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BASF and Tara
 
 
Brian Guerin 
 
 
It seems that the Hill of Tara and environs are being turned into a laboratory in more ways than one.

On 13 January 2006, BASF Plant Science GmbH (an affiliate of the multinational chemical and pharmaceutical corporation BASF) formally notified the Irish Environmental Protection agency of its intention to grow genetically modified (GMO) potatoes near the Hill of Tara, on a plot located next to the Teagasc Grange Research Centre at Arodstown, Summerhill, Co. Meath. The townland of Arodstown is situated 2 km north of the R156 road between Dunboyne and Summerhill. [1]

The proposed "field trial" would have taken place from April 2006 to October 2010. On 4th May 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency granted the licence subject to a number of conditions. However, on 23 May 2006 BASF announced that they would defer commencement of the trial for a year, citing what they claimed to be overly strict conditions laid down by the EPA. It is more than likely that the high-profile campaign launched by a number of groups and activists to prevent the trial from proceeding had something to do with the sudden reversal. In addition, any noticeable symmetry with the M3 project would definitely not help BASF’s image, which is not exactly lily-white to begin with.

The suspension is temporary, however, and if the M3 motorway proceeds as planned, in 2007, the GM trial can be expected to commence in its wake.  
In Britain, BASF have been granted permission by its Department of Agriculture to proceed with a field trial in spring 2007. Initially, there were two sites mooted for the experiment, but one of the farmers involved has withdrawn, citing alleged intimidation. BASF will proceed with the trial in Spring 2007 on a single site, in Cambridgeshire. If the Irish trial proceeds as planned in 2007, it is likely that it will take place at the Teagasc Arodstown facility located near the Hill of Tara.

The development of GM potatoes has been promoted as a measure to tackle blight, using the spectre of the Great Famine (1845-8) as a propaganda tool to promote GM. Blight occurred throughout Europe in 1845, but only in Ireland did mass starvation occur, thanks in part to the food exportation policies enforced by Britain. In India, similar policies led to perhaps up to 29 million deaths in 1877 and 1878. [2] In fact, when making the application, BASF stated that the aim is to develop seed GMO potatoes with improved resistance to the late potato blight fungus Phytopthora infestans. However, two varieties of blight-resistant potatoes, produced by safe non-GMO traditional breeding methods, are already available to Irish farmers.
Irish farmers whose crops are contaminated by GMO varieties will lose ownership of their own produce, face patent infringement lawsuits, and be forced to pay annual patent royalties. [3]
In addition, genetically modified genes can contaminate other crops and produce "superweeds".  

There is growing body of scientific evidence that GM foods and crops pose unacceptable health and environmental risks, including evidence of deaths attributable to GM products among laboratory and farm animals and in the human population. [4] One of the less palatable facts about BASF is that it was once part of the IG FARBEN cartel, the most powerful German corporation in the first half of the twentieth century. After WW1, all the major German chemical concerns, BASF, Bayer, Hoechst, and other German chemical and pharmaceutical companies were merged in 1926 into a single gigantic trust - I.G. Farbenindustrie A.G. The concern produced dyestuffs, pharmaceuticals, photographic supplies and explosives, and a host of other products emerged as a result of the interconnection of finance and expertise.

 
I.G. Farben was the single largest donor to the election campaign of Adolf Hitler. One year before the Nazi seizure of power, IG Farben donated 400,000 marks to the Nazi party. As a result, after Hitler’s seizure of power, IG Farben was the single largest profiteer of the attempted German conquest of Europe during the Second World War. 100% of all German explosives and synthetic gasoline came from the IG Farben factories. After the Nazi conquest of a European country, IG Farben followed in their wake, systematically taking over the industries of these countries. This occured in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France and all other conquered states.

The camp at Auschwitz was the largest extermination camp in history, but the concentration camp was only the appendix. The central project was IG Auschwitz, a 100% subsidiary of IG Farben, the largest industrial complex in the world for manufacturing synthetic gasoline and rubber for the projected conquest of Europe.

 
The pharmaceutical departments of the IG Farben used the victims of the concentration camps as guinea pigs for the development of new and unknown vaccines. The prisoners too weak or sick to work upon arrival at Auschwitz were selected for extermination and sent to the gas chambers. The chemical gas Zyklon-B, developed as an insecticide and used in the gas chambers, was produced by IG Farben. [5], [6], [7], [8], [9]  
 
The Nuremberg War Criminal Tribunal convicted 24 IG Farben members and executives on the basis of mass murder, slavery and other crimes against humanity. By 1951 all had been released, and continued to consult with various German corporations. The Nuremberg Tribunal dissolved the IG Farben group back into Bayer, Hoechst, and BASF. As a result, any lawsuits might have been brought against the parent company, I.G. Farben, by survivors of its facilities were circumvented. The companies were then free to profit from the fruits of I.G. Farben’s research, carried out upon indentured labourers and political and religious prisoners of the various nationalities of Western and Eastern Europe who suffered in the death camps.

The I.G. Farben trust continued to operate, however, and in 1967 was able to form a strategic alliance with Monsanto, producer of Agent Orange, the defoliant used extensively by the United States during the Vietnam War. [10], [11], [12], [13]The I.G. Farben trust was not dissolved until 2003. [14]

 
The reality is that each of the three sections of IG Farben is 20 times as large as IG Farben was at its height in 1944. For almost three decades after WW1, BASF, Bayer, and Hoechst (now Aventis) each filled its highest position, chairman of the board, with former members of the Nazi NSDAP. The majority of the political officials, scientists and businessmen affiliated or connected to these corporations continue to occupy the highest levels of power in Germany.  

If this trial proceeds at Arodstown, near the Hill of Tara, it will signal the beginning of the end for Irish agriculture, and prevent any hope of a viable organic agricultural industry. Perhaps the location is more than accidental, and, along with the M3 Motorway, is intended as a symbolic declaration of victory over the land and resources of Ireland, symbolised by the ancient and venerable Hill of Tara itself. [15], [16]  


(1)    http://www.gmfreeireland.org/potato/map1.php
(2)    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1673895,00.html; Ibid.
(3)    http://www.gmfreeireland.org/potato/index.php
(4)    http://www.indsp.org/ISPreportSummary.php
(5)    http://www.spectacle.org/695/zyklonb.html
(6)    http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/h-zyklon.htm
(7)    http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9042050/IG-Farben
(8)    http://www.cbgnetwork.org/1165.html
(9)    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,1026396,00.html
(10)    http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/agentorange032102.cfm
(11)    http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11638
(12)    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/agentorange/
(13)    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Monsanto
(14)    http://www.gmfreeireland.org/potato/index.php
(15)    http://www.gmfreeireland.org/potato/map1.php
(16)    http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/ PHARMACEUTICAL_BUSINESS/ history_of_the_pharmaceutical_industry.htm

© The Tara Foundation, 2006