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Monsanto Company © - nataraja - 04-08-2008

Monsanto Company

I think that the monsanto threat is not truely realized. This is a threat on our food as a species by a virus like plague.

On the one hand you have a desire for diverse seeds and "natural" grown foods. A quite convincing evidence suggesting a need for caution regarding gm foods. The need for economic security and liberty to grow and produce ones own food.

The argument against is one of some what selfish, short sighted and fuelled by a desire for profit. But none the less is still an argument. That there is no risk eating and living off industrial food as the mexican corn growers like to call it. It will be cheaper and better quality, is also an argument that they might claim.

So the basic arguments on monsanto in no way conclusive. I created this thread as i hope it could get pinned and if we get any more updates or information on this topic we can add it.

This is an outline of the documentries that I have collected on monsanto or biotech.

Monsanto - Global Food Monopoly

Sweet Remedy - The World Reacts to an Adulterated Food Supply

Monsanto - Patent For a Pig

World According to Monsanto

These four documentries i recommend. They are available on concen tracker or other public trackers.

Monsanto Company © - --- - 04-08-2008

monoculture is deadly

RE: Monsanto Company © - FastTadpole - 12-16-2009

Quote:AP INVESTIGATION: Monsanto seed biz role revealed
Monday, December 14, 2009

ST. LOUIS — Confidential contracts detailing Monsanto Co.'s business practices reveal how the world's biggest seed developer is squeezing competitors, controlling smaller seed companies and protecting its dominance over the multibillion-dollar market for genetically altered crops, an Associated Press investigation has found.

With Monsanto's patented genes being inserted into roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., the company also is using its wide reach to control the ability of new biotech firms to get wide distribution for their products, according to a review of several Monsanto licensing agreements and dozens of interviews with seed industry participants, agriculture and legal experts.

Declining competition in the seed business could lead to price hikes that ripple out to every family's dinner table. That's because the corn flakes you had for breakfast, soda you drank at lunch and beef stew you ate for dinner likely were produced from crops grown with Monsanto's patented genes.

Monsanto's methods are spelled out in a series of confidential commercial licensing agreements obtained by the AP. The contracts, as long as 30 pages, include basic terms for the selling of engineered crops resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, along with shorter supplementary agreements that address new Monsanto traits or other contract amendments.

The company has used the agreements to spread its technology — giving some 200 smaller companies the right to insert Monsanto's genes in their separate strains of corn and soybean plants. But, the AP found, access to Monsanto's genes comes at a cost, and with plenty of strings attached.

For example, one contract provision bans independent companies from breeding plants that contain both Monsanto's genes and the genes of any of its competitors, unless Monsanto gives prior written permission — giving Monsanto the ability to effectively lock out competitors from inserting their patented traits into the vast share of U.S. crops that already contain Monsanto's genes.

Monsanto's business strategies and licensing agreements are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and at least two state attorneys general, who are trying to determine if the practices violate U.S. antitrust laws. The practices also are at the heart of civil antitrust suits filed against Monsanto by its competitors, including a 2004 suit filed by Syngenta AG that was settled with an agreement and ongoing litigation filed this summer by DuPont in response to a Monsanto lawsuit.

The suburban St. Louis-based agricultural giant said it's done nothing wrong.

"We do not believe there is any merit to allegations about our licensing agreement or the terms within," said Monsanto spokesman Lee Quarles. He said he couldn't comment on many specific provisions of the agreements because they are confidential and the subject of ongoing litigation.

"Our approach to licensing (with) many companies is pro-competitive and has enabled literally hundreds of seed companies, including all of our major direct competitors, to offer thousands of new seed products to farmers," he said.

The benefit of Monsanto's technology for farmers has been undeniable, but some of its major competitors and smaller seed firms claim the company is using strong-arm tactics to further its control.

"We now believe that Monsanto has control over as much as 90 percent of (seed genetics). This level of control is almost unbelievable," said Neil Harl, agricultural economist at Iowa State University who has studied the seed industry for decades. "The upshot of that is that it's tightening Monsanto's control, and makes it possible for them to increase their prices long term. And we've seen this happening the last five years, and the end is not in sight."

At issue is how much power one company can have over seeds, the foundation of the world's food supply. Without stiff competition, Monsanto could raise its seed prices at will, which in turn could raise the cost of everything from animal feed to wheat bread and cookies.

The price of seeds is already rising. Monsanto increased some corn seed prices last year by 25 percent, with an additional 7 percent hike planned for corn seeds in 2010. Monsanto brand soybean seeds climbed 28 percent last year and will be flat or up 6 percent in 2010, said company spokeswoman Kelli Powers.

Monsanto's broad use of licensing agreements has made its biotech traits among the most widely and rapidly adopted technologies in farming history. These days, when farmers buy bags of seed with obscure brand names like AgVenture or M-Pride Genetics, they are paying for Monsanto's licensed products.

One of the numerous provisions in the licensing agreements is a ban on mixing genes — or "stacking" in industry lingo — that enhance Monsanto's power.

One contract provision likely helped Monsanto buy 24 independent seed companies throughout the Farm Belt over the last few years: that corn seed agreement says that if a smaller company changes ownership, its inventory with Monsanto's traits "shall be destroyed immediately."

Quarles, however, said Sunday he wasn't familiar with that older agreement, obtained by the AP, but said, "as I understand it," Monsanto includes provisions in all its contracts that allow companies to sell out their inventory if ownership changes, rather than force the firms to destroy the inventory immediately.

Another provision from contracts earlier this decade— regarding rebates — also help explain Monsanto's rapid growth as it rolled out new products.

One contract gave an independent seed company deep discounts if the company ensured that Monsanto's products would make up 70 percent of its total corn seed inventory. In its 2004 lawsuit, Syngenta called the discounts part of Monsanto's "scorched earth campaign" to keep Syngenta's new traits out of the market.

Quarles said the discounts were used to entice seed companies to carry Monsanto products when the technology was new and farmers hadn't yet used it. Now that the products are widespread, Monsanto has discontinued the discounts, he said.

The Monsanto contracts reviewed by the AP prohibit seed companies from discussing terms, and Monsanto has the right to cancel deals and wipe out the inventory of a business if the confidentiality clauses are violated.

Thomas Terral, chief executive officer of Terral Seed in Louisiana, said he recently rejected a Monsanto contract because it put too many restrictions on his business. But Terral refused to provide the unsigned contract to AP or even discuss its contents because he was afraid Monsanto would retaliate and cancel the rest of his agreements.

"I would be so tied up in what I was able to do that basically I would have no value to anybody else," he said. "The only person I would have value to is Monsanto, and I would continue to pay them millions in fees."

Independent seed company owners could drop their contracts with Monsanto and return to selling conventional seed, but they say it could be financially ruinous. Monsanto's Roundup Ready gene has become the industry standard over the last decade, and small companies fear losing customers if they drop it. It also can take years of breeding and investment to mix Monsanto's genes into a seed company's product line, so dropping the genes can be costly.

Monsanto acknowledged that U.S. Department of Justice lawyers are seeking documents and interviewing company employees about its marketing practices. The DOJ wouldn't comment.

A spokesman for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said the office is examining possible antitrust violations. Additionally, two sources familiar with an investigation in Texas said state Attorney General Greg Abbott's office is considering the same issues. States have the authority to enforce federal antitrust law, and attorneys general are often involved in such cases.

Monsanto chairman and chief executive officer Hugh Grant told investment analysts during a conference call this fall that the price increases are justified by the productivity boost farmers get from the company's seeds. Farmers and seed company owners agree that Monsanto's technology has boosted yields and profits, saving farmers time they once spent weeding and money they once spent on pesticides.

But recent price hikes have still been tough to swallow on the farm.

"It's just like I got hit with bad weather and got a poor yield. It just means I've got less in the bottom line," said Markus Reinke, a corn and soybean farmer near Concordia, Mo. who took over his family's farm in 1965. "They can charge because they can do it, and get away with it. And us farmers just complain, and shake our heads and go along with it."

Any Justice Department case against Monsanto could break new ground in balancing a company's right to control its patented products while protecting competitors' right to free and open competition, said Kevin Arquit, former director of the Federal Trade Commission competition bureau and now a antitrust attorney with Simpson Thacher&Bartlett LLP in New York.

"These are very interesting issues, and not just for the companies, but for the Justice Department," Arquit said. "They're in an area where there is uncertainty in the law and there are consumer welfare implications and government policy implications for whatever the result is."

Other seed companies have followed Monsanto's lead by including restrictive clauses in their licensing agreements, but their products only penetrate smaller segments of the U.S. seed market. Monsanto's Roundup Ready gene, on the other hand, is in such a wide array of crops that its licensing agreements can have a massive effect on the rules of the marketplace.

Monsanto was only a niche player in the seed business just 12 years ago. It rose to the top thanks to innovation by its scientists and aggressive use of patent law by its attorneys.

First came the science, when Monsanto in 1996 introduced the world's first commercial strain of genetically engineered soybeans. The Roundup Ready plants were resistant to the herbicide, allowing farmers to spray Roundup whenever they wanted rather than wait until the soybeans had grown enough to withstand the chemical.

The company soon released other genetically altered crops, such as corn plants that produced a natural pesticide to ward off bugs. While Monsanto had blockbuster products, it didn't yet have a big foothold in a seed industry made up of hundreds of companies that supplied farmers.

That's where the legal innovations came in, as Monsanto became among the first to widely patent its genes and gain the right to strictly control how they were used. That control let it spread its technology through licensing agreements, while shaping the marketplace around them.

Back in the 1970s, public universities developed new traits for corn and soybean seeds that made them grow hardy and resist pests. Small seed companies got the traits cheaply and could blend them to breed superior crops without restriction. But the agreements give Monsanto control over mixing multiple biotech traits into crops.

The restrictions even apply to taxpayer-funded researchers.

Roger Boerma, a research professor at the University of Georgia, is developing specialized strains of soybeans that grow well in southeastern states, but his current research is tangled up in such restrictions from Monsanto and its competitors.

"It's made one level of our life incredibly challenging and difficult," Boerma said.

The rules also can restrict research. Boerma halted research on a line of new soybean plants that contain a trait from a Monsanto competitor when he learned that the trait was ineffective unless it could be mixed with Monsanto's Roundup Ready gene.

Boerma said he hasn't considered asking Monsanto's permission to mix its traits with the competitor's trait.

"I think the co-mingling of their trait technology with another company's trait technology would likely be a serious problem for them," he said.

Quarles pointed out that Monsanto has signed agreements with several companies allowing them to stack their traits with Monsanto's. After Syngenta settled its lawsuit, for example, the companies struck a broad cross-licensing accord.

At the same time, Monsanto's patent rights give it the authority to say how independent companies use its traits, Quarles said.

"Please also keep in mind that, as the (intellectual property developer), it is our right to determine who will obtain rights to our technology and for what purpose," he said.

Monsanto's provision requiring companies to destroy seeds containing Monsanto's traits if a competitor buys them prohibited DuPont or other big firms from bidding against Monsanto when it snapped up two dozen smaller seed companies over the last five years, said David Boies, a lawyer representing DuPont who previously was a prosecutor on the federal antitrust case against Microsoft Corp.

Competitive bids from companies like DuPont could have made it far more expensive for Monsanto to bring the smaller companies into its fold. But that contract provision prevented bidding wars, according to DuPont.

"If the independent seed company is losing their license and has to destroy their seeds, they're not going to have anything, in effect, to sell," Boies said. "It requires them to destroy things — destroy things they paid for — if they go competitive. That's exactly the kind of restriction on competitive choice that the antitrust laws outlaw."

[Image: MONSANTO_ACRES_JPEG_344595l.jpg]

Some independent seed company owners say they feel increasingly pinched as Monsanto cements its leadership in the industry.

"They have the capital, they have the resources, they own lots of companies, and buying more. We're small town, they're Wall Street," said Bill Cook, co-owner of M-Pride Genetics seed company in Garden City, Mo., who also declined to discuss or provide the agreements. "It's very difficult to compete in this environment against companies like Monsanto."

RE: Monsanto Company © - Valentine - 04-21-2010

They've been enabled by the US govt.

Soil: not roundup ready

USDA downplays own scientist’s research on ill effects of Monsanto herbicide

Sure, the crops are genetically engineered to withstand Roundup; but what about the soil?
What would happen if a USDA scientist discovered that one of the most commonly used pesticides on the planet with a reputation for having saved millions of tons of US soil from erosion was -- rather than a soil savior -- a soil killer?

That, to quote a certain paranormal expert, would be bad. And yet, it's true.

This news came to the fore thanks to a recently published must-read article from Reuters on how government regulators are “dropping the ball” on agricultural biotechnology. It begins with the story of USDA scientist Dr. Robert Kremer. Kremer has spent the last fifteen years looking at Monsanto's blockbuster broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate (aka RoundUp), the most commonly used pesticide in the world and the companion to Monsanto’s possibly monopolistic RoundupReady lines of genetically engineered seeds.

While exact figures are a closely guarded secret thanks to the USDA's refusal to update its pesticide use database after 2007, estimates suggest upwards of 200 million pounds of glyphosate were dumped on fields and farms in the US in 2008 alone. That's almost double the amount used in 2005.

Glyphosate has a reputation as the “safest” of all the agricultural herbicides and has become the primary means of weed control in industrial agriculture. While being the best of an extremely nasty bunch may be the faintest of praise, the USDA relies on this perception, which has been fueled by industry and government research indicating that the chemical dissipates quickly and shows low toxicity (as poisons go, that is) to humans.

The claim of "millions of tons of soil saved" relates to the soil that would have otherwise been lost to erosion without glyphosate’s central role in chemical no-till farming techniques. Indeed, experts such as Dr. Michael Shannon, a program director at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, as well as other USDA scientists, make this anti-erosion claim the core argument in favor of the widespread use of the chemical.

Even so, glyphosate has been under attack from several quarters of late. Research indicates that, while glyphosate on its own may be relatively "safe," it is actually quite toxic in combination with the other (supposedly “inert”) ingredients in commercial preparations of the herbicide, i.e. the stuff that farmers actually spray on their fields.

And of course, there is the frightening spread of superweeds that glyphosate can no longer kill. It's to the point that thousands of acres in the South have been abandoned to resistant strains of giant pigweed.

Enter Dr. Kremer. His work, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of European Agronomy, further tarnishes glyphosate's golden status. He has found that glyphosate’s side-effects in the ground are far more severe than previously thought. As he described it to me, the use of glyphosate causes:

damage to beneficial microbes in the soil increasing the likelihood of infection of a crop by soil pathogens
interference with nutrient uptake by the plant
reduced efficiency of symbiotic nitrogen fixation
overall lower-than-expected plant productivity
Dr. Kremer has even helpfully provided a set of recommendations for farmers who use glyphosate or who plant Monsanto’s RoundUpReady seeds. According to Dr. Kremer, the worst of the problems can be avoided if 1) farmers only plant RoundupReady crops every other year in the same field, 2) come up with alternate crop residue management techniques and 3) plant cover crops “to revitalize soil biological and ecological processes as well as improve other aspects of soil quality.”

A USDA scientist wouldn’t recommend measures like this if he weren’t convinced his results merited it. From the Reuters article:

"This could be something quite big. We might be setting up a huge problem," said Kremer, who expressed alarm that regulators were not paying enough attention to the potential risks from biotechnology on the farm, including his own research ..."Science is not being considered in policy setting and deregulation," said Kremer. "This research is important. We need to be vigilant."
Meanwhile, the response from the USDA to Dr. Kremer’s work has been, shall we say, subdued. Dr. Shannon of the USDA/ARS admitted that Dr. Kremer’s results are valid, but said that the danger they represent pales in comparison to the superweed threat. In fact, Shannon specifically likened Dr. Kremer’s new findings to unfortunate but unavoidable side-effects like any drug might have.

Making matters worse, and much to Dr. Kremer’s chagrin, the ARS refused to publicize his work on glyphosate. While ARS spokesperson Sandy Miller Hays admitted that an announcement about his findings was written, she claimed it was withheld due to the quality of the writing. In other words, the ARS killed the story because they couldn't bother to do some light editing.

Nor was the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) very interested in Kremer's findings. Run by Roger Beachy, a man with long-time links to the ag-biotech industry and an openly hostile attitude toward organic farming, NIFA is the bureaucratic nook within USDA responsible for informing farmers of new research.

When I asked if NIFA had a position on Dr. Kremer’s work or if his guidance was being used by USDA extension agents, a NIFA spokesperson replied via email that:

[T]he advice and counsel provided by extension agents in the field is not “approved” or “sanctioned” by NIFA; typically, these materials are developed through state and county extension offices, which receive some NIFA funding (how much varies from state to state) but are not managed by NIFA NIFA does not take positions on research papers, and has not produced any guidance about Dr. Kremer’s work.
In short, nothing to see here. Move along!

This most chilling comment of all, however, was provided by Miller Hays who observed that a European journal was the ideal place for this work because Europeans are “passionately interested in... the soil and pesticide use and that sort of thing.”

As opposed to we Americans, who don’t care about the soil and pesticide use and that sort of thing?

Following this particular USDA trail has reminded me of the age-old question, if a tree falls in a forest and people are standing around staring at it with their hands over their ears screaming “I’m not listening!!” at the top of their lungs, does it make a sound?

What I find most concerning about this episode is the willful inability of most divisions at USDA to conceive of agriculture without pesticides in general and glyphosate in particular. Not that companies aren’t planning for a post-glyphosate world. A recent article in the Western Farm Press painted a bleak future wherein farmers overcome the failures of individual pesticides (failures caused by USDA and industry-encouraged overuse, by the way) by planting genetically modified seeds that provide resistance to five or even six different pesticides at once.

The “simplicity” of Monsanto’s GMO system of RoundupReady seeds plus glyphosate will be replaced by a dizzying and insanely toxic cocktail of pesticide treatments and hugely expensive seeds. Leaving aside cost, farmers will barely be able to manage the mixing and maintenance of their equipment in this scenario.

There are alternatives. I only wish that the USDA technical divisions would start taking the work of researchers like Dr. Kremer (not to mention sustainable ag advocate Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan) more seriously. Instead, they insist that farmers stay on the ever-accelerating and increasingly damaging chemical treadmill.

RE: Monsanto Company © - h3rm35 - 04-21-2010
Quote:Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Monsanto Man

By Gary Ruskin

Global Research, April 5, 2010
Green Change - 2010-03-27

Today, President Obama announced that he will recess appoint Islam A. Siddiqui to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Siddiqui is a pesticide lobbyist and Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, an agribusiness lobbying group that represents Monsanto.

Following is a letter sent by 98 organizations to U.S. Senators in opposition to Siddiqui's appointment, and a fact sheet about him.

Dear Senator:

The following 98 organizations are writing you to express our opposition to the nomination of Islam Siddiqui as Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the office of the United States Trade Representative. Our organizations— representing family farmers, farmworkers, fishers and sustainable agriculture, environmental, consumer, anti-hunger and other advocacy groups—urge you to reject Dr. Siddiqui’s appointment when it comes up for a floor vote, despite the Senate Finance Committee's favorable report of his nomination on December 23, 2009.

Siddiqui’s record at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his role as a former registered lobbyist for CropLife America (whose members include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow), has revealed him to consistently favor agribusinesses’ interests over the interests of consumers, the environment and public health (see attached fact sheet). We believe Siddiqui’s nomination severely weakens the Obama Administration’s credibility in promoting healthier and more sustainable local food systems here at home. His appointment would also send an unfortunate signal to the rest of the world that the United States plans to continue down the failed path of high-input and energy-intensive industrial agriculture by promoting toxic pesticides, inappropriate seed biotechnologies and unfair trade agreements on nations that do not want and can least afford them.

The United States urgently needs a trade negotiator who understands that current trade agreements work neither for farmers nor the world’s hungry. With farmers here and abroad struggling to respond to water scarcity and increasingly volatile growing conditions, we need a resilient and restorative model of agriculture that adapts to and mitigates climate change and that moves us towards energy-efficient farming.

The most comprehensive analysis of global agriculture to date, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) states unequivocally that “business as usual is not an option.” We need a new, sustainable model of biodiverse, ecologically-based agriculture that regenerates soil health, sequesters carbon, feeds communities, protects farmworkers and puts profits back in the hands of family farmers and rural communities. Siddiqui’s track record shows that he favors none of these solutions.

We call on the Senate to reject Islam Siddiqui’s nomination and reorient trade policy to serve the interests of family farmers, farmworkers, consumers and the planet.


[List of 98 organizations below.]

Siddiqui and CropLife: Statements and Positions

Islam Siddiqui was nominated by US President Barack Obama to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the office of the US Trade Representative. He is currently Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America. CropLife is an agricultural industry trade group that lobbies on behalf of Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and other pesticide and agricultural biotech corporations.

Siddiqui’s statements and positions—both as a public official and as an industry executive— coupled with CropLife America’s consistent record on public policy issues demonstrate a narrow and short-sighted view of American agriculture and trade interests. This viewpoint consistently places the special interests of large agribusiness above the health and welfare interests the broader public, the international community and the environment.


Enforcing Trade Agreements

According to the Progressive Government Institute, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator “conducts critical trade negotiations and enforces trade agreements… This includes multilaterally in the World Trade Organization (WTO), regionally in the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and bilaterally with various countries and groups of countries. The ambassador also resolves agricultural trade disputes and enforces trade agreements, including issues related to new technologies, subsidies, and tariff and non-tariff barriers and meets regularly with domestic agricultural industry groups to assure their interest are represented in trade.” The industry groups’ interests will be more than adequately represented, as the WTO’s Doha Round will be a perfect opportunity for the agrochemical industry to push for trade agreements that maintain US subsidies, lower tariffs on chemicals, promote GM crops, and unfairly benefit the agrochemical companies that Siddiqui represents.


Legislative Influence and Defining ‘Sound Science’

Another part of the job description is that “He or she also coordinates closely with the US government regulatory agencies to assure that rules and policies in international trade are based on sound science.” Siddiqui’s background has always favored “sound science” to mean high-cost, high-input (and high profit, for CropLife’s members) agricultural practices being imposed on developing countries, despite their preferences. Many countries have chosen to ban GMOs on the precautionary principle, including the EU, but Siddiqui will be able to use the trade talks as leverage so that CropLife’s member companies can force their way around those precautions. Siddiqui will also be able to influence the results of the Casey-Lugar Global Food Security Act Bill (which mandates government funding for biotechnology research).


Siddiqui Claimed EU Rejection of GMOs was “Denying Food to Starving People”

In 2003, Siddiqui applauded the Bush Administration’s decision to seek an end to the EU’s moratorium on approval of imports of genetically modified crops. Croplife America said the EU’s position had “no scientific foundation” and Siddiqui said, “EU's illegal moratorium has had a negative ripple effect of creeping regulations and non-science-based decisions, which have resulted in denying food to starving people. The WTO requires that international trade rules be based on sound science, and today's decision will send that strong message to the EU and other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America." [Delta Farm Press, 5/23/03]

Siddiqui Compared GMO Acceptance to Accepting “Microwave Ovens”

In 2002, Siddiqui claimed biotech foods have been proven to be as safe as traditionally grown foods. He cited a similar distrust of a new technology many people had when microwave ovens were first introduced; eventually, consumer acceptance of the technology became widespread. [State Department Washington File, 11/25/02]

Siddiqui Criticized EU for Insisting On “Precautionary Principle” On GMOs

In 2002, Siddiqui criticized the European Union’s precautionary principle rationale for rejecting the import of GMOs. Widely recognized in the international community, the precautionary principle allows societies to protect people and the planet when there are uncertainties or unknown risks associated with the introduction or use of a product. Siddiqui said the principle didn't offer any more real protection to citizens than U.S.- “science-based” regulations and was being used by politicians as a non-tariff trade barrier. [State Department Washington File, 11/25/02]

Siddiqui Called for New Biotech Green Revolution

Statement by Siddiqui this year on new Green Revolution: “What we need now in the 21st century is another revolution, which some people are calling the second green revolution… You need to have use of 21st century technologies, including biotechnology, genetic technology, and all the other technologies, which are being (inaudible), in terms of achieving that.”

Source: “Green Innovation: Can Patents Help Make the World a Bett... April 22, 2009

Siddiqui Rejected Consumer Labeling of GMOs While Working at USDA

As a special assistant for trade at USDA, Siddiqui in 1999 warned Japan that if they implemented mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) it could mislead consumers about food safety and disrupt trade. Siddiqui said, ``We do not believe that obligatory GMO labeling is necessary, because it would suggest a health risk where there is none.'' He added, “Mandatory labeling could mislead consumers about the safety of these products and require segregation of GMO and non-GMO foods. I fear major trade disruptions and increases in food costs to consumers if Japan requires mandatory labeling.'' Siddiqui also said Japan, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), is obligated to find the least trade-restrictive way of achieving its objectives. There are a number of ways other than labeling, such as educational materials and public forums, to provide consumers with information on genetic engineering, he said. [Reuters, 7/27/1999]

Siddiqui is a Former Registered Lobbyist

From 2001- 2003, Islam Siddiqui was a registered lobbyist with CropLife America, which spent just over $2 million on lobbying the federal government in 2008, and just under $1.9 million in 2007 on issues like registering pesticides for use in schools, limiting the Endangered Species Act so that it doesn’t inhibit agricultural pesticide use, revision of EPA pesticide registration fees, and fighting the EPA on restrictions to the use of fumigants.


CropLife America’s Regional Partner Targeted Michelle Obama Organic Garden

CropLife America's regional partner had notoriously “shuddered” at Michelle Obama's organic White House garden for failing to use chemical pesticides and launched a letter petition drive defending chemical intensive agriculture and urging Michelle Obama to consider using pesticidies and herbicides. Mid America CropLife Association is listed as a regional partner on CropLife America’s website.



Siddiqui Instrumental in Drafting First Proposed Organic Standards that Would Have Allowed Toxic Sludge, GMOs and Irradiated Food to be Labeled “Organic”

As Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at USDA, Siddiqui oversaw the release of the first-ever proposed federal standards for organics, an accomplishment the White House has cited in support of his nomination. However, these rules created an uproar when USDA overruled recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and permitted the use of GMOs, irradiation and toxic sludge under the organic label. Only after 230,000 comments flooded into USDA were these standards strengthened. It remains one of the highest outpourings of public sentiment on any government regulation in U.S. history. [Mother Jones]

Siddiqui Admitted USDA Overruled Organics Board Recommendations

Siddiqui justified allowing for possible allowance of GMOs, irradiated foods and toxic sludge under the organics by saying, “we know that [the] Organics Board had recommended against those two items in the organic agriculture. There's a considerable debate on these issues; it's a public debate issue. So essentially, the department has felt that we want to open it up, we want to seek comments. And it could be any one of the three choices; either it could be allowed, it could be prohibited, or it could be allowed on a case-by-case basis, especially dealing with GMOs. [Federal News Service, 12/15/07]

Siddiqui Admitted Allowing no GMOs in Organics Would Possibly be “Inconsistent” with Forcing GMOs on EU

Siddiqui explained one of the reasons GMOs were not banned under organic label was because " ... some of the agencies within the U.S. government felt that we will be inconsistent in going to the EU and telling them to not require GMO contents being spelt out in ingredients." [Food and Drink Weekly, 1/19/98]


CropLife Spent $500,000 to Defeat County Ballot Banning GMOs

"In March 2004, CropLife poured funding into a campaign to defeat a Mendocino County ballot initiative - known as Measure H - that would make the country the first to ban genetically engineered crops. In the lead up to the vote, CropLife contributed over $500,000 - more than seven times that of the initiative supporters - to defeat the proposal. [1] Despite the massive campaign against the initiative, the bio-tech industry suffered a humiliating defeat. The measure passed by a margin of 56% to 43%. [2]"

Siddiqui Said “Pleased” by Defeat of Ballot Measures

Siddiqui, on behalf of CropLife America, said he was pleased that voters in three California counties had rejected proposed bans on biotech crop cultivation. "I think you'll see more counties in California try[proposing a ban]the next time they can get it on the ballot," he said, adding that similar initiatives are unlikely in other states. [Food Chemical News, 1/3/05]


CropLife Lobbied to Allow Children to be Used for Pesticide Experiments

In August 2005, CropLife America met with Bush Administration officials at the Office of Managment and Budget and EPA to allow for children to participate in pesticide experiments. CropLife America urged certain allowances to be made for chemical testing on children. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility criticized the meeting for excluding the perspectives of ethicists, child advocates and scientists. EPA one month later adopted a human testing rule in line with CropLife America’s suggestions. Environmental groups sued the EPA for failing to adequately protect women and children. [Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, 5/30/06]

PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruck commented on the backdoor meeting, “These meeting notes make it clear that the pesticide industry’s top objective is access to children for experiments. After reading these ghoulish notes one has the urge to take a shower. For an administration which trumpets its concern for the ‘value and dignity of life,’ it is disconcerting that no ethicists, children advocates or scientists were invited to this meeting to counterbalance the pesticide pushers.” [Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, 5/30/06]

Supported Use of Human Test Subjects

In 2003, CropLife America expressed pleasure that the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned EPA's moratorium on using human clinical test data in pesticide risk assessment. The court ruled that EPA's "previous practice of considering third- party human studies on a case-by-case basis, applying statutory requirements, the Common Rule, and high ethical standards as a guide, is reinstated and remains in effect unless and until it is replaced by a lawfully promulgated regulation." "We are pleased that the court recognized that EPA's moratorium constituted a binding regulation issued without notice and the opportunity to comment," said Jay J. Vroom, head of CropLife America. [U.S. Newswire, 6/3/03]

CropLife America Secured Continued Use Of Banned Ozone-Depleting Pesticide, Methyl Bromide

CropLife America supported the continued use of methyl bromide by farmers in the U.S. despite its supposed ban under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Protocol) and the Clean Air Act (CAA). The Bush administration secured an exemption of the highly controversial chemical in 2006. "By no means is there one product that will fit all the critical uses of methyl bromide today," CropLife CEO Jay Vroom said. The continued exemptions are needed while research continues on the alternative pesticides, he said, adding, "We're not there yet, and the American farmer needs to have these tools so we can continue to be have viable exports." Source: Associated Press, Nov 4, 2006. For more information see the website for the UN Environmental Programme Ozone Secretariat. The PANNA website contains extensive resources and fact sheets on methyl bromide’s use for soil fumigation.

· Methyl bromide, a powerful ozone depleter used on strawberries, tomatoes, grapes and other crops. The EPA has classified methyl bromide as a Toxicity Category I compound, the most deadly category of substances due to causing neurological damage and reproductive harm. Farmworkers in particular have experienced death, birth defects, blurred vision, nausea, and dizziness as a result of direct exposure to methyl bromide. Methyl Bromide has also been listed as a Class I Ozone Depleter under the Clean Air Act. Methyl bromide is a highly toxic pesticide.

· From 1982 to 1990, at least 18 people in California died from exposure to methyl bromide. The state Department of Pesticide Regulation also reports at least 148 systemic illnesses, 52 eye injuries and 60 cases of skin damage from methyl bromide. Methyl bromide has also caused birth defects in studies required by U.S. EPA and submitted by the manufacturer.

· Methyl bromide is toxic to the central nervous system and can damage lungs and kidneys and possibly cause cancer. Direct exposure can lead to headaches, blurred vision, nausea and dizziness. Many farmworkers and residents near fumigated fields have experienced these symptoms. [Pesticide Action Network]

Croplife America Resistant to International Regulations Over Toxic Chemicals

Croplife America has been a driving force to weaken the U.S. position on the Stockholm Convention, a critical effort to regulate the use of toxic “persistent organic pollutants (POPs).” These include the well known chemicals DDT, PCBs and dioxins that have been linked to a host of serious human health problems and environmental concerns. Even at very low levels of exposure, POPs can cause reproductive and developmental disorders, damage to the immune and nervous systems, and a range of cancers. CropLife America has argued that “American sovereignty” concerns should override the treaty if the chemical regulations are stronger than U.S. law. CropLife America explicitly calls for the U.S. to “protect export markets for American produce and farm commodities,” even if they use chemicals that may be outlawed by the POP treaties. [CropLife America Website]

CropLife America Argues for Allowing Usage of Toxic Endosulfans

Croplife America and its international counterpart CropLife International, whom Siddiqui has represented in international negotiations, have continuously argued for a legitimate role for the dangerous POP endosulfan. However in October 2009, scientists declared that: “endosulfan is likely, as a result of its long-range environmental transport, to lead to significant adverse human health and environmental effects, such that global action is warranted.” The finding sets the stage for a global ban under the Stockholm Convention. Endosulfan is an endocrine disruptor, and low dose exposure while in the womb is linked to male reproductive harm, autism, and birth defects. High dose exposures are acutely toxic, resulting in headaches, nausea and vomiting, seizures, and in extreme cases, unconsciousness and death. [Manila Bulletin, 10/20/09]

CropLife America Withdrew from Landmark UN/World Bank Study on Ag Research (IAASTD) that Highlighted Agroecological Science as Promising Way to “Feed the World”

CropLife Upset Industry Viewpoint Not Allowed to Dictate Findings

CropLife International participated in the UN/World Bank-sponsored International Assessment for Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) for 4 years, before withdrawing in the final days of the process. The IAASTD reports—authored by over 400 scientists and development experts from more than 80 countries, and subjected to two open public review processes—remains the most authoritative study to date on agriculture research and technology. CropLife objected to the measured but lukewarm findings of the IAASTD on “modern biotechnology” and genetic engineering. According to the spokesman for CropLife, their decision to withdraw in the final days was prompted by "the inability of its members to get industry perspectives reflected in the draft reports” —a complaint belied by the fact that IAASTD editors repeatedly offered CropLife a “blank page” to present the industry’s viewpoints. Ultimately, industry authors failed to submit text in time for publication.

The IAASTD concluded that an increase in investments in agroecological practices would be necessary to meet 21st century needs, noting that agroecological, organic, biodiverse and regenerative practices represented highly promising and scientifically robust approaches to feeding the world while also meeting social equity and sustainability goals, particularly under increasing stresses of climate change, water scarcity and fossil-fuel based energy limitations. In contrast, the IAASTD observed that chemical intensive and GMO-based practices were unlikely to meet these goals, had in many cases undermined public health and/or contaminated the environment, and posed severe social equity concerns due to industry concentration, IPR and patent rules. [Bioscience Resource, New Scientist, PANNA]

Prepared by Lindsey Schneider and Vera Glavova, PANNA, with contributions from National Family Farm Coalition. For further information on CropLife:,

Pesticide Action Network has worked to replace pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives since 1982. PANNA is one of five regional facilitating organizations serving a global network of more than 600 civil society groups in over 90 countries who share these goals. For more information, see

98 organizations who signed on to the letter to the Senate:

Alaska Community Action on Toxics (AK)
AllergyKids (CO)
American Raw Milk Producers Pricing Association (WI)
Beyond Pesticides (DC)
Breast Cancer Action (CA)
California Food and Justice Coalition (CA)
Californians for GE-Free Agriculture (CA)
Californians for Pesticide Reform (CA)
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CA)
Center for Environmental Health (CA)
Center for Food Safety (DC)
Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment (CA)
Central Florida Jobs with Justice Project (FL)
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach (NE)
Community Farm Alliance (KY)
Concerned Citizens for Clean Air (OR)
Cornucopia Institute (WI)
Earth Justice (CA)
Equal Exchange (MA)
Fair Trade Coalition (MN)
Family Farm Defenders (WI)
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (TX)
Farm Worker Pesticide Project (WA)
Farmworker Association of Florida (FL)
Farmworker Justice (DC)
Farmworkers Self-Help (FL)
Food & Water Watch (DC)
Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy (CA)
Food for Maine’s Future (ME)
Florida Immigrant Coalition (FL)
Food Democracy Now! (IA)
Food Systems Integrity (MA)
Florida Organic Growers (FL)
Fresno Metro Ministry (CA)
Friends of the Earth (DC, CA)
Greenpeace US (DC, CA)
Grassroots International (MA)
Growing Power Inc. (WI)
Indigenous Environmental Network (MN) Indiana Toxics Action (IN) Innovative Farmers of Ohio (OH) Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (MN)
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (IA)
Kids for Saving Earth (MN)
Kentucky Environmental Foundation (KY)
Land Stewardship Project (MN)
Lideres Campesinas (CA)
Maine Fair Trade Campaign (ME)
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners (ME)
Maryland Pesticide Network (MD)
Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (MS)
Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MO)
Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative (OK)
National Family Farm Coalition (DC)
National Farm Worker Ministry (MO)
National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association (DC)
New York Environmental Law & Justice (NY)
Northeast Organic Farming Association Interstate Council (CT)
Northern Plains Resource Council (MT)
Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (ME)
Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (OR)
Oakland Institute (CA)
Ohio Conference on Fair Trade (OH)
Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project (OK)
Oregon Fair Trade Campaign (OR)
Oregon Toxics Alliance (OR)
Organic Consumers Association (MN)
Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples (WV)
Pesticide Action Network North America (CA)
Pesticide Free Zone (CA)
Pesticide Watch (CA)
Physicians for Social Responsibility/Los Angeles (CA)
Public Citizen (DC)
Rochesterians Against the Misuse of Pesticides (NY)
Rural Advancement Foundation International USA (NC)
Rural Coalition/ Coalición Rural
Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment (CA)
Science and Environmental Health Network (IA)
Sciencecorps (MA)
Search for the Cause (CA)
Sierra Club (CA, DC)
Small Holders Alliance of Massachusetts (MA)
Student Action with Farmworkers (NC)
The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (CO)
The Safe Lawns Foundation (ME)
The Second Chance Foundation Washington (WA)
Washington Fair Trade Coalition (WA)
Western Organization of Resource Councils (MT)
World Hunger Year (NY)
Quote:Say ‘No!’ to Corporate Control of Agriculture and Food!
Monday, 22 February 2010 17:34
La Via Campesina Call to Action
17 April 2010 - Join the International Day of Peasant Struggle

To commemorate the International Day of Peasant Struggle on April 17th 2010, the international peasant movement La Via Campesina calls upon member organisations, allies and supporters to unite against transnational corporations (TNCs), which seek complete control over food and agriculture systems around the world.

On April 17th 1996, nineteen landless Brazilian peasants who were defending their right to produce food by demanding access to land were massacred by the military police. Since the massacre at El Dorado dos Carajás, every year on this date actions are organised around the world by farmers’ organisations, communities, student groups, non-governmental organizations and activists, in order to demand food sovereignty and peasants’ rights to produce food.

The year 2009 ended with three international summits: the Food and Agriculture Organization World Summit on Food Security in Rome, the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Geneva and the United Nations’ Climate Summit in Copenhagen. At each event, TNCs displayed their intention to control food and agriculture systems, markets, lands, seeds and water—indeed all of nature—worldwide. TNCs such as Monsanto Company, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland and Nestlé deployed armies of lobbyists at these events to shape policies to their benefit.

For example, US-based Monsanto Company is lobbying to receive public subsidies for Roundup Ready soybeans, which are genetically-modified to resist glyphosate (sold by the corporation as Roundup), the most widely used herbicide in the world. Monsanto claims Roundup Ready soybeans reduce climate change because resistance to Roundup means the soybeans can be grown without ploughing the soil (which releases carbon dioxide), known as ‘no tillage’ or ‘conservation tillage’ agriculture. Monsanto argues that it should therefore be eligible for carbon credits from the Clean Development Mechanism of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change.

Yet the reality is that Monsanto and other TNCs are some of the primary contributers to climate change and other environmental crises, because they promote an unsustainable model of industrial agriculture.

Additionally, TNCs exacerbate poverty and economic recession, worldwide. As they consolidate their control over lands and agricultural markets, TNCs expel small farmers and peasants from their lands and reduce employment opportunities in rural areas, thereby swelling urban slums with even more desperate and unemployed families.

TNCs are making huge profits while hunger and poverty are on the rise. Thus, an offensive against TNCs is now a priority for La Via Campesina. Our movement envisions a world in which TNCs such as Monsanto, Cargill, Carrefour and Walmart, and their destruction of nature and humanity, will cease to exist. To replace them will be billions of peasants on small and medium-sized farms, producing healthy food for local and regional markets, preserving biodiversity, protecting water aquifers, sequestering carbon and revitalizing rural economies.

To mark the 17th of April 2010, La Via Campesina calls upon its members and allies to join forces and increase resistance against TNCs, and to amplify the voices and rights of peasants worldwide.

What can you do?

[*]To raise awareness about the destruction being caused by TNCs, and the benefits of peasant agriculture, organise an event or action in your community, school, city or organization. Possible events might be a protest, public debate, direct action, film screening, farmers' market, heirloom seed exchange, song or picture contest;
[*]Subscribe to La Via Campesina’s 17th of April mailing list to stay informed about the actions being organised around the world, to receive our mobilisation kit, and to tell others about your plans. Subscribe here:
[*]Tell us what you are planning as early as possible to be included in the activities' list published on
[*]Send us pictures, articles and videos after the event at
Consumer Protection: GMO Contamination of Organic Food
Don't Let Obama's USDA Approve Monsanto's RoundUp Ready Alfalfa!


Global Research, March 2, 2010
Capitol Advantage - 2010-03-03
[Image: 17870.jpg]
Submit comments yourself or click “GO!” to personalize Organic Consumers Association's template letter.

Don't believe Monsanto's greenwashing. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), aren't meant to feed the world or be resilient when there are droughts and floods - they're designed to sell pesticides, especially Monsanto's weed killer RoundUp, which the "Roundup Ready" crops, corn, cotton, soy, canola, and now sugar beets and alfalfa, are genetically engineered to withstand.

A 2009 study showed that, over the last 13 years, Roundup Ready crops have dramatically increased herbicide use by 383 million pounds!

Before Obama took office, the movement to stop new GMOs was making progress. In 2007, a Federal court ruled that the Bush USDA's approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa violated the law because it failed to analyze risks such as the contamination of conventional and organic alfalfa and the development of "super-weeds." The court banned the planting of GE alfalfa until USDA completed a rigorous analysis of these impacts. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals twice affirmed the national ban on Roundup Ready alfalfa planting, but Monsanto is appealing. They're taking producers of organic alfalfa seed all the way to the Supreme Court!

Now, OCA's worst fears - about what would happen if the man who was Biotech Governor of the Year, Obama's USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, was put in charge of new genetically modified crops - are coming true. Vilsack is trying to get the court-ordered ban on Roundup Ready alfalfa lifted by issuing a new draft environmental impact statement (EIS). This sets the stage for Obama Administration approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa.

Alfalfa is the fourth most widely grown crop in the U.S. and a key source of dairy forage. The first perennial crop to be genetically engineered, GE alfalfa can regenerate itself from its root-stock. It is open-pollinated by bees, which can cross-pollinate at distances of several miles, spreading the patented, foreign DNA to conventional and organic crops. GMO-contamination of organic alfalfa is inevitable if the Obama Administration successfully commercializes Monsanto's GM alfalfa.

Consumers who ingest Roundup Ready alfalfa genes are risking their health; according to the EIS, "acute toxicity in mice was observed."

According to the EIS, consumers who ingest Roundup may experience "general and non-specific signs of toxicity from subchronic and chronic exposure to glyphosate includ[ing] changes in liver weight, blood chemistry (may suggest mild liver toxicity), liver pathology, and weight of the pituitary gland."

The EIS warns that, "Based on upper estimates of exposure ... infants consuming fruit and all age groups consuming vegetables may be at risk of adverse effects associated with acute exposure to glyphosate residues."

Consuming milk and meat from animals fed crops that are genetically engineered is also risky. In a survey of milk products sold in stores in Italy, results from the screening of 60 samples of 12 different milk brands demonstrated the presence of GM maize sequences in 15 (25%) and of GM soybean sequences in 7 samples (11.7%).

Consumers are going to want to avoid Roundup Ready alfalfa, but according to the EIS, we don't have that right because, "At the present time, there is no policy regarding the unintended presence of GE material in organic products or food, consistent with the fact that the NOP is a process-based program for certifying a farm or production system as organic, and not a product-based program that tests or certifies individual products as organic."

We can't let the Obama administration take away our right to GMO-free food. Please send Secretary Vilsack a letter by clicking "GO!" The Obama administration is accepting public comments through March 3, 2010.
Quote:<h2>Vt. company scores legal victory in organic seed lawsuit
Thursday, 09/24/09
[url=""]John Dillon[/url]

Montpelier, Vt.
[Image: seeds.jpg]AP File Photo/Toby Talbot (Host) An organic seed company in Wolcott has won a legal victory that requires the government to conduct more studies of a genetically engineered crop. VPR's John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) High Mowing Seeds and several environmental groups challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to de-regulate the sale of genetically modified sugar beets.

Tom Stearns is president of High Mowing Seeds in Wolcott. Stearns said he was concerned that the beet variety sold by the Monsanto Corporation would contaminate fields of organic beets raised by one of High Mowing's seed suppliers.

(Stearns) We had an organic chard and beet farmer in the same region that the GM sugar beets were being produced for seeds. The beet pollen can blow up to several miles, so the concern was that we really needed to make sure that these were sufficient distances separated between them to make sure there were contamination problems, because then my organic seed would have GMO genes in it.

(Host) Stearns and the environmental groups sued in January 2008. This week, a U.S. District Judge in California ruled that the government failed to follow federal law that required a full environmental impact study.

(Stearns) He ruled that there are major chances of negative environmental impact and that they need to do this whole study before the GMO sugar beets are allowed to be planted anymore.

(Host) U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White also found that the USDA should have considered the potential economic impact on organic and conventional producers.

The Monsanto beets were altered to contain a gene from a common soil bacteria. The modification makes the plants resistant to an herbicide that's also sold by Monsanto.

The judge has scheduled a hearing in the case for the end of October.

For VPR News, I'm John Dillon in Montpelier.

Quote:<h2>[url=""]Vermont Farmer Victorious over Monsanto[/url]
by Morgan Daybell Last week, [url=""]VPR reported[/url] that High Mowing Seeds in Wolcott won a legal victory over GMO giant Monsanto. Monsanto losing in court is a rare enough event that you'd think it would get widespread coverage in the VT media. I have seen no other reporting of it anywhere.

It would be like the Jerusalem Free Press neglecting to report that David beat Goliath.

At issue is the Fed's decision to de-regulate the sale of GMO seeds without looking into either the environmental impacts of GMO seeds or the potential economic impact, to both organic and conventional farmers, of GMO seeds.

In 2005, Progressive Rep Dexter Randall (Troy) was lead sponsor of the "[url=""]Farmer Protection Act[/url]," a GMO liability bill passed that would have allowed farmers whose crops become contaminated by Monsanto GMO technology to sue Monsanto in court. The bill had a good number of co-sponsors (including all House Progressives) and was back by a lobbying effort by [url=""]Rural Vermont[/url]. The bill was killed in the Judiciary Committee. And so currently, when a farmer's crops become cross-contaminated by Monsanto's GMO seeds, that farmer's only recourse is to sue his neighbor.

And as was shown in the case of [url=""]Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser[/url] (part of the impetus behind the bill), Monsanto will add injustice to injury by harassing and suing those farmers whose crops become contaminated.

And when that happens in Vermont, will the press cover it?

When Cocaine and Monsanto's Pesticide Collide, the War on Drugs Becomes a Genetically-Modified War on Science
By Meg White, BuzzFlash
Posted on September 8, 2009, Printed on September 9, 2009

At the intersection of cocaine and Roundup in rural South America, Monsanto and the U.S. government are struggling to keep up appearances. That's becoming more and more difficult as the unanticipated hazards of genetic modification become clearer.

Back in April, Argentinean embryologist Andrés Carrasco gave an interview with a Buenos Aires newspaper describing his recent findings suggesting the chemical glyphosate, a chemical herbicide widely used in agriculture as well as in U.S. anti-narcotic efforts, could cause defects in fetuses in much smaller doses than those to which peasants and farmers in his country were already being exposed. Loud calls for a ban on the substance were issued by Argentinean environmental lawyers, and the country's Ministry of Defense banned the planting of glyphosate-resistant soya crops in its fields.

Then came the backlash. An article in an Argentinean paper recently reported that Carrasco was assaulted in a way he described as "violent" by four men associated with agricultural interests:

Two of the men were said to be members of an agrochemical industry body but refused to give their names. The other two claimed to be a lawyer and notary. They apparently interrogated Dr. Carrasco and demanded to see details of the experiments. They left a card Basílico, Andrada & Santurio, attorneys on behalf of Felipe Alejandro Noël.

It's still unclear who these people are. But the interest in keeping such information quiet or discrediting Carrasco and his findings are strongest with Monsanto, the agricultural company who first patented a glyphosate product (sold as Roundup) and also created genetically-modified crops specifically to resist the herbicide.

GRAIN, an international non-profit supporting small-scale farmers and biodiversity in community agriculture, originally reported the story, evidently before the reports of threats against Carrasco were known. GRAIN has also done extensive reporting on Monsanto's genetically-modified soya crops in Argentina (which, according to the group, have increased five-fold since their introduction there, and have taken over more than half of Argentina's farmland) as well as on the use of glyphosate (which has increased fourteen-fold since its introduction, contrary to Monsanto's promises that its crop would decrease pesticide use). The so-called "Roundup Ready" crops have interbred with other plants, creating "superweeds" which in turn necessitate the use of other poisonous herbicides such as atrazine.

The dangers of glyphosate are hotly debated. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does regulate the allowable amount in drinking water, but the data it has on the dangers of the chemical are all nearly two decades old, and many studies were sponsored by Monsanto. But rural agricultural workers across South America have been protesting the spraying for well over a decade, pointing to increases in local cancer rates and birth defects as proof.

The Transnational Institute (TNI), a nonpartisan international group of scholars, has drawn attention to the inconsistencies and basic errors in studies refuting the dangers of glyphosate. This should come as no surprise, since Monsanto has been involved in several known cases of scientific fraud regarding the same chemical, wherein the EPA found multiple instances in which labs were paid to falsify preferred results for the company. Monsanto has also been charged in multiple jurisdictions for disseminating misleading information about its Roundup products.

Yet, glyphosate is still the top-selling herbicide around the world. And it's not just used to kill weeds, either. The U.S. military sprays glyphosate from airplanes onto drug crops as part of its worldwide anti-narcotic strategy. The best known example of such an effort was named Plan Colombia by the Clinton Administration and persists today.

But punishment is meted out unequally. Because glyphosate is an herbicide and is not specifically targeted to work against drug crops (as is easily deduced by the fact that it's used against coca and poppy plants as well as against household weeds in the U.S.), the spray kills legitimate crops, too.

That is, unless you're growing Monsanto's specially-formulated "Roundup Ready" crops. The you can spray nearly unlimited amounts of the stuff, which is what it seems farmers (as well as the U.S. military) are doing.

It seems that the whole operation may have backfired though, at least from the perspective of the governments that are promoting such a strategy. The effort has lead to coca growers cutting down national forests -- where such spraying is often against the law -- to produce their illicit crops. But Mother Nature may be rebelling against drug policy as well. coca plants appear to be either evolving on their own (or with the help of coca farmers' active selection) -- or they are possibly crossing with Roundup Ready crops already on the ground -- to produce a glyphosate-resistant crop known as Boliviana negra.

One TNI study looked at the political and commercial motives for continuing to spray the chemical on drug crops in South America regardless of findings that the effort is counterproductive at best:

It is true that the United States is behind fumigation, backed by the economic interests of companies such as Monsanto and DynCorp, who share in this lucrative business -– which is one of the reasons it meets with opposition. But it is also true that the disastrous consequences of the current anti-drug policy, of which fumigation is but one component, are a reality that surpasses ideologies, and the nations that suffer its consequences firsthand must find a solution instead of becoming polarised...

Colombia would not fumigate if it weren’t for pressure from the US. It would be implementing other forms of eradication or offering alternative development programmes that provide income to the population.

The group suggested that South American countries band together to refuse U.S. anti-narcotic spraying on environmental and human safety grounds, as has been done in Afghanistan.

In 2004, Joshua Davis had the Boliviana negra plant tested to determine its provenance for Wired Magazine. He concludes that the glyphosate-resistant coca plant he found in Colombia was most likely developed in the fields by farmers grafting on chance genetic mutations.

But the resulting article is perhaps most interesting for the taciturn response on all sides of the issue. Davis suggests that South American authorities don't want to talk about the situation because the revelation might cost countries that receive a large amount of U.S. aid to combat drug traffickers. The U.S. government doesn't want coca farmers who don't already know to find out about the new strain, because it can still eradicate old strains with glyphosate. And drug growers who do have the new strain certainly don't want the status quo to end, because currently the U.S. government is doing their weeding for free.

But on the larger cost-benefit analysis, the biggest winner is Monsanto. The more Roundup Ready crops there are out there, the more Roundup farmers need to get rid of the weeds, as is evidenced by the GRAIN research in Argentina. The real foe of Monsanto is not drug cartels or government entities. It's scientists.

When you put together the studies referenced above, which show that spraying glyphosate is harmful to humans and the environment and that it does not hamper the production of coca or weeds, the answer to almost everyone's problems is eliminating Monsanto.

So while there's no solid proof that the men threatening Andrés Carrasco belong to the same corporation that falsified lab results on the harm caused by glyphosate or the group that told lies about Roundup, there's no doubt in my mind that they belong in the same sick club.

© 2009 BuzzFlash All rights reserved.
View this story online at: [url=""][/url]

Do GM Crops Increase Yield? The Answer is No

By Devinder Sharma

Filed under > Commentary

Monsanto’s claim that GM crops increase yields is not only false, but also fraudulent. Please, don't try and fool the world by fabricating and distorting scientific facts, says Devinder Sharma of Share The World's Resources .

(The Intelligence Daily) -- Lies, damn lies, and the Monsanto website. Tell a lie a hundred times, and the chances are that it will eventually appear to be true. When it comes to genetically modified crops, Monsanto makes such an effort – and it could be that you too are duped into accepting their distortions as truth.

My attention has been drawn to an article titled "Do GM crops increase yield?" on Monsanto's web page, although I must confess that this is the first time I have visited their site.

This is how it begins: “Recently, there have been a number of claims from anti-biotechnology activists that genetically-modified (GM) crops don’t increase yields. Some have claimed that GM crops actually have lower yields than non-GM crops. Both claims are simply false.”

It then goes on to explain the terms germplasm, breeding, biotechnology, and then finally explains yield.

Here is what it says: “The introduction of GM traits through biotechnology has led to increased yields independent of breeding. Take for example statistics cited by PG Economics, which annually tallies the benefits of GM crops, taking data from numerous studies around the world:


Mexico - yield increases with herbicide tolerant soybean of 9 percent.


Romania – yield increases with herbicide tolerant soybeans have averaged 31 percent.


Philippines – average yield increase of 15 percent with herbicide tolerant corn.


Philippines – average yield increase of 24 percent with insect resistant corn.


Hawaii – virus resistant papaya has increased yields by an average of 40 percent.


India – insect resistant cotton has led to yield increases on average more than 50 percent.”

These assertions are not amusing, and can no longer be taken lightly. I am not only shocked but also disgusted at the way corporations try to fabricate and distort the scientific facts, and dress them up in such a manner that the so-called 'educated' of today will accept them without asking any questions.

Distorted science

At the outset, Monsanto's claims are simply fraudulent. I have seen similar conclusions, at least about Bt cotton yields in India, in a study by The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) – although I have always said that IFPRI is an organisation that needs to be shut down. It has done more damage to developing country agriculture and food security than any other academic institution.

Nevertheless, let us look at Monsanto's claims.

The increases in crop yields that Monsanto has shown in Mexico, Romania, the Philippines, Hawaii and India are actually not yield increases at all. In scientific terms these are called crop losses, which have been very cleverly masqueraded as yield increases. By indulging in a jugglery of scientific terminologies that take advantage of the layman’s ignorance, Monsanto has made claims based on evidence that does not exist.

As written in Monsanto's article: “The most common traits in GM crops are herbicide tolerance (HT) and insect resistance (IR). HT plants contain genetic material from common soil bacteria. IR crops contain genetic material from a bacterium that attacks certain insects.”

This is true. Herbicide tolerant plants and insect resistant plants do perform broadly the same function as chemical pesticides. Both the GM plants and the chemical pesticides reduce crop losses. In fact, GM plants work more or less like a bio-pesticide - the insect feeds on the plant carrying the toxin, and dies. Spraying the chemical pesticide also does the same.

In the case of herbicide tolerant plants, the outcome is much worse. Biotech companies have successfully dove-tailed the trait for herbicide tolerance in the plant. As a result, those who buy the GM seeds have no other option but to also buy the companies own brand of herbicide. Killing two birds with one stone, you might say.

GM companies have only used the transgenic technology to remove competition from the herbicide market. Instead of allowing the farmer to choose from different brands of herbicides available in the market, they have now ensured that you are only left with a Hobson’s choice. As several studies have conclusively shown in the US, the use of herbicide does not go down over time, but rather increases.

Here is the question that must now be asked: if the chemical herbicide used by Monsanto’s herbicide tolerant soybeans (so-called 'Roundup Ready') truly increases yields, then why don’t all the other herbicides available in the market also increase yields?

Surely, if all herbicides do the same job of killing herbs, then all herbicides should increase crop yields. Am I not correct? So why are we led to believe that only Roundup Ready soybeans (a GM crop) increase yields, whereas others do not?

When was the last time you were told that herbicides increase crop yields? Chemical herbicides are only known to merely reduce crop losses. This is what I was taught when studying plant breeding – a fact that is still being taught to agricultural science students everywhere in the world.

Cotton lies

A similar story holds true for cotton. We all know that cotton consumes about 50 percent of total pesticides sprayed, and these chemical pesticides are known to reduce crop losses. I am sure that Monsanto would also agree without question that pesticides do not increase crop yields, and I repeat DO NOT increase cotton yields.

Monsanto's Bt cotton, which uses a gene from a soil bacteria to produce a toxin within the plant that kills certain pests, also does the same. It only kills the insect, which means it does the same job that a chemical pesticide is supposed to perform. The crop losses that a farmer minimises after applying chemical pesticide is never (and has never) been measured in terms of yield increases. It has always been computed as savings from crop losses.

If GM crops increase yields, shouldn't we therefore say that chemical pesticides (including herbicides) also increase yields? Will the agricultural scientific community accept that pesticides increases crop yields?

This brings me to another relevant question: Why don't agricultural scientists say that chemical pesticides increase crop yields?

While you ponder over this question (and there are no prizes for getting it right), let me tell you that the last time the world witnessed increases in crop yields was when the high-yielding crop varieties were evolved. That was the time when scientists were able to break through the genetic yield barrier. The double-gene and triple-gene dwarf wheat (a trait that was subsequently inducted in rice) brought in quantum jumps in yield potential. That was way back in the late 1960s. Since then, there has been no further genetic breakthrough in crop yields. Let there be no mistake about it.

Monsanto is therefore making faulty claims. None of its GM crop varieties increases yields. At best, they only reduce crop losses. If Monsanto does not know the difference between crop losses and crop yields, it needs to take some elementary lessons again in plant breeding.

But please, Monsanto, don't try and fool the world by distorting scientific facts.

For the record, let me also state that when Bt cotton was being introduced in India in 2001 (its entry was delayed by another year when I challenged the scientific claims made by Mahyco-Monsanto), the Indian Council for Agricultural Research had also objected to the company's claim of increasing yield. It is however another matter that ICAR's objections were simply brushed aside by the Department of Biotechnology, and we all know why.

Interestingly, ISAAA and several consultancy firms (and how can we believe them anyway after their role in the economic collapse now facing the world) have been claiming that cotton yields in India increased after Bt cotton was introduced. Such claims are made about other crops too. I have seen this happening again and again over the past two decades; whenever the crop yields increase, the scientists and agribusinesses take the credit. But when the crop yields go down, the blame invariably shifts to weather conditions.

Which may make you wonder why agricultural scientists and companies never thank the weather at times of bumper harvest. As a former Indian Agriculture Minister, Mr Chaturanand Mishra, always used to say, the only real Agriculture Minister is the monsoon.

This year, cotton production estimates in India have been scaled down by 14 per cent. Using the same yardstick, does it not mean that the productivity of Bt cotton is also falling? But of course the blame cannot lie with Bt cotton. You guessed right – it must be the fault of inclement weather.

Devinder Sharma is a New Delhi-based food and trade policy analyst. He is a regular contributor to Share The World's Resources and can be reached at n n This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last updated:
March 20th, 2009
Also, see this entire thread:

Then there's this quote from an article titled "the 14 most evil corporations"


Monsanto is, by far, the largest producer of genetically engineered seeds in the world, dominating 70% to 100% of the market for crops such as soy, cotton, wheat and corn.

Monsanto is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as Roundup. Roundup is sold to small farmers as a pesticide, yet harms crops in the long run as the toxins accumulate in the soil. Plants eventually become infertile, forcing farmers to purchase genetically modified Roundup Ready Seed, a seed that resists the herbicide. This creates a cycle of dependency on Monsanto for both the weed killer and the only seed that can resist it. Both products are patented, and sold at inflated prices. Exposure to the pesticide is documented to cause cancers, skin disorders, spontaneous abortions, premature births, and damage to the gastrointestinal and nervous systems.

According to the India Committee of the Netherlands and the International Labor Rights Fund, Monsanto also employs child labor. In India, an estimated 12,375 children work in cottonseed production for farmers paid by Indian and multinational seed companies, including Monsanto.

RE: Monsanto Company © - h3rm35 - 04-22-2010

Organic Consumers Association's "millions against monsanto" campaign

RE: Monsanto Company © - ToddTraf - 04-22-2010

Hurumph Hurumph Fuck Monsato Harumph
How about everybody do something pro-active and join in our little 2010 seed trading thread here at Concen.

RE: Monsanto Company © - h3rm35 - 04-23-2010

I have GM seeds that I'm not using, can I trade them?

not to trivialize the concept of seed trading, as I find it an incredibly important thing to do, and a great way to resist all kinds of negative behavior inherent in our corporate culture but those seeds are in danger as long as Monsanto and the like continue to metastasize:
Quote:Multi-Billion $$ Monsanto Sues
More Small Family Farmers

Percy Schmeiser is a farmer from Saskatchewan Canada, whose Canola fields were contaminated with Monsanto's genetically engineered Round-Up Ready Canola by pollen from a nearby farm. Monsanto says it doesn't matter how the contamination took place, and is therefore demanding Schmeiser pay their Technology Fee (the fee farmers must pay to grow Monsanto's genetically engineered products). According to Schmeiser, "I never had anything to do with Monsanto, outside of buying chemicals. I never signed a contract.
If I would go to St. Louis (Monsanto Headquarters) and contaminate their plots - destroy what they have worked on for 40 years - I think I would be put in jail and the key thrown away."

Rodney Nelson's family farm is being forced into a similar lawsuit by Monsanto.

RE: Monsanto Company © - h3rm35 - 04-30-2010

Patenting The Entire Food Chain. After Soybean And Maize,
It Is The Turn Of Pig And Meat

By Devinder Sharma

30 April, 2010
Ground Reality

Imagine the entire food production chain of your staple food -- let us take wheat in this case -- from seed to conventional breeding techniques, from improved seed to normal cultivation practices, and from utilisation of wheat straw as animal feed to food products like atta and bread, being patented by a single agribusiness company. Well, while you were oblivious to the threat of patent monopolies, or should I say while you were sleeping, multinationals have gained (and are in the process of gaining) control over the entire food chain.

The implications of such patent monopolies that puts the whole food chain under the control of multinationals is surely dreadful.

This has already happened in case of soybean and maize. It may next be the turn of rice and wheat. After all, rice is the most important staple food globally, and all major food companies are eyeing to control its entire food production chain. So is the case with wheat.

The global coalition "No Patents on Seeds" has issued an alert. It pertains to the latest patent filed by Monsanto. In a pending patent application (filed on Jan 29, 2009) from Monsanto even bacon and steaks are claimed: Patent application WO2009097403 is claiming meat stemming from pigs being fed with the patented genetically engineered plants of Monsanto.

I looked at the patent claim, and found it to be simply absurd. The patent is filed for an invention: "Method for Feeding Pigs and Products comprising Beneficial Fatty Acids." To me, this looks to be a simple improvement in the feeding process, but if you read the claims carefully you realise how cleverly Monsanto has drafted it to include almost everything under the sun. Which means, Monsanto (which already has a patent on pig breeding) actually now lays claim over the entire production cycle of pig rearing -- from what goes into the feed, to pig breeding processes and finally to the production of pork.

Claim 89 (there are a total of 89 claims) says: "The swine feed of Claim 70 wherein said additional feed components are selected from the group consisting of salt, antibiotics, corn, wheat, oats, barley, soybean meal, cottonseed meal, flaxseed meal, sunflower meal, canola meal, wheat middlings, wheat bran, rice bran, corn distiller dried grains, brewer grains, corn gluten meal, corn gluten feed, molasses, rice mill byproduct, corn oil, flax oil, soy protein, palm oil, animal fat, pigs fat, restaurant grease, antioxidents, tocochromanols, tocopherols, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and coccidostats."

Now let us look at Claim 70. It lists three components of swine feed: "stearidonic acid (SDA), gamma linolenic acid (LCA) and additonal feed components," and also adds that wherein said swine feed comprises at least 0.10% SDA and at least 0.07 % GLA, wherein the ratio of SDA/GLA is at least about 1.3.

In other words, this patent is simply about the addition of SDA and GLC compounds to the normal swine feed. As said ealier, the patent is claimed over meat stemming from pigs being fed with the patented genetically engineered plants that Monsanto has produced. In a pending patent application from Monsanto even bacon and steaks are claimed, says 'No Patents on Seeds' campaign. It tells us that a similar patent is applied for fish from aquaculture in March 2010 (WO201027788).

If you thought such patents are only being filed on animals and animal products, take a look at what the campaign has documented about Monsanto's patent over soybean and maize. "In Monsanto’s patent application WO2008021413, methods are claimed that are widely used in conventional breeding. On more than 1000 pages and in 175 claims Monsanto claims various gene sequences and genetic variations, especially in soy and maize. Monsanto even goes as far as explicitly claiming all relevant maize and soy plants, inheriting those genetic elements. Furthermore, all uses in food, feed and biomass are listed."

"By filing specific regional applications Monsanto shows especial interest in applying for this patent in Europe, Argentina and Canada. Already, Monsanto has filed court cases against importers of Argentinean soy to Europe. In another patent application WO 2009011847, Monsanto broadly claims methods for cattle breeding, the animals, as well as 'milk, cheese, butter and meat'.”

And finally, the "No Patents on Seeds" warns of the growing trend globally to patent every part of the food chain so as to extend food monopolies. Which means that in the years to come, your fundamental right of what and where to eat will be determined by the food companies. You would have by then lost all the diversity in foods that you have grown with, and would be forced to eat what these food companies serve on your platter. After all, all other food choices would have disappeared by then.

This is what the campaign says: "In only four years, between 2005 and 2009, Monsanto filed nearly 150 patent applications on plant breeding at the WIPO. These applications show a growing tendency to claim exclusive property rights not only on genetically modified plants and animals, but also on existing biodiversity and traditional breeding. While in the years before 2005 only very few such patents were filed, more than 30% of Monsanto’s patent applications between 2005 and 2009 include conventional plant breeding. This trend can also be observed with other big seed corporations. In the same period Dupont filed about 170 patent applications in plant breeding, 25% involving conventional plant breeding. Syngenta filed about 60 applications, with 50% targeting traditional breeding. Amongst the big seed companies, Monsanto is the only one filing patent applications on farm animals too. Since 2005 about 20 patents on animal breeding have been filed by the US company."

If you still don't feel like doing something, don't blame anyone. A Grave New World awaits us. And if you want to do something to make your voice heard, please visit the web site of 'No patents on Seeds'

RE: Monsanto Company © - Melchor - 05-08-2010

For info on how Monsanto and other biotech/pharma operations dominate the landscape of seed production now see this article.

Philip H. Howard, Visualizing Consolidation in the Global Seed Industry: 1996–2008 , 1 SUSTAINABILITY 1266, (2009)

Here's a chart from his paper.

RE: Monsanto Company © - ToddTraf - 05-08-2010

I like that graphic alot! (Rt clk Sv) thx
It also really puts the potential "they don't want you to eat nutrients, they want to sell them to you as drugs conspiracy" into a managable picture as well.

RE: Monsanto Company © - FastTadpole - 05-08-2010

I bet we'd see even more connections in a board of directors or major shareholders web,

Quote:I like that graphic alot! (Rt clk Sv) thx
It also really puts the potential "they don't want you to eat nutrients, they want to sell them to you as drugs conspiracy" into a managable picture as well.

Control the population through their stomachs. Seemed to work quite effectively for Stalin vs the Ukraine and in China under Mao but those are just a few of the more recent examples.

You combine that with control of speech, information and all of the other resources and the transaction system (WTO, Money, Government Regulation / Taxation / Subsidy) and it weaves quite a tangled net especially with the interdependancies, collusions and collation set up by various globalization agendi.

RE: Monsanto Company © - h3rm35 - 05-12-2010

A New Earthquake Hits Haiti: Monsanto's deadly gift of 475 tons of genetically-modified seeds to Haitian farmers

By Fr. Jean-Yves Urfie

Global Research, May 11, 2010
CUPE - 2010-05-10

Haiti's earthquake on 12 January this year has been a lucky business break for some. The transnational firm Monsanto is offering the country's farmers a deadly gift of 475 tonnes of genetically-modified (GM) seeds, along with associated fertiliser and pesticides, which will be handed out free by the WINNER project, with the backing of the US embassy in Haiti. Do Haitians know Monsanto made the "Agent Orange" defoliant sprayed over Vietnam by US planes during the war there, poisoning both US soldiers and Vietnamese civilians?

Do Haitians know that these GM seeds have been declared dangerous by many countries? They often come in kits along with a Monsanto herbicide called "Roundup," which contains glyphosate. In my native Brittany, it has already polluted the water table. But Monsanto insists its product is biodegradable. It is being sued for this by anti-frauid officials in Lyon.

A former employee of Monsanto, Linda Fischer, has just been named to head the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which monitors environmental issues. It's like giving a cat the job of looking after a mouse's welfare.

Monsanto has already begun distributing its GM maize seeds around Gonaïves, Kenscoff, Pétionville, Cabaret, Arcahaie, Croix-des-Bouquets and Mirebalais. Soon there will be only Monsanto seeds in Haiti. Then it will be goodbye to farmers' independence. Monsanto recently invested $550 million in Brazil to manufacture the Roundup herbicide in the northeastern state of Bahia. But the country seems to be fighting back against the firm.

Monsanto is publicising the seeds as a generous gift. But Haitian farmers wishing to use them for future harvests will have to pay royalties to Monsanto. The Monsanto representative in Haiti is Jean- Robert Estimé, who served as foreign minister under the Duvalier family's 29-year dictatorship.

Fr. Jean-Yves Urfie is a member of the Holy Spirit Order and former chemistry teacher at Collège Saint Martial, Port-au-Prince.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.

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RE: Monsanto Company © - h3rm35 - 05-29-2010

Mark of the Beast: Obama's latest
Monsanto pick, Elena Kagan

By Rady Ananda

16 May, 2010

First, we spit out our coffee over President Obama's appointments of former Monsanto goon Michael Taylor as Food Safety [ sic ] Czar and ‘ biotech governor of the year ' Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. Then we choked on our grits when he made Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddiqui , the US Ag Trade Representative. Now, the real food movement has completely lost its appetite with Obama's nomination of Monsanto defender, Elena Kagan, to the US Supreme Court.

In December 2009, in her capacity as Solicitor General, Kagan intervened in the first case on which SCOTUS will rule involving genetically modified crops, Monsanto v Geertson Seed . She defended Monsanto's fight to contaminate the environment with its GM alfalfa, not the American people's right to safe feed and a protected environment.

The lower court ruled that “contamination of organic and conventional alfalfa crops with the genetically engineered gene has occurred and defendants acknowledge as much. Such contamination is irreparable environmental harm.”

That other fields, not those of Geertson Seed, et al ., had been contaminated does not bother Kagan. “The district court failed to find either that respondents had suffered or were likely to suffer irreparable harm…”

This flies in the face of reality. The biotech industry has admitted it cannot prevent contamination of natural fields. When Bayer CropScience contaminated nearly a third of the US rice supply with its GM version, its defense lawyers told jurors that “Bayer's containment protocols were equal to or exceeded industry standards when the test rice escaped into the general supplies.”

If the best containment protocols don't work, then contamination cannot be prevented. That is clearly an indication that natural crop farmers are “likely to suffer irreparable harm.”

Geertson Seed explains some basic facts about alfalfa and GM contamination:

“Alfalfa is not just a prolific field crop, but feral alfalfa and weedy alfalfa is commonly found beyond the fields by roadways, irrigation canals, backyards and beyond….

“Contamination of conventional alfalfa from genetically engineered alfalfa is a major concern. The primary mode of contamination is from the movement of pollen by bees from plant to plant. Alfalfa is pollinated by many different bees and other insects that fly long distances. Sudden wind gusts like those associated with summer thunder storms can carry pollinators over greater distances. When a pollinator visits an alfalfa plant that has the Roundup Ready (RR) gene inserted, it will pick up the pollen that contains the RR gene and carry it to a distant conventional alfalfa plant. If that pollen fertilizes the blossom of the conventional plant, the resulting seed will contain the RR gene.”

This contamination becomes especially important because contaminated alfalfa will continue to sprout for years: “The seed produced by alfalfa can have 50% or more dormant seed [which] can lay dormant in the soil for many years.”

Glyphosate is one of the most toxic herbicides in use today. Monsanto's trade name for it is Roundup. Geertson Seed explains that:

“Roundup Ready alfalfa will have a selective advantage over non GE alfalfa and will become the dominant weed variety. In turn, the weedy Roundup Ready alfalfa will be difficult to kill and will become a source of pollen and seed that will contaminate other feral plants and conventional alfalfa seed fields in the area. In a few years, it will be extremely difficult to avoid contamination from GE alfalfa.”

Worse, researchers at the University of Caen found that Monsanto's particular formulations of glyphosate in Roundup “actually amplified glyphosate's toxic effects,” which include human cell death.

Kagan seems to believe that the biotech industry's inability to prevent contamination is not an issue for farmers, the environment or we the people. Her repugnance toward our human right to reject the deployment of genetically engineered crops comports with corporate views.

She earns the M on her forehead, joining Justice Clarence Thomas, a former Monsanto lawyer who corruptly refused to recuse himself from Monsanto v Geertson Seed .

Rady Ananda's work has appeared in several online and print publications, including three books on election fraud. Most of her career was spent working for lawyers in research, investigations and as a paralegal. She holds a B.S. in Natural Resources from The Ohio State University's School of Agriculture.
Rady Ananda
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Haitian Farmers to Burn Donated Monsanto Seeds
Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds

By Bev Bell

Global Research, May 19, 2010
Other Worlds - 2010-05-17

“A new earthquake” is what peasant farmer leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) called the news that Monsanto will be donating 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds, some of them treated with highly toxic pesticides. The MPP has committed to burning Monsanto’s seeds, and has called for a march to protest the corporation’s presence in Haiti on June 4, for World Environment Day.

In an open letter sent of May 14, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, the Executive Director of MPP and the spokesperson for the National Peasant Movement of the Congress of Papay (MPNKP), called the entry of Monsanto seeds into Haiti “a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds…, and on what is left our environment in Haiti.”[1] Haitian social movements have been vocal in their opposition to agribusiness imports of seeds and food, which undermines local production with local seed stocks. They have expressed special concern about the import of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

For now, without a law regulating the use of GMOs in Haiti, the Ministry of Agriculture rejected Monsanto’s offer of Roundup Ready GMO seeds. In an email exchange, a Monsanto representative assured the Ministry of Agriculture that the seeds being donated are not GMO.

Elizabeth Vancil, Monsanto’s Director of Development Initiatives, called the news that the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture approved the donation “a fabulous Easter gift” in an April email.[2] Monsanto is known for aggressively pushing seeds, especially GMO seeds, in both the global North and South, including through highly restrictive technology agreements with farmers who are not always made fully aware of what they are signing. According to interviews by this writer with representatives of Mexican small farmer organizations, they then find themselves forced to buy Monsanto seeds each year, under conditions they find onerous and at costs they sometimes cannot afford.

The hybrid corn seeds Monsanto has donated to Haiti are treated with the fungicide Maxim XO, and the calypso tomato seeds are treated with thiram.[3] Thiram belongs to a highly toxic class of chemicals called ethylene bisdithiocarbamates (EBDCs). Results of tests of EBDCs on mice and rats caused concern to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which then ordered a special review. The EPA determined that EBDC-treated plants are so dangerous to agricultural workers that they must wear special protective clothing when handling them. Pesticides containing thiram must contain a special warning label, the EPA ruled. The EPA also barred marketing of the chemicals for many home garden products, because it assumes that most gardeners do not have adequately protective clothing.[4] Monsanto’s passing mention of thiram to Ministry of Agriculture officials in an email contained no explanation of the dangers, nor any offer of special clothing or training for those who will be farming with the toxic seeds.

Haitian social movements’ concern is not just about the dangers of the chemicals and the possibility of future GMO imports. They claim that the future of Haiti depends on local production with local food for local consumption, in what is called food sovereignty. Monsanto’s arrival in Haiti, they say, is a further threat to this.

“People in the U.S. need to help us produce, not give us food and seeds. They’re ruining our chance to support ourselves,” said farmer Jonas Deronzil of a peasant cooperative in the rural region of Verrettes.[5]

Monsanto’s history has long drawn ire from environmentalists, health advocates, and small farmers, going back to its production of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. Exposure to Agent Orange has caused cancer in an untold number of U.S. Veterans, and the Vietnamese government claims that 400,000 Vietnamese people were killed or disabled by Agent Orange, and 500,000 children were born with birth defects as a result of their exposure.[6]

Monsanto’s former motto, “Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible,” has been replaced by “Imagine.” Its web site home page claims it “help[s] farmers around the world produce more while conserving more. We help farmers grow yield sustainably so they can be successful, produce healthier foods… while also reducing agriculture's impact on our environment.”[7] The corporations’ record does not support the claims.

Together with Syngenta, Dupont and Bayer, Monsanto controls more than half of the world’s seeds.[8] The company holds almost 650 seed patents, most of them for cotton, corn and soy, and almost 30% of the share of all biotech research and development. Monsanto came to own such a vast supply by buying major seed companies to stifle competition, patenting genetic modifications to plant varieties, and suing small farmers. Monsanto is also one of the leading manufacturers of GMOs.

As of 2007, Monsanto had filed 112 lawsuits against U.S. farmers for alleged technology contract violations or GMO patents, involving 372 farmers and 49 small agricultural businesses in 27 different states. From these, Monsanto has won more than $21.5 million in judgments. The multinational appears to investigate 500 farmers a year, in estimates based on Monsanto’s own documents and media reports.[9]

“Farmers have been sued after their field was contaminated by pollen or seed from someone else’s genetically engineered crop [or] when genetically engineered seed from a previous year’s crop has sprouted, or ‘volunteered,’ in fields planted with non-genetically engineered varieties the following year,” said Andrew Kimbrell and Joseph Mendelson of the Center for Food Safety.[10]

In Colombia, Monsanto has received upwards of $25 million from the U.S. government for providing Roundup Ultra in the anti-drug fumigation efforts of Plan Colombia. Roundup Ultra is a highly concentrated version of Monsanto's glyphosate herbicide, with additional ingredients to increase its lethality. Colombian communities and human rights organizations have charged that the herbicide has destroyed food crops, water sources and protected areas, and has led to increased incidents of birth defects and cancers.

Vía Campesina, the world’s largest confederation of farmers with member organizations in more than sixty countries, has called Monsanto one of the “principal enemies of peasant sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty for all peoples.”[11] They claim that as Monsanto and other multinationals control an ever larger share of land and agriculture, they force small farmers out of their land and jobs. They also claim that the agribusiness giants contribute to climate change and other environmental disasters, an outgrowth of industrial agriculture.[12]

The Vía Campesina coalition launched a global campaign against Monsanto last October 16, on International World Food Day, with protests, land occupations, and hunger strikes in more than twenty countries. They carried out a second global day of action against Monsanto on April 17 of this year, in honor of Earth Day.

Non-governmental organizations in the U.S. are challenging Monsanto’s practices, too. The Organic Consumers Association has spearheaded the campaign “Millions Against Monsanto,” calling on the company to stop intimidating small family farmers, stop marketing untested and unlabeled genetically engineered foods to consumers, and stop using billions of dollars of U.S. taypayers' money to subsidize GMO crops.[13]

The Center for Food Safety has led a four-year legal challenge to Monsanto that has just made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. After successful litigation against Monsanto and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for illegal promotion of Roundup Ready Alfalfa, the court heard the Center for Food Safety’s case on April 27. A decision on this first-ever Supreme Court case about GMOs is now pending.[14]

“Fighting hybrid and GMO seeds is critical to save our diversity and our agriculture,” Jean-Baptiste said in an interview in February. “We have the potential to make our lands produce enough to feed the whole population and even to export certain products. The policy we need for this to happen is food sovereignty, where the county has a right to define it own agricultural policies, to grow first for the family and then for local market, to grow healthy food in a way which respects the environment and Mother Earth.”

Many thanks to Moira Birss for her assistance with research and writing.


1. Group email from Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, May 14, 2010.
2. Email from Elizabeth Vancil to Emmanuel Prophete, Director of Seeds at the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, and others; released by the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, date unavailable.
3. Ibid.
4. Extension Toxicology Network, Pesticide Information Project of the Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and University of California at Davis,
5. Jonas Deronzil’s comments are from an interview in April. He was not specifically discussing Monsanto.
6. MSNBC, January 23, 2004. “Study Finds Link Between Agent Orange, Cancer.” The Globe and Mail, June 12, 2008. “Last Ghost of the Vietnam War”
8. La Vía Campesina, “La Vía Campesina carries out Global Day of Action against Monsanto”, Oct. 16, 2009,
9. Center for Food Safety, “Monsanto vs. US Farmers,” Nov. 2007.
10. Andrew Kimbrell and Joseph Mendelson, Center for Food Safety, “Monsanto vs. US Farmers,” 2005.
11. La Vía Campesina, October 16, 2009, Op. Cit.
12. La Vía Campesina, “La Vía Campesina Call to Action 17 April 2010 - Join the International Day of Peasant Struggle,” Feb. 23, 2010,
13. Organic Consumers Association, “Taxpayers Forced to Fund Monsanto's Poisoning of Third World,” Finland, Minnesota,
14. Center for Food Security, “Update: CFS Fighting Monsanto in the Supreme Court,” May 11, 2010,
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.

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RE: Monsanto Company © - FastTadpole - 06-07-2010

Quote:Groups Around the US Joined Haitian Farmers in Protesting "Donation" of Monsanto Seeds
Monday 07 June 2010
by: Beverly Bell

"We're for seeds that have never been touched by multinationals. In our advocacy, we say that seeds are the patrimony of humanity. No one can control them," said Doudou Pierre, national coordinating committee member of the National Haitian Network for Food Sovereignty and Food Security (RENHASSA), in a recent interview. "We reject Monsanto and their GMOs. GMOs would be the extermination of our people."

A march held in Haiti June 4 for World Environment Day was called by at least four major national peasant organizations and one international one. The march's purpose was to protest the new arrival of Monsanto seeds. The day's slogans included, "Long live native seeds" and "Down with Monsanto. Down with GMO and hybrid seeds."

Several US organizations planned simultaneous events to protest the entry of the controversial multinational in Haiti.

Last month, Haitian citizens learned the news that the giant agribusiness Monsanto will be "donating" 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds. While the seeds are free this year, peasant organizations see a Trojan horse, with Monsanto seeking to gain a foothold in the Haitian market. Hybrid seeds typically do not regenerate, so that farmers would have to buy them again each year, and they generally require large quantities of fertilizer and pesticides (two products that also fill Monsanto's annual coffers). And while the Ministry of Agriculture rejected Monsanto's offer of genetically modified (GMO) seeds this year because Haiti does not have a law regulating their use, there may follow a push to get GMOs approved, in which case Monsanto would be well-positioned. Moreover, the Calypso tomato seeds contain the pesticide Thiram, the chemical ingredient of which is so toxic that the Environmental Protection Agency has banned it for home use in the US.[1] (For more information, see "Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds.")

Monsanto representative Kathleen Manning commented in The Huffington Post on May 20, "It's disappointing to see people encouraging Haitian farmers to 'burn Monsanto seeds,' especially when the ones hurt by that action will be Haitian farmers and the Haitian people - not those of us watching on the sidelines."

Yet, the call to burn the seeds is based on a strong commitment of the Haitian peasant movement to food and seed sovereignty, which is the ability of local farmers to support themselves with local seeds for local consumption. Among the thousands of peasant organizations which exist among millions of peasant farmers, from village-level groups to national networks, food and seed sovereignty is a key principle. It has formed the basis of their national advocacy since the catastrophic January 12 earthquake. The linchpin of the reconstruction model that small farmers and many other sectors advocate is developing the country's agricultural potential. This would provide stable employment for the 60 percent to 80 percent of the population who are small farmers. It would improve prospects for food security, with an increase in consumption of domestic crops replacing the current dependence on imports, which now compose 57 percent of food consumed. Critical elements in strengthening peasant production include: government investment in agriculture, including technical support; the procurement of local food by USAID and other international agencies' food aid programs, instead of the products of foreign agribusiness; and restriction on the dumping of foreign food and seeds.

Pierre said, "If Haiti isn't sovereign with its food, if the government doesn't promote national production, we'll just always be opening our mouths to seeds and food aid so multinationals can make money off of us. We're for family agriculture which respects the environment." The coalition which Pierre co-coordinates represents 54 organizations from different sectors and regions throughout Haiti.

Below are some of the US-based events which protested the Monsanto seeds June 4. Also below are a few of numerous US initiatives, which are helping Haitian farmers get organic, Creole seeds.

AGRA Watch in Seattle planed a march June 4, ending outside the Gates Foundation office. AGRA stands for A Green Revolution in Africa, which is a multinational corporation-driven, GMO-driven program now being launched in Africa. The Gates Foundation has been a key promoter of AGRA. The group says, "The dumping of toxic seeds in Haiti is the latest in a series of unsustainable solutions that Monsanto has pushed on farmers around the world. If the Gates Foundation wants to support a truly sustainable agricultural system in Africa, they must divorce themselves from Monsanto. Haitian farmers and African farmers have said NO! to corporate control of their food systems. The Gates Foundation and AGRA must say no to Monsanto."

Rising in Solidarity with Ayiti in Chicago urged, "From Haiti to Chicago, reclaim our right to control our food and sovereignty!" June 4 a group of urban farmers and community members joined in a rally to burn GMO seeds in protest of Monsanto's "donation" to Haiti. Participants in the event also planted organic and heirloom seeds, and signed letters to USAID to protest the distribution of Monsanto's seeds in Haiti. The event also featured testimonials about the lack of access to food security, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables, in neighborhoods in Chicago, and how this connects to the right to food sovereignty in Haiti.

Community Action for Justice in the Americas, Africa, Asia, in Missoula, hosted a protest, asking: "Bring posters, signs, or just come. Wear black /white, or lab coats, dust masks, goggles or Tyvek suits or creative costume! Bring drums, pots & pans ..." A personal email from a member of the group said, "The people in Missoula, Montana are paying attention and taking action for farmers in Haiti."

The Organic Consumers Association's network sent more than 10,000 emails to USAID and President Obama. Two dozen members have donated to the Seeds for Haiti project.

A coalition of US churches and foundations are supporting Foundation FONDAMA, a Haitian federation of farmers and local NGOs. The coalition has sent down several million dollars to purchase 86,000 kilos of local corn seed and 59,000 kilos of local pea seeds. (Seeds are available in Haiti, but small farmers have not had the money to buy them.) All of the farmers who belong to member organizations in Foundation FONDAMA have gotten seeds, allowing them to proceed with planting their spring crop. The donations have also purchased 13,300 machetes and 9,200 hoes. The US coalition has, moreover, sent a Massachusetts farmer to the village of Papay for the march, and hosted the leader of the Peasant Movement of Papay in New York and Washington for public, media, and Congressional meetings this week.

Like numerous other supportive groups in the US, Groundswell International's approach to seed sovereignty in Haiti pre-dates Monsanto's announcement. Through its Haitian partner Partnership for Local Development, Groundswell is strengthening the capacity of peasant organizations in Haiti to sustainably improve their agricultural production, income generation, food security, health and natural resources management. A Groundswell staff member wrote, "A key thing we'll be working on is trying to promote the alternative, which is Haitian production of 100 percent of their seeds so they don't need imports."

1. Extension Toxicology Network, Pesticide Information Project of the Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and University of California at Davis . Monsanto denies that Thiram contains the toxic chemical ethylene bisdithiocarbamates (EBDCs).