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Monsanto rams biotech crops down farmers' throats

Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian farmer whose fields were contaminated by Monsanto's GMO canola, spoke in Santa Cruz at the Live Oak Grange. He's being sued by the giant corporation which is trying to silence him. He warned Califonia's organicn farmers about GMO dangers to organic farming.
Monsanto wants planetary food control

By Ed Oberweiser

The Monsanto Corporation is out to control the world's food supply. This was the message brought to Santa Cruz on October 24 by Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian farmer who is fighting Monsanto in court after its genetically modified organisms (GMO) contaminated his fields
After Monsanto's bio-engineered canola contaminated his crop, the giant conglomerate sued him for illegally obtaining their seed without a license. Schmeiser has farmed since 1947, mainly wheat and canola. For fifty years, he saved and developed his seeds. Schmeiser told the audience at the Live Oak Grange that he launched a liability countersuit against Monsanto for contaminating his fields.
However, Monsanto picked on the wrong farmer. Schmeiser was the mayor of his town in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada and a member of the Canadian Parliament for 25 years.
After two years of pretrial, Monsanto changed course and sued him for infringement of their patent rights. Patent laws come under federal jurisdiction in Canada. The federal judge ruled that it didn't matter how GMO-modified seeds got into Schmeiser's field. The judge ruled that Schmeiser violated Monsanto's patent rights and all his contaminated crops, seeds and the income from them belonged to Monsanto.
What this means to farmers in Canada, Schmeiser said, is they have no rights under patent law that protects multinational corporations' intellectual rights above the rights of farmers
. Even though a company can't patent a plant in Canada, it can patent a gene. Monsanto is coming in though the back door, claiming the gene implanted into a seed makes that seed and the resulting crop Monsanto's invention.
When the decision came down, Schmeiser appealed to the Canadian Federal Court of Appeals. The court ruled in favor of Monsanto. Schmeiser then appealed to the Canadian Supreme Court. He mortgaged his farm and has spent more than $200,000 (so far) in this court battle with Monsanto. The lecture at the Live Oak Grange was also a fund-raiser for the increasing legal expenses of the case.
Monsanto originally told Canadian farmers GMO crops would produce a larger yield, need less pesticides and be more nutritious. Within two years, Canadian farmers discovered that GMO crops actually produce a 15 percent smaller yield, are less nutritious and use more chemicals.
Worst of all Schmeiser said, once GMO genes are introduced into the environment, they destroy the organic farmer's crop — as well as the conventional farmer's. He said the GMOs cannot be contained; once they're in the environment they can't be removed. Neither wind nor pollen flow can be controlled.
Now organic farmers in Canada can no longer grow canola or soybeans because those genies were let out of the bottle. "You cannot live side by side. It's either one or the other," Schmeiser said.
Canadian canola has also been contaminated by the genes from three or four other companies which sell GMOs besides Monsanto. All those genes, contained in one plant, have created a super weed resistant to a multitude of chemicals. Schmeiser said the super weed is all over, in farmers' fields that have never grown canola— and even in golf courses throughout Canada.
There is more evidence that the genes have escaped. Schmeiser said the University of Manitoba, which tested 33 pedigreed, registered canola seeds, discovered 32 of those "pure" seeds had been contaminated. The university researchers further stated that some of the contamination was so heavy a farmer could raise a crop of Monsanto's GMO canola by buying supposedly "pure" seeds. Canola comes from the brassica family and has very close relatives including radishes, turnips and cauliflower which are cross pollinating with the super weed, Schmeiser said.
There is economic damage as well. Canadian farmers can no longer ship any of their canola to the European Union (EU) because the EU won't accept GMOs. One third of Canada's agricultural market was lost and the prices dropped
Schmeiser gave California organic farmers a dire warning– if GMO crops get loose in California, organic farmers will be ruined and no longer be able to ship their crops abroad.
According to Schmeiser, another issue of GMO introduction no one ever hears about is the suppression of farmers' rights and freedom of speech by Monsanto's contracts. A contract with Monsanto is, from Schmeiser's point of view, the "worst contract taking away farmer's rights on the face of this earth."
Under the terms of the contract the farmers are forced to buy Monsanto's seeds and chemicals. They must pay the corporation a $15 per acre technology charge every year. If farmers violate the contract, they must sign a non-disclosure statement. They are muzzled from saying anything to the press or anyone else concerning what Monsanto has done to them. Meanwhile Monsanto is free to say anything about the farmers.
Another clause of the Monsanto contract says farmers must allow the Monsanto police force to come onto their land, fields and granaries without their permission. This is in order to check the seeds to see if those farmers are using Monsanto's genes.
The Monsanto police force is made up of ex-Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, and ex-Pinkertons, known as strike breakers, according to American labor history records.
Monsanto encourages farmers who planted GMO crops to inform on anyone they suspect of using Monsanto's seeds without a license or had their crop contaminated by Monsanto's GMO. Monsanto police will then come and intimidate them, saying Monsanto will drag them into court and take their farms.
Neighbors are turned against each other as the farmers are left wondering who informed on them. This is breaking up the social fabric of farmers, Schmeiser said. Historically, farming families have helped each other. Monsanto is destroying that trust and unity, fragmenting the farming community.
Schmeiser said Monsanto also uses extortion, sending threatening letters to farmers suspected of growing Monsanto's GMO canola without a license. The letters tell the farmers they can send Monsanto a certain amount of money in order to maybe avoid being prosecuted. Schmeiser has heard of an extortion amount as high as $750,000. "Can you imagine the fear in a farmer when he gets a letter like that from a multi-billion dollar corporation," asked Schmeiser?
If the Monsanto police force can't contact the farmers, they fly over suspected fields, dropping Monsanto's chemicals on the center of the field. After 10 or 12 days, if the crop died, they know the farmer didn't use Monsanto's GMOs.
According to Schmeiser, Monsanto is now deliberately contaminating farmers' fields because of the growing worldwide opposition to GMOs. Also, while Schmeiser was in South Africa, the head of the biotech commission said they would be able to contaminate the whole African continent within four years by introducing GMO maize from the U.S.
Schmeiser was given a warning by Monsanto's representative approximately a year ago in South Africa. After giving a presentation to the Parliament in Capetown, he was told by the Monsanto representative, "Nobody stands up to Monsanto, we're going to get you and we're going to destroy you! We're going to make more trouble for you when you get back to Canada." For once, Monsanto was true to its word. The megacorporation launched a $1 million lawsuit against Schmeiser to recover its court costs for trying to prosecute him.
There's also trouble with GMOs in other countries. In India
Monsanto's transgenic C7 sorghum, as yet not certified by the Indian government, was nonetheless sold to 3,000 farmers who cultivated the crop over an area of 30,000 acres. "The crop failed one hundred percent," said Nanjundaswamy, an Indian farmer. "There were earheads coming out, but no grain at all, with the result that we have sued Monsanto in the consumer tribunals."
The loss of diversity especially worries Schmeiser. "If there are only one or two varieties of a crop, there is an extreme danger. What happens if we get a disease or fungus? What have we got to fall back on?"
"We don't need Monsanto to feed a hungry world. What it takes to feed a hungry world is economics, politics and transportation," Schmeiser told the listeners.
Percy has traveled to several third-world countries warning the farmers not to use GMOs. He's heading to Central America to spread the warning.
Editor's note: Readers who want to learn more about this issue can see Percy Schmeiser's website at: Anyone interested in helping Schmeiser fight the transnational giant in the Supreme Court can send donations to: Fight Genetically Altered Food Fund Inc., Box 3743, Humboldt.SK, Canada SOK 2AO. Monsanto is also a major player in the plan by multinational corporations to privatize the world's water supplies.
There are already a number of GMOs being cultivated in the U.S. They were approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. These include three kinds of canola, chicory, 15 kinds of corn, four kinds of cotton, flax, papaya, three kinds of potatoes, three kinds of soybeans, two kinds of squash, two kinds of sugar beets and four kinds of tomatoes.
The companies and universities who engineered these varieties include: Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Aventis, Sygenta, the University of Saskatchewan, University of Hawaii, DeKalb, Cornell University and Calgene. To find out more about biotechnology,visit the following websites: - the Union of Concerned Scientists general biotechnology site; - the Union of Concerned Scientists list of U.S.- approved and planted GMOs and the corporations that crated them.
To protect yourselves and your children from GMOs, the author recommends eating only certified California organic foods. Also, please flood your senators and representatives with letters, FAXes, emails and phone calls. Tell them you want all GMOs labelled so you can decide what goes in your body. Another option is buying produce from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) which includes an introduction of CSA, a resource list, and directories of CSAs in the United States and Canada.
Also write your representatives

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