Category Archives: Law

2014 General Assembly and Rural GA –Neill Herring

Neill Herring will speak at South Georgia Growing Local 2014 about conservation issues at the Georgia General Assembly.

Here’s Neill speaking at WWALS Watershed Coalition in Tifton in August, at which he remarked about citizens of Georgia:

“…these natural resources particularly the water systems are their private property, they have a property interest in the water.”

He was written up by Terry Dickson in the Florida Times-Union 6 June 2009 as Lobbyist who walks the walk: Continue reading

Okra seized by SWAT team

An anonymous tip was the basis for a warrant for a SWAT team to hold small farmers at gunpoint in handcuffs while the cops took their okra and tomatoes and code compliance officers mowed the grass. Is your grass mowed to code? If sometimes not, maybe you’ll agree police militarization has gone too far.

As Monika Diaz put it for WFAA on 12 August 2013, Owner irked after raid on Arlington’s ‘Garden of Eden’.

Shellie Smith, the owner of Arlington’s “Garden of Eden” says police and code enforcement agents “destroyed everything” in a raid on August 2, 2013.

You might be irked, too.

Radley Balko wrote for Huffpo Thursday, Texas Police Hit Organic Farm With Massive SWAT Raid,

Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. But farm owners and residents who live on the property told a Dallas-Ft. Worth NBC station that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. The police seized “17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, Continue reading

Monsanto crops: same as and different from natural crops?

If Monsanto’s crops are indistinguishable from non-GMO, aren’t natural crops prior art invalidating MON’s patents?

Ethan A. Huff wrote for NaturalNews.com 26 June 2013, Monsanto hypocrisy: GMOs supposedly identical to natural crops on safety, but unique for patent enforcement,

The biotechnology industry has pulled a fast one with regards to the legitimacy of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Straddling both sides of the fence, multinational corporations like Monsanto continually claim that their GM monstrosities are “substantially equivalent” to natural crops when it comes to their safety. And yet at the very same time, this ilk also insists that its products are uniquely different from natural crops when it comes to enforcing its patents, a clearly hypocritical and duplicitous stance that proves the illegitimacy of the entire GMO business model.

On its corporate website, Monsanto clearly expresses its opinion that Continue reading

Monsanto loses French appeal, reconvicted of poisoning

Will we listen to French farmer Paul François, who sued Monsanto for nerve damage due to inhaling Lasso weedkiller, and won last year? Monsanto appealed, but François just won

“Farmers need to understand that those who speak for them are businessmen who defend other interests, very lucrative for the businessmen, who do not care about farmers’ health or the health of those around us.”
the appeal, too. Now the court is gauging losses to determine penalties for Monsanto. This after back in 2009 France convicted Monsanto of lying about its claims that Roundup was “biodegradable” and “left the soil clean”. And Argentinean tobacco farmers are suing Monsanto in New Castle County Court, Delaware, saying Monsanto “knowingly poisoned them with herbicides and pesticides and subsequently caused ”devastating birth defects” in their children”. These same Monsanto herbicides and pesticides are sprayed on most fields around here, and they’re just as much poisons here as in Argentina or France.

Paul François answered questions from Pierre Penin for Sud Ouest (southwest France) 8 February 2013,

Continue reading

March Against Monsanto everywhere, Savannah, 2PM 25 May 2013

On May 25, activists around the world will unite to March Against Monsanto. In Savannah, OccupyMonsanto says:

2pm at the Fountain in Forsyth Park at noon, with photo ops, educational tables, music and more — join us and send a powerful message to one of the most polluting corporations in the world!
Oher Georgia events include Athens, Brunswick, and Atlanta.

Here’s how to organize a march. Why? David Knowles wrote for New York Daily News 8 May 2013, VIDEO: Stars align in protest against food giant Monsanto over GMO crops: Foes of the conglomerate have produced a video shining light on the supposed dangers of genetically modified crops. Bill Maher, Danny Devito and Dave Matthews will be among the celebrities speaking out.

“Here in America you don’t get the right to know whether you’re eating genetically modified organisms,” Dave Matthews says in the video that asks viewers to participate in a global day of protest against the company on May 25.

The video: Continue reading

Monsanto FUD about seed ownership: Farmer Bowman could win back natural seed rights

Monsanto is always hiding behind something, starving children (while selling their parents crops that fail all at once), the Great God Efficiency, or now, medical research. Will Clarence Thomas recuse himself this time on this Supreme Court seed patent, Bowman v Monsanto? Will Monsanto manufacture enough Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) to win anyway, or will the other SCOTUS judges rule wisely this time?

Andrew Pollack wrote for the New York Times 13 February 2013, Farmer’s Supreme Court Challenge Puts Monsanto Patents at Risk,

Monsanto says that a victory for Mr. Bowman would allow farmers to essentially save seeds from one year’s crop to plant the next year, eviscerating patent protection. In Mr. Bowman’s part of Indiana, it says, a single acre of soybeans can produce enough seeds to plant 26 acres the next year.

Such a ruling would “devastate innovation in biotechnology,” the company wrote in its brief. “Investors are unlikely to make such investments if they cannot prevent purchasers of living organisms containing their invention from using them to produce unlimited copies.”…

The decision might also apply to live vaccines, cell lines and DNA used for research or medical treatment, and some types of nanotechnology.

Yeah, yeah, it could. But it would be quite easy for SCOTUS to say this ruling is about seeds.

Many organizations have filed briefs in support of Monsanto’s position — universities worried about incentives for research, makers of laboratory instruments and some big farmer groups like the American Soybean Association, which say seed patents have spurred crop improvements. The Justice Department is also supporting Monsanto’s argument.

And the American Soybean Association represents big growers who plant Monsanto seeds. Too bad they don’t realize they’d make more profits if they didn’t have to pay for those seeds every year even when Monsanto jacks up the price ( 43% in 2009), plus pay for the expensive pesticides that go on them, and the expensive huge tractor equipment to farm at the scale Monsanto demands. Another group that should know better weighs in:

Continue reading

The whistleblowers show sued Fox (and lost)

Fox News hired Jane Akre and a couple of other reporters as an investigative unit and did a snazzy promo about that. The first case they investigated was Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone, RBGH. This is the whistleblower story behind the Fox Can Lie lawsuit.

ITN in the U.K. reporting about Health Canada’s report on bovine growth hormone:

Monsanto’s engineered growth hormone did not comply with safety requirements. It could be absorbed by the body, and therefore did have implications for human health. Mysteriously, that conclusion was deleted from the final, published version of their report.

That was for a product that U.S. EPA had approved with little or no testing. Fox’s investigative unit had the story, but Monsanto threatened to sue Fox. Watch the video for the details.

Eventually, Akre sued Fox. She won, but Fox won on appeal. An appeal that established that Fox can lie.

-jsq

PS: Owed to Paul Hollands.

Greed is Good for Poisoning the Food Supply?

For many years big agro has treated the world’s health as an economic externality, a problem for somebody else that did not affect its own bottom line. That is starting to change, most recently in Argentina.

Anthony Gucciardi wrote for NaturalSociety 11 April 2012, Explosive: Monsanto ‘Knowingly Poisoned Workers’ Causing Devastating Birth Defects,

In a developing news piece just unleashed by a courthouse news wire, Monsanto is being brought to court by dozens of Argentinean tobacco farmers who say that the biotech giant knowingly poisoned them with herbicides and pesticides and subsequently caused ”devastating birth defects” in their children. The farmers are now suing not only Monsanto on behalf of their children, but many big tobacco giants as well. The birth defects that the farmers say occurred as a result are many, and include cerebral palsy, down syndrome, psychomotor retardation, missing fingers, and blindness.

This would be the same Monsanto that was convicted of chemical poisoning in France.

But this is once again far away in a small country of which we know nothing, right? Wrong:

The farmers come from small family-owned farms in Misiones Province and sell their tobacco to many United States distributors. The family farmers say that major tobacco companies like the Philip Morris company asked them to use Monsanto’s herbicides and pesticides, assuring them that the products were safe. Through asserting that the toxic chemicals were safe, the farmers state in their claim that the tobacco companies ”wrongfully caused the parental and infant plaintiffs to be exposed to those chemicals and substances which they both knew, or should have known, would cause the infant offspring of the parental plaintiffs to be born with devastating birth defects.”

Still, it must be some obscure poison only sold in the third world, right?

Wrong:

The majority of the farmers in the area used Monsanto’s Roundup, an herbicide with the active ingredient glyphosate that has shown to be killing human kidney cells. What’s more, the farmers say that the tobacco companies pushed Monsanto’s Roundup on the farmers despite a lack of protective equipment. In other words, these farmers — many in dire economic conditions — were being directly exposed to Roundup in large concentrations without any protective gear (or even experience or skills in handling the substance). Still, the farmers say the tobacco giants required the struggling farmers to ‘purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides’.

That would be the same Roundup that farmers use around here all the time, without protective equipment. The Roundup we already knew was Continue reading

Monsanto convicted of poisoning

Marion Douet wrote for Reuters today, Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning in France. The farmer who wonthe case remarked,
“I am alive today, but part of the farming population is going to be sacrificed and is going to die because of this,” Francois, 47, told Reuters.

He and other farmers suffering from illness set up an association last year to make a case that their health problems should be linked to their use of crop protection products.

France and the EU have already take other actions:
The Francois case goes back to a period of intensive use of crop-protection chemicals in the European Union. The EU and its member countries have since banned a large number of substances considered dangerous.

Monsanto’s Lasso was banned in France in 2007 following an EU directive after the product had already been withdrawn in some other countries.

France, the EU’s largest agricultural producer, is now targetting a 50 percent reduction in pesticide use between 2008 and 2018, with initial results showing a 4 percent cut in farm and non-farm use in 2008-2010.

Maybe we should try that in the U.S. Ban RoundUp, that is. Like Paul François said back in December aboout Lasso,
Monsanto knew they had a problem with this product.
As Yves Calvi wrote for RTL.fr 12 December 2011,
Because of the dangerousness of these products, in the country, nobody says anything, it’s omerta! Why such a vow of silence? The pressure of lobbyists is strong according to Paul François. He says the dangers of pesticides may be as important as those of asbestos.
I would say worse, because asbestos doesn’t usually drift across the road onto you, and isn’t deliberately applied to most crops, unlike RoundUp.

It’s time to break the silence, so we won’t have so many farmers and children and other people being made sick by pesticides.

-jsq

Southern Nevada Health District forced private citizens to pour bleach on home-grown organic food

Quail Hollow Farm was holding a Farm-to-Fork dinner for invited guests, when a health inspector showed up and forced them to destroy the food. In this video of the event you can hear the arrogance of the inspector:
That’s all the information you need.
Well, no, it’s not.

The inspector said it was a public event because the guests had paid for d inner.

The farmer eventually called their lawyer who said ask the inspector to see her warrant. She had none.

But they had already been told their food that they grew with their own hands was not fit for a public dinner, nor a private dinner, not even to feed to their pigs. They were forced to pour bleach on it, making it unfit even for compost.

Given that every food contamination recall in recent years has come from big factory farms, not from small organic farms, does this raid seem right to you? Continue reading