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9-Misc: A Global Citizen's Declaration for Biosafety and FoodSecurity



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  A Global Citizen's Declaration for Biosafety and Food Security
SOURCE: Biodevastation 7, USA
DATE:   May 2003

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A Global Citizen's Declaration for Biosafety and Food Security:
U.S. and International Citizens Oppose the U.S./WTO Intervention Against
European Controls on Genetically Modified Foods

Issued and ratified at the 7th international grassroots gathering on
Biodevastation, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, May 16-18, 2003 (www.biodev.org)

Seven years after the first commercial introduction of genetically
engineered (GE) foods, most people around the world still firmly reject
this technology. Only four countries are growing nearly all of the
world's genetically engineered crops, and only four basic GE crops (corn,
soy, cotton and canola) are being grown commercially on a large scale.
More than 35 countries around the world, including the entire European
Union, have taken steps to restrict the growing and importation of GE
crops, and require labeling of all foods with genetically engineered
ingredients.

Promises that genetic engineering will feed the world, reduce chemical
use, and benefit farmers have proven entirely false. Countries in the
global South that have experimented with GE crops have found their
introduction to be a dismal failure, as illustrated by the complete
failure of Bt cotton crops in several locations in India last year. Now
is a time to thoroughly revisit this technology and fully assess its real
consequences for our health, the environment, and social equity around
the world.

Instead, the U.S. administration has proceeded to initiate a suit at the
level of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to pressure the European
Union to lift its five-year de facto moratorium on new GE food varieties
and strict limits on imports of GE products. Once again, US-based
agribusiness companies, the biotechnology industry, and their political
allies in Washington are seeking to force this unsafe, untested and
inherently hazardous technology on the peoples of the world.

The biotechnology industry and its allies would compel us to overlook the
hazard of new allergens and spreading antibiotic resistance, of likely
immune system and digestive system damage, of contamination of
neighboring crops and their wild relatives, of known harm to beneficial
organisms in the environment, and of new combinations of genetic traits
wreaking unforeseen and largely unexamined ecological disruptions. They
want us to forget how they have terrorized farmers with lawsuits, threats
and surveillance, and how farmers in the global South are suffering from
dependencies on unaffordable chemical fertilizers and pesticides that GE
varieties would only increase their dependence upon. They would have us
look aside while they impose patent regimes that reduce everything alive
to commercial products that exist only to be bought, sold, and traded in
a captive global marketplace.

We declare our support for the right of European countries to continue
protecting the health of their people and their environments by
continuing to refuse these hazardous products. We also assert the
fundamental right of people in the United States, where more than three
quarters of the world's GE crops are grown, to join others around the
world in their rejection of this technology. Monsanto and other
biotechnology companies have opposed all steps toward labeling GE food
and seeds at the federal and state levels and undermined the work of
every independent scientist who questions genetic engineering. We have
now learned that Monsanto is spending $10 million a year to sustain its
program of harassment and lawsuits against U.S. and Canadian farmers.

Further, during the 2003 Biodevastation gathering in St. Louis, we have
seen the local police in Monsanto's hometown of St. Louis subject
peaceful protestors, bicyclists and traveling performers to an
unprecedented level of harassment, with paramilitary-style raids on
activists' homes and offices and at least 30 "pre-emptive" arrests. This
affirms what we have known for a long time-that the biotechnology
industry can only have its way in a climate of suppressed public debate,
political corruption and intimidation. The more people learn about the
hazards of genetic engineering, the more they oppose it; therefore
genetically engineered agriculture has become incompatible with democracy
itself.

As people around the world continue to reject genetically engineered food
and crops - and the market value of companies like Monsanto continues to
decline precipitously - biotechnology is being given a new lease on life
through ever- more dangerous new applications. Corn and other food crops
are being genetically engineered to produce pharmaceutical proteins and,
in the name of "fighting terrorism," we are seeing an unprecedented
expansion of biological warfare research in the United States. This at a
time when the rapid spread of AIDS, and now SARS, reminds the world that
infectious diseases and novel organisms can spread extremely rapidly and
respect no boundaries.

With these disturbing realities in mind, we declare our support for the
following:

1. We support the right of European countries to continue rejecting new
GE crop varieties, and affirm the right of all peoples to take necessary
precautionary measures to protect their health and the environment;

2. We condemn the U.S. intervention at the level of the WTO to try to
force the lifting of the de facto European moratorium;

3. We pledge to intervene in all appropriate international forums to
condemn the US/WTO action, and affirm the right of all peoples to adopt
precautionary measures similar to those that have been implemented in Europe;

4. We support the people from across the U.S. and around the world who
will be gathering in Sacramento, California at the end of June to expose
the USDA sponsored meeting of agriculture and trade ministers, a meeting
designed to promote the U.S. agribusiness and biotechnology agenda prior
to the upcoming WTO Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico;

5. We demand a full, independent assessment of the actual performance of
GE crops to date, as well as the full range of hazards of genetic
engineering for human health and all of life on earth;

6. We demand that the commercial developers of hazardous chemicals and
genetic engineering technologies be held fully liable for the legacy of
toxic and biological contamination that they have created;

7. We support a strengthening of the international Biological Weapons
Convention, whose full implementation has been systematically undermined
by the U.S. administration's resistance, and demand a regime of open
international inspection of all facilities engaged in research using
pathogenic organisms and their DNA;

8. We call for an end to the terror tactics of the biotechnology industry
and its supporters, including legal assaults on farmers, campaigns to
discredit dissenting scientists, and incitement of police to attack and
harass those who exercise their democratic rights of free speech;

9. We urge an end to the continuing waste of public funds to support the
research agendas of the biotechnology industry, and instead pledge to
devote our resources to the furtherance of safe, ecologically sound
alternatives in both agriculture and health care, alternatives that merge
the best of traditional knowledge and systematic, independent scientific
investigation.


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Biodevastation 7 farmers take aim at Monsanto
SOURCE: St. Louis Post - Dispatch, USA, by Allyce Bess
        http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/News/
D5F15B72F4715D6A86256D29001A8019?OpenDocument
DATE:   May 16, 2003

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Biodevastation 7 farmers take aim at Monsanto

Farmers from the United States, Canada and Ghana gathered Friday - the
first day of Biodevastation 7, a conference held in St. Louis to protest
the upcoming World Agricultural Forum's congress - to discuss the future
of small family farms amid the growth of corporate agriculture.

Two of the farmers, George Naylor of Greene County, Iowa, and president
of the National Family Farm Association, and Percy Schmeiser, a canola
grower in Canada, are involved in legal disputes with Monsanto Co. of
Creve Coeur. Schmeiser, 72, has come to symbolize farmer opposition to
genetic engineering.

Monsanto claims that Schmeiser knowingly replanted the company's
patented, genetically modified canola seeds that were found in his crops.
Schmeiser, however, says he didn't knowingly plant any of the seeds and
claims Monsanto should be barred from patenting life forms or requiring
farmers to sign agreements that prohibit them from planting the seeds
they harvest.

While the lower courts have ruled in Monsanto's favor, Canada's highest
court this month said it would hear Schmeiser's appeal.

This time, Schmeiser thinks the outcome will be different. That's because
the Canadian Supreme Court, in a case involving a genetically engineered
mouse that Harvard College patented in several countries, recently ruled
that higher life forms cannot be patented in Canada. He said he hopes
that decision will tip the scales in his favor - and cost Monsanto its
Canadian patents.

A spokeswoman for Monsanto said she could not speculate on the outcome of
the case, but defended the company's position. "The bottom line is that
so far he's lost every court decision to this date," said Shannon Troughton.

Of Schmeiser's contention that Monsanto treats farmers unfairly,
Troughton said: "There are thousands of growers who choose to use
Monsanto's technology in the United States and Canada. They've asked us
to make sure that a minority of growers who attempt to use our technology
illegally don't have an unfair competitive advantage."

Biodevastation 7, meeting at the St. Louis Community College at Forest
Park, is sponsored locally by the Gateway Green Alliance, a group
affiliated with the Green party. Organizers believe their views won't be
accurately represented at the World Agricultural Forum's 2003 World
Congress. That meeting will begin Sunday.

In an interview, Schmeiser, who said he has spent more than $270,000 in
legal costs to battle Monsanto, said he'll use "whatever good years he
has left" to fight Monsanto. He contends that Monsanto's nondisclosure
and technology agreements violate farmers' free speech and what he
believes is a farmer's right to reuse seeds.


                                  PART III
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Arrests and weapons allegations spark activists' anger
SOURCE: St. Louis Post - Dispatch, USA, by Heather Ratcliffe & Jeremy Kohler
        http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/News/
CA79873CDD7A926886256D29001A8078?OpenDocument
DATE:   May 16, 2003

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Arrests and weapons allegations spark activists' anger

It was good fortune, St. Louis police said, when raids Friday to enforce
housing laws yielded "weapons" like rocks and nails from homes of some
people planning to protest the World Agricultural Forum here this weekend.

But the activists said it was just an excuse to get in and snoop.

More than a dozen people were arrested - none on weapons violations - and
most remained in jail into Friday night.

"This is political repression. We're being targeted," said Molly Dupre,
glassy-eyed as she emerged on bail from police headquarters after about
seven hours in custody on a charge of occupying a condemned building.

DuPre, 23, of St. Charles, described herself as an anarchist and six
weeks pregnant.

Joe Mokwa, chief of a police department clearly edgy about what the
coming days will bring, told reporters, "We are very concerned. We can
certainly draw conclusions and expectations after we found these items."

Some of those things - a bag of rocks and a bucket of nails - seem fairly
common to a home under rehabilitation, as some of those raided were. But
they appeared more sinister when paired on a display table with a sling
shot, whips and torches.

Similar devices were used as weapons in large-scale demonstrations at
international conferences in Seattle and Washington, D.C., officials said.

These were seized from a condemned building at 3309 Illinois Avenue and a
building at 3022 Cherokee Street. Mokwa said no weapons charges were
filed because nothing could be linked to specific people.

Police said neighbors' complaints spurred the raids; names of those
complaining were not revealed. The building on Illinois had been condemned.

"The timing is coincidental because these people just got here," Mokwa
said. "We have an obligation to investigate complaints. We are not going
to allow people to reside in abandoned buildings."

Activists said police circled the buildings for days, questioning anyone
on foot or bicycle.

"It's definitely systematic harassment of protesters," said Art
Friedrich, who lives at 3022 Cherokee.

Fifteen people arrested at the home on Illinois were cited for a city
ordinance violation of occupying a condemned building, Mokwa said. It had
no occupancy permit, according to building inspectors.

Some of those staying there insisted it was not condemned. Three people,
who bought it from the city for $800, have been staying there for a year,
they said.

They opened the house, which they called "Bolozone," to out-of-towners
attending the Biodevastation 7 conference at St. Louis Community College
at Forest Park.

Biodevastation 7 was scheduled as a counterstatement to the World
Agricultural Forum, which begins Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at
Union Station.

Dupre said she was in her upstairs bedroom at Bolozone when police
arrived. She said one officer told her they had a warrant and another
said they didn't need one.

She said police told her there were orders to sweep the city for anyone
who looks like an anarchist.

Dupre scoffed at any suggestion of violent people staying there. Most are
puppeteers, she said.

"It's a rehab site," she said. "These are things that are going to be
found in every garage across America."

Mike Liebhart, who said his girlfriend was arrested, told a reporter.
"I'm shaken. I feel like my constitutional rights are being taken away.
Why are they raiding these houses? Why are they arresting people?"

Mokwa said police will accommodate peaceful anti-World Agricultural Forum
protests in Aloe Plaza, across from Union Station.

"We are here to protect the rights of everybody," Mokwa said. "We want
people to be able to voice their opinions. People who go into a vacant
condemned building have no rights to be there."

The chief noted, "These people are not here attending seminars. They are
sitting in vacant buildings in the middle of the day."

The building on Cherokee houses the nonprofit Community Arts and Media
Project, a collection of seven grassroots organizations including Gateway
Green Alliance, which is sponsoring Biodevastation 7.

A housing inspector noticed suspicious items during his search, and
police obtained a search warrant, Mokwa said. It was not clear what was
seized from which address.

Friedrich, 23, pulled a copy of the warrant from his pocket. It said
police were looking for barrel traps, Molotov cocktails, gas masks, PVC
pipe, whips, chains, flammable liquids and nails with washers attached.

At one point, police emerged with two 8-foot wood dolls with papier-mache
heads. One was a caricature of a police officer, the other of an
alderman. Such dolls are common to protests, sometimes being used as a
signal or diversion.

Police also removed mirrors, camping equipment, several bags of molding
clay, a disassembled kiln, a length of metal pipe and two construction
respirators.

Friedrich said police told him he could reclaim the items Wednesday,
which is the day after the end of the World Agricultural Forum.

He said he expected to see police, but added, "We didn't really expect
them to flip out about this like they did."

Brian Tokar, one of the organizers of Biodevastation 7, said police
overreacted. "We've been doing these events for years," he said. "Every
year in the U.S. we've gotten these insane, inflammatory issues from the
police. It's to inflame public passion and to prevent public discussion
of the dangers of agribusiness."

Matt LeMieux, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of
Eastern Missouri, said, "I think if the police are going to conduct
searches and arrest people, it ought to be based on the conduct of what a
person is doing now. But what they're doing is pre-emptively trying to
arrest people. It's a bad and unconstitutional policy."

He called the housing inspections "a trick" to get in without a warrant
and suggested police should have worked with protesters instead of
antagonizing them.

J. Justin Meehan, a lawyer called by some of the jailed activists,
complained that police would not release detainees' names, charges or
amounts of their bails.

He showed up at police headquarters at 6 p.m. with $500 to bail out as
many as he could.

"Whatever violations there are have existed for some time," he said.
"This is a ruse to prevent people from their legitimate right of
assembly. This is almost an ideal civil rights case where the police,
acting under the color of law, violate rights guaranteed under the
Constitution."

Also Friday, officers stopped a van of activists and arrested the driver
just after the group visited the Regional Chamber and Growth Association
headquarters downtown.

Occupants of the van said police told them they violated the seat belt
law. They said officers photographed each passenger then took in the
driver, Sara Bantz. Her friends said she was charged with a drug
violation for carrying a bottle of vitamins.

Mokwa said the woman was arrested on a warrant in Columbia, Mo.


Jim Getz and Todd Frankel of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.