I thought folks might like to see this 
interchange on the United for Peace and Justice 
listserve: UFPJ Peace Talk <[log in to unmask]>

Mitchel's response (original letter by Andrew Scott below mine):

Yea, I'm skeptical about my own skepticism, too.

One thing I do know for sure is that the images 
we're presented with of Russia and other places 
help to shape the way we think about those 
places. For example (and how does this jibe with 
what picture we have in mind?), from my book on 
Monsanto and its herbicide Roundup:

Cultivation of genetically engineered crops and 
imports are banned in only Algeria, Bhutan, 
Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Peru, Venezuela, and 
Russia -- the most populous country to ban both 
the cultivation and importation of GM crops.

Russia. In June 2016, Russia’s State Duma adopted 
the third and final reading of a government bill 
to introduce a total ban on the cultivation and 
breeding of genetically modified plants and 
animals, except for scientific research 
purposes.25 Far from the ban hurting their 
economies, as Monsanto and other 
pesticide-producing corporations would have us 
believe, the United States, which had been the 
world’s leading wheat exporter, is now losing its 
position to Russia and Canada. Russia claims that 
this is in part due to several economic factors 
and also to the preference of much of the world for non-GMO food.26

.....  In the face of Monsanto’s plans to open 
its first plant in Russia,34 Russian President 
Vladimir Putin signed Federal Law No 358 on July 
3, 2016 prohibiting cultivation of genetically 
engineered plants and breeding of genetically 
engineered animals on the territory of the 
Russian Federation.35 President Putin had earlier 
said that “measures should be taken to protect 
the Russian market and consumers from GMO 
products, as their use could have unforeseen 
consequences,” news agency RIA Novosti reported.36
Leticia Goncalves, who heads Monsanto’s 
operations in Europe and the Middle East, was not 
perturbed. “We still believe that Ukraine and 
Russia both are long-term opportunities for our 
business and we want to make sure we are in a 
position to accelerate our business growth 
despite the short-term geopolitical and macroeconomic challenges.”37
But, contra Monsanto, President Putin envisioned 
a future in which Russia would become “the 
world’s largest supplier of ecologically clean 
and high-quality organic food.” He’s called on 
the country to become completely self-sufficient 
in food production by 2020: “We are not only able 
to feed ourselves taking into account our lands, 
water resourcesRussia is able to become the 
largest world supplier of healthy, ecologically 
clean and high-quality food which the Western 
producers have long lost, especially given the 
fact that demand for such products in the world market is steadily growing.”38
Before he died in November 2016, Fidel Castro 
entered the increasingly global debate by 
strongly opposing genetic engineering. At a 
conference in Havana cosponsored by the 
Mexico-based Center for Global Justice,39 I 
introduced a public appeal against the genetic 
engineering of agriculture at the end of my talk, 
and a number of participants signed on to it, 
including several Cuban professors.40


25 Sustainable Pulse, Jun. 25, 

26 The International Reporter, April 24, 2016 
“Russian Organic Wheat Takes World by Storm, US 
GMO Glyphosate Losing Out!”

35 US Department of Agriculture GAIN report, 
20Federation_7-12-2016.pdf. For more information 
see FAS/Moscow GAIN report GMO Registration for 
Cultivation Postponed 6/27/2014.pdf; Russian 
“Producers Consider It Reasonable to Ban GMO 
products,” 05/07/2016,

36 “Russia to Ban Genetically Modified Organisms 
in Food Production,” Moscow Times, Sept. 20, 2015.

37 Moscow Times, January 23, 2015, op cit. 
“Ukraine is the world’s sixth largest grain 
grower this season, and Goncalves said the region 
remained a priority for Monsanto.”

38 Eduard Korniyenko, “Putin Wants Russia to 
Become World’s Biggest Exporter of Non-GMO Food,” 
Reuters, December 3, 2015.Endnotes 299

39 Seminar on Socialist Renewal and the 
Capitalist CrisisA Cuban-North American 
Exchange,” Havana, Cuba, June 1630, 2013, in 
association with the Center for Global Justice, 
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and the Radical Philosophy Association.

40 “An Open Letter to the Cuban People against 
Genetic Engineering of Agriculture,” Mitchel 
Cohen, in A Talk in Havana, Red Balloon Collective, 2013.

At 10:27 AM 3/13/2019, Andrew Scott via ufpj-peacetalk wrote:
>A solid rebuttal to what Consortium News, Roy 
>McGovern, The Nation, Glenn Greenwald, The Real 
>News (and RT!) have been saying about Russian 
>interference and the role Vladimir Putin plays 
>in support of the global rightwing movement.
>What Russiagate Skeptics Get Wrong
>The Left can call for military deescalation 
>while still holding Putin accountable for electoral meddling.
>Feffer  IN THESE TIMES 10/19/18
>Putin's movement is founded on “traditional” 
>values of Christianity, homophobia, and 
>anti-feminist and anti-immigrant sentiment. OR 
>“What Putin is really guilty of is calling for a 
>multipolar world, not one dominated by the U.S.”
>Imagine if the rightwing government of Shinzo 
>Abe in Japan had interfered in the 2016 election 
>in support of Donald Trump. Following which, 
>Trump held a summit with Abe to endorse Japanese 
>territorial claims in Asia as well as Abe’s 
>efforts to remilitarize his country.
>The American Left would never countenance a 
>rightwing Japanese nationalist interfering in 
>American politics. But, of course, it wasn’t 
>Japan that hacked into U.S. computers and 
>weaponized the information with the help of 
>WikiLeaks. Nor did Japan make a big social media 
>buy or direct an army of internet trolls to help 
>make Trump’s unlikely victory happen.
>It was Russia, where President Vladimir Putin, a 
>rightwing militarist, aspires to lead a global 
>conservative movement with Moscow at its hub. 
>Putin’s movement is founded on “traditional” 
>values of Christianity, homophobia, and 
>anti-feminist and anti-immigrant sentiment. Yet 
>some on the Left give the Kremlin a pass on its 
>interference in U.S. elections (now commonly 
>referred to as Russiagate), due to the mistaken 
>belief that Putin represents a check on U.S. 
>hegemony. “What Putin is really guilty of is 
>calling for a multipolar world, not one 
>dominated by the U.S.,” writes Colin Todhunter in CounterPunch.
>In the pages of The Nation, the reporting of 
>Glenn Greenwald, the analysis of Consortium News 
>and the alternative TV broadcasts of the Real 
>News Network -- not to mention MMoscow’s own RT 
>(formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik -- certain 
>progressives sought to debunk Russiagate.
>The “core narrative” of Russiagate, as Stephen 
>Cohen has written in The Nation, is an example 
>of “rubbish in, rubbish out,” a fabrication by the U.S. intelligence community.
>The skeptics mentioned here effectively agreed 
>with Trump that the news media and liberals 
>everywhere had launched a “witch hunt” against 
>Trump (and Putin). They disputed claims like the 
>identity of the hackers who broke into the 
>Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers and 
>the connections between the Kremlin and 
>far-right political movements. But their 
>debunking efforts relied on misreading, 
>misinterpretation and outright falsification. In 
>a June commentary in Consortium News, former CIA 
>analyst Ray McGovern was still trying to prove 
>that Guccifer 2.0, the DNC hacker, was not 
>Russian. One month later, the indictments from 
>Special Counsel Robert Mueller provided copious 
>information on the Russian hackers behind the Guccifer 2.0 avatar.
>Much of the reams of nonsense published over the 
>last 18 months has veered into the territory of 
>conspiracy theory. Really, how could you 
>possibly believe that DNC staffer Seth Rich gave 
>all that material to WikiLeaks on the basis of a 
>single, unsubstantiated Julian Assange claim to 
>that effect? The evidence that Mueller has 
>compiled — resulting in the recent indictments 
>of 12 Russian military officers -- should have satisfied skepptics.
>Yet Russiagate skeptics continue their crusade, 
>albeit shifting focus in the wake of July’s 
>Trump-Putin Helsinki summit. Even if Russia did 
>interfere in the election, they argue, there’s 
>no proof of collusion. More importantly -- and 
>here the skeptics are joined by sensible 
>advocates of foreign policy realism in a call 
>published by The Nation -- the value of 
>improving U.S.-Russian relations overrides all other considerations.
>A continuation of the Russiagate inquiry and an 
>improvement in U.S.-Russian relations are not 
>mutually exclusive. It’s essential to keep 
>investigating Trump’s links to Russia, including 
>the money laundering that Trump may have done 
>for Russian clients close to the Kremlin, 
>because these links reveal how Russia 
>strengthens the political influence of oligarchs 
>and boosts the fortunes of farright politicians. 
>At the same time, we must support U.S.-Russian 
>cooperation, particularly on arms control.
>At the Helsinki summit, Putin showed interest in 
>extending the New START Treaty, concluding the 
>Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, ending 
>the conflict in Syria and supporting the nuclear deal with Iran.
>Trump, however, did not. He has ridiculed the 
>New START Treaty, pledged to expand the U.S. 
>nuclear arsenal, continued -- along with Putin 
>-- to bomb Syria, and reneged on the Iran nuclear deal.
>The United States needs to address Russia 
>diplomatically to solve problems of mutual and 
>global interest, despite Trump’s obvious lack of 
>interest. But let’s not delude ourselves into 
>thinking that Putin is anything more than a 
>ruthless, corrupt autocrat who uses nationalism to promote his own interests.
>John Feffer
>John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In 
>Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. His 
>most recent book, Frostlands, comes out in November (Haymarket)

Fight Against Monsanto's Roundup: The Politics of 
Pesticides (SkyHorse, 2019), authored by Mitchel 
Cohen, is now available at bookstores everywhere! 
Please click on link to learn more.