Archive for February, 2009

The multiple ways Monsanto is putting normal seeds out of reach

By Linn Cohen-Cole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We know and they know why.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original Content at

Reprinted with permission of the author.  Author’s Bio: I’m a mother and grandmother. There is no way I can leave my family or anyone else’s children, things as they are now.

Interview with ‘World According to Monsanto’ Director

* “What Monsanto is Trying to Do is Control the Food Chain”

      Interview with journalist Marie-Monique Robin

      By Elsa Chanduvi Jana

      Latin America Press, February 6, 2009

      Straight to the Source

French journalist and filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, author of the book and documentary The World According to Monsanto, an exhaustive investigation into genetically-modified organisms and Monsanto, the world’s largest transgenic seed producer, spoke with Latin America Press managing editor Elsa Chanduví Jaña about the effects of these seeds and Monsanto’s ambitions to “control the world’s food chain.”

Robin participated in the seminar “Seeds of Diversity vs. Transgenics” in Lima Jan. 28-29, which Comunicaciones Aliadas and Latin America Press co-organized.

*How would you describe Monsanto´s world vision?

What Monsanto wants to do is control the food chain with patented transgenic seeds. It’s a totalitarian project because to control food is to control the world, it’s to control people. [Monsanto] is a multinational that has been using dirty practices for almost a century. Many of its products are prohibited today because they’re very toxic, such as PCBs [polychlorinated biphenyls], for example, which used to be used in all countries as electric transformers. Monsanto hid the information it had. It lied saying that those PCBs were not dangerous, until it was finally discovered and after a lawsuit in the United States seven years ago it was ordered to pay US$700 million.

There are other examples, such as Agent Orange, that cocktail of herbicides used during the Vietnam War. In this case, Monsanto paid scientists to deny the relationship between exposure to Agent Orange, which contains dioxin, and cancer.

*What is Monsanto’s strategy to control the food chain?

Its strategy has many forms. One of the most important is called “revolving doors” in the United States. In the case of transgenics, the fundamental text, which is the basis for worldwide regulations on transgenics, was published in 1992 by the US Food and Drug Administration [FDA], and written by a former Monsanto lawyer who got on the FDA to write the text and later ended up as Monsanto´s vice president. Those are revolving doors. You come from an industry, you get an important position in a government agency, or even an international organization, you stay for a few years and then you go back to the industry. Incredible. They can put their people in key decision-making positions. In the FDA, or the EPA [the US Environmental Protection Agency], the top person was a lawyer for Monsanto.

The other strategy is paying. There are two proven corruption cases. One case in Indonesia: two or three years ago in the United States, Monsanto was found guilty of corruption for paying some 100 Indonesian government officials to introduce Bt cotton seeds. There was a corruption attempt that was also uncovered by a parliamentary commission in Canada in which Monsanto offered US$2 million to be able to put a growth hormone on the market.

If not, they pressure universities. In the United States, there is already an advanced privatization of the universities, so they pressure to fire scientists who have done studies or want to that Monsanto thinks are against its interests. The same thing happens with journalists.

*How did Monsanto enter the genetically-modified organisms business?

Monsanto has been the top seed company since 2005. But 10 years ago, it had no seeds; it had just invented transgenics. The first was Roundup Ready soy. Well, it had this invention without knowing what to do with it. First, it thought: “Let’s sell the license to seed companies.” But then it later thought, “No, it’s better to buy those seed companies.”

So it sold its pharmaceutical division that was very important and generated a lot of money, to finance this purchasing program. Little by little, in 10 years, it was able to purchase more than 50 seed companies around the world, which has made Monsanto the top seed company in the world, which is incredible because it was a big chemical and pharmaceutical company, but nothing to do with seeds.

It’s a very well thought out strategy because every time it buys a seed company, it puts in its patented transgenic seeds, and that means that farmers don’t have any other option. In India, it has purchased cotton seed companies, and farmers don’t have other options because there are only patented transgenic seeds. In the United States, there are a group of farmers that have collectively filed a lawsuit against Monsanto alleging that it violated anti-trust laws for buying so many seed companies. Monopolies in the United States are prohibited. Some people think that Monsanto could go through the same thing as Microsoft did years ago, which had a monopoly and had to sell off some of its companies because it had too much.

*What are the risks that transgenics pose?

On an environmental level, the risk that has been proved is that it causes a great loss of biodiversity because of contamination. This has been proved in Canada, where transgenic rapeseed had contaminated everything and caused non-transgenic rapeseed to disappear, both conventional and organic.

For human health, unfortunately there are very few studies that have been done on this because Monsanto was able to impose, thanks to the “revolving doors,” the so-called principle of substantial equivalence, which is the basis of all regulation on genetically-modified organisms in the world. The principle says that a transgenic is equivalent to one conventional plant and that’s why studies are not necessary. If it is equivalent, why bother?

That principle has no scientific basis and it is a decision of the White House to support the very rapid development of transgenics. That principle makes it so there are very few studies that truly verify what the consequences of transgenics on human health could be. The only well-done studies that have been done are by independent scientists. I interviewed two of them, who, when they discovered that there were problems with rats that had eaten transgenics, they were thrown out of their jobs. It’s always the same story.

But if there is no problem I don’t understand why a study is not conducted by an independent team, recognized on a global level, to do a two-year study, and that the figures can be published so that the whole world verify. They do everything possible to impede those studies, with very dirty methods, with defamation campaigns, tremendous pressure.

*Are you against the production of all transgenic crops, even in countries with little biodiversity? Why?

Yes, of course. With those transgenics, the only thing there is in the fields are plants with pesticides, manipulated plants, either to resist fumigations with a very toxic pesticides such as Roundup or manipulated to make corn that contains an insecticide. What good is that? I don´t want to give my daughters transgenic food. Why would I give them corn containing an insecticide or rapeseed oil fumigated with toxic herbicide? Now, let them continue making studies in closed, controlled laboratories, but not in open fields. I have nothing against scientific investigation, but it’s something else in our fields.

*What can be done to stop the advance of these transgenics?

There are many things to do, depending on the country. I know that here [in Peru] a law is being prepared to allow transgenics to enter the country, so the consumers in cities could at least ask for labeling on the products. That is very important for them to choose [what to buy]. Those [transgenic] products should be boycotted as much as possible and we should eat as much organic food as we can. It’s the only way.

—Latin America Press

You can watch the movie above, or on google video’s at

Movie Review – The Future of Food

The Future of Food documents what is currently going on with the food supply in the US. Monsanto, a multinational corporation who was formerly in the pesticide business (agent orange, ddt) is now one of the biggest seed suppliers in the world. And not just any seed, it’s genetically engineered for a number of purposes.

Monsanto has been suing farmers who have not bought seed from them but end up with it growing in their fields from no fault of their own. In one very well known case a farmer, Percy Schmeiser, was told by his neighbor that the neighbor’s truck had a hole it’s tarp and a lot of Monsanto’s’ ’round up ready’ seed was dumped on his field. Monsanto tried to sue him (and many other farmers – google and you’ll see links to many of the cases) and he spent his life savings fighting them. He just recently won his case after 10 years!

The film has wonderful and informative interviews with Andrew Kimbrell, director of the center for Food Safety, Fred Kirshenman, a well known sustainable farmer, and a number of experts and scientists who document first off how GE food was pushed on the American people with no disclosure and no testing as well as the devastating potential for destruction with messing with our food supply for profit.

There’s a lot we can do. Support small farmers and farmers market’s. Join a community supported agriculture program where you get a box of fresh from the field organic fruits and vegetables each week. We also need to demand labeling. Right now we don’t know which foods we buy are genetically altered and which aren’t. If our food is labeled we can make informed choices.

Wonderful Kid Remedies

Along with safe food, I’ve also tried to use natural medicine for my kids.  Sometimes we have to go to the doctor but there are many natural remedies that can help with common childhood complaints.

I started using homeopathic remedies when my kids were little. They are a great way to help them through the numerous colds and flu’s that they get when they’re young.

If a child is really ill you need to take them to your doctor of course, but I had a number of times when the remedies really turned things around so my kids didn’t end up needing to go.

Here are four remedies that I’d recommend to have around the house if you’ve got young kids or grandkids.  You can get them at any health food store and I’d suggest a 30c potency.


Pulsatilla is often used for colds.  If your child is clingy and won’t leave your side, has a left-sided earache.  Wants to be carried and rocked and will fuss terribly if you put them down, this is the remedy to consider.

Some keynotes for Pulsatilla:  Desires company, will not be left alone. Made better by comfort and fuss. Better for gentle rocking. Thirstless. Thick bland yellow-green discharge from the nose.  Desires cool open air. Left-sided ear pain. This can be a great remedy for any age when you have a cold with the same symptoms.


I’ve used Belladonna successfully with my son, when he had a flu with a high fever.

He was fine and the next thing I knew he woke up with a bad earache and his face was bright red. He had a high fever and he was really out of it.  These are the kind of symptoms where you get freaked out as a parent! I gave him the remedy and within an hour his fever had come down and he was doing much better. By the next day his earache was gone.

Keynotes for Belladonna:  Sudden onset with great intensity. Hot red skin. Hot head and cold feet. Intense pain throbbing in character. Dry skin. Twitching and jerking. Burning painful right ear.


Chamomilla is the remedy that you can think of when your child is so irritable that you are at the end of your rope. LOL It usually affects the right ear, and the earlobes can be red. One cheek can be red, while the other is pale. They are usually in very bad temper and can be very thirsty for cold water.

Keynotes for Chamomilla: Very irritable and angry. Terrible temper.  Great sensitivity to ear pain.  Wants things and then rejects them.  Demands to be carried.  One cheek red, the other pale.  Better for being carried.


This is great remedy for colds and earaches of sudden, intense onset. It can come on after exposure to cold, dry wind. There can be burning pains in either or both ears. They will be restless and can be feeling anxious and afraid. Their skin can be hot and dry and they are very thirsty for cold water. The face can be red and congested.

Keynotes for Aconite: Sudden violent onset. Exposure to cold, dry wind. Restlessness, Anxious.  Intense burning, stinging pain.  Worse for noise and covering. Very thirsty for cold water. Congested circulation. Dry hot skin.

If you’d like to read more about caring for yourself and your family using homeopathic remedies, I’d suggest:


D. Ullman 257pp


S. Cummings, D. Ullman


A. Lockie 402pp


M. Panos, J. Heimlich


M. Castro 253pp

And a great website for all things homeopathic can be found at: