CHRIS KEANE / Reuters “ORANGEBURG, South Carolina — Bernie Sanders alleged that CBS once canceled an interview with him — because Monsanto, the agricultural tech giant, had threatened to sue the network. “During a town hall event here on Saturday night, a voter asked Sanders about Monsanto. Questions about agribusiness and genetically-modified food are not unusual at Sanders events, but on Saturday night the Vermont senator claimed his criticism of the industry and Monsanto’s objection caused CBS to cancel an interview: ‘Monsanto is a very, very powerful corporation. They are one of the leaders in food technology and basically working hard to transform our food system. Let me tell you a funny story, or not so funny. In my state, a great dairy state, we have a lot of dairy cows. There was an effort to put what was called BGH, bovine growth hormone, which is a stimulant that makes cows produce cows more milk but is unhealthy. I was against that. ‘I’ll never forget this. I was invited by CBS, not a small company, to appear on television to talk about why I was opposed to bovine growth hormone. CBS then called me up and said, ‘Well, Monsanto is threatening to sue us, so we can’t go on with it.’ They are very powerful.’” …
Comment: This story is of interest particularly because no other major news outlets picked it up to provide more details. Maybe they were all afraid Monsanto would sue them if they covered the story. Not even the fact checkers covered the item—at least not during the first week following the posting of the story. Perhaps everything unfovorable about Monsanto is a taboo subject. •••
Everyone is encouraged to consider getting the test for Glyphosate described below! In Germany, testing found Glyphosate in the urine of city people at 5-20 times the level allowable in drinking water. They use less Glyphosate herbicide in Germany than the United States does, so the levels in the United States may be worse, especially when the EPA has in 2013 raised the allowable limit in people by 3000% from a level already higher than the level in any other developed nation.
Even in small quantities, Glyphosate can have multiple, dangerous health effects, but those were neglected by the EPA because of their reliance on evidence provided to them by Monsanto, the petitioner on behalf of the relaxation of standard and the beneficiary of it. Recent research puts Glyphosate in a category more damaging than DDT.
For more information, see this discussion of the issues with Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology and Dr. Stephanie Seneff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. December 17, 2013: Moms all across America have tried to take care for their children by requesting to have their children's urine tested for glyphosate and their doctors have said they cannot do the tests. Moms have asked labs directly to do the glyphosate tests on urine and they have said no. American Moms have not been able to test their own children or their own urine for the most widely used chemical pesticide on the planet..until now. We have found a USDA certified USA lab that is willing to test urine and water for glyphosate! Test will be offered to MAA supporters at a reduced rate from $145.00 each down to $90.00 each from now until Jan 31st 2014 due to the volumn expected. Moms Across America does not receive any financial gain from any transaction connected with this lab what so ever. We simply want Moms to be able to care for their families knowing all the infomation they can. In addition to empowering families, we see this as a great opportunity nationally to further our cause of health and freedom in America. The EPA analyzes glyphosate again in 2014 and we want to weigh in on whether or not they approve it again. Your test supports our national cause as well.
Please return it by Feb 1 or asap, as we would like to announce results Feb 14th. It's time we know about the chemicals in our water and bodies. Moms Across America http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/
Mexican Judge Rules GMOs Are Imminent Threat to the Mexican Environment: MONSANTO, PIONEER, PROHIBITED FROM MARKETING TRANSGENIC SEED Devon G. Peña | Seattle, WA | October 11, 2013
An October 10 press release with Mexico City byline announces the banning of genetically-engineered corn in Mexico. According to the group that issued the press release, La Coperacha, a federal judge has ordered Mexico’s SAGARPA (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca, y Alimentación), which is Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, and SEMARNAT (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), which is equivalent of the EPA, to immediately “suspend all activities involving the planting of transgenic corn in the country and end the granting of permission for experimental and pilot commercial plantings”.
The unprecedented ban was granted by the Twelfth Federal District Court for Civil Matters of Mexico City. Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo J. wrote the opinion and cited “the risk of imminent harm to the environment” as the basis for the decision. The judge’s ruling also ruled that multinationals like Monsanto and Pioneer are banned from the release of transgenic maize in the Mexican countryside” as long as collective action lawsuits initiated by citizens, farmers, scientists, and civil society organizations are working their way through the judicial system.
The decision was explained during a press conference in Mexico City yesterday by members of the community-based organizations that sued federal authorities and companies introducing transgenic maize into Mexico. The group, Acción Colectiva, is led by Father Miguel Concha of the Human Rights Center Fray Francisco de Vittoria; Victor Suarez of ANEC (National Association of Rural Commercialization Entertprises); Dr. Mercedes Lopéz of Vía Organica; and Adelita San Vicente, a teacher and member of Semillas de Vida, a national organization that has been involved in broad-based social action projects to protect Mexico’s extraordinary status as a major world center of food crop biodiversity.
According to the press release, Acción Colectiva [Collective Action] aims to achieve absolute federal declaration of the suspension of the introduction of transgenic maize in all its various forms – including experimental and pilot commercial plantings – in Mexico, “which is the birthplace of corn in the world”.
This ruling marks a milestone in the long struggle of citizen demands for a GMO-free country, acknowledged Rene Sanchez Galindo, legal counsel for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, adding that the ruling has serious enforcement provisions and includes the possibility of “criminal charges for the authorities responsible for allowing the introduction of transgenic corn in our country”.
Father Miguel Concha said the judge’s decision reflects a commitment to respect the Precautionary Principle expressed in various international treaties and statements of human rights. Concha emphasized that the government is obliged to protect the human rights of Mexicans against the economic interests of big business.The lawsuit seeks to protect the “human right to save and use the agrobiodiversity of native landraces from the threats posed by GMO maize”, said the human rights advocate.
The class action lawsuit is supported by scientific evidence from studies that have – since 2001 – documented the contamination of Mexico’s native corn varieties by transgenes from GMO corn, principally the varieties introduced by Monsanto’s Roundup ready lines and the herbicide-resistant varieties marketed by Pioneer and Bayer CropScience. The collection of the growing body of scientific research on the introgression of transgenes into Mexico’s native corn genome has been a principal goal and activity of the national campaign, Sin Maíz, No Hay Paíz [Without Corn, There Is No Country]. ••• Scientific Journal Withdraws Séralini Paper on Roundup Toxicity Nancy Swanson, Seattle GMO Examiner, November 29, 2013 Yesterday was a sad day for science. The Elsevier Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology (JFCT) editor, Dr A. Wallace Hayes, has bowed to political pressure and retracted a long-term study on the toxic effects of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). … (see full article to read the chronology of events) The grounds for retracting a scientific, peer-reviewed paper are as follows: Clear evidence that the findings are unreliable due to misconduct (eg data fabrication) or honest error; Plagiarism or redundant publication; Unethical research. Hayes stated that the Séralini group was not guilty of any of the above, only that their results were inconclusive and thus not up to the standards of this so very ethical journal. Now that the paper has been retracted, the results will conveniently not be permissible as evidence in court. … (Please go to the full text of the article to read the author’s conclusion) The full article is available here: http://www.examiner.com/article/scientific-journal-withdraws-s-ralini-paper-on-roundup-toxicity Since this story was reported, Hayes has been replaced as the editor of the JFCT, and it has been reported he was a former tobacco company executive from the time when the companies were fighting against state lawsuits to fix the health costs related to smoking. More Commentary by Nancy Swanson about Monsanto can be found here (she is a retired physicist): http://www.examiner.com/gmo-in-seattle/nancy-swanson ••• To: Virginia Senator Tim Kaine following his response to a question about his position on transgenic food labeling on Virginia Public Radio on May 30, 2014. He showed he was closed to the idea that transgenic food needed to be labeled, and he also said he did not believe the concerns about it had any merit. The broadcast can be heard at the following location, and the question was asked at the end of the hour-long broadcast: http://virginiapublicradio.org/category/virginia-conversations/
Responding to your answer to my question this morning on Virginia Conversations (with May-Lily Lee), I think you must be listening too much to Monsanto, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Farm Bureau and others on the industry side of the issue. I am surprised to know that but maybe I should not be, because others in the Congress are in a similar bubble listening too much to industry lobbyists and shaping their views from those voices. The trouble is: the truth on the issues needs to be known, and none of the three branches of the government have facilitated that. They have all prevented the debate and discussion from being advanced. Accordingly, I am sad to see that you have become part of the problem and not part of the solution.
Starting four years ago, I organized a lawsuit against Monsanto, so the evidence against their technology could be presented in court, but three courts have so far essentially stonewalled the presentation of that evidence (more about this is in my e-mail signature below). Taking the issue to court was necessary because the Congress and the White House have been closed to the arguments. In bringing the lawsuit, neither I nor my 82 other co-plaintiffs sought to force acceptance of our views. (Included in the group were four co-plaintiffs from Virginia---two organizations, one company, and me. In addition, we had Amicus support from more Virginia organizations and from law professors specializing in patent law.) We sought a hearing on the issues in the public interest with Monsanto able to present its arguments before the judge alongside ours, but that was not made possible.
The behavior of the courts has been a denial of democratic rights to confront a threat against the public health and the environment, but the Congress and the rest of the government has held no public hearings on the issue either. They have stonewalled the issue, despite thousands of pages of memoranda from FDA scientists going back decades discussing the threat of allergies, toxicities, new diseases, and anti-nutritional impacts all of which have been proved true by subsequent research. The behavior of the government has been shameful, and because labeling is required in 64 other nations (representing more than a majority of the world's population), the behavior in the United States has discredited our nation in the eyes of others around the world.
In the face of these circumstances, I think you are completely wrong and in error in not examining the health and environmental destruction being caused by Monsanto's transgenic and chemical technologies. It is much worse than DDT. I think you are so wrong, I will make this statement to you: once the destruction is fully understood, the Halliburton-BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill will look like a child's bed-wetting accident by comparison. We are only needing a forum where the issues can receive attention and be adjudicated in the public interest. Refusing that opportunity to earnest citizens now able to gather evidence from studies made mostly in other nations is not honorable, and on behalf of my nation and as a patriot, I am embarrassed by it.
President Obama said in 2007 when he was campaigning in Iowa that he favored transgenic food labeling, but he has stonewalled the issue ever since then. I think you and I both know why this has happened, and I think we should both be embarrassed. I urge you to visit my Web site at www.EndTransgenicTrespass.org and study the alternative views available there. An extensive bibliography is provided, and more is being added regularly. The information provided is still not as much as will be presented in court with the help of organizations and professionals with great scientific competence, but it is a start.
You might like to watch the movie about Arpad Pusztai on the Longer Video page of the site or other films available there. Pusztai coordinated the first taxpayer-funded study in Great Britain between 1995 and 1998 investigating the safety of transgenic food and in the beginning he was supportive of the idea---until he began to study it. If you understood the importance of the health and environmental issues, I believe you would want to study these resources to become better informed about the side of the argument you have dismissed. I believe you would soon find it impossible to be as dismissive of the concerns as you were on the radio today. On no other issue have I ever considered you to be so inaccurately and unconstructively biased.
To help the public know more about this issue, maybe May-Lily Lee should do a full show on this issue. I would welcome the opportunity to debate anyone at any time, starting right now. So far, Virginia has hardly been a leader in getting the facts straight on transgenic food. The state is a leader on local food, but attention to the issues related to transgenic food has been mostly missing in action, especially from political leaders. They have been mostly in the tank with the bio-tech industry without the depth of knowledge needed to exhibit independent thinking. I have hoped for better, but it has been absent.
P.S. While I am writing, I would also like to say that I think you have been too quick to turn your back on General Shinseki. You have been a chief executive (as have I---though of a much smaller organization), so you should know how easy it is for people to prevent the chief executive from knowing the facts he (or she) needs to know. A big part of the problem with the VA is a failure by the Congress to give them the resources they need to manage the problems resulting from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, instead of holding hearings to get at the real problems and help to solve them, you have scapegoated General Shinseki as if that was going to solve anything. This is also embarrassing. I am sorry to know that you and Senator Warner have caved in so easily to the Republican political agenda. This is no less true now that General Shinseki has resigned. Maybe he was too trusting, but he needed help from others to get to the bottom of the issues. This issue is much the same as the one on transgenic food. The Congress has been dysfunctional on both.
This e-mail signature is provided for those who are interested:
On January 13, 2014, the Supreme Court failed to accept our petition to review the lower court decisions in our lawsuit against Monsanto, so a new lawsuit will need to be prepared with a new group of plaintiffs. The lower courts said (among other things) our initial group of plaintiffs did not have a sufficiently immediate grievance against Monsanto to allow us the legal standing needed to bring our lawsuit to court.
Basically, we were told we needed to have our neck in the guillotine with the blade falling before we could establish standing to bring our lawsuit. This means we would need to place ourselves on the block to be sued for patent infringement before standing could be achieved. The reason Monsanto wants to maintain the ability to file patent infringement lawsuits arises from their ability use that threat to chill damage suits by farmers whose crops have been contaminated by their transgenic crops.
Our story was eminently worthy of Supreme Court review because neither the Federal District Court or the Federal Circuit Appellate panel looked at the underlying facts of the case presented in our complaint or the pertinent precedents cited therein. They wrote divergent decisions based on their own ideas and their own prejudice that the rights of Monsanto to do as they do need to be protected regardless of the public health and environmental impacts. This is nothing short of a public atrocity given the costs involved and the existing extent of the public health destruction, but it is easy to believe the Supreme Court did not understand all the complexities of the case and did not take the time needed to read all the documentation.
Believably, the Supreme Court might not have wanted to enter the arcane thicket of patent law in such a case, but the matter at hand was: Should or should it not be possible to present evidence against Monsanto's technology. In the end, the courts said it should not be possible, at least not by our group. It remains to be seen if they would find some fault with the new group, too, but at this moment pursuing the new plan is the best option available to get a hearing. Time will be needed to do all the necessary work.
We need to follow what the court has said because the issues at stake are too important to let drop. We cannot wait to see what someone else may do.
Let me try to explain the threats felt by organic, biodynamic, and other non-transgenic farmers in a way that may help cut through all the complexities:
Just for the sake of an illustration, letâ€™s think of Monsantoâ€™s transgenic seeds as if they were transgenic paint with the same characteristics and governing rules as the transgenic seeds. Instead of talking about farmers and seeds, we will paint a parallel picture by turning the seeds into transgenic paint used by homeowners.
In an honorable and just nation, without an amoral government, collaborating courts, and politically-empowered corporations, our lawsuit against Monsanto, OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto, would be viewed as a property rights case or a property trespass case. Because it is not viewed that way under the law, Monsanto and their customers are allowed to spray patented transgenic paint on the houses of many people from across the property line. Even worse, the transgenic paint has the capacity to spray itself.
Then Monsanto is allowed to assume self-serving control over the property rights of those who have been sprayed. They can sue the damaged people for possessing the patented transgenic paint on their houses without having paid a royalty. It does not matter if people do not want the transgenic paint on their houses; Monsanto is still allowed to sue them for possessing their patented transgenic paint without paying for it.
This is called â€˜strict liabilityâ€™ in patent law. There is no â€˜fair useâ€™ exception. If you possess the patented object without having paid for the right to use it, you can be sued for patent infringement. Worse than that, Monsanto needs to sue everyone in possession of their patented paint. This is part of the diligent defense of their patent rights. If they do not defend their patents, they can lose them, but they can also use their patent powers as a means of intimidation, and they do that, too.
The â€œstrict liabilityâ€ rule has been in place since long before the patenting of self-replicating biological products, but in the case of self-replicating biology, it make no sense. Now on June 10, 2013, instead allowing the irrationality of this rule to be reexamined, three judges of the Appeals Court of the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC put only a tiny restriction on Monsantoâ€™s right to demand a royalty payment. They said that was enough to make any further adjudication unnecessary. They did this because they determined Monsanto had given us, through their court testimony, the equivalent of a binding covenant under the rule of estoppel. This rule stops Monsanto from doing tomorrow what they promised not to do today. The problem is that the court defined the covenant so minimally they made it almost useless in the real world.
Under the courtâ€™s restriction, if the spraying of the errant transgenic paint only changes the the color of the house by less than one percent, Monsanto cannot sue for payment of a royalty, and as a result, you or any other damaged homeowners can sue Monsanto or their customers (those wanting to use their transgenic paint) for damages without any threat of countersuit for patent infringement.
The trouble is: Monsanto has an adhesion contract that is automatically accepted by their customers when they open a can of Monsantoâ€™s transgenic paint. The customer is made responsible for any damage to others, and Monsanto limits its own liability to replacement of the paint. This is a problem because even though customers may use the transgenic paint properly and as directed, it can still spray itself on the houses of other people.
Monsanto understood this problem before they sold the first can of their transgenic paint, and that would be the reason they have transferred the liability to their customers. Many of these customers have not read the terms of the contract they have agreed to. After all, how many people do you know who carefully read the terms of the adhesion contracts on products they buy and use?
Not only can the spraying and spreading of the transgenic paint happen, it will happen routinely, and the customers (that is: the royalty-paying users of the transgenic paint) are automatically forced to accept all liability when it does happen. The automatic spreading of the transgenic paint is inevitable, but Monsanto accepts no responsibility for it. Since they know it will happen, they want to put all responsibility on others. This is part of their business model, their way of pursuing profits and protecting themselves from unwanted costs.
Now if Monsantoâ€™s transgenic paint changes your houseâ€™s color by more than one percent, according to the courtâ€™s rule, Monsanto is once again free to sue you and any other similar homeowners for possessing their patented transgenic paint without having paid the required royalty. If you or other homeowners sue for damage to your houses, Monsanto can counter sue for patent infringement. That is their way of preventing you from suing for damages.
The Monsanto customer using the transgenic paint might be required to pay you for the house damage if you sued them, but Monsanto would get royalties and infringement damages which can be tripled for violation of their patent rights. Soon homeowners would learn that suing for damage to their house would be a mistake costing them more for patent infringement than they would get for the damage.
Soon all houses everywhere would be speckled or covered with various amounts of Monsantoâ€™s transgenic paint until finally all the houses everywhere were painted entirely transgenicâ€”as the paint spreads itself. That will happen because the transgenic paint not only sprays itself, it spreads itself in other ways, too. Further, it can change the DNA of any living things it contacts, spreading its genes into whatever living genes it encounters. Thatâ€™s how it is that Monsantoâ€™s transgenes have been found infecting the gut bacteria of bees.
Just as in this parable of the trespassing transgenic paint, in the actual seed issue we address in our lawsuit, Monsanto's biotech seeds are capable of spreading their transgenes and enabling them to replicate on their own. Like the transgenic paint, the transgenic seeds aggressively assert their DNA the same as a rapist. Thatâ€™s how biology works; living things work to reproduce themselves wherever they can. Man-made biology is no different. The transgenic paint spreads itself from small speckles until it has covered the whole house and spread itself around the neighborhood; it can also get into the house and into the people who live in the house.
Monsanto's seeds can assert themselves this same way until they have taken over everywhere, becoming, in some cases, uncontrollable weeds only killable through the use of increasingly dangerous chemicals or other radical methods. Even if they are burned or plowed under, they may grow back from the remaining rootstock. This has happened with Monsantoâ€™s transgenic canola. Birds and pollen movement has spread it everywhereâ€”to the point it is widely considered impossible to grow organic canola in the United States.
If the paint spray starts out at less than one percent, maybe as small hardly noticeable speckles that could be mistaken for particulate pollution from industrial smokestacks or city buses, a damage suit would need to be filed quickly and the transgenic contamination would need to be eradicated just as quickly, because the transgenic paint will soon spread until it is much more than one percent.
Nonetheless, no amount of vigilance and remediation is likely to be enough. The house is instantly subject to new contamination because of the many customers using Monsantoâ€™s transgenic paint to paint their houses by preference. They may like the idea because it means they will never have to paint their houses again. In this case, the transgenic paint would behave like Monsanto's transgenic perennial alfalfa. Once started, it will exist in perpetuity.
Because the paint self-replicates, no further future painting will be needed. Even if they do not like the color, many customers would be willing to accept transgenic paint because it is economical. As long as it saves them on the cost of having to repaint their houses at increasingly higher future cost, that is all they care about.
At least, they will accept it until they find the transgenic paint can spread inside their houses, not just outside to other peopleâ€™s houses. At first, the customers are not concerned about what happens to other people as long as Monsantoâ€™s transgenic paint saves money for them; that is enough. Most people do not give much thought to the future or to the consequences of what they do. If they did, many things would be different than they are. For example, no one would litter and the ocean would not be filled with bits of plastic, floating plastic bags, and even tooth brushes.
Many real world details make the June 2013 decision by Judges Dyk, Bryson, and Moore of the Appeals Court of the Federal Circuit in our lawsuit insufficient, amoral, unjust, and nonsensical. The decision is pro-Monsanto and pro-corporate in making the window of protection so small. Even if it is a step in the right direction, it is a sham. At best, it is like giving a drought-stricken farmer with no feed for his cows one bail of hay when he needs 100 bails, or giving a truck driver one gallon of gas when he needs 100 gallons to get where he needs to go.
Yet, the Appeals Court judges were still not as incredibly, atrociously, and negligently nonsensical as Judge Naomi Buchwald of the Federal District Court of Southern New York in February 2012. The Appeals Court judges at least made a timid, irrational baby step in the general direction of justice. They likely did not want to risk taking a big step lest they anger the lobbying corporate overlords that exercise extraordinary power over the political demigods.
Probably, the Appeals Court judges were like many urban citizens with no exposure to agriculture. From that perspective, they may have lacked the knowledge required to do better or to understand the failure of their effort to address the realityâ€”or do much more than piss into the wind when all the ensuing and evaded health and environmental damage is understood. But still they tried, even if pusillanimously, to do something helpful, and they appeared grateful the issue was being raised as Judge Buchwald was not.
Judge Buchwald seemed self-certain in her understanding of everything she needed to know to write an informed decision. She decided the co-plaintiffs in our lawsuit have no judicable, meritorious claim against Monsantoâ€™s contamination even though the threat of it hangs over their neck every day like a sword of Damocles. It continuously threatens their ability to grow the safe, healthful, nutritious, and uncontaminated food they are committed to growing for the benefit of the people wanting to eat food that is not transgenicly contaminated.
Even though we must pay to create buffer zones or barriers that will never be sufficientâ€”and accept the fact that once contaminated we might then contaminate someone else and bear the liability and the moral guilt for that, Judge Buchwald said we should have no legal recourse to ask the court for a Declaratory Judgment to protect against patent infringement lawsuitsâ€”or to question the validity of Monsantoâ€™s abusively empowering patents. Following her reasoning, she should have no recourse either if she would be gang raped in the street on her way home from work.
All Judge Buchwald could hope for is a promise by the gang that they would not sue her for possessing trace amounts of their possibly patented biological material. If Monsanto can patent its seeds, there is no reason the gang would not be able to patent their seed, especially if they had modified it in some creative way to leave a permanent mark or asserted advantage on the progeny. In point of fact, the gang might all possess Monsantoâ€™s patented transgenes in their bodily fluids, so that would make them eligible to be sued for patent infringement, especially if they were found to be spreading Monsanto's product at will.
If 90% of tested Canadian women of child-bearing age had Monsantoâ€™s Bt transgenes in their blood, and 80% of their feti also had them in their blood, the question is: where would they not be? They are likely to be in the dog, the cat, the birds, and certainly the bees. Maybe the bees are only the first creatures to be dying from their contamination.
The threat from Monsanto is continuous against farmers and everyone else because they are continuing to sell their transgenic paint, and it is being spread everywhere without any control over where it goes, who buys it and how they use it. For example, under certain conditions, it might rise on an air convection and come down anywhere, even on a different continent or in a different nation. Because it can grow biologically in the digestive tract of people, it can be transmitted by people, and because an antibiotic-resistant marker gene is used in making it, it can spread antibiotic resistance horizontally into those coming in contact with it.
Judge Buchwald said we should be â€˜comfortedâ€™ by Monsantoâ€™s vague promise not to sue if people like us possess â€˜inadvertent,â€™ â€˜traceâ€™ amounts of Monsantoâ€™s patented biotech paint even though the promise was undefined by them until the Appeals Court arbitrarily, nonsensically, and minimally defined it for them, and it is still unenforceable by us unless the contamination is below one percent, which may be too little to even find. If the contamination is above one percent, royalty claims can then again be used as a counter-threat against the right to sue for property damage. The worst part of this is that the contamination will likely remain below one percent for only a brief period of time. When it is growing, it will spread itself quickly, and it the case of a perennial crop like alfalfa, it flowers and is cut multiple times each year.
Because the contamination is dynamic and spreads itself, maybe it would be possible to argue that a damage suit should be allowed without threat of a countersuit for patent infringement no matter how much the amount of current contamination. Under this argument, it would be clear that the contamination at some time in the past was between zero and one percent, and inasmuch as the absolute power of the strict liability rule had been arbitrarily eroded for contamination under one percent without establishing any reason that limit made any particular sense or came from any statement Monsanto's attorneys made, maybe grounds would have been established to erode strict liability for self-replicating biological products at any level when they contaminate those with no interest in possessing them.
At least, that outcome might be hoped for if logic would prevail, but this idea would likely need to be affirmed by the Supreme Court if they choose to review the Appeals Court decision in 2014. The nonsensical divergencies in the two lower court decisions need to be sorted out and repaired somewhere, but if the Supreme Court had the understandings and the wisdom to do that, the problem would not have been caused in the first place and our lawsuit would not have been necessary.
Since damage is damage no matter the percentage, and since no one knows if any amount of contamination is safe, the found amount of continuously changing contamination should not matter. Under this idea, the argument would be made that contamination of more than one percent is inevitable and contamination of less than one percent only a brief temporary matter that might not be caught at the moment when it existed. Under this view, no patent infringement lawsuits should be possible no matter if the contamination is over one percent. This would be a logical extension of the court's decision whether or not the Appeals Court judges would have intended or thought about this logic.
Whereas Judge Buchwald in New York City produced an empty eggshell, maybe filled only with sulfur dioxide gas, the Appeals Court laid a broken egg or a partial egg in the middle of the street, and now it remains to be seen if the Supreme Court can get it into a pan and make a healthful, safe, and nutritious omelet out of it. The Appeals Court's decision needs to be appealed to the Supreme Court, because we have been denied the right to request a full, independent, objective review of Monsantoâ€™s technology. That is needed in the public interest because the government has neglected and evaded this responsibility for decades. The remaining hope rides on the belief an independent judiciary still might exist in the United States, but so far that belief has proved to be a chimera in the face of corporate political power.
Two different and divergent court decisions have contorted themselves absurdly to try to stay in lockstep with the corporately-subservient political establishment. We claim Monsantoâ€™s transgenic seeds have no public utility because they damage the public health and the environment, so no patents ever should have been granted.
As long as it is impossible to examine the merits of the technology before the Congress and the Executive branch of the government, including the Patent Office, at least partly because of the power of corporate lobbying and campaign contributions in the political system, the Judiciary is the only remaining branch of the government where review and redress might still be possibleâ€”if the courts are not equally dedicated to protecting the corporate interest ahead of the peopleâ€™s interest. If the Judiciary proves to be in monolithic lock-step with the rest of the government, then the moral integrity of the entire government is willfully, inexorably, reprehensibly, negligently, and pusillanimously compromised.
We want our day in court, so the issues can be assessed on their merits with both sides able to present their evidence. When that is not allowed, the government is definitively proven to be uninterested in determining or affirming the truth. The question in this case is whether or not damage to the public health and the environment is continuously occurring. We say it is.
If the courts, all the way to the Supreme Court prove unwilling to allow this question to be examined, the result will be worse than the Dred Scott decision, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, Plessy v. Ferguson, Buckley v. Valeo, Diamond v. Chakrabarty, J.E.G. Ag Supply v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Citizens United v. the FEC, and Bush v. Gore all rolled together. This is true because the facts about the destruction to the public health and the environment are now available.
Revealed will be either fear of the truth because of the embarrassment related to past failure or a dedicated commitment to falsehood in pursuit of corporate profit and campaign contributions. When the government and the courts are seen doing everything possible to prevent the truth from being exposed, the people can know democracy is dead. They will be able to see the government is no longer interested in serving the public interest.
Monsantoâ€™s transgenic contamination is not just changing the color of a house or even all the houses. Together with the chemicals employed with it, it is affecting the health of the people, destroying the natural health and fertility of the soil, and its damaging genetic impacts reach into the future in ways that cannot be definitively known when patent rights are used to block and manipulate U.S. research on the issues. As long as U. S. studies only last 90 days, they cannot discover enough to expose the needed truth, and that is part of the problem resulting when the government declines to perform regulatory responsibility on behalf of the people.
When studies on the important issues are only made in other nations where a higher level of integrity, public honor, honesty, morality, pursuit of truth, and humanity still exists, the United States is exposed for its failure on all these points. Worse, if better is not possible, the government, including the elected and appointed officials of all three branches will be exposed as unwilling to let anyone get a day in court if that might expose the years and decades of profligate government collaboration with corporate self-interest at high public cost. These costs are high in the present, and based on the research abroad, they are expected to be higher in the future.
The outcome will spread Monsanto’s transgenic paint across the moral character of the whole nation. It will also show corporate campaign contributions and lobbying are more powerful and important to government decision makers than the need to learn the truth about transgenic technologyâ€”and the threats it poses to the public health and the environment. It would be bad enough to deny the need to put the matter before a fully objective, open review in a court of law, but if the two decisions by the lower courts are representative of the court attitudes and thinking all the way to the Supreme Court, the United States is in bigger trouble than anyone realized.
The observed failures become crimes against humanity. They are far more than crimes against the rights of farmers and consumers. The truth needs to be collectively determined somewhere, and it would be best if the people of the United States took responsibility to see it done under their care. If that does not happen, the people of other nations could want to see the entire U.S. democratic system, and especially those chosen to lead it, tried and convicted for their years of willful negligence.
The so-called Doctrine of Substantial Equivalence they have relied on to defend their decisions never was an honest scientific standard. It was created by industry executives and politicians as a ruse, and then, at most, they got some collaborating scientists to rubber stamp it for them. The scientists at the FDA would not endorse it, and that is clearly known from discovery in a different lawsuit.
The FDA scientists understood and predicted all the issues that have since been determined by independent research. The collaborative deregulatory business was done as if the United States was a corrupt dictatorship, except that it was worse than that. It made the routine, petty corruption, immorality, and intellectual dishonesty in some other nations look benign and virtually insignificant by comparison.
For more information, see: www.EndTransgenicTrespass.org
If or when Senator Kaine responds to this above message, the response will be posted.
(No response was received from Senator Kaine even though a one was requested. Then a year later after a Virginia poll was taken to find out how many Virginians want mandatory labeling, another message was sent to urge a “No” vote against the DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know) and to tell him he was right in his claim that 90% of Virginians did not demand mandatory labeling [the number proved to be 86% if the polling was accurate]. Of course, the margin of error would have probably been plus or minus about four percent. No response came back from Senator Kaine on this second message either.)
To: Susan Decker, Bloomberg News January 2014
In your story about Consumer Watchdog v. WARF, "Gene Patent Case Fuels U.S. Court Test of Stem Cell Right," your characterization of the decision on genetically modified seeds is at least insufficient. More faithfully, it should be ruled flatly in error, because it is a gross distortion of the reality. While it is true that our lawsuit, OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto, has confronted two adverse lower court decisions (dismissing the case and affirming that dismissal), the matter is not settled law because a petition to the Supreme Court has been filed and their decision about whether or not to take the case is pending. We will know within the next few weeks whether the justices will want to review the highly divergent, grossly impractical, hostily abusive, inadequately reasoned, and even irrationally pro-corporate and pro-patent views from the two lower courts.
Thus, our challenge cannot yet be called "unsuccessful," but even if the decision from the Federal Circuit is allowed to stand, it would be incorrect to say the challenge was "unsuccessful because Monsanto promised not to sue organic farmers." The best that can be said is: The appellate panel construed a Binding Covenant from Monsanto under the rule of estoppel, but it affects only farmers contaminated between zero and one percent. That leaves the other 99% unprotected against the possibility of patent infringement claims from Monsanto, and even the one percent would not, in fact, be protected because one percent of contamination is too small to be easily found before it become more than one percent. Low levels of agricultural contamination do not remain static.
As a matter of responsible journalism, your characterization of the decision is as far off the mark as the lower court decisions are off the mark as a matter of responsible jurisprudence, but at least you have mentioned the decision which is more than most others have done. In the face of the horrific Monsanto abuse of both farmers and consumers, probably, no case has ever been as important to the future of civilization, and yet both journalists and judges cannot get the facts straight or understand their importance. This is the tragic reality in a nation where people are disconnected from the necessary nutritional, safe, and healthful quality of their food---and yet also blindly take the supply of it for granted.
U.S. democracy is in a sad state when the discovery of wisdom about the one thing everyone needs to survive comes down to the thin reed of nine highly polarized justices in a highly polarized political system where two branches are already under the politically powerful Monsanto thumb by virtue of lobbying, campaign contributions, and ability to get its people appointed to the key governing positions controlling policy on transgenic agriculture and food safety.
Please feel free to post this message as a letter to the editor, but it would be more important to state the facts accurately in a future story about the lawsuit at the time when the Supreme Court decides what it will do. Their decision will determine whether all three branches of the government want to stand in lockstep against the pursuit of justice, wisdom, and truth on the issues surrounding transgenic food and agriculture. It is not as if we want to force our views on anyone; we only want to present our arguments in a place where Monsanto can present their evidence in response---so the people and the court can decide if both the pertinent patents and government policy have served the public interest.
Don Patterson 83rd Co-Plaintiff OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto
The full Bloomberg Story is here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-06/gene-patent-case-fuels-u-s-court-test-of-stem-cell-right.html#disqus_thread