As you probably know, Vandana Shiva is here in Hawaii touring the islands on her “Home Rule Tour.” This dog and pony show is being promoted by the Center for Food Safety, a Washington D.C. based anti-GMO lobbying firm headed by Andrew Kimbrell.
They recently opened an office here in Hawaii headed by Ashley Lukens. Lukens was, until recently, an extreme anti-GMO activist leading the charge against the science of genetic engineering because it was not consistent with her worldview. In recent months she has been moderating her tone and rhetoric on GMOs, instead focusing on biotech business practices and pesticide use. Because opposition to Rainbow Papaya is scientifically indefensible, Ashley claims that to even talk about it is a “diversion” because the “real issue” is pesticides. And yet, she supported a ballot initiative that now makes it a very serious crime to plant the Rainbow Papaya.
I attempted to ask Ashley Lukens how much they paid Vandana Shiva to come here to Hawaii and speak about the dangers of GMOs, but she refused to answer any questions.
In fact, Ashley didn’t answer any questions at all because this was not an educational event, but rather, a public relations event. Ashley Lukens has a PhD in political science, and this was pure political propaganda right from the beginning.
Some of the others there were more reasonable. I met a lovely young woman from Kauai named Fern who helped start this whole pesticide buffer zone idea with Gary Hooser. She was actually willing to talk and discuss the science of genetic engineering, but I must say she was one of the very few in the crowd whom I met that day.
Babes Against Biotech, a notoriously extreme anti-GMO group, posted some nasty posters on Senator Roz Baker’s office door, as they believe her to be basically something akin to Judas Iscariot for taking a (comparatively small) amount of political donations from Monsanto employees. They surrounded the entire second floor of the legislature (Senate floor) with signs saying “We are watching you.”
After leaving the madness at the legislature, I went down to Chaminade University where Vandana Shiva was to give her speech later that evening. As soon as I showed up you could tell the organizers were very uneasy because of my presence, but I had purchased two tickets for myself and my cameraman Jaysen Stilverstein (who the year prior had been anti-GMO like me and sold 500 pounds of taro to the Ku’e at the same legislature event). So they let us in but made up a new rule on the spot of “no cameras.” The censorship and PR propaganda is always evident whenever I attend these events, they don’t want the appearance of any kind of dissent nor will they suffer anyone who asks too many questions.
At 5:30 they served cocktails and Shiva showed up for wine and food from Down to Earth (a local Whole Foods type of business). I attempted to speak with her but Ashley Lukens immediately swooped in with her back to me and whisked the High Priest away. When we finally entered the theater I noticed about 8 or 9 cameras being set up for Olelo Community Access Television. I asked why they were allowed to film but not me, and she said because they had asked for prior permission.
So I sat through the entire dog and pony show until the very end when I just could not take it anymore. I decided enough was enough already, I’m gonna film this and its going on the internet and I don’t care what happens. Somebody has to call out this charlatan and stand up for the hundreds of thousands of children who die every year because of her stupidity. So I put on my GoPro, stood up, and the rest is history. This my friends, is the video that was banned from Olelo!