Monday, March 16, 2009

The Multiple Ways Monsanto is Putting Normal Seeds Out of Reach

Posted by Barbara Peterson
February 5, 2009

By Linn Cohen-Cole

People say if farmers don’t want problems from Monsanto, just don’t buy their GMO seeds.

Not so simple. Where are farmers supposed to get normal seed these days? How are they supposed to avoid contamination of their fields from GM-crops? How are they supposed to stop Monsanto detectives from trespassing or Monsanto from using helicopters to fly over spying on them?

Monsanto contaminates the fields, trespasses onto the land taking samples and if they find any GMO plants growing there (or say they have), they then sue, saying they own the crop. It’s a way to make money since farmers can’t fight back and court and they settle because they have no choice.

And they have done and are doing a bucket load of things to keep farmers and everyone else from having any access at all to buying, collecting, and saving of NORMAL seeds.

1. They’ve bought up the seed companies across the Midwest.

2. They’ve written Monsanto seed laws and gotten legislators to put them through, that make cleaning, collecting and storing of seeds so onerous in terms of fees and paperwork and testing and tracking every variety and being subject to fines, that having normal seed becomes almost impossible (an NAIS approach to wiping out normal seeds). Does your state have such a seed law? Before they existed, farmers just collected the seeds and put them in sacks in the shed and used them the next year, sharing whatever they wished with friends and neighbors, selling some if they wanted. That’s been killed.

In Illinois, which has such a seed law, Madigan, the Speaker of the House, his staff is Monsanto lobbyists.

3. Monsanto is pushing anti-democracy laws (Vilsack’s brainchild, actually) that remove community’ control over their own counties so farmers and citizens can’t block the planting of GMO crops even if they can contaminate other crops. So if you don’t want a GM-crop that grows industrial chemicals or drugs or a rice growing with human DNA in it, in your area and mixing with your crops, tough luck.

Check the map of just where the Monsanto/Vilsack laws are and see if your state is still a democracy or is Monsanto’s. A farmer in Illinois told me he heard that Bush had pushed through some regulation that made this true in every state. People need to check on that.

4. For sure there are Monsanto regulations buried in the FDA right now that make a farmer’s seed cleaning equipment illegal (another way to leave nothing but GM-seeds) because it’s now considered a “source of seed contamination.” Farmer can still seed clean but the equipment now has to be certified and a farmer said it would require a million to a million and half dollar building and equipment … for EACH line of seed. Seed storage facilities are also listed (another million?) and harvesting and transport equipment. And manure. Something that can contaminate seed. Notice that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not mentioned.

You could eat manure and be okay (a little grossed out but okay). Try that with pesticides and fertilizers. Indian farmers have. Their top choice for how to commit suicide to escape the debt they have been left in is to drink Monsanto pesticides.

5. Monsanto is picking off seed cleaners across the Midwest. In Pilot Grove, Missouri, in Indiana (Maurice Parr), and now in southern Illinois (Steve Hixon). And they are using US marshals and state troopers and county police to show up in three cars to serve the poor farmers who had used Hixon as their seed cleaner, telling them that he or their neighbors turned them in, so across that 6 county areas, no one talking to neighbors and people are living in fear and those farming communities are falling apart from the suspicion Monsanto sowed. Hixon’s office got broken into and he thinks someone put a GPS tracking device on his equipment and that’s how Monsanto found between 200-400 customers in very scattered and remote areas, and threatened them all and destroyed his business within 2 days.

So, after demanding that seed cleaners somehow be able to tell one seed from another (or be sued to kingdom come) or corrupting legislatures to put in laws about labeling of seeds that are so onerous no one can cope with them, what is Monsanto’s attitude about labeling their own stuff? You guessed it - they’re out there pushing laws against ANY labeling of their own GM-food and animals and of any exports to other countries. Why?

We know and they know why.

As Norman Braksick, the president of Asgrow Seed Co. (now owned by Monsanto) predicted in the Kansas City Star (3/7/94) seven years ago, “If you put a label on a genetically engineered food, you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”

And they’ve sued dairy farmers for telling the truth about their milk being rBGH-free, though rBGH is associated with an increased risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers.

I just heard that some seed dealers urge farmers to buy the seed under the seed dealer’s name, telling the farmers it helps the dealer get a discount on seed to buy a lot under their own name. Then Monsanto sues the poor farmer for buying their seed without a contract and extorts huge sums from them.

Here’s a youtube video that is worth your time. Vandana Shiva is one of the leading anti-Monsanto people in the world. In this video, she says (and this video is old), Monsanto had sued 1500 farmers whose fields had simply been contaminated by GM-crops. Listen to all the ways Monsanto goes after farmers.

Do you know the story of Gandhi in India and how the British had salt laws that taxed salt? The British claimed it as theirs. Gandhi had what was called a Salt Satyagraha, in which people were asked to break the laws and march to the sea and collect the salt without paying the British. A kind of Boston tea party, I guess.

Thousands of people marched 240 miles to the ocean where the British were waiting. As people moved forward to collect the salt, the British soldiers clubbed them but the people kept coming. The non-violent protest exposed the British behavior, which was so revolting to the world that it helped end British control in India.

Vandana Shiva has started a Seed Satyagraha - nonviolent non-cooperation around seed laws - has gotten millions of farmers to sign a pledge to break those laws.

American farmers and cattlemen might appreciate what Gandhi fought for and what Shiva is bringing back and how much it is about what we are all so angry about - loss of basic freedoms. [The highlighting is mine.]

The Seed Satyagraha is the name for the nonviolent, noncooperative movement that Dr. Shiva has organized to stand against seed monopolies. According to Dr. Shiva, the name was inspired by Gandhi’s famous walk to the Dandi Beach, where he picked up salt and said, “You can’t monopolize this which we need for life.” But it’s not just the noncooperation aspect of the movement that is influenced by Gandhi. The creative side saving seeds, trading seeds, farming without corporate dependence–without their chemicals, without their seed.

” All this is talked about in the language that Gandhi left us as a legacy. We work with three key concepts.”

” (One) Swadeshi…which means the capacity to do your own thing–produce your own food, produce your own goods….”

“(Two) Swaraj–to govern yourself. And we fight on three fronts–water, food, and seed. JalSwaraj is water independence–water freedom and water sovereignty. Anna Swaraj is food freedom, food sovereignty. And Bija Swaraj is seed freedom and seed sovereignty. Swa means self–that which rises from the self and is very, very much a deep notion of freedom.

“I believe that these concepts, which are deep, deep, deep in Indian civilization, Gandhi resurrected them to fight for freedom. They are very important for today’s world because so far what we’ve had is centralized state rule, giving way now to centralized corporate control, and we need a third alternate. That third alternate is, in part, citizens being able to tell their state, ‘This is what your function is. This is what your obligations are,’ and being able to have their states act on corporations to say, ‘This is something you cannot do.’”

” (Three) Satyagraha, non-cooperation, basically saying, ‘We will do our thing and any law that tries to say that (our freedom) is illegal… we will have to not cooperate with it. We will defend our freedoms to have access to water, access to seed, access to food, access to medicine.’”


Not On My Watch Says:

February 11, 2009 at 2:08 am
An open letter to Monsanto.

I will buy seed from whoever I want when I want. I have nothing for you to sue me over but you are welcome to spend millions trying. In fact I encourage you to spend as much money as you want suing me. Everyone of you that is threatened by this company, make them take you to court. Force the state to pay for your defense seeing as your the victim here and Monsanto has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Considering that cross pollination can cause their plant’s genes to show up in your crops without your consent perhaps you should threaten to counter sue them for contaminating an organic crop. The reasonable action by Monsanto would be to make their crops unable to reproduce so as to prevent them from invading other species.

Its high time you farmers quit acting like victims and start seeing the court rooms as your friends and not your enemies. There are plenty of ways to bring a corporation to its knees, you just have to be a little creative and not wither like a weed from every threat.

We Americans have grown soft thinking that the government will take care of us, not realizing all along that WE are the government and its our responsibility to take care of ourselves. If your government is not protecting you, travel the paths of politics and throw them out and replace them with people who do understand the meanings between right and wrong.

If you choose not to do this you are willingly allowing yourselves to be victimized and deserve what you get. Remember a corporation is legally a citizen and therefore can be held accountable to the same laws that we as humans can. No one has been holding them to that standard and they are not going to like it when we do.
Without a court order, any of the evidence that Monsanto gathers on your land is not legally able to be used in a court of law, and yet you people fear to go to court against them.

You must be willing to go to court and know your basic law well enough to know if the courts themselves are following the law and if they are not you must learn how to file effective complaints and have these criminals removed from their jobs.
Freedom has to be defended in a forceful manner or control freaks like Monsanto will run over you if you let them.


Travis Says:

February 11, 2009 at 3:09 am
My father and I were turned in to monsanto for saving seed eventhough we were not planting Roundup Ready Gmo Soybeans. We figure it was a neighbor who we had confrontations with over drainage rights to a farm. We were investigate by Pinkerington thugs who made my father sign a paper giving them access to all our buildings, farms, farm records, gov records etc.. They acted like they had concealed weapons, as if they were cops, and said, “You will sign these papers or Monsanto will sue you, you will lose and Monsanto takes pride in How Many farmers they have Bankrupted!! ” Then they laughed. Monsanto found that we were doing nothing wrong, but never sent us a specific letter saying they were sorry, But instead said, “We must make sure all farmers are playing on a level playing field and we would appreciate you business in the future.” We tried to get the names of the person or persons who falsley accused us of this misdeed so that we could sue them for defimation of character, but Monsanto refused and said that they don’t keep track of that. You cant imagine how much stress this caused us over a six month period eventhough we knew we were innocent. We were so scared that the next year we bought all Gmo seed, so that we weren’t risking losing everything. By the way we grain farmed 1800 acres. Monsanto has ruined farming and put the control in the hands of the corporations. This took place 4yrs ago. I thought I lived in a free country until this happened. Now I feel like it is Nazi Germany. I bet the person who turned us in got a free jacket or some seed. How pathetic. If you want to get your neighbors farmland or ruin his reputation, just turn him in to Monsanto. One, last thing, Monsanto has built spy facilities in every farm comunity took keep records about farmers purchases, but they disguise them as research facilities. Don’t be fooled.


Barbara Peterson Says:

February 13, 2009 at 3:54 am
Traitor Seeds

Something not many know about are the Traitor seeds. Remember the Bht cotton that Indian farmers committed suicide over because they produce significantly less than advertised? These farmers could not afford all of the chemicals. The seeds were Traitor seeds. Here is a 1999 definition:

GENETIC MUTILATION: An especially disturbing feature of some of the new
patents profiled in RAFI’s report is the deliberate disabling of natural
plant functions that help to fight disease. Swiss biotech giant Novartis
is most advanced in this aspect of Traitor technology. Novartis blandly
refers to it as “inactivation of endogenous regulation” so that “genes
which are natively regulated can be regulated exclusively by the
application to the plant of a chemical regulator.”

Among the genes which Novartis can control in this manner are patented SAR
(systemic acquired resistance) genes which are critical to plant’s ability
to fight off infections from many viruses and bacteria. Thus, Novartis has
patented techniques to create plants with natural healthy functions turned
off. “The only way to turn them back on and fix these ‘damaged goods’ ”
says RAFI’s Edward Hammond, “is, well, you guessed it, the application of a
propietary chemical.”

( )

If enough chemicals are not applied, the genetically modified plants’ genes are not triggered and they do not grow well. You have to apply the appropriate chemicals to get them to grow. Coincidentally, the appropriate chemicals are manufactured by the same company that manufactures the seeds. This technology is even more insidious than the terminator seeds because it is being kept secret.


Corrinne Novak Says:

March 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm
What is behind all the attacks on our food supply?
We all know Monsanto does not stand alone, but it is a more prominent target than the others in the Agri-business Cartel or IPC, the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council .

I found an excellent article by F. William Engdah who gives a very good explanation of how most of the nations in the world have been taken over by the Mega-Corporations. Engdah has studied trade issues since 1984. There are many others who back up his information.

In the following I have paraphrased Engdah Article.

The current state of affairs in World Agriculture goes back to IPC influence in the formation of the WTO, World Trade Organization and AoA, the Agreement on Agriculture. The WTO emasculated the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) an international agreement on the safe handling and treatment of GMOs. Instead of the usual trade treaties for the first time a world organization WTO, with tough sanction and enforcement powers, was formed. More important, decision making would be secret, with no oversight. The most vital issues of economic life on the planet were to be decided behind closed doors.

Under WTO rules, countries can challenge another’s laws. The case is heard by a tribunal of three trade bureaucrats (corporate lawyers). There is no conflict of interest rules binding them, and the names of the judges are kept secret. There is no rule that the judges of WTO respect any national laws, the three judges meet in secret and all court documents are confidential and cannot be published.

The actual author of the WTO AoA was Daniel Amstutz, a former Vice President of Cargill. He was appointed by US Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, Member Emeritus of IPC and a former board member of a Monsanto subsidiary. The AoA has brought misery, indebtedness and bankruptcy to millions of farmers. It has caused thousands of farmer suicides and hundreds of consumers to fall ill.

“The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures…Aims to ensure that governments DO NOT USE QUARANTINE AND FOOD SAFETY REQUIREMENTS as Unjustified trade barriers

The Agreement to Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) forbid member countries using domestic standards or testing, food safety laws, product standards, calling them an ‘unfair barrier to trade.’

Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) introduced intellectual property rules (patents) on plants, animals and seeds. This where Monsanto gained the power to patent seed and sue farmers. WTO also removed tariffs allowing dumping of heavily subsidized EU and USA grains on third world countries, big money for the grain traders.

Who controls WTO?

Almost never does someone ask ‘who really controls the WTO?’ Yet the question is of utmost importance for the future of global food security. The powerful private interests who control WTO agriculture policy prefer to remain in the background. The IPC was created in 1987 explicitly to drive home the GATT agriculture rules of WTO. A look at the IPC membership will explain what interests it represents.

The Chairman is Robert Thompson, former Assistant Secretary US Department of Agriculture and former Presidential economic adviser.
Also included in the IPC are Bernard Auxenfans, former chairman Monsanto France; Allen Andreas of ADM/Toepfer;
Andrew Burke, Bunge (US);
Dale Hathaway former USDA official and head IFPRI (US).
Other IPC members include Heinz Imhof, chairman of Syngenta (CH)
Rob Johnson of Cargill (US) and USDA Agriculture Policy Advisory Council;
Guy Legras (France) former EU Director General Agriculture,
Rolf Moehler (Germany) former EU Director General Agriculture
. Donald Nelson of Kraft Foods (US);
Joe O’Mara of USDA,
Hiroshi Shiraiwa of Mitsui & Co Japan;
Jim Starkey former US Trade Representative Assistant;
Hans Joehr, Nestle head of agriculture;
Jerry Steiner, Monsanto (US).
And Members Emeritus include Ann Veneman, herself a board member of a Monsanto subsidiary company before she became US Secretary of Agriculture for George W. Bush in 2001.

In effect the IPC is run by agribusiness giants including Cargill, Monsanto, Bunge, ADM, the very interests which benefit from the rules they drafted for WTO trade.