking stands that the multinational power centers of Codex do not like: Dr. Koura of Benin was denied her travel funds by the Trust Fund within days of her departure to the same meeting on GM labeling. Benin, like Uganda, has a moratorium on GM foods and Dr. Koura had instructions to strongly oppose the position by the US that would force unlabeled GM foods on Benin and the rest of the world. From last Februaryâ€™s previous GM labeling working group meeting in Africa (which we attended) the US knew who was objecting to the US GM agenda. That agenda, despite 87% American support for GM labeling (in a recent CNN/NY Times poll) is to not require GM labeling and to forbid GM-Free labeling.
For this meeting, Codex Contact Point Dr. Denis Mikode has his already approved travel support withdrawn by the Trust Fund, too, again, within days of his departure. Itâ€™s a pretty powerful technique: prevent the opposition from showing up and then claim whatever is decided in their absence represents and binds them, too, whether they like it or not.
The Trust Fund, we have been informed, is generously funded by nations like the US and by significant private donors, chief among them, the pharmaceutical companies who have such a strong parental interest in Codex, having given it birth so long ago.
So Brazil raised the problem to the consideration of the Codex Commission that without full participation by all countries in all committees, the legislative decisions (his words!) of Codex were illegitimate and that it was an urgent matter to assure full participation of all nations of the developing world or Codex had no international legitimacy!
The Chairmanâ€™s stand in, a Vice Chair, clearly did not know what to do. Brazil demanded that the Codex Secretariat prepare a report, complete with suggestions about how to fix the problem, and present it at the Codex Commission meeting one year from now, in July 2009.
The Acting Chair said that because 25 countries had immediately put up their flags, time did not permit discussing this option! There was a lot of very unhappy murmuring. The lunch break was hastily convened.
Maybe the Natural Solutions Foundationâ€™s Codex Two Step, the legal method countries can use to avoid the worst excesses of Codex, is finally emboldening our informal Coalition of Health Conscious Nations!
After lunch, reports from other international organizations were permitted and finally the topic was brought back to Brazilâ€™s intervention. The Secretariat alleged that since the task had been given to the Secretariat, there was no longer any opportunity for the membership to discuss the proposal. Brazil made the observation that the Secretariat was wrong and the discussion continued with a good deal of mounting energy from developing nations who began to air their many grievances about the system and its corruption.
In fact, the way it works if that the developed nations get to every meeting, develop competence, relationships, work out deals, figure out the system very well but the poor nations are encouraged by the Trust Fund to â€œBuild capacityâ€ which means that there is a revolving roster of people who are always new, do not often have the opportunity to build relationships, forge agreements or even figure out the corporate culture of Codex (and it is very much a corporate culture!).
So Brazil really opened up the biggest can of worms here: the illegitimacy of the entire process. The Vice Chair tried to stuff the worms back into the can by making it an issue for discussion next April at the Codex Committee on General Principles but, once again, Brazil and its now numerous allies, protested. The compromise?
Brazil will have its report read at the Codex Commission next year AND it will be presented for discussion April, too.
Letâ€™s be clear: Codex is a crumbling hulk, despite its propaganda. The Executive Committee, which meets twice a year, in secret, I might add, will not meet for the second time this year because of the $200,000 that would cost and the lack of resources.
The newfound sense of outrage (which I must say we have helped to foster through our educational work in Africa and Asia) is bringing out capabilities which only two years remained hidden: countries following our suggestions and banding together to oppose the Multinational Agenda! Countries finally getting their bellies full of US bullying!
The International Decade of Nutrition, which we declared in 2004, is beginning to have its intended impact! See: www.naturalsolutionsfoundation.org
Countries noticing that without participation there is no representation! (That should sound very familiar to every American, by the way!)
So our work in the developing world must continue if we are to strike a blow to the monster. That means that we need your help. We need the resources to continue coming to meetings and to continue initiating agricultural and educational projects like the Valley of the Moon. We have been â€œSpeaking Truth to Powerâ€ and we are beginning to be heard!
We need your financial support. There is literally no one else doing this work but you and the Natural Solutions Foundation.
Oh, yes, a US bureaucrat is now the newly â€œelectedâ€ chairman of the Codex Commissionâ€¦ for the next three years. So it is time to make sure Washington hears our voices.
Click this link to donate on a regular, recurring basis. Small donations, moderate donations, large donations. They all count. It really is up to each of us. Now.
You can see all my Video Reports from Codex – including today’s – at:
http://drrimatruthreports.com/index.php?p=720 and there is a direct link to my latest video report at the very bottom of this blog.
Yours in health and freedom,
Rima E. Laibow, MD
Natural Solutions Foundation
Dr. Rima’s July 2, 2008 Video Report from Codex: