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Published on Mar 29, 2013
After President Obama signed the Agriculture Appropriations Bill into law on Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of people have voiced their opposition to H.R. 933. A provision in the law known as the "Monsanto Protection Act" protects the biotech industry from being sued in a court of law. The Farmer Assurance provision takes the Federal Court's right to halt the sale and use of genetically modified seed crops regardless of health risks. Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, joins us to discuss.
Published: 07 April, 2012, 01:17
Edited: 11 April, 2012, 20:16
Lawmakers in Vermont are looking to regulate food labels so customers can know which products are made from genetically modified crops, but agricultural giants Monsanto say they will sue if the state follows through.
If the bill in question, H-722 (the “VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act”) passes the state Senate and House, manufacturers will be required to label products that are created either partially or in full from a genetically modified organism, or GMO. Such man-made crops have become a trademark of the billion-dollar Monsanto corporation, and in the past the company has gone to great lengths to keep themselves the number-one name in American agriculture, even if those profits are made possible from playing God.
Monsanto is going mad over the proposal, however, which would also make them unable to label their productions as “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown” or “all natural,” if, in fact, they are not. For the corporation, it would seem that moving products and making money is much more of a worthwhile venture than telling its customers what exactly they are consuming.
Surprised? Monsanto Openly Wrote Own Monsanto Protection Act
by Anthony Gucciardi
It should come as no surprise to many of you to find out that Monsanto actually authored the wording of its own Monsanto Protection Act hidden in the recently passed and signed Continuing Resolution spending bill. How could a major corporation write its own laws and regulations, you ask?
Quite frankly I think it’s important to understand that the entire Senate passed the bill containing the Protection Act, but the politician who actually gave Monsanto the pen in order to write their very own legislation is no others than Roy Blunt — a Republican Senator from Missouri. As the latest IB Times article reveals, the Missouri politician worked with Monsanto to write the Monsanto Protection Act. This was confirmed by a New York news report I will get to shortly.
As you probably know I do not play the political clown game of left versus right, and instead highlight corruption and wrongdoing wherever it is found — regardless of party affiliation. In the case of Senator Blunt, he admits to colluding with Monsanto, a corporation that has literally been caught running ‘slave-like’ working conditions in which workers are unable to leave or eat (among many worse misdeeds).
This is one of the most blatant offenses against the citizens of the United States I’ve seen in a long time. A population that Blunt swore to serve. It’s not for the United States public at all, and it’s a serious matter that I don’t think is properly understood. The passing of this bill into law means that Monsanto is now immune from federal courts regarding any suspension or action on their crops that have been deemed to be dangerous to the people (or the environment).
This means crops that were approved and later found to damage the environment or the public will be immune from United States government action. Theoretically, one million studies could find that Monsanto’s latest creation was causing a massive cancer wave and under this law Monsanto could continue to peddle the crop to the public. The federal courts would (or will) be helpless to stop Monsanto, effectively giving Monsanto power over the entire branch of the United States government. Food Democracy Now, a major activist organization that organized signatures to fight the Monsanto Protection Act, described the rider:
“The Monsanto Protection Act would force the USDA to allow continued planting of any GMO crop under court review, essentially giving backdoor approval for any new genetically engineered crops that could be potentially harmful to human health or the environment.”
Sounds like a great idea, right?
Serving Corporations, Not People
Senator Roy Blunt and those who knowingly passed the Monsanto Protection Act (including President Obama who signed it into law just last night) have chosen to serve corporations over people. Ironic, really, as corporations legally are people — a legal area commonly used to avoid real jail sentences for major CEOs and executives who knowingly were involved with the deaths of consumers around the world.
It’s sad, really. I read up on Senator Blunt, and he does seem to constantly side with corporations over the public. Even on his Wikipedia page one line reads that Blunt ”consistently sided with Big Oil and other dirty polluters over a cleaner, more sustainable future.”I was even able to find a quote by Blunt defending his decision to allow Monsanto to write its own regulation through the Monsanto Protection Act. He told the NY Daily News in defense of the Monsanto Protection Act and his relationship with the company in writing the rider:
“What it says is if you plant a crop that is legal to plant when you plant it, you get to harvest it.”
I think Blunt is confused over which ‘people’ he is serving. I created this image to call Blunt out on his open decision to side with Monsanto over the public:
You can contact Senator Blunt through his website and let him know what you think about his decision to let Monsanto write its own Protection Act. No longer can we sit idly by while corporate juggernauts like Monsanto triumph over the people through swindling and deceit. Share this article, the image, and publicly denounce all politicians willing to sell their souls to Monsanto.
About Anthony Gucciardi:
Google Plus Profile Anthony is an accomplished investigative journalist whose articles have appeared on top news sites and have been read by millions worldwide. Anthony's articles have been featured on top health & political websites such as Reuters, Yahoo News, MSNBC, and Bloomberg. Anthony is also a founding member of Natural Attitude, a leading developer of super high quality spagyric formulations.
Scotts Miracle Gro has applied for and received complete deregulation for genetically engineered Kentucky Bluegrass from the USDA. Scotts “is Monsanto’s exclusive agent for the international marketing and d....” The main ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate. This strain of Kentucky Bluegrass will be “herbicide resistant” to Monsanto’s Roundup, and there will be absolutely no oversight of this genetically engineered plant, which can be used as turf or livestock feed. The reason that this was allowed to happen is because actual regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was designed just for such an opportunity. The program was meant to fail from the very beginning. This is no less than an act of war against the world’s population.
How Scotts GE Kentucky Bluegrass achieved complete deregulation
Scotts’ genetically engineered (GE) Kentucky Bluegrass will not be regulated as either a plant pest or noxious weed, and these are the ONLY two ways that GMOs can be regulated by the USDA. The genetic engineering process itself is not considered a factor in determining if a plant should fall under regulation by the USDA. If a “plant pest” designated by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is used in the genetic engineering process, then the plant falls under APHIS’ regulatory authority. Also, if a plant is considered a noxious weed by APHIS, then its GMO counterpart can be considered a noxious weed. Conversely, if neither condition exists, then the plant falls through the loophole, and is deregulated completely. No oversight whatsoever. APHIS has no grounds on which to enforce regulations.
Plant pest strategy:
The rules are really meant for pathogens and parasites, not corn stalks. Still, they could be stretched to cover the crops because most of them contain a snippet of DNA from a plant virus that functions as a genetic on-switch. And the foreign gene is often inserted using a bacterium that can cause a disease in plants.
But in creating its bluegrass, Scotts deliberately avoided using any material from plant pests. The herbicide resistance gene and the genetic on-switch came from other plants and were fired into the grass’s DNA with a gene gun, rather than being carried in by a bacterium.
Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said many of the genetically engineered crops now under development did not use viral material so they could conceivably escape regulation. (LINK)
Noxious Weed strategy:
In a 2002 petition from the ICTA and CFS, the organizations asked if APHIS would regulate GE Kentucky bluegrass under its Federal “noxious weed” authority in the Plant Protection Act. In response to the petition, APHIS conducted a risk assessment to determine the level of weed risk posed by Kentucky bluegrass, and subsequently evaluated whether the impacts posed by the plant would warrant it being regulated as a Federal noxious weed. As a result of its assessment, APHIS determined it would not regulate Kentucky bluegrass, GE or traditional, as a Federal noxious weed.(LINK)
It would seem that the ICTA and CFS knew of the problem long before deregulation became a reality. So, why didn’t we hear about it until it was a done deal?
The GMO regulatory fiction
The fiction of GMO oversight created by the USDA to deceive the public was designed to disintegrate over time so that GMOs could be completely deregulated. It is all one big lie – a facade to enable a complete planetary takeover by mega-corporate interests. If the intent was to actually regulate them, then why not create regulations with teeth? Regulations that would address the unique properties of genetically engineered food/feed instead of using already existing “plant pest” and “noxious weed” regulations? All that needs to be done under the current system is to change the manufacturing process slightly, and GMOs drop right off the USDA radar.
The USDA does not recognize the difference between GMOs and traditional plants, based on the “substantial equivalence” doctrine. Therefore, by removing the offending “plant pest” from the manufacturing process, the regulations no longer apply. And if a traditional version of the plant is not considered a noxious weed, then the GMO version will not be considered a noxious weed. See how easy that was?
It is interesting to note that even though Kentucky Bluegrass rates high on establishment/spread potential, the USDA decided that the benefits outweigh the risks, and since traditional Kentucky Bluegrass is not considered a noxious weed, the GE version cannot be either, because the only difference is herbicide tolerance. The genetic engineering process is not a consideration.
Case precedent has been set by Scotts. All that is left now is for Monsanto and its cohorts in crime to invest in this new manufacturing technique to bypass any sort of regulation at all for future GMOs. Since Monsanto was already recently given the green light to do its own Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), it was only a matter of time until complete deregulation was achieved, and Scotts achieved that. So, with no testing required by the USDA, biotech companies such as Monsanto will actually save a bit of time and money in the long run by not even needing to fill out an EIS, or submit any paperwork for approval, because no approval is necessary.
What’s the big deal?
If there are no plant pests used in the creation of a GMO, then it should be okay, right? Wrong. The very act of genetic engineering is dangerous and highly unpredictable. According to Arpad Pusztai, world renown scientist and GMO whistleblower,
… the existing data support our suggestion that the consumption by rats of transgenic potatoes expressing GNA has significant effects on organ development, body metabolism and immune function that is fully in line with the significant compositional differences between transgenic and corresponding parent lines of potatoes. The results also suggest that a major part of these differences was not caused by the expression of the GNA gene in the transgenic potato lines but that these could have been due to the presence of one or more of the other gene(s) in the vector used in the gene transfer or to the possibility of disturbances in the functioning of potatoes’ own genes caused by the random incorporation of the vector in the potato genome (positioning effect). (LINK)
In other words, whatever you insert in the cell is positioned randomly. This affects the way the cell operates, and no one in the industry has studied this. The cell is essentially wounded, and never heals up the same way twice. Yet, the only testing done is to look at the grown plants to see if they are similar in appearance. Cells are not Legos. You cannot simply remove one block and insert another and have the exact same structure as you had when you started. Something, somewhere is going to be different, and we have no idea how that difference will manifest itself. It is a game of Russian roulette, with people as the unwitting participants.
What this means to you
All new genetically modified crops can now be completely deregulated if one processing ingredient is changed (APHIS definitions for plant pests), because they will no longer qualify for regulation under the USDA. This means that there will be absolutely no accountability regarding GMOs at all. The labeling movement that has been growing stronger and stronger, will be a moot point because retailers and manufacturers won’t even know if what they are selling contains GMOs. No regulations, no oversight. Simply thrown into the market without distinction from traditional items, the only way we will be able to tell if something is genetically engineered is if…. well, we won’t. Period. As an official at the USDA told me: “I don’t know why GE Kentucky Bluegrass would be regulated, almost all plants are genetically engineered.” That is the USDA’s attitude.
Enter the Terminator
It seems that the plan all along was to deregulate GMOs completely, but the charade had to be maintained until a prestigious time to avoid public backlash too soon, such as what happened with the Terminator seedmoritorium. Public outcry caused this technology to be put on hold, but testing continues to this day. Watch and wait for the Terminator to be released without any regulation or oversight, due to this new deregulation salvo launched on the American public. The stage is set. First take over all plant life with genetically modified plants, then introduce the Terminator to wrap it all up in a pretty package.
But the Terminator has sterile seeds and cannot reproduce you say? Wouldn’t this be a solution to GM contamination? Well, one of the problems with Terminator technology is that it cannot be proven to be 100% reliable, and it is possible that not all seeds will be sterile, and the Terminator gene could be spread to viable plants, thus infecting the entire food chain with plants unable to produce offspring. Not to mention horizontal gene transfer. The norm would become plant sterility, with viable seeds becoming rare. The only way to get viable seeds would be to buy them. No more saving seeds, because the seed you save would be sterile.
If all plant life is owned by mega-corporations due to total contamination by invasive GMOs, and no regulations are in effect that apply to them, then Terminator technology can be instituted at will with no roadblocks. After all, if you own all of the plants, then you can do with them as you like. This may well be part of a well planned strategy for the complete takeover of every living plant on earth by corporate interests. Man the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Maybe we can now get a glimpse of just why the Svalbard Global Seed Vault might have been built, and why it contains only viable, foundation seeds – no GMOs.
The regulations for GMOs contain no teeth and are just there for show – to fool the public into thinking there is real oversight when in actuality, there isn’t. The USDA is a rogue agency of the Federal government that has proven time and time again that its only purpose is to provide a distraction for the American public so that corporate interests are able to completely take over our food supply with little to no interference from the people they are injuring.
This Kentucky Bluegrass case precedent has the potential to be the single biggest food event on the planet. The complete deregulation of all GMOs means that anything goes. As long as there are no plant pests involved in the genetic engineering process that are listed on the APHIS site, then it is possible that just about anything else can be inserted into the plants, including pharmaceuticals, vaccines, psychotropic substances, etc., without our knowledge or consent. Pandora’s box has just been opened, and closing it is quickly becoming ‘not an option.
Published: 06 October, 2012
An Indiana farmer will have his case against biotech giants Monsanto heard by the US Supreme Court next year after the country’s top justices agreed to review the man’s appeal.
Vernon Bowman, a soybean farmer from the Midwest in his 70s, has been fighting to have an earlier decision awarded to Monsanto Corp. appealed by the Justice Department. On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear his case and say they expect it to make it to Washington in January or February of 2013.
In September 2011, the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an $84,456 damages ruling awarded to Monsanto. Mr. Bowman vowed to pursue an appeal, however, and has now garnered the attention of the highest legal body in the land.
Bowman argues that the Federal Circuit decision that favored Monsanto was incorrect, because an earlier court agreed that Monsanto had no rights to how its product was used after it was sold to consumers.
Stop the Monsanto Protection Act - Last Chance
A rider (Sec. 735) that would prevent courts from halting illegally planted GM crops (sometimes courts find fault with USDA-approved GM fields) was slipped into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill HR 933. It blind-sided an angry populace last week, giving little time to voice complaint before it was to go through the Senate.
Last Wednesday morning, HR 933 passed with the new rider dubbed by activists as the Monsanto Protection Act therein. The rider has nothing to do with proposed government spending to keep it running for the next six months. But it is unknown whether this incongruous rider will last six months or permanently.
According to GovTrack.us, the only thing left before the bill becomes law is the President's signature. Food Democracy Now! is asking you to join the more than 200,000 people who used their forms to contact Obama and Congress in an effort to strip the rider. This is not a petition.And those are only the people who used their site - countless other organizations alerted activists in the last two weeks.
If this "must-pass" bill gets signed into law, it would be the point of no return for unhindered Monsanto havoc. They would trump federal court power and courts would not be able to use authority to stop sales or planting of any illegal or hazardous genetically modified crops. Strange for biotech giants to want this rider, as the USDA already gives them unheeded approval without safety testing of their crops. Rider (Sec. 735) clinches Monsanto power - if the USDA or court system wants to halt GM crops or revoke approval, they cannot. It's also an open backdoor to whisk in future approvals.
This action is detrimental to farmers who want to fight against Monsanto's patent infringement lawsuits, those for the preservation of organic crops against GM contamination, and our export economy, as so many other countries have adopted GM bans. This Monsanto-driven rider is simply an industry ploy to continue to plant GM crops even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally - But it's being voted on urgently.
What can we do? Multiple options - follow these easy steps:
Food Democracy Now! was pivotal in the alerts and created a new form letter in the following link here:
The Monsanto Protection Act could pass as early as next week and we need your help today. Click here to stop the Monsanto Protection Act as it heads to President Obama and tell your member of Congress to stand up for your rights and the Constitution!
If you don't like the pre-formatted letters, then consider using them as a guide and write your own.
Better yet, respectfully contact the White House.
Follow this link to enter your info and find your reps, senators, and contact the White House - guided info is there to help with your phone call.
Or, you can call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
To reach the White House to call President Barack Obama's line: (202) 456-1111.
Remember that it is activists who call it the Monsanto Protection Act - it's Section 735 of HR 933 that we want stripped
This is not a petition and this is not 'slacktivism.' Sneaky, hidden riders that are quickly voted through leave us few options and little time. But you can lend your voice. Whether it passes or not, that's another bridge to cross with other actions awaiting. The political and corporate biotech leaders are doing very little to gain back trust, but we can let them know we are watching, voting, and have had enough.
This could be our last chance to stop Monsanto from corporate rule and full immunity. Tell President Obama here to block Sec 735, and Contact your Member of Congress to express your outrage at granting a blank check for Monsanto - Every voice counts!
Senator Jon Tester (an organic farmer), joined by Senators Boxer, Gillibrand and Leahy introduced an amendment (#74) to strike the dangerous rider from the CR. You can still voice your support for reviewing the Tester amendment - reportedly ignored and not added when this bill passed the Senate. Even if the Tester amendment voting is over with - make your opinion known to your Congress people, Obama, and let your Senators know your disappointment. It couldn't be easier with pre-formatted letters that go directly to your Senators.
Food Democracy Now! reports that there are 13 crops waiting for approval. The USDA is known for sweeping in approvals, letting Monsanto do their own safety evaluations, and taking their word. And,
The floodgates are literally open for Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical’s new GMO crops that are resistant to more toxic chemicals like 2,4-D, Agent Orange and dicamba that will replace failing Roundup Ready GMO crops.
According to legal experts, this provision would create a precedent-setting limitation on judicial review and is a dangerous assault on fundamental federal and judicial safeguards needed to protect America’s farmers, citizens and the environment from the wanton approval of Monsanto's new GMO crops.
Don't forget to thank the Senators who stood up and supported the Tester amendment if you live in Montana, California, New York, Vermont, Alaska or Connecticut - Senator Tester and his co-sponsors Senators Boxer, Gillibrand, Leahy, Begich and Blumenthal introduced the amendment to strip Section 735 from the bill.
Previous report from Food Democracy Now!:
Clearly Monsanto and the biotech industry are getting desperate and want to try an end run around a growing movement of farmers and citizens who are rejecting their products and calling for GMO labeling in an effort to make sure their new GMO crops can evade any serious scientific or regulatory review.
In classic form, the biotech industry has cleverly hidden their toxic plan under the deceptive title of a "Farmer Assurance Provision" (Sec. 735). In truth, the "Monsanto Protection Act" would allow the biotech industry to continue to flout American legal precedence and violate the constitutional separation of powers set forth by our Founding Fathers.
In short, the "Farmer Assurance Provision" is the greatest threat to farmers' and citizens' rights that Monsanto and the biotech industry has ever devised and it must be stopped - today!
This current rider is a response to the successful lawsuits that farmers have filed to prevent the sale, distribution and cultivation of GMO sugarbeets and GMO alfalfa, both of which were forced to stop from being planted while the USDA finalized full environment reviews.
Now, the new provision included in the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill will allow biotech seed and chemical companies to openly skirt even minimal protections of human health and environmental concerns.
We need your help to make sure your Senator demands that Appropriations Chairman Mikulski pulls this dangerous and unconstitutional rider, and support any amendment that would strike the biotech rider from the new Continuing Resolution.
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is also alerting of another rider and urging contact to Senators to oppose the Monsanto rider and support of the Tester Amendments:
ANTI-COMPETITIVE RIDER (Section 742) - Livestock & Poultry Impact
The anti-competitive rider (section 742) deals with a law from the 1920s, the Packers and Stockyards Act ("PSA"), which was intended to provide protections against anti-competitive behavior in the livestock and poultry industries. In essence, the PSA was the Sherman Antitrust Act for agriculture. Although the PSA is a good statute, the USDA never properly implemented it. And that failure over the years has allowed large corporations to practice a variety of abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices that undermine the free market.
A coalition of family farmer, independent rancher, and consumer groups fought for a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill directing the USDA to issue implementing regulations under the PSA. And we won. But the fight wasn't over. The big meatpackers managed to hamstring many of the proposed regulations. And now they want to completely eliminate the few protections we did get, leaving the meatpackers free to continue their abusive practices that hurt farmers.
‘Monsanto Protection Act’ would keep GMO crops in the ground during legal battles, Daily Grist, June 29, 2012
READ MORE HERE : http://tinyurl.com/cwwjj2j
By Connor Adams Sheets
The "Monsanto Protection Act" is the name opponents of the Farmer Assurance Provision have given to this terrifying piece of policy, and it's a fitting moniker given its shocking content.
President Barack Obama signed a spending bill, HR 933, into law on Tuesday that includes language that has food and consumer advocates and organic farmers up in arms over their contention that the so-called "Monsanto Protection Act" is a giveaway to corporations that was passed under the cover of darkness.
There's a lot being said about it, but here are five terrifying facts about the Farmer Assurance Provision -- Section 735 of the spending bill -- to get you acquainted with the reasons behind the ongoing uproar:
1.) The "Monsanto Protection Act" effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future. The advent of genetically modified seeds -- which has been driven by the massive Monsanto Company -- and their exploding use in farms across America came on fast and has proved a huge boon for Monsanto's profits.
But many anti-GMO folks argue there have not been enough studies into the potential health risks of this new class of crop. Well, now it appears that even if those studies are completed and they end up revealing severe adverse health effects related to the consumption of genetically modified foods, the courts will have no ability to stop the spread of the seeds and the crops they bear.
2.) The provision's language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto. Lawmakers and companies working together to craft legislation is by no means a rare occurrence in this day and age. But the fact that Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, actually worked with Monsanto on a provision that in effect allows them to keep selling seeds, which can then go on to be planted, even if it is found to be harmful to consumers, is stunning. It's just another example of corporations bending Congress to their will, and it's one that could have dire risks for public health in America.
3.) Many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the "Monsanto Protection Act" even existed within the bill they were voting on. HR 933 was a spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown and ensuring that the federal government would continue to be able to pay its bills. But the Center for Food Safety maintains that many Democrats in Congress were not even aware that the provision was in the legislation:
“In this hidden backroom deal, Sen. [Barbara] Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. “This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Sen. Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.”
4.) The President did nothing to stop it, either. On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933 while the rest of the nation was fixated on gay marriage, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument concerning California's Proposition 8. But just because most of the nation and the media were paying attention to gay marriage doesn't mean that others were not doing their best to express their opposition to the "Monsanto Protection Act." In fact, more than 250,000 voters signed a petition opposing the provision. And Food Democracy Now protesters even took their fight straight to Obama, protesting in front of the White House against Section 735 of the bill. He signed it anyway.
5.) It sets a terrible precedent. Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.
“I think any time you tweak with the ability of the public to seek redress from the courts, you create a huge risk,” Seattle attorney Bill Marler -- who has represented victims of foodborne illness in successful lawsuits against corporations -- told the New York Daily News.