Leaked documents reveal US diplomats actually work for Monsanto

http://www.naturalnews.com/034620_Monsanto_diplomats_GMOs.html

Biotech giant Monsanto has been genetically modifying the world’s food supply and subsequently breeding environmental devastation for years, but leaked documents now reveal that Monsanto has also deeply infiltrated the United States government. With leaked reports revealing how U.S. diplomats are actually working for Monsanto to push their agenda along with other key government officials, Monsanto’s grasp on international politics has never been clearer.

Amazingly, the information reveals that the massive corporation is also intensely involved in the passing and regulations concerning the very GM ingredients they are responsible for. In fact, the information released by WikiLeaks reveals just how much power Monsanto has thanks to key positions within the United States government and elsewhere. Not only was it exposed that the U.S. is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto with military-style trade wars, but that many U.S. diplomats actually work directly for Monsanto.

What the leaked documents reveal — Military style trade wars, government corruption

In 2007 it was requested that specific nations inside the European Union be punished for not supporting the expansion of Monsanto’s GMO crops. The request for such measures to be taken was made by Craig Stapleton, the United States ambassador to France and partner to George W. Bush. Despite mounting evidence linking Monsanto’s GM corn to organ damage and environmental devastation, the ambassador plainly calls for ‘target retaliation’ against those not supporting the GM crop. In the leaked documents, Stapleton states:

“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices.”

The undying support of key players within the U.S. towards Monsanto is undeniably made clear not only in this release, but in the legislative decisions taken by organizations such as the FDA and USDA. Legislative decisions such as allowing Monsanto’s synthetic hormone Posilac (rBGH) to be injected into U.S. cows despite being banned in 27 countries. How did Monsanto pull this off?

The biotech juggernaut managed to infiltrate the FDA positions responsible for the approval of rBGH, going as far as instating the company’s own Margaret Miller as Deputy Director of Human Safety and Consultative Services. After assuming this position, Miller reviewed her own report on the safety and effectiveness of rBGH.

Many US diplomats pawns of Monsanto’s GM agenda

While it may be shocking to you if you are not familiar with the corrupt influence of Monsanto, the cables also show that many US diplomats are pushing GMO crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative. Interestingly enough, the U.S. focused their efforts toward advisers to the pope specifically, due to the fact that many Catholic figureheads have openly voiced their opposition to GM foods. With this kind of political influence, is it any wonder that many food staples are now predominantly GM? Nearly 93% of U.S. soybeans are heavily modified conservatively, with many other staple crops coming in at similar numbers.

U.S. diplomats have unique opportunities to spread honest and intellectual campagins that can serve to better mankind and end suffering, however they are instead spreading the roots of Monsanto deeper and deeper into international territory. As a substitute for the betterment of mankind, these paid-off diplomats are now spreading environment desecration and health destruction.

As if there wasn’t already enough information to reveal Monsanto’s corruption, the biotech giant also spends enormous amount of money lobbying government each year. Monsanto spent an astonishing $2 million lobbying the federal government in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone, according to mainstream sources. Why so much cash? The government lobbying focuses on issues like regulations for GM crops and patent reforms. This ‘legal’ form of persuasion is the reason government agencies like the USDA and FDA let Monsanto roam freely.

Satisfying government officials’ financial vested interest is all that matters when dealing with corrupt mega-corporations like Monsanto. As long as these financial ties continue to exist, Monsanto will continue to reign over the food supply and continue to wreak devastation to the environment, ecosystem, and humankind.

Sources for this article include:
http://naturalsociety.com/us-start-trade-wars-with-nations-opposed-to-monsanto-gmo-crops/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/03/wikileaks-us-eu-gm-crops
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9RL51J81.htm
http://213.251.145.96/cable/2007/12/07PARIS4723.html
http://www.fastcoexist.com/1677871/fearful-of-genetically-modified-crops-youre-too-late

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/034620_Monsanto_diplomats_GMOs.html#ixzz1l03mXwG5

WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/03/wikileaks-us-eu-gm-crops#history-link-box

US embassy cable recommends drawing up list of countries for ‘retaliation’ over opposition to genetic modification

, environment editor guardian.co.uk

Genetically modified corn in a test tube

The US embassy in Paris wanted to penalise the EU after France moved to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any Euroxpean Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.

In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington topenalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.

“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.

“The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices,” said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the Dallas/Fort Worth-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s.

In other newly released cables, US diplomats around the world are found to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative.

Because many Catholic bishops in developing countries have been vehemently opposed to the controversial crops, the US applied particular pressure to the pope’s advisers.

Cables from the US embassy in the Vatican show that the US believes the pope is broadly supportive of the crops after sustained lobbying of senior Holy See advisers, but regrets that he has not yet stated his support. The US state department special adviser on biotechnology as well as government biotech advisers based in Kenya lobbied Vatican insiders to persuade the pope to declare his backing. “… met with [US monsignor] Fr Michael Osborn of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, offering a chance to push the Vatican on biotech issues, and an opportunity for post to analyse the current state of play on biotech in the Vatican generally,” says one cable in 2008.

“Opportunities exist to press the issue with the Vatican, and in turn to influence a wide segment of the population in Europe and the developing world,” says another.

But in a setback, the US embassy found that its closest ally on GM, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the powerful Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the man who mostly represents the pope at the United Nations, had withdrawn his support for the US.

“A Martino deputy told us recently that the cardinal had co-operated with embassy Vatican on biotech over the past two years in part to compensate for his vocal disapproval of the Iraq war and its aftermath – to keep relations with the USG [US government] smooth. According to our source, Martino no longer feels the need to take this approach,” says the cable.

In addition, the cables show US diplomats working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto. “In response to recent urgent requests by [Spanish rural affairs ministry] state secretary Josep Puxeu and Monsanto, post requests renewed US government support of Spain‘s science-based agricultural biotechnology position through high-level US government intervention.”

It also emerges that Spain and the US have worked closely together topersuade the EU not to strengthen biotechnology laws. In one cable, the embassy in Madrid writes: “If Spain falls, the rest of Europe will follow.”

The cables show that not only did the Spanish government ask the US to keep pressure on Brussels but that the US knew in advance how Spain would vote, even before the Spanish biotech commission had reported.

• This article was amended on 21 January 2011. The original sited the Texas Rangers team in St Louis. This has been corrected.

Monsanto spent $2 million lobbying US gov’t in 3Q

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9RL51J81.htm

WASHINGTON

Monsanto Co. spent $2 million in the third quarter to lobby the federal government on issues including regulations for genetically engineered crops and patent reforms, according to a recent disclosure report.

That’s slightly more than the $1.9 million Monsanto spent a year earlier and up almost 18 percent from the $1.7 million it spent during previous quarter.

The world’s largest seed company lobbied Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture over regulations that would affect the distribution of genetically engineered crops like the company’s Roundup Ready sugar beets and alfalfa, according to the disclosure the company filed Oct. 18 with the House clerk’s office.

The company also lobbied Congress on patent protection reforms. Monsanto spends years, or sometimes more than a decade, developing patented strains of genetically engineered crops. Maintaining those patent rights is key to the company’s profit model.

The company lobbied the Congress and the Department of Justice on issues surrounding agricultural consolidation and antitrust enforcement.

Compromising Agriculture GM crops by backdoor

Deccan Herald, September 16, 2011
By Basudev Acharya

Apart from issues related to seed monopoly and rural livelihood, there are serious biosafety concerns the world over.

Across the world, there is huge controversy around the introduction of genetically modified/engineered (GM/GE) crops. On one hand there are a few biotech crop developers and scientists recommending the use of GM technology as solution for food security and on other there are concerns about its impact on human health, environment and socioeconomy.

Added to that is the unpredictability and irreversibility of genetic engineering and the uncontrollability of GM crops once let out in the environment. One of the major concerns about GM crops is that they only serve the purpose of multinational seed giants. All GM technologies come along with Intellectual Property Rights and patent tags of multinational seed companies which would ensure their monopolies as has happened in the case of Bt cotton, the only GM crop commercially cultivated in India.

While there were 619 varieties of Bt cotton approved for release until Aug 2009 in the country, 514 of them are owned by Monsanto, the US multinational seed giant, which also holds a global monopoly in the total seed sales of Bt cotton.

One has already seen how Monsanto has armtwisted the state governments in India to increase the cotton seed prices this season. Bt Brinjal, the first GM food crop to have reached commercialisation stage in our country, also had a Cry 1Ac gene owned by Monsanto and licenced to Mahyco for developing Bt Brinjal. There is a threat of GM crops becoming the tool for control of the seed and thereby the agriculture sector by multinational seed corporations.

Apart from issues related to seed monopoly and rural livelihood, there are serious biosafety concerns being debated world over. Different studies have consistently indicated the possible ill-effects of GMs on health and environment. There is a clear need for an independent report on various effects of GM crops, including long term studies and chronic toxicity studies. Biosafety concerns must be addressed before any open air release of GM crops including field trials.

It is in this context that one should look at the growing debate on GM crops in India. The crisis in Indian agriculture needs no further statement, but to attribute it to just technology lag and promote technofixes, like GM crops, as the only solution to it is not only myopic but also criminal and this is precisely what the Indian government seems to be doing.

The debate in India on GE crops started with Bt cotton, the only commercially approved GE crop in the country (March, 2002) and had become loud and visible around the approval of Bt Brinjal.

During public consultations organised by the Union ministry of environment and forests last year on Bt Brinjal, there were concerns raised by farmers, civil society, and health and environment experts against GM crops and also against the existing regulatory system in the country, the government then rolled back the approval validating these concerns.

Field trials

While Bt Brinjal is under moratorium, numerous GM crops are being released in to the open fields in the name of field trials, which could lead to contamination of our regular crop varieties by these GM crops whose biosafety is yet to be ascertained. Efforts are also on by GM crop developers like Monsanto to push herbicide tolerant corn and cotton in India. Field trials of these crops have been happening and are expected to come up for commercialisation soon.

Recommendations submitted by the Swaminathan Task Force on Agri-Biotechnology, whose report was accepted by the government in 2004, clearly stated that India should adopt such technologies as genetic engineering only where alternatives do not exist. It also categorically rejected technologies that would be detrimental to agriculture labour like the herbicide tolerant crops.

To top it all the government is proposing a new regulatory system for GM crops called the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) which is supposed to be tabled in the monsoon session. From what one has seen of the media leaked versions of its drafts, BRAI is going to lower the bar for approvals of GM crops. The problems with the proposed bill starts with the grave conflict of interest where the regulator is proposed to be located in the ministry of science and technology which also has the mandate to promote GM crops in the country.

The last version seen in the media paints the picture of a centralised technocratic body with pretty much no role for the elected representatives of the people of this country. It did not have longterm biosafety assessments and also maintains the current system of letting the GM crop developer do the biosafety assessment.

It also proposed to circumvent the Right to Information Act, 2005, and went even to the extent of proposing imprisonment and fines for those opposing GM crops without scientific evidence. Thus the BRAI that government plans to put in place, at its onset looks like a non transparent, unquestionable authority.

Given that the existing regulatory system is defunct, what needs to be immediately done is stopping the release of any GM crop in to our environment be it for commercialisation or for research. We should not fail to ask fundamental questions like whether there is a need for this technology and whether safer and sustainable alternatives exist for a proposed product.

This is what the existing and proposed regulatory systems for GM crops fail to do in India and the fact is that for any GM crop that is being developed in any part of the word right now, there exists ecological alternatives which are economically and socially sustainable.

(The writer is the chairman of parliament’s standing committee on agriculture).

Compromising Agriculture: GM crops by backdoor

By Basudev Acharya

Apart from issues related to seed monopoly and rural livelihood, there are serious biosafety concerns the world over.

Across the world, there is huge controversy around the introduction of genetically modified/engineered (GM/GE) crops. On one hand there are a few biotech crop developers and scientists recommending the use of GM technology as solution for food security and on other there are concerns about its impact on human health, environment and socioeconomy.

Added to that is the unpredictability and irreversibility of genetic engineering and the uncontrollability of GM crops once let out in the environment. One of the major concerns about GM crops is that they only serve the purpose of multinational seed giants. All GM technologies come along with Intellectual Property Rights and patent tags of multinational seed companies which would ensure their monopolies as has happened in the case of Bt cotton, the only GM crop commercially cultivated in India.

While there were 619 varieties of Bt cotton approved for release until Aug 2009 in the country, 514 of them are owned by Monsanto, the US multinational seed giant, which also holds a global monopoly in the total seed sales of Bt cotton.

One has already seen how Monsanto has armtwisted the state governments in India to increase the cotton seed prices this season. Bt Brinjal, the first GM food crop to have reached commercialisation stage in our country, also had a Cry 1Ac gene owned by Monsanto and licenced to Mahyco for developing Bt Brinjal. There is a threat of GM crops becoming the tool for control of the seed and thereby the agriculture sector by multinational seed corporations.

Apart from issues related to seed monopoly and rural livelihood, there are serious biosafety concerns being debated world over. Different studies have consistently indicated the possible ill-effects of GMs on health and environment. There is a clear need for an independent report on various effects of GM crops, including long term studies and chronic toxicity studies. Biosafety concerns must be addressed before any open air release of GM crops including field trials.

It is in this context that one should look at the growing debate on GM crops in India. The crisis in Indian agriculture needs no further statement, but to attribute it to just technology lag and promote technofixes, like GM crops, as the only solution to it is not only myopic but also criminal and this is precisely what the Indian government seems to be doing.

The debate in India on GE crops started with Bt cotton, the only commercially approved GE crop in the country (March, 2002) and had become loud and visible around the approval of Bt Brinjal.

During public consultations organised by the Union ministry of environment and forests last year on Bt Brinjal, there were concerns raised by farmers, civil society, and health and environment experts against GM crops and also against the existing regulatory system in the country, the government then rolled back the approval validating these concerns.

Field trials
While Bt Brinjal is under moratorium, numerous GM crops are being released in to the open fields in the name of field trials, which could lead to contamination of our regular crop varieties by these GM crops whose biosafety is yet to be ascertained. Efforts are also on by GM crop developers like Monsanto to push herbicide tolerant corn and cotton in India. Field trials of these crops have been happening and are expected to come up for commercialisation soon.

Recommendations submitted by the Swaminathan Task Force on Agri-Biotechnology, whose report was accepted by the government in 2004, clearly stated that India should adopt such technologies as genetic engineering only where alternatives do not exist. It also categorically rejected technologies that would be detrimental to agriculture labour like the herbicide tolerant crops.

To top it all the government is proposing a new regulatory system for GM crops called the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) which is supposed to be tabled in the monsoon session. From what one has seen of the media leaked versions of its drafts, BRAI is going to lower the bar for approvals of GM crops. The problems with the proposed bill starts with the grave conflict of interest where the regulator is proposed to be located in the ministry of science and technology which also has the mandate to promote GM crops in the country.

The last version seen in the media paints the picture of a centralised technocratic body with pretty much no role for the elected representatives of the people of this country. It did not have longterm biosafety assessments and also maintains the current system of letting the GM crop developer do the biosafety assessment.

It also proposed to circumvent the Right to Information Act, 2005, and went even to the extent of proposing imprisonment and fines for those opposing GM crops without scientific evidence. Thus the BRAI that government plans to put in place, at its onset looks like a non transparent, unquestionable authority.

Given that the existing regulatory system is defunct, what needs to be immediately done is stopping the release of any GM crop in to our environment be it for commercialisation or for research. We should not fail to ask fundamental questions like whether there is a need for this technology and whether safer and sustainable alternatives exist for a proposed product.

This is what the existing and proposed regulatory systems for GM crops fail to do in India and the fact is that for any GM crop that is being developed in any part of the word right now, there exists ecological alternatives which are economically and socially sustainable.

(The writer is the chairman of parliament’s standing committee on agriculture)

ICAR seeks Rs 5,000 cr for transgenic seeds R&D in pulses

K V Kurmanath

Hyderabad, Aug. 5:
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has sought funds to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore for research and development of transgenic seeds in pulses.
“Transgenic material is very important to take on pod borer that results in losses up to 30 per cent of all pulses produced in the country. Developing hybrid to face this problem would go a long way in achieving self-sufficiency in pulses,” Prof. Swpan K Datta, Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences) of ICAR, told Business Line.
He said it might take 3-5 years to come out with a solution to address this problem in pulses. “Though there has been some research on this. Nothing significant has happened. Since there are now hybrids in pulses, there is not much active participation from private sector in this regard,” he said.
“We have made a presentation at Planning Commission early this week and asked them to give funds to support research in pulses. The country imports pulses worth Rs 5,000 crore every year. If we spend Rs 5,000 crore as a one-time investment in the next five years, we sure could achieve self-sufficiency,” he added.
He said focus on hybrid rice in India was not enough when compared to China. “China has about 200 active hybrid rice scientists working on hybrid rice. But we have handful of them,” he said.
Stating that the country needed to focus on this, he pointed out that research should keep the choices of people in different parts of the country. “People in different regions prefer particular paddy varieties. The researchers should factor in likes and dislikes,” he said.
Surplus not self-sufficiency
Dr Datta felt that self-sufficiency could be a risky proposition. “We should work towards a surplus scenario rather than trying to achieve self-sufficiency. We should be able to export food even after having enough buffer stocks. Exports would get additional income to farmers,” he said.
GM research
On the strong opposition to GM (genetically modified) food crops in the country, Dr Datta felt that all decisions should be based on science. “It is unfortunate (opposition to GM). Decisions should not be taken based on emotions or sentiments. Decisions should be science based,” he observed.
Keywords: Indian Council of Agricultural Research, transgenic seeds, pulses, gm food crops
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/agri-biz/article2328660.ece

Glyphosate based herbicides cause’s birth defects and cancer: Greenpeace Science report

Herbicide tolerance and GM crops download the report

PRESS RELEASE –

Promotion of Herbicide tolerant GM crops can lead to increased use of these herbicides in India.

New Delhi, India – August 4, 2011: A new report launched by Greenpeace, a global environmental organization, states that use of glyphosate based herbicides can pose risk to human health as well as environment(1).  Introduction of herbicide tolerant GM crops which are under field trial stage in India can lead to widespread and intensive usage of these herbicides. The report was launched by Sri. Basudeb Acharia, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing committee on Agriculture, here today.

The report, ‘Herbicide Tolerance and GM crops-Why the world should be ready to round-up Glyphosate’, is a compilation of literature from across the globe on the impacts of Glyphosate. It states that scientific studies show that Glyphosate can cause serious health effects like human birth defects, abnormalities in vital reproductive hormones as well as blood cancer. There is a marked increase in use of this herbicide due to increased use of herbicide tolerant GM crops which is primarily manufactured and marketed by Monsanto.

The report also talks about the environmental impacts of glyphosate on aquatic life forms, soil invertebrates like the earth worms and higher life forms.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many herbicides sold throughout the world. Glyphosate-based herbicides are used widely for weed control because they are non-selective; glyphosate kills all vegetation. Monsanto has also come up with herbicide tolerant GM crops in soya bean, maize and cotton which form the majority of the GM crops grown in USA, Brazil and Argentina, the only 3 countries in the world where GM crops are grown extensively. The company is now trying to introduce herbicide tolerant GM maize in India. Presently GM maize field trials are allowed in 11 locations across 8 states in the country (2)

According to Kapil Mishra, sustainable Agriculture Campaigner for Greenpeace India, “While the government of India has permitted large-scale field trials of Monsanto’s herbicide tolerant maize crops across India, it’ is important to know the ill effects that these crops and the associated chemical pose to human health and the environment. It is shocking that open field trials of such risky crops are being permitted without any safety study being conducted independently.” He also opined that government should take note of the two pronged strategy by Monsanto to double its profit through sale of seeds and their own herbicides risking ecological and human safety.

 

In the past a taskforce set up by the government and headed by Dr Swaminathan had categorically stated that India should not permit herbicide tolerant GM crops as they would lead to loss of employment in the agriculture sector especially for women whose survival depends on manual weeding. . The report also has reccomended the government to avoid GM crops where ever viable alternatives exist.(3)

 

Basudeb Acharia, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing committee on agriculture, emphasizing on the importance of sustainable farming to ensure food security and livelihood security said that  “There is a serious concern on the socioeconomic impacts of GM crops. One cannot label destructive farming as progressive science and force it down the throat of millions.” He further stated that “On the one hand we have seen how these GM crops are leading to monopoly of the companies like Monsanto in the seed sector on the other hand such technologies like herbicide tolerant GM crops will destroy the rural livelihoods dependent on agriculture”

 

The report has been launched in the first week of the parliamentary monsoon session in a bid draw attention to the proposed BRAI (Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India) bill which will be introduced in this session. The bill has not been put in the public domain and once enacted is expected to allow easy approval of GM crops such as Bt brinjal as well as herbicide tolerant GM maize.

The speakers demanded that in the wake of more and more evidences coming out against GM crops, Government of India should immediately stop any kind of release of GM crops, be it for commercialization or field experimentation. They also urged the government to do public consultations on BRAI before it is tabled in the parliament as it is going to have a serious impact on food and farming in the country.

 

END – –

Contact:

Kapil Mishra, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner, Greenpeace India – kapil.mishra@greenpeace.org
+91 9818066041

Pari Trivedi, Media Officer, Greenpeace India – pari.trivedi@greenpeace.org,
+91 7503893981

Notes to Editor:

1-       Report: Herbicide tolerance and GM crops: Why the world should round up glyphosate, is a report created by Greenpeace and GM Freeze, UK, that  is based on about 200 scientific studies recently published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. It presents the current scientific evidence of the harm caused by glyphosate
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/agriculture/2011/363%20-%20GlyphoReportDEF-LR.pdf

2-      Map – http://www.greenpeace.org/india/Global/india/image/BRAI/Maize%20map.jpg

http://www.greenpeace.org/india/Global/india/image/BRAI/Maize%20table.jpg

3-      http://agricoop.nic.in/TaskForce/tf.htm

State nod for GM crop trial hits research, says Biotech body

Sandip Das Posted online: 2011-07-28 02:15:28+05:30 New DelhiWith the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) making it mandatory for the agri bio-tech companies to get no-objection certificate (NOC) from the states prior to the launch of any trial of GM crops has been termed as ‘regressive’ by a consortium Association of Bio-tech Led Enterprises – Agriculture Group (ABLE-AG) consisting of 12 companies has also said that getting nod from the states has put back research in genetically modified (GM) crops by many years. “There is no way we can conduct any field trial this kharif season and because of ambiguity on the part of the government on GM crops, the research has come to a standstill for the last 13 months,” VR Kaundinya, Chairman, ABLE-AG said. The government has put an indefinite moratorium on the commercial introduction BT brinjal. However, Kaundinya said that the association has approached many state governments regarding trial of GM crops. “Andhra Pradesh has agreed to discuss the issue of field trial of GM crops with us besides Punjab and Haryana and other states,” he noted. M Vinod Kumar, Manager, Regulatory Affairs with syngenta said there is no provision on the environmental laws which allows states governments to issue NOC for trial of GM crops. Karnataka agriculture minister Umesh Katti recently stated that the government would not allow further trials of GM crops in the state after the allegation that Bt maize and Bt paddy trials was being conducted in Bijapur and Koppal. Chief Secretary S V Ranganath cancelled a meeting he had convened on July 20 at Vidhana Soudha to discuss requests from University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, ABLE-AG and other agencies seeking NOC from the state government for undertaking trial and research on biosafety evaluation of GM crops. Former union environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh in March had asked the GEAC to immediately withdraw its permission to Monsanto for field trials of Bt maize in Bihar. Ramesh’s move came after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told him that he was opposed to field trials of Bt maize.Jairam had asked the GEAC to give state government at least one month to agree or disagree on field trials for GM crops, given the fact that agriculture is a State subject. “In fact, ideally, prior approval of the State concerned should be taken before allowing such trials,”he had stated. Bt brinjal was the first and maize is the second food crop for which the GEAC had given permission for field trials. As many as eight GM crops (maize, rice, vegetables etc) are under trials.

MONSANTO, QUIT INDIA! NO TO CORPORATE CONTROL OF INDIAN AGRICULTURE!

Monsanto Quit India
Call for a Nation-wide DAY OF ACTION on Aug. 9, 2011 (Quit India Day)
& KISAN SWARAJ WEEK, Aug. 9TH to Aug. 15TH 2011

“No food shall be grown, that we do not own” – that is the reported objective of Monsanto, the multi-national seed and agro-chemical company notorious for suing and jailing farmers for the “crime” of reusing seeds they purchased from the company! If you are shocked by Monsanto’s aim of controlling the entire world’s food production system, what is more mind-boggling is how much progress it has already made towards its goal. Monsanto is today the world’s largest seed company, already controlling 23% of the proprietary seed market. The annual profit of this single company is Rs. 22,500 crores, more than the GDP of 48 countries! Known for its unscrupulous practices, it is now re-writing the laws and manipulating politicians and officials in the developing world to push its GM (genetic modification) technology, herbicides and proprietary hybrids. Recently, gross violations were exposed in its field trials of GM maize in Karnataka showing the impunity with which the company defies biosafety concerns.

If we as a nation want to protect our food sovereignty, if we want to retain control on what we grow and what we eat, this is the time for us to act decisively. This is a call to all like-minded organizations, alliances and individuals to come together for simultaneous actions on Aug. 9th, 2011 across the country with the outcry “Monsanto Quit India!”, and other actions observing Aug 9th-15th as Kisan Swaraj Week – sending a strong signal nationwide that citizens will not tolerate corporate domination of our food systems and agriculture.

The question of who controls our agriculture – our crores of farmers or a few big corporations – has deep ramifications for the whole society. We all have a big stake in whether unsafe genetically modified foods will be thrust on us, whether unsafe agri-chemicals would further damage our water, soil and health, whether 10 crore farmer families will lose their livelihoods, whether our rural and urban areas will be sustainable and whether we would have safe, diverse and nutritious food to eat. This Day of Action aims to strengthen the broader struggle against corporate domination of agriculture by focusing on its most potent symbol. More information including a leaflet can be accessed from the links under “Resources” below.

How you can participate in the August 9th nationwide Day of Action & Kisan Swaraj Week (Aug. 9th to 15th)

You can either participate in an event being organized in your area, or organize an event yourself. If you plan to organize an event on behalf of your organization or jointly with ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture), please contact Kavitha Kuruganti, Kiran Vissa or Rajesh Krishnan. The contact information including coordinators of various states is given below.

Here are some suggestions for what to organize:
· Demonstration at a Monsanto/Mahyco centre
· Padayatra to create awareness amongst farmers and consumers
· Protest against your government if it is partnering with Monsanto using public funds
· Seed Diversity Festival or a Traditional Foods festival
· Demonstration against field trials of GM crops in your state
· Film screening or awareness event about corporatization of our food system
· Bonfire of Monsanto seeds
· Seed Exchange among farmers & felicitation of Seed breeders
· TV or radio programs, press conference
· Release of local language material on Monsanto and its crimes
· Workshop/Round-table on how to stop corporate control of agriculture

You can also take part in a nation-wide post-card campaign in the lead-up to August 9th with a simple message to Monsanto: “Monsanto: We do not need or want your hazardous & unsustainable technologies in agriculture; we will not allow you to control our agriculture and seed resources; we refuse to have your poison served to us. MONSANTO, QUIT INDIA!” Post cards with this message can be sent to: Monsanto India Limited, Ahura Centre, 5th Floor, 96, Mahakali Caves Road, Andheri (East), Mumbai 400 093. Phone: 022-28246450/67029851; Fax: 022-28244707.

If you have better ideas, do share with us and we will propagate them!

– Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA)

Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) is an all-India network of about 400 organizations of farmers, agricultural workers, consumers, social activists and academics, working to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture and secure livelihoods for farmers, and stop corporate domination of our agriculture and food system. ASHA organized the nation-wide Kisan Swaraj Yatra from Sabarmati to Raj Ghat in Oct-Dec 2010 for “Food, Farmers, Freedom”.
Website: http://www.kisanswaraj.in/

Resources and Links:
(1) Leaflet for Monsanto Quit India events
http://www.kisanswaraj.in/wp-content/uploads/leaflet-monsanto-quit-india.doc
(2) Report on “Monsanto-izing Indian Agriculture”
http://www.kisanswaraj.in/wp-content/uploads/Monsanto-ising-indian-agri.pdf
(3) Monsanto: Corporate Manipulation and Deception
http://www.naturalnews.com/z029325_Monsanto_deception.html
(4) Gross violations in GM field trials in Karnataka
http://www.prokerala.com/news/articles/a232125.html
Videos:
(1) Poison on the Platter (Mahesh Bhatt): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8q5TZTFgIM
(2) Poison on the Platter (Hindi): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qk9leT5kzY
(3) World according to Monsanto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH4OwBYDQe8
(4) Future of Food: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnD-DiDRIJA

Contacts:
Overall coordination:
Kavitha Kuruganti: kavitha_kuruganti@yahoo.com, 09393001550
Kiran Vissa: kiranvissa@gmail.com, 09701705743
Rajesh Krishnan; rajesh.krishnan@greenpeace.org, 098456-50032

Andhra Pradesh: Kiran Vissa (ASHA); kiranvissa@gmail.com, 097017-05743
Bihar: Pankaj Bhushan (GM Free Bihar Movement); mail.tarafoundation@gmail.com, 094729-99999
Delhi: Rajesh Krishnan (Greenpeace); rajesh.krishnan@greenpeace.org, 098456-50032
Karnataka: Kodihalli Chandrasekhar (Karnataka Rajya Raita Sangha); kodihallikrrs@gmail.com, 098442-93908
Kerala: Sridhar Radhakrishnan (Coalition for a GM-Free India); toxicreporter@gmail.com, 099953-58205
Madhya Pradesh: Nilesh Desai (Beej Swaraj Abhiyan), ndesai52@gmail.com, 094253-29222
Maharashtra: Aarti Pakharaj (Hamara Beej Abhiyan, Maharashtra), 094224 60587; Tejal V. (GM-Free Maharashtra), tejal.roots@gmail.com, 098337-07598
Orissa: Debjeet Sarangi (UNCAGE), livingfarms@gmail.com, 099385-82616; Saroj Mohanty (Paschim Odisha Krushak Sanghatan), 097771-54149
Punjab: Umendra Dutt (Alliance for Safe & GM-Free Food, Punjab), umendradutt@gmail.com, 098726-82161
Tamil Nadu: Ram (Safe Food Alliance), buddha.ram@gmail.com, 094449-57781; Kannaiyan (South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movements), 094449-89543
Uttar Pradesh: Rakesh Tikait & Dharmendra Malik (Bharatiya Kisan Union), 092196-91168