This is Part III of the first debunking done on the full-length Thrive movie. There will be additional debunking material that is more detailed, both on the full movie and on various individual aspects of it, posted later. This debunking is not by me, but by gabrieltech (SlayerX3), a contributor to this blog. If you missed Part I, here it is, and here is Part II.
Free Energy suppression: “Follow the Money.”
The Oil & Energy Empires:
Summarizing this part, Gamble states that the power, money and influence of major energy and oil corporations like Standard Oil, BP, Texaco, Exxon Mobil and specially the Rockefellers have been suppressing alternative free energy sources to protect their profits.
I don’t think they need to suppress something that doesn’t work.
[Muertos comment: Gamble’s assertion that free energy is being “suppressed” is based on a handful of extremely spurious “examples.” As described in Part II of the debunking, the claims that various “free energy” scientists have had their labs ransacked or have even been murdered do not stand up to scrutiny. In short, there is no evidence of suppression at all. Everything in the Thrive movie about is unsourced, anecdotal, or unrelated–for example, the murder of Eugene Mallove, which in fact had nothing to do with his energy work.]
The green revolution:
Gamble states that with the power acquired from the Rockefeller Oil Empire and the creation of oil based fertilizers and pesticides, Rockefeller also controls our food as well.
He later talks about the 1960’s and 1970’s green revolution and his disappointment towards it, saying it used massive amounts of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides yet it wasn’t able to end world hunger and the US farmers received billions of dollars in subsides.
It’s commonly accepted among the economist and humanitarian groups that the world hunger is not caused by the insufficient production of food, but by improper food distribution caused by poverty, governmental policies and military conflict and more recently climate change. These are the main reasons why the African continent and South Asian countries and the like are plagued by hunger: the population is barred access to food due to economic disparity, policies that benefit the nation’s elites and war. Blaming the industrial food production method for the world hunger is another one of Gamble’s attempts to make the viewer think that industrial groups are the sole agents responsible for the hunger problem.
Production cost and subsides:
For starters, industrial fertilizers are cheaper and more efficient (not less harmful, but that is arguable) in producing crops with higher yield per acre. The issue with those is not the chemical themselves but the manner they are being used, which sometimes leads to over fertilizing and scorching the ground. There is also a tendency to use massive amounts of land to grow crops, which tends to reduce the yield when compared to smaller crops (that is a management issue, not a technological one), yet the cost of production is very low when compared to all organic farms and crops, while the yields are higher per acre when compared to the latter.
Gamble cites the subsides paid to US farmers as evidence of inefficiency, yet this doesn’t explain why crops and farms in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe who use the same techniques are economically viable and profitable. There are somewhat obvious reasons why the US farmers receive subsides from the US government, and I’m sure Mr. Gamble missed them on purpose.
- First, they receive the subsides because there is a bill that permits US agricultural producers to receive monetary help regardless of need or not. This bill predates the Great Depression started by the 1929 stock market crash in order to stabilize prices and elevate the crops’ value.
- Second, the US farms are in direct competition with other emerging nations’ agricultural industries, most notably from the BRIC block (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Several factors ranging from geographical advantages to currency exchange rates give some countries, especially Brazil and India, a major edge in food exportation to US and Europe. Not only US but the EU also uses subsides to shield their local producers from cheaper products coming from developing nations.
It’s also worth mentioning that the World Trade Organization along with the G8 and G20 discuss on a regular basis the subsides from US and EU producers. This is a matter of competition rather than alleged inefficiency (not really the type that Gamble implies).
More than anything else the fall of the family farmer is tied to income. Mostly outside US, especially in developing countries, rural workers migrate to cities in the search for better job opportunities, with the well-paying jobs being localized in urban areas. This leaves little room for family farming to sustain, well a family.
Inside US is another story, and is more tied to the higher industrial demand where larger farms have a better ability to deliver and supply the commercial demand.
Loss of bio diversity and environmental harm:
A broken clock is right twice a day. Do I really need to explain that predatory human action in nature does almost every kind of harm?
On a note, since agro toxics tend to remain in the superficial skin of vegetables, a simple wash is able to remove most of the harmful chemicals. Also on the production line food does receive baths and other processes to remove harmful chemicals (the ethical companies do that at least).
A prominent figure in ecoactivism and ecofeminism, and perhaps one of the most respectable people to feature in Thrive, even though I don’t agree with most of her views. She discusses the use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and Free Trade Treaties.
First definition of GMOs: “is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one molecule to create a new set of genes. This DNA is then transferred into an organism, giving it modified or novel genes. Transgenic organisms, a subset of GMOs, are organisms which have inserted DNA that originated in a different species.”
The top 5 users of GMO crops are (by area, in millions of Hectares, data from 2006): USA (54.6), Argentina (18.0) Brazil (11.5) Canada (6.1) China (3.5) and Paraguay (2.0).
The debate on the use of GMOs is very controversial from the scientific, economic and sociological point of views, with discussions about the safety, gains, access and health benefits and dangers related to the use of GMOs.
Shiva focuses in the social repercussions of the GMOs in Thrive, mostly because of the seed patenting, sterile seeds and exclusion of impoverished producers.
There’s an uproar against the seed patenting among environmentalists. Quoting Shiva “patenting seed and patenting life as a way of control, declaring seeds to be private property”.
The main issue is that GMOs do not occur naturally in nature and are products of extensive research and genetic manipulation to modify or enhance living organisms such as plants and add or remove traits. Currently only major companies and well-funded research agencies are able to create GMO seeds. This excludes the majority of the small producers because they don’t have enough capital to purchase these type of seeds and because they would be at a serious disadvantage when competing with the producers that purchased GMOs.
Patenting is a way to ensure other companies don’t copy the designed GMOs and trade them as their own. This is a very common practice in business and industry to avoid intellectual theft, but the impact in common producers is that they can’t trade the GMO seeds they acquired, as this would be considered theft. This brings us to another practice.
The “Terminator” control mechanisms–this is a control mechanism that has several purposes. The Terminator seeds only generate plants whose seeds are sterile. This is done first to avoid cross pollinating, and second to prevent spreading of GMOs in foreign environments.
Another and less noble practice depends solely on ethics as the producer would be tied to the GMO supplier forever. The producer wouldn’t be able to harvest new seeds from his current crop and will be forced to acquire directly from his supplier. From a social point of view this is horrible since it ties small producers to major groups and doesn’t give them much freedom to handle their own affairs.
The third practice is intended to prevent further generations of GMO seeds from being sold by farmers. This generates two main disadvantages for the company that designed and produced the GMO: (1) they can’t control the spread and cross breeding of their product (since this could generate undesired effects, the legal and public relations fallout could be enormous) and (2) their product would be spread without granting them the royalties associated with their patents.
It’s easy to see why Shiva doesn’t sympathize with GMOs as she aims for what she believes is best for the impoverished population, and those technologies when used unethically could cause great harm to people.
(I was really disappointed when I found out the Terminator technology wasn’t about kill bots!)
Free Trade Treaties:
Shiva points out that free trade treaties exclude common people, but this happens by design as free trade treaties allow major producers to export and import products and goods without many drawbacks from taxes, tariffs and bureaucracies.
Since major companies have the resources to organize, administrate and supply higher demands along with transporting their products, they receive the upper hand in free trade treaties.
The impact of this is that smaller producers and traders can’t compete with major groups and lose both internal and external markets to cheaper products. Although free trade treaties can benefit economies from a global point of view, they tend to ruin local economies that aren’t properly shielded or adapted to compete with the new economic environment. (This is the case when some governments and union groups adopt subsides or other protectionist measures to prevent this scenario from happening).
Quote: “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.” – Henry Kissinger.
I couldn’t find any paper, interview, video, press conference or anything that had evidence or source claiming or showing that Henry Kissinger actually said that, but it’s quite common in end the Fed and other anti-capitalism sites and forums.
And it was surprisingly similar to George Orwell’s 1984 Ingsoc slogans.
[Muertos comment: it is very common in conspiracy theorist circles for a completely made-up quote, usually from a distrusted figure like Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzesinski, George H.W. Bush, etc. to gain the appearance of being true simply by the number of times it is quoted by like-minded conspiracy theorist websites. This is particularly frustrating when you try to argue with a conspiracy theorist that there is no proof the person actually said this, and the theorist responds with a dozen examples of unreliable sites all quoting each other and containing the unsourced and false quote. The quote also does not have to be totally false; sometimes it can be a partially true quote that is taken out of context, such as George H.W. Bush’s 1991 speech including the unfortunate words “New World Order” (unfortunate because it saddles us debunkers for the rest of time to listen to conspiracy theorists telling us how this supposedly proves the “New World Order” exists, even though it does not, and even though Bush was talking about something completely different. That will likely be the subject of another blog post.]
After Henry’s (mis)quoting, Gamble reaffirms that elite banking groups and their corporations control energy and food.
Patterns of control:
[A full debunking of this section is coming in the future.]
National Education Association:
I wasn’t able to tie the foundation of the NEA either with the Rockefeller family or with the Carnegie and Ford families, but those entities did invest and donated money to the NEA, especially because they were lobbying for bills that provided tax cuts to companies that invested in philanthropic projects and foundations. And during the 1920 and 1930s USA had a dire need for more qualified workers and access to a trained workforce was crucial for companies to expand.
But the point is simple: there is no conclusive evidence that those companies control the NEA.
John Taylor Gatto:
Gatto is a former professor and writer. He claims that compulsory schooling indoctrinates children and leaves them more susceptible to authority. He also defends homeschooling.
Gamble states that the education system was set to create a docile, consumer and obedient workforce.
I guess it’s not working.
The American Medical Association:
[A full debunking of this section is coming in the future.]
Robbins is the author of several books on health and food including the award winning Diet for a New America. In his brief appearance he points out how the material distributed to doctors and medical school students on the subject of nutrition are from food industries that profit from unhealthy eating habits. He mentions the National Dairy Council, Beef USA and the American Sugar Association.
I can’t properly comment on this since I have no easy access to medical school curriculum material.
[Muertos comment: this is the type of claim that can never really be substantiated. Unless Robbins or Gamble specifically identify the material they’re talking about, we have no way of checking it. This is an insidious way of sneaking an un-verifiable claim into the movie.]
Soon after this part of the film, Deepak Chopra states that the pharmaceutical corporations make profits using the AMA and other medical centers to promote their products by selling from doctors and physicians to their patients.
An Indian physician, Deepak Chopra is known for many of his self-help books, new age spiritualism and alternate medicine.
He is a critic of the current system of medicine in the western world, and his ideas revolve around the use of quantum mysticism and spirituality to improve health and cure diseases.
Author note: I admit that a clean state of mind does help and can improve your health, but finding a licensed doctor for a more objective diagnosis is crucial. Personally I think that alternate medicine is as good as a placebo but don’t let people undermine modern doctors and medicine in favor for exotic, esoteric and alternative treatments. Those can cost lives.
Gamble then talks how the cure for diseases has been suppressed the same way free energy has, and then he introduces the viewer to the “well documented example” of Royal Raymond Rife.
R. Royal Raymond Rife:
Yet another inventor who was more of a scam artist than a scientist, Dr. Rife became famous for his “cancer curing machine” using electromagnetism that he claimed was able not only to cure cancer but other infectious diseases. This was during the 1930s when electricity and magnetism were still being studied. During that time many inventors and scam artists used those to sell miracle machines using buzz words and techno babble to convince people of its properties, but this time Rife got the cake.
After other scientists failed to reproduce the same results using Rife’s technique and machines, the scientific community started to reject Rife’s devices and ideas on cancer. Rife blamed the rejection of his devices on a conspiracy that consisted of accusations that the AMA and other medical organizations were behind the failures.
After the accusations of medical fraud, Rife’s lab was destroyed in a fire, probably arson by Rife himself to prevent investigations of his lab from revealing him as a complete fraud.
Today and then, Rife is considered nothing more than a scam artist and his devices are regarded as nothing but pseudoscience by the scientific community.
During the 1980s several scam artist started using Rife-based machines to sell miracle cures, once again causing health problems for those who tried to treat serious diseases, like cancer, with them.
Kimberly C. Gamble later makes an emotional appeal using the cancer history in her family. Then she proceeds to make links between cancer treatment patents by corporations and the suppression of alternative cancer treatments that worked and which didn’t leave the patient tied to the treatment, citing Rene Cassie, Max Gerson and Hoxsey therapy as examples.
Cassie is a Canadian nurse who is claimed to have found herbs from whose tea can cure and prevent cancer. During the 1970’s up until now, several medical laboratories tested the efficiency of her ESSIAC tea and concluded it isn’t effective at curing cancer and in some cases it stimulated the cancer growth.
Cassie was prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license. Many of the people who were treated and “cured” from cancer using ESSIAC were found not to have had cancer at all but were misdiagnosed instead.
ESSIAC can’t be sold as a treatment for cancer but it can be sold as food supplement.
Gerson is a german physician that created the Gerson therapy. It consists of special diets aimed to relieve the body from toxic residues. He made several claims that his method cured cancer during the 1950s but medical tests proved no direct relation to his therapy and curing cancer.
“Gerson’s therapy required the patient to consume a vegetarian diet and to drink a 250-milliliter (8-ounce) glass of fresh organic juices every waking hour. Coffee and castor oil enemas were among several types of prescribed enemas, and some patients were given hydrogen peroxide orally and rectally. Rectal ozone was also applied. Dietary supplements include vitamin C and iodine. The diet prohibited the drinking of water and consumption of berries and nuts, as well as use of aluminium vessels or utensils.”
If you read the last two sentences it’s easy to see why his therapy was found to be dangerous and even deadly, as it can lead to dehydration, infections and other health problems.
Another therapy involving the use of herbal formulas to treat and cure cancer. So far this therapy has been proven to be more harmful than helpful.
As the peer review of Hoxsey treatments showed, there was no evidence of the effectiveness of his therapy. He also had issues with the AMA, which he claimed was persecuting him.
Ironically he used his own therapy to treat his prostate cancer. Due to the failure of his own treatment he had to rely on conventional surgery to remove his cancer!
[More debunking of Thrive to come!]