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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/11/09

Monsanto's Assault on Agriculture

Message Marti Oakley
Monsanto is a corporation reviled for its genetic tampering and attempts to seize control of agriculture around the world.  While trying to change its public persona into one of benevolence towards the public, the history of Monsanto is littered with continuous efforts to not only seize control of food production, but also supply.  Monsanto's history also includes lives destroyed either financially and/or physically as the result of its activities.

1969-2002 Source: Northern Illinois Business and Industry Data Center
Here in the US, Monsanto goon squads routinely trespass onto privately owned land, take samples of privately owned crops and then claim Monsanto's frankenseed crops are being grown illegally...their patents have been violated.  According to Monsanto, these are "unauthorized seeds."  Those two words are a harbinger of things to come and should give you an idea where all of this is headed.
Courts have ruled that if Monsanto's seeds sprout in a ditch near the uncontaminated natural crops of a farmer who refuses to grow GMO, the crop belongs to Monsanto along with fines and penalties. 
Monsanto attempts to minimize their harassment of non-participating farmers by saying that out of about 250,000 farmers they have only sued about 120.  Monsanto goes on to say that farmers will report other farmers who save seed, and that many of the tips they get about seed saving are from other farmers in the community.  I think the probability of this actually happening is slight and would tend to think more along the lines of the Goon Squads illegally trespassing and reporting; after all, that's what they get paid for.
On top of this, Monsanto came up with a new in-house rule after the fact, claiming they had not sold the seeds to the farmers but had merely leased the seeds to the farmer.   This was a de facto legal maneuver.  After all, if you SELL something, how it is used is no longer your business, it doesn't belong to you.  If you lease the same product, you now have continued interest in the use. 
Monsanto knows that genetic traits can be passed between grains or other plants either during handling and processing or as a result of pollination and that GMO transfers more readily than traditional seed.  As a result, they also know that genetic traits and makeup indicating the purity of any seed at this point in time is not achievable as a result of the contamination of traditional crops resulting from genetically altered crops being totally uncontrolled and uncontrollable.
Knowing that wind drift, bird droppings and other natural happenings would by necessity cause the contamination and cross pollination of natural crops with the genetically modified crops, Monsanto continued to push its malignant creations onto farmers who believed the hype that Monsanto's "authorized seeds" would increase productivity and increase profits.  The passing of time and the analysis of these claims tells a different story.
In the case of soybeans:

Roundup Ready Soybeans use two to five times more herbicides than non-GE Varieties.  When you add royalties, fees and other costs the resulting profit for the farmer is $0.  The increase in production is negligible and usually less than a traditional crop.  These crops also require 2 to 3 times more water to grow.
Then there's that problem with cotton (Excerpted from the original article at Global Research):

The cotton's agronomic performance is also erratic. When Monsanto's GM cotton varieties were first introduced in the US, tens of thousands of acres suffered deformed roots and other unexpected problems. Monsanto paid out millions in settlements. 

  •  [4] When Bt cotton was tested in Indonesia, widespread pest infestation and drought damage forced withdrawal of the crop, despite the fact that Monsanto had been bribing at least 140 individuals for years, trying to gain approval.

  •  [5] In India, inconsistent performance has resulted in more than $80 million dollars in losses in each of two states.

  • [6] Thousands of indebted Bt cotton farmers have committed suicide. In Vidarbha, in northeast Maharashtra, from June through August 2006, farmers committed suicide at a rate of about one every eight hours.

  •  [7] (The list of adverse reactions reported from other GM crops, in lab animals, livestock and humans, is considerably longer.) (end excerpt)

  • These are just two of the crops being devastated by genetic tampering and the attempts to lay claim to crops traditionally grown successfully without patents, tampering or alteration.
    Wherever Monsanto has inserted itself in agriculture, food supplies dwindle, become unaffordable or have devastating affects on human health.  Traditional and proven seed stocks are destroyed or forever contaminated with genetically altered material that can include everything from human DNA to that of numerous animals or many times unidentified genetic material.
    And about that Artic Seed Vault... as I asked before, if what Monsanto produces is so beneficial, if it in fact is far superior to traditional seeds, why was none of their mutated stock included in the Vault? 

    Maybe because it isn't fit for human consumption?
    (c) 2009 Marti Oakley

    First posted at The Proud Political Junkie's Gazette
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