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John Fagan: ‘Raja of World Peace” of Maharishi movement behind scenes guru of anti-GMO movement

Last Updated: July 29, 2017

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John Fagan


Keywords: John Fagan, Maharishi, Genetic ID

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John Fagan, the founder and former chief science officer of Genetic-ID testing labs and a leading behind-the-scenes force in the anti-GMO movement, is a Raja of the Global Country of World Peace with Global Responsibility for Food Purity and Safety and for Healthy Invincibility associated with the Maharishi movement in Fairfield, IA.[1] In his role as food purity Raja, Fagan is charged with creating a global network of “Maharishi Invincibility Laboratories” (MIL) to use scientific testing methods to verify food purity and quality of Maharishi Vedic Organic products.[2]

Fagan is also affiliated with various Maharishi for-profit Ayurveda alternative health, herbal supplements and natural products companies where his endorsements and research as “Raja Doctor Fagan” are used to help sell and promote a wide range of homeopathic cures.[3] He is an ardent opponent of the the use of GMOs in agriculture[4] while promoting Maharishi Vedic organic agriculture, which he claims “uses the sounds of nature to enliven the full value of consciousness in food” by having Maharishi trained vedic pandits (monk-like scholars in the Hindu scriptures) send vibrations and special sounds drawn from the “unified field” (described as the transcendental field of self-referral consciousness) into crops at various phases of planting, growth and harvesting which he claims gives them six, seven or eight times higher vitamins or nutrition and 20 to 30 times higher anti-oxidant levels.[5]

Career

Fagan is founder and served as chief scientific officer of Genetic-ID, one of the world’s first GMO testing and certification companies. He co-founded Earth Open Source, which produces anti-GMO promotional material and which uses open source collaboration to promote what it calls sustainable food production. Fagan’s promotional materials claims he is “a leading authority on sustainability in the food system, biosafety, and GMO testing.” Via Genetic-ID, he has been a leading partner in the national Non-GMO Project which is seeking via labeling, testing and certification programs to achieve a completely non-GMO food supply.[6]

In court testimony Fagan claims, “I spent 7 years doing research in molecular biology at the National Institutes of Health, first as a postdoctoral fellow, and subsequently leading my own research group from 1980 to 1984. In 1984, I moved my research laboratory from the National Institutes of Health to Maharishi University of Management, where I am now Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Co-director of the Physiology and Molecular and Cell Biology Ph.D. Program, and Dean of the Graduate School.”[7]

Fagan also promotes alternative health programs and campaigns overseas, such as “Healing Herbs Nepal,” in collaboration with organic industry leader United Natural Foods (a key funder of the anti-GMO movement and member of Fagan’s associated NON-GMO project)[8]

Education

  • Cornell University, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology, 1971 – 1977
  • University of Washington, BS, Chemistry, 1966 – 1971

Genetic-ID

300px-Global-ID-headquartersSeveral academics, NGOs, bloggers and journalists who have published content associating Fagan with Genetic-ID have received litigation threat letters from attorneys associated with the company (and affiliated with the Maharishi movement).[9]

Fagan is former president and founder of Genetic ID and as of early 2015 he was listed in some online corporate filing documents as the “Chief Scientific Officer” for its global parent “Global ID Group.” Genetic ID, which offers “direct analysis of DNA and can detect the presence of target elements to a level of 0.01 percent,” is positioned to profit off of the controversy over GMO foods that Fagan and his associated organizations and associates help generate.

Fagan is also a listed director and chief scientific officer for the UK-based CertID company (another Global-ID affiliate)[10],[11],[12] and another UK-based group called the EOS Association (Earth Open Source).[13] They offer consulting services via Food Chain Global Advisors (another Global-ID affiliate).[14] Food Chain Global Advisers are the technical administrators for the Non-GMO project advising companies on how and where to source non-GMO ingredients.[15] Global-ID and Genetic-ID claim Fagan is no longer associated and “sold” the company to investors in 2013, however, Fagan remained listed as a associated with the organization on various documents and promotional materials as recently as early 2015. In addition, other Genetic-ID and Global-ID staff affiliated with Fagan’s Maharishi movement remain on staff.

The Fairfield, IA-based GMO testing laboratory Genetic-ID was created Fagan while he was a dean and teacher at the Maharishi Institute, with Bill Witherspoon, a Midwest organizer for the Maharishi movement[16],[17] and Jay B. Marcus, an attorney representing various Maharishi vedic health and organic food business interests.[18] Attorney Marcus remains, as of 2015, the legal representative for Genetic-ID.

Anti-biotech activists Jeffrey M. Smith was marketing director and vice president at Genetic-ID under Fagan during which time he traveled around the globe promoting food testing for and labeling of GMOs in food, personally asserting they were dangerous.[19] Smith promoted Genetic-ID services to organic food companies[20], governments and activists groups[21] who opposed genetically modified foods. [22] Genetic-ID has become a partner in the Non-GMO Project campaign linked to Maharishi follower Ken Roseboro’s Organic and Non-GMO Report.

Fagan’s various “Global ID Group” entities operate from Fairfield, IA in a “Maharishi Vashtu Vedic(TM) architecture “natural law based designed and constructed” building which builders claims provides “fortune creating” living and work spaces which also help the occupants to avoid family tragedies, accidents and death.[23] The group is led by fellow Maharishi Institute teacher[24], Fairfield resident who follows the Maharishi Enlightenment program[25] and promoter of “yogic flying”[26] Kenneth Ross[27] (including Genetic-ID and various “Cert-ID” subsidiaries) offer GMO testing services which it claims “address government and consumer needs for information about food quality and growing concerns about food safety and processing practices.” Global ID was funded in part via the private equity group LFE Capital which announced in November 2013 that Global ID had more than doubled revenues and that LFE Capital was able to sell Global ID for a profit (based on a 2008 $3 million investment[28])- the purchaser and details of the deal were not announced.[29]

The Global ID Group includes various arms operating with commercial, government and NGO clients across the globe. Genetic-ID works in the U.S. and Germany. Cert-ID in the U.S.; U.K., Brazil & Germany; Food Chain Advisors in the U.S.; and Food Chain Europe in the U.K.[30] The U.S.D.A./F.A.S. calls Cert-IDon of the major certification programs for Europe’s top 10 retailers.[31]. In the U.S., USDA’s Organic Program lists Cert-ID as a major “organic-related” certification program.[32] The company claims, “Global ID serves more than 1,000 of the largest firms in the global food and agricultural industries, with offices in 5 countries and with 18 licensee laboratories in 14 countries.”[33]

Maharishi Movement

The Maharishi Movement is a multi-billion dollar,[34], [35] multi-national conglomerate of interconnected non-profit and for-profit entities in which John Fagan is a Raja (king) appointed to oversee “food purity.” In this role Fagan oversees a global network of “testing laboratories” for which Maharishi leader “Jai Guru Dev” noted “Raja Fagan is in charge of the world purity, and the publicity of his Maharishi Invincibility Laboratories will have a very good effect in eventually raising the nation to the level of invincibility.”

Fagan has described this role adding, “By verifying purity, the Maharishi Invincibility Laboratories will support all those who are setting up Maharishi’s programs for invincibility around the world.”[36] Fagan and wife Susel are also Maharishi Rajas appointed to administer the State of Texas.[37] In their roles as Rajas, both John and Susel have lobbied Maharishi community followers to oppose GMOs and called upon them to file public comments to the USDA and FDA to block approvals of plant biotechnology products.[38]

MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT

John Fagan is promoted as a leading faculty member and advisor at MUM[39], [40] which claims to provide “education used to develop every student’s creative potential through Maharishi’s consciousness-based education, thereby raising every nation to invincibility and creating peace an prosperity for our world family” with 2012 reported income and expenditures in excess of U.S. $33 million. It raised money through contributions ($6M) and program services ($26M) and disperses grants of nearly U.S. $10 million annually to other “governments, organizations and individuals.” MUM reports receiving U.S. government support including grants and awards from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, U.S. Department of Education, Pell Grants, and Perkins Loans. (Note: MUM has had a “record high” student loan default rate of 19.57 percent.[41]) They report grant distributions to Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia programs in Vedic Education. They provide grants to:

  • World Health Foundation (Vedic City, IA)
  • Seeds of Heaven (Fairfield, IA)
  • Maharishi Purusha Program (Fairfield, IA)
  • Maharishi Global Admin Natural Law (Vedic City, IA)
  • Maharishi Foundation USA (Fairfield, IA)
  • Jefferson City Farmers (Fairfield, IA)
  • Global Country of World Peace (Fairfield, IA)
  • Brahmananda Saraswatipo (Fairfield, IA)

It lists affiliate organizations including the David Lynch Foundation.[42]

Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy (Maharishi Institute)

Fagan is a listed associated director with the Natural Law Party presidential candidate and Maharishi-led United States Peace Government president John Hagelin. Hagelin runs the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy at the Maharishi Institute for Management.[43]

Annapurna Global Foundation

Foundation promoting GMO testing and associated with Larry Bohlen (Natural Check testing company]) and Soil Food Web. Providing consulting to the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders Network on consumer and NGO group GMO and pesticide testing, like the glyphosate testing program by Moms Across America.[44]

Maharishi University of Enlightenment

MUE provide educational and spiritual programs in enlightenment with joint faculty with MUM including John Fagan. They report some US$8 million in assets and $800,000 in expenditures in 2012.[45]

Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture (MVOA)

Fagan promotes and supports MVOA, an extreme form of organic and biodynamic agriculture that blends the teachings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi into food production and which should be the only form of food production allowed. Fagan claims, “The most ideal agriculture is Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture, Raja Fagan said, but until it is fully implemented, steps are being taken so that farmers can enjoy a better quality of life and healthier farming practices, and consumers can enjoy healthy, nourishing food.”[1] His books on “Vedic Engineering” are sold on various Maharishi Ayurveda for-profit marketing sites.[47]

The MVOA claims to provide “demonstration, research and education in Maharishi vedic organic agriculture” with 2011 listed income and expenditures of US $1.2 million for which John Fagan is a listed director. Their income includes over US$1 million from “program” sales of organic produce and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) services.[48]

BRAHMANANDA SARASWATI FOUNDATION

BSW is a registered U.S. (and Canadian) 501c3 organization with annual income and expenditures in excess of U.S. $3 million for which John Fagan is a listed director. The organization notes multi-million dollar transfers to organizations in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Canada with similar goals and interest. It provides financial support to and lists the “Global Country of World Peace” as an affiliated organization.[49] The Foundation claims responsibility for securing the “safety and invincibility for all future life by perpetually providing support for the Vedic performances of the Vedic Pandits…” and “support the Vedic Pandits generation after generation…”[50] The Vedic Pandits are integral to Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture production overseen by John Fagan.

MAHARISHI PURUSHA PROGRAM

300px-Purusha-trainingThe MPP (of which Jeffrey M. Smith is a graduate) is based in Romney, WV but operates programs in Fairfield, IA with MUM. MPP reports nearly U.S. $2 million in 2012 expenditures for “educational programs in the Maharishi Vedic Science (MVS) programs and educational programs in developing higher states of consciousness through the MVS program. Support and promote the MVS program around the world and put the program into practice by supporting and promoting world peace professionals practicing the TM & TM-Sidhi programs to help create world peace & harmony.” It provides grants to Purusha Rajas like John Fagan[51] and to Fagan-linked organizations including: The Maharishi Vedic Foundation, Global Country of World Peace, Brahmanda Saraswati Foundation and the Global Capital of World Peace. Their board overlaps with these other organizations.[52]

MAHARISHI GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT FUND

MGDF reported more than U.S. $88 million in assets and provided more than US$33 million in 2011 grants to governments and organizations aligned with their values in agricultural development, health and other well being areas including grants to the Brahmanand Saraswati Trust and the Global Country of World Peace (organizations for which John Fagan is a director).[53]

MAHARISHI FOUNDATION USA

The MFU promotes program “in all areas of Maharishi’s vedic science and technology that are needed to create healthy, happy, enlightened individuals in a prosperous and harmonious society” reporting more than US$9 million in expenditures in 2011. Grant recipients include:

  • Mother Divine Program (Livingston Manor, NY)
  • Maharishi University of Management (Fairifled,IA)
  • David Lynch Foundation (Fairfield, IA)
  • Global Country of World Peace (Vedic City, IA)
  • Global Mother Divine Organization (Fairfield, IA)
  • Jefferson County Farmers (Fairfield, IA)[54]

Other Maharishi & Fagan linked groups

  • SNG International, Inc. (registered in 2001 by Jay Marcus with John Fagan as president and sole director, dissolved 2006)[55]
  • The Maharishi World Peace Vedic Organic’s (Formerly Maharishi Vedic City Foundation, John Fagan Director) businesses are for profit company registrations noting Fagan as an employee, director or owner both of which are registered in Iowa at 103 Full Moon Lane, Fairfield – Fagan’s listed residence.[56]
  • Mother Divine Program Creating Coherence (Livingston Manor, NY)
  • Howard & Alice Settle Foundation for an Invincible America (Lexington, KY)
  • Global Mother Divine Organization USA (Vedic City, IA)
  • Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corp (Fairfield, IA)
  • Maharishi Organic Agriculture Insitute (Fairfield, IA)
  • Maharishi University of Management Research Institute (Fairfield, IA)
  • Maharishi Global Administration Through Natural Law (Livingston Manor, NY)
  • Maharishi Ayurveda Foundation (Antrim, NH)
  • Maharishi Academy of Total Knowledge (Antrim, NH)
  • Global Invincibility Foundation (Fairfield, IA) from which the Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture program[57] is supported in Fairfield, with reported 2011 assets of $3.8 million and annual expenditures of more than $500,000. The Invincibility Foundation also directs annual support to MGANL-MD (Maharishi Vedic City), Maharishi University of Management (Fairfield), Global Country of World Peace (Maharishi Vedic City), and the Barhamanda Saraswati Foundation (Fairfield).[58]

Other Iowa Registered “Maharishi” Businesses

  • 174376 MAHARISHI GLOBAL VEDIC OBSERVATORIES CORPORATION
  • 147416 MAHARISHI GOVERNMENT CONSULTANTS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
  • 151103 MAHARISHI HEAVEN ON EARTH DESIGN CORPORATION
  • 190571 MAHARISHI INSTITUTE FOR POSTGRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION
  • 65152 MAHARISHI INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
  • 121368 MAHARISHI INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
  • 131079 MAHARISHI INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
  • 159469 MAHARISHI JYOTISH CORPORATION
  • 416530 MAHARISHI PUBLICATIONS, LLC
  • 352066 MAHARISHI PURUSHA PROGRAM
  • 211761 MAHARISHI REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT ONE, L.C.
  • 279367 MAHARISHI SPIRITUAL UNIVERSITY
  • 261673 MAHARISHI SPIRITUAL UNIVERSITY
  • 261673 MAHARISHI SPIRITUAL UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA
  • 130424 MAHARISHI STHAPATYA-VED INSTITUTE OF NORTH AMERICA
  • 365504 MAHARISHI TOWER OF INVINCIBILITY
  • 261673 MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY OF ENLIGHTENMENT
  • 121368 MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT
  • 217488 MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT
  • 205305 MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT FOUNDATION, INCORPORATED
  • 200925 MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT FOUNDATION, INCORPORATED
  • 205305 MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT PUBLIC FOUNDATION, INCORPORATED
  • 308950 MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT RESEARCH INSTITUTE
  • 435590 MAHARISHI UNIVERSITY OF WORLD PEACE
  • 416531 MAHARISHI VEDA VISION, LLC
  • 379524 MAHARISHI VEDIC CITY DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION
  • 255492 MAHARISHI VEDIC CITY FOUNDATION
  • 189514 MAHARISHI VEDIC EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
  • 412657 MAHARISHI VEDIC ORGANICS, LLC
  • 388836 MAHARISHI VEDIC UNIVERSITY
  • 167602 MAHARISHI VEDIC UNIVERSITY (IOWA)
  • 279367 MAHARISHI VEDIC UNIVERSITY (LADIES’ DIVISION)
  • 276955 MAHARISHI WORLD PEACE FUND
  • 50261 Sidha Corporation International (Livingston Manner, NY)

Advocacy

Fagan is a frequent speaker and co-publisher of anti-GMO claims with various advocacy and alternative health groups. Via the Non-GMO Project (partnered with his Genetic-ID company) such activity is promoted. He co-published “GMO Myths and Truths” with GM-Watch editor Claire Robinson and Michael Antoniou.[59] In 2000 Fagan partnered with the Genetically Engineered Food Alert (a coalition led by Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network, etc.) with support from Fenton Communications) to test corn products for the presence of Starlink GMOs.[60] In 2008 Fagan told reporters in India that the increased incidence of cancer and birth defects in Punjab might have been triggered by genetically modified (GM) crops and excessive use of pesticides.[61] In March 2013 Fagan, while still at Genetic-ID, was cited as lending supporting the Mom’s Across America anti-GMO movement which led to the creation of GMO-Free USA.[62]

Fagan also promotes transcendental meditation and yogic flying workshops to promote world peace, sustainability and business.[63]

Non-GMO Project

300px-Fagan-non-gmo-project-board-memberFagan was an early board member[64] with and Genetic-ID became partners in the Non-GMO Project after it’s founding with various Genetic-ID clients including United Natural Foods and alternative health and supplements company Nutiva. Fagan has been listed formally by the Non-GMO Project as a board member and “adviser” between 2007 and 2013.[65] Fagan’s company, Global Food Chain Advisers remains listed as a board member in 2014.

ProTerra Foundation

ProTerra, founded in 2012, promotes itself as “A non-profit organisation supporting the supply chain in the provision of food and feed produced according to sustainable and non-GMO requirements.” Fagan claims to be a director with the Amsterdam-based Pro Terra Foundation, which lists Fagan’s residence as its U.S. business address. Proterra website. ProTerra is a “global certification system” tied to nother Fagan business CertID. The ProTerra board is comprised of:

ProTerra promotes strict GMO-testing requirements for soy and other food ingredient products in the EU in partnership with CertID (another Fagan company).[66] They are also promoting GMO-testing certification and claims in developing markets, like Kenya, urging “responsible” business adopt their non-GMO sustainable certification standards and labeling of products.[67] They are also working in Latin America where ProTerra holds a seat on the board of directors of Costa Rica’s Earth University Foundation promoting a non-GMO agenda.[68] Their work is aggressively promoted by anti-GMO advocacy groups like the Organic and Non-GMO Report by fellow Maharishi follower Ken Roseboro and Claire Robinson’s GM Watch who which reports receiving funding from other Non-GMO Project partners linked to Fagan and Genetic-ID.

Alliance for Bio-Integrity

Fagan was a co-litigant (plaintiff)[69] and submitted testimony on behalf of the fellow Maharishi follower Steven Druker’s anti-GMO advocacy group Alliance for Bio-Integrity (ABI) – ABI was founded in 1997 as a 501c3 EIN 42-1463192 tax exempt organization by Druker, Center for Food Safety executive director Andrew Kimbrell, Maharishi-movement organizers Martin Brodeur and Mark Berkowitz.[70] The group has not filed any tax or public documents since 2003.

GMO Free USA

Fagan is a board member listed in the staff section of GMO-Free USA[39] and appeared affiliated with the group dating back to at least October 2013 while Fagan was still officially working for Genetic-ID.

Criticisms

Personal & Other

Fagan (in 1999) resided at 103 Full Moon Lane, Fairfield, IA 52556. He is married to Susel Merton (also goes by Susel M. Jensen), formerly of Vermont and a graduate of the Putney School and Sarah Lawrence University. Merton is also a follower of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and is the former chairperson of the Westchester, NY Transcendental Meditation Center and personally trained by the Maharishi.[72]

May be related: In 1991 a John B. Fagan of Iowa, with an Anne M. Fagan filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy[73] John B. Fagan and Anne M. Fagan filed a subsequent bankruptcy in 2001.[74] This case appears related to bankruptcy filings against a John B. Fagan of Iowa by Arnold E. Bruggeman in 2001.[75]

Bibliography & Resources

References

  • First Officer

    I wonder what his net worth is?

  • acueli

    Probably less than the CEO of Monsanto. So why does that matter?

    • Farmer Sue

      It matters because he makes money selling magic potions while lambasting ecologically-sound, yield-raising GE foods. It matters a lot.

  • Farmer Sue

    Holy moly. If this guy were to do his sound consciousness thing in my fields, I’d send the dogs after him. Along with the white-coat guys.

  • Will M Davis

    Glyphosate may indirectly increase aggressive behavior in US school children, by a probable pathway of lowering serotonin levels, reports the physics journal Entropy, published in 2013,

    • GM is a meditating technique. Many endorse its usefulness, including me; I have been using TM for 40 years. It’s the tiniest fraction of the Maharishi cult religion. That doesn’t make the beliefs of the Maharishi cult or Fagan any less crackpot.

      • Larkin Curtis Hannah

        Just to chime in, I am a huge supporter of GM technology as most readers of the GM blogs know. I also meditate and actually went to Fairfield Iowa to learn how. I agree with Jon; meditation is a good thing; cult following is dangerous and creepy.